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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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Last Sunday, I went to a Lululemon Free Yoga Class for the first time.  The level of the Lululemon class is in the very high level in terms of the attendees and the difficulty of the class.  The yoga teacher gave very fast instructions in original Yoga terminology with few demonstrations.  But most all of the Yogis can follow the instruction and even half of them can do the crane pose and the hand-stand.  

Similar to when I’ve tried other yoga studios or gyms in the city, I feel I couldn’t show off my flexibility or yaga skills any more and can barely do some of the very difficult poses (e.g. the hand stand). More and more, Western girls and women have become really flexible and powerful by practicing Yoga; whereas 5 years ago, I could totally show off in every yoga studio as an Asian person,  while American complained their genetic body is not flexible at all, who barely touch their foot bending over.  Through long years healthy concentration and yoga practice, a lot of Americans can show off their yoga skill in front of Asian People.  I even feel threatened how strong their core strengths are.  

Genetic condition is bullshit, fate is crap, which are the excuses or boundaries prevent people to conquer the challenges.  You can change your genetic condition through smart practice.  You can change your fate by your continuous efforts.  I have trained to be a strong marathon runner, who once caught colds almost once every month.  I came to US to realize my American dream by my strong determination and persistent trying.

You can change the fate, if you want to, if you put in your effort, if you try hard and smartly.  Stop complaining about the situation or condition any more. Human Beings mean to dominate your own life and fate. As my mom always says, “whatever the path you are going, it is your own choice.”

 
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Several days ago, I saw the movie Les Miserables, wherein the major character's name is Jean Valjean.  I thought I watched Les Miserables movies and cartons in mandarin version several times as a child – so why his name doesn’t ring a bell.  Suddenly, I realized the character I saw in mandarin version sounds like “Rava Rean” - seems like different name.

I suddenly felt unfair for me as a foreigner. Even though I have read and watched about a lot of master pieces in mandarin, when I talk about people’s name or locations in Chinese version with my English speaking classmates and my husband or other people from other countries, they will be totally lost, not understanding what I am talking about.   Besides the language boundary, there is also the cultural differences. As one time I talked about “xi qu ke ke (希区苛客,Alfred Hitchcock)”, even I said he is the master director of detective/scary movies, my husband still didn’t get it who I talked about, he asked me to name his movie names, I couldn’t either.  Because the movie name translations are totally different.  I went to the details about the movies, my husband got more confused.  I suddenly feel I am in the “lost translation.” I have to go home and use google translation to continue the conversation. 

I feel that my education in China except Mathematics are almost wasted in the US. I couldn’t use my cultural knowledge to have conversations or play any knowledge games with Americans.  Plus my elementary school level of English and grammar, I often feel fooling, not cultural at all, regardless I am passionate about and spent decades of my life learning about music, opera, impressionism painting and modern art.

Why in China does everything need to be translated and learned in Chinese, especially foreign names? How come names cannot be identical to the names in the original language, so people who go abroad have some common “culture” to share and can talk.  In the movie, leave the original name underneath of the Chinese translation.  On the text books or novels, put the original “Real” names beside the translations.  Why not teach Mandarin and English together, so when we come to the original countries, we can realize and identify what they are talking about and join the conversation with a common knowledge we learn.

Wake up people, as the world becomes more globalized, education needs to be globalized too.  Otherwise, even though we’ve learned a lot in Chinese, we still look like idiots without any culture basis.   For the foreign people living in the US, too often we end up hanging out only with the people who came from the same country, have common “culture” to talk about things happened before we left the countries. It is Les Miserables!!


 
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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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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What does “Practice” mean?  I thought it means do exercise by following a model.  Such as practice piano, practice acting. 

For a long time, I couldn’t find a verb for Yoga.  I always said “do” Yoga, because in Chinese “doing something” means an action.  Though my husband said it is wrong, I said sometimes we do say, play taiji, do exercises, I obviously couldn’t put play here.  But, attending some from yoga class here, now I realize Yoga can be practiced. 

When I ask one of my colleague what she did before, she said, “I practiced law”.  I thought it is so interesting.  I thought the meaning of “practice” here may be “following a model” mean, but it doesn’t have the major exercise component.  I couldn’t help thinking it is funny to treat an occupation as always “practicing” something, rather than “do” something.  Do lawyers always repeatedly have an "exercise" on law. I really couldn’t figure it out.  Maybe my lawyer friends can put comments underneath to explain to me.

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Very interesting English, as I live in American longer, I realized that a lot of times, our education is not so effective to learning a foreign language.  A lot of people got high scores in English, but they barely talk, they seldom have American friends to introduce them some American different cultures and the real language they actually speak.  They pronunciation is a great example.  I thought I am from Shanghai, had 12 + year English study and always speak English in the family and work regularly, my English is good.  But I still get pointed out all the time from my American husband that my “r” and “l” are messed up.  Only the environment and the people you communicate are the keys to understand the language better.  

So Chinese, no matter you are in China or in American, go out to hang out with more American friends to learn, understand and speak better English, if you really want to improve it.

 
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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.  


 
I was worried about living in New York since it has so much delicious food that I want to taste from the street food carts to high-end restaurants that I would gain weight. But my advanced digital scale tells me that I lost 5 lbs since I came to NYC.  Although I wasn’t even trying to lose weight, I thought I’d share a few tips for what might have helped me drop a few lbs.
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1.  Running

Running is the most important and efficient tips.  Just run about 3 miles slowly and then relax every other day.  If you don’t have motivation as it is too cold or you feel tired, set up a certain time on running days, and find a far place you want to shop, and run there, shop and run back. Design different routes to explore new stores, restaurants and scenes.  

2.  Walking

New York provides us all the opportunities to walk, walk to subway, walk 10 blocks instead of waiting for bus, and compete with the others on speed on the street.  I walk so much faster than before, trying to catch up with New Yorker speed.  

3.  Eat @home

Every week, I probably just dine out twice, the rest of the meals I prepare and cook at home.  I can control the healthy ingredients, put less MSG, oil and salt into my dishes.  I usually like seafood a lot, it has sufficient protein, DHA and provides the fat good for the muscles.  But eating at restaurant for seafood will be so expensive.  I will buy fresh fish at supermarkets or at China town, making it much cheaper to cook at home.  The only problem will be that sometimes you are not good at controlling the amount you cook, you have to throw away the extra when you reach your 70% of capacity of your stomach.  Don’t overeat the food even if it were so good, is not worthy it. It will enlarge your stomach and the bottom of the dishes usually more oily that have much fat.

4.  Junk food 

Only eat junk food once a week, sometime you have to hang out with your colleague and friends to join them for McDonald’s.  Sometime you feel you need an ice cream or froyo (frozen yogurt) after dinner. Sometime you have to try the premium Belgium Fries.  Sometime you are short of time, it is convenient to get a slice of pizza.  I will not resist it, especially in front of friends.  On the other hand, your friends think you are naturally fit, no matter how much you eat, you won’t get fat. But after that, I will feel super guilty and well control myself for a whole week or more.

5.  Digestion Activities

Don’t sit after meals, stand up, wash dishes, do some cleaning, take a digestion stroll around the block… it will help you kill the fat at your tummy.

6.  Hang out

I don’t mean hang out for drinks, but for meetups.  I have one or two evening meetups every week.  Some are for networking with Alumni, some are for networking in order to find a job, some are for fun such as free Yoga, free running and scrabble games, and some are for learning more trends such as social media week.  For regular meetups, you will stand there for at least one hour and keep on talking to people you just got to know, at the same time you will kill your calories. 

7.  Love

You always think you need to keep fit and attractive even for your partner to let them be proud of you and love you more and more.  I feel competitive in this city filled with tons of beautiful and fashionable people.
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8.  Stress

I always have the biggest stress, seeking for a job, which makes me worry all the time. Stress will transition to my motivation to work harder and think more about smarter strategies.


9.   Sleep more

The better I sleep, I feel more happy and full of energy and feel more I naturally lose my weight.  In the night, sleep mood helps human beings to release the harmful toxin thing off your body, I guess including the fat.

10.  Buy a scale

Be aware of your weekly changes of your weight, at least once every week, suggested by @fazworks at a certain time each week. 

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11.  Drink coffee

Every morning I need to drink a bold coffee to wake me up.  Actually it is really good for health.  Caffeine not only stimulates your energy and motivates minds, but also help you digest and help the body to move your bowels to get rid of toxin.

12.  Keep you active and make a productive day

Every day I set up many goals in the morning and do as many things as I can, even on this past Saturday, I cooked omelettes for breakfast, searched for jobs, went through some reading on e-mail and books, ran through central park and visited the natural history museum and ran back, shopped for dinner, ate at home, and wrote a blog before bed.

My boyfriend got so many comments on his fitness since he started dating me, and he becomes more fit since we moved together that he also shared my habit and tips.  I think a great and healthy habit throughout the week is very important.  Sometimes I just don’t control too much on eating, I can eat what ever looks good to me, such as bacon, cheese and froyo.  People said I am probably the type that never gets fat.  But, there actually is no genetic fitness in the world; healthy habits you keep subconsciously lead you to having attractive fitness.

 
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I recently read James Altucher’s blog about how to be a better writer; I think among all those tips, inspiration is the most important element.  Not only for writing, but also for everything, business idea, innovation, strategy and invention.

How is the inspiration sometime with you and some time isn’t?  It seems to be out of our control. However, I found some interesting things to stimulate the inspiration, just wanted to share.

New Environment: 
when people go to new environment, like a new city, a new country, new school, new company, they will see hundreds of new things around them.  Those new things break people’s regular thinking pattern and adjust to a new structure of your logic to adopt the new circumstances.  I just moved to New York for a month, I almost have one blog post every 3 days.

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Different Element: 
The element I mean here is simply the atmosphere that touches and surrounds us everyday.  Regularly, air is surrounding us.  However, I always have some weird thoughts and inspiration when I was touched by the water: go to shower, take a bath, or swim.  I have confirmed this with several people who have the same feeling, their inspiration always happened in the shower.  A lot of Poets were made in a hot bath tub in ancient China.  Chairman Mao always made some master poems when he was swimming.

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Brain Break: 
It applies not only to inspiration, but also to all the stress.  I usually go to see the ocean and or river, or go to run for a brain break, which refreshes your brain and recharges your mind.  My boyfriend said his inspiration comes from walking his dog.  Other people do Yoga.  In the middle of Yoga or meditation, you will feel you clean your lousy mind and get rid of other complicated nonsense; it will help you find the simple and right solution to solve the problems.  Sleeping is also a great brain break.  In the dream, you also jump out of a limited “yourself” boundary, to think out of the box and play the inspiration instruments.

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Almost dead: 
When some of my friends disappoint about not able to find a job in the US, he finally made a decision to found his own business.  Now he not only has income, but also owns every penny of company’s net income.  Steve Job had built Apple kingdom, launch revolutionary strategies and products, when his life was on the edge.   When I almost had an accident in the car in the University, my life pictures, the most important things, and the unfinished things flipped in my mind, even it was just about 0.3 seconds.  Since then, I have decided to cherish every second and try my best to do things in the present.  I think we don’t know what will happen in the future, why not living thoroughly right now while we are having.  

Inspiration is a miraculous thing; it is a gift but also happens suddenly and lasts shortly.  Once it hits you, you have to record it and take advantage it.  Some people wake up in the middle of the night to write down some thoughts, some people use mobile app or camera to record what they think and what they saw. 

The marketing world also needs a lot of good ideas and innovative strategies to attract consumer and bring their attention.  Especially for the Superbowl ads, there are so many similar products.  Consumers are tired of old ideas, Me-too approach and eager to see interesting things to jump out to surprise them. I guess maybe Volkswagen's agency is really good at putting themselves into the pattern to stimulate their inspiration, versus Go-daddy didn't do so, so that Go-daddy always guarantees no any other ads performs to the bottom in the Superbowl.