“What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient, highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed, fully understood, that sticks. Right in there somewhere.”
-Dominic Cobb, Inception (2010)-
Hello, again. It has been a while since my last post. I made a promise to myself that I will write more regularly and you actually will find the actual reason for this sudden commitment change within this post. Also, summarizing everything that happens when I was missing: there were a lot of ups and downs last year and a pile of lessons has been treasured.
Yes, indeed. After one fruitful year as a PhD student here, a pile of new lessons has been treasured, new knowledge has been gathered, a bunch of experiences has been collected. I’m here now because I want to share at least three things that I finally discovered last time.
First, after one year being a PhD student at the University of Southampton, I just learned a simple yet harsh truth that I have to accept it undisputedly as an inseparable identity of myself. That truth is: “I am not a morning person.” I don’t know if I should feel bad about myself because it makes me utterly look like a lazy person or I should be grateful that I acknowledge the truth because I am no longer in denial phase. For your information, there was a moment when I tried to be a morning person, be an early bird so I can get the worms. It just didn’t work. The results are: I felt sleepy all day, I got exhausted easily, and consequently it reduced my productivity. I failed miserably in my journey of becoming a productive morning person. It seems counterintuitive compared to an immeasurable amount of articles, even the scientific ones, suggest that being an early bird will increase the productivity. How come it does not work for me? Well, maybe the most acceptable reason in my case is I just don’t have enough determination to change my sleeping habit.
Second, this is maybe will be beneficial for all of you. I think it is very natural that once you live outside your home country, suddenly you want to do anything you can do to maximize the opportunity of living abroad that you have. There was a time when I completely overwhelmed by the long list of interesting activities or hobbies or societies that being provided here. Despite of being super active and super excited about all of those possibilities, this overwhelming situation left me stunned and confused. I was just standing there (or laying on a bed is more precise) thinking which ones I should do first. Luckily, I invest a lot of time on Quora (if you are a young intellectual with a passion in knowledge sharing, then you should join: Quora). A lot of people actually are experiencing the same thing with me. One of the answers is called as “25-to-5” list. You can read the full article here: Warren Buffett’s Best Productivity Hack. Two things that have to be clarified first. One, I know who Warren Buffett is but I don’t know very much about Warren Buffett. The related information about him is just as much as what Wikipedia tells me (Wikipedia: Warren Buffett). Second, this article not even has been clarified by the Warren Buffet himself yet. You may shout know “You don’t even know the guy and the article is probably hoax, how dare you sharing this article…???” Because I’ve tried it, and this actually works! For me, I tweak the lifehack a little bit into something called as “Five things you want to do besides your PhD study.” Another modification is, I made the list for an annual plan.
For example, let me show you how this list works.
- Make everything you want to do this year on a piece of paper. Make them very specific. If you want to do volunteering, where do you wanna do it, when you wanna do it, what organization, etc. If you want to read a book a month, what kind of book? Fiction or non-fiction? If this is about getting fit, what kind of sports you possibly do? I honestly write down “learning how to play squash” and it does not make the cut. If you can make it until 25 bullet points, then it is great. If you don’t, try to be more creative. For your information, I also wrote down “join Buddhist Meditation Society” into the list.
- From these 25 points that you made, draw the circles on only five of them. Five that makes you very excited just by thinking about them. Although, I ended up with six points of interest. Those are your top priorities for this year and you will do your best in order to accomplish them. How about the other twenties? Forget about them this year. They only make you busy in your mind and make you lose the focus on those top five. Just forget them. Like I said before, learn how to play squash didn’t make the cut on top five. Now, I’m no longer investing my time to watch the squash video tutorial, try to find cheap squash racquet and ball, browsing the possible club I can join, etc. I can invest that much wasted time for my five-top priorities now.
And guess what? One of them is I want to become a blogger! You guys probably will tell me that you can be a blogger anytime and anywhere in the world. One of the focal points of my decision is how to eternalize the moment through blogging. I don’t want to share everything I experience right now five years later. My obsession to aspire and inspire a million people still remains deep down inside my full-sized aortic pump (read: heart, the reference for Friends TV series is required). However, there is definitely a drawback from this method, and I don’t want to argue about it. But, the morale of the story is how we get our priorities right. This list was originally made for a long term planning like for the job, career, business, etc. To be honest, all of us should consider making the same list for the longer term priorities.
Finally, the third thing that I want to share with you. I can cook. I’m serious.
“Memory can change the shape of a room. It can change the color of a car and memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts.”
-Leonard Shelby, Memento (2000)-