Sunday, 30 August 2015

Things I Learned From Doing "Nothing"

When I was in school, my grades were the most important thing in the world. Every examination I took seemed like a matter of life or death.

Then I started working and my projects became the most important thing in the world. Every obstacle and delay gave me mini heart attacks. Every time my outlook crashed, my heart would literally ache.

Eventually, I turned 30 and realized that I spent most of my youth worrying. So, 5 months before my wedding, I retired from my job of 10 years and decided to take a breather. It was this time that I started this journal, which is why this page is titled ME ON PAUSE. 

After 1 year and 6 months of doing "nothing", Here are a few things I realized:

Life never gets any easier.
There will always be problems. So there is no point in taking everything to heart. 
Enjoy every boring day for you don't know what chaos tomorrow will bring. When you are happy, savor every second. Get off social media!  And when you have a huge problem, take comfort in the thought that "this too shall pass." 

Peace of Mind is a Luxury.
Ever since I stopped competing and running  after grades, promotions and deadlines, I realize life is simple. SIMPLE IS NOT EASY. Everyday, I wake up and I'm thankful to be alive. I eat my breakfast and I am thankful I have food. And before I sleep, I thank God that I have a comfortable bed. Most importantly, I thank God for any peace of mind I got to enjoy that day. Peace of Mind is probably life's greatest luxury.

Be Mindful of Patterns
Because now I have so much time, I spend most of it listening to people. I realize people have patterns and they repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again. Some are drawn to problematic people, some are drawn to dramatic relationships and some are just looking for love in all the wrong places. 

Let me give you an example. I am drawn to powerful men. Note that power is relative. The moment I reach the same level as my partner, I become an asshole.  Realizing this pattern, I decided to intentionally let my husband lead and I try not to compete.

Let me give you another example. I know of a relative who was not really loved in her family. She married a man, who was yearning for the appreciation from his own family. She wanted him to give her the love she never received growing up. Every time she felt that he loved his family more than her, she resented the people he loved. The more she resented them, the more he drifted away from her.

Avoid Certain People for Your Own Sanity
There are people who unconsciously  drain your energy. You will find yourself insecure, tired, agitated or frustrated after talking with them or even after seeing their posts in Instagram! 

There are people who love sharing their woes to just about anyone who is willing to listen. And yet, they seem unwilling to help themselves. All they wish to do is share their misfortunes. Notice that you feel very tired after listening to them.

There are also people who complain about everything and everyone. They can't see how blessed they are. Notice how you feel annoyed after listening to them.

You don't need these people in your life. They rob you of your positive energy. Positive energy is a precious commodity. 

Be Responsible for Your Own Happiness.
Many blame their husbands, their bosses, their officemates, their boyfriends and  even BINAY!  for their unhappiness or annoyance. Truth is, only you can cheer yourself up. Take it from a semi-depressed girl. I tell you, when my demons are in town, not even Mr. Bean himself can make me laugh. 

I really have to make an effort to go out, greet the sun, say hello to our plants and just be thankful for what I have. This routine is effective in putting a smile on my face.

Everything Ends and Everybody Dies.
This is the worst realization  but this is something I wish I learned earlier in life. This last learning is the inspiration behind the first few paragraphs and the very reason why I wrote this post.

In my quest to be top of my class, I failed to enjoy many things as a kid. FYI: Youth ends.  In my quest to be on top my career, I spent so much time away from home. Now, my parents are old with white hairs. Thank God they are still alive. I still have time.

The wise Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 9: 7,9,10

So what I come to realize is...

Doing "nothing" is the best thing I can do today. For really, there is nothing I can do but live. I realize now that I was so busy, I didn't have time to live. The time I had outside of chasing after my goals, I spent to rest and I forgot to  enjoy the blessings God gave me.

Thank God, I still have time.

Happy Sunday,



  1. This is a post that I make it a point to go back to because there is so much wisdom here for me. From years of working, most of the time I forget about myself and tend to be more focus on my work rather than focusing on other aspects of my life (family, self) or just simply "living." I have yet to perfect balancing life though it is hard at times. Today is a holiday in the area where I work and as I take a stepback, reflect, seek to spend time with God and ask some questions and I decided to go back to this post again. My previous boss, that I really work well with,country manager, got promoted to a higher post and had to leave the country. 3 months on the job, a new country manager, previously a sourcing manager (no commercial role of whatsoever) from finland replaced him. It has been a frustrating 3 months because he does not understand marketing, has an idea of it but not sufficient to drive and support it. We do not see eye to eye in a lot of things because everthing to him is a gut feel which I do not agree that he is at that level yet being very new on the role, and have no background of the business. As i got to chat with the central marketing head recently in one of the workshops, i mentioned that it is hard to teach marketing to sales team and now you also have to teach the country manager. We have scheduled telecon this coming friday and I am torn if I should really tell her of the situation but it may backfire and news may reach the region and worse the country manager, my boss now. She is really reaching out to me to get some feedback and for this, because according to the previous country manager she wants to ensure I am still highly motivated. Truth is, i am not, because it matters a lot to me if I have support. What value will I give to an organization if the sales people are always followed and not to brag but some are unreasonable and ludicrous.I am torn on what I should say and what I should not say because this could be my chance to get support. and as I did my reading this morning this is what I chanced upon in the bible.-----Lastly, apply wisdom in withholding criticism (10:20). Solomon states that the wise person should not even criticize someone in the privacy of their bedroom. Listen to these words: “Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known.” Many will ask the question, “What shall I do when those in authority over me are fools?” Solomon says, “Be careful what you say about those in authority over you. Loose lips sink ships. They also sink careers and friendships.” Of course, it is hard to keep reckless words a secret, but we must realize that words can travel like the speed of light.416 Those who hear juicy gossip and slander often use them for self interest (i.e., tell the king in order to gain favor). This is the origin of the little expression: “A little bird told me.” Birds don’t talk, of course, but Solomon is reminding us with this illustration that a wise person doesn’t say something in private that he wouldn’t want someone to hear in public.417 We should watch what we say because we never know who is listening. Remember, “The walls have ears!” We should always utilize discretion, caution, and control.
    What do you think?-K

    1. As a former Marketing Manager, I understand your frustration that not everyone seems to understand the principles behind Marketing. In fact,I don't entertain companies that ask me to join them to head "Sales and Marketing" because it clearly shows they do not understand the nature of our our job.

      However, as a former boss, I also know it is hard to join a new team or take on a new role. While I may have an expertise in Marketing, not all categories, brands and industries have the same market dynamics.

      Your new boss is also stressed. He also doubts himself.

      You don't add any value to him, to your team or to your company if you complain about him to your colleagues or even to HR.

      You have to understand that sometimes in corporate, we have no choice on the roles that we are given. For all we know, baka he had no choice but to take a Marketing Job in the Philippines. Baka it was either this or he gets sacked.

      So, I suggest that instead of feeling demotivated or opening up your issues during the telecon, you take this as an opportunity to show leadership. Try to initiate a presentation where you can share with him with 2-3 year brand/ market audit, share your best practices etc.

      Trust me, when you interview for your next job-- how you deal with this situation will be a good selling point for you.

      If he appears cocky, try to let it go muna. It's normal for him to have pride at his level.

      In corporate, we always adjust with our bosses. We can't change them but we can change the way we react towards them.

      Cheers. You can email me if you want to chat more.

      I assume your office is in the Fort :)

  2. Hindi pala pumasok reply ko last night...yes my office is in Fort. Thanks for the piece of advice, it helped! Will drop you an email sometime soon!-K