I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
I read this book in 2010, when I was 15 years old. As a young boy, it changed my life trajectory and was fundamental in developing my character and principles. It motivated an introspective journey to challenge the beliefs I had about women and race. Beliefs that might appear benign but are ultimately destructive, perpetuating problems that I outwardly condemn but internally and subconsciously support. This book became the framework for my interpretation of feminism and the struggles women face.
I return to one passage quite frequently.
“Without willing it, I had gone from being ignorant of being ignorant to being aware of being aware. And the worst part of my awareness was that I didn’t know what I was aware of. I knew that I knew very little, but I was certain that the things I had yet to learn wouldn’t be taught to me at George Washington High School.” …
You want to live a better life. You want to be successful. You want to be happy. You want to love and feel loved. You want to experience life to the fullest. However, I’ve noticed that wants rarely become realities.
We have a skewed perception of the journey to living a better life. We see outcomes because outcomes are easy to see — we see the beautiful vacations, the fancy cars, and the happy smiles on Instagram. But we don’t see the sacrifices. We don’t see the unfortunate consequences of living a better life. And I’m not just talking about sacrificing time and putting in hard work. …
I’ve been single for about a year and a half.
After my last relationship, I decided I would focus on improving myself. I decided that I was more interested in creating for my future than inviting someone else along for that journey.
However, I’m still going on dates — not intending to find a partner but to meet new people and share fun experiences.
I’m transparent about my situation, so the girls I date know that I’m not looking for anything serious. …
Our society has lost the ability to communicate effectively. We are more interested in shouting over other people than listening and discussing ideas with civility and compassion. We have lost a sense of mutual respect for people on the other side of the aisle — a sense of respect that is a requirement for productive dialogue.
There’s a lot of things that make us mad. I get it. But our anger doesn’t give us permission to criticize and condemn and assert our moral superiority without any opportunity for discourse.
Two topics that seem to be a hotspot for this type of behaviour are politics and wealth. People on opposite sides cannot talk to each other without the conversation devolving into unhealthy conflict. …
I was reflecting on an article I wrote a few months ago about the benefits of having an opposite-sex friendship. The article received some unsavoury comments — I deleted anything that was inappropriate or misogynistic. However, looking past the crudeness, I began to wonder why it’s so difficult for men to fathom being friends with a woman.
And I’m not talking about a crush disguised as a friendship.
A lot of guys label women as their ‘friend’ but secretly want to sleep with them — this is the long game. The guy is supportive, friendly, and seemingly harmless. …
I have a bone to pick with the modern mindfulness and non-reactivity narrative. It overgeneralizes all types of thinking and imposes constraints on the human mind that would make even the most enlightened monks struggle to fit the ideal.
I’m half Tibetan and a lot of people in my family are or were Buddhist monks. I’ve talked to them at length about the modern wave of mindfulness training.
Per Tibetan Buddhist monks, overthinking is losing control of the monkey mind. My uncle says it’s like a pinball game — the ball just bounces around uncontrollably. …
I was having dinner with an old friend a week ago. It was the first time we had seen each other since graduating university — about three or four years.
Our friendship was the result of circumstance, not a genuine personal connection. We were simply two 21-year-olds trying to milk every last moment out of our university experience.
We were young, irresponsible, and aimless.
We studied. We worked out. We drank. We partied. Repeat.
We constrained our friendship within the limitations of our environment. …
I went from 100 views in my first month of writing to over 26,000 in just eight months. This article will focus on the process of choosing topics that have large audiences and are relevant to the needs of those audiences.
I started my writing journey in November 2019. The first article I posted was a piece that I was tremendously proud of and something that took me a long time to write. However, it amassed next to no views — highly discouraging and not the most fabulous welcome to Medium.
I continued to write, and in April, I suddenly saw a massive jump in my readership. Something writers rarely mention in these types of “How-To” pieces is the factor of randomness — some articles pop for no apparent reason. I won’t discount for the role of chance in my recent success. However, there are some essential marketing frameworks I leveraged in April that I believe contributed to the uptick in views. …
I taught English to kindergarten students in Seoul, South Korea. The curriculum at my school was very structured, meaning that there wasn’t a lot of room for creative projects or self-directed learning.
So, to add an element of creativity, I gave my students a writing prompt at the end of each day. They needed to write one full sentence as “payment” to line up at the end of the day. On one particular day, the writing prompt was,
How should we treat our friends and family?
I chose my favourite responses to the writing prompt — edited for grammar and spelling while maintaining the core elements. Then I’ve taken the root idea of their advice and briefly expanded on their ideas to arrive at seven life lessons inspired by my 7-year-old students. …
I firmly believe the Kung Fu Panda writers consulted a Buddhist monk before writing the script for this movie.
I remember watching Kung Fu Panda for the first time back in 2008. It was the first time I saw a movie with my friends without any adult supervision.
It was a huge deal.
I was 13 years old, a movie voucher and $20 in my pocket, full of excitement and anticipation. I remember going to the concession counter, buying an overpriced popcorn and drink combo, and sitting down for the hour-and-a-half-long movie, relishing in total freedom.
It wasn’t a movie that was particularly impactful from 13-year-old-me’s perspective; it was just another fun animation. However, it represented a formative experience in my childhood and created a sense of Kung Fu Panda-related nostalgia. So when the title popped up on Netflix on a lazy Friday night, I convinced my girlfriend to watch it with me. …