Lessons from a Thai Buddhist Monk

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Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash

What do Tim Ferris, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates have in common? They meditate. Top CEOs and companies like Google incorporate meditation in their corporate culture. It’s become the trend among companies and new-age philosophers. Sometimes it seems bloggers and self-help gurus are trying to shove meditation down our throats. Yet, I feel compelled to write about meditation for one simple reason — it changed my life.

On a trip to Thailand in the summer of 2016, I stumbled upon a sign for foreigners. It said “free meditation in English” at the Wat Arun temple in Bangkok. I was new to meditation but felt drawn to learn more — especially from a Buddhist monk. The following Saturday I woke up at 5 AM to get to meditation at 6 AM. …

Stop chasing everyone else’s dreams

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Photo by Raychan on Unsplash

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” Friedrich Nietzsche

What are your ultimate goals in life? Is it to chase money, fame, power? Is it to be happy? I get it. Seeking these things are at the forefront of our society’s psyche. The search for these common external goals isn’t wrong in itself. The problem lies in forsaking your TRUE self in search of these lofty goals. At times, we get swept up by the incessant noise of the tribe. …

Life lessons from Jay Shetty’s new book Think Like A Monk

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Photo by Nicolas Häns on Unsplash

I’ve always admired people who go rouge in life. Something about leaving all expectations behind and creating life on your terms is incredibly inspiring to me.

That’s exactly what Jay Shetty did in his 20s. According to Jay, he grew up in a family where “you could become one of three things — a doctor, a lawyer, or a failure.”

After finishing college, he decided to forgo the graduation ceremony and his parent’s expectations of him. He didn’t turn to drugs or set off on a backpacking trip of self-exploration. He didn’t roam the world in search of himself. …

3 strategies anyone can use every day

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Photo by Jaelynn Castillo on Unsplash

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the notion of making life-changing decisions? Sure you have. In life, we will have to make decisions that have long-term consequences.

This year has been a time of constant life-changing decisions for my family. Should we have another baby? What city/country should we live in? Should we buy a house? Should we put our son in school during the pandemic?

The list goes on.

If you’re also struggling with making a decision, know you’re not alone. In the end, we should be grateful we have choices. We should also have compassion with ourselves. …

My successes and failures along the way

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

It was two months ago that I started writing on Medium and fell in love. It’s a platform where some of the most interesting people come together to share their experiences and life journey. There is something raw and honest about Medium writers. I was excited to join them.

What I love most about Medium is the ability to write about multiple topics. I always struggled with finding my “niche.” So many bloggers tell you the importance of finding a niche. Thankfully, it’s less important on Medium.

I love to travel, but I’m also passionate about personal growth, feminism, motherhood, and investing. …

‘Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer’

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Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

“Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone.” Alan Watts

I have a problem. It’s very difficult to be vulnerable when I write. This is the most vulnerable post I’ve ever done. It’s holding me back. It’s not an ego thing — I don’t think. It’s a terrifying feeling to bare my soul and expose it to the world. Recently, I’ve been really inspired by Medium and excellent writers who reveal everything in their work.

I even had an epiphany.

When scrolling down Medium, I often click on articles that have raw and honest titles. When a writer is vulnerable, I don’t feel sorry for them. I don’t feel embarrassed for them or think less of them. …

You should go where you’re treated best.

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Have you ever heard of the concept of Flag Theory? Harry D. Shultz discovered the theory in the 1960s. I first heard about it through Andrew Henderson, the founder of the Nomad Capitalist.

The concept of it was simple. As Henderson states, “You should go where you’re treated best.” You should live in a country that gives you more opportunities and where you’ll have a better quality of life.

Quality of life is not a focal point for many in the United States. The reality is the United States runs on the theory of capitalism. A system where private individuals own businesses that thrive off of the supply and demand of goods. I’m not complaining. …

Life is meant to be enjoyed

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Photo by Jennie Clavel on Unsplash

In the Summer of 2018, I arrived in Valencia, Spain with dreams to explore Europe and live differently. From the moment I became a mother in 2016, I began to think about how I wanted my son to live.

I want him to be successful and to pursue his dream. Most of all, I want him to enjoy his life. I want him to be balanced and happy. This is what most mothers want for their children.

Enjoying your life is a concept we sometimes bypass for more tangible life goals. Yet, according to the Foundation Health Measure Report, high levels of well-being directly affect all other areas of your life. We are more productive at work and have a decreased risk of illness. …

Don’t let life pass you by

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Photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash


As a 22 year old fresh out of college, I travelled to China for an adventure on my own. I only a thousand dollars saved up and no job lined up. It was the boldest thing I had ever done. I loved every experience but what changed me the most was having the ability to lose myself.

So often, when you live in one place your whole life, surrounded by the same people, you have a very myopic view of your life and yourself. You listen to those around you and experience a sheltered life. …

And why no leader can look into a mirror and say, ‘I am authentic.’

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photo credit: Rupert Britton

“I had no idea that being my authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become.” — Oprah Winfrey

In 2015, Harvard Business Review declared authenticity as the “gold standard for leadership.” That said, being an authentic leader is sometimes easier said than done.

According to Harvard Business Review, many leaders “assume that authenticity is an innate quality — that a person is either authentic or not. In fact, authenticity is a quality that others must attribute to you. No leader can look into a mirror and say, ‘I am authentic.’”

We’ve all encountered inauthentic leadership. As a lawyer, I’ve encountered it plenty. One former boss in particular oozed inauthenticity. It was palpable in the firm and it made all his employees avoid him. His law firm’s marketing portrayed him as an altruistic lawyer fighting for immigrant rights. On the inside, he only spoke of dollar figures and how to pitch to immigrants. His employees lost respect for him and dreamed of the day they would leave. I left after 6 months. …


Jessica A. Pedraza, Esq.

A mother, wife, traveler, writer, and lawyer — in that order. Contact me: jesszolt@gmail.com or follow my Instagram: @seekinggurustravel

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