Category Archives: Life Lessons

Where knowledge meets life, and all its uncertainties.

Being good at the wrong things

I’ve always lived with this odd contradiction of knowing I’m good at many things… but not being good at the right things.

I’m probably not the only one. Just look at the movies and tv series that populate our screens. Athletes  are celebrated, while the studious are shunned. Both sides are good at what they do, but in school, you’re not cool until you’re on the school sports team.


That said, times are changing. Being ‘geeky’ doesn’t automatically equal social exile. We now have shows that feature those from the scientific community, like Big Bang Theory and Mythbusters.

So… what brought this about? Two things. Read the rest of this entry


Dealing with scammers

I got a call recently from someone who claimed to be from Microsoft, saying that they were doing something (didn’t catch exactly what they were saying since I couldn’t really hear them at the beginning of the call). They were going to talk me through some computer stuff. The whole time, I was wondering if it was a scam, especially when they wanted me to download something. After a frustrating few minutes, my dad came back and I just passed the phone to him. Usually, I would have just said that my parents were out and hung up, but I was waiting for a call. (Though in hindsight, I was waiting for a call from Acer, not Microsoft.)

The call led to a short conversation on how to deal with scammers, which has made its way to this post, with some modification. This is for every person who might get scammed in the future.

How to identify scams:

Calls from big companies on house phones

Big companies won’t bother checking up on individual customers to see if there’s anything wrong with their product. As my mum pointed out, they can’t check on every single customer. If they’re doing their business right, they’ll be too many of them.

Internet search

While you’re on the phone, nothing’s stopping you from going online and searching to see if whatever the caller’s trying to get you to do/sell is a scam.  Chances are, you’re not the only one.

Non-existent problems, competitions…

If you have no problems with your product, you don’t need help to fix a non-existent problem. If you’ve never entered a competition, you aren’t likely to win any prize.


So. Now that you know you may be talking to a scammer…


How to deal with them:

Just hang up

Because scammers won’t hang up until they’ve got you to do what they one. So if you’re waiting for them to hang up, don’t bother.

Ask for their name and contact number

For those who want to be polite, just in case they really are talking to a customer service employee, ask for their name and contact number so that you can call them back. If they won’t give it to you, hang up; if they won’t let you hang up, it’s probably a scam. If they do give it to you… give the company a call and ask if they have an employee with the name and contact number given to you?

Consistency = Productivity

If I were to write at least one post a week, even if it doesn’t sound that impressive, at the end of the year, I’ll have at least 52 posts. Doesn’t sound like much. What if I set myself a goal to write 100 words a day? (This paragraph is around 100 words long.) If I write 100 words a day, after a whole year, I’ll have 36,500 words (36,600 for leap years). That’s about the length of a novella. Or a few short stories. Possibly 36 or so 1oo0 word short stories.

That’s 36 more than what a lot of writers can say they’ve written in a year.

Now comes the trick that makes consistency even more productive. Following the exampled with writing 100 words a day, once you start writing, it’s very easy to go past 100 words in one setting. The first few words are the hardest, as ideas seem determined to slip through your fingers, but once you get a few more words on the paper/screen, or if inspiration has decided to grace you with its presence, you can easily go past 100 words. Maybe write a whole 1000-word chapter/short story in a day.

And when you get used to writing 100 words a day, it’s a simple matter to slowly increase the word goal to 110, 120, 13o… As long as you don’t take prolonged breaks, you’ll just keep getting more and more productive.



The best conversationalists

  • are 100% focused on you 

Because like everyone else, you like talking about you, your hobbies, your trips, your likes… That’s why people with similar hobbies/fans of the same stuff can talk for so long even if it’s only their first conversation.

  • are mentally present in the conversation

Because talking to someone who nods at the wrong moments and fail to answer the occasional question we throw at him/her is very off-putting. We might as well talk to a wall. As long as no one sees us. Don’t want people to think we’re crazy after all.

  • have a decent knowledge of the conversation topic, jargon, setting…
Because explaining the ‘basic stuff’ to people eats into the time we could have used talking about the things we really want to talk about. And not all of us are good at explaining, or learning new things. In this case, a curious face and a sharp mind will be very valuable to a good conversationalist wannabe.

There’re plenty of other things that make someone a good conversationalist. Including good looks. But that’s being judgemental. The most important aspect of a good conversationalist is being fully present in the conversation. Because once you’re fully present, the rest will fully more easily. In fact, for those who are wondering why I’m talking about conversationalists, ‘being fully present’ is the whole reason I wrote this.

Long story.

Sales: The Financial Trap

Most of us would think that we’d save money at sales. Most of us would be wrong.

Those who do save money are the ones who have an item they’ve been wanting/needing to buy for a long time, and wait for a sale so that they can buy that item at a cheaper price.

Most of us don’t do that.

What most of us do when we see ‘SALES’, is go in, see a ‘good deal’ and make the flimsiest excuse to buy stuff we don’t really need or won’t actually ever use or buy more than we actually need. Think back. How many times have you returned home and realized that you have more stuff than you know what to do with? And then comforted yourself by thinking that the stuff was cheap so it wasn’t too bad. You didn’t waste too much money. It could have been worse.

So. Sales. How do you deal with it? One way is to ask yourself a very important question.

Would you buy it if it wasn’t on sale?

Don’t think about the fact that it’s half price, or buy 5 free 3, or it’s a special package. Those are the baits to catch your attention. Focus on the product. Your bank account will thank you.

If it’s a no, think very hard. Unless the only reason you have not bought it before the sale is because it’s so crazy expensive, you probably don’t need it as much as you think you do.

If it’s a yes, think even harder. Do you want it or do you need it? Only buy it if you are actually going to use it. There’s probably a reason you haven’t bought the stuff before the sale came along. Maybe you actually have one older model at home.


Keep a list of stuff you really need. When you see a sale going on, only buy the stuff on the list. If you are financially comfortable, you can probably give yourself a little treat. If your earnings barely cover your spendings, take whatever extra money you have and put it in your bank or lock it up somewhere before you go and use it to buy something you don’t actually need. You don’t have to spend every single cent you have.

Isabel Caves

Poetry, Fiction & Photography

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Little Wee Stories

Very short stories to delight and entertain


Faristha Kanakkapillai

Skruulraken's Words

The blog of works by Connor R. Ryan.