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Finding Self

sky

After decades of active self-analysis, I may have finally found myself.

Tomimito, where have you been?

On another note, it’s a strange feeling to be back in New York by myself. Last time I was here, I was with the hubby and didn’t really have time to reflect but to enjoy New York the “tourist style”. Standing in front of JFK in a ridiculously chilly weather with loads of luggage, waiting forever for a shuttle that had no ETA reminded me of the day I moved back to California five years ago- standing in front of my apartment on 9th Avenue, waiting for a shuttle that NEVER CAME. Shame on you, Supershuttle! Oops, didn’t mean to get all upset… this was supposed to be an emotion-provoking, sentimental type of post… :T

Image Source: Google Images

“Fairy on the Ice”

yuna kim 2009 Grand Prix

Yuna Kim not only won her third Grand Prix medal last night, but my heart as well. I’m a latecomer, I realize. I just wasn’t aware how talented this beautiful girl was until now- I thought she was a good “Korean” figure skater, didn’t know she was indeed the “Queen of Figure Skating”… until I watched her performance, which left me speechless- definitely been missing out. Aside from her obvious talent in figure skating, what’s even more amazing is that this girl can sing and dance too, while being indescribably beautiful, graceful, and cute (all at the same time). I hear she plays the piano as well?! What does she not do? What an atypical “Daughter of Mom’s Friend”… Korean parents often try to motivate their kids by comparing them to their friends’ kids who excel in everything, usually in studies. Well, they “think” it motivates them but there are always “exceptions”. Anyhow, back to our darling, Yuna:

yuna kim1

yunakimbabyblue

She’s definitely gained a celebrity status in Korea, and has been a major “commodity” in the advertising industry.

kimyuna Grand prix

yunakim2

Her moves are soft, jumps are effortless, outfits always flatter her amazingly well-proportioned figure, and her smokey make up instantly intensifies her facial expressions.

yunakim2009

I love her up-do and body hugging flowy outfits. They give her the signature ‘angelic’ look.

yuna blue

Yunakimblue

yuna blue2009

Last night at the Final- Blue looks fabulous on her.

yunared

She’s so adorable… If she’s so beautiful to me, I wonder what huge impact she has on guys? My husband for sure has fallen in love. :P


—-*

Gotta get ready for another big day now- a Wedding and a Company Party… think I’m going to try her smokey make up today. We’ll see how it turns out!

Then I’m off to the East Coast next week- Haven’t been back for almost two years now. definitely stoked. :D


Hi. What Blood Type Are You?

I don't care

Ever wonder why we think the way we do?  Researchers try their best to minimize the effect of bias in experiential and attitudinal studies, yet it’s impossible to remove them completely, well because… we are who we are- human. Bias is not a variable, or rather an extraneous factor (that which affects study results though not taken into consideration) that can easily be removed… essentially because it’s in our system- it’s a part of us! You would be surprised to find out how long the list gets, but to make it simple, I’ve picked out a few that may be of your interest:

Decision Making & Behavioral Biases

1. Bandwagon Effect- The tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same: Not as apparent in US, but in Korea, this is quite prevalent, sometimes to an extreme level (i.e. Plastic surgery, Cow disease craze, a national obsession over getting into a top university, etc.)

2. Confirmation Bias- The tendency to search for, or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions: We all like to think that we are right, so we look for ways to justify ourselves.

3. Rosy Retrospection- The tendency to rate past events more positively than they had actually rated them when the event occurred: Do you sometimes reminisce the past and compare it with present, thinking that you were better off then? What about that ex who treated you like garbage, yet you only think about the good times you had with that bastard and convince yourself to think that you miss him?

Social Biases

1. Barnum Effect (or Forer Effect): The tendency to give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to a wide range of people- OK, I have a lot to say about this one; BLOOD TYPES. I can’t even count how many times I’ve told people that there is no empirical research to support such concept. Without some kind of scientific support, it’s only a theory (one that was never even tested in this case) and only a belief. So if you take Barnum Effect into consideration, you soon come to realize that it’s only a mechanism to categorize people just like what race did to us- it does no good! I hear that some are even rejected from a job application process in Japan because they belong to a certain blood type group! Can you believe it? Nobody has control over what blood type they are born with! Anyways, my point is that nobody is superior or inferior because of a blood type. Same goes for those scientifically-unproven personality tests that seem to be so popular on the internet. Ever been surprised at how accurate they come out to be? Duh, it’s because they were meant to be vague and general to work with every type of personality and people.

2. Fundamental Attribution Error- The tendency for people to over-emphasize personality-based explanations for behaviors observed in others while underemphasizing the role and power of situational influences on the same behavior: So we need to understand how influential situational factors are on the way we behave. It may not be the personality after all, but the situation that’s making you act that way, which could be a reason why we act differently with different people. Perhaps while a friend may view you as extremely friendly and kind, another may consider you indifferent and aloof, which doesn’t mean that you have multiple personalities, but the environmental or personal circumstance that you were in at the time of your interaction with such people.

3. Halo effect: The tendency for a person’s positive or negative traits to “spill over” from one area of their personality to another in others’ perceptions of them- Ever been on a blind date or a first date and brushed him/her off because of that one thing that kept bothering? Was it his ugly hair cut? That chili pepper between her teeth?

4. Self-fulfilling prophecy: The tendency to engage in behaviors that elicit results which will confirm our beliefs: This one can actually be quite beneficial if used properly. It basically means that if you believe in something, you will subconsciously work towards justifying that belief. So yes, it is true that a dream can come true… only if you believe in yourself. :)

Source: www.wikipedia.org- my precious!


Instant Gratification

Apart from the fact that Robert Downey Jr. & Jamie Foxxs’ acting is exceptional and that its being one of those few encounters that moves my heart like none other, the movie left lingering thoughts on the effect of friendship on people with mental illnesses, an astounding number of homeless people in LA, and a possible correlation between schizophrenia and genius.

Perhaps it is right that what such people need is not another prescription drug or counseling but a friend who truly cares about them. Whenever we are trying to solve a problem, do we not identify the root cause first? When it all comes down to it, I believe in many cases, such mental illnesses begin with one’s feeling of being isolated, hence the title, “The Soloist” (however i’m not sure whether the director had that in mind when he decided to go with the title :P). Instead of trying to do a quick fix like we do with many other issues (um, sometimes on very significant matters that determine a whole country’s fate- think stimulus bills?! but, that’s another story), perhaps it’s only appropriate to apply a fundamental resolution by investigating and identifying a true cause in such a case since we are dealing with a human illness. While it will take much longer to derive a conclusion than simply diagnosing and prescribing a drug associated with the disorder as determined by ‘the great psychiatrists’, I believe the result will be more fundamentally effective when taken the alternate route. Think of prescribing a drug as putting a patch on a deep wound without putting antibiotics on it- while it will look like it’s fixed at the moment, your skin’s still infected and will only get worse. All in all, I’m just not convinced that when a patient takes a medication to alleviate a mental illness, aside from its possible placebo effect, it corrects the fundamental problem. It just boggles my mind that we would treat people’s mind the same way we treat- say, a cold. Is a person’s psychological state a body part? No. Then is it right to treat a psychological disorder with a medication as we treat a flu? Probably not, but heck, I’m sure there’s a lot of others who would go for it regardless even after realizing that it’s a band-aid fix, which is only temporary. Perhaps it’s only reflective of the world these days, where we constantly seek instant gratification.

To Spend or Save- That is the Question

At the end of the day, this indeed becomes the ultimate question- do I splurge on stuff I want, or do I save for the stuff i need? I consider myself a very economical person, yet like everyone else, there are certain times when my mind becomes blank and it no longer is in control of my behaviors. Once your eyes start having an intimate conversation with those Louboutins or Vuittons, the next thing you know is that you are walking out that glitzy store feeling like you were just born again. You just feel so loaded and fly until you realize that you just ripped a huge hole in your bank account. Well, at least I still feel guilty about it, which makes everything okay, right? :P

In any case, I guess it’s true that your taste and interests change as you age as I’ve actually started to be attracted to things other than shoes or bags… as you may have noticed from my previous post, I have a great respect for Mr. Jobs. I’ve always liked Apple stuff, but it wasn’t until recent that I started placing their products on my shopping list. The two babies on the list at the moment are:

iMac

and…

macbookpro

Laptop is nice when you are on the run all the time,  but it would never completely satisfy the need for having the ‘real thing’…  hard to explain, but it just doesn’t provide the ‘stability/reliability’ that a desktop does- well, at least for me. Then again, who knows, once this blog really takes off (ha!), I may start to feel truly obligated to update it every day (not that I already feel that way- I love my blog- only if I could do it full time!)… then I would really need a computer by my side 24/7.

In any case, both our desktop and laptop are working fine at the moment… except for the strange noise they make once they get overheated… :( Unless you really need it, it’s smarter not to get it, right? Unless you really, really need it… and just absolutely cannot survive without it… yeah… hmmm…

Then again, I think having one will actually help improve my creativity (remember? your environment matters- see below post on creativity)…

speakerand these Harmon Kardon Soundsticks would make it look even better- ahhh… dreamy…

How to become Steve Jobs.

iphonePhoto source: www.apple.com

In today’s fast changing environment, being ‘innovative’ perhaps is the most valuable asset that can act as a competitive advantage for both a person/employee and an organization. Innovation by definition means a mental process that leads to a new idea. I should probably make a distinction here between being ‘creative’ and ‘innovative’, as many times these terms seem to be used interchangeably, when in reality they are different animals. You can be creative, but not innovative if you cannot materialize the creative idea- consider Job’s iPhone project (I call him the ‘Epitome of Creativity & Innovation’- creative idea flawlessly executed).

Creativity can mundanely explained as some sort of psychological activity that occurs to a certain group of people in which an insight is provided, that which is argued in a book titled Creativity by world’s leading researcher in positive psychology, Dr. Csikszentmihaly. He claims that creativity is an interaction between a person’s thoughts and a sociocultural context, meaning that it’s a systemic phenomenon, not an individual phenomenon as many tend to believe. So you may be asking now- So, you mean people are not born creative, but can be made creative? Yes, according to Dr. C- and here are couple things you can do to enhance your creativity in your daily life:

• According to Dr. C, our brains have limited source of memory, just like the computers. There are limits on the amount of information that can be processed at any given time; thus it’s important to conserve your creative energy. In other words, don’t stretch yourself too thin. Give your brain time to relax.

• Try new things and keep record of them. They can be as extreme as sky diving or traveling to the deep forest of Amazon, or as simple as striking up a conversation with strangers or visiting a exotic restaurant down the street. Then, write them down either in your journal, a blog or whatever is most convenience so that you may revisit it later to observe a pattern, which will help you identify your favorite activities for further exploration and development. Mine is traveling to new places, unquestionably.

• Constant busyness is overrated. How will you ever think of new ideas when your mind and body are inundated all the time? Despite what the world tells us about successful people who never have time for anything, set aside a time for reflection and let your mind indulge in it at least for that occasion. On that note, there are couple things that can facilitate the creative processes- Walking, Showering (I know it’s random, but trust me, it works), Driving (wha–t! I should be driving more), Gardening (ok- my gardener just lost his job), Weaving, and Carpentry. So if possible, try to fit in some of these activities into your daily schedule- well, assuming you are interested in becoming creative! Then again, don’t you shower on a regular basis already? Perhaps it’s a good idea to extend the shower time. :P

• Research suggests that creative people tend to sleep longer. Sleep more- well only if that works for you as everyone has a different rhythm. As for me, I know my body longs for 8 hours, but it’s never possible!

• Get organized! By storing things like car keys in a same place all the time so that you don’t have to run around the house screaming your lungs out every time you leave the house, you not only save physical energy, but also save creative energy. Don’t waste your energy on unnecessary things.

• Your place can foster creativity. It’s not the environment itself that matters, but how harmonious you are with it. There is no certain set of solutions provided as this is a subjective matter, so we are advised to try different styles such as getting rid of everything except for furniture (so-called-Japanese style).

• Objects in your space can help you become creative, such as diplomas, books, photos, as well as what’s in your wallet, as they remind us who we are and what our interests are.

• Keep a record of your emotions throughout the day and activities associated with them. By knowing what you like and don’t like, you will gain control over it to start spending more time on doing things more meaningful to you.

It actually seems like developing these techniques will not only help you become creative, but also help you discover your true interests during the process. I personally have been struggling figuring out what my true interests are, which has also allowed me to experience many different things in life in a positive sense, but also has resulted in wasted time and resource. Now that I think about it, they were my subconscious attempts at developing these techniques to become creative, because there is no doubt that I’m much more creative now than I was 10 or even 5 years ago.

Source: Csikszentmihaly, M. 1996. Creativity. New York: HarperCollins.