Intent is just desire. To live a full life you must be doing, or living an intentional life. I have been looking into some of the writing of John C Maxwell and like what I have been able to gather so far. I like the fact that he uses the word “Intentional” instead of just “Intent.” It is amazing the difference the two letters “al” can give to the meaning of a word. There are so many people from whom I am learning, but unless I apply what I learn it does me no good at all. I may have more knowledge, but unless I create a plan and put that plan (based on my accumulated knowledge) into action I will be no better off and will have helped no other person succeed. To not be my best and help others to be their best would be a waste of tremendous potential. All of us have God given potential into which we need to tap. From now on, these articles will be a bit more personal. The best way I know of how to help others succeed is to first help myself.
One thing I do on a regular basis is to look for people who are going out and doing in order to inspire me to do better. There are people who inspire, like Tom Houck who made a sufficient amount of money as an accountant, especially after forming his own company. Creating his own company he became an excellent presenter (from what I have seen, this is a necessary part of being a great entrepreneur). Tom then used those skills to tackle “his dream of building a wrestling academy.” It is essential to have dreams, but what are each of us doing to clarify those dreams and make them a reality.
My background is as a teaching and a software engineer. I am good at both. Both can be very rewarding. When I see a student finally understand the concepts I am trying to share is a fantastic experience. There is nothing more rewarding than that. Writing software that is useful to lots of people is good also, but unless I can see a person using the software and being really excited about what it can do for him/her it is not the same. The programs I have designed and written for which I am most grateful are:
- High School registration system – George Washington High School, Guam – This was quite a bit of fun. It was old school technology, using FORTRAN and punch cards. Each class was given the cards needed to fill each class. The students then went around with their master card and collected cards for each of the classes they needed. An overnight run was done and all the teachers had a roster for each class the next day. The councilors were also given a list of each student who did not have 6 cards. If they were supposed to be off campus for some work training, there were cards for those periods also. Where the students surprised when they were called into the office to explain the missing classes. I learned a tremendous amount about sorting and search algorithms designing and writing this program. This all came in very useful later.
- Vietnamese Refugee Locator System for the Red Cross – What I learned from the High School registration system came in very handy. Again, it was card based. Because of the search algorithms I had learned, it was very quick at finding specific people and where they were located (down to the tent and cot). The Army also had a system, but mine was so much faster (even though they had much better equipment), the people taking care of the refugees usually used the Red Cross system. To this day, if I meet a person from Viet Nam, I usually asked if they or their parents came through Guam on their way to the mainland. The Vietnamese I met were all fantastic people. The ones I know here are hard working. One owns a great Cafe here in Fort Collins, Little Saigon Cafe.
- Internal Diagnostics for the Tektronix 4100 series terminals and one of Tektronix’s original workstations. Most of the programming had to initially be written in assembler based on the Intel and Motorola processors that were used in the products. I really appreciate the chips with more registers so that I could keep needed information in each so that the checks would run faster. Manufacturing was originally writing their own manufacturing diagnostics, but when they saw what mine did they soon adapted my process. One of the features they liked was the ability to plug in a set of PROMs (Programmable Read Only Memory) into a space set of sockets and my program would detect those PROMs, do a checksum on the PROMs, and then jump to a specified location. I had the privilege of going back to the International Test Conference in Cherry Creek and then Philadelphia to present papers on this program. It was a lot of fun and I met several good people.
- SoftBench library development – Hewlett Packard – developed the C++ library interface to the SoftBench development library. Consulted with developers in Switzerland to create a traffic control system. Unfortunately, I was a little late in this process and was not able to help them create a more object-oriented approach so they could have used their modules to develop air traffic control systems for other airports. It was a fun project and was able to travel to Sweden to help this group and other users in Europe better use the SoftBench development libraries.
Unfortunately, live goes on the companies downsize. As I grow older I realize that most employers are looking for younger employees. This is the way the world is changing, so I do try to keep up with technical development, but I realize that I must reinvent myself and find other ways to support a family. One of the main things I have learned from all of this is that what I do must involve helping others.