Ignorant Savage

I learned a valuable lesson in college the year Man Lauren was my roommate.  I had just finished making dinner and we were getting seated to eat.  This was early in the year, where our schedules still aligned and we could have and cook dinner together.  He did something which I perceived as different.  Now, there are a lot of things that Lauren and I do that would be considered “different”, and to be honest, I don’t quite remember what it is that he did.  For the sake of example and story, let’s say he scooped curry into his bowl first and then scooped rice on top of it, to which I blurted out

“That’s weird.”

Without skipping a beat, he turned to me and stared straight into my eyes.  He began to sing:

“You think I’m an ignorant savage And you’ve been so many places I guess it must be so..”

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That’s right.  He started singing Colors of the Wind.

We proceeded to eat dinner with light hearted conversation about how things are “weird” when it’s not what we’re used to seeing or doing.  It extended to cultural differences or being raised in a different environment.  This all stuck out to me, as from then on, I tried not to think of people as “weird” anymore, rather as unique or different.  You’d think this concept would be more accepted and understood as you grow up, but ignorance is everywhere.

I mean, I’m guilty of it too.  That’s just how normalized it is; people call me weird all the time, so naturally I’ll point fingers too.  Not that I’m proud of myself, I’ll often have regretful thoughts as soon as I utter those two words: “you’re weird” or “that’s weird”.  Sure, it’s probably fine in good company and joking is acceptable, but it can easily slip out in passing.

What am I saying?  Let’s change how we look at things.  After all, aren’t we all a little weird?

Just a thought.

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Community Service

Back in Middle School and High School, when I was still a piano student, my piano teacher would have us visit convalescent homes to play piano for the elderly there.  She never really prefaced it much.  She just called it “Community Service” and told us students that we were required to go.  Really, it was just an excuse to have scattered mini piano recitals throughout the year.

My piano teacher would coordinate with the same convalescent home every time, and have us come in early in the morning.  Despite going there multiple times, I vaguely recall it always being a cloudy or gloomy day.  The nurses and care takers would wheel in the elderly into the multipurpose room and line them up.  At the front of the room was a rickety piano that was slightly out of tune and needed a phone book to stabilize the foot pedals.  Over the years, it would be pretty clockwork in terms of how things ran.  We would line up youngest to oldest and sit in front of everyone.  Whoever was the oldest student there was in charge of essentially being an MC (welcoming people and announcing who is next).  Each student would play their prepared song, and it would follow with a small applause.  90% of the audience was probably asleep, inattentive, or didn’t have the ability to applaud; so most of it came from the nurses and parents standing in the back.  At the end, we would be presented certificates in appreciation from the staff.

For the most part, it was get in and get out.  I remember counting down the number of students left to play.  Since there was often a large age range, the first half would fly by due to little ones playing their level 1 and 2 songs.  And then the last 2 or 3 students would take forever because they would have a 10 minute sonata.  I just wanted to go home and have a fun filled Saturday.  I don’t know if any of this was particularly meaningful to our audience.  It may have just been something to watch or listen while the nurses cleaned their beds and rooms.  I’m sure those that were attentive appreciated the change in activity.  I think if we weren’t there, a typical Saturday morning involved a book reading or watching TV in that same room.

I never really thought much of it.  I mean, who would when you had to wake up early on a Saturday morning to do something you didn’t really want to do.  Upon reflecting a little bit, I think it’s a pretty cool concept now.  For the younger or more shy students, it gave them some experience performing in front of an audience, albeit in a more casual setting.  For the older students, it was somewhat of a leadership opportunity having to be responsible and publicly speak on behalf of everyone.  Whether or not this was intentional, I appreciate that my piano teacher did this now.  As for the elderly I played for, I’d like to think that I impacted them, if even just a little bit.

Passive Aggressive Notes

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I’ve seen and read a number of Buzzfeed articles out there regarding passive aggressive roommates and notes.  Some are funny, and some make you glad that you had good people to live with.  This topic has come up in my mind a couple times.  It might not make sense, so I’ll do my best to convey it.

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Let’s start with 140E, the fabled apartment that I lived in for my last year of college.  A lot of visitors always claimed and accused those that lived there of being rather passive aggressive.  You see, it wasn’t uncommon to see notes posted on doors or on random objects in the kitchen.  I never saw it as such, though.  140E has had a history of housing busy people (majority engineers), and sometimes the best way to tell someone something, was through a note.  I would sometimes be out all morning, while another was out all afternoon and night.  It seems to be the most practical thing to do, rather than post to their Facebook wall or call them to remind them to lock the door when they leave (or something like that).  Understandable if you’ve ever lived they, perhaps not if you haven’t.

The point I’m trying to get at is, it seems as though that whenever someone sees a note addressed to them, they mark it as passive aggressive, get angry and ignore it.  There is zero regard for the content of the note.  Let’s say you fell asleep after cooking and eating dinner.  I get home late and find a pile of your dishes in the sink.  Understanding that you might have had a long day, before I head to bed myself, I leave a note on your door saying:

“Hey, just a friendly reminder to do your dishes some time tomorrow”

What would you think about that?

It’s hypothetical, but I’m sure I could add to the story.  Maybe I have to wake up early and be out all day, so it’s not like I could ask you about it as we brush our teeth.  Are all notes passive aggressive?  The fact of the matter is, you left your dishes in the sink and you didn’t do them.  If your mom were to leave you that note, you wouldn’t even question it, you would just do it (probably), right?

Which leads me to my next point, I think it comes down to how much you view the person that wrote the note.  Similar idea in this Wong Fu short:

The information is still being presented to you in that note, why not just take it for what it is?  I feel like the same applies to when someone talks to you in a condescending tone.  Granted, sometimes it varies (football coach, rich snob, rich football coach snob etc).

In the episode “Frame Toby” of The Office, they dabble in passive aggressive notes due to a dirty microwave.  It bothered me that it was never really resolved in the episode.

But that’s me.  Whenever I found a note, or see a sign in the office, I take it to heart.  But that’s me, someone who blames himself to be a better person.  Are my thoughts crazy?  What is your opinion on this matter?

2nd Violin

Some people will always be 1st violinists.  These are your prodigies, musically gifted, perfect pitched or just well practiced.  And that’s totally fine.  Few people recognize it, but more often than not, 2nd violin music is harder.  For starters, 1st violins get to play the melody, which makes staying on beat and following the conductor quite easy.  On the other hand, 2nd violins play the off beat notes, syncopation, and weird harmonies to accompany the cellos.  Sure, 1st’s earn their position and their right to do so and that’s probably the best way to do it.  I’m just saying, it’s tough being a 2nd; they don’t always have the easier music.  If you disagree with me, it’s probably because you’ve been a 1st all your life.

Unbeknownst to most, I had humble beginnings as a violinist.  I was always in the shadow of my brother, my dad, my uncles and my cousins.  More so because of the last name I bear.

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It’s just what I was expected to be, a great string instrumentalist.

I had no idea how much a single audition would effect my seating in an orchestra.  I fluctuated a lot.  In Middle School, I was one of two 6th graders to make it into 1st violins.  Granted, it was before the great Brenda Ou and Eddie Huang joined, I was quite proud of myself.  7th grade and 8th grade came around and I had really bad auditions.  I guess I was having a bad day or something because they really were that bad.  I was put pretty much at the end of 3rd violins, a section invented to fit all the kids in an orchestra that didn’t cut anyone.  I’m pretty sure I had embraced it at the time.  I was certain I would be spending the rest of my years at the back of the orchestra.

High school came around and I found myself at the end again, getting into orchestra by the skin of my teeth.  That would all change later, where I was co-principal and principal of 2nd’s (by choice) for Sophomore and Junior year.  Yes, rather than sit at the back of 1st’s, I chose to sit at the front of 2nd’s for two years.  If I were in a real orchestra, it would mean I get paid more.  Junior year, I had a REALLY good audition, such that I was placed in 1st’s above many seniors and my cousins who are much better than me.  But some moms complained that their senior sons and daughters were in seconds, so Mr. U reshuffled the roster back to a seniority based model.  Not that I minded too much.  I of course let seniority happen and I took my rightful place in 1st violin by the end of high school.

What I’m trying to say is, I know very much what it’s like to be a second violinist.

I once told a friend that she would be great 2nd violin material.  I meant it as a compliment, but she was extremely irate at that statement.  All it takes is one person to play off beat and it’ll mess everybody up.  An orchestra needs its strong 2nd violinists, just like a championship basketball team needs its role players.  It takes humility to understand that.  It takes more to do it.

I know some people struggle with being second rate and under par.  It’s A-Okay.  I personally think you learn more from being less, rather than the best..

Closing thought:

“I know you to be a very successful man, but how will you handle failure when it arises later in life, especially with my daughter?” [not verbatim]
-Uncle Danny to Brandon, when he was asking for permission to marry Nikki

(I wish I got to hear his answer.. What would yours be?)

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Super Powers

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

A question often asked amongst children, high schoolers and super hero comic nerds.  My answers have bounced between the ability to control the weather, super strength and flight.  Although I wonder if my answers revolved around what I most wanted in life in that moment.  The power to control the weather because it was too hot, super strength because I wanted to look like Matt, and flight because gas was expensive.

A fan of underrated things in general, I would wanted an underappreciated ability.  As I’ve let my imagination soar over the past few weeks, I find it cool to have superior intellect as my super power.  Yes, my power of choice is being super smart.  And I don’t even mean super smart like Professor X, Iron Man or Batman; no need for telepathy, a suit of armor or knowledge of martial arts.  Just the brains.

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More like.. Artemus Gordon (from Wild Wild West), Gear (from Static Shock) and Megamind.  Really smart, but armed with gadgets and gizmos that are by no means state of the art or game breaking.  It would be so cool to be a master tactician, even if it were just in something like chess.  To be able to look at something and figure it out right away, just like a person with perfect pitch hears notes.  Besides, it leaves for a better retirement plan.  Which is better than Batman depicted in his later years.

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That’s just me.  What super power would you choose?

 

Bully Survivor

Not too many people know this, but I was actually bullied in middle school.  It all started in 6th grade, where the bully, whom I’ll refer to as Brian, shared a couple classes and homeroom with me.  San Marino is a predominantly Asian school district, so it all began with some teasing because I didn’t know the correct answer to a question.  So Brian would call me dumb.  Knowledge and academics reign supreme after all.  By many standards I wasn’t fat, but I was a little doughy.  But Brian called me fat.  I was and am still a very optimistic guy, so I couldn’t help but smile a lot.  Brian derived me to be gay from that, so he would poke fun at that.  It might not seem like much as I write it all out, but you have to remember and understand that junior high is a weird time in life.  Fresh out of elementary school, we’re on course to start growing up a little bit.  Bodies are changing, hormones are raging and questions are everywhere.  I feel like a lot was expected of us at the young age of 11.  Another thing to note was that I was really shy.  I didn’t really know how to react or what the appropriate response was supposed to be.  I didn’t have any witty comebacks either.  Although I didn’t think this then, I’m pretty sure there were some underlying reasons revolving around masculinity.  Thoughts I’m sure everyone has had were something like: “Am I tough if I fight back?”, “Is it considered weak to tell on him?”, or “I’m weak if his words hurt me”.  I just always turned the other cheek and dismissed his remarks.  They weren’t bringing me down that much at first.

I don’t know what Brian’s goal was, but he certainly was persistent.  He began to take quick jabs at my arm when no one was looking.  His language became more harsh and vulgar as time went on.  And those jabs suddenly became stronger.  You would think that this was all just a phase, but it actually carried over as we moved on to 7th grade.  It was around this time that my cousin Princeton offered to give me around-the-clock protection in the form of bodyguards and friends.  Whatever he meant by that, I declined.  I don’t know why.  Again, it was a mixture of masculinity, shyness, confusion and hormones.  It’s interesting, there were very few instances of other peers standing up for me.  I’m not trying to blame them for anything if it sounds like that.  Anyways, Brian would eventually take it too far.  During one lunch period, he snagged my metal lunch container.  It had an adjustable strap, which he maximized the length of, so that he could begin swinging it around like a shepherd’s slingshot.  I kind of looked away and ignored his nonsense when I noticed from the corner of my eye that he had released my lunch container.  In the time it took me to look, it had hit me square on the nose.

Instant pain and bloody nose.

As I bent over due to the pain and covered the affected area, Brian knew he had gone too far, for he grabbed me and guided me to the restroom so that I could wash up.  As my nose was bleeding profusely, I had to hobble to the nurse’s office to get it checked out.  After the bleeding had stabilized, I was able to point out that Brian did this to me.  And justice was served.  I saw him minutes later to report to the principal’s office.  Coincidentally, it was the first time I saw fear in his eyes.  He was suspended from school for a couple days.  One of those days was entirely spent in the principal’s office, for whatever reason.  Needless to say, Brian’s bullying days were over.  I’m sure he got a mouthful from his parents too.

This is why middle school is weird:  All his friends were mad at me for telling on him.  As if I tried to punch the lunch pail with my nose.  And as I reflect on middle school, Brian’s bullying didn’t just affect me, it affected the way I interacted with others.  Specifically, those I deemed “lesser” than me.  For I began to pick on and tease them; I was no better than Brian.  The only difference being, I realized sooner and stopped before it got out of hand.  At a macro level, I saw it everywhere in middle school.  Endless cycles and loops of kids picking on other kids, because other kids were picking on them.  This is an advert for child abuse, but I feel it explains the problem in the same light.

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I’m glad bullying is better addressed in schools, commercials and stuff now.  I don’t think cyber bullying was a thing yet when I was in middle school either.  Words hurt.  Do me and other people a favor and stand up to bullying.  Or better yet, just stop teasing people just because you can.  But kids are kids, right?  I am a survivor after all.. I don’t want to delve into negative hypotheticals and comparisons.  I mean, It’s stuff like this that makes me disappointed:

It’s hard to say if I would have tried to help in some of those scenarios.  I might have tried to walk away like some of those people.  After watching this, I’ve decided I want to be more aware and active, should I ever come across it.

As for Brian, he never bothered me again.  He did apologize, and to make sure I knew he apologized, he actually signed my yearbook in 9th grade like this:

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27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Luke 6:27-31

 

Hemo Our Shame

I never really fully embraced my Chinese culture and background.  Sure, some of it makes up who I am, but some of it just doesn’t make sense.  I do understand that some practices and myths in any culture can stem from something long ago.  Like, many Koreans can’t sleep with a fan on at night because they were told it could kill them in their sleep.  There’s no concrete origin, but there are conspiracy theories surrounding that.  I learned recently that it’s not an uncommon practice for Latino people to toss their used toilet paper in the trash bin (as opposed to flushing it).  And that stems from normally poor plumbing in the mother land.  In Arizona, a Navajo teen told me that he’s not supposed to tie knots during the day because then the spiders might eat him at night (or something like that).  I’m sure you’ve heard or seen your fair share.  Sometimes its not culture based, like who made up the myth that storing batteries in a refrigerator makes them last longer?  At a young age, I was told that I shouldn’t eat sashimi without wasabi, cause the germs might give me an upset stomach and wasabi kills the germs.  I believed that for the longest time too..  Probably my favorite difference between Western and Asian culture is the concept of waiting in line.

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Some of these things are just plain silly, but the thing that bothers me the most is the way Chinese culture revolves around stoic acceptance, saving face, keeping quiet and shame.  As you can probably gather from my previous posts, I’m not the most talented individual, I just put effort in and take the time to learn from failures and mistakes.  Obviously, growing up in a Chinese household, there was a high standard for academics and achievement.  A standard so high that I still don’t think I meet it.  I’m not just saying that either.  I wasn’t the type of kid that complained about getting an A- in high school.  I was the type that celebrated getting a B-.  So, as you could imagine, there was a lot of disappointment directed my way.  Maybe it was just the way I perceived it, but my parents made it a point to make me feel ashamed for my below average grades, for getting into a cal state (rather than a UC or quality private school), for taking 5 years to graduate college, for not having a job immediately after graduating, for being unemployed for a small period of time, and recently, for being single (still).  But despite it all, I turned out okay, and am still okay. The worst part of it is I’ve bought into this thinking process.  I’ve caught myself many times judging someone based on what they haven’t achieved or have yet to achieve.  And I feel that’s a pretty toxic way to think.  Yeah, you can use it for good and the betterment of yourself, but when that becomes your only purpose, It takes a toll on you.  It’s definitely not the safest environment in which to learn how to fail.

I was taught and told to withhold my struggles from my friends or trusted counselors.  As if the problems in our lives were something to be faced alone.  I mean, what is there to hide anyway?  If I was going through a season of difficulty in school or unemployment, should I not be able to present them to my friends such that they could pray for me or encourage me?  Illogical in my eyes.  This was more apparent when my mom tried to shield my sister when she was initially diagnosed with leukemia.  I was told not to talk about it at all, and even to only pray about it in secret.  I did some research, and this is apparently a common practice; there’s something shameful about cancer in Chinese culture and the need to tell no one.  Again, illogical in me eyes.  We are all broken as human beings anyway, right?  No need for masks and facades.

As we learn in the book of James, there is joy in suffering.  It tells us not necessarily to be happy in our pain, but rather rejoice in the blessings that accompany suffering.  Why should we ever feel ashamed while going through tough times?  Just my scattered thoughts.

 

“..Hemmo our shame, an let us go
Fo all da kine bad stuff we do to you,
Jalike us guys let da odda guys go awready,
And we no stay huhu wit dem
Fo all da kine bad stuff dey do to us…”

Listening, the Lost Art

It was Fall of 2006 and I was doing my English homework.  At my high school, they combine the English classes to have both juniors and seniors in them.  So, during Fall, a lot of writing assignments would revolve around college applications.  This would give the teacher an excuse to critique the seniors’ applications, as well as give the juniors some experience before it was their turn.  I was really thankful for that structure, since I had no idea what I was doing, as evidenced by the mock brag sheet I was trying to fill out one evening.  It was a Friday night, and I thought I’d get a head start on it, since it was due Monday.  My brother was home for the weekend, so I asked for some of his help.  He took a look at what I had so far.

“Listening!?  Are you kidding me?” He exclaimed

“What?  I think that’s one of my strongest skills..” I replied

“What are you?  A vegetable?  Write down some real skills.. something that actually matters.”  He said as he tossed my worksheet back at me.

And so, there was a period of time where I believed that listening was a skill of the brain dead or comatose, for I looked up to my brother.  Of course I was naive, but over time my view would change and I realized how false that statement was.  A young adult in life now, I can’t help but think, “Man, no one really listens anymore.”  I see it everyday.  Conversationally, some people just seek to interrupt others because they believe their point is more important.  Arguments are all about “winning”, rather than presenting the information.  Conversations are left mid-sentence, because the “listener” has all the information they need up to that point.  Back stories aren’t important anymore, some just want to cut to the chase.  And of course the biggest culprit, pulling out your phone when you’re not 100% interested anymore.

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand.  We listen to reply.” -Anonymous?

I mean, is it really that hard?  Is it so difficult to sit (or stand) there and hear what they have to say?  I understand, we’re all human, some of us can only handle so much interaction.  And sometimes it depends on our current situation (Do we need to go the bathroom? Am I running late?).  To me, listening has always been a draining task.  I always blamed that on my introverted-ness, but maybe it should be something that is taxing?  In my opinion, if we really want to be able to understand, to help or bear one another’s burdens, it should take a good amount of effort to listen.  It definitely takes patience; more than we know sometimes too.  Although, it can be mistaken for passivity or shyness, in my eyes, being able to listen is a strong trait.  You’re lucky if you know how to listen.  You’re even luckier if you have someone to listen to you.  That being said, I hate it when I’m interrupted, and one of my biggest pet peeves is idle chatter while someone has the floor.  It’s rather distracting.  I especially hate it when I’m explaining something, and I’m cut off by someone asking me a question that would have been answered if they just let me finish.  I don’t think I have much else to say.  I mean, I think we all know what listening looks like, we just don’t do it all the time.  No need to go through any steps or tips.  There’s no secret to doing it, just do it.

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So try it some time.  Listen.  Let them finish their thought before you present yours.  Resist the urge to check right then and there why your phone buzzed.  Gold star if you already do.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” – James 1:19

Ear Candy

February 2010

We gathered together for the first CSM trip FCBC would partake in.  We were a rag tag group of collegians, young adults and not-so-young adults.  For this particular meeting, we were discussing what we wanted to do at the convalescent home we were going to visit that weekend.  After some ideas were thrown onto the table, Ben spoke up saying:

“Hey, we have some musicians here, let’s have them play.”

He was referring to Matt and me of course.  I stated my case that a violin doesn’t sound very good in open air.  Bashfully, Matt accepted, for he is a humble man.  We admitted that we didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves in this matter, but we all agreed old people enjoy music.

“Yeah, that’s a good Idea.  Matt playing sax is some good ear candy… and eye candy!” Stu said.

We all laughed.  Matt began to second guess himself, and started to back out.

“Come on Matt, just play.  Just take off your shirt and play your sax for us!”  Ben exclaimed, for Matt is a sexy saxophone man.

And that’s the origin of the term “ear candy”, in my eyes.

 

Anyways, have you ever had a voice crush on someone.  As in, you were so enamored by one’s voice, or singing voice that you just want to hear it more and more?  Note, voice crush doesn’t necessarily mean you have a crush on someone; you just enjoy their voice a lot.  It’s your ear candy, so to speak.  Voice crushes are not confined to the gender you are attracted to either.  I’m sure many of you men out there enjoy Morgan Freeman’s calm and soothing voice.  So, when I was in middle school, my brother showed me this one song:

And I really enjoyed the voice of the lead singer, Lei Melket.  I actually didn’t know what this duo looked like until recently, since the internet wasn’t that powerful back then.  I remember searching “Vincent Van Gogh”, only to find two pages worth of results and with only one of them being useful information.  I listened to the song again not too long ago, just because it randomly popped into my head.  I’m a little surprised that this song is on YouTube, considering these girls don’t seem to be all that popular.

What’s your ear candy?

 

They even sound good live!

 

Discipline

For those that know me well, they often herald me as a very disciplined and methodical person, but I wasn’t always that way.  No, I was very much the opposite growing up.  I was an average student up until 5th grade.  For some reason, I just decided one day, “meh, I don’t want to do history homework anymore.”  So, for a long stretch, I didn’t do the homework, and naturally my grades suffered.  In addition to that, for some reason in 5th grade, I decided, “I want to be 100 lbs.”  And so I would eat myself sick at every dinner meal just so I could weigh more.  Part of it came from my relatives telling me I was too skinny, but that probably wasn’t the real reason.  The fact of the matter is, I became fat and lazy at a young age.  And well, old habits die hard.  The lack of homework being done and the gluttony carried on throughout middle school, high school and even the start of college.  I started to not do homework for other classes as well.  I wouldn’t even procrastinate, I just kind of gave up I guess.  My laziness even extended to my extracurricular activities (piano, violin, football and Friday night fellowships).  I wouldn’t practice my instruments, nor would I put much effort into anything productive.

There were some bursts of good work ethic though.  I relied on pure talent to pass my musical exams and for the classes I did enjoy, I put some effort into doing well.  And I even decided to go on a no-carb diet during the first couple quarters of college, but without exercise, a diet like that is dangerous.

After Felicity broke my heart freshman year in college, I didn’t hit rock bottom, but I was somewhere close to it.  I spent the summer doing some exercise, but with terrible work ethic, it didn’t get me anywhere.  Entering into sophomore year, I decided to turn it all around.  I spent the last 18 years of my life messing around and being lazy, I just got sick of it.  Here’s the life changers I decided on:

1. For academics, I will always give myself 8-9 hours of sleep, so that fatigue would never hinder me in paying attention in class.  I will always sleep by midnight, because nothing good ever happens past midnight.  I will always take notes in class, even if it bores me.  I will always eat breakfast, so that hunger would never hinder me during class.  I will always do homework and projects, and sacrifice fun for it.  I will always go to class early and sit in front, so I could see the board with clarity.  My philosophy in doing this was to maximize my chances of A’s.

2. For physical fitness, I decided to sign up for the gym in the dorms, since we paid for it anyway.  I would work out for an hour pretty much every night.  Mostly cardio so I could shed all my unwanted fat.  My goal?  To gain the body types of my skinny friends.  I promised myself that some day I would be able to keep up with them when we went biking (and I eventually fulfilled that promise).  I disciplined my self to eat better and less.  It was hard at first, but I avoided all fried foods, junk foods, sweets, candies, desserts and sodas.  And for the longest time I would eat like 5 small meals a day to keep my hunger levels in check.  I would eat a third of a sandwich and then eat another third a couple hours later.

3. For my spiritual well being, I made an effort to read my Bible more.  It became part of my morning routine in the mornings before class.  I started to go to small groups and even made myself more plugged into EPIC.  I forced myself to stop rushing my prayers and extended them beyond the same 3 sentences I recycled.  Fasting became a normal thing to me.  As many of you may have noticed the random times I fasted things to focus on God.  It was like catching up with a friend I had neglected for so long.

And so I carried these all out as much as I could for the remainder of my college years.  I should note that although I was studying super hard, I was by no means smart or a natural, I just put in the work needed to get it done.  I’m no genius, I just try really hard.  And well, good habits die hard.  And I’ve been quite disciplined ever since.  This one good habit carried on to all my other aspects of life (cooking, cleaning, work, reading and even games).  That’s why it bothers me whenever someone says they don’t want to do something because “they’re too lazy”.

I ask myself, is it so hard to be disciplined.  The easy answer is “no”.  Because it takes a certain mindset and determination.  Is it possible?  Very much so.  Granted, the atmosphere I was in sophomore year was great for this kind of growth, it’s hard to replicate in other stages of life.  And so, my thought on this matter is, if I can do it, so can you, no?  Laziness is the poorest excuse in my opinion.  Sorry, no pictures/videos this time around.  What areas of your life could you use some discipline?

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” -1 Corinthians9:24-27