3 Things

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There is so much drama in the world that we actually forget to fully appreciate our environment and all the blessings we receive in our daily lives. For the time being, I have had a realization on the 3 most dangerous things that we must avoid to do in living in this perfectly imperfect world.

Before I head on to those things, I just want to let you know that these are just based on my perspective.

1. Never expect too much (“Nobody’s perfect”)

No matter how idealistic I may be in giving so much hope in humanity’s ability to regain its values as beings of this world, I have wholeheartedly acknowledged that I must never EVER expect people to be perfect. We all have different experiences and we came from all kinds of backgrounds. Even if people are of the same family, each individual still has their own way of thinking and thus, has his/her perception on life and approaching its challenges.

There is NEVER one way out and with that being said, we must look at everything with an open mind. It is hard enough to come up with a solution.. what more when you are only given one way to get it right. The problem with our current society is that we expect everyone to do their jobs or tasks perfectly perfect, which is ever highly unlikely.. especially if we have imposed that rule on them. It is already challenging enough to understand who we are that who gives us the right to know that we already understand everyone.

2. Never attach yourself (“Let it go”)

In this temporary world, we would not want to depend our happiness on material and worldly things that will only disappoint our understanding of how life should be lived. It is definitely difficult to face this reality. This can sometimes apply to people as well. Growing in a collectivist culture and a strong sense of family ties, I was not able to succumb the thought of having to see each person totally separated and different from me that I cannot have the full capability of getting to know them unless I have a use for them. That’s what media and society has taught me.. I hope that there is more to it than this. (I’ll further elaborate on my next post)

Then again, I have been hurt by not being able to get what I have worked hard for, whom I have given my trust to, and the future that I thought I will have. At the end of the day, it’s me against the world. Or at least.. my family against everyone else. There is nothing personal with this realization rather it is more of an observation that I wanted to share to you. This world is a place of detachment and if you attach yourself to everything that you do, you might forget what true happiness is. For me, it is my family. I have been blinded in the past because of the said promises after my commitment.. that I lost sight of spending quality time with my loved ones. It was definitely a heavy burden but once I acknowledged that this is something that I treasure, I made sure not to make the same mistake.

And it felt great, a relief!

3. Never aim for success

This is actually quite surprising.. even to see me typing this myself. I was once a firm believer that we have to focus on our goals and to not be distracted by “life”. However, life is the reason why we have those goals in the first place, right? What is the point of achieving them if we would not be able to enjoy the ride and learn from the process of getting there? Does the title or achievement simply satisfies us? YES.. but until when?

I used to be so hungry for achievement because I thought it would help me boost my confidence. Don’t get me wrong, it did but then it easily vanished and I had a higher goal to achieve, which made me feel more hungry than before.. until I reach a certain point where I understood that I am just simply collecting certificates, acknowledgements, recognition, and well, trying to “fit in”. It made me more distant to who I am than ever.

I lost myself.

Establish your values and principles in life. Let everything happen on its own, treat every problem as a challenge to make your stronger. Have goals set but do not ever have those hinder you from experiencing the great, amazing things that are happening around you.

Productivity

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Winter just drives our motivation away since the cold makes you want to sleep in and watch your favorite and try on different TV shows! (by the way, I am totally into the Walking Dead after having been told by kazillion times on how amazing it is.. next up is Breaking Bad) However, knowing that this is what Winter mentality is.. we should have acknowledged that already and thus, have taken a different path to increase our productivity while still being able to do what we want to do.

Here are some thing that I thought helped me a lot in keeping track of what I have to do.. especially in University (while working and staying involved)

1. Find your study/work playlist

For some people, it is easier to concentrate once you get your beat moving. However, I will suggest the music that will actually make you work.. not dance/sing like crazy. Honestly.. I have learned it the hard way. I have been browsing youtube and ended up watching almost 20 music videos/cover. #whatawaste #enjoyeditthough

LOL so yes, it is better to stick to a playlist. It will be a rough ride to get the right one so I’ll help you. I suggest looking up for Boyce Avenue playlist since their acoustic covers are the best songs to play if you want to concentrate OR if you like instrumentals, look for study music OR if you want upbeat songs, go for Ariana Grande Your Truly Full Album. Those worked well for me so I hope it also does for you!

2. Know the time when you’re most productive

Trying so HARD to concentrate when you are obviously distracted does not help at all. I have learned this the hard way too.. As I’ve mentioned in my old post, I used to be a competitive swimmer who trains everyday in the afternoon, which sooner or later made my productivity time become late at night or after dinner around 7:30-11:00 PM. Once I arrived in Canada, I thought I would have more time to concentrate but.. nah. My body knows when I’m most productive so going against it does not help.

This is my timeline:
morning (9-11) – most productive doing household chores and easy tasks like calling for appointments/paying bills/organizing my planner
mid-afternoon (11-3) – most productive doing medium creative tasks like playing an instrument/reading/blogging/responding to e-mails
afternoon (3-6) – most productive doing easy-medium school tasks like reviewing/answering some practice q’s/research
evening (7-11) – most productive doing hard/challenging school tasks like memorizing/typing for a paper/studying for a test AND easy creative task like reflecting/writing on my journal

Even if I know these, it does not mean that I’m perfectly fine with my time management skillzzz. I still have so much to improve on but taking the first step is the way to go! YOU SHOULD CREATE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY SCHEDULE TOO! 🙂

3. Sleep/eat right!

Need I say more? With the stress the world gives to us.. never indulge. I will say it again, never indulge! You will regret it right after. Sleep consistently at the same time every night so that your body clock will be consistent as well. Do not oversleep all the time because it will cause you to be more lazy.. it’s better to sleep early and wake up early than sleep really late and wake up super late. You will feel refreshed too!

4. Exercise (or at least move around as if you’re in the gym taking your Zumba classes)

We are all busy.. that’s for sure. Especially with all the stress this season brings to the way we perceive our responsibilities. Nonetheless, it should now stop us from treating our body right. Doesn’t it feel great to feel comfortable with the way you move? I am not implying that you have to be skinny and lean rather healthy. Sweat if off in the gym, dance in your room, do some yogilates via youtube (search it up), jump/skip/hop, walk instead of waiting for long hours for your commute (an exception will be when you’re experiencing a snow storm..), swim.

Feel like a superstaaaar! Plus, summer is coming so you’d want to strut your summer clothes, am I right?

5. Chill sometimes

Go watch a movie with your family or friends, celebrate your hard work, go downtown to take some beautiful and refreshing photographs, and just give yourself some time to stop and reflect on how you are currently feeling. 🙂

I hope I was able to help you in some way. It feels great to write these posts because it’s kind of a refresher course for me as well. If you think I’m living a stress-free life, you are wrong. I am on my journey towards that good life. Challenges are part of it and it’s better to recognize that nothing is perfect in this world so that we can keep trying to improve.

2014, you are mine.

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Now that I have turned a new chapter of my life, I want to share you my resolutions that I plan to change since change is the only permanent thing in our lives. Looking back to 2013, I have never been more proud of my ability to surpass all the challenges that brought me and my values to the ground. On the other hand, I have learned some meaningful lessons that I will never have learned if I did not take the chance of going above and beyond.

Thank you.

I know how resolutions are so cliche but in my perspective, it’s also a great feeling to know that it’s another year and we are done with one chapter of our lives that we can always smile or cry about. (so nostalgic!) It’s a wonderful feeling that we are beginning somewhere again: best way to motivate yourself that you are only going to get BETTER.

I have only been in Canada for 1 year and a half-ish and seeing where I am standing right now (the amount of mistakes and lessons I was able to accumulate), I am grateful to say that I went beyond my comfort zone.

“Don’t give up. You are already in pain.
You are already hurt. Get a reward from it.”

Two biggest achievements of 2013:

1. Great involvement in University

In my first year, I was so excited that I gave so much time in attending events, workshops, and info sessions to learn more about myself and this University. It’s a remarkable place to be in! (put yourself out there) I was awarded a first-year involvement award, became a director of my organization, and just late last year, was informed that I will soon be in the National team. There are more things that I have yet to discover and I can’t wait to witness them all.

2. Work experience

This is my second job and I’m loving every single bit of it. The people, the environment, the support, and the values it upholds to its employees and customers. I am slowly developing my professional skills considering how I’m the youngest of my co-workers! Being acknowledged and showing appreciation is the best feeling ever. It’s all about give and take.

Three things that I aim for this year:

1. Excellent Academic Standing (A)

This is not only for my parents’ happiness but also for my own. Being able to achieve a good grade does not simply indicate that I’m smart (no way lol) but that I am able to focus and work hard on an achievement that requires so much time, effort, and discipline to master. I used to get good grades in high school but being in university, I was exposed to so much more things that I forgot to prioritize. This is for us, mom & dad.

2. Go for my interests.

I have always been afraid to show who I am and what I love to do but this year will be different. Music and sports are two of them. I have set them aside too much because I thought they were not as important as setting achievements in other aspects of my life (such as my weaknesses). Having to be away from them for the past year has made me realize how big of an impact they have created in my life and NEVER will I ever set them aside. Hopefully, I will be able to join our swimming intramural and have a cover with my dear friend (who is by the way, a wonderful singer!). Who is excited?! I am!

3. Natural self-discovery.

I have pushed myself too much to the things that I think will make me happy. It was frustrating. This year, I will understand myself by doing the things I love and have always wanted to do but “never” had the time to do so.
– downtown photography
– starting my vision planned out
– travel

You are who you are and nobody should tell you otherwise.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Give

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I have a lot in my mind, in my hands, and on my shoulders. I try to carry these tasks at the best of my abilities but sometimes, life just hits me hard. REALITY STRIKES. (not its good side)

These moments are when I observe and see something that I am not happy with. Not because it’s not everything is not happening the way I want it to be but rather things are just becoming so dry. I see people with no emotions and feelings and just.. numb from anything. It may be because they are tired, frustrated, and thus, just gave up their own pursuit of being who they have always wanted to be. On the other hand, there are those people who, after experiencing pain and suffering, just ignored that there is such thing as love and care in the world. Independence has arrived and taken over his/her life.. without knowing its limitations.

Where is the love in this world?
What is humanity now?

I have my own dreams and actually, I will be chasing one of them tomorrow but after encountering some of the worldly problems I don’t really want to mention because it’s not worth ranting about.. I am just so distracted with why these things happen in this life? I believe that I am one of the happiest people on earth whose innocence is trying to overcome all the challenges this life has given me. I am trying.. I am trying to be who I am and giving back to the community even if sometimes I just feel alone.

Every time I lend a helping hand, I feel fulfilled and full of worth. I guess, I just do not want people to experience what I felt. To let them know that they are not alone.

Okay, I’m giving and giving. I like it. I love making people happy.. that’s just who I am but you know, sometimes I just want to experience the same thing as well. To have someone say constantly that they believe in me. For now, I’ll thrive with the smiles I receive. It’s worth the wait.

The Irony of “Happiness”

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There are two things that have been in my mind for quite some time. Just an observation based on my own experiences. Getting to understand the meaning of happiness and how it can lead to success is quite a big idea deal with. We may get the understanding that this is how it all works but actually, after having to watch Shawn Achor’s TEDtalk video about “The Happiness Advantage”, it does make sense to create a better analogy on how happiness can lead to success and not the other way around.

However, it is easier said than done. No matter how much we strive to do what we love, we always come to a point where it does not seem right anymore or your aspirations seem to be at a different path. Now, no one can really say which one is which.. only you. Before we get to the realization of what happiness should feel like, we have to understand ourselves more than our surroundings. (our strengths, our weaknesses, our background, our culture, and most importantly, our values that creates that foundation towards our thought and behaviour)

2 things I came to think of when it came to knowing what will make me “happy” are quite ironic.. well according to how I have been feeling the past few months, here they go:

“The more people I know, the more lonely I feel.” 
It is confusing but that’s how I feel. I am a friendly person by nature and I just love to meet new people. In the longer run though, I don’t feel as connected to them like I used to. This is no generalization, just a situation. I treasure these people whom I have met and there is no way that I would replace their friendships with anyone else. There are just moments when I feel that it is so difficult to keep up with each person’s life. I know the quality of he relationship is always more important than quantity of times you have met; however, we can’t deny how the friendship goes deeper through the memories you have spent together, which equals the time you make time to be with them.

Current situation: still in the path of understanding the art of balancing relationships

“The more effort I put into pushing myself to get out and discover who I am, the more I feel lost.”
It is believed that it is extremely important to get to know yourself first before you head out for the world. I have always had this thought that once I create my goal, I must focus towards achieving it even if it meant that I have to give up some things. This is how I was brought up. My parents would always talk about sacrifice and service and how these two things can lead to happiness and later on, success with achieving the life you have always wanted to have. However, this kind of wisdom is not working for me right now. I am craving to do the things that I used to do.. unfortunately, I do not have enough time for them. It’s just sad to realize how I have to comply to this path when i could have traveled the road less traveled by. I have been involved in almost anything and everything but nothing seems to fill my heart and my satisfaction.. I have been thinking that maybe, just maybe time would tell. That once I get to that phase, I would understand and I would experience the greater happiness. I was just wondering, until how long?

Current situation: still in the path of either realizing or creating my own identity

Life of a 20-something: Phase 0.

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Initially inspired by one of the best authors I know: Meg Jay (MUST READ: Defining Decade & MUST WATCH: her amazing Ted Talk)

Being a 20-something seems like just that typical feeling where you just feel nothing because you know that you’re just growing a year older.. and that’s it. But that’s how I used to think of it. After reading Meg Jay’s Defining Decade, I learned to understand how being 20 is NOT just being 20, it’s all about transforming to a young adult entering a new phase of her life. This year of being a 20 year old was a definite roller coaster ride, from going way up to all the way down and all around. It was crazy but there are no regrets, just realizations. I don’t know if you have experienced this or experiencing this at some point. My objective is to merely give you a portion of my life.

Check in — confused and overwhelmed

SELF-DISCOVERY:

Emotionally, I feel lost.
Mentally, I feel that I have too much to learn and to catch up on.
Physically, I feel like after a year of no competitive swimming, I was able to develop my own routine of taking care of my health (I still have a sweet tooth nonetheless.. unfortunately.)
Spiritually, I am floating. I believe in God and I sincerely love Him with all my heart but there are a lot of times when I still feel empty.

1st Quarter:
First year of University in a different country with a new set of people to deal with. (except for my dearest family of course) I was involved in a lot of volunteering activities.. trying to understand the culture in this totally strange world. I got accepted into a seasonal job, which by the way I really loved. I met a lot of people from very diverse backgrounds, it was definitely interesting in so many ways. However, there are still times when I felt alone. I had a job, I was involved, I was getting good grades, but I was not contented. I miss swimming and I missed my old life and my best friends. I almost felt lucky but at the same time, without it. It was quite ironic. Creating memories with the new people I have healed that urge to go back to the past.. but not completely.

2nd Quarter:
No exercise, it was winter time too. Oh what fun! I was healthy and emotional at the same time. Now, let’s not laugh about this.. even if it sounds funny (or not). My job was done for the season and I was studying for five courses in comparison with the four courses I had before. I had no social life because I was so involved with school that I almost forgot what it felt like to just get out and enjoy or stay in and watch some TV series with my PJ’s. This is practically the worst quarter for me because I was more than alone, I felt alienated. I did get to meet up with some of my friends but how I perceived myself was not something I really hoped to feel. I thought Winter would be great, because it’s snow and.. well, it was my first time to experience snow. Then after a winter-tastic quarter, I said to myself never again. I miss my tropical country!

One night, I got to talk with a dear friend talking about anything and everything. I was laughing and crying at the same time, there were just a lot of emotions involved. It was moody and relieving at the same time. Now, I don’t feel alone. I came into a realization that I almost forgot.. I have my family with me and that’s what’s most important. We will get through with this TOGETHER. Moreover, I attended this amazing conference, called LEADER SHAPE, which made me understand my worth as a person and as a human being. If you have this program in your University, I highly suggest that you take advantage of this. It changed my life.. my vision was established. (something I will share soon)

3rd Quarter:
Hello Spring and hello Summer! Something I really really look forward to. I was able to get over my fear of treadmills after trying it out for the third time, this time I was successful. We, my brother and I, were able to make the most out of the facilities we have here. It was about time to get back in shape. I was getting the hang of how my new position works in this organization I am involved in. I was hired for a new job after a long process of recruitment and selection. It was definitely worth the wait. I took 2 summer courses and they were very much aligned to my own interests. I have had some moments when I felt idle but that did not push me to go back to sinking into my over thinking. After having to do a lot of reflections in different conferences and during my me-times, I was able to increase my patience towards persevering to overcome challenges that are worth fighting for. It was happy inside, the sense of fulfillment gave me self-confidence but I was losing the balance of being able to make sure that I maintain my relationships intact. (be updated with their lives and vice versa)

4th Quarter:
It is ironic to realize how the intention of being individualistic does not match the results that you see. I thought getting to improve myself and investing in my own experiences would benefit those around me. They were proud of me but I was not proud of how I had lesser and lesser time to spend with them. My values are now in conflict with my aspirations. Which comes first? I am still trying to find the right intersection. I have the least idle moments so that is good because it only means that I’m becoming more productive. My room is cleaner or maintained better than it used to. I brought up posters / large reminders to keep me on track with my goals and routine. I feel more matured and less conscious with what I say because I push myself to speak up. It has always been hard but I try.. I keep on trying. In the end, we have got to realize that nobody can help us but ourselves!

Over-all realization:
I have a lot to improve on, that’s for sure but nothing is stopping me from learning more and more. It’s interesting how the world works, just take the time to get to know it especially the people. What really moved me is how the project of Brandon from New York was able to capture the simplicity and beauty of human life. This is an initiative that can catch your attention wherever you come from because of how natural the pictures and real their stories are. #mustread We are all but humans, we possess a treasured life that is meant to be shared.

Your Armor

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When you hear the word ‘armor’, what first comes to your mind?

Probably, a soldier.. a brave soldier who is ready to fight in a battle or to protect himself from getting hurt. Either way, it says the same thing about what the soldier is about to do, which is to face a challenge. May it be big or small, it does not matter. Just the fact that he is wearing his armor, it can indicate that he has already decided to stay and push through with what he is about to do. We should be like the soldier.. scared but unafraid to face our fears. It is easier said than done, that is a definite yes! I myself am struggling to overcome my biggest fear of public speaking. Yes, I am telling you now that you are not alone when it comes to having that stuttering feeling every time you are in front of 20 or more people. Moreover, we all have our own differences; thus, having our own set of weaknesses, which is not strange at all.

—  Being open about what you fear the most can help you. The more you recognize your weaknesses, the more you are able to accept them and overcome them. Have a confidant or write a blog about it or list them all down.. that way you are able to track down your progress. Trust me, it is very very hard at first, sometimes it can be frustrating knowing that you have more than one weakness. However, that should not drag your confidence down rather it will keep your feet on the ground because you still have something to improve on. Nobody’s perfect anyway but that does not mean that we should not strive to become better people. Keep on learning more and more; you will be able to feel more satisfied once you get to learn something new about the world around you and about yourself.

—  A good army = a good company = a good result! Surround yourself with positive people. You wouldn’t want to have friends who keep reminding you of your past, your mistakes, and your insecurities all the time. You would want to have an honest company who tell you what they see in you and focus on helping you improve. (and vice versa)

— Confidence is not built through your material achievements rather it is through consistent exposure to your own fears. Imagine this: you know what your fears are, you recognize them, and you accept them but you don’t allot enough time to slowly overcome them. What will happen to you? It’s like knowing your mistakes but you just keep repeating them because as what we usually say, “That’s just who I am.” Yes, we have our own personalities but when it comes to attitudes, we still have a chance to be better. To have a more productive and satisfying routine. Why not take the chance while you still have the time? Challenge yourself! You may end up crying at first.. out of frustration, fatigue, hopelessness, shame; however, those feeling should not bring you down rather trigger your drive to wear your armor and face the battle against the “labels” that were laid out for you by the society. Now, let me be clear and specific that this does not count when you are behaving immorally. This is a way of encouraging you of becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be.. hoping it would be a “better YOU”. Not like him or like her or anything else, but YOU. It is do-able and worth it! Gather up enough determination to consistently remind you to keep moving forward. Courage can bring you to many places. It did for me and so will for you.

After a year of being part of something so different, so diverse, and so challenging.. I can say that I have improved a lot! It is surprising to see what I have become. I got involved in a variety of things, some I didn’t really like and some I learned to love.. but you what’s most important? At least, now I know what I want and what I don’t want to be when I grow up. I still have a lot to experience and it just excites me knowing that there are more doors out there waiting to be opened. Here are some small tips I can give you (according to my own experiences) on how to step up the game.

3 MEGAJUMPS

1. Create your small and big goals for the year, each month, each week, and daily. You may find this overwhelming so you can start with year and daily first then from there make sure that you make the most out of what you have! Volunteer, get involved, find your passion and invest your time in them. Try & try! One door opens to limitless opportunities, never get tired of trying new things and developing yourself. Next thing you know, you’ll have a yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily lists! (what is exciting!)

2. Ask and you shall receive. Network and always meet new people. In today’s society, the best way to find the right job/career is through the people you know. This is not cheating because you still have to go through the process of application, interviews, and reference checking. What is just good about it is that at least you are given the chance to showcase who you are and you may or may not succeed at first but what matters the most is you get better and better at being able to tell them your significance. Attend networking events, workshops, and join organizations. Connect and have your own mentors to guide you along the way. 

3. This is the most important thing: find your drive! Why oh why, that is the question. Why are you doing what you’re doing. May it be to make your parents proud, be financially stable, reach your dreams, be happy, make the most out of your life, establish your own mark in this world, find a compatible partner, sustain a family, or other important things.. you have to find it because it/they will be the one/ones to keep you moving forward and achieving what you aim to achieve. When a soldier fights, I only see three things he is fighting for: his passion, his country’s pride, and his family’s wanting him to come back home safely. What is common among them? they are all HIS reasons to live and to finish the battle. That is why I want you to pick your own armor and get ready to face what life throws at you. It is not supposed to keep you away from you want rather it will help you become the person you are meant to be.. YOU.