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Rediscovering the person I could’ve been 10 years ago

Rediscovering the person I could’ve been 10 years ago

For the majority of my life, I’d always stayed under someone’s wing — my parents, my grandma, my friends, my ex.

While this has helped me worry less in life and focus more on practical things (e.g. learning at school, staying in good shape, building household skills), it also stopped me from growing up.

I didn’t know how to travel on an airplane by myself.

I had no idea how much my phone bill cost (everything’s on auto-pay).

I didn’t know how to fend for myself if someone blamed me for something I didn’t do wrong.

I couldn’t tell which friend genuinely wanted to help me and which friend wanted to take advantage of me.

I didn’t even know how to talk to guys.

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But of them all, my greatest concern was not knowing what I wanted in life.

What career did I want as my future source of income? What skills did I want to master? What countries did I want to explore? What hobbies did I want to do to fulfill my day? 

Not knowing the answers to these questions scared me. More so than getting lost in a strange, remote place where no one speaks my language.

And I kind of hated myself for becoming this naive, little girl who depended on others for answers. For following the suggestions of those who “knew” how my life should be instead of pursuing what I wanted.

Until two years ago.

Unleashing a new me

reflection of girl

    What’s your expertise and what can you do that no one else can do for our company? 

    Content marketing, with a special focus on steering traffic to a company’s website — particularly from Medium. After running dozens of marketing experiments, I know which ones drive the most relevant users to a site and get them engaged with the business. The key? Providing value and building trust. Everything else (e.g. the money, the widespread exposure) comes after.

    What do you want to learn? 

    How to shuffle dance or move like those Kpop stars!.

    Chinese — speaking the language, reading off the menus, understanding what people say.

    Cooking. I still follow a recipe but want to make unique fusion foods, using just my nose and taste buds to put everything together.

    What kind of guy do you want in your life? 

    I want a guy I can share my life stories with, without being judged or feeling awkward. I want him to appreciate what I’ve given him and not take me for granted. I want him by my side — not in front of me, not behind, but right next to me. That way I can hold his hand and know we’re both facing life together from the same way (the good and the bad). Most importantly, I want him to give me space, so I can pursue my own hobbies and accomplish greater goals.

    I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer any of these questions during my post-college years. But now I can.

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    Because in the last two years, I’ve finally kicked my bad habit of letting people steer my life. Instead of going along with their suggestions, I stick with my own agenda.

    That means breaking out of my comfort zone, multiple times (e.g. mingling with strangers, saying “no” to people, exposing myself to a new environment). I admit, it was pretty nerve-racking or embarrassing at times, but gradually, I became more confident in who I was. I knew what I wanted, who mattered to me, and what I needed to do to build the future “me.”

    It was all through trying new things that made me learn more about myself than the 10 years I’ve spent following others.

    Krav Maga taught me how practical self-defense can be, especially if I get stuck in a sticky situation. To be honest, I think it’s a more useful skill to acquire than to master the gun.

    People from Meetups have much more interesting stories to share than all the people I’ve met through dating apps.

    Yoga is fun and relaxing, but too slow for my taste. I like activities that pump adrenaline into my blood!

    I took my first sip of alcohol when I was 7. I took my first glass at 27. And I still hate the taste.

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    Mopeds are the most thrilling things you can drive on the road. I only wish things weren’t so far apart in the U.S. so I can drive it everywhere (especially during rush hour).

    Now I know why women love getting manicures — it looks good. It feels good. It drives men crazy.

    I never knew my hair would actually look good with highlights. I thought plain black was the only color that matched me best.

    Airbnb > hotels. It’s cheaper, you feel more at home, and is super convenient — especially if you’re working remotely.

    What I’d learned in 3 months from my 9–5 job, I’d learned in 1 at my startup. You get so much hands-on experience working at a startup that you become a much greater asset than average people.

    My last words: When sheltered, break out

    If you’re feeling comfortable living under the wings of another, break out — NOW. Sure, it’s a more stress-free life, but when you don’t take on life on your own, you won’t ever grow to your greatest potential or discover what you’re capable of being.

    Explore more. Do more. Be more.

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    Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

    More by this author

    Tiffany Sun

    Aspiring Writer

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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