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I recently decided to leave my current company to pursue other opportunities. When I began to tell my friends about my decision, a handful of them asked me if I were going to continue my daily hour-long commute each way while I finish up. “Of course,” I said without hesitation. Why won’t I?

Turns out the explanations they gave vary, but I find all of them rather puzzling. Most of the sentiments centered around, “What are they going to do to you? Fire you?” But I think that kind of attitude completely missed the point. Here are a few reasons why I decided to perform at my maximum level even during the last days of my employment with my current employer:

  1. I am still gainfully employed, which means I am still getting paid. While I am drawing a salary, I expect to perform at the level expected of me.
  2. I spent almost three years developing the relationships with my managers and my co-workers. I am not about to throw that all away in the last two weeks of my employment by acting as if I were already gone.
  3. The Internet world is a small one. Burning bridges is the equivalent of committing career suicide!
  4. Even if the Internet world is not small, why unnecessarily burn bridges? You never know from whom you may need favors in the future (both in your personal and professional life).

What do you think? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

This is a selfish post — this post is for me. This post is here to remind me that i can do anything in the world if I put my mind to it. I want to be reminded everyday of how powerful and absolutely unstoppable human willpower is. I can, and you can too!


[From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly]

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he’s not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars–all in the same day.

Dick’s also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. o n a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much–except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

“He’ll be a vegetable the rest of his life;” Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. “Put him in an institution.”

But the Hoyts weren’t buying it. They noticed the way Rick’s eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way,” Dick says he was told. “There’s nothing going on in his brain.”

“Tell him a joke,” Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!” And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.”

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. “Then it was me who was handicapped,” Dick says. “I was sore for two weeks.”

That day changed Rick’s life. “Dad,” he typed, “when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!”

And that sentence changed Dick’s life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

“No way,” Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren’t quite a single runner, and they weren’t quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, ”Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?”

How’s a guy who never learned to swim and hadn’t ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they’ve done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don’t you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you’d do on your own? “No way,” he says. Dick does it purely for “the awesome feeling” he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992–only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don’t keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

“No question about it,” Rick types. “My dad is the Father of the Century.”

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. “If you hadn’t been in such great shape,” one doctor told him, “you probably would’ve died 15 years ago.”

So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other’s life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father’s Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

“The thing I’d most like,” Rick types, “is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.”

I was having a conversation with a friend over coffee a few days ago. She casually mentioned that she has encountered a lot more irrational people lately. So I asked her to explain further. She said that compared to ten years ago, she feels she now meets a lot more people both at work and in her personal lives who make irrational decisions. Here are the two examples she gave: 1. My friend is part of a team at work where the project leader recently needed to pick several team members to complete a certain part of the project. Instead of picking the most competent team, the project leader picked two out of three members who were less out-spoken (and presumably less likely to speak out against the project leader). 2. My friend’s sister is heavily in debt, yet instead of making plans to get out of debt, she spends ever more heavily.

Some of my guy friends like to say that irrational decisions are more often than not linked to the female brain. In other words, their rationale is that women are less likely to make rational decisions (when compared to men) because of the way the female brain is shaped over the years. I used to agree (but to a much lesser extend) to their arguments because of my own experience. From my own observation, I see that more women than men make irrational decisions (and that includes myself). But I now believe that’s a faulty way of looking at the issue, after the nice conversation with my friend.

I intentionally created ambiguity around the gender of the project leader mentioned above because I wanted you to decide for yourself the gender of the guilty party. I bet you thought it was a woman, but it turned out the project leader was a man. In fact, my new theory around irrational decision making centers around education and training, not gender. In other words, I believe that having the proper education, namely science and math training, helps with making more rational decision. The reason is scientific training requires a very rational approach to solving problems, however easy or complex. The more you are exposed to and use the scientific approach, the more you are likely to follow the rational protocol to solve all kinds of problems in your life.

So how does that explain the gender difference? It just so happens that a lot more men than women majored in math, science, engineering. That is true even today. I would even go further and say that since the percentage of people majoring in math, science, and engineering is declining in this country, we will have even more people making more irrational decisions in the future. Yes, that’s a bold statement, but I would love to be proven wrong.

What do you think? Please leave your thoughts.

Ever since I was little, my parents have drilled into my head the “Save Money” mantra. But it wasn’t until I was broke in my early 20s that I became fully aware of the power of money. I was living in Boston on a student stipend at the time, and man, was life hard! The worst part was worrying about covering the rent because I was living paycheck to paycheck. In fact, life was so miserable I became known as “the bag lady of _____” among my friends because I would find ways to cut corners and save a few bucks on just about everything.

The pain and suffering stemming from living paycheck to paycheck has been permanently etched into my mind. I still cringe every time I think back to that time and the hardship I endured, and I vowed never to do that again. It was also during this time that my perspective on money changed forever.

I used to think money buys things both tangible such as clothes and non-tangible such as a vacation. While it is true that I still actively participate in consumerism (as indicated in my posts about my iPod Touch here and here), I now see money as buying, first and foremost, peace of mind. Some people call it freedom but I like to think of it as inner peace and serenity.

People often ask me why I save money.  The simple answer is I don’t want to be broke and live the way I did when I am in my 60s or older.  It’s one thing to be broke when you are in your 20s when you are still young and physically and mentally capable to weather the storm; It’s quite another to be broke when you are in your 60s and possibly pass your prime in terms of earning abilities.

What do you think?  Please leave your thoughts below.

If you haven’t heard already, several young men and women climbed the Golden Gate Bridge this morning to protest against the Olympic Torch run through San Francisco in two days. After scaling the Bridge, they unveiled two banners, one of which reads: “Free Tibet ’08”.

I am not unsympathetic towards their cause of ending human rights violation. However, I have issues with people who chant the “Free Tibet” slogan, especially those who have little or no background in Chinese history. Tibet has always been part of China the way New York has always been part of the United States. Furthermore, Tibetans are considered one of the five Chinese cultural tribes and are prominently recorded as so in Chinese history (you probably won’t find the detailed recording in translated English text, I don’t think…at least I haven’t been able to find it). It is true that Tibet proclaimed its independence from China at the fall of the Qing dynasty, but the independence was never officially recognized by China. The proclamation came during a time when China itself was in chaos and was in no position to fight the proclamation.

Except for the proclamation of independence, Tibet is no more or less a part of China than California is a part of United States. Sure there are cultural and political differences, but the last I checked, California doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with the current federal government either. If California were to declare independence today because of these differences, Washington would almost certainly send troops into California to halt the movement. Does it mean the rest of the world should chant, “Free California”? Is it even any of their business what Washington decides to do with a state that is a part of its Union?

Originally, I wasn’t going to post this due to its controversial nature. But ultimately, I decided since I already talk to others about this issue, why not post it on my blog? Any and all comments are welcome as long as they are not ill-natured or vulgar in nature.

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April 2008