Agency

At work the other day there was a dad at the museum with his two boys. The older boy was getting obviously upset over something, though I don’t know what. Dad pulled his son off the side to sit on one of the orange benches. I couldn’t here what he was saying, but I could see from the gesticulations of his tattooed arms and the expression on his bearded face that he was imparting some serious wisdom.

Finally I heard the dad say, “Alright stand up.” His son obeyed with reluctance. “And now I want you to say, ‘Self-control is my middle name!'”

“…self-control is my middle name…”

“Louder! Yell it!”

“Self-control is my middle name!” he repeated in a high-pitched scream, smiling through the dry tears on his face.

“Alright, but this time be serious; say it with confidence, like it’s coming from way deep inside you.”

“SELF-CONTROL IS MY MIDDLE NAME!” he boomed (as much as a 9ish year old could).

They shared a fist bump and a hug and then went off to another part of the museum.

Though I thought this was a little strange, at least it’s positive and sends the kid a good message. Self-control is something we often take for granted. Regardless of circumstance, regardless of what other people may think, regardless of any other external factors, we as individuals can control our response to any given situation. Whatever has led me up to this point now does not matter as much as what I choose to do going forward.

25 September 2017

Haven’t written for a couple days so I thought I should. Don’t really have a topic in mind today, just wanted to write something. It’s weird how our minds can get so fixated on certain things, especially irrational things.

Despite all the thoughts in my ahead, I am not writing much down. A lot of it is that I am trying to kind of filter what I publish for whatever reason. Sleepy.

TIAGF: My sibs, being the youngest, laughs

Showing you care

If you genuinely do, its not hard to do. And yet we often fail to do so, at least I know I do. Just that little bit of extra effort on our part can go a long way in terms of our day to day interactions. It costs us virtually nothing, so why do we so frequently neglect to show we care.

Caring makes us vulnerable and makes us invested; it indicates something about our ideals and our values and ours selves. If we show we care we once we are expected to always care.

It’s easier to be apathetic; you have no commitments, no expectations to uphold.

What’s interesting is that in the cartoons and TV shows I watched growing up, the “cool kids” were always the apathetic ones. They never seemed to care about anything. What’s attractive about apathy is that is also indicates that you don’t care about what other people think, and many people wish they could live like that.

Perhaps we believe their lives are exciting and that they do care about something, but the mundane no longer phases them. Or perhaps this analysis is completely off and this is a topic for a different time. But I think more often then not we do appreciate when someone cares.

Some of the most admired and revered people in history cared deeply about something. I think we are drawn to people with strong motivation and a strong adherence to their ideals and values. And we should, integrity is not an easy thing to maintain all the time.

TIAGF: Consciousness, speech, food

Unedited

Technology has done an interesting thing to us. It has allowed us to finally edit our lives to be suitable for presentation. Before we post that picture or before we send that text, we are able to carefully craft how others will view us.

A lot of technology has allowed us to deny certain parts of ourselves and to highlight others. When I interact with people in person I feel like I am my genuine self. I don’t have time to edit myself in a real-time conversation. When we use technology to edit who we are to other people are we being honest with them and with ourselves?

Yea I know this is kind of a tired topic, but I don’t think it makes it any less valid. Honesty is important, and it’s up to us to decide who is worth it.

TIAGF: My culture, my city, my country

Now what, so what

This idea of “Now What, So What” has come up for me twice this past week in distinct ways. The first time was like a formal introduction where I heard about it for the first time on the TED Radio Hour on NPR. The podcast was about education and how we may try to rethink school. “Now what, so what” was a saying of one of the speakers who reformed a school in an underserved community (I’ll link the whole thing below). The second time, which happened today was more of a tangential encounter.

This morning I participated in an improv class for this Informal Education Certification program I am in.  We did several exercises involving story telling and improvising (obviously). The instructor often would make little asides about how certain exercising or improv concepts connect to real life. One of the big ideas for improv was to always “say yes” to what another person gives you; no matter what direction you had envisioned in your head for the scene and no matter how frustrated you are with someone for not saying what you wanted them to say, you had to accept it and move on. This reminded me of “Now what, so what”. Just like in life, things aren’t always going to go how I envision it, the best I can do is accept my current reality and choose what I want to do from there.

This has a lot to do with attitude. Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. Now what’s happened? So what am I gonna do about it… probably something dumb.

TIATF: My pups, my house, my education

http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/535044918/rethinking-school

Positive deviance

Just finished Better by Atul Gawande. It was a fun read full of some really interesting anecdotes. One of the things Gawande talks about is this idea of positive deviance which basically recognizes that there are uncommon cases of success that can be attributed to certain behaviors. If we want to improve ourselves or our community we should look for those positive deviants and find out what makes them successful. And I use the term “successful” to mean really and type of positive outcome.

If we want to become positive deviants ourselves, we need to do something that no one else is doing, to try a different way of doing things. This reminds me of a quote attributed to Alexander Graham Bell (I did a project on him back in high school), “An inventor looks upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees, he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea.”

Growing up I always wanted to be an inventor, then I realized how impractical that was. Though I don’t think any of the great inventors grew up wanting to be inventors, they simply had the mindset that A.G.B. described above. And I believe that’s the case for many contemporary positive deviants; they aren’t satisfied with the status quo, they see an opportunity for change and they make that change. Anyone can be an inventor, anyone can be a positive deviant; what separates the idea from reality is often times effort and tenacity.

TIATF: My job, metabolism, technology

Listen, let me tell you a story…

…about two cousins that are often confused with each other. One of them was always the more popular, the other often forgotten or unknown. Yes as you may have guessed, I am talking about light and pigment.

You see, when people talk about the color wheel and the classic “primary colors”  they are usually referring to pigments and the subtractive color wheel, which has cyan, magenta, and yellow as its primary colors (although many learned it as red, yellow, blue, which is actually different, but that is out of the scope of this discussion).

The oft’ forgotten cousin is light and the additive color wheel which has the primary colors red, green, and blue.

Now what’s all this additive/ subtractive business about, we are talking colors not math! Well don’t you fret, there is no real math involved, but let’s break down what we mean:

Light is additive because the colors we perceive are combinations of red, green, and blue light. White light is the addition of all three. If you look really close at your TV or computer screen you will see that the picture is actually made of teeny tiny pixels that are either red, green, or blue. TVs – Light

Pigments are considered subtractive because their perceived color is a result of  removing other colors. Magenta pigments appear magenta because they absorb green light and reflect red and blue light. If you look at a magazine you will see that most of the printed images are made up of dots of cyan, magenta, and yellow and also black (a combination of all pigments). Printers – Pigment

For clarity’s sake, because I know this can get a bit confusing; in both cases, what you are actually perceiving is light, so in a sense pigments do utilize the additive color wheel. Pigments alter how light is perceived by absorbing certain wavelengths of light and reflecting others. That reflected light is the subject to the additive color wheel.

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This post is what resulted from an interaction I had at work today. I had forgotten some of the details about light and pigments so thought I’d revisit it and try to flesh it out.