Your high standards should start with you

You know what sucks?

Rejection.

Feeling that you’re not good enough, that you’re inferior – regardless of the circumstances and the setting, your brain starts to come up with all sorts of reasons to make sense of the situation.

Rejected by a potential romantic partner? What am I not good looking enough, rich enough, good enough?

Rejected by a employer? What am I not skilled enough, talented enough, capable enough?

But sometimes those aren’t even the reasons: you could be the most gorgeous, richest, nicest person on the planet and yet still someone will have a bone to pick with you. You could be more qualified than the next candidate, however if the recruiter doesn’t see that, or felt that your personality doesn’t mesh with the company’s then it doesn’t matter how skilled you are.

It’s all relative.

However, with that said, that’s no excuse to just go ahead and “accept yourself for who you are” or whatever it is that they’re saying these days – you could always improve.

I won’t lie, there are two ways I essentially deal with ‘rejection’ in the past I curled up in a ball and cried, “how could they not like me? What’s wrong with me??” I asked myself – nowadays however, I have a different approach, rather than being offended I go home and review the situation then I work my ass off accordingly in order to improve my skills for the next time such a situation would arise. I’ve live enough years to know that situations might not be the same but the underlying circumstances will repeat itself one time or another.

Either way, set your standards high for yourself first rather than expect other people to be the answer to anything – ask yourself before asking of others – because no one else knows your struggles better than you do and no one is more qualified to give you expert advice.

And that’s my tidbit of wisdom for the month.

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Every second of your life is a conscious choice

You have a choice, you always do. In fact recently I realized that every second of everyday is a choice – a decision – you – decide how things in your life is going to be and what is going to enter your stream of conscious.

Don’t believe me?

Take this for example, say you absolutely cannot stand your job and you absolutely hate it to the core – and there’s no compromise that’ll make you hate the job any less – well, why are you still working there this second? Well, you might say, I need the money. This is the best option I have right now. And if those are the circumstances, then of course it’s understandable – however, what are you doing outside of the job you hate determines how successful you’re going to be in leaving that job in the near future for something you despise less.

Are you going to learn some new skills that’ll get you out of your predicament, or are you going to blow off steam with buddies over the evenings and weekends?

It’s all about conscious choices.

Sounds simple does it?

But it isn’t as I’ve also realized recently.

There’s only so many things you could possibly focus on at once, in my case: work, learn a complex foreign language while mastering computer programming languages, mathematics, algorithms and photography!? Where do these things even intersect? And on top of it maintain an active lifestyle and see friends from time to time…

It’s a bit nuts to keep up with myself lately to say the least, and I realized I can’t do “everything” at once. I cannot “improve” everything all at once. I have to prioritize the most important tasks – which currently are career related: programming. Then foreign language: for future use, fitness to keep myself sane, then if I have time, I’ll make time for the ‘arts’ and social activities.

It’s not a fun thing to do per se, but it’s systematic and it’s honestly the best conscious choice I could make with my time all things considered.

Quick tip: how to maintain productivity over the weekend

Ah, weekends are for relaxation, right?

Not exactly, if you’re like me, who’s busy with school and life you’d want to use your weekend constructively while still relax. If time was a currency, then often on weekends I would feel the urge to splurge and then acquire massive sleep debts leading into the workweek, which is not recommended at all.

Instead today I decided to go against what I usually would do, i.e: roll out of bed past 3pm then stay home all day then stay up until 3am (hardly a recipe for productivity). I decided to get up early and go for a walk, then make plans with friends for tomorrow so that I would have to finish my work today in order to relax tomorrow.

It turns out, this time restraint tactic worked better than I thought. By restricting the time block that I had to accomplish tasks, I managed to get more tasks done.

You got to go for it.

Late night studying, no, not these language, but rather computer programming languages (I guess I’ll get to that later). I popped onto Facebook and saw 20+ memories. I just had to click. After another sip of my coffee in the dead of night. I scrolled through all those posts I made years ago.

This song popped up: You got to go – Above & Beyond

Yet another sign isn’t it. How did I know so long ago, just by liking the lyrics?

Then I thought back, to earlier this evening, earlier this week and how many friend I counselled with issues similar to mine. They feel that they’re stuck in the wrong place – or perhaps they’re disappointed with where they are at in life – disappointment is a driving force.

Then I remember a quote from a business book that’s mandatory for class:

“A satisfied need is not a motivator; only needs that remain unsatisfied can influence behaviour.”

You’re unsatisfied? Good.

You know what you want? Even better.

Go get it. You got to. Because you know what’s waiting on the other side if you don’t.

Disappointment only leads to more desire.

Don’t disappoint yourself this time.

Life is not a rehearsal.

And yes, I realize I haven’t been posting much. Between a hectic school schedule, I also manage to sneak work in here and there. My final exams are coming up and I fully intend on seizing the moment! Wish me luck!

How To Have A Good Week.

Monday Monday Monday, probably not everyone’s favorite day of the week. However, now that I look at Monday, I’m actually excited. Why you might say, well Monday is the beginning of a new week, and I believe that how you set up your Monday affects your entire week.

I’m not talking productivity alone, but also overall wellbeing.

Think about it, if you start off your week right, then you’ll stay focused and ready to engage in whatever life throws at your way.

Here are some quick tips (which I might also expand on at a later date).

  1. Go to bed no later than 11PM on a Sunday night. Why is this? Well, because you need to be refreshed for Monday mornings.
  2. Hit the Gym in the morning. This is so crucial, this morning I made it to the gym by 5:30AM. Not only did my workout wake me up, but it also got me excited for the whole week with a focused mindset. Another plus is that usually at 5AM in the morning there’s hardly anyone at the gym. So you’ll have the place to yourself to workout in peace and also leave feeling pumped and accomplished, ready to tackle the day.
  3. Stay hydrated. And not with coffee, I realized in the past few months because of the lack of routine and how much work I had to handle, I relied too heavily on caffeine products, which would leave me feeling lethargic and mind-fogged after the buzz is gone. And what I found out was that I wasn’t drinking enough water. Remember your body is 70% water so you need to replenish throughout the day.
  4. Eat Healthy. I know, this is also hard, especially if you’re running around trying to complete task after task after task and you feel that you have very little time for yourself. And of course, in that state people are more likely to reach for something high fat, high sugar, high salt to treat themselves. And while a treat once in a while isn’t going to be too damaging, but if you’re doing it regularly (personal experience) and add in the booze, then there’s an issue. If your budget allow it, then grab a salad at a healthy place, if it doesn’t then meal prep (which is something I’m going to do later this week, since I forgot to do it last Sunday opps.)
  5. Stay proactive. Here’s another truth, work will pile up if you don’t stay on top of it. Complaining about it won’t make it go away. Tackle everything with enthusiasm!! And now, I’m going to do just that.

    Have a good week everyone! 🙂

What is your life strategy?

Lately, I’ve been looking for answers again. It seems to be the only logical way to put myself out of my own misery. I need to look for solutions to my “problem” before I waste my time going in circle.

What is my problem you might ask?

It isn’t getting out of here anymore.

I realized now that the whole, “I need to leave.” actually stems from my need to be of use for purposes greater than a mundane job that provides for a ‘comfortable life’.

I recall walking through the streets of Amsterdam at 2AM with a friend and briefly going over the fight I’ve had with my parents.

“No marriage, no husband, no kids.” I’d said.

I remember my dad being upset.

“Don’t you want to do something with your life then?”

Yes. Of course I do – but knowing me, I’m slow to warm to many ideas.

I’m a thinker by nature and picky and those are my faults and strengths.

So now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can focus on myself and visualize the life I want to achieve for myself through action and block out everything else.

So I start reading inspirational things from people who’ve made it. I start doing research long before I’ll actually need them. What else can I do? Ah yes, buff up my skillsets so when it’s finally my time to step up to a “dream job” I’ll not only have the ambitions but also abundant knowledge and resources for it.

And that’s what I’ll do.

I’ll prepare until it is my time.

Steps to a new life – 230 Days

A friend of mine recommended a self-help book, which he said helped him a lot.

He insisted that I should read it.

“Okay.” I said, and promptly forgotten about it.

“Did you read the book?” He would ask.

Week after week the answer would be no, until today, finally.

I read it.

It was for a lack of better words, utter bollocks to me. Perhaps it had helped him, so instead of bashing the book – I decided to reflect upon the 20% of the book I had agreed with – and at least, the book facilitated new thoughts.

Stress in your life is unavoidable, however, you could decide which type of stress you’d have to deal with – and in the book the author kindly pointed out that every time that one is not being true to oneself, the subject’s stress levels predictably goes up.

So, are you stressing over the right things?

I examined my current situation with my work and the people around me – not exactly.

If I was being true to myself, I would drop A, B, and C worries and carry-on, because A, B, and C are in fact created by me not being able to be authentic and not knowing how to say “no” properly. Ah.

So I thought, if I was completely free – then what would I do next – and no, not the temporary, I’d jump on a plane and go XYZ, no I’ve only returned and it clearly did not workout – I began googling instead, it was an aha moment – what I should’ve been doing a long time ago – look for Internships in Europe – see what my prospects are like in the future – why hadn’t I thought of this before? Because why? I was scared of knowing or rejection?

The book, although redundant in many aspects, also made me write down on paper the things I wanted in life, and of course I wrote the following:

“Excitement, adventure, new experiences, change, growth, connection, friends, love, my own space, importance, Northern Europe, sophistication, surrounded by art, wise, loved.”

I look back at these words and all I can say is that those are the things I value in life – or the ideals of a good and happy life – though it is not intrinsically meaningful life – because, as another friend recently reflected:

“It doesn’t matter who you are, you’d still have to pay your bills and take out the garbage and grocery shop.”

You fall into the mundane.

But when I was traveling I also read another article.

Time unfolds and elongates when you break the routine.

Everything becomes more vibrant and meaningful.

I’ve experienced that first hand.

Yes of course, life is a balance of the two.

But as I like to think of it.

It isn’t really how many breath you take in this life, but how many moments that take your breath away.

If I were to examine and compare what made me happy versus my current situation, I can see the clear difference.

One is living, the other one is existing – of course I could go more in-depth but that would be a waste of time since I had played out different scenarios in my head over and over and still have no idea what to make of it.

So until I can word the story properly.

It will remain story for another time.

What to do when things simply aren’t working out

It’s been 48 hours.

48 hours since I’ve returned and it isn’t a happy reunion.

In the past 48 hours, I’ve had a lot of time – not only to myself but also to visiting friends. Yes – seeing my friends who’s visiting me was great, but after we parted ways, I realized how I was only having fun because my attention was them, and not what was around me.

Again, I don’t care for my own city.

I was due for work – walking out the door, and then realizing I was about to waste an entire day doing nothing I wanted was a complete waste of time.

Sure, I was going to be paid, but that’s not good enough anymore.

I ended up turning back and heading straight home and writing that letter of resignation that contained only 2 lines – Hi, please consider this short email a letter of formal resignation. I quit.

There.

Now that’s done, I’m looking at the countdown on my phone.

87 days until I’m out of here again.

87 days to make it count.

I know full well of what’s at stake.

But I’m not afraid anymore, like I was used to.

If I was to think about this clearly, I was only scared and clinging onto that job I should’ve given up a long time ago because I didn’t want to go deal with the pandora box I’m about to open.

Having a “job” was the safe option, but that option will lead me to nowhere.

I know that.

So.

It is time for a new and exhilarating adventure.

A different kind of thrill.

Let your emotions guide you, don’t let it consume you

I stopped myself from going to the city centre on the last day.

It wasn’t so much that I really minded the weight of my luggage, but really it was more so that I didn’t want to cry.

And I knew I was going to if I stepped out of Central Station.

If it was any other time than “departure time” it would almost feel like a homecoming, a win, a victory, a confirmation that “yes” I had once again earned my time and I can be myself and away from the quagmire of responsibilities on the other side of the world.

It all feels like a different time, a different space, a different life.

I didn’t want to be consumed with a sense of loss – since that wasn’t the point of this all.

It was all an exercise for me.

I had things to prove, so I reminded myself.

Except then, I went to the airport, feeling sick to my stomach. I made the mistake of checking my Facebook feed and the list of “events” that popped up, lists of “news” that was tailored to me by some AI, as if saying: “here, this is what you ought to be caring about now for the next three months…”

At least it’s not indefinitely.

Still.

Screenshot 2016-06-08 16.00.53

Isn’t that the truth.

Telling truth.

I’m being honest.

I am being sickened. I’m thinking about turning all forms of social media feed and just pretend that I never went back – make an artificial environment for myself so I don’t have to deal with bullshit that I already know are coming my way – and try my best to survive for the next three months.

Of course, at the same time, I do also have myself to blame for this – you’re not yet capable of propelling yourself full throttle forward, so you’ll have to keep trying. It’s on me, all on me.

I have to hold myself accountable for not being capable enough yet.

And that’s the thought that’ll stay with me until I make it.

 

So I’m gonna freeze that thought and focus using the energy of the anger and frustration – rather than pointing it at myself – I’m ignoring everything else for the next three months.

I won’t stop until I am where I want to be again.

And any obstacles that come my way.

Will be obliterated and crushed into thin air.

 

We are what we repeatedly do – Aristotle

2000 something years later, this statement still holds true.

I’m used to going to bed late at night, then feeling completely plastered in the morning.

I’m used to doing things last minute, because of poor planning.

I’m used to misuse of my imagination over worrying for worst case scenarios.

I’m used to being cynical and stopping myself from doing what I really want to do out of several types of fear.

I’m used to misusing my energy, because of inner chaos.

And I realized, all of these unnecessary fretting really doesn’t help at all.

The older I get, the more I know myself – through experiences and retrospective observations – the outlines of what I ultimately want are getting clearer.

 

I know that what I’ve been repeatedly doing is detrimental, but when you’re caught in a never ending loop without much hope for change – because everything is the same – you’re in the same city, doing the same job, seeing the same people, thinking the same thoughts – it’s hard to break out of a rut – truly.

We are what we repeatedly do – Aristotle

So I rebelled.

I said “no” to all that bothered me.

I did something different.

I went somewhere different.

I met new people.

I tried new things, had successes and failures in various aspects of my life – the highs and lows – I didn’t shy away from either – but the thing is – things weren’t perfect, yet I made them work – I realized, I could handle so much more in my life than what I had thought to be possible.

Namely:

  1. Being uncomfortable: Ever been to a party where you knew practically no one? Check.
  2. Swallowing pride: Starting a conversation with someone whom you thought was ignoring you, but it turns out they’re just busy. The old me would never do this…the old me would’ve let those worries run amok and shrivelled up in my shell of self doubt.
  3. Making things happens: Surprising your friend and yourself by your party planning skills.
  4. Bounce back from fatal mistakes: Having a little too much fun in club and being helped home by a friend. Opps. Don’t ask me to party for the next 3 months…
  5. Stand up for what I believe is right: Helping someone out even though it makes little sense to other people, but for you its the righteous thing to do.
  6. Letting things go that doesn’t serve the bigger picture: Realizing fully that I’m only behind the wheels of my own life, and not anyone else’s. Therefore, I am completely detached from anything that doesn’t concern me and my attention directly.
  7. Spending time with people who matter: because these are the moments and the memories you will cherish and remember.
  8. Turn thoughts into action a priority: but all in all, taking all of this experiences and recognize that if you didn’t take the initiative to be creative, or put your thoughts into action in time, then none of the wonderful and not so wonderful things would’ve happened – for better for worse, you should continue this adventurous streak even when you’re back in the other city.

The past month was about experiences. It was about doing things I would never do normally and breaking through barriers, regaining confidence, and a sense of balance despite all the chaos.

And that’s exactly the most invaluable thing about the trip, the experiences that I’m taking home with me and knowing that across from the ocean I have not only promises to fulfill, but bigger and better projects, and magical moments waiting for me for when I get back.