Your Motivation

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What is earnest motivation? Is it something that is truly easy, or difficult to find? Are the reasons we attempt our goals truly our reasons? Not to wax philosophical, but the human mind is quite fascinating in its ability to deceive.

Each of us sets up goals. or establishes reasons for doing anything. Everything needs a reason after all. The trickery lies in when we establish our reasons to attain whatever it is we seek. Thus we convince ourselves, for example, that money will buy happiness, or that love just happens overnight. Conversely, happiness comes way before the money, and love takes a bit longer.

Fame, more likely than not, is one of those goals that many people aspire to for few good reasons. Perhaps the only great reason for fame is that it usually generates more money. Any pop singer,  or actor has a motivation for fame. Public profile has much to do with their income. Though, what is it that everyone else seeks from fame? An easier life? Recognition?

Who knows. The point is that, in order to achieve anything we set out to achieve, we must all start with concrete reasons for achievement. Unfortunately our brain tricks us into believing false reasons. In the fame example, when you get famous for doing nothing, then your fame will go to waste. Actors often aim to become famous because there is a definite increase in their marketability, and an increased freedom in the roles they get to choose. If the motivation for fame is to gain a better life, then you will probably subconsciously start living that “better life”. It can manifest into spending more time watching television, or playing video games, but those two things won’t get you famous.

So how does anyone establish such clear cut motivation? Pen, and paper works. Hell, just pondering about why you want something works too. Whatever you do, it will be a battle against psychology. Thus thinking up the motivation, and reasons you want to achieve goals, or attain luxuries cannot be neglected. Otherwise, you might end up on the Internet all day after work, because you wanted more free time.

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Gifted

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Talent is a word with a weird connotation. Often people define that word, in speech, as a natural entity. One is born with talent, and gains a skill. This thought is a common perception.

Malcolm Gladwell, though he certainly didn’t invent it, popularized the 10,000 hour rule. In his book Outliers,  he argued that natural talent is a myth. He also argued that IQ bears no weight in gaining skills, or societal status. Both of these ideas are opposed to conventional wisdom.

Some of his ideas, ironically, are debunked by his own examples. The Beatles being the main example, and debunkers. (Success took much less than 10,000 hours of them being a band. None of them had even practiced music for 10,000 hours by this time either.) Whatever you believe of Gladwell’s arguments, his book brought up great ideas to ponder on. Is there a such thing as natural talent. Is time all we need?

In my career flux, these are the fun topics to think about. If nature built us to have certain skills, then why do we struggle to get there? Why aren’t we sorted like pieces of mail, and thus freed of our supposed struggle to find that natural ability? Surely our methods leave many without discovering their “inherent” abilities before they die.

No, natural talent isn’t a part of my beliefs. But sometimes it’s just uncanny how talented some people become in shorts amount of time. Do those people just have high self-esteem, and believe in themselves? Do those people practice four hours on end? Who knows.

Outliers is a pretty sensational book, and an enjoyable read. One thing Malcolm Gladwell is right about, which I and many of my friends are finding out, is that opportunity is important. Bill Gates, The Beatles, and many others found, and gained the opportunities to learn in a way that few people in their time were able to emulate.

Recently, one of my friends expressed dismay at this notion because it begets something few people seem to like: nepotism. Famous people breed and create famous sons and daughters, and this goes on forever. Some might think nepotism is unfair, and many hate being labeled as a nepotist. Either way, is there really a better opportunity to take advantage of than one you were born into? Plus, it’s not as if people choose to be born.

Maybe everything just comes down to opportunity first, then talent second. Perhaps it’s the talent that creates the opportunity. Whichever way it goes, being gifted doesn’t seem to play a role in anything. The struggling light always manages to escape the dark room after all.

The Hunt For Meaning

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Based on every trip to a bookstore, and based on how popular spirituality is, it seems that many of us in the United Stated hunt for meaning. Growing up here, the endeavor to find meaning seems like a necessary rite of passage. Realistically, this is why numerous cults recruit their members at college campuses. So many young people are searching for something to believe, that college is perfectly fertile ground.

Relax, this isn’t about cults or anything. It’s more about our strange obesession with finding meaning. One has to wonder whether this exists as strongly elsewhere, as it does here in the United States, but it seems to me that it does. Every culture has a few prominent religions. In the United States however, there are mass quantities of  spirituality books, religious texts, and religions. Some people, it seems to me, are addicted to the hunt for meaning.

Maybe it’s a bit of irony as this blog can come across as a spiritual blog, but at some point the hunt for meaning has to stop, right? How can you try every belief that is out there and not stop eventually? Even if you couldn’t find one particular belief system, wouldn’t it be more productive at some point to create a collage? A bit of Buddhism, a touch of Christianity, maybe some Hindu.

Part of the problem with spirituality, is that it’s  often used to mask a hole in a person’s life. Maybe an ex-lover that you can’t quite get over. Maybe a career path that didn’t quite pan out. Who knows.

This isn’t to say that everyone should blindly pick a system and stick to it. Giving thought to one’s own beliefs are important. Just try not to end in a weird loop where you are switching out spiritualities like they’re worn out socks. We all have to live by some code after all. Maybe there won’t be much meaning to the code, but what’s important are the actions based off of the code.

Communication

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Failure to communicate, or a lack of understanding, is the root cause of many problems we face as individuals, and as societies. Relationship problems tend to revolve around a lack of communication. Issues in childhood that become hard to eradicate as an adult often revolve around communication. Racism? Definitely a communication issue.

When you communicate with either party of two groups who have racial tension, no matter how much tension there is, you don’t automatically assume they’d be so drastically different. Especially when, due to ancestry, they look alike. As an outsider to some of the conflicts, and feelings of certain groups it’s interesting to observe. Personally, it’s often a huge reflection of the people of my ethnicity and the ethnicities we share tension with.

Recently, on a quest to understand these kinds of issues, I started digging around. I’ve asked many of my friends and families about their perspectives. Without fail the issues seem to stem from some communication flubs. For example, if you asked a Taiwanese person, who historically look similar to Chinese people, “Are you Chinese?” they would of course, as they should, state that they’re Taiwanese. Of course, as an optimist, it is my belief that most would approach their rebuttal with  great understanding. No one wants to be called what they aren’t, right?  Now if you made it that far well then here, in my ramblings. is where the conflict arises.

Now if a Chinese person asked the same question, and the Taiwanese person answered “No I’m Taiwanese.” It often happens that the Chinese person says “Oh, it’s all the same thing.” Now that entire relationship is a bit suspect from the Taiwanese person’s perspective. This communication misunderstanding is remarkably common.

Taiwanese and Chinese people are the examples I used because many of my friends, and many people whom I questioned are Taiwanese. Realistically, this oddity in communication occurs throughout the entire world. In fact, the only places in my observation that it doesn’t occur too frequently are the United States, and Japan. India in relation to Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indo-Caribbeans. England in relation to Ireland, and Scotland, etc. Theses are all places where the misunderstanding can happen, and often creates tension.

When one group feels dismissed, much like any one person who feel dismissed, there then opens a room for resentment to be created in the mind. Inevitably the resented don’t take kindly to resentment, and thus a vicious cycle is born. Yes this is a mere oversimplification. In every nation with racial tension, including the United States, there are plenty of factors at play. Economic standing, political beliefs, history, and plenty of other things cause racial tension as well. However, the misunderstanding, and lack of communication always seems to spark the fire.  Just my food for thought anyway.