15 December 2012

almost there.

It's 10:30PM on a Saturday night, what are you doing?

Well, I have no shame in saying that I'm sitting in the computer lab of my school's library working on this post. There's two other students in the lab so whatever haha... Here are some highlights and personal improvements since the last post!

10 December 2012: I (somewhat) pretended to be someone else.

In August, I started to look for my first real-world job. There's been many ups and downs, but I definitely learned a lot about myself. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? After applying to about 80 different positions, I only had two interviews! The phone interviews were both for companies that I'd only dream to work for. I completely bombed the first one with a bunch of "likes, ands, and umms." I feel embarrassed just thinking about the second phone interview... Finally, I felt exhausted and fed up with myself.

Before the final presentation of my senior thesis, my advisor gave me some advice to combat the nervousness. "Think of it as acting. You're just an actor on stage and the thesis is your script." BAMMM! I took the advice and survived; there are other reasons how I survived the situation but that's another story. I used the same advice for another phone interview and it went surprisingly well! The company was excited to hear more. There was suppose to be another preliminary phone interview, but that was bypassed and I was scheduled to meet them in person!

13 December 2012: I promised myself to just be me

The day of my first in-person interview. I made sure to conserve my mental energy by planning everything I had to do the night before. During the morning of the interview, I woke up and followed my schedule but I noticed one huge difference. Everything just seemed to go according to plan! This never happens. I can only thank Dr. Radziwill for the Politically Incorrect Secrets for Getting Through College!! The Law of Attraction has gained another believer. I promised to just be myself and to encompass myself with positivity. Anyways, I strolled into the office like a boss and blew the interview out of the water!

14 December 2012: I cleaned my room.

My room is not usually clean. I try cleaning my room often but I don't clean my entire room because...  I slightly like to hoard. At least I admit to it! I cleaned my room and rearranged everything to improve the Feng Shui. As a kid with a superstitious asian mom, I know all the rules and configurations for the best Feng Shui. It may be coincidence, but I absorbed all the good energy and actually enjoyed waiting on tables. All the good energy must have rubbed off on my tables because I made over 25% of my total sales!

07 December 2012

the end of the world.

One of the coolest people I know has introduced an interesting challenge, The December 2012 End of the World Improvement Challenge. I accept! It's for the greater good so I suggest that you accept the challenge because it's never too late.

So... the world is apparently going to end on December 21, 2012. What are your thoughts? I realized that I'm too involved with a bunch of other things that I don't give it much thought. However, thanks to Dr. Radziwill, I like all things quality and self-improvement is a way to improve the quality of me! Anyways, let's get in the habit of improving at least one thing a day between now and the much hyped "end of the world." How do I improve? What do I improve? Where do I start? These answers are up to you. When it comes to self-improvement, there's no right or wrong way to achieve success as long as it is right for you. This improvement challenge is not limited to yourself. You can help someone else improve something as long as you or that someone feels good/better.

How will you improve something today?

04 December 2012

the pareto principle: the vital few and trivial many.

Hello! I've always known December to be cold and dark because I grew up in New York, but the Virginia weather is stunning today and I'm loving it!!

Today, I'd like to talk about the Pareto Principle. The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule, states that about 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. My simple explanation is that 80% of the trouble comes from 20% of the problems. To apply this principle during analysis, the Pareto Chart is used to determine the "vital few"causes that are responsible for the majority of defects. The Pareto Chart is a type of bar graph. Each bar displays the frequency of occurrences in a certain category and is organized from the greatest (left) to the least (right).

The Pareto Chart is one of the Seven Basic Quality Tools and I'm going to show you how I analyzed my expenses from November in R! If you'd like to follow along, download the current version of R: 2.15.2 "Trick or Treat." You'll also need to install the "qcc" package in order to create the chart.

1. I created a vector named "expenses" that contains the cost of each expense I paid in November.

> expenses <- c(495, 286, 81, 80, 73, 39, 40, 25)

2. Next, I categorized or named each expense with the names() function. Note: the names must be in the same order you listed for costs.

> names(expenses) <- c("rent", "car"," phone", "groceries", "insurance", "gas", "electric", "water")

Use the data.frame() function if you prefer to work with a data frame. I'll name mine "df.expenses"

> df.expenses <- data.frame(expenses)

Print the vector (expenses) and the data frame (df.expenses) to see how the data is displayed.

> expenses
  rent  car  iPhone  groceries  insurance   gas  electric  water 
   495  286      81         80         73    39        40     25 

> df.expenses          expensesrent           495car            286iPhone          81groceries       80insurance       73gas             39electric        40water           25

3. Now we use the library() function to load the "qcc" package and create the Pareto Chart.

> library(qcc)
Loading required package: MASS
Package 'qcc', version 2.2
Type 'citation("qcc")' for citing this R package in publications.

> pareto.chart(expenses)

Pareto chart analysis for expenses
              Frequency   Cum.Freq.  Percentage Cum.Percent.
  rent       495.000000  495.000000   44.235925    44.235925
  car        286.000000  781.000000   25.558534    69.794459
  iPhone      81.000000  862.000000    7.238606    77.033065
  groceries   80.000000  942.000000    7.149240    84.182306
  insurance   73.000000 1015.000000    6.523682    90.705987
  electric    40.000000 1055.000000    3.574620    94.280608
  gas         39.000000 1094.000000    3.485255    97.765862
  water       25.000000 1119.000000    2.234138   100.000000

(Above) By default, the pareto.chart() function shows a Pareto analysis and the corresponding chart. Let's add some labels and spice it up!

> pareto.chart(expenses,main="Pareto Chart for Andy's November Expenses",xlab="Name of Expense",ylab="Amount of Expense",las=1,col=topo.colors(8))

Here is a list of the arguments I used and what they mean:
- main: title for Pareto Chart
- xlab: x-axis label
- ylab: y-axis label
- las: orientation of labels on axes (1=horizontal, 2=vertical, 3= perpendicular to axes)
- col=type(length(expenses)): if you don't like the cool tones of topo.colors palette, replace the type with heat.colors for warm tones, terrain.colors for earthy tones, or rainbow for ROYGBIV colors

4. To make it easier for analysis, I added a horizontal line at 80% to see which expenses were problematic for in November.

> abline(h=(sum(expenses)*0.80),col="red",lwd=4)

R calls lines "A-B lines" so we use the abline() function. The h stands for horizontal. This horizontal line is equal to the sum of my expenses multiplied by 0.80. By default, the line width is set to 1 and the color is black but I used the col and lwd arguments for a red colored line and a thicker line width of 4.

5. There's my final product! The major contributors of November's expenses were rent and car! In other words, my rent and car account for the majority of my expenses (80% of problems). Also, I should focus my efforts on these two expenses for the greatest improvement -- note to self: find a place with cheaper rent and/or sell my car for a bicycle!

The Pareto Principle states that about 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. The chart illustrates the small number of causes that account for most of the problems. Remember, the Pareto Chart can only be used when your data are broken into categories with the corresponding frequency of occurrences.