Noise

I just asked myself this question: When was the last time in the past one week, that I had a time-off from my phone?

Tough question. I have no answer to that.

My phone means a lot to me.

In the morning, it tells me when I need to wake up. Then after I am awake, it will give me some updates on work. While getting myself ready for work, it knows my mood whether I’d want to listen to some music or podcasts. It will help me check on the bus schedule or if I’m gonna be late, it will get me a cab to work. On my way to work, it will give me all the update on what is happening in the life of my family and friends or in the bigger world out there.

During work, not only it helps me during my usability testing, it also gives me some break from work. It connects me with the world outside of work.

When I get back from work, it will keep me company with all sorts of entertainment. Music, video, podcast or simply a connection to some people.

Isn’t it amazing what a phone can do?

I have read some articles talking about how the impact of phone addiction is equivalent to taking substance, such as tobacco and alcohol. When I read those articles, I’d quickly dismiss them; thinking to myself, “Meh. I am not that addicted to my phone. I think I am better than some people.” But after I quickly reviewed how my phone played a pivotal role in my daily life, I repositioned myself again.

“May be I am addicted to my phone”.

Recently I have a conversation with a friend. What is interesting in this conversation is how she showed me an app that’d track the usage time of her mobile phone. It’s an app called Moment, if you want to check it out. She felt her phone has been taking over her life.

It didn’t hit me hard until I watched this TED talk. In this talk, the speaker, Manoush talked about how boredom can actually lead us to have more creative and out-of-the-box thinking process.

Then I posed another question to myself. When I get bored, what do I do? I play with my phone. I will unlock my phone and got immersed into the world of information. Getting updates is not necessarily a bad thing. But when does it become a bad thing?

Not allowing ourselves to think and talk to our inner self, that is the bad thing.

I like how Tom Kelley, a partner at IDEO (one of the most respected global design and consulting company) put it. Here is an excerpt from him:

“Everybody is creative. Everyone already has creative thoughts. Ask yourself this question: When during the day, that you might prone to have the most creative thought? If you are not sure of it then be mindful in the next 3-4 days period. Most people fall under the same pattern: during in the shower.

You know why? Because there is no email in the shower.

No Angry Birds.

No distractions.

The mind goes wandering. It can be in the shower, during the commute or when out for a walk. First, discover that time. Second, be super protective of that time. If it’s during commute time, then don’t listen to radio nor audiobooks. That time is super precious so protect it. Third, capture ideas during that time.

“The mind goes wandering”, Yes. Then there it goes another question. “Within this week, when was the last time I let my mind wander?”

I couldn’t remember when. Because whenever I got bored or when I got in my commute or when there’s any free time, I would resort to my phone.

It turns out that my phone has become the noise that blocks out the creative and future thinking process.

First step to fix things is acknowledgement. I acknowledge that my phone though has been very loyal and resourceful in my daily life, it also has become the blocker. Next step is the hardest one, a change of mindset and a change in behavior.

As phone has slowly taken over a big part of our daily life, we also need to be more responsible with it; be more mindful of the time spent on the phone.

Now, if you’re reading this from your phone, you know what to do 😉

 

Advertisements

Why Spending Some Time Being Alone is a Good Thing

“What? Why being alone? It’s no good being alone like that”. That is what my friend said when he was told that our other friend preferred having some time alone to hanging out with us. That kind of response did not surprise me at all. Often times, people tend to see this “lonely time” as a really painful and unbearable time.

I read this one amazing book titled “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. I discovered a lot of things about the personalities of people who are introverts and extroverts. Our society tend to see introverts are the kind of people who are shy, socially awkward or even antisocial. And extroverts are the fun ones; they laugh a lot, like to be the centre of people’s attention, dominant in conversation or simply the life of the party. Before I read this book, that’s what I believed too.

But after I got deeper into this book, I learned that those common views on what introverts and extroverts are, are wrong. Well, not entirely wrong in the sense of, yes, some introverts may be shy. But not everyone who can relate to be an introvert are shy. So, what is it then?

What differentiate introverts and extroverts is the way they recharge themselves. You don’t get what it means? Ok, so you have a cell phone. There will be time or times in a day when you’ll have to let you phone being charged and you may not be able to use it. People are just the same. We need some time to get recharged.

Introverts recharge themselves by being alone. Introverts enjoy that. I, for one, am an introvert. Thanks to that book I mentioned earlier, I can say that I am not crazy cos sometimes I like to spend time being alone; reading books/articles, listening to some music or simply staying still enjoying my free time. Because I am built like that therefore I don’t see being “alone” as a problem. It’s something fun for me because I get to recharge my battery before I get back to my activities.

Extroverts are different. They recharge themselves by being on the crowd, meeting people. They are the people people. You may have friends who will always ask you to accompany them to go anywhere. Oh, wait, that’s me, you said. Extroverts like people in most of the circumstances. Unlike introverts who may get tired when they spend too much time around many people, extroverts don’t. They relish that! So now you see what I mean. As extroverts will feel tortured spending their recharging time at home reading or watching something, introverts will feel tortured when they are forced to spend all their time with people and not given any time to recharge themselves.

But just because I think I am introvert doesn’t mean that I am gonna spend my whole time glued to a book or go to some place secluded to be a hermit. No. I believe that no one is built to be fully introvert or fully extrovert. We’ll have moments that we are more of an introvert and moments where are more of an extrovert. A balance in handling that is needed.

Now, let’s go back to the question on the title. So why is being alone actually a good thing? This is not to say, it’s only a good thing for introverts because you know, they enjoy it as recharging time. No, not really. It’s good for everyone regardless of the personality.

Why spending some time being alone is a good thing? Because it’s the time to recalibrate with our inner self. It is the perfect time to recheck if we have the right priorities in life. It is the time to see if every thing that has been going on is in line with who we are, with the values that we have. It’s very noisy these days. Mobile phone is that source of noise, most of the time. We don’t have time to have an internal conversation with ourselves because there are way many notifications or timeline to check on Path, Line, Facebook, Whatsapp, BBM, Twitter, etc.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”, that quote from Benjamin Franklin says it all. If we don’t stop and block the noise to start talking and listening to ourselves, we are walking ourselves into failure. Failure to what, you said. Failure to live our life to its full potential.

 

 

Fear of Missing Out?

FOMO.

Recently I discovered that word. Fear. Of. Missing. Out.

FOMO pc1(1)

With this age of instant connection to media and social network, I am saddened by how quickly we get attached to all of that. I am an addict to all things related to technology or self-hack or music or so many other things that if I write down, this space won’t be enough. You get my idea.

How many of you feel left out if you don’t know what your friends are up to or what is happening around you at the very moment? I know it’s not bad to be updated on things that matter to our life. But sometimes it gets more than just “keeping updated”. It gets us to a feeling like “I can’t miss out on anything. No I can’t”.

I have been there. It sucks. It gets me dizzy because I have to keep on checking all social media I have in order to keep up with the world around me. Not to mention, the RSS I subscribed to and some other newsletters. Many times I end up feeling bad with my life. I notice that I compare myself with others mostly when I have the fear of missing out and constantly scrolling through the timeline. Not good.

I have started something new in my life. I have stopped checking my Facebook regularly. And my regularly, I mean several times in a day. Now, I check only once in every 2 to 3 days. And news too. I am addicted to news. It doesn’t have to be about serious stuffs happening in Middle-East or Ebola. It can be anything I don’t know. I am addicted to knowledge. I am still trying to control myself in news consumption. Not being glued to my screen checking what is new in music or movie or literature world.

I have been trying this out for couple of weeks now. Honestly I don’t remember when exactly I started this. But now, I can say that I am feeling better. When I am waiting or have nothing to do, FB (or any other apps in my phone like Instagram, Path, Flipboard, Alien Blue) is not the first app I open. Instead, I try to soak in what is happening in my surrounding. Lemme tell you, it is not easy task. But I am trying.

Fear of missing out. That is one of the symptoms of having unhappy life. Fear of being left out of something that we are not even sure the value is for our life.

I am still trying to deal with this. I have seen the improvement in my life. I am happier 🙂

So my friends. Are you seeing what I am seeing? Do you have the fear of missing out? If you do, deal with it before it takes over your life 🙂

The Very Reason Why You Should Turn on “Find My iPhone”

This post sounds solely applicable to iPhone. But actually it doesn’t. Android users can relate to this with the equivalent application you have on your phone. I am sharing this story with you now so you’ll be able to see the reason why that feature is a must.

find_my_iphone_icon

On August 2014, I was on a trip with my best mate, Wayne to Indochina. We had a lot preparation prior and it included making sure we turned on this “Find My iPhone” in both of our phones.

I will cut all the fun parts in the trip to get to the point of this post 😉

One morning we checked out from Hoang Hai Long Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to catch a Mekong Express bus to Cambodia. The check-out process was annoyingly long, considering we’re gonna be late for our bus. By the time, we got in our taxi to the bus station, Wayne realized his phone was gone.

We went back to that hotel. He turned the room upside down and found nothing (of course, I had a strong feeling someone must have taken that). It was so hard since the trip was just starting and this happened. When we got to the bus station, I got to the office across the street to print out our tickets (we ordered the tickets online). Wayne couldn’t find his phone in his backpack and suitcase (he checked in case he forgot that he had put it in there before). He insisted to stay in the city until we could recover his phone. And then, it just clicked to me to check Find My iPhone!

I explained the situation to the lady at the office (she is super super nice. She asked the bus driver to wait for us while we were dealing with this) and she allowed us to use her desktop computer to check the location of the phone using http://www.icloud.com.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 9.18.44 AM

Wayne logged in using his Apple ID and then he clicked the Find My iPhone thumbnail on the screen. We located the lost phone from there. We were not sure where it was so we asked that super super nice lady and she informed us that it was our hotel.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 9.17.34 AM

The Three Musketeers
                       The Three Musketeers

We turned on the Lost Mode and Play Sound. Through Lost Mode, we sent a text message to the phone notifying that this phone was lost and asked the handler to call my phone. I was pretty sure that we’re gonna be able to get the phone back because if you turn on that Play Sound, that phone won’t stop ringing until it’s stopped and with Lost Mode, the phone is practically useless without the password for Apple ID. And no one will be able to circumvent that but the owner.

We called the hotel back and guess what? Surprise, surprise. They found the phone under a furniture. Wayne then took a motorbike taxi to collect the phone.

So, I hope after reading this, you, yes you, will go to your iPhone setting then go to Privacy, Location Services (switch it ON), Find My iPhone (switch it ON). You’ll notice that if you want to switch it back off (which you shouldn’t do), you’ll be asked for your Apple ID’s password. Great isn’t it?! No one will be able to stop you when you are looking for your phone!

And as I mentioned in the beginning of the post, Android users can totally relate to this story too. You guys can use Find My Phone or other anti theft apps on PlayStore. The purpose of the app is just about the same: Find our phone when it is lost from our sight.

Please introduce this feature to anyone you know so they won’t need to mourn over their lost phone. You can just use the share button down there for less of a hassle 😉

And this concludes the post. Later! 🙂

4 Reasons Why You Should Start Journaling

Before I start telling you all the reasons why you should start journaling, I think we should be on the same ground on what a journal is. In French, the word jour itself means day so to my own definition, a journal is something in which you record your daily activities. 

journal-writing1

Ok. So we are now settled with the definition of a journal! Let’s get going 😉

When I mentioned to my friends that I keep a journal, all of them raised their eye brows.

“What? Journal? You mean a diary? Like a dear diary thing?”

“Dude, that’s for chicks!”

“So you keep a notebook with you everywhere like old people?”

“What? Now you plan to make an autobiography out of it one day? Who are you?” 

Yup, I got all those responses. And I believe you too will get at least one or you had one of those in your mind when you read the title of my post. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. 

I first encountered the idea of journaling back in 2006. I can’t recall specifically where I got that idea but I do remember that I wanted to improve my English and writing skills. Writing a journal was an exercise for me. I started doing that religiously and then I discovered that writing a journal is actually a therapeutic activity. Why?

First lemme answer a question with another question (I know someone’d hate this haha): How many of us spend a good quality time with our inner self on a regular basis? With all the activities and the rising trend on social media, I doubt any of us can actually spend time just sitting still and talk with ourselves. Oh well, if you manage to have time to do this or even meditate, that’s good for you! But I honestly think not everyone can do that and this is where journaling comes in. 

1. To evaluate your day

You can spare 10-15 minutes per day and rewind your day on a journal. By having that process, you will be able to spot some things that you missed or took for granted. And the next time you are on it again, you can make a better situation out of it. 

2. To keep track of things

I often have trouble remembering when a certain occasion happened in the past. I am pretty sure I am not the only one haha. But since I keep track of activities or important moments of my life in my journal, I can just check. I am using digital journal so it’s easier to search using keywords. 

3. To keep your emotions in check

Do you realize that as human beings we can’t hold all emotions to ourselves for a long time? If that is what you are doing now, beware my friend, you are a ticking bomb. You may explode at any given time. I understand when you have something in your heart that’s been bugging you for a long time but you have no one to talk to. Whether because it is very personal to you or because at the very moment, no one is available for you. You know what? Use a journal to let out all sorts of emotions. You will feel much better afterwards. Trust me, by letting it all out, you will see things more clearly afterwards. 

4. To keep on the right track

I believe each one of us has goal in life. It can be a short or long term goal. But sometimes there are many distractions out there to keep us focused. I think you will agree with me on that. But, hey, guess what? Journaling can help you to keep on track. You will feel more responsible about reaching your goal by logging in your process on a regular basis. It just works!

I used to have a binder to keep a journal. But then, thanks to technology. Oh well, thanks to Apple haha. I have been using my iPhone to keep a journal. If you want to start journaling, I’d recommend you to use a digital/electronic journal, like on your phone/tablet. It’s portable and you can fill it in anytime anywhere. 

So what are you waiting for now? Start journaling! 🙂

Jonn

Why Worry?

Oliver-Burkeman-Worries-i-006

I think “worry” is a very common thing that happens in our lives.

I too worry, like a lot.

Recently, I spent way too much time worrying things I should not. It ate me up from within. No matter what I was doing, I’d worry about some things. No hearty laugh, just a hesitant smile here and there to complement the situation I was in. It’s hard to live every single day in that phase. I know you know this, too.

We’d worry about work or our career, we’d worry about our financial situation, we’d worry about the relationship we are in, we’d worry about our family members, we’d worry about our health, we’d worry about so many things. But you know what?

No matter what kind of worry that we have, all of them have 1 similarity. It’s about what the future holds for us. We are scared of that tunnel ahead of us. Be it professionally, financially or personally.

I thank God for His constant guidance and unceasing love for me. Despite all of the messiness in my head, He reminded me of something very essential and I want to share this with you, putting aside what your belief system is.

Be grateful for where you are now.

Remember that one time when you saw something in you and you decided to follow your heart to pursue something despite what your friends said. And then here you are today with the skills/knowledge/money you have way beyond your peers.

Remember that one time that you felt so lonely because you could not relate to anyone. You felt you were weird and out of place. And then here you are today, later in life, seeing all the dots being connected for good deeds.

Remember that one time few years back when you were out there looking for a job. What are the odds that you got the job even though you knew you were not even be able to compete with other highly qualified candidates. But, you got the job!

Remember that one time.

Remember where you were before you are here now, in front of a screen reading this.

We sometimes focus too much on what is to come. We spend way too much time on that instead of pondering the goodness and blessings we have had before.

Let’s say we start the day by thanking God for where we are today, I am sure we will worry less. Why? Because we’d push ourselves to remember the good deeds He had done for us and we’d know that He has taken good care of us for so long that we even made it here!

With all of that in our mind, why do you think He would stop caring for us?

We are in good hands. God is in control. 🙂

 

 

Ask this: “Is it really the time of the year?”

New You

People celebrate new days of a brand new year. I bet many make wish list, resolutions or whatever they call it this year. But I believe we will eventually come to think: Hey, it doesn’t need to be a new calendar for me to start new things or to make new plans. It is all on myself.

I like a quote by William Ernest Henley that I personally take to my heart:

“I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul”.

It is indeed true. No need for festive moment to gain control of ourself. It is all there for us to grab. And then, aside from our own expectation, others follow suite; people’s expectation of us. They are our close ones and our distant ones. They expect something out of us. All of them have different kind of approach on how to deliver those expectations to us. Some are nicely packed, some are just harsh words but all with the same purpose: to get something more of us, which is mostly good.

And again, I am gonna referring my favourite quote, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”. We can take our life where we feel it is the right way. It is not about being persistent or even hard-headed. It is about knowing exactly where we want to lead this life of ours. I believe that others speaking bad or nasty of it, not because they are bad people but merely because they don’t have a clue on what it is in our heart. We know what we got yourself. Or in this case, I know what is in my heart and you know what is in your own heart more than others do. God knows even more of that compared to others.

I love Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Standford. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever . . . As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

So, happy new year to you. As Jobs would say, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

Unorthodox Spot-on

It all started by watching a TV Programme.

I just watched a TV Programme revealing something new to me about New York. It is about Jewish community in the Borough Park, Brooklyn. It has been known that New York has the largest Jewish community in the world outside Israel.

I live in a place where I don’t get to see Jewish people much. In fact, the place where I am living has always been predominantly inhabited by Moslem. Thus, this TV Programme successfully brought up something out of ordinary for me, humanely speaking, not religiously.

Hasidic Jews

Let’s get back to this TV Programme. The viewers, like myself was brought into a family in the area. They are Hasidic Jews, which is different with the Orthodox Jews. (Note: If you are willing to know more on the differences, you can hop on Google. I am not here to discuss or even confront people with their beliefs). The family is consisted of 1 husband, 1 wife with 6 kids. Hasidic Jews are pretty recognisable by the way they dressed, especially men. I have seen some in pictures and films too before this. They usually wear black attire with a hat, long sideburn and long beard. They are easy to spot in the crowd. While women are not that easy because they dress normally, aside from covering up some part of their body like collar bones. And what is pretty shocking to me is women are not allowed to show their hair in the public so they will always be wearing wigs wherever they are. And as if it is not shocking enough to me, husband and wife relationship can be publicly displayed. They are not allowed to touch each other unless in their own private bedroom. I like how this couple tried to explain to viewers the deep meaning behind this. It is that to appreciate the connection and to get in touch more with our souls than merely with physical contact.

This family doesn’t have any television and no internet connectivity at all. In fact, none of the kids living in the house has never watched TV. The eldest one (17 years old) mentioned that he saw a picture of a television before but never actually seen it in person. None of the family member ever heard of Beyonce, Miley Cyrus or even Mickey Mouse! But, you know what? They all seem really fulfilled. They spend their quality time with family and they have plenty of time for it. They enjoy each other’s company. In their spare time, they’ll read books and dance with each other!

This is amazing. With these days’ advanced technology and gadgets, people like this still exist. I personally can not take my hands off of any gadget or even Internet connectivity. Hell, I even use my laptop and Internet connection to get this blog through.

The wife mentioned about how she’s grateful with what she had at the moment. They don’t have the mainstream media making them feel inferior about themselves and being pushed to fulfil the so-called standard living. Human just won’t get any satisfaction that easily. There is always something more. And human has always been impulsive with new stuffs. She is right. I feel what she said right there. I love gadgets and Internet. In fact, I live and breathe them. There is always new suff coming. And when it comes out, suddenly you see yourself living insufficiently because lacking of that particular new stuff in life. But by seeing this Programme, I think something clearly needs to be mended.

Sense of fulfilment clearly comes from a realisation that we have had enough.