Late (or a Post About Cause and Effect)

Today I was late for work again. For three minutes that is.

You may ask why I’m writing on an event as insignificant as this. Hold on a moment I don’t intend this to be a whining or rant post, but a post that you can learn from.

What can we learn about me being late you may ask? Hmmm… let’s learn (or contemplate) about something called “Cause and Effect.”

In some metaphyical traditions as well as science itself, cause and effect is a commonly accepted law of the universe. That is for every cause there is an effect, and for every effect there is cause.

Something to contemplate about, though, is:

  1. A cause may have multiple effects.
    For example, going to the gym to train with weights can be a cause for you to…
    (A) Gain more muscle.
    (B) Lose more fat.
    (C) Become more attractive to opposite sex.
    (D) Be able to wear again your old overgrown clothes.
  2. An effect may have multiple causes.
    Going back to me being late at work I was late for some factors I can think of.
    (A) I didn’t get up in bed early enough.
    (B) I could have skipped taking a bath.
    (C) I could have started walking from the public transportation (Jeepney in our country) when I sensed traffic isn’t moving.
    (D) The traffic. (I know it’s like blaming the traffic, but no one could deny that it was a valid cause.)

  3. There is a chain of causes and effects.
    Meaning that an effect can in turn become a cause for another event, and so on.
    For example: A mother taught her children to be kind to people (cause 1). Her children in turn became kind to other people (effect 1 – cause 2), and because of that those people who were treated with kindness felt good (effect 2 – cause 3…). It could go on and on, like those people who were treated with kindness in turn became kind to other people, too.

There are lots of more to contemplate on the law of Cause and Effect, that I can write another post for it in the future. For now, though, it would be nice to contemplate on these things, even for a moment.

Summary

The law of Cause and Effect is for real, and remember (A) A Cause can have multiple effects; (B) an effect multiple causes; (C) there is chain or link of causes and effects.

The Parable of the Key

I thought of this parable as a common situation in life:

A man arrived into a new town where he was promised a new house. Another man welcomed him and gave him the key for his new house. 

He tried using the key to open the door to his house but it didn’t work.

The second man said, “Keep trying brother. It would work soon enough.” The encouraging words of the second man kept the first man trying to use the key to open his new house.

A little later, a third man arrived and said, “Here brother, try this key. It might work.”

As the man tried to reach for the new key given by the new man, the second man interrupted and said, “No. That key won’t work. The key you’re holding is the real key that will open your house.”

Being more familiar with the second man, the man who’s trying to open his house followed his advice, ignoring the third man.

We don’t know for sure if the third man’s key will work or not. On the other hand, the first man key’s might eventually work, but so
far it didn’t.

You be the one to interpret this parable 🙂

It’s Okay to Be Selfish Sometimes

There was an incident in my life that I would never forget.

Some of you who are more adventurous might view what I would about to narrate as simplistic or normal. But that event itself changed the way I viewed the world — although not until many years after the event.

The story

I just came back to school after a while. Probably because of fever, but I’m not sure.

On that day my teacher gave me the raw materials to build an ornament which resembles a lamp.

As I was constructing the ornament, some of my classmates, who were not usually kind, approached me in a friendly manner to ask for some materials.

Being the naive kid I was back then, and not knowing how much material it takes to build the finished project, I gave some of my materials to my begging classmates.

As I would recall, I even heard our teacher say something like (translated to English): “You’ve wasted your materials yesterday, and now you’re asking Michael for some spare.”

Giving some (or most) of my materials away, I wasn’t able to finish my ornament. While the classmates who asked me for my materials, finished their project.

Kind of unfair, isn’t it?

First lesson to be learned

As the title of the post says, it’s okay to be selfish sometimes. Why? The reason is that there are times when other people will put their needs first before yours, even if it is to your disadvantage.

What if I didn’t gave my materials away, and as a result finished my project?

Sure, they may call me greedy or something, but to think of it isn’t justified.

To make an analogy, it’s like two guys who traveled the desert with one water bottle each. The first guy used his water wisely, while the second guy was wasteful of his water.

During their journey, the second guy asked the first guy for some of his water (which he really needs).

The first guy said: “You already drank a lot, while I, who drank very little might need my water later.”

The second guy called the first guy greedy, but knowing better the first guy wasn’t bothered at all.

Eventually they reached town and drank all the water they could have.

The thing is, if the first guy gave his water away, he could have suffered from dehydration, but he didn’t, because he was wise.

Second lesson to be learned

Have you noticed that my teacher didn’t even stopped my classmates, even if she somewhat knew that by giving away my materials, I wouldn’t be able to finish my project.

Learning from that, we must not expect other people to look after us (even if it is their duty).

I was still very young back then, so I didn’t know. Also, we’re trained to be obedient during that time.

Being obedient is not always good, but that needs another post….

Summary of Lessons

Lesson 1: It’s okay to be selfish sometimes.
Lesson 2: We must look after ourselves.

Internet IQ Tests

Yesterday before going to sleep, I randomly thought of taking another of those internet IQ tests.

I was once measured with an IQ of 134 on one of those tests. I forgot the site where I took it, though, and the methodology involved. For that reason I’m not sure if the result of that test was reliable.

I read somewhere that you can only trust the result of an IQ test administered by a real psychologist. Official or not, and no matter how reliable those tests are, they are sure fun to take (at least for me).

I took three tests on different sites, and with varying results.

The first test

The first site I took a test administered it using a true-or-false format, which is fairly easy. I was confident with my answers. That’s why I couldn’t wait to see my results. Have I surpassed the 134 IQ barrier?

After the test, the result wasn’t shown. The site insisted that I enter my email address and then the results will be sent to my inbox. What happened? It’s almost 24 hours, but the results haven’t been emailed yet. I guess I’ll never know the results of that test.

The second test

Not being able to see the results immediately, I went into another IQ test site. This one looks more legit with five choices each question instead of the true-or-false format that I’m skeptical about.

There were 30 questions. A time-limit was in-place though, which is about 15 minutes for 30 questions. The test was harder than the first one, but I didn’t get to answer 3-5 questions before the timer expired and the test result was given: IQ 115.

What? How can it be? My IQ lowered? No way!

Still 115 is above-average. What contributed to the lower score were the questions that were left unanswered, I suppose. I could have guessed, but it wouldn’t be fair.

That incident raised a question in my mind. Do we need to have a time-limit when measuring intelligence?

If only I was given more time, I’m confident that I could have scored higher. Maybe having the ability to think fast is a requirement of having a high IQ. I was reminded of a quote from a great mind:

It’s not that I’m so smart , it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

—Albert Einstein

To think of it, I remembered someone wrote that there are a lot of engineers and scientists who are a lot smarter than Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The reason those two became successful was they were the ones who took action with the problems they have seen.

They worked with their problems longer, while other people either gave-up or didn’t even know that such a problem exists. What was their problem anyway? It’s to make the computer usable for every household, not just businesses.

The last test


To move on. Not satisfied with my new 115 IQ I took another test. This one, though, was all about images and number sequences, which can be confusing sometimes. The result: IQ 110.

No, not again. I guess if I took another IQ test, the result will be and IQ of 100-105. Fascinating.

What I think about it

Right now, I still believe my IQ is 134 (that is until the results of the first IQ test arrives on my inbox with an IQ score of 150 or more).

Why? It’s good for the self-image. I’m not the type of guy who brags about my (speculated) IQ, even though I have mentioned it on this blog post.

Believing that you’re intelligent makes you intelligent. I believe in that and have reap the results. Give it a try — you’ll be happy with the results.

100th Post: Have Your Own Dreams

What do we really want in life? Is the question that we sometimes ask ourselves.

Are we doing the things that we have been doing only because others tell us to do so? Or are we exercising our own free will?

I felt it before, but I can only voice it now: There are external forces that control our lives.

When I say external forces, it can either be people or nature, which we don’t have any control (though, nature can be somewhat affected by man). And, also we can also be one of those external forces — influencing other people’s lives either positively or negatively.

To give you an example, suppose Terry was born in country X, raised by family Y, and influenced by media Z. Do you think Terry’s personality would be a lot different if he was either born in country A, raised by family B, or influenced by media C?

Other people, institutions, or even ideologies, which doesn’t really exist in the material world, teaches us to act in a certain way even if we disagree — silently that is.

Some might say, being one with the group gives us advantages. What if what the group goals are different from yours? Will you give in? Or will you rebel?

I’m probably asking too many questions, so I’ll quote someone whom you might know.

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

—Steve Jobs

If you have dreams, go for it, even if you need to smash a wall that is right in front of you. Or, you could simply get a ladder and climb it… or dig a hole under it… or anything else, the possibilities are endless. There’s always a way.

Like Sylvester Stallone said in the movie Over The Top“The world meets nobody halfway. When you want something, you gotta take it.”

Don’t be afraid to disagree. Don’t be ashamed to stand out. And, we don’t become crazy — we allow it.

 

Excuse Me, Excuses

No More Excuses

Do you remember a time when you’re supposed to do something but eventually you talked yourself into not doing it?

In that case you have successfully come up with excuses.

I wasn’t supposed to use the word “successfully” since inventing excuses will most likely won’t lead to success. But I can’t think of a better word.

Hey! Wait a minute….

Did I just come up with an excuse right there? Can you see how it’s so easy for us to come up with excuses?

So… before moving on, let’s rewrite the sentence above without using the word “successfully.” Here it goes:

In that case you have successfully come up with excuses.

Whatever you have told yourself back then, those are just excuses.

(Right on. Using the word just to describe excuses minimizes its significance.)

Moving on….

Why do we make excuses?

Here are some reasons:

  1. We think it’s impossible.
    Before the 1950s, when Roger Bannister was able to run a mile in less than four minutes, people think it was impossible.

    But when he did it, not long after, a lot of runners was able to do the feat that was previously thought of as impossible.

    Seeing Roger Bannister did what’s supposed to be impossible instantly removed the limiting belief the other runners had.

  2. We think it’s beyond our current capability.
    It might be true — for now. The thing is, if we don’t try, how will we know what our capabilities are?

    Eventually we have to start doing and stop procrastinating. Might as well do it as soon as possible because we can’t take back time.

  3. We think that it’s not worth it.
    Maybe. Maybe not. But how are we suppose to know if we don’t do it in the first place?

    For instance, there had been times when I don’t feel like going to the gym, but I force myself to anyway. Afterwards, I feel good about what I did. (Add to that the wonderful effect of endorphins to our body.)

    If I haven’t gone to the gym, I can simply dismiss it by saying things like, “I can go tomorrow,” or “It’s just one session, one session,” when what I should be saying is: “Stop making excuses and just do it!”

How can we overcome excuses?

Method 1: Just Do it.
The most simple and direct way as you have read above is by just doing the thing we’re supposed to do.

Just Do it. Don’t over-analyze. After a while, by just doing it, you’ll begin to become engaged in the task. That’s the power of momentum.

Method 2: Counter excuses with reasons.
When we create excuses, we’re using our creativity in an unproductive manner. Why not use our creativity positively. Let’s come up with reasons.

For instance, let’s think of a simple task, such as cleaning our room. We can come up with excuses not to clean it, such as:

  • I’m the only one who sees my room.
  • In a few days it will be all messed up again anyway.
  • It’s a waste of time. I’d rather surf the net.

Let’s forget about those excuses, and come up with reasons why:

  • A clean room looks nice and makes me feel better.
  • If a relative or friend visits me in my room, she won’t be disappointed.
  • Eventually I have to clean it, so might as well do it now while I’m not busy.

Remember: When you’re making excuses, you’re focusing on the negatives. When you’re making reasons, you’re focusing on the positives. Be positive.

Summary

It’s easy for us to create excuses. When we come up with excuses more often than not we don’t take appropriate action.

We can fight excuses firstly by just doing the task that we’re supposed to do without any rationalizing, and secondly by countering those excuses with reasons why we should (or must) do it and focusing our attention on those reasons.

Photo credit: Fabio Venni