End of 2010: Do you have dreams and goals? (part 2 of 3)

I  invite you to listen to this hauntingly blissful track.  It’s better with proper speakers or headphones, I typed this post listening to it on loop. I also feel it’s an appropriate mood for the content of this post 🙂

Ever have any dreams that capture your imagination always, that you have a burning desire for? They do not even have to make sense, but it can just be something that’s personal to you.  They don’t even have to be altruistic (though if one has many dreams, accomplishing them usually ends up involving other people and often can end up being altruistic by adding value). Just something waiting for you in the future that will make you happier.  This does not mean you are unsatisfied now.

See there’s living in the now, and I fully believe happiness is found in the present.  This idea that I will only be happy when something else happens is not good.  However, having goals and dreams does not go against this.  Dreams and goals keep you focused, and in fact they inject life and purpose in your every day activities—in the now.  You find that little actions you take frequently have an underlying charge of excitement (rather than a burden of duty, or boredom).   If one has dreams, goals, etc that make your life right NOW stressful, perhaps one should reevaluate the goal.  For example, if you’re a student and you find yourself often upset at how much work you have to do, or that you have to study late, etc, probably you should quit school (serious).  If you had a dream to be an astronomer, you’d relish the grind of those late night studying galaxies and stars.

Something else I’d like to plead to readers is to please never outgrow your dreams.   I often hear of people saying, “I’m too old to….” Or “I’m to busy too…..” please don’t do that yourself!   To do so is to make the Pymalgion Effect work against you.

Consider this a more practical or scientific explanation of how the "Law of Attraction" works.

Lastly, as this post is about dreams, I want to share some of mine.   How they’ll happen I have no idea, but the how always manifests itself.  Intent, vision and desire is the important part.  Here are some things that get me going:

I want to DJ a house party or a club. There’s something about being behind the turntable spinning House, Drum’n’Bass or Lounge music that I just want to do one day.  I don’t know when I buy a house one day perhaps I’ll have a huge house party and spin a House set.   This is a modest goal, I’m not saying I want to be Van Buuren or anything but I want to spin J  Funny thing is I’ve never even played with a DJ set or turntable and I know nothing about the equipment.

Related to the above, I also want to craft a soundtrack or a score to an anime, or a film. My brother and one of my best friends both work with graphics, perhaps they’ll let me put up a score for them one day.  Anyone watched Tron: Legacy or the Social Network? Killer soundtracks by Daft Punk and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails respectively.

I want to visit the Northern lights in Norway. It can be done in Alaska too, but Norway is my preference—I hear one can do a snow safari while there, cruise the landscape on a snowmobile under the emerald sky!  Wow.

I want to drive through some winding hills in Europe such hills in Tuscany (Italy), Spain or the German heartland.

I want to watch a European football game, in a European stadium.  I support Liverpool FC, so Anfield in Liverpool, England is my top choice but I’ll settle for any place in Germany, England, Italy or Spain in a packed stadium.  I plan to get a taste of what that might be like by attending a Barcelona vs.  Manchester United exhibition match this summer in the Washington DC.

And that’s it.  Just a few random things that I really want to do.  Keep in mind, some stuff gets accomplished.  Some stuff gets added as one lives their life.  It’s an evolving list. What about you? What gets you going?

In the final post of the “New Years” posts, I’ll talk about New Years Resolutions.


End of 2010: Lessons Learned (Part 1 of 3)

This is the soundtrack to this post (“Shine On” by R.I.O (Spencer & Hill Remix). Happy New Year and may you shine on in 2011!

The end of the year tends to be a time of reflection and that’s what I’ll do.  I would be interested in hearing from friends about their year as well. How are you guys doing? How was 2010?

Today, I will share the two achievements from the year and also some lessons learned.  It was a considerably ‘quieter’ year than 2009 for reasons blogged here (check out the archives on my blog posts from 2009).  There was no major events like “buying a house”, or getting married, or having a baby (right now I know at least TEN of my friends either have babies less than a year old or are pregnant), so I’ll just share a material achievement, then something a little more substantive I suppose.

The coolest thing I bought was a ride and of course driving a car is not a big deal, there’s many people that have better cars than the one I got or that have multiple cars.  What made it satisfying was that it was the exact car I’d been wanting a while, that I’d had pictures of the car up on the fridge for about 2 years.  The world wouldn’t have ended if I didn’t get it but it was still a nice to actually pick up one.  And also I love it when dreams are realized, I spent Christmas Eve at a friends place and over dinner the group of us were chatting about that, someone was describing how they’d always wanted a Jaguar–and then his eyes lit up as he described in detail how now that he has it, he likes to teach Fast & Furious wannabee kids lessons on speed racing with his “silver bullet” .  He also spoke of driving along the coastal highway in Florida, and I was imagining how the water must glisten like it is paved with crystals on a sunny day….it was a very nice chat we enjoyed that evening, and it got me thinking how it’s always cool when anyone does or gets something they’ve been waiting for.

A more impactful accomplishment though was being admitted into a post-graduate program. Honestly, I was not sure I would make the cut, plus I had some hesitancy over going back to school this late.  But, there’s a few areas of professional expertise professionally that I’d like to attain, so this  had to be done, plus it’s better to try than to not, and to feed hope than doubt.  I want to do some things within the field of international affairs that will facilitate travelling, while also allowing me to contribute something to a bigger cause. I wont’ pretend to have articulated exactly what that cause is, but it will develop.

Now for lessons learned in 2010, there’s three lessons that stood out. First the value of asking for help, then how to put setbacks in perspective, and finally, living & accepting your life.

First, it’s ok to ask for help. Sometimes there is a tendency to feel pained to ask for a favor like we’re cringing inside.  That’s why people often start off asking favors by saying, “Sorry to bother you….” –why is it ‘bothering’ someone to ask a favor?  Ask! Most achievements are not solo acts in that there is usually some contribution by others.  Think of a pilot.  Yes a pilot will fly a plane from London to Washington, DC, but he has a copilot, and the flight controllers and radar on the ground.

On this lesson it is necessary to clarify that asking for help doesn’t absolve one from personal responsibility.   Asking for help is only if I’m doing my part too and second that I accept that no one single person is obligated to help me. It is not ok to expect welfare.  Ever told someone where you work and then they said, “hey man. Get me a job there?” Not “how can I work there or in a place like that?”, but “GET ME” a job?  The other part about asking for help is just because I ask someone for help doesn’t mean that they have to.  I’ve improved in not taking it personally when a request for help is turned down.  The good news is that in my experience, there are enough people who really love to help others achieve, so help is available if we look.

A second lesson for me is that temporary setbacks are not the same as ultimate defeat. If there is something you want to accomplish, it is not a disaster if it does not happen exactly when you thought it will.  This year (2010) I moved into an apartment I had wanted to move to three years ago but had not been able to at the time.  I still moved and I was able to sort a few things out that had been holding me back before.  This is all about having perspective.  Life charted on a graph would be an oscillation of (seemingly) random up and down patterns. A victorious high one day, and a depressing funk another day.  However, if the general direction  is trending upwards (i.e. positive) it is important that we not get too depressed by the dips which do and will happen.

The graph is trending upwards even if individual points are scattered.

The final lesson that stuck with me is to work on my own goals and timeline, not on others goals on their timelines. “Do you” is how people say it, and it is absolutely true. This is not some contrarian crusade, I’m not saying to become gothic for no reason.  I’m in the last year of my 20s, and I often get lots of (not so) subtle advice on certain milestones I “should” be looking at achieving. Most of the pressure is because of social conditioning, there is this idea that certain events must happen when you hit a certain age and really the only reason for that is because well  “that’s what everybody does”.   You know the all-american dream? Go to school, get a good job, get married, have 2 kids, buy a 2 car garage house, go on vacation once a year (and it must be exactly two weeks), live happily ever after, etc. F*@k that.  If it’s what you want good, if it isn’t then, well, “do you!”  There’s a girl I work with who is approaching her mid-30s.  She’s single, unmarried, and she’s way overqualified for her job in the conventional sense.  But she’s traveled to all continents, made friends in all sorts of places and she keeps adding destinations to the places she’s been.  A true global citizen.  When I was going to college, I had a friend that skipped college and went to wrestling school instead.  I admire them for following their calling.  We’re not barbie dolls, we are people with unique aspirations.  Standing firm on this sense is not easy to do as  the social pressure to conform is immense–try being an unmarried lady at 30.

So there! I hope your 2010 has been a good year, and that you had great experiences and learned some things too.  I’ll end with this from one of my favorite films:

On Self-Help

I read a lot of books from the personal development industry or motivational books.  They are part of the “self-help” industry.  I got attuned to this by virtue of being an Amway Independent Business Owner.  I’m still an active IBO, and I’ve been been building my Amway powered business on and off.  I’m part of a personal development program through a “training organization”, as Amway Lines of Affiliation (LOAs) are referred to.  Most LOAs heavily promote self-development, and improving ones self which is GOOD.  This is done through listening to audio, reading books and attending events.  I’d like to share some thoughts on self-help, mostly from the reading viewpoint, and also I think it’s applicable to anybody in any area of life no matter what they are doing.  Here are a few thoughts:

– Not all material is good, and obviously this is subjective. Generally speaking, I tend to discount books by authors whose primary claim to success is being a “motivational speaker”.  There’s a lot of regurgitated, cliche, and outdated material out there.   Anthony Robbins is one notable exception.

– Self-Help shouldn’t be about a magic pill. It should be about regularly aligning yourself with a frequency of positivity.

– If you’re 100% exclusively reading “self-help”, something will be a little “off”, in how you relate to other people. As I see it it is good to throw in a little of everything in addition to the self-help. It doesn’t hurt to read some pop-culture (GQ, Esquire, or whatever you want–these are great, sometimes they have insightful articles by succesful people like Brad Pitt, Jay-Z, etc), or some best-seller fiction, etc.

– I find socializing, and working hard to expand your network/circle of friends and acquintances is good for developing relationship skills. And it can help in areas such as expanding a business, being exposed to new experiences i.e. being invited to an ethnic festival, for those with kids–your kids can make new friends, etc.

– You should spend on self-help. Even if one is not building a business, they would benefit from buying books, and finding some audio, or attending a convention or a cheap/free workshop seminar (such as what Trump or Kiyosaki occasionally offer). Simply put you become a better person by investing in yourself.  Personal development will develop the leader within you, make you a better friend, make you able to handle adversity better, introduce big-picture thinking, etc.  Then once you are improved, you will find you are able to leave an impression on others, but you cannot give what you

– Use self-help proactively. Don’t be afraid to stop reading a book if it’s just too much of a pain in the ass to get through (I did that for instance with David Allen’s “Getting things Done”). Not everything in every self-help resource is the gospel and the ONLY tried and true way to do something. Remember self-help is not a magic pill.

– Self-help should not be depressing or about doom’n’gloom. It shouldn’t be overhwelming. Because of self-help, your inner smile should GROW, and you should find yourself walking through the world with ease, not with dread. If due to exposure to self-help books, seminars, or other resources, you start feeling burdened, guilty, depressed, cynical, etc. that is a corrupted path and you should examine the materials you’re being exposed to or if other negative variables are affecting your continuing self-development.

– Self-help never stops. It’s continous. It is not an “event”, it’s a way of life and an on-going process.

– I do agree with the concept of low-information diets, such as not reading newspapers beyond skimming the headlines or staying away from political blogs (this was tough for me, I got hooked after the 2008 election–reading several blogs from both ends of the political spectrum religiously). I watch movies, documentaries (travel & nature), and some sports. I stay away from TV series, and reality TV which I find soapoperaish in their tendency to cause one to emotionally invest themselves in the lives of fictional characters. Plus unlike movies, or sports, for me, the slippery slope of watching a bunch of TV series is more damaging….

– No one person, entity, company, philosophy or religion has a monopoly on “self-help”. There’s many great resources to draw from. No one has a patent on it.

– Just because you or me are exposed to self-help, or have read some books does not suddenly make us superior to the “clueless masses”.  Beware of hubris. Stay humble, relatable and down to earth.

– Self-Help should eventually transition into more about “being positive”. It should eventually become holistic, reaching the point where one is conscious of being more socially savy, healthy, reducing stress in their lives, significance, etc etc.

2009 Year in Review

So the decade is coming to an end, it’s been a great year.

Quick post that’s a review of the year in terms of personal experience.

Joined Facebook

It took me a while and it was purely out of stubborness. I just didn’t want to go through an entire profile creating, finding friends, etc etc, as I’d done it twice already, when i was on Friendster (remember friendster?) then on Myspace (remember Myspace?).   It is a valuble resource for sure for linking up with friends and for setting up or finding events.   However, it is a great time waster too and it can present an illusion fo real social interaction.   It is a balancing act, I suppose it’s in the spirit you use it.  I’ve discovered a lot about people, for example a former high school friend is a hip-hop star in his country.  However, also, it is a place of ego validation, for better or worse  like having thousands of pictures of yourself, or having bloated friends lists of people that are not really your friends.

Facebook friends more important than actual real friends?

But yes, in 2009 I finally created an account.  I’m going to reevaluate how I use it though 🙂

Lost 20 pounds

Starting from the beginning of the year to the middle of February I’d lost 20 pounds.  All I did was reduce sugar drinks to one a day,  reduce my intake of carbohydrates, and try and reduced processed stuff. No charts, no lists, no calorie counting.   I even allowed one cheat day, which is to say on Saturday, I eat whatever I want in whatever quantity. Tha’ts ALL I did.  I actually started it out as an experiment.  I kind of faded a little bit in the middle of the year with the wedding and the trip, but this is something I’ll revist next year, and there’s more to it than looking good or being in shape, it’s about treating your body like the temple that it is.  I’ll talk about it in my 2010 post.

My lesson from this experience was how small things can have big effects.  Malcom Gladwell talks about that in Tipping Point.

Obama’s Inauguration

One hour to get out of the metro on Inauguration Day

The year begun with me being a part of History.  Together with a few friends we braved arctic weather conditions to watch Obama get sworn in Washington, D.C. as the first African-American US president.  It is the sort of event that you gather you will gather your grand children around the fireplace and talk to them about in 50 years.

I just do not understand those that missed it because it was “too cold”, sometimes as people we’re guilty of failing to look beyond see-level, too often we’re content to lose the forest for a few trees.  Anyway, the frozen fingers, being part of the mobs in streets, walking in downtown DC without vehicles, etc. all added to the experience.

Pre-Wedding Event & Wedding

The other big event of the year was the fairytale wedding in Italy,  if you’re my facebook friend there’s many pictures from friends that were part of the experience.  I’ve also written about it here:   https://superseiyan.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/fairytale-wedding-la-citta-eterna/   For the better half of the year, this was the main focus but all went well and I became a husband.

What I learnt:

1. Dreams come true. But I have to dream it first, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

2. I cannot achieve anything grand by myself.

3. Pick your battles.  Most people don’t do that.  They think they do but they don’t.  Lots of stuff in planning the wedding I deferred to others and let them get their way on the details.

4. Keep the process joyful. For me I viewed the late nights and the planning as an adventure.  Not as a huge burden that I sulked about.


Got to Fly in First Class

I flew in first class.  Was just an unexpected bonus, it’s something I had expected I’d do one day in my life, but I’m determined that that will not be the last time.  My thinking is that if a CEO of JoeCompany is good enough to fly in first class so are you and me.  It’s a matter of us becoming the type of person that would command a first class seat.

in Lots of private space, personal attention and special first class goodies. Called "L'Espace Premier"

Roma, La Citta Bella

This it’s own experience, being in Italy, it just happened to be on the same trip with which I wedded.  Being in the Beatiful City stoked my passion for travel.  I wish I could capture the feelings of the trip into a bottle.  Being there with friends was double blessing. I spoke about this as well in a previous blog post which you can read here: https://superseiyan.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/italy-trip-cont-plus-a-new-understanding-on-the-importance-of-travel/

What I took from this was just how much of a world there is out there ready for all of us to experience.

Decided to go back to School

I have decided to go back to school next year.   I’d like to go further in a career in the field of International Affairs.   Ultimately, I feel it’s a great vehicle to impact some people in the world (cliche I know), travel, achieve intellectual stimulation and develop a great circle of friends.  This is in process and I’m still in the application process, so it’s not done, but late this year was when I decided to finally put action towards this goal.


Other miscellenous comments on 2009:

Read some great books

I like to read a lot, in terms of books I slowed down a little this year.  Didn’t read as much as the previous year, but I’d like to mention two books that were top notch:

Personal Development for Smart People by Steve Pavlina

I like this book because it gives a practical and holistic approach to self-development.  It’s not wish-washy, and annoyingly generic.  Too many self-development books essentially say “be happy, be positive, don’t forget to smile” and they leave it at that.  This book covers everything from finances to relationships,

Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

I like this book because his approach to a succesful life once again is holistic.  Also it’s realistic. And lastly, he is against compromise.  I do not like the concept of ‘delayed gratification’ as too often it becomes permanently delayed gratification.  In this book, basically Ferris talks about how to have live your life without endlessly postponing everything you want to do.

Too be continued in the next blog, 2010 and beyond.  I’ll talk about habits, and achievements I’d like for next year.

Exit Question:  What were your experiences in the year?  What defined the ending decade, the 00s for you?