Do It. Then Pivot.

man-person-cute-youngIt’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. There have been issues with my host (DreamHost), but I think it is now working *crossed-fingers*

We’ve always been told to just do whatever it feels right. There is no perfect timing than now. If you fail, then pivot. These are words that carry a lot of weight when you’re looking at jumping into a start-up company. Stories about entrepreneurs abound these days (and currently I’m reading about Elon Musk). Their tale reveals a common trait among these innovators: they’re hell bent on making things happen no matter what. The price of succeeding is heavy–and could even affect their relationships, marriages, etc. But they push on amid the setbacks.

Recently, I’ve been meeting a lot of new people–entrepreneurs, idea people, and some quirky ones. They all share one common trait: they want to disrupt the status quo. They’re also big dreamers who want to escape the corporate life, and the rat race (grind, for some).

These thoughts do cross my mind everyday, and there’s not a day that I start dreaming of a life that I can control. The four-hour work-week comes to mind too.

Then, I saw this film about this guy, a psychiatrist who seemed to have a comfortable life. He had a steady pool of clients; a caring partner; and good friends. However, as time went by, he realized he was unhappy. Thus, sparked his physical journey to research on what made people happy. He went to China and found a rich, American businessman who taught him that money can buy happiness. Nah. Then, he moved on to Africa where he met a drug kingpin and some low-life kidnappers. He learned that happiness is about taking advantage of situations and turning such situations to his favor. Happiness is also about being alive. Finally, he ended up in L.A. where he met his unrequited love. But he realized that he was chasing a fantasy and NOT love or happiness. In the end, his journey made him understand that it was his partner/wife who made him happy.

The End.

Such are stories made for movies or TV. But there are grains of truth in such films. As they say, art imitates life. Or art is a reflection of life and of our values. So I guess, what I’m saying is that our lives are essentially pursuits of happiness. And we often look for answers elsewhere, when they are sitting right in front of us (or in my case, right beside me now).

Family keeps me grounded. As long as they are happy, I’m happy.

#LookUp: Put the phone down.

We spend our lives looking at screens every waking time, that we miss life that is happening right in front of us. This video–poetry–reminds us that we all have  responsibility to humanity–let’s all go back to the basics. We all need to PUT THAT PHONE DOWN!  Take a break and talk to people, and I’m not talking about IMs, but face-to-face conversations.

Goodbye, dear friend

Dexter Rene Fernandez
Photo of Dexter Rene Fernandez (Taken from Google+ Profile)

Today, you joined our creator.

Your friends and family will miss you. But we all know you’ve lived a good life. You’ve made people happy. You’ve made people laugh. You’ve been a good friend and brother. You inspired people to be better.

Your passing reminded us of the inevitable: that we would also join our creator in our good time. The life you lived, the legacy that you’ve left behind, the people you’ve touched–they all thank you.

I watched you struggle the past few months. I wanted to know how you have felt. But I was afraid to dampen the vibrant mood that always surrounded you. Amid the suffering, you kept on smiling, singing, and reminding us that we are one in Christ. You were surrounded by LOVE. The Lord was and is always present, giving you strength and courage to deal with the painful experience.

As I read the messages flowing from your family and friends, I felt the warmth of their words—words of faith, of encouragement, of LOVE. You united us once again through a virtual connection that kept us informed of your situation.

My dear friend, I’m relieved that your suffering is over, but deeply saddened of your passing. We know you’re in a happier place now, singing songs and hymns with a new choir alongside our creator.

Do look after us, and remind us that we’re mere tenants in this world. Your death and your life are both reminders of our mission and purpose in life. We are mere passers-by, and thus we must keep our light burning as we face our own mountains and storms.

You are leaving a family who are well-loved; a wife and daughter who loved you until the end. We will take care of them.

We love you brother, and to this, I pray that you watch over us. Whenever I’m down, I will always look up to remind myself of you, smiling down upon us.

 

Looking back at 2014

In a few days, I will be saying farewell to 2014.

Many things happened in 2014. So I will try to recall milestones and derive some lessons from it.

New job, new challenges. This year, I jumped into the year doing a different job. It wasn’t my forte. It was THAT fork in the road where I had to take. It’s either I go the familiar route or I take a different path with surprising challenges. More than a year into this job, I have learned that relationships still matter to get things done (It has always been). There are also more things to learn, also to unlearn–the latter is a challenge since this has become a habit. I also met very interesting people, gained friends and new mentors.  I also realized I could do less, and still do more. I learned never to get satisfied with status quo. I also learned to challenge myself in so many ways–thanks to a great mentor/teacher who is passionate about life. I will continue to reinvent, no, disrupt my ways and my way of thinking. If you keep doing that, you won’t get bored.

Health is more critical than ever. They say life begins at 40. I turned 41 this year, and boy, I found out that I need to exercise more. I also found that I have diabetes, which sucks. But this is my body telling me to take things slow now. I have to do everything in moderation. I have to eat healthy, which means less sugar (carbo) and fats in my diet. I have renewed appreciation for salads, fresh vegetable and fruits, whole wheat, oatmeal, fish oil, and exercise–the last I still need to keep doing. Thank God if you still have your health at this point in your life. I am deeply thankful God has given me good health despite some bumps along the way. I won’t declare any New Year’s resolution, noting that I will exercise more this time. I just need to do it.

BFF is equal to Best Family Forever. Okay, that seems a stretch and a corny twist on the more known meaning of that acronym. Nobody beats family. Family should always be first in everything you do. Career over family? Nope. Family keeps you sane, grounded, happy, and honest. Family reminds you of your limitations. They’re there to always remind you you’re human. Love your kids. Love your wife, your husband. Tell them you love them.

Life is not complicated. Give away clothes that you don’t use. Give away books, magazines, and other stuff that are gathering dust. Live as if you’re ready to move to another country. That will push you to throw away junk and clear that unused room full of clutter. De-clutter your life. Word.

Devote time to a passion, hobby, vocation, or a calling. Whatever it is, find time to do it. This will help you keep going. I teach as a way to share my lessons I’ve learned in my various jobs. Teaching also helps you validate years of accumulated knowledge that needs to be put into action.  Teaching is also therapeutic and cathartic. It reminds me of my years in school, my own struggles to understand concepts and ideas I didn’t find interesting at that time. Teaching keeps me sane too. It reminds me of my idealistic days, when life was not complicated.

Don’t stop dreaming, and working towards it. Dreaming of taking a vacation? Well, keep dreaming, but work towards it. Plan it out. Dreaming of shedding some mid-section bulge? Schedule it. Find time in your week to start the habit. Big things start small, or from a dream.

Read. Write. Draw.  I still believe writing down your thoughts on paper is a good exercise for the brain. It keeps you sharp. And it helps you document your thoughts. If you can’t write, draw. It is another way of expressing your thoughts, ideas. Keep a notebook handy–buy a moleskine if you have extra money. Just write whenever you feel like it.

To be continued…

Why some technologies do not excite me anymore

Call it techno-fatigue.

Everyday, a new shiny thing gets launched to market. Rumors fly about its specs, size, and services. After the unveiling, doomsayers say the product won’t sell. Market proves them wrong. Consumers gobble it up. It becomes a hit. Eighteen months later, a new new thing is launched again. Consumers feel they’ve been duped.

I’ve been exposed to too many technologies for years. I did write reviews about them, picking features I liked from those that are mediocre. Today, I’m still trying to learn the newer features of my operating system upgrade, er, version N+.1. It’s an unending iteration, as software companies continue to improve and quash bugs.

Social and mobile media didn’t help that much too. Everyday, I get bombarded with shiny new stuff: games, apps, services, and even spam in my SMS inbox. Many of these stuff I don’t need, but because of my curiosity, I still give them some attention. Then my excitement fades and I delete them from my phone.

We’re under pressure to keep up with the high-tech Joneses. We want to be ahead of the curve. We need to have the latest gadget. And then what? We don’t know.

I admire how mobile and digital technology have somehow made our lives “easier” and yet complicated. (We now have to keep charging our batteries every night because we want to check our Facebook stream).

I read start-ups introducing the new, new thing—but many fail to even create a market or audience because their ideas seem too far-fetched.

New phones, new TVs (smarter TVs), new appliances (connected ones too), and new software–they’re all coming. But most are fragmented. Connected they may be, some are like add-ons to a list of existing technology that we already have. (Fancy a fast-er charger?)

Let me list some observations, and I will let you weigh in on it. Hopefully, as you purchase your shiny, new, new stuff, you’ll think twice if it’s worth it, or it’s excess baggage:

  1. Do you really, really need it now? If you’re buying just to impress someone, don’t. Save your money.
  2. You already have one. Buying +1 is just too much. Buying +2 is crazy.
  3. If you’re buying one to replace your existing unit, then make sure you giveaway the old or trade it in. You might even get a few extra cash to buy some groceries.
  4. Don’t buy for technology’s sake. Keep your life simple. If you can, stick to a handful or your older units. If it ain’t broke, keep it.
  5. Purchase software that you only need. In fact, best to choose those that are cloud-based and are available for subscription. And find something that has multiple licenses, which allows you to extend usage to your family.
  6. Kill apps you are not using. Limit your social networks. Turn-off notifications, unless you’re in the news business of knowing, 24-7.
  7. Stop downloading stuff (especially the illegal ones and the bloatware). Try streaming or cloud services. They will provide enough satisfaction if you’re willing to pay monthly fees. And for those who want to know how to tap these services abroad, THERE IS A WAY!
  8. Technology should not be a crutch. It should not replace analog stuff. Use it wisely. Don’t depend on it. Buy a moleskin notebook for notes. Secure a vinyl record player. Go acoustic. Analog is the new, new thing today.
  9. Technology should not be the end-all, be-all. Give your brain and body some workout. Go out, run, swim, walk. It still pays to study nature.
  10. Finally, when you’re in front of people, when eating, or when you’re in a conversation, TURN OFF all screens. Turn it off. It’s rude to be using your phone while you’re with friends and family. In class and in SCHOOL, turn down your laptop, or make that screen sleep. Listen to your teachers. Listen to your colleagues. They will appreciate it. Strike a conversation with your seatmate or, why try knowing your classmates better.

Technology in general should not be a time-suck. It must make us better humans. Think about it. Don’t get to SCREEN BURNED.