Book notes: Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

Synopsis: This book is the autobiographical account of Steve Martin’s career as a stand up comedian, how he got into it, and why he quit. He recounts the years he spent honing his craft and performing thousands of times before eventually hitting stardom. His story is a peeks into the world of a live performer and celebrity.

Initial thoughts:

My thoughts going in were that I’d probably get some good insight into how an artist like a stand up comedian hones his craft and achieves celebrity through show business. I put the book on my audible wish list because of a recommendation I heard on one of Tim Ferriss’s podcast episodes, and saw that there were thousands of positive reviews.

My experiences with biographies of successful people have been good up until this point so I thought it couldn’t hurt. I typically read about business titans, so a biography of an artist seemed like a good change of pace.

Key ideas:

Continue reading “Book notes: Born Standing Up by Steve Martin”

Movie review: Eddie the Eagle

[warning: spoilers]

So I watched this movie last night. I wanted to watch it in theaters mostly because Hugh Jackman was in it, but didn’t get around to it before it left theaters.

In a nutshell, it’s a great movie. Based on a true story, I thought it was nothing short of inspiring.

The movie is about a boy who has the dream of becoming an Olympian. Despite, his disadvantage of having no natural talent for athletics, he persists to train hard to achieve his goal. Eventually he learns to ski, but moves to long jump after not being allowed on the British Olympic male ski squad.

Along the way, he faces ton of challenges. Everyone discourages him (including his father), he’s thwarted by the British Olympic committee from joining the team, and he doesn’t even know how to long jump.

He manages to link up with Hugh Jackman’s character, who was a prodigy long jumper back in his day, and together they manage to help Eddie qualify for the Olympics and achieve the impossible.

There are a few things I absolutely love about this story:

  1. Despite many challenges, he persists and doesn’t give up. He went on pure faith in his vision.
  2. He has this amazing optimism that kept him going. Where most people would have been focused on failure or paralyzed by fear, he just did it anyway. The act of DOING instead of just thinking always inspires me.
  3. He was set on proving people wrong. Don’t we all love the story of the underdog? Nobody believed in him since the beginning, but he never waivered and managed to become an Olympian.
  4. He had the unconditional love and support of his mother. Themes about family alway get me. It reminds me about how Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) attributes a large part of his success to his parents always encouraging him. It reminds me of the type of parent I aspire to be one day.

While I don’t think this movie is going to win any awards, it’s definitely an inspiring telling of a story with a solid execution. Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for one of those heartwarming movies about determination and human spirit.

Rating: 8.5 / 10

Day Twenty: Wrap It Up


unrelated: me being weird as usual πŸ˜‹

As we wind down the course, let’s wrap things up and look forward. Some final prompts to choose from:

  • Publish a course wrap-up: What did you enjoy or dislike?
  • Describe an assignment or writing session in which you experienced an “aha!” moment.
  • As I continue blogging, I plan to …
  • 5, 10, 20 years from now …

I absolutely loved this writing course. Because of the variety in assignments, it really pushed me out of the box and showed me new ways to approach a post.

I felt the different structures were valuable because I was able to learn the concepts by putting it into practice. Because it was sort of like a challenge, it pushed me to not skip a day and go through it as a sequence.

I thought the homework assignments were great ideas, but I wasn’t able to accomplish them (like the collaborative guest post) because I mostly set aside a 5-10 minute window per day to work on these. 

When I give myself topics to write on, I definitely will give myself more time and plan out my writing process accordingly.

I think overall, my biggest takeaways were:

  1.  Engaging readers with stories from my daily life, helping me develop a storytelling voice
  2. Using my other social media to enhance the posts
  3. Using images and graphics like my personal photos off my phone to help tell the story visually
  4. Playing with short and long posts, as well as lists

As I continue blogging, I plan to use what I’ve learned about style, formatting, and approach to tackle some of the topics I’ve been wanting to write about like how to develop habits, book reviews, hot-button topics, and general recaps of interesting parts of my day/life.

5-10 years from now, I hope my blog will develop into an all-inclusive look into my life that will add massive value to my readers. I hope to develop my personal brand that allows me to reach the maximum amount of people so that I can make enough of an impact.

I also hope to develop my brand as a platform to help me achieve some of my other goals and network with other like minded people. Perhaps I’ll even be able to find some amazing mentors along the way πŸ™‚

Day Nineteen: Feature a Guest

For those who didn’t reach out to someone, publish a roundup of great reads: blog posts you’ve enjoyed this week and want to share with your followers. Don’t worry about word count or the number of items to include β€” just focus on sharing posts you’ve read and loved.

My 3 reads for August πŸ“š

I didn’t collab for a post, due to time constraints and just overall procrastination, tbh. I will, however, give a roundup of books I want to read in the future.

Luckily, my Audible wish-list is pretty inclusive of the books I have my eyes on.

Let me know if you have any other recommendations for my to-read list! πŸ™‚

Day Eighteen: Compose a Series of Anecdotes

Today, tell a story through a series of anecdotes (also called vignettes): short, episodic scenes or moments that together read as variations on the same theme. They can each be as short or long as you see fit β€” they don’t have to be the same length β€” but they need a common feature to tie them together, whether it’s a repeated phrase, a similar setting, a literary device, or the appearance of the same person.

Unrelated: the Coldplay concert we went to this weekend ✨

I remember the first time I used the phrase, I was teaching some friends how to do a backflip. It was back in high school around 2007. I had learned how to land one after three months of training, once a week for 2-3 hours per session. Now, a handful of my friends were asking me to help train them.

“I can’t do it, it’s just so difficult,” my friend said.

“Not with THAT attitude… 😏” I retorted.
In college, I was trying to convince my close dancer friend to audition for a competitive collegiate dance team with me. The audition process, we heard, was extremely difficult. 

Better dancers than us didn’t make it past the audition process. Not only that, we were competing against more experienced and talented dancers for a handful of coveted spots. It took her a full week of convincing and spamming across several mediums (text, Facebook, and a few others).

She kept giving me the same excuse, “I don’t think I’m good enough!”

“Not with THAT attitude! 😏” I said mockingly.

Interestingly enough, that was our team name for the audition, and we both made the team!😁
Whenever someone tells me they can’t do something, my automatic response is to give them the catchphrase I’m wildly known for:

“Not with THAT attitude!”

Day Seventeen: A Map as Your Muse

Today, let a map be your muse. Select an area anywhere in the world on Google Maps (or your preferred online map tool), or a section on a paper map, and use this as inspiration for your post.

For this post I wanted to use my hometown of Fremont, CA. Particularly, this is the area where I grew up for most of my life until I graduated from high school.

I’ve numbered the map using Snapchat as an image editor, haha πŸ˜‚ #resourcefulness 

  1. This is where I went to Elementary school at Warm Springs Elementary. I also lived with my stepdad, grandparents, and some aunts and uncles in the house. We lived here until about mid-elementary school.
  2. We moved to this small apartment in an older part of Fremont on Thornton Ave. I remember taking a couple of hours after school to take the public bus home. I would take one bus to the BART station then transfer to the line that took me home. At this point, my CD player filled with my anime OST was my best friend haha. I listened to music a lot.
  3. From middle school to high school, we moved in with this guy my mom married to an apartment closer to school. During high school after my little brother Jacob was born, we moved to this house across the street from my high school, Irvington HS. It was super convenient being able to walk to school in 5 minutes πŸ‘πŸΌ
  4. When I left to Irvine for college, my mom moved out of David’s house after they were separated and moved to Mission Blvd into a small apartment with my sister. When I came home for breaks, I would stay there with them. My brother would also be with my mom for a couple hours until his dad picked him up.
  5. From mid college until I moved back home, my sister moved into an apartment on Automall (which I consider the center of Fremont as I know it). I would stay with my dad when I came back and also moved in with them for the year after I graduated college. I would go to work in SJ, workout with my dad at the gym down the street, and sleep on the living room couch. I did this for almost a year until I paid off all my student loans.

Since then, I’ve been in SoCal for two years, my mom moved back in with Jacob’s dad, my sister took over my dads apartment and lives with roommates, and my dad and step mom and brother Daniel live in Santa Clara. 

All in all, the Bay Area has always been my home and I can’t see that changing, no matter how far I live or where I travel 🌎❀️🏑

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, comments, personal insights, or even feedback, I’d love to hear them in the comments! I read and respond to every comment πŸ™‚

Day Sixteen: Mine Your Own Material

We spend a lot of our time online, so what we see in places like Facebook and Twitter can lead to a deeper exploration on our own blogs. Today, dig through your online treasures as inspiration for a new post.

Here’s a gem that’s more of a remnant of what seems like a past life, haha πŸ˜…

Back in the latter years of high school and my entire college career, dance was a huge part of my life.

In high school, I started dancing a bit my freshman year mostly because of my sister. She was always way more popular than I was, and I attributed a large part of that to her innate dance ability. 

So if dance = friends, something I had very little of, then why not learn? πŸ˜…

I wasn’t terrible, but it did feel pretty natural to learn choreography and perform onstage.

Sophomore and junior years, my dance growth was put to the side as I focused on a new hobby of mine: tricking.
Senior year, my sister and I joined a brand new dance company, Academy of Villains. It was an exciting endeavor being around so many high level freestyles and big names in choreography.

One of my biggest mentors and role models was CJ “Pharside,” the director. In terms of choreography, he was still up and coming. As for freestyle, he was in a league of his own.

For college, I went down to UCI for two primary reasons.

  1. I wanted to be away from home and in a new environment. I figured I would grow more outside my comfort zone and become more self sufficient.
  2. I knew SoCal’s dance community was distinct from NorCal but still very prominent. I wanted to learn and be immersed in it so I could bring it back to NorCal.

Four years later, I’ve gained so many invaluable dance experience with some of the most inspiring teams and dancers in Orange County.

Every team, project, and dance group had a different vibe and energy, but I’m extremely grateful for the experiences.

The groups I want to give a shout out to include: KASA Danceoff, Kaba Modern, Urban Motus, Project Groovement, KKAP, The Heist, Dreams Legacy, BBoys Anonymous, Seaside dancers, and Kaba Modern Legacy.

Although I’m not officially dancing with any groups or practicing on a consistent basis at the moment, I can’t say for sure that my dance career is over.

 I have some ideas and dance-related projects bouncing around in my head, so we’ll see if any of them manifest in future endeavors 😏

Thanks for reading! As usual, I’d love to hear from my readers. Any questions, thoughts, feedback, or comments in general. I read and respond to all comments 😊

Day Fifteen: Day Fifteen: Take a Cue from Your Reader

Today’s prompt:

β€œWe read to know we’re not alone.”
β€” William Nicholson, Shadowlands

Tell us about a book that opened your eyes when you were young.

Describe a life-changing experience with a book.

My Instagram post pretty much sums up my first encounter with personal development and self-directed learning.

I was working at a government agency in DC right out of college for a summer. While wandering around, I came across a Barnes and Noble and decided to kill time by browsing books.

In a moment of serendipity, I stumbled upon a featured book on a bookshelf about eye-level. It had a bright red cover and a catchy title.

The book was “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.

I picked up the book and started to skim a chapter or two. I remember thinking as I opened the book that I might be able to learn a some useful tactics I could apply to my career.

Two hours later, I was so immersed into the book and gained so much value out of the principles. It gave me so many “ah-ha!” moments about human psychology and people-skills.

Long story short I left the bookstore with two things:

  1. The idea that people skills, once sufficiently developed, practiced, and mastered, is one of the most useful and highest paying skills across many inustries.
  2. My own personal copy of the book πŸ˜πŸ“•

Since then, I’ve recommended the book to many of my closest friends and family, I’ve become addicted to daily self-education, and the practice has led me to have the most intellectual conversations with other people.

To this day, I’m still a huge advocate of reading and personal development. I believe that as this blog develops, it’ll start to incorporate personal development into its core. I am very passionate about helping people grow and learn to achieve what they believe is important to them. 

Thank you for reading! As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. I read and respond to every comment 😁