Tri-Attitude

I just did something I didn’t picture myself doing…ever. I competed in a triathlon. After making my way through the race, I can safely say that I have a new-found respect for those athletes that do the Ironmen or even half-Ironmen triathlons. The mental and athletic fortitude needed to complete those challenges is borderline superhuman. From my small intro into the mindset of a triathlete, I have gained some invaluable lessons.

First lesson learned was that completing any challenge that you face is most nearly 80% mindset and 20% skill set. You have to be somewhat athletically inclined to even sign up for a triathlon, but in all honesty, the mindset is what ultimately makes or brakes the completion of the challenge. My favorite quote on mindset and persistence is often attributed to Calvin Coolidge who said “nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Give this a minute to sink in.

The second lesson I learned is that you don’t always know what your limits truly are. There were many times when I thought I was done for (especially during the swim…), but yet I still pushed myself even further. We all have our internal motivations that can push us past our limits both physically, mentally, and even emotionally.  Michael Jordan has a great quote about self-imposed limits saying that “limits, like fear, is often an illusion.” 

So when your facing a struggle that seems to push you past the point of no return, remember that you can complete the challenge if you have the right mindset and that the limits that you think are holding you back are really no more than an illusion!

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Nuke Energy: A Way of the Past?

Commissioned after World War II, nuclear energy production for civilian use seemed to be at the cutting edge and the end of our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and coal. In 1946, the U.S. government assembled the AEC or Atomic Energy Commission. After seeing the immense energy generated by the atomic bombs created under the code name “Manhatten Project” during WWII, the government decided to dig a little deeper. By 1951, the AEC had created the first atomic energy turbine to create electricity. In the 60’s, the US demand and interest in atomic energy increased rapidly under the assumption that this was the clean energy we had so desperately been seeking. In 1979, the infamous 3 Mile Island disaster occurred in Pennsylvania. By the early 80’s, growing concerns of nuclear contamination started to disrupt the rosy future of nuclear power. Then in 1986, the famous Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the former Soviet Union explosion occurs and contaminates much of the surrounding environment. At it’s peak in the early 90’s, nuclear power accounted for 22% of the nations power production.

Now we are seeing the industry come to a complete halt. Many of the structures planned for production have been shelved. There are stories all over the news about these aging monoliths of our post World War II days being decommissioned. So many of the plants resemble the story of the Watts Bar II plant in the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority). THis plant has been “under construction” for 43 years according to the LA Times. Due to it’s extended time line, much of it’s equipment is now outdated. The “newest” plant, other than this one is at least 20 years old. According to the article by the LA Times: “Watts Bar, the so-called 21st century American nuclear plant, defines the crisis facing the U.S. nuclear industry. It’s stuck with outmoded technology and a management culture that exacerbates, rather than constrains, the technology’s safety issues. With every episode like this, the industry moves one step further away from making the case for its survival.”la-ed-diablo-canyon-closing-20160623-snap

Photo Cred. LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-diablo-canyon-closing-20160623-snap-story.html

Will this be the last nuclear power plant to be built? I can’t answer that personally, but after seeing the alternative options like solar and wind energy, I think it is safe to deduce that nuclear energy will pass away like the 8-track and cord-tethered telephone.

Creating Creativity in the Engineering Field

Experience in a certain job or field can be a blessing or a curse. In the book, Rookie Smarts, Liz Wiseman states the following; “When the world is changing quickly, experience can become a curse, trapping us in old ways of doing and knowing, while inexperience can be a blessing, freeing us to improvise and adapt quickly to changing circumstances.” I have found that over my short career, my inexperienced peers seem to come up with more creative solutions to problems than my more experienced cohorts. Why is this?

Inexperience breeds curiosity. When you are inexperienced, you don’t get stuck in the trap of doing it the way it’s always been done. As a “newcomer”, you don’t know everything, but you know those who do. You begin to seek out information from those more knowledgeable than yourself. The novice then begins to compile all of their resources before making a decision. They do not let ego get in the way of seeking out helpful information. The greenhorn often seeks out knowledge from everyone that is located along the supply chain including; shareholders, producers, suppliers, and even end-users. This glut of data often gives the tenderfoot a unique perspective of a problem or process. He or she does not pretend to know everything, because they simply don’t. This is often seen as a disadvantage, but when harnessed correctly, it can be a giant benefit.

As consumption of resources continues to increase in the world we live and work in, creativity will be ever more important to ensure longevity for future generations. Consumption of resources include; fossil fuels, potable water, forests, etc. Implementation of creativity can ultimately decide the fate of future generations to come. As cheesy as this may sound, we need to embrace creativity as a necessary skillset and not let it fall by the wayside with other nostalgic skills, such as, imagination and curiosity that were so prevalent in our youth.

Public Speaking Mind Shift (Quick Read)

As a speaker, it is your duty to convey a message that benefits the audience. Whether this be a wedding toast, award presentation, or a technical seminar. Tony Robbins, a famous life coach and speaker, once told interviewers with Business Insider magazine, “Don’t ever speak publicly about anything that you’re not passionate about and that you don’t actually believe you have something truly unique to deliver,” he says. “Don’t get roped into talking about something that you don’t really have passion for, and don’t get roped into something you don’t have expertise in. Why should somebody listen to you? If you’re going to take somebody’s time, you better deliver.” This should change your perspective about speeches as a whole. Once you see your speech as a chance to deliver valuable information to the audience and shift your mindset outwardly, the speech becomes easier. You are no longer the focus of the speech; the message becomes the focus. This takes a lot of pressure off of you, the speaker.

If you are uncertain on how best to deliver a message to an audience, take some time to watch YouTube videos of certain outstanding presenters such as Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Tony Robbins, Steve Jobs, Eric Thomas, Jim Rohn, etc.… Watch their physical, non-verbal communication. Pay attention to their delivery, pauses, and voice inflections. Pick one of these speakers as your “speech mentor”. Try your best to emulate your mentor and practice their movements, gestures, and other non-verbal cues.

The Wonderful Deadline

The familiar word “deadline” had ominous beginnings when first coined back in the late 1800s.  As with many business words we use today, this word stemmed out of war. In Andersonville, Georgia, a prison camp for Federal prisoners of war was constructed. This camp was come to be known as Camp Sumpter. The camp was the largest confederate prison camp constructed during the Civil War.

The walls were constructed of pine logs of staggering height. Along the wall, stood look-out towers for the confederate soldiers to keep an eye on the captured prisoners. Located approximately 19 feet from the wall was a small fence row. This fence was far enough from the wall to prevent someone from scaling over or tunneling under the camp walls. This smaller fence was considered the “deadline.” If a prisoner crossed this literal deadline, he was shot by the confederate soldiers keeping watch in the towers.

Surprisingly, deadlines can be a powerful tool in productivity. Deadlines are simply a timeline for which to finish a project or task. When you (or another agency) have assigned a deadline to a task, you understand when it needs to be finished. This allows you to prioritize certain projects. If you don’t have a deadline on a certain chore, it tends to slip further back into the proverbial “pile”. This is where the power of deadlines takes place! When you create deadlines for certain tasks, you are assigning a ranking for each task. This allows you to stay focused on a certain project because you know that time is of the essence.

Your project deadline doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? This may be why deadlines are always imposed with a negative connotation. Deadlines are a necessary evil, whether self-imposed or not.

First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Hello All,

As you can read from the title, this is my first blog post. As the name suggest, I am also an engineer. This is probably a little surprising to see a post by an engineer, but I’ll keep it exciting, I promise! If you walk along this journey with me, I promise that I will help give some pointers on how to make your personal and professional lives even more enriched.

My goal with this blog is to discuss the correlations between business and engineering. How you might be more successful by utilizing skills prominent in both professions. As an engineer that is obsessed with business, my hope is that you can observe some of my mistakes and triumphs along the way and learn from them. Let this be a blueprint for the rest of my blog posts. Hopefully you will enjoy this design!