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Where does people’s energy come from?  Sometimes you have energy naturally, you feel powerful, motivated and positive, but sometimes you just feel lazy and want to take it easy. Here are some ideas where energy comes from.

Natural Energy 

I was told some people are dedicated to be successful by birth.  They have a strong physical body, they have natural motivation, they manage everything very well.  They are so lucky that they might just need 8 mins to fall in sleep, and 4 hours to sleep, and then can be energetic for the other 20 hours of the day.  Thus they have more time than other people to work, enjoy and do more things -Please envy them. However, if you prepare to be a mother to give birth to your baby, do everything to prepare to have a strong baby to add chance to let them have a natural energy and win from the starting point.

Environment

The people you hang out with, the company you work, the family you live with will influence your attitude and your mood.  If you have a competitive working environment, you will work hard, trying to show your best as well.  If you have spouse with a high energy entrepreneur spirit, you will always have multination to pay attention to the new tech and look into some new business ideas too.  So look for an atmosphere not to drawn your energy.

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Running

I wanted to put workout here, but without running, I feel weak, sick, and lazy.  I walk the dog, play golf, and play tennis, but those activities are not strong enough to motivate me.  After running, I feel I am capable for working for the day, but if the weather doesn’t allow me to run, I just feel lazy and don’t want to do anything.  After half marathon, I feel I can challenge some difficulties.  After full marathon, I feel I can make everything possible.  However, I haven’t run races for two years, and I lost the feeling being strong.

Hope

You always need to have new hope to ensure that you need energy to push you to your goal and hope. After one hope has to be reached, you establish another new hope. Life is an unlimited desirable journey, you need to have all the new and big hopes to attract you to go forward.

Right now, it’s a raining and slow season in New York; let’s keep motivated and high energy to enjoy your work and your life.   

 
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I just came back from Shanghai, where I haven’t been since December 2010.  I have a lot of thoughts this time when I came back. I feel my hometown is not so familiar to me any more.

First of all, prices are sky high. The clothing is even more expensive when the price converts to the US$.  How local young people can afford the fashionable clothing?  Even a family dining out will easily cost over RMB 1000 (US$ 160) for a table for 7-8 people.  My parents are both retired, and have minimum increasing rate about their retirement allowance (Salary) - how can they afford to live and still happy to allow me to spend their saving when I was in China? Ridiculous Inflation!  However, almost every young woman in the city are carrying designer bags, which cost at least $2,500 (RMB 15,000) - Unbelievable.

I cannot see the blue sky any more.  For a whole week, the sky was always very smoky. I cannot see any thing one day within 150 meters. One of my clients based in Shanghai told me that Shanghai’s pollution index keeps increasing.  While 50 is normal, the week I was in Shanghai the average was 150.  The photo above was taken in Hangzhou, a city surrounded by a lake, less traffic and polluted city close to Shanghai, we can not see the maintain clearly at the background. How can people live and go out for a run in this environment?  I was told that some schools even don’t allow children to do outdoor activities under high index day, but how children can grew up healthy without outdoor activities?  By the way, the index is really neat, it seems China has developed its own useful app locally - which maybe can beat some interesting idea in the US.  

Walking to any convenience stores, we can find all kinds of soft drink options, pear tea, peach calpis,  any type you couldn’t imagine in the US, rather than soda.  They even have cucumber potato chips, lobster cheese potato chips.  Those Coke and Pepsi companies really can read the local markets to develop some interesting flavors to attract Chinese people and some people from overseas.  My husband and his friends every time tried one different thing they haven’t seen in the US.

Surprisingly I feel the subway in Shanghai is very clean and the platform and the trains are so much wider than what we have in New York - I almost forgot how considerate and developed the infrastructures are.  Also, a lot of people was taking the train ride time to make phone call - that's right, the signal is good in the subway - no time wasted.  On the road, all the traffic lights all changed to huge size, it makes me think I am in a different city. 

Except for soup dumplings (my favorite local breakfast), I don’t see too much difference between Shanghai Chinese food and New York China town Shanghai food.  New York restaurants actually hire Shanghai chefs to keep the food authentic, I think it might be the time of Shanghai Chinese food to change to be fusion, new design and looking.  

It just give me a feeling this time when I was in my hometown that it is not the city I am familiar with any more. I think I need to go back to Shanghai more often and get to know more changed things about China in order to stay current of life condition and situations in China.

 
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February is my favorite Month.  It is nice and short  - a lot of things to celebrate: Valentines, my birthday, my dating anniversary, and sometimes we have Chinese New Year in February.   I also think we are so lucky that we work less days in February than a typical month, but we still get the same amount of salary.  However, I think the short month also applies to the payment, such as rent and gym membership, also you could end up spend more on holiday celebration.  If you  have some projects, it also allows you have less time to finish your goal. I guess it is fair, just couldn’t figure out why Febuary is shorter than any other months.

I am really good at Math, but I couldn’t figure out which one, Money or Time is more priority for me. 

I went to do laundry every weekend.  In New York City, if you do it yourself in the community laundry room, it will save more than half of cost when you send them to the laundry shop to have them washed,  folded, and delivered to your door.  We are talking about $8 vs. $ 18.  But for $10 you don’t have to go to one block away laundry room three times totally about 2.5 hours and fight for washing machines with other people.   People said it is not a difficult question, just spend $10 and relax.  But living in Manhattan you have to be frugal, for a month you can save $40, for a year, you can save $480, and on weekend, you have to admit that you sometimes have extra time available, which doesn’t create any value. 

The same thinking applies to go to Target trip (I call it a "trip") for grocery shopping, spending 1.5 hours on the bus to save about $30 per trip, versus ordering online with minimum $49 to be able to qualified on free shipping on Soap.com.  It’s really hard to balance which way provides more life time value (at least living in New York City).

I hope some Math geeks can come up with a Money –Time Formula, put a lot of elements in to it and analyze which way will bring more life time value.  A Chinese concept describes life as a complicated book, I guess who can figure it out, can win Noble Prize for Peace.  Or maybe it is only the confusing question for low-to-middle class that the value difference between time and money are not too significant... What do you think?

 
At the last day of every year, I always have a lot of thoughts.  Mostly what did I do for the entire year.

First thought - not too much.  I spent 6 months looking for job, spent another 2 months doing nothing because I was waiting for working authorization - a lot of staying alone, feeling depressed and wasting time.

Second thought - a lot!  I have moved to NYC in January with my love @hegranes; become mama of our dog, Oliver, in May.  I found a job perfect for me in July.  Most importantly, I got married in July.   I received working authorization being able to contribute my talents to the US in December.  Many lifetime level achievements and happiness have happened in 2012 - I am happy with the year.

Whether you are happy or not, it depends from which angle you look.  I could totally wear my pessimistic glasses to see everything in my life is dark, but I would rather choose an optimistic screen to filter everything cheerful for me in 2012.  

Regarding Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory (see the picture below) I am really lucky and happy.  I am healthy, safe, loved, have a lot of achievements, have learned much new knowledge, have many passions and enjoy the aesthetics of the life.  The only need is self-actualization, which is the top level of the needs for human being. FYI, less than 1% of human beings have achieved it. 

To conclude, my 2012 was awesome!
 
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A full four days after hurricane Sandy, word finally came last minute that the New York Marathon is cancelled. Thousands of runners are so disappointed because on average people at least need train for 18 weeks.  I used to take 4 months to train for my marathons, the last two or three weekends involve brutal 16-18-mile-long runs. 

Sunday afternoon, I walked to Central Park with Jon and Oliver, and saw hundreds of people wearing ING New York Marathon signature orange race shirt and the race number tags, some of them even put the race chips on their shoes. Some of the foreign runners carried their countries’ flags, and a couple of supporting teams were there cheering the runners up and supplying with some water and food.  I think it is a silent memorial day for those marathon runners to declare even though the marathon is cancelled, their efforts of marathon training haven’t been wasted.  I saw their running, can’t help joining them to run together until the finish line which has been set up in the park.

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Watching the marathoners run their own private races, I felt a strong running spirit came out from the “orange oceans.” My frozen marathon running mind melted, and I couldn’t help tearing up – thinking I used to be one of them.  I have a strong mind that I believe nothing is impossible.  I used to train so hard followed by the schedule to build up my strength physically and mentally.  I ran two full marathons in 2010, but since then I only did one half marathon.   I only run 2.5 miles every other day and longest distance is about 5 miles.

The scene of the NYC marathon runners reminds me that I should do more and more races as a runner, and I should run ING marathon next year to be a real runner, to be a marathon runner.


 
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We have just survived the biggest hurricane - #Sandy – that New York City has seen in 108 years.   I can’t help thinking about several important things after the hurricane.

  1. Have to have a smart phone
When the power is off, I don’t know what is going on and how bad the results are.  Not only I can call my mother-in-law in Santa Fe to ask about New York updates, but also I can open @Aereo website to watch news from the live streaming TV, check out Twitter to see updates from all over, as well as post status and pictures to report our safety to our family and friends.

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2.  Power is an essential energy for life

No power, no internet, hot water, and heat, and even our stove was finicky.  We suffered 3 days of life without power. It is so inconvenient.  We needed to go to friend’s place to charge the devices and get internet.  Fortunately, we have a dog, Oliver, who can keep us warm in the dark.

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3.   Serve for the People

The city needs to have government and all infrastructure workers to support the citizens.  When the hurricane came, government officials always updated the status and advocated people to listen to the instructions in different channels.  The traffic policeman stayed in the entrance of the FDR overnight during Sandy to make sure no one went on the highway.  Firemen came in 10 min when a manhole had been blown away by the explosion caused by the burning down of the power station . Two days after hurricane, the power companies came and took 10 hours to repair and brought us back to a bright world. Amazingly, MTA (mainly subways) is partially up and running after three days, despite so many stations had flooding.  

4. Supporting systems are the keys to survive and recover

Startups who have power are tweeting out messages to welcome others without power to work in their offices.  Friend of ours told us, his home is our home, feel free to shower and charge our computer and use internet.  The hurricane makes people closer to each others to fight the disaster and solve the difficulties together.

5.  Real Estate Choices in NYC

Now I know which of part of the town and how high the buildings are safe from hurricanes, it will reflect people’s choice of rental and purchasing.  However, a hurricane like Sandy is only once every century -hopefully- I can use the hurricane blackout area as an excuse to negotiate with the rental price (as we’re hoping to move in December).

6.  How to win businesses

The bread counter of our grocery stores was vacant one day before the hurricane, Duane Read looked like it had been robbed, even didn’t have bottles of water and soda in the shops.   If they had just-in-time operation, they could have had ordered more items from suppliers three days when the hurricane was announced. On the other hand, after the hurricane, those who opened their businesses the next day won a lot of business.  People were in line of coffee, restaurants and even frozen yogurt.  Linkedin CEO Reed Hoffman also tweeted about using @Airbnb to solve the temporary living problems.

I have experienced a lot of huge typhoons in Shanghai, but none of them are bigger than Sandy.  It could be my first experience.  I have to conclude New York City is so much advanced and efficient, which makes me love New York more and more. 

Do you have any thoughts after Hurricane?

 
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“Life is about experiencing all kinds of different things.” I told my parents about my definition of life when I persuaded them to allow me to study in the US. Since I moved to New York City, I have dramatically experienced new things that I never could have imagined.

My first dental appointment in the US made me feel so loved and cared.  The doctors are not bossy like Chinese ones; in fact they treated me like a princess. They have micro oral vacuum to always keep your mouth dry, so I don’t need to spit my blood all the time.  During the painful deep cleaning section, I can watch some Netflix movies to distract my attention. @Fazworks said I need to change my view to hospitals and doctors as it is a service industry.

This summer, I went to public free swimming pool one block down from our apartment.  When I swam in the narrow lane at the side, the guard reminded me whether I was aware it is a speed lane.  When I swam in the middle bigger zone and went back and forth, he came to me again and said I should swim in counter-clockwise-circles – I feel that should be the a great ideal of order - I love it.

I also have experienced a lot of free things or cheap things in such an expensive city. The free Yoga every week, free running group,  $5 career network meetup events, $25 @Skillshare Marketing cohort analysis class has washed my brain. I also did my first facial in the US during the $50 Spa week package. The facility is awesome, especially the bed can be adjusted to up and down, but I don’t understand why they use their nails to squeeze my blackhead rather than with a tool.

Today I will experience a massive hurricane, my first since I came to the US.  City transportation will be shut down, and it is also possible that we won’t have electricity and of course internet for a few days.  People are buying groceries crazily to prepare to be stuck. In fact, I might have not experience the blackout for about 30 years, will see how we can survive, but we’ve downloaded some TV episodes to our ipad to make sure we still have something fun to do.

I am so fascinated that I have experienced more and more new things over just a few month, even though I have been in the US for 3.5 years. Compared to what I have experienced in Shanghai, I feel unbelievable and even culture shocked.  At the same time, I also feel so lucky to experience all kinds of things that most of the Chinese people won’t even get a chance to imagine. To me, I am so satisfied to realize more and more my dream, my meaning of the life.


 
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Five weeks ago, I started work being an international legal conference producer. I am researching, and interviewing people in China from law firms and in-house counsel to get some conference topic ideas, and inviting speakers to the forums. I feel it is a perfect job for me. 

I have a huge network of high-level lawyers from Paul Hastings.  They even introduced me to a couple of lawyers in the legal area I will conduct my conference.  There are also a bunch of people who left Paul Hastings and went to different law firms or companies, which broadens my networks.   It is also easy for me to find another new lawyer through their introductions.  

The schedule could not be any better for me.  I go to the office 1:00pm- 5:00pm, and then go home to conduct telephone interviews from 8:30pm -11:45pm.  I am totally a night person, and in the morning I can sleep in and run with my dog.  Some times I do have one call in the morning, and I put more time in the morning to research as I am still new to the job and legal issues, but I don’t mind at all spending more time doing my best for the job I love.  Between 5:00pm - 8:30pm, I can go home, walk my dog, yoga, cook some dinner and still relax.  

I will travel to Shanghai for business purpose 5-6 times a year.  It never could better for me as my parents are in Shanghai.

I can't help considering it is most easily for an MBA student go back to what you did before.  It will accumulate your experience and your knowledge together, rather than give up totally what you experienced and start up from a brand new area.  I think the job is perfect, and I’m even learning a lot of legal terminology, I feel I could become an expert in the field  Working hard for the business that I’m excited about, I think I will do a good job on the China conference producer position.


 
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I was waiting for the official offer for the new job this week.  There is nothing I can do, I never felt so bored like this before.  However my husband - Jon Jon told me that these might be the last few days of utterly free time, so enjoy!  

I decided to have a museum tour  week.  Revisiting the Arts I love, window shopping among the world’s top brand stores I dream of on 5th Avenue, I can’t help having a deep breath to smell the world, to open my sleepy heart.   These were my two biggest hobbies when I was in Shanghai.  I have let them sleep for about three years.  Now it is the time to wake up my two tastes.  I feel I am back in the market!!

I always love museums.  Our apartment is only 15min walking to the museum districts,  so I went to the Met and the Whitney museums.  But the most important I revisit to the impressionism galleries to watch Monet and Cezanne in the Met.  I can’t help, but tear up, because those are my favorite pieces and remind me of the beauty of regular life, my passion, my dream, and my goals.  Staring at those masterpieces, the time seems to stop at this moment, but my blood becomes so warm that it accelerates my heart beat, so powerful that it opens up of inspiration.  My life, my difficulties and my challenges seem to be so small compared to those arts.  Now I feel I find the balance of the life again, because there are so many beautiful things in my life I can appreciate. However, right now I appreciate for life in a higher level because of all the things I achieved and experienced.  I should always set my goal higher and higher and achieve them little by little to have higher level of appreciation for life.

Welcome to the market, Baby, which I should belong to!  I love the feeling, I love the beautiful bright future in front of me, I love to be woken up!

 
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People always want to take a long vacation to have a break from the busy life.  I just finished an almost year-long vacation after my MBA.  I would say it is not an enjoyable vacation; sometimes I even feel bored.  That changed this week with my new job!

I have always felt a heavy pressure to find a full time MBA job, writing 5-10 cover letters everyday, participating in 2-3 meetup events every week, harassing friends to make introductions, following up on all the open applications, and absorbing new tactics to get a new job - not missing any chances.  Getting a job is a huge fight, I need to use all of my energy and build up confidence again and again to come up with strategies and apply it to my tactics.  Looking back through the whole year, I feel exhausted.   

No income means I can’t enjoy life properly.  I haven’t really gone decent shopping for a year.  I haven’t been on any trips for leisure.   I still need to report my parents in China about the big purchases because I start to depend on them financially, whose incomes are totally $500/month in China.  

So glad to find a full-time job, so that I can go back to regular life and enjoy work and life balance.   So glad I am in New York, one of the most active cities in the world, which encourage me to move fast, to be smart to compete with others, and to be aggressive to pursue my dream.  So glad Jon - now my husband, always supports me, encourages me and inspires me, to empower me on the job market again and again.