I Love Myself because My Life Depends on It.

Naval Ravikant wrote a book called Love Yourself like Your Life Depends on It. (No affiliate link).
I had read it years back and have since given the book to my dad. He has strategically placed it in my work room. Every time I walk in, I see its cover: A silhouette of a man with a large heart, holding a pistol to his head.
I’m writing this to you because a couple months ago, I was feeling crummy because I was just dumped. Without delving into the details, I have only good things to say about that person. But that didn’t help my own situation. I was hurting and unsure why. I was of no help to anyone. You included.
I walk into my work room in a daze. Now what? I guess I’ll immerse myself in work. Other people. Video games. Any sensory-drowning distraction. Anything to silence the din of my internal riot. Why why why? Why why why?
I see the book’s cover. I flip through it. Hm. I decide on Naval’s advice: to say I love myself. No more, no less. By repeating this phrase to myself, I would solidify my dedication.
I will love myself so much that I can’t help but share this love with those around me. Especially you reading this. I love myself. I love myself. I love myself.
I did not believe it for a few weeks. Fake it till you make it, as the platitude goes. I thought I did after the first day but I was wrong. I was still in shock. A functioning shock-aholic.
A few weeks later, I lapsed. I was angry for a moment, lashing out unconsciously out of anxiety and hurt. Much like a doomed rampaging bull, bucking towards the celebrated Matador. That person the matador. But they weren’t there. A lone bull in an empty stadium, fighting an apparition.
My truth was emotionally skewed. Biased. But in hindsight, the truth is I didn’t love myself enough. I’m only human.
But by repeating this phrase, I’ve trained myself. Whenever I feel negative, I think, I love myself. After three times, I can’t help but smile to myself.
Try it out now. Say I love myself a couple times. In your head. Then out loud.  Maybe you do not believe it but if you do it enough, you will. It certainly helped me.
Why not?
Thank you. And thanks, Naval.
P.S. Dandapani also has a great tool set for anxiety and loneliness. He says his master told him to be fiercely present in the moment and to lean on your own spine.
P.P.S. In his interview with Lewis Howes, Tony Robbins says he gives himself 90 seconds. Life is tough and many terrible things will be thrown at you. But you have to fully dedicate yourself to being happy. Help others and you’ll be happy yourself. Love yourself. I love myself. I love myself. I love myself.

“I lost my driver’s licence over 20 years ago…”

I picked up my first hitchhiker today. A gruff, Native-American man with a long ponytail with naturally grey & white streaks. He wore black and grey clothes with a green military camo backpack. I pull over and he begins hurrying towards my car.

I hastily clean the passenger seat of the wool blanket and the empty chocolate soy milk carton. He jumps in and says thanks, thanks, noticeably exhausted. I appreciate it, I had already been walking seven miles. I ask his name. He says with a Native American accent, Gerald. He asks for mine. I oblige.

How far do you need to go? Oh, just up to the reservation a mile down.

He has been hitchhiking since he got his licence taken away. I didn’t ask why. I had more questions about his experiences. Back then, he says it was calmer. He recounts how nowadays, people throw garbage, sometimes bottles at him. Because of that, he hurt his neck. One time, he almost caught up to someone who threw something at him and it scared the crap out of that guy. He says he wouldn’t do anything. I guessed he was better than that.

His Dad used to do the same thing – hitchhiking. Mostly, Gerald is typically picked up by old women who are coming home from work, bored and want company.

Drop me off at that bus stop. That’s where the reservation is, he says.
He asks for my name again as if to assure me he would always remember me. It’s Stephen. Since we stopped, I finally see his face. Gruff. Experienced. But happy. I can see the creases in his face showing his deeply carved pattern of smiles.

He repeats my name a few times to himself. He says thank you, Stephen.
The door closes. As I drive away, he waves profusely, smiling.

A short four minutes.

Could he have been dangerous? Sure.
Then why? I just wanted to do something different.
And I’ll always remember it.

Seth Godin’s Tribes

Structure: Some lines have been quoted while some phrases have been paraphrased (PP) but I will be limiting the paraphrasing because I may not accurately present the book as well as the author intends. Note that this writing is not entirely representative of the book but more of what I count as important takeaways to me. My recommendation is to speed read the described book but I understand people are busy. Anyway, on with the show…

My biggest takeaway from his book is this: EVERYONE is now a leader. That means you, me, your friend, your dog. Well, maybe not your dog. Not to us, anyway. But we’re all leaders if we choose to. He cites an example of Thomas Barnatt, pitching a controversial idea at the Pentagon. Unheard of. But these kinds of examples are what we need because this leadership and this confidence is rare.

People like having the freedom to do what they want and if possible, turn a profit. I know many artists who wanted that but chose a different path because they reason ‘no one’s going to pay me to draw so I’ll change to something I won’t like but will be profitable like…[i-banking] [pre-med] [pre-law].’ Whenever I see this, I deeply sigh.

I’m not saying to follow your passion but to pursue what interests you. This already makes you a leader, albeit only of yourself. The process of pursuing this will determine how much impact you’ll have as a leader. Godin writes ways to do this but for simplification, I’ll narrow it down to these three concepts:

1) Have a purpose
2) Do things revolving around  that purpose, however unconventional the things may be
3) Start now

A quick example on this of Zappos.
Their purpose is to give the best customer service ever. They carry this purpose out by conversing on the phone for as long as the customer needs (no time clock and customers are encouraged to call), giving automatic upgrades to next-day shipping are among a few unconventional ideas. For the last concept, Zappos’s CEO, Tony Hseih, had to think of ‘starting now’ at some point.

What do you think of this list? I encourage feedback, no matter how critical. Thanks in advance. 🙂


Copyright from the book (just in case): “Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.”

Content Rules? The Best Way to Blog

Have you always wanted to express your knowledge to other people, whether friends, families or strangers?  I have and do. Since the people’s chosen medium for expression is the internet, I’m opting for blogging. But then the question is: How do I blog?

I’d never done it seriously before. The best I’ve done is type my half-baked thoughts on xanga (if you remember that, here’s my personal high-five) but those unedited posts are aptly — and embarrassingly — categorized what Freud called free association. And reading those now results in a heavy-handed facepalm.

But I’d like this first post about what I’ve learned from Chapman and Handley’s Content Rules. I’d like to point out their foreword, “Marketing is about publishing great content.” ‘…But what the many content-marketing experts have failed to do is tell us how to create that content.” Just what I like to hear…and what we need to know.

The book is divided into four parts: Content Rules, How-to Section, Success Stories and the ending note aka a link to their website. But the focus is on their How-To section on Blogging. There are other aspects of the book such as webinars, ebooks and videos but those demos will come later when this blog progresses. Instead, I’ll be rewriting their blogging guideline list. And where apt, briefly explain how I’ve incorporated these into this post:

1. Define your purpose. Expressing what I’ve learned through my books for other readers to learn from as well.

2. Set a reliable schedule. (Testing several schedules but planning for Tuesday’s or Thursday’s)

3. Mix it up! (The ‘it’ is the content of your posts. Good to occasionally change the blog’s tone to serious or funny)

4. Move beyond the written word. See links.

5. Size Matters. I’m saying what I believe is enough.

6. Learn how to write killer headlines. If you’re here, I must be doing this right. They have a list of what counts and I’ve adapted their ‘Pique curiosity’ technique.

7. Design is important. Since this is a content blog, I feel this theme is most suitable, given the choices of WordPress themes.

8. Create momentum. The book quotes Mike Volpe, “Too many people believe that by just having their content out there, that’s enough. It’s not.” I would say my ‘momentum’ is for you to adapt the guidelines in this list and message me your blog link. I’d love to see how this post helped you.

9. Consider comment moderation. When time calls for it.

10. Categorize and tag everything. “Blogging,” “Motivational,” and “Permission Marketing.” So far, so good.

11. Write the way you speak. My speaking is…I admit, dry but brief and honest so this post (and blog) is accurately representative. Scary, huh.

12. Don’t overthink. If I did, this post would never be finished.

Prime blog examples included are any articles from Hubspot, Seth Godin or my personal favorite, Tim Ferriss. I highly recommend checking them.

But these guidelines are exactly as they mean but TONS of blogs ignore them.
Have you ignored any on this list?