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Dream to Reality: How I Quit My Day Job

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Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. ~Steve Jobs

Ever since I learned about the concept of financial independence five years ago, the seed of a dream had been planted. My dream: Having the freedom to deliberately choose how I spend every day – to have complete freedom of time.

As of last week, my dream became a reality.

I left my job at Amazon to start this new life chapter. I have three goals:

  • To complete a triathlon
  • To learn French
  • To live everyday fully, as if my last

My answer to the question “What do you do?” will now be “I spend fulltime pursuing my passions.”

How to End a Relationship

Photo by Erik Clausen

Breaking up with someone you love can be one of the toughest emotional struggles you’ll go through. How have you handled breakups in the past? What can you do to minimize pain for the other person and yourself?

I’ve been on quite an emotional ride recently. What has been weighing heavily on my heart and mind involves a slice from my personal life. Without going into details, Adam, my partner for the past year, and I have decided to part ways. We will remain good friends.

The past three weeks have been a tremendously painful period, feelings of empathy mixed with remorse and guilt. The impulse to burst into tears would hit me sporadically throughout the day.

When I first wrote about the art of keeping a relationship, my friend Pete Forde suggested that perhaps people could also benefit from an article on how to end a relationship. I noted his brilliant suggestion without further thought. Little did I know, this would become the center of my experience a month later.

This being a sensitive topic, I had a tough time finding genuine and in-depth resources online. My goal here is to capture the understanding and wisdom I’ve gained from going through this event, and to perhaps be of help or a point of clarity for your life story.

Find Clarity in One Day

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Do you ever get so busy with the details of your life and the countless things you need to complete, that you end up feeling exhausted and disconnected?

The result: Your mind becomes clouded and unable to focus and you start to make poor decisions regarding your priorities. You end up working hard instead of working smart.

What do you do when this happens? Do you take the time to step out of the situation to regroup? Or do you continue with what you’re doing, all the while feeling that you’re running out of time, besides you still have a massive list of tasks to complete. In the past, my natural inclination was to do the latter and, in the end, I would be left feeling burnt out with my spirits down.

Lately I’ve been running around preparing for several major changes in my life. I’ve felt my mind becoming consumed by the problems revolving around these changes. My eating schedule became irregular and my decisions felt clouded. When my clarity started to fizzle, I found myself making decisions and judgments based on emotions rather than on logic or intuition arising out of clarity.

The following is a simple technique I’ve used to reconnect myself to what’s most important: my inner self. In doing so, Clarity came.

I’m Sorry, I Don’t Know, I Can’t …

Photo by Vanessa Paxton

I find myself blurting out I don’t know as an instant answer to questions I don’t have immediate answers for. Lately, I’ve been noting how these simple words made me feel, and I’m starting to take notice that on some level, these casual words are effecting my emotions and self-esteem.

Saying I don’t know, I’m sorry, I can’t and “I don’t want to but have to” are slowly changing my mindset. Through my observations, I’ve noticed how common it is to use these popular phrases without giving them a second thought.

Do you find yourself saying the words I’m sorry or I don’t know often? Did you know that this over-sighted language pattern is actually limiting our potential to happiness and ultimately getting what we want?

Let’s have a closer look at each one and notice their effect in our internal mental space. Let’s, also, consider some alternative phrases we can use in their place, which are more conducive to our personal growth.

Before diving in, let’s point out a few things about our unconscious mind.

How to Keep a Relationship

Photo by Stock Photo
When it comes to love, you need not fall but rather surrender, surrender to the idea that you must love yourself before you can love another. You must absolutely trust yourself before you can absolutely trust another and most importantly you must accept your flaws before you can accept the flaws of another. ~Philosophy: Falling in Love

Remember the last time you got in a fight or argument with your significant other? Wasn’t it frustrating? Wasn’t it painful? Was it necessary? What can we do to best deal with these situations without ruining our relationships?

Relationships with our spouses and girl/boy-friends can be one of the most rewarding aspects of our lives. We hold a special place for that someone with whom we’ve shared countless moments of joy. Personality differences are inevitable, and what makes us unique as individuals can result in disagreements and conflicts during our relationship.

When these disagreements are not properly understood and managed emotionally, trivial exchanges can stir into full-on battles, and possibly end what we’ve spent months or years to build.

Yes, there are relationships where personalities are mismatched and breakups are beneficial. However, many breakups are unnecessary, as a result of built up anger and destructive cycles. When they happen, we experience a tremendous amount of pain and emotional hurt.

By facing our partners with awareness and a genuine desire for understanding, I believe that we hold the key to wellness in these special relationships.

20 Ways to Overcome Shyness

Photo by Jordan Fraker. See more of his work here.

Can you remember the last time you stepped into a room full of strangers and felt that self-conscious and awkward feeling rush over you? Or that heart thumping moment when you wanted to ask someone on a date, but were too shy to do so? Or wanting to approach someone for business, but was too hesitant to actually do it? That anxiety in the pit of your stomach in social situations? Does it always feel like something is holding you back?


Regardless of whether you are introverted or extraverted, we can all relate to that feeling of shyness at some point in our lives. Socially, we tend to have the misconception that only introverts experience shyness, but that is not true. Shyness has more to do with being uncomfortable with one’s self, especially around other people.

This article is the result of collaboration between Amanda Linehan, an introvert, and Tina Su, an extravert. Together, we wanted to shed some light on the topic of shyness in a collective perspective from both extremes. We will also share the ways that we used to turn shyness into personal empowerment.

Connect with Your Creative Writer

Photo by Cindy Loughridge

Do you have to complete a piece of writing but are putting it off? A report, a blog article, or a letter? Are you finding that the moment you sit down to write, your mind seems to go blank? Crap! Writers block! What can you do about it?

Although, the term writers block is popular, this feeling of blockage and mind blanking is not specific to writing, but of any creative feats. Other examples include, brainstorming for a new business, dancing, musical performances, music composition, painting or photography. I’ve personally experienced this during my photography work, blanking out as I stand in front of a client waiting for me for direction. I call these Creative Blocks, where your mind just comes up empty and you feel lost. It’s purely mental.

Through practice and observation, I’ve gotten pretty good at getting past these blank moments, and this article shares some insights for unlocking your creativity. Throughout the article, I will be using writing as the example, but keep in mind that it is equally applicable to any creative activity.

How to Find Passion in Your Job

Photo by Kara Pecknold

Are you in a stage of loving your life so much that you would pay money to live it? If not? What can you do about it? A common question asked is, “I really want to feel that way, but I’m just not passionate about anything. How do I find passion?”

A friend of mine asked me that question a few weeks ago. He has a high paying job and what appears to lead a full and fulfilling life, complete with volunteering and interesting hobbies. But he felt that something was still missing. He was looking for his purpose and genuinely wanted to find his passion. “I like a lot of things, but I don’t have any passions. How can I find passion, Tina?” This is a great question, and one that got me pondering about the topic. This article specifically looks at finding passion in your job.

This is part two of my notes from Professor Srikumar Rao‘s google talk, along with my personal thoughts on the topic. You can find part one here: How to Make Profound and Lasting Change.

How to Make Profound and Lasting Change

Photo by Zara Jay

Is there an area of your life that you would like to change? Is there an area of your life you’ve tried changing, made some progress but somehow ended up in the same spot you started in?

Maybe you want to lose weight; you want to improve your temper; you want to control your web browsing addictions; to be a better parent; or in my case, to wake up early and to exercise regularly. Often, I’ve found myself struggling when revisiting the subject.

I came across a google talk of Professor Srikumar Rao. His mission is to help highly intelligent people find meaning in their lives. His talk deeply moved me and I knew instantly that I had to share with you. The following are part one of my notes, along with what I learned from this talk.

The Panacea for Putting Things Off

Photo by Cindy Loughridge

Can you recall a time when you wanted to do something important, yet you’ve managed to make enough excuses to leave it for a later date? Putting something off once makes it easier to put it off again, and before you know it, several weeks have past and you still haven’t done it?

I just cleaned my entire apartment and it’s almost time for bed, again. Another day has gone by, and I still haven’t written a blog post for this week. Two thoughts conflictingly popped up in my head:

  • Yes! I’ve successfully put it off for another day.
  • Crap! I feel guilty for putting it off yet another day. I really should get that done soon.

I’ve got a lot going on in my life. But, it’s just became clear to me that I have spent the past five days unconsciously avoiding writing, while spending mental energy coming up with excuses. Each time when I’m about to start writing, I would magically feel hungry, tired, sleepy, thirsty, grumpy, dehydrated, or needing to go ‘potty’. Or I would suddenly have the desire to read, watch TV, browse the Internet, finish random low-priority tasks, clear out my email inbox, go jogging, sleep early and clean the house. As you can see, my box of excuses is infinite.

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