Entries Tagged 'Uncategorized' ↓
February 17th, 2013 — Uncategorized
The quality of our lives depends on how we focus our energy and our attention.
That’s one of my favorite sayings, but, of course, that assumes we have some energy to focus. I’ve been working on that.
Eating well and getting moderate exercise — nothing strenuous but anything that feels like fun — has been my top priority since that cold wiped me out. It’s worked just fine. I’m almost ready to start uncluttering our apartment. I have a great capacity for tuning things out, so I’ve been ignoring that project while I recovered from the cold and finished (almost) dealing with the insurance paperwork while we replaced Andy’s gazillion tools and some other things up on the land. Then I celebrated that success by playing with fonts and simple graphic design. I somehow discovered my passion for that this past year and decided rewarding myself for a job well done on the house and the insurance was the best use of my time. It’s hard to keep motivated if one only does the next item on a To Do list. I have a little bit more sense than that!
Anyway, uncluttering is still on my Possibility List and I’m starting to do a little bit each day. If life doesn’t intrude it should go just fine. I do love having an uncluttered apartment, it’s just not always my top priority.
What about you? How do you energize and motivate yourself? What are your top priorities?
February 10th, 2013 — Uncategorized
Do you agree with that quote by Peter McIntyre? I partially do. I love having the freedom to be wrong and tend to avoid conversations with people who always insist that their view is the only one. I knew a fellow once who believed he was always right. Once he made up his mind he refused to look at any more data. The one day he suddenly looked shocked. “I was wrong!” He said. “I was actually wrong!” Then he relaxed and smiled. “Oh well,” he said. “I guess once in 50 years isn’t too bad.”
On the other hand I had a boss once who liked to be right, but he wanted to be sure it was really true. I was cheeky enough to argue physics with him even though I only had a bachelor’s degree and he was internationally known in his field. I was usually wrong but he was a great teacher and would work through the problem on the white board and I would learn a lot. He always took my questions seriously because once in a while I was right.
One of my favorite times was after he blew up at me for a problem I has run on the supercomputer. Another group leader came in with a question and no money to pay for computing. Dave (not his real name) confidently told him the answer was in a computation I had already done. When I told him I hadn’t run that many modes (don’t worry about the details) Dave lost it and yelled at me for not having done it. I was upset at being yelled at but remembered there was a good reason I had only run three modes. Even that many was pushing the limits of the machine, and computer time was scarce. I had worked nights and weekends to get the truncated problem done.
So I didn’t say anything when Dave yelled. That wasn’t like him at all, so I figured I would wait until he had calmed down and was ready to listen. Then it dawned on me that because of the parameters I had used (called boundary conditions) it wouldn’t have mattered how many modes I had run. The information he wanted just wouldn’t have been there.
So I waited until he was coming down the hall in a good mood and said, “Hey, Dave, remember that problem we were talking about? It wouldn’t have mattered how many modes we ran. The boundary conditions were wrong.”
He instinctively denied it. “Oh, Jean, the boundary conditions weren’t wrong.”
I smiled and countered with, “How would you like to bet a beer on that?”
He looked at me trying to guess if I was right or just bluffing. He decided to gamble. “No, Jean, the boundary conditions weren’t wrong.”
So we went into my office, I sat down and he went to the white board. Yes, the conditions were fine in the x and y directions, but when he got to the z direction he put down the marker and said, “Oh, Jean, have it your own way. I don’t have time to argue with you!” Then he marched out to work on something far more important than my little problem.
Needless to say, I did not remind him he owed me a beer.
Yes, it is fun to be right. But it’s even more fun to have the freedom to be wrong. What do you think?
May 11th, 2009 — Uncategorized
I’ve been thinking about the picture in last week’s post:
At the time it seemed to capture the feeling of the previous week–a precarious balance. But after thinking about it more, that was only a part of what was going on. I don’t like to live my life that way. This picture is a closer match:
. Used with permission. Owner reserves all rights.
It’s not nearly as spectacular, but I like having a solid foundation. Even when I felt pressed by a deadline I was focusing at least as much on developing needed skills as I was on preparing a specific talk. I still took time out to experiment with, and practice, new techniques so they would be there for me when I needed them again.
My main problem with the talk was I had too much information and had trouble figuring out what to include, what to leave out, and how to organize the mess. Power Point was a blessing. Even though I had never used it before, when I went poking around on the web for some ideas, I came across these tips on how to create a good slide show. The tips not only made it easier for me to get started with an outline, they also gave me a template to use.
Power Point Tips:
Once I had the template and outline all I had to do was to liven the talk with some cartoons and pictures from Flickr.
The talk went well, which was fine, but even more importantly, if I ever have to do something like that again it will be a lot easier. Yes, I do believe in skill development. I feel a lot happier knowing I have a solid foundation to build on.
What About You?
How important is skill development to you?