Let Me Paint You A Story
Let Me Tell You Something True
2016 is a year of new things to me: New places. New people. New feelings. New ideas.
And new books.
It was in this year that I set out to challenge myself to explore different genres of books. And to my surprise, that I did achieve. From leadership books, to fantasy novels, to psychology books, to reference books, to philosophy books, to Church history, theology, and apologetic books. Aside from my surprise that I successfully stomped-down this challenge, I’m also quite surprised as to how my interest further branched out, especially since I didn’t expect myself to be interested in Church history and in towards deeper theology.
Here are the books which helped shaped my 2016. These are some of my teachers who have challenged my thinking, and some of the leaders who have added to the molding of my heart.
Not all of these books are good (I’d say some of them are pretty challenging to finish), yet I enjoyed almost all of these:
Although I failed to hit my additional 2016 challenge of reading-one-book-a-week (I’m seven books short), yet I am contented with the variety of books that I read this year.
Thank you, 2016, for being crazy amazing and for being adventure-filled. Thank you friends, who suggested me good books to read, and for voluntarily lending me your personal copies of your books.
Cheers to 2017. Cheers to more reading.
I am sharing my INTJ-ness to the world by sharing one of my weekly evaluation template that I have developed and have been using.
I am fond of evaluating my life, strategizing around it, setting systematic weekly and daily goals, rinse and repeat. Of the 7-day week, I take a day off to contemplate, journal, plan, and strategize. I guess this is an INTJ personality thing. I do this mainly because this helps me to see my life from a bird’s eye view, see where I am currently headed, and see what things I need to do for me to achieve long-distance goals. This also helps me to internalize things better, help commit events to my memory, and in general make me feel more responsible of my life.
You are free to use this Weekly Evaluation Template (W.E.T.) for free and for your benefit, except that it remain to be free. If you do decide to use it, I would greatly appreciate it for you to share to me any results and feedback in using it.
Why am I doing this, you ask? I guess you could say this to be one of my nonsense experiments.
What do you think? Do you think W.E.T. can help you in any way? In the case that you’ve been using it, how has it been? Let me know under the comments section below!
So I had a clinical depression that lasted some weeks, if not months.
But I finally started to beat it down until it became nothing but a pulp!
Through books, articles, videos, lessons, prayers,
and most especially my experience,
I can share to you how I beat depression.
Because you certainly can!
Depression is a sickness.
It is a serious and deadly one.
It is a major cause of
sadness, vices, insanity,
and even suicide.
It robs its victim’s peace of mind,
focus, need to sleep,
and ability to think properly.
It can be a vicious and destructive loop,
like a poisonous pit that entraps
and slowly kills its hapless victim.
It slowly destroys life,
until the victim loses vitality,
even the will to live.
It lasts from weeks, to months,
and even years.
But the good news is,
healing is just waiting for
you to take hold of it!
Again, depression is a sickness.
It is an abnormal state of the human physiology and can be explained by the neurochemical imbalances in a person’s brain.
In my own personal case, I decided to take a proactive approach to cure my condition.
I studied, I researched, I read books, I conducted personal experiments.
I did what I saw that I could!
Until finally, after a week’s effort, I can finally say that I beat it.
From my experience, here are the steps that I took that greatly contributed to my healing:
Because we should not live by feelings nor by what we think, but by faith.
There is no use in focusing your mind on the sickness, instead focus your mind towards perfect healing.
I pray and desire the healing of everyone who is currently suffering from this condition.
If you are one of them, I want you to know that you are not alone.
I also hope that my experience and my new knowledge contributes to your accelerated healing.
Because there is healing in Jesus’ name.
Me: “What does it mean to be human?”
Me:“What does it mean to have sufferings as a Christian? Are involuntary mental sufferings a sin: A sign of lack of faith? A sign of Christian immaturity?”
Just a normal day with a very lively conversation with myself.
The start of my 100 day challenge was a real nightmare to me, but I was ready, atleast partially, to embrace it. Because the rewards are far greater than the risks that I was going to take.
Since then, a lot of things had been bugging my mind, and a lot of them still are unanswered. Its probably due to the neurochemical imbalances in my brain due to my attempt to shift my circadian rhythm to an 8-hour degree. But still, there are facts that remain true in my experience. And one of them is that I fell deeper to clinical depression.
I want to stress out that the above illustration does not really depict my reality, but I have found that this feeling, mentality, and even treatment, is not uncommon among Christians.
I am by no means against the Church, pastors, leaders, or people. I am only here, expressing my experiences and my efforts, to educate, for us as a society, even as children of God, to become better in handling this issue.
I am a Christian, after all.
But I am currently under the struggle of depression.
“But how can you get depressed Pyl?”
“Isn’t Jesus your savior and your life?”
“Hasn’t He given you eternal salvation, forgiveness, and joy?”
“Can’t you just lift up all your burdens and cares to Him, and then just feel all happy?”
“You’re being weird, Pyl. You just need faith!”
“If you’re like this, there’s no difference between you and the unbelievers!”
I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus, that He gave His life to me and died on the cross for me, something which I totally do not deserve. An undeserving being that has been given perfect love by Love itself–that’s who I am.
But I still am currently stuck (but fighting) in the pit of clinical depression. Why? Because of humanity.
Doing my research, I have found out that depression as a Christian is not uncommon in this world: I am not alone in this struggle at least. Praise be to God for the Internet for I have found out several Christian testimonies. And with these new knowledge, I act to share the education to my fellow brothers and sisters (along with supported links in case you are that concerned, curious, or serious of a Christian minister):
I am not going to explain the scientific details of my points further because the links will be kind enough to do it for me to you. So if you’d be willing enough, it won’t hurt you to go clicking those links. I would appreciate that in fact.
Being a Christian and a person who’s in constant pursuit of perfection, I had this strong feeling of guilt whenever I fall into the isolated pit of depression. And I can’t keep but ask the following:
“Am I not supposed to be joyful?”
“Isn’t the Church going to judge me for being this incapable?”
But asking myself those, I hit a solid wall and came to a better question.
“Weren’t there notable Christians in the history who fell into the same pit too?”
Didn’t David write most of the Psalms from this same pit?
Didn’t Paul console himself to rejoice from this same pit?
Didn’t even Jesus Himself also wept from this same pit?
*sigh of relief*
Its comforting to know that I’m not the only one experiencing this.
In hopes to share what it feels like to be under depression, let me incline you to watch this video from World Health Organization.
Depression has his fancy of poking at me.
Just like any worldly illness, it has no excuses.
I am taking proactive action to learn to tame the black dog.
I have already identified my triggers, took a logical approach in examining it, throwing away almost all possible temporary crutches, and looking up to God’s grace in the process.
With no one to easily talk and confide to, I have found comfort in researching and studying the problem (like what I’m obviously doing right now), trying to use mobile apps such as MoodTools and 7CupsOfTea, working out more vigorously, praying, keeping close a journal, etc.
I am still in the middle of the process, but by the grace of God, I am digging my way out of the pit. At one point in my life or another, I’d have to examine this issue deep down anyway. All I could say, I couldn’t ask for a more better opportunity. I had to fix this at one point or another before its going to affect any other things. And in fact, I am actually learning more about myself, even humanity itself, in the process of writing this.
So I can’t say that depression has zero uses: It actually helps me to be seated in the seat of humility.
Perhaps I needed this.
Perhaps I needed to realize that it is okay to be imperfect:
That I am still human.
That it is okay to be flawed.
That humanity is broken.
Because it is, that is, until the day of perfection.
But as it is now, it is in my hands, along with the constant grace of God, to learn to tame this.
And probably, just probably, I might even teach my black dog a few tricks.
“Its better to cheat than to repeat.” -Anonymous
This is a famous quote told from many of my schoolmates in my university.
But I believe that to be a complete nonsense.
It is time for me to convince you to avoid cheating AT ALL COSTS.
It is time to bust a myth!
In college exams, I would submit near-empty papers on exams.
The reason? I haven’t studied well.
Another reason? I refuse to cheat.
Even if 99% of my classmates are cheating, I still refuse to cheat. Even if there is no teacher or proctor around in the room, I still refuse to cheat on quizzes and exams. The temptation is undeniably there especially when your classmates and friends are blatantly passing their notes and papers and the professor is nowhere to be found, but I still refuse to cheat. Some may call it foolishness. Some may call it pride. But I call it character development.
Don’t get me wrong, my heart gets undeniably broken in the process…
But from pain, I learn fast and hard. And from the things that I learn, I will share to you.
Of why cheating will kill me, my dreams, and probably the people that I love.
Saying that I love to learn would be a lie, because I am addicted to it.
I think that the greatest blessing and ability that any person can have is the ability to learn. Speaking from experience, it can do miraculous things. From a tone-deaf person to an ear-playing musician, the thought alone is still amazing to me. I have also seen it do wonders too. From people without arms being able to play the piano more skillfully than I can, to a limbless person who is able to swim obviously better than me.
I think learning is the greatest ability that we need in order for us, as a society and as a specie, to truly achieve our inmost dreams and goals.
The less a person learns, the less likely he/she is to succeed. That is what my mind holds, and it has proven me well up to this time.
I do not see school as the training ground to learn the important things and skills: I see it more as a training ground to develop one’s self.
Whether be it in business, in a job, friendship, romantic relationships, or anything. Basing on the principle of tolerance, the more we do a certain thing, the more we feel comfortable doing it.
Did you remember the first time you were trying to ride public transportation (jeepney) for the first time? It will be terrifying for the first time, but once you get the hang of it, it will be no more of a trouble to you. The same concept applies to almost everything. The more a person cheats in school, the more comfortable he becomes doing it, even as a professional.
And did you know? This country, Philippines, is said to be run by a majority, if not all, of professional cheaters (kurakot). Cheaters are said to be the root of corruption.
If we have cheating students, then are we not bound to have cheating professionals? Do you still wonder why this country is corrupted?
Cheaters are the least thing that this infant of a country needs.
I hear some people say that talent is rare and that I am blessed to have been entrusted with it by the Creator. But I honestly think that character is more valuable and rare than talent. And I think that character can be trained and developed in many ways, whether it be to an easy, corrupted path, or to a challenging, but worthy path of integrity.
Our character is built from the easiest and trivial decisions that we make, to the hard and big ones.
As a developer, I love to develop games, ideas, software, and some nerdy things.
But the one thing that I’ve been ultimately developing is my character.
Trying to have a good character is probably one of the least of the good things that I can contribute to this world and its history. And so can you!
So…have I convinced you enough to try to not to cheat? To avoid it at all costs? Let me know what you think on the comments section below.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a classic material, and one that is very easy to read. It teaches of classic, but still applicable, principles of military war and strategy attributed to Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher. Even though this material goes back to 1772, the principles taught by Sun Tzu can still be applied to everyday life, leadership, business, competitions, military, games, and other things.
So let’s get started!
“The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations that lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.” [Sun Tzu]
In the book, we are first greeted with the first chapter talking about “Laying Plans”. It speaks of the importance of planning and preparing. And indeed, it is of vital importance, not just in military war, but in almost everything. As a young highschool student, I remember preparing for our music class’ recital. I remember practicing tens of hours to deliver my piece as perfect as possible. I literally spent tens of hours practicing, only to deliver the recital piece that will last for only 5 minutes.
Tens of hours of practice for a 5 minute performance.
I find that in any battle, competition, or any endeavor, preparation is a big part in determining success. If one does not bleed in training and preparation, he will surely die in the face of real combat. The chance of winning is determined by the preparation made by the players.
Sun Tzu also emphasizes the importance of “deception” in combat.
When able to attack, we must seem unable.
When using our forces, we must seem inactive.
When we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away.
When we are far away, we must make him believe we are near.
I am a man who has a strong distaste with the use of deception in life. Deception is for the fearful: Only for those who cannot accept the rightful consequences of their actions in life. But even with my values and beliefs, I find that this principle has its logical uses if used in a proper way. As a gamer who finds enjoyment in competition, challenges, and strategic games, I find that this can be a determining factor in winning or losing. In games like Naruto-Arena, or any other tactical or competitive games like chess, I find that deceptive moves can throw off an opponent and can even turn the tide of battle if you are in the losing side.
Don’t get me wrong: Deception is a good technique in war. But it is an evil technique if used for evil, or for one’s own personal gain in life.
Feints and deception should only be used for a greater purpose, not to satisfy one’s interest or any selfish purpose for that matter. After all, using this has its drawbacks, both in social aspects and in the development of one’s character.
The good general destroys his opponents. The better general breaks his opponents without resistance.
It should be noted that Sun Tzu does not promote war in any manner. In fact, he promotes victory through peaceful acts as significantly better than using forceful and destructive methods. Having also read “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal, I can relate this aspect to business tactics. A lot of companies and business thrive in competition, some even make use of aggressive tactics. But in truth, it is much better if one does not participate in an existing competition, but rather, one should enter oneself into a field where there is no existing competition. It makes perfectly sense, both economic health and social health. You do not only prevent making hostile business rivals, you also get to create the “competition” yourself. I find that this can also be applied in career, social, and in politics.
“Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest.” [Sun Tzu]
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” [Sun Tzu]
I see speed here both in the context of opportunities and in execution.
It has been said that opportunities do not knock twice. Often to be true. That’s why, as Sun Tzu states, “one cannot afford to neglect opportunity.”
Speed in both taking hold of opportunities and in executing plans and actions.