(And I still don’t know what I’m doing.)

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Photo by Omid Armin on Unsplash

I don’t have to tell you the benefits of meditation: you’ve heard them already.

In the digital age, we live with an increasing amount of stimuli and get lost in our hedonism, trapped by our impulses. To take control of that, we look to mindfulness for answers. We try to meditate, realize it’s not the benzodiazepine it’s marketed as, but instead takes us to some form of insanity, forcing us to face our thoughts.

I’ve meditated twice a day for the past half a year. …

Become disciplined and turn the proactive mindset into a habit

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Photo by THE 5TH on Unsplash

Morning routines are a hot topic in the self-improvement sphere. Everyone has one, is working on one, or wishes they had the discipline to integrate one into their lives.

I was hesitant to write about morning routines because I’ve read a lot about them, and many articles appear to be written by people who have no experience with morning routines whatsoever. It’s almost a cultural meme. Get a morning routine and change your life. Sounds like bullshit.

But, I thought, I’ve had a morning routine for over half a year now. I haven’t missed a single day of my morning routine. …

How I reduced my video usage and replaced it with books

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Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Is it possible, given that someone has an impenetrable will, to stop watching videos? Maybe, but videos are addictive: an immersive experience where all you have to do is sit back. I grew up with Netflix taking Blockbuster, YouTube’s rise to fame, and anime on the screens of every Asian teenager (including me).

From my childhood to my teenage years to adulthood, I consumed videos endlessly. If I wasn’t playing games, I was watching videos, and I often wasn’t playing games. I’d click a video, and when it ended, choose the next video from the suggestions sidebar. Then I would go into an infinite loop of videos until I realize I’ve watched a bunch of videos about something I didn’t care about and didn’t need to know. …

How reading on public transport helped me find my lost time

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Photo by Balazs Busznyak on Unsplash

There’s a not-so-secret club of people who never take public transport. I’m not a part of them. I live far away from work, and I’m not rich enough to justify paying for an Uber every day. So I commute. I commute an hour to and from work every day. Though I’m not special. Many people commute, most people even. But even though everyone catches the bus and train and tram, everyone has their way of getting through their commute.

Wasting time on commutes

I used to do nothing. Okay, “nothing” may not be the technically correct word to describe it. Of course, I was doing something. But nothing meaningful. I scrolled endlessly through Facebook and Instagram, and when that wasn’t enough, I went to Instagram’s discover section. I watched Instagram and Snapchat stories, took photos of the view outside for my daily streaks, and responded to Facebook messages. My favorite, and perhaps the only task I enjoyed was texting. I love texting (yes, I am a Gen Z). Texting can be productive: it’s a conversation. But sometimes, people don’t respond. …

The minimalist in me and why I can’t use laptop stickers

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Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

I work at a tech company, and like every other company in that category, mine is filled with people who plaster their laptops with stickers. Company stickers, product stickers, joke stickers, Rick and Morty stickers, all kinds of stickers. It’s common to find someone whose laptop is filled with stickers, the top so full that you couldn’t see what color the Macbook is.

I’m not against stickers; in fact, I used to use them. But every time I put a sticker on now, I get panicky, like a mini-heart attack. …

But not in the way you might think

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Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash

This is my most popular article on Medium:

It has over a million views. No other article I’ve ever written has even come close to that. But I’ll be honest: When I wrote it, I was still toying with the idea of waking up at 5 a.m. I didn’t lie in my article; I never lie in my articles (or at least, I try my damn best not to). I did every step I recommended to others. But I had only woken up at 5 a.m. for a few months, and I was still wondering if I should continue. Waking up at 5 a.m. was still tricky for me. …

How “fucked up” novels helped me quit alcohol and cigarettes

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Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

When I turned eighteen (the legal age in Australia), I started drinking and smoking excessively. I did some other things too, but mostly drinking and smoking — they were legal, accessible, and social. I drank and smoked before that, but it was never a habit because — as a minor doing something illegal — it appeared to be what I did when I wanted to rebel. Eighteen was when alcohol and cigarettes became a habit.

University, for me, was the stereotypical college life. Bars, clubs, parties, all with alcohol and cigarettes, with other Gen Zs suffering from quarter-life crises. I often blacked out, or more precisely, I wanted to black out. …

A system to prepare for an interview by practicing with a friend

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Photo by Daoud Abismail on Unsplash

The best way to practice is to experience the real thing. Runners practice running. Singers practice singing. Writers practice writing. By simulating the real environment, these people condition themselves to repeat the same actions they need to re-enact on competition day. But you can’t do this for interviews: You can’t get experience with interviews unless you go to an interview.

Most people prepare for interviews by going over their résumé, rehearsing answers, and giving themselves pep talks. These are reasonable approaches to practicing interviews, because, what else can you do? Most practitioners of their craft can practice alone because their art only requires one person’s actions. Interviews need two people. …

A lesson on the creative process that I relearn every time I write

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Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Every artist wants everything they create to be a masterpiece, to shock the world with its shining colors. Writers are no exception. Art is a reflection of our selves, and if the work we create isn’t special, then what are we?

There’s a romantic idea that the true beauty of art is in the creation process. I don’t believe that. Sure, I write for myself sometimes, but often, I write for others: that’s why I write on Medium. And when I look deeper, there’s a part of writing that comes from a desire to be loved. I want people to see that I have a unique perspective, that I’m special. Artists often love to ignore such narcissistic remarks but — and maybe I’m cynical — it underlies all art. …

How my new e-reader radically changed how I read

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Photo by Aliis Sinisalu on Unsplash

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

Stephen King

We’ve heard the advice before. Or maybe not. But read any book about writing or explore any forum, and you’ll find that writers each other to read and write.

But is there a best way to read? Since e-readers came out, there have been many debates on the topic. Paperback vs Ebook, the age-old question. I’ll be honest: I wrote off e-readers for a long time because I had a subpar experience with one of the first Kindle Paperwhites. It just couldn’t compare to the reading experience of real paper. …


Bryan Ye

Words @Atlassian. Based in Sydney. I have a lot of thoughts; here are the less crazy ones. bryanyewriter@gmail.com

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