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♫ You will learn a thing or two ♪ Making sense is up to you ♫

Superficial Goals that Distract You from Worthwhile Ones

face-of-ambition
I believe happiness is both conditional and decisional. Yet, basing your happiness solely on conditions and circumstances can be a sign that you have no control over yourself and that you are not the master of your own fate. You should decide to be happy, because that is the ideal. The thing is, due to human limitations and our naturally ingrained needs, our senses and emotions become dependent on conditions and situations. The mark of a really strong character is when a person decides to go above feelings and choose to count his/her blessings. This is difficult to do if your current state of affairs do not facilitate contentment and gratification.

Sickness, rejection, and failure bring pain and sadness to people. The latter two are likely because of some goals that were not achieved. The duration of painful experiences need not be lengthy, but it all depends on you. Yet still, the best cure for pain (due to failure and rejection) is for you to move on and learn from the mistakes - no more, no less.

Sometimes, our goals and ideals get mired by lofty desires. Instead of fulfilling your real passion in life, you become distracted by superfluous longings to be praised by people, be unbeatable, or gratify a lingering anger.

1. Desiring the approval of people


If you are a student, it is but normal to satisfy the conditions required by your school. If you are an employee, you would do the same for your company. As a student, your goal is to pass your subjects; you need the nod of your teachers for you to do so. As an employee, your objective is to earn a living and to not get fired; so you need to deliver results that will meet the management’s expectations. Such goals are good, as those people have some kind of moral ascendancy over you (or are expected to be so).

However, when you desire the praise of other people even if they have no connection whatsoever with you, then you are surely opening your doors to many episodes of disappointment. People will not always find you pleasing; your efforts may not be enough for them to solicit their clapping and cheering.

When your happiness depends so much on winning the approval of people, then rejection is something you will not tolerate. This spells trouble for you and to those you come in contact with.

2. Wanting to get ahead of others


The best advice about being competitive is that you should compete with yourself and no one else. If your goal is to be better that everyone, and you want people to acknowledge that you are the best - trying so hard to get noticed by ensuring the defeat of the person next to you, then you may be becoming like a very loud gong overpowering all the sounds around it but annoying all those who hear it.

You may say that you just want to track your personal improvement, and you do not have anything to measure it with unless you contrast yourself with others. This method may somehow be effective as it pushes you to reach higher lengths. However, since your standard of achievement is getting ahead of other people by toe to toe competition, then you are setting your life to a never-ending encounter with dissatisfaction and frustration. The only occasion when this method is justifiable is if you are playing sports.

You can, in fact, track your personal growth without the head to head collision and hurtful competition with another person. That is by doing better today than what you did yesterday, and strive to do even better tomorrow than what you are doing today. It is about competing with yourself, remember? Of course, do not forget to live in the present moment.

Learn how to contain disappointment and frustration.

3. Seeking revenge on those you have a grudge with


We now go to the third superfluous goal. Setting your focus and effort so you can get back at someone you are angry with can indeed be a source of motivation. Not a few people were able to achieve their objectives and make something of themselves just because they are angry. They want to show the world how righteous they are because they perceive their fellowman as just nefarious. Self-righteousness is what we call this trait.

There is nothing crooked if you want to prove yourself right or to point out errors of some fellows when they are wrong (if indeed they are wrong). However, if your real goal is to inflict pain and cause humiliation, then this is nothing but vindictiveness - and no, it is not justice.

Quenching your thirst for revenge will almost always end up in hurting someone. Unfortunately, this can include yourself.

Chastising Your Goals


ambition-in-chinese
If this article sounds like it aims to ruin your dreams, I suggest you read it again from the top. Come to think of it, this is really about the purity of your intentions.

You attempt to achieve your aspiration and accomplish a goal. Will it bring about goodness to the people around you? How about the methods through which you are to do it; do they involve stepping on people’s reputations?

Think about it.



Photo credits

The Face of Ambition c/o aitoff / Pixabay

Chinese Sign for Ambition c/o Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay
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Who Reads Blog Posts These Days?

Ten years ago, I read an article in Panorama Magazine. It explained how both amateur and veteran writers were beginning to make money on their own, without the intervention of publishers. Yet, they were not doing it through independent publishing of printed materials - it was something new (at that time) and perfectly legal.

The Internet became an avenue where essayists, storytellers, and even shallow naysayers were able to pick some pieces of gold and silver. The terms online advertisement and affiliate marketing came into existence. These were the new means through which writers could extract some bucks from the Internet. Later on, established publishers and big publishing companies would come into the picture and claim their piece of the pie.

phobia-of-reading

I have no intention of discussing how to make money by blogging or writing stuff on the Net; there are quite a number of articles online about it already. By the way, if up until now you still do not know how the word “blog” came to be, then I may have to give you a bit of a service. Blog is actually an acronym of 2 words - web log. In quite a short time, the online community got tired of saying and typing “web log,” so they coined them into one. So now, we have the word blog.

The Blogging Boom


The years 2004-2009 were the time bloggers got their heyday. Those were the years when struggling writers become instant publishers, and ordinary enthusiasts - who were passionate about some certain lifestyles or hobbies - evolved into professional writers. The latter could also be called as chroniclers. Yes, they were chroniclers of different matters - politics, celebrities, current events, gossips, gadgets, gizmos, and anything under the sun.

Yet, most (if not all) of them were not even journalists by profession. The only background they had on writing was their ordeal during their schooling days. The thing was that their online works were being read by countless people hungry for news, trivia, and entertainment. The more people reading their stuff, the more money they got from the advertisers.

Of course, these things can (and are) still happening today. Blogging is (still) an excellent opportunity for writers and enthusiasts, who can write well, to showcase their craft and earn some bucks. The thing is, there is this feeling among online marketers that bloggers who got the first course of the meal have already eaten the entire course, and those who came in late would have to be content with morsels.

‘The More The Merrier’ Has Become a Challenge


Consumers tend to patronize goods and services which have established brand names attached to them. The behaviour is pretty much the same when people surf the Net; they will often go to websites and blogs they are familiar with, believing that these would provide them better information and/or entertainment than those sites and blogs that they have not come across with.

Even Google, Bing and other search engines work using a somewhat similar principle. Their algorithm will index webpages in a way that favors the more popular ones over those with less (to no) popularity.

Getting Readers from an Audience of Watchers


So who reads blogs nowadays, particularly the ones owned by “uncelebrated” essayists and storytellers? Well, in fairness to the online community, there are quite a number of people who love reading articles on a decent blog site like this one. The fact you are here just proves you belong to this splendid group of Internet surfers.

Thanks to social media, you will not put a good content down the bin. I am not talking about the likers and followers (because they too are influenced by popularity), I am pertaining to the shares, which can make a post viral around the web. Virality results to more pageviews and an increasing number of readership.

Here is the thing, the competition does not limit itself with a blog vs. other blogs. Blog writers and publishers also have to compete with another type of content, one that is more dynamic and requires less reading (or maybe no reading at all) - and this is the online video.

Statistics show that people who surf the Web prefer watching videos than reading articles. For a writer whose talent lies more in putting his/her insights and creative narratives into written from, this is very much of a challenge.

How do you make people read your article if they have an inkling to watch and share videos rather than strain their eyeballs poring over your write-up? I do not have a clear answer to such question. Whatever product you produce as a writer - be it a novel, short story, essay, or poem (Geesh! Who is interested in poetry these days?) - the greatest gratification you can get is the knowledge that people are reading your works. The wider the audience who read them, the better the influence you gain.



Photo credit:

Reading Phobia created by A. Squad and edited from image c/o OpenClipart-Vectors / Pixabay
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The Power of The Notebook

If your first thought is that this article would be a review of a certain movie and novel with a similar title, then you are dead wrong. As of the moment I am penning this down, I have not watched the film nor read the book. Whether that movie (and novel) is about the literal notebook, I would not know. So what the heck are you reading about then, and what kind of power the notebook has that I want to discuss with you?

Well, it is all about the advantage of using the simple notebook as against the computer and/or tablet when writing an article for a blog (such as this one). “Baloney!” You may retort. “How the heck can you say you are blogging if you are doing it on a notebook? Blogs are on the Internet; therefore, you need to use a computer or something similar to create content.”

power-of-notebook-over-laptop

You are right, blogs cannot be published without a computer. Take note, however, I say the word “publish.” You will only need your computer if you are ready to publish your draft. When you are writing your draft, though, no - you do not need it yet.

I admit, it is quite tedious to write the initial draft on a notebook, and then manually transferring the text into the website’s CMS (or content management system). You will not have the pleasure of using the "copy-and-paste" feature on this instance. Given such effort, still I find the advantages outweighing the tediousness.

Learn why you should write for your readers and not for yourself.

When you write on the notebook, your mindset is to write and nothing else


For a blogger or writer who is in the act of writing, there is always this temptation to edit while you write. This is practically true if you are using your computer's word processor, given its propensity to alert its user when a wrong spelling or incorrect word usage is on the page. Of course, you can turn this feature off if you know how to. 😊

The thing is, when you are doing your first draft, your objective is to write your thoughts down - not edit. Writing and editing at the same time is one significant reason why many writers grind their teeth in frustration. Because of this, they are not able to finish their work properly. Proofreading and editing will have their time, and such time is after you have completed your work prior to hitting the publish button.

Since the notebook does not have the ease of having the quick editing functions and error alerts of a word processing software, the writer is forced to concentrate mainly on translating his/her thoughts into texts and scribbling them down on paper.

The tediousness of copying from notebook to computer can be an editing leverage


Writing is never for the lazy, much so if you are a blogger. To a witty writer, a stodgy effort can be used as something worthwhile.

When you are jotting down your thoughts on your first draft, your main goal is to write - and just write (as we have talked about earlier). However, that goal changes once you have drawn your last punctuation mark. Before you become eager to publish your work for all the world to see, you need to edit your piece. Your objective shifts from mere writing to making your work flawless.

Know how to best edit your online post and avoid Internet trolls.

Surely, you cannot publish your composition if it is still in your notebook. In this case, you will now need the computer. The effort may sound annoyingly burdensome, but the task of copying your draft into the word processing application (or if you want, directly into your website’s CMS) will allow you to see errors and notice words and phrases that may need improvement. More often than not, reading your draft and typing the texts on your keyboard sentence by sentence may trigger your jocose mind to come up with other ways to convey your message - thereby giving you some ideas to better reconstruct your sentences and paragraphs.

So yes, writing on a notebook and then typing it on your computer afterwards can provide you a better allowance to proofread, edit, and improve your work. In the end, it will all depend on you, on what resources you have at hand, and on what circumstances are there at that moment.

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You Are an Adult Yet You Think and Act Like a Teenager

Paul of Tarsus wrote to his audience in Corinth, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.1 Normalcy behooves us to grow up, not just physically, but more so with regards to our thinking and our emotions.

mind-of-teenage-adult
One peculiar attitude among humans with regards to growing up is that , in childhood they want to fast-track their growth; but once they reach their teens, they would rather stay in such period, so they become stuck with teenage mentality even if they are adults already.

Indeed, some of us stagnate and stop growing up mentally and emotionally. The thought of being a teenager again sounds so fantastic that some people would unwittingly wish it to be so by practicing behaviors only teenagers are known to be doing.

The level of our maturity depends on our unique experiences coupled with the people who had influenced us throughout our days here on Earth. The thing is - behaving like a teenager, even if you are way past such period, is likely a product of your choice.

1. You want to be understood but you do not even try to understand others


One common attitude among teens is that they think, feel, and act as if the world centers around them. Not “them” collectively, but individually… In other words, the teenage ME is the star of MY own movie and all the others are either supporting actors or the movie goers - so enjoy MY show whatever it is I am doing.

We all need the understanding of our fellow man (or woman). Given that statement, doesn’t it mean that it is not only you who need to be understood? Remember the golden rule, “Treat people the same way you want them to treat you,2 and take it to heart.

2. You have no control of your time


Which do you value more, money or time? Come to think of it - when money is spent, you can earn it again (maybe even more than what was spent); however, once time is lost, you cannot bring it back. Besides time can be converted into money if you work on it properly.

So do you still spend your days like there is no tomorrow or like you are going to live forever? How fun it is to party all night and sleep all day. Maybe family time is a misnomer to you, and you justify not having one by insisting that quality time is better than the quantity of time. No, dear Reader, when it comes to family, more time with them is what quality time means.

mistress-of-time


You do not need to be a time traveler to control time. All you need to do is spend it on the right investment. If you take time for granted, then you let it control you.

3. Expressing yourself is of primary importance and being ignored is so hurtful to you


Being a teenager is the period of growing up when you mostly discover your talents. It is when most of your passions in life take root (some people are late bloomers, though, which is still good but I will tackle such topic later, on a separate venue).

Since you are beginning to see your talents bloom, it is quite but normal to express yourself by showing how good you are in a certain field. Again, this attitude is OK for teenagers as they see themselves as the center of universe (refer to list #1 above). Teenagers are often sensitive about this, and if you ignore them, they will likely take offense at it.

However, if you are already a grown up, and you have this knack to talk more about yourself and boast about your exploits, while getting sensitive if you are not noticed or you see someone who has greater feats than yours, then it may be a mark of some kind of insecurity. This attitude is something you need to get over with, as this will cause you to feel doleful inside which may eventually lead to annoyingly arrogant behaviors.

4. Strong emotions are your best gauge for making decisions


I remember a mentor of mine who said, “Do not make decisions when you are extremely sad, angry, or happy. You will likely regret it afterwards.” My own experience and my observations of other people confirm the veracity of such advice. Strong emotions can indeed cloud your judgement.

Younglings have a hard time following this wisdom. Well, they are kids and they have yet to learn it. Children will just react on what emotion they are feeling at the moment. That is the reason they have parents and/or guardians who need to guide them lest they in turn harm themselves.

So if you are a grownup, it is unlikely that you have another adult to watch you around. Well, of course friends and loved ones will be there to accompany you, but I doubt if you would like people watching over your shoulder and nagging you every time you do something.

Lastly…


Emotions are good; they are part of your human nature. They allow you to enjoy the company of people, avoid things that may hurt you, and savor life in general. The thing is, your emotions are not the master - you are.

Also, you are not the center of the universe. Yes, you are important - your uniqueness as a person makes it so - but try your best not to act like everyone should adapt to you. Each one of us are playing his/her part to make this world a better place to live in.



Text credits:

[1] 1st Corinthians 13:11 (English Standard Version)

[2] Matthew 7:12 (New American Standard Bible)


Photo credits:

The Mind of a Teenage Adult edited by A. Squad from images c/o RyanMcGuire and alehidalgo / Pixabay

Take Control of Time c/o geralt / Pixabay
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