Find me relatively sanguine in the indeterministic X optimistic quadrant. Credit to Peter Thiel’s CS 183 lecture. 

Find me relatively sanguine in the indeterministic X optimistic quadrant. Credit to Peter Thiel’s CS 183 lecture. 

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Unfurl yourself to new beginnings

Around my third year anniversary in SF, I started to feel like things were flatlining a bit, stagnating a bit, and just settling down. The rush and allure of a new city wore off. So instead of moving to New York as a jaded San Franciscan, I tried to fall back in love with my life in this majestic city. If you can’t change your surroundings then change your perception and response to it, right? These were the steps I took to fall back in love with SF:

Learn new stuff:

1. Improv — taking my first improv class helped me get out of my structured, process-driven mindset. As an introvert by nature trained by society to be an extrovert, I find it very hard to break out of my comfort zone. However, it’s so refreshing to find yourself in a situation where you can’t anticipate or expect a certain behavior or code of conduct. So much of daily interactions are based on some implicit premise, structure, modus operandi; improv throws all that out the window. My favorite exercises in improv are the most cathartic ones. In a circle, we practice our samurai screams, raising our katanas to kill each other, and slicing the other person to pieces. In another exercise, we go around saying “Zip, Zap, Zop” in a randomized, rapid-succession. If someone messes up, he/she has to start up the alphabet with “Bip, Bap, Bop”etc. It’s a lot to keep track of but also a great brain exercise flexing muscles you didn’t know existed.

One thing I learned from improv is the power of the agreement clauseIt’s a lot easier to keep a conversation flowing with someone when you agree with their remarks first saying,“Yes, and…”. This I found to be particularly helpful engaging in lengthy UX and product decision-making dialogue. First you agree with someone’s point of view, acknowledge that you’ve heard them, and then expound my own opinions by incorporating their stance. This technique has worked out well in ironing out and reconciling diverging points of views and vehement opinions.

2. Practice applying principles from books — oftentimes ideas don’t always translate to reality. Reading is a great way to exercise to test that disconnect. I picked two books to translate to reality—Nudge and Law of Simplicity. A lot of the decision architecting principles from Nudge apply well to user research, usability testing, and understanding user habits. So much of our daily decisions and habits are subconsciously driven by smart decision architecting where there is a clear default nudging you towards a dominant option. I began seeing more anchoring in my daily life e.g. Trader Joe’s putting the $3.99 Fage yogurt next to the $2.99 Trader Joe’s greek yogurt so you end up buying their trademark yogurt. It surprised me how much selection bias and confirmation bias influenced my daily purchasing decisions.

Law of Simplicity, similar to Enoughby Patrick Rhone, preaches great design principles and thought processes to mitigate the clutter and complexities in life. I’m a big fan of Maeda’s mnemonic devices for simplifying processes. Also, his love for fitting MIT into words like siMplIciTy and CoMplexITy is adorable.

3. Cooking — taking some time once or twice a week to cook helps me feel human again. I like to think of it as building domestic IQThere is no Wikipedia for Mom + Dad so you have to learn by doing certain things. This applies to cooking and housekeeping. I made apple cobbler for the first time this weekend only to find out how therapeutic it is. There are certain nuances, tips, and tricks you pick up like making homemade whip cream with the right tool— a whisk not a batter mixer! Chill the heavy whip cream first otherwise it won’t fluff. These things you learn from experience.

4. Ayurvedic Medicine — morning rituals are so important to start your day right. I started studying Ayurvedic medicine this month when a friend told me about the health benefits of pairing the right diet to your body type (dosha) and starting your day off with a meditative ritual. Every morning I wake up and rub Melvita’s L’Or Bio Oil (not patchouli mind you) on my wrists, temples, shoulders, lower back, navel, and soles of my feet like a hippie. It’s a self-pampering way to start the day. This practice actually increases the circulation around your pressure points similar to massaging and acupuncture in traditional Chinese medicine. Afterwards I make green tea and add slices of lemon and ginger. Having a ritual helps mitigate the Pitta (fire) in my mind and resets my equilibrium.

After making minor adjustments, learning more, and changing my default mode, I started falling back in love with SF. This love is now a deeper, more grounded, and mature one. Gone are the honeymoon, infatuation, and lusting days. By delving deeper into myself, expanding instead of contracting, I started to see the layers of urban strata, renewed sense of possibilities, and appreciation in my surroundings. Guess learning something new just helped me see what was there all along.

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald Dahl

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unknownskywalker:

Tidying Up Art by Ursus Wehrli

Wehrli takes everyday scenes of disorder and rearranges them into neat rows, sorted by different attributes such as color, size, shape, and type, etc.

(via individualcontributor)

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matthoulemard:

First post of the year goes to an amazing friend of mine visiting Portland from San Francisco: Bo

Portland holds a special place in my heart. Whenever I am spent and burnt out from SF, I always recharge in Portland. It is my sanctuary. There is so much richness, talent, and creative energy in my hometown. In the last couple of years, Portland has evolved into a tech hub (see #TechTownPortland), foodie oasis, and most notably, Portlandia, where young people go to retire. 

Whereas SF has its bursts and bubbles, Portland has been on a steady but slow upward trajectory. I hope to return to my hometown one day and contribute to its growing tech hub in a meaningful way. That time will come when I’ve learned to reconcile two antitheses in myself. I yearn for what SF embodies—thrill and excitement of new ideas, “the next thing”, and possibilities— as well what Portland values—security and comfort of “enough”. 

Many of my friends who have left Portland believe it is too “comfortable” so you end up mistaking happiness for comfort. However, I believe there is a threshold for productive discomfort where the itch and the hunger does more harm than good. I wish to create an intermediary space between SF and Portland where you can bring the chutzpah, “hustle”, and sense of possibilities from the bay area to coexist and thrive with the wellness and comfort of Portland. 

Until that day when I am ready to return to Portland, keep hustling and be well. 

—bo 

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humansofnewyork:

"I was raised to blame myself instead of accepting myself."

This post truly resonates with me b/c I too was raised in a culture and family that told me to turn inward first and assess myself before turning outward. Sometimes you can’t internalize and accept all the blame. There are elements out of your control. The biggest lesson I’ve had to learned is to turn both outward and inward. Determine if you are in the wrong but also know you are not at fault. 
Find what you can control Jiriki (自力, one’s own strength) and identify what you can’t control Tariki (他力 meaning “other power”, “outside help”). Letting go is navigating the space between Jiriki and Tariki. It’s a delicious ambiguity where fault does not sit on either shoulders but both, vacillating. Once I started seeing the world as intertwined where both input and output are not down broken down to a 1:1 ratio, the weight lifted. 

humansofnewyork:

"I was raised to blame myself instead of accepting myself."

This post truly resonates with me b/c I too was raised in a culture and family that told me to turn inward first and assess myself before turning outward. Sometimes you can’t internalize and accept all the blame. There are elements out of your control. The biggest lesson I’ve had to learned is to turn both outward and inward. Determine if you are in the wrong but also know you are not at fault. 

Find what you can control Jiriki (自力, one’s own strength) and identify what you can’t control Tariki (他力 meaning “other power”, “outside help”). Letting go is navigating the space between Jiriki and Tariki. It’s a delicious ambiguity where fault does not sit on either shoulders but both, vacillating. Once I started seeing the world as intertwined where both input and output are not down broken down to a 1:1 ratio, the weight lifted. 

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On writing more…

Ever since I published my first Women 2.0 article and got invited to write for Medium, I’ve been afraid to write, afraid that I would unwittingly offend someone, afraid that my writing would just be another half-ass whiny ThoughtCatalog post, afraid that my boss or mom might be reading this. There’s analysis paralysis as well as consensus paralysis. I can’t please everyone much less my own mother. So, I’m going to write more. I’ve had a Medium post archived for weeks while I was afraid to hit the publish button. Now’s the time. The wait is over. 

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Embrace change and a good challenge.
humansofnewyork:

"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?""When a wave comes, go deep.""I think I’m going to need an explanation for that one.""There’s three things you can do when life sends a wave at you. You can run from it, but then it’s going to catch up and knock you down. You can also fall back on your ego and try to stand your ground, but then it’s still going to clobber you. Or you can use it as an opportunity to go deep, and transform yourself to match the circumstances. And that’s how you get through the wave.”

Embrace change and a good challenge.

humansofnewyork:

"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?"
"When a wave comes, go deep."
"I think I’m going to need an explanation for that one."
"There’s three things you can do when life sends a wave at you. You can run from it, but then it’s going to catch up and knock you down. You can also fall back on your ego and try to stand your ground, but then it’s still going to clobber you. Or you can use it as an opportunity to go deep, and transform yourself to match the circumstances. And that’s how you get through the wave.”

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Keep hustlin' to keep happy.

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