REFLECTION 1

I must ask myself the hard question.

At the end of the day, how do you want to be remembered? What is your legacy?

Get real. You know your problem. You had a whole year to pursue what you believe. What is the outcome? Is that what you want?

Be effective. Do what is necessary, not what you like. There are things you hate but necessary. Do it anyway when you have to. You must develop this capacity.

You question now is not how to execute. Rather, given the limited resource, what is your priority? What is your direction?

It boils down to two things, career and family. It’s time to settle down. How should I proceed? You know your choices, CZL, TL, CL. Do you have time for another adventure? You have seen enough. Take the best option. You don’t have much choice left.

So what to do next? Need to execute one by one?

A detour on glamor. You cannot just chase glamor at the expense of other aspects. This has been your main problem.

Glamor is a misleading criterion. Everybody loves glamor. But the real question is, how much would you like to pay for it? Do you really want to put up with all the trouble, for the sake of glamor? Isn’t glamor another variant of vanity?

Maybe I don’t value relations that much? Your behavior is a better prediction of your future. So what makes you truly gratifying?

Raise a kid is worthwhile, if romance is not your destiny. So get real.

To experience it deeply, you must commit. Otherwise, you won’t feel the same. Will reading help me? Maybe. But it won’t be a lot.

In 2016, I can excuse out the plan I committed to. I can take the hardship, whenever necessary. So you have what it takes. The question is, what’s your goal?

You can have all tactics right, but what is your goal? How do you keep your vision?

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WHY ACADEMIA SUCKS

THEY SAY, IF YOU WANT TO GET SOMETHING DONE RIGHT, DO IT YOURSELF. BUT YOU HAVE ONLY LIMITED TIME BUT UNLIMITED DEMAND. THAT MEANS YOU MUST PRIORITIZE.

THIS IS MY CURRENT SITUATION. I HAVE SEVERAL COAUTHORED PAPERS GOING ON. BUT ONLY ONE OF THEM IS NONTRIVIAL. THE REST ARE JUST ANOTHER POTENTIAL PUBLICATION. I DON’T WANT TO SOUND CYNICAL. BUT FRANKLY I DON’T HOLD HIGH REGARD FOR MOST OF THE PUBLICATIONS IN MY FIELD: LESS THAN 5 PERCENT ARE TRULY ORIGINAL; THE REST IS MORE OR LESS GARBAGE.

BUT HERE LIES THE IRONY OF ACADEMIC (AT LEAST MY FIELD): MOST PEOPLE NEED TO PRODUCE THOSE GARBAGE TO GET PAID, TENURE, AND PROMOTION. MOST OF MY COAUTHORS ARE IN THIS CATEGORY (I DID THIS STUFF TOO BEFORE I GET TENURE, FOR SEVEN YEARS). WHAT MAKES ME FRUSTRATED IS THAT SOME OF THEM HAVE ALREADY HAVE THE TENURE SECURITY; THEY NO LONGER HAVE THE PRESSURE OF MANUFACTURING QUANTITY. YOU MAY THINK ONCE THEY HAVE THE SECURITY, THEY SHOULD SWITCH TO PRODUCE QUALITY.

YOU ARE WRONG. FOR WHATEVER REASON, MOST TENURED PEOPLE CONTINUE MANUFACTURING WORTHLESS STUFF. THEY HAVE NO AMBITION TO BUILD THEIR OWN ENTERPRISE, THEIR LEGACY. FOR ME, THIS IS DISTASTEFUL. YOU ARE WASTING YOUR LIFE. WHAT’S THE POINT ONCE YOU HAVE NO WORRY OF COMFORT?

I AM NOT GOING TO WASTE MY LIFE ON THIS NONSENSE. I HAD ENOUGH. I WILL WRAP UP THOSE AS QUICK AS POSSIBLE. I NEED TO BUILD MY THING. WHEN ALL IS GONE, I MUST HAVE MY IDEAS STAND: I GUESS THAT’S THE ONLY WAY TO DEFY MORTALITY.

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WRITING 157: SELF-TALK

YOU MUST VIGOROUSLY PROTECT THE TIME FOR YOURSELF. FOR NOW, RESERVE THE AFTERNOON FOR PLAN AND ACTION. THE TIME YOU WILL DELIBERATELY NOT WORK. IF NOTHING ELSE, JUST READ. OTHERWISE, PLAN AND THINK ABOUT MY FUTURE.

THIS DELIBERATION AND ACTION TIME IS VITAL FOR YOUR GROWTH AND ULTIMATE HAPPINESS. YOU MUST PROTECT IT. DO SO FOR THE NEXT 3 WEEKS, UNTIL IT BECOMES A HABIT. THIS IS TIME FOR VISIONING, PLANNING, AND TAKING ACTIONS. FURTHER, THE MEASUREMENT OF DARING IS HOW MANY SETBACKS YOU HAVE: THE MORE YOU TRY, THE MORE SETBACKS YOU HAVE. THE ONLY WAY TO HAVE NO SETBACK IS NEVER TRY.

MOST OF THINGS ARE NOISE. ONLY A FEW ARE ESSENTIAL. YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON THOSE ESSENTIAL FEW. YOU NEED TIME TO PLAN AND EXECUTE YOUR VISION. THEREFORE, YOU MUST PUT UP THE BOUNDARIES FOR YOUR LIFE. FOR WORK, YOU HAVE BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. NOW IT’S TIME FOR YOUR LIFE.

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[BANFF, CANADA, 10/2015]

WRTING 148: THINGS THAT MATTER

[11.46pm-12.00am, 15min]

For long-term growth, I must work on three issues daily: math, writing, and exercise. Devote an hour per day for each issue. I may not see payoffs in the short run. But if i do every day, the efforts must pay off in the long term.

More difficult part is to build the social network/community. Currently my contacts are mainly my coworkers. It is fine professionally, but they won’t impact my personal life much. On that level, I must take the initiative, reach out, and build new ones.

First, I should make good use of UCI. Attend seminars often. Also, check out the library for work. Do it next week. Second, participate in community activities. For example, find people to play basketball. Third, check out online communities. Again, not every attempt will be successful. But without trying, you will never know.

You must act, deliberately.

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Engage: ask for the BA program

The last three months have not been kind. I have been living off the suitcase from one hotel to the next. The homeless feeling took its toll and posed the very existential question—what’s the meaning of your life?

On a mundane level, I now have the life-long job security. That security comes with a dear price tag: eight years of my prime youth. Indeed, had I relived again, I may not choose this route.

But that is the past. At least I have one justification for that sacrifice: job security. The question now is, what is the next?

Like the French novel ‘Necklace’, I don’t quite see the meaning of the research in my field. In my view, it is self entertaining, but has no real impact on business practice. Indeed, if any, what the field try to do is to explain what has already been there.

For many, administration is an alternative career path. That path requires you to deal with people, all sort of people. It also has all sorts of connotation: greed, hypocrisy, manipulation, politics, etc. It takes a lot to swallow all of that. Not everybody has that stomach, especially for those with strong personality and world views: it is disgusting to take those dis-genuine maneuvers. When your personal quality—honesty, kind, sympathy, etc—is on line, many balk. They hold the assumption that the world is eventually fair and just.

At least that has been my view since childhood. But my experience has shaken that view. I now have a different take of life: the world is never a fair and just place. That is given. If you are disgusted by its dark side, and refuse to partake, then you will be side lined. Unless you are content with living in a limited, isolated manner, you won’t get what you deserve by standing as an outsider.

I have enough of that lonely, isolated life. Its time for a change: now or never. To start, I must accept the fact that the world is not always fair and just. But if you engage, you can make it a better place.

So you need to work with W. No matter how you hate the idea, at this point, it is the only way that you can have a stage for growth.

So how should you approach W? In his mind, You are in his enemy camp. You must have a convincing argument.

First, your justification for treading the middle way is for the promotion. This is a legitimate reason, but he would not be convinced: deep down, he knows your are disgusted of his character.

So you need the second point: that you are bored and that you want more for your life. The narrative should start with the boring and grueling probation life. Stress the empty feeling that has been haunted you. This point is critical: he has been through the same process; so he can relate and believe.

Besides convincing him of your good will, you also need to strike the balance of too eager and too distant. Because he treats you as an enemy, you cannot go too keenly: he would not trust. But you also need to show god will.

Most likely, he will take it with suspicion: he will never treat you as a friend. But he thinks he can benefit for: 1) your support, 2) the competence to get things done.

To be specific, I need to charge the BA program. It will give the opportunities to 1) meet with new people, 2) hire the people I want, and 3) accumulate the power.

For tomorrow’s meeting, do not complain. Do not mention the teaching load. Once you build it, they will come.

Vision: next step

I don’t belong here. I must move. To move up, I must strengthen my credential.

The research ability is the currency in this field. It is what makes you desirable.

From now on it is a game of caliber, not number. Do not waste your time on trivial stuff. Delegate to others; do final writing only.

Focus on big ideas. This is how you can keep learning, make you happy, and leverage your record.

Increase your visibility. Work with able guys. Don’t waste your time. Be choosy: it is your life. Why would you waste on others?

Besides focus, you must build and discipline your team. Take a soft approach: schedule weekly meeting. This will keep projects on trace and guarantee progress.

In summary, you need to build your brand, increase your visibility, and produce sufficient papers.