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15May

Silence

I woke up in the middle of the night. I am not sure what time; I am thinking around 1 am. I had a lot on my mind, I guess. Mostly high school shenanigans since I was a freshman, and I must have been carrying a lot of burden and feeling a lot of worries of the world. My own little world, that is. High School is not easy.

I decided to get out of bed and head to the kitchen for a glass of water. I had no concerns about my bladder back then; I was a young lad and could easily drink a gallon of water and hold my bladder for days without being bothered in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Oh, to be young again…

I walked down the long hallway and didn’t even bother to turn on the lights. When I took a sharp left to the kitchen, I saw a dark shadow on the right, in the living room. Someone was in our house. Sitting on our couch. I was startled. The stranger turned his head towards me and flicked on the lamp next to him. Oh, hahaha, it was my dad.

“What are you doing?” I yelled. He paused, looked at me, blinked once slowly, and said, “I am thinking.”  WTH?

I caught him in this position in the middle of the night a few times after that. What is he thinking about? And why in the middle of the night?

Turns out, he was on to something. Did you know that there have been studies conducted on the effects of Silence on mental health and well-being? Get this, research has shown that periods of Silence can promote neurogenesis, the growth and development of new brain cells. Studies have found that Silence can also help to increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein associated with improved cognitive function and mood regulation.

It also turns out that exposure to Silence or quiet environments can reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. For example, research conducted in hospital settings has found that patients exposed to quiet environments experienced lower levels of stress and anxiety compared to those in noisy environments.

Finally, studies have investigated the relationship between Silence and creativity. Research has found that moments of Silence can enhance divergent thinking and the ability to generate creative ideas by allowing the mind to wander.

So, let’s summarize. Silence improves mental health, grows new brain cells, improve cognitive function, helps you be in a better mood, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance creativity. Wow! Where do I sign up?

Here’s a problem. I don’t like Silence. I avoid Silence. You’ll find me most of the day with AirPods in my ears…always listening to some podcast, book on audio or music. In fact, I go to sleep with my headphones on. I thought a lot of people did this, but apparently, I am a rare specie. Can someone that fall asleep with constant noise in their ears let me know so I know I am not the only one?

Why are we even talking about Silence? Because we are on the series called “The Mental Game.” and I think it’s one of the most crucial and the most challenging aspects of how we can improve our mental toughness. This is what we covered so far on the subject.

  • Process vs Outcome: One of the mental game techniques is focusing on the process rather than fixating on outcomes. Individuals can maintain motivation, reduce anxiety, and ultimately achieve greater success and fulfillment. READ MORE
  • How You Think Will Change Everything: There’s a formula to make your result a reality. It’s the way you think. Believe it or not, once you figure out the pattern of how you think and strategize to re-think the way you think, it could be a game changer for you. READ MORE

So, if you are a noise addict like me, I have two questions for you. Number one, do you believe me? Do you believe that Silence in your life can help you in certain aspects? Number two, if so, how do you implement the Silence in your life in this busy, fast-paced and noisy world?

Well, I had to test this for myself first. Last week, I went on a Silence & Solitude Retreat. Basically, I spent 24 hours in a beautiful Monastery in the middle of nowhere in complete Silence. I ate in Silence, walked around in Silence, sat in Silence, and finally, slept in Silence. These were some of my learnings.

  • The first four hours of Silence was a crazy battle. My mind raced 100 MPH, and my mind was very confused about why I was being silent, not having any social interactions, and depriving myself of any dopamine opportunities.
  • Eventually, everything started to slow down.
  • My continued Silence started to provide some type of pathway into my innermost thoughts and even emotions.
  • I am not gonna lie; there were moments of boredom, but quickly, it turned into deeper thoughts, and it ended up springing up ideas, goals, and dreams for the future.
  • Silence also helped me reflect on the past, and I became overwhelmed with gratitude.

All in all, I came away from the retreat being convinced that I need more of Silence in my life, in fact, I’ve decided to incorporate it when I got back into my daily rhythm. Here are some of my intentional planning for Silence.

  • Set Boundaries with Technology: Create designated times during the day when I disconnect from electronic devices. Implement a “digital detox” hour each evening to enjoy Silence without the distractions of phones, computers, or TV.
  • Create Quiet Spaces: Designate a quiet space and create a peaceful ambiance.
  • Schedule Silence: Set aside dedicated time each day for Silence and solitude.
  • Connect with Nature: Spend time outdoors in natural environments where I can experience the profound Silence of the natural world. Take walks, go hiking/camping, or simply sit and observe the beauty of your surroundings. I am 100% sure nature provides a tranquil backdrop for quiet contemplation and renewal.
  • Practice Gratitude: Cultivate gratitude for moments of Silence and stillness, no matter how brief it may be. Pause throughout the day to appreciate the Silence and the beauty of this life.

I am really enjoying doing the research and writing about this series. I hope you are, too. I am convinced that in every aspect of our business and life, having the proper mental game will make all the difference in the world. As for Silence, I really believe if you can implement Silence into your daily life, it can have transformative effects on your well-being…maybe fostering a greater sense of peace, bringing more clarity and purpose, or even providing fulfillment. I think it’s a powerful practice that can enrich us, from mental and emotional health to creativity and a sense of purpose. All from doing nothing and being in Silence. So, let’s take a deep breath, embrace the Silence, and once in a while, scare the crap out of your kids in the middle of the night.

Oh, by the way, if you want to dive deeper into learning more about Silence, here’s an award-winning documentary you might be interested in.

Have a great week!

Hanju

Here’s the link to watch the entire film.

08May

What Are You Thinking About?

Circumstances are facts of life. Whatever circumstance you are in right now is what it is. You might have some thoughts about it, but the truth remains: You are in it, and you can’t control it.

Now, the thoughts in your head can be very different. Thoughts are sentences in your head and those sentences can range in every different direction. Many people have many different thoughts about the same circumstance that they might be in.

Are you still with me?

Thoughts cause feelings. Feelings are emotions. Thoughts cause your emotions…always.

Do you know what causes you to do something or not do something? Feelings. Action (what you do or don’t do) is fueled by your feelings.

Finally, every action you take or don’t take will result in some type of result. Results are the consequences or outcomes of your actions, inactions, or reactions.

So, let’s sum it up.

Circumstances are neutral. But your thoughts about that specific circumstance evoke some type of feeling, which fuels you to do something about it and take some type of action. Whatever you do will end up with some type of result. This is the ultimate formula called the “Model Framework,” and people use this framework to help them process, navigate, and win in life.

How?

Great question. The answer has everything to do with “The Mental Game.” which is the current series we are on. Before we get into it, this is what we covered so far on the subject.

  • Process vs Outcome: One of the mental game techniques is focusing on the process rather than fixating on outcomes. Individuals can maintain motivation, reduce anxiety, and ultimately achieve greater success and fulfillment. READ MORE

Going back to the questions on how the model framework above can help me win in life, well…if you read the summary above, the initial kickstart of this formula that you CAN control is thoughts. If you can control the right type of thoughts, they will lead to certain types of feelings, which will help you take certain types of actions, which can help your result be what you want. So, would you agree that the most important part of this formula is Thoughts?

The truth is, we have lots of thoughts. Lots and lots of internal conversations in our heads every single day, every single minute, every single second; we are thinking, thinking, thinking. In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article summarizing research on human thoughts per day. It was found that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. And guess what else they found? 80% of those thoughts were negative, and 95% were the same repetitive thoughts as the day before. I think I fit more in the 60,000 statistic. LOL.

It was also found that there’s power in our thoughts. It’s been proven over and over again with near-death circumstances or incredible triumphant moments in sports history filled with people who had vivid thoughts of survival and winning. In fact, if you ever get a chance, watch the ESPN documentary called Survive & Advance. It will move you to tears and also help you realize the power of thoughts. Coach Valvano was an NCAA basketball coach who desperately wanted his team to think about how he thought about the team…as the national champions. He wanted them to taste the goodness of the win and think and know they could achieve this. He believed this so much that he would have the team practice cutting down the net during practice. (Cutting down the net is a tradition that started in basketball after winning a significant match, the team would cut the net down to commemorate the win and keep it as a souvenir). He was reprogramming their thoughts to be champions. Here’s a 1:30 minute clip you need to watch.

So the ultimate question is, how do we change our daily internal dialogue, especially if it is 80% negative? Because our daily dialogue (thoughts) encompasses our beliefs and interpretations about us…our abilities, and the world around us. How we do this plays a crucial role in shaping our mindset and performance in sports, business, and life.

Here are some techniques:

  • Listen: Before you come to a conclusion about your thoughts, be calm and listen to your thoughts. Pay attention to what you are saying to yourself and believing about yourself. Listening is the key to change. It will help you recognize patterns.
  • Challenge: Once you identify your negative thoughts, challenge them. Question their validity. Is there evidence to support the negative thought, or is it only based on assumptions, past experiences, or someone else’s opinions? Consider the alternative, the more positive and truthful interpretations of the circumstances.
  • Visualize: Imagine yourself succeeding. Visualize positive outcomes and picture yourself at your best. This will build confidence and change your thought patterns, just like Coach V did with his team.

So, that’s it? 1-2-3, done? Nope. Not at all. It’s a life-long process; for most, it’s a difficult journey of reprogramming what’s already been programmed in your mind. The way we were brought up, the trauma we endured, the environment we lived in, and the experiences we’ve lived all affect the way we think. But be encouraged, with each step you take, you will awaken the strength and resilience within, ready to take on obstacles and embrace the fullness of your potential. I think this is where the true joy comes in. Focus on the process of each step. You’ll start seeing the change. I believe in you.

01May

The Mental Game

I was having a conversation with a good friend the other day about my golf game. Well, I was mostly talking; he was just listening…I think. As you might have read from my past article, I’ve been trying to pass the PAT (Player Ability Test) to become a PGA Teaching Professional. You must shoot a score of 158 or less for 36 holes to pass. It’s a personal goal and dream to someday (when I am retired) help elite high school and college-age athletes to be even better athletes competing at the highest level. Also, I want to teach my grandkids (which I don’t have yet) and give them access to all the global PGA resources that might come with my credentials. But I keep failing the stupid test. I failed it eight straight times if you are counting. I eventually told myself that on the 10th try, if I still don’t succeed, it’s time to move on. Chalk it up as I tried my best, genuinely put all my heart and effort into it, and be okay with the outcome even though it wasn’t what I wanted. I was beginning to accept the sad but current reality of the situation.

My ninth try was similar to the first eight. I woke up early, drove to the course, signed in, warmed up, shook hands with the players I would be playing with for the day, and went to my designated hole to start the 36-hole marathon. What was different that day was my head space from the book I just finished reading on the mental game of golf. It gave me some new concepts and perspectives to work on and some practical things to focus on while playing. 

One key concept emphasizes focusing solely on the process or the controllable factors within one’s control rather than fixating on the outcome or result. You can only control what you can control, so focus on that and stop worrying about the outcome. The author suggests that athletes should concentrate on executing their techniques, strategies, and mental routines to the best of their abilities rather than becoming overly concerned with winning or losing. By focusing on the process, athletes can maintain a more consistent level of performance and reduce anxiety or pressure associated with the outcome. So, what practical thing did I decide to do? Don’t keep a score in my head. The score is the outcome of my process. So, focus on the process and don’t worry about the score. Be in the moment and take it one shot at a time…and whatever happens, happens. 

I passed.

I shot 158. I shot the exact score to pass. On the drive home, I thought that if I kept score in my head and knew that I had to make the very last 5-foot putt to shoot 158, Would I have made it? There would have been so much pressure to make it, and I would be so anxious and playing in my head how upset I would have been if I had missed it. With all that pressure I put on myself for that putt, I am pretty sure I would have missed it.

I told my friend, who was still listening, “It’s crazy how mental game is so important in the game of golf…some people say it’s 90% of the game, but why is it that we don’t work on it, learn about it or even implement it into our game?” He responded with something that made me want to dedicate our next series to it. He said, “The importance of mental game is not just for sports; it’s for business and life.” Whoa!! 

So, guess what? This is our new series called “The Mental Game.” I want to offer some mental insights that can be applied beyond the realm of sports and directly relate to business and life. For instance, let’s look at the process vs. outcome scenario that helped me pass my PAT. What are some practical examples of focusing on the process rather than fixating on outcomes?

  • Business Sales Targets:
    • Instead of obsessing over reaching a specific revenue target, focus on the daily activities that contribute to sales success, such as making a certain number of cold calls, sending out personalized emails, or attending networking events.
    • Set process-oriented goals, such as improving product knowledge, enhancing communication skills, or building stronger client relationships, ultimately leading to increased sales performance.
  • Career Advancement:
    • Rather than solely fixating on achieving a promotion or salary increase, concentrate on developing new skills, expanding your professional network, and consistently delivering high-quality work.
    • Set process-oriented goals for continuous learning, seeking feedback from mentors or supervisors, and taking on challenging projects that contribute to your professional growth and development.
  • Fitness and Health:
    • Instead of achieving a specific weight or body image, focus on adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, and getting enough sleep.
    • Set process-oriented goals, such as committing to a workout schedule, tracking daily food intake, or practicing stress-reduction techniques, contributing to overall well-being and long-term health outcomes.
  • Entrepreneurship:
    • Rather than being solely driven by the desire for financial success, concentrate on building a solid foundation for your business, nurturing customer relationships, and delivering value through your products or services.
    • Set process-oriented goals related to market research, product development, marketing strategies, and customer satisfaction, which are essential for sustainable growth and success in entrepreneurship.
  • Personal Development:
    • Instead of fixating on achieving a specific outcome, such as becoming fluent in a new language or mastering a musical instrument, focus on the daily practice and consistent effort required to improve.
    • Set process-oriented goals, such as dedicating a certain amount of time each day to practice, seeking feedback from instructors or peers, and celebrating small milestones, which contribute to gradual progress and skill development.

These examples emphasize identifying the controllable actions and behaviors that contribute to desired outcomes and committing to consistent effort and improvement in those areas. By focusing on the process rather than fixating on outcomes, individuals can maintain motivation, reduce anxiety, and ultimately achieve greater success and fulfillment in their endeavors.

See, I told you. Or, my friend told you. The importance of mental games is not just for sports; it’s for business and it’s for life. I look forward to sharing more insights on what I am learning. 

In the meantime, have a great week. As my friend April always says in her email, “Cheering you on!”

30Jan

The Secret of Life

My sister subscribes to my content and she reads them from time to time. I don’t think she reads all of them though. I test her sometimes by writing about things she might find interesting and sometimes she would reply with a comment. Let’s see if she reads this one. I’ll let you know.

So, this is it. I am going to stop talking about it. This will be my last effort in writing about “Goal Setting” for the year. I had a great time doing the research and I learned a ton. I hope you did too. If you need a recap, here’s a summary and links for your reference:

  • Goals? What Goals?: This is about why our brain works against us when we want to change and grow because when things are familiar and consistent, your brain feels safe and doesn’t want change. How do you fight this?
  • My Lame Unfinished Journal Collection: We don’t achieve the goals we set because we don’t seek help. But there are different types of help we need depending on what type of tendencies we have when it comes to setting goals. Figure out which one you are.
  • Can We Change Who We Are?: Can we truly fundamentally change? Even if we fulfilled our goals, would that now make us a different person? Aren’t goals supposed to change you? What’s the point? Find out more.
  • Why is it So Hard to Take Action? There are 4 things we can control that are intertwined and can determine our destiny and change. But there are 2 out of the 4 that are constantly in conflict. But if we learn how to control it, we can make some incredible progress. I am being vague but you have to read it to find out. It’s fascinating.

So, back to my sister. She’s a freak. An organization freak. A neat freak. A clean freak. She’s probably one of the most disciplined people I know and she’s just always been that way ever since I can remember. The other day, I was at her house and I noticed that my nails were pretty long. So, what’s a better place to clip your nails than at someone else’s house? I asked her where her nail clippers were and she quickly answered, “Upstairs, hall bath, top right drawer, left side, in the back”. When I opened up the drawer, I almost fainted. There was a clear plastic drawer organizer thingy with tons of dividers and on the left side – in the back was a section just the right size for a nail clipper and that very nail clipper was neatly placed in its place. How freaky. I thought.

Anyway, I didn’t think much of it but after goofing around for a while, I needed the nail clippers again, I looked around to see where I left it last and couldn’t find it anymore. “Hey sis, where did the nail clippers go that I just used?” She replied, “Upstairs, hall bath, top right drawer, left side, in the back”. Oh, what? She put it back already. So freaky.

What’s my point? There’s a tremendous focus, process, and place for this ONE THING. And she nailed it. (Get it? Nailed it).

My sister is also a minimalist and her closet is immaculate as you can imagine. I asked her how she keeps it so nice and tidy without letting it get out of control. She said it was easy. When you buy a new shirt, you hang it and you pick out a shirt to donate or give away. If you get one, you have to get rid of one. What an amazing concept. You get ONE, and you have to get rid of ONE.

Why am I capitalizing and bolding the word “ONE”? Because ONE is the final secret I want to share in your Goal Setting.

Focusing on just ONE thing to achieve your goals is often aligned with the philosophy of prioritization and concentration. The idea is rooted in the belief that by concentrating your efforts on a single, significant task or goal, you can maximize your efficiency and effectiveness.

This concept is popularized by the “One Thing” philosophy, as emphasized in the book “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. And yes, I read this book and he confirmed what my sister was doing was correct. If you want that ONE thing, you have to give up that other thing.

The philosophy suggests that by identifying and dedicating your energy to the most crucial task or goal, you can achieve better results than if you were to spread your efforts across multiple tasks. It involves recognizing your priorities, eliminating distractions, and dedicating significant time and focus to the most impactful activity. Like her nailing her nail clipper organization.

The benefits of focusing on one thing include increased productivity, improved quality of work, and a better chance of achieving meaningful and long-term success. It also helps prevent burnout and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed by a multitude of tasks.

But more importantly, I’ll let you hear it from the real philosopher himself.

It’s the ONE thing. It’s the secret of life and it’s something you have to figure out. So, my final thought on this series is this, pick a goal, just one goal. Pick something meaningful that you know will impact your life and the lives around you. And focus on that ONE thing, all year. Just one. That’s it.

I am looking forward to celebrating the achievement of that ONE thing at the end of the year with you. Share with me if you want, I am curious and I want to cheer you on all year long. You can do it. It’s just one and it will change everything. I promise.

 

24Jan

Why Is It So Hard To Take Action?

I had an inspiration board long time ago. I cut out pictures from the magazine of dudes with certain physical characteristics. What did they look like? I am so glad you asked. They had low body fat and well-sculpted muscle definition. Especially around the stomach area. Let’s call it a six-pack. I would describe them as having a lean and chiseled body type with athletic appearance. Kind of like…like…what I am not. Ha!

So, why the inspiration board? Because I was taught that for me to reach my goals, I would have to visualize it. I was also taught that to take action, it would help to be inspired. And to be inspired, I need an inspiration board. So, there it was. And I looked at the board often and unfortunately, that’s about the only thing I did to achieve my goals of becoming a beautiful physical specimen of a human.

Where did I go wrong? I had all these dreams and ideas and things that I wanted to do and be. I tried and tried and tried but I just couldn’t get myself to take action. Even with the inspiration board. Why?

Here’s an answer that I think we all should know. This is something that most people in cognitive thought work like Psychology, Coaching and Counseling pretty much agree on.

There are 2 things in the world. Things we can control and things we cannot control. We cannot control people, we cannot control our past, we cannot control what happens out there in the world..let’s call those our circumstances. We cannot control our circumstances. So, what’s in our control? There are 4 things we CAN control that are intertwined and it can determine our destiny.

  1. Feelings
  2. Thoughts
  3. Action
  4. Results

And here’s the formula. Thoughts leads to Feelings, Feelings leads to Action, which leads to Results.

Our thoughts create our feelings. Do you agree with that? Our feelings are so important because they drive all our actions. They are the fuel for our actions. So, when you ask a question, why am I not taking action? It’s because of the way I feel. Or why am I taking an action I don’t want to be taking? It’s because of the way I feel. So, my feelings are driving my actions. And then, of course, my actions are always going to create the results I want in my life, or I don’t want in my life. My actions create my results.

I had to think about this for a while and really try to understand if my thoughts really lead to my feelings. I think this to be true for me. Then, does that mean, what I think is the most important component to my transformation? Whoa!!

What we decide to think is in our control. But, changing the way we think about ourselves is the most difficult task to overcome. We have over 60 thousand thoughts per day. I stopped counting my thoughts at nine. Who’s supervising my thoughts? Who’s paying attention to those thoughts? What narrative they are creating about me? For me, it’s mostly a false narrative. And if those thoughts are leading to my feelings, which leads me to action…what type of results am I getting?

Oh wow, hard works starts deep within. It’s going to take a lot more than just cutting out pics out of a magazine and displaying them on a cork board. It’s going to take work; it’s going to take compassion on myself and it’s going to take lot of discomfort to step out of my typical thought patterns and reprogram to who I was meant to be.

Where did I go wrong with the inspiration board? When I woke up to go to the gym to work out, I felt apathetic, I felt no drive…because I was telling myself that it didn’t matter anyway, that no matter how hard I worked out, I am never going to look like those guys anyways. My thoughts lead to my feelings which led to inaction which led to no result.

Hello? Can anyone relate?

New year, new me? How about same me with different thoughts of who I am. Internal work of listening to the negative voices in my head and changing them to true voices of courage, believing that I can because that’s just who I am. Let’s work!

Let me know your thoughts on this. Not only that, let me know your feelings on this as well. Hahah! Are we ready to grow together? Let’s gooooooo!!!!

17Jan

Can We Change Who We Are?

My goal is to someday be good enough at golf to earn PGA Teaching Professional credentials. This means having that coveted PGA logo next to my name and on my title. It will show that I have gone through the grueling 4-year curriculum and passed the PAT (Player Ability Test), which I have already taken over 7 times and failed. It’s not that I am not good enough to score to pass the test, which I do all the time playing casually with my friends, but something happens to me mentally during the qualifying round. Call it imposter syndrome, call it a mental block, call it whatever you want…I am struggling to pass and it’s driving me crazy.

Why am I torturing myself to do this? Because my ultimate goal is for me to get ready to phase into my retirement days, as a second career, teaching and helping elite high school and college-age athletes to be even better athletes competing at the highest level. Also, I have a plan for my future grandkids someday becoming professional touring golf pros. Hahaha! Don’t laugh. It’s my dream.

Back to my imposter syndrome and my mental block…I started reading a book called “With Winning in Mind” which is written by a 1976 Gold Medalist who found his success in sports that were predominantly “mental” and figured out a way to breakthrough one’s struggle to becoming the world’s greatest. So, I had to dive in and figure out what he has to say. One of the most intriguing ideas about his philosophy is his definition of “Self-Image”. He says a person’s Self-Image is how you think about yourself and that if you believe in yourself. If you have a positive Self-Image and are able to succeed at a high level. Your Self-Image and your performance are equal, meaning, if you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t be able to do it. But if you have a positive Self-Image and know it is “Like you” to be able to do it, then you will do it with ease. Interesting. I think he’s onto something.

Which begs another question. Can we fundamentally change who we are? Can we change what we think about ourselves? Can we change our personality? I mean, my self-image encompasses long-lasting patterns of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, even events and trauma that have occurred in my life that has shaped me. Oh, and let’s not forget the genetic factors and my childhood experiences and even environmental influences. I say changing myself is a complex and challenging process.

In fact, if you search “can a person change?” on google or YouTube, you will find yourself in the rabbit hole of information ranging from “no, you are who you are, you can change your behavior but you can’t change who you are at the core.” Or “absolutely you can change, you’ll just need the right tools, accountability, help and you can be transformed.” or “you can only change if you hit rock bottom and only way for survival is to change.” I’ve been researching this topic for over a week and my guess is that there isn’t a definite black and white answer.

So, why are we even making this a series. Why do we even bother with New Year Resolutions and dreaming out our transformation? New Year, New me? Or, New Year…same old me?

Great question, here’s my answer with a story. There’s a gal named Dorothy…I think she also has a dog but that’s not important. She has three friends who desperately want to change who they are. And Dorothy guides them to this brilliant wizard who grants them their wish of transformation. Let’s talk about each of her friends’ issues and how each of them was transformed, shall we?

  • Scarecrow: The Scarecrow desires a brain because he feels he lacks intelligence. In the end, the Wizard presents him with a diploma, symbolizing the intelligence he sought. However, it is later revealed that the Scarecrow had always been intelligent, and the diploma was more of a recognition of his existing wisdom.
  • Tin Man: The Tin Man longs for a heart, believing he is incapable of love and emotion. The Wizard provides him with a heart-shaped clock, assuring him that it will make a ticking sound when he is experiencing emotions. This gesture satisfies the Tin Man, who discovers that he had a kind and loving heart all along.
  • Cowardly Lion: The Cowardly Lion seeks courage, as he believes himself to be a coward. The Wizard gives him a medal, and although the Lion initially thinks it is a placebo, he later proves his bravery in various situations throughout their journey. This demonstrates that he had courage within him from the beginning.

Ultimately, Dorothy’s friends learn that the “change” they sought after was already within themselves, and the Wizard merely provided symbols or tokens to help them realize their inner strengths. They came to a profound realization that what they were seeking was already intrinsic to their being.

Can we change? Yes, we can. Can we grow? Yes, we can. Can we change our self-image? Yes, we can. Then, can we fundamentally change who we are? I don’t know…why would you want to if you already possess the change you want within you?

I have more to unpack next week. Stay tuned. Thanks for letting me think out loud.

Hanju

10Jan

My Lame Unfinished Journal Collection

I wish I could show you my journal collection. Hang on, let me go count them. I’ll be right back.

Okay, I counted 23. This includes the Full Focus Planner, Bullet Journal, Gratitude Journal, Brandon Burchard’s High-Performance Planner Journal… it includes many different designs of blank journals that I started filling in. Oh, and I didn’t even include the numerous digital journals I’ve downloaded over the years, thinking it would be easier to do it on my iPad. Why do I have so many journals? Because, at the beginning of every year, every quarter, or even every season, I make a commitment to myself to start journaling. Unfortunately, after about month 2 or 3, I stop. I get out of rhythm, and I somehow lose interest. Then, you guessed it, I re-commit, and with my pure and stubborn will, I start again. And when I start again, of course, I need a fresh new start, and that’s why I go buy a brand new journal. And that’s why I have 23 unfinished journals in my collection. Funny? Not really.

By the way, I started journaling again last month, and I’ve been doing it for 18 straight days without missing a day. I am super proud, and for some reason, I am thinking this could be the year. Could it? Or could it not? I will let you know.

Remember I said last week that I am going to help you accomplish your goals this year? I’ve been doing some research, and I have some insights to share with you. This concept is totally making sense to me, and this… this could be the year that changes EVERYTHING!

First, I am learning that we all have different tendencies when it comes to goal setting. Depending on your tendencies, we need to determine what type of help you’ll need. And if you find the right type of help and accountability, you’ll be on your way to a new you. So, ready? Let’s learn.

There are two types of expectations: Inner and Outer. Inner expectations are things you expect of yourself. Are you constantly disappointed in yourself because you are always breaking the promises you make to yourself? A common example is self-improvement goals that only you know about… losing weight, reading more, waking up earlier, being on time, etc.

Outer expectations are things other people expect from you. Are you constantly disappointing others because you are always breaking the promises you made to them? A common example is failing to hit deadlines at work or not turning in your homework on time or not showing up to an appointment.

There are 4 possible personality types in the 4 tendencies. Read through these and see where you fit in.

  1. Upholder: Absolutely meets inner and outer expectations. You love routines, schedules, and you love following the rules. People think you are extremely disciplined. You are highly productive, and you just know how to get it done. However, you are not flexible when it comes to needing to change plans, and sometimes, you really have a hard time relaxing.
  2. Questioner: Meets inner expectations only. You love researching, and you ask “why” a lot… too much, in fact. If you believe in the “why,” you can pretty much accomplish anything. So, your outer expectations have to also turn into inner expectations. You love logic, you love to analyze to make your decisions, and you value efficiency, and you are always trying to improve processes. However, you get stuck trying to figure everything out first, often taking action too late.
  3. Obliger: You put others ahead of yourself, and you value harmony in relationships. You NEED outer accountability to meet any inner expectation. You are super likable and very reliable. But you struggle with self-care, and you are always feeling obligation from others.
  4. Rebels: You do whatever you want to do… and you do it your own way, on your own time. If someone tells you to do the exact same thing, you will resist. You prefer to act from freedom, choice, and self-expression. You are your authentic self. You love challenges, and you love proving others wrong. You will also be known as being uncooperative.

And here are the ways that each person in their tendency can find help to achieve their goals.

  1. Upholder: You must clearly articulate your inner expectations. Write them down on your list and schedule them. There are only about 19% like you. Celebrate it and watch your dreams become a reality.
  2. Questioner: You must define the WHY for each of your goals and know the importance of reaching your why. This will be your number one motivator and purpose for reaching your goals. Think long and hard and write down your why next to your goals and focus on it. There are only 24% like you.
  3. Obliger: You can’t do it alone. You must create outer accountability. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s just different wiring in the brain. Accountability could come in different forms for different people. Some of you just need a simple text reminder from others, but some of you might need supervision or monitoring from others to help you get things done.
  4. Rebels: Do it out of love rather than obligation. Get clarity on your own values and use it as your decision criteria for whether or not to do it. But once you decide to do it, go all in. Know that it would help you redefine your identity.

If this information is intriguing to you, you can find more information from the author Gretchen Rubin in the book “The Happiness Project.” The book will go in-depth in helping and guiding you to not only reach your goals but also understand your preference in how you do the work. Oh, also, here’s the quiz you can take to see which tendency category you are in: https://gretchenrubin.com/quiz/the-four-tendencies-quiz/

I hope this can be a helpful tool in your journey to your best year ever. How awesome would it be for us to dream out our goals for the year, write them down, and be disciplined and inspired to do the work… and finally watch it come to fruition? It can be done. I believe in you. I believe in me. I believe in us. Let’s make this year a year of transformation.

Oh, by the way, I am a questioner, what are you?

03Jan

Goals? What Goals?

New year, new you! So, do you want to set a bunch of goals that you most likely won’t reach? In fact, February 28th is the official day when all your set goals will die and won’t be thought of again until this time next year. Yup. But why? Why is it so hard?

Apparently, your brain ain’t so smart. According to Kara Loewntheil (Author, Yale & Harvard Graduate, Podcaster, Life Coach, etc.), as a human, once your basic material and safety needs are met, your brain’s tendency is toward comfort and stability. Nothing wrong with that. But, comfort and stability are also the opposite of change and growth.

Our brain has evolved to save energy and stay stable. So, if anything feels familiar and consistent, it signals to your brain that everything is safe. Nothing wrong with that. But, to your brain, ANYTHING can become familiar and consistent, even if it’s emotionally volatile, unpleasant, or damaging to you. Fighting at home, hating your own body, being in a dead-end relationship, over-drinking, over-eating, staying at the job you hate… they can all be familiar and consistent in your life, which means your brain is cool with it.

The thing is, most of us don’t want this for our lives; we have values of what we want our lives to be and look like. See the struggle? Our brain is prioritizing safety and stability to protect us from danger, but we need to step outside of that to change and grow.

This is where goals, or in our case, New Year resolutions, come in.

Goals are how you bridge the gap between your brain’s default operating system (familiar and consistent), which is the life you are currently living, to the life you actually want to live. Setting goals and executing them is how we bring our lives into alignment with our values.

Back to the original question: why is it so hard? The answer? It’s because we don’t have the right help. And the right help is determined by what each of us uniquely needs. What we uniquely need is determined by how we individually think and function (our tendencies) when it comes to goal setting.

I am excited to learn with you through our new series called “Goal Setting” as I am a constant goal-setter who struggles to keep it going strong throughout the year. I hope this will be the game-changer for all of us.

Stay tuned; I will explain the four types of tendencies and how they’re defined. I will summarize what we need to do once we figure out which category we belong to. I will even give you a link to take a 10-minute quiz to help guide you along in your discovery. With our new series, I hope to help us set goals and reach them. I hope to empower us from being comfortable and stable to wanting to change and grow. You with me? Let’s do this!

27Dec

The “F” Word

I don’t know what it was, but there was something very special about her. Maybe it’s the way she smells (like fresh summer flowers), or it was the warmth of her hug that made me feel so safe, or the way she caressed my hair. Maybe it was the way she would put both of her warm hands on my cheek, maybe it was the way she leaned in and kissed my nose. Maybe it was the sound of her voice or the way the smile never left her face. Maybe it was the way she would bring me goodies, and we would walk hand in hand everywhere we went. Maybe it was just ALL of it. I loved my grandma so much. She was everything to me growing up.

When I got older and moved to the US, I got to spend several weeks with her when she visited us from Korea. Those feelings of warmth I felt as a child about my grandma all came back to me. My dad drove all of us around to show her the vastness of the desert beauty of where we lived. She sat in the back seat of our mustang with me, holding hands, of course, and hummed a beautiful tune of something I wasn’t familiar with… all I remember was that she was at peace, she was happy, and she loved me so much. What I didn’t know was that she was suffering pain from the cancer which had spread throughout her body, and that this would be the last time I would see her.

We lived in a small apartment with thin walls, and I would be awakened in the middle of the night by a soft sobbing sound from my mom and dad’s bedroom. It was my mom. I could hear her cry, and she would often call out “umma” in her shaky voice, which means “mama” in Korean. She longed for her. I would lay there with my eyes open, staring at the ceiling, not knowing how to comfort my mom but just wishing that her sadness would subside and she would go to sleep soon. I missed her too, but something tells me that the way my mom loved her was beyond the depth of my comprehension.

We all have a different definition of what the “f” word “family” means to us. Some of us were fortunate enough to equate the word “family” to words like unconditional love, support, guidance, warmth, security… but for some of us, it can be a trigger word that can bring memories of deep pain and wounds… maybe even the other “f” word.

One of the artists I follow, Jackie Liu, stated this about her own childhood: “I always felt a void where family was supposed to be. For years I had no shoulders to cry on, no arms to carry me. Holidays, birthdays, and milestones ached with the absence of celebration. There were no Thanksgiving gatherings, no birthday dinners, no movie marathons, or board game nights. I needed care, nurturing, and safety. I couldn’t find it in my household, so I had to find it elsewhere. I had to forge the genealogy of my own.”

So, this begs the question. What’s the definition of family for you? Some say family is unconditional love (is this even humanly possible?). Some say family is that 3 am phone call. Some say family is foundationally their strongest relationships, family is comfort, family is trust, family is security. It doesn’t have to be biological, and it doesn’t have to be perfect; family is simply the people that you love and those that love you back.

I love my grandma. It’s been 40 years since I last saw her, but I remember her like it was yesterday. She defined what family is for me. Family is holding hands, driving through the vastness of the desert, humming a beautiful tune, at peace, happy, and in love.

Wishing you the best of the holidays surrounded by family. At peace, happy, and in love.

20Dec

It’s None of My Business

Have you heard of that thought-provoking question people often ask in a “get-to-know” group setting? “What would you do with your life if money wasn’t an issue?” It’s a fair question. It will definitely help you look deep within and even examine your current life status and purpose. This can often lead to asking yourself another question… “Why am I doing what I am doing?”

But, I have a better thought-provoking question for you. But first, a story.

I immigrated to the US when I was 10 years old with my mom, my dad, and my older sister. We were a happy family of 4. My dad is a dreamer and wanted something better for himself and for us. I remember vividly the excitement of this new life. I am also a dreamer, and I’ve always dreamt of experiencing America to the fullest—the richness, the endless opportunities, the gigantic malls, the beautifully developed communities… oh, and Disneyland. I couldn’t wait to go there.

Turns out, the transition to the whole new, unknown world isn’t as easy as it seems. And the dreams that were so visible weren’t as reachable as shown in the movies. In fact, looking back, that very transition became one of the toughest and most painful journeys I’ve experienced in my life. Not only as a kid experiencing rejection and being bullied for the first time at school, but lots were happening at home. There’s an unbearable amount of pressure and burden from my parents. Whether spoken or unspoken… or even sometimes screamed in my face, I soon realized that I carried the hope and the fulfillment of their “dreams” which rested on my tiny little shoulders. Was that even fair?

Looking back, these traumatic years re-shaped my core as a person. I learned to live my life on other people’s terms. They determined my identity. They determined my purpose. They determined my happiness. They determined how I should live my life. I didn’t want that to happen… it just did. What “they” thought of me mattered. It mattered so much.

I heard this quote about 10 years ago that made me think, and it goes like this…

“At 20, you care what everyone is thinking about you. At 40, you don’t give a damn what people are thinking about you. At 60, you realize no one is thinking about you.”

It’s kinda funny, isn’t it? I think there’s some truth to it. In fact, I think I am in the 2nd stage of life where I am learning to care less about what others think about me, and let me tell you, it’s been very freeing. Along the same thought, I heard this quote which I think is so profound and even more freeing in a way.

“What others think about you is none of your business.”

Whoa!!

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a license to be a complete jerk because you don’t care what others think about you anymore, but it’s a way to look deep within and be true to yourself and to rediscover yourself and to be confident in who you are.

So, here’s my second thought-provoking question that you’ve been waiting for. “What would you do with your life if you didn’t care what others thought about you?” If that’s hard to answer, let’s phrase it like this. “What would you do with your life if no matter what you did, others will think the best of you.”

We have work to do. We have our dreams to dream, goals to reach, people to love, purpose to fulfill, lives to live. We don’t have time to waste any of our precious energy being bullied by the naysayers or those critics of you. Because, you know what? What they think of me is none of my business. Carry on.

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