I’m alive

As you are probably aware, a big earthquake hit the north-east part of Japan on 11 March and I stopped updating this blog since then. This is a quick notice that I’m alive. The part of Japan where I live (Saitama – near Tokyo) is hardly damaged, and far away from the recommended evacuation zone of the Fukushima nuclear plants. So, despite what you may have heard from media, I can safely say that I’m in a safe place.

However, we must not forget that there are people who suffered from this big earthquake as well as from the nuclear plant accident. If you haven’t done so, please donate for them (Seriously, I hear that people haven’t donated much for this cause). You can check this page for where to donate. It’s not listed in that page. I recommend GlobalGiving as well.

I have been pouring my energy into things like researching about what’s going on and learning some fundamentals about nuclear plants and radiation, trying to inform non-Japanese residents of Japan about the current situation and how it’s more likely to be safe in Tokyo and in places far away from the nuclear plants so I can calm down some of them, and some translation projects related to this earthquake (by the way, if you didn’t know, I’m a freelance translator).

Now, things calmed down a bit and I was ready to go back to blogging. But then, I got injured from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on Thursday and now my right orbit bone got broken. It wasn’t as bad as I needed to have an operation, though. So, I’ll wait and see. My eyesight seems to be normal, but from certain angles, things look doubled. A bonus is that I got my head CT-scanned, and that means I was exposed to radiation much more than I would get exposed to it from spending a day outside or even a week or a month in this area. I find it amusing, actually.

So, now it’s hard for me to face my computer and to work on something, because it makes my right eye tired quickly and that’s not good for recovery.

I might take some more rest from blogging and instead try to think more about the design and foundation of this blog as well as things like the unique selling proposition of this blog (i.e. it’s an answer to the question why people should read my blog).

I learnt a number of great lessons from this earthquake and I want to share them with you all. That will be my comeback post.

My eye started hurting a bit, and I want to have some rest now. See you until the next time.

Stay calm, stay safe, keep loving, and have hope.



Photo: kelby93

Take the champion road

Why being the best you can be is not enough

I got stuck in a certain trap a while ago. Let me explain what the trap is and how you can avoid it.

I wanted to be the best grappler I can be. (Note to new readers: I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I’m passionate about it.) I still want to be the best grappler I can be and this desire itself isn’t a trap. Perhaps you have something you are passionate about and you want to reach the peak of your potential. Or perhaps you simply want to be the best person you can be. The latter applies to me as well, but I will use Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as an example.

The trap that caught me was this. I wasn’t clear about what it means to be the best grappler I can be… and I didn’t have any measure and I didn’t even try to set one… one that looks almost absurd.

Instead of declaring that I aim to win a world championship as part of my plan to be the best grappler I can be, I would say, “I want to be the best grappler I can be and that’s all I want”.

The reason why I didn’t say I would aim at becoming a world champion is because I was being realistic… or to put it more precisely, I didn’t trust myself enough. There are great players already and they’ve been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for ages. How can I beat them all? Am I good enough? This way of thinking is the trap I’m talking about.

Take The Champion Road

Achieving this goal is one thing, and taking a road to this goal is another thing. There’s nothing wrong with setting a ridiculously high goal and declaring it to others, provided that you actually take the path to that goal.

The reason why I believe setting such a goal is great is because it will give you a standard to measure your progress. “Being the best grappler you can be” is fine, but this doesn’t give me any clear standard that I can compre my self with my past selves. If I win a competition or people I couldn’t beat before, I know I improved.

Note that becoming a world champion is an objective standard. You beat everyone in your category and you’ll be a world champion. With this standard, you compare yourself with others. I compared myself with top players and didn’t even think about becoming a world champion.

But the thing is that my ultimate goal is oriented towards something subjective rather than objective.

Being a world champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu doesn’t necessarily mean that I got to the peak of my potential as a grappler. If I could improve my skills further, then that would mean I haven’t reached there yet.

At the same time, it’s possible that I may never be able to become a world champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – it’s possible that the best grappler I can be is not the best grappler in the world.

What I need to do in order to measure my progress is to compare my current self with my past selves; I use an objective standard to make my progress visible.

Don’t apologise for setting a ridiculously high goal and taking the champion road. If you do, you are betraying yourself.

Let’s say you want to be the best person you can be. How would you know you are making progress? Is there any objective standard you can borrow? What are your ridiculously high goals?

Photo: Bahi P

There’s something about ‘M’?

Something About ‘M’onica…

I used to have a terrible relationship with… let’s call her Monica.

I used to think she was somewhat evil and didn’t want to be around her. Maybe she isn’t evil, but people do fight over her sometimes; it seems as if she’s been causing a lot of trouble to others. She has power over a number of people all over the world after all. Some of them try hard to get her attention. Some of them want her attention for the sake of getting her attention. Perhaps you haven’t noticed about her, but her influence is significant.

At one stage, I wished I could live my life without her at all. But the thing is, I needed her help… in fact, I still need her help and I will need it probably for the rest of my life. When I got her help, I sometimes felt guilty about it.

But this year, I decided to change my relationship with her. If I hated her, how would she be even interested in me after all? I will be more curious about her and try to understand where she is coming from. Also, instead of trying to please her in the hope that I will get some necessary help in return, I’ll create and provide value first. I acknowledge that I need Monica’s help, and it’s not just for myself, but for others as well.

… Or Something About ‘M’oney

You may have noticed it already, but Monica isn’t an existent person. I simply personified money and described my past relationship with it as if it’s a person.

This way of thinking helped me visualise what kind of relationship I had with money. Now I’m curious about how my understanding of dating, relationship and sex applies to a relationship with money – I bet the former can convert pretty well into the latter, but I’m yet to experience it (If you are good in both areas, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section).

In relation to this curiosity about money, I will read and work on Your Life Or Your Money by Vicki Robin next.

I’ve finished reading The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco, which I mentioned in a previous post. It was highly educational, especially you are inclined towards unconventional paths that do make much more sense than conventional paths. One of the fruits I got from this book is that now I can say that I want money and for a clear(er) reason – I want it so I can spend my time on pursuing things that impact million people.

What does your relationship with money look like if you personify money? If it doesn’t look like a good relationship, why? Is there any way for to have a better relationship with money? Again, think about it from the money-personified view – if you hate someone, it’s pretty likely that this person wouldn’t want to be around you either. If it’s a good relationship, I’m curious if you worked hard on it.

Photo: rachfog

Going beyond awesomeness: Why I fell in love with a certain blog post

Fucking AwesomeBackground Story

I will talk about a certain blog post that inspired me so much that I had to share on various platforms. But let me tell you some background first.

A while ago, I read an inspiring post by Corbett Barr of Think Traffic. His post “Write Epic Shit” argues that when it comes to building a popular website, writing/creating epic shit is the most important factor, which makes up 80% of the overall impact while promotional tactics only make up 20% of it.

Corbett’s post is about building a popular website, but this idea of creating epic shit is relevant to life in general, especially when you consider your life as your art and intend to create the best art you can create. So, if you are not interested in web site building, what I want to talk about is relevant to you as well.

I have been thinking about this idea for a while, and I aim to write epic shit for readers and visitors of this blog. Content that changes the way you think. That’s what I want to provide to you.

A Blog Post That Inspired Me Like No Other Posts

Corbett recently wrote a post titled “The Quest to Be F*cking Awesome” on his personal blog and his post introduced me to a massively inspiring post written by Julien Smith.

It’s called “The Short and Sweet Guide to Being Fucking Awesome“. Given that you’ve read this far despite the term epic shit, I bet you aren’t the type who gets offended by the word ‘fucking’, I’ll let you know that you’ll see a lot of ‘fucking’ in that post. Do read it for its content, though.

As far as blog posts are concerned, Julien’s post was one of the most inspiring ones I’ve read in a while. I tweeted about it. I shared it on Facebook. I told about it to my friend. I wrote about it on a forum. Now I’m writing a blog post in relation to it. I may do these things for other posts or things I found online, but this time, I really wanted others to read this post. I had to share it with others. In other words, this post was epic shit.

Here’s some of the reasons why I think Julien’s post is epic shit (before reading further, make sure to read his post first).

It challenges your assumptions.

In the very beginning, he claims that most of yardsticks we use to measure progress is worthless. He does this assumption breaking in other parts of the post as well. He doesn’t provide arguments against these assumptions, but he does make you aware of these assumptions you may have. Once you are aware of your potential assumptions, you can rethink and reassess them.

The message is crystal clear.

This whole post is about being fucking awesome. Right from the beginning to the end. The way Julien writes this post is honest and raw, and it helps his message stronger. By the way, using the word ‘fucking’ doesn’t necessarily make something honest and raw, but I bet Julien is one of the people who can make use of the word effectively.

It gives you a new perspective.

I’m pretty sure you’ve come across a version of this message elsewhere before. Even “be yourself” could be in the same line. But then, it’s not the message itself that’s new, but his perspective on the old message that’s fresh and new. I especially like how he relates this message to the size of your world, which I never explicitly thought about.

It makes you think.

I believe the real value of the post, if I’m to nominate one, is that it makes you think. This reason is similar to the reason of challenging assumptions, but let me clarify a bit – what I mean is that this post doesn’t give you answers, but it leads you to asking questions about what it means for you to be fucking awesome… not just awesome, but fucking awesome.

It is about you.

Julien mentions what makes him think his life is awesome, but he does it to give some examples and not to brag about his achievements. This post is not about why Julien Smith is fucking awesome, but the focus of the post is you. If it’s relevant to you, you will be interested in what it says.


What do you think about Julien’s post? Are there any works that you consider as epic shit? If there are, why do you think they are epic?

By the way, if you are curious about this topic of being awesome, check out this post as well.

Photo: anjamation

Change one, inspire million

Change One, Inspire Million

In the past, my ambition was to change a few people. I thought that would be ambitious enough as a life time project. If I could influence a few people and they could become a leader who influences million people, that would be great. Or so I thought.

I don’t remember exactly why I thought influencing a few people would be enough. Perhaps I assumed I was only capable of influencing that small number of people. That’s quite likely.

How limited.

Now I want to impact more people. In order to do so, I need to be able to change one person at a time. The first person I need to change is… myself.

Be the change you want to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi

Here, I promise to change myself into the kind of person who can influence million people or even more people. In fact, let’s aim to inspire and to leave a positive impact on everyone I meet. I’m not going to force anything upon them, but I will meet and interact with people, having this attitude in mind.

This change of thinking took place little by little. It took me more than a decade to change my thinking. But, it finally started blooming and the last pushes came recently. Very recently.

As I think about it, there were three sources of such pushes: Benjamin Zander’s TED talk, Seth Godin’s book “Poke the Box” and MJ DeMarco’s book “The Millionaire Fastlane”.

Benjamin Zander’s TED talk on Music and Passion

I would love you to watch Benjamin Zander’s talk on Music and Passion. I had seen it early last year, but its impact was even more powerful when I watched it again a few weeks ago.

Ben is passionate about helping people see the beauty of classical music. He notes that people in the classical music industry believe 3 percent of the population likes classical music and their ultimate goal is to add another percent to it. But, how does this way of thinking influence the way you act in promoting classical music, the way you interact with people who aren’t familiar with it yet?

I love the following part of his talk.

I say, “How would you walk? How would you talk? How would you be if you thought 3 percent of the population likes classical music? If only we could move it to 4 percent. How would you walk? How would you talk? How would you be if you thought everybody loves classical music — they just haven’t found out about it yet.” … See, these are totally different worlds.

Instead of acting as if we could influence only a few people, why don’t we act as if I could influence everyone I meet?

To be honest with you, I am guilty of assuming that some people are not interesting enough and of dialling down myself sometimes. I don’t necessarily look down on them for being boring, but I certainly don’t think about making a positive impact on them either, because I’d assume it would be a waste of time. Well, maybe it is in some cases, or even in many cases – but I will not assume these things and present my whole package. Instead, I will try to see their potentials and find something interesting about them.

Seth Godin’s Poke the Box

Let’s talk about Seth Godin’s new book “Poke the Box“. His message is simple and clear – be the initiator and start something now.

What makes a difference is whether you ship your work or not. You have good ideas already, and you can choose to ship them or not. If you do, great! If not, these ideas will be dead.

I’ve decided to initiate this change of the way I think and act.

By the way, Seth asks the following questions in his book and I find them interesting.

If you had a chance to do a TED talk, what would it be about? What have you discovered, what do you know, what can you teach?

I had been thinking about these questions, because recently I decided that I want to be the kind of person who can talk on an idea worth spreading at a TED or TEDx.

What would my TED talk be about? What have I discovered? What do I know? What can I teach?

Here’s another question – am I leading a remarkable life that will help me discover ideas worth spreading? I love my life, but I can make it even better and better – that is, my current life is not as remarkable as I want it to be. So, the next question is this: How can I be the kind of person who discovers ideas worth spreading and walk the talk?

I don’t have a clear answer to this question. But, having this question in mind is much better than having no awareness about it.

MJ DeMarco’s The Millionaire Fastlane

I came to know about MJ DeMarco’s book “The Millionaire Fastlane” through Tina Su’s blog Think Simple Now.

I got interested in this book after reading a guest post by the author himself (“The Greatest Tragedy: Time vs. Money“) and Tina’s endorsement of the book.

In his book, MJ DeMarco expands what he talks about in his post – time is scarce and money is abundant. His book centres around three different approaches to wealth: the Sidewalk, the Slowlane, and the Fastlane. The Sidewalk will get you to nowhere. The Slowlane will require you to trade time with money. The Fastlane will help you become wealthy without sacrificing your time. He argues that it’s crucial to have the Fastlane mindsets and focus on process rather than events if you want to be wealthy.

I was impressed by his instruction on how to be a millionaire.

If you want to be a millionaire, impact millions.

This is probably the simplest instruction I’ve ever heard, and it does make sense.


Thanks to the development of technology, we have means to reach million people. The Internet, e-mail, blogging, Twitter, Facebook… How exciting!

Here I have a question similar to the one I asked about regarding giving a TED talk. What kind of person do I need to be in order to impact million people? I haven’t left a positive impact on million people yet, and that’s a clear indication that if I keep doing what I have done before, I won’t reach million people. So, I need to stop what I have done and change my course.

I’m speeding up the gear now.

How about you? Do you know what you want to achieve? Is there any possibility that you are limiting yourself like I was? Do you know what you need to do in order to become that person who achieves what you want to achieve?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

Photo: στρατός