Be Mind Full

Brain Food
February 25, 2009, 11:56 pm
Filed under: thoughts | Tags: , , ,

“…sometimes seeing is believing, and sometimes, the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”
-The Polar Express

How much can someone learn in just one day? How much can someone learn about themselves in one day? With a mind whose appetite was FULLY satisfied today, I’d reply, “…more than you think.”

There is always something to be learned. I feel like our brains are constantly thirsting for more – but the thing to understand is that it’s not necessarily thirsting for the same types of knowledge. For example, cramming for a test – at some point, our heads will reach the maximum capacity and burst into flame. But with a bit of recovery, we can change topics to something more enjoyable and it miraculously catches a second wind.

In this theory, one can essentially learn new things all day as long as monotony is avoided – and there is a constant feed of intersting material. This leads me to conclude that if something seemingly boring or arbitrary is presented to an individual such that it strikes his particular fancy, anything can be learned – and more importantly, remembered.

So with that, I would like to share a few quotes I learned today. As with many profound quotes, they are phrased in a way that provokes the reader to figure out and learn their meanings, thereby asking the reader to make a mental investment resulting in a stronger impact on the person.

My advice is to take some time to clear your head, open your mind to what the author might be saying, but also let your own experiences manifest a meaning to make it your own (sometimes it’s fun to imagine Morgan Freeman narrating these lines in your head).

“Step back to leap further.”

“The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.”
-William James

“When you seek it, you cannot find it.”
-Zen Riddle

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyeilding as the grave. It burns like a Blazing Fire, like Mighty Flames.”
-Song of Solomon 8:6

Now reflect a bit and try to apply them to whatever it is you might be going through at the time – good, bad, or other.

Enjoy life,


ZENfully clean
February 23, 2009, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

41dmwlcj9jl_sl500_“A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action.”
-Samurai Maxim

At first glance, one might assume this book is about how to execute board-shattering blows or take down an opponent twice your size. Well, to a certain extent, it will teach you how to defeat an opponent but not of the typical sort.

This book aims to teach you the Zen within the martial arts (hence the title). Also at first glance, one may have all sorts of preconceptions about Zen given the commercialized side of it. However, not many realize how important Zen can be to our everyday lives nor how to apply it.

It’s actually a pretty small book relative to the amount of influential teachings that can be squeezed from it. I’m only a few chapters in, but I can already begin to understand the benefits of applying the Zen principles (which are a strong part of the martial arts) to my daily life. It stresses the importance of self-awareness and discovering your true inner person. Through this, you can achieve discipline, confidence, and a sense of serenity – all of which are valuable traits and can be hard to come by.

It was through strong recommendations from a great and well respected friend that I started reading this book. His testaments were plenty enough for me, but I hope my few lines will push you to at least find it and read the back. From there, I encourage you to read on and let it change your self.

Enjoy life,

In the End
February 21, 2009, 12:09 am
Filed under: thoughts | Tags: , , , , ,

end4“It’s the end of the world as we know it…and I feel fine.”

We have products for the high rollers, the housewives, and sometimes, even the hobos. But did we ever stop to consider designing products for the future – the lesser future?

Sure, there is always the constant thought of furthering our technology and designing for a Jetson-like lifestyle. People have been imagining flying cars and living among robots since I can remember. I’m talking about designing products for a future that may not be so glamorous – I’m talking about designing products…for the post-apocalyptic world!

With obstacles come opportunities – so here’s looking at some possible
scenarios for the end of the world “opportunities”:

Technological wipe-out/Back to stone age = all of our advancements get wiped clean and we have to adapt to a new world of lo-tech-living

New dominant species/Alien take-over = Over several thousand years, or as soon as an instant, some other species surpasses our cognitive abilities to become the dominant race

Zombies/bio-infectious spread = (related to the alternate species change of power) the classic example of living amongst the undead or some genetic mutation of living life forms that pits us at a new war for survival

Mass destruction/Inhospitable environment = something goes terribly wrong somehow and human existance is forced to explore new regions of sustainability underground or in outer space

These are just a few general categories collected in my thoughts over the years of watching/reading media on a gloomier future, however, I’ve never stopped to look at the possible opportunities for a product designer to create for such a time. It doesn’t have to be a somber subject, but it can be a very interesting exercise to consider.

Perhaps by designing for the end of the world, we can end up saving the world…

Enjoy life,
(even after the end of the world)

Risk vs. Fail
February 18, 2009, 9:13 pm
Filed under: thoughts | Tags: , , , ,

rejected_by_jna1985“You will be rejected at least 100 times…
might as well get them out of the way now.”

Throughout my lifetime as a student, good grades and good behavior were always a must within my family. I believe much of that has to do with a common discipline in education shared among Asian cultures. Even in kindergarten and elementary school, I was encouraged to do my very best in every aspect. If I came home with a green smiley face sticker, that meant 25 cents in my back pocket. If I came home with a red frowny face sticker…I got something else in my back pocket.

As I got older, the rewards and penalties grew stronger, and so did the pressures to do well. My older sister helped establish a positive reputation in our schools, which pushed the expectations for me even higher. Those 12+ years were very difficult during their respective times, but in hindsight, I would say those were the glory days =)

It was a small enough town to where people knew who I was, even if I’d never met them before. People were generally very friendly anyways, and I miss that good ole’ southern hospitality. Somehow I found the time to balance school with a healthy amount of extra-curriculars and take naps during the day (with an arguably large helping of TV & video games).

Once I left that small town to join the big city life, everything seemed to start over without me fully realizing it. I knew I had a clean slate of friendships to work up, but I went into college thinking I could use the same day-to-day strategies as before. Well, I couldn’t – and my newfound wealth of independence didn’t help the fight either.

So over the past 5 years, I’ve had to make adjustments, overcome challenges, and most importantly, learn how to accept defeat. Being accustomed to success for most of my life was like being protected by a germ-free bubble. Once that bubble popped and I was finally exposed to a sense of the real world, it was a shock to the system.

But the thing I had to remember was that everyone’s path in life is different. Failure is going to present itself at many stages, and you may fall to it, but that’s just another part of the journey – your journey. It’s easy to get bummed out when comparing your accomplishments to those you look up to, but realize that they are at a different time in their lives than you on a different path than you. Use them as motivation – as a guide – and then figure out how to get there on your map of life.

Be thoughtful in your risks, don’t be afraid to fail, and try harder not to be stupid.

Enjoy life,

February 16, 2009, 11:13 pm
Filed under: thoughts | Tags: ,

photo by *fahsi

photo by *fahsi

“…is like playing with fire.”

I feel like I learned something new today. Actually, I feel like I learn new things every day. There are just some things my brain chooses to hold on to more tightly, and this is definitely something worth holding on to.

Though it may be surprising to some, and normal to most, I have not yet experienced love. Now I’m not talking about the kind of love that comes from a mother to her child or even the kind of love between families – that’s unique in its own way and shall be left for another time. I’m talking about falling in love.

In these past 23 years, I’ve experienced adventures across the world, seen landscapes set in the most perfect conditions, been on journeys that have changed my life forever, and met some incredibly whole-hearted people along the way. But, there is a phenomenom I have yet to experience – a true phenomenom.

Love is very difficult to put into words (especially for someone yet to find it). It is something not many people put themselves out there to receive. Some people spend their whole life looking for the truest form of it. Some people are scared of it – some people are scarred by it. Nevertheless, I believe all have a void that only love can fill.

From the stories I’ve heard, from the people who’ve lived them, I think love to be a fantastic thing. It can be overwhelming – wonderful – powerful – magical, even. It can also be intense – unbearable – blinding – and seemingly untimely. It is usually difficult to discover, right up until the moment you find yourself face to face with it.

It is a rare…gift. I say “gift” because I don’t think love is something you can have fully and truly until there is an exchange. I believe everyone – everyone – deserves to have it, share it, feel it at some point in their lives. As to what point in their lives that may be…remains a mystery. Mine, I’m still trying to play detective for.

And that’s all I have to say about that right now.

Enjoy life,

Back when I was your age…
February 13, 2009, 6:43 pm
Filed under: thoughts | Tags: ,

steakshake“enjoyed a full meal…$0.32…in the year 2009”

There used to be a simpler time – somewhere after the dinosaurs became extinct but before the invention of the Roomba.

Whoever lived back in the days where $0.25 could get you to the movies, popcorn, candy, AND drinks…for two…must not have seen this day coming! We don’t even have a cent symbol on our fancy electronic keyboards anymore. Only decades ago, well within a century, people were living relatively more simple and pleasant lifestyles. One might argue, though, that those lives were also relatively more boring.

With so many new technologies comes many new rules and means to live alongside those technologies. The landscape had to pave the way for faster ways of transport, we have robots controlling other robots helping humans, and our bodies are immersed in an atmosphere of invisible fields of…lots of stuff doing a plethora of mythical things to us that we don’t know about yet.

It also seems like new products are created everyday just to supplement even more products. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying all of this is a bad thing. I’m only asking if there are some things created that we can do without. Part of the world is wondering what the next greatest gadget is going to be, part of the world is wondering where the next filling meal is going to come from, and there is a part that is caught somewhere in between.

Can we work towards a more simple future without sacraficing convenience and technological advancement?

That is the question of the day.

Enjoy life,

Creativity: only $2.89/lb.
February 9, 2009, 4:12 pm
Filed under: thoughts | Tags: , ,


Creativity can be a strange thing.

It is fickle, at best – only appearing to those who know how to see it, and sometimes, not even then. Most of my friends and family believe it’s something you’re born with. They say, “Oh, wow…that is so creative – sigh – I could never do something like that.”

It can be extremely useful, but it can also be dangerous at times. Creativity can lead to distraction, confusion, ridicule, migraines, indegestion + more! However, it can also lead to fresh perspectives, golden opportunities, and an enriched life. So is it worth it? To try and look for it?

Here’s what Gwen Stefani has to say on the subject:

It’s just that simple…and it’s just that hard.

She has an interesting take on the commodity of creativity. It really can be just a mash up of all the things we’ve been exposed to our entire lives. That means, with the more things we expose ourselves to, the larger of a collection we have in our minds to pull items from. So, is creativity even as difficult to find as I think it is? Or just difficult to use? It may not even matter, so long as you snatch it up as soon as you come across some, then use it for good (not evil, obviously).

Enjoy life,