Challenges, Failing at them and Trying Again

I’ve been watching a lot of Improvement Pill, Nathaniel Drew and Matt D’Avella lately and I’ve been learning a lot about discipline, challenges, success and reflecting on my failures.

The way these content creators were able to achieve a 30 day challenge of: Meditation, Journaling and Cold Showers is remarkable. I have never been able to hold that level of momentum which to some extent is embarassing. Life has been so easy to just shrink into the shell called comfort and just mention the mantra “I don’t need it.” I realize though after through a lot of sifting through wisdom that life starts crossing the borders of comfort and fear.

There’s only 4 months remaining till 2019 ends and I plan to achieve the following of which I will do 30 days consecutive:

  • Take Cold Showers to Work
  • Journal Daily on either 8am or 10pm
  • Publish a Blog on Mondays and Wednesdays probably on 8am if not 9
  • Publish a Vlog every Tuesday(???)
  • Meditate for an Hour, Daily on 11pm

Frankly, all of the ones I have listed other than the vlog are something I have miserably failed to maintain and so I rekindle my commitment.

As for the vlog, if you haven’t had been checking out my brother’s channel he’s been doing podcasts and it’s an amazing dream come true. Please do follow his blog and vlog as linked where you would find the content.

Bonus: I’ve been a guest in an episode

I guess I was just inspired by the courage and the enthusiasm to create new things. If some of you never knew, I used to do podcast but it wasn’t a sustainable passion. Maybe someday I’ll come back to it, but right now I have kickstarter funded a gimball, so I’ll try this vlogging craft out for now.

If any of you are interested in doing the challenge with me, do hit me up. I always believe that people that are accountable to each other for progress move further, and more determined.

To a better 2020 version for us all.

Organizing my Thoughts

Frankly speaking this piece would be more of a mind babble than anything as I need to get a lot of things off my mind and chest, I’m at a point in life when I’m paralyzed by fear: I can’t get comfort through playing games or to move forward with business because of the things to come, and there’s a lot of things to come since I’m moving out of my comfort zone once more.

Bracelets of Promise

One of the biggest reason for fear is that I’m starting my own business, it’s not a big one, but it’s something that I have been fond of: beaded bracelets.

The brand is called tomoe.ph and it’s still at a very young infant stage where the possibility could be endless — which includes success and failure. Tomoe bracelets won’t empower you spiritually like some other brands claim, and it’s not for pure aesthetics either (but it does look good if I can say so myself). The greatest reason why I want people to wear my bracelets is not as a fashion accessory but as a symbol of a promise one has made to themselves, to remind them everyday: “I can grow greater, I will be greater and there are better things for me when I choose to get out and live beyond my comforts.”

I believe that everyone who can remind themselves of their own goals and focus, can achieve what they have set their heart and mind in to, sometimes we just need help in the reminding — and our bracelet solves that.

So here I am, starting this life of discomfort of what are to come, because I crave for a greater purpose, a higher calling and a better ability to serve others. I hope you can be part of my journey in this business not just as a buyer but as a listener, a mentor and a critique on how I can make this adventure better as an audience, a customer or a friend.

Audience of One

There was an activity over Instagram that made a lot of people write essays about other people in quite a semi-anonymous execution and on the few people I participated, there’s one sentence that stood out the most, I don’t remember the verbatim statement but it went something like this:

It is easier to be me because of you

As introverted that I am, I always hoped that I could influence the life of some people, be someone that matters among the multitude of strangers but here and now, in the age of 29, I have never mentored anyone in a level that’s personal or that I could say I was part of their success or happiness. Heck, I was just bantering a little over my partner about how I wanted a “deep connection” above all. So, to see those 9 words to be dedicated to me is… Overwhelming.

Purpose for Publishing

I read this book titled “do less, be more” by John Busacker recently and it had a very interesting quote in it:

To pass away without passing on your own story is like having the town library burn down — and its one-of-a-kind historical archives with it.

That struck a chord hard because I know a lot of people do live my story:

Good child, got good grades, graduated and got a job.

I was neither a failure or a success, I didn’t have a dramatic history turn around nor my high standing go crash and burn, I am ordinary, normal, probably 70% of the middle class life that just strives and survives. It’s a rat race, a cycle and a frustrating one at that.

Thankfully, I was saved and I learned to be content and happy.

Maybe, just maybe that is why I should write, because in the number of people around the Internet, I hope to have even just one read my story and say “Hey I should try that!” or “If that guy can do it, so can I”, because my story is not about drastic miracles changing from rags to riches, steel bars to gold, about how people change 180 degree with a flip. No, it’s about seasons and how time and mentorship can change a life from the warm colors of autumn into a vibrant season of spring.

I have stood in the shoulder of giants with the help of my brother, if he can change as average guy like me a to a man with respectable status, what makes you think you can’t be. I believe you can and I hope my story moves you from where you are to where you can be.

Leading a Revolution

It’s the first time in the 6 years of me working in the company, that now, I can truly see that I am part of a team that can make a dent in history.

Ever since the creation of a “leaders committee” initiated by the CEO, we have gained more honest, and brave opinions about matters ranging from anything regarding improvements. As much as possible, we’ve dealt with it and created solutions. With better processes, the company have seen individuals bloom from sheep to beasts on their maturity. Two things I have understood that are the most precious commodity in operations: Trust and Accountability. As long as these two thrives in the community, we will be able to burn the weeds that come into our field and let the right ones flourish with potentials way beyond our expectations.

I have read the book “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown, and again and again, one of the core message is that to be great is ironically, to be vulnerable. Because the more we guard ourselves: our pride, our wants, our weakness, the less we are capable to understand others. To empathize is to let them see you are just as human as them. That is when people see, that is someone they will rally to and if a number of people start to rally for each other, they become unstoppable.

To be vulnerable is to be courageous that this life is not about your personal achievements anymore, but to reach out a hand to live this life together with each others’ differences.

I have never felt more vulnerable in my life at this point professionally. That I am more available to fail, to follow opposing orders, more candid in opinions and to answer against problems raised. All the 10 handpicked individuals can break me should they betray their allegiance, but till that time comes I’d rather choose to believe these people will be the legends and foundation of a legacy of a brand that millions of people will aspire to be in.

The Cure to Fear

When we hear the word fear, most of the time it may trigger the idea of speaking to a crowd, being one step away from the edge of a cliff or being chased by someone with malicious intent. While those are things that do inflict fear, they are the type of fear that happens a few times in a lifetime. Meanwhile, I’d like to address the ones that haunt us consistently throughout our lives.

There is a fear we rarely address, the ones we are gotten so used to, we frame it as if it’s because of our inability to focus. While seeking escape might be the end result, the ones that trigger procrastination just might be fear of subduing what seems to be daunting task.

Procrastination.

There’s lots of cases wherein we don’t finish a job not because we can’t but because we dread what comes in doing it and after it.

It comes to no surprise that I am a victim of this paralyzing emotion. Examples in my situation are:

  • Talk to a client with a bad temper
  • Finding more bugs on the code
  • Innovating an application
  • Tampering with money for payments

Some can definitely be accomplished, some even in the span of 5 minutes or less if given enough attention. The capability to solve it is present and lingering, what’s not is the courage to do so and accomplish it till the end. So, how can we cure this inability? The paralyzing fear of the unknown?

Act.

There’s no better way to overcome fear than doing something about it. A lot of people fail because of too much thinking how to not fail. The best way to solve a task when you have no idea how to, is to do it, or in a more Millenial term: Google for it.

The mind is like a puppy training for tricks. Don’t expect it to be as driven or wise as you think. Just because it thinks something is important doesn’t mean it will do it. All it knows is how to stay happy, entertained and comfortable. Heck you can even expect it to forget what it doesn’t find important but others do. (That’s the worst) 

So, this is definitely why you have to learn to tame that cute thing. While it might bring you so much joy and good times, it’s only for the temporary and present. You have the capacity to do what you can think of if you act on it. The greatest difference between the genius and the successful is not what they’ve thought about, but how they fulfilled their plans in making it come true.

The root of being able to act against your interest depends on these two factors:

Triggers

Don’t expect your body to just move just because it should do so, especially if you’re not interested in the task at hand like a chore or work. You can on the other hand, expect it to be delayed till kingdom come and shit is about to go down.

So give yourself a trigger that will ignite your brain. You’d be surprised to find that just like a command that signals the puppy that to do what, the mind also works the same way. You already have the gasoline, all you need is a spark. Everyone has a different trigger that’s most effective for them. No one solution for all. As for me, setting up alarms and writing them down on a list works best.

There are a lot of ways to do this, but this is what works for me and I hope it becomes a starting template for you to create something efficient in your productivity:

  • Separate different aspects of your life: For now I only have 2 lists: Personal and Work
  • Be sure to bullet form an actionable step not a category of a job
  • Don’t list down an item such a “Create a Website” which seems like a daunting task with subtasks waiting. Instead write “Create Design Proposals.” which is immediately actionable and achievable fast without being too easy. 
  • Make a balance between things you can schedule and items you can do indefinitely. Don’t be too obsessed with format, have the right balance for what’s just needed. Focus on being informed and now how to be informed

While I hate being swarmed with items on lists, I love seeing them clear up. That’s the trigger I work with. I make sure to keep the list very visible in my life, and have atleast 3 scheduled within the day. This way, I’m always asking myself to keep working, way beyond just brain power. Something concrete rather than just my thoughts is a stronger motivator.

Reward

While not failing seems like a good reward, it isn’t. The clear reason behind this is not seeing the lack of success as a failure. In matters that you find trivial you won’t seek a reward at all, instead you seek where a bad performance gets least penalty. Don’t see lukewarm as a neutral identity, neutrality is a failure to move towards progress.

In my story, I believe my reward is clear, I love keeping my list to a minimum. The act of deleting or completing an item on my list is one of the most satisfying acts I look forward to, and to see my list at the end of day to a manageable size helps me sleep soundly at night.

What I’ve written here is not an end-all, it is only a thought or a bridge to get you from where you are to somewhere. Each of us has different seasons and different tastes to keep us motivated. Never stop trying and experimenting to understand yourself. Because in the end, we never die the same way we’re born or when we passed through puberty or our first heartbreak.

We do exceptionally greater things when we respect our fears and it respects us back. Our legacy is not defined about what we’ve avoided but what we’ve done and overcome. Take courage, act.