I’m a big believer in having side projects. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to grow yourself. I discussed the benefits in detail in this post (along with some tips to implement them), but here are the points: It gives you time to refresh your mind. It allows you to explore growth opportunities. It challenges you to be creative. This blog, for instance, was a side project. I was a full-time graduate student at that time and I started this blog to explore English blogging (I already had a blog in Indonesian – my native language – back then). A few years down the road this blog allowed me to quit my day job.
I believe history can teach us a lot. Throughout history, there are those who made good decisions and those who made bad ones. The former reaped the rewards and the latter suffered the consequences. In any case, there are useful lessons that we can learn from their experiences. This time I’d like to share with you a lesson I learned from the story of Alexander Severus, a Roman emperor from 222 to 235. While reading Roman history on Wikipedia a while ago, I got interested in this particular emperor because his assassination started the Crisis of the Third Century. As it turned out, he was assassinated by his own troops. But how could that happen? Why did the troops kill their own emperor? Well, the short answer is that the emperor chose the easy way and his troops didn’t like it.
A while ago I found a YouTube video of Josh Groban singing Vincent. It’s a beautiful song and the performance was also beautiful. I loved it. But then I got interested in what the song was about. The song is about a 19th-century Dutch painter named Vincent van Gogh. I’m sure you know about him; he is a famous painter whose paintings are among the most expensive in the world. According to Wikipedia, his top seven paintings alone were sold for over $700 million. Incredible! Unfortunately, the painter himself didn’t enjoy all the fame and wealth that his paintings generate. He died when he was only 37 years old. At that time only a few people knew his work and even fewer appreciated it. Moreover, he went through a lot of difficulties in his life. For years he suffered from painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness. He suffered from nightmares, insomnia, and stupor, among others. This is not to mention his financial difficulties. He was only able to sell one painting in his lifetime and needed financial support to make ends meet. Considering the phenomenal fame of his work later on, it’s tragic. So tragic, in fact, that […]