When Step One May Be Everything

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While on my way home, I was thinking of what to do this weekend – The Great Breather. Frankly I’m quite stressed thinking about what’s going to happen next week as The Test enters the scene.

Junjie, a good friend, indirectly suggested an idea. He said a movie marathon with a pint of ice cream awaits him this weekend. So how about me?

Finally, I had the will to discover new music tonight!

I still kept the document where the links Keishia gave us during our team meeting a few months back were compiled. Good heavens I still remember my former IBM email address. Anyway, tonight was more of an indie-alternative-slash-pop night. Of course it’s Friday and even though I’m at home, celebration should be turned on! Also, that’s what I truly like to listen to – not too heavy, not too mellow, quite upbeat and pop-ish, and sounds good to the ears.

Ctrl + click the link. Instinct says streaming may be the first best option before downloading anything to save bandwidth (I actually don’t know if it did save since technically it may be more wasteful). Later on, I found myself clicking on random posts searching for no particular band. The act was quite a routine but enjoyable as I give every track a try. Fortunately all of the picks I had are the ones suiting my preference and mood.

I downloaded everything I found tonight, without worrying of the other tracks included in the album. Anyway I’m looking for indies and it’s quite impractical to search for and hoard the other songs. Besides, this get-the-whole-album attitude in downloading songs must be changed. Can’t I just get and play what I want to hear instead of becoming extremely obsessive-compulsive in beefing up the list? That’s just for bragging rights and no one actually benefits from it except from, well, no one (not even myself).

Great music appreciation session indeed!

***

And now, I’m scribbling nonsense on this ageing laptop. Perhaps I miss writing rants? (By saying that, it means writing for me has become synonymous with ranting, which defies this blog’s purpose.)

No, not that. Abstinence from writing sank into me upon reading an online article a few days back about developing a habit of doing something you like. Admit it, we have endless activities in mind but disempowerment always veers us away from doing things consistently and regularly. This is not to mention other factors like distraction and downright laziness.

So what might be a good solution? Decide to do a specific activity for ten minutes, whatever that is. After that period, you may go back to what you were previously doing like slacking off and watching your favourite series. At least you were not guilty of postponing that activity again. Do that as frequent as possible.

Doing it for ten minutes isn’t the point, really. You’ll just realise that time may become immaterial as you progress, finding yourself engrossed for a period longer than ten minutes.

Oh, I’ve written a post this long already? :)

Sometimes all we need is a single step.

P.S. Sorry I can’t remember the link but I’m in no way intending to plagiarise the idea from that article. In fact, that was helpful in the success of tonight’s jam and in finishing this blog post. :)

2011: Choose and Change

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This year has not ended yet but I can proudly claim how good 2011 has been to me.

Setting goals for the upcoming year wasn’t a habit, until signs of ageing sank in (including balding). But personally, I find the practice valuable despite realising on December how many of these items were sorely missed!

Eleven goals for 2011 were drafted and, to my surprise (yeah right!), 2011 was a great leap forward from what I had in 2010. Eight goals were achieved, five of which were fulfilled to a large extent. Only three goals were left untouched due to circumstances quite beyond my control.

Not bad!

I won’t go through the eleven items for this post. However, I’d highlight some major achievements for 2011, which were out of my sight a few years back.

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En Route

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Is positive psychology counter-productive?

Psychology is a complex yet interesting discipline, giving us some ideas on how our inner universe works. I have always thought psychologists or even psychology majors are one of the most powerful people because they have the tools and skills to analyse what and how we think.

Back to the question. I’m wandering again.

I just realised no one has told me these advices even once:

Following your heart may not be the best option.
Stop pursuing happiness.
Never do things you are good at.
Stoicism (and not optimism) may lead you to a better life.

On face value, these sound rude and ultimately depressing. Are we really killing somebody else’s dream when we recommend stopping the pursuit of happiness? Does doing things one isn’t good at dwarf potentials to excel? Does stoicism cease us from dreaming and foster contentment in mediocrity? Why not follow our hearts when we only live once?

Although unsurprising, I wonder why I never heard these when talking with family, friends, and colleagues. Perhaps we’ve been too aversive of the negative that we play down its value in any possible transformation, or we’re too timid to state the actual and real.

Or, are we that used to a results-oriented society to the point that even happiness becomes merely a goal/state we must achieve?

Regardless, why don’t we bravely take the non-conventional, uncharted approach? Why don’t we violate and question the mainstream for a meaningful tomorrow? Why not choose the yet-to-be-proven over the proven ones? All at the expense of risking the so-called attainment of happiness.

Once again, I’m full of questions and nothing has been answered. At least I ask.

4-0: Wheeling Through Anew

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Realisations can sometimes hit you unprepared.

Ask me to comment about driving and anything related to it. I’ll be heard heavily highlighting the cons. That’s quite weird considering my family operates a small-scale transportation business, although of course that orientation and the informal stories I’ve been hearing might have also caused aversion on driving.

Not to mention that there was never a car enthusiast in me. Except for a few popular models, I never had a knack on identifying the seemingly similar cars and immediately distinguishing them based on form factor. Except the logos, of course!

Neither I have thought of purchasing one for personal usage. If I buy, I’d want a driver to do the job.

Until one morning, a very cute Toyota in black was taking C-5. Though I need to admit now that smaller cars have a cute, personal appeal to me, there was nothing special about its design. The car being Toyota never mattered, too. Unexplainable, but that was one hell of a car that I kept staring at it as the jeepney I was into inched away!

I remained focus on looking even when the car has already swerved to Katipunan Avenue.

Then the unexpected turn happened – I want to drive.

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Eleven Things, One Year: Midway

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Half a year has passed. What happened to the eleven things I wrote on January? Though some might not have read these, I’ll paste each item’s gist, assess what led to its realisation/relative delay, and identify what measures are needed to achieve these before the year ends.

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3-0: To Be a True Blue Maverick

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I’ve been quite hyped up since I woke up (well, I’ve been awakened twice today).

The legendary Maverick win today surged an unexplainable current of optimism to me. I had only two hours of sleep that time but the team’s heart to win was enough to be felt even oceans away from Florida. Definitely that was a fantastic comeback that has matched what a former champion did in 1992.

Hours after, I’m still awed at how they did it during the final stretch.

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2-0: As an IBMer

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When I entered IBM exactly two months ago, I was a broken man due to external and internal pressures hounding me.

Externally, it’s the society and how it looks at you based on credentials. Political Science graduates are always stereotyped of pursuing law or post-graduate degree on social sciences, and I entertained these options. If I won’t study, I must work to keep up with the competition. In a world of misfits, the absolutist-idealist me was pressured to align work with my degree.

Internally, ego says I must reap achievements. Though I’ve compiled a somewhat impressive roster of extra-curricular activities, I felt underachieved. Questioning starts with a ‘what if’, and expect the usual two-word to construct a discourse longer than what you’ve imagined.

From that state, perhaps it’s time to quickly look back and assess how I’m faring so far at IBM. I’m encapsulating it using the same letters: I Believe Myself.

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