Lit tent and stars in the sky

Event + Your action = Your life

It is a simple equation: E + R = O, meaning event plus reaction equals outcome.

Another simple truth that often we don’t realise. Events do happen. Good or bad inevitably they do happen. They happen like the stars in the sky, in haphazard ways. And you end up with an event in your lap and you have to decide. To decide how to react; what to do about it.

Three options you are really left with. A, to do nothing, just stare, remain idle and still, merely an observer. B, accept defeat which is also a reaction and a choice. C, react consciously and decisively. Make a deliberate choice on what to do about it; on how to respond and what to do next.

E + R = Our life

It’s our choices that will determine what happens next, what the outcome will be. The one thing we can control is how we react, what actions we take in response to any event good or bad. Some times even a good event can be diminished by an ill considered reaction. And clearly many bad events have been salvaged due to thoughtful and considerate actions.

We need to remember that A, B and C are all our choices. Doing nothing is also a choice that equally determines an outcome. I vote for thoughtful reaction every time. Paying attention to all the details, considering all the options, choosing a course of action that leads to a desired outcome. Wrong choices are also going to be a part of this process but still, making the effort is what counts. Any person in action mode will find it a lot easier to reconsider and adjust the strategy.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree? How do you perceive events? I’d love to read what you think about that. Share in a reply below.

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Photo of underwater

Don’t Quit

by Edgar A. Guest

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low but the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit…
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many failures turn about
When we might have won had we stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow…
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out…
And you can never tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

What do you think? Have you ever been close to giving up? What happened? Share your story in a reply.

Silhouette photography of person against sky full of stars

Time for some optimism and faith

Following a couple of heavy posts I feel it’s time to talk about optimism and faith.

Life has a habit of throwing things at you when you least expect them; things you never imagined. Despite the fact that you spend an incredible amount of time thinking about worst case scenarios and doom and gloom. Those stories never materialise. Others do. The ones you never thought of.

At what time in our lives do we get to realise that? When does our intellectual yet primitive brain accept the fact that fear generated from our own thoughts isn’t really helping? That the stories our mind plots to warn us and protect us, are themselves the source of stress and unhappiness?

Protect us from what? How? Have you seen the stars in the sky? Or the pictures of the universe that NASA publishes ever so often? What is each and everyone of us but a dot in the sky? The Earth itself is nothing but a dot in the sky.

If there is one thing we can master, that would be our mind, our thoughts. Maybe. Outside events are haphazard and unpredictable and random and good and bad. Anything goes. But our reaction we can control. Only that. Our actions, our decisions in response to whatever life throws at us. Good or bad.

And when its bad lets remember to put faith in the mix. Faith hat we can make a wise decision, faith that things will go well at the end. Faith that yes we can determine the outcome with our actions, faith that there is a new day coming tomorrow and the sun is definitely coming out. NASA said.



Tree silhouette in dark forest

IF

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Yet another inspirational poem for my post today. I hope you like it. I hope it helps.

Do you know of a poem conveying the same feeling but referring to a woman?

Which poem is your favourite? Share it in a reply.

Thanks!

White and black sailing boat.

Invictus

by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me, 
      Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
      For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
      I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
      My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
      Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
      Finds and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 
      How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate, 
      I am the captain of my soul. 

This post is the poem Invictus by Willliam Ernest Henley. He was an influential British poet who died in 1903, at the age of 54. He wrote this poem in 1875 and 144 years later his words speak to us all.

I would love to read your thoughts on those words. Mine? I just needed to remember that I can be, and that I must be, the master of my fate.

Computer screen on and open laptop on the side.

New ways to protect data now and in the future

Hi friends!

This is a brief post dedicated to the most impressive news I have read in a while. As you know I’m interested in new technologies like the Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence etc. Boundless connectivity amazes me. It enables us to communicate seamlessly regardless of geographical positions. It makes existing technology far more efficient and cost effective.

But there is one risk: failing to protect all that data that new technologies collect. This is the main concern of all sceptics. Rightfully so. However, as an enthusiast and an optimist, I always felt that issues of security and privacy will eventually be adequately addressed. And they are. Even more so than I thought.

Today I read that researchers at Cambridge University  are successfully using quantum mechanics to protect sensitive information. Apparently they use particles of light, photons, to protect encryption keys from hackers. In case of an attack, their quantum state changes thus eliminating valuable information.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, I also found out in the same article about quantum computers. They are like the computers we know but their function utilises quantum mechanical phenomena like superposition and entanglement. Quantum properties are used for the representation and structure of the data, and quantum mechanics for performing operations with that data. Google, IBM and others are already working on that.

Clearly the future holds many more impressive developments. Thankfully, for any risks posed on one end there is counteraction on the other to prevent fallout. I’m actually looking forward to seeing all this happening.

What do you think about it? Are you concerned about newfound threats or are you thrilled about human ingenuity?

Writing Atelier logo

Writing Atelier is here for you. Have a look.

Hi friends!

This is a post dedicated to my new mission: Writing Atelier. It is a new site showcasing the writing services I offer. In the Blog page you can find a portfolio of my work.

Gingerbread Houses and the Automotive Industry are two of the most recent subjects I tackled for my customers. Both gave me a 5 Star review on fiverr. I really enjoyed the variety!

I write articles, blog posts, website content and marketing emails. If there is anything you’d like me to write for you please let me know.

I would really welcome any ideas and suggestions you might want to share. I love referrals too!

Thanks!

Two pencils and white paper on pink surface

The best writing advice I got so far

In this post I want to share the most efficient writing advice I got so far. I started this journey in writing some time ago with the goal to write professionally. I want to write staff that people want to read. Don’t we all?

The more I write, the more I realize that professional writing isn’t about the writer. It is about the reader. It isn’t about self-expression, it’s about getting the message across. And getting the message across isn’t always easy. Often it means that what you wrote is unreadable, or useless. Writing for others needs to have a purpose, to serve their needs in some way.

As my tutor says, what we write needs to either inform or entertain or educate or even provoke. In any case it needs to have something to offer. But even if there is something useful to say, how do we go about saying it? Fragmented writing is my main pitfall. It’s so easy to make too big a leap in your paragraph. To imply things the reader doesn’t know – because I didn’t write them. To skip some parts of the event and throw the reader right to the end without taking it one step at a time. And those are just some of my shortcomings.

So, what do I do to improve? The one piece of advice I was given by all tutors is to read it out loud. That is a lot more difficult than it sounds. I still haven’t been able to do it. Breaking the silence in the room scares me. Although as time goes by, I realize this is going to be a necessary tool. But not my favorite.

You know what my favorite tool is? Copying! Yes, copying as an exercise. Copying great writers using pen and paper. I find this to be such a powerful mental exercise. It is based on the rule of input – output. As a writer you can create great output only if great input goes into your head. And great input can have many forms. One of which is reading great books. And copying parts of those books the old-fashioned hand-written way. The way that allows the brain to process that input.

I know I have a long way to go, and this exercise really helps. It functions both as a technical guide – on sentence and paragraph structure – and as inspiration.  The book I’m using right now for this is Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. Such a skilled writer. I am amazed every day by the way she writes long sentences. Her sentences can be five lines long and flow beautifully. I have to say, as I read them, I keep thinking: She must have read them out loud! Maybe even more than once.  

That is the best writing advice I got so far. If you are interested in any type of writing, go ahead and try this. Let me know what you think.

Is there some valuable writing advice you would like to share? Send me a reply and let me know.

White building with DATA HAS A BETTER IDEA signage

What is Artificial Intelligence really?

What does AI mean in real life, not in the movies? Science fiction loves to portray human-like super smart machines that take over the world. Reality is not quite so impressive, or scary.

Artificial Intelligence enables machines to process large amounts of data, to recognise patterns in that data and learn from them. Well known examples include the self-driving car and chess-playing computers. However, the way AI can contribute in health care and manufacturing is far more impressive.

As I was going through articles and videos on the subject, I watched a video from Microsoft depicting AI in practice. What struck me the most was the scene at the hospital with the patient recovering from heart surgery. AI technology can track the movements of the patient and notify the nurse in case he exceeds doctor recommendations. AI embedded in the security cameras can also locate the nearest wheelchair and notify the nurse so that she can get the patient seated as soon as possible. 

In a chemical plant, AI cameras can learn to recognise a dangerous incident, like the spillage of a chemical and alert the staff. A computer can notify the right person to clean it up and all others to avoid the danger. Impressive!

Would you like to know more about how this technology works? Are you willing to accept that technology works in mysterious ways or would you like to explore the realities behind it?

I would love to know your thoughts on this. Please put them in a reply below.

Black numbers on white paper signifying Big Data

BIG DATA IN OUR WORLD. WHAT ABOUT IT?

Do you feel like a stranger in your own world sometimes? Does all this new technology make you feel like an immigrant in a new country? You are not alone. Technology is moving so fast these days, even professionals try to catch up. After discussing the Internet of Things in my previous post, I feel its time to get acquainted with BIG DATA.

What is Big Data?

Lets just start with what data signifies today. Just data, not the Big Data variety. Data refers to information we put in our computer every time we write something or make entries in a spreadsheet. Pretty straight forward so far.

Today though, data is generated in many more ways. Every time we use our tablet or smartphone to connect with others, we create data. Every time we send an email, play a game or purchase something online we generate data. Same goes with liking a photograph, buying movie tickets, or using a smart watch. Tons of data is generated and stored about our health and life choices when exercising with our smart watch.

So Big Data, as you might have guessed already, is massive amounts of data. Today’s technology enables the collection, storage and analysis of mind-blowing amounts of information. According to Oracle, the volume of available data doubles every two years.

Three key concepts define the term Big Data today:

  • Volume, as in high volumes of structured, unstructured or semi structured data.
  • Velocity, as in the fast rate of collection and analysis. Today there is even products that operate on real-time information.
  • Variety, as in the many different types of data. Today they can even derive from audio and video files.

So we have Big Data. What about it? Why is it important?

According to the World Economic Forum, Big Data analysis will reveal patterns and connections that will vastly improve most human activities.

Big Data means more information, more information leads to better and more comprehensive answers. Better answers provide better solutions.

Often, better solutions lead to even better quality of data, so the circle closes and opens again leading to accelerated progress.

The significant question is what organizations are doing with Big Data. Analysis provides information that enables organizations to implement:

  • cost and time reductions
  • maintenance based on accurate predictions
  • augmented customer experience
  • smart decision making and innovation
  • new product development
  • optimized services
  • more comprehensive business strategies

What is really interesting is all the effort, imagination and creativity that is required in order make sense of all this and come up with something useful. I was surprised to read about the importance of asking the right questions. Behind all this technology there is highly skilled people involved in a process of discovery and innovation. All this doesn’t just happen automatically, which often comes as a surprise to non-tech people.

I am looking forward to finding out what you think about BIG DATA. Send me a reply below with your thoughts and questions.

What else would you like to know about Big Data?

What new development would you like me to write about next?