Tag Archives: challenge

Lesson #351: Knowledge by repetition.

7/6/15.

Slightly different from the saying “practice makes perfect,”

is what I like to call knowledge by repetition.

It’s different than acquiring and perfecting a skill.

It’s remembering and retaining and realizing.

It’s the satisfaction of something finally coming with ease, rather than attaining a goal by exertion.

If you’re anything like me—

and I’m sure a ton of other people—

you find yourself frustrated when you can’t get something right the first time around, or when you can’t quite remember how to do it or what to do.

But before we can even attempt to hone a craft, perfect a talent, or deepen our knowledge,

we need to simply know how to do it first.

That foundation, the first and most important step, is the one that we seem to skip over and become impatient with—when it’s the one we need the most.

As I was driving home from work today, I realized I can finally get back to my apartment without a GPS. I remember being so frustrated the first few weeks. Everyday I would challenge myself to start heading home on my own through the streets of LA, get lost, and then have to type the address on my phone again. Why couldn’t I just remember already? It couldn’t be that hard.

After coming down Franklin today and merging onto Cahuenga, a huge smile spread across my face, and I couldn’t help it. I felt like a complete idiot. Who gets happy over the fact that they can finally get home on their own?

Me, I guess.

It’s just so special and fascinating, how we come to know things and pick up on things—people and places and faces and information—and even the most mundane and simple actions.

We have to do it, and do it, and do it.

And then one day,

we’ll just do it.

We’ll just know it.

Day 351.

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Lesson #347: Make yourself (not) at home.

7/2/15.

Today I had the opportunity to make the easy decision, so I didn’t.

I had to ask someone something very important that involved spending part of the day alongside them,

so I figured I’d practice being brave.

Pick the person that makes me feel the most comfortable?

Or pick the person who’s kind of scary, not as welcoming, and hard to read?

I picked the latter.

And it actually turned out great.

We didn’t become “best pals” and not too much changed,

but it forced to me step it up, put on my confident guise even though I felt anything but, and learn how to be myself—even when I felt awkward and out of place.

Even if it hadn’t turned out the best—I’m pretty sure I would have been happy I made myself do it regardless.

That’s what happens you leap.

You’re just glad you did it.

So what I learned from that tiny deciding moment, and the moments of fear that followed?

Get uncozy.

While cuddling up in a ball on the couch seems pretty much appealing all of the time—

get out from under the covers every once in a while.

It’s good to be comfortable.

But remember, too much of anything is never good.

And cabin fever is no fun.

The best part is,

whatever you choose to conquer will be another lesson in itself.

You know what they say—

why don’t you get out of the house every once in a while?

The fresh air might be good for you.

And a little breeze always feels good.

Day 347.

Lesson #340: These are my confessions.

6/25/15.

I’m not Usher.

And I really don’t know how to say any of this today,

but I’m going to try.

I am not perfect.

I don’t know the last time I said this and actually meant it—really, really meant it.

And it feels so good to say right now; to really own it.

I am not perfect.

I’m not talking about my appearance: the pimple on the bottom right of chin, or my lanky legs, or my short torso. I’m not talking about the fact that I’m clumsy, or that I suck at math, or that didn’t floss today (or yesterday), or that I just ate an entire frozen pizza for dinner. I’m not even talking about my regrets or mistakes.

I’m talking about the things that are actually hard to talk about.

The kind of imperfections that I bury deep within myself and choose to overlook, in hopes that one day, they might just disappear.

These are the kind of flaws that I don’t want to admit to—because then it means they’re really true.

And it means I have to face them.

But here’s the truth today.

I am not good at not getting what I want, or what I think I deserve.

And I hate it.

I’m not spoiled. I’m not “privileged.” I would never cry because “Daddy didn’t get me a Mercedes Benz,” or the “new iPhone 6.” I don’t get upset when everyone chooses here instead of where I wanted to go.

I’m not a brat. I don’t have melt-downs. I don’t start screaming, or yelling, or throwing things.

But in the most mundane way possible, I internally just don’t process it well when I am determined to get something, or when I work hard for something, or when I envision something—and I don’t get it.

Yesterday was a perfect example.

But people would never know, because I rarely ever show it or express it.

Determination is good, but it’s also my downfall.

What makes my imperfection ten times worse is that I’m very hard on myself—to the point that when I say or do something wrong or stupid—I beat myself up about it way longer than the average person should. I repeat it to myself over and over; I replay it a million times in my head. I know that everyone says they do this—but sometimes I wonder if they’re anything like me. I wonder when enough is enough.

I bring this up today, because my imperfection was put to the test once again.

When someone else got to do something that I had the same opportunity to do and wanted to do so badly instead of myself—I was extremely upset. Internally, of course. But upset, nonetheless.

Lucky me, I couldn’t go anywhere, or get my hands on something to distract me from my own mind. I had no choice but to sit there and reflect on how upset I was, even though it was the last thing that I wanted to spend my afternoon doing. I had to address this certain imperfection. I had to face what I’m not proud of. I had to confront what I want to change. I had to dig deep, yank it out by its root, and examine what and how and why.

Of course it stings at first. But in the end, it was the most alleviating thing I’ve done in a while. It honestly feels as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel a lot more clear-minded just by acknowledging it; by finally saying to myself: “Hey, I do this. And I need to figure out how I will handle it better.” It’s like airing the dirty laundry, or unloading the dishwasher.

A few months ago, I attended a wonderful poetry reading by an incredible poet, Kamilah Aisha Moon. She read from her moving and phenomenal book of poetry, called She Has a Name. The collection sheds light on her sister who lives with Autism, by taking on different perspectives of various people in her sister’s life. It explores the human mind, love, appreciation, and life.

During the Q&A, I asked Kamilah: “As someone who has a cousin with Aspergers, I know this book must have been hard to write at some points. Was is it challenging? Was it cathartic? Or was it a little bit of both?”

She answered with this, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it:

“Claim the truth, so that it has no power over you.”

By acknowledging an ugly truth about myself today—I claimed the truth.

And when you claim the truth, you give yourself power and control over it; over how you will let it affect you.

I feel as if “I am not perfect” is something we tell ourselves to convince ourselves that we are not.

We tell ourselves we aren’t perfect, but do we really, truly accept it?

My question for you today is this:

What truly makes you imperfect? What are you keeping yourself from acknowledging, but really want to or need to accept?

I know it’s probably the shittiest thing you’ve ever been asked to do—sorry.

But sometimes, we need a perfectly rude good awakening.

And the best kinds are the ones we bring upon ourselves.

So will you challenge yourself to that?

This is just one of my many imperfections.

But today, I learned this.

I am not perfect.

I’m truly not, and I know this.

But I am working every day to learn from it, handle it, accept it, and be happy with it.

Day 340.

Lesson #291: What I learned when I just went for it.

5/8/15.

Whether you’re uncomfortable with stepping out of your comfort zone, scared you might fail, or embarrassed by the lack of things you know:

1. Start somewhere.

You don’t and won’t get experience if you never put yourself out there and physically go after what you want. Seth Kingsley, one of the head writers and producers at E!, emailed me this after I sent him my resume:

You rock. I love students who know what they want to do and go after it! I talk to kids all the time who say they want to be writers but don’t write. Or aspiring actors who don’t act. You, on the other hand, are getting things done! So keep it up.

I promise you, I didn’t realize that what I was doing was special. I still don’t. I’m just truly doing what I love to do. But what Seth said inspired me to think about my life and pursuing my dreams even more. Actually—it helped me today in my attitude towards tackling what seemed like something I didn’t know how to do or think I could do: just go for it.

A few months ago, a friend from high school saw my final video project that I talked about in a previous lesson, and asked me to film her wedding. My response:

“…………You know I’ve never done that before right?”

She told me she knew. But she believed in what I could do.

Honestly, I was scared shitless. All the way up until today, and even all the way through the wedding, I was terrified.

All I could keep thinking was: “Am I doing this right? Do I look stupid? Am I getting the right things?” 

My lesson of the day isn’t “how to stop nervous thoughts” or “overcome them” or ‘”solve them.” Oh, no. When you’re nervous, you’re nervous. When you’re scared, you’re scared.

But as you’ve probably heard before,

do it afraid.

Do it not knowing what you’re doing or if it’s right. Do it with questions. Do it with doubt.

But do it with belief that that you can get through it, that you will learn from it, and that it’s your first step towards something.

2.If you want something, don’t settle for not getting it.

Gonna be real for a moment.

Sometimes I just have to hope and pray the whole world doesn’t read this blog.

Tonight, I also met a really attractive and nice guy. And we ended up kissing.

This is completely not like me.

No. You don’t understand.

If an attractive person even looks in my direction, I’m like: “What are words?”

But tonight, I decided that it wasn’t going to end with me going home and wishing we had kissed. It was going to happen.

It was somewhat obvious that we might be into each other. And then it became blatantly obvious. We talked all night, but then it started to get late so I said bye. I looked back at him and walked really slow. He laughed at me from down the hallway and caught up with me to walk me out. When we got to the door, we awkwardly stood there for a minute and then said bye again and went our separate ways. I got in my car and was like, “What? What? No. I’m not leaving until—no.” So I seriously got out of the car, went back in, pretended I left something (classic), found him, and made him walk me to car.

You know how it went from there.

Anyway.

This is really awkward. I’m literally posting this on the internet.

But basically, what I’m telling you is this.

IF YOU WANT IT, GO GET IT.

Period.

The end.

Thank you, today, for teaching me a great lesson, and helping me realize that I have way more guts than I give myself credit for.

It all starts by—well—starting.

So whatever it is,

go after it.

Start by starting, and don’t back down until you get what you want.

Day 291.

Lesson #78: Challenge Accepted.

10/06/14.

I love a good challenge.

But when faced with something entirely out of my comfort zone?

I run the other direction.

I was offered the opportunity to take on a small project that I had no idea how to do. I saw words and phrases that I had no recognition of, and my heart leaped out of my chest.

But I said yes.

Don’t ask.

I’ve been doing a lot of running in the other direction lately (and not the good kind, like Lesson #34). I got tired. Tired of the same view. Tired of the the same route, the same fears, the same everything. It started to get old.

As we get older, we develop new kinds of fear. We can only pull the covers over our eyes for so long, and turning on the light can only do so much. The monsters in our closets and under our beds become real things in our every day lives.

And that’s the scariest of all.

The monster I’m most afraid of?

I could give you a list.

But the one I’ve been running from?

Failure.

But I said yes anyways.

Just like the monsters hiding in the shadows, we realize a lot of these fears are irrational. We create them. They aren’t real.

And if they are? We confront them.

I didn’t really know exactly what I was doing, but I found out along the way.

And that’s what it’s all about.

Isn’t everything?

Day Seventy-Eight.

say yes