I read somewhere (today, actually, but like the ditz I am, I forgot just where) that we should focus on only 2-3 big projects per year and, though we should assess ourselves and readjust the means by which we achieve those goals, sticking to those goals will pay off more than if we ditched and replaced those goals in the long run.

Meaning, keep with your goal to be physically active, but periodically assess whether your weekly belly dancing lessons are doing the trick.

I’ve realized that I’ve not only tried to simultaneously spin too many plates, but I’ve been switching goals and attacking them the same way every time, robbing myself of the chance to successfully complete a task by either quitting or using a method that failed before.

Why do I sabotage myself and my spirit so?

So I want to try to articulate my goals for the next three months here: what are the codes I wish to stand by and what are the goals that correspond with them?

I can’t just decide anything – I feel God has some serious work to do in my life, some healing and shaping that I need to be mentally prepared and willing to undergo.Freshman year hurt me, wounded me and broke me down to the point where I didn’t want to go on.

I still don’t know if I can completely.

Pray for me.


Beware of GEMs

Have you ever heard of the Green Eyed Monster?

We all have one – she lives inside of us, nudging us when something sparkles in someone else’s hands, murmuring when yet another smart, successful, size zero siren walks by or drops yet another hint as to how someone else’s ideas, contacts, projects are infiitely bigger and better than yours.

In a word, I struggle with lust – the need to have what everyone else has, to be as successful as they are, to be as happy and cultured and privileged as they are, to be as disciplined and insightful.

And it’s destroying me.

Each time I set my sights on something else, compare myself and find myself far short and hardly pointed in the right direction, I feel my soul dying inside me, feel yet another part of me ripped away by Prometheus’s eagle.

Perhaps I’m the only one with this problem, but I feel that it’s not that I can’t do it – my monster keeps changing the focus of my aspirations, ensuring that none of them ever pick up enough speed to reach the destination.

On Rewards — OwlSparks | Carlos Miceli

On Rewards — OwlSparks | Carlos Miceli.

On Rewards

by Carlos Miceli on September 24, 2009

in Best, Business, Control, Generational, Passion, People, Work, change, idealism

Rewards are having trouble keeping up.

Things like money, vacations, stability and ladder climbing matter, but less than they used to.

Nowadays, we need more. We ask for a challenge, to learn and grow, to be independent, to be trusted.

This is way harder to give, because you can’t just sign for them. It’s not up to your pen to give me a healthy and innovative culture.

It depends on your values, on your leadership, your intelligence and ambition. There are no contracts for this.

If it’s not real, it can’t be given.

You don’t have to worry so much. There are still thousands of cogs looking for the next safe (risky?) thing.

Not the ones that matter though.

But hey, as if you care, right?

Sparked by Ryan Stephens

All for me…and you.

I just came across an interesting series of articles from NewScientist called Blueprint for a better world and the thought struck me: what would it be like if everyone thought about what they needed to do to improve the world around them, how they could help the scores of people existing aroud them, rather than how they could improve themselves for the next project, the next career, the next life goal?

The features contained everything from pimping your house and getting tested to being nicer to people, but I’m talking about the motive behind implementing these changes – what if I thought about myself, about my skills and connections, in relation to how I could contribute to what’s outside of myself?

Could I work without the expectation of advancement, either personally or concerning my career?

Can anyone?

Because even full-time volunteers have to feel pride towards their own accomplishments in the name of charity, feel rewarded with loads of self-satisfaction and outside appreciation for their work at times.

Is anything really entirely devoid of the self?

Now before you stop reading (I know you thought about it) let me elaborate in more practical (non-extremist) terms: relationship dynamics.

Relationships are give and take – I help and listen to you, you do the same for me. We enjoy each other’s company, have some common interests, and can supplement the other when our interests, contacts, networks, fields of expertise don’t overlap, and because of this understanding the relationship is mutually beneficial.

Well wait, you’re thinking – I don’t think of my relationships that way. That’s much to analytical, much more cold-hard-business than friendship.

Something as nonbusinesslike as enjoying the other’s company is what I would call a “good” that you don’t have on your own and therefore need a relationship for.

But what about parents and family members? I think that the same concept applies here as well, but it may be more on the self-satisfaction, sense of responsibility (insurance against future guilt), following personal morals and distant future investment that keeps these relationships intact.

This goes for volunteering, missions trips and any other “free work” scheme. We are selfish creatures. End of story.

So how does this help us? Have I just wasted half an hour of my life condemning mankind and rationalizing how we simply can’t help the fact that we think (consciously or subconsciously) that we’re at the center of the universe?

Absolutely not. This can most certainly be used to not only save our environment, but can work towards improving the types of societies we live in and improving the ties these societies have with each other regardless of geopgraphic seperation. (Yay internet!)

How? We simply use the fact that Gen Y (my generation, for all the haters out there) expects to get moral satisfaction out of their lives. We don’t just wish we were contributing to something greater than ourselves: we demand it, and the best way is through helping others, thinking of the world outside our personal bubbles.

Volunteering lends to opportunity to satisfy personal needs of making a difference, but they offer a variety of career options and (most attractively to me) to travel the world. Amnesty International, World Vision, Habitat For Humanity, the Peace Corps – you can go anywhere in the world if you have a mind to, and all in the name of philanthropy.

Also, philanthropy evokes the same feelings in us as sex, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. (Yes, I know Modite already posted this, but I swear I began writing before I saw it.) Oh yes.

We’re already volunteering – over 25% of US Citizens volunteered last year. Donations reached a record high of $314 billion in 2007 and have only dropped 2% in 2008, superb considering the economy.

My peers and I feel the crunch of centuries’-worth of environmental damage crying out for us to take immediate and forceful action. Increasing globalization as a result of cheaper travel fares and the geographically-blind internet force us to sit up and take notice of rights violations, poverty, disease and the lack of survival resources.

Pair these with our determination to get things done, take action rather than let someone else handle it, and you have a juggernaut force on your hands.

Yes, we tend to focus on ourselves, but we can use this, refocus upon what we believe in and make this world a better place. It’s not that other generations couldn’t, or even didn’t – we are simply motivated differently, and it is because of this we can change the world.

To break or not to break?

There’s so much you can do online these days, I wonder why I don’t simply get a netbook and be done with complicated program installs and useless help directories.

But then I remember I would get even LESS done than I already do if I were actually forced to be online all day. Having Microsoft Word open on my desktop forces me to stop browsing (no pun intended) and actually get to work on things I know are important for me to do.

Unfortunately, so much of what I need to do is connected to or found with the web that it’s not like I can close Firefox and completely ignore it.

So what to do? I’ve heard that we’re meant to be interrupted during work (to keep us awake, more productive, etc.) but other studies show (and I can testify) it’s much harder and probably less productive in the long run to take breaks because it’s hard to get back to work once we disengage from it. What to do? Suggestiongs? I’ll do some research…

A Semester Off

With the economy in its current state and the source of university education becoming less and less important I know I’m not the only one trying to make the most of a semester or two break in between universities. Heck, even before the economy went bust, students were advising students on if and when to take a break.

Think about it: when enrolled, I had four or five classes to attend, read and study for. I had meetings left and right for rugby, the publication, NROTC, bible study. I had to plan 30 minutes ahead for everything because I had to walk everywhere. Meals were far from quick. Plus the fact that I hated it, so everything took longer and sapped me of more energy.

The facts are that I’m burnt out and getting to the stage of hopelessness that I begin to wonder what the point of it all is, but the blasted ‘Type A’ monster in me won’t let me rest unless I’m doing something productive. What do I do now?

My original list was long and unrealistic, mentioning everything from learning a language to picking up three instruments, enrolling in an online course, and interning at the US Embassy in Malaysia. (What’s funny is you think I’m kidding.)

I’m in the outside section of Old Town White Coffee (tagline: “take your time”. Oh, the irony.) sipping the house specialty. I’ve been here for two hours, and I haven’t gotten anything tangible done. (I’m telling you, research and idle curiosity eat your time.) I can’t talk to anyone without my mind wandering back to the empty three months ahead of me, can’t hear a sentence without thinking “Is that what I should be doing to make the most of October, November, December? Can I really do anything?”.

In a sentence: It’s turning me into an insomniac, obsessive compulsive psycho.

I know I’ve already said I’ll look up info and freelance, but I know the likelihood of me getting any really jobs or assignments is slim to none, and I wouldn’t have any real clips to show them anyway. That’s something I can do, I suppose – show of my writing ability, streamline that process, write about things I care about. I’d have to make sure I labeled my posts – reporting, editorial, personal, etc.

But it still comes down to the fact that I feel like I need to get something done in these three months – something productive, something useful, something that most students wouldn’t do because they were in school.

There’s no way I’m alone in this – where are all the other bums?

What would it be like to get everything you ever wanted? Would you be happy? Content? Thrilled? Excited? Satisfied? Angry? Surprised? Disappointed? Purposeless? Lonely? How horrible would it be to realize that all you ever wanted was in fact the opposite of what would make you happy? What if, deep down, you simply wanted to be recognized for your talents, yet on the surface all you wanted was for everyone’s abilities to be the same so you wouldn’t keep disappointing yourself? What if you simply wanted an opportunity to lead, but leadership to you was people blindly following your instructions? What if all you wanted was someone to understand you, to love you, but you’d given up on that and were ready to settle for a life of loneliness, a life where everyone was kept at a safe distance to protect your heart from discovering they don’t truly understand?

What would it be like? We want what we want in this life because we think it will make us happy – if I can only get that promotion, can only push myself to run faster, if I could only study harder. It would make everything, no matter how crappy or brilliant your circumstances are, better. In my experience, however, people don’t always (almost never) know what they really want, at least in the way or form they want it at least. As Gen Yers, we’ve been told we could do everything, given the tools to do everything, have learned from expericence that everything is possible, yet so many of us struggle to find what – out of that infinite spectrum of everything – we really want to pursue. I’ve discussed this again and again with my friends and family – walking down the path is hard, but choosing your path is much harder. I can get anywhere I want in life as long as I know where anywhere is.

So how do you figure out what you want? Part of the beauty of college is that it allows you to experience new things, explore different careers and hobbies and interests and friends, evaluating your feelings and aptitude for different subjects and activities. This is meant to help you choose your path, meant to assault you with a barrage of options, hoping that one will light a spark in your soul, will stick with you as the thing you would be content doing for the rest of your life.

But most of us aren’t in college, are out of college, will never have the chance to experience a university as it was meant to be experienced. Some of us went and still failed to find what resonated with our souls, failed to discover what it is we want in our heart of hearts. What then?

To tell you the truth, I don’t have an answer – I don’t think I’ll find my answer in a university, as I didn’t with high school or being part of an international community. I think all I can do at this point is set a goal – any goal – and simply prove to myself that I can achieve it. It could be a triathlon, it could be reading a difficult book, refraining from snapping at my family or serving my community. Simply having a goal can lead you to see what you’re not working on that you wish you could be. There’s no greater power than that of what you don’t have, correct?