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Uncertainty

The mistake is thinking that there can be an antidote to the uncertainty. ― David Levithan



One of the oldest business sayings that stuck into my head was ‘Time is Money.’ It’s deceptive in its simplicity because it generates the idea that there's a direct correlation betwen time and money; that if you were to spend more time making money, the more money you make, the more time you can buy to earn additional money. It's a vicious cycle. Before you know it, you're knee-deep in debt, as you bit off (or bought) more than you could handle.

That's not what I'm going to focus on today, though. What I'd like to discuss is your addiction. My addiction. The Urgency Addiction we live in.


This concept is brought to you by the one and only Stephen Covey. He explains that a simple cure for it is to divide your time into 4 different quadrants.


Quadrant One: Tasks that are both important and urgent, including crises, deadline-driven projects, or things that impact the way you work and live.


Quadrant Two: Important but not urgent activities such as project planning, self-improvement, seeking new opportunities, relationship building and overall preparations for the future.


Quadrant Three: Urgent, but unimportant activities; from tedious phone calls and meetings, all the way to walk-in office visitors, interruptions, etc.


Quadrant Four: Activities that are neither important nor urgent, such as mindlessly watching shows on Netflix or Hulu, superficial conversations, or any activity that does nothing to improve one’s mind or measure in progress.


In the tech driven faster-than-light-paced world we live in today, the lines between urgent, important and unimportant often blur. Your perfectionism, then, often turns into your greatest weakness instead of become an ally.


One of my weaknesses is that as much as I'm a perfectionist in some things, I'm even more of a procrastinator in other things. However, we all know that the way we overcome procristination and opression is to make a commitment to do something and see it through. How, then, do we stay comitted? Break down your tasks into the 4 quadrants as explained above.


But there's one problem...


A majority of us are addicted to the adrenaline and rush we get when faced with crises. We thrive off of the pressure, and some of us do well with it. It's also why we have built a natural reflex to answer or check our phones every time they beep, or act on impulse and overwork ourselves every time we worry about something. Our work then suffers because we didn't break them down to achievable chunks. Instead, we got distracted by unimportant tasks which diverted our focus.


In his book "First Things First", he says: 


You retain less knowledge. You take shortcuts. You make too many trade-offs. You suffer too many internal stresses.


One of the things I do to de-stress my mind is that I always have my phone set to vibrate. If I get a notification, I will respond to that notification during my scheduled phone-check slots. Otherwise, it's full-focus on the task at hand, broken down by Pomodoro.


By trying to make everything on your plate of tasks so urgent, you become overwhelmed and ineffective. That's the basic idea behind Urgency Addiction.


Some professions are more urgency-driven then others, so keep an eye on your stress levels and really try to simplify your tasks if you can. Break your life down so that you may realize that your head won't be chopped off if you get to X and Y at a later time.


Take yoga and exercise, for example. They can't be rushed. If you rush the process, you won't gain anything from either one. You can feed yourself lies, of course, but the truth lies in the outcome of your task. Slow and steady wins the race in some things, and urgent things require more fast-paced work. Don't blur the lines. Ever.


At the end of the day, it all comes down to this lesson: "You won’t find your answers by spending all your energy forcing or pleading or begging for one particular outcome." ― Luba Sigaud.


Reality vs. Management

 A great joke/story.


* * *


A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted:


Man: Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.


Woman: You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.


Man: You must be an engineer.


Woman: I am, how did you know?


Man: Well, everything you told me is, technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.


Woman: You must be in Management.


Man: I am, but how did you know?


Woman: Well, you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.


Never Spend $700+ On A Smartphone Again: 3 Affordable Flagship Phones To Consider

The title says it all.


I’ve always a keen interest in tech, and for the most part, have always been an Android enthusiast.


That being said, I don’t think any of the phones that are released nowadays are worth more than $400 at most. I also find nothing really innovative about the phones for it to warrant the high price-tag. They're all the same, relatively speaking, and you more often pay for the brand name rather than for the actual tech, anyway. Don't be fooled!


Here are some affordable phones you may want to consider:


1) Oukitel K9 ($239)




Tech Specs


Storage: 64 GB (with SD Card support up to an additional 128 GB)

Display: 7.12" FHD+ (1080X2244)

RAM: 4 GB

Camera: 16MP + 8MP Dual Real Camera

Battery: 6,000 mAh.

OS: Android 9

Quick Charge: Yes



2) Moto G Power ($229)



Tech Specs


Storage: 64 GB

Display: 6.4" (1080 x 2300)

Camera: 16MP (2160p video)

Battery: 5,000 mAh

RAM: 4 GB

OS: Android 10

Quick Charge: Yes.




3) Bold N1 ($199 / $299)







Tech Specs



Storage: 128 GB (SD Card support up to 128 GB additional)

Display: 6.4" Full Amoled Display

Camera:
13 MP Selfie Camera, a Dual A.I. Rear Camera (16 MP, 5 MP Depth Sensor) with 96 MP “Super Zoon.”

Battery: 3,500mAh

RAM: 4 GB

OS: Android 9

Quick Charge:
Yes.

The Zone

Programmers often talk about this magical place called "The Zone." It's basically a mental state in which they are able to be the most productive, and are laser-focused on the task at hand. They're so immersed in writing code that everything outside of their computer screen (the world) disappears.


Fun Fact: Don't talk to a programmer when they're in the zone. They may either ignore you or be quick to anger.

The best thing I can compare "The Zone" to for non-programmers is when you're completely immersed in a story you're reading. If you're interrupted, it usually takes you out of the story and the experience of being totally absorbed in the atmosphere of the book.

Total immersion is a powerful tool: you don't know what you’re capable of until you really concentrate on something.

"The Zone" has been my best friend ever since I started talking to callers again. When I'm in the zone, it's all about listening to them and trying to guide them in the right direction. Any distraction I succumb to means that I have failed miserably and possibly missed an important detail.

So, what's it like living in "The Zone"? Quite amazing, actually.

  • The itch I get to check my email? Gone.
  • The desire for a break? Nope.
  • My body telling me I'm hungry? It can wait.
  • My own needs? Nope. Not now. I must be strong enough to compartmentalize and practice self-care on my own time. This way, I can be my best self when offering guidance, without my judgment being compromised by biases.

There is no world outside of the one particular task that I'm doing. Nothing else matters, nothing else exists.

Living in the zone is not without a cost, though. It takes me a long time afterward to recharge and start focusing on my next task. I slowly push off the weight of the world. The beauty of "The Zone" though, is that you're no longer at war with two sides of yourself. You're not thinking, you're doing what you need to do without second-guessing yourself. There's just no time for anything else but to take action.

Total immersion helped me discard everything and anything that does not serve me.

When I gave up this blog just a few months ago, I was so immersed in the atmosphere and weight of my past that nothing could snap me out of it. I was convinced that I was doing the right thing to honor the wish of someone who was no longer alive.

Total immersion can be a curse if you don't use it carefully. Be careful with what you immerse yourself in.

What changed my mind? A wise mind told me:

Personally, will all respect to the person who said that, I think that anyone who asks you not to do what you love does not have your best interest at heart. You writing your blog and doing what you are passionate about, does not impact the people who choose that it’s not for them, but it does impact your readers who love your posts and look forward to you writing. Now if you decided you didnt enjoy it, by all means change your route and do what you love, but that doesn’t sound like the case. Just think about it. :)

 


The ability to immerse yourself in the present moment will be your greatest weapon.

The degree of one's success is usually measured by their ability to push past discomfort at any given moment. Not by questioning the past or fearing the future, but by utilizing everything they already are and everything they possess.

The old you must die in order to become something more.

Just like a phoenix rises from the ashes and experiences rebirth, you must rise above your crucible so that you can finally forge yourself into who you were always meant to be. This allows you to let go of everything you're not, everything negative that your crucible tried to convince you that you were. A symbolic ‘death’ of your former self means that you're making room for the new and improved you. Out with the old, in with the new. The objective is to become someone who's ready to tackle whatever it is that life has in store for them.

You have to dig really deep if you want to fight out what you're fighting for, and why. Immerse yourself in the here and now, and use your past as a place of reference, not residence.

The Beast of Burden

In the early days of computing, computers were physical beasts that took up an enormous amount of space on your desk. They occupied large rooms and even whole buildings, where gaining access to them was very closely monitored. Owning a computer was generally reserved for people who worked in the field. Outside of that, you were lucky if you even saw one up close.






Fast-forward to 2020, computers are now the norm and using them is how we get most of our personal and professional work done. Heck, it is how we meet our love partners, now! We accomplish such tasks using smartphones, laptops, tablets, phablets, desktop computers, etc. All sorts of devices and operating systems serving all sorts of different purposes.



The beast of burden lies within variety. We have way too many options now, which can, well... be a burden! A gift and a curse.



On the software side of things, note-taking applications are a trending topic on Reddit right now (in their respective subreddits). With options like Evernote, Nimbus Note, OneNote, Standard Notes, Simplenote, Google Keep, Clickup, Clipto, Journey, Day One, Diaro, Apple Notes, Joplin and many more, how do we know which one to choose?


For the past year, this has been my one gripe with the industry. There doesn't seem to be a perfect solution. They're all competing against each other for attention. My focus, as a result, diverts. Finding an all-in-one tool seems nearly impossible. I’ve gone between Google Drive + Docs, Evernote, Nimbus Note, Journey and Notion.


Journey was great, until Google deprecated the Drive API. Now, certain files become corrupt and the Android synchronization process falsely categorizes some media as corrupt. File transfer times can also corrupt media, if you’re using Google Drive as back-end storage. Google Drive itself works perfectly fine, on the other hand. There exists the Drive REST API, but I’m not the developer of Journey, so I can’t make that transition as a user.


Anyway...


Most recently, I began examining Evernote again and fell in love with how productive it made me feel. I took notes and organized the contents of my second brain with ease. The problem that came up early on for me was their pricing model. $69 per year just doesn't make sense to me, as their competitors offer more functionality at practically less than half of Evernote's fee.


Take Nimbus Note, for example. It essentially offers the same set of features that Evernote offers, but only charges its users $25 per year. Evernote doesn't have a variety of paid tiers. You jump from having free access or having to pay $70+ per year to use their service. This, to me, is a deal-breaker. A small jump in fee, via multiple paid tiers from low to high makes sense. Jumping from $0 to almost $100... doesn’t.


Oh well, Evernote has been losing their direction as a company for the past few years now, and it seems like a bunch of their users are ready to jump ship. Don’t get me wrong, though, I see the value in Evernote and consider it to be one of the best tools out there today. It doesn’t mean I’m willing to pay a high price for their product.


Enter, Nimbus Note.


First, their editing experience.


The editing experience is sleek and distraction-free (if you choose such a layout). See:



 



On top of being able to organize by notes using Folders, Nimbus Note offers Workspaces in addition to Tags. This is brilliant.





When editing a note, you organize text in blocks and have a hover toolbar, in which you can choose a variety of options from font formatting, to attaching items to notes, to embedding bookmarks/URLs.




Price: $25 per year. 5 GB of transfers per month and up to 1 GB of an attachment per note.



The bit that worries me is that the tools for such wide-spread software often have more demand than they do supply. How will Nimbus Note compete effectively with Evernote? Granted, Nimbus Note has been successful and has been around since 2010, but still. In the age where new apps pop up every day, even Evernote is struggling in some areas.



I wouldn't worry too much about it because better pricing usually means more users would be willing to pay for it, especially in the personal note-taking area. I see Evernote better for teams, as $70 for a personal tool seems way too steep, in my opinion.


Enter, Google Drive


It seems needless to provide screenshots for something almost everyone uses, so I won’t. Google Drive allows me to easily organize my content in folders, and Google Docs allows me to create documents with a great WYSIWYG editor. Nothing to share here, word processors have been around for a very long time. So, while taking notes the traditional way is no novel idea, it is, at the end of the day, very effective for me. I would like a more robust note-taking layout; for example, being able to swipe through different notes or see a list of my notes in a compact way, but we all have to compromise somewhere.


Side note: a lot of note-taking applications seem to forget people who are visually impaired. Choosing from S M L (Small, Medium, Large) isn’t enough for me, so the traditional font size option works great for me, in Google Docs. Something more and more apps are forgetting, especially on mobile, which is where you probably need it the most!


At the end of the day, Nimbus Note is my choice. In the world of endless productivity tools, adapting to new trends and ways of working is important. Like Evernote (but better), Nimbus Note adapts to my workflow and I'm able to quickly create content: as simple or as complex as I want, in one click.


My review should be coming soon...

Dear September...

 Hi all,


For those of you who know who actress Brittney Snow is ('Prom Night', 'Would You Rather'), she recently created something called "September Letters", which essentially allows you to submit your story and end the stigma against mental health.


Here's the video:



I've spoken a lot about my past on previous iterations of this website, but stigma always won, and I always took my site down in light of that stigma. This site, and my submission to September Letters fights against the stigma, and against the mistake of hiding who you are from the world. Embrace it. Share your story!

Please Don't Lie

There are lots of bad things that you can put into your body in various ways. The worst of those things all seem to be represented in physical form as white powder. I intensely dislike drugs, with a passion. I’ve personally seen up close how drugs can corrode the human mind and completely warp a person's psyche until they've split into someone else. Something else entirely. Those people become ghosts of their former selves. Strangers looking into the mirror of someone lost and forgotten.


So, at the ripe old age of 16, I made a vow to never become addicted.


"Good plan, myself! Way to go, just making a plan without a plan." If only I had realized I was already addicted when I made that vow.

Here is my vice: living in the past.


It's needless to say, but we all know that there are two types of people who go into a war. The ones who die fighting for the cause and the ones who survive the battle and become stronger from the experience. Well, there's a third type that we don't like to talk about. The ones who become addicted to the heaviness of their past so much so that they can't let go of it. They live their lives replaying memories, using their past as a place of residence, not of reference.


I became the person who found it easier to embrace their pain rather than become the person willing to face the uncertainty of moving forward. What is forward, really, when all you can see when you look ahead is a giant rear-view mirror?


Long story short, the battle of life taught be one of its greatest lessons:


You can dwell on your own mortality with something to live for, laugh about and love, or not. Something worth fighting for always makes the battle of life worth fighting. It's when you have a seemingly impossible goal to strive for, that your life truly begins.


For myself, dedicating time to help those in need of guidance and a nudge in the right direction makes the most sense. I've recently started working for a crisis center. This isn't the first time I've done work like this, but it's the first time I've seen myself the most capable of being what others need me to be; I need to be for others what I so desparately needed during the lowest points in my life. A voice of reason and unconditional support, reminding me of who I am and not this thing I think I'm becoming at the hands of either trauma, anxiety or depression.


One of the biggest challenges is... Detachment.


Do you know what the hardest part about helping someone who's drowning is? That they'll drown you. It's true. You have to make sure that you're at 100% performance because those people may not and often do not have anyone else they can confide in. As much as it is heartbreaking, it's a warning I must heed. Their life is essentially in your hands. Mental Health is something you do not want to take lightly.


One of the more broader lessons...


Learning that the root cause of suffering is attachment really helped me see things in a better light.


In many ways, the spiritual path is about learning how to let go of the clouds, and coming to identify with the space. It’s about releasing our contraction, our grip on the thoughts and emotions that flow through our mind, and relaxing into the spacious awareness within which those thoughts and emotions arise. We are the sum of our thoughts and emotions. What else is there? It’s about dis-identifying with who we are not (any thought or emotion) and coming to identify with who we truly are.


Simply put, identities aren't real and feelings and emotions are often blind spots. You are water taking shape of whatever you allow your mind to pour itself into. Think depressing thoughts and you become depression. Think good thoughts and you are good. You aren't any one thing. You are a collection of everything you hold onto for longer than necessary.


Exercise the act of exercising.


As important as mental health is, making sure that you're in peak physical health is crucial as well.


I do about fifteen minutes of meditation per day, but something new I picked up recently was a yoga position entitled: Setu Bandhasana Sarvangasana. The Supported Bridge Pose, as seen below.





The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen your back and to stretch the entire front-side of your body.


For the first few days, I tried this pose without support and learned a spiritual lesson.


Every challenge or level of heaviness and difficulty has a certain level of push-back that you must learn to resist. I so badly wanted to leave Bridge Pose and just lay flat so as to rest, but I fought my urges and pushed past the discomfort. If you truly must, you have to also bend to your experiences and give in, only to find another way towards success: the supported bridge pose.


Don't allow your passion to be your weak spot.

For many years, especially when I was very young, I’d been more than happy to work for free or even at a loss as long as the work was interesting. That's because I was so totally in love with being a creator, not only a consumer.


This set me up for a series of relationships that - retrospectively - I can surely classify as abusive. I would often do work for compensation that was well below its actual value.


What does this have to do with the rest of the post?


It's all interconnected, really.


My vice led to a ripple effect in my life which I used as a crutch instead of as a tool to come out on top.


Now that I finally have a good head on my shoulders, everything I do adds to my arsenal of personal and professional growth.

Whatever You Do, Don't Fall Asleep

Although Freddy Krueger technically coined the phrase, I'd say that Insomnia had Intellectual Property Rights since day one.


A couple of months ago, I read a book called "Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker. It takes you through the psychological and physiological effects that sleeping (or lack thereof) can have on the mind and body.


The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. The leading causes of disease and death in developed nations—diseases that are crippling health-care systems, such as heart disease, obesity, dementia, diabetes, and cancer—all have recognized causal links to a lack of sleep. - Matthew Walker


Although I don't necessarily relate to every aspect of the book (because really, who can relate to everything?),  I realized how much damage I was doing to my body.


Freddy Krueger might just be the epitome of Insomnia.


I've been dealing with Insomnia (with wonderful nightmares) for as long as I can remember. My usual daily rhythm would be to sleep late, wake up late, start work late, and repeat.


Even when I changed my sleep patterns for the better, I had problems falling and staying asleep. A contributing factor here is that I actually love the night.


Why is this so?


Because finally, the world is asleep and a person like myself who has trouble focusing, can finally use all of his focus to get work done without the distraction of the waking world around him. Also, I love the romance and calmness of the night, than the harsh sun and bustling nature of a city that never stops to take things slow. Finally, it feels like I'm the only one here and I can go at my own pace.


There have been countless nights that I've lain awake waiting for sleep to come, only to realize that it only starts to set in once the birds are chirping and the weight of the world and responsibility has come back on me.


Our lack of sleep is a slow form of self-euthanasia...


Ever since I read the book, I've been researching all sorts of methods of how to get things done in a timely manner so that I could get the most effective amount of sleep that my body needs.


I use the Pomodoro Technique


Productivity is the deliberate, strategic investment of your time, talent, intelligence, energy, resources, and opportunities in a manner calculated to move you measurably closer to meaningful goals. — Dan S. Kennedy


In the late 1980s, Francesco Cirillo created a time-management technique referred to as the “Pomodoro Technique.”


The idea is to break down your work into small intervals so that you can accomplish each task more effectively.


The length of a Pomodoro session is typically 25 minutes, and it’s followed by a 5-minute break.


This allows you to be really productive on one task for 25 minutes, rather than having a dozen tasks that aren’t managed properly in time. What ends up happening is that you focus better on one task than another simply because one may take longer than another, and your energy will eventually fade out.


By having set sessions, each task is equally getting the best of your focus, energy, and attention.


Task 1: 25 minutes (set a timer).

Break 1: 5 minutes. Drink a glass of water, do a couple of quick push-ups or other exercises, etc.


Task 2: 25 minutes.

Break 2: 5 minutes.


Task 3: 25 minutes.

Break 3: Increased to 10 minutes.


This is the template I use to be efficient with my time. I still need time to get used to it, but it allows me to be disciplined so that I know when enough is enough so as to get some good night's sleep.


So, it all started with a book, and now, some months later, my life has a healthier routine than it ever has. I always knew about the Pomodoro Technique, but "Why We Sleep" reinforced how important it is to manage your time for your own health, not just for the face of productivity.


An Interview with Luba Sigaud

Here’s an interview I conducted with Luba Sigaud, a person I admire tremendously for her courage and tenacity in helping create a better world, one article at a time.





Thank you for your stellar level of badassery, Luba!


1. First of all, tell us a bit about yourself.


I was raised in a French family, the fourth of six kids. My parents are International Correspondents to France, so they were sent to Washington, D.C., U.S.A to report on American news many years ago. Ultimately, they decided to settle down in the U.S., where I grew up. As a child, it was a challenge being so far away from grandparents and other extended family members, but being in the U.S. allowed me to learn English well, which I’m grateful for.


I just finished my first degree, which was in Speech-Language Pathology, and I will be starting another degree, this time in Marketing, in July. I also play the piano and can speak a little German, although very poorly.


2. What would you say inspired you to become a writer?


Since my parents are both journalists, I grew up in a house full of books; I think that really helped foster my love for reading, which turned into a love for writing as well. I’ve been writing for a long time, but it was only recently that I discovered the world of writing online.


I would also say that an English professor I had early on in my college career really sparked my love for the written word. He passed away a few years ago, but he was such a kind, articulate, humble man — I’ve never met anyone like him.


I like to think he’s part of the reason I’m a writer today, and I wish I had half his knowledge.


3. What are some of your writing habits? Do you have a particular routine that helps your creative juices flow more freely?


Great question. Right now, I don’t have a set routine. But I do find that I usually write better when the house is quiet late at night.


4. What do you think are the most important aspects of writing?


The ability to sit down and pour out your heart, without holding back, is priceless. It frees your mind and helps process events in life, whether happy or sad. Even long before I started writing for an audience, I wrote for myself — about my hopes and dreams and fears. I have always felt there’s a power in putting thoughts down on paper, even if no one reads them.


5. Is there any advice you’d want to give to aspiring writers who waver in their convictions because they aren’t sure if they’d be any good, or if they’re ready?


I would tell them that they will never be perfectly ready. No writer, no matter how great, has ever produced a piece of work they were perfectly happy with. And yet, it’s often those very articles and books that change the lives of others the most.


I’ve found that the more I write, the easier it gets. The important thing is to write for the love of it: not for money, not for fame, not for the validation of others. If you can write every day and let that be its own reward, nothing will be able to stop you from being a professional writer. The key is to love it.


6. What’s one thing you’d change about the world if you could?


This might sound silly, but I’m trying to make the world more beautiful through my work. I’m trying to help people see the beauty of life, no matter how hard their lives may be. If I can put one smile on someone’s face — if I can make one person happy to be alive and excited to wake up tomorrow — what more could I ask for? I want that to be my legacy. I don’t care about being famous, but if the people who do know me can remember me as someone who loved others and helped them see the beauty of life, without expecting anything in return, that would be a dream come true.


7. What’s one important life lesson you’ve learned?


That’s a hard question — there are so many to choose from. But I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned has been that I can’t force an outcome, no matter how much I may want to in the moment. Life becomes so much easier when we let go of what isn’t meant for us and appreciate what we already have.


8. Anything else you want to share before we wrap it up?


I would just like to say that it has been a pleasure and an honor to take part in this interview. Thank you for the opportunity, Mikey!



You can visit Luba’s profile here.

3 Lessons We Can Learn From Steve Jobs

 If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?


For 33 years, Steve Jobs asked himself this question every single morning. If his answer happened to be 'no' for several days in a row, he knew he had to change something about how he was living his life.


This is something I believe we should all be asking ourselves every single day.


Do you know what depression feels like? For me, it feels like being afraid of heights and yet having to live on the top floor of a 22-story building. As I look out the window, wonder and curiosity about all that could be strikes me.


I look behind me and see a fire approaching. My two options are to jump out of the window and to my rescue (firefighters are waiting to catch me) or allow fear to dictate my actions and remain stagnant, being burned alive.


Both are seemingly impossible/scary choices, right?


Not really.


For over 9 years, my depression made me its victim. I woke up every single morning and the first thing on my calendar before my cup of coffee were all the regrets I carried around with me.


Regrets of missed opportunities, mistakes not corrected, the relationships I could have built, the love I could have allowed myself to give and receive, etc.


The list of 1,000 things goes on. I traveled to and from work, feeling envious of all the people who were everything I thought I could never be.


Ultimately, all the pain in my life derived from trying so hard to be someone I never was, holding onto things that were never truly mine.


Your life has a duration of the unknown. Make use of it by following your heart because, at the end of the day, when your time comes, all the money in the world won’t matter.


The smiles you leave behind, the things you’ve contributed to the world, those are the things that will tell your story; and as the saying goes, ‘one day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.’


If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.


It’s true. A lot of us spend time passively assuming that we’re going to be alive forever, so we disguise our fears as practicality and fail to question what it is we’re actually doing with our lives until it’s too late.


Remember that why you do something is just as important as what you’re doing. Living a practical life with no passion, purpose, and risk will only lead you to say your last words: “If only…”


Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.


Do you know the great thing about a blank page for a writer? It has yet to be filled with all its possibilities.


A lot of us, for some reason, are afraid to be beginners again because we fear to look bad in the eyes of others.


The reality is, you have to be a beginner first if you are to go from ‘student’ to ‘master.’ You have to fall in love with the process of doing without worrying about how you look in action.


Children are the greatest examples of this. They do what they do for love, and to hell with everything else.


Caring about what others think will prevent us from doing anything substantial in our lives, and what we choose to do with action will always matter more than how we feel. Feelings are fleeting; they come and go, like the weather. Time wasted cannot be returned to you. Feelings are also often blind spots.


Being over-familiar with one thing is like not being familiar with anything at all.


Think about a painter. He’s in the process of painting the portrait of a beautiful woman (his late wife). This painting represents good memories and bad ones, and the beauty he saw in her. His heart is heavy with emotions.


When he’s done, he sees the final product and deems it successful. People seem to like it, too. What happens now? He moves onto his next painting, which will tell a different story. He’s now a beginner again, at painting something completely new.


I have adopted such a mindset. Each day, I am reborn and every experience is my first experience, old failures wiped out of memory. This way I can always start anew.


Diversification is the key ingredient to success, while grit is the only reliable trait that leads to success.


There’s something beautiful about letting go of all the things that were once ours; it’s so that we can make room for new things to sprout. It is only in the interval after we let something go, that new things can come to us, anyway. We cannot pour water into a cup that’s full. We must empty it first.


Moreover, we can never add to ourselves, as we’re already complete. We add to whatever we do. That being said, never forget to detach, because nothing adds value to you. You add value to whatever that thing is. There’s no need for attachment here.


Work hard, obtain it, but then let it go and learn something new again. Never stop changing, growing, and evolving, adding your knowledge to your arsenal.


It’s how identity works, too. Do you think you’re ‘you’? There is no you, as identity is just attachment. A cluster of beliefs, experiences, and morals you hold onto.


But as soon as you let that go, if you wish to, you have an opportunity to be someone else entirely. We’re all actors on the stage of life, writing our own screenplay.


Never forget this one truth. Nothing is permanent in this world, not even identity. We’re ever-changing, like water, taking the shape of whatever we throw ourselves into; experiences, beliefs, ideas, actions, etc.


You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.


I’ll follow up with another quote:


The future is, of course, an illusion. Nothing has happened there yet. What Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, California, we may say of the future: there is no ‘there’ there. Among Marshall McLuhan’s many intriguing metaphors, the most paradoxical one is his reference to “rearview mirror” thinking. All of us, he said, are speeding along a highway with our eyes fixed on the rearview mirror, which can tell us only where we have been, not what lies ahead. — Building A Bridge To The 18th Century


In other words, any foresight we have into the future is purely a projection of what has already happened: hindsight.


If you want a bright future, you must stop dwelling on what might be. Instead, look back at your history to see what was, and analyze what you want to keep, change, and discard, so that you have an idea of which road you wish to take. You can’t let past failures prevent future success. Trust that the road you’re on will lead you somewhere great. That’s all you can do, after all.


Play life as well as you can and do what you can with what you have to work with; and again, remember: what you choose to do will always matter more than how you feel. Feelings can be blindspots, but taking actions objectively will lead you closer to success.


Core Philosophy: Building A Bridge To The 18th Century

Any fool can have an opinion; to know what one needs to know to have an opinion is wisdom; which is another way of saying that wisdom means knowing what questions to ask about knowledge.


I was first introduced to Niel Postman in 2015. A friend of mine suggested: “Building A Bridge To The 18th Century.” Initially, I was skeptical because the book didn’t sound appealing to me, and I’m very picky when it comes to what I choose to read. Despite my preconceived notions, I gave it a shot and I ended up really enjoying the book.


Some of the core philosophies in the book are thought-provoking.


Our modern reliance for technology will lead us into being an antisocial society. His problem wasn’t so much with the technology itself, but with the technophiles who are obsessed with seeing where technology could go, rather than asking if it should even go that far to begin with. We must be able to see the downsides of things, not only the upsides.


Although this is not directly related to what he’s talking about, it reminds me of the people who constantly think: “I need to make more money.” If you’re wondering if you could make more money, yes is probably the answer. Should you, though? I don’t know, that requires analysis. But as Dave Ramsey says: “When you start living on a budget, you feel like you’re getting a raise.” Could and Should are not interchangable.


Given that this book was written in 1999, I’d say it’s ahead of its time.


Looking at this book from a historical standpoint, a lot of what he said has come to fruit.


In one part of the book, he brings up a book entitled: Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte who wrote: “We will find that we are talking as much or more with machines than we are to humans.”


Just look at the world we live in today. We talk to Alexa, order food off of Grubhub, we write on websites like Medium instead of having deep conversations in-person, etc. That’s not to say technology is bad, but that we must be really cautious in the way we choose to use the technology we possess because all of it really takes away from the human experience. We shouldn’t rely on it, but utilize it without attachment or necessity. We’re more connected to humans but in a not-so-human way. It’s not as authentic, something about the human experience gets lost in translation.


I don’t think I fully agree with Postman here, because I do think technology has helped improve the world we live in. Technology has personally helped me succeed in life.


But some other points?


During this quarantine, for example, everyone would get sick if they went to medical offices instead of having video visits. Remote work for those who need it or can’t come in, is just another great aid. Again, it’s about balance, but Postman still makes some valid arguments. I’d wager that it’s more about how we as humans latch onto things rather than what we latch onto.


We should be suspicious of people who say that it’s important to look ahead into the future to see where we’re headed. We actually need to look back at history to find wisdom so that we can tackle the future appropriately and with sufficient information. There’s nothing to look at when you’re looking “ahead.” We should look at our past as a place of reference.





The future is, of course, an illusion. Nothing has happened there yet. What Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, California, we may say of the future: There is no there there. Among Marshall McLuhan’s many intriguing metaphors, the most paradoxical one is his reference to “rearview mirror” thinking. All of us, he said, are speeding along a highway with our eyes fixed on the rearview mirror, which can tell us only where we have been, not what lies ahead.




One of my favorite quotations from the book. I think it’s important to build on the skill of being able to look behind so that we may now know where we want to go. That is, without repeating mistakes that may hinder our ability to learn from the past so that we can build upon it to create any potential future.


Think, for example, of how the words ‘community’ and ‘conversation’ are now employed by those who use the Internet. I have the impression that ‘community’ is now used to mean, simply, people with similar interests, a considerable change from an older meaning: A community is made up of people who may not have similar interests but who must negotiate and resolve their differences for the sake of social harmony. Tocqueville used the phrase “an ethic of reciprocity” to delineate what is at the heart of community life.


I think the way we use social media (Instagram, Twitther, Facebook) as a “community” is nothing short of cancerous, in many ways. People now seem to have very fragile egos that if one were to disagree with them, they are demeaned, unfollowed, and constantly yelled at through comments.


On the flip side, I think what’s being discussed here in general is the attitude of humans and us being unenlightened.


The book, from what I remember, was about the importance of enlightenment and how we didn’t necessarily need a new future, but that we needed to revisit history under the idea that “progress is one of the greatest gifts of Enlightenment.”


I need to read this book again because writing this just reminded me of the joy I had reading this book. So much to process!


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