Conquering King’s Park!

For the first time in almost four months, I managed a lap around King’s Park today!

I’ve been suffering from a knee injury for the past four months or so, possibly incurred after a round of football and probably made worse by me running through the pain days after that.

Well, though I cannot say that I’m 100% recovered, I think that I’m well on my way to a full recovery, and here’s the things that I’d say contributed to that recovery:

  • Rest — On the recommendations of LiShya (and some helpful folks on the internet) I took about two months off running completely, hard as it was. Though it’s difficult to tell exactly how much it helped, I believe apart from consulting a medical professional it’s probably the next best thing.
  • Consult a medical professional — As I was not in Singapore at the time of injury, and not comfortable with visiting one of the local doctors here (in Perth), I could only do so after about three months since the injury when I was back in Singapore. After some chiding from my doctor (I went to Jurong Polyclinic) about how I should have visited a doctor right after the injury for a proper diagnosis, I was given glucosamine (about a 1000mg dose per day). Glucosamine from the Polyclinic’s dirt cheap, even after taking into account the $12 consultation fee. If I’m not wrong, I paid $20+ for two month’s supply, about half the price of what you’d get at any outside pharmacy.
  • Glucosamine — Again, though I can’t tell how much it helped, it’s about a month after being on this I’ve been feeling less pain in my knee, especially during exercise.
  • A knee brace — I got a knee brace for running, and I think it’s helped me, even if not physically, at least psychologically. One problem with it is that it looks pretty uncool, and I wouldn’t wear running shorts with it.
  • Fish oil — after consulting the internet on what’s the best thing to take for knee injuries, other than glucosamine, I found it was fish oil. Let’s put it this way: even if it doesn’t help you with your knee, the omega 3s in this baby will aid your heart and brain.

Of course, during those four months I wasn’t off exercising completely. I supplemented my lack of running with cycling, jumping rope (surprisingly it’s got less impact on the knee than running), and plain old push-ups and squats (and other forms of strength training, too).

These, if anything, help keep the itch in the legs at bay somewhat, and the body (and your partner) will thank you for it!

I hope this helps those who are injured and/or are wondering if they can do some exercises anyway.

If You Can’t Beat Them…

If you can’t beat them, go around them.

I’d like to share another great passage from Jim Collin’s Good to Great, with regard to the difference between being competent at something, and being the best in the world in something:

[C]onsider the young person who gets straight A’s in high school calculus and scores high on the math part of the SAT, demonstrating a core competence at mathematics. Does this mean the person should become a mathematician? Not necessarily. Suppose now that this young person goes off to college, enrols in math courses, and continues to earn A’s, yet encounters people who are genetically encoded for math. As one such student said after this experience, “It would take me three hours to finish the final. Then there were those who finished the same final in thirty minutes and earned an A+. Their brains are just wired differently. I could be a very competent mathematician, but I soon realised I could never be one of the best.”

I recently saw a man (I forget his name) on TV, who held the record for most world records. And in that short segment about him, it showed him practising for his next world record attempt: to be the quickest person to roll an orange with his/her nose over a mile (or something like that). Look, he’s no Usain Bolt, but my money’s on him to break that speed record.

He found his niche. He found what he’s good at — so good, in fact, he’s officially listed as the best in the world.

Imagine then, if you did activity X well, and activity Y well, but individually you’d never be the best X-er or Y-er.

You could still be the best XYer.

If You Can't Beat Them…

If you can’t beat them, go around them.

I’d like to share another great passage from Jim Collin’s Good to Great, with regard to the difference between being competent at something, and being the best in the world in something:

[C]onsider the young person who gets straight A’s in high school calculus and scores high on the math part of the SAT, demonstrating a core competence at mathematics. Does this mean the person should become a mathematician? Not necessarily. Suppose now that this young person goes off to college, enrols in math courses, and continues to earn A’s, yet encounters people who are genetically encoded for math. As one such student said after this experience, “It would take me three hours to finish the final. Then there were those who finished the same final in thirty minutes and earned an A+. Their brains are just wired differently. I could be a very competent mathematician, but I soon realised I could never be one of the best.”

I recently saw a man (I forget his name) on TV, who held the record for most world records. And in that short segment about him, it showed him practising for his next world record attempt: to be the quickest person to roll an orange with his/her nose over a mile (or something like that). Look, he’s no Usain Bolt, but my money’s on him to break that speed record.

He found his niche. He found what he’s good at — so good, in fact, he’s officially listed as the best in the world.

Imagine then, if you did activity X well, and activity Y well, but individually you’d never be the best X-er or Y-er.

You could still be the best XYer.

The Secret: The Law of Attraction

There is a movie called “The Secret”, and it’s about the secret of getting the things you want. A book of the same name, based on the movie, was once featured on Oprah, and overall this idea, “the secret”, is probably one of the most marketed ideas in recent history.

As much as I liked the idea, I thought both the book and movie presented the ideas in too preachy a manner. Reading the book and watching the movie I felt like I was attending a religious gathering as a non-believer.

The “secret” that the book talks about is really just what was known as “the law of attraction”, that you get what you think about most of the time.

There are two things in particular that annoy me tremendously.

The first has to do with the “law of attraction” statement that sounds like it came out of some church: “The law of attraction does not care if you believe or not — like the law of gravity, it’s always there whether or not you believe it’s there.”

Well, if you substituted the “law of attraction” with God…

The other thing that annoyed me somewhat was this statement: “If you focus on the things that you don’t like, they’ll manifest. Instead, focus on the things you like. For example, if you are anti-war, be pro-peace. If you’re anti-hunger, be pro-people-having-enough-to-eat. And if you’re anti-one-politician, be pro-his-opponent.”

If that’s the case, the combined power of countless passengers on commercial flights hoping against the plane not crashing down (and not hoping that it flies without incident) should make commercial flights inviable. But it doesn’t.

Still, overall, I suppose those who don’t really believe don’t really need to, and those that do, will.

The Little that We Know

Last Thursday I attended a communications unit tutorial, and was really surprised (shocked, really) by the discussion that day.

The students and facilitator (aka. the tutor) displayed such depth and scope in thought on that week’s material (on digital and analogue modes of communication; largely philosophical stuff) that I could only observe is a state of half-shock and half-awe, almost refusing to participate because I wanted to listen more to the ideas being exchanged and debated as opposed to throwing in redundant questions and answers I only considered necessary due to their possible aid in providing me “participation marks”.

Having never taken a unit outside the business school thus far in my three semesters here in UWA, I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up for this class. Well, the UWA Faculty of Arts has not disappointed.

I suppose it wasn’t just what was being discussed in class that fascinated me, but also how different the discussion was carried out as opposed to in business classes. Unlike the business school, people seemed to be discussing issues with a real curiosity — there is no other agenda other than just saying what’s on your mind, on the issues, or otherwise. There was lively debate, and painfully honest admissions (“I don’t understand why we need to have this debate,” said one, “I just don’t believe we can change the world by thinking about these things.”)

It was also quite an eye-opener for me to realise how little I knew on these subjects. I had always assumed that I had a deeper understanding than most of my peers on philosophical ideas, and that I was more widely read than most — I assumed wrong.

As much as it was painful knowing how little I knew, it was most liberating to know that I now know how little I knew.

The Balloon

As a balloon 
           filled with helium 
                      floats 
                          upward toward 
                                       the sky,
                         it gets larger 
                         and larger  
               as the atmospheric pressure 

                                       drops

               And the helium 
                     inside 
           e x p a n d s.

Eventually, 
    it gets so LARGE that it
            e    x    p    l    o    d    e    s.

Remember this 
the next time you feel arrogance                                  (fl o a t)
welling up inside of you, and you                                (fl oa t)
                                                                         flo at
                                                                       float
                                                                     float
and eventually

e    x   
            
                d

                       l                   o                    
                      
                                                                b                  e

                                       .

Beyond Oneself

Taken from the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins:

David Maxwell, like Darwin Smith (ex-CEO Kimberly-Clark) and Colman Mockler (ex-CEO Gillette), exemplified a key trait of Level 5 leaders: ambition first and foremost for the company and concern for its success rather than for one’s own riches and personal renown. Level 5 leaders want to see the company even more successful in the next generation, comfortable with the idea that most peopple won’t even know that the roots of that success trace back to their efforts. As one Level 5 leader said, “I want to look out from my porch at one of the great companies in the world someday and be able to say, ‘I used to work there.'”

I thought this was a fantastic example of what we should all aspire to do, going beyond oneself, working for the greater good rather than the individual, and not fearing nobody knew.

Simplification

edonn.com is approaching a new era. After the first of November, I’ll no longer be hosted by MediaTemple. As great as they’ve been these past couple of years, I’ve found that having your own domain and some web-space just doesn’t justify paying [as much as I am paying] right now.

I haven’t really been able to focus on creating anything using PHP and/or MySQL for the past two years. I’ve found other priorities, and, I’m starting to see that paying more for more features that I haven’t been using just in case I decide one day to start programming again is a very expensive insurance policy.

And so I’ve finally decided on a much cheaper alternative: that is to keep the domain name edonn.com but use WordPress.com as my back-end. I’ll be forced to stick with ready-made templates, and flexibility with styling will most definitely go down quite a bit. But that’s okay. I don’t think any one who reads really notices anyway.

I can almost say that the only reason I’m keeping edonn.com is because of the domain name. I like an e-mail address that has my name in it!

I suppose edonn.com is like an old dog: a companion that doesn’t really do anything, but something you feel such attachment it goes beyond words. And though occasionally it may barf blood and make you worry and/or irritate, eventually it’s just something you don’t want to live without.