Efficiency Is Overrated. What Matters Is the Way You Look at Time.

One of the most impactful, qualitative changes I’ve made to my life in the last five years has been how I look at time.

We already know time is valuable — from the moment we wake up to when we sleep, we’re taught to count the minutes in everything we do.

At home before school, my mom would yell, “5 minutes to finish breakfast or you’re going to be late!”

At school while taking a test, my teacher would yell, “2 minutes until all pencils down!”

At work, my boss would yell, “You’re late!”

The scarcity of time is something we all know well, which is why years ago, I knew to do everything I could to create more time by being more efficient.

I started listening to audiobooks instead of music at the gym. At mealtimes, I opted for microwavables. And when even that wasn’t enough, I made a commitment to sleep less and socialize less.

There was even a time when I had been so angry at being sleep-deprived I punched a hole in my wall. It was later covered with a poster of Schwarzenegger in his terminator sunglasses and the words “SLEEP FASTER” on it. I think the hole is still there.

The ironic thing is, despite having done all of that, Continue…

Why It Makes Sense to Follow Your Passions Alongside of Work

Neither passion nor work, but both

What always astounds me, is how much of the world’s career advice gravitates towards either working relentlessly or blindly following your passions.

Why is it always one or the other, but not both? Is it really so crazy to pursue your passions the same time alongside of work?

The crazy thing is we have been doing it already — we just don’t realize it. Every relationship we’re in or have been in, are in itself a type of relationship — because how else can we explain why we spend the time to deepen those relationships if not out of passion?

Yet, somehow, none of our other passions seem to matter; instead, we see them as distractions to our work. And because we treat them as distractions, we neglect them until after our career, thinking that there we’ll have more than enough time to pursue them after we’ve retired.

The only problem is, we’ve miscalculated. Continue…

The #1 Reason Why You Can’t Seem to Form Good Habits

Hint: It has less to do with you than you think

I still remember distinctly, the first time I uploaded a video on Youtube — it was early in the morning, perhaps even 4 or 5AM. I probably should’ve waited, but having already spent an entire week on the video, I was anxious to upload straight away. My only concern, was that nobody would like it — which, turned out to be a fear unfounded, since not a single person had even watched it.

Needless to say, I Continue…

How Much Money Do You Need?

What comes next after making millions of dollars.

My Christmas the year before last, was undoubtedly the worst I’ve ever had, despite having spent it on one of the most beautiful islands imaginable — Bali. My laptop had burned out on the eve of Christmas, and because New years was right around the corner, all the repair shops were closed; the only thing I could do, was wait.

If all the work you do is online, and having access to a laptop is the bread and butter to your livelihood, you’d easily feel the despair I had felt. The only choices I had were to pack up and leave immediately for China where I hoped repair shops would still be open, or stay in Bali indefinitely, until my laptop had been fixed.

I chose the latter — not because I was willing to wait, but because Continue…

Why It Makes Sense to Follow Your Passions Alongside of Work

Neither passion nor work, but both

What always astounds me, is how much of the world’s career advice gravitates towards either working relentlessly or blindly following your passions.

Why is it always one or the other, but not both? Is it really so crazy to pursue your passions the same time alongside of work?

The crazy thing is we have been doing it already — we just don’t realize it. Continue…

What Do You Wake up in the Mornings For?

How to set the right goals for a life of fulfillment

A few years ago, I watched a video of Alibaba’s billionaire founder, Jack Ma explaining his success:

“People like me, I was born in a very poor family. I never got a great education. I failed all the examinations — for what reason? I don’t know. But later I realized, I don’t have money, I don’t have technology, I don’t have a lot of good backgrounds — a rich uncle or something. The only thing I can compete with young people is let’s compete for 10 years later. This is what I believe 10 years later will be happening. So everything I do, I do for that goal I think will happen 10 years later.”

While I understood the message and theory behind it — to aim for ten-year goals in which you have a chance at winning, I couldn’t really relate at the time, until recently — for different reasons altogether, and after having taken time to reflect upon turning 30.

You see, most of my life, I’ve simply followed the currents like everyone else, letting it carry me wherever it wanted; if there was an opportunity, I’d try my best to ride the waves and likewise, if there were obstacles, I’d try my best to stay afloat. I’d like to say I knew what I was doing or what I wanted to do, but I didn’t — I didn’t have any clue at all.

My career was the exact same way. I transitioned, Continue…

The Only Thing That Matters

A story of hate, resentment and the journey within

Early in my 20s, there was someone I once hated.

We both graduated from the same high school, but I didn’t know him well at the time — except for where he lived, having knocked on his door once in an attempt to fundraise.

At school, he was quiet, even reserved — the sort of person you’d likely forget, until years later, when rediscovered within a yearbook. So I wasn’t exactly surprised several years later, when I realized I had indeed forgotten him when being reacquainted as his coworker.

At work, we were amicable but couldn’t be considered friends, given the disparity of our interests in all things other than each other’s purchases — which, while surely could’ve been the common ground for a great friendship, wasn’t and was instead the reason behind such misguided resentment. Continue…

A Story of Ironclad Persistence

And Why It's Not Always About Winning.

It’s summer, of 2012. My phone vibrates beside me, but I ignore it.

I’m in my parent’s garage, eyes glued to the TV. The garage is sweltering hot, like the insides of a sunbathed car, my only solace the dusty old fan dug out from the attic — but, I don’t care.

Because my attention at that moment, is on the screen, in London, on Kieran Behan — the first athlete I’ve ever been truly inspired by, participating in the 2012 London Olympics.

I don’t follow Behan because he’s talented or famous (although he does hold the title of being the first Irish gymnast to ever qualify for the Olympics), nor do I follow him because he’s particularly good-looking; I follow him because of his ironclad persistence — persistence that’s earned him the right to compete as an Olympic athlete, despite having had not one, but several injuries that left him immobilized for years at a time, including his very first injury when the doctor’s diagnosis was that he would never walk again.

Continue…

The Ordinary’s Guide to Becoming Extraordinary

The secret to unlocking your potential.

It’s 2:00AM and I’m sitting in the dark, typing furiously, having rewritten this post at least a hundred times now— possibly more, but I’ve long lost count.

The once imagined sentences — formed gloriously in my mind, are now on paper — sporadic and unwilling, a mere whisper of the post I had wanted to write.

I ask myself:

Is writing supposed to be this difficult?
Am I destined to forever be a mediocre writer?

These questions, along with many others, fill up my mind as I struggle not to fall asleep:

How is it that great writers are able to write so effortlessly?
How is it that the people we look up to and admire, especially those we recognize as
extraordinary, are able to achieve all that they wish?

Because if anything, the question I really want to ask most is:

How do ordinary folks, like you and I, become extraordinary?

Continue…