How To Work Better

 how to work better     

  1   do one thing at a time.
  2   know the problem.
  3   learn to listen.
  4   learn to ask questions.
  5   distinguish sense from nonsense.
  6   accept change as inevitable.
  7   admit mistakes.
  8   say it simple.
  9   be calm.
10   smile.

Is it worth it?

I just read this comment on reddit, and I really came to think about this.

Since you want to talk about money, instead of diamonds... let's do that.
I think our system of using money as a medium of exchange is a superb one. And I think that the fact that money has no intrinsic value (unlike other currencies people have used - when they exchanged salt, or cows, or what have you) makes the whole system fairer. Money is not worth anything, unless you pass it along to someone else.
Of course, just like when sitting down at a family board game or card game, we see that if a person doesn't ever put his heart into playing the game, he won't do very well. And when folks are distributing resources and the bounty of the world, those who opt out of playing the money game are doing something which is tantamount to going on a hunger strike. Altruists who produce free software, and writers who blog for free are producing something and not gathering the resources they need to do a better job tomorrow with their work. They're poor schmucks.
I invest quite a lot of time for blogging and getting higher Pageranks. But what for? This all doesn't generate any revenue right now. Will there ever be a project that get me more money? Certainly some aspects of blogging are very unseful; for example blogging about topics which were talked about at the university.

There are many blog posts on the hacker-news (by are about failing/success in life or just in your field of work. But you even can think too much about your next year in your life.

Business School is a joke

I’m enrolled in a top-5 undergraduate business program, one consistently ranked beside MIT’s, UPenn’s, and Stanford’s. 99.5% of my classmates will graduate with a full-time job offer in hand, with about a quarter of those working at places like McKinsey & Co. and Goldman Sachs. The facilities are impeccable (we just got a $100M donation), the student groups rich and varied, the class sizes relatively small. By all traditional metrics, the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is exceptional; I should be proud to attend.
But I’m not. I’m actually sort of embarrassed about it, though I don’t hide the fact I go there for the simple reason that most people think it’s commendable. The goal here is to fight that misconception.

The Secret of Life: Shut up and shovel the fuckin' gravel.

The entire secret of life, of power, of everything, was taught to me when I was a teenager, by a man, a farmer. And he taught it to me in the way that is so typical of men: three sentences, no more. I contend that the real conflict today is not male versus female, but urban versus agrarian values. When people forget where their food and fiber comes from, when they forget the natural processes and timetables that produce them, when they start looking for someone else to "hand over" what they want and stop taking the responsibility for producing it themselves, when they replace hard work with belligerence and aggression, they lock themselves into downward spirals of helplessness, powerlessness, and anger.
I taught this same lesson to a woman "friend" of mine. It took me two years. During the entire time she was doing her best to manipulate and harass me into a "romantic" relationship that I had absolutely no interest whatsoever in allowing to happen. It took many screaming matches and finally the threat to throw her out of my life for her to "get it", but she finally "got it" and today she credits me with saving her life, her soul, and her sanity, and has become a friend.
The farmer's name was Griff. I was a "townie" (population 300) and made good money for a teenager as a "hired hand". One day when I showed up for work he said "We're going to pick up a new truck." We got in his car and the entire 40 minute ride to the dealer passed without either of us saying a word: One of those easy comfortable silences that men often use to communicate more than words ever can. We picked up a new 4-wheel drive ¾ ton pickup and headed back to the farm. When we got back, he pointed to a large gravel pile by the barn and told me to fill the truck bed with gravel and go fill in a hole in the entrance to one of his fields.
I said "But that gravel will ruin the paint on the bed of this brand new truck." He looked at me silently for about a minute, his expression eloquently saying that I was the worst idiot he'd ever been burdened with having to tolerate in his life. Without saying another word he picked up the shovel and, with a swing that would be the envy of every major league baseball hitter, he swung it around and smacked the side of the truck sending paint chips flying in ever direction and leaving a huge dent. He looked at me again with that same "I can't believe you are such an idiot" look and said: "City boy this is a FARM truck. I didn't buy it to look pretty, I bought it to DO WORK, same reason I'm payin' you. Now it ain't new no more, so shut up and shovel the fuckin' gravel." Then he turned around and walked off, leaving me to feel foolish and gain wisdom.

Of course it took the entire context and circumstances for me to understand the full significance of the lesson: not with my head but with my spirit. In the same way, cultures world wide and throughout history have used ritual space to teach the great lessons to the young. Complexity and too many words destroy the lesson, because the very heart and soul of the lesson is that words accomplish nothing. Words do not put in crops. Words do not harvest them or get them to market or prepare them or put them on our plates. No one eats unless someone shuts up and shovels the fuckin' gravel.

The entire secret of male power is that men do, men have, shut up and shoveled the fuckin' gravel. Men shoveled the gravel that built all the hydroelectric dams which provide the electric power which everyone today takes for granted; some of that "Patriarchal technology" that some women are so fond of sneering at. Men put their sweat and, about 50 of them, their very bodies into Hoover dam. Then they "handed over" the result to women to make their lives more comfortable. The millions of tons of gravel which went in to building the transcontinental railway were shoveled by men. And hundreds of their bodies went into it as well. Women and men living today would have none of the conveniences which make their lives so comfortable if millions of men had not shut up and shoveled the fuckin' gravel. All the lawsuits and affirmative action programs in the world could not have built them. Those men did not wait for someone to "hand over" those dams or that railroad to them, they shut up and shoveled the fuckin' gravel and built them. Hoover dam is "male dominated", the transcontinental railroad is "male dominated" because men put their time, their work, their sweat, and their very bodies into building them. Everything that we see in the world today, from business to the military, that is "male dominated" is so because men died to build it.
That is both men's power and their powerlessness.
They shut up and shoveled the fuckin' gravel.

I disagree with homeschooling

I am a public school teacher. Let me tell you why I disagree with homeschooling (especially once they've reached the middle school age).

I bust my ass to create an environment in my classroom where kids want to learn. Sure, I'm somewhat constrained by standardized testing and such. But I'll be damned if any one of my students finish my class at the end of the year and regret taking it. I teach content, but more importantly I'm dedicated to teaching them what it means to be a productive citizen. I'm young, I'm full of enthusiasm, I'm extremely well versed in my content area. Just because you may have had a bad experience in public schools doesn't mean they're all like that.

Socializing is so unbelievably important to these kids. You can homeschool and monopolize your kid's perspective all you want, but someday they'll become adults and they are going to have to enter the real world. The real world has a lot of nice people and also a lot of assholes. Learning how to work and socialize with people that are different from you is an invaluable life skill. I just don't see how homeschooling gives kids this kind of experience.

There were a lot of public school teachers I had in the past that sucked. But there were also a lot of teachers I had that were amazing, and showed me ways of looking at the world that I never dreamed of. I like to think that a big part of knowledge is exposing yourself to many different perspectives, and then grabbing a little bit of your personal conceptual framework from each of them. I just don't see how this can be accomplished through homeschooling.

If you live in an area where the public schools are atrocious, that's one thing. I'm not saying there aren't a lot of good reasons to homeschool your children. But to paint a brushstroke across the entire public school system is ridiculous. There are a lot of young teachers out there like me that are trying to make a difference. Keep in mind too that pedagogy has really changed a lot since when your former public school teachers went through college.

The dangers of the internet for the governments

Governments are starting to realize the dangers the internet poses to their powers.

-Citizens in different countries are interacting together in ways they never would have before.

-People are reading news articles written by 'the other side'.

-Commentators and websites who aren't loyal to (filtered by) any large corporation are shifting the opinions of thousands.

-Politicians can no longer just say "I never said/did that" and have the country believe them. Within hours videos of them saying or doing that spring up all over the internet.

They'll try to reign the internet into their control under the guise of 'saving the children' or preventing terrorism, but they will fail. Pandora's box has been opened, and people have gotten too used to the internet as it is. They should have been where they are now 15 years ago to have any chance.