2020 Year End Post

The warrior’s approach is to say ‘yes’ to life: say ‘yea’ to it all. Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” – Joseph Campbell

Simply making it in December is already an achievement for me.

Last August, I wrote something on Tumblr that is scheduled to be posted in December. I even forgot that I even wrote something.

Its 10:54 of August 20 surely I’ll reblog this. But first, I will schedule to reblog this same post again on December 20.

I’m going through rough times right now. Tough, yes, but I know it is vital for my growth. Well, I’m the one who made the decision anyway. I have to be responsible for it.

Just for myself who will be reading this again on December 20, that if you had made it ’till that day, still joyful and alive, I am proud of you. Right now, I can’t see where am I going. Because I’m literally just living in the moment.

Currently, I’m doing things that I absolutely love (minus the stress of doing it) to do. I am pursuing various hobbies right now and I do not know where they will lead but I don’t care.

Because the act of doing it, creating something, it means that it has already been materialized in a physical form. Instead of letting it just rot in my head, I create it. Whether it may be perceive as ugly or beautiful, I had brought it to life. Something that only existed in my head before– a mashup of everything that I had consume yet– has now been materialized into the physical world.

And for that, you should pat yourself on the shoulders knowing that you did your job. Your job is not to judge whether you work is good or bad. Your job is to create whether intangible or tangible.

Whatever you are doing on this day, December 20, 2020, I hope you give yourself time to rest. And speak your gratitudes towards the universe for all the people who had influenced your life in doing what you are doing right now.

Keep fighting. Keep creating. Keep smiling. Keep helping. Keep playing. Keep going.”

I’ve read this several times now and wow. I had come so far. The very things that I did—reading and writing—during this year had shaped who I am today. Also, I am proud of myself for being hopeful and joyful even though the path that I took is so uncertain. I am so proud of myself for believing that I can do it.

Two weeks ago, I’ve gone into overthinking spiral that left me immobilized and in addition, I also had a flu during that time.

Then, I started talking with myself. I noticed that I started to look at things more than of what they are instead of what they actually are.

A few days later, I got the opportunity to talk with the people who really knew me well and I started to reclaim myself—the one who got lost in all the inner noise. My friends reminded me of who I am and that got me crying. Because then I realized how brave I was, how courageous I was in going into this uncertain path, and now, somehow I got lost. Thank you for my friends for helping me realized how far I’ve come and setbacks will not define who I am.

Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill. Whatever you choose for a career path, remember, the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.” – Chadwick Boseman

This year, I am also grateful to the people who had influenced my life this year mainly to Austin Kleon, James Clear, Tom Kelley, David Kelley, Ingrid Fetell Lee, and Ryan Holiday. Their words and actions greatly influenced my life this year and I will not be who I am today if it weren’t for them.

To my 2020 self, thank you for being brave, for doing your best to live every day, for following your intuition even if it goes against the “path”, for choosing to live in joy all the time, and for not rejecting yourself.

To the people who supported Claire’s Essays this 2020, thank you. Thank you for reading and commenting in my works. I still have a long way to go in terms of writing and still, I thank you for being on this journey with me. Continue being good human beings and making the world a better place one step at a time.

69 Things That Made My Year (2020)

  1. Claire’s Essays (this blog) – the start of my creative journey; going through life using a compass instead of a map
  2. Empathy In Design – a personal project of mine; it is a blog that feature designs that empathizes with users
  3. Tom Kelley and David Kelley’s Creative Confidence
  4. Austin Kleon’s (life-changing books): Steal Like An Artist, Keep Going, and Show Your Work!
  5. James Clear’s 3-2-1 newsletter
  6. Austin Kleon’s newsletter
  7. Youth 4 Sustainable Cities Program of Makesense
  8. Makesense Microinternship Program (read the articles I wrote for this internship here and here)
  9. Abstract: The Art of Design Season 2
  10. Running Man
  11. Hospital Playlist Season 1
  12. Workman
  13. Itaewon Class
  14. Sixth Sense Season 1
  15. Interior Design Masters Season 1 (Specifically: Episodes 3 and 6)
  16. Ingrid Fetell Lee’s book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness
  17. The Little Prince (2015)
  18. Klaus (2019)
  19. Meet The Alumni Series of our college publication, the Freehand.
  20. Voices of CAFA series
  21. Architecture Week Rewind series
  22. The Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore
  23. Happy Jail (2019) documentary
  24. Architecture 101 by Nicole Bridge
  25. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, Ph.D.
  26. How Norway designed a more humane prison
  27. You Can Draw in 30 days by Mark Kistler
  28. Little Women (2019)
  29. Money Heist and Money Heist: The Phenomenon
  30. Andy Grammer – Keep Your Head Up
  31. I got super interested in learning how to use Adobe Illustrator.
  32. Ruler: Master of the Mask
  33. Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin
  34. Cas Holman’s designs
  35. Les Miserables’s Do You Hear The People Sing
  36. The Greatest Showman’s Come Alive and This Is Me
  37. for King & Country – God Only Knows
  38. Emma Scott’s Rush and her other books.
  39. Mia Sheridan’s Most Of All You and Archer’s Voice
  40. The Aesthetics of Joy
  41. Austin Kleon’s blog.
  42. James Clear’s blog
  43. Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away
  44. Game Series by Ariesa Domingo
  45. Love In the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas
  46. Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express.
  47. Sunday Snippets newsletter by Ali Abdaal
  48. The Decline of Play – Peter Gray
  49. Ha Hyun Woo – Stone Block
  50. Aswang (2019) documentary
  51. My completed short stories for this year which are a product of things that I consume: Killed by Aswang, A Note From An Inmate, Passengers, Words Do Hurt, and The Strongest Woman In The World
  52. Tunnel (2016)
  53. Alice in Borderland (2020)
  54. Sweet Home (webtoon)
  55. Along With The Gods: Two Worlds and Along With The Gods: The Last 49 Days
  56. Zombies (2018)
  57. Handmade notebooks out of used papers
  58. Integrating Nooks Into School Designs
  59. How architecture changes for the deaf
  60. Where Joy Hides and How to find it
  61. John P. Weiss’ blog
  62. Daily Stoic newsletter
  63. 99 pi’s blog
  64. Commonplace notebooks
  65. Celeste Headlee’s Do Nothing and We Need To Talk
  66. Scenius.
  67. Philippine History Through the Lens of Local Church Architecture
  68. “You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are.”
  69. Want to be an artist? Watch Groundhog Day.

10 Lessons I Learned This Year (2020)

“Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.” – Soren Kierkegaard

Never reject yourself.

“People who are Makers feel these same fears. They worry about rejection and battle uncertainty just like everyone else. The only difference is that Makers don’t let how they feel prevent them from sharing what they know.

But even more important to keep in mind is this: if you choose to create something, you’ve already won because you haven’t rejected yourself.

You have already won because you’ve battled the limiting beliefs and the self–doubt and the excuses like “I don’t have enough time or enough money or enough experience” and you found a way to make it through to the other side.

Yes, if you build something people might judge it or dislike it. But if you don’t create and share the things that you have inside of you, then you’ll commit the far worse crime of rejecting yourself.” – James Clear

Source: Be Honest: Are You Rejecting Yourself? (Why You Should Make Things)

This year, 2020, made me realize how much I am rejecting myself these past several years. In the past, I constantly downplayed my ideas instead of just pursuing and doing them.

This year, gradually, I acted on my ideas despite the self-limiting beliefs and I never felt so free. I literally have no regrets this year at all because whatever ideas came to my mind, I made sure to do them all.

I had short story ideas, and so I wrote them.

I had article ideas (which honestly I almost did not pursue because I was afraid that I don’t have enough experience) and so, I researched and write about them. It’s terrifying, yes. Amidst of everything, I had this voice at the back of my head telling me that I don’t have enough experience, people will laugh at me, I am not ready yet, and so on.

But I did it. I made it through the other side. I became more courageous every time I did something, instead of rejecting myself and cheating myself of growth.

If I were to summarize what I feel about the whole year it would be: I have control over my own life. It feels liberating to spend my days in a way that I wanted to and not how my parents or society wants.

Live for the day.

“Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the battles of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.” – Richmond Walker

I overthink a lot mostly about the future and sometimes, the things that I did. But, just like with everyone else, this year had showed that anything can happen anytime. I was supposed to be an intern for a government agency last summer but pandemic happened and I found myself inside my home, reading and writing.

I can never predict what will happen tomorrow or the next month hence it’s useless to actually be worried of something that I do not have control of. So with everyday, I do my best to live thinking only the worries of today.

I will make mistakes but in the long run, the mistakes would feel inconsequential and what I would be very grateful for is the experience.

Even though I am at home for roughly 80% of the year, I still had a lot of new experiences and one thing that crossed my mind before I delve into those new experiences was: I am gonna do something embarrassing.

Thankfully, I followed my gut and even though there is this great possibility that I ‘m gonna do something embarrassing, I still did the things that I wanted to do.

Fast forward to now in December, the mistakes that I committed in those experiences doesn’t seem of a big deal now (compared to the time that I had done them) and right now, all I think about is how I am so grateful that I get to meet amazing people, learned all these new skills, and most importantly, I get to be of help to others.

This is a very personal lesson for me and this is something that I want to remember always.

I am afraid to embarrass myself. Terrified even. But with this lesson that I personally came up with based on what happened to me several months ago, I began to look at every experience that I am about to take with total curiosity and excitement—regardless of any embarrassing moments that can spur along the way—because I know that in the end of it all, I would be very grateful of the skills that I gained, forming relationships with people that I would not had met if it weren’t for this experience, and I had the opportunity to lessen the suffering of others.

It’s not about how smart or talented you are. It’s about what you can contribute.

There’s a healthier way of thinking about creativity that the musician Brian Eno refers to as “scenius.” Under this model, great ideas are often birthed by a group of creative individuals—artists, curators, thinkers, theorists, and other tastemakers—who make up an “ecology of talent.” If you look back closely at history, many of the people who we think of as lone geniuses were actually part of “a whole scene of people who were supporting each other, looking at each other’s work, copying from each other, stealing ideas, and contributing ideas.” Scenius doesn’t take away from the achievements of those great individuals: it just acknowledges that good work isn’t created in a vacuum, and that creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds.

What I love about the idea of scenius is that it makes room in the story of creativity for the rest of us: the people who don’t consider ourselves geniuses. Being a valuable part of a scenius is not necessarily about how smart or talented you are, but about what you have to contribute—the ideas you share, the quality of the connections you make, and the conversations you start. If we forget about genius and think more about how we can nurture and contribute to a scenius, we can adjust our own expectations and the expectations of the worlds we want to accept us. We can stop asking what others can do for us, and start asking what we can do for others.“ – Austin Kleon

In the past, while seeking out opportunities, there are times when I look at an opportunity and say, “Oh. Everyone’s smart in there and I am not one. I’ll just go look for another.” But when I came across the concept of scenius, I started viewing these things differently.

For instance, I am currently in a student publication and there are a lot of students here that are so skilled in writing better than I do (and that’s totally great). But even though I do not consider myself as someone who is skilled in writing or even as great as my peers, I still continue to do my part in the publication because it’s about what I can contribute to the larger whole.

Later in life, I will be working and there will be people who are smarter and better than me but it doesn’t really matter because like what Austin Kleon wrote, it’s not what they can do for me but it’s what I can do for them and what we can contribute to others together.

External accomplishments hardly change anything.

“We all think some external accomplishment is going to change everything, but it never seems to. It doesn’t change how you see yourself. It doesn’t change how you go through the world. It doesn’t change what you feel like when you wake up in the morning.” – Ryan Holiday

When this blog reached 1,000 views, I feel grateful but things just went back to the way it was. I am still reading and writing. When this blog reached 80,000 views, I am still feeling grateful but that’s it. I’m still me. My mindset did not magically change. I am still reading, writing, doing homework, and doing household chores.

And this is why I am thankful that I do not depend my happiness on external outcomes such as “I will be happy once I reached 10k views.” or “I’ll be happy once I passed this project.” because once I achieved any of that, nothing really much changed. I still have more work to do. There are still things to check off in my to-do list.

So with that, I learned to do things just for the sake of doing it because depending my happiness on the things that I do not have control over will make me want “more.”

In other words, I will never be satisfied because i will keep chasing that feeling of “I made it” but the truth is, there never really is that feeling of “I made it.” There will always be another thing to do. So the enjoyment itself is not on the results but on the process of doing it.

Rejection is redirection.

A senior pastor from our church shared that there are no coincidences—only God-incidences. God-incidences means that you are here at this specific place, at this hour, at this very minute, because God wants you to see something, hear something, smell something, and feel something.

This year, I got rejected to a lot of jobs and internships and I even got rejected by my dream university for the second time. But looking back, I can say that things feel into their proper places. Where I had been and what I had gone through this year felt right and I feel that they are supposed to really happen to me to grow and move closer to who I need to be.

I am thankful that God directs me to where I am supposed to be in at the moment and knowing that He guides me, makes me even more courageous to just go and continue immersing myself in various experiences, and just continue trying because if its not meant for me (yet or at all), He’ll redirect me to where I am supposed to be at this current time.

They don’t care about you.

This is a lesson that I learned in early 2020 and that I am still continuing to apply ’til today.

I get anxious especially now that we are taking classes virtually where everyone can actually hear what you said. Overtime, I am learning that people do not really care about me because they have bigger worries—themselves. I know it will take time for me to live my life unapologetically but baby steps. Baby steps.

Labelling something or someone as “good” or “bad” makes me unable to see the situation for what it really is.

Whenever something happens/will happen to me, I mostly say, “This is bad.” but as it turns out, it really isn’t that bad and I get anxious for a long time for nothing.

Essayist and poet Heather Lainier talked about a parable of a farmer on her TED talk and as she learned from the parable, “The parable has been my warning that by gripping tightly to the story of good or bad, I close down my ability to truly see a situation. I learn more when I proceed and loosen my grip and proceed openly with curiosity and wonder.

And so when a professor announces another academic work to be done on top of a other academic works that I still need to accomplish, instead of thinking, “They just never end! This is so bad.”, I think, “Oh this should be exciting. What more can I learn from this?”

Thinking this way will not magically answer all my problems but regardless of what may come to my life, I will look at it not as a problem but only as a part of my journey—something that I have to go through to learn and grow.

The more you use your creativity, the more you have.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ― Maya Angelou

When I started committing to my blog around April of this year, I was worried that I may not have anything to write after a month. Eight months later, I still am writing and I still am receiving ideas.

I think its largely because I’m just continuing to do the work everyday and that’s why I never really feel that I “run out”.

Whatever creative goal you choose, it is important to build on your experience and not let fear and inertia hold you back. Putting ideas on a page and getting past that first hurdle is progress. Then you’re ready to take another step forward. Just take it “bird by bird.” Pretty sure, you’ll start to feel more creative confidence.“ – Tom and David Kelly

Do not worry so much on where things are going to lead. Continue following your interests, desires and gut. Share what you think is worth sharing.

“The lives of great thinkers teach us that learning is the verb of life. The trick to lifelong learning is to exercise your curiousity as much as you can and to let it guide you where it wants to go. To pay attention to what you pay attention to. To not worry too much about where things are going to lead. To learn for learning’s sake, not because it’s going to get you something, necessarily, but because you have faith that the things that interest you will help you become who you need to be.

Your interest and your desire and your instincts are your compass. They show you the way.

It’s a hard things to internalize, but once you do, it’s one of the most powerful things. It sets you free.” – Austin Kleon

Constantly reading this quote over the last several months from my commonplace notebooks made me feel at peace because what I did mostly during those months is not what society expects me to do but nevertheless, I never regretted anything because I know that reading and writing are one of the main reasons why I am standing strong today and the reason why I am able to have this kind of output today.

Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Following my gut felt so liberating and I had never felt more satisfied than ever because I am control and I am living MY life based on my choices and how I want to live.

A little bit everyday turns massive in the future

Writer Robin Sloan writes, “Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people you exist. Stock is the durable stuff. It’s in the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.”

And this is something that I see in myself the past few months.

For example, last April 2020, my curiousity piqued in human-centered prisons after watching this short video created by Vox and 99 pi.
The video resonated so much to me that I even wrote a blog post related to it: Would You Support Humane Prison Design In Your Own Country? Why or Why Not? (published April 2020). Since then, I indulged in resources relating to human-centered design and prisons. I got a writing internship in June and by August, I messaged our head asking if I could work on an article related to Human-centered Prisons. With her green light, I began working on it. The whole time I was working on it, I was scared, terrified sometimes, because I wasn’t an expert. My curiousity is the only thing in me but I started to look at it as a good thing. I may not be an expert but I know I can contribute something to the conversation. Long story short, I accomplished the article entitled: Rethinking Prisons. A few weeks after, I wrote another similar article, but shorter and more opinionated, for our college newspaper: Why We Should Build Human-Centered Prisons.

What started out as notes and just following my curiousity became an opportunity for me to share what I learned.

“But the thing about keeping notebooks is that you have revisit them in order to make the most out of them. You have to flip back through old ideas to see what you’ve been thinking,” writes Austin Kleon in hus book Show Your Work! “Once you make sharing part of your daily routine, you’ll notice themes and trends emerging in what you share. You’ll find patterns in your flow.”

This is also the reason why I keep commonplace notebooks and read it religiously. I’m always on a lookout for any patterns. All of my blogposts are from patterns too. If you had read most of them, you’ll notice that ideas are overlapping with each other. I built into it every now and then.

I never imagined that my curiousity could grow into something. Whenever I remember how my journey went, I became much much more confident in acting on my ideas even though the future looked so uncertain.

It’s not how smart you are in the field or how skilled you are. What matters is what you contribute. Author James Clear wrote tips on how to get started as a writer and the last tip states, “Write about what fascinates you. You don’t need to be an expert. Curiousity leads to expertise.

Small things when accumulated turns into something massive. Do not worry about not having a big idea, just continue working first on where your curiousity leads you.

Author Paul Graham advices:

“The way to get a big idea to appear in your head is not to hunt for bìg ideas, but to put in a lot of time on work that interests you, and in the process keep your mind open enough that a big idea can take roast… Put in time how and on what? Just pick a project that seems interesting: to master some chunk of material, or to make something, or to answer some question. Choose a project that will take less than a month, and make it something you have the means to finish. Do something hard enough to stretch you, but only just, especially at first. If you’re deciding between two projects, choose whichever seems most fun. If one blows up in your face, start another. Repeat till, like an internal combustion engine, the process becomes self-sustaining, and each project generates the next one. (This could take years!)”

If this is isn’t nice, I don’t know what is

Content creator Ali Abdaal shared his favorite quote from Kurt Vonnegut,

And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

And I think this is one of the things that I continously think about these past few days.

When I’m sipping my hot choco during the morning, or when I’m drawing, or reading a really good book, or writing, or just lying on my bed after a long day, I think about this: If this isn’t nice, then I don’t know what is.

It allows me to be more grateful in the present and whenever I just think about that sentence, my face will immediately light up and I’ll smile. It helps me to remember that I am a human, I have feelings and emotions, and I enjoy what I do and I am living my best life.

Everday is not a holiday or vacation. In fact, most of the everyday life are mundane moments and being able to appreciate the smallest things and not taking for granted anything is the life itself.

Things I Noticed in Over The Moon As An Architecture Student

Over The Moon is a 2020 animation film available on Netflix and here I’ll share the things I noticed while watching the film.

For the first few minutes of the film, I immediately thought that ‘this is Chinese’ pertaining to where the film is set and the characters themselves.

When I had the thought, it got me thinking of how did I instinctively knew that the film is set in China? And so what I did was I looked for clues.

Conclude

Its really amazing how all these details have come together— nature  technological advancement, folktales, and asian culture to craft an amazing story.

Everything sums up and supports the development of the characters. Also, I hope there would be more animation films, not just in Japan, and China but in other countries as well that truly depicts their authenticity. It would be an amazing learning experience to compare different animation films (from various countries) and discuss what’s different in each of them and by then, we will be able to understand each other more deeply through film and design.

Dont Let it Dominate You

“Don’t let it dominate you.”

A sentence I read on author and artist Austin Kleon’s IG stories. (I’m not sure if the quote is his as I was too busy pondering on the sentence itself).

And here is digital creator and my fav youtuber, Dinara, on her IG stories:

THIS!

There are so many deadlines (and its not yet even midterms) to do and it takes constant conscious decisions to always choose joy and think that I am more than just productivity and academics.

Now that I am much more laidback in academics (like I do not so much burn myself to death to accomplish assignments), I felt better, more satisfied, and I felt much more in control with my time and overall, with my life.

And I realize that when I do not put too much importance to academics, the better they turn out (same as with Dinara’s conclusion). That is why I always remind myself that this too shall pass because then I will not be worked up so much when faced with grueling homeworks and plates.

I will not be put into some happy, magical place once I finished my homework, there will always be more work and hence, I should control how I would like my life to be like.

I hope you don’t stress out yourself so much on whatever it is you are working on right now. Steal some time for yourself and don’t let anything dominate you.

WE NEED HELP!

So, recently our country, the Philippines, has been hit by Typhoon Ulysses just days after the strongest typhoon of the world this year has hit our country.

I ask for your help either through donations/just simply reblogging or reposting.

Here is the link for general infos on donation drives: https://linktr.ee/YouthRisePH

Our organization set up a donation drive as well. Any amount is appreciated.


I hope that you are having a wonderful weekend.

We are all struggling

We are all struggling.

This is what I’ve concluded after my ninth interview for our college newspaper. I have been part of it for over three months now and had talked with so many new people during those months and I’ve come to the conclusion similarly to what Canadian astronaut Col, Chris Hadfield said in an interview. He was asked what what advice would he give to his 20 y/o self and he answered, “I think what might’ve been worthwhile to explain to myself at 20 is to recognize that every single person you meet is struggling.”

I watched the video above a couple of months ago and I remembered his line just as I was reflecting my latest interview with a blocmate. He was one of my close friends in my first year of uni and when we started online schooling, we barely exchanged messages and I noticed that he hadn’t been attending classes. So, I became curious on why he isn’t attending (although he is enrolled). Also, I’m working on an article that focuses on various circumstances that certain student faces while we are undergoing online classes during the pandemic. I had an idea of featuring him in the said article.

After interviewing him by exchanging messages, I am just amazed by how brave and strong he is. The interview ended with an agreement that I would not feature him due to how personal his story is and it would not be a really nice idea to share it to the public. But I just was so speechless that he even make time for university despite his personal problems and workload.

But the point here is, we are all struggling. The least that we can do or what our professors can do as well is to acknowledge that we are all in various walks of life and be considerate of each other. As what T.S. Elliot stated, “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”

I recently discovered this music video of For King & Country for their song ‘God Only Knows’. After watching the music video several times, I cried.

What made me cry is how “normal” the scenes displayed in the music video. There was neither bullying nor abuse. The music video simply depicted the “normal-ness” of life. It’s so normal that I can actually see myself in the video and that is why I cried.

I can remember the moments when I’m in train going home from university (pre-COVID) and I would look at my reflection on the train windows and I’m surprised by how ‘normal’ I look whereas on the inside, I am just so exhausted and I just want to go home quickly and cry.

I also have this habit of scanning the faces of people who are taking the public transport with me and thinking ‘one of them might have been scolded at their job today’ or ‘one of them might be feeling exhausted like I am and we just want to take a break from everything’. Although, I’ve been doing this subconsciously, I observed that this is a way for me to practice empathy.

I have to think that they are experiencing pain in their lives too. Just because I do not know them doesn’t mean that I have to dehumanize them. With that in mind, the least that I can do for them is to be kind.

Col. Chris Hadfield:

“… to recognize that everybody you meet, every single one of them, no matter how expensive their suit is or how serious their expression is, they are looking for significance. They are trying to do the best they can, and they fail regularly. And they’re within their own particular battle of their own life and so cut them some slack for that.

Don’t let them off the hook but recognize the shared nature of being a human being and let people be themselves. Make some allowances for them, treat people a little more kindly as a result.

Treat people a little more kind today. Thank you.

Commonplace Book

My own commonplace books!

Commonplace books is where I jot down passages, paragraphs, sentences from books, articles, movies, documentaries, and speeches that resonates with me.

Sometimes, it hasn’t even resonated with me yet but the way the author stated it is beautiful and I just write it down.

I got the idea of writing down sentences that I want to remember from Ryan Holiday. He shared in his book that he kept index cards wherein quotes are written in there and the ideas stated in his books are all from his index cards.

And while I was reading that more than a year ago, I thought that its cool and I wanted to try that too. And so I did.

For everything that I read or heard that I found beautiful, I write. And not until a few days ago did I learn that what I previously call ‘quotes notebooks’ are actually called commonplace books and it has been practiced by a lot of people!

Here is what journalist Dwight Garner wrote about his own commonplace book: “I use it as an aide-mémoire, a kind of external hard drive. It helps me ward off what Christopher Hitchens, quoting a friend, called CRAFT (Can’t Remember a F— Thing) syndrome.”

One of the reasons why I continue to jot down in my commonplace books is because I want to remember.

I considered going for my phone to jot down but most of the time, I just want to sit down and read my quotes notebook without a lot of distractions and getting tempted to open other applications.

Also, one thing that I’m fascinated in is how I have read them dozens of times and yet, somehow, I still get new connections from them. That this paragraph from an author is actually connected to the one this person stated. Or I have read something new and a quote from my commonplace book is actually related to that but they are not even the same person!

And commonplace books are where I get blog post ideas and that is why my blog posts are full of what other people has stated and I am not complaining. They are amazing, amazing people. They expressed what I want to be said better than I can and they shared something that I do not know and hence, I’m so grateful to have an avenue where I can share what I learn, that hopefully as much as it resonated with me, it can resonate with others too.

I thought about reading other people’s commonplace books must be so exciting of an activity because it shows what you prioritize, what you value, and what you focus on. Like for example, Ryan Holiday’s index cards are mostly about stoicism.

Mine’s all over the place but most of my quotes are somewhere along psychology and design. And it shows how you grow over time. Mine started with a lot of stoicism passages, then moved on to sentences about creativity, then went on about being an artist and showing your work, and now, its more of being grateful and living life.

Consider starting one and watch yourself grow through the pages!