Monthly Archives: August 2015

First and Second Order Motivations

How do you decide what to do in life? How do you weigh different options? We all make small decisions every day: Do I take the stairs or the elevator? Walk, drive, take public transportation, or Uber? Cook, eat out, grab fast food, or drink Soylent? Attend class or skip? Go to bed early or get some more work done? Read a book or watch TV or Netflix in my free time?

We also make some decisions that have bigger implications for our lives: Where do I go for college? After college, do I get a job or go to grad school? Take a job with higher pay and longer hours or less pay and shorter hours? Work, volunteer, or pick up a hobby on the side? Date casually, seriously, or not at all? Have a child or focus on career? Move to another city or country or stay where I’m at? These problems are harder, but we all know they matter a lot. Read more of this post

It’s Not Your Fault

Growing up, I was notorious for losing things. I would sometimes spend upwards of 10-20 minutes looking for something I lost at home: My homework assignment, textbook, game, a pencil, a water bottle. Everything is always in the last place you look, because well, you stop looking, but it frequently also felt like everything was in the last part of the last room in the house that I hadn’t checked yet. Frustration is the strongest negative emotion that I feel, and losing things all the time was super frustrating.

I used to feel like this was a moral failing on my part. Why can’t I just keep my stuff straight? Why can’t I just be consistent about where I put my things? Why don’t I have a system in place for where each item belongs, and make sure to stick to that system?

Then I got to college. And I magically stopped losing things, or at least lost them with a much lower frequency and spent a lot less time looking. I still maybe lost a water bottle a couple times a year, so I switched to cheap flip-cap water bottles that I wouldn’t mind losing. Then the frustration was completely gone, and with basically no effort expended on my part. What happened? Read more of this post

If You Want to Speak Last, Speak Best

Previously in this leadership series: How Not to Delegate. My examples in this post are typically drawn from Christian leadership, but the message also applies more widely to other instances of collaborative leadership, group discussion, and public speaking.

Four months and seven years ago, I was a high school senior visiting colleges. Out of laziness, I had only applied to three, and was pretty set on attending Caltech. I came to Caltech’s Prefrosh Weekend mostly to solidify that decision and get to know the campus a bit better before I would arrive.

My host’s roommate found out that I was a Christian when I listed that I like to listen to Christian music on the interest sheet which they used to match us with hosts. He told me that he’d recently been attending a Friday night bible study and invited me to come along. Read more of this post

Singapore: General Impressions

Hello again from Singapore! After barely getting to Singapore, Grace has taken me all over the island, meeting friends and family, seeing sights, and most frequently, eating food. We still have a couple days left here, but I’ve had enough time to make and process my observations. Plus, today is Singapore’s 50th National Day, the “golden jubilee” anniversary of independence, an appropriate time to post. My observations and thoughts are combined into five characterizations of the city-state of Singapore I’ve picked up on.

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