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Sparky’s Notes February 27, 2017

sparkynotesArticles in this issue:

Happy Monday Fun
Thank You Letters from Students
5 Huge Life Lessons I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

Happy Monday! But First…Let Us Take a Selfie

CECI’s Corporate Estimating Team Takes Selfie Photo with Ellen DeGeneres at last night’s 89th Academy Awards Oscars!

Pictured from Left to Right: 1st Row: Brian Gini, Nabieha Miqbel, Ellen DeGeneres, Dave Plaster 2nd Row: Dustin Tarap, Araceli Torres, Rick Gonzalez, Cameron Crocker, Hans Williams, Adam Jautakis, Jorge Sahagun

original selfie photo



Thank You Letters from Students

Last week, Brian Dow (Metro Foreman) and his team received a few very special thank you letters from the students in the Ceres Unified School District after completing the lighting upgrade project for the school district. The photos are from the students themselves, who wanted to show their appreciation for the new lights.

We would like to recognize the following for their extraordinary work: Brian Dow, Joel Gruenhagen,
Chris Lambert, Tim Harden, Jorge Saldago, Hank Hislop

IMG_1052 IMG_1051

5 Huge Life Lessons I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

CREDIT: Getty Images

1. Spend deliberate, intentional time thinking about what you value most, what’s truly important to you. It’s an incredibly hard thing to do, to face your own truth, figure out what things you like, recognize things you don’t like, risk discovering unexpected things about yourself. But that’s what it is to learn to live with and ultimately love yourself, and through that, learn truly to appreciate and love other people for who they really are–fantastically diverse, amazing, and deeply flawed human beings. The answers you arrive at are going to change throughout your life, so it’s really important to engage yourself regularly in this internal dialogue. But if you can begin to quantify what’s truly most important to you, and make your peace with it, you can understand yourself and see better how decisions you make serve or work against you in ways you never realized, and then optimize toward things that make you happy and therefore keep you at your best.

2. Building empathy for myself has been the No. 1 most powerful tool for discovering those new sources of happiness. Life constantly presents me with opportunities to explore and grow in surprising and serendipitous ways. And once you get good at doing it with yourself, only then can you truly do it well with others.

3. Be a lifelong opportunist; always be yessing–but only in accordance with your values, otherwise you’re going to find yourself in some very unhappy places quickly. So many things I’ve achieved in my life started by simply answering knocks at my door. Of course, you need to get good at listening for the knocks.

4. Hack your perspective around what failure means, to yourself and for others. One of our mantras at Atlas Informatics is that every failure is an opportunity to learn. From a neuroscience standpoint, being right and succeeding doesn’t actually build that many new neural pathways. However, attempting success yet meeting failure, that’s where learning only ever truly happens. Can’t be a better person if you don’t try, or if you never fail.

5. Be a kind person, be an honest person, and be a loving person. For those of you reading this, these are the last words my father wrote to me just before he died when I was 17. He was trying to impart important wisdom to me, which I didn’t get at first, simply because I was too young. Later in life, I came to understand how profound the message really was.

Expectations are a difficult and complicated thing to live up to, and we often move through life with preconceptions of what they are, in my case from my father. We end up spending most of our lives living up to the wrong things. What his letter did for me was clarify, in a profound way, that expectations are actually two things: hopes and expectations. Later in life, his words helped me define what kind of person I needed to be, and released me from all these other hopes and constraints I had incorrectly placed upon myself. It freed me to become something greater, and I believe that was the gift he was trying to give.

The original article can be found here: