Welcoming 2018: Focus on the things that matter.

Edited in Canva

A year has passed. Here I am again, on the exact same spot where I wrote my 2016 review and boy 2017 sure is something else for me. It was a year full of surprises, full of adventures, full of up and downs. A year when I looked back, I couldn’t help but felt grateful that it happened the way it was.

January — May (The Take Off)

My 2nd semester in my sophomore year. I took a bit more credits this semester because I believe = more work = less time = the more value I give to each minute in my life. It kinda work out, as that semester turned out pretty well for me. In fact, it might be the best semester I’ve experienced throught the 2.5 years of my university life. School work was going well, I had a very supporting community that kept me accountable, and my relationship with people was developing positively. I started to commit to more things in this semester and this was the semester I felt I could conquer everything.

June — August (The Top)

The period when I felt my dream came true. I packed my stuff and left for Hong Kong International Airport. “I’m going to work in New York.” That thought made me excited as much as it made me scared. I never imagined once in my life that I had the opportunity to go to work in one of the busiest, most innovative city in the world. Over the 2 months of internship, it gave me new perspectives about startups and working environment. My coworkers gave me a lot of invaluable advices and I learned a lot from them. From there on I continued my journey to explore the States. Watching my favorite Dota 2 tournament The International and meeting old buddies in Los Angeles. It was truly an exhilarating experience.

September — December (The Landing)

Just after a great first half of my year, I thought it was going to get even better. I was excited for the new school year, embracing my junior year. I was never been so wrong. During the whole semester, I was struggling a lot. Struggling with commitments and purpose. To be frank, I was lost. I took the most credits this semester because last semester was good, but it turned out to be a wrong choice. I ended up almost hating everything that I did, carved a very negative mindset on every activities and influenced the way I did things miserably. This was a horrible season for me and if it wasn’t for the community that kept me accountable and challenged me I might not be able to survive well.

The Aftermath

Have you ever feel so unmotivated in doing everything? Have you ever questioned “Why am I doing the things that I am doing now?” or “Are the things I’m investing in right now worth my time and effort?” Even though my first half of the year has been fantastic, I think towards the end I learn an even more important thing about myself. I realize that I’m living my life devoid of purpose. I don’t understand why I do the things that I do. I know it in the head, but not in the heart. When I reflect the things I want to change in 2018, I came across a big theme that has been haunting me for years.

I instantly know that it is going to be my theme for 2018 and that theme is: FOCUS.

Upon reading the article from Taylor Pearson, I realize that I have been the very victim of “shiny objects”. Whenever there’s a new shining opportunity I end up chasing it, not knowing whether that very opportunity resounds to my vision or not. Due to that reason, I have felt very lost because there’s just too much in my plate and ended up feeling pressured instead. I lack focus.

In 2018, I want to reshape the way I approach things. The way I select things. I want to focus on the things that matter. I want to know my “why”, my direction, my vision. I will break down FOCUS into a tagline and it also serve as an acronym for the things that I want to grow in this year.

Tagline: Stop Dreaming, Start Doing.

F.O.C.U.S: Fearless — Organized — Consistent — Unyielding — Sincere

Why the tagline?

I have always been a prominent talker and conceptor. When it comes to the important thing: the execution, is where I fail. I might start a lot of things, but am really bad at following it up or keeping it consistent. In 2018, more than just dreaming, I want to start focusing on taking that step. Taking that action. Be consistent. Follow things up. It’s time to start executing my dream instead of keeping it just a dream.

How about the acronym?

  1. Fearless

I remember reading the book The Dream Giver, the author gives an analogy that whenever we try to pursue our dreams, there’s always this invisible wall of fear. We always fear that we are not good enough, we fear failures, we fear about what other people think about us. Those fears are the ones who keep us away from becoming the best version of ourselves and keep us away from our purpose of living. That’s what happen to me throughout the years. I feel inferior and thus fearing to do the things I am supposed to do. This year onwards, I want to be different. To be fearless, to not run away from my fear but instead face it. As the book quotes:

“When you do act in courage, you discover that fear doesn’t have to stop you.”

and I want to discover that too.

2. Organized

Another area that I need to grow is planning and getting organized. My life is always full of surprises (mostly negative ones) because I never plan things out. My life is so messy and there’s always something wrong because I’m always unprepared. This year I want to start getting more organized, whether it is following up my daily plans and putting more effort in planning it will surely help me in the long term. This leads to the ‘C’

3. Consistency

Sometimes I already do plan something. The problem is, I never follow that plan. In the middle of the day I will just think “I don’t feel doing this right now, it’s okay to postpone it to some other time.” If you ever feel the same way then cheers, we are on the same boat. In order to achieve greater things, it is not motivation nor talent that is the guarantee, but consistency. If you are extremely motivated at times but not the other times it will not work. It’s the same if you are extremely intelligent but does not consistently put that talent into use. They say if you only get better 1% a day, then by the end the year you will become 365% better than you the year before. All you need is that consistent 1% improvement, and that’s what I need to do.

4. Unyielding

When I googled this the one that comes up is “not giving away to pressure” and “not easily swayed”. Due to all my inconsistencies and lack of focus, it is very easy for me to give in to pressure and even easily swayed by different obstacles. I’m mentally weak. Therefore this upcoming year I want to improve my mentality. Not being easily controlled by my emotions, but how I can control my emotions to carry out the things that I’ve committed to. But the quality I want to learn: not quitting when things get hard. Just as Eric Thomas said:

Cry and keep going. Don’t cry to quits. You already in pain, you already hurt. Get a reward from it. Don’t quit.

5. Sincere

It is so hard for me to do things sincerely. Because I want to. Usually I do things either because I have to or I need to. It is done forcefully. I have no joy in doing the things that I do. In order to change that, to be more sincere, I need to practice a more grateful heart. A heart that sees the positive impact and not the burden that I need to carry. Too often when I’m too focused on myself, I see a lot of pain and anger. However, when I project what I feel outwardly: what can I do for other people? There’s a sense of fulfillment. Simon Sinek perfectly describes this in one of his interview:

A true sense of purpose does not come from what we can do to get, it comes from what can we do for others.

and to be truly sincere and fulfilled, I need to focus not on myself but to those around me.

Moving forward

All these things are great. However, the challenge is always: how can I follow this up? How can I achieve all of these? Well, those things are already in my to do list. However, apart from that making a theme or a goal gives you a sense of purpose. Reflecting about this gives you a sense of awareness. Awareness about your weaknesses and purpose for you to move forward. It is better than nothing. Since last year, I believe more than just simple resolutions I want to commit. What are the things or values or goals that I want to commit myself doing? It’s not just a short term accomplishment, it’s a lifelong learning. These things, even after 2018 are the things I need to improve each and every day. More than just the goals and aspirations, it’s about your decision. Are you willing to acknowledge the spot you are weak in? Are you willing to work on it? Or just because you will fail that you don’t even try?

Another thing that I will try this year is to craft my 25 years vision as suggested by Taylor Pearson. To give me focus and clarity and give me the foundation for the things going forward.

I want to believe that with this it will give me a sense of direction walking towards 2019. An awareness that everytime I make a decision I could reflect and see whether the decisions that I made correlates to the values I want to grow in this year. I hope the same thing goes to you. It’s never too late to give yourself a chance to grow, to change for the better. I just want to close with a video from Prince Ea about New Year Resolutions:

It is said that the greatest tragedy in life is not that people aim too high and miss. It is that people aim too low and hit.

Happy new year everyone! I’m wishing a wonderful 2018 for you all!

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