Jan 8, 2007

A New Skill

This weekend, I was teaching my friend to drive. The mind, as usual, wandered. Not surprisingly, I was thinking about the time I learnt to drive. I put in lot of effort in getting every maneuver right. To illustrate: I practiced something more than fifty times, although I got it right in about six tries. This made me absolutely positively confident of doing that. Now that I think about it that way, I guess in order to be confident, not only do you need to know something, but you also need to know that you know it. This is what practice is all about, right? You can learn anything pretty quick. To be confident about it, your poor mind needs to see you successfully do it several times.

These thoughts led me to think about what I've done since. I've had several 'personal firsts', sure. Lots of them. But if I were to make a list of them on a sheet of paper, I would be forced to give that the title: "What I Dabbled In".

If I were to become really good at something, what should it be (first)? Lisp? The thought of that is enticing. Let me make a small (non-exhaustive) list of things I've had going on for a while and want to get good at. It is no secret that I pretty much suck at all of them at the moment. Lets see...

Lisp, Linux, Web programming
Racquetball, Abs, Endurance
Stock-trading
French, Sketching --(done very little)

I haven't been using "overwhelming force" on any of them. I *REALLY* find Lisp to be enticing as I have few ideas that are, in my humble opinion, best implemented in Lisp. It certainly looks daunting, considering how much effort I will have to put in to do anything remotely worthwhile. But this intrinsic difficulty in itself makes it appealing. Hmm. I'll keep you posted.

(Hey! I just noticed that my previous post was #2^8!)

Jan 3, 2007

A Brand Spanking New Year

My new year's resolution includes blogging regularly. Although that is relevant here, it is not significant in terms of how it impacts my life. But I use blogging as a tool to reflect on my life and think about where I am going and wonder about what I should be doing. If this is done in isolation, it can be very depressing. Blog helps by also showing me other fun things I've been doing.

The "real" (significant) resolution needs some intro:

My resolution of last year was "Take More Risks". This doesn't mean I wanted to pursue a career in window cleaning for high-rise buildings. I changed my work-visa from L1B to H1B. I also changed my employer and went into a more direct profit-loss consulting role from being an employee. This is definitely much higher-risk. Although it pays significantly more, if I don't go to work for a day, I won't be payed for that day. After all, risk = reward. So I can say that I met my overall 2006 goal. No more "bargaining" for promotion. I hated the appraisal time where "they" humiliate you using all methods possible... Now I just get a percentage of what the client is billed. But it does come with all its accompanying potential nightmares... but that is something I just have to deal with and not something I need to blow out of proportion and worry about.

This brings us to this year. Last year's change did bring an improvement. But it was not an order of magnitude improvement or anything like that. I plan to spend my free time on entrepreneurial activities this year to hopefully bring a big improvement in my lifestyle. I had this on the radar for last year. I officially started an LLC company; dabbled with various ideas; bought lot of domain names; got started with Lisp & Python, put up some small webapps etc. But they were not intense efforts. This is what I intend to do this year. Don't wish me luck. But on second thoughts, may be please do -- my friend says LUCK = Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.

What are yours? Do you have any big plans for the year? If not, why not? Why not just try something?

[Thanks to Ruchi for reading the draft and suggesting improvements]