Learning things the hard way

You got to let go.

You got to let go of things that no longer motivates you.

You got to let go of things that no longer challenges you.

You got to let go of things that no longer grows you.

It doesn’t matter what those things are – but when something in your life loses its time and place – no matter how hard it is to part with – it is time to let go.

Everything has its time and place – and everything has its purpose – however, it does not mean that the purpose is indefinite or that one could not change their minds.

Life is integral.

Life is what you make of it.

Life is learning to swim with and against the current.

Life is obstacles and rewards.

Life is moving on, moving forward, moving to the next level.

I’m writing this after two days back – it is clearer than ever the situation. I cannot stay where I am – physically, mentally and emotionally, for my head is elsewhere completely.

To be completely honest, I went back to my hometown to gear up for my next adventure and that’s about it.

I’d thought to myself, ‘wow, you’re just going to sleepwalk through the next 20 days…’

It’s a scary thought because “sleepwalking” meaning you’re simply going through the motions without much inherent purpose and that’s something I’m striving to stop altogether. Truth be told, I know it isn’t going to be easy and there were going to be setbacks but I’m more than glad to deal with them, for I don’t belong physically, mentally, emotionally.

I can sleepwalk for 20 days.

But I’d prefer it if I wasn’t asleep for the rest of my life.

You got let to go.

You got to go.

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Why you should never do anything that you don’t believe in.

Recently, I wrapped up on a project I can’t say I did a good job on. Yes. It was riddled with discomfort from the beginning. Why? I should’ve never felt that ‘I had to’ because of XYZ and most of all, because I thought it’d be ‘easy picking’, get it done and then I get to go on vacation.

It turned out, my gut instinct was right.

I should’ve never picked something just because it was ‘easy’.

Not even midway through the project, I was absolutely bored by it, and cannot wait to be done with everything. Not only that, the boredom only reaffirms that my working on the project had no bigger contribution to the grander scheme of meaning. It wasn’t adding meaning, nor enjoyment to my life. Though one could argue, the compensation I received for the work should be enough incentive. Yes. It was enough incentive to pickup the project. To enjoy the process was another thing entirely.

Nitpick-y micromanaging superiors and people who self rank themselves higher than everyone else were just a few of the obstacles I had to deal with. I was told to ‘behave’ accordingly to their strict set of standards or else. Yeah…

At the end of the day, was it worth it?

Absolutely not.

I should’ve went with my initial gut instinct and turned down the offer at the first meeting. Alas. Let this be another lesson learned.

Never do anything you don’t believe in 100%.

Do yourself a favor: take more risks rather than settle

Let’s think about this. If humanity was satisfied from day one – then we would’ve stood still at day one. Possibly, we’d still be in loincloths with rocks and clubs…

Fortunately, the world doesn’t work that way.

Unfortunately, the world isn’t all hunky dory either.

The world is filled with obstacles, challenges, distractions – the world is filled with failures and triumphs, passion and heartbreaks.

That is life.

With that said, I realized my recent mini-panic about my ending contracts and moves I should be making in the next few month was a little unfounded. And here’s why, partially:

  1. It’s easy to find work, if you’re willing to work just any job. 

But, then, who wants to just work ANY job? At least I don’t. What got me was the prospects of working just any job and wasting time that way, like I had done in the past. Working JUST ANY JOB is a post in itself, but unsurprisingly, without putting my thoughts down on paper, I already know that the cons outweigh the pros. No matter how much I made, I’d feel that wasn’t a justification for wasting my life. And of course, the motivation of being here is lower than ever.

So what did I do?

There’s no way I will work, JUST ANY JOB.

I decided, I’m not going to sell myself short and explore other options. Trust me, when you start looking for them, they pop up everywhere. Is it possible to find a minimal stress contract while I work on other things? Yes. Absolutely. In my experience, it isn’t necessary to get all worked up over if you’re putting in 30 hours, or 40 hours a week, or if the office environment is fostering, or if your coworkers are inspiring people – if you have minimal responsibilities such as debt, mortgage, or a family to take care of – then I suggest, put less care into whatever you hate doing, and more energy in what invigorates you.

And remember. A job is just as says – a job.

It doesn’t own you.

And you owe nothing to no one.

What’d changed in the past 3 months?

It’s kind of hard to frame that it’d been three months since quitting one of my jobs and moving forward from that, three months since I’ve started something anew – and from that three months mark, I’ve realized that I’m a lot happier now than before, mainly because, I’m no longer in the grind of doing something I don’t want to do day in day out, stuck in a toxic atmosphere where I spend more time thinking about quitting than actually doing my job.

Needless to say, never again, I refuse to put myself in the position again where my overall goals and principles misalign with what I’m putting my time towards.

Now, that said, I do realize that I’ve also been less than efficient in my day to day life due to disorganization –I’ve been working 12 hours days lately and realized that I could actually organize my life around my work and still have enough time to function and work on side projects – yes it’s possible, efficient organization is the key here.

 

what working 50+ hours weeks taught me…

  1. You’ll have to accept that you don’t have the time: yes, when you spend your days at work, there’s very little ‘time’ to be had when you’re not ‘on’ and therefore, all those ‘time’ you’re used to wasting, forget it. You’re either on the road or working, which means everything else takes a backseat. Gym? What gym? You won’t even have time to cook or clean, reserve that for weekends. 

  2. You’ll have to do everything on ‘the go’: things cannot be postponed when you don’t have time. It’s either you do something now, or you write it off, there’s no postponing, because there will be other things that come up!

  3. You’ll have to eat out, a lot: this might be one of the ‘perks’ people think about when they think about non-stop work weeks, or so people think, but you learn very quickly what type of food is cost effective and what type of food makes you drowsy in the afternoon, not to mention there’s copious amounts of caffeine products consumed at work. This is going to add up, but if you ask me if I want a cold soggy sandwich vs. something just made and warm, I’ll take the latter, on any given day. This might keep you sane, but of course will set you back financially.
  4. You’ll end up getting to know your coworkers really well: it’s like you practically live together, you see them more than you see anyone else…yes, let that just sink in for a moment…
  5. You’ll end up cancelling on your friends and not all of them are going to be happy: or even comprehend you could even be that busy…maybe it’s time to prune that circle again?
  6. You’ll develop unhealthy habits and understand ‘adulthood’: so the next time you meet someone else with the same lifestyle as you, you learn to cut them some major slack…but this is not to say you won’t correct your new vices.
  7. You’ll have to keep active on the days you do get off:  this might be counter-productive, but the best thing you could do for yourself is to keep going, keep active, keep living at this new pace because life doesn’t wait – spending the entire morning in bed is just not an option for you anymore – there are too many things to do and you won’t even have time to wonder how it got this way in the first place #LIFE amrite?
  8. You’ll get addicted to this pattern: no matter how much you resent this, you’ll end up operating on this speed and you start to wonder what you’re doing before, wasting all this time wondering what you should/could be doing. Even on days you feel like everything’s against you, you tell yourself ‘this too shall pass’ and it does, every single time. Then afterwards, you remind yourself, if you work this hard, you could definitely party harder later and that’s all it matters.

why I have failed at life, a story, thus far.

When it’s night, when the lights are dim and the focus is no longer on the world around you, what do you think about?

Tonight’s a quiet night, having lessened my workload, I had the evening to myself and now deep into the night. I no longer need to go to bed early, only to wake up unrefreshed for another day of ‘dealing’. In hindsight, I look back and see that I had worked so much, while telling myself I was doing my best for my situation. In hindsight, it was – but it was also invariably shifting the attention away from myself, for the time being.

It’s easy to forget about yourself when you’re busy, focused with an one track mind to see something through. I can say those moments are blessings. Working endlessly just to see something come to fruition – I wish I had more moments like those – just stay up all day and all night working. The process of work shifts the focus – especially when it comes from a superior – they’d have to take total responsibility and it doesn’t matter what you think personally of an order, your only task is to do as they say. Some people are satisfied with just that. I, on the other hand, time and time again, had found that hard to process after an extended period of time. I don’t know why that is exactly, though I have some clues as to why.

1. I’m almost always too scared to jump for my first choice: yes, I realize that’s how you do not end up with what you want, ever. I have to think twice about what I want, at times, talk myself out of things in favor of the ‘safe’ route. Self-sabotage, check.

2. I don’t credit myself enough: I have a healthy dose of humility, though sometimes perhaps too much and that borders on avoidance. I don’t crave the spotlight, in fact, I like to stay out of it. This, however, I find is not a virtue, but rather a fault. I need to learn to take credit when credit is due. I need to learn to be proud of myself (which is not a bad thing, you need to be proud of yourself and your accomplishments.)

3. I settled: yes, there are some things I’d ‘settled’ for, at least temporarily, even though I shouldn’t have. I oppose settling at all cost, but the lure of comfort is almost irresistible. However, I realized time and time again, that is not the way to go. Settling is like thrashing around in the water when you’re about to drown…without strategic and rhythmic movements, you’ll never swim away and the end result is not pretty.

4. I blamed other people: I shouldn’t have. No matter how hopeless it might be, you can get yourself out. Count on only your actions (don’t count the intentions, intentions don’t count.)

5. I went back to what I knew, rather than exploring other options: if insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results…check. I should’ve tried a different approach.

6. I let myself get distracted: something that is very easy to do…it’s easy to pretend to care about things you actually don’t care about just so you could relate to someone, or a group. Never ever again, I will only do what matters from now on.

7. I deviated from the plan I set out: and got nothing done.

8. I procrastinated and waited and wasted time: ’nuff said.

9. I didn’t use nights like these prior to tonight to reflect.

10. I didn’t use nights like tonight to work on things that actually mattered to me. I’d abused quiet nights like this for 1-9 above without getting anything done that solved the root of the problem. That changes tonight.

And so, I quit (one of my jobs that is)

If you’re wondering where I’ve been, well. I was busy working then quitting one of my jobs.

I’d explored the perks of having two or more jobs in a previous post, I’d since gained more insights on my work life and potential career path for myself (yes, I still have no idea what I want to do with my life at the ripe old age of almost 26…) and the route explored with this particular company was again, not my passion. Although I have to say, this job I’d just left introduced me to a wide range of extremely cool people, it was also more trouble than it was worth and I’m proud to say, I’ve learned from my manager and her manager and the higher up command, how to NOT manage a company. Even if I’m just a lowly employee – there are things I cannot tolerate – such as not treating even your lowly employees with respect (if there’s no respect, then there’s no mutual respect. That’s just how I operate.)

And in the end, for all the dazzling glory they promised but never delivered on, I decided my time was more valuable than what I had to deal with at work. So in the end, no hard feelings – I’m glad I explored that avenue, but in the end its just another job. What I also realized while working there is that, while great people can get you through tough challenges but in the end if your core values do not align with the company’s, then it really is time to move on. I will miss the times I’ve worked with my friends and hope them all the best in the future.

ask the right questions

What did I really want?

All I wanted was a blueprint.

In various points of my life, I was desperate for a guide – something to tell me how to conduct myself, to get over the next hurdle – just to get over it. I wondered why my life was going the way it was, why that despite trying so hard, I wasn’t seeing any results or getting any closer to where I wanted to be. Many times, I’d thought of myself as incapable of overcoming certain challenges, and undeserving of the life I truly wanted. Who would give me a chance in anything? Who was I to deserve things only highly capable people deserved? Why was life so hard? It seemed impossible. I am nobody.

Now, fast forward five years later.

I am nobody.

Though the status doesn’t bother me at all. The status simply means I’m free to do anything, with unlimited potential at my disposal. I had to shed tears, reexamine everything, still – at the end, I’m here with a clear list of what I want and what I do not want. After I realized its okay to not want certain things most people would want, my vision became clearer, because I was able to erase the distractions and focus on things I truly valued and I slowly, I learned about myself in ways if I hadn’t ever pushed for, I would’ve never thought possible.

So what do you really want vs. what you’re conditioned to think you want?

Because the truth is, you’ll never get the former if you pander to the latter. It’s an either or question. It’s not about making nice or at least for me, there’s no meeting point between traditional expectations and my aspirations.

Take a moment to look at them and erase your can’ts.

I guarantee you, there are areas of your life that’s generating ‘noise’ and by ‘noise’ I mean better purposed minutes, or even hours. Minutes and hours wasted – that doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you’re looking at it from a piggy bank’s or credit card bill at the end of them month perspective – it adds up.

I encourage you to take those moments, reevaluate, make sure your life’s values align with the effort that you’re putting in.

I was running in circles desperately searching for ‘the blueprint to happiness’, without realizing I had the wrong idea what happiness was. And now looking back, if what you’re doing brings no joy, or doesn’t get you closer to a satisfied life – just say ‘no’ and no excuses. Because everyone deserves to have their happiness – that is, if they dare.

the perks of having two or more jobs

“Everyone in this city works two jobs.” she says with a laugh that’s neither forced nor amused. 

Just because it’s Sunday, doesn’t mean we stop.

Sadly, this is statement doesn’t illicit shock anymore.

It seems nowadays, everyone has something other than their main job going on the side. You could call it a gig, a passion, or a side project – doesn’t matter what. But at the end of Sunday, I find myself getting up, readying to go – yes, a gig, a side project, something to do that you’re also compensated for. Sounds grand yes?

Yes. There are perks of having something to do daily – a daily reminder that one must maximize efficiency – but often than not, the downside is more pronounced than the upside.

Working two or more jobs is exhausting. Not just physically, but also mentally. There’s ample preparation to be done beforehand, such as talking to your employers (if you’re employed by others) about your schedule and making sure the two or more jobs you hold down conflict with one another. There’s also the showing up to not one, but two jobs – at the end of the day, you better be prepared. Then there’s the home front – where, let’s just say things are a little disorganized than usual. But at the same time, there’s ample perks of having two jobs:

  1. Less of an incentive to spend (since you’re working all the time, though your food bill might go up due to…well also no time to cook…opps.)
  2. Exposure to new concepts and ideas, and learning things you’d never be exposed to.
  3. Learning daily about things you had no idea about, then being challenged to dig deeper, which in turn opens up your mind to new creative ventures.
  4. Meeting awesome people in not only one field, but perhaps two.
  5. Perspective and confidence in knowing that you’re multi-talented and can adapt to new situations.
  6. Total annihilation of boredom (this is a big one for me, I’d rather be doing something, than doing nothing and getting paid for it in the process. It’s thrilling.)
  7. Getting out of the house with purpose? ’nuff said.

how to measure progress and produce results

“But I spent so much time on it!”

Is something I hear often. But wait, what does that mean?

Does it mean you spent: ‘x number of hours on a project while surfing the web and checking your email every five minutes’ or do you mean, ‘I crammed it for x amount of hours the night before’ or do you mean, ‘I went to work for eight hours and snoozed through most of it,’ or is it,’I sat down with myself everyday, for an hour and tried my hardest to work on this project.’

Time is the real universal currency (if you think about it). How you decide to spend your time is then reflected in every area of your life (think about it). We are all given the same 24 hours and surely, there’s effective and ineffective ways of allocating your time for a purpose – or even multi-purposes.

Time is a factor in productivity – however, the relationship isn’t linear by any means. Logging in more hours at something does not mean better results in the end, you might even get worse results than if you’d just left it as is.

Time is also not an accurate measure of progress – so you’ve spent 60 hours on something – doesn’t mean you’ve progressed as someone else spending 35 hours on the same. There’s time and there’s ‘effort’ – in studying, that boils down to how much of the material was retained and understood. At work, that might be a number on a chart – if you’re not seeing the results – then backtrack and look for clues. It might be something other than spending tons of time, hint: focus and effort. Again, it isn’t about counting time. It’s about making the time count.