The Grind Has Begun

My first day of vacation has come to an end. Although I have a really good morning, things didn’t go as smoothly as I have planned.

I realize I constantly have to will myself through frustration. The task I set for myself was much harder to accomplish. It’s absolutely possible to do them, theoratically speaking. But when you actually take action, there seems to be a hidden force that keep pulling you back. I feel like there’s a huge part in me which is so afraid of the pain ahead that it uses everything in its power to manipulate me to go sideways, to go back, to give up.

And that resistance seems like to put a toll on my productivity. I spent time but nothing much has been done.

Or may be I’m just being a little bitch who can’t stay focus and committed.

I don’t know. I didn’t do my best. I wasn’t focus enough. There’s still room for improvement. I have got a long road ahead.

This exam may be a blessing in disguise for me. For once, I have actually set out a proper plan and execute it daily. It surely tests my endurance.

GOOD THINGS THAT HAPPENED TODAY: Seeing my mom laughing at the simplest joke. Spending time with friends. Wear a my dad’s shoes (it’s really comfortable)

THINGS I DID WELL TODAY: Wake up early. Actually spend time doing my job. Be Fun.

THINGS I CAN IMPROVE: Track my productivity. Hit the gym. Do more.

THINGS I’M GRATEFUL FOR: my mom’s laughing. My hometown quiet yet peaceful vibe.

DAILY JOURNAL #15 18H07

HOME. 30 04 17

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Double or Nothing

I’m 53 days away from University Exam. If you are a student in Vietnam, that’s a big deal. If you are in a country, where to get into a college, you just have to fill in a couple of papers, you have saved yourself from a lot of stress. Lucky you.

I have been waiting for this moment for 12 years. And it’s getting more real by each day. Honestly, I’m quite nervous. I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know the person I will be the next month.

But I do know this. Today is the start of my 4-day mini-vacation. And what I do for the next 3 days will shape my future. It’s that important. Because I could gain an advantage by putting in the work and furthur build my momentum. Or I will lose it all and waste a week.

Time is very, very important now.

I can’t afford a week. I must not dabble around and hang out with my friends for the next 3 days.

I must prioritize and put my studying first. So for that reason, I will devote my time from dawn til later afternoon to study Mathmatics and Literature.

Evening is time for optional studying or recreational time.

Chop chop.

GOOD THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO DAY: Delicious cake ( I love chocolate-dipped). Fun in the workplace. Went home.

GOOD THINGS THAT I DID: Finished my essay as I have planned. Help my girlfriend with her work. Voice myself in Maths class.

THINGS I CAN IMPROVE: Wake up earlier. Do more literature tests. Be more caring for my parents.

THINGS I’M GRATEFUL FOR: a wonderful girlfriend. Very sexy-looking girls in my class. A loving parents. My dope shirt. My dope Converse. My health.

DAILY JOURNAL #14. 23H19

HOME. 29 04 17

MOMENTUM – Push, Push, Push!

I feel like my ball finally started rolling. My mental, academical ball, of course.

I have actually spent a few hours doing what I should be doing. Odd things happened though, I feel like something was still missing. I thought I was supposed to feel fulfilled and at ease with my work.

But something deep within me was pushing me to go further, to do more. Something was trying to convince me that I should test my capabilities and endurance: Don’t stop at the first sign of fatigue K, you can do more!

I didn’t listen to it. Hence, there’s remaining a sense of guilt. I feel like I have betrayed myself and took the easy road.

I would go harder tomorrow.

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Good things that I did today: I did my Maths for at least 3 hours. I took a nap when I needed. I eat delicious and semi-healthy food (a bit oily).

Things I could improve today: I can wake up earlier. I can hit the gym. I can drink more water. I can be more energetic around my girlfriend.

Things I’m grateful for: I have got a caring mother that calls me every morning. I have got a lovely, beautiful and talented girlfriend that always pushes my to better myself. I have got real, inspiring friends that always have my back.

Nhung’s place. Daily Journal #13. 28 04 17.

Slacking Off

Once in a while, everyone will fall off their wagon and live a terribly unproductive day.

That’s my day today.

Clocking is ticking, University Exam is coming inch by inch, much faster than I expected. There are still so much to prepare for, lessons to learn, tests to do, formulas to memorize…

Knowing all of this, yet I can’t put my feet down the pedal and hustle. I still haven’t put in the hours. I still haven’t been doing what I should be doing. Instead I procrastinated, played around with Facebook, Youtube, Videogames,… It’s absurd how illogical our pattern of decision-making can be.

I’m beating myself over it while simultaneously lacking the will to start action.

Everything falls apart so easily. I should not beat myself over it, it doesn’t bring any value so why would I harm my mental health. I should be more radical and logical: doing according to the big plan.

I have come to realize that I’m not very good to sticking with long-term plans either. So I will break the goals down to small chunk of bites for daily action. I will keep myself pre-occupied with those tasks instead of constantly doubting the long-term plans.

I should re-prioritize my entire day. I will plan out the die ahead the night before. I will do 15 minutes of studying the first thing in the morning to kick-start my day. I will focus solely on a particular subject on each day. Everything else is secondary.

I still have 6 hours left before the day ends, let’s make this count. I will go to class for 3 hours and come back home at 21h40. Then straight to studying until 23h40. Today is Maths. I will finish the paper on Function. Then I will tiredly report my doing to Nhung, my girlfriend and plan for tomorrow.

Daily Journal #12. 17h31. Tiny Flat. 27 04 17

Morning Dew

Do you know that the most successful writers usually work in the early morning?

Seems like early birds get the worms, and also the Pulitzer.

 

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Bokeh Photography by Najwa

 

I’m trying to wake up earlier, 5.30 am to be exact. Waking up early can be a huge advantage in boosting your productivity. When others normally awaken, you will already have added on 1 to 2 to 3 hours of working ahead of them. If you wake up an hour earlier everyday, you will have an extra 365 days in a year, that’s 2 weeks! It’s insane how time-saving it can get.

“But I Don’t Have Enough Time”

That’s is one of the biggest excuse people make when being unable to acquire a new habits or trying out new stuff. Pretty ridiculous if you ask me! You always can make time instead of waiting for the right moment. If you cut down just a little bit on sleep and devote those hours to realizing your goals, it will probably be a good investment.

Also waking up early is the straightest path to discipline and commitment. No matter how fucked up your last night is, you have to wake up at a certain hour. In a world of chaos and disorder, you will have a grounded center that can always be rely on.

So wake up earlier my friend and have a great day.

Daily Journal #11.

6h19 26 04 17.

Nhung’s place.

On Happiness – 10th day of journaling

Dalai Lama walked into a pizza restaurant. The waiter greeted him:

-Hello Sir. What may we serve you with? We have sausage, beef, chicken, fish, shrimp, or veggie special…?

After thinking for awhile, Dalai Lama said:

-Can you make me one with everything?

Funny joke. I really like that joke.

Today is my 10th day of daily journaling. I feel a sense of accomplishment. Objectively, it’s not much. Just jotting down a couple of words everyday for over a week.

But I’m still proud. I have never been much of a consistent type, the one who can stay committed to his craft and push through the boredom or go against the lacking of motivation.

I give up very easily. So it’s the tenth day, and I’m still going strong. Cheers to that!

And I feel like I’m also mapping out my inner tangled mind by voicing through these posts. I stay more grounded, think more clearly and feel much more at ease. I’m not overthinking much, not worrying too much; even though this might be the most stressful moment of my life.

I stay present. And think that’s what happiness is all about: to stay present, no matter what. True happiness is what I’m seeking, not a fleeting spikes of instant gratification like a good sex, a good movie, a good meal… Although I’m incredibly grateful for all those things, but they are still the external part of my experience, if it comes, it will go.

I have me and only me: this body and this mind. And even these two vessels can fade out one day. I age, I will lose my strength and agility in my body. My mind may become slow and dull. So can’t count on them for happiness either.

It must come from within, from the space at which thoughts arise from: which is nothing. If I can become happy with nothingness, I will be happy with anything. No matter how bad, or how good it is. To stay present no matter what.

That’s my ambition, and I have a long way to go.

A little bit of rambling today. Cheers!

Daily Journal #10. 23h16 25 03 17

The Fountain (2006) | A FILM ABOUT DEATH

Once again, a film recommended to me by my girl.

Unlike Closer, this film hooked me from start to finish. Every moment adds up beautifully to a grand, epic climax. I couldn’t help dropping my jaw, awing at the marvelous cinematography, the lingering score and the absurd yet intriguing plot.

This is clearly an ambitious film and perhaps the only way to convey its message is through its unique way of story-telling. It aims to tap into life, creation, death and ultimate love, how can one even expect this grandeur of a film to be your normal Netflix-chill watching?

In case you might have watched it but haven’t quite comprehended the story-line, this is my take:

SPOLER ALERT

Tommy Creo, a brilliant brain surgeon is facing with the ill joke of fate: his wife, Izzi has a developing tumour in her brain. His undying love for Izzi led to an important breakthrough in medicine. Yet, once again, like an ill joke of fate, his wife passed away right before he had a chance to save her.

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Izzi took inspiration from her husband, wrote a book about a courageous, faithful conquistador that went on a quest to find the Tree of Life. The title of the book was The Fountain, as capturing the ultimate objective of her hero: an unswayed determination to find the fountain of youth, which would earn him his place beside his queen forever. But (I think) intentially left the last chapter for her husband to finish up.

After Izzi had passed away, Tommy still latched on his intention of bringing her back to life. The desire was so intense that it manifested into the “weirdest” parts of the film: a floating tree inside a magnetic force field that drifts through the galaxy reaching Xibalba. My interpretation, this is a close representation to the inner, chaotic world of Tommy. We see the tree from the Fountain story, we see Xibalba as Izzi had mentioned before. All of this was an on-going quest to fight death, to find immortality.

The story revolves around Tommy’s unwilling to let accept his fate. He could not bear to let Izzi go. Afraid of the unknown, of death, of seperation, and this all comes from an egotistical view point that we are nothing more than flesh and thoughts, emotion.

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The moment Tommy realized that he would die, and that’s the only way he find happiness along side Izzi is the most beautiful thing I have seen in a long time. He knew true happiness. He knew that we are all one of the uniting spirit, love,… not some seperated beings whose only existence was to await death.

It’s the toughest pill to swallow. He had to accept his wife death, his own death and gave up the remaning bits of his ego. Something that the conquistador never really gets despite his courage.

Death is the road to awe.

Daily Journal #9 12h31 25 04 17

YOUR PASSION IS OVERRATED

I think we are living in a world where passion is considered the ultimate answer to life.

If you are passionate, you’ll have bullet-proof motivation to pound life days in and days out. If you are passionate, you’ll always know what to do and a basically conquer every negative emotions with ease.

You feel incredibly driven towards something. And that sensation will lift your spirit up from those miserably dull and boring days to a life filled with fulfillment and a sense of purpose. You will love the journey, all sunshine and butterflies.

If you are passionate, you win.

You basically turn into Superman if you have passion.

 

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(I like Superman by the way)

 

The thing is: If something seems to go to be true, it is actually too good to be true.

I consider this as an over-romanticized view of life. We all know that life is hard as hell, with all the ups and downs, the uncontrollable circumstances and the endless adversities that come in your way.

No matter how talented or how lucky you are, you will bump into those dark moments. It is bound to happen. That’s the yin to your yang. Life will challenge us and push we out of our comfort zones.

And that fiery sensation we call passion will dim out in those days. We won’t want to continue, we won’t want to expose ourselves to pain. Since our entire motivation depends on our passion, you will surely give up.

What would you do if your passion runs dry?

We stay DISCIPLINED.

batmanOn the occasion that we are using Superman as the image of passion, I can’t think of a more fitting superhero to represent discipline than the Dark Knight himself.

There’s a mind-boggling lack of commitment and discipline in our lives. We have long lost the appreciation for the dull, boring and repetitive work and traded them for some shiny, quick gratification.

Like Batman, we must embrace the pain and stay committed. Even if we get our ass kicked, our body bruised, we keep on our stoic mindset.

Passion starts the process. Discipline gets shit done.

Passion and Discipline together makes the perfect combo. If we manage to nurture both, a beast we will become.

Daily Journal #8. 23h30ph. 23 04 17

 

 

 

FACING MY FEAR

I’m still a student. A young boy in an Eastern culture where “honor” is highly valued. Needless to say, academic performance matters greatly.

My University Entrance Exam is only 2 months away. All the anxiety has already building up inside me. If you are someone who is outside of Vietnam, may be it will be a bit hard to sympathize with me here. University Entrance Exam is literally everything to a vast majority of students in Vietnam. We take 2,3,4 extra classes every week. The amount of date that needs to be memorized is beyond comprehension. It’s the ultimate test of a broken education system. Way too much pressure with little meaning.

I remember vividly how terrified I was when I knew of this tormenting exam. I was around 6 or 7 years old then, thinking that I still got plenty of time to dodge that monster. I was still young and carefree.

But that monster has come knocking on the door and its name is Mathematics. We have a bunch of subjects to choose, but I chose English, Literature and Maths.

And by far Maths has always been such cruel joke to my existence that I don’t know what’s what anymore. I strips away my self-confidence and destroys my self-esteem like an overdominating father. I am hateful and terrified of it at the same time.

Time has revealed the ugly truth to me: Maths will be my ultimate test of manlihood. I know the test is 90% trivia and has little or nothing of value for our future life. But I will still have to take it and I will jump on Math’s neck that dirty son of a bitch.
Fuck you.

Daily Journal #7. 0h20 23 04 2017.

SORE AND TIRED.

That’s how I would like to feel when i hit the hay. 

All day of: Going for action. Taking the heat. Enduring the boredom. Keep grinding and innovating. Working hard and smart.

Each hit is a step closer to our true potential, unlocking the secrets of our capabilities as a person.

I want my body to be sore from physical work and my mind to be drained from intellectual doing. I want that pain.

Only then can we truly be grateful for everything we have. The beds seem as warm and kind as our Mother. The water tastes like the purest elixir that brings life right back to every tissue, every muscle.

Growth requires pain. That’s why Rocky’s face always looks like a beat-up pie of meat.

And then we rest. And we repeat the cycle again.

Daily Journal #6 23h15 21 04 17