The Illusion of Going Green

img_2422.jpgSorry to disappoint you if you arrive today to read about personal finance or self-development or to nose about me. Nope, today’s none of those. Instead, I want to point out some silliness I observed about the social hype of going green.

Hybrid Vehicles

If you are going to get stuck in traffic for hours with a hybrid, you are still burning fuels like all other cars, albeit less. And don’t even get me started on those hybrids driving 80 mph on the highway. You know the urge from watching a motorbike that haplessly swerves by you and wanting to run him into the boulder? It’s the same feeling.

How about drive less, carpool, plan your driving trips, walk/bike when possible, or not buy a house that comes with a 10-hour commute just to own more square footage…

Solar Panels

Solar panel itself is a solution. But guess what, these panels have to be produced, and guess where over half of them are being produced? Yep, none other than the almighty China. With loose regulation, by-products from the production of solar panels – chlorine and hydrochloric acid – are freely dumped in nature.

Go for it if the thought of many to-be-dead Chinese excites as much as going green.

Carbon Offsets

Personally, I think this is the dumbest idea of all, where you pay a company to “go green” for you and you say “Oh, I’ll pay someone else to do my responsibility to save the environment”. How irresponsible is that. It’s like paying someone to not cheat so you can cheat on your husband/wife.

On top of that, carbon offsets companies are not required to disclose what they do with your money. Half of the money probably end up in their pockets while the other half will go into investment of other “green technology”. The left over money will probably be used to hire gorgeous interns naively excited about “going green” while you think a tree must have been planted by now. But honestly speaking, most of the money will be used to pay for administration and personnel cost.

I’m not saying the above three things matter naught. Each of them can be part of the solution if people truly adjust their behaviors. To truly minimize pollution to the environment, we have to begin by minimizing our wasteful behaviors, where each humble citizen of Mother Earth should be mindful of what their actions mean to the environment and act accordingly – recycle, turn off lights, lower the heat and A/C, stop littering… We must understand how we are all connected and stop thinking selfishly.

I wish people can stop being silly, but I’m afraid Einstein is yet correct.

Originally posted 2008-03-30 15:51:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Do You Have What It Takes?

Thanks to my roommate renting the Bluray, I got to watch the Dark Knight again tonight. There is no argument that it is a great movie. I love it. Let along the acting, I enjoy much of the dialogues between Batman and the Joker. Especially the Joker’s, much of his was quite philosophical.

There is actually a lot to be learned from being a hero, despite we often think that it would be fun to have their power.

Do you know what the toughest part of being a hero is? The toughest part of being a hero is his power. Quoting Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility”.

Power is a gift and a curse because with great power, he has a lot more options including many that are not available for normal humans. A hero has to make choices that normal people don’t have to and cannot make either because they lack the abilities or they possess not the same perception. Also, power puts someone at a higher place to have an opportunity to look at the world differently, so there is a choice for him to see or denies what he sees. Put together with the fact that his choices will influence exponentially more people versus one that you or me will make. Boy, so many things to consider and he just has to make the best choice he could. Things may or may not turn out okay, and there are times he must sacrifice something or somebody to do “good”. What a tough job being a hero. Certainly glad neither you nor I is a superhero.

But if we take a minute to think, we normal people aren’t so different.

To get something done, to accomplish a goal, to make a change, you first observe and then you must make the choices for it to happen, many of which maybe simple but not easy. They may not sound conventional to you. They may not feel right. They may make people who are your friends and family dislike you.

As you are growing, as you learn more and obtain more knowledge and wider perspective, which is the equivalent of “gaining power”, you will need make the choices that you couldn’t have made before the growth. As you have outgrown your environment and your peers, if you so desire to become better, you likely need to make more choices that maybe against “common sense”, against “standards”, against “traditions”, against “pervasive believes”. Sometimes, that will lead you out of the crowd and you end up being by yourself.

Imagine you want to buckle down financially, save up, clear some debt, or simply get rich. Perhaps it would be the case that you need to cut back on social outings, or not buy things that others have that you want, or drop a hobby or two, or sell somethings they thought are so important. How easily do you think people can make up their mind to do so? Who would want to do that?

Same applies to health. For example, if you have always been couch potatoes, or going out every night with your best buddies, do you think you can choose to do otherwise? Maybe head to the gym instead? Maybe cook at home? Maybe read up on fitness and nutrition (beyond the marketing crap)? Even though it means you will end up being by yourself?

Would a so-called normal person chooses to be chased after like a fugitive by the people he chooses to protect like Batman did? Would a so-called normal person chooses to bring chaos to break the social norms like the Joker did?

Do you have what it takes to kick old sets of habits? Do you have what it takes to perhaps be different than your family, friends, and peers? Do you have what it takes to make the tough choices, like Batman did? Do you have what it takes to choose “uncommon sense”, like the Joker did? Do you have what it takes to wield your own power? Do you have what it takes to be who you want to be, who you are inside?

I want to get this out of my system before bed, so now… time for bed, peace!

Originally posted 2008-12-12 01:40:09. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Most Basic Rule to Personal Finance

Spend less than what you make.

A very very simple way to explain this… If we compare two persons, one making $50,000 and spending $45,000 and the other making $100,000 and spending $105,000, who’s going to be better off and has more money?

Now to be able to do that, it means following one or many of the behaviors below:
– don’t spend more than your monthly salary
– tracking your finance (money in-flow an out-flow)
– have a monthly budget
– distinguish wants” and “needs”
– try not to “borrow” from credit cards
– pay off any “bad” debt at high interest rate

Originally posted 2007-02-26 23:24:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A Great quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson has a wonderful and extremely relevant quote in regards to personal development IMHO:

What you are shouts so loudly in my ears that I cannot hear what you say.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Closely related to that…

“I cannot hear what you say for the thunder of what you are.”
old Zulu proverb

What I understand from these quotes…

if we want to change ourselves, we need to work from the inside out. However, this approach to change and improve takes time, in fact, it takes considerable time and effort. But this is also the only way to make changes to ourselves effectively and allow us to keep them permanently. This is something we must understand.

My observation in this age and era is that frequently, people look to improve themselves but what they seek are in fact only “quick fixes” that do not last. I see this from people in search for a better body where they rely medication and limiting of food intake but not together with exercise, to people relentlessly looking to boost their skill sets such as by trying to improve their communication skill where they seek superficial techniques but with no genuine desire to listen (and “listening” is a major part of communication, some research/references even claim it as 80-90%).

When we understand this, and with patience and perseverence, change and improvement to ourselves are no longer impossible goals.

Originally posted 2007-05-16 23:58:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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