Architect of Your Own Character

“Let us not say, every man is the architect of his own fortune, but let us say, every man is the architect of his own character.” – George Dana Boardman

The cool thing about your life is that you get to choose who you want to be. Who you choose to be as a person speaks volumes. Our character allows us to experience things uniquely. It is so important to make sure that your character reflects who you truly want to be in this world.

I was just watching a video by Anna Akana talking about bumping into a random stranger who reacted badly. Rather than reciprocating with anger, Anna responded gently and asked, “Are you okay?” Then the stranger replied that she was sorry and that she was having a hard time because her father had passed away. Turns out Anna Akana faced a similar situation with her sister. So, the two enjoyed a deeper connection with each other just from the fact that Anna chose to respond with kindness rather than anger.

How we choose to respond or react in various scenarios is an integral part of our character. If you wish to live a more fulfilling lifestyle, you may choose to identify with values such as truth or love. That way, you can make the best of any type of scenario. We don’t know how other people really are until we choose to identify with kindness or compassion even through seemingly difficult times.

I like the idea of being your own architect of your own character. Rather than focusing on the superficial and giving into pure materialism, we can look within ourselves and learn how to be four-dimensional beings. That is, learn how to resonate at a higher frequency or higher state of consciousness. Then, enjoy more pleasant experiences, even changing negative events to good ones. The true test of character is to overcome the negative that comes along the way. Don’t you agree?

By the way, if you have the type of personality that reacts badly to any situation, it is totally possible to change your ways and to become a more positive or pleasant person. You can recreate new personality types and identify with different values. It takes some conscious effort to change in the beginning, but it is possible. For example, you can go from being a shy person to being the life of the party at social gatherings just by practicing talking in front of a mirror or by attending Toastmasters and getting used to speaking in front of an audience. Remember, personalities are moldable. And if you so choose to pick good habits over bad ones, all it takes is some upfront work, perhaps shedding old beliefs and accepting more empowering beliefs.

Is there a part of your character that you would like to change? If so, how would you go about changing it? Feel free to share in the comments.

Concentration

“The ability to concentrate and to use your time well is everything if you want to succeed in business– or almost anywhere else for that matter.” – Lee Iacocca

Concentration is key in making progress. It’s not always easy to concentrate due to our circumstances. Therefore, we must make an effort to create an environment that allows us to concentrate deeply in whatever it is that we are doing and wanting to progress in.

For a blogger such as myself, it may require a clean workspace, free from distractions. It might in some cases also be beneficial to write in an area that is on airplane mode, meaning that your phone is shut off or on silent, or that your laptop is off from wifi. That way, you won’t be distracted by text messages or emails. You may benefit from simply writing on a word document and transferring it to your website later.

You want to have an environment that fuels your or inspires you to concentrate on a daily basis. This goes for any talent or skill, whether it’s music or math, science or astrology. Whatever captures your interest, make sure that your environment is cohesive to that. An organized space always helps, keeping your mind healthy too.

If you want to succeed in achieving any goal, concentration is important. You have to set your eyes upon that goal and make sure you are progressing every day. Even if you have some setbacks, you want to keep going at it, creating the habit for success. The more persistent and concentrated you are, the better.

The Illusion of Perfection

Sometimes when we try to achieve a certain goal, we get caught up in making it perfect. We expect there to be a linear path to success. But in reality, there is no true linear path to longterm goals. We can expect there to be curves or obstacles along the way. And, it is up to us to navigate through those unexpected roadblocks.

In order to achieve something perfect, we’d be expending a lot of time and energy into achieving that state of perfection. But sometimes, it’s worth it just to execute your actions and to keep treading on. For example, I don’t always have a perfect idea for what I want to blog about. I don’t even know how the blog post will end up until it’s actually finished. However, I can try my best to come up with a topic and write about it, seeing where it leads me. Either way, since my intention is to help others, it will show through my consistent effort of writing and posting regularly.

In reality, nothing is 100% perfect. There will always be an edge that we could correct. This happens to me when I’m songwriting or producing a cover on a song. The vocals might not be 100% how I want it to sound. Or, the instrumental track may be imperfect. But if I try my best and set aside a certain amount of time to get it done, it usually ends up sounding pretty decent. Well, at least my subscribers enjoy it. Plus not only that, but I also find myself improving for the next time I produce or create a song.

We have to come to terms with life not being perfect. We have to take not only the “good”, but the unwanted (or “bad”). We have to live in balance and understand that perfection is merely an illusion. There is no such thing as a life that is 100% perfect. Try to find someone who has a perfect life. You’ll hear of no such thing.

What we can do is learn to accept that life is not 100% perfect. We can strive to live out best lives every day, minus the negative feelings. Or we can accept those negative feelings too and learn how to do our best anyway, despite the setbacks. Learn the lessons behind every negative event that shows up. This is how life is, and it’s up to your how you create your reality. Just realize that it’s okay to make mistakes along the way, because either way you are learning and growing. That’s as close to perfect as we can get.

Persistence

We hear it time after time that persistence pays off. But what exactly does persistence mean and look like? Persistence is when you continually work on something time after time, despite any setbacks that may occur.

One example of how I have been persistent lately is by hitting the gym every day on weekdays. That has been paying off well for me as I feel my body’s stamina increasing. My energy has also slowly but surely been stabilizing throughout the day.

Another way in which I have been persistent is to blog almost daily. There are some days that I miss when my schedule is busy, but for the most part I have been consistent in blogging daily. By being persistent, I’ve noticed that the quality of my writing has been improving too.

Some people may feel as if they haven’t been persistent daily. But if you look at the habits you already have, you may be persistent. For example, you may brush your teeth daily, or showering every other day. You may wake up at the same time every day. That counts as being persistent.

My recommendation is that if you want to live a life that is more structured, start off with one small habit that you can instill every day. Maybe if hitting the gym seems out of your reach, start with 3 full pushups. Then add another pushup the next day, making it four. Then go with five, six, seven, and so on until before you know it, you’ll be flying with those pushups every day with a strong physique to show for.

Other good habits to instill that might be easy to start off with is drinking more water. You can make it a goal to get 2 cups of water in before lunch. Or if you wake up late, make it a goal to down a bottle of water the first thing when you wake up.

If it is a matter of productivity, you can gradually build up persistence to working or studying more. For example, you may make it a simple goal to study and review notes for 5 minutes a day first thing in the morning or when you get back home in the evening. Five minutes does not sound like a lot of time, sure. But is it better than continuously not studying or working? Yes! Start with just five minutes, and then build yourself up to 7 minutes after a week of studying or working 5 minutes a day. Then, you might want to build up to 10 minutes a day. Keep going until you hit the ideal amount of time for studying or working.

The key the persistence is to start simple and relatively easy. Then, you will be able to be persistent, gradually building up long-lasting habits. Any time you slide down, restart with something simple again until you get the hang of sticking to that habit. Then you too can become a persistent person. (;

Balancing Emotion with What’s Rational

Our emotions don’t last forever. What we feel is just in the moment. Then as we experience new changes, our emotions and feelings may shift over to something different. What we have to realize with out emotions is that sometimes, we have to balance those emotions with a rational state of mind.

Your emotional mind is an indicator of how things are going both on the inside and outwards. Sometimes, our minds may convince us to engage in certain activities based on how you feel in the moment. But, we should try our best to balance our state of being with the rational, to make more grounded decisions.

What we can do is practice living with a more empowered state of being. That is, deflect negativity and replace them with a more positive affirmation. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, and learn how to do better the next time around.

It can be easy to just give into our emotions, because that is how we feel. And, we often feel that the best way to express our emotional mind is to experience it fully. However, that rarely plays out well. When we are overly optimistic, we may engage in risky behaviors or overwhelm ourselves by the time our optimistic high is over. And similarly, when we drown in negativity, we self-destruct and cause ourselves to experience more stressful situations. Well, that is unless you learn how to get yourself to a calmer state of being.

When you’re in a calm state of being, that is the best place to be in order to make decisions. You are level-headed and think more clearly or rationally. We can create goals for ourselves that are positive and reachable. This is better than taking off more than you can chew and destructing in chaos. Focus on where you are right now and learn how to take a step up. As with anything, it takes time to learn the skill of balancing emotion with logic. But the more you practice, the better you become at it, and the more you can take on. And when you learn how to balance emotion with logic, you begin to make wiser decisions.

Get Out of Your Head

Sometimes, we become self-absorbed in our own thoughts. It is good to be mindful and to practice conscious thinking. But sometimes, we have to pull away from our thoughts in order to live in the present. Too much overthinking can create unnecessary anxiety or anticipation for the future.

In order to get out of our own heads, we can practice positive coping skills to ground us in the moment. Some examples of these are focusing on your breath, listening to a guided meditation, or even going out for a nice walk. Engaging in these positive coping skills can allow you to manage your stress and to stop overanalyzing your thoughts or yourself. There are other ways to get out of your own head such as through exercise, yoga, listening to music, or taking a warm shower. So generally, practicing self-care can help us to overcome these hurdles.

When our minds project too much into the future or ruminate over and over again into the past, we feel unsettled and unsatisfied. But if we learn how to enjoy things in the present moment, we can learn how to let go and enjoy life. We can learn how to overcome each hurdle one step at a time. Just as Will Smith mentioned one time in an interview, he said that you don’t set out to build a grand wall; you learn to lay one brick at a time as perfectly as you can. When we focus on taking small steps, we can eventually build those steps into something greater, to running a full marathon, either figuratively or actually if you are into running marathons. (;

Another great coping skill to getting out of your head is to journal or blog. Write your feelings out. Maybe write a poem, or compose a whole song. That’s what I do with my music. Learn how to express yourself in constructive ways.

If you feel as if you’re life is completely overwhelming, you may want to start by first addressing your health. Make sure that your basic needs such as food, water, and shelter are taken care of. And, learn how to keep those needs satisfied on a daily basis.

Then once you have had your basic needs met, you can look to fulfilling your higher needs. I would say that once your basic needs are covered, you can jump straight to self-actualization. What is your bigger purpose in life? Is it to be an inspiration to others? Is it to express yourself with your music? Is it to cook food for people?

What activities do you enjoy engaging in that can contribute value to society? This is a hard question for people to answer right away, especially if you’ve been forced to engage in different subjects or topics that were not in alignment with your own interests. Plus, we have a hard time thinking creatively of such activities that seem like they would make no money when in actuality, there is a way to make money from any type of skill. But less on the money aspect, what are some activities that you can engage in right now that will aid you in lowering your stress and increase enjoyment in your life? Because ultimately, you deserve to enjoy your life and to be happy.

So to reiterate, it is best to engage in activities of self-care until you can find a purpose in life that drives you to excel in every area of your life. Some ways in which I engage in self-care is to go to the gym, take a warm shower before bedtime, get enough rest at nighttime, and to listen to uplifting or upbeat music. I also like to dress up in the morning so that I feel more awake or more purposeful to start my da. Maybe you can start off with engaging in one of these activities too. Make it a goal to instill one good habit every day for a week. Once you achieve that, add onto that by setting another habitual goal. Then once that week passes successfully with no breaks of those habits, set another daily habit. Keep going until soon, you have a chain of good habits to keep you going.

If you’re just tired of the same old routine from day to day, maybe it’s just time for you to try something new. For example, you could go for a walk in a different part of town. Or, you could try dining at a new restaurant. Read a new book. Watch a new movie. Sign up for a dance class. Try something different and see how it affects your emotional state of being.

The best way to stay out of your head is to take constructive action. Try your best to relax and get into a calm state of being. Then, engage in activities that get you going in a positive direction. But just in case you are feeling aggressive or nervous or anxious, it may benefit you to sign up to, for example, a martial arts class. Release your pent up frustration through constructive movements.

It takes time and practice to learn how to get out of your own head. However, it is not impossible. It’s important that you realize that your thoughts are just thoughts. They do not always contain the full truth, as our minds are always seeking for answers. We cannot possibly know the answer to every question. But if we just try our best every day, we can go a long way into the path of happiness, learning how to deal with our mindsets and making the best out of it as we can.

Experience Every Emotion

Often times when we look up to successful people, we forget that those people have dealt with struggle or negativity of their own. We look to these people as being lucky or fortunate. But nowadays, we are experiencing a more level playing field. Technology tells us that we are just making excuses if we only try and not do. And everyone, regardless of race, gender, or religion can learn to overcome their failures and mistakes, and their emotions.

Our emotions can serve as a compass or guide. Emotions are a part of everyday existence. If we did not have them, then we would experience a dull life. Maybe, we may not even feel as if we are living with no emotions.

Successful people take the negativity and transform it into some good. For example, if someone was feeling tired all the time, it would be a sign that this person should relax more and maybe get some more rest. Or, they can change up their diet to see if it helps. If someone were in the mindset of “I can’t do this anymore”, they would succumb to laziness for a long period of time, perhaps never addressing the root cause of the problem of tiredness.

Negativity can be a guide for us to try something different. It may be as simple as decluttering your environment to something as complicated as changing your whole career path. Rather than letting the negativity get you down, it’s more important to learn how to deal with these negative emotions.

One of the best ways to deal with negativity is to remove limiting beliefs about yourself or about the world. Eliminating a negative belief can help you to foster more positive thoughts. Though at the same time, you want to acknowledge real threats and dangers (e.g. it might not be a good idea to stick your hand in a fire, but it can be rewarding to enroll in a new yoga class for your health even if you feeling social anxiety).

The best way to live through every emotion is to just let it be. Experience all the emotions and try to process your thoughts through methods such as listening to guided meditations. Or, you can use a creative outlet such as blogging, journalling, or even songwriting.

Sometimes, we struggle with dealing with changes in our life. In these situations, we may feel the need to vent out our frustrations with loved or trusted ones. Or, it could be a sign that you should relax and take a breather. Perhaps life doesn’t have to seem so bad once you realize that you have clothes, you have shelter, and you have food. Some people can’t even say that much. So once you understand that perspective, suddenly everything isn’t as bad as it once appeared.

Even the most happiest or positive person you come by may experience negative emotions. What separates “positive” people from “negative” people is how they deal with their emotions. Are you navigating life through destruction (giving in to negativity) or through construction (i.e. writing your feelings out)?


How to Start Your Day

A good way to start your day is to instill habits that form a morning routine. That way, you can start the day fresh and awake. There are many habits that you can include in your daily routine (in no particular order):

– Listen to uplifting music
– Follow a guided meditation
– Do some light stretching
– Practice some yoga
– Shower
– Brush your teeth
– Change into daytime clothes
– Wear makeup
– Wear jewelry or other accessories
– Check off your MITs (most important tasks)
– Come up with a gratitude list
– Drink water
– Enjoy sipping hot tea or hot cocoa
– Read a book
– Wash your face
– Apply toner or moisturizer to your face
– Apply lotion or oil on your body
– Massage your hands or anywhere you feel discomfort
– Go for a morning walk
– Enjoy the sunlight (being careful not to look at it directly if it is beaming bright)
– Enjoy breakfast
– Wash the dishes
– Apply perfume, cologne, or body mist
– Comb your hair
– Brush your hair

These are just a few ideas out of many to start your morning routine. For everyone, it may look different. For example, some people (including myself) prefer taking showers in the evening. Other people do not drink anything with caffeine in it.

If you’re not used to having a morning routine, you may want to start with just a few habits at a time. Then, you can gradually build up to instilling more good habits. Eventually, you’ll be on a roll, tackling each habit one at a time and starting your day just right.

If you have a chaotic schedule, you may want to just make sure that you instill a few good habits. Then, let the rest resolve itself based on what you have to get accomplished for that day. For example, if you have to head off somewhere different from usual at an early time, you might cut off going for a morning walk. Or, you can alternatively wake up a little earlier than usual to get your whole morning routine in.

Personally, I try to get my whole morning routine down. If I don’t, I succumb to being lazy and doing nothing. On days when I follow my morning routine, I feel more productive and in balance.

Nighttime routines are also helpful for ending your day. It can put you into a relaxing mood to get some much needed rest. Again, you can apply some of the habits I’ve listed above to get yourself started with a good nighttime routine (e.g. listening to a guided meditation to help your mind relax).

Like I said, if you’re completely out of it with no set schedule for your morning routine, you might want to start with simple habits such as brushing your teeth or drinking water. You can make it a goal for a week to brush your teeth every day for seven days. Then once you get past that, you can add in the habit of drinking water for seven days along with brushing your teeth. Then after that, you can throw something in such as listening to a guided meditation. Go with what feels best or natural to you.

Treading the Unknown

As our minds are based on survival, we sometimes face fears of exploring the unknown. We come up with all the reasons why not to do something when treading the unknown. But what would happen if we explore the unknown with gentle curiosity?

Just because some paths in life are unknown does not mean that we have to leave it unexplored. We can dab into the unknown bit by bit, perhaps uncovering a new and interesting story. We can learn and grow by treading into the unknown.

The reason why it’s difficult to face the unknown is because there is some uncertainty behind it. So instead, we may settle for smaller paths to the unknown such as through buying a lotto ticket. But what if there were much bigger unknowns (with more “risks”) that unveil themselves? What if we could achieve a higher purpose by exploring with what we are not familiar with?

The major benefit of exploring the unknown is that we are sure to experience growth. We may encounter many failures. However, there is much to learn in the territory of what feels uncomfortable to us at first.

When we are babies, we are like sponges. We absorb everything that we can in order to determine the unknowns. And, we are fearless in a sense because we rely on our families and our environment. We learn at a rapid pace.

You want to be slightly cautious and careful when treading the path of the unknown. For example, when you thinking of investing in a business deal, you want to make sure that you learn all there is to that business. Make it a safe investment, given all the facts. Or, back out of the decision and explore another heart-centered business.

When you are developing a new skill, it can be a vulnerable experience for us to just start off. But, it can also be an enriching experience, quickly catching on to how that new skill works. It allows us to express ourselves in new ways.

You may want to explore a new travel destination. Maybe you’ve never been there before. Maybe you’ll encounter new connections with people. Maybe you’ll even consider moving there. But either way, it requires you to step out of your comfort zone and to explore the new with some excitement or curiosity.

You may even want to explore past paths that haven’t gone so well before. For example, I invested my time and money into building a PC. Well guess what happened to that PC? It’s still sitting on my desk, unusable. I went out and bought the right parts, but for some reason, it still does not function. I’ve neglected buying a new PC ever since. But guess what I’m doing as soon as I move? I’m researching different pre-built PCs this time as opposed to building it on my own. I’m still treading on the path of unknown, not sure what PC build I’m going to buy next. But, I am comparing different PCs to see which one I should ultimately buy.

You too might benefit from treading on past unknown paths. Sometimes, we suffer loss in different ways that hold us back from exploring life fully. But just as I’ve forgiven myself for spending money on the unusable PC, I’ve accepted the path of having it built for me with the latest tech specs. And you too, whether you’ve suffered from financial loss to a loss of the loved one, can benefit from gently exploring the unknown, making sure to learn from your experience along the way.

The unknown can be a scary place, but it does not have to be. Whether we tread the familiar over and over again or explore the unknown does not make a difference other than determining how much you will grow. Sometimes, it’s good to sink back down to what’s familiar. But other times, when life is stagnate, it may be time to explore the unfamiliar.

If you are fearful of many experiences (e.g. being social, going out for a walk, meeting new people, trying a new recipe, etc.), it may be time for you to examine your mindset. Figure out where the fear is coming from (usually rooted in childhood). Realize that there are other possible truths. Then, get back up again and start living life courageously, or even confidently. Make sure to take it easy which each step you take, and learn as you go. It does not have to be a race, but it can be a slowly guided experience. (;

Why is Passive Income a Good Way to Earn Money?

Passive income requires discipline. It means trying various ideas until something sticks and works. It requires you to be patient and to hold out for long-term benefits. If you stick to creating passive income, eventually you will succeed as you learn from your attempts.

The reason why passive income is so good to earn is because it requires you to only put in the upfront work one time in exchange for receiving money over a long period of time. It allows you to explore your creative side and to find outlets in which you can contribute value to society multiple times from just exerting the time and effort once.

Passive income also allows you to live a freer lifestyle. Your life is not based on just your work and errands. In some cases, it can be based on your lifestyle and way of living. For example, Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary makes a living off lending money and investing money into the stock market while in exchange earning dividends. His whole lifestyle is based on extracting value through lending money to others. If he so chosen otherwise, he could retire from his work and still continue earning money. But instead, his lifestyle revolves around supporting businesses and investing money into them.

You don’t have to be mega rich in order to dabble into passive income. There are many ways in which you can earn passive income, from eBooks to eCourses to real estate. When you first start off, you have to adjust to a learning curve. That is, you have to keep trying different ideas until one works. You don’t have to be super serious in order to earn passive income. You can even explore the topic with some fun, such as creating a game app for Android or iPhone. There are kids who have already dabbled into creating passive income, such as creating and selling music. You too can earn passive income if you just set up your mind for success. Focus on ways in which you can contribute value to society, and then try different ideas until you can earn passive income.

The cool thing about passive income nowadays with the internet is that you don’t even need to have money in order to start with it. If you had to, you could access a local library’s computer and earn money such as through blogging. Or, you could save up money temporarily from a job and invest in a camera (or smartphone with a camera) to upload YouTube videos. The sky’s the limit. Just stick to one method of passive income before jumping off in several directions.

Nowadays, I would say that the main sources of passive income that I am currently exploring are 1) blogging, and 2) uploading YouTube videos. My channels (here and here) are growing in views and subscribers, so I have been more proactive in posting videos through YouTube. And my blog, while not high in traffic yet, has been growing in the number of articles I’ve been posting. So eventually once I hit a certain number of valuable articles, I will gain more traffic and earn more money through my ads/affiliate links.

Pursuing passive income can be something that you do while earning active income. You can approach passive income as a hobby or interest. Approach it with curiosity and wonder as opposed to just a numbers game. Because in the end, earning passive income is about enjoying your life rather than just putting in work. When I post a blog article or a YouTube video, I enjoy the process. It does not drain me, and I feel as if I am contributing good value to my readers and subscribers. You should feel the same too, as if you are contributing something good to society in return for passive income.