June Progress Report

“Learning to embrace life and its uncertainties”

OBJECT LEVEL (what did I do?)


A lot happened this month. I’ve been consuming less and starting to create more. I also just finished reading Design Your Life and want to try out their Good Time Journal, where you document activities and rate them on a scale of engagement and energy levels. Especially since my three goals has been relatively incorporated into my life, I want to start pushing myself more in areas that induce flow.

I’m also starting a growth marketing validation project for next month.

Here’s where I’m at for goals:

Previous goals:

  • Writing: respond to a prompt 5x / week
  • Video: make video 1x / 2 weeks
  • Dance: dance 3x / week

How I did:

  • Writing: I kept up with answering popular Quora posts for around two weeks. The problem I’m seeing is that I’ll brain dump and it leaves so much editing to be done. I think I need to focus more on publishing, which will motivate me to edit and finish pieces.
  • Video: check. Near the end of this month, I have also started to edit for at least 5 hours a week as a goal. Time bounding is very helpful as it forces me to block out chunks of time to work on footage. I’m making a lot of progress on my travel videos! The cruise one from December (I know…) is done and the Iceland one is coming along nicely.
  • Dance: check. 3x a week definitely gives me flexibility to fit dance into my schedule. Still getting used to recording practices.

June’s Validation Project

  • I have yet to edit the posts yet so right now they will be MIA to the public.

Insightful posts:

  • Pavement bookworm: this homeless guy offers book reviews and sells books instead of begging on the streets; a touching read
  • Clearer thinking: all Clearer thinking modules are really great, my favorite part is that they help you develop a plan to take action through the easy to do exercises, here is one I did on savoring
  • Knowledge map: it’s like mindmapping for Google topics that you can search, it’s great for recommending ways to get better in specific areas
  • People pay for 2 things: results (you do something they couldn’t do for themselves) and convenience (you do something they don’t want to do for themselves, or you make something difficult easier to do). Ability and willingness to pay are crucial factors to consider when thinking about starting a business
  • Understanding privilege: Defy Ventures work with incarcerated people; you often don’t know what privilege means if you have it; you can see the differences in the poignant exercises mentioned in the post
  • mood trackers: writing down thoughts and reframing negative thoughts to positive ones
  • 10 year projects: don’t do things that pay-off in the long term unless you’re going to commit to them for 10+ years; important to build completion muscle — time bounding helps (4 part audio podcast rather than just podcast that goes on forever, which will most likely get abandoned)
  • Deliberate work cycles: plan out various cycles (similar to pomo) and take it a step further by recording energy / morale and reviews for next time
  • Psychology: it shows why cabs are perceived to be more safe than normal / Uber drivers (upfront costs to get the badge shows commitment and gauge of honest intent, since people won’t do things to make it easy to lose the badge they spent 4 years getting); doorman can convey protection vs. revolving door
  • How to be more productive by working less: diminishing marginal returns after cognitive bandwidth is used up; leverage point that makes everything else more effective (branding = multiplier effect, as well as vacations can make things clearer)
  • Do something: action isn’t just the effect of motivation, but also the cause of it. Emotional Inspiration → Motivation → Desirable Action vs how motivation really works: a loop of Action → Inspiration → Motivation
  • Wrong about everything: from a perspective of happiness/purpose, we should not seek to find the ultimate “right” answer for ourselves, but rather seek to chip away at the ways which we’re wrong today so that we’re a little less wrong tomorrow.
Personal development can actually be quite scientific: The hypotheses are our beliefs. Our actions and behaviors are the experiments. The resulting internal emotions and thought patterns are our data. We can then take those and compare them to our original beliefs and then integrate them into our overall understanding of our needs and emotional make-up for the future.”
  • Certainties about own desirability or value / productive work: these certainties are designed to give us moderate comfort now by mortgaging greater happiness later. They’re terrible long-term strategies. These are the certainties that keep us in place and out of touch. These are the certainties that drive people into despair, prejudice or radicalism. What are you wrong about today that can lead to your improvement?
  • You already have everything you need: you never have enough to last you forever; needs (whether it’s food, love or meaning) must be replenished regularly. “You don’t need your lover; you need to be loved. You don’t need your job; you need to feel secure. You don’t need to be beautiful, cool or popular; you need to feel appreciated. What you need is you. On a long enough timeline, everything in our lives is eventually lost. Happiness is not preventing those losses. It’s learning to adapt to them.”
  • 10 years of self education: Discounting is learning something for practical and monetary reasons. Specialization is similar to discountable. I want a broad-based education, deep enough to appreciate the richness of a subject, but not to devote every moment to a single skill just to become competitive in it. In his 10 year plan, I would add anthropology, literature / film, architecture, dance.

Books read:

  • Design Your Life
  • Americanah

Currently reading:

  • Notes to Myself (re-reading)
  • The Defining Decade (re-reading)

Experimental section: Senses

  • Savoring the everyday routine moments with an eye looking out for something more unique or in-depth in those experiences
  • The practice of noting: noting the texture of the car seat you’re sitting on, the way the light hits the road and shimmer through the window, the different pressures of your hand on your leg| your knee against the car door, the realization that you are here, now, and there’s no other moment like this in the past nor future
  • Thinking of how your day would be like if today’s extraordinary highlights were tomorrow’s baseline

PROCESS LEVEL (how did I do it?)

Belief updates:

Which means that the amount of “reserves” we have at any given time is primarily a result of our perception (appraisal). This would imply that we can increase our psychological capital just by seeing things differently aka our current interpretation of events and our prediction
  • We can change our expectations of the future at a more fundamental level: creating a series of unexpected rewards to prime more positive moods, essentially “faking” momentum until it becomes real
  • When it comes to work,we can create perception of momentum by 1) structuring our work to produce experiential rewards now, and 2) completing our work in such a way that it increases the likelihood of benefit in the future. For example: summarizing sources now has compounding gains in productivity
  • make an excitement map!! Start in the middle with “Life” then branch out with things you’re excited about, then branch out from those, answering questions like: Why / what specifically about this excites me?
  • More on mood accelerators: “This is why personal growth is inextricably tied to productivity. Like emotion and action, each primes the other. Recruiting the power of emotions is not a matter of productivity tips and hacks. It takes deep self-awareness, intimate knowledge of the unique landscape of your internal mental environment. Exploring this landscape requires vulnerability, authenticity, self-expression, and sharing, not just study.”
  • Ways to have better conversations: don’t multitask; enter a conversation with assumption you have something to learn; use open ended questions (who what when where how? aka what was that like? how did that feel?); go with the flow; error on side of caution; don’t equate your experience with yours or show how you also went through the same thing; try not to repeat yourself; stay out of the weeds / super details; listen*; be brief

*most people don’t listen with intent to understand, they listen with intent to reply.

META LEVEL (why did I do it?)

These posts are a reflection of things I’m curious about and want to get better at. Life is made up of moments and experiences and relationships. Continuously seeing ways on how I can express myself.

Also learning to embrace uncertainty (and first, acceptance).

Goals for next month:

  • Writing: publish at least 5 posts
  • Video: edit 5 hours / week
  • Dance: 3x / week

Monthly project:

  • Reach out to one person a day to get to know better or reconnect.

Thanks for reading! This is month #5 of my monthly progress reports. You can check out the previous month’s here: