Be fearless about who you are

People who have an outward personality may not have the issue of showing the whole world who they are. They may come across as loud spoken, confident and sometimes just plain irritating. And there will be people who doesn’t mind having them as friends. For some of us, the more reserved, quiet and highly sensitive people, you can’t help but want to run away from these kind of people.

And it’s perfectly all right to do that.

What is not all right is when these reserved, quiet and highly sensitive people keep to themselves even when other people are insulting them, making snide remarks, or step all over them metaphorically.

It’s also understandable because these kind and nice souls didn’t want to hurt another person’s feeling or simply want to keep the peace. Another reason could be they are lacking the confidence or are just too self-conscious.

I’m like that too. Always hated bringing attention to myself. And didn’t quite like challenging people more senior than me. I’m highly sensitive and is an INFP.

But I’ve learnt that it’s important to stand up for yourself and speak up.

It’s only by speaking up and setting expectations, other people will know where you stand. If they respect you as a person, they will accept those expectations and leave you be. If they don’t, then it’s not your problem if they choose to keep picking a fight with you. You can either make your stance even firmer or find someone who can help you resolve the issue.

Admittedly, there are times when I utterly failed to set expectations or make my stances clear because of my fear of disappointing people.

And I remember quite vividly about how I actually ignore how another person saw me and make my stances clear. It was with my first two jobs that I actually made it clear about what I will do when it comes to my job and I don’t work weekends or late. I didn’t know why I said those things but somehow those words just came out. But of course the end result was pretty different. One respects it while the other kind of use it as a weapon against you.

Looking back now, I think I did good then.

But when it came my third job, I didn’t quite assert myself because I felt like I should be like my new colleagues. More proactive, hardworking, etc. And after having encounter people using what you said as a weapon against you, well, I didn’t want to feel the same way again.

But what happened was my boss then got very confused as to who I am because I stop asserting and being myself. Hell, even I became confused as to who I am. That time of my life was a complete mess.

And now at my fourth full-time job, I went at it differently. I sprinkled a little of what I will do and what I will not do every now and then. And there is no holding hold back when it comes to showing my emotions or attitude to certain things. So much so, I can come across as an asshole.

But you know what?

It actually made me happier overall. People also know where I stand on certain things as well as my strengths and weakness. This meant that when tasks are assigned to me, it fits me. Not only that, I’m perfectly fine with people pointing out my weakness or certain things I don’t do right. For example, if someone is upset that I don’t give a shit about certain things, I really don’t care. After all, if it’s something I don’t give a shit about, why should I give a shit about what you think or feel about me. But it doesn’t mean I don’t respect you as a person.

And by being fearless about who I am, I have come to acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses. I know that certain aspect of my personality give me certain strengths that others don’t have. And it’s far more effective to be doubling and tripling down on my strengths than attempting to fix my weakness. My strengths are what give me the ability to do the kind of work others can’t do.

With that being said, I’d also prefer my colleagues tell me they don’t do certain things too. The reason is simple. It’s so that everyone knows where everyone stands. And now I come to see for myself how it allows all of us to find ways to workaround the limitations and still deliver the end product.

So don’t be ashamed of who you are even amongst your friends and family. They may be mad at you for certain things you do but if they have truly accepted your flaws and can focus on your strengths, they will still be around. If they aren’t, then obviously they aren’t supposed to be part of your life.

Writing achievements 2018 – year in review

2018 is coming to an end in an hours’ time as I write this and it’s my hope that this post goes up before the arrival of 2019.

I for one isn’t someone who like to brat to the whole world about what I have achieved and tend to keep a low key. In fact, I’d probably reject any awards that requires me to collect on stage.

But it’s also important to acknowledge how far I have come when it comes to writing.

When I restarted this blog, it was supposed to be just for me to vent my frustrations, let me jot down what happened in my life and help me process all my emotions. After reading lots of articles about self improvement and writing, I came to the conclusion that I’m not going to do that anymore. This blog isn’t going to be about me ranting about life, the misfortunes and whatnots that I have encountered. So I decided to expand my writing into various other things.

With that, I also came to learn that there are only two metrics that matter to a writer. Everything else is just not as important. The first metric is how many articles or essays you have published in a year. Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. Hitting that publish button is important as a writer. The second metric is how many followers that you have. The more follower you have, chances are it indicates your writings, especially the underlying message, have somewhat captivated readers and they want more. And it doesn’t matter if they are genuine, fake or bots. It’s important to be very very grateful for those followers and keep publishing new content.

Even so, I feel like celebrating what my blog have achieved in 2018 alone. And I’m going to keep doing what I do, keep working at my writings, interact with the blogger community in whatever capacity I can and grow myself further.

In 2018 alone, I have published 110 posts for a total of 101,270 words compared to 67 posts for a total of 42,420 words in 2017.

Now those are the metrics which are more important than anything else I’ve got to list below because these numbers prove to myself that I can write. A lot. And despite the occasional but overwhelming feeling of failures, I pushed forward. I acknowledge my failures in writing and seek to do them better next time.

And now it’s time for the not so important metrics.

Compare to the year 2017, my blog has gained 1.8x views and 2x the amount of unique visitors. In terms of likes, it’s 3.49x. I couldn’t be more happier. I’m deeply grateful to everyone.

Thank you all so very much. 😀

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

How writing consistently makes you better…

…in your ability in reading, critiquing, and writing.

These days, I have been writing quite a lot. A lot more than I ever did during my early days of blogging. And to me being a consistent writer isn’t so much about publishing something everyday but rather where you put your mind and how you spend your free time.

So that means even if I’m physically there, my mind is actually off looking at things from a writer’s perspective and what lessons can be drawn from there. There will be a lot of idea generation there and then. Sometimes I will daydream and train my ability to live the lives of my characters. And sometimes I will think of plots and sub-plots for my fiction writings during my downtime. Then there are days when I am simply focusing on drafting fiction and didn’t have the capacity to write something for the blog.

And let’s not forget the importance of taking a break and simply just chill or play.

So with all that out of the way, how does writing consistently make me a better reader?

Let me share what I realised today.

My colleagues knows I’m a writer because of the amount of attention I put into it and how much I talk about it. They have also seen some of my writings but I don’t share everything with them.

As a result, one of my colleagues would always get me to read her daughter’s english essays and compositions. But I suspect the other reason was I’m born here in Singapore and have been trained in both English and Mandarin since young. Therefore, I have a better command of English than my colleagues who are all from mainland China.

Today was one of those days. I had to proofread the daughter’s essay and it allow me to realise a bunch of things.

The first thing I realised was how I could intuitively pick up on and point out poor flow of an idea between any two sentences and paragraphs. From there, I was able to suggest possible fixes almost instantly. It was something that I know I couldn’t do very well in the past.

The second thing I didn’t realise I had developed was my ability to somewhat reverse engineer and figure out what was the main objective of a given piece of writing just by reading the content and without being present when the writing task was given. For example, I kind of figured out one of the essays was about having the student practice writing an opinion or commentary piece to the newspaper in the form of a letter without even seeing the homework task. In comparison, my colleague doesn’t even know what her daughter’s homework is about.

And best part about that was how I could suggest a better way of writing to meet the objective.

The third thing was how I could easily determine a piece of writing have lost all its credibility just because it started off wrongly without reading through the rest. And even after reading it through, my initial judgement remain unchanged. From there, I find myself being able to suggest alternative way of writing that presents the writer as more professional and skilled at putting across his or her arguments.

Lastly, I realised how I am able to shrink a wordy paragraph of around five sentences down to maybe one or two sentences that present the same idea. This ability to think and write concisely was something that I struggle tremendously until recently.

Feelers’ struggle with decisions

Some people you meet in life seems to give you the impression that they got everything handled. They are confident and assertive. The way they make decision seems to come very naturally to them.

Then there are those on the other end where every major decision gives the person a panic attack. They stumble, mumble and seem really unsure of themselves when they say their choice out loud. In a group setting, this behaviour can give other people the impression that they are weak or lack of confidence. And it does annoy the hell out of people especially when it’s time sensitive.

But it’s really not anyone’s fault. Everyone’s different and the way their brain process information is different too.

This is why it’s important for one to understand decisions making for some people can be very stressful and slow, especially if the person need to check with themselves on how they feel about different option. And they don’t commit to anything until they are very sure the decision makes them feel good and don’t give them any major regrets.

Maybe you might wonder which part does feelings have to play during decision making. The fact is, feelings are always in play. So are emotions. We are all humans. The question is how much the emotion centre is overwriting the logical centre as well as how good the person is at pulling themselves above those feelings to make a decision.

And sometimes, it’s just that the person feels more deeply, is more sensitive and self-conscious.

Now, as you go about in life, there will be times when you have to make certain life-changing decisions. Then when you do make a certain choice, the end result wasn’t ideal and you feel like crap for weeks or months. And in some case, it may have left you in a bad place. Or it could be that the result wasn’t as serious as it was but because you value other people’s opinion more than trusting your own, you fear losing that respect or friendship.

In the context of the person who feels more deeply, when these above situations happen, they create mental scars. The person won’t want to feel the same way again or go through the same kind of pain again. That’s why he or she will hold off committing until the last minute. But if it is a decision for something that the person has experienced before, then it relatively fast.

I know because I make decisions in this way, always checking with how I will feel at the subconscious level while having this dreadful feeling about having to commit. And I have faced people getting annoyed with me for taking too long. A big part came from me not wanting to disappoint people or get blame for the wrong choice.

However, it doesn’t mean shying away from making decisions. In order to be better at it, one has to keep making decisions. If the choice turn out to be a bad one, learn from the mistake. Seek for forgiven later. But if it’s a life-changing decision, then ask for permission to take a longer time before committing your answer. But it’s important also not to take too long. At the same time, you should reverse engineer what is it you are really afraid of when it comes to decision making and then acknowledge it. When you do that, you give yourself the power to move forward.

Before long, you will be making decisions effortlessly.

Acceptance

It’s already midnight as I write this. And I’m someone who don’t do very well with lack of sleep but I accept the reason why I’m still awake. Not to mention I’m down with another round of flu/allergy. I can’t tell which.

My friend gave me a reason to keep doing what I do. Writing fiction. He commented on Murderous House in private and gave me his thoughts on what I should improve on. So I spent the last two hours trying to write part 2, taking into account his comments.

I accept my desire. The desire to want to spend more effort in my writing and less time on coding. I spend more time thinking about what to write more than what to code.

And that’s how I accept my decision to quit my job, serve my notice and go on a holiday with either my family or friends.

I also accept the trade-off when it comes to having less income as I make the transition to part-time employment. Of course, I will still do what I do for a living because it’s what I know and can do pretty well.

I’m ready to accept and let go whatever judgment I may get from friends as I make this transition.

So have you come to accept whatever choices you have made over the past few weeks or even years?