“The best way to get approval is not to need it.”: Advice day!

I should just admit that I am NEVER going to run out of tabs to close.

A compilation of lovely advice from all over the web.

1.  Very helpful: Time to Give Up Your Dreams?

Smart.  Talks about how you should gauge your progress against the distance to your goal.  “How far have I gone?” versus “How long left to go?”

Really relevant for me.  At this time where I’m trying to line up my goals and see how they all fit, or which ones I still like (Do I really want to exert the effort to own three public parks?  Would I really want to get that rich or earn a landscape architecture degree or marry insanely wealthy just to achieve that?)

2.  15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy. via my facebook feed (Thank you, Kai!)

Because I always need reminding.

“‘Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?’ – Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

The need to always be right.  Need for control. Blame.  Self-defeating self-talk. Limiting beliefs. Complaining.  The luxury of criticism.  Need to impress others.  Resistance to change.  Labels. Fears. Excuses. The past.  Attachments.  Living up to people’s expectations.

3. From my favorite Brain Picking article, “How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love“:

“28. The best way to get approval is not to need it.

This is equally true in art and business. And love. And sex. And just about everything else worth having.” – Hugh Macleod

4.  From Lifehacker: adaptation of the 5 biggest regrets of the dying, by Paul Graham.

Desktop Wallpaper by Alice Lee

5.  Thought Catalog’s checklist for women below 30.

“2.   Try to be kind to the people who are rude to you. It’s not personal, they’re just having a really bad day/month/life.

7.  Surround yourself by only the books, images, music and people that make you happy.

8.  Your ability to speak honestly about your weaknesses, failures and disappointments is your greatest strength.

9.  Nothing is more fulfilling than helping other people.

17.  Be careful about confiding personal information. Relationships change.

18.  Go to events and parties and lectures you have no interest in going to.

19.  Ask yourself what you want. Then take the necessary steps to get it.

28.  Let yourself be happy when you’re happy.”


On Shopping and the meaning of life.

I wanted to buy a lot of things today.

Among all the things I gawked at, these three were what I wanted to get for myself the most.

1.  The Quiksilver Rambler Zip Up Sweatshirt.

Continue reading “On Shopping and the meaning of life.”

How it feels: Accidentally deleting your inbox

My entire phone inbox got deleted tonight.

It was quite a jarring experience.

Especially because I didn’t do it on purpose.
I know that it’s worlds better than having your phone stolen, or even getting it lost.
But it felt so surreal.
Seeing your same phone – same body, same housing, screen and application.
But empty.
It was an empty black space with no threads of contacts and message excerpts whatsoever.

All memories you wanted to keep, and messages you wanted to save in case you ever needed written proof of anything, gone.  Digital memories – of things that were sweet, touched your heart, made you laugh or angered you – disappeared.

Again, just really jarring. It was so jarring i don’t think I believed it for the first minute after it happened.

I thought maybe the screen just had a glitch or the application stalled. I kept closing and reopening the app.

But nope, gone.

These moments are so interesting. See, it could be seen as “emotional”, except is also seems trivial (lost text messages probably won’t strike anyone as catastrophic), and it’s also so final that there’s no choice but to accept.

You just bury the regret in your brain.  Try to make sense of it. Make it seem philosophical — try to say that it might be some symbolism or lesson.

Of how my desire to hold onto and hoard everything kept me from easily finding what was valuable, in the din of everything I tried to save.

Or that it’s a foreshadowing of how my laziness about decluttering will ultimately bite me in the ass.
Anyway. Inbox gone. Weird sense of pain.


Does anyone else wish their life were like a Vimeo video?: 5 of my favorites

Or is it just me?

Sundrenched.  With lens flares here and there and saturated or overexposed color, with blur in the right places.  Clear skin and glowing eyes, “hip” musical accompaniment all around.

And I know this is heavily affected by my search queries, but all the free time, sense of adventure, dedication to making videos of yourself having fun in an attractive way.  Surf, sand, sea, not a care in the world and free-as-a-bird youth lifestyle.

Presenting, my favorite vimeo video: Taj Burrow’s Fiji Vignette Part 3

The best lookbook I’ve seen so far.  Pretty, pretty girl.  Cute storytelling.  And the coolest girlish swimsuit designs I’ve seen.  Granted, the model’s body is amazing, but besides that, the designs themselves are simple, but smart.

Continue reading “Does anyone else wish their life were like a Vimeo video?: 5 of my favorites”

Some Thought Catalog favorites from my open tabs

10. Types of Women Men Like Better Than Me

I want to see underwear ads showing a 50+ parent of multiple children in granny briefs, stippled in cellulite on her daily routine of looking sad in front of a mirror but the underwear make her look AWESOME. I will buy those underwear. You are supposed to feel ‘inspired’ by that Katy Perry video where an overweight girl strips down and jumps in the pool with everyone else. How inspiring and brave of that girl to join the normals!

9.  Just Eat the Damn Donut, Ladies

The idea that something so simply perfect could become so bastardized is a tough one to believe, for sure. But it seems that even the eating of a fresh-baked cream puff is not sacred — and there are people who want to sully its purity by falsely justifying their indulgence. And if I have to sit through one more soliloquy delivered by some girl who is clearly enjoying the pants off of her cookie dough milkshake but feels the need to explain this dessert to the world — and her friends, no less — I’m going to go crazy.

8.  Things You “Cannot” Do

You can’t Google someone and you can’t look at their Facebook profile–no, no, wait, more precisely, you cannot tell them you’ve done this. Despite the fact that they (and you, yourself, probably), have proffered a significant degree of personal and professional information upon the altar of social networking, presumably to be perused by others, it seems somehow gauche if, when they tell you, ‘I am a Systems Administrator,” you say, “I know, I saw your Facebook.’

7.  Getting Your Heart Broken Isn’t So Bad

“…once everything is said and done, once you regain your sanity, you survived it. You were not defeated. You did not actually die, no matter how much you thought you wanted to. You lost it there for a little while; you gave into your emotions and let them rule you, but there’s no crime in that. There are worse ways to go through life than to feel things passionately. The point is this: life went on. Life goes on. Heartbreak might be a bitch of a visitor, but she always leaves that gift of a reminder behind when she leaves.”

6.  Replacements for the Phrase “I Love You”

I’ll realize that I’m not the only person in the world. Little by little.

5.  You Have Such Beautiful Hands

There are moments when we look at the one we love, but we cannot really see them. We become overwhelmed by everything that composes them: the quiet moments that have passed between us, the cries of ecstasy, the tears that only we saw. It is as though they are less a person and more an amalgam of everything they have done, everything they mean to you.”

4.  The Last Time You Fall in Love with Someone

We sometimes feel like we’re guaranteed love. In an ideal world, we would be. There’d be someone out there for everyone and they would be the perfect match for each other. People wouldn’t marry for money or out of fear. But we obviously know it doesn’t work that way. And because of this, they are people making money off of your anxieties. The sad pop songs are dedicated to the ones who had no idea that the last love of their life would come too soon and leave too early. Sex and the City would’ve never existed in a world of guaranteed love. So many books wouldn’t have been published. Things would just be so different.”

3.  Why You Can’t Make Your Ex Fall in Love with You Again

If only we understood at that moment how little it had to do with us. When you fall in and out of love with someone, it’s like you become privy to all the secrets of the world. You understand what life is all about, how badly we all just want to connect with someone and feel like we have a partner or a teammate. It’s cruel how quickly things can change, how your teammate becomes an adversary at the drop of a hat. All the while, you keep asking yourself “How can I get the gold star to stick again? How can I get my teammate back?” What you don’t know now, you’ll understand later. Trust.

No ifs, ands, or buts. I could have plastic surgery to look like Ryan Gosling and it wouldn’t make a lick of a difference.

Love is there until it’s not. It might have everything to do with you or it might have nothing to do with you. The point is that people change and outgrow each other. Placing the blame on yourself and agonizing over what you could’ve done to change the outcome is fruitless. It’s all chemical anyway. Take the weight of the grief off your shoulders and take solace in knowing that you will be loved again.”

2.  How To Become The Person You Want to Be

“This might sound so minor but something you all must know by now is that we’re often our own worst enemy. We can’t blame something on a lack of self-awareness. We’re all aware, which makes it that much harder when we see ourselves making the same mistakes. We often wonder why we do the things we do. But we already know why. Knowing and doing are two different things though. I know that x, y, and z make me unhappy but I guess, in the end, I just don’t care enough to make changes. You can’t force yourself to care. You need to reach a point where you DO care which can take a long time.
1.  Top 10 Thought Catalog Comments for the Month of March

Ha, your apostrophes are misplaced.”

Irrational, But True: Why I’m Afraid of the iPhone (Part II)

Yesterday, I wrote about my misplaced personal issues with buying an Apple iPhone 4s.

Today, I explain further.

See, I don’t discount Apple’s brilliance.  In fact, I applaud them.  It’s just that sometimes, or most times, their products remind me of an inequality that I’m ashamed to be a part of.

But, first, to the more positive, progress-of-technology bit.

See, Apple’s very smart.

They really fought the system. And beat it, too.

Back in the day (say, less than a decade ago), buying mobile phones was about a more blatantly “physical” customization.  About offering a device for each kind of person – popularizing “market segmentation” studies.  People got to choose the actual hard “body” that you thought was best fit for you.

That’s how the game was before.

Now, here comes Apple, changing how “customization” is executed – giving people a single solid case, with innards that you could personalize with infinite permutations (that’s hyperbolic; I meant relative to early mobile phones).

You pick-and-choose, mix-and-match the insides of it — the content, not the look.  A blank slate that allowed for maximum internal customization.

Being excellent and expensive, Apple products grew a techie following.  But besides knowledgeable design geeks, the reality of “herd mentality” and Apple’s well-executed design strategy also pulled in droves of either really practical or really status-hungry rich people.

Apple’s popularity and design excellence deemed any sort of innovation from Nokia, Sony Ericsson et al. obsolete.

Now the game is just about the innards.  All of a sudden the number of colors you could offer didn’t matter (unlike the Nokia 5110).  The tech generation just didn’t care as much.

Nokia N9’s reviews can keep talking about how elegantly beautiful the phone looks, or how great it feels in your hand, or the solid color when you scratch the body, but since iOS and Android have more established, familiar systems with a better-planned ecosystem, the N9 still can’t compete.

I’m not saying that those device-buying “values” or priorities are permanent.  It’ll probably change in the next 5 years; it always does.

It’ll be great to see how it plays out, if the paradigm will change in the next five years.  I’ll be nearing 35 then, and technology’ll probably be in a very different place.  That’ll be exciting to see.  I just don’t know if I want to be part of it or watching it.

The shaky and scaredy-cat part of me would rather be watching it just because I don’t want to let go of who I am.  And it feels like Apple took away a bit of my freedom of choice.  (Just because, nowadays, even if I try to look for an objectively better, more equipped and hopefully cheaper mobile phone than the iPhone 4s, it always feels like “downgrading”.)

Now, the opportunity to actually “mull over” whether I want to buy the iPhone or not highlights something slightly sad that I tend to see in the iPhone.

Oh, before I continue, I think I should mention that what partly triggered all this iPhone-buying consideration is that my job now needs me to research the user experience of mobile interfaces.  Since I am part of an interaction design team.
I saw this ad last week, for a broadband Internet connection.  It revolved around two young adults, poshly dressed.  The girl was in this frilly dress, on some plush couch in a luxurious room that seemed like a hotel.  The boy was in a bachelor’s pad.  In the ad, he was going to propose to her through video chat or Skype.  I know, not the most realistic of situations to begin with.
It reminded me of how high-end the digital target market is, in a developing country.
It’s a tiny bit of what hurts me.

I don’t want to just serve the upper class – their needs are being served all too much.

I don’t even know what else we can do for them.  They don’t need people researching more of their needs.
Yes, the uppermost economic class is the most lucrative market.  But what about 94% of the country?

Yes, I know, I still work for a corporation.  It’s still a business.

And, maybe that was one of the reasons that I liked my job doing consumer research for television.  It clearly served the masses.  TV is a mass market service – in fact, it was almost too kitschy and downmarket to be cool.

But, “digital”, in my corporation’s mind, is geared towards the educated and the upper crust.

And what I love about start-ups, and Ideo and frog, is that they have the freedom to also serve the greater market.  Because, see, I believe “digital” is also mass market.

Youtube and 9gag are “mass-market”.  It’s not like they serve the American intelligentsia.  It’s just that the American mass market is still more “up-market” than here.

Now, I’m thinking I should mention that when I was in college, one of my favorite classes was Culture and Ideas: Power, Hegemony and Texts.  Taught by one of my favorite teachers, Ron Darvin.  It talked about how cultural realities implied nuances about an era or a people. I think that’s what the iPhone represents for me.

It’s something that’s difficult to afford.

As much as people would want it, it’s an expensive object – it’s like a diamond necklace that’s useful.

I like it, I’m not denying that.  It’s amazing, it is.  But you’d end up paying more than a month’s salary for a phone.  Really?  I think that’s intense.

Interesting, isn’t it?  I’ve touched on personal insecurity, pride, the economic divide and design strategy.

All to explain why I’m having trouble buying an iPhone.

That. is. quite. sad.

I am shutting up now, and just being more pragmatic about this.

Facts: Change is coming.  Change is here. I want to be a kick-ass interaction designer.  I love the iPhone 4s camera, and I miss having a camera phone.  I don’t want to shell two-months worth of pay for a phone.  Having an iPhone won’t change who I am.  Or, it will, but so will everything in my life.  I am not what I own.  I should always remember that.

So, final verdict?  I’m getting an iPod touch. There.  Compromise. Whew.  I don’t know how I feel about it, but I also know I should stop obsessing. Two blog posts is more than enough 🙂

Irrational, but True: Why I’m Afraid of the iPhone (Part I)

Because I’m afraid it’ll change me.

And it will.  Because, really, that’s what well-executed engaging technology does.

I imagine that this might be how it must have felt during the dawn of television.  You must have had this whole older generation saying “That infernal contraption in my living room! What is it teaching the young people?” or something like that.

TV’s changed life, then.  In the same way, cellular phones started changing life a decade ago; tablet devices are changing life now (for people who can afford it), and so on and so forth until time immemorial.

No way around it, is there?

Life will speed past you.

It’s where maturity’s supposed to kick in.  Where you’re supposed to take control, because change is inevitably going to happen.  “Change is a constant”.

It’s like in that “Who Moved My Cheese?” book.  You’re supposed to make change happen – “planned change” or something.

I don’t think other people understand how much of a paradigm shift that is.  Am I the only one who’s scared?

Owning a device that can replace a music player, video player, mobile phone, computer, game player, camera – really revolutionary – changes the way you do things — consequently, the way you look at things, the way you solve problems, your mental framework about what goes on in the world.

So why am I afraid?

First up. Personal prejudice.

At the end of the day, it’s largely about me and my perception of people who “get” iPhone and iPod Touch’s.

Maybe it’s part of my contrarianism.  Connected to my desire to seem non-conformist, fear of being too much or looking too much a part of the ruling herd.  It’s because of this urge, this guilt I have of not relating to people who don’t have much.  Not being able to relate to the 90% of the world who can’t afford an iPhone 4s and all its necessary phone cases and data plans.  I’ve always had that pretentious concern.  Probably isn’t healthy.  For one thing, it’s irrational.  I know it is, but I can’t help it.

Underneath the prejudice, it’s really an issue of  my pride and insecurity.

People might not understand this, but I think it’s a distant result of having an insecure self-image.  My issue with relinquishing control over myself.  Relinquishing control over my behavior, desires and people’s impression of me.

I don’t like the idea of this entity inflicting change… Ok, scratch that, I like marketing and advertising, I know.

But those are a blatant form of control, of pandering.  Less insiduous.   This is “baked in”, wrapped up in something I can’t understand.

Leading me to the third reason – ignorance.

This is also partly fear of what I can’t understand, because I don’t try to understand it.

That’s easily “solve”-able at least, I just have to learn about it and make myself more comfortable.

It’s weird that I have issues, you’d think it’d just be about buying it, cracking it open, swiping your finger across it.

That’s how it’s supposed to be, right?

That’s how simple it’s supposed to be.

But I have to make an effing mess out of it – talking about identity, self-image and whatnot.

I know it seems like a joke, and most people don’t get how stupidly fearful I am.  And I think that’s the funny part.  The funny part is that it isn’t a joke.  It isn’t a joke and I’m not exaggerating.

I wish it were some easily dismissable thought, but it isn’t.  If it were, I wouldn’t have to be writing about it just to rationalize these things to myself and make sense of the fear.

It’s not like I can hie myself off to a forest, and I don’t want to be part of some back country life.  I think technology moves too fast for me.  I know I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, and that’s highly technological place.  Maybe it’s a foreign country so it feels “better”, but these are changes in my own country, my own life, an internal shift.

But everything changes you ultimately.

Travel.  Movies.  Really good literature.  So maybe, that’s just that.  I just have to accept that everything changes you and you can’t be a victim to that.  We’ll see how this goes.

I know I have to move forward now.  I know that I don’t have to make it an issue, and I wish it were just that simple for me. But I think it’s also my refusal to relinquish control over shaping my life, and I feel like technology is wresting it from me a bit.  I feel alone in this, too.  Most people seem to be welcoming this with open arms.  Tomorrow, more about my culture-related personal issues with purchasing an iPhone 4s.