Third times a charm.

Unfortunately I was unable to pass on my second attempt at the CCIE written. It was tougher than the previous version I attempted three years ago. I used the Boson Exam Simulator and I personally found it useless. I was able to get a refund on the software but it didn’t really cover the $580 for the CCIE written. 

All is not lost, the study I have done has prepared me for the CCNP route exam which I will attempt shortly to recertify. 

When I was in TAFE many years ago all I wanted was to wear a Cisco polo. It might sound stupid but every time I wear one it reminds me of the goal I set out to achieve. This new goal is still there, I will master it one day but for now I need to get back into the books and labs. I won’t attempt it again until I mastered every subject. The CCIE I do not take for granted, some people have said it’s the PHD of Networking and if I am to get the that level it will take every once of who I am.

So it’s back to the books for now.

~Brad.

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Cisco Certified Father

I write this to let off some steam, I write this to take a break and motivate myself.

Recently, as in 7 days ago I became a Father for the first time. It has brightened my life and my direction more than I could ever imagine. In the last 3 months of the pregnancy I have been studying to sit the CCIE Routing & Switching Written Exam. I need to re-certify my current Cisco certs and wanted to attempt this exam after failing it a few years back.

I enjoy sitting new exams so I can learn new topics and new skills. My ultimate goal is to sit the CCIE Lab to become CCIE certified. I will attempt this maybe in the next year or so I think.

I have until July to pass this exam, so I have time up my sleeve, although I am on four weeks leave and trying to study while looking after the new born. It is proving to be difficult, so I wanted to explain my past and now present study tactics I use.

During the last 3 months, I watched a CBT nuggets every morning on the train to work. On the way home I would read a CCIE Exam Cert guide. I used to watch videos for one week, books for one week and then labs for on week but this isn’t working this time.

I am pretty tired and was planning 2 hours a day during the week for study, currently I’m getting about 1 at the moment. Its not going to cut it and the exam is at the end of the month.

My new plan, I am doing the Boson Ex Sim CCIE written practice exams. These exams are really tough and I can’t seem to break through the 70% mark yet. If i do fail, Boson will pay for the resit, as they guarantee a pass. At this stage its looking likely they will fund a resit. I find myself wondering, do I know enough and these exams are too hard or I am way off?

I decided to go back to my old T-SHOOT simulator through Boson, to check my knowledge. I did the first four simulators and got them right. I have never had an issue troubleshooting complex networks.

So here I am, 3 weeks away from the exam and I am going to have to change things up.

To motivate myself, I will put my new plan and some advice I have heard once before here. It may help other people when sitting exams and also re-motivate me.

  1. Always read every possible answer before just diving into what you know is right
  2. Remove the answer you know for sure are incorrect, leaving better odds on a guess
  3. When clicking start on the computer at the exam, write down everything you can from memory. Especially subnet masks and wildcard masks. Also binary and hex tables so you don’t waste time on them.
  4. Take your time and don’t panic. Try and use real world examples when you were troubleshooting a protocol in the work place to help your logic.
  5. Never give up, learn your weaknesses and address them.

My current study plan is now –

  1. Small study till the end of this weekend (practice questions, chapters here and there)
  2. Starting Monday, One Video, One Lab and One full practice exam. After the practice exam, right down the troubling topics and use them the next day.
  3. For Monday I will be studying NBAR, IPv6 NAT and SDN.
  4. Never give up, learn your weaknesses and address them.

Hopefully Freddie (my son) can get some sleep and so can I to prepare for next weeks study. I am really one week behind and it was crazy to think I can study while looking after a newborn! But I am dedicated and I really want my CCIE. I want to really push myself to become one of the top engineers so I can one day either work for Cisco or become a Cisco teacher.

~Brad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animal Instincts

I’d be lying if I wasn’t nervous. The human body and mind is very powerful, it can sometimes work with us and sometimes work against us. 

Our brains have evolved into a fascinating piece of hardware. Inside it’s hardware, a certain software runs. This is you, or me in this case.

I have read some chapters and spoken to alot of people about being a father. It’s a task that has been etched into my genes ever since I myself was created. That’s where my nerves start to disappear. I know that when the time comes I will somehow automatically know what to do. 

It isn’t maturity and it isn’t intellect, it’s instinct. This instinct is the same that has survived centuries on our planet. It’s the very purpose some believe we are here ,to procreate. 

I have no worries when it comes to being a father, I trust my instincts and I trust my genes. 

There is some instincts that I have struggled with though, and that’s the fight or flight response. This allowed our ancestors to flee in danger, and fight when faced with certain death. 

We control our environment in the modern world now, so these threats have been placed in zoos or exterminated when they take a bite out of someone at the local beach. It’s not the way we originally inhabitated this planet, so our responses have found new threats in the environment. 

This environment isn’t real though, it’s real in terms of molecules but it’s not real in terms of danger. 

My instincts can’t tell the difference, because my anxiety comes from a work or office environment. I have no genes or instincts to help me in this fabricated world, so I like many others struggle in modern life. 

As we continue to control our environment and create this fabricated world within worlds, many people are starting to be affected by this transition. 

It has a name and it’s becoming the latest celebrity craze, mental health issues.

It’s not our fault though, our instincts and built in software has never had to face such things until now. 

One thing is true and comforting though, as we humans strive to understand our mental health issues we we slowly etch these tools into our genes and pass them onto our children’s children. Eventually the very calmness and automatic nature of being a father will be the same when approaching a proposed threat in society. 

It will take many many years, but as I become a father and place a new human in this world, I can do my part to educate and give tools and strategies to my child to cope with the world at large. 

Educating people on the signs of mental health issues is important to find the sources, which I believe is a environment that we never evolved for. 

~Brad.

Back to School.

I face quite the challenge, in about 9 to 10 weeks I am going to be a first time Dad. I am going to take everything I have ever learnt and try and pass it on to another human being.

I hope I have learnt enough, I hope I know enough. I always hear people say I want the best for my kids, and of course I do too.

But I want something more.

I want to learn some new things as well.

I spoke with a colleague recently and he mentioned to me, when he teaches his new son something, he re-learns it himself. He takes away the illusion of that item, the familiarity and breaks it down to it’s simplest form. He almost, discovers it again for the first time. I look forward to those moments. I look forward to discovering again and in Master Yoda’s words “You must re-learn, what you have learned” seems an appropriate quote as any.

People say it changes you, possibly the very first moment of holding the newborn is when it happens. I have thought about this moment for sometime, and I am not sure how I am going to react. I know that my own worries and fears will amplify, when I hold the new born for the first time. I know that when I look at him or her, I will see Kerrie for the rest of my life. I know that what little drive I have left as I enter my late 30’s will amplify and become a roaring fire. It will fuel half of our our family for many decades, while we raise a new human.

Deep down, I have this want, this need for the new born to teach me about who I am. I like to believe I am very in tune with my surroundings and my body and mind. But, this new life could change all that, it might ask me to question what I know and what I don’t.

It might be too much to ask this new born to teach me, but I don’t believe I ever knew I was teaching my Dad something about himself. Actually, I probably still am teaching him things everyday without even knowing it.

So, what will I learn as I teach my child the ways of the world as I know it, and will I pass if a test appears. Will I rise above and excel, or will I crash and burn and wonder where it all went wrong?

Time will tell, but as I have said before, I can only guide them, I can’t control them as that would be to deny them the very feeling of being human.

~Brad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fatherhood

I wonder what it is like to look at something that is half me and half my best friend? I wonder what it is like to look into your own eyes and watch someone just like you think and work their way through life?

It’s not like a mirror, more like a magnifying glass?

I worry about its first breath, I worry about its first day at school. I worry about its first love and its first hate. 

It’s still forming, it’s still being finalised and the finishing touches are getting closer. 

I sing to it, I talk to it. It’s even kicked me in the head already. 

When you come out, don’t worry because I’ll be here. Don’t worry because everything that can hurt you, I will protect you. But from time to time though, you must face this hurt alone. It’s what defines us, what’s makes us grow. You are a blank canvas with some traits etched into your genes. Ultimately you will be like no other, and no other will be like you. 

I’ll guide you and carry you some way, I’ll take you to the highest mountains and we will see the brightest stars. I will pick you up when you are down, and bring you down when you get to high. 

I’ll give you nothing but the truth, I’ll give you some of the skills you need for life, well the skills I have discovered in my time.

See I am still on my journey, I still learn everyday because life never stops growing and changing. I don’t have all the answers, maybe you will though. Maybe you will help me on my journey, maybe you will guide me and protect like I do you.

Maybe you will make me, a father. 

~Brad.

The Circle of Life.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.

I read somewhere that this was said by Albert Einstein, maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t.. The words ring true for me, I have jumped from job to job trying to find my place but once again I find myself back at the start.

The same feelings and frustrations I have had in other jobs I face again now, my anxiety didn’t help when this happened once and it started a chain reaction that took me from the normal life we all live. It took me to a dark place, a place without answers. I was trapped in my own mind and the weight of anxiety pushed hard on me.

I crumbled.

The circle is almost complete, because I am back at the moment right before i crumbled. This time I have some extra chemical assistance and I am armed with many techniques to make sure I don’t fall back into that dark place again.

I know I won’t fall back into the dark place and I know I have so many options, but which one do I take? I said to myself this was my last attempt at making this job work. I think I have exhausted this job.

I walk through the corridors, I walk through the streets feeling like an outsider. The buildings above me, lean over and look down on me. When I look up they straighten, but I know they are watching. They watch me to see if I do belong here. I certainly feel like I don’t.

When I left high school and thought I found what i wanted to do with my life, the path before me was clear. I am now on that path and I want to get off. I am looking so far in the distance for a crossroad, I even want to make my own but I am not sure which way to go.

The current plan is complete one more exam and certify myself for another three years. In 3 years I don’t want to be doing IT though, I close my eyes and I see that I am not really helping anyone here. The ‘job’ is not natural to humans, it doesn’t feel natural to me.

I need more, I need it like I need water.

The road from birth to I was 24 was straight and narrow, the path was clear. Somehow I got onto a hamster wheel and it’s still going.

It circles over and over.

It’t not a ride, its not a good ride.

Its a trap. It’s an illusion.

The crossroad is close, I can feel it but how can I find it if I have no idea what it looks like?

~Brad.

 

 

 

 

Status Report

Something has happened. There was a moment when I was in the thick of it, the face of fear.

It happened about 2 months ago.

I was in familiar territory and I had pushed myself forward to the very thing that could either destroy me or cure me. I had a simple reaction to choose that day.

Fight or Flight?

I can tell you I fought, I went forward into the unknown and I became more powerful that I ever thought I could. I am now through the worst of it and day by day I am getting stronger.

Endless possibilities have opened up in my mind, the shackles are free and the prison of my mind has been opened.

Its a long journey ahead, its not over. It is a day by day, moment by moment type of exercise you see.

If you are facing a fear, a fear that has crippled you and imprisoned you then when you are ready.

Confront it.

~Brad.

 

 

 

 

Trust

Do you cross on the red or wait for the green?

Trust is an important thing, it can make or break friendships, partnerships or relationships. 

Trust needs freedom. Freedom is what opens our minds to possibilities. 

You must trust yourself and your thoughts. But what if these thoughts are disturbed? What if these thoughts are not real. 

It begs the question, are our thoughts ourselves or seperate to our conscience? Is it our animal instincts, or another internal dialogue?

~Brad.

The Steel Door.

Some time has past. I have returned to the road where I found the three doors.

I always take the door with no door. Its so familiar, so easy. I know what to expect before and after.

I’m safe.

But, today and for the rest of my life and I am going to walk through the steel door.

Its so heavy and so much effort to open. It takes all my energy and everything of who I am to open it. The blood rushes to my muscles, I grip tightly on the handle.

It’s cold.

It’s coarse.

It’s unknown.

My fingers are alive, my heart is pumping. My thoughts race like a bullet train, images flash before my minds eye. I predict, I analyse. I worry.

I am alive.

I pull the door open, and beyond it is everything I ever wanted. It’s right there. It’s been there the whole time. All I had to do was reach out and grab it.

It’s so simple when you step back from your thoughts. Your thoughts don’t exist. They are images, pulse of electricity, imagination, love, fear.

They are there to protect you.

But more importantly, they are there to push you.

I have now walked through the door. I am in this new space.

The old ways, feel so long ago.

I am free. I am me.

I wanted to be that person, before the fear, before the anxiety. But, the anxiety and fear is me. It, like everything I ever wanted has always been there the whole time.

I can’t stop now, I have gone too far.

The hole is so far away, its echo’s are gone. The fog is gone.

Now, in front of me is as clear as our atmosphere at night. The stars, the light that burns for millions and billions of years are visible.  Its energy radiates, its power inspires. There is so many stars I cannot see, like opportunities I missed long ago.

If you wait long enough, your eyes will adjust. the light, appears.

I am made of that stuff.

I am a creation of the universe.

I am the creator of my universe.

I am my creator.

The steel door…..

its not heavy any more.

 

~Brad.

 

 

 

 

Butterflies

Things are about to change, I can feel it. First my hands tremble and a lump in my throat appears. I feel threatened. I feel exposed.

Why do we feel this way during change?

Once, many many sunrises ago, our ancestors needed the tremble. They needed the fear to survive. Without it, I wouldn’t be here writing this, you wouldn’t be here reading this. The dinosaurs have left us, but the energy, the threat has not. They come in suits, they come in flashing lights, they come as a doctor reading some bad news, or they come as a fire in the night.

When the butterflies appear, they only last a while. Its not just greener on the other side, its bliss. The rush you get from heading straight through your fear, that’s what gets you coming back.

Push forward, don’t ignore, don’t delay and don’t avoid. It’s what feeds the dinosaur. If you feed it too much, it gets too big.

Butterflies, they only live a day.

~Brad.