Friday, December 25, 2009

Personal Manifesto

It's Christmas night, late, I am tired from having an exhaustingly good day. It was so nice today that I can't stand to be awake anymore, yet, I feel compelled to share with the whole world my most personal thoughts, I will briefly attempt to describe the forces that drive my life, the principles that I attempt to live by.

But first, let me tell you about my day. Anthony woke us up at 5:45 AM, we opened our Christmas presents at 6:00, we had my sister, Chuck and my in-laws over for breakfast, I got a couple of good books, cologne and a shirt, the kids got a lot presents. I spent some time with my parents, went to the park, put the kids to bed (that was a battle), drank a shocktop beer, watched Benicio del Toro's CHE, which I highly recommend, if not for the battle scenes. Took a long bath and now that I am ready to go to bed, I got this feeling that I must write this post.

The number one principle in my life, it's quite simple and generic, but it's the most powerful thing, and I think it's what got me to where I am today, I am not sure but I believe this comes straight out of the USMC leadership manual:

"Know yourself and constantly seek self-improvement"

That is it my friends, that's my life in a nutshell, the rest it's just details.

Know yourself

As simple as this sounds, this is the most difficult thing I think. Sometimes it's easier to see other people's fault than our own. This takes personal honesty and courage. It's tough to face one's fears, to work on our weaknesses and to identify the areas in which one is best suited for.

constantly seek self-improvement

I try, and I try, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I take longer to succeed, occasionally I fail, I always make mistakes, but I never give up.

I think I started using this principle right after I went through a period of personal failures while I was in the second half of my enlistment in the Corps. I learned a lot about myself and about leadership from my own failures as a leader.

The second principle has been with me for a little while now, but only recently did it actually form as a concise sentence. I don't think it's original at all, I heard the same message on different formats all over the place, but here it is:

"To gain peace of mind, make sure your actions match your values"

This one is hard, because there are many factors that shape our own actions, This means that our values must be always present in our minds when we speak and when we do things, which is easier said than done.

The areas of my life that I wish to improve are the following:

1. My relationships with the people I care about.

Being a good Dad, husband, brother, son, and friend.
Not much to say here except that it's very personal and that I care about this the most. Nothing else matters iff I don't do this one right.

2. Emotional Intelligence and Social IQ

This is new one for me, I had developed this disdain for people who used "charm" or "people skills" to get their ways, I always saw that as manipulating and selfish, I have always been looking inward to get to know myself, but now I recognize that I need to understand other people in order to succeed in life, this is accomplished by developing a genuine interest in other people, by practicing Empathy, this is a challenge for me, I have always lived inside my own head sort of speak, and I really don't "get" other people, this has gotten me in trouble in the past, I've decided I will end this problem and become proficient in people skills, the good news is that I learned a lot about people in the service, now the hard part is to actually apply the knowledge.

3. My Craft, my Profession

This one I enjoy doing. I love Computer Engineering, and I am always trying to expand my horizons. I could write a 5 page blog spot on this topic alone. I am constantly reading about the craft and discovering ways to become a better Engineer. The Master's Degree, Programming books and blogs, practicing coding on my own, these are the things I've been doing to become better .

The art of computer programming is so rich, enthralling and exciting that I really enjoy improving this area, it's rewarding to have a profession that I love.

4. Handyman around the house

This I don't enjoy as much, but I recognize its necessity. I need to know how to maintain my house, repair appliances, dry wall, roofs and that stuff, I am not naturally inclined to do stuff with my hands, but it's a role that I must fulfill, so I might as well go all in, maybe I'll even have fun doing it.

So I think that is it. I have covered pretty much my whole life, at least the driving forces behind my actions. This is what keeps me busy.

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