The Road To Success

success

The road to success is paved with many an obstacle to strengthen our ability to excel. The definition of success, however, is fluid. The Corporates deems success as straight A’s and a high-paying job; the Philosophers and Psychologists define success as stable and continuous progress. Scientists view success as revolutionary breakthroughs and discoveries of new chemicals and cures, and politicians see success as the logical policies on paper, whether or not they can be carried out in society.

However, there are a few key factors which pertain to every scale, and they are simple to understand and do.

1. Compete against yourself, not anyone else. If you compete against others, you’re fighting a losing battle, unless you are the most intelligent and wealthiest person alive.

2. Do what you love and love what you do. With almost a decade of work experience, I’ve only worked six months in my life, because I love what I do.

3. Live by the advice you give others. Not only does this raise your credibility as a person, but the reason you give the advice in the first place is that you already believe it’s the “right thing to do”.

4. Get it right in your own life first. It’s easy for us to nitpick and criticize others’ flaws, but it’s a deflection hindering us from trying to get it right ourselves. If we can’t live up to our own expectations, demanding it from others is merely asking them to compensate for our own inadequacies. In doing #3, you will naturally get to #4.

5. Mistakes are experiences, but experiences are not mistakes. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you slip up and make mistakes – learn from them and remember the solution for the next time you encounter a similar problem. The scientific (natural as well as social science) world is all about experiments gone wrong – and finding solutions to fix problems they created.

6. Never mock a pain you haven’t endured. Your nightmare might be someone else’s reality; someone’s reality might only be your dream.

7. Only take criticism that works to your advantage. Humans are critical – it’s inevitable. But not all criticism is constructive, and if it’s destructive, brush it off and improve the parts you believe will help you.

8. Criticism should be constructive, not absolute. When criticising others, ensure that you use their strengths to build their weaknesses. Avoid focusing only on the weakness and telling them what to change. (See #9)

9. The right thing for you may be the wrong thing for someone else. Everything is about perspective. If you want to encourage change and progress, shift their perspective, don’t force their actions.

10. The process is just as important as the result. The results are only what can be seen on paper, but the process entails the actions and experiences. Experiential learning is the most lasting effect, and if the process is destructive, the results are only short-lived. (Click here to read Carl Rodgers’ theory of Experiential Learning.

11. Balance your life Every psychologist will tell you this: balance your life. Work out a schedule that gives you time for work, fun (creative outlet), friends, family, sports, and yourself (me-time). South China Morning Post published an article in 2013 stating that despite having long work hours, one should have at least four meals a night with the family, two nights a month spent with friends, five hours of exercise a week (even if it means taking a long walk during your lunch break), one evening a week of “me time”, and never bring work home. For a healthy mentality, when you clock-off, you clock-off:  work is  work, not life. (Unless you’re living by #2)

12. Be the person you know you are. All humans are flawed, but exert your strengths and use your virtues to positively influence others while secretly working on your weaknesses until you are satisfied. Then they will become strengths, and you will continuously shine.

Essentially, success is subjective – but subjective in the sense that you only need to compare your current self to where you were this time a year ago, five years ago, a decade ago, or more. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others your age – we all have different backgrounds, different paradigms, different realities. We are all apples and pears, oranges and tangerines. We might be very similar to others, or very different – but we all have different experiences, therefore we have different perspectives.

So get it right in your own life, and because you can’t change 50% of the world without changing 50% of your perspective.

Mikavelli

Work Smart not Hard

 References: 1. Carl Rodger’s Theory of Experiential Learning 2. Sonya Derian – Stop Comparing Yourself To Others: An Alternative To Competing with People 3. Steve Jobs And The Seven Rules to Success 4. South China Morning Post – Parents Must Exercise Their Duty to Ensure A Balanced Life for Kids (2015) 5. Mikavelli – Do What You Love and Love What You Do

Tech-No-Logic

Smart people ask dumb questions to arrive at genius answers.
~Mikavelli~

Einstein is known as one of the greatest thinkers of mankind. He was a genius, a scientist, an inventor, and a narcissist. In his initial years, people viewed him as eccentric and almost crazy until he was proven right, years later. He once quoted, “It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity” when he was working on the atomic bomb. Ironically, his efforts during the Second World War made him one of the contributors of modern technology.

However, his statement in the twentieth century was not welcomed by many at the time for technology was invented for the military. The majority of the generation’s new technology was designed for combat and defence. Einstein’s conjecture was made in realising how easy it was becoming to create great chaos – but also how little people were doing manually. The first computer was invented in 1822, but in 1947 the bipolar transistor was made, creating a link between the two computers. Einstein saw the conjecture: he realised that as the “computer” progressed, people would become less engaged in each other and more engaged in themselves – and what they could do with computers.

In his time, people did not respect him for these negative speculations – or they chose to ignore it on the premise of being superficially delighted by a new invention, not unlike children with a new toy. The general populous as well as those in power ignored the warnings of a genius, only to result in a modern twenty-first century of technology and laze.

Today, computers generate statistics – and we live by probability. Computers give us definitions – we categorise ourselves. Computers spread information – we can physically explore “thought”. Computers create gateways – we forget there’s a human on the other end. Computers are the reason this blog exists – or is it merely turning an idea into something concrete?

Regardless, Einstein was “only” a century ahead of his time when he made the statement, and people regarded him as the thoughtless idiot who was creative, abstract, and in the clouds. If only he were alive today, and could see the legacy he predicted.

And he predicted it because he was a part of it. He created it.

~Mikavelli~

Everybody-is-a-genius-1024x696

Technology is Destroying the Quality of Human Interaction

Change, Expand and Grow

Many construct buildings while I construct villages. Villages grow into towns, into cities; a building will always just “be”.

Buildings are made with strong foundations that take years to build, yet once those foundations are set in stone – literally – there is very little chance of changing it without uprooting everything the building worked towards in the first place. This leaves the building with history, with stability, with fortitude, but without change. To change a building starts from the inside – to renovate, to construct – still, on the outside, nothing except the surface image of a building will be changed. Perhaps new sections can be added: new runways, lifts, an entire wing if need be, but these are merely additions. Regardless of how many improvements are made, however, the foundations of the building still remain unchanged. They remain unaltered, and become archaic over time.

Villages are made with people working together. It is a form of unity, of togetherness, and of learning to live homogeneously with those whose experiences, memories and perceptions are different. It is a way of assimilating to others’ paradigmatic system of functioning as a human being – to incorporate all aspects and thus form new paths. Building villages starts with accepting others and mutually benefiting from them – with trade, farming, agriculture and the basic necessities of life. Building cities comes with diversifying – with travel, open-mindedness and acceptance. Cities built from villages have their traditional value – the foundations are there – but they are not as deep rooted to the point of no return.

Buildings are needed for they exist within and make-up the city; they exist in order for a city to be formed. The city itself is an encompassing of many buildings, but one single building is pointless if it is in the middle of nowhere. Thus, those who build cities start with a perception of homogeneity; those who build buildings strive to achieve. Yet, once that “highest pinnacle” is reached, what more is there to do than admire its architecture or live/work in it? What more is there to it than its basic function and appearance?

Villages grow. Cities expand. Cities change.

And change is necessary for a state, nation, and globe to actually be formed. A building is but nothing without a reason to exist – yet without them, a city cannot be formed. A building on its own will not grow – unless those of the city decide it necessary.

Many construct buildings, but I construct cities.

~Mikavelli~ Click to read “City Lights”

Colonialism in The Mask of Globalisation

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In this era, colonialism is understood as a historical paradigm, almost non-existent today. Or is it?

By definition, colonialism is the the increase, imposition and support of one country (predominantly Western – in history) that influences culture and language. Globalisation, however, is defined as having the spread and assimilation of combined cultures and languages. By these definitions, colonialism may not be seen in principle, but if one culture has leverage and advantage over another – measured by scales which are understood by the modern world, such as economic power, military strength and academic advancement – does this entail an underlying essence of colonialism?

One example would be that of Hong Kong, a former British colony, handed over to China in 1997. Near the end of the twentieth century, many foreigners still remained in Hong Kong, which evidentially influenced the city’s international relations as well as English (language) education. In this globalised era and society, English is undoubtedly a vital language to learn, but the method of enforcing its education in Hong Kong can – and in many ways, has – lead to the following social and psychological dilemma.

The method of teaching often requires students to use only English during NET (Native English Teacher) lessons, and students (or even teachers) are penalized for speaking Chinese during these classes. Though immersion is necessary when learning a second language, this is only effective if the student is immersed for at least a few hours a day, every day of the week. However, granted that in local Chinese schools NETs are floaters with no fixed class, students don’t experience the immersion necessary to bring their English to a standard demanded by parents and required by companies.

The mentality and methodology provokes the following predicament: having no Chinese (or their mother tongue) in the classroom psychologically eradicates students’ sense of identity as their feel that during those lessons, their own native language is inferior.

This underlying psychological embellishment results in the following:

  1. Kids, especially young learners, form the impression that NETs feel their own language – English – is more important than the students’
  2.  This ideology is supported by the majority of Hong Kong parents  who push and drill their kids to learn English fluently, which gives children the impression that everyone believes the English language is more important
  3. This impression then carries into adulthood: the formation of society and continuation of “traditional values”
  4. As follows, parents of forthcoming generations will perpetuate this mentality
  5. The example is evidenced by learning centres and educational companies in Hong Kong that refuse to include or use Chinese in their notes as parents believe it looks “cheap” and “tarnishes the companies’ reputation.” Bilingual textbooks – which is more productive for young learners and those with a weaker English background – are sold at a much lower cost, sometimes up to ten times less than English-only textbooks

Thus, is it necessary for students under the age of ten – without immersion- to use ONLY English during lessons?

By definition and historical examples, this form of Western domination is still controlling former colonies, both First World and Third World. Though the sociological argument can be made that the spread of the English language is a stepping stone towards globalisation, the psychological impact slowly abolishing students’ perception of the West is essentially a form of cultural suppression through linguistics: is this not cultural colonialism wearing the mask of globalisation?

Teacher Me

Being Human

We tell ourselves a lie and ignore every truth contradicting it.
~Lloyd Lowry~

* side note: This is a continuation of my previous blog Becoming Human and Society

The whole idea and habit (culture) of not asking for help on the premise that everyone around is too busy to make time, handle or even make an effort comes from a society and culture that is almost unable to balance their lifestyles.

Whether it’s the competitive Asian market; whether it’s the strive to be the best; whether they are traditionalist values passed down from generations of conservatives and fundamentalists; whether it’s having to catch up to standards of an ever-changing world. There are many elements which factor in to this strange culture.

Strange, because it defies human nature. Strange, because it eradicates our innate abilities. Strange, because it is a culture of suppression rather than suppression.

Strange, because every face I see is not the face of a friend or foe – it is the mask of a robot so heavily constructed and guarded that the real them is lost amidst a magnitude of hidden debris; concealed imperfections for the sake of face and reputation.

Truth is accordingly defined as nothing more than concrete explications: black and white, no grey areas. Which, again, defies human nature.

Humans are ambiguous and volatile, ever-changing and sometimes progressing. The fact that humans need to regress in order to progress is part of the process inevitably necessary to catapult into something stronger. Something bigger.

Something that will take you closer to being the best that you can be.

But no, being a real human is tedious and painful. It is also beautiful and challenging. Yet I live in a society that doesn’t have time to take measures to contribute to a world with so much potential and capacity. The suppression of expression – as evidenced realistically by the Umbrella Revolution or (OCLP Movement) – shows the need for humans to break free. Truth be told, the only reason 2% of this city stood up to and against the government was the liberal education they underwent starting from 2007 onwards. An education which promoted internationalism and globalization; an education which encouraged expression; an education which enabled and activated part of their humanity.

And they broke free from the constraints and shackles of a conservative government – of a fascist regime so archaic no other nation in the modern First World follows owing to an internationalized world that happens to recognize that financial power is not the only way to progress.

Success is not defined by the money we make: it is defined by our choices.
~Mikavelli~

To break free from a constraining regime that they are completely unaware they are submerged in – a regime so strong and secure that it keeps this society in that bubble, that comfort zone they find so protective. That safety net in which they use precautions to stay afloat and stay “alive”.

No. They are not living. They are not being. They merely exist. This is not called being alive. This is called drifting. This is getting from Point A to Point B as unequivocally as possible without accounting for the Point Cs and Ds – unexpected turn of events, however emotionally intense – which would ultimately mould a real human.

A human. Not a person. Not a robot.
A human.

No. This is a society of safety measures, of rule-abiding citizens afraid to challenge stereotypes. Afraid to put in the effort to build a reality of their own choosing. Living in fear of change (or in the actual, non-falsified world), and accepting the sad, imbalanced, stressful life as their reality.

No. This is not reality. This is a construct. This is man-made. This is a defiance of human nature.

This is a defiance of our selves.

And this, all this, is one of the greatest detriments to society – that we tell ourselves a lie and ignore all the truths contradicting it. Those who expose the truth are penalized for it – challenged, critiqued and commented on by those simply can’t handle, for whatever excuse, the unravelled truth of their own insecurities.

Analysis on the Umbrella Revolution

CartoonWhat is the Umbrella Revolution?

The Umbrella Revolution is a revolutionary protest organized by students, educators and civilians around Hong Kong to fight for democracy. The name was coined during the final weekend of September in response to the publically deemed “excessive force” exercised by the police when they launched tear gas at unarmed civilians. The police justify their actions by claiming to have been outnumbered by a ratio of 7 angry protesters per 1 cop.

 Why is the Umbrella Revolution taking place?

As per an agreement made between Britain and China in 1984, Hong Kong is to exercise a One Country Two System policy until 2046. This agreement was made to ensure that Hong Kong is entitled to its capitalist free market and independent government. However, in the recent years, China has begun to appoint pro-Chinese government officials to the Hong Kong “Cabinet” so as to secure their hold on Hong Kong before the final handover thirty years from now.

 The People of Hong Kong are now standing up to this government and challenging the ideologies and expectations set out by the Chinese government. Two of the largest issues raised during the protests are universal suffrage and censorship. On Thursday night, 2nd October, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive CY Leung announced that he would grant Hong Kong five million votes for the 2017 election. Hong Kong is unsatisfied with this response, claiming that it is not the number of votes in concern, but rather who the candidates are. “Giving us the selection of A) Bread with ham and cheese, B) Cheese with bread and ham and C) Ham with cheese and bread is not a real election!” claimed one of the leaders at the Central protests. “We want a true election!” echoed the crowd.

Click here for the definition of True Democracy in Hong Kong.

The realities behind the protests:

All throughout history, Hong Kong has always been a popular hub for international traders. The Imperial Era recognized Hong Kong’s tea, pearl and salt resources, and thus began trade. The Colonial Era then acknowledged Hong Kong’s geographical location, and used Hong Kong as a port between traders. Over the years, Hong Kong has always caught the eye of many stronger civilizations. The 1800s marked the beginning of Hong Kong’s existence under colonial Britain, but by the mid-1900s, Hong Kong’s paradigm was challenged by Japan. The Japanese managed to occupy Hong Kong for just under a decade before Britain took full control in the 1950s.

 1984 was when the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed, permitting Hong Kong to function with two policies until 2046. 1997 marked the “Handover,” which was when Britain “returned” Hong Kong to China under the terms and conditions listed out in 1984. In 1996, Prime Minister John Major promised Hong Kong that “If in the future there were any suggestion of a breach in the Joint Declaration, we would mobilize the international community and pursue every legal and other avenue open to us. Hong Kong will never have to work alone.” This promise was evidently disregarded in Hong Kong’s fight for True Democracy, but the reason being that the timing within the international arena is not ample.

How timing is severely affecting the outcome of this revolution:

Many sources have made various claims that this plan was set in motion within the last decade, albeit these claims are heavy, but not necessarily inaccurate, conjectures. Democracy has always been a threat to the Chinese government, but Hong Kong has always been open to democracy. Therefore, superpowers who are engaged in spreading democracy can easily use Hong Kong as a hub or pathway into China. However, the timing of this revolution is the greatest weakness of the revolution itself: considering that most of the international focus is on defeating Isis, most superpowers feel that their resources are better spent ridding the world of a concentrated religious paradigm rather than supporting a small city that is one of the top ten contributors to the global economy.

 Further analysis and outcome of responses indicate that Western Superpowers would put more effort into supporting the ideological paradigm had the emphasis not been so heavily concentrated on Isis, but also that the involvement of Western Superpowers would be from a diplomatic standpoint, and not military warfare. China is currently one of the strongest economic powers in the world, and considering that those whose armies are reliant on Chinese money, it is unlikely that their armies would take on the Chinese government in the first place. Conversely, the Chinese government is a threat to Hong Kong’s democracy, which essentially threatens the independent free market on many levels. This threat is partially what is attracting attention in the global arena, and this is the reason why Western Superpowers are even marginally involved.

What will happen?

What the media has failed to accurately portray is that this revolution is not a fight that began just ten days ago. This is not just a “protest by bored people who want to change something.” And the fact that protesters are leaving the scene is not a sign of boredom or defeat, it is a sign that Hong Kong will continue to maintain its solidarity and together, we will come up with a new, more feasible and more realistic method to achieve an outcome. The protest was needed in order to arouse international and national attention, and now that we understand which Superpowers are in unison and for what reasons, perhaps all we need is the correct timing. Whatever happens to this protest, this Revolution, it is evident that these ten days are just the tip of the iceberg, a taste of greater things yet to come. Greater, regardless of the ideological or paradigmatic shifts, but greater in the sense that very soon, big changes will take place in Hong Kong, and these changes are all dependent on how strongly China values their reputation in the International Arena.

This volatility of China is the greatest threat to Hong Kong.
And Hong Kong’s independence and social progression is the greatest threat to the Chinese government.

So, what now?
Click here to read “The next 36 hours could determine the future of Hong Kong.”

McGordan

Stability and Solidity

You spend your twenties believing that you’re bulletproof. ~Moby~

The cycle of cognitive development can be a predictable one: as children, we are curious about the greater world, wanting to know a little bit about everything. We have little to no experience in life, and haven’t made enough mistakes to understand consequences. As teenagers, we strive for freedom and try to break free from all that constrains our perceived liberty. It is a phase in life when we feel entitled and complacent, a time when we can argue with a rationale warped to fit our desires, and a time when adults let our immaturity slide because they understand we have to experience it.

Then comes the start of independent living: your twenties. This is the phase when one realizes the immaturity of what was thought to be, as a teenager, the most brilliant or scintillating of ideas. When one looks back two years, four years, or even ten years, everything that was once believable as a teenager is suddenly impertinent to one’s physical (not perceived) reality. Everything you believed – every fantasy, every dream, every construction, every version of the future – is merely reflection of a modern fairy-tale.

The modern fairy-tale: that version of a life you spend a decade of your existence romanticizing – everything that you want to do after college – to work or to study, to experience or to define, to attempt or to decide. All these questions run through one’s mind simply because each day inspires new possibilities. It is in this phase of cognitive development where one is perfectly capable of differentiating between rationale and desire, yet may not have that worn-and-torn life experience called “cynicism” to deter an attempt at making a dream come true. This, however, differs subjectively based on the approach in which one uses to render this romanticized fantasy a reality, but ultimately, humans work with what is known: and where knowledge is lacking, experience is needed. Thus, being in one’s mid-twenties in the twenty-first century first world has offered vast opportunities and ways to actually live, and not merely exist.

Being in one’s twenties is supposedly the best time to gain experience, but this definition of “experience” merely pertains to the “experiences” that you choose, not the ones that are thrust upon you from your childhood. By this reasoning, “experience” is not limited to age: children and teenagers can easily go through just as much (if not more) than adults, and after one’s twenties, experience does not cease to be gained simply because one “grows” or (at times) matures. “Experience” does not simply mean “something that happens in life,” it refers to what is gained or lost from the “happening” or “occurrence.” Conversely, as experiences are subjective, one of the biggest mistakes many parents make when raising children is putting the child into a similar situation in hopes of determining the child’s experience. The experience is not a mistake – manipulating the variables in such a way is, because it is a common misconception that one can repeat or reconstruct a certain experience.

Experiences are meant to be had, not explained.

Gaining experience and living an “exciting” life depends on one’s personal definition of the words but also the approach one takes in reaching the optimized goal. To some, “excitement” and experience come from travelling the world, from exploring and understanding cultures and societies; to others, stimulation or excitement come from doing what one loves, and loving what one does. Furthermore, some regard experience as the amount of pain and suffering one has to endure in order to develop resilience. When one reaches their twenties, the two priorities in life suddenly become “stability” and “solidity,” and these can involve any category in life. Stability refers to career, finances and relationships; solidity to self, friendships and family. The common misconception is that living an exciting life doesn’t entail stability – again, this depends on one’s personal definition of “excitement.” There are times, however, when stability has to be sacrificed in order to gain solidity, and vice versa, but this is not an ultimatum. If sacrifices are inevitable, though, they are based on one’s personal definitions of “excitement” and “happiness,” combined with the goal one hopes to achieve.

To those who deem “excitement” as world travel, stability is not necessarily a component, but solidity is – solidity in finding one’s self, in cherishing and building solid friendships, and for many, establishing a firm basis with family now that one is old enough to communicate without being patronized. To those who deem their everyday life as excitement may entail, at times, losing a sense of self to complement the chosen path, only to find one’s way back to solidity. To those who intentionally take the toughest route in hopes of growing back stronger, who absuse “pain” as a method of gaining experience, may work for some but not all. This methodology may work for those who trust that their support network is strong enough when they need to recover from the “battle,” but if the support network was that strong to begin with, then why take the route of masochism in the first place?

Every mistake is an experience, but no experience is a mistake.

Nonetheless, each individual takes a different approach towards achieving their perceived definition of happiness in starting a journey of a “life of fulfilment.” Whatever the definition, priority or goal, the ultimate enrichment, experience and enlightenment comes from one’s own chosen path – mistakes and failures, accomplishments and achievements – thus, stability comes from routine, practice and habit. It is a lifestyle which can only be achieved with a certain amount of sacrifice along the way – that sacrifice being the risk of occasional boredom, lack of stimulation or simple mundanity which constrains one’s inspiration; conversely, this small sacrifice in the beginning leads to equanimity in the long-run. Boredom and apathy are fleeting states of mind, but stability is the concrete foundation which only paves way for taller and stronger skyscrapers. Solidity, on the other hand, refers to the strength, integrity and self-assurance it takes to exist as an individual entity without the co-dependent need for a crutch. Although the paradox is that humans are reflections of other humans, the actual human experience – existence, living and being – are had by oneself. Hence, solidity comes from the ability to be, and to live comfortably in one’s own shoes.

It takes true strength to admit weakness and wisdom to admit folly.

 

Mistakes