Radical honesty at work

battle black blur board game

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While driving to work this morning, I listened to a podcast by Adam Grant on learning how to love criticism (great podcast, by the way, highly recommend). Ray Dalio from Bridgewater was a guest on the show, so the concept of radical honesty came up. This wasn’t the first time I had heard of the controversial practice, but the timing was…fortuitous. I was scheduled to have my quarterly meeting with the head of our group today, and I had been contemplating what to discuss with her. More specifically, I had been wondering just how honest I should be. Continue reading →

Too comfortable

If you know me well, and you probably do if you are reading this, then you know I’m a creature of comfort. But apparently that only applies to physical comfort. Maybe my penchant for getting easily bored trumps prevents me from simply enjoying being in my comfort zone for too long. Or maybe I’m still to young to…what is it, “settle”, is that what they call it?

That’s why as much as I love Duke and as comfortable and competent as I feel in this lovely bubble, I need to move on. Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate the last bit of my existence here. It’s wonderful: I can perfectly juggle five classes without breaking a sweat (I have been doing it, and more, for the past three years after all); I complain about my workload, but honestly I’m never really stressed. I might work nonstop for days or have one paper after another, but I wouldn’t really call it tough. I’m certainly challenged my classes, but I know how to handle these challenges and I’m never overwhelmed. But that’s just it, maybe I want to be overwhelmed. Maybe I feel just a bit too comfortable.

I probably won’t feel this way for the rest of my life; eventually, I will want to settle comfortably into a routine, but that’s not today, or anytime soon. There is still too much out there for me to learn. I still have too much potential unfulfilled. I am, in a word, still un-established. So before then, before I have something significant and substantial attached to my name, my identity, I can’t settle. I need to move forward, to continue pushing my limits and venture outside of my comfort zones. It will be painful, it will be stressful, and I will probably feel miserable at times, but that’s how you grow.

Am I scared? Hell yes. Am I excited? Absolutely.

Crunch time!

1.5 more weeks of class, which translates to: two more papers, two more game theory ps, one last logic ps

followed by 1 week of finals: two. manageable, with decent number of days to study for each

post-final to June 8th: LSAT.

The beauty of college life is that everything moves so fast, you can actually feel the changes and see the future coming towards you every day.

Revolutionary Road

I’m so glad I finally got to see this movie. From the start, I knew this was a movie that I would love, and tonight I was proven right. No one would call this movie “entertaining”, but it was as thought provoking as a movie can be. It definitely calls into question the so-called middle-class American Dream, the cookie-cutter suburban fantasy that came out of the 50’s and still persists today. Yet more than the movies of that disparage that same era of full skirts, prim curls, and equally flawless lawns, this movie really nailed the horror of this deceptionally beautiful ideal and brought it very close to home. If you strip away the time and modify the clothes a little, I can see the faces of Frank and April being replaced by many people I know; frightening, yet true. 

Cookie-cutter ideologies are so attractive because they offer the comfort of comformity. But lurking behind that “everything is just going to be peachy” facade, is the stifflying of individual dreams and passions – the definitions of our characters, and the essence of living. Of course it’s easy to say “never let go of your dreams,” and “always stay true to yourself,” but even now, I can sense and see how those dreams may defer to what we call reality. We see this when our peers take classes they have no interests in (let’s be honest, how many people are genuinely interested in the material taught in that infamous course whose title rhymes with ‘lock’?), but do so anyway to pad their gpa. It begins with trading interests for GPA, challenge for security, passion for money, where does it stop? Maybe it begins with a necessity, real or perceived, and then somewhere down the road, we begin to fabricate what we “have to do” and what is “realistic.” The day we begin to dismiss our dreams as fantasies is the day we have given up to resignation. 

I hope that day will never come for me and my friends. We are more than that, and our dreams deserve every opportunity we can find.