Month: December 2013

Observing from the sidelines

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You know how people always encourage us to stay away from the sidelines and live life on the field? But what if it’s better for some people to live on the sidelines? What’s wrong with observing human behavior from afar without participating?
What if interacting with others not only minimizes how much you get hurt but how much you hurt others? What if you tried to navigate the field of human relationships and got nothing but pain in the end? What if you realize that even if you try to tread as lightly as a butterfly, there are mines that will have to go off? And mines are mines,figuratively speaking, nothing light about them…
What if there is a threshold to how much rejection you can accept? What if there is a limit to how many broken promises you can hear? That it doesn’t matter what our intentions are, irreparably damaging others is inevitable. Someone out there might be stronger because of something you did. But someone out there might be weaker because of something you did as well.
People want to leave a legacy, maybe as small as a vivid memory in the mind of another but what if that memory of you sears the other so it affects every decision they make for years and years and years, not necessarily in a good way. How do you even look at the mirror then? The problem is, some people do, and to them it’s business as usual. And while whatever they did seems to permeate every facet of your life (not necessary in a good way) they’re out there living their happy lives like you didn’t matter.
Because the truth is
you didn’t.
So here’s to the people on the sidelines, don’t feel bad about staying there. Sometimes it’s not a bad choice because people normally underestimate the (good or bad) affect they have on others.
And to the others, W.B. Yeats writes, “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”



Weekly Photo Challenge: One

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One building…to dwarf them all.

Part of Abu Dhabi's skyline
Part of Abu Dhabi’s skyline

Seeking the Optimum

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It has been one year with its fair share of hills and valleys, but I am truly grateful for every experience. So recently I’ve been thinking about something (and this is going to be a bit engineer-ish so bear with me). As engineers we don’t always seek the “perfect” solution. Most often than not, we seek the optimum because we understand that it’s not always one input variable that results in one output variable. Variables interact with each other positively or negatively, and some tend to offset the effect of others so the result isn’t always what we expect. Also, we always work within certain limitations (of budget, or size, or complexity, or computational power).

So let’s say we’re trying to design a building. Engineers seek to optimize the amount of sunshine going into a certain room. Why don’t we just maximize it? Put french windows across every single face of the room? The more natural light, the better the lighting during the day, the less we spend on powering light fixtures, right? But sunlight doesn’t enter the room alone. It comes in with heat. So the more light that comes in, the more heat accompanies it, and the cooling requirements in terms of A.C.s go up, so maximizing natural light indefinitely isn’t a practical option. In other words, we would need to optimize.

What does that have to do with situations in our life? This idea of optimization has made me think of how we always seek the ‘ideal’ situation, and we might get disappointed when reality doesn’t reflect our opinion of what’s ideal. But the moment we really look into it, we might realize that maybe it’s true our situation is not ideal, but it is the optimum for us.
Think about it and leave your comments below.

6 Inspiring Lessons From Mandela

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Social Media has been inundated by Mandela stories and quotes since he passed away. There’s one particular part of his biography that stands out. When he was released after 27 years of imprisonment in 1990, Mandela was 72 years old. He could have easily retired. He could have easily told himself he was too old to do anything else. Yet he went on to work on dismantling of the apartheid system and in 1994 he became the first black president of South Africa. If this doesn’t teach you that you’re never too old to work on your dream, I don’t know what will. Other lessons from Mandela are wrapped up in quotes I’m compiling below:
2. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
3. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
4. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
5.  “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

6. “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies. “

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela (Photo credit: Festival Karsh Ottawa)