Life Update: Productivity, TFIOS and Youtube

It’s been a long time since I’ve written here. Here some updates from life recently.


That time I wore stripes on top and bottom and liked what I saw. So, I took a mirror selfie…as one does.

1. It’s amazing the things you’ll accomplish when you let go of the expectation of perfection. I’m very new at this, but it’s still fascinating.

2. I’m into Productivity podcasts right now. I’m listening to the GTD Virtual Study Group and The Productive Life Show.

3. I’ve downloaded the to-do list app, Todoist. It has helped me to compartmentalize things and to stay on task.

4. I’ve been teaching an SAT prep class to rising high school seniors this summer. I’m amazed that even after spending 3 hours in front of them, I still feel energized.

5. I’ll be starting a new job tomorrow as a substitute teacher. I’m a little nervous about it.

6. I just finished “reading” (it was an audiobook) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It was intense, but the good kind of intense. At least, it didn’t break my heart like the last movie in the Before Sunrise trilogy.

7. Speaking of audiobooks, I found out that you can type into youtube ” “title of a book” “audiobook full” ” and you’ll be introduced to more reading material than you’ll know what to do with. I’ve finished TFIOS. I’m in the middle of reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

8. Youtube is pretty much the greatest teacher I’ve ever found. In the past 2 weeks, I’ve learned more about organization, teaching SAT and ACT, advising seniors about the college application process and other things than I have in books. Youtube and Google, yeah.

9. It’s been a really good summer. Yeah.


Why Introverts are like Computers, not Bottles

I was listening to a conversation the other day about Myers Briggs and differing perspectives  of life between extroverts and introverts. One of the people who identified with being an extrovert kept talking about how introverts “bottle up” their feelings and reactions to things.

The more he said it, the more irritated I got, because I’ve heard it so many times growing up. There was another guy on a Youtube channel who talked about how introverts are cool but they just choose to keep that “cool-ness” to themselves. It’s like saying introverts are just hoarding all that “cool-ness in the basement of their soul somewhere”, unwilling to share it.

I hated hearing the expression “bottling things up” to refer to introverts as well, because it sounds pre-meditated, intentional, like building up something for the sole purpose of holding it long enough to see it burst. Like, any day now, all the things inside will just explode from the pressure from bottling it all up.

Yes, sometimes, it does happen. I’ve been the witness of many an “introvert-blow up”. I’ve been the perpretator of  “introvert-blow ups”. But, those are rare and are usually the result of external pressures or not being given enough to…PROCESS.

That’s what I’d prefer people to see it as. Instead of “bottling it all”, I see it more like storing data for processing. When faced with external stimuli, whether in the form of new experiences, new stress or uncommon situations, introverts are taking in what’s happening, reacting to it and in many cases, reflecting on it all at the same time. Sometimes, it’s too much.  Sometimes, it’s hard to even know how to feel about it all. So, all the data is taken in, processed and then shared, at the right time…and most often, bit by bit (or byte by byte 😉 ) at a time.

It took me a while to realize that not everyone deals with situations that way. People who are close to me have come to expect me to bring up something that happened 2 months ago. It takes a while to process all the data, sometimes.

For introverts: Sometimes, it’s okay to give a heads up to the other person, that you might bring up what just happened a little while later. It’s okay to say, “right now, I don’t know how I feel about this. I still need to process it.”

Meditation for the Weekend: For the tough times

It seems to me that during the tough times,

You can’t lean on just anybody.

Most people don’t know what to say,

None of us wants to be THAT person who says the wrong thing

During the tough times,

Find the friend who can see the hell you’re in and

Can descend into it with you

Find the friend who can walk down from her mountain into your dusty valley of tears

And is able to sit besides you as you lay dazed, covered in the dust and the ashes of

Your dashed dreams and burnt expectations.

They know that it’s not about saying the right thing, but about the next best thing you can do.

They’re able to say:

“Friend, when times are tough, we do not give up. We put our big girl panties on.

Friend, it’s time to put ours on,

And this is what it looks like when we have our big panties on. This is how we hold ourselves,

treat ourselves, talk to ourselves.

This is what we do with them on and this is where we find the courage when our heart lacks it.”

They get on their knees with you, then make a list of everything you need to do to get out of that hole.

And then, they stand next to you while you fumble your way forward.

They’re the ones to  gently say over and over again until you can say it to yourself:

“It’s okay. Try again.”

They check up on you even you paste the fake smile on, throw on the “happy” emoticons and repeat your stock answer

“Everything is fine.”

A look from them lets you know that they don’t buy it one bit.

“It’s okay not to be okay right now”, they keep repeating.

Find the friend who will hold you silently while you feel like you’re coming apart,

The one who treats your emotions and vulnerability moments as sacred moments

The one who helps you focus on today and what you can do right at this moment.

The thing is, sometimes

That friend has to be YOU.

To become assertive? To take criticism well?

There is no doubt that most introverted intuitive feelers have, at some point, received the suggestion to become more assertive and to stop taking things so personally.

We talk about re-dressing the tendency to take criticism too personally, yet no one talks about what constructive criticism should look like or sound like.

Universal Insights in Movies: Departures

The best movie I watched on Netflix in 2013 is called Departures. It’s a Japanese movie with subtitles and a beautiful soundtrack. It’s the story of a man who loses his job as a cellist in Tokyo and had to move back to his hometown with his bride, and no prospect of a job. Through a series of circumstances, he finds a job preparing the dead for burial. It’s not something he wanted, not something he was trained for, not even something he had heard about. The whole movie is about him making the best of his situation.
I came away from the movie feeling 2 things:
– First, it reaffirmed my belief that no matter how small our life is, we can make the most of it.
– Second, it helped me gain an appreciation and a desire for treating every job, no matter how menial as a sacred assignment and treating life itself as worthy of reverence.
Plus, it’s one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen, with a beautiful soundtrack.
If you have Netflix, you should definitely put this in your queue. 🙂

Making the Most of (the imperfect) Life

In my early twenties, I used to follow the social networks of people whom I aspired to be like. They’re usually young people like me who are taking the world by storm in their various fields. I assume that the more I read of their words, the more I listened to their stories, perhaps, I would somehow absorb their magic, learn their secrets.
Yet, all it did was make me feel guilt about all the things I wasn’t doing and jealousy towards people I’ve never met. So, one day, I started to unsuscribe and unfollow every person who somehow made me feel like my life was lacking.
Now, I only follow people who are making the most of their un-perfect lives. They make me love my life more and inspire me to make the most of it.