Your brain is like a toddler and you need to know how to handle it.

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I found a nice write-up that I can quote today [1], read on below:

… read about everybody’s problems and you realize we all have a lot in common. Our brains abhor boredom and are completely addicted to stimuli. I’ve heard it said that dreams are the way our brains get our stimuli fix when we’re asleep. Maybe that’s accurate, maybe not. Either way, your waking brain is a stimuli junkie and acts like an immature toddler.

I see a lot of posts here about people saying, “I can’t stand busy work”, or “I just end up wasting time playing x or browsing y” or “I just like sleeping into noon so much”.

You try to do something productive, and your toddler brain has little patience and 5 minutes into it it screams,”JUST QUICKLY CHECK FACEBOOK, I NEED A FIX” or, “JUST LIKE 15 MORE GAMES OF 2048″. You can’t stand the thought of having to do something challenging and not as easily stimulating. Instead of getting a high from the accomplishment and endorphins from running for an hour, you instead opt for your vice of choice. You give in to your screaming immature toddler brain.

We all have it. We all know what it’s like. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t understand it this feeling. You lack self respect because you are the parent of that toddler and you’ve just given up and give in to all of that toddler’s needs. That toddler screams, “JUST 2 MORE GAMES THEN I’LL STUDY” and you let it win.

Discipline starts by realizing that you have to live with this primitive part of your brain for better or worse. I’m convinced there isn’t a single person out there who’s brain doesn’t demand they indulge in vices. Discipline is all about taming the toddler. Instead of just giving in all the time, you come to a mutual agreement with your primitive brain. “I study for 2 hours FIRST then I play video games. That’s the agreement, you don’t get to call the shots.” These are the kinds of boundaries you need to set up.

Doing this over time, you and that toddler brain of yours come to a mutual understanding. The toddler realizes that you are actually better off if you don’t succumb to every short-term desire and your rational, mature brain realizes that you can enjoy your vices better in moderation and that there’s much greater pleasure to be had from long-term investment. From this understanding is the birth of self-respect. You are now taking control of your life and not allowing this self-serving toddler to run around controlling your life.

Teacher-Student Game Method

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Buat para penyelidik yg mempunyai pelajar Master/PhD, saya terfikir satu permainan baru untuk mencambah idea. Teacher-Student game.

Semasa berbincang, ambil giliran utk jadi Teacher, dan jadi Student.

Cthnya bila pelajar Master/PhD kita ambil watak teacher, mereka akan ada ego-boost dan menjadikan mereka lebih thoughtful semasa memandu perbincangan.

Manakala bila penyelidik mengambil watak Student, ia mengajar penyelidik sifat humility (rendah hati) dan membuka minda terhadap idea-idea baru.

Carilah partner. It could open us up to new concepts : )

Sunday Evening Macro Shot

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I don’t know the name of the plant shown in the photo below, but we have a lot of these on our backyard. Is this what they call the Morning Glory?

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Bonus story: Dealing with slow contractor.

If you are like me, then you would like to have your contractor to work quickly within their planned schedule. But more than often, the contractor would work with their sweet time and deliver later than promised.

You can do like just what I did. I told them upfront that the pacing is not satisfactory, and I have another contractor who want to deliver faster (yes, I have done some surveys beforehand).

In rebuttal, the contractor quickly come and work quickly to finish their task, knowing that they are easily replaceable.

But please be careful, you must be very subtle. Mind your language to the softest. Arrange words wisely.

It is not necessary to negotiate directly to the boss. Their subordinate will do well to deliver your message.

Do research beforehand. Don’t create stories to manipulate people’s fear. It wont take you far.

Saturday Morning Macro Shot

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I’m getting better in shooting macro
shots, yay.

By the way the fruit fly below is not dead.

It refuses to be photographed, so I ran around like crazy chasing this beautiful beast. Can you see the reflection on the fruit fly’s torso? Yep, that’s me holding the phone. What a selfie.

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Morning water droplets. I found water is a beautiful subject to be photographed as well.

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This one is not that great, but I still like this shot.

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Bonus, silly-face army figurine, meh.

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Rights of a student who don’t want to abide with the professor’s requirement?

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A user asked on something regarding the rights of a student who don’t want to abide with the professor’s requirement to leave the cellphone in a box during the professor’s class.

Another user responded:

You are in possession of exactly zero rights that are applicable in this case. You have only one thing: the opportunity to take this class, not the right to, and that opportunity is contingent on many factors – your grades, your paying for it, your attendance, your abiding by the rules the professor has set.

You have no right to carry any given personal item on you at all times in all places. Your professor can outlaw cell phones. He or she isn’t requiring you to put it in the box — he or she is stating in the syllabus that if you choose to bring your cell phone into class, you must put it in the box. You have at least two other options here: don’t take the class and don’t bring your cell phone into the class. If you don’t like it, don’t take the class. Or turn it off and stick it in your book-bag, though be prepared for the consequences the day you forget to turn it off (yes, he can kick you out, reduce your grades, etc.).

You don’t have to “listen to his silly rules” because you are his student, you only need to abide by them as long as you want to be his student. If you don’t want to abide, then don’t be his student.

Where does your logic end? You want to take the class, but you don’t feel like you should have to pay the silly costs? You want to take the class, but you don’t feel like you should have to show up to the silly classroom or do the silly assignments?

Who cares if your cell phone holder is also your wallet? Why do you need either in the class? What prevents you from taking your cell phone out of the holder and leaving it in your car, or at home, or anywhere else? What other distracting and unnecessary items do you want to take into a classroom? An iPod so you can listen to music instead of the lecture? Your paraphernalia so that you can blaze up at the back of the class?

One of the goals of college is to prepare you for how the real world works. Most employers require “two years of experience or an equivalent degree” for entry-level positions not because they value what you learned in drama class or humanities but because there is a hope — though apparently an increasingly small one — that someone who has gone through two years of college has learned that no, they can’t act however they want, no, they can’t put off their responsibilities, no, the world doesn’t revolve around him or her. Employees in many work environments are required to leave their cell phones locked up during working hours — I’ve worked at a half-a-dozen places where a glimpse of a cell phone is an immediate write-up. What makes you think a college class is any different?

Where did you get the notion that you have the same “right” to carry your cell phone in a classroom that you have on the sidewalk? And where oh where oh where did you get the idea that your college professor cannot require you to print up a few pages?

… and lastly, a rebuttal from another user.

Why is it so hard to make friends as an adult?

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Selected answer #1

“As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other”

Selected answer #2

Most people don’t know how to form functional relationships.
When you are younger, you are more open because you haven’t yet accumulated enough filters from adults and society. You are just starting to experience judgment from others (“That shirt is stupid”, “That question was retarded.”)

You have to tell children to shut up because they are too loud.
You have to tell adults to speak up because they are too quiet.

Boundaries are necessary to growth. But most people grow up with improper boundaries placed upon them; society is very good at telling you want NOT to do (don’t smoke, don’t get bad grades, etc), but it’s horrible at telling you what to do.

For example, think of all the myriad ways society punishes you for poor dating habits. Loser, loner, virgin, too ugly, too fat, too dumb, creepy, bad hygiene, etc. There are too many ways to count. But when it comes to actively give you the right direction, telling you the right way to date, society is conspicuously silent. Or you get the bullshit/impractical (“be confident, be yourself”) advice that never works. Most of the time you end up in the friendzone revealing just how shitty that advice really is.

As you grow you adopt the same mentality that society has grown up with.
“DON’T do [insert bad action]….”
“DO [insert generic impractical advice]“

As a result, most of your relationships are borne of convenience; you’re located in the same place, you like the same sports, you have the same hobbies. And at a young age, you’re open enough to share these things. You sit next to someone in class and you talk about your G.I. Joes or the TV shows you like with abandon. It’s very easy to make friends because children are very up front with their expectations. They wear their happiness and displeasure on their faces and you can hear it in their voices very clearly. This makes managing relationships much easier.

But as you grow older and encounter more and more moral judgment, you close up more and more because you fear the rejection of others more and more. You become a neurotic people pleaser.

Also, people don’t learn the difference between forming relationships around necessities vs. forming relationships around commonalities. This is why most relationships are dysfunctional in nature; jocks hang with jocks. Art fags hang with art fags. Hipsters hang with hipsters. Blacks hang with blacks. Rich people hang with rich people, and so on. Everybody is on the look out for common cultural associations. Very few are ever taught to pay attention to their necessities.

Necessities are the basis for functional relationships. They are the people you actually miss when they leave, instead of the people you just wish you were around so you could have a little more fun with smoking weed or playing basketball.

When you form relationships around commonalities, you create OPTIONS.

Optional people are different than essential people. Optional people are like your waiter; you think you need them because they are serving you food and it seems like they’re important at the time. But in reality, you could replace them in an instant with any other common waiter standing around.
Essential relationships are formed around necessities.

These are satisfying relationships because they do more than just give you a good time. That actually meet your needs. Your mom and dad don’t necessarily give you a fun time every day, but they meet your needs. Same with a spouse. Same with any person who you are very open with, who you discuss your necessities with and who can meet those necessities. These are the people that become essential to your life. This are the people that become your arm and your legs–when they are removed from your life, it hurts. This is the difference between a bond of convenience and a bond of necessity.

Everything we do in life, every activity, every decision, every action is related to fulfilling our needs. We don’t smoke just for the hell of it, we don’t parachute out of airplanes, we don’t join the military, we don’t play video games, we don’t go to raves, we don’t surf the internet, we don’t post on reddit for fake internet points just because we can. All these things are attempts to fulfill our needs in some way. If we recognize this and get down to the core reasons behind our actions, we realize just how powerful necessity is in governing our lives.

The beauty of necessity is that everyone’s needs are universal. Although there are different activities and different cultures around the world, they are all governed by the same attempt to meet the exact same necessities. If you understand this, it become much easier to aim at necessity when forming your relationships. It becomes much easier to form a relationship with anyone.

Commonalities are hit and miss. They give you a false sense of belonging. But they are options because you can switch out commonalities like changing hats. You can switch tennis for swimming. You can switch rich for poor. You can switch athlete for nerd. You can switch gang banger for girl scout. They are all equally optional designations and ultimately worthless distinctions.

Necessity on the other hand hits EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. You don’t have to guess what necessities the other person has because you have the exact same needs. Everyone on earth has the exact same needs. Forming relationships around necessities is much harder to do because it requires you to learn how to open up again, but it’s also much simpler once you become skilled at it.

Scopus ID for Ahmad Faisal Mohamad Ayob

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I’ve been reminded by the Deputy Dean to always keep track on our Scopus record. One of the issues that has been experienced by my colleagues is the multiple Scopus Id generated for one person.

Thankfully, my Scopus ID is only one. The details are as below:

Name: Dr. Ahmad Faisal Mohamad Ayob
Name in Scopus: Ahmad F. Mohamad Ayob
Link to Scopus ID: http://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.url?authorId=48361034400