Day Ten: Let the Scene Write Itself

Today’s prompt:

Find a spot where you can sit and observe for at least 20 minutes: a bench at a park, shopping mall, or museum; from inside your car in a parking lot; or even a place close to home, like your front porch. Ideally, itโ€™s a location where you can watch action and interaction unfold (whether it involves people, wildlife, the weather, etc.).

Right now I’m with my girlfriend at Afters Ice Cream at Diamond Jamboree. I’ve had this craving all week for ice cream and donuts so might as well get both, right?

Meet the “milky bun,” ice cream inside a donut:

Diabetes with diabetes inside

But that’s not why I’m writing this haha. I made the mistake of coming to this location which I forgot is almost always crowded on a Saturday night.

While waiting in this long line is excruciating for my craving, it’s a perfect scenario for this prompt ๐Ÿ˜

From my vantage point, people are waiting in line. The store definitely seems understaffed for this crowd, but I commend them for their effort.

Outside there are a dozen or so guys in formal attire around a table. They must be coming from from an organization’s event.

Fancy guys and their fancy attire

Definitely a crowded night. We decided to go to Newport Beach to walk around near the beach. Apparently, the area we call “seaside” after a popular donut shop people fraud my late at night, has been overtaken since the release of Pokemon Go. My girlfriend wanted to go to the Pokemon stop where she can get items and catch new Pokemon.

“Seaside” named after Seaside Bakery

As expected, hundreds of people walking around at 11pm at night with their faces in their phones. Probably 80% of them were playing Pokemon. It was pretty hilarious and amazing at the same time. 

Although it’s weird people are coming out in droves to play a mobile game, it’s still pretty crazy that everyone is out walking around.

Good or bad, we’ll see if it’s just a fad or if it will last a while. I think it also depends on how  long the developers can keep innovating the fame before people become bored.

lifeguard memorial statue
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Day Nine: Writing and Not Writing

Today’s prompt:

What do you do when youโ€™re not writing? How do you reset and return to the dashboard, refreshed? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? Yoga? Gardening? Painting? Cooking?
If youโ€™re not a full-time writer, or if your day is so full of other tasks that you have little time to write, consider these alternative questions: if you could step into a machine that gave you more time, how would you structure your day? What would you write with this extra time?

Alrhough I’m not a full-time writer, I do believe there needs to be activities that help refresh your mind and maintain that balance from variety.

For me, I try to exercise in some way daily to keep my body moving and active. I’ll hit the gym 4-5 times a week to strengthen my body, build endurance, and help clear my mind.

I also listen to audiobooks daily. Good knowledge comes in so that good stuff comes out. I like to be proactive with the nutrition I feed my brain so that I can reap the rewards down the line from the compound learning.

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Some of the books I’ve finished the past few month.

I’ve recently started tricking again with some friends from college. I haven’t tricked seriously since high school, as is apparent from my old 2007 sampler. (I was probably 30 pounds lighter and had crazy hair, haha)

I love tricking because it’s half mental, half physical. You can’t learn a new skill without steadily building your physical capacity to execute, simultaneously with the mental ability and breaking down your own limiting beliefs.

In college, dance used to be a big part of my life in terms of balancing school and work with something I really enjoyed to recharge myself. I danced with several teams but I particularly loved freestyling:

These days I spend most of my time at work, at the gym, listening to books, and then random weekend activities usually with my girlfriend.

Part 2: If I had more time, how would I structure my day and what would I write?

I think my day would more or less be the same, but I would add more time to working on my side projects and finding new experiences for the weekend, like when I tried Flyboarding for the ย first time in Miami:

 

I would also take more online courses on marketing, online business, entrepreneurship, business development.

As far as writing, I would definitely start working on my first published book. I’ve made it one of my long-term goals to be a bestselling author. Not exactly sure what the book will be focused on, but it will definitely include some of my personal narrative as well as some insight into how someone can improve their life or career in some way.

Generic, I know. But the goal is to add value through my own experiences.

Thank you for reading! As always, let me know in the comments what you think, and if you have any personal activities to add balance to your own life ๐Ÿ™‚ I read and respond to every comment!

Day Eight: Reinvent the Letter Format

Dear future self,

Hey buddy, how’s it going? Long time no speak, it’s been years (literally). I’m not sure what age you are but I’m your 25 year old self writing you from the past. Just checking in on you to see how things are going.

Congrats on all your recent success and accomplishments! I know you’ve been putting in all the grind and hard work consistently, so I know you’re starting to reap the rewards.

Just be sure to remember your “why” and don’t lose sight of it. Try not to get caught up in all the minutiae and remember to enjoy the journey. Don’t be too caught up and focused on the results without understanding the purpose.

How’s the family? I know you’re probably married and have kids. You’ve wanted to be a father for so long, I bet it’s a roller coaster of a ride, haha. I’m sure it’s tough but I’m hoping you’re loving every second of it.

Good job staying close to our parents and other family. Family is always important, especially your parents. Don’t ever stop making them feel loved and appreciated. Even if there may be times when they might annoy you, you know you’ll always love and forgive them.

I know you’re ultra wealthy, successful, and famous, but don’t forget to keep donating and giving back. Life is a gift, nothing really belongs to you, so always make it a core focus to add value to others. Keep inspiring others to do what inspires them and always strive to make the world better each day.

In case you’re wondering about me, I’m just as young, ambitious, and naive as ever ๐Ÿ˜. I’m very optimistic and hopeful for the future. Gratitude is always at my center which I believe is why I’m always so happy, even if I don’t show it.

Sorry for all the mistakes I’ve made along the way. At the same time, I know you’re grateful for them because there are no such things as bad experiences, simply learning experiences. We’ve survived 100% of our worst days, right?

Whatever challenges and struggles you’re facing now, just remember that I believe in you. You got this! #easy, right? Keep going full out, live with no regrets. I know you still have time, but there’s always still so much more to do. You’ll be more fulfilled working towards something that drives you than being complacent and relaxing.

That’s it from me, I’ll let you get back to it. I’ll keep on that grind and keep taking action on what I need to get done. The two biggest obstacles are just fear and procrastination, right? Haha ๐Ÿ˜Š

Take care and have fun!

Sincerely,

Marlo

P.S. Keep being weird and silly. Here’s a reminder in case you forgot ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Didn’t know The Broad was an AYCE buffet. #cheatday

 

Day Seven: Let Social Media Inspire You

For today’s prompt, we were given a choice of 5 different tweets to write in. This one caught my attention the most:

People close to me know that I am a HUGE advocate for education, especially self-education and personal development. I set a goal for myself to read at least 3 books a month that are geared towards helping me grow in some way.

When it comes to our education system (school), however, I have to be honest and say I do have some reservations.

I think the concept of education from elementary to high school more or less accomplishes the goals of getting kids acclimated to a social environment, teach them to follow rules, respect authority, and gain a general understanding of different academic fields (i.e. history, art, math, science, etc).

One big issue with school is that it’s gearwd toward pushing kids through a specified curriculum based on age. It doesn’t take into consideration the different types of intelligence. Each student is expected to score at a certain criteria regardless of their natural strengths or weaknesses. School doesn’t generally cultivate these inherent strengths.

During college, similar issues arise. General education requirements force student to take classes that don’t pertain to what they need to know for their chosen field (given they have an idea of what they want to do). Some see this as unnecessarily prolonging their college journey and subsequently their debt.

But one of the biggest issues I have with school is that everything students do is focused on one thing: passing a test.

As this tweet points out, students spend hundreds upon hundreds of hours studying for an hour-long test. They cram a semesters worth of material over the course of several sleepless nights just to regurgitate it and forget all they learned minutes after the test is turned in. And all for what?

For a grade that makes up a GPA that they can put on their resume after they graduate so they have some shot at standing out amongst a stack of other resumes from their fellow college graduates, thousands of dollars in debt with so much useless and forgotten knowledge.

Dont get me wrong. As I’ve said, I’m not anti-school or education. College for me was an amazing experience where I met many longtime friends, joined several dance teams, learned a lot of interesting things (95% of which I probably will never use professionally), met my current girlfriend of almost 4 years, and learned how to interact in a professional/academic environment, and most importantly learn how to learn.

My stance is, if you don’t know what you want to pursue as a career, don’t go into huge debt. It’s a great experience but every college has the potential to create a lasting undergraduate experience. Try going to a JC and transfer after 2 years. Go somewhere significantly cheaper until you find something you can get behind.

One more thought as I revisit the tweet at the top, it can also mean that the more you learn, the more you learn that there’s so much more to learn. Like the 4 stages of learning:

  1. unconscious incompetence
  2. conscious incompetence
  3. conscious competence
  4. conscious incompetence

Final thoughts: our school system definitely needs to be restructured. Two very important things I believe need to be taught from the beginning are 1) personal finance, and 2) people skills. If these can be incorporated successfully, I strongly believe our students will be in a better position to succeed.

Thoughts? What do you think needs to be taught in school? I’d love to know in the comments! I respond to them all ๐Ÿ™‚

Day Six: The Space to Write

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Prompt:

Where do you write? Do you prefer blogging on your laptop in a coffee shop? Are you productive in a quiet room, door closed, away from civilization?
Today, describe the space where you write. Or, if you donโ€™t have a dedicated place, what is your ideal setting?

Personally, I’ve written almost anywhere: in my room, at a coffee shop, in a park, at a computer lab at a hotel, etc.

No matter where I am, I can be productive given I make an attempt to remove distractions. However, I do prefer reading and writing in public spaces like coffee shops with my earphones in and instrumental music playing.

I’m one of the people who loves having the noise and activity around them while they write and do work. I feel like I get energy from my environment. When I’m in my room, I find so many things to distract me, and I have a bad tendency to relax on my bed. Being in this environment has conditioned me to not be productive unfortunately.

In college, I also loved doing work in study groups. While there is a risk for being distracted by my friends, it also keeps me accountable since there are periods where everyone else is working and it makes me feel guilty if I’m not working while everyone else is.

I think having people around me helps give me those refreshing and necessary breaks that reenergize me between work sessions. Study friends are also good for getting input and feedback on what I’m working on.

My question for you, the reader, is: where do you enjoy doing work? Where is your ideal place?

P.S. Do you have any ideas for a future prompt that you would like to see me write on? A future prompt requires that I poll my readers for ideas to write about. Let me know in the comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

Day Five: Hook โ€™Em With a Quote

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At work, I go to the bank to make our daily deposits. When I pass by the mailroom, there’s always one of these signs by the entrance with a new quote or insightful message.

This was the quote from sometime last week:

Leaders get out in front and stay there by raising the standards by which they judge themselves – and by which they are willing to be judged. -Frederick W. Smith (CEO of FedEx)

I love this quote for three reasons:

1. Leaders aren’t managers, they don’t lead from the back. They go out in front and lead by example. This means they’re also assumably one of the best in their field.

2. Life is all about standards. We don’t reach our expectations, we fall to the level of our training. How we do anything is how we do everything. Excellence is a habit.

3. Leaders don’t worry about following or judging by anyone else’s standards other than their own. Too many of us worry about what others think, yet don’t question the validity of the standards other people live by. Live by your own standards.

Be the change you want to see in the world, right?

 

Day Four: A Story in a Single Image

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At many points in our lives, we stand at major crossroads and junctions. Everyday, we make micro decisions that effect our lives on a small scale. However, we don’t see the effects of these small decisions until we’re way down the line.

Think of it like we’re navigating a train station. We might read and follow the signs, we might not. Sometimes we want to just explore. We turn right here, make a left here, stop at a dead end and turn around. We might ask for directions from people who seem like they know their way around. We might find out that they’re just as lost as we are.

Sometimes we get on a train. We don’t know where it’s going, but we go because we see other people get on. Then sometimes we sit on that train and are too comfortable to get off. Even if it’s going someplace we won’t want to, sometimes we don’t know because we aren’t paying attention.

Sometimes we find the courage to get off the train, locate the right terminal, and get in the right train. We’re sad, annoyed, or frustrated that we’ve been going the wrong way for years and years. But we don’t realize that it doesn’t matter how long we’ve been going the wrong way. All that matters is we’re going in the right direction.

So what do we do when we feel lost? How do we find our way to our destination?

First, we need to know where we want to go and what we really want. What we want comes from knowing what we value. Knowing what we value comes from knowing who we are.

Funny thing is, if you know who you are, it doesn’t matter where you’re going. You’re probably already there.

I think the journey is simply finding out who you are.

Day Three: One-Word Inspiration

“Abundance”

I chose this word out of the other choices (hope, regret, home, choice, and secret) because I’m so adamant about the “abundance” vs “scarcity” paradigms that shape our decisions.

Whenever we face a tough decision, we can usually evaluate our decision based on having an abundance mentality or a scarcity mentality.

For example, people who less inclined to share or give away valuable things (food, money, possessions, time, attention) usually operate with a scarcity mindset. People who are stingy are afraid that they might not have enough or get more of the thing they’re scared of losing, so they try their best to hide it or not share with others.

On the other hand, someone who operates in abundance is not afraid of spending money on something valuable or helping another in need because she knows more will be available.

Many people work at jobs where their primary motivator for performing is not losing their job. They’re so afraid of losing their job that they make decision based on avoiding that outcome. They’re scared that job security is low and the economy makes it tough for those in the job market.

Someone who operates from an abundance mindset isn’t scared of losing their job because they know there are always job openings. They’re not afraid of job security because they know they can provide high value wherever they go, and that there’s not a lack of available jobs, but qualified applicants. This is true through good and bad economies.

I think the more we operate with abundance, the less greedy and selfish we’d be. We would give more, share more, help more, cooperate more, and find commonalities.

Life is not a zero sum game. The more we cooperate and create together, the more there is to go around.