My Values

In a previous post on priorities, I mention my values and so I think it’s relevant to discuss what mine are. Values to me are a set of principles you live by. You take them very seriously because they are the core of your person and each of these things is paramount to the fabric of who you are. Yes, I said fabric of who you are. Where did this come from? I don’t know. But I said it.

My values are:

Accountability: If you do something, or say something, or hurt someone than you are accountable to those actions and it is really important to me that you acknowledge that, take ownership of that and be responsible for your actions.

Integrity: Is about strong morals and fairness. I think I am a very fair person and sometimes people don’t like that because fair can also be firm. I’m firm but I’m fair. And a strong moral compass is important to me, the understanding of right vs wrong. JUSTICE FOR ALL!

Fun: I love fun.

Freedom: I can’t stand to be held down. Like rules, authority. I can’t handle it – let me be free!

Connection: I’ve always been rather independent and at the same time I’ve always had a lot of friends. I took a trip to Koh Samui, Thailand – I hiked up a waterfall and caught the view of the city and in that moment, though I always knew friendship was important to me, building connections was at my core it became very apparent in that moment, that seeing the most beautiful things alone means nothing to me if I have no one to share it with.

Honesty: If you’re not having an honest conversation, you’re not having a conversation at all.

Compassion: To be able to look at someone else, and feel them even if you don’t understand them. I think compassion is what humanity is currently living without and without compassion we don’t have true connection. At the end of the day, we’re all the same and the life that someone else leads, less fortunate than you, by some twist of fate, could have been you. And that realisation is quite humbling. And I think compassion and empathy go hand in hand so add empathy to the list of values as well.

 


Priorities 2017

I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile, since November to be precise, because one of my girlfriends said to me, it’s all about priorities. I think that’s something we all know but that easily gets away from us. There’s so many distractions in life. There’s so many things that pull you away from the important things that somehow those things that were important, get lost, or taken for granted.

But here’s the thing…when you get pulled away from what’s important to you then you start to feel unfulfilled and unhappy. Or at least, that’s how I felt, so instead of resolutions, this year it’s all about priorities.

My priority this year is me, I mean all about me. I found that last year I did a bunch of stuff for everyone else, sometimes because they asked me to but sometimes because I felt obligated to, and sometimes a bit of both. I’ve learned that I have a strong sense of duty and of commitment. If I say I am going to do something, no matter how big or small I feel I must see that through to the end. I feel obligated to everyone, even people I’ve only met once or never even met! This was the number one thing that led me astray from the things that were important to me. At the end of the day, I had done so many things that filled up my day, but didn’t fill up my heart.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do things for other people but you need to have priorities, you need to do things for yourself, do things for others that are important to you, close to you or a stranger in need but never forget that doing what makes you feel fulfilled is what makes life worth living.

The thing with priorities is that you can’t have too many, if you have too many than everything is important and everything can’t be important because then nothing is a priority. You need to know what’s important to you or else you’ll get distracted – some things disguise themselves as important, but they’re not. How tricky! What you need is laser sharp focus. For me, this year – it’s important to be happy. How do I do that?

  1. Focus on today.  I think in today’s world all we see is success or failure and we don’t see progress. Either you did it or you didn’t do and to me, that mindset is so toxic. That mindset precludes success and it doesn’t allow failure, heck it doesn’t even allow trying – it creates paralysis. What happens is you can’t get better at something, you can only be the best at something. You can’t try because it won’t come out perfect the first time. And that’s really scary. What I know is, you can only be the best of whatever you are right now. Goals are good but can become overwhelming. Fear of failure, not knowing the steps, not being perfect…I think these things stop us from just being. Break big goals down to mini goals you can focus on everyday and instead of worrying about the end result, focus on the progress. A good friend of mine, his family owns a company that sells bottled water, they’re doing really well – and I will never forget what he said to me, “It all started by turning on a tap.” It’s as simple as that. Start small, doing what you can do today.
  2. Have goals. (Even though I just said goals can be overwhelming, hear me out.) Sometimes big goals make it all lofty and crazy and hard to wrap your head around. So just turn on the tap and let a drop come out. Mini goals or roadmaps are great. Just remember all roads lead somewhere, and many times roads end up in the same place or an even better place but the journey wasn’t what you expected and that’s ok. I think focusing on more than 2-3 goals can be just too much. Just start with 1 goal even. And it can be a really small goal. Because it’s still progress. When I was really depressed, I saw a therapist and she said, if you make it from the bed to the couch, acknowledge that as progress. You moved. And that’s it, it’s all about movement, big or small. My goals this year are:
    1. Make youTube videos.
    2. Start a business venture.
    3. Get some hobbies (2-3).
  3. Remember my priorities. There’s only 4 of them so they should be easy to remember. (1) Focus on today, (2) make youTube videos, (3) start a business venture, (4) get some hobbies. Since my weakness is feeling obligated – when asked something of me or when feeling obligated I simply need to ask myself, does this fall in line with my priorities? Sometimes the answer will be no and I will do that thing anyways based on my values (that’s another post), so somehow I need to balance my priorities and my values, which I guess is life.

This year, it’s all about me. It’s all about progress instead of perfection and it’s acknowledging movement because baby steps are still steps. To 2017, the year of priorities and progress.


EVALUATION: NY’s Resolutions

On January 6, 2016 I set forth my intentions for the year! I used to see my life in terms of the academic calendar, where the year started in September and then ended in June (who knows what happened to the summer), then I moved onto semesters, fall, spring, and summer semester. Now that I’m an adult, I guess, though I don’t even really know what that means, I measure my life in terms of quarters because somehow I am my own mini corporation.

As we are ending Q2, that means 6 months has passed since my New Year’s Resolutions!! And like any good business I should reflect and see where I’ve done good and where I’ve done bad. And then like most businesses, pretend to do something about it, but not. Except that I will.

Below are my New Year’s Resolutions. And beside them – I will write in red, where I’ve landed (such business talk!).

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I start my day with a 20 minute mediation followed by writing down 10 new ideas. I think I’ve meditated twice. I did for about a month write down 10 new ideas – one being alcoholic bubble tea which was an amazing idea if I do say so myself. But I stopped doing that so this one is pretty much a fail. 
On Mondays, I write my autobiography for 3 hours a day
– either in the morning or afternoon. This happened exactly one time. 
On Wednesdays, I post on my blog, one post per week, maybe more. HOLY COW – this one I am keeping up with!! I only missed one week because of a technical issue – I was traveling and had scheduled the post to launch but alas it did not, that was a small hiccup but overall I am going to give myself a big high five! And thank you to all my readers 🙂 Your feedback keeps me going. 
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I dedicate one hour of the day to write answers on Quora, either before or after the gym/yoga. I used to LOVE writing on Quora, so much so that I became one of their top writers. Now I am probably one of their top readers. I guess I love to give semi-unsolicilated advice and I get that from my Mom. I must have found another outlet for this…
I keep Fridays open to allow for new projects. I got projects. 
I take an art class. I did take an art class. I took a Chinese Painting class and it was so interesting. It was really a metaphor for life. Don’t make the lines look all the same, that’s boring. Paint with intention – light but firm. Go with what the feeling of a flower looks like but without too many details, we just need the essence…I think I was pretty good. 
So good it's even on the fridge. Don't even need to tell you their bamboos (but I did, I snuck it in there, I didn't tell you directly but I also didn't want to feel bad about myself, but it's obvious)

So good it’s even on the fridge. Don’t even need to tell you their bamboos (but I did, I snuck it in there, I didn’t tell you directly but I also didn’t want to feel bad about myself, but it’s obvious)

 

The Year of Compassion
Resolutions for my relationship

 

I live by the words,
 “Between what is said and not meant and what is meant and not said, all love is lost.”
 With that in mind, I will pay attention to what is not being said, but rather what is meant. To be attune and more observant to my partner because sometimes, we don’t know how to articulate what we want ourselves.

 

My partner and I will create a vision board for our relationship – Discovering and aligning our goals and expectations to create a future that is mutually fulfilling.

 

I need to understand that my partner is a one package. He comes with strengths and weaknesses and it is not my job to change him but to UNDERSTAND him with softness, compassion, patience and kindness.

 

I will show my appreciation to my partner in ways that he is receptive to. Love can only be received when it is understood that it is love.
Mantras:
LOVE IS PATIENT, LOVE IS KIND.
My partner and I actually did a lot of work in this area. And call me nerdy but yeah, I made us do Myers Briggs for our relationship selves. Totally revolutionary and then we read a book about it (I read 3 – and I got another one to go) and it really helped us to understand not only ourselves betters but each other. And the biggest takeaway I had was that in the beginning of a relationship – we celebrate each other’s difference and later we come to not like those differences. Why doesn’t he/she do things my way? This is a whole other blog post but we are doing great! Very happy. 
 
Other resolutions:
1. I limit checking Facebook and Instagram to 3 times a day. This actually worked out for a little while – Facebook at first was fine but then I checked it a lot, and now I’m back to checking it less and am going to reimplement the 3x a day rule. Instagram however I’ve semi become obsessed with and instead of checking it 3 times a day I’ve made a goal to post 1-2x a day (@aforangela if you’re interested). So I check it quite frequently. It also happens to be my favourite social media platform, 
2. If I can see someone is typing me a message,
I wait until they are done typing before I send my message as I realise, sending someone a message while they are typing is equivalent to interrupting someone when they are talking to you face to face. I probably get this 80% of the time and then am impatient the other 20%. Just way too eager 🙁
3. I experiment with food, seeing what food my body is receptive to and being mindful of my carbon footprint.
In January I will eat no meat – only fish and veggies.
In Feb, I will eat no fish, only veggies.
In March, I will asses my body.
Ah! As you know, I have taken the leap – I eat pescatarian now 🙂
4. Most importantly, when I don’t meet my goals, I forgive myself and move on with a simple, “I’ll get it next time” mentality. I think this post showcases that yeah, I’m better and giving myself space to breathe. I am still happy with my accomplishments, and happy with my failures. Learning my boundaries and shifting presences, that’s ok. That’s ok. 
So I’ve learned that it’s good to set goals for yourself, but more importantly to see where you land on those goals. Next time it would be better to understand why you had those goals in the first place – then you could have a clearer read of accomplishment. Maybe I should set goals for the next 6 months…we’ll see 😛

Turning Corners

When we think of where we are going in life we often think of going straight, or climbing up. Forward thinking we call it, up the corporate ladder…straight and up, and up and straight will be the path to success. Continuously moving forward in a linear fashion we have a one track mind on how things are supposed to be, sometimes satisfied with our current state and sometimes not but the idea is that we forge ahead.

It’s funny how sometimes when we reach our destination, we’re not as happy as we thought, or it isn’t what we thought it might be.

And sometimes it’s funny, we can be walking in a straight line, walking, walking, walking, and suddenly, without even knowing it, we turn a corner and everything is different. We can’t look back, we can only look ahead and what we thought we wanted originally has all changed.

We like to think we can anticipate what we want and need but sometimes we can’t. For example, I was perfectly happy with my boyfriend and I living in separate apartments. Happy, happy, happy, walking, walking, walking and then one day I turned a corner and I was like, “You know what? I want to live together.” – I turned this corner and I never looked back. Sometimes you’re just ready. And you don’t even know it until you make the turn.

The point is, life changes from our straight forward thinking and turning corners can be a multitude of things, not always positive. It’s hard to see these corners, sometimes it’s a long turn and sometimes it’s a sharp one but undoubtedly, these corners change our lives. #deepthoughts


Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

The next natural post after C for Choice I suppose is a post about decisions – now that we know we are always in choice – how the EFF do you make a choice?

In today’s world we are sometimes overloaded with choice which then ensues the paradox of the choice. With so much choice we don’t feel liberated but quite the opposite, we feel trapped. Analysis paralysis ensues – research, reviews, and the rabbit hole that is the internet consumes us. We fear we make the wrong choice.

Some decisions are easy, but what about the ones that aren’t?

At the end of the day, we must make decisions that follow our heart. Easier said than done. Most of the time when we are in a quanadrum, we actually know the answer. Maybe we don’t want to admit it, but we know what to do. Maybe we don’t want to do it, but we know what to do. Maybe we don’t understand it, but we still know what to do. Deep inside there, you have a feeling, a little voice, an urge, an inkling but we’ve either buried it deep or are ignoring it. Why?

The head and the heart don’t speak the same language. The mind can play tricks on you with overwhelming amounts of information on what you should or shouldn’t do, what your parents will think, what your friends will think, what society will think. What associations or judgements do you have about yourself and the choices you make? That makes it tough too.

As strong as your mind is, the heart can overpower it. How many times you’ve told yourself to stop being angry, to stop crying, to stop smiling, to stop laughing but there you are, displaying those feelings. Hello world! Here are all my feelings.

In the way that your mind collects information from all your experiences, so does the heart. Every experience leaves an imprint on the heart. A common mistake it to think your heart has no credibility – but it does. It’s always been there, unbiased, collecting feelings, and learning. When making decisions, follow your heart, it won’t trick you, it won’t talk you out of it, like Rumi says, “It knows the way”. Spend more time connecting your mind to your feelings for when they are truly together, that’s when we feel the most alive.

 


C for Choice

Let me tell you a story about how I became homeless. Yes, homeless.

There was a time, in my adult life, not too long ago (actually, quite recent) that my Mom was paying for my rent. One day, while on the phone with her she expressed her sadness in not being able to spend a couple months in Paris because her Paris fund was being used on my rent. I don’t take to things being held over my head too well and so, I told her to stop paying for it.

This has resulted in a year and a half semi argument with my parents and I.

My Mom is upset because she’s doing what she thinks any mother would for her daughter.  My Dad is upset because I don’t recognise this. I am upset, because she’s an adult and she is accountable to her decisions. So if she decides to pay my rent, and this eats into her Paris fund, then I believe she should have taken this into consideration when she offered instead of blaming me. My Dad believes this makes me heartless. I’m not heartless. I’m into accountability.

Everyone makes choices, all choices have an outcome, it just depends how comfortable you are with that outcome to make that choice. You might not even be comfortable with the outcome to make the choice, but still somehow you are comfortable with the uncomfortable. Some choices have led us to a place where we feel as if we have no choice. This is simply not true, you have a choice, but maybe you don’t like the outcome so you remain status quo.

How often have you said “I have to work late”, “So and so made me do this”, you do something for someone else and not for yourself but hold them responsible. Sometimes, you THINK someone wants something done a certain way, though they’ve never expressed it, and you do that thing, you think they want and it makes you unhappy.

It’s weird. We make up rules for ourselves all that time that make us unhappy. We have to go to the gym 3x a week. We don’t eat after 9pm. No drinking on weekdays. You have to call your Mom every Sunday. Buy the house. Get promoted next year, find a life partner, have a nuclear family, the list goes on and on, some more dramatic than others. And sometimes these arbitrary rules don’t work for us.

Arbitrary rules by definition have no rhyme or reason. You made up these rules and now it’s time to Ariana Grande and break free. You can undo these rules or make up new rules, that’s the fun part – the choice is absolutely 100% yours. Being a responsible and mature adult, it’s time take accountability. You make choices, you make choices every day and you can accept the choices that you make or make new choices if you don’t like the choices that you made.

The next level to this is, “But I have a family, I have debt, I have X” – maybe you have all those things and you hate your job, your boss is a bitch and your skinny jeans are too skinny, but even then, you still have a choice. You’re always in choice. And the second you think you don’t have a choice is when you’ve really trapped yourself (you can also trap yourself when you make arbitrary rules). Also this real or perceived pressure still comes down to one thing, choice. You choose to live under that pressure or you start looking at the Man in the Mirror and make a chhhhhhhhaaaange.  Being you is the best and hardest thing you can ever be. There is nothing bigger than you. Do what serves you so you can serve others.

Whether it’s coffee or tea, quit my job, or put down a mortgage – some choices are harder than others, but ultimately, we always have a choice, even if it doesn’t feel that way, we have a choice about how we feel as well. When we realise that we are prisoners of our own mind – our perceptions are our rules. When we notice that our lives are governed by our thoughts and that we have the power – or the key to change those thoughts, that’s when we embark on real choice, real ownership, and being a responsible, mature adult.


H for Happy

Disclaimer: This is not a new post but a post I wrote in 2011, I haven’t edited it, I think it’s still very relevant five years later and it’s sparked me to think about this topic some more and is the seed for my next post on C for Choice. Stay tuned!

Happiness

A for Angela | By  | July 19 2011, 7:00 am 

The last query, (thanks H for Hungry) got me thinking that much of what we do comes down to one thing, yep – I’m going to say it. Attitude. How does that saying go?

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference? Thank you Winston Churchill! Now, I don’t know too much about history or old people but I DO know that old people are old because they’ve lived for a very long time and that alone, by default, they must have had some life experiences. I reckon he’s onto something. AND this got me to thinking about my life philosophy. This is not the first time I’ve thought about it. I’ve thought about it lots of times.

 

Sidebar: If we weren’t clear on something before, let’s be clear now. I have stereotypical Asian parents – not in all ways but in most ways. In the way where when my Dad calls he asks me questions like, “When are you going to contribute to society? and “What is your life philosophy?” – as such I’ve spent much time thinking about both issues because if you know Asian parents or run-on sentences with way too many commas and unnecessary punctuation, then you know, you need a carefully well-thought out academic or based on life experience or observational but preferably all of the above type answer.

If you read my first post then you will know that I have had 7 and a half quarter-life crises. This is a bit of an exaggeration but this nonetheless showcases that I have spent some time reflecting on me; where I’ve been, where I am, where I’m going, AND my life philosophy.

During one of these life crises I received a pep talk – the topic of positivity came into the conversation and what to do once that positivity wasn’t in your life anymore. No one likes a Negative Nancy. I certainly do not – a negative environment is infectious like piggy flu or SARS – and in case you didn’t know, they both don’t end well. A recent article in TIME magazine states that Positive Pattys live longer and thus old people must bepositive in order to live longer – therefore Winston Churchill IS totally onto something!!

And I think I’m onto something too.  I think happiness is a choice. It is a choice you make every day. Every day you face decisions and you choose whether or not you want to do something. The key word here is you. YOU choose. No one else chooses for you. If you want to be happy, you make that decision. And I am big on accountability. Whining is such a turn off. Wah wah, I’m unhappy in my relationship/job/appearance –> GO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! YOU have a choice!

And so Dad, that is my life philosophy: Happiness is a choice. A ++++ (A quadruple plus)?