Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Learn to Love the Noise in the Home




It's not uncommon for a parent to tell their kids to behave or not make as much noises. In the moment, the noise may seem aggravating and we may want to have silence in order to think more clearly but the reality is that the noise means that someone else, often someone we love, is around and living their lives nearby. No noise means that nobody else is home.

While we might value peace, we are also social creatures that is within a society where we seem to get lonelier the older we get. There comes a time when we wish we could have a noisy life again as it means we were around the people we cared the most about.

There's life, there's movement, there's energy in the noise that we ear. We may not like it in the moment but it's very likely that we'll miss it once it's gone - especially if it's noise that's the result of a happy home.


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Time goes By Fast When You're Having Fun



It's been said that "time goes by fast when you're having fun" but I would argue that time goes by fast even if you're not having fun.

My father told me recently that he believes the main reason why we feel that time goes fast is because we don't remember much of it. When we think back, there are some obscure memories that pops up but not necessarily anything from last week, or last month, or last year. 
This "void" we feel when we look back on our life is, according to my dad, the reason why we feel like life went by fast. We know we were young once, then there's a laps of time that we only remember bits and pieces of, and there's now. 

It almost feels like something is missing.

We don't remember trivial things because it's not necessary for our continuous survival. Our brain set aside some memories, that are less important, in favor of more important ones. Remembering what you ate for diner, 2 weeks ago, isn't as important as remembering how to drive. (There's an interesting article on this on Lesley University page here)

Yes, life is short and that's especially evident when we look back trying to remember all that we've accomplished. We need to forgive ourselves for not remembering every details and remember that the fact that we're alive today means that what ever we did was sufficient for our survival up to this point.


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Working out During Work Breaks



Nothing has made me move more than my Apple Watch. Every hour, it tells me that I need to get up for at least a minute and it keeps sending me reminders of my exercise progress, or lack thereof, throughout the day.
I'm thankful for this little device because, ever since the Pandemic hit, I haven't been going to the gym and working out at home has proven more difficult. I find it a bit shocking how little I would actually move, on some days, if my watch didn't tell me to.

One thing I've been doing is incorporating some exercises during my work day. On my lunch break, for example, I'll do 20-30 min cardio. When my watch ask me to get up, I sometime work on a muscle group for a minute to "satisfy" it... All of this doesn't really replace the gym but every little bit helps.

I recently ordered a fitness ball and the plan is to use it as an office chair in order to work the core as I work. I'm also thinking on buying a under desk bike. All these little things may not sound like much but it's important to find the time to workout and these little things do add up over time. Sure, I may not be able to build as much muscle mass as I used to from going to the gym but it's more about getting the stress out than anything else at this point.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

That Sure Was Negative...


I spoke with an individual that suffers from depression and it was made evident to me that the philosophical beliefs someone has is greatly influenced by how they feel. The discussion was about the benefits of eating good food versus bad food and ended up with that person telling me that "it doesn't matter whether you eat well or not because we're all going to end up dead anyway".

While the statement is true, there's a definite negative connotation to it. To me, it's not a question of whether or not we'll die, because we will, but how to make our time, alive, feel the best that we can.

It's proven that eating good food increases our overall wellbeing.  
It's proven that exercising increases our overall wellbeing.
It's proven that a good night sleep increases our overall wellbeing.
...

Not following these "wellbeing rules" increases our chances of having mental or physical problems. 

Sometimes, even if we follow all the "rules", there will still be days when we won't feel our best. We should still follow them to give our bodies a fighting chance because feeling negative can ruin a day and, as my friend specified above, there are only so many days for us to enjoy.

When you don't feel right, try to identify the reason behind it and see if you can make an improvement. Don't hesitate to ask for help.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Are You a Passive or Active Employee?




I've been working for the better part of 15 years now and I've come to understand the difference between an active and a passive employee.

  • A passive employee is someone that can do the work but usually won't start until he's told, exactly, what to do.
  • An active employee is someone that can do the work but generally doesn't need to be told what to do.
Generally speaking, both type of employees are able to do the work but active employees are easier to work with. Since you don't have to tell an active employee what to do, it's possible that he'll be working on things that are not necessarily the top priority for the project; this is why it's important to share clear objective with them.

I originally was a passive employee as I had no clue how to add value on a project when I first started but, as I became more comfortable in my role, I slowly evolve into an active role. Part of this is due to the fact that I hate being told what to do and by finding out, myself, what to do it removes the need for someone else to tell me.
Some people remain passive employees for their entire careers. I wish I could tell you that this is fine but this isn't how I feel about it. When the work demands someone that is able to think on their feet, and the passive worker's contribution never goes beyond what you tell them to do, then their contribution to the project is limited to their manager's ability to tell them what to do. Those types of people are better suited in position that are clear and consistent and require little to no supervision.

Are you a passive or an active worker?

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Fear of Running Out


It's been said that the Fear of Running Out (FORO) is a universal phenomenon. You can see it when people make large purchases before a storm, a pandemic, or buy the same item multiple times for fear of one breaking.
We do this because we associate these things with our survival and having more of it means that we can survive for longer.

While I'm guilty of this too, I do find it irrational when thinking about it. The most wanted item, during the Pandemic, was toilet paper. 
The biggest fear my mother had was missing out on toilet paper even though she already had a year worth of it in storage (she buys in bulk when it's on special). In this case, it make sense for people to stock on food as we all fear that Covid can have a negative impact on the food supply but why in the world is toilet paper an issue? I mean, worse come to worse, everyone could just get a bidet (which we should all have to save water really).

For me, this fear of running out is mixed with an addiction. When it comes to video games, my addiction, I'm always afraid that I'm going to run out. I have a stack of video games that I haven't even opened yet just because I'll get to it when I'm done the current ones I'm playing (I also like to collect them). I buy 2 controllers in case one goes out and I also have 2 versions of a console (ex: PS4/PS4 Pro) for the same reason.
It's important to understand what the fear is and, in my case, the addiction as that's the first step in fixing things.

Do you have a fear of running out? If so, what is it about?


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

I'm Not A Good Leader

When I first started my career, at around the age of 20, I believed I could lead the company I worked for within 2-3 weeks. That was fifteen years ago and now that I am in a leadership role I feel like I'm not doing a good job at it... where did all of that youthful optimism go?

Delegating the tasks is one of my biggest problem as I strongly believe that nobody else can do things better than I can. The problem is amplified when the task is given to someone else and he tells me that he doesn't know how to do it; of course he doesn't because I've been doing it all this time not letting him learn from it. 
I'm at the point now where it's no longer possible to do everything and I have to train other people to do some of what I do. What is sometime odd to me is that I get a feeling of frustration when they don't "get it" as I, somehow, believe that they should of picked up a few things over their time spent on the project.

As crazy as it may sound, there's a feeling of accomplishment I get from completing all of these tasks and knowing that I'm better at them than most - this is the core of the issue. To be an effective leader, you need to be good at delegating the less important things so that your focus is on the important things. Perhaps the best thing about this new position is that I get the opportunity to try/fail and, most importantly, understand the things I've been reading in all those leadership books.



Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Do You Even RRSP?


Another year, another tax season with an opportunity to earn from tax breaks. If you are looking to save up for your retirement then you really should consider investing in RRSP as the tax breaks benefits can help you in your saving.

What are tax breaks from RRSP?
If you earned 50, 000 in the year and invested 20,000 in your RRSP then, as far as the government is concerned, you only made 30, 000 in the year (50,000 - 20,000) and that's the amount you'll be taxed on instead of the full 50,000.

Where's the catch?
The catch is that you have to pay taxes once you start taking your RRSP as it is considered a source of income but logically the taxes you pay on it will be lower since your earnings, once you retired, will not be as high as when you were working.

What are good RRSP strategies?
  • Start early.
  • Only invest money you can afford to loose.
  • Participate in your employer's RRSP plan as they often offer 2-4% match (free money).
  • Re-invest your tax return in your RRSP (instead of spending it).
  • If possible, maximize RRSP investments every year.
  • Don't take out your RRSP until you retire otherwise you'll need to pay taxes on it.
What are TFSA?
Have you maxed out your RRSP? A Tax Free Saving Account (TFSA) is another good way to save your money. As the name implies, the account is "Tax Free". While there are no tax return benefits to this account, you are also not require to pay taxes on the money you make (up to a point) - which makes it an ideal investment account.
Some prefer a TSFA over RRSP as they get to put/take money away without any tax implications (up to a point). A TSFA is better for short term savings while RRSP is better for longer term/retirement savings.

Start saving now!


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

I Can't Sleep



My sleeping pattern has changed as of late and I've been doing research online on how to improve it. The following is what I found:
  • Limit my screen time before bed - The National Sleep foundation recommends to stop using electronics at least 30 min before bed.
  • Better diet - Too much sugar, especially before bed, can definitely have a negative impact on sleep but not eating a balance diet can also affect sleep.
  • Control/Minimize Stress - A 2013 study has shown that stress impact the quality of sleep.
  • Exercise - "People who engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise may see a difference in sleep quality that same night" according to Hopkinsmedecine.org.
  • Going Outside - According to WebMD, spending time outside may deliver better sleep.
  • Read before bed - Studies have shown that reading before bed help with sleep.
If you're like me, then you already know most of the stuff mentioned above but you may not have been able to implement them properly since Covid started. I mean, I don't want to blame all my problems on Covid but, seriously, we need to get vaccinated ASAP so that we can get back some level of normalcy around here.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Life is Too Short and Difficult

 

 

"Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75."

-Benjamin Franklin

Life is short and is difficult at times. I, like most everyone else, have been through some difficult times (some of my own doing) but, unlike everybody else, I actively try to get out of my depressive moments.

Some people like to bathe in their depressive state by not looking for outside help or making any attempts on improving their current situations. Some people are depressed because they're making all of the wrong moves without realizing it. The below are things that should be taken into consideration when experiencing depressive moments:

  • Seek outside help: Doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, friends... if you feel down then you need to let someone know about it and you need to get help. This help can be in the form of therapy of medication depending on your situation. In Canada, you can phone/text this number if you're having suicidal thoughts.
  • Read/Meditation/Spirituality: Read/Meditation/Spirituality can help you find the root cause of your problems or provide a temporary escape. Some have also found peace by joining a religion.
  • Diet: You are what you eat and a poor diet will definitely have a negative impact on your overall being.
  • Exercise: Your mind is stressed out and without a proper outlet it will work against you. Going for a walk, joining an exercise class... get the body moving can help release stress and put you in a better mental state.
  • Stay away from cheap pleasures/escapes: Pornography, excessive entertainment, drug/alcohol... may all provide a temporary relief but it's generally short lived and can lead to addiction.

Personally, Meditation/Diet/Exercise are the activities are try to turn to the most when I feel depressive and it has worked well for me so far. There have been times, however, when I had to look for outside help in the form of therapy/guidance. 

There are some people that do none of these things and end up depressed for longer than they should. Life is too short to spend a crazy amount of time in a negative state of mind. It's okay to feel depressed but it's not okay to remain there as life is meant to be lived not endured.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Find a Need and Fill It



I've been working for a contracting company for most of my I.T. career and I've always approached a project from the point of view of "how can I add value ?". Often, adding value means that I need to do things that are outside of my core qualifications in order to fill the needs of the project.
What often happens, when I first join a project, is that my initial qualifications is what got me the contract but then the role evolves to something that's a little bit outside of my core qualifications but a better fit for the project. I believe this is what Bruce Lee meant when he said that you need to be like water - adapt to the environment you're in.

Find a need and fill it.

If you join a project, with a very specific set of skills, and you're not opened to expand or change, as the project demands, then you're not adding as much value as you could.

Be like water; fill in the cracks. You will learn things and become more valuable in the process.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Leadership Can't Be Forced




My work Philosophy, as a team lead, is to close the knowledge gap between myself and those working with me. I do this in order to not be the bottleneck on the project. If, for whatever reason, I'm not there then the project can keep going uninterrupted. 
To achieve this goal, there's a lot of training in the form of mentorship, meetings, documentation... 

Recently, I realized that not everyone is comfortable in the "spotlight" of leadership which made me re-think my approach entirely. To be a leader is something you choose to be and not everyone makes that decision. Looking back, I can see that I've lost a lot of time and effort into someone that just didn't want to take on any sort of leadership position within the team. 
Maybe in the future he'll want to but for now he's comfortable doing the necessities and having someone he can turn to for questions when ever he needs.

What I learn from this ordeal is simply this: you can't force someone to do something they don't want to and trying to convince them is a waste of time.
Leaders aren't born - leadership is a skill that can be learned by whoever has the desire for it. It would be great if everyone would be leaders, as it's easier to work with people that can think for themselves, but the reality is that you'll always have people that prefer non-leadership roles and you simply have to learn to work with them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Keep Things Simple

 

People are not interested in things that are complicated. Knowing this, if you want people to be interested in what you want to share then be sure to word it in a way that they will understand.

Using movies as an example of this, if we take the Terminator series we can definitely see that it's no longer the behemoth franchise that it once was and one of the reason for that is because the plot became too complicated and branched off in all sorts of direction that many, including myself, felt it was moving away from the core material.

If you ever listened to Neil Degrase Tyson then you definitely know about his ability to keep people interested. He doesn't beat around the bushes and uses words that everyone understands in order to explain complicated concepts. Neil understands that the goal isn't to make everyone Astrophysicists but to get people interested enough to seek more information for themselves - leave the complicated material for the books and the Universities.


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Want Nothing


 

Many are looking to get their hands on the next generation of gaming consoles but are unable to. Some can't wait and are going to "scalpers" to get their fix; paying twice, or triple, the amount it would normally cost.

My advice to you is to have patience because whenever you're in a situation where you desperately want something to occur you're setting yourself up to be taken advantage of. In this case, if you're willing to wait, you'll not only get the product at the suggested price but you may also be getting a better deal out of it.
Remember that companies are doing what ever they can to make something available to you. Since they WANT you to buy their items then let them figure out how best to get it to you.

Sit back and let it come to you.

 

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Who's The Sheep?



When it comes to Covid, I like to take my information from trusted sources. I've recently been told that I was a sheep for believing "everything that's on TV" related to Covid. To her, Covid was the biggest hoax of our time and designed to keep control over the population; something which she "learnt" online. Who's the biggest sheep? The person that's looking for facts or the person that looks at conspiracy theories on Youtube?

Things to consider:
  • Youtubers/Influence/Internet Celebrities' only make money based on views/subscriptions. Knowing this, it make sense that they would say, or do, what ever is necessary to increase these numbers regardless of facts and some of those idiocies are believed.
  • It's difficult for me to understand how "Sexymama_Youtube" has more credibility, to some people, than all the top scientist in the world.
  • What is there to gain in having everyone stop working and potentially going trough a recession? Who's benefiting from this? Everyone is loosing!
  • You can have a few people agree on something, some of the time, but how can you get every Government in the world to agree on a lockdown?
Recently, there's been pressure on the major social media sites to monitor, and remove, miss-information and/or information that entice violence. Whether or not we should censor these things could be a discussion of it's own but it does seem like it's necessary at this point as there's this belief that a major conspiracy is brewing. I'm not saying there are no conspiracies anywhere but I really doubt that "Sexymama_Youtube" would have all the information related to it but it is a problem because her voice has the potential to reach millions of people and we all know that lies travels faster than truth.

The best way to fight misinformation is with information but the problem is that misinformation is louder than the facts. 
Sometime I think the best way to be informed, in this information age, is to take a step back and think beyond the obvious problem. 

Some of the questions I asks myself are:
  • Why is that person sharing this information?
  • Is the person sharing the information in a position to have a credible opinion of it? 
  • What are other people, in similar credible positions, saying? 
  • Is the person sharing this information benefiting from having me think a certain way?

I would like to think that I'm pretty good at spotting facts from fiction but I get duped like everyone else on some things. Covid, however, isn't fiction - it's real and we have to do what we can to get rid of it.


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Apple Watch Helped Me Be More Active



Before the pandemic, I was a regular at the gym going a minimum of 3 days a week for more than half of my life. 
When the Apple Watch came out, my first thought was "meh I don't need this to motivate me" but what I found was how little I moved on the days that I didn't go the to gym and that, in my opinion, is worth having a watch that keep track of your movements.

The Apple Watch, for those that don't know, can keep track of exercises via something they call "Rings". There are three rings of different colors:
  • Blue - The Blue Ring is the easiest to close as you simply need to get up, for at least 1 min, every hours in order to progress.
  • Green - The Green Ring keeps tracks of your cardio progress during a 24h period.
  • Red - The Red Ring is keeping track of the calories you've burn during a 24h period.
The Green (Cardio) and Red (Calories) are not really precise and you sometime have to fight the device in order to close those rings but how precise the device is doesn't matter as much as whether or not it provides enough of a motivation to move.
Once you start closing out those rings, and start earning trophies, it becomes increasingly difficult not to close them. Sure, you can skip that cardio workout for one day but that means you will loose your progress towards this next, shiny, fictional trophy. I know it sounds crazy but on some days the thought of loosing that next trophy was enough of the slap in the face I needed to get on that exercise bike.

A few more days and I'll also have a trophy for having closed the Blue and Red rings once for the last 365 days and I don't really feel like stopping. Here's to another 365 days!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

It's officially over - Goodbye Trump!



Trump is an enigma that managed to receive a crazy amount of support regardless of what he did which, perhaps, is a sign of a problem in America. 
He profited from his Presidency, he played golf at tax payer's expanse, he butchered the COVID response by himself creating events that further spread the disease, he pardoned convicted criminals, he almost destroyed America to its core etc... etc... etc... 
When confronted, all he had to do was say "Fake News" and all was well with his cult followers. After all, 50% of Americans attempted to vote him in for a second term going as far as storming a Capital building to make it happen: Only in America can you attempt to overthrow a Democratic Republic and call it "Patriotisms". 

Trump managed to escape the law his entire life and the fact that he became President just shows how well he's able to bend the laws in his favor. 
When I think of Trump, the first word that comes to mind is "Criminal" - not "President". I wish I had Trump's ability to bend reality and make everyone believe that the last 4 years never happened but I can't because it DID happened and it was one of the worse things to happen to America.

Today marks the end of a Presidency that really shouldn't of happened in the first place. America was left wounded by Trump's Presidency and everything now falls on Joe Biden. Whether or not he's able to fix the damage remains to be seen.

I wish you all the best.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Cut Your Own Hair



Way back in 2015, I decided that I was no longer going to spend 40$ a month on my hair and, instead, would use the money to invest in an RRSP (Canadian Equivalent to 401K). If we do the math, that's $40 (a month) * 12 months * 5 years = $2 400. 
Obviously, I'm not doing anything fancy to my hair - mostly just shaving it at different length depending on how I feel during a given week. 

The point is that I managed to find money at a time when I believed I didn't have any to invest. You may not want to stop going to a hairdresser for your hair but is there something you can do to save money every month? Given enough time, that small $10, $20, $30... you saved every month will make a big difference. Start now!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

New Year New Health Goals



A new year, a new personal health resolution. It saddens me to see that, for most people, the desire to make a positive health change stops within the first few months of the year if not sooner.

"If you don't make time for your health today, you will have to make time for illness tomorrow!"
-Joseph Piscatella 

Personal health is the most important thing whether we consciously know about it or not. The reason is simple, good health means we get to enjoy more of life. Taking care of our health doesn't guarantee we won't have illnesses but it does help in giving our bodies a better fighting chance against them.
The most common excuse is "I have no time for it" and it's pretty silly considering that we all have 24 hours in a day and some people are busier while still making the time for it. 
If you agree that personal health is the most important thing in this life then it should be reflected in your schedule. Some people over estimate the time it takes; not knowing that an hour of exercises, with a few life style (or dietary) changes, is often all that is needed to improve the condition of the body.

You are what you eat and if you work with your body it will reward you.


Friday, January 1, 2021

Goal Achieved!

Happy New Year!

I started this blog in 2008 and been writing, on and off, since which helped me discover my passion for writing. In January 2020, I had set myself a goal to have 10K views during the year (for a total of 70K) and ended up with multiple times that amount (total, as of now, is 108212 pageviews). It's not a big milestone to some but it is to me and I'm confident that the views will keep increasing as I'm getting better at writing and sharing my content.

I've had more views this years than in the previous 4-5 years. There are a few key reasons for this. Those are:

  • My writing is consistently better.
  • More crawlers have found my site than ever before which, apparently, counts towards the blogger views (but not Google Analytics).
  • More people stumbled on my site during the lock-down.
  • More people have been sharing my content on social media.

Don't get me wrong, I know my monthly pages views are mostly due to crawlers and the true number is much less than what I got but if more crawlers can see my site then more of you will be able to as well.

2020 was a great year thanks to you but 2021 will be even better! Stay tuned! 


100K views for the year 2021!



Back to Top