Monthly Archives: December 2014

Life: Avoid negative people…

It’s important in life to surround yourself with mentors who could help you, while at the same time, offer assistance and guidance to those that seem to need it. It’s about give and take in life.

It’s equally important to not spend so much time with those that are negative and have no ambition in life, or people that just don’t want to talk to you, because these folks just suck the positive energy out of you.

There’s an acquaintance that I have who recently told me that she wished we could talk more regularly like we had in the past. I think what happened was I found that we had very little in common in terms of interests and hobbies, and we gradually stopped talking. However, she wanted to continue talking again. No problem. I’m always willing to make friends and help those who could learn from my experiences, so I have been doing my part recently. Just the other day, I asked this particular individual through a communication app what her goals were for 2015, hoping to have a meaningful and relevant conversation.

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Now, you may not understand Chinese, so let me recap what happened in the conversation. I asked what her goals were for 2015, and her response was a very cryptic “Don’t have” or “No.” Being someone who likes to encourage people, I offered the following response: “Really?” with an emoticon. I mean, it’s possible that it was a question that was too personal, but nonetheless, I didn’t feel like it was an inappropriate question.

IMG_2388After more than 10 minutes without another response from her, I added a smiley face and then a sarcastic comment that read, “Oh, [her name] has goals but does not wish to share them with me. Okay.” I mean, again, it was meant to elicit a response. If she was busy and couldn’t reply, she could have just stated that. After all, she had wanted to resume communicating regularly again, so I was trying to do my part.

Her follow-up response was again a short answer, which read, “No goals.” Now, at this point, the average person might be put off by the lazy, short answers. If not, surely one might be put off by the fact that she seemed unenthusiastic about the new year and really has no goals. I mean, that’s kind of a major turn-off if you think about it. Either she does not want to communicate and put no effort into typing, or she has no ambitions in life (!!!!!) even though many people are excited about New Year’s, or both.

Now, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I casually replied, “Oh. It seems you don’t like to write much these days. Okay, then no problem.”

Then this was what happened:

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This time, she replied right away, with a much longer sentence, but not a friendly one. The response was, “If that’s what you want to say, so be it.”

Wow. What a response. Clearly, she was having a bad day (?!) or she was being hostile for some reason. Whatever the case, I decided to drop it, and wrote, “Okay. [Her name] does not wish to say anything further. All right. I will not bother you now.”

That was the end of the conversation, and she did not write anything further.

Now, a few things:

1. Yes, I am more fluent in English and I prefer conversing in this language. However, this acquaintance is more comfortable using Chinese, which I have no problem with because I can read Chinese as well and type it too. So, it’s not an issue with language. If she could not express her goals or thoughts in English, she could have typed in Chinese and I would have understood her. Since we’d talked many times before, she knew about my fluency in Chinese.

2. If she didn’t have time to chat with me at that time, she could have said so instead of typing those short answers, which, to be perfectly honest, shows how lazy a person is – or worse, that person does not want to make the effort to properly communicate with you. Short answers like that, like “No” or “No goals” without any other details, are just huge turn-offs.

3. If that question about goals for 2015 was inappropriate and the person genuinely wants to talk to me as she’d indicated previously, then she should have suggested discussing a different topic.

4. Really, the way that the person wrote her responses…it just makes her look rude and uneducated. If she was having a bad day and did not wish to chat at that moment, she could have just said so. If there was any issue, then just talk about it so we could work through them, or if there was anything I could do to help, just say so. But being rude is not acceptable.

There are no excuses for this person’s behaviour. Having to deal with this on a consistent basis is simply meaningless. Here I am, trying to encourage this individual by getting her excited about the new year and positive goals, and her answers just suck the energy out of you. It’s like this person really has no goals or enthusiasm. No sense to spend that much time talking to such people. People that give attitude without any reason are simply not worth the time, because in life you want to strive to improve all the time and talking to someone who has no interest in that only serves to drag you down and onto their level.

Avoid these types of people – cut them out of your life if possible – and focus on communicating with those who are more positive and have more to contribute to a meaningful discussion.

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Life: What does it mean to help people?

Here’s something to think about: What does it mean to help people? What makes you helpful?

True story: This guy once Googled a few workout videos and sent those links via email to a few of us, and in that email he wrote, “Everyone, here’s the October workout schedule for you all. Let’s all follow this for a whole month!” I replied saying I wasn’t interested in it, that I was okay with how I was and wouldn’t be following that schedule. His response? Something along the lines of, “I’m trying to help you and you don’t want to accept. I don’t care anymore because you act as though you’re 100% satisfied with your life.” [He also took a few more personal shots, saying things like, “When people don’t need my help, I just move on and go help others who need me. Not going to waste time (with you).”]

helpJust because I stated I was okay with my daily routine, the guy interpreted it as me saying I was completely happy with my life, which isn’t the same thing, but I digress. He also used the words “I don’t care,” which people seem to throw around and use very, very loosely. I mean, he considered “help” as giving one-size-fits-all “solutions” to a group of people, as though each person’s situation is exactly the same and would benefit from the exact same “solution.” This isn’t a multiple-choice test or a short-answer quiz, or a math problem, where everyone arrives at the same answer from what the teacher gives you! This is real life, and sure, the guy was kind enough to share those videos, but then to turn around and act all insulted when I didn’t want to participate, was a bit over the top. Saying things like “I don’t care anymore” and turning hostile were simply unnecessary. You’ve got to understand your “audience,” so to speak, if you want to “help” them. Giving a bunch of tough workout exercises to people ranging from fitness freaks (some of the others) to beginners (myself) and expecting all parties to benefit from the exact same schedule, was presumptuous (not to mention unrealistic). Sure, offer them as a suggested schedule, but don’t shove them down people’s throats. And certainly don’t get all pissed off when one person politely declines.

I think the key is to not shove something down people’s throats. Of course, don’t act all insulted as well when your suggestions are not well received. The proper attitude is, “Hey, if one person – just one person – can benefit from what I told them, then I’ve done my job.” If you want to help people, THAT’s the attitude to have.

Recently, I travelled from Vancouver, Canada, to Dayton, Ohio, because I was invited to speak to a class of engineering students at the University of Dayton. I was asked to share my experiences about a specific topic which could be helpful to the students. I approached the lecture the same way: “These are my experiences, and what I went through personally. If what I say could help just one person, then I’m glad to have helped that individual through my words. I’m certainly not going to shove my ideas down people’s throats and expect them all to follow what I tell them. My experiences, my words, etc., might be helpful to some and irrelevant to others. That’s reality. Just aim to have at least one person benefit from what I tell them. That would make me very happy and proud.”

Simple. That’s genuine help. It’s not about converting people or shoving ideas at people. It’s about detailing solutions that have helped me in my life and sharing them.

Other people will consider those who alert them about sales at high-end stores, etc., as “helpful” human beings. Hey, so-and-so was so kind to tell me that this [insert name of expensive brand] handbag was on sale. So-and-so is so wonderful and “helpful”! Yay! So-and-so gave me a coupon for Domino’s pizza that entitles me to eat at one of their locations at such-and-such a percent off! So “helpful”! Uhm. No. I couldn’t disagree more. But then again, that’s my personal opinion and I wouldn’t shove it down your throat either.

Food Review: Waffle House (USA)

(Originally posted on my food blog, Let’s Eat Out Once a Week)

Waffle House is a restaurant chain with over 2,100 locations in 25 states in the U.S., with most of them in the South. I’m pretty sure there’s no Waffle House in Canada, and D.L. was kind enough to treat me to a late dinner at one of their 13 Dayton-area locations after he picked me up at the airport.

The Waffle House location that we went to, which was at 380 East National Road, was just five minutes away from the motel where I was staying. Since I had never been to one of their locations, I asked the server for a recommendation. She suggested their hashbrowns with all of the toppings available:

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I went with her suggestion, the Hashbrowns with those various toppings, and also a Leomonade. D.L. went with some waffles and a Leomade/Iced Tea mix. Unfortunately, his waffles were a bit cold, and they didn’t have a microwave at this Waffle House location, so they prepared a brand new plate for him.

As for my hashbrowns, they were great. More importantly, I had a chance to sit down and speak with D.L., who was the reason I was even in Dayton. He’d invited me to give a motivational speech to his class at the University of Dayton. Oddly enough, we didn’t talk about the upcoming speech but talked about some anecdotes from college/university life. It was a fun conversation. We even discussed how the advertising for Waffle House was both effective and ineffective by looking at their colourful menu!

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It’s kind of interesting how I ended up in Dayton. I didn’t know D.L. until October, when he sought me out after reading some of my online posts and rants. He thought that I would have some insights to provide to his Engineering Organization Development (Org Behaviour for Engineers) ENM582 class, and he wrote me saying that if I happened to be in the Dayton, Ohio, area for any reason, he would love to have me speak to his class. Well, I hadn’t had a vacation for a long time, so I decided, why not check out Dayton? So that’s how things went down.

There were also some other food places on that same block, including KFC, Burger King, and Hot Air Balloon Lounge.

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When: Tuesday, December 2, 2014
What: Hashbrowns with toppings
Where: Waffle House, 380 East National Road, Vandalia, Ohio 45377

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