Inspirations from the Wizard of OZ

If you are willing to go a thousand miles to look for a master, there may be one right next to your door, so I read from Steven Job’s biography.

This time, the master, or great wizard to be more accurate, that I am seeking was delivered right to my desk. It is a children’s version of the Wizard of OZ which inspired me and taught me the important lessons on how to live a life.

To be honest, I have heard about this book and the movie adapted from the story long ago, but I despised it because the movie poster looked strange to me, so I never took my time to watch or read it.

After reading the dumbed down version of the book, listening to its audio version and watching half of the film over the past week, I realize, just like the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion and the Kansas girl discovered, that you need three things to live a good life. They are:

  1. A brain to learn and think
  2. A heart to feel and love
  3. Courage to seek and fight

And you do not need to go over the rainbow to find them because you already have them — just look inside over the places where you have overlooked. After you find them, then you need to learn how to use them just as Dorothy’s did with her red shoes.

So what do I want from the great wizard of OZ? I would say all the three of the natures but most importantly the courage to do things. I often scare myself and conjure up the worse case scenario whenever I leave my comfort zone. The very few times when I ventured outside of my spiritual confinement, I gained and learned a lot and those experiences became the most memorable moments of my life.

This year is the time for me to drive once again on the route of 66 for self-fulfillment.

Accept or change

I realize that everything about life can be boiled down to two things: accept or change.

Life choices become easier and sensible if you reason like this:

1. Life is best lived when we constantly change for better.

2. Any change has its risks and unknown hardships. Be prepared to confront them.

3. Do not judge by its appearance and have some patience when deciding what is best for you.

You are caught between willingly sacrifice to make the change happen or reluctantly lose your life to inertia and inaction.

 

Make the blog posts personal

A blog should talk, not lecture. I don’t like the two previous posts on meeting the needs of the customers because they reads dry and lifeless, being too abstract for the readers and too boring as a journal for self-reference.

I am not a marketing expert and I am in no position writing a treatise on customer service with comprehensiveness and depth. Instead I can write from my personal experience and share the cases I encounter so that lessons can be drawn.

Particularly from the last two sales in Taobao, I learned a lot. The most important thing is that customers can feel how much effort you put in the product.

If customers are sure that you are putting your heart to the job and you are working toward the best of their interests, everything else will be easy. The majority of the customers will find out the true value of the product sooner or later because it is their money.

Many great revelations are actually simple. My understanding of building a best company is the one that puts the heart into the product. Apple’s IPhone is an example and Thinkpad is another. There is always insufficient supply of ‘devotion and dedication’ in the market, and company that can manufacture it will prosper.

 

Inspirations from the short film “Lost and Found”

The 2008 British short film “Lost and Found” is particularly inspiring for my current state of mind. Here are some quotations which address my current concerns very well.

First impressions are a funny thing and it’s always wise to take a moment to consider this when something new turns up on yours doorstep.

Now, anyone could be forgiven when faced with such an uninvited problem for choosing the easy way out. Then again some people just don’t have it in them to do anything other than the right thing.

So much for the best-laid plans as too often a small voice is not heard in a wider world! Yet when things aren’t going quite the way they should, it occurs to some that if something is worth doing it’s worth doing yourself.

This year’s donation

I am feeling generous this year. Here is a list of donations I made:

  1. 500 Yuan (RMB) to someone with bone problems
  2. $35 to Wikipedia
  3. $5 to the theme maker of Rustic

If I earn more money next year, I will donate more.

The power of passiveness

There is always an inner voice, all too tumultuous and restless, tells me I need to do certain things to make my life livable. However, it would be erroneous to believe a person only has one inner voice that is hoovering in his deep consciousness all the time.

Another voice inside me, which I only realize its existence recently, is more subdued and passive. It keeps telling me: I don’t have to do if I do not want it; I don’t not have to own things the social pressure ordains and I don’t have to strain myself and be enslaved by the ‘do it’ voice inside my mind.

My readers may think I am advocating a let-go and quit-it philosophy, but I am not.

The idea is that if I am free of fear, financial concerns and my paranoia, then I will know better to live my life. Right now, I am more driven, rather than driving.

Then what do I want to do? I won’t share it here because a goal is better attained when it is kept secret. However, I can tell my readers that one of the major goals of 2010 has been achieved and I am going to continue working on this track.

As this year ends…

Here are some words I want to say to myself.

  • Concern less and put the mind at peace
  • I don’t deserve more than what I do
  • Have you fully lived your present life
  • Give
  • Feel the flow and flow with it
  • Do less

What to do next year? Continue to run my business and lose some fat.

 

Let the world know

Now I am officially half way through the year 2011, and it has been a few months since my previous post.  You may wonder what kept me busy during the time. Here are a list of my recent adventures in life.

  • Driving. I didn’t expect it was that easy to get a Chinese Driver’s license with my U.S. license. All I need was to pass the written test and wait a few days. I have heard horrendous stories about driving schools in China: basically you pay the money to get bullied by the nasty coaches — according to my colleagues. Fortunately I don’t have to go through all that.
  • I bought a Citroen C4 and already drove it for over two months. It was kind of gas inefficient at first, but now it starts to be more drivable and consumes less gas. Although there are  a few minor scratches and abrasions, I have been careful enough not to cause any major incidents. Most of the spare time has been devoted to reading up the posts of car forums. I was tormented by the choice of a standard transmission or automatic one, and finally I yielded to the pressure and went automatic. Maybe my next car will be standard transmission if I am not too old to drive it.
  • My dissertation is going to be published by the university press in a few days. I have to pay about $1400 for its publication and the other half of the cost will be covered by the department. This is not a very proud thing to say since I have to pay for the costs instead of getting paid for my book. But this China and this is how the academic publishing circles generally operate. When proof-reading the drafts, I couldn’t believe that I actually wrote it. It indeed required enormous dedication and efforts and I am not sure if I am able to repeat the efforts again.
  • Fiddling with my Linux VPS and Nook Color Reader/Tablet. Just flashed CM7 on my Nook and I love it. Reading books every night by the fish tank should be a great experience and I need to do it from now on if the mosquitoes do not bother me too much.
  • Watching It is always sunny in Philadelphia and a few other so-so movies. The quality of the recent movie releases did become lower and maybe it is a reflection of the current world economy?

In the upcoming summer, I promise I’ll swim, sleep and read a lot. Oh, I forgot another thing: keep updating this shabby blog of mine.

First Post of 2011

Just a few quick notes to get the new year blogging started:

  • I am taking the written test for getting the Chinese driver’s license. There is no need for me to take the road test because I have a U.S. license. This saves me a lot of trouble,  a lot of cash, and obviously the  bullying of the driving coach in the evil driving school.
  • Received my Nook Color from the United States and love it. This device helps me pick up the long bygone joy of reading. Right now I am reading A Town Like Alice and the treatise of Lin Da (林达)on American society. Future reading plans include the heroic martial novels of Jin Yong (金庸). I seem to be the only Chinese male that haven’t read his novels.
  • I really need to clean up this laptop and reinstall the system. At least I need to open it this week to see what kind of heat-relieving gadget I need to order from Taobao. The M key does not work so well right now, and the system seems to be infected with some Trojans because the Webcam turns on and off quickly.
  • The right side of my waist suffered some pain. After two times of acupuncture treatment, it is getting better. OK, I promise I will spend less time on the kitchen table with my laptop and stop watching movies on my MP4 while lying on the bed.

Most hectic year of my life

I have never been so busy and so stressed out in my life. The latest development has been my PhD dissertation defense, which is schedule next week, on December 2nd. After that, I think I deserve some rest and mundane moments of a simple life.

Here are the things I plan to do after the hectic time  is over:

  • Get my Chinese driver’s license
  • Clean the noisy and dusty laptop, and may even upgrade its memory
  • Exercise and excise, mostly by climbing the mountain
  • Sleep more. Try to go to bed before 11 pm
  • Buy a Kindle and start reading good stuff. I need to further empowering my English writing
  • Buy a West Digital 1.5T hard drive and make it run Debian for my MyBook World download box
  • Sort out the family photos and categorize them nicely
  • Maybe reinstall Windows XP

It seems like a already busy schedule again. But I will try to focus on sleep, exercise and reading. Some good movies will also be great for relaxation. Please stay tuned for more frequent updating of this blog.