Sunday, April 04, 2010

Hello me, long time no see

Its not like I've found the real meaning of '42': the answer to everything, that I don't write here anymore. Just that I've been thinking more and writing less. Lately life revolves around the Linux kernel more than before, a lot more frisbee.

There's also been a lot of thinking about 'flow'. Yes, I'm obsessed about it. Must.Have.It. And I'm not referring to the kind which happens to everyone every now and then, like while digging your nose. I'm referring to the kind where its controlled. Set goal, know what skills it takes, start, real time feedback about progress and end with wanting more. No, not orgasm. Similar in effect but more prolonged..

So far, as an experiment I think I've found a way that might need adjustments, but sorta works. The key is to set goals, but not focus on finishing it as an end of itself. Rather set the goal and yearn of the rewarding feeling after. Use feedback to throttle focus on that feeling. It should build on itself. To some this may sound utopian, but it you read in between the lines, or backwards or whichever way, you'll see it makes sense. I end up feeling soo much calmer and in control at the end of every day of trying this.

The key realization to this approach was: take an example of what takes up most of your time in a day. Its about work for most of us. If you think you like your work, then there is hope to achieve this at work. Realize what stops you from getting into flow. Invariably its frustrations. Root-cause that frustration. For me, I realized, in my line of work (geeky stuff), there is no such problem that does not have a solution. And deep inside I knew I really believed it. So, the root cause of frustration could not be that I can't find the solution. There had to be ulterior motives, hidden agendas that crept under my pre-front cortex. Expose that agenda, just being more aware of that before starting off a task really helps changing the whole experience .. drastically.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Thinking at the speed of thoughts

Every now and then I question myself if I'm being too judgmental about someone. I realize it can't be completely avoided and shouldn't be either. Moderation is the principle here, I thinketh. So, quite naturally the next questions to follow would be whom to judge, how much, and when. Maybe even why. Somehow I feel this maybe the wrong way to look at this. Instead, how about looking into oneself and defining a perimeter of sorts. This perimeter could be formed by questions like "what would the other person have to do, to /cross-the-line/". So then, you could simply keep this perimeter in the back of the mind when you meet someone and get judgmental only if he/she crosses that perimeter. I think many of us already do this, quite subconsciously. The perimeter is defined by the values we were brought up/around in. But I still feel I tend to forget this every now and again. This leads to misinterpretations and occasionally improper reactions. When I realize this later, it invariably hurts me more than it does to the other. Of course there could be other reasons for those reactions, depends on the circumstances at the time. 

I think looking at things with this angle, could help keep the mind clearer. At times, I thought the best way to deal with human interactions is to find something else that you are deeply passionate about. That way, nothing else can really bother you, coz the state of flow is easily attainable whilst doing that /thing/, and in flow, everything is timeless. But clearly, this is almost like running away from problems (more like papering-over-it). Having that passionate activity certainly helps to maintain balance, but I think dealing with another human being needs some effort and careful thought. 

Now here's the crazy thing. Malcom Gladwell says in one of his books, that when humans are conversing or even around each other, they tend to send these /instructions/ into each other, through words, body language etc. When two people understand what the other is exactly talking about, there's usually another connection at a much deeper level. These connections enable people to empathize. At the climax of such a harmonious connection, is that conversational /flow/. I find this extremely interesting and want to have this skill. But, more often that not, I end up thinking about this while conversing and as an inevitable result mess up the chances for any /flow/. It's like trying to concentrate on something while thinking about whether you are concentrating or not. It needs to be natural, almost instinctive. 

Thats is the mighty confusing part. And that is why I end up judging people, often wrongly. This sort of judging isn't harmful in so far as I can see. But clearly it's just a distraction. Therefore, if I aim to keep things simple in my head about such interactions, it should help to get into the flow of conversations. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I'm almost done with my masters at pennstate now so I thought I should probably look back and see how I feel about stuff. While thinking about it, I turned to my much ignored blog and read all the earlier posts. At the end of it, I think I just ended up reconfirming that I can be soo geeky. Well, so be it.

Here's the interesting thing I found. I've actually been achieving most of the stuff I'd set out to achieve but completely forgotten about along the way. I won't bore you with the details. By 'you' , I actually mean any computer out there which parses the internet to check for any security threats, coz I know no human really reads anything I write out here. ;)

Quite ironic that I set goals, forget about them, but actually achieve them at some point in time. I guess this is good, coz maybe it means I am not satisfied easily with things as they are. Looks as though, I dont really set goals, but instead set out to do things that would be nice to have in me, in my life. That way, I dont really have a single tracked mindset to achieve goals, but instead have a broader perspective to acquire something that I find nice.

Was it all worthwhile ? hell yea. If I can look back and conclude I was stupid back then, it means I'm smarter now. So I guess I'm v26. 

What changed ? quite a lot. I think my hair is whiter than before. I have more facial hair, not quite as much as it normally should have been, but getting there. I can sit at one place for 1.5 hrs. I have mastered the art of flicking a frisbee in ways you thought was not possible. I have learned to optimize the use of underwear so I can postpone laundry time without buying any new underwear. No, it's not the switching sides and inside out trick. It's a combination of wearing boxers and normal undies. Also, wearing t-shirts more often saves the pain of ironing shirts, which also means, you dont have to wash those shirts coz you never really wear them that often.

hm. what else.

I picked up some skills on the guitar with a plectrum. This meant relearning some skills, coz I learnt to play with fingers when I started initially. I can read faster. Cooking is still challenging, but atleast I started. 

nuff said. btw, the undies thing, I just do that when laundry must be deferred due to work or weather. Just saying so you dont get the wrong ideas. Wow, I must remember no human reads this, I should not need to clarify.

oh well. Whats next ? Lets see, I will be moving to NC in 3 weeks. Really looking forward to starting a new life there. This time I'm going to make it different. I want to live a more balanced life. Meet ppl, play sports, learn new skills. The main goal for this year is to really figure out my mechanism to get into 'flow' in everything I do.