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Making Miles: Week 46, on money, materialism, motivation, and meaning



Note: During my run 18 weeks ago, I broke my iPod Nano … again (See weeks 13 through 16). I decided to wait till this September for the latest generation of the Apple iPod to be released. That’s when I can run with music again and log the exact time, pace, and mileage of my runs.



In the past two weeks, I’ve learned that I can choose to remain aware of the inner critic without having it affect my overall wellbeing.

In fact, lending an ear to it helps me remain conscious of how much I suck compared to others, a constant reminder for me to be careful of my actions at all times.

Looks help. Money helps. But there are higher means to the end: Reality states that appearance really matter. The halo effect is widespread across all contexts of human interaction – first impressions, social situations, whether at a party or in the workplace.

Apparently, the visual cortex is so influential to the human psyche that an attractive person, almost always defined by their facial symmetry, is instantly privileged for all the finer things in life.

Fine, I can accept that. Sometimes I catch myself favoring the eye candies over the rest too.

But I cannot accept the fact that physical appearance is so important that it is all that matters to lead a fulfilling life. What’s more: The attractive person, by birth, becomes obliged to a full-time service of showing others the invisible virtues, the very things that make the naked soul beautiful. Depending on the level of attractiveness perceived by the masses, the greater the obligation he or she has to hold to lead others to the eudaimonic life, making the self growing increasingly deprived of the occasional hedonism all humans need.

I noticed these sad, confused countenances while observing most public figures I’ve met. There is a dying soul that yearns to be freed inside, yet reality rejects their humanness and expects the beauty to perform godlike behaviors.

My logic states: If what the eyeballs can see are all there is to life, what is there worth living for? After all, aging is an inevitable process. As far as I know, no one has escaped physical mortality.

I’m aware of my appearance that befits certain social circles but misfits others, and just when I thought physical appearance only matters when it comes to attracting the opposite gender, reality states so clearly in my life that it matters anytime, anywhere, particularly in its role as a money-magnet.

As far as I’m concerned, most everyone great through the history of time, from Aristotle to Maslow, and now Daniel Pink, author of bestseller Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, states that morality is the seat of human wellbeing.

Human beings are each created with minds of their own, of which their own self-limiting beliefs are the only existing boundaries that hinder them from living out their fullest potential. Not only it is morally wrong, but it’s impossible to manipulate a fellow man for the long haul, more so for those seen and labelled as attractive. True, incentivising performance has been a tried-and-true way to reward people who have achieved a mutual goal, but when we’re talking the traditional carrot-and-sticks incentive, Pink’s findings reveal a surprising truth that I believe, deep down, if we are true with our conscience, we all know.

The late billionaire hippie Steve Jobs, his wife, and four children have always lived in the modest bungalow in Palo Alto. When the Apple CEO’s biographer, Walter Isaacson, prompted the subject on their interview, Jobs illustrated what he had learned early on about what money can do to people:

I saw a lot of other people at Apple, especially after we went public, how it [money] changed them. And a lot of people thought that they had to start … being rich. So they, they would- I mean they bought Rolls Royces, they bought homes, and they, and their wives got plastic surgery and they-and I saw these people who were really nice, simple people turning into these bizzaro people! And I made a promise to myself: I’m not going to let this money ruin my life.

In Pink’s book, he argued that modern economists, psychologists, and sociologists hold the same wonder to this phenomena. For nearly the last 40 years, their research findings conclude that increasing extrinsic motivators, such as monetary rewards, positively affects the high-performers who specialize in mechanical skills, but does the opposite to those involved in cognitive skills – the skills that engages intellectual, creative thinking. This truth does not only apply in the behaviors of college students in first-world Cambridge, Massachusetts – the study was replicated in third-world Madurai, India, and the case remains the same.

In the video above, Pink probes:

Why are these people, many of whom are technically sophisticated, highly skilled people who have jobs … okay, They have jobs! They’re working at jobs for pay doing challenging- doing sophisticated, technological work. And yet, during their limited discretionary time, they do equally if not more technically sophisticated work, not for their employer, but for someone else, for free!

In the age where creativity, authenticity, and originality are highly prized, do extrinsic motivators still apply when it comes to optimizing manpower? I doubt so.

Through Pink’s analysis and the wisdom of Steve Jobs, I learned that there are, fundamentally, only three things that motivate people in the long run: Autonomy (a desire to be self-directed), mastery (the urge to get better at stuff), and purpose (the sense that what we do provides a higher meaning beyond ourselves).




One of the many quotes I came across these days from Stanley Kubrick moves me on a mental, physical, and emotional level: “The very meaninglessness of life forces a man to create his own meaning.

“Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality.

As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation.”

As a millennial, today’s most depressed, stuck-in-between-generations population, I found that creating good cause is far easier than advancing forward even after having learned all the pain that surrounds you.

What, then, is the best practice for the young adult to push forward against the currents of meaninglessness?

tumblr_ln7kdi9JIB1qb5m27o1_500_largeSay no to conformity, affirms status-quo fighter and self-employed adult Chris Guillebeau, and make being alive an art.

Come to think of it, there really is only one thing you can run – your own world. I thought of questions that examine who I am and my place in the outer world; what are the differing opinions I hold from the status quo, how would I accept them as they are, and what I can do to make peace with those subjectives. “He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining,” Kubrick went.

“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment.

Light of the world: However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”





I’m on fire~

Always be able to give an account of yourself no matter what. You are not here to merely survive; you are here, now, present, to thrive for a purpose that only you and God alone know.




Always be aware of the things you are responsible to care for, but make sure you develop a strategy for sustainable development and prevent all the hard work you’ve done in the past to fall in vain. Progression requires accountability – that’s what Making Miles is for.

View my weekly mileage progress here and my all-time PB (personal best) record here.

Know thy self and thy meaning :)




– Image courtesies of Ella Bradley via Pinterest / weheartit / Rachel Ann via Pinterest

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Life Lately: Rambles and shambles





Think Like A Man


Lately, I’ve been learning that there is no substitute for family time – you have to plan it in order to have it.

The shape of stories
The shape of stories

I’ve rescheduled a lunch with my mom from last weekend to today, but I still haven’t got the chance to have that intimate dinner date with my dad when I suddenly got a really bad cold.

I see no point in saying out loud what I plan to do here, but what’s for sure is more time spent on relationships I value.

Until I really have done something, nothing is for sure. When it’s done, it’s then that I’m affirmed I’ve made or accomplished something. Until that happens, I feel it useless announcing anything that still rests as a figment of my current ebbing and flowing imagination.

Might as well having written none of the previous paragraphs.

I think that the writing process, which for me includes pre-writing, drafting, writing, revising, and a final revising, is like the CPU of all the new apps you downloaded into your reality, your life. Because this blog post is meant to be a stream-of-consciousness writing exercise, my brain is not primarily using logic to operate at the moment.

I know I’m just ruminating here. It’s just that today falls as a quadri-weekly Life Lately update on my calendar, which I’m thinking to discontinue immediately since you readers get nothing out of my roundabout rumination.

Gosh, I’m such a loser.

I can’t friggin’ think like a man because I know I have a flagging vajajay.


Act Like A Lady



Two years together and some more.

But sometimes, I really wish I can just disappear from the surface of the universe.

Sometimes, when I’m driving sleepy, I thought, if I get fatally hit by a car or a motor, will it still be my fault that I die? Because everything seems like I’m the one to blame. I blame myself for every friggin’ thing. It bugs me a lot that I can’t do something to change things.

When I told him that, he said, “You didn’t think of me? How do think I would feel if you’re not around?”

I’ve always assumed everyone would do fine, if not better, without me anyway. Does the existence of my physical self, through inhaling and exhaling, have to always provide value? What if sometimes I’m really a blank space? Or worse, a whole lotta mess?

If I have to choose to possess any one superpower ability, I’d choose the power to be invisible.

The only thing a woman can do while she’s alive on earth is to be the visionary, not a vision.

A woman may be subconsciously perceived as an object of male desire, but on the other hand, human beings are not made to be end-goals in the first place, but momentum-starters of myriad goals. There is no end to a living being because there are too much beginnings, too many possibilities to count. Perhaps all women should strive to have a strong will. Without her vision, men would be left without a purpose.

Then again if she does, she might at times feel she’s not worth achieving that valuable ideal. How do you esteem self-worth without feeding your ego? Is that why men tend to have bigger egos than women? So that we ladies can feed more than our own needs?

What if we are invisible? What if our caregiving deeds remain unnoticed? What if we remain quiet for the rest of our lives? What if we do the opposite and demand for attention instead? Do we automatically become labelled as an attention whore? At some point, are we ever going to get tired, so tired to care about our own selves, our own lives, and prefer to get hit by the car or the motor instead?

There is so much to care for.

Most of the time I am stoic in my present stance, but inside I’m a wreck composed of broken chords, mixed feelings, and tangled strands of thoughts all jumbled up into one rock-solid locked stance that once Stanley unlocks the key, every half-baked piece of shit will come out.

There must be some tall, invisible wall I’ve built up high and now stand so strongly, it feels real even though it’s imaginary. I’ve probably decorated its surroundings with flowers and vineyards so that, at least, this form of imprisonment is a prettier one than no adornments at all.

It’s times like these that I don’t know what’s real and what’s not.

Writing is real therapy.

But, as I said before, perhaps I’ll save Life Lately for my private diary from now on.


Look Like A Girl


Not doing so well, drastically lost most of my muscle mass.

I look like an old lady. Been eating a lot of crap lately. Not good.

Haven’t gone grocery shopping in ages. Haven’t cooked anything and it feels weird.

I smile less often than I used to.

I take myself too friggin’ seriously, that’s why this face is often frowning.

I need some makeup advice from nigahiga to get my blood pumping.


Work Like a Horse


I wish to work for my own boss, and I’m planning a specific set of workflow to compromise with her unwillingness to cooperate. Even though she’s vicious, unpredictable, shameless, perfectionistic, and tired all the time, she’s me.

A name-analysis service my mother ordered for when I was a little kid. Neither of us remember who the company was.
A name-analysis service my mother ordered for when I was a little kid. Neither of us remember who the company was.

You are what you think about. You are what you think about. You are what you think about. You are what you think about. You are what you think about. You are what you think about. You are what you think about. I’m muttering the words by heart. I think the words have sunk in.

I think about how money doesn’t determine the worth and value of a person. A person’s worth is determined by the person’s character.

I want peace and equality for everyone. I think I can change something but I can’t change anyone else but myself and my attitude first.

OK. ‘Nuff said. I’m rambling too much. NATO (No Action, Talk Only).




– Image courtesy of Alltop

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You taste warm and fuzzy.



When all the world is telling you to grow up …




Kiss and tell :)

Keep it simple, silly,
and show ’em how to love instead.

Have a great kiss!




– Image courtesy of Aww Club

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TGIF! {The 25th}

Benefits_of_Gratitude. JPEG



My 2013 began with a commitment to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

I’ve been practicing the art of counting my blessings every Friday (such as this tower of roses I received and other manifestations of abundance not listed here). I believe that at any given circumstance, there is always hope. Always.


♡ The new bangs. They’re a constant reminder for me to lift my chin up.


♡ Stanley and I had a really pleasant day last Sunday, a due celebration for being together in the last 2 years. It’s such a joy to have that kind of time – close to a full 24 hours – to actually be yourself. No tolerating criticism, no coping with judgments, no need for hiding behind your masks, your quiet desperations to be who you truly are.


To me, Sunday, 21 June 2013, was a present perfect tense whereby two people spent time together being nobody else but their real selves. Which brings to …


♡  I’m grateful for the authentic relationships that I have. It’s rare to find these days.


♡ The fact that I’m learning something new everyday. Like the many life lessons dogs are capable of teaching humans.

Such a shame watching this video, when thinking about my flaws and all. Don’t know why my perfect 10 loves me, and it hurts even more when time does not permit me to do anything good to express my gratitude.


♡ Another perk of the ability to drive: I’m thankful for minimizing 10’s burdens, even just for a little (okay let’s just dub him 10 from now on – far simpler than a seven-letter word). On Sunday, during one of our heart-to-heart conversations, he let in a brief acknowledgement and said, “I’m thankful you can drive, babe.”

I can understand him better now. We’re still living in a third-world country with major social divides, and most girls need to stay safe by choosing not to drive and have drivers fetching them to and from their whereabouts. This means I save heaps of 10’s time, energy, and effort, considering the hours that can take him when and if he’s stuck in a congestion … just to fetch someone like me.


♡ Mangoes. So sour, so sweet – just what I can’t live without.


♡ Mint tea. A sip of the warmth brings om to the senses. Menthol really brings you to nirvana.


♡ Privacy. I’m grateful that God made us all so different from one another that nobody will ever truly understand each another and the effort each of us have put in into our major contribution to the world. He made us in such a way that we have to take a leap of faith in Him so that we must choose to put trust into one another, cooperate, and work together to prosper in the long run.

Looking at the Internet era we’re currently living in, the Ministries of Big Brother might become real, but I will never love him as I stand firm in truth.


♡ The TGIF! list. Look at the infographic below to see why.

Benefits_of_Gratitude. JPEG


♡ The human mind. It is a malleable tool for solving all kinds of problems, if we let it.


♡ Science. Having graduated from an art school, I learned that to live is to make art.

But, as da Vinci once said, art lives from constraints and dies from freedom

I am thankful for having all my basic human needs covered (i.e. food, shelter, and love), and also thankful for having the resources to go the extra mile and self-actualize. But nobody, not even me, truly knows the self’s fullest potential, as much as nobody will ever know the mysterious workings of God. In a sense, this freedom of having whatever I want and will myself to do, while having all my needs covered, is purposeless and therefore better concluded to an end.

In order to make sense of this existence, I’m grateful for the knowledge and insights the scientific community has provided for the general public. Facts and figures, as constraints, help the self to flourish in the art of living. With science and conscience, life becomes a continuum in which there exists an infinite number of means to meeting multiple sets of ends.

The illustration I did for 10 is an extension of my gratified self crystallized, then actualized, into reality.




Going long is not as bad as it looks.

He likes it :)
He likes it :)


♡ I know I’m getting too philosophical, but you, my reader, is just like me, an intelligent human being with a creative purpose. It feels great for me to have you listening to my words.

In real life, I tend to keep myself quiet and just listen. But when it comes to writing, I believe I’m making a dent in the world somehow.


What is your dent? What are the little things, or the big ones, you’re grateful for this week?


Share your stories in section below, and hope you have a merry weekend :)




 – Image courtesy of Golden Eagles Coaching

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A 6 week plan: On Western thinking and Eastern healing, part 1



Here I am, just had my third bottle of Gold Label Bak Foong Pill. I had my second bottle last Thursday.

As for the case of my mood, I’m wearing my usual frown a lot lately, which was the baseline expression I’ve adopted since those 11 months without period in 2011, when life got the better of me.

The frown was also the expression I was not conscious of before my boyfriend started pointing it out during our first few dates in the relationship. He thought I need to smile more often. He said I look better in a smile.

So I smile often over time.

But I can’t friggin’ smile if I have to fake it. I can’t tolerate living a lie. For some reason, this is a very mean and very sad world. There is too much secrecy that the basic notion of transparency, and its embodiment, seems alien.

I detest these cover-ups. I loathe them because they cause blindness in people, weakening their conscience.

I digress.

No matter how shrewd people can get, no matter how bad these Machiavellian tactics could change things, my only wish is for them not to affect me in such a way that would hurt the people I would give up my life for.

It’s tough when you don’t give a shit about yourself, but have your most important people saying to you, “your happiness is our happiness.”

Bottom line: I have too much thoughts lately.

I expect my period to arrive by the second week of July nonetheless.

I’m doing this because I really have no purpose staying alive other than being of service to others whenever I’m called to write. In order to function optimally, there is no other way than to take curative and preventive care of my wellbeing, or notably referred to as quality of life.

Without further ado, let’s get my personal notes over with, then we can move on to probe the efficacy of the Bak Foong Pills:


      1. Thursday, 13 June, 2013: Didn’t have enough sleep the other night probably because I ate too much sugared ginger and drank sugary instant drinks, namely hot chocolate and teh tarik, and a whole lot of chocolate bars and Medjooli dates. Even when I eat so much for the past few weeks, sleep less than I usually do, and workout so much less often than I used to, my weight is still declining at a rapid rate, of reasons I don’t know of. My head hurts like hell. I don’t feel productive.
      2. Thursday, 20 June, 2013: Didn’t get sufficient sleep the other night but have been feeling a little better than last Thursday. Weight is back to normal and head hurts much, much less. Feel a bit more productive. More temperate mood climate throughout the day, though still a lot of worrying, frowning, and unconsciously contracting my brows while scrutinizing facts.
      3. Thursday, 27 June, 2013: Had sufficient sleep. Weight remains normal. Head’s still ringing in the mornings. Feel more productive then last week. Too much frowning, too much skepticism, too much worrying about the world than caring for myself.
      4. Thursday, 4 July, 2013: TBA
      5. Thursday, 11 July, 2013: TBA
      6. Thursday, 18 July, 2013: TBA


So. The label itself claims that the Bak Foong Pill is “traditionally used for health, stomachache, malnutrition after childbirth and regulating menstrual ailments.”

Formulated with traditional Chinese herbs, the Bak Foong Pill has long been said to treat all sorts of gynecological disorders. In general, Chinese women believe that these little black balls can be taken as a tonic to promote vitality, as well as a remedy to relief menstrual discomforts.

The concoction is comprised of the following ingredients:


    1. Radix Angelicae Sinensis (633.05 mg)
    2. Cortex Eucommiae (633.05 mg)
    3. Cortex  Cinnamomi (188.81 mg)
    4. Folium Artemisiae Argyi (710.80 mg)
    5. Rhizoma Corydalis (944.03 mg)
    6. Radix Astragali (1266.11 mg)
    7. Radix Ginseng (310.98 mg)
    8. Radix Paeoniae Alba (766.33 mg)
    9. Radix Polygalae (633.05 mg)
    10. Semen Sesami Nigrum (477.57 mg)
    11. Fructus Amomi (499.78 mg)
    12. Faeces Trogopterori (944.03 mg)
    13. Cornu Cervi Pantatrichum (310.98 mg)
    14. Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong (477.57 mg)
    15. Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae (310.98 mg)
    16. Poria (633.05 mg)
    17. Rhizoma Cyperi (633.05 mg)
    18. Herba Leonuri (710.80 mg)
    19. Mel (2916.98 mg)


There hasn’t been much evidence on the Bak Foong Pill’s effectiveness on regulating menstruation, or any of the much-hyped potencies. Due to my natural skepticism, I managed to avoid my mother’s nags to take these pills for years. Even to this day when the Western world is shifting much of its practices toward Eastern philosophy, especially in medicine, I still doubt the effectiveness of herbal healing for the sole reason that there hasn’t been much research done on the subject.

However, I choose to trust my mother more than science.

After all, she still looks like an older sister more than she is like a mother to most everyone we meet.

TIME’s 2002 insider on herbal healing covers promising evidences of Bak Foong’s health-promoting benefits, as well as the following Qingdao University finding.




According to the 2003 study published on Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, researchers found that the Bak Foong Pills gender-specifically stimulate the amygdala’s release of dopamine on female mice, which is a potent finding for further investigation aimed to reduce women’s risks of developing Parkinson’s disease.

As part of the human limbic system (sort of the orchestrator of the sleepy and moody endocrine system), the almond-shaped amygdalas are, essentially, the CPU of emotions. It’s always getting feedback from other regions of the brain, so that you, the user of your brain, is always learning.

The soul of the amygdala, as it processes emotions, means creating new or tighter associations with other regions of the brain so that, ultimately, these influences determine behavior and form long-term memory. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a big role in the amygdala and closely associated to reward-seeking behaviors, becomes active when you feel that sense of high after accomplishing a goal, when you’ve founding something that really motivates you, or when you sniff cocaine.

How exactly did the Bak Foong Pills do it? Nobody knows. Do they have the same effect on humans as they did on mice? Nobody knows.

But there’s no adverse side effects of its dosage that I know of, whether through word-of-mouth or my knowledge based on its research within the scientific literature.

To that, I will be back with my fourth bottle next Thursday to learn more about the individual ingredients of these pills, as to me, they’re pretty weird and disgusting-sounding (deer antler … flying squirrel poop …).




– Image courtesy of Trends in Neurosciences


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The road to success

We all know that there is no one-way road to achieving success. Even if there is such an established, perfectly-constructed system, no one has ever succeeded, not even those who have achieved success, in clearly showing others how to get there, though Varun Chablani has made a close call in the clever illustration below.


If we only take a closer look, you’ll find that the successful person just decides to succeed.


Success story

The successful person is the first and the last to know nothing but to catch the one train in time to get himself toward Success.

Looking at the illustration, the successful person starts his humble beginnings at Opportunity and go straight to the railroad station before he misses his train, disregarding the appeals of Bohemianism (draft beers) or the endless spin of Conceit (self-engagement). Once on board under the Right System, the successful person takes no second glance at Hotel Know It All, an imprisonment appealingly masked as knowledge, because he has admitted himself to knowing nothing but catching his train.

Only by withholding his good habits and virtues could the successful person bypass Bad Habits and Vices in order to get into the promised land of the System, wherein the biggest and the only hurdle before success is overcoming the Lack of Preparation tunnel, a dark path where the successful person has chosen to learn True Knowledge and gain wisdom.

Once the successful person saw the light at the end of the tunnel, he becomes successful by autopilot: His train follows his soul beyond the Gate of Ideals across the straight, unobstructive path toward Success, while those who have never gotten onboard in the train could only get to Weak Morals at best, unless they finally choose to make the wise decision to succeed.

Then again, we all know that there are far too many successful people who have been welcomed into the promised land, gained wisdom, and practiced morality without getting onboard in their trains, right? Those who get back on their feet after falling into Failure have found the harder road toward Success by their own ideals.


The public secret

The-Strangest-Secret-e1320849973872I’m currently reading the dean of personal development’s spoken word 1956 record The Strangest Secret, which has sold Earl Nightingale over 1 million copies worldwide even during his time.

Inspired by Napoleon Hill’s 1937 opus Think And Grow Rich, Nightingale wrote the book in honor of history’s most prominent successful persons, their succeeding contributions, and the strangest, yet most remarkable secret of all time, which has preceded these successes in the past as well as the extensive successes achieved today: We become what we think about.

This secret is synonymous with the message written on some of the best-selling self-help books in the industry today, namely Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret and the Hicks’ Ask And It Is Given.

Nonetheless, in Nightingale’s own words, success is defined by “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” By this definition, he has devoted a whole chapter to explore the intrinsic value of success, which I think is convincing because let’s face it – success feels better achieved by effort than when it is given.

This chapter is, arguably, a quotation-filled minefield that reflects how we often corrupt the very power of human thought in our lives by thinking in negative terms. Take a look at these clips:


1. A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.

(Marcus Aurelius)


2. A man is what he thinks about all day long.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)


3. The greatest discovery of my generation is
that human beings can alter their lives by
altering their attitudes of mind.

(William James)


4. We need only in cold blood act as if
the thing in question was real and it will
become infallibly real by growing into
such a connection with our life that
it will become real. It will become so knit
with habit and emotion, that our interest
in it will be those which characterize belief.

(William James)


5. If you only care enough for a result,
you will almost certainly ascertain it.
If you wish to be rich, you will be rich.
If you wish to be learned, you will be learned.
If you wish to be good, you will good.
Only you must then really wish things
and wish them exclusively
and not wish at the same time
a hundred other compatible things just as strongly.

(William James)


6. If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Mark 9:23


7. This is one of the greatest laws in the universe.
Fervently do I wish I had discovered it as a very young man. It dawned upon me much later in life and I found it to be one of the greatest, if not my greatest discovery, outside of my relationship to God. And the great law briefly and simply stated is that if you think in negative terms, you’ll get negative results. If you’ll think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results. That is the simple fact which is at the basis of an astonishing law
of prosperity and success. In three words, ‘believe and succeed’.

(Dr. Norman Vincent Peale)


8. Our doubts are traitors and make us lose
the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.

(William Shakespeare)


9. People are always blaming their circumstances
for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances.
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can’t find them, make them.

(George Bernard Shaw)


In other words, the secret acts like a mirror.

To live a successful life means creating our own reality, and doing so deliberately by using the power of thought.


Mirror, mirror

You’ve probably picked it up from Chablani’s illustration, as well as from your own observations throughout the history of mankind: The road to success is, more often than not, a long and lonely one.

As someone who is prone to overthinking, I believe that I’ve created my everyday reality and am responsible for all my setbacks. It’s comforting to say personal achievements out loud, yet looking forward, it’s all too scary to realize them in the first place.

How you decide to succeed, therefore, makes all the difference.

Right now, at 23, I’m lucky to say that the rest of my life still offers a relatively thick block of blank canvas for me to fill. Because I’m aware that every decision I make, both the major and the minor ones, will eventually make a life that constitutes the sum total of my thoughts, I intend to exceed fulfilling my needs by going after my wants quietly.

I envision a life brimming with abundance of my own ideals, and by ideals, I don’t see material gains as much as I see time-tested virtues I particularly value become practiced and crystallized into reality, namely integrity and perseverance.

I’ve had enough of feeling guilty for rejecting others for fear of the attempt. Reframing fear as a motivator and maintaining love as my drive has served me well so far.

I hold Bob Dylan’s definition of success true, which I also believe was a precursor to Steve Jobs’ lifetime achievements as a father, a brother, a husband, a thinker, an innovator, and a hungry fool: “What is money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

Oh, what freedom it is to desire what you already have.

“Success is going to bed at night in peace,” affirmed Stanley to me once, and I couldn’t agree with him more.


So tell me: What does success mean to you? Share your story on the comments section below.




via Big Think


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Cassie’s Chronicles: Your Time Is Limited.



Chapter 2: Your Time Is Limited.


HE SMILED HIS ENIGMATIC SMILE, and I realized that at that moment, I was immediately entranced into the reality distortion field.

“Are you on a family vacation or something, Mr. Jobs?” I mumbled.

“Nah, just the solitude moment I take once in a while.”

He took the notebook from my hand, just like that, as I stared at him aghast. This is only my third gig since I interviewed Jolie, and now, fully by chance, I met one of the few people I’ve always dreamed of meeting.

Hmmm, working for Debonair isn’t all that bad.

“Hey possum. Sup? Guess who I met on cruise =p” I typed to Mel on Whatsapp.

“Clooney? Gosling?? Oh, I know … Reynolds???” she replied. “No wait … DiCaprio?!?! Is it DiCaprio?? It’s GOT to be DiCaprio. How was Tahiti?”

“No silly. It’s Steve Jobs. Hurrah!!”


“Tahiti’s fine. Just like you see ’em on desktop wallpapers. I shud take u out here some time.”

“Yeah u shud Cass. I so wish I’m with u but excuse moi mademoiselle, I don’t have such an awesome job as u do. Btw Ben called.”

Now that’s something I don’t want to know. I turned my 4S into silent mode and tossed it away from my sight.

The sun was beginning to set. We’re about 15 miles away from our anchorage on Maroe Bay. It’s getting harder to see anything but the crowns of the Huahinean coconut trees from the distance, although our Princess is fast approaching the island I’m most excited about out of the three. I mean, the island’s pretty much untouched and is known to have minimal tourist infrastructures, with only about 6,000 inhabitants scattered throughout its rugged grounds living their quiet, slow-paced lives. Can’t wait to feed those slinky blue-eyed eels tomorrow.

As I slowly lose myself into the surrounding breeze, I was, at the same time, absolutely aware that the CEO of Apple and Pixar, who happens to be one of my life’s biggest inspirational figures, is sitting right by my side, reading shorthands that I’m positive only I alone can comprehend.

My gaze turned fuzzy as I listened to him sweeping through my Moleskin, occasionally stopping to pause for a few minutes at some pages – some wornout while others torn. Shitty to present in front of the almighty Jobs, right?

He turned and glanced at me for a moment. I could sense it was a thoughtful stare, and I turned bloody red. He was still holding my Moleskin in his hand. Then he said, “You know, most people spend the money they don’t have, on things they don’t need, to impress the people they don’t care.”

Yeap, absolutely. Couldn’t agree more. But that’s my job, you see. I’m supposed to sell these expensive sets of designer handbags and shoes and promote these luxurious destinations for people who have too much money to spend in their hands.

But I think that was Will Rogers who said that, wasn’t it? Which part of my notes was Steve referring to?

I nodded blindly instead.

Maybe he just wants to know what goes on in a modern-day twentysomething’s mind. Maybe, he wants confirm to his gut that there’s still hope in good journalism today.

Recently, he delivered one of his most important messages in history to an audience of graduating millennials from Stanford University.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” he told the crowd of promising graduates. “Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

I remember feeling the goosebumps while watching that part of his speech in awe on YouTube. I meant what I wrote when I sentenced myself to death as I made the decision to approach adulthood through my writing. It felt scary to face life in the shadow of death awareness, but I feel focused and responsible at the same time. For as long as I’m still taking up free oxygen in the air, I hold the responsibility to keep an account of the truth that is stripped of my egotistical, hedonistic well-being.

It’s a lot like what Jobs’ doctor meant by preparing to die – except that I do not have pancreatic cancer and do not require any form of surgery when I wrote that sentence to death.

It’s the closest thing to us at any given moment, and doesn’t knock on our doors or ring our doorbells before it arrives.

For me, facing death is synonymous to chasing deadlines. “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” Jobs stated. “Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”

And I have never let those exact words of wisdom escape my mind ever since.

“Just curious … Cassie, was it? How did you came to love writing this much?” he smiled that smile again, gesturing the Moleskin in his hand.

“Well,” I took a deep breath. “It all started with this guy …”


with ♥, cc.


Read all things Cassie Cross here.


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Making Miles: Week 45, on change

Brain Waves


Note: During my run 17 weeks ago, I broke my iPod Nano … again (See weeks 13 through 16). I decided to wait till this September for the latest generation of the Apple iPod to be released. That’s when I can run with music again and log the exact time, pace, and mileage of my runs. And yes, I’m that stubborn.




“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking,” said Albert Einstein once. “It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

cachedI have two cans of garbage to deal with in my mind. Not listening to my vicious inner critic is one thing. Quitting the approval of others is another.

The closest people that I know knows that I’m probably the least confident person around. It doesn’t look like it, because most of us only see the outward appearance of a person, but building confidence is one of the many reasons why I run regularly. Even in silence, while listening to my low, steady strides, I constantly ruminate about what other people may think if I perform a specific set of behaviors. It’s why I have an avoidant attachment style.

The closest people around me also happens to be people who care the very least about what others think of them. I admire them. I asked them how do they do it.

“Just don’t give a shit, because nobody knows you more than you do,” says one.

“In the end, what you do speaks higher volumes than what they say,” says another.

“If other people do not understand our behavior—so what?” said the late Erich Fromm. “Their request that we must only do what they understand is an attempt to dictate to us. If this is being “asocial” or “irrational” in their eyes, so be it.

“Mostly they resent our freedom and our courage to be ourselves. We owe nobody an explanation or an accounting, as long as our acts do not hurt or infringe on them. How many lives have been ruined by this need to “explain,” which usually implies that the explanation be “understood,” i.e. approved.

“Let your deeds be judged, and from your deeds, your real intentions, but know that a free person owes an explanation only to himself—to his reason and his conscience—and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation.”

I never thought of myself as a good enough daughter, granddaughter, friend, girlfriend, writer, illustrator, runner, eater, sleeper, actress, model, or any other roles I play off and on in this complicated life. I don’t feel deserving of their love most of the time. I work so darn hard to repay back my depth of gratitude for having these people I share relationships with, people I that deem much greater than myself. Turns out sometimes, my low self-esteem serves me better than the overconfident population.

“The more overconfident the person, the less likely they are to adjust their estimations based on expert feedback,” reported Molly Triffin on a recent WH blog post.

According to a recent U Penn study, overconfidence can act like a mental bias that tends to lead people to underestimate the chances of situations to go wrong, such as traffic on the road or getting STDs when you practice free sex.

“People forget to account for the margin of error between what they do and don’t know,” says author of the study Albert Mannes, PhD. “Just like a political poll estimating the chances of a candidate winning includes a margin of error of a couple degrees, we should also consider the possibility of being wrong—but most people don’t.”

With a heavy load of possibilities in my head that can go wrong, I believe I can take advantage of situations for the better, provided that I stop responding to the inner critic inside.



Brain Waves

Steven Hall, author of the best-selling novel The Raw Shark Texts, famously said, “Every single cell in the human body replaces itself over a period of seven years. That means there’s not  even the smallest part of you now that was part of you seven years ago.”

A blast from the past: When I was 16 years old, I was extremely self-conscious, extremely pale, and extremely skinny. I eat a lot, but hate sweating. I never really finish my 1.6km and 2.4km test runs in high school, but I was really good at playing the piano. I was great at playing Final Fantasy X’s soundtrack, “To Zanarkand.”

I was rebellious and ambitious, and still am. I loved writing, and still am. But I never seem to play the piano anymore. I’ve committed myself to the written word, and the act of writing takes a lot of thinking. I am optimistic about the emerging science of neuroplasticity to raising one’s quality of life.

As the primary user of my plastic brain, instead of letting others to take advantage of its plasticity, I can create positive habits to strengthen its physical structure and improve its functionality: to write well.

“As a writer you must keep a tight rein on your subjective self—the traveler touched by new sights and sounds and smells—and keep an objective eye on the reader,” wrote William Zinsser in his best-selling book, On Writing Well.

Numerous studies have shown that meditation helps the growth in density of gray matter, the primary area of the brain that is most receptive of your five senses, thereby largely responsible for creating long-term memory. Notably, meditation has been shown to increase the EEG activity of alpha and theta waves in the brain. These frequencies are associated with open and relaxed states of mind.

A vision of the future: When I am 30 years old, I’m more confident, more cheery, but also more relaxed. I still love running for the momentary euphoria it gives me, the full release of self-expression that writing never really gives me. I also experience the same dopamine release whenever I play the piano.







Always be able to give an account of yourself no matter what (even if you haven’t accomplish much like me this week). You are not here to merely survive; you are here, now, present, to thrive for a purpose that only you and God alone know.

kqawrAlways be aware of the things you are responsible to care for, but make sure you develop a strategy for sustainable development and prevent all the hard work you’ve done in the past to fall in vain. Progression requires accountability, that’s why I made the Making Miles worksheet.

View my weekly mileage progress here and my all-time PB (personal best) record here.


Remind yourself everyday, every week, every month and every year how far you’ve come to where you are today:




Know thy self well enough to make a positive change :)




– Image courtesy of Miranda Kerr / Infographicality


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TGIF! {The 24th}




My 2013 began with a commitment to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

I’ve been practicing the art of counting my blessings every Friday (such as being yourself and other manifestations of abundance not listed here). I believe that at any given circumstance, there is always hope. Always.


♡ My pessimism. Even though my immediate negative thoughts often overwhelms the present self, being a natural skeptic about near-future events often ensures me to be extra careful when I’m doing whatever I set myself up to do.

I may have made it a habit to load my mind up with worries 24/7. It’s daunting. But I’m learning how to replace the long bouts of mentally rehearsing worrisome thoughts into mindful meditation on the Word.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Besides, in reality, some things that never happen are never for me to worry about in the first place.


♡ I may be blue all the time, but these roses are really, really pink. On the night of June 19th, 2013, I came home to find this sitting neatly on my table :)





It was one really crowded, really sunny day …

♡ My sunglasses. They keep the areas around my peepers, where you see first signs of aging, away from UV rays and ultrabright sunlight when I’m driving everyday.

My neighborhood was briefly submerged earlier this week from just one night of downpour, but for the rest of the week, the sun’s been scorching everything it shone on so far.


♡ Anywhere in the world with a wireless internet connection. That awesome moment when you found it for free :)


♡ My recent epiphany – During a sermon service facilitated in my office today, I suddenly realized that language makes a big difference on people’s thinking patterns. Well, duh.

On the service I heard the Indonesian phrase “terima kasih” a lot, which translates to “thank you.” Then I thought, hey, if it’s translated word-for-word, “terima kasih” means “receive love/give.” It’s a passive verb to say when you’re responding to someone’s act of kindness, thereby noting the act of receiving gift. In contrast, the act of saying “thank you” itself is a proactive verb, almost as if to say, “I’m expressing my gratitude to you by saying thank you” to give away some kind of a leave behind for the actor of kindness.

In my efforts to practice gratitude, I now choose to think of my blessings the Indonesian way.

Life itself is a gift from my parents, and for as long as I’m alive, I’m indebted to them for my contributions to the world. It is a lifelong act of receiving the gift of life and love. The least I can do is be kind to myself as I am to others.


♡ I’m thankful for the abundant stock of bananas I always have around at home. Whenever I feel stressed, anxious, or just plain moody, I down two pieces like a desperately hungry monkey. The yellow stuff is loaded with vitamin Bs and potassium, which calms your system down from head to toe.



♡ Besides the bananas, I’m thankful for the comfortable shelter, the ample wardrobe, and the sense of belonging at home that I have. I feel safe, and because of that, I feel a deeper need to give back to my givers and providers more. I owed a lot to them and probably never will be able to pay back all the love, care, and attention I’ve been given.


♡ I’m hopeful at heart. Deep down, I’m still fundamentally an optimist about a better, more positive future. Everyone can benefit from greater harmony and peaceful engagements amongst ourselves – no cover-ups, no lies, no putting on fake faces everyday, the faces we slowly learned to put on once we become grownups.

The hard part is … it all has to start with the self. An individual can only have peace by always keeping in touch with the inner child.

As Margaret Mead once said, “I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.” Wise indeed.


What about you? What are the things you’re grateful for this week?


Share your stories and blessings in section below :) Happy weekend!