Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

My whole life I believed that focusing on your strengths and following your passion is all you needed to become successful. It wasn’t until I read Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, I realized how important seeking opportunities and understanding your background is, as well.

Malcolm studies the elites in athletics, academia, business, etc.. and discovers patterns in their lives that make them who they are today. What he discovers is that everything, in a way, is predefined. He discovers how the most talented and working individuals cannot solely rely on their skills to become successful. Your perception of society and your background plays a huge role in how you interact with others and who you meet. He births the idea of “10,000 hours to become a master at anything.” When looking at it from a macroscale, the elites are who they are because they hit those hours before anyone else. They were given the right opportunities at the right time.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I agree with Malcolm and believe that opportunities and your background play vital roles in determining success. However, I believe we have more control over our lives than we may realize. Talent and skill play a huge role and being able to seek opportunities are just as important. I agree that some opportunities are given to us. However, there are more opportunities that we must seek or earn. Just because you start somewhere different than where you want to end up, doesn’t mean you won’t end up where you want. Overall, I think this is a great read and helped me get a closer look into what it takes to be successful.

Thank you so much for reading this week’s post! I will be doing more book reviews like this. If you plan to read or have read this book, I would love to hear what you learned from it. Tune in next Sunday to read about Failures.

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Time Management

Time management can make or break our future. Knowing how to manage one of the most precious resources in the world, plays a vital role in our success. Being able to understand and learn how to properly use it, will give us a feeling of control and a sense of freedom.

I am by far no expert. I still struggle with managing my time properly. I have, however, improved and want to share what I have learned. Being able to manage my time has given me more freedom and control over my life. Here are three things that have made the greatest impact:

Preparing! I was so bad at preparing. I would spend little to no time actually going through the tasks that I had to do or when to do them. Everything would just pile up and I would have to pull some long nights to get everything done. Even if it’s only 10 mins, that is enough time for me to understand what tasks I need to do and when I could do them during the week or the next day. I use a calendar app on my phone or my planner to keep track of my tasks.

Understanding myself! I would see every task as the same. Work is work, right? I realized that I am better at doing certain types of tasks at specific times during the day. For example, I am more productive at doing creating work in the morning. This would be meditating, reading, writing, or listening to a podcast. Any type of work that requires little effort, I would save for when I am with others because I get distracted easily. This would be grading or writing/responding to emails. Finally, I save all of my technical stuff last. This would be my homework or doing work on my research. You have to be patient and try different things to find what works best for you.

Change is inevitable! Understand that everything changes. We can only accept and prepare for it. Every day is not going to be the same and that is okay. I would get really anxious every time things didn’t go as expected or I would spend too much time doing something else. This only makes the situation worse and you pile on some unneeded stress. I can get bored doing the same things again and again, so I have started to actively seek out change in my routines.

These are just a few things that work for me. It is not meant to be easy, nor is this a step-by-step guide on how to manage your time. I would like you to use this as inspiration to find techniques that work best for you. I would love to hear what you currently use to manage your time!

Thank you for reading this week’s post! Tune in next Sunday to read about my favorite book: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

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Stress

Why do we get so intimated from this word? Why are we taught to believe stress is a bad thing?

Stress allows us to grow. It allows us to learn and realize our potential. It cannot be avoided. If you want to achieve anything in your life, at some point you will have to bear this feeling.

It’s not the amount of stress you carry that breaks you down. It’s how you carry it.

Jay Shetty

Throughout our lives, we will face numerous problems and situations. Each one may be completely different than the other. However, the feeling will always be the same. We will always have a sense of added weight onto our shoulders. How we carry this weight is what drags us down. We often blame the problems or complain about the situation we are put in. When in reality, it’s the solution we should be focusing on. I have learned that we have little to no control over the majority of the situations we are put in. In the end, we are defined by how we react.

When you change the way you carry that weight, you are changing your perception of stress. Instead of seeing it as a hurdle or hinderance; you start seeing it as an opportunity. Shifting my perspective has changed the way I deal with problems and make decisions.

Another issue I dealt with was being involved with too many different things. I was involved with 6 different clubs and taking over 17 hours of classes. It was rare for me to have any time for just myself. I was involved in things that would have little to no benefit in the career I wanted to pursue. I realized this once I took the time to define who I wanted to be. Understanding myself allowed me to understand what types of loads I needed to be carrying.

I am a victim of overthinking. There have been countless times where I overthink a situation and often perceive it worse than it actually is. This causes me to be stressful and clouds my decision making. Distracting myself by doing things I like usually helps me avoid this issue. Over the summer I had no idea where I would be in August due to immigration. I had just graduated from the University of Kansas having no idea what my future holds. My whole life was dependent on a piece of paper from the government. My family came to visit me for my graduation in May. It wasn’t until after they left, I realized all the stress and anxiety I had of my future. There were numerous sleepless nights and stressful moments. I eventually realized, how little control I had over the situation. Wasting my time thinking about or worrying about what was to happen would only add onto the stress. So, I started reading, working out, cooking different dishes, selling stuff online, watching movies etc.. Anything that would distract me. I had done everything right and trusted that whatever would happen will happen for the best. When we start overthinking, we start adding weight that was never meant to be there.

Every time I face a difficult situation or have a lot of pressure on me, I start reflecting. I reflect on past situations where I had the same feeling and how I overcame it. I use my past accomplishments as a way to inspire and motivate me to get through my present. More often than, we give little to no credit for our past. We have to take the time to appreciate the things we have accomplished to have the ability to appreciate the things we will.

I am constantly trying to improve and trying to learn new ways o dealing with stress. I believe it is important to know that dealing with stress isn’t. It is something that can’t be avoided and it is perfectly okay to have a breakdown. In the end, we are human and we aren’t perfect.

Thank you so much for reading this week’s post! I would love to hear your moethods of overcoming stress! Tune in next Sunday to read about time management.

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Perfection

We spend so much of our time trying to be perfect, never realizing that we already are. I believe that perfection is just an illusion that was created to motivate us to keep growing. I realized that happiness doesn’t come from finally achieving “perfection.” It comes from striving for it. It is during the journey we learn more about ourselves. It is during the journey we realize our purpose. However, recently the purpose behind “perfection” has been changed with the influence of social media.

Social media has been revolutionary. You can follow your friends, family, or the famed from your couch no matter where they are in the world. You can learn more about their hobbies, interests, or personality. However, how much of it is actually true? How much of the content you see is truly them?

I recently noticed that a majority of the time we only showcase our “perfect” moments. You have to have the “right” lighting. You have to be with the “right” people. You have to be wearing the “right” clothes. We start believing this false perception of what life should be like. Instead of living our own purpose and ambitions, we start becoming someone else. We believe that if we want to be successful, then we have to act and be a certain way.

I had this same connotation for a long time. More often than not, I was posting not for myself but for others. I was posting to get attention. I was posting to “fit in.” I was posting to be liked. I believed that this is who I’m supposed to be and should follow these steps to achieve it. My happiness and self-worth were based on a number on a screen. It wasn’t until recently I realized that true genuine happiness is found within yourself. You have to find happiness within before you seek for it in the world.

Now, I’m not saying that social media is bad and everyone should delete it. Social media is a great way to share your life and connect with friends and family. It has impacted the communication industry in an ingenious way. All I want is that before you make a post, write a tweet, or add to your story, ask yourself whether it is really you doing it or someone else who you’re pretending to be. In my eyes, real “perfection” is found in the imperfections.

Thank you so much for reading this post! This is something I still struggle with today. The purpose of this whole blog is to relay this message. I am not perfect. I am human and I make mistakes. I use this as a medium to showcase everything I have learned. Let’s keep growing together! I would love to hear your thoughts! Please share with friends and family who would benefit from this. Tune in next Sunday to read about stress!

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My Week without Headphones

We are constantly listening to something. Whether we’re walking, working out, driving, studying, eating, or even meditating, we spend so much time with our headphones and separate ourselves from the present. Music allows us to harmonize and express our emotions. It is a type of glue they can bind us together. However, we have to make sure it does not overwhelm us. We have to make sure that we are still listening to the oldest and greatest composer of all, Nature.

I lost my headphones about a month ago. I am always listening to something. When I’m at the gym, I listen to hip-hop or rock. When I’m studying, I listen to something slower. When I’m driving, I listen to the radio. When I’m walking, cooking, or doing anything that requires little to no effort, I am listening to podcasts. I carried my headphones with me everywhere and it wasn’t until two weeks ago I became aware of the illusion it creates.

We shift our focus to whatever we are listening to. In a way, we start believing what we’re listening to is the true present. The first two weeks I lost my headphones, I didn’t think too much of it. I didn’t realize how dependent I really was. I had backup headphones but I didn’t carry them because they were too bulky. So, the only time I would be listening to something was when I was home. Then, eventually, I started becoming aware of the changes.

Every morning I take about a thirteen-minute walk from my car to campus. My path lies in a beautiful neighborhood with wide houses and serene lawns. I started noticing the smallest details. I started to notice the curved shape of the sidewalk and the way it blends in perfectly with the road. I started to notice the way the sun shines through the branches of the tallest trees. I could hear the birds chirping and the squirrels jumping. I started to realize how heavenly the world really is.

Taking the time to just listen, allowed me to appreciate so much. I was able to become more aware of the present and gain a sense of control.

About a week later, I got new headphones. However, the music I listen to on my morning walk remains the same. It is the one song that I could listen to a thousand times and never get bored of. In a way, I think it is a type of meditation for me. I am able to pay attention to every breath I take whilst, listening to my surroundings. I’m not saying to quit listening to entertainment. I’m simply trying to convince you to take at least five to six minutes out of your day to take a walk outside and just listen. You’ll start to notice things that you had no idea existed. Listen with an open mind and a grateful heart.

Thank you so much for reading this week’s post! I would love to hear your thoughts below! Tune in next Sunday to read about perfection.

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Morning Routine

This is probably one of the most undervalued concepts in our society. The morning is usually the only time that we have to ourselves. Once we get to work, school or even just check your mail you are devoting time to someone else. How we use it plays a vital role in determining the quality of that day.

This is something I have been working on probably for 4 years. Ever since my freshman year in college, I was striving to find a productive morning routine. There was about a week where I would wake up at 5 am and go get a workout in with my friend. This did not last very long due to an increase in workload and simply lack of motivation. Then throughout the summers of my college career, I would try to implement different ways of being productive throughout the day. Due to the sporadic nature of my routines, I couldn’t build a structured regiment.

It wasn’t until this summer when I really took the time and reflected upon my failed attempts. I realized the main reason I wasn’t able to follow through with my routines was due to a lack of a plan. I realized that the best morning routine starts the night before.

Having a plan allows me to be the most productive of my time. Before, I would wake up and think of what I should do. This would cause a lack of motivation in the long run and didn’t build any structure. I also realized that the morning routine you follow has to resonate with you.

When you look up morning routines, you will find hundreds of different things people do. What you may notice is that no two routines are the same. Similarly, you have to take the time to understand and build a routine that resonates with your goal. For example, my routine consists of meditation, push-ups or pull-ups, cold shower, personal reading, and business reading. The combination of meditation, some type of physical activity, and a cold shower allows me to wake up my mind and body. Reading is something that I used to struggle with and would find numerous excuses to ignore it. So I chose to implement it into my routine instead. Your routine should, in a way, be an extension of your personality.

Lastly, it takes time to build the right routine. I have been on my routine for almost 3 months and I am still taking out and adding stuff in. The only thing that matters is that you are consistent.

In the end, I am no expert. This is just my opinion and what I have found best to work for me. I have some friends who work better at nights or strive in unstructured days. So, take the time to reflect and understand yourself. I would like you to use this as inspiration not as a blueprint.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post! If you found this helpful, please share with your family and friends. Comment one of your favorite morning activities below (mine is breakfast). Let’s build a community dedicated to self-growth, together! Tune in next Sunday to read about the week I had with no headphones.

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Fear

Fear is something we face every day. At a macro scale, it acts as an ingredient of peace in our society. Individually, it is an impactful motivator for any and all of our actions. I believe fear is important. It is used to keep order and peace in our society. However, when looking at a micro-scale, it does more harm than good. When we take the time to understand this feeling, we will be able to understand where our actions are coming from.

More often than not, we make numerous scenarios in our minds and act according to the path with the least resistance. Why do we let such a feeling control our whole lives?

Fear prevents me from trying something new. Fear prevents me from committing to someone. Fear prevents me from being myself. Humans have the ability to reason. Reason becomes a double-edged sword when thinking about fear. Based on preconceived notions, we create scenarios in our heads that prevent us from doing what we really want.

I have always been afraid of failing. Whether it was for following through on a commitment or simply a test. It has prevented me from trying a lot of things. When I took the time to understand what this feeling is, I was able to gain more control over my actions. I started to understand, which actions I was making out of choice and which actions I was making out of fear.

I have experienced those scenarios coming true. Whether it was me failing at a sport or someone breaking my trust, I realized that I was still better off taking the chance. Everyone says that you live only once. I say that you live every day and only die once. Every day is another chance to make a change. Instead of taking that chance, why should we spend it being afraid?

Thank you so much for reading this post! I would love to hear some of your fears and how you overcame them down below. Tune in next Sunday to read about Morning Routines.

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