26 February 2008

2nd Major Blog Entry / 1 Year Anniversary!

I made it! It's been a year (and a day really) since I started this blog! :D
I was on my way home yesterday (Monday, 25 Feb 2008) and arrived at 11pm, and I said I'd reply all my emails before starting this entry, it's 12:40am on Tuesday, 26 Feb 2008! I just spent over an hour replying all the emails that were in my inbox! Yikes! Well a good yikes really.

So it's been a year, a whole year! I still remember when I started my blog, it was more like a "I really should have a blog, it's the right thing for any tech-savvy person to do, not to mention I do have a lot of things I'd like to talk about." I remember it started when I used to read a lot of posts on lifehack.org and people would have blogs that talked day in and day out about personal productivity and how to push yourself to the maximum every single day of your life. As anyone who's been reading my blog can see how I've evolved from the personal productivity maniac to the personal achiever maniac I am today. Like I've said before, it all boils down to what is considered as a sin -- greed. I'm greedy, I'll admit it. Much like a smart business man is greedy for the next business opportunity he can dive in and take advantage of, I'm greedy for the next dream I want to realize. It's not so much a matter of showing off to me, but a matter of self-fulfillment. In some ways you may even say it's a quest to prove something to myself. I'll admit it. It is.

For some, this may be due to their ego, for me, it's not. I may sound arrogant but I don't need anyone's acknowledgment of my achievements for me to be satisfied with what I've accomplished. In fact, it's quite the reverse. The more other people enjoy and benefit from my hard work, the more I'm satisfied with what I'm doing. Take my stand-up comedy for example. The more the audience laughs, the harder I'll work. I do admit I get discouraged when people don't appreciate what I'm doing, but it's not the reason behind why I do what I do. I don't do stand-up because I want someone to tell me I'm a funny guy or for someone to come over and want to shake my hand after the show just to acknowledge that they had a good time. You'll never, ever see me walk up to someone and fish for a complement. In my books, if I need to go and pull it out of someone, it never was for me in the first place. Much like love, to me, if I need to make a person love me, then it's meaningless. Don't get me wrong, it's possible to sell yourself to someone and make them see the light that you're good for them and you're a lovable person, but for me, that's not the road I want to be taking. Once again, am I being arrogant? I think not. I just feel that it should be something someone wants to do so themselves, much like complements. After many shows, people come to me themselves and talk to me. It feels great and I really, really appreciate the encouraging words from these people! Even if people didn't come up to me and say anything, if they had a good time and laughed during my set, that's good enough. After all, that's really the ultimate test if you ask me, for a bunch of strangers who are not obliged to laugh but end up cracking up to something you say.

Obligations, life is full of obligations. When I was younger, I used to hate fake people and till today, I really, really detest a person who isn't genuine. But I've come to realize there are two types of fake people:
  • Those who don't know who they are and thus cannot genuinely represent their true self to others because they themselves aren't true to themselves.
  • Those that know who they are but realize or feel they aren't good enough and thus put on a different image in hopes of improving themselves.
Anyone who knows me well enough realizes I'm a firm believer of being yourself even if it's not the best person the world could use. Because the last thing the world needs is another wannabe. There are wannabe people everywhere and you know what, a lot of us can see right through that. You know that feeling you get when you meet someone and something at the back of your head says "I don't know, something is not right, this is too good to be true." Well listen to that voice. You're doubting for a reason. Part of that reason is based on something in the passed that resembles the present situation, thus causing you to be cautious, and the other part is your gut feeling. I've come to trust my gut feeling a lot more nowadays because time and time it's proved to be correct. I'm not talking about that gut feeling of what the next lottery numbers are going to be, I'm talking about that sixth sense where you can't explain it, but something just doesn't feel right about a situation or a person.

Very often you'll come to realize that odd feeling you had will make sense in due time. I've met and seen many fake people who talk a very, very big talk. The problem is they've never really had to walk the walk or prove how real their words were so it was hard for me to justify what my sixth sense was telling me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I have some super power, but it's just something I've come to learn to realize and notice in people I meet. I can usually tell apart a person who's talking crap vs. a person who means what he/she is saying after a few exchanges in a conversation. Finally, a day will come when the big shot with a big mouth has to put his/her money where his/her mouth is and the real person will be revealed. There are people who will make a big show about how brave they are but put them in front of an audience and a mic and they'll crumble under the pressure. Jami Gong, the owner and founder of TakeOut Comedy Club (where I perform a lot of my stand-up comedy) always reminds me day in and day out to "stay humble." Lucky for him, this has been a philosophy of mine for a long, long time :). I believe that if you're good, you don't need to market yourself because what you're good at markets itself. To be honest, this has been the case with my freelance web designing. Till today I've never really marketed myself other than printing and handing out name cards. You'll never see a Google ad with my name on it or a magazine page that introduces my services. Once again, am I too arrogant? No, I don't think so. I've been partially lucky and partially genuine to what I do. I love web design and whenever I do what I know how to do, I put in a genuine effort to get the job done.... well. As many of my readers will know, I'm a very firm believer in synergy. In many cases when I'm working with clients, a lot of issues come up during my web design and development that I could stop and whine about, not to mention also bill my client for. I believe in compensating for a job well done, but I do not believe in being an annoyance because of the issue of money. Sure, you may say "you're saying this because people may read your blog, but when the time comes are you telling me you'll solve an issue without billing me for it?" Yes and no. I've done a lot for clients that technically I can bill them for and technically they'll have to pay me for it because they're kind of in a sticky situation where if they don't, their whole project is screwed. I've found myself in many situations like these where I could push the client for an extra few hundred bucks easily but that also brings me to another topic, where do you draw the line?

I'm not limiting this question to billing clients, I'm talking about life in general. When is enough, enough? Look at my life today, I'm juggling so many things that all require my full attention, all at the same time:
  • Freelance web design/development
  • Stand-up comedy
  • My band, Eve of Sin
  • Drumming
  • Fitness
  • My finances
  • Self-development (ie. learning new technologies and improving my ways)
  • My family
That list could go on and on but these are the basics of what I'm really juggling day in and day out. Where do you draw the line. I could tell you a few more things I'd like to add to that list:
  • Drawing/Graffiti
  • Photography
  • Learn to play the piano
Where do you draw the line!? I guess it goes back to listening to your mind, your heart and your gut. My mind tells me to calculate the amount of time I have every day and accordingly divide it amongst all the things I want to or need to do. My heart tells me to prioritize my passions so I can put my fresh focus in things that I love most. My gut tells me to make sure I know who to listen to, my mind or my heart. Sometimes my mind gets too logical and I find myself in a rut where I'm working on projects so much I have to give up all my other things (like going to the gym). My heart then gets frustrated and I find myself sometimes throwing aside my work just to do what I love to do (ie. drumming at 3am when I have a meeting at 9am the next day). My gut has to kick in and take the lead of controlling me where it's 3am, and I think about why I should or shouldn't be drumming at this hour. My gut will acknowledge that since I'll be out the whole day tomorrow, chances are I won't be able to drum and it will act as a great chance for my mind and body to properly assimilate what I practice tonight. So I go and practice at my drum kit (much like what I'm going to do after this post is complete) knowing that I may be tired tomorrow when I wake up but it's for a worthy cause. Had I not practiced at 3am, I wouldn't be simply losing out on one session of practice, I'd lose out on the benefits I'd get of allowing myself to fully absorb the material that takes a day of non-practice.

Much like how you really grow the most from weight training on your off days, the same happens for my drumming, my stand-up comedy, my design skills and pretty much everything I'm involved in. My subconscious mind has to be given time to munch on what my conscious mind feeds it.

So it's my 2nd major blog entry and where have I come to after 6 months? Let me re-read my previous major blog entry *goes off to do that now, time is now 01:14am*. I'm back, it's 01:25am.

Ahh, cool, it's good to look back on what I was thinking half a year ago. You know, half a year ago, I was still dreaming about stand-up comedy, I was still dreaming about my band working out and I was still dreaming about a lot of things. Guess what, a lot of them have happened :)

But before, I go on, I'd like to refer to a few things I talked about in my 1st major blog entry. I talk about my need for finding stability. At that time, I felt like my life was a lot of moving parts and I lacked a good, strong core to hold on to at times when I felt like I needed to pause and re-assess what was going on. In some ways, I've achieved this, at least in the sense I have an idea of what everyday is about to bring me. At least I have the faith that I can control every day of my life better than before. I don't go to sleep stressed about the next day, perhaps because I've grown better to accept that it's just life. My life's still full of many moving parts as you've seen so far, but all these moving parts are like the gears of a watch, it's still being watched over completely by the watchmaker. In some ways, a lot of what I do have become better complements of each other because I've figured out ways to better synergize what I do. For example, on days I go weight training, my drum exercises involve mostly feet exercises. One day I do aerobics, my drumming involves hand exercises.

I talk about what is real and who is real to me. That has not changed as well. I still trust myself the most when compared to anything else, but this doesn't mean I don't believe there are nice people around me, far from it, it just means that when people around me disappoint me, I accept it better because a part of me was ready for disappointment. I know who I am today, much like I said I knew who I was back then. I'm still me, I'm still myself and I'm still I :) One thing I keep telling myself is only I can hurt me. And this helps me at times when I'm struggling under pressure. It's my own mindset that determines whether or not I get stressed out. It's my choice whether or not I let something get to me. Sure at times your emotions may not listen to your mind easily, but at the end, you control it, you hold ultimate power over your feelings.

I discuss the idea of nice guys finish last and yes, I still believe that's true. But I also believe that at the end of the day, it's the genuinely nice guy that gets what he wants not because he fights for it, but because people feel he deserves it. I'm not referring to getting things served on a silver platter, I'm saying earning it in a non-typical way. I believe my niceness plays a heavy role in my freelance business, my stand-up career and my drumming life. People are happy to sit and have a chat with me about web stuff because they know I'm not out there to horde their money. I'm not in it to think of the solution that suits me best. There's no point in that because I could use a technology I'm most familiar with rather than what's best for the project. Heck, it'd save me a lot of stress and earn me the most money. But I don't grow. Like I've said many times before, I have a need to grow and develop myself. I am a fanatic for pushing the human potential to the maximum and only through the toughest times does one achieve excellence. A lot of my comedy sets involve me interacting with the audience. Those are all risks that I take which sometimes work out and sometimes don't. But it's something I have to do now to develop my confidence an experience and in doing so, the benefits I reap from both successes and failures are worth it. People are happy to sit with me and hear me share my knowledge on drumming because they know I say it not to belittle them but to educate them and in turn educate myself. They say, one of the best ways to really learn and understand something is to try and teach it to someone. That requires you to know something so well that you can absorb, digest and regenerate it with your 2 cents while still making sure the recipient understands what you're talking about. Like I said in my post:
"No one made it big by playing a risk-less game in life."

Near the end, I said:
"In conclusion, let's hope that in 6 months I'll be able to learn a lot more about the gray areas of life and better have a grasp of where I need to be so I can get to where I am. I must say, I'm a happy person today. I have a lot of good things going for me but I'll admit, I'm not satisfied right now."
Well, am I satisfied today? Never! But it's a good "not satisfied" feeling not because I feel down about it but now I've created a bigger hunger for where I can and want to be! :D Look at me today, I'm fully packed with life, with energy and with dreams that have come true! I see a big, bright future ahead of me with everything I've planted myself into. Now it's just a matter of me being smart and using everything I've learned along the way to play my cards right so I reap the best benefits out of all my investments. I've met a lot of people, made a lot of new goals and walked a lot of new paths! I've grown a lot since 6 months ago and reaped a lot more than I could imagine! I really, really look forward to what the next 6 months bring and after seeing where I was and where I am now, I can say I'm happy to be unsatisfied! This makes sure I still have the drive to push even further. I hope you feel the same way as well, there's so much to life, why waste time complaining about it when you could turn that energy into fuel for the mind! I must admit, I was feeling a bit down this past weekend and I created a wallpaper for myself to remind me of all the things I love and I thought I'd end this post by sharing it with you all. Thanks for reading all this, I hope in some ways it affects you positively and in turn, you do something great that has a good impact on the world we all share (ahaha ignore the Trojan Pro font I used in the bottom, I was going to change it today, but I wanted to keep it the way it is).



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read it...
Comprehend what's written...
I'm not you...
You're you...
Thus only you...
will know...
how you feel...
I'm lucky...
if I can feel an ounce...
of the true you...

~ ~

26 February, 2008 04:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hardcore. fan poetry, what's next, underwear?

Love the font. why would you want to change it?? it looks a lot like my wallpaper actually.

heard a really good talk on Sunday about how ppl are like trees and how the oldest and most life-giving ones, that stay green through droughts and bear the most fruit have the deepest roots...

yeah... i guess we get so bombarded with instant entertainment, ppl tryna sell us stuff, n arrangements, emails, responsibilities and just 'stuff' that who you are becomes externalized into a fb page or ur dress code or ur lingo or ur weekend antics. s'a bit of a common disorder these days, fakeness: self-reflection is a luxury that not a lot of ppl can afford. apparently we're the only mammal that knows how to hide feelings.

fakeness. yeah. Barf.

you can write!

26 February, 2008 08:31  
Blogger Vivek Mahbubani said...

Hey Nora,

Thanks for the read! I just feel the font in the soil doesn't fit too nicely, but oh well, it's good enough for now :)

You're right about the tree comparison, you need to spread out to the world around you to also reap the benefits it has to offer! But like you said, people are drowned with fake images, fake photoshopped photos, fake handbags, etc. etc. and in the end they lose themselves because "fake" is the new "real" in a way :P

Ahaha, I am just a fast typer I suppose.

26 February, 2008 15:00  
Blogger Nora said...


you could... make it a black and rooty looking font - sort of Tim burton-esque...

neh, authenticity can't be replaced. honesty's the best policy.

catchya later, good week/year to you yo! keep it up.

27 February, 2008 00:28  
Blogger Vivek Mahbubani said...

Hey there, thanks for the font suggestion, good idea actually, that'd work :)

As they say, keep it real!

Take it easy :)

27 February, 2008 04:09  
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