Catholic, Day, Faith

Daily journal, which actually evolved as a post on sources and debates between theists and atheists

Berkeley, Monday 20, 2019 11:40 PM

Yesterday, I slept extremly late. 2:40 PM.

I should get rid of that habit because the morning start late as well then.

I checked the newspaper at breakfast. Opened a framed cork board that I bought for pining up my schedule and to do list. Still I need to get some nails for hanging it in the wall.

I stayed at home in the morning. I prayed, read Thomas Aquinas, comment on a post from a friend, had lunch, and left to campus.

I did grading during the afternoon, and took a 20 minute nap.

I submitted my grading, and tried to buy 100 percentage chocolate, but the Berkeley Student Food Collective store is close until May 28.

I was able to get to the Poulet to get some food for dinner.

It was interesting to listen a podcast from William Lane Craig, who is prominent Christian Philosopher, apologist, and created a program called Reasonable Faith. He is a very good debater. You can check out many of his debates against the Atheist. What I was listening was about his story on how he met his wife and his life with her. https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/when-bill-met-jan/

Video 1. William Lane Craig about time for leisure and time for his wife Jan.

The lesson was great about the time commitment that he put aside for his wife. This time was nights and weekends. He respected the commitment. Then, his wife, Jan, give a lot to him, while she was more flexible during finals. The limit time pushed Dr. Craig to be more effective at work.

Furthermore, Jan have committed to to support him a lot in his academic path. Prof. Craig tried to reattribute that by learning some of the topics that Jan was interested such as finances. However, they made the project of Reasonable Faith together, https://www.reasonablefaith.org/, were both of them lead it. Dr. Craig is Professor of Philosophy at Biola University, and one of the 50 most influential contemporanian philosophers.

I definitely have a lot to learn from Dr. Craig, and I am grateful with him for evangelizing in a short assessment I did. However, still for the protestants, I do not have a clear reason, why they left the Catholic Church, which track back his origens to Jesus, who delegated it to Peter. The Catholic Church also acknowledge the Judaism, as it is based in the Old Testament, and acknowledges that Jesus came to correct it. Beyond this clear data and evidence, one can push for reforms, but I did not see the need to leave from it, unless there is a major event.

I skimmed, or passed quickly, an interesting dialogue between Bishop Barron and Dr. Craig from 2018. Both are very respectful, and they agreed to made it a dialogue rather than a debate. Both are very active evangelist. From them I have learnt about the Apologetics, and Bishop Barron have opened my curiosity about Saint Thomas Aquinas, who I am reading currently.

Video 2. Dialogue between two very active Evangelists

In that dialogue, I learned that both of them wake up at 5:30 AM.

I learned about a bit more how to pray, and they opened my curiosity about the Fathers of the Church.

Further, I learned from Bishop Barron, about Dr. Peter Kreeft, a professor in the Department of Philosophy, at Boston College.

Dr. Peter Kreef is a charismatic speaker, who was raised as Calvinist. He thinks that the best two things in his life was to convert to Catholicism and to marry his wife. Following a short introduction about him. He has the fame to be a prolific and productive author. I have not read his books yet, but just here I have mentioned three excellent contemporanean authors. He had studied Thomas Aquinas, and write a book, which extract the best from Aquinas’ books. It could have same some time, but I happy, I am reading piece by piece Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, which consists on 4 volumes in 5 books. I also got 2 volumes from Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae.

Some things to read, in separate time, without hopefully investing too much time on these videos, which I can say are illustrative.

Video 3. About Professor Peter Kreef

I have seen plenty of debates of these people among others, against the Four Horsemen of Atheism: clockwise from top left: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris.

Video 4. Ciudad de las Ideas 2010. Debate Does the Universe have a purpose?. The origins of the future
Video 5. Ciudad de las Ideas. Debate: Hitchens, Harris, Dennett vs Boteach, D’Souza, Taleb.

I reviewed more carefully video 4. Dr. Craig is a great debater. I think they got a great team in 2010, and had strong points against the atheist. Many atheist fear Dr. Craig in general, if you search him in the web. He is a great Evangelist. I sustain my theory that as we continue evolving we continue understanding and exploring our question about God. D’Souza in 2009 also had strong arguments that made me reflect, and I think made reflect the opposition as well. He was debating at that time against three out of the four Four Horsemen of the New Atheism. I need to read more about them as well. Those are men of morals, who have not allowed themselves to humble and seek for God, and for wisdom and understanding through prayer. They limit knowledge to science, and everything else is uncertain. I disagree that it is a holistic view of the Universe, and our purpose. There are morals, wisdom, and knowledge that does not come from science. Check Saint Catherine of Siena.

Video 6. Video 6. St. Catherine of Siena. CATHOLICISM The Pivotal Players by Bishop Barron.

Still, as I said, I will read a bit more about Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris to can talk about them. Bishop Barrons endorsed Christopher Hitchens (+) as a unique character, defending his values, and a person of morals, and passionated about what he defended. In a random search, some heaters accuse him from alcoholism. He, as seems, a transparent man, did not hold back, and spoke about the benefits of alcohol consumption in his life. He said “alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing.” I do not agree with that, but I after skimming that article, I admire his efficiency. He has been a highly productive writer. He said he never had missed a deadline. He had never arrived late. He produced thousands of printable words per day. He gives about 4 lectures per month. Still, I do not know that much about him.

Video 7. Bishop Barron on Christopher Hitchens

Richard Dawkins rather seems a bit arrogant. Still, I do not too much about him. All of those are some impressions, on some procrastination, where I build my arguments and faith.

About Andres Roemer, organizer of the event Ciudad de las Ideas, seems to be an interesting character. He did his PhD in Public Policy at UC Berkeley. He had brought those debates to the public discourse as he explores his own believes. When I watched the 2010 debate, (Video 4), I though that he should have been more prepared about the introduction to the speakers. I thought he just was a showman. In that introduction to the speakers he praised Dr. Dawkins, and kind of asked to the others who you are and what books you have read. I think the moderator should introduce himself to the speakers. He also praised too much Prof. Michio Kaku. I am not against praising them. They deserve due to their hard and influential work. However, he had 6 speakers, so please treat all of them equally respectful.

Richard Dawkins have declined to debate against Professor William Craig for several occasions. Why?

Dr. Sam Harris seems to be a rational persons, however, lacks of emotions or passions in his debates. Still, I do not that much about him, and his writings, rather two videos that I have seem him, which I even passed quickly. He did debate against Dr. William Craig in 2011 at University of Notre Dame.

Video 8. Is Good From God?. Debate between Dr. Sam Harris and Dr. William Craig

Dr. William Craig also debated Christopher Hitchens, on April 4, 2009 at Biola University, about the question Does God exist? It seemed to me a great debate. Both are good debaters. I did not watched all the arguments in detail, but Dr. Craig seems that was much more convincing. I did not check if there was a verdict. I think he won the debate from what I saw. Beyond that the point is that they bring important questions to the table and to rationality of faith, and hopefully to open some seeking to God to the unbelievers, who have not search for Him, and rather want a probe, often in the podium.

Video 9. Debate: Does God Exist? Dr. Craig vs. Christopher Hitchens.

I forgot to mention from the debates from Ciudad de las Ideas, video 4 and video 5, that I do not like the center agnostic please. I hope that they take the decision to move forward to a side, but they cannot argue that both sides are wrong. Dr. Michio Kaku did that in 2010, and Robert Wright did that in 2009. The parts I listened from Dr. Wright were not that convincing. At least I would prefer to take a position.

I have not read that much about Dr. Daniel Dennett. there is a TED talk I watched few minutes of it some time ago. This is the second time that I see him in a debate (Video 5). He looks a respectable man. His age made him look with some wisdom. I cannot recall the video, I saw long time ago , in video 10, I see in the beginning he said let’s teach about religion. It can be in that TED talk or in other, were he still took an insulting position to religions. Well, that is his position. He is one of the 4 horseman of the new atheism, who have not allowed themselves to go beyond rationality and search for god in the prayers.

Video 10. Let’s teach religion. Ted Talk. Dan Dennet

Regarding the other speakers in the ciudad de las ideas. I did paid more attention to the 2010 event. Rabbi David Wolpe looked passionated and emotional. Honestly, I skimmed so I cannot recall his arguments. He seems that took personally a point. He as the others next speakers, I know even less than the ones I referred before, but it is fair to at least give my impressions.

Douglas Geivett seemed that had some points and was well prepared. I might look further about him. Michael Shermer seems to be an author that I will also look further more. He was in the atheist site, but raised some interesting points. I cannot recall the arguments by Matt Ridley, while he seemed a good scientist, I got an impression that the fields of Theology and Philosophy looked unfamiliar to him, same as to Dawkins in that debate. It might be just an impression as I do not that much about those authors.

In the debate from 2009, the speakers that I had left to mention were Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Nassim Taleb. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was passionated but it got personal and lost. I did not watched in detail the 2009 debate, beyond some strong points from D’Souza. Rabbi Boteach seems that did not acknowledged well the theory of the evolution. That is a mistake. The theological debate cannot be traced back centuries. He need a good scientific background. In general the current theological thinking is that the theory of evolution also supports God. At least, in my personal opinion, there is not conflict between science and God. The problem is that some scientist want to reduce knowledge and wisdom to science. I do not think that Nassim Taleb did that well, but again I just skimmed the debate.

Back to the Catholic professor champion, Dr. Peter Kreef, he interestingly highlighted very good points about Muslim in a conversation in this topic against one of his former students. (Video 11). That video came across, and I myself, have read few pages (56) of the Koran. I mentioned this, because my impressions from the 2009 debate are not because of the religious affiliation of the speaker that I mentioned. Well, I can be able to talk more about Dr. Kreef, after I learn more from him, and to talk after the Koran after I finish it. However, I do agree that it rescue some good points from the Old and New Testaments. Interestingly, Dr. Kreef was playing the role of defending Muslim in that conversation. Beyond what they have covered there, which again, I just skimmed, in one of the curiosity procrastinations to learn about Dr. Kreef, I respect the five times of praying from the Muslim in a day, and their strength during the fasting period, which I can tell from some Muslim friends. [Following an update on 5/21/2019]: The problem I have with Muslim, is why Mohamed restricted his followers to read the Old and New Testaments? Why we tried to change them? Those changes and restrictions of Bible, which is catalogued as Divine, made me skeptical from Mohamed. Was there any divine intervention to him, or was it just his idea. Why to restrict his followers to read the Bible? (Aquinas, ~1250)

Video 11. Conversation about Muslim by two Catholics Peter Kreeft and Robert Spencer (Catholic at that time)

Finally, actually second last, a debate that I really enjoyed the part I watched. It was in the early years from Dr. William Lane Craig, June 27, 1993. The debate was about Atheism vs. Christianity: Which Way Does the Evidence Point?, where Dr. Craig debated Frank R. Zindler, at Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL.

Video 12. Atheism vs. Christianity: Which Way Does the Evidence Point?. Dr. Craig vs Frank R. Zindler.

Finally, a Catholic defensor champion, Ann Widdecombe. She participated in 2009 in a debate in London, about The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World (Video 13). I just watched her opening speech, which was kind of a rebuttal to Hitchens as well. The panel of speakers was conformed by Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens on the atheist site, against Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Ann Widdecombe over the defense of the Catholic Church. Ann Widdecombe speeach was very conving. Since, then I look forward to learn a bit more about her as well.

Video 13. Debate The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World, London, 2009

The content of this post obviously changed from a report from the day, to a report of sources to authors about theism and atheism. Those influential authors, and those debates, have expanded my curiosity and knowledge about God, and hopefully have prepared me better to explain my arguments to support my faith and the Catholic Church, in addition to my personal experience, which is an important argument as well.

I have learned, still a bit, about these group of Apologetics, which seems to be the people contributing with knowledge to Christianity. I think that there are also branches of apologetics in Christianity, which you can explore by Googling Christian Apologetics. To finish this with one quotes from a site, which seems to be discontinued, Catholic Apologetics Academy: “”always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for the hope that is in you, but do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15-16). It also encourages us to “earnestly contend for the Faith” (Jude 1:3).”

References

Regarding videos, I embedded here, so you can further check in YouTube for the source. Regarding some citation in the text, those were mainly from websites, except full book names that I also mentioned in the text, the author and name of the book. Links to websites, when I referred to them are embeded. Finally, a reference to an audio interview is also embedded.

I acknowledge that this is not the best way to cite. I ended up writing a long post of many sources I have checked over the last 3 weeks. I do not want to invest more time, on formatting the citations, and there might not be need for it here. I am glad I put these sources here for some reference at some time. However, I will focus next on my own work, and on some of the reading material I mentioned here.

[The following reference updated on 5/21/2019]:

Aquinas, T., 1975. Summa Contra Gentiles: Book One: God, translated by A. C. Pegis. University of Notre Dame Pess.

Faith

Faith

Berkeley, May 13, 2019 10:22 PM

Here I want to post some of the questions and comments that I have in my mind, at my current stage on my faith journey.

My opinions are not of a Theologist. I am Roman Catholic. I do believe in God.

I do beleive that we come to this world with a purpose.

Of course, we or I, make mistakes. A daily goal is to acknowledge them. To reflect. To renounce to oneself, and to connect with what are we called to do.

I beleive that the relationship with God, as any other evlove with time, understanding, and reflection.

We cannot not know God, if we do not accept Him at first.

I do beleive that thinks had a beginning. We, through science, have found the bing bang to understand the origin of the universe, and the evolution theory to understand our DNA, and our origens, and the origins of the species.

This is of course a fragile path to talk, where many would see these as probes of God non existence. At my point of understanding, I believe that we need to accept the grace of knowledge. Science is not the only gift or knwoledge we have.

Again I am posting more question that answers, as I myself have a long way to keep maturating my faith. But as I said in a relationship, you learn from the experience, virtues, grace, and knowledge.

I do beleive that science has helped us to understand better the world which was created with purpose.

Same as the own purpose, we should not contradict with our inner self, in the way that we go, or that the world might go.

Experience, daily experience, facts, courage among many are the reasons that I believe in God.

I do beleive that about 2K years ago, Jesus came to correct many of our actions as humans. I am a Catholic, because I believe that Jesus came. I believe that Peter was with Him. I see as fact that Peter founded the Church, and I even have visit his tomb, as the one from St. Paul as well.

The church has expanded for some reason, and it cannot just mere fortune that it has come that far.

Still, we need to stay informed, knowledgeble, educated, not only in science, but in philosophy, history, and far more to be able to speak our experience.

I remain Catholic while there are things that I do not understand. I do not see why celibate is required for the priests. I think that priests have a challenging and demanding job, but I beleive that woman is the complement of man, and viceversa. I also do not have enough knowledge yet, to understand why women is not in the priesthood.

The Catholic Church has been facing plenty of scandals those recent times, which are terrible: child sex abuse.

First, it does not reflect the doctrine of the Catholic Church. It is urgent to investigate deeply the roots of these several cases that happen. What had led to them? My solidarity with all the innocent people who got their lives affected with those problems.

Even with those evil leaks, I still beleive that the Catholic Church has been a major institution to teach us about God over last 2 thousand years. There have been several desviations, cirsis, abuses of power, in the history, but still great minds and spirits have made corrections.

I have been on my way to learn about God and life, and the truth, and simplicity, through the Catholic Church, that is why I stay, and I support it. I do not have a closed mind.

I do think that we need a major update on theology in the daily doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Many Saints have show us the way to faith by life example. Thankfully, we are diverse, and many of us have plenty of questions.

Our knowledge of course not only should cover the Bible, but starts to make relations between reason, theory, faith, phylosophy, experience. I am about to read the Summa Contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas. One of the greatest minds in the teological history.

Regarding, the Eucaristy. It is of course a time of transcende, love, forgiveness, reflection, connection and peace. I do beleive that during the liturgy a space for Q & A should be openned after the homily.

Again, teology is not field. I know that priests studies for about 10 years for becoming priests. Hwoever, questions evolve over time. The liturgy part is the teaching part. We as the community, need to be as weel good students. I think that the space for 2 or 3 questions should be open. It would elevate the speach of the priest, who is more advanced than us in the knowledge of God, but also will help Him to assess how is the community advancing. How clear is His speach. How come that a lesson does not have interaction. Then the second part of the mass is the Sacrament, where of course only the priest can performed.

Many questions and comments will comment in my life journey. At least as student, I usually ask questions. Normally, those have contributed to me to clarify a topic, and perhaps to the class as well. Rarely, perhaps only twice, the interloculor did not liked to receive questions. I have not been expulsed from class for asking. And if that is would be the case, still I will continue in my journey.

Dante (1275-1321), who was born the year after Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) died, I think expressed his opinion and curisioty about the Church doctrine. While I have on my list, and now in bookshelf plenty of books to finigh. The first volume of Dante’s Divine Comedy: infierno has a wornderful graph, which should encourage us a dig deeper in the understading of our faith. Or at least it touched me:

The path to the City of God by Dante

While I still have to finish the book, I am currently, in the canto III. My interpretation up to now, which I should correct when I finish the book, is that Dante, who is the pilgrims, has an awaking in his life. He stops to reflects about his misgivings, acknowledge them, and want to life with purpose. The pilgrim is in the vestibule where there is an entrance door to the upper hell, you can see in the top left gate of the graph. That is the door that either many people leave the church or did not wanted to enter, because did not wanted to explore further in their inner selfs. In all these unknown questions that we cannot answer now. Or just the ones who did not wanted to accept our own mistakes.

The pilgrim, Dante, decided to cross the river and take the hard path towards the City of God, which I think, its name came from the book by Saint Augustine (354 – 430). So he crossed the river, and it is allowed to first stay with the virtuous man and unbaptized. However, he had the courage to walk further to the limbo, then lustful, etc. up to the City of God. I will be able to talk further about those, as I can make time for reading it.

My final words, in this post with my current knowledge, is that we have to have the courage to believe and prepare to profess in our daily life. Even best if we are in the academic or science world. Those are also gifts from God. Wake up your joy. It is not an easy path. While preaching is not necessarily my message, which I also keep learning to defend the faith. Here is a message to not take the exit door. I also have struggled with my faith. I was born Catholic, but I was away from God from mid 2008 to mid 2009. About a month a half ago, while still my faith in God was part of the question, my continuity as Catholic also was part of it. In prayer, in confession, in writing, in reflection, the answers come. I do believe that He is the way, the true, and the life.

Even Saint Thomas Aquinas, the most prominent Theologist of all time, asked all his life all the question about God (Barron, 2019), and answered them in a very productive life, where left us several books for our further understanding. See Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologica.

References and further reading/watching:

Aquinas, T., 1975 Summa contra gentiles. Vol1-4. Translations by Pegis, A.C., Anderson, J.F., Bourke, V.J. and O’Neil, C.J.

Aquinas, T. 2012. Summa Theologica. Vol 1-5. Authentic Media Inc, 2012.

Augustine, S., 1972. The City of God, trans. H. Bettenson.

Barron, Bishop. 2019. Saint Thomas Aquinas. CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players – Volume I. Word of Fire. https://www.wofdigital.org/videos/aquinas-4k

Dante, A., 2003. The divine comedy, vol I: inferno. Translated by Musa M. Penguin Books, US.

Faith, Life, Life style, Love

Fight more

Berkeley, Saturday April 13, 2019 1:0 0 PM

For a long time I have fallen in the trap to be always thinking in the things that I need to do.

It produces some negative, rather than the excitement that brings the purpose of doing those things.

Taking few time off for sports, praying, arts watching/performing, analysis, keep me moving forward.

I also have to say that I have not closed my previous chapter. If there is something I might did wrong over the last months is bringing some negative and pressure, by focusing too much on what I have to do, rather on the purpose.

I continue working on the way of doing my work effectively, but I do not hold back in the purpose of my work, and on the purpose of the great news that decided to propose to Jian on April 3.

Unfortunately, my message seems that went across as fulfillment of personal goals and fulfillment of just commitments. However, looking back, I have been fighting to keep advancing with what I really felt.

Faith, Life habits, Love

How many things to say, to do, but how little time to do it. (Positively edited 5 days after the original draft)

Berkeley, Tuesday, December 4, 2018 9:30 PM

Last post was about one month ago. It has been useful to put all my attention on my daily activities and exams, but perhaps all the words that I could have typed here Jian, now, have listened them. You and I should thank Jian then for her attention.

However, I have to remark that there was one day that I was not only in writing silence, but also speaking silence. It was on a date with Jian for dinner, last Sunday. The date came two days after I submitted my written qualification exams. I submitted the exams, on Friday November 30. I am grateful with Jian for pushing me that night to go out to watch a movie, next day we went to a Christmas market, plus some additional shopping, which was for things we needed, but also was a fun time. 

On Sunday, I went back to work slowly, in comparison with the intensity up to Friday. That afternoon, Jian, was introduced to the Newman Community as a potential candidate in her path to become a Catholic. During the Eucharistic celebration, my brain and/or my attention were too tired that I missed some parts of the Liturgy and her own introduction to the community. Something that I was regretting at that time. In efforts to being attentive, aware of the moment, and reactive, I, of course, invited her for dinner. I pushed myself regardless being tired. While Jian is a good reader, and a prominent student, often I am the one making up ‘factual’ stories, imitations, jokes, or analysis. -She does that as well sometimes, and even can have a better taste mine.- In any case, while tired I was in absolute silence over the date. Jian could not handle that night. Instead of a celebration, it went wrong a became a source, post-dinner, of worries and fight.

While analyzing the reason of silence could be interesting, I left that to other opportunity. It is something that often happen, and I am OK to be in silence, while the brain is clear. However, for Jian could have been hard. We slightly covered the topic.

Love defeated any doubt. I am glad that we have some debates, fights discussions, to clarify thoughts.

I was writing, last week, to get back to work clear, to organize ideas, and to get the brain working at full capacity. Perhaps, it was about time, and about concreting other uncertainties such as housing. Or perhaps, the brain just needed to slow down a little bit for few days. I am saying this last part after being fully awake and eager to be back writing and reading. I better write another simple piece of blog, actually corresponding to today, Sunday, December 9. Day on which I did little edits on this post from December 4.

All good and moving forward in life, with enthusiasm, goals, courage, love, commitment and respect. Why did I say so many words at the end?

Curiosity, Faith, Health, Life habits, Life style

What is the schedule of talented people?

Berkeley, Tuesday, October 9, 2018 1:25 PM

What is the routine of positive talented people?

How is possible that one person could be the center of audience of hundreds, thousands, or sometimes millions of people who pay or make a trip and pay or make an space in their time for watching or listening to them in a live broadcast.

For many fame could be a goal. I personally do not think that those will reach that goal, as what make famous to the famous are their talents, values, wisdom, message, or skills.

In an activity, which can be either but not limited to art, work performance, sport performance, problem solving, political message, religious message, dance performance, etc., we can be fairly good at some point. Each of us has gifts or talents. What is that point when this unique performers distinguish from all of the talented people.

Is that their mission to take that hard and bussy path from living focused on what single activity, improving everyday, fortunately they have competition, which is an excellent push as well.

All of us, including those excellent performers, which attract larger audience, want free time for other activities, including social, sports, arts, family time, or as myself, time for extra coordination, leadership, and social facilitation, including active advocacy for just improving as group of wherever place, I will be living, wherever work or study place that I will be using and performing.

While, there are some extra commitments that I myself get involve voluntary, there is a point, when it is hard to balance all the commitments, to my own art, which is improving the field of watershed planning and management.

I once read that the Colombian author, Nobel Prize in Literature 1982, Gabriel García Márquez, wrote his book one hundred years of solitude, during 5 years of living in a Hotel Room in Mexico City. (I need a reference to check this statement that just my memory is recalling)

While running a colloquium, many of my invited guest speakers, are prominent scholars, who have written articles and books, and also teach. Most of them have families. I cannot expand in detail about their social life.

In a bit more market oriented, and not close to me personalities, there are those tennis players, who stand out as the top 4, then followed by other top 5 to 10, then other subgroup between the ranking number 11 and 20 of the world, and followed with a immense amount of other talented players. What is the difference of those few, who stands out?

A soccer player, hated by many because his lack of humility in his behavior, watched by TV, Cristiano Ronaldo, became the best player of the work. How? Talent, yes, but many other have talents as well. Once, I recall him saying that went to the gym, at extra hours, when it was closed, for building up extra physical strength that he needed for his performance. I brought those two famous examples, from this people who I do not know, by I some point I also have seen them in the media, or alive as some of the tennis players, just to bring the context of what is needed to reach, what we might be called to reach.

Coming up to the example of talented scholars who I know, or I am sure that you just know many hard working people, that is more familiar to you to follow their habits that watching what other talented people might be broadcasted doing. Although, that hard work of the less media exposed people, might bring them to the right spot to deliver public messages, without themselves being fans of watching too much media.

I have seen Rafa working everyday from 8:30 AM to 7 PM in his computer at office. It was criticized by others, as the space was a single desk in a corner. You might not be anything also than a desk, and, nowadays, a computer to become an active writer. Now, Rafa is a leader scholar in watershed sediment management working at Stanford University.

I have share desk with Matt from 5 AM to 11 PM. While I focused in specific limited activities, he taught, run logistics for his courses, greet his two kids and wife by phone, and perhaps use some writing time, as he has published more than 150 peer review articles, edited books. In addition, Matt has served as advisor to US and state agencies on river management and restoration, and provided expert testimony before the US Congress, the California Legislature, the US Supreme Court, and the International Court of Justice and Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. While this testimony part seems to be a important part of this biography, my current awareness and knowledge does not tell me why that should be more important that his teaching and publications.

In any case, I think that Matt is wake everyday before 5 AM, so he already starts working at 5 AM. He might wake up at 4:30 AM. While preferences for attending to entrainement events, such as concerts or sport watching, might change with his two kids, I would bet that he have not attended in a while to one of them.

Is then talent and ‘success’ in academia, even more demanding because there are many logistics that you need to run, without necessarily have a manager or a supporting team who will help you. Although, there are some things that will be done by team of PhD and Post-Doc students.

Magic things happen by the continuous time of thinking, and working activity. Being able to try to remove many of other activities for investing more continuous and good quality time on what it matters is what makes a difference.

What is our goal? What is my mission? Beyond the believes, often a project or task that we commitment is a mission. Discipline in small things, such as working time, removing other distractions, stay healthy in food intake and physical activities, are among others key aspects that allow us to complete or stay on track with what we commit.

Working hard does not meant isolation. Social and estable relationships, I think are also a key aspect on boosting productivity. A person can be isolated in a thousand of people crow, and be more connected just with his/her partner, and perhaps with few friends.