Aaaaaaand we are back!

As a child of Japanese immigrants growing up in predominately white areas in The States, I knew we were always different. We took our shoes off inside the house (weird). We ate fish and rice (super weird). My mother dressed me in conservative pinafores (super duper weird). Like aliens from another planet, we didn’t speak English with each other. Everything about our family was strange. I learned to accept we were simply different and I would always be weird.

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Mission Internet Detox

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Face in phone as always.

 

I have a problem. I am addicted to the Internet.

For over a decade almost every free second has been spent online. When social networks gained momentum, not only was I spending all my free time online, I started making time to go online. Combine that with a constant need to learn new things, it was over: I now had to force myself to go offline. I’ve even resorted to pulling the plug so my laptop dies. Embarrassing, I know.

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Say No to Bullshit: Hustle Lessons from Anthony Bourdain

TL;DR

Screenshot_9_23_14_2_46_PM

 

Long version:

Anthony Bourdain has a foul mouth, likely a drunk, and stirs controversy. But you cannot deny, the man has legit entrepreneurial game. He’s written best selling books. Hosted some pretty damn good shows, and now a household name.

Maybe I can relate to him more as I’ve worked in the food industry. My very first job was as a waitress in a sushi joint — typical — then moved on to bartending. Working in food is where I picked up a lot of hustling skills that consistently help me in my non-food industry life. In food, it’s about knowing your capabilities and ceasing opportunities. When your salary is minimum wage and you depend on tips, there is no such thing as ‘luck’ — you create your own luck. Not because you want to, but because you have to make the most out of situations in order to make ends meet.

Any business owner, founder, aspiring entrepreneur, and even individuals looking to climb the corporate ladder can learn a thing or two from successful people who have ‘made it’, in an industry as cut throat as food. And Bourdain lays it out best in this Men’s Journal interview.

On actions vs words

“I quickly came to understand that there are two types of people in this world: There are the type of people who are going to live up to what they said they were going to do yesterday, and then there are people who are full of shit. And that’s all you really need to know.”

Takeaway: When it comes down to it there are those who walk the walk and those who talk the talk. Key is recognizing the difference quickly and cutting out the bullshitters. It saves lots of time, effort, money, and feelings. Yes feelings. Let’s be real. It sucks being let down or disappointed.

On networking

“In a world full of bullshit, when you need something as badly as drugs, your bullshit detector gets pretty acute. Can I trust this guy with money? Is this guy’s package going to be all he says it was?”

Takeaway: Imagine every conversation like a beautiful presentation. If you think about it, 99% of presentations that stick with us have filler slides — you know, the slides that seem to have no purpose except to impress the audience with inspirational quotes in pretty font faces, compelling charts with repetitive factiods or some unrelated slide with cute baby animals or a funny meme photo, etc., etc., — you get the picture right? When stripping away filler slides and concentrate on the objective of the deck, the essence is 1% — if that. On decks, it’s okay. Presentations are supposed to awe the crowd and leave impressions.

I look at conversations with people we meet for the first time like Powerpoint (or Keynote) presentations. People paint the best pictures of themselves. It starts from presentation — attire, mannerisms — to online personas to what they talk about. Ignore 99% of the superficial stuff and listen to what they say.

Bourdain nails it with two questions to ask yourself when meeting new people: is the other person all he says he is? And can I trust this guy with money?

Words that come out of people’s mouths and first impressions can charm and impress. But life is way too short to deal with bullshitters who simply want to look good to other people for whatever reasons they may have. Do you really think people who spend all their energy looking good to others can add value to your life? Sure they may be fun but they most certainly don’t help you make money, and frankly, distract you from reaching your goals. And I’m not going to lie, I’ve wasted a great deal of time being burned by people who seemed this way and that way, promised all kinds of stuff but were just full of shit.

Find your own questions that help identify if someone is really worth your time and can help reach your bottomline.

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Why You Should Care About Unconscious Bias

Nikesh Arora ex-Google exec, now Softbank Internet and Media CEO / vice chairman of the overall company tweeted he is looking for “ivy leaguers with US / Japan experience”. Why did he specify ivy leaguers? Does he realize he is biased?

Or, what about when we see someone in the US, who is using a smartphone other than an iPhone. What are your initial thoughts? It’s okay, be honest. You’re not alone. I’ve heard many girlfriends say things like “I’d never date someone with an Android phone.”

We automatically assume things about people born and raised in certain cities, countries, regions, etc. And judge people by how they look or present themselves to the world. We don’t do it on purpose but we are all guilty of some sort of bias and judgment.

But imagine if you unknowingly carry those thoughts into the workplace. Do you choose to do better work with colleagues you already have an unconscious bias towards? Or what if you are a hiring manager; are you confident your choices aren’t driven by bias?

Ponder that for a second.

I’ve expressed on Twitter how I am thrilled to the toes Megan Smith is America’s new CTO. And it seems most of the tech community is too. General consensus is because she is a female. Or part of the LGBT community. Or both.

I am excited because I have followed her and what she has been doing for Google as an individual (if you’re interested, YouTube her talks from Google I/O or interviews on Google.org and Google [X] to see the many reasons why she is such an excellent leader and technologist — if you love tech from the core like me, it’s really, worth your time.)

One of my favorite clips I’ve seen of her, is about bias — conscious and unconscious bias — which I believe, is important for everyone to be cognizant of. Especially, if you are management level or higher.

This is the video, I’ve been tweeting a lot (with little to zero interest) but now that you’re here, watch:

I wish there were transcripts but some of my favorite soundbites – few are paraphrased:

“You hear venture capitalists talk about pattern matching when they are looking for the next young entrepreneur. But they are also pattern matching for things they have bias in, and not realizing they are doing that. So they might be more likely to fund a White or Asian man vs another (and she gets interrupted).”

“(Unconscious bias) is no one’s fault. It’s not like we are actively doing this. We all have it. It’s inherited. It’s systemic. What we have to do as an industry, is educate ourselves.”

“Diverse teams just make better products. Patents written with men and women on them, for example, are cited more. And the number of times a patent is cited, is a measure to know if a patent is better.”

“If you are applying for a role, a woman would only apply if they have 7 of the 10 characteristics required. Men would apply if they only have 3 of the 10. So as a manager, you just need to be conscious of that, look at all the candidates, and do a little more active work to make sure you’ve got the best pool.”

Google’s Diversity website also has a nice summary of what unconscious bias is:

The science of inclusion

Research shows that when we are more aware of our unconscious bias, we can make more objective decisions. In 2013, more than 20,000 Googlers (nearly half of our Googlers) engaged in workshops that focus on the science of how the brain works. This created a company-wide dialogue around how unconscious bias can affect perceptions of others, interactions with coworkers and clients, and the business overall. We hope our focus on making the unconscious conscious will not only foster a more inclusive workplace, but also make us a better company. Watch this video to find out more.

You can learn more about unconscious bias here, here, or here — or Google yourself.

We can do better. Let us be better.

Steve Jobs.

I love this so much.
Never heard this story.

From the FT archives:

Chelsea Isaacs, a student from Long Island University, had got in touch with the Apple press office to get some information about the iPad for a paper she was writing. Six times she tried, but no response. So she e-mailed the chief executive to complain.

“Mr Jobs, I humbly ask why Apple is so wonderfully attentive to the needs of students, whether it be with the latest, greatest invention or the company’s helpful customer service line, and yet, ironically, the media relations department fails to answer any of my questions which are, as I have repeatedly told them, essential to my academic performance.”

Mr Jobs replied: “Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry.”

Chelsea composed another long message in which she argued that Apple should have answered out of common courtesy.

This time he responded: “Nope. We have over 300 million users and we can’t respond to their requests unless they involve a problem of some kind. Sorry.”

So she pointed out she was a customer and did have a problem.

He replied: “Please leave us alone.”

via ‘Time to Spit Out More Praise for Apple” published Sept. 26th, 2010.

And I leave with you wisdom, from the one person I admire and basically, worship:

Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. 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. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

— via Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech, June 12, 2005

Much needed reminder. Inspiration. Motivation.
I miss Steve Jobs.

Read the whole thing here

Twitter and Facebook

I don’t know what happened but since I moved to Tokyo, I’m bored of Twitter and Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, I still keep up with everyone’s lives but reacting with a comment, at reply, LIKE or favorite is no longer fun for me.

I only use Twitter now to get information (ex: latest news, find funny things, see what’s going on in the world outside of Japan / APAC, etc.) when before I used to give information as well. And Facebook? There are times I don’t log-on for days, when before I used to be glued to my newsfeed.

Perhaps I’m simply over social networks, especially since I started blogging on my own domains. (if you’re interested, I have a blog about my life in Tokyo here). I’m also blogging a lot more here, which I guess is a good thing?

Maybe I’m just weird — someone even told me on Facebook that I’m “backwards”, when I announced I started a Tokyo blog haha

Marissa Mayer II

Two Marissa Mayer posts in a row (!!)
From one of — if not the best — tech piece I have ever read, I was astounded to find it on Business Insider. I mean. Let’s be real, they normally publish border-line gossip.

A few excerpts — first, a tid-bit from her time at Google:

In the end, it proved to be an advantage for Mayer that empathy doesn’t come naturally to her. It forced her to be intentional about figuring out what users want and how they behave.

She came up with two clever methods of relating.

Mayer at the height of her power at Google.

The first is that she would recreate the technological circumstances of her users in her own life. Mayer went without broadband for years in her home, refusing to install it until it was also installed in the majority of American homes. She carried an iPhone at Google, which makes Android phones, because so did most mobile Web users.

Mayer’s second method was to lean on data. She would track, survey, and measure every user interaction with Google products, and then use that data to design and re-design.

Then, on her meeting with the execs and employees at Y! when she took the chair:

Many of these people were meeting Mayer for the first time, and they expected to sit across from the woman they’d read about in so many fluffy profiles and had seen on TV or on stage at conferences — someone who was charismatic and warm; personal.

That was not what they got.

[…]One by one, they walked in and sat down at a table across from Mayer. Then, she launched into questions. She asked: “Where did you get your education?” “Where are you from?” “What do you do here?” And so on.

As Yahoo executives answered, Mayer took notes on their answers with pen on paper, hardly looking up.

“There was no time for short conversation or human emotions. It was very boom, boom, boom.

“Most people walked away from that meeting saying, ‘Holy shit.’”

[…]

For the people who were making Yahoo’s products at the time, the meetings were even more intense.

A designer or a top product manager would sit down and Mayer would assault them with a series of questions.

“How was that researched?”

“What was the research methodology?”

“How did you back that up?”

On gender issues:

Young, powerful, rich, and brilliant, Mayer is a role model for millions of women. And yet, unlike Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, Mayer resists calling herself a feminist.

[…]

Mayer says that she is not a “feminist.” She says she is “blind to gender.”

I hope one day, to be half the woman she is.
Read the entire thing here. It’s incredible (warning: really, really, really long.)

Mother’s Day 2012: Five Years Later

It’s May again, the month I dread, and every year for the past five years, I’ve written similar blog posts for Mother’s Day.

2012 is exactly the same.

Five years after my Mother’s death, I have nothing new to report, no wisdom to drop, no life changing epiphanies about dealing with grief which sounds somber, but really not. The death of a parent is tricky, but even more, confusing. There is no one magical formula or guideline, step-by-step instructions, something – anything, on how to feel, what to feel and why.

For the longest time, I thought there was something wrong with me. There were no unanswered questions, zero regrets. No confusion, extreme sadness, just logic. My Mother is no longer on the planet and I immediately dealt with that reality which didn’t seem…normal. So I questioned myself. What’s wrong with me? Do I not know how to feel? Am I out of touch with my emotions? Is my coping mechanism abnormal?

I would search deep within for indicators of hidden feelings but nothing. I was simply dealing with my reality. Then, I start questioning myself again: what is wrong with me, this doesn’t seem right. Where are my feelings? Perhaps I am selfish, self absorbed or worse, a sociopath…then I look for feelings again. That process is a bit of nuisance and sometimes, it drives me so batty I want the voices in my head to stop. Then as I am annoyed with myself and the voices, it’d start all over again: stop that, self reflection is important. What’s wrong with me, am I selfish, etc., etc.

Back to square one.

Recently, an important person in my life lost their mother. I wanted to have all the right things to say, but aside from condolences, the words from my heart were: it’s ok to feel however you want. Whether it’s anger, sorrow, confusion, regret, relief that she is no longer in pain or even numbness, there is no one way you are supposed to feel so allow yourself to just…be. I know. I was there. I am still there.

Then I realized, I wish someone had given me that advice.

It took years and someone I deeply care about to lose their mother to see: we are different. We have different relationships with our parents, different coping mechanisms and various life experiences that make it necessary for us to come up with our own answers. It’s scary and unsettling but that’s the way it is. The way it has to be.

Hindsight, perhaps that is the life lesson that comes from death. That as we seek answers, we soul search and face demons that help us grow and become better people.  If anything, my Mother’s death has taught me to be vulnerable and more open with my feelings. Something I always thought of as a weakness but more accurately foreign, as we are not taught to be emotionally attune in our culture. Emotional intelligence is something I force learned and still learning every day. See? We are all different.

So if you or someone close to you is dealing with death, please remember to allow yourselves / themselves to feel however you / they want. It’s ok. It’s the way it has to be.

In closing, I will share the story of my mother’s death which is more inspirational, than sad. Just like I do every year.
Happy Mother’s Day :)

Mother’s Day 2007 to 2008…
…what a difference a year makes.

As some of you may or may not know, I lost my mom to cancer last year around this time. Since it’s Mother’s Day, I wanted to do something for her but wasn’t sure what…

After some thought, I decided to share what I wrote after she passed. I am normally an extremely private person, but her story is so amazing, if anyone (aside myself) is inspired, that would be the best ode to her… :)

Read the rest here.

People have contributed their own stories and feedback on my G+.

F’ing Live

If only I were 5″7 instead of 5″4. I wish I were five lbs lighter. I’d rather have straight than wavy hair. If only my eye sight were 20/20. Shoulda gone to Harvard. Or Stanford. Or maybe Yale. Why didn’t I marry the one who got away? He was and still is the perfect man, you idiot. Would life be easier if I weren’t Asian? Do I lose out on opportunities because I’m female??

…we all have them. Secret desires. Insecurities. What ifs. Traits we wish we could change, because we think of the cards dealt to us as flaws, holding us back from being a CEO. Having the perfect man/woman. Being an A-list actor, famous singer or even a super model.  We are the hardest judges of ourselves, for not being __________ enough and allow so called shortcomings to hold us back.

Stop.

Seriously.

Knock it off.

It is impossible to be Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, President Obama, Tom Brady or even the colleague, friend or family member we envy. We are all different and that’s what makes life so fucking fantastic.

Do I ever think any of those thoughts up there? Sure I did. But I learned as a child, dwelling on things we cannot change, 99% of the time leads to negativity. I’ve attempted reshuffling the cards that were dealt to me, by trying to be someone I am not. I’ve watched others live as people they thought they wanted to be. In the end, that mentality of our twisted minds leads to endless misery.

Success, only comes with confidence. Confidence is bred through a mindset to know, accept and use our strengths and weaknesses to achieve goals. It’s the only way to live. The only way to succeed.

Why am I bothering to blog about this?

Well the other day, I came across this piece: “Four Ways Women Stunt Their Careers Unintentionally” via HBR. The gist, is how an extensive study via Europe’s Institute of Leadership and Management, found women in the workplace generally have less confidence than men, and how that gap holds women back from achieving our full potentials.

Fair enough.

But this excerpt in particular, resonated:

The study also found that this lack of confidence extends to a more cautious approach to applying for jobs and promotions: 20% of men said they would apply for a role despite only partially meeting its job description, compared to 14% of women.

Lack of confidence, doesn’t apply only to females. It applies to 80% males, too. Sure, with females, we tend to be more timid but if you ask me, the number of people -male and female- going for the ask, is too low.

So if you are one of the % of people holding back from reaching your potential: whatever the mental block may be, tell it to fuck off. I say this over and over and will continue saying:

Life is too short.

We are 1 of 7 billion on the planet. We have nothing to lose, but time.


So screw pride.

Forget your ego.
We only have one life. Just fucking LIVE.

The worst that can happen, is a no. Don’t let fear of rejection ever get in the way of living. Who cares what one, two or even ten people think about you.

There are 7 billion people on this planet.

There is only one life. Don’t ever waste it. LIVE.

(ps: thoughtful comments here, too.)

The Power of Vulnerability #thankyouSteveJobs

It’s been several hours since hearing about Steve Jobs passing away. I am still sitting in front of my computer, stunned.

The last time I felt this numb was when my mother left the planet…which probably sounds silly, dramatic and insane, to compare a complete stranger’s death to my own flesh and blood’s.

Judge away.

You see, I was taught to suppress emotions. To be as private as possible, and sure enough, that is the way I have always been…or was. Recently, I started noticing that I may not be the person I was raised to be, for with every instance I do open myself up, I realize I am growing stronger. The more vulnerable I become the stronger I feel, which is something completely new to me. Fast forward a few months of trying this thing called opening up, and I am now a believer in the power of vulnerability.

With vulnerability, I now have the strength to be honest with myself. That honesty, is enabling me to be more in-tune with myself than ever before…and because I know myself, there is nothing — nothing, that scares me. Don’t get me wrong, I have always lived life with almost zero fear, taken risks, never afraid of failure, followed my gut and found ways to just…figure it out — traits that were passed down from my father. Because of that DNA, I have seen things, been places, experienced more lives that even I at times have a hard time believing.

Then, my mother died.

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Mean What You Say. Say What You Mean.

Pick one: love or money?

Seems like such a simple question with a no brainer answer. When I asked my Twitter and Facebook friends, I got a bunch of immediate responses. Of course, most said ‘love’.

After purposely waiting for some time, I then asked:

I’ve had someone choose money (well, a lifestlye) over me – and it sucks. I have and always been a person who places more weight on a person’s abilities to be honest to and with themselves. It’s near impossible for humans to always say what they mean or mean what they say. To me, it’s more about having the courage to be honest with yourselves and those you care about. Though lately, I’m starting to wonder if this is too much to ask of others.

But at the end of the day, I’m with Arrington all the way who expressed it best:

Dear self, permanently bookmark this post as a reminder you choose honesty. That you are honest to yourself and those around you. That there are others like you who can be honest to themselves and those they love. And most importantly, do not ever doubt yourself for having standards and expectations.

#selfreflectionsunday

(ps: I know the math up there is wrong — silly little thing called details ;))

Why Inbox 0 is a Determining Success Factor

Recently, I noticed almost every successful manager, C-level exec and CEO I’ve met* had an overlooked common characteristic: clean inboxes. Whether they were high level decision makers in Fortune 50s or start-ups, their emails were always organized. So I started aiming for constant Inbox 0, as I’m one of those crazies who emulates behavioral patterns of people I respect.

Well, whaddya know? I think it worked. I started noticing fundamental thinking patterns changing.
My brain now naturally:

organizes — most email programs have filters, folders, labels and other misc. tools to assist with organization. Since I constantly think of ways to keep my inboxes organized, I trained my brain to framework problems with the end goal in mind. i.e., how do I manage massive email loads (work-flow) for constant and consistent tidy inboxes (end-goal).

prioritizes efficiently — everyone has different prioritization methods when it comes to email. I’ve found that when I do not reply right when I read the mail, the probability of not responding is almost 99.9999999999991%.

So I figured out a system. If the email needs a response, I reply right away. If the email is a task, I label it as a To-Do (with a fire engine red label so the email is right in. my. face.) and keep it in my inbox. All emails I do not respond to, are immediately deleted/archived.

Sounds like a lot of effort, but as soon as this work-flow became routine, I do the above every time new mail comes in while working on other things. If something urgent comes up or I am interrupted, the current task at hand is in my inbox as an incomplete To-Do. Multi-tasking at its finest? Naaaah. It’s simply habit that came to be, as the end goal (tidy inbox) is always in the back of my mind. It also helps my email programs are off the hook: Gmail, Sparrow and the number one email client used the most: iPhone.

Now, my brain automatically prioritizes most efficient ways to achieve goals even outside of email.

and
focuses on what I will do vs. what I won’t do — we all strive to be efficient, responsible, responsive and reliable. My daily goal of inbox zero forces prioritization in order to be efficient, responsible, responsive and reliable. The one thing I found through many many (and I mean A LOT) of mistakes, failures and OOPSIES is: honesty is a must. The countless number of trials and errors of:
– taking on too much
– inability to delegate
– not knowing what I will realistically accomplish and what I can not
have taught me the importance of knowing myself, realistic time/workload management and how to be and stay the best I can always be.

The above may sound a bit hokey, but it just so happens to mirror characteristics HBR and best selling biz management books says are success factors. And look! Those skills also resemble Bill Gates’ fundamental framework – who, you know, is kinda sorta successful.

So unless you’re a journalist or spammer, Inbox 0 is an attainable daily goal.
Try it. I dare you.

Suggested reading: “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” – David Allen (Over drinks, a CEO friend of mine who I respect and adore told me in passing about GTD. I downloaded and read a bit – it’s pretty amazing. Good luck!
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Everything is simple. Complication is a choice.

“It’s complicated.” is the biggest bullshit excuse. But more so than a load of crap, those three little words are toxic. They have the power to  lead our minds into a rabbit hole of inevitables. Once our brains go down that path, it’s over. We sit, ponder and get stuck in our heads: “What if  ____” or “Should have ____” and “Could have ____”.

I know. I’ve been there. We all have.

Some of you may still be there but don’t get caught in the downwards spiral. There is always a solution – we just need the courage to face the solution. Sure, it is easier to say: “It’s complicated.” and push our realities away. But take a step back, breathe and think of ways to change whatever is causing your pain.

Am I making this sound too easy? Well, it is. Everything in life is really simple. We are the ones who choose to make things complicated. Things don’t change. People don’t change. The only thing we can change, is ourselves. And by changing ourselves, we become a solution and while we work towards solving the problem, things change. We change. It’s really that simple.

These are lessons I picked up along the way, but a dying parent had the most significant impact. My mother passed away from cancer in 2006. There is no solution to a dying parent – especially when they are diagnosed with a terminal illness. What I did do and still do on a daily is tell myself how grateful I should be that with my mother’s death, she left behind wisdom that takes people a life time to learn: life is too short.

So change yourself. Your situation. Do something. Change something. We only have one life.

Where there is a will, there is always a way. Look at Alan Turing who spent his lifetime to prove all problems can be solved. But even after all of his accomplishments, Turing’s legacy (at least to me) is: given the right approach and with time, there is always an answer.

We are not genius mathematicians like Turing but we are humans just like him. Take the lessens he left behind. Don’t waste precious time. Train the brain to approach things head-on and as soon as you empower yourself with the comfort of knowing that everything will work out and things do get better, you will find the courage to simplify yourself and your life.

Here’s a challenge. The next time you find yourself in your head, try thinking as Bill Gates does:

  1. Prioritize
  2. Ask smarter questions
  3. Make data-driven decisions
  4. Divorce your ego
  5. Frame the problem
  6. Get perspective on the problem
  7. Model the problem
  8. Think of the system and the ecosystem
  9. Think of the problem over time
  10. Think strategically

With that, I leave you with words from the great Steve Jobs, who keeps me practicing what I preach:

“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. 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. You are already naked.

I am human too.

The other day, a friend mentioned in passing how I am very zen-like which made me, well, a little uneasy. Me? The one with no filter? The one who inappropriately curses like a truck driver?? Zen like? ZEN LIKE? Really? REALLY??

After skimming through my Twitter and Facebook, my face flushed. He was right. A lot of my shares lately have been cheesy inspirational crap. An over abundance of Steve Jobs quotes. Tips on minimalistic mindsets. How to find your center, balance, how to hold hands with your worst enemy, etc. etc.

Seriously. I should rename my blog to butterflies-and-rainbow-kumbaya-vomit.

Well. Perhaps it was the rough month of August. Or it could simply be my old age but all the inspirational reading helped a lot. Needed a few reminders about what I knew. Or what I thought I knew as the more I grow-up, the less energy I spend on things that are out of my control. On a superficial level, it’s easy to be and stay composed, as I’ve mastered the art of determining how much time, effort and emotions I want to invest in almost every thing I do in life. That way, if I make a mistake or bad judgment call, I brush it off and happily go on with my day. But on the true, real, where it matters the most level? FAIL.

The one thing that’s helped me, is figuring out long ago: people do not change. Since the only thing I can change is my self, subconsciously, I became well versed in self-control and discipline (or stubbornness) especially when emotions are involved.

But as I become more honest with myself, the more I become in tune with myself. The more I become in tune with myself, the more I see: the majority of my displayed strength is a facade. A defense mechanism, if you will, to never let anyone see my weaknesses. Vulnerabilities. Frailties. Now that I identified, acknowledged and embraced weakness, vulnerability and frailities, the need to work on how to be strong and weak at the same time. To find balance. To remain true to myself, while allowing myself to live. To love…is clear. Crystal frickin’ clear.

So I’m learning. I want to learn. I have to learn, to be the best I can be every second of every day.

So pardon all the cheesy junk that may flow through your streams.
My hope is, if articles that touched or inspired me affects even one person, I will happily take all your smack talking. Because I am still me. The one who has no problems telling people to ‘SHUT YOUR TWITTER/FACEBOOK/INTERNET-HOLES’ ;)

Until then, remember that I am perfectly flawed. A constant work in progress. I am weak and fragile just like any other person.

I am human, too.
(Ok, fine. Sometimes binary. 0101, Mona)