Fulfillment Comes From Effort

Whatever you set your priorities as, make sure you put your full effort into them.

That's one piece of advice that will always lead to personal success. The way you define success should be about choosing the things you want to focus on for a certain period of time, and putting your full energy into them.

To some, this is doing really well in school.

To others, this is raising a baby and putting our all into it.

Whatever your priorities are, if you slack on them and just neglect them, you're going to feel really bad. Because it's something you want, and you're putting zero effort into it, you're going to put yourself into a spiral of non-actualization.

But if it's truly a priority to you mentally, it'll get done.

And when you put in the most amount of effort to get that result you really desire, whether that's a behavioral change, or a professional promotion, you'll feel satisfied that you put your all into the hunt. The meat will just be the icing on top.

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Evan's Goal Update - Day 21/56

  1. Fitness: Rest day. (10/26 sessions completed this cycle)
  2. YouTube: Still unfinished. Need to make time for this. (1/8 this cycle)
  3. Coding: Still in same spot as before w/ HTML and CSS.

Note: Man this has gotten out of hand. Ever just feel out of it? I set all of these audacious goals, but starting my first week of work really changed my priorities. I want to practice self-acceptance, though so I can forgive myself for missing these few weeks as I adapt myself to the new job.

Voluntary adversity

You can wait for as long a time as you want...

But there's never a right time for anything.

The conditions will never be perfect, your friends may not support it, and you will be scared to take action and just do it. That's why if you're making a big decision in your life (getting a dog, having a baby, or quitting a job to pursue something else, etc) the stars may never seem aligned.

To get what we want, we have to voluntarily invite adversity into our lives.

Because when we do invite those challenges, we invite those rewards as well.

Voluntary adversity will give you purpose and drive. Now may not be the right time (practically), but it might be the right time in the story you're crafting for yourself.

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Evan's Goal Update - Day 19/56

  1. Fitness: Rest day. (9/26 sessions completed this cycle)
  2. YouTube: Still unfinished. Need to make time for this. (1/8 this cycle)
  3. Coding: Still in same spot as before w/ HTML and CSS.

TO NICE GUYS: People Don't Want Nice, They Want Real

 Photo by  Olya Kuzovkina  on  Unsplash

Hey you, Nice Guy.

Stop pretending to be nice. It's not going to get you ahead in life. Neither will being a dick. You have to be real. Generally, people like others who are:

  1. Truly kind and compassionate for all people (ie not just selectively to attractive people)
  2. Has an overall positive outlook on life
  3. Unafraid to be vulnerable about sensitive topics every now and then
  4. Lives honestly and can communicate their feelings (without harming others)
  5. Can laugh at themselves and not be so self-hating
  6. Are happy with themselves

If you, Nice Guy, can learn these six things, you might have a chance at getting the things you think only "dicks" get. Yes, if you learn how to love yourself and you concern yourself with raising others up with you, then you will attract the people you want to attract in both relationships and friendships.

You see, the more you try to justify your failures because you're "too nice", the more you enshrine yourself in victim mentality. "Oh woe is me, the whole world doesn't support me because I'm too nice, guess you got to be a dick to get what you want out of life".

Except it isn't true. It's not because you're too nice. It's because you're too scared to grow. Your failures are because you're trying to be someone you're not. You're trying to be nice to people in order to get something back from them, not because you genuinely and sincerely want to see them succeed or benefit.

I think the greatest thing you can realize is that:

You don't have to change to make people like you.

But you do have to change your mindset.

You have to realize that it's not about "nice vs asshole". It's about real vs fake.

And let's face it: nice guys are fake guys.

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Evan's Goal Update - Day 15/56

  1. Writing: Writing for the 15th day in a row.
  2. Fitness: Rest day. (8/32 sessions completed this cycle)
  3. YouTube: Late on uploading but will finish by EOD!
  4. Coding: Trying to re-create the Google homepage in HTML and CSS. Not had much time recently... I had an ambitious goal to complete The Odin Project curriculum in 6 months, but I may put it lower on the priority list and make it 1 year.

The Cons Don't Matter

There are certain people in your life who when you present an exciting idea, will always come at you with a negative viewpoint.

What if you guys start dating and she cheats or breaks up with you?

What if you fail and make a fool of yourself?

What if you do that thing you want to do and end up hating it?

And sometimes, it’d be wise to heed these warnings of potentially negative scenarios.

But in 99% of other cases, listening to these warnings are a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME.

There’s no point in considering every potential negative scenario. That’s fine for war and life & death situations — but in normal decisions we make in our relatively safe society, these negative scenarios are not going to kill you.

And the potential benefits of the positive scenario are too great to let doubt stop you.

So invite these “negative alarmists” to the discussion at your own discretion — listen to them if you wish, but realize that the positives have the ability to change your life for the better. If you do nothing because you’re too scared at the risk of negative scenarios, your life won’t change at all.

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Evan's Goal Update - Day 10/56

  1. Job + apartment: I've officially signed on with a promising startup in Los Angeles. I'll be announcing shortly. Potentially found the right apartment today.
  2. Reading + writing: Writing for the 10th day in a row.
  3. Coding: Trying to re-create the Google homepage in HTML and CSS. It's still hard.
  4. Fitness: Finished a great upper body session. (6/32 sessions completed this cycle)
  5. YouTube: Working on the video to upload tonight! Will edit link in later.

The 3 Cornerstone Habits All Successful People Do

If I was to recommend three cornerstone daily habits for anyone who feels lost in life, I would recommend these:

  1. Read
  2. Write
  3. Lift Weights

I always suggest reading because it's like mental food -- you need decently stimulating input in order to generate better output in your life. And by reading, I don't mean reading Facebook statuses for hours. I mean taking the time to read someone's article/blog, a hundred page book, or a graphic novel. Something that someone has spent a lot of time to create and something you can glean advice or inspiration from.

Secondly, writing helps you fossilize those ideas you've just read. It helps you exercise your creative muscle and allows you to ruminate and reflect on the direction of your life. It allows you to create something that others may potentially read and gain value from too!

Thirdly, lifting weights builds a different kind of discipline: the physical kind. Reading and writing everyday is hard sure, but lifting weights is a different kind of beast. By pushing yourself physically a couple of times a week, you start to build confidence and strength over time. This pairs nicely as downtime from the mental exercise it takes to read and write.

By doing these three habits on a regular or weekly basis, I believe anyone can find a path towards a life they love.

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Evan's Goal Update - Day 8/56

  1. Job + apartment: Assessing jobs. Still looking for an apartment to settle in for 1-2 years. Message me at evanduyLe@gmail.com if you know of any places!
  2. Reading + writing: Writing for the 8th day in a row.
  3. Coding: Trying to re-create the Google homepage in HTML and CSS. It's hard.
  4. Fitness: Rest day. (4/32 sessions completed this cycle)
  5. YouTube: Done this week! Uploading next Tuesday.

"Better Safe Than Sorry" is Bad Advice. Here's Why.

If you don't think college is right for you (or if you're in college and openly talk about why the education system is broken), you're going to be met with a lot of backlash.

One statement that I've thought about recently was:

"Better safe than sorry!"

... especially when it comes to college.

When people say that it's "safer" to go to college, I don't understand. What's so safe about a $100,000+ investment into a degree from a school that won't even guarantee your employment?

Why is that safe?

Why is paying a lot of money and time to be away from the workforce, going to make you more prepared for the work force? Wouldn't it be better to work and learn concurrently so you can apply what you've learned? And isn't information cheaper and more accessible nowadays with the internet?

College does not have the stranglehold on information it once had pre-internet. Now you can learn how to do digital marketing on the internet (marketing majors), write your own book and self-publish (English majors), and create your own art store on Etsy (art majors).

That's why I don't think "better safe than sorry" when applied to college, is sound advice.

If being "safe" puts you in a worse position, then it's not safe.

The phrase "better safe than sorry" is only sound advice when the action required to be safe, takes little time/cost for you to take. If it's not going to be that much of a hassle, you might as well carry your keys with you just in case your parents aren't going to be there to let you in. It's no big deal and it's better to be safe than sorry in this case.

But let's not go pretending like spending $100,000+ and 4 years at an institution is safer than earning $100,000+ and 4 years of experience in the workforce.

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Evan's Goal Update - Day 5/56

  1. Job + apartment: Interviewed and got a job offer on the spot at a Culver City startup! Now time to assess the other offers.
  2. Reading + writing: 5th day of writing consistency. I like it.
  3. Coding: Still going through the CSS course on Codecademy!
  4. Fitness: Rest day. (2/4 done this week)
  5. YouTube: Done this week! Uploading next Tuesday.

Swords only get sharper when tempered

A life full of meaningless obstacles is frustrating.

A life with no obstacles at all is torture.

A life with meaningful obstacles is living.

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Evan's Goal Update - Day 2/56

  1. Job + apartment: apartment leads coming in, 3/4 job apps need to get back to me.
  2. Reading + writing: Enjoyed finishing How to Consciously Design Your Ideal Future last week, and writing every day.
  3. Coding: created a test Ruby on Rails project, finally understand Git.
  4. Fitness: had a good squat session today at 3x10 @225 lbs.
  5. YouTube: about to film a little video for release tomorrow!

Prizes Don't Make Us Happy. Practices Does.

Growing up, I always thought that trophies and accolades would make me happy.

And so I did that.

I got honors awards, leadership positions, and scholarships throughout my academic career. I was happy that I was able to achieve so much, but not because I got the awards or positions.

It was because I worked hard to achieve the things I wanted.

That to me was a signal that I could achieve anything I wanted if I worked hard at it.

This translated to other areas of my life such as fitness, career, and relationships. Every time I put in work (i.e. practice) there was a direct benefit to my life. Sometimes the path to growth wasn't linear and even if I put in a lot of hard work, it wasn't instantly noticeable within a few weeks or months.

Some of these things took years to grow.

But the principle remained true: if I put in the hard work towards something with my two hands, I would see the results eventually and in surprising ways.

Prizes can be a great motivator, but it's really the practice, the hard work, the hours you spend dedicated towards getting better at something that you'll remember.

I find that the act of relentlessly pursuing something brings you joy.

Because it's the act of the hunt that makes life enjoyable.

The meat is nice to have, but what's better is knowing that you worked hard at something and earned the fruits of your labor.

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Introducing Goals Update:

At the end of every sort of advice/philosophy blog post, I will be including a "goals update" (might need a better name) in order to update you all about where I'm trying to head towards.

This July to August, I will be taking an 8-week sprint. This will be Week 1 or W1 out of 8 as I will abbreviate it. I will seek to accomplish these tasks:

  1. CAREER:
    1. Get a job and an apartment in Los Angeles.
  2. CREATOR:
    1. Read and blog daily.
    2. Upload weekly videos on YouTube.
  3. MENTAL STIMULATION:
    1. Complete 4 courses of The Odin Project (web development coding).
  4. PHYSICAL HEALTH:
    1. Workout 4x a week for hypertrophy and strength.

 

All at once is rarely effective

In our twenties, we tend to reach a crossroads where we ask ourselves, "what do I want to do?"

And so we try a lot of different things, hoping that one of them sticks.

But we never stick to something more than a couple of months.

So we keep trying and trying.

We ask ourselves: when will it end?

When will I find that thing that I'm passionate about?

I'd like to present this metaphor on food:

It's possible to get a large amount of varied experiences all at once. Just go to an all-you-can-eat buffet and get food from China, food from Italy, and food from Japan all at once.

But the food will be mediocre and never cross a certain threshold of tastiness.

Now think about this example:

Drive to one restaurant that specializes in handmade Chinese noodles. Then drive to that amazing Italian pizza restaurant. To finish it off, go to the Japanese dessert bar for mochi ice cream.

While you're eating your Chinese noodles, you may be thinking "man I wonder how that pizza is going to taste, am I missing out?" But you have to finish your meal at the Chinese restaurant before you can take the time to drive to the next restaurant.

So make sure to savor the time it takes to drive you somewhere exquisite. And savor the drive to the next destination.

Because everything good in this life takes patience.

It's tempting to want to try it all at once, but sometimes we just have to take the time and commit to one thing, in order to really get the best flavors out of it.

If You Just Graduated, READ THIS

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To all the graduates: this week may be the first time you’ve ever had nothing planned in front of you.

In elementary school, you had middle school.
In middle school, you had high school.
In high school, you had college.

But after college then what?

There’s no structure in place anymore and I’ve seen it really worry some of my friends.

Part of this immense pressure is made up because of expectations from parents, from your peers, and from yourself. You feel like everyone knows what they are doing and everyone else expects you to know exactly what your next step is. I mean, every time you run into a family member or friend, they always ask about what you’re doing after graduation. So you can’t avoid this conversation.

I’ll let you in on a secret.

I don’t know what the path ahead looks for me. I have a general idea of how I want to approach the next two months after graduation, but that’s it.

I know that I:

  • want a job
  • am taking a summer physics class
  • want to optimize my fitness and health
  • have some personal projects I want to complete

But I don’t have the information of where I’ll be, who I’ll be working with, or what kind of money I’ll be making in two months.

And it’s that desire for information that causes such anxiety in a lot of people. We crave that information, but we have to be okay with that uncertainty.

Because like author Mark Manson of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck says: finding your path isn’t straightforward.

This is because:

  1.     Your path is constantly evolving.
  2.     Your personal skills and strengths will continue to evolve over time.
  3.     Your interests will shift as you grow.

Graduation is not some point where you’re supposed to know exactly what you want to do and have everything sorted out.

Graduation is a turning point.

The responsibility of every minute you live is now on you. The onus is on you to create the life you want. It’s your job to explore life and find meaning in ways that school could never show you.

Keep in mind, you’re only about 20% done with your life. You could fuck up for the next 10 years and STILL be young as fuck. This is the time to experiment.

Try that thing you were always scared to.

Try learning Japanese if you want to speak to locals during your two month stay in Tokyo. Try being a personal trainer to learn how to identify and solve clients’ problems. Try working in the service industry to pickup some customer service skills.

I know you have a chip on your shoulder because you have a college degree and that means certain things in society, but I need to remind you, don’t let ego dictate you away from good opportunities.

I don’t care if you have a college degree, you’re NOT too good to work a restaurant job. You’re NOT too good to work an unpaid internship with a really cool company. You’re NOT too good to be entitled to a certain salary.

You are one of 1.8 million other undergraduates who have gotten their degrees this year. Congratulations on getting your degree -- it’s been a hard four years of enduring boring lectures and frustrating team projects and you deserve some recognition for working through the pain.

But now it’s time for you to stand out.

Now it’s your job to make your degree the least interesting thing about you.