salman.io

Echoes of Reflection

I reflect on my struggles dealing with burnout. The typical recipes for recovery didn't work for me, and I had to dig much deeper. I learned to embrace my inner questions, and developed a new lens on life in the process.

The Burden of Expectation

The biggest obstacle in creative work is the burden of expectation. We build an idea in our minds of what it should look like, and compare against it at every step. It doesn't have to be this way. In order to unblock ourselves, we must change our relationship with our self-critique.

A Life Cut Short

The skies were orange. The air was ashy. Late at night, this poem came to me.

Once a New Yorker

New York is a city that thrives on density. In the wake of a global pandemic, its greatest strength has become its noose. COVID has set its foundation on fire. I'm grieving for New York's present. I'm worried yet hopeful for its future.

The Art of Persuasion

An exploration into Aristotle's three appeals of persuasion, and how they helped my essay on polymaths resonate strongly with readers.

The Polymath Playbook

In a world built for specialization, the polymath approach can help us build unique mental models to differentiate ourselves and discover meaningful work.

Embracing Uncertainty

As I struggled to cope with this pandemic, I sought to restore stability in my life. But some things are just out of our control. I share some of the most impactful learnings I've had around how to deal with uncertainty by embracing it.

The Way The Wind Blows

A short story about birds, the magic of flight and a moment of awakening.

The Power of Feedback

Feedback has the power to inspire and energize us. But it can also lead us astray. We must handle feedback with care, and learn to look to our own instincts for guidance.

Why Bother?

I found myself in a crisis of questioning: I was writing more than ever, but wasn't sure exactly why. I share the story of how I tackled this difficult question, and the answers I found in the teachings of Elizabeth Gilbert.

The Resonance of Writing

What makes a book resonate? Beyond the typical factors (genre, author, etc.), I believe a major factor that is often ignored is timing. You need to be in a place in your life where you are ready to receive the message being presented by the author. If you’re not, it doesn’t matter how good the book is or how many weeks it’s been on the best seller list. The book won’t connect.

Lights in the Tunnel

I wanted to take a moment today to consider some of the positives of this crisis. My intention here is not to underplay its toll. I believe its severity is overwhelmingly evident to all of us, regardless of my words. I’m writing this to share a few flickers of light I have seen as I make my way through this long tunnel. I hope it make your journey a little less dark.

Return of the GIF

GIFs were invented as a solution to slow internet connections. As network speeds ramped up, they lost popularity among the masses. Yet, today, they are more popular than ever. Why did GIFs make a comeback?

Principles: 2020

I just left my full-time job, and will be spending the majority of my time on creative projects. In this post, I share the five key principles that motivated my decision, and why I'm doubling down on them.

Overcoming Negativity

When a negative thought penetrates our mind, it can linger for days, weeks or more. Why does negativity hold so much power? How can we overcome it?

Favorite Books of 2019

It’s that time of year again! I always enjoy the process of reflecting on the books I've read over the year. It's a great way to do a gut check on whether the time I’m spending reading books is yielding the right results (whether that comes in the form of learning or joy). This year, I decided to expand beyond my usual five and include a selection of both fiction and non-fiction reads.

Altering Your Reality

So many hours of our lives are wasted worrying about what other people think. Even with the power of meditation, I still got caught in these worry cycles. I finally found an answer in a book: The Courage To Be Disliked.

American Traffic Crisis: The Cost of Cars

What do guns and cars have in common? They're both privileges that are available to each and every American who can afford one. They’re also tools of murder. Every year, for the past three years, more than 40,000 Americans died in traffic fatalities.

The Mountain of Transition

I’ve worn a lot of different hats over the years — engineer, manager, teacher, founder, coach, and others in between. I’m often asked why I don’t just settle into a role and stick with it. It’s a good question. Switching roles can be overwhelming, challenging, and even depressing at times. Still, it is a practice I can’t recommend highly enough.

Tokyo

As I write this, I’m on a plane flying over the Pacific Ocean, contemplating the trip I just had. I’ve always wanted to visit Japan (Tokyo in particular), and it finally came to fruition this past week. The last time I wrote about my travels was after spending several months teaching in South Africa. While this was a much shorter trip (one week, to be precise), I feel just compelled to share my thoughts after this one.

Favorite Books of 2018

Finally had some time to sit down and reflect on some of my favorite books of 2018. It was a great year for me in terms of personal exploration, as I was able to take a bunch of time off from work. This gave me a chance to explore many different areas (meditation, sketching & illustration, cooking, diet to name a few), and often I would read books to guide my path.

Staying Technically Sharp

Your past as an individual contributor helps you tremendously as an engineering leader. It's crucial to understand why, so that you can do what's necessary to maintain your technical edge. Ultimately, your technical skills are a critical part of your engineering leadership effectiveness.

Effective 1-on-1s

You're in yet another boring 1-on-1 meeting. It seems like all you do is go over random updates, or just chat about life. You could be using this time to do 'real work' instead! Thankfully, it doesn't have to be this way.

Hiring for Diversity & Inclusion

There are many reasons why building diverse teams within inclusive environments is beneficial. Others have written about them at length, and the cases are compelling. If you aren't already familiar with the data and rationale, please take the time to do some research on it. Without strong intrinsic motivation from your leadership, change is unlikely.

The Cost of American Credit

It’s important for people to truly understand the consequences of the Equifax hack, and to take whatever actions they can to protect themselves. This is no joke: it is quite likely a significant number of people’s entire livelihoods will be destroyed as a result of this breach.

Favorite Books of 2017

Roundup of the most impactful books I read this year featuring autobiographies, fiction and history books.