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.

Make your own Bible.

I have this notebook that contains design projects that are human-centered or empathizes with its users and I actually refer it as my Bible.

Those projects I wrote in that notebook are things that I want to remember especially once I partake a job. And somehow, those things that I wrote in my Bible became stepping stones to the start of my design blog and I started writing articles in our college newspaper about how space design can affect users.

Until now, even though my ‘Bible’ is full, I still go back to it from time to time because my plates in my design subject are human-centered so my Bible acts as my guide.

Moreover, I find it interesting that there are so many others before me who have their own Bible as well, and that Ralph Waldo Emerson actually recommended to everyone to create one,

Make your own Bible. Select and collect all those words and sentences that in all your reading have been to you like the blast of a trumpet out of Shakespeare, Seneca, Moses, John, and Paul.

Aside from a design notebook, I also have a quotes notebook.

Creativity = Natural

Authors Tom Kelley and David Kelley in their book Creative Confidence wrote,

“Geshe Thupten Jinpa, who has been the Dalai Lama’s chief English translator for more than twenty years, pointed out that there’s no word in the Tibetan language for “creativity” or “being creative.” The closest translation is “natural.” In other words, if you want to be more creative, you just have to be more natural.”

And I love this so much. Because it suggests that creativity is something that is innate within us.

I used to believe that I am not a “creative” person. Back then, whenever I create something, I’ll put in less effort and say, “Oh. I’m not a creative person so I do not have to try hard.”

But, I realized how wrong I was. I now believe that I think of myself is how I’m gonna live life. In other words, my thoughts, opinions, and actions make me. So, if I think of myself that I am just not a creative person, then I will inevitably become that way.

And along the way, I tend to realize that the more I become “human” or in a sense, that I do actions that as a human I must do,—like exploring, following my curiosities, and bonding with the community—the more I discover that creativity is not a supernatural thing that only very few, special people possess. As in the Tibetan language, it is a natural thing to us.

Ever since my practices and routines changed this year, ideas just continue to pop up whenever I’m “in rest”. And though I do not have a good judgment of whether those ideas are creative or not, I still continue to do them.

Anyway, with this information, instead of stressing that we do not have any creative ideas, chill out. A lot of artists believe that ideas are something that we have to be ready to receive.

In other words, if we do not have any ideas yet, it is because we are not ready yet. And while we aren’t ready yet, songwriter and artist Nick Cave suggests, that all we have to do is continue to do work. Continue to live. And when ideas come, show up and do the work.

Bird by Bird

In the book Creative Confidence, authors David Kelley and David Kelley shared about writer Anna Lamott’s childhood story from her book Bird by Bird,

Her ten year-old brother had been assigned a school report about birds and hadn’t started on it until the night before it was due. “We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”

I haven’t read her book yet but its on my TBR. Anyways, these days as one difficult plate after another go in my way, I remind myself of this story of Bird by Bird.

[Note: Plates are referred to as activities in architecture/design school. Basically, its designing, drawing, with explanations on the side.]

During moments of daunted-ness due to a new task ahead, I reminded myself that I do not know yet whether I can’t or can do this task but I will still do it anyway. The only way to know is by doing it.

A plate that I had three weeks ago which is Watercolor Ink Rendering of a museum I chose to draw. I haven’t fully figured how to do watercolor but I chose to do it. First, I told myself to just sketch first. I took a deep breath and started sketching the museum. After that, somehow, I felt better, knowing that I get past the first barrier. And I left it for a few days because I waited for the ink to arrived.

Finally, when the ink arrived, I told myself to apply in the lightest wash first. Then let it dry. And so on, until I get to the details.

When I finally finished, I’m so proud of what I have done. My work improved a lot and I’m looking at it objectively. There are still many things to improve but I’m grateful that I am growing.

And onto my next plates, this is what I do: I focused on a certain portion of the task. I don’t think of the whole pie but focused on eating up one slice first. Somehow, as I finish one after another, I feel completely satisfied and less stressed. I am moving forward even though I am taking it step by step, nevertheless, I am still making progress towards the end.

The bird by bird concept helped me get through a lot of things these days. And even though I haven’t finished the work today, I am satisfied that I made progress.

Looking back, ever since I read the book Creative Confidence, I am happy that I took whatever life brings Bird by Bird and will go on with that in mind.

To end, authors David Kelley and Tom Kelley provided an advice to particulary anyone,

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.

Surprise!

“Joy has a way of showing up when we least expect it. As we move through the stream of daily life, tiny moments can capture our attention and turn our thoughts in a joyful direction. These moments can be especially powerful in times of stress or sadness.” – Ingrid Fetell Lee

So, I was just reading articles on designer Ingrid Fetell Lee’s blog when I clicked a hyperlink that led me to this website:

Then, I moved my mouse a little while reading the title page then, I was surprised to found out that a few words were “washed” away.

It put me out of “calm” mode. I was back to my kid-like self wherein I began to notice something novel and I want to see where it ends. And after “washing” away the letters. This is what remained:

Oh gosh. Something that brought me joy at that moment.

Designer Ingrid Fetell Lee wrote about surprise and how it can improve your mood throughout the day in her book, Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness,

“Surprise has a vital purpose: to quickly redirect our attention. It acts like a warning bell for the brain, alerting us to a gap between what’s happening in front of us and what we had anticipated. In stable, predictable situations, the parts of the brain that attend to our environment slip into a kind of background mode. Our awareness of our immediate surroundings recedes while our conscious mind thinks through a problem, carries on a conversation, or daydreams. But an unexpected noise or tap on the shoulder brings the mind and senses into a state of sudden vigilance.” wrote Lee, “the increased alertness and arousal of the surprise response can also prepare us to take advantage of joys that come from out of the blue: serendipitous events (e.g., Ryan Gosling shooting a movie down the street), unlikely windfalls (ooh, free ice cream!), or changing circumstances (say, an early spring) that could influence our happiness for the better.”

She explains, “While these moments of joy might seem fleeting, they can have lasting effects because they help to promote upward spirals of positive emotions. Joyful surprises bring our attention away from ourselves and back out into the world, prompting us to approach and engage. They incite curiosity, spur exploration, and increase the chances we’ll interact with others in ways that keep the positive vibes flowing.”

Though in time of my discovery of that website, I wasn’t sad or anything but just merely reading articles when suddenly I discovered something out of the ordinary.

What joy I felt when I began to realize how great I felt in being surprised. And surprises are great especially when you are having a bad day.

It pulls your mind out of cruise control and heightens your focus on the surroundings around you. In times of overthinking-ness and anxiousness, surprises keeps you out of ruminating. And hence, I’m always on a look out for them.

I realized that when I started actively and consciously choosing joy, joyful things starts coming out of my view more often.

A while ago, while I was looking up the sky. A bird landed on the roof below me and then the bird flew in my direction that I started closing the window immediately because it may be go and be trapped inside our room (thank goodness, it did not). Thankfully, it went in an another direction. Then, I just chuckled at how I reacted.

I cannot control what life will give me but I can control in how I perceive them. There are more surprising things out there and I’m on a mission to find more of them!

Looking Up The Sky

Studies have concluded that looking up the sky can make you feel “small” and that is not a bad thing. It actually gives you perspective- that you are just this tiny thing in the universe who will be dead in the next century or so hence, most of the thing we worry about are unimportant in the face of death anyway. So, we should just live life.

In the book, Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, author and designer Ingrid Fetell Lee wrote about a study about people feeling “small” beside a grand landscape like a mountain, rock formation, grand architectural building, or anything that makes them look up,

“In a study led by researcher Yang Bai, tourists at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and Yosemite National Park were asked to draw pictures of themselves. When the researchers compared the resulting drawings, they found that people drew themselves as much smaller when immersed in the grandeur of Yosemite than in the hubbub of San Francisco. This study offers a striking illustration of the experience many people have in moments of awe: the feeling of being “small or insignificant.” Keltner calls this phenomenon the small self, and while it may sound unpleasant, in fact for most people it comes with a euphoric feeling of resonance and oneness with other beings. People in this state often say that they feel the presence of a higher power and that day-to-day concerns recede from their attention.

Well, that is also why churches need to be big because it represents God (and of course for practicality reasons too- seating capacity, to store valuable artifacts, etc.).

That is exactly why when you are having a bad day or bad mood, take a break and look up the sky for a few minutes. A lot of research studies concluded that looking up or even going up is correlated to joy.

Look up in the sky. It will not solve your problems, however, it will make you feel joy and feeling joy is important to your overall well-being. It takes you away from your concerns but to just be in this present moment right now.

Another thing, looking up gets you to daydream. And daydreaming is one of the ways to get your brain into default mode network (DMN) and this is great especially if you are brainstorming, or looking for solutions to a problem.

Journalist Celestee Headlee writes about DMN in her book Do Nothing,

” The default mode network, or DMN, becomes active when we allow our minds to wander. When the DMN is engaged, it works on our memories, putting past events into context and making moral evaluations about things that have happened. It also imagines the future, tries to understand the emotions of others, and reflects on our own emotions and decisions. The default network is crucial for empathy, for self-reflection, and for Theory of Mind, the ability to imagine what others may be thinking. Allowing our brains to switch into default mode is crucial for our well-being. That’s the source of much of our creativity and innovation, since the brain actively reshuffles the puzzle pieces of our memories and emotions when it’s not directed to solve a problem or complete a task.”

Right now, I given myself a few days to brainstorm ideas before starting my research paper for a proposed corporate tower design. A while ago morning, while I was looking up the sky, I got another idea for what I should put in my design. This is another moment that proves why daydreaming and taking a break is important.

Things are starting to pile up as school days passed by, and this is where taking a break needs to be a constant conscious decision. There are days wherein taking a break can make me feel guilty but no. Preventing myself from overworking and overdoing is significant than anything.

I hope you are doing well and remember to take breaks every now and then. Look up.

We move forward because we have faith.

Paulo Coelho:
None of us know what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have faith.

This is my 100th post (yay!). My creative journey started last April and six months later, I made it alive enough to write my 100th post. Reading the book Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley made me start my creative journey.

When I started, I remember how I was terrified that I might not have anything to write in the next few weeks, that I would have a flock of people hating me for how bad my writing is, etc.

But this is just me overthinking and people are busy worrying about their own lives.

A few things that I got from Creative Confidence that I kept reading everyday as I journey the last 7 months until now:

  1. “Doubts in one’s creative ability can be cured by guiding people through a series of small successes. And the experience can have a powerful effect on the rest of their lives.”
  2. “The real value of creativity doesn’t emerge until you are brave enough to act on those ideas.”
  3. “That combination of thought and action defines creative confidence: the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them.”
  4. “When you open your mind to the possibility that your capabilities are unlimited and unknown, you already have your running shoes on and are ready to race forward.
  5. “Albert Bandura used the process of guided mastery—a series of small successes—to help people gain courage and overcome deep-seated phobias.”
  6. “Facing failure to wipe away the fear.”
  7. “A subtle excuse lies in the idea of “trying”. It’s as if today is for attempts, and the real action will happen at some vague future moment. To achieve your goal, to topple the barriers that stand in your way, you have to be focused on getting it done now.”
  8. “If you want to make something great, you need to start making.”
  9. “It’s hard to be “best” right away, so commit to rapid and continuous improvements.”
  10. “All the overplanning, all the procrastinating, all the talking are signs that we are afraid, that we just don’t feel ready. You want everything to be “just right” before you commit further or share something with others. That tendency leads us to wait rather than to act.”

The sentences aforementioned are all from the book and I read them daily. When I have an idea for an article, I write it, never minding whether I “ran out” of anything to write. I just write. And then, before I knew it, I’m writing more than what I intended.

I committed to only one post weekly and then, suddenly it became, whenever I wanted. I post two to three times weekly, sometimes even more.

During those early times, I was able to get through even if I barely had any ideas, even if I fear of a lot of things because I had faith. I trust my intuition that by doing what I wanted to do, I will not regret my decision.

And boy, I did not. Words flow faster right now and I’m posting daily (wow). I read a lot than I ever had and write a lot. From sharing my personal experiences, I ventured to writing about design, prisons, books, movies, etc. Just by starting my creative journey and doing what I love, in spite of the thoughts that I’m not ready or experienced enough, my future seemed so unpredictable. And that thought is amazing!!

Because of following my curiosities, I now have a life that’s full of magic everyday. I do not know what will happen the next day and I do not intend to think about it because I’m living for today.

I’m barely seven months in this journey and I have already loved so many things. It’s just mindblowing how there are always things out there or here in the internet in which you will love like a book, architecture, movie, show, article, a person, or a song. I intend to keep writing about them as much as I could.

Lastly, thank you for reading. I hope you’re well as well as the people you love. just like I am, you are in your own journey too. I hope you are living your best life. Whatever you are currently doing or planning, as long as you really want it, you will be able to do it. Believe in yourself. Do what you can at this moment right now. Do that everyday, and I promise, you are in a journey to the unknown.

What Kids Can Teach Us

[I am aware that I write about kids like most of the time but, honestly, there is just so much to read and learn from them (or who we once were) that we should not forget as adults as we grow older.]

Austin Kleon (author of Steal Like An Artist) brings his kid to a museum because, ” [kids] will make you rethink what’s interesting and what’s art. (After all, what are cars but fast, colorful, kinetic sculptures?) This, of course, should be the point of museums: to make us look closer at our everyday life as a source of art and wonder.” Also, if you don’t have a kid, he advises you to borrow one. “Borrow a kid. Spend some time trying to see through their eyes. You will discover new things.

Corita Kent and Jan Steward wrote in the book, Learning By Heart, “For so many years we have been learning to judge and dismiss — I know what that thing is — I’ve seen it a hundred times — and we’ve lost the complex realities, laws, and details that surround us. Try looking the way the child looks—as if always for the first time—and you will, I promise, feel wider awake.”

John Baldessari noted, “I learned so much about art from watching a kid draw. I taught at the grade-school level. Kids don’t call it art when they’re throwing things around, drawing—they’re just doing stuff.”

I interviewed a schoolmate about her art teaching experience and she mentioned that the best students she had are kids. Because, she noticed, kids do not complain. They just simply do the work.

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about the musician Tom Waits in her book, Big Magic, “Waits had once been the opposite of that as a creator. He told me that he’d struggled deeply with his creativity in his youth because—like many serious young men—he wanted to be regarded as important, meaningful, heavy. He wanted his work to be better than other people’s work. He wanted to be complex and intense. There was anguish, there was torment, there was drinking, there were dark nights of the soul…

But through watching his children create so freely, Waits had an epiphany: It wasn’t actually that big a deal. He told me, “I realized that, as a songwriter, the only thing I really do is make jewelry for the inside of other people’s minds.” Music is nothing more than decoration for the imagination. That’s all it is. That realization, Waits said, seemed to open things up for him. Songwriting became less painful after that.”

Earlier in the book, Gilbert wrote, “Over the years, Tom Waits finally found his sense of permission to deal with his creativity more lightly—without so much drama, without so much fear. A lot of this lightness, Waits said, came from watching his children grow up and seeing their total freedom of creative expression. He noticed that his children felt fully entitled to make up songs all the time, and when they were done with them, they would toss them out “like little origami things, or paper airplanes.” Then they would sing the next song that came through the channel. They never seemed to worry that the flow of ideas would dry up. They never stressed about their creativity, and they never competed against themselves; they merely lived within their inspiration, comfortably and unquestioningly.

And my main point here is to relax. I meant this for myself and to anyone struggling and stressing about creating. There is this belief going on that “You have to suffer greatly in order to create something great.” (A lot of people concluded this after observing that a lot of whom we consider great artists suffered a lot while creating their masterpieces.) But like the epiphany of Tom Waits, creating doesn’t have to be so serious and dramatic that you have to compromise your physical, spiritual, and mental health.

When I was around 14, I wanted to write a novel. However, I get stressed a lot that I can’t find the perfect idea, the perfect plot, that it would not be popular anyways, and that I’m not experienced enough. But if I could talk it out to my younger self, I would say, just write. Yes, at first, it would not be easy. But the perfect plot will not come, just write what you can write. (Somehow, I am just grateful that I went through this kind of experience because of that, I am able to grow, learn, and improve myself or better yet, learned to re-connect with the kid inside me.)

Similar to when we were kids, we just draw and we just write. Want to write? We just write. Want to draw? We just draw. And writing or drawing something, we just set it aside and eventually, our parents are gonna throw it. Then, off we go to another thing that we want to write or draw. We just create so easily when we were young and somewhere along the way, we restrict ourselves. I made it hard for myself to just create something by rejecting the idea as soon as it was born and telling myself, “Its not worth it anyway.”

But that is not the point. The point is to create. The point is to do what keeps you alive and not rejecting yourself of an adventure. Just creating for the sake of doing just like when we were a kid. Just like in the book The Little Prince, we must not forget how we were as kids or else we might be very, very odd grownups.

Growing

After interviewing another student from my college for a feature article, I asked for feedback like I always do and her answer was this:

“Wala naman akong problema. I felt comfortable while doing the interview. Hindi nga ako kinakabahan eh.” (Eng trans: I don’t have any problem while doing the interview. I felt comfortable while doing the interview. I was never even nervous at all.)

Honestly, that is a huge compliment for me. During my very first interviews for a feature article as well, I got a feedback that wasn’t exacty a compliment but rather a call for me to grow and I am grateful that he is honest with me and for that, my future interviewees wouldn’t have to suffer so much because of my nervousness and inexperience.

I have so much more to learn with regards to how to listen well and converse effectively but such small compliments (small successes) gives me further strength to continue.

Just a few days ago, I experienced the feeling of “everything’s futile” again. And somehow, I think its related to my constant hustling these past few weeks. And I need to re-balance my self again. And I found this writings by one of my favorite youtuber, Dinara:

With that, I wanted to start my everyday with gratitudes. Letting the universe hear my thoughts and what I am grateful for.

I can feel that I am growing in many avenues of my life. But I want to teach myself to not get attached to some imaginary ladder that I need to achieve to be happy.

Small things matter the most. I interview various people and write down their narratives because I love to write a lot and read a lot. I enjoy writing as well as reading so much. And it feels me up with joy knowing that I am doing something that I love everyday.

I hope that stays. I hope that for the rest of my life. I keep choosing what I enjoy, what makes me grow, and what I love.

As a kid, I just enjoy what I love. When I was younger, my father had me take Kumon worksheets but as I grow older, I realize that solving Math problems isn’t what I am interested in. Hence, my younger self fought to do what she loves: reading.

I hope as I grow older, I will never forget that. I will never forget that as a kid, I chose to do something that brings me joy instead of doing something that people perceive as “will get you into a nice university or will land you in a nice job” but you do not actually enjoy.

I hope I will always remember to be alive. And to be alive means asking yourself: what makes me come alive? What is something that kept me going? And do it. Do it with my very best. The world needs people who are alive.

Like the Little Prince, I hope I will not forget. And I hope you too.