Blog

11Feb

Weekly Process Goals: Feb 9

Hey All,

Sorry for missing the email last week.  Had to re-evaluate the value
of this email.  I use this email to keep you all in the loop of my
life, and as a tool to hear about how things are going in your life as
well.

Often times we hear advice, or criticism and we take it to heart.  It
will cause us to stop doing an action or to waste energy internally
debating and thinking over the words.  The worst kind is the kind that
stops you from proceeding in a set discipline or goal you set for
yourself.

There are a few ways to counter this criticism, but I will focus on
the one way that works the best for me.  Forgiveness.  It sounds
hokey, it seems like if we forgive we are giving that person
permission or even condoning that action.  This is not the case.
Forgiveness is a selfish act, that can be done in private, all by
yourself.  It allows you to completely and utterly let the issue go.
For example I phrase it in this way, “I forgive [person_name] for
doing [action] to me, it doesn’t matter if it’s intentional or not, I
just forgive him/her completely”.

The surprising thing is it works.  It whips the slate clean, and it
actually enables you to interact with that person again.  If they are
to repeat that action, then you are in a stronger position to correct
them, as the original shock of the action is gone, and the issue is
something you’ve completely dealt with before.

Enough ranting, on to the process goals!

Last week:
1) Running, 0, No running at all, instead I did yoga for 3/7 days.
Seeing as the half marathon is 80 days away, I must get back into the
running a 2-3 KM per weekday and 7-10 on weekends.
2) Posting to wattpad, 5/7, have reached 27K reads, actually converted
to a few sales.  Will continue, should be done the book by the time
the marathon come around.  Reading my writing after so long I find
myself saying, “Damn I was much wiser back then … “.
3) Code/Read, I squeezed in some coding on my new project KUS, which
I’ll share with you all in the coming weeks.  As for reading, I’ve
finish Zero to One, and started relistening to John C Maxwell.

This week:
1) Running, get back into the Yoga
2) Post to wattpad, and listen to audiobooks daily
3) Code daily, either at work or at home

Book this week:
Capital in the 21 Century (Great book, I highly recommend it as it is
a data driven approach to looking at economics of the last 200 years)

What are your process goals this week?

Let me know!

16Oct

Weekly Process Goals: October 13th, 2014

Sorry about the late reply.

Holidays throw me off my rhythm.  It’s important to keep up the daily disciplines and goals regardless of holidays or interruptions.  Of course this is easier said then done.  Reminding yourself why these goals are important can help get you back on track.

Last week was relatively unsuccessful in terms of reaching my goals.  Lately I’ve been unable to find much motivation to rip into the problems that have their hooks into me.  My health goals don’t seem all that important to me at this time.  The root of this is that when you have health, you don’t feel the need to maintain it.

This week I took a mental timeout to try and regain the determination and focus I once had.  I isolated myself a few hours before bed, to really try to discover the missing piece of myself.  Unfortunately I ended up falling asleep.  However I did get a good mental break, that allowed me to sleep soundly.

As for my missing motivation, I need to get around some more people with passion, so that I can ignite the passion back in my life.

Last weeks goals:
1) Workout daily, attempt lunch time workout 2 this week. (0/2 for workout, 4/7 for bike riding)
2) Post to wattpad daily (6/7 days)
3) Brush up coding skills daily (5/7 pretty successful)

Finished:
Slicing Pie (been talking about it to whoever will listen)
This week:
1) Workout daily. Get membership at heart house?
2) Post to wattpad daily
3) Secure next gig
Currently reading:
War and Peace (2.5 hours remaining)
Good luck with your goals this week!

 

6Oct

Weekly Process Goals: October 6th, 2014

There are 3 types of knowledge.  Knowledge you have and know, knowledge you don’t have but know about, and knowledge you don’t know that you don’t know that you don’t know.

What you don’t know you don’t know is the biggest of this pool.  After reading “Business Adventures” I can safely say I know a bit more about what I don’t know anything about.

I highly recommend it to those of you that are interested in the way the world works.

Currently I’m reading “Slicing Pie”, an interesting book on how to assign equity in a startup.  Many of my startups have failed because of partnership issues.  Usually this is because of the system we used to govern the partnership.

At bare minimum never do 50/50. Vest shares help too.

This week has been very interesting.  4DX continues, and we have handed out our first rewards for QA work.  As for my process goals, at the advice of one of my co-workers, I’ll have to change the way I am dealing with my workouts.  Lunch time workouts maybe the answer.

I’ve also resolved to have mini get togethers at the apartment to reconnect with some old friends, and to solidify existing friendships.

Last weeks goals:
1) Workout daily, bike or workout at lunch (5/7, biking, not getting much results, going to switch to lunch time workout)
2) Post daily to wattpad (5/7, getting featured on Wattpad soon, so very successful so far)
3) Focus on career next steps (Had some conversations with the right people, need to decide on what I want to do for the next 5 years)

Finished:
Business Adventures
This weeks goals:
1) Workout daily, attempt lunch time workout 2 this week.
2) Post to wattpad daily
3) Brush up coding skills daily
Currently reading:
Slicing Pie
Thanks for all your updates, keep it up!
4Jul

Fear of What People Will Think

I just got back from my trip to Thailand.   Thailand is an interesting place, filled with interesting people.

Rather than talk about the trip, I wanted to talk about fear.  I have many fears.  Some I’m sure I don’t even know about.

One fear I do know about now is the fear of what people think of me.  I’m not sure when this fear came about, but it dictates the way I live my life to a great extent.

I can safely attribute my current self to this fear of what other people will think of me.  I dress a certain way, act a certain way, all because of this underlying fear.

I want to identify this fear.  What is it exactly?  Specifically it is the fear that people will think good or bad of me.  This sounds crazy, but at one point in my life, I actually feared that people would think good of me.

The fear of someone having positive thoughts towards me, come from the following thought pattern.  If they think positively of me, they will come to depend on me.  If they come to depend on me, there is a chance that I will let them down in the future.  Which in turn will lead them to think poorly of me.  Thankfully, through books and friends, I learnt to let go of this part of the fear, and just live life to the best I can.  As Benjamin Franklin wrote:

Hide not your talents, they for use were made.  What’s a sundial in the shade?

Ultimately the underlaying fear is that people will thinking negatively of me.

The question is why does this even matter?  Let’s play out a scenario currently going on in my life.  I have to move a bunch of furniture from my old apartment to the new one.  Unfortunately, due to various reasons, I am unable to book the elevator for either apartment.  Waiting to get this done as soon as possible I will find someway to move these large items.  Which means I’ll be hogging up lobby and elevator space for the people of both apartments.  This in turn will lead me to be viewed poorly by these people.  Who will in turn hold a negative impression of me.  I image at some later point in my life, there is a time I will need these people, and because of this event they will not be there for me.  For example there is a fire in the building, and they don’t warn me because I’m so ghetto.

Of course that last bit about the fire would basically never happen.  If these people are so petty as to not help someone in a moment of need, I do not care for them as people let alone what they think.

As I typed up this silly scenario, I realized it was actually very hard to come up with a negative outcome due to someone’s thoughts of me.  Maybe I won’t get promoted, or they won’t give me that contract because of what they saw.  Again these are unlikely, as most people can barely remember what they ate for breakfast let alone the actions of strangers that don’t truly affect them for long.

I believe I adopted this fear during my childhood, growing up near the projects in downtown Toronto.

My parents were the first generation to immigrate to Canada, and had little to their name.  They grew up on farms and far less “civilized” than that of downtown Toronto.  Often, they would find old discarded furniture, building supplies, cloths, what was considered garbage from the apartment complexes and houses nearby, and cart them back home.  My dad in particular was very crafty and could make any old thing into something useful for the family with glue and paint.  Often I was recruited by him to help wheel the latest treasures back to the house.  This resulted in me parading through the neighbourhood pushing trash or what appeared to be trash back and forth.  I recall many a time, that I would see schoolmates just playing in their yards, or biking around wondering what I was up to.  I felt ashamed.  But in reality I don’t recall ever hearing them say anything.  It just felt to me that there was no need to doing the pushing of this trash, and angry that I couldn’t be more like my school mates, enjoying a fun time.

As I write I realize that my school mates were not likely giving much thought to what I was doing.  Even if they had thoughts about how poor I was or thought of ways to exclude me from their activities.  These are the thoughts and actions of pre-teenagers.  Why the hell do they even matter?  Even now when I see a few people hand trucking large items, I don’t find myself thinking lowly of them.  Instead I do find myself feeling both pity and respect that they are doing what they need to do to get by, instead of sitting at a corner waiting for an handout.

The only time I can recall being ghetto and feeling very uncomfortable was at a dinner date I had with Winnie’s friends well into my twenties.  We were all dinning at a particularly expensive restaurant.  I personally felt it was out of the budget of all those attending to be enjoying the meal, and ordered for us conservatively.  This was fortunately became at the end of the night when the bill came, the couple next to me ordered way more than they could afford, the girl of the pair began to flush red and say how embarrassed she was as we were trying to figure out how to split the bill.  It was actually a trivial matter, but I see now that her pride was at stake.  Eventually it was settled and we went on our ways.

The young lady however managed to express that hot emotion of mine outwardly.  Which I believe helped me confirm that the world was also ashamed of poverty, and that of others negative feeling.

However, lets to further and try to break down what happened.  Firstly, the couple put themselves into this situation.  Similarly to my elevator moving story, I myself am to blame for the situation.  I could easily defer the moving date in my case, to a time where the bookings would align as there is no firm moving date.  The couple could have easily ordered within their budget, but they choose not to, either to show off, celebrate or simply carelessness, I will never know for sure.  Secondly, even though we are not able to avoid the situation to appear lowly in the eyes of others, what’s the big deal?  In the case of the elevator, absolute worst case is the “neighbours” follow me to my suite and report me to the condo board and get me fined.  This is highly unlikely because everyone has to move stuff, and very few people are that anal.  Even if there was one person so anal, it’s unlikely everyone involved in the chain of events, such as the property management, the condo board, are will to waste their time over something so minor.   In the case of the overly large bill, they couple could have simply asked someone at the table to help chip in.  I would have gladly helped if they asked, but instead one of them decides to get all worked up.  If they had asked for money, the worst case  that could have happened is that I may not dine with them again if I sense they were not going to return my loan.  Instead their over reaction, lead me to definitely not dine with them again, because of the awful feeling they left me.

This leads me to the feelings that surface when I consider what people will think.  Often when I try to manoeuvre away from being under the judging eyes of strangers, I ended up like that girl from the dinner.  I end up causing the people close to me grief.  In turn, really causing what I fear will happen, to actually happen.  The real fear of people not wanting to help or associate with me.

The lesson here is, as the apostle Paul wrote:

Be careful for nothing.

 

10Apr

Important vs Urgent

There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything.

In life you must identify what is important and what is urgent.

Important things are like paying your bills on time, spending time with love ones, and doing the task that will push you towards the goals that you have set out to accomplish.

Urgent things are items that show up suddenly, like a co-worker wanting to chat, a complaining customer, another meeting to discuss a change.

Many urgent things masquerade as important things, and distract you from what you actually need to get done.

Fortunately there is a solution to dealing with the urgent and unimportant task.  Simply say “NO” to them.

At first it may feel odd to say no, you may feel that you are letting people down, or not being a team player.

However if we were to use a sports analogy, if you are a goalie, you can’t be expected to go out of your way to try and help score a goal.  You have to do what’s important, which is guarding the net, not go to what’s urgent at the time, an attempt to score.

Can you imagine if the goalie came out to help with the scoring process every time there is an attempt?  This would be disastrous.

Stick to the task that are most important, and that only you can get done.  Let others handle the rest.

 

8Apr

Stuck when trying to get stuff done.

Writers block

Writers block or the inability to pursue creative endeavours affects all of us.

I struggle with this “Resistance” on a daily bases, it blocks me from producing work.  I was introduced to the concept of resistance by the book “The War of Art“, by Steven Pressfield.  In the book he explains that any action that takes you from a lower sphere to a higher sphere in life insights resistance.

Resistance is that feeling of discontent.  You feel like you want to get up and party, but you want to stay in bed.  You want to leave your dead end job, but you are too afraid of the new change.  It is a state of indecision, unable to commit to an action that you know deep down you should do.  An action you would tell your best friend to do in a heartbeat.  An action you would tell yourself to do, if you only had the guts.

Fortunately there is a way to overcome resistance.  That is as Mr. Pressfield puts it, “turning pro”.  Turning pro is the act of committing, not only in words but in body, mind and action.  Committing to move towards your goal inch by inch each and everyday.  With this action you are telling resistance that you are not going to be bullied anymore, that you will fight it tooth and nail, gaining ground an atom at a time.

My mentor Brian used to tell me, “beginning with the end in mind”.  When I set out to write my book, I knew I needed about 10 hours of content, the approximate length of a 250 page non-fiction audiobook.  I worked backwards, if I had to finish recording in 30 days, 10 hours of audio, I could do it by recording 20 minutes each day.  If I simply followed this rule, I would arrive at 10 hours like magic.

I pre-committed to recording 20 minutes a day before leaving my room each day.  Before leaving my room, I would send the recording to my virtual assistant to transcribe.  After 30 days I had recorded over 13 hours of audio.  The simple act of starting each day towards my goal, got me motivated to record above and beyond the 20 minutes I set out for myself.

The act of pre-commitment helps with our willpower.  If we slot the action into what happens naturally in our day, the action has a chance to form into a habit.

Beat resistance by moving towards your goals little by little each day.

2Apr

The 10/10/10 Rule

Often times we run into the need to make a tough decision.

One way to help is to use the 10/10/10 rule.  Imagine how you would feel about the decision, 10 minutes from now.  Then imagine the feeling 10 months from now.  Finally imagine how you would feel 10 years from now.

For example:
Imagine you have been dating someone for a while.  Things are going good, but you feel it’s time to take the relationship to the next level.  You want to say “I love you” but are not sure if you should. To help you decide, imagine that you have already said the phrase and 10 minutes have passed.  At this point you will have either found out if they said “I love you” back, or you would have gotten another response.  10  months from now, you are either in a happy relationship, or have found someone new.  10 years from now, if things go well you are still with the person you are currently dating, or you would have completely forgotten that the conversation had even happened.  The result, saying it has little downside.  You are either going to push the relationship forwards, or you will have forgotten the results of the action eventually.

There are tonnes of ways to help your decision, this technique and many of the others can be found in the book Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath.

26Mar

Controlling Your Excitement Level

I have a tendency to jump head first on projects.

I read in the book Executive Toughness, in order to stay and remain tough, you have to control your “ideal arousal state”.

I know it sounds dirty, but in reality, it’s about excitement level.  When you are easily excited about things, this can be majorly distracting.

Imagine if you were trying to bake a cake.  Normally you would follow a very set course of actions, X cups of flour, Y cups of sugar, Z cups of water and so forth.  Then imagine as you are in the process of adding the ingredients, a friend runs by and tells you add in vanilla, as it would make it really special.  Being easily excited, you agree and add vanilla.  Then as you continue to mix your ingredients another friend comes by and says peanuts in cake are the secret to cake bliss.  You are again convinced, and proceed to drive to the store to find peanuts.  These interruptions go on and on as more friends spawn more side missions.  Before you know it, the cake doesn’t even fit in the oven anymore, and likely won’t bake properly.

The above is an extreme case of weak control of your excitement level, or “ideal arousal state”.  You jump from item to item, loosing track of what is really vital.  Abandoning the original plan as soon as something “better” comes along.

When we work on startups, “extra chefs” as I call them, will show up and tell you all sorts of great ideas.  The problem is often times though these ideas sound great, they end up distracting you from the main event.  The main recipe you were following for your business.

I’m not saying work in isolation, but I am saying keep in mind, ideas and advice are good even necessary sometimes.  Just keep your insides stable, be steady on what you yourself are trying to do.

 

25Mar

Not as good at problem solving as you think

Lately, I’ve been trying to my eat lunch with either a friend of coworker each day.  I got this advice from a great book called “Never eat alone“, my good friend Rollin recommended to me a few years ago. I only recently listened to the audiobook.

The book is about how to create and maintain business relationships.  It has some hard and fast rules on how you should engage with business partners, ranging from throwing dinner parties, to positioning yourself in their line of travel.

Today while having lunch with my friend Alex, former artist for TOBlender.com. I was telling him about my next venture.  In particular, I was complaining to him.  I don’t usually complain, but since Alex is a world class problem solver, I decided to vent some of the frustrations I’ve been having in my businesses.

I think of myself as one of the best initiators I know.  If I have an idea I just go with it.  I can always think my way around obstacles of any size.  I went on to say, that often times the only thing in my way is the lack of a motivated team to help execute the idea, and carry the ball when I get tired.

The moment I said this out loud to Alex, I came to the realization, that I was actually not as good at solving problems as I thought.  The problem of forming a good reliable team is one I am unable to overcome to this date.

I’ve started over a dozen companies, ranging from 1 to 8 members.  Every single time these ventures have ended up in failure.  I either get tired of the venture and quit, sell it, or kick people off the team who were not pulling their weight.  It feels like I am unable to find anyone who shares the same motivation and passion to get things done like me.

The founder of Wattpad.com, Allen Lau, actually gave me some good advice about partnerships.  He told me that if you expect your partners to push and work as hard as you.  You will only be disappointed.  There is no such thing as equal partners, and measuring someone by your own standards is unrealistic.  You just have to take what you can get, and make it work.

Though I know this advice, its quite hard for me to be this vulnerable.  I don’t want to be taken advantage of, I really don’t like that feeling.

I’m reminded however of my other mentor Edwin Lun’s words.  You may feel that your partners are not pulling their weight.  But at the same time, your partners can be thinking the exact same thing of you.  Everyone gets the feeling that things are unfair at some point.  It’s impossible to please anyone 100% of the time.  It is therefore vital to vent your feelings or you can rage out of the partnership.

As a result of my lunch today, I’ve decided to work on this aspect of myself.  I have all the technical skills I need to start any company.  I just need to get better at handling my insides.  Build up security and once I have that security, I can share it with a good team.

My first steps towards getting more secure is to find a good book.  I’m currently reading Daring Greatly.

Hopefully this is able to give me a framework I can use.

 

 

24Mar

Access Google Docs with PHP

Spent almost 2 hours today trying to figure out how to access Google docs using PHP.  Specifically, using a spreadsheet as a way to store data.  Quick and dirty.

On the web you’ll see using the ZEND framework.  At first I was trying hard not to use this, as most shared hosting will not allow you to install frameworks.

Turns out this was an unwarranted fear.   Simply do the following:

1.

Download and extract the following into the same folder:
Zend Framework 1.12.5 Minimal
Zend_Gdata
This is the link to download the frameworks.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 6.06.55 PM

you can use the commands

cp -r “Zend Framework 1.12.5 Minial” “Zend_Gdata”

2.

Grab the sample php code from this site:

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 6.05.19 PM
Get the Google_Spreadsheet.php form this link.

Change:

“$_SERVER[DOCUMENT_ROOT]/ZendGdata-1.8.1/library”)”

“$_SERVER[DOCUMENT_ROOT]/{Change this to where you extracted the above zend framework}/library”

3.

Change the following to match your google login credentials and the spreadsheet you made:

$u=”[email protected]
$p=”somepassword”
$ss->useSpreadsheet(“test”)

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 6.08.03 PM

4.

Add the column names to that spreadsheet:
name, email, comments

5.

Run the page, and see the new values added.  Credits to : www.farinspace.com, just trying to keep track of how to do things my way.

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