Math Formula

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wanna beer with chilli? -- News from Mexico pt. I

For those of you who are interested in it (and those who are not but nevertheless ended up here upon blindly following the link), this is my first news from Mexico (speek me-chi-kho). Yes, my random walk down earth kind of brought my in this overally amazing country. Sorry for not having announced so in my first post, but travelling is among my major interests.

Disclaimer: I don't have pictures with my this time - you'll have to wait for the next post, in which I promise I'll  come up with some!

On Saturday morning (even before both cock and muezzing get up), we left from Vienna. Transit stop in Madrid, where we were quite entertainen by automated (no human drivers) 'metros' transporting you from one terminal to the either. Kind of remembered me at my student time, when I was working on Saturday afternoons at a supermarket chain. I was the guy issueing credit vouchers in exchange for bottle deposits, and I was pretty good and fast! Bottle of beer 9c, mineral 27c, Cola 27c ... you see I still know it! Until one day I found myself replaced by the new T-3000, who could handle bottle twice as fast and three times as accurate as I could ...

Anyways, some 20 hours after getting up (and without too much of sleeping - naturally, we had to start preparing for our journey by finally reading the tourist guide and first step language instructions) we ended up on Mexico City Benito Juarez Intl., named after one of the dozen heros of the country. Having successfully avoided the first tourist trap (exchange office offering a rate of 13:1 instead of the current rate of 16.6 : 1), we learned about one speciality of Mexican lifestyle: tranquilo (translating into something like stay calm, cool, don't hurry, ...), which seems to be all over.

Up to now, we were kindly hosted by a friend of my travel mate, who introduced us into some of Mexican specialities. Even though I was already prepared to give up on all my stupid imaginations about the country and the people here, I'm once again surprised about the fact that I'm pretty much surprised about everything experiencing here! For me, that once again shows how ridiculous it is to expect and think too much about things until you experience them yourself, because naturally, they will be plainly wrong and misleading! For instance, people in western europe do know that Mexican have a crush for eating hot and spicy ... but might you have expected that they drink also there beer with chili? (along with a mixture of maggi and salt). Literally, they add these ultry-spicy chillis to pretty much everything they eat and drink!

Furthermore, I'm overally surprised by their friendliness. Starting from helpful officers at the airport and guys in the streets wishing you good health when you sneeze, friendliness seems to be the second mantra, right after  (and sometimes even before) tranquilo.

Now, our first days in Mexico City (2 1/2 the number in citizens as my beautiful home country at the Danube...) were mainly filled with watching the astonishing remaining parts from the Maya and Aztec). We also had intention to watch the finals of the sub 17 world championship, but couldn't get a ticket on short notice any more, which might be partly due to the fact that plently of people wanted to support their own team, running against Uruguay in the finals. It would have been great to watch a game in the legendary Aztec Stadium, especially the final of the world championship, but instead, we ended up escaping the rain (yes, apparently it's monsun time in Mexico City during this time of the year!) and watching the game in a bar instead (and, of course, drinking beer with chili).

On the next day, when visiting the amazing Pyramid of the Sun, we got another touch of football when meeting the brazil sub 17 team (who already looked quite ok, after having lost the game for the third place against Germany the day before).

I guess I could keep writing like this on and on, about tacos, the fact that the Aztecs thought the Spanish conquistadors would be gods instead of their end, pandas and bears in the zoo, ... but I will stop it here, because there is still that much too see around here (and our bus to Uruapan is waiting for us, taking us on a 7 hours trip close to Paricutin, a volcano which we will approach tomorrow "hopefully" (c) Tom).

Don't know yet when there is an update to be expected again, but probably it will be from somewhere on the pacific coast - getting time for the beach then!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sisyphus’ Motivation

For those of you expecting the breaking, new insights on motivation now: sorry to disappoint you. I guess there has been plenty said about motivation already, there is probably more to come in the future, so no need to sum it up here again.

However, I promised to come up with my motivators last time. Now, considering myself a generally trustworthy person (do I hear anybody laugh??) keeping my word, and well-behaved as I am (do I again hear anybody laugh?), also feeling the need to further introduce myself, here they are.
Apparently, they are not as epochal as the ones from the guy on the picture below.

Have you checked the link above or are generally familiar with the pretty broad meaning of the word “motivation”, you might cry out loud now, wondering that being compelled to do something by the gods is not quite what you would refer to as “motivated” (If you don’t care at all, that’s ok as well. It’s quite liberating to recognize that you don’t need to have an opinion on everything). 

Nevertheless, I chose that analogy for two reasons. First, I strongly feel that those words are quite often mixed in daily usage as well (“Due to my enthusiastic promotion of corporate vision, I motivated my employee to do overtime. Oh, and did I mention threatening to lay her off otherwise?”). Having revealed that outstanding discovery now, I already feel much better.

Second, and thereby I’m now finally connecting to the actual topic of this post, because we might sometimes feel that we are currently performing a "sisyphean task", a task that seems completely useless, or endless, or both. The latter was the case when I was in high school and obliged to write what my German teacher happened to call “cultural diary”. We were asked to keep track of all “cultural” activities we performed back then (like going to cinemas or concerts, reading books ...), and to hand them in by the end of the year.
We never found out why exactly he considered that to be important (I guess the same was true for Sisyphus), but apparently he did. Needless to say we did not quite share that point of view back then, and that the majority of those diaries where copied together from Wikipedia and IMDB on the very last evening before deadline.

However, similar to Sisyphus wondering about the deeper aim of him rolling that stone uphill forever, even though we might not know about the deeper aim of things at one point in time, we might find out about it later. When I now read my “cultural diary” from some ten years ago, I remember several things I thought I had forgotten already, and the thought of what kind of lad I was back then simply makes me smile. Might you have imagined that anybody would bother writing about a red card in football, The Day After Tomorrow and at the same time finding himself to be a big fan of Seeed? Well, me neither, but apparently back then I was.
So, one reason for me writing this blog is keeping track of my interests. I’m looking forward to reading these lines in ten years, and smiling about my style of writing and my current interests as well.

Among the others there are (but, again, not in order. Failing on what the majority of modern scientists on economics expect from proper economic subjects, I sometimes seem to be bad in rationalizing and therefore a bad homo economicus. Dooh, poor me.):

  • to laugh about myself in hindsight 
  • to learn from my past mistakes
  • to reflect about myself and things that I’m currently thinking about or surrounded by 
  • to inspire others as well as showing them interesting, thought-provoking ideas 
  • to improve my writing skills

As much as I know that some topics need to be dealt with seriously, I believe that some people completely misinterpret this by also taking themselves too serious. Who wants to spend his time with somebody like that all the time? I prefer to face myself with a loose, yet positive, attitude, and like to do so in hindsight as well.

It is a well known fact that personal growth and self-development is mainly the result from past mistakes. Making mistakes is actually a crucial prerequisite for improvement, and exposing yourself to interesting mistakes helps in improving. Do you think there would be an iPhone as we know it now (in its 5th version), had there not been a version 1.0? That first version seriously sucked in several regards, yet sometimes version 1 sucks but ship it anyway. If you are interested, the overall impressive writer and speaker Scott Berkun shares some interesting thoughts on learning from your mistakes either.

Learning and self-development need to be supported by self-reflection as well. Not only reflecting on myself, but also writing down things that I’m currently thinking about helps me clearing up my mind. You may have experienced the same, when even you yourself understood things better or in another way upon explaining them to somebody.

When listening to music with a friend the other day, she was wondering whether the artist we were listening to was actually among the very best in the world. “How would you know? “, I asked. “Well, would he otherwise be that popular?” Apparently, she never heard about survivorship biases before, and was astonished upon getting a short introduction to that concept. Thus, inspiring you and provoking interesting thoughts is among my motivators for writing this blog.

And, last but not least (as demonstrated by these words, I some have difficulties to express my thoughts within one sentence and have to interrupt them in a sub sentence like this. I know some people get that as bad style, but I like to let my words float around similar to my thoughts) ... So, last but not least (which, by the way, happens to be one of the most frequent used anglicisms in German language, and, similar to many popular things, one of the dullest as well). Third try ... last, but not least, as you may already have guessed, I want to improve my writing skills. Trying to avoid being trapped by a causation fallacy, I cautiously assume that is partly due to an inspiring article from Jeff Atwood.

Now, having written about my motivators and inspiration, when have you reflected about what inspires and drives you the last time? If you are willing to share your thoughts with us, the stage is yours!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

First post

Annoyed? Interested? Doesn't matter! Anyway, when you read up to here, I'm past the first critical 50 milliseconds already, because, like it or not, as a user of the www you probably behave like an animal online.

Next, in order to fulfill your demand to see what you can expect here (and you do have that demand, see below), let's face it: Just another blog, probably nothing special around here, some random thoughts from a walk down the earth. Not as spectacular as Random Walk Down Wall Street, but hey, logically speaking, Wall Street is part of this as well, so who knows what I will cover one day here.
This blog has neither dedicated topic nor purpose. You might or might not find posts on my thoughts on some of the topics that I currently consider interesting, among them (but not in order):
Alright, I promised I'll proof what I meant with the bold statement above. Apparently that was kind of a lie (well, at least it kept you reading, right?), as I'm not proofing myself, but instead citing the awesome guy from above again:

Reading that myself again, I admit that sounds a bit like I would desperately be hunting for readers. Of course, I would be more than happy could I inspire one or two of you out there with my ideas, but that is not my major ...


Some people don't get tired of telling you how important it is to have goals. If you ever attended a business administration, marketing, HR or whatever 101 course at university, I trust you know what I'm talking about even better. Well, I recently adopted the idea that sometimes you are actually better off without having goals.

Unless you are a football player, of course.

Nevertheless, there are a few motivators, both intrinsic and extrinsic ones, which make me trying this blog. For an overview of them, you'll have to wait for the next post, though ;-)

Talking about motivators, I'd be interested how you found or heard about this blog. I'd be grateful for a few comments down there.

Search This Blog