Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Monday, June 23, 2008

Getting Off The Safety Net

It's great having a safety net. If something happens to go wrong and you slip and fall, it's there to catch you and save your life.

Most parents' feel it's their job to ensure you have a safety net. I know my parents did. When I went to college, they encouraged me to pursue a degree that virtually ensures that I'll always have a job option available. I got a degree in Computer Engineering.

A lot of parents are thrilled when their children get college degrees. They now have a safety net of sorts since many jobs require a college diploma. My parents wanted a little sturdier safety net by encouraging me to get a degree in something that happens to pay pretty well and have an economic need in the foreseeable future. I'm not so sure they would've been thrilled to see me pursue a public communications degree. That's not to say it's a bad degree, but realistically the job options and pay-grade make having a BS in Public Communications a somewhat janky safety net.

I've since realized that dislike computer programming and am uninterested in engineering in general :) In fact, I would love to be a successful public speaker!

HOWEVER, I am glad I didn't major in public speaking. It's something I'm already pretty good at so I wouldn't have learned as much, plus being an engineer motivated me to pursue other interests and eventually abandon the 9-5 "rat-race." In the meantime though, my safety net is paying me pretty well :)

This weekend, after reading This Article about pursuing your passions, I began feeling proud of myself for taking initiative and responsibility for everything that's happening in my life. I've got about four other projects going on right now that consume a lot of my time, but I enjoy working on them and they could pay off pretty big in the future. (I'll talk more about these later!)

The thing is, too many people are content living their lives simply laying on their safety net! If I diligently worked Monday - Friday as an engineer day in and day out, came home, watched TV, surfed the net, and went to bed, I'd probably be pretty much the same as most middle class people in the world: Content with being entrenched in the rat-race and unmotivated to do anything to get out of it.

I was chatting with a coworker recently, and he was mentioning how he doesn't foresee retirement from engineering anytime soon (he's almost 50) because he hasn't accumulated the money he needs yet to accommodate his current lifestyle in retirement. Despite having other passions outside of work, I can't understand why he isn't driven to figure out a way to expand his life beyond the rat-race!

He, like almost everyone else, is perfectly content with lying on their safety-net until they're old and grey.

I'm not passionate about engineering, but I know it's a great safety net that keeps me well above ground as I try and climb to something greater. If I slip on the way up, my safety net will still be there to catch me and keep me safe.

When I wake up on a gorgeous Monday morning like today, I feel that much more motivated to work hard on lifting myself off of my safety net to a place where I'm living comfortably financially, and thoroughly enjoying my labor.

If I had to describe my situation right now, I'd say standing on my safety net, building a ladder to the catwalk above :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm Running for President!

I trust I can count on all of your votes :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Cell Phone Crutch

We are a society dependent on cell phones, and I am no exception...I'm just a little late to the party.

I seriously feel a little naked if I forget to bring my cell phone when I'm going somewhere. God help me if I'm ever stranded without one. The only numbers I remember are my house in Alaska and like three friends' house phone numbers from grade school. In fact, not having any numbers memorized was partially how I ended up in the ol' Stranded, Penniless, and Kidnapped fiasco.

Amongst my friends though, I was one of the last people to get a cell phone. I didn't get one until my second year in college. My whole first year, the dorm land-line was my means of communication with outside world along with a sticky pad of all my numbers. Unfortunately there was no "silent" button on the dorm room ringer, and my roommate would always get thoroughly annoyed when my Mom called at 9:00am every Saturday and woke him from his slumber.

Those were also the days when I actually used a pay phone or phone booth on occasion. Do phone booths even EXIST anymore? I can't remember the last time I saw one.

I can't believe that now a days, people in grade school are walking around with cell phones. If I was a teacher, it would drive me nuts. Why do kids even NEED a cell phone? There's no need to make calls during the day since you're at school, and most of your friends are in the same building. After school plans are usually made in person, or else just go home (which is usually close to school anyways) and use the phone! This boggles me.

So in my second year, I finally got a cell phone and easily integrated into the luxurious life of mobile communication! I recently made yet another addition to my world of mobile communication...I purchased a bluetooth device!

Now first, let me point out how annoying I find it when people walk around all day with those damn ear pieces clinging to their face! It's not enough to have your cell phone in your pocket...OH NO! That's too far! They need to have it on their ear at all times for fear of making the caller wait for two whole rings! I suppose I could understand if your profession requires that you are constantly receiving calls, but that's not the case with most blue tooth wearers, plus I doubt you're conducting a hell of a lot of business while waiting in line at Starbucks.

I actually went from no bluetooth to now having two! But, I have legitimate reasons for both. One is an earpiece for home because my cell phone reception sucks in most areas of my house, so I need to leave the phone near a window. The other is a bluetooth car visor attachment since as of July 1, it will be illegal in California to talk on a cell phone without a hands free device while driving (Great Law BTW).

But my integration into the bluetooth world has been a little less smooth. I constantly hang up on people when transferring from the handset to the headset and vice versa. Plus now, I have to be aware of not only my cell phone's battery life, but that of the bluetooth as well.

The other day I was on the phone and something started beeping. Was it my phone? The headset? BOTH!?! I had no idea. I look at my phone and it was displaying some weird blinking symbol. I looked at my headset, and it was blinking red, orange, and blue. Beeping...Blinking...Flashing...Did I hit the self-destruct switch?!! So, I did the only logical thing I could do...I hung up. Of course I called back on my thankfully non-destructed cell phone.

It's always funny when you get cut off during a phone conversation, how it usually takes a while to get a hold of the other person again. First, you try calling back and get a busy signal (actually, these days its "straight to the voicemail" since busy signals don't really exist anymore) because the other person hasn't yet realized you were cut off. Then you call again, but since they're calling you, no one gets through. Then you resolve to play the waiting game, but guess what? So are they.

Aside from the stupid style trend of the bluetooth headset, it also encourages excessive public cell phone usage which is equally as annoying as the fashion trend. I was at the drug store the other day, and this stupid girl was yelling into the phone about some "who's hooking up with who" gossip. Are you serious? EVERYONE in the store could hear her entire conversation.

There's also the people at the gym who feel the need to have their phone always on them. CAN'T YOU BE AWAY FROM THE WORLD FOR A LITTLE WHILE!?! Again, I find cell phone's in the gym, ESPECIALLY when people are on the machines "working out" and chatting away, very stupid.

Possibly the WORST offense of public cell phone abuse was in college by my friend Sharod. A big group of us went to the theater to see X-Men 2. During the beginning of the movie his cell phone rings.

Offense number 1.

So what does he do? HE ANSWERS THE DADGUM THING!

Sharod (in a loud whisper): "Hello?....Oh hey how's it going man?!? I'm in a movie so can I call you back?... Cool, and tell Mario I said hey"

Seriously, who answers their phone in a movie? I was shocked and NEVER let him live that down.

So come July, I'm due for a free new phone. The problem is, they're all big and/or excessive. I like small, sleek phones with good functionality and a simple interface. Now, they're all mini-supercomputers! Oh well...I guess I'll just have to get with the times again.

We all know my Sketchy cell phone history. For my sake, I just hope it doesn't have a self-destruct button.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reading for Lifetime Awesomeness

Postulate number 92 in "Arun's Guide to Lifetime Awesomeness" states: "The amount of reading one engages in, directly correlates to the accumulation of awesome intelligence."

Obviously I read a lot.

I can't emphasize how great and beneficial reading is. Usually, I can tell who amongst my peers is a continual reader (and I don't mean comic books) just based on the intelligence with which they discuss anything. People who consistently read just seem to be on another level of intellect than the rest of non-reading society (which happens to be most of society).

It's not very easy to be a successful writer. Most toil in obscurity and never have anything published. What does this mean? It means that most of the literature out there is of exceptional quality. Only the best of the best get published! So by simply reading, you are exposing yourself to people who have a high level of mastery of the language!

Want to know some other benefits of reading? Research shows that avid readers:

  • Read, Write, and Concentrate better

  • Notice subtleties quicker

  • Have an easier time processing new information

  • Have many interests and excel in a variety of subjects

  • Develop an ability to understand how other people think and feel

  • Acquire the ability to sift through information and understand how unrelated facts can fit into a whole

  • Tend to be more flexible in their thinking and more open to new ideas.

  • Weather personal problems better without other responsibilities being compromised

Although non-fiction books are great because they provide you with a wealth of information, fiction is EQUALLY beneficial! How? Fiction provides a lot of stimulus to your right brain (the creative, imaginative side), plus it's usually ultra enjoyable to read.

I was not always an avid reader, and didn't become so until midway through college. The first summer I stayed in San Luis Obispo, working at Tennis Warehouse, I had a lot of free time outside of work. A lot of my friends weren't around and overall, the city is such a college town that it kind of goes on "hiatus" during the summer. So, I decided I'd try this whole reading thing that I heard is pretty good for you.

I never expected to enjoy it so much! I think I read eight or nine books that summer, and never stopped! As much as you all know that I like going out and about, and being social, I love spending my "alone time" reading. My "to-read" book list is so long, it's ridiculous.

When I first moved to San Diego and was making semi-serious dough, I devoured about three different personal finance books. Then, when I was interested in the science behind social dynamics and how the brain works in human interactions, I read books like Social Intelligence. Soon thereafter, I wanted to expand my income and flexibility so books like The Four Hour Work Weekwere my focus.

All the while I alternated fictional novels in for pleasure since always reading non-fiction gets pretty dry. In the last five years of being a consistent reader, I've learned TONS of great information along with being an overall better writer and more mentally astute individual.

Recently, I've been spending time doing a lot of writing (I have a couple of projects going that I'll talk about SOON!) so I've only been able to have one book going at a time. Since I'm writing mostly non-fiction material and commentary, I like to balance that out by reading a nice juicy novel (right now I'm finishing James Michner's The Drifters I still read almost everyday, even if only for 20 minutes before I fall asleep and lose my bookmark (and thus the first five minutes the next day is spent finding the damn page I fell asleep on!).

Start reading and enjoy the relaxation of it. TV is VERY tempting, but I'm proud to say that I have no "regular" shows I'm addicted to, yet I get to have just as much enjoyment AND get the metal benefits, reading.

I'm already super excited about the next books I'm going to be reading! Since I'm trying to become more proactive in applying myself to all of the things I want to do in life, on deck is: The Power of Now. I think I might also start Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

By the way, all of the books I've mentioned are great. I'm open to reading suggestions, so go ahead and post them! Also, feel free to ask for any book suggestions (in case you haven't noticed, I enjoy giving advice :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Positive Spin

For most people, most of our lives are made up of mundane events and activities peppered in with excitement here and there.

I happen to be a fan of pepper.

Sure, I'm constantly working towards more excitement and interest, but even people with interesting lives have boring things that happen on a routine basis. I consider my life somewhat interesting, but I still have a job I go to everyday, and I have certain routines that other people might consider mundane and uninteresting.

One of the big keys I've found to getting over the mundaneness that exists in your life, is to be an optimist and put a positive spin on everything you can! What do I mean by this? Well, let me give you a few examples.

I have a somewhat standard day job. As far as any of my friends are concerned though, my work is a circus of fun with no real productivity happening! My friends always make fun of me (and I make fun of myself) because it seems like I'm never working and am always having fun! Why do they have this image? Because I only talk about the great things that I experience at my job.

In reality, I DO work and am pretty productive but I rarely mention that I dislike the routine of having to go in every day, the fact that engineering doesn't interest me, getting stuck in an office for long periods of time, and the disturbing similarities to "Office Space" that are daily occurrences in this, and pretty much any company.

Instead, I only talk about the amazing flexibility of hours I have, the basketball court in the courtyard where we play at lunch, my awesome gym next door, the awesome cafeteria, the new FREE coffee house, the beach volleyball court, the monthly BBQs with beer, the fact that I have my own office, and I wear sandals and shorts to work everyday!

What's the point of talking about the negative aspects all the time? I choose to put a positive spin on most things because it makes me feel great, and helps me to exude positive energy. Sure my job has its fair share of shortcomings, but I choose to emphasize the great aspects of my work, including the fact that I even have a job, to myself and others.

I know a lot of people who, when talking to them, sound like they always get the short end of the stick. Something's always around that's making life difficult. The reality is that MOST of the problems they are faced with are same ones that most people deal with! But, since they don't spin their lives in a positive way, they are always focused on the problems rather than the potential positive outcomes. They also fail to see all of the blessings in their lives and instead bring shortcomings and strife to the forefront. Consequently, we only hear about all the unfortunate events that are troubling their lives.

A lot of the time, working out sucks. When I'm on the stairmaster, or in the 12th mile of a run, I'm not exactly in physical heaven. My muscles are sore, my lungs want to explode, and my sweat glands are putting out fires. So why do I kill myself exercising? I love the feeling of accomplishment and good-health that I get AFTER the workout! (and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the by product that is looking like a statue carved by the hands of God himself :)

I only consider the positive side-effects of high intensity exercise which is why I enjoy it so much!

I'm a big fan of storytelling (as my friends well know) and like sharing my experiences and adventures with other people. A lot of people, if you asked them to tell you about their day, wouldn't have much to say. I can make pretty much any day sound interesting by simply focusing on the little interesting and funny things that happened or made me think and glossing over the normal, boring things that may or may not have taken up the majority of the day.

In fact, whenever I decide to get a new digital camera, I'll have to do my first ever VLOG on "The Art of Storytelling." But I digress.

I'm what I call, a "yes man." When people invite me places or ask me to do things, I generally only consider the positive outcomes. As a result, I rarely say "no."

Aside from constant good mood that I'm in, exuding optimism and putting a positive spin on life, makes you magnetic to people around you. I don't know about you, but I enjoy hanging out with positive people who make me smile and feel great when I'm around them. I like hearing about the great things that have happened to them recently rather than the mundane events or problems that happen everyday.

So be an optimist, see the silver lining, and put a positive spin on YOUR life. You'll realize how awesome it really is!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The San Diego Nomad

Welp...I moved again.

Yes, gone is the amazing pool, therapeutic hot-tub, aerobics studio, gym, movie theater, and yoga classes that were at my old apartment complex...well sort of. I actually kept the "amenities key" because I (*cough*) "lost" it awhile ago. It was only a $25 dollar fee, and well worth the future hot tub use that I plan :)

Although I'm kind of losing all of these great amenities, the place I moved to actually has a tennis court! Plus, I'm now living in a condo and don't have to worry about all of the typical apartment hassles. I also have a garage now which is awesome! The only problem is, my friend Darren is occupying my room for another week before moving out, which means my temporary room is the Garage.

Yes, I'm living in least for a week.

Unlike last October's Move of Mayhem I learned my lesson and actually packed ahead of time! The challenge now was ridding myself of the "inner pack-rat." I have this tendency...everything I look at, I see some potential use and don't want to throw it away. As a result, I have a lot of crap.

I get it from my Mom. She keeps everything including receipts. I NEVER hold onto receipts unless its a considerably expensive item, or there's a good chance I could be returning something. Even if there is an error in the charge, credit card companies are great about issuing refunds right away.

Anyways, I used this move as therapy to throw out stuff that during my last move, seemed wise to hold on to, but in the eight months since, have sat around unused, taking up space.

Old cracked tennis racket that has been sitting around for the one day when I feel like beating the hell out of it? Gone

Electric guitar and Amp that doesn't stay in tune and was given to me for free two years ago that I've played twice? Given away.

Glass vase that I found (maybe it was Jeff's before he left?)? I was about to keep it thinking I could find some use, when Danny intervened: "Arun! YOU DON'T NEED THAT GODDAMN THING! Dig deep within yourself! Destroy the pack-rat within you! Trash it!" Trashed.

So we managed to empty out the apartment in record time! Our deposit however may not be following us. Why is this? It all goes back to my good buddy (and occasional dimwit) Jeff!

When we first moved in, Jeff agreed to sublease a room for a month. Jeff, being a fan of finely pressed clothing makes frequent use of a great invention known as the iron. Since he uses the iron so often, Jeff reasoned that it would be smart to plug it into the electrical outlet that is controlled by a light switch at the entrance of his room.

Obviously no one would accidentally hit the switch.

Fast forward a day or two, and by some freak accident of divine probability, the light switch is flipped. What are the CHANCES of this happening? It's still in question as to whether Jeff, or his friend that was hanging out, hit the switch, but Jeff vehemently denies it. "My light-switch-ironing system had no flaws in it until it was disrupted by external stimulus!"

Anyways, Jeff is lying in bed when all of a sudden, a little smoke tickles his nose. He opens his eyes, his eyes are greeted with a little cloud of smoke from the face down iron in the carpet! Apparently Jeff also miscalculated the hazard of leaving a plugged-in iron face down.

Jeff quickly removed the iron from the melted carpet and assessed the damage! Iron? Ruined with melted carpet. Carpet? Apparently NOT ruined...yet.

So now there was this nice brown iron shaped spot smack in the middle of the room, on the white carpet. Jeff further exercised his commanding brilliance by deducing that bleach not only eliminates stains, but also remedies chemical color changes from burning, right?

Not exactly.

Though the bleach DID have some effect! After thorough scrubbing and bleaching, the brown iron shaped spot became orange, and was now surrounded by a huge orange halo from all the scrubbing that made the carpet look like an orange tie-dyed t-shirt.

Goodbye deposit.

At least if the engineering thing ever goes south for Jeff, he can always fall back on Modeling or inventing the never-before-sold IRON-tied-dyed t-shirts!