A letter to all ambitious women out there

 Hi ambitious woman, I am so proud of you. I want to start this letter by patting you on the back for owning your ambition, for the courage to go against the grain, and declaring that you are a trailblazing woman. You have been called “too much” far too many times, too bossy, too know-it-all, too competitive, and maybe you’ve been told, “Who does this girl thinks she is?” I am so damn proud of you for standing up for yourself and following your own path.

1. You will go through a lot of challenges.
      Life will test you a lot of times. Sometimes it will hit you repeatedly on the face, on your gut, and you will fall down. Those who are so brave will get trampled upon, but you know what the difference is? Women like you do not know how to give up. It’s just not in your DNA. Challenges even energize you to be so relentless. You are not afraid to be vulnerable and fall flat on your face. Your mission is clear to you, hence no matter what hurdles come along, you will face it headstrong. 

2. You will meet amazing people.
      There are people who have come before you and will guide you as you walk your path. Learn from them and carve your own way. Every person that you meet has a lesson to teach whether that interaction is good or bad. I guarantee that you will not be alone in your ambition because there are lots of women who didn’t listen to the patriarchy, who decided that even if this world still doesn’t see men and women as equals, we are not bowing down to that belief. They will inspire you to proceed with whatever your heart wants and that women are here to take space and be awesome. 

3. You will ignore the haters.
      Those who decide to carve a unique path will be faced with so much hate. I think you know a thing or two about crab mentality. Some people can’t just process their insecurities hence they project it on you. When a tree is bearing fruit, that’s the time that a random person throws stones on those shiny and juicy apples. Productive people just don’t have the time and energy to hate because they are busy being so fucking amazing, slaying their goals and doing good for humanity. Ignore gossip and just do your shit. Haters are gonna hate because they are just so frustrated and insecure and they are not even brave enough to admit that to themselves. It is easier to badmouth people than to wake up every single day and do the hard work. 

4. You will learn so much along the way.
      All experiences in your life will teach you wisdom that you can’t have just by reading or watching motivational videos. You have to ask yourself, “What am I learning from this?” Every positive or negative experience has something to teach us, and our job is to listen to what the Universe is teaching. If you want to be a better person than you were yesterday, you have to be receptive to what life is teaching you. If you will be stubborn and keep on doing practices that aren’t good and working for you, then I hate to break it to you but you are not getting anywhere. You will be stuck because success requires growth and every season of our lives requires us to evolve. Who do you have to become to be the person you aspire to be? Do you need to be disciplined? Do you have to let go of limiting beliefs. Be a student of life. 

5. You will realize who are the people on your team. 
      There will be people who are good for you and of course there are those whose energy is just not good for your soul. Your job in this planet is to take of your soul because when you do, that love overflows and people can get the best of you. But if you keep on spending time with those who drain you, then how can you transform to your awesome self? Evaluate the energy that your friends emanate. Do you feel good after talking to them or do you feel insecure? Are your friends empowering you or are they discouraging you? Are they cheering you on? Can you rely on them during though times? Have a strong satellite for these kinds of people, and when you find them keep them close. 

6. You will fail.
      Surprise! Since you are brave, I would like to inform you that you will fail. Failure is a part of an ambitious woman’s life. You will not get that job. You will flunk that exam that you spent weeks studying.Your boss will not be satisfied with your work and the list goes on. But then again, every failure has a corresponding lesson, and that lesson will be the fuel to your success. If you do not fail then that means you are not trying. What matters is you get back up every single day, and as Brene Brown says, you go back to that arena, start again and fight. 

7. You will fall in love.
      Even if you are so focused on your goals, remember that love will be the reason why everything still makes sense. If you just keep on chasing money, fame, or success, but then your personal life is on the rocks, then will success still matter? At the end of the day, love is all that matters. So fall in love with life, with your journey, and generate the moments that will keep your heart on fire. Take care of your relationships and give it time. An ambitious woman allows herself to fall so deeply in love. 

8. You will realize what matters. 
      When you are too caught up with problems, we tend to forget the bigger picture. We get trapped in our “mini-me.” An ambitious woman takes the time to reflect and ask herself if this problem is worth the stress. At the end of the day we have to focus on our priorities, and on how we belong to the bigger scheme of things. This is a vast universe and our life as humans is just a tiny speck to its existence. Life is so short, so we have to be wise with how we spend this limited amount that has been given to us. 

9. You will have fun.
      Chasing your dreams is fun. The journey is what matters. You will realize that even if we live in this complicated world, we need to have fun. Enjoy the ride and actively search for things that make you smile. As I’ve said, the trip is short so it makes sense that we must have fun. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. 

10. You will thrive. 
      You will succeed, that is for sure. Maybe not in the timeline that you’ve set or in the field that you chose. Ambitious women succeed because they just keep on putting one foot over another. Eventually, you will experience flow and thrive. Inaction guarantees a stagnant life but a hardworking, driven, and purposeful person has a high chance of achieving their goals than lazy people. As Newton’s third law of motion states, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Whatever step you take will eventually bear fruit. You just have to be patient and headstrong. When trials come your way you can take a rest and then continue hustling again. 

Antidote to frustration

When the pandemic started I plummeted on a spiral of negativity. I got disappointed, more than I usually am, with almost everyone who’s handling this pandemic. I understand that COVID is a monster virus but I also know that this could have been handled better. More than a year after the first lockdown, and yet, here we are, experiencing a pandemic in a third world country, which could possibly be the worst place for a human being to be in. I was depressed and demotivated to study because the system is just too broken, but luckily, I was able to crawl out of that tunnel. How do we make peace with a shitty situation that is mostly out of our control?

1. Acceptance
      I discovered that the more we resist the situation that we are in, the harder it is to take the steps to solve problems. Accept that in this moment, these are the cards which we have been dealt with. You are in the Philippines, a country that has been colonized by three big countries for hundreds of years. This is where we are and we have to make peace with this fact. Maybe in another life I’m from Canada or Australia, but in this one, you are born in the Philippines. Accept that monsters exist, that the culture of corruption is a staple here in our nation. There are so many starving kids and sick people who are dying due to the poor healthcare system. Accept at the moment, that we live in a very flawed government, that not all leaders take their job “public servant” by heart. Recognize that not everyone has the same heart as you and your environment is pathological. Right now, this is your life situation. 

2. Gratitude
      Even though these are the realities that we must face on a daily basis, I still believe that we have to acknowledge what we have been given. It is unfair to just focus on the negatives. You are lucky that you are alive, especially since COVID lurks around the corner, and yet, here we are, still surviving. If you are reading this, it means that you have the privilege of being able to access gadgets and the internet. Having food on the table, getting an education, having a safe home to live in, and being with your family in these difficult times, are all things that we have to be thankful for. Being grateful doesn’t disregard the numerous flaws which are still present, but don’t we owe it to the Universe to be happy about what we have? For the past five years, keeping a gratitude journal has kept me aligned with what is important. Even though heavy and difficult things arise, I know that the fact that I am still breathing means that there still is a fighting chance for whatever that we are waking up for.

3. Decide that you can do something.
      Maybe you think that I am so naive for even imagining that I can make a difference. But come on, if everyone accepts that mediocrity and injustice is the norm, then aren’t we helping perpetuate these crimes to humanity? I refuse to give up. I refuse to say that this is all there is, that dying people will be the new norm. I know that even if I am just one insignificant human, I can make a difference. Know that you can do that too. We are intelligent species filled with thousands of neurons with connections that has allowed people to fly to the moon and discover the other galaxies in the sky. How come we think that we are so limited? We are not. You are not limited. You can make a difference wherever you are as long as you are brave and aren’t afraid of the legwork that living purposefully entails. Your existence matters. Make a decision that you will stop playing small. 

4. Stay in the moment and offer it the best you that you can give. 
      A lesson that I have learned from Oprah and Eckhart Tolle is to be present. This might seem a little woo-woo to others but, our present moment creates our future. We have to be fully present with the task at hand, the conversations we are in and the relationships in our lives, because when we are, that’s when the magic happens. People feel it when you genuinely care. There are people who will see how authentic you are. So if you are reading a book, give it your full attention. If you are bonding with family, stop using your phone. When you are talking with clients, don’t multitask, focus on them. Even in activities such as doing the laundry or washing dishes, stay present. That’s when you deliver quality work, and when that accumulates, someone will always notice. You owe it to what has been handed to you.

5. Be the role model you wish you had.
      Some people are lucky to be born with parents who are conscious enough in raising children, but most of us I guess didn’t have that. I think we have to take in to consideration that our parents didn’t also know better. I kept on looking for role models as I was growing up, but I found it difficult to find one, so I decided that if I can’t find one, then I’ll be one. I am frustrated with our leaders, so I decide that I will start by leading myself. Try it too. Be the mother, father, sister, best friend, mentor, leader, that you wish you had. Work hard on becoming the best version of yourself. Align your actions with the solutions to your frustrations. Stop waiting for things to change and start with you. Make a difference in the space that you are in and try to expand that culture of authenticity and humanity in the biggest scale that you possibly can, at your own pace. 

6. Be kind.
      We are not perfect. I am guilty of being impatient and cranky especially since I am in the medical field. But I try my best to be as kind as I can be. When I fall off the wagon, I also forgive myself. I learned this lesson the hard way. I used to be the person who cannot forgive slacking off. When there’s a group project in college, I expect all my groupmates to perform at the level that I do, not meeting deadlines is non-negotiable. I get mad at my groupmates who aren’t sending their parts for our lab reports on time, up to the point that I was becoming a very toxic person. I became unkind. It is their  responsiblity after all. But when difficult things happened to me, that’s when I realized that, I don’t have an idea about what is happening to another person. I don’t have a clue about their situation at home, their finances, or if they are eating at all. So I can’t be unkind, because as the quote goes, “Be kind. Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about.” I’m not yet as kind as I want to be but everyday, I try my best to be as mindful. 

7. Live a life of service.
     I am not sure when what I want to do has become crystal clear to me. I like leading, managing projects, and learning ever since. I also like seeing that what I do has a contribution to even a single creature. I’m not saying that I am aiming to be Mother Teresa, but seeing others win and do great and humane things for others makes me smile before I sleep. Isn’t that beautiful? When I learned that service and a hunger for learning keeps my soul alive, I knew that I wanted to be or at least try to reach for that MD. Here I am, about to start fourth year, I still have a long way to go but I have come far. Even though there are hard and painful parts, I would still choose this. My service is my offering to the universe. I hope and pray that you reader, are living a life filled with purpose.

8. Create a solution for people’s problems.
     One of my dreams is to create a business that will allow people from my hometown to live comfortably without leaving their families to work abroad. Writing in this blog is not just for creative expression. At the back of my mind, I want to offer clarity to my readers and in a way, help them maneuver challenges in their own lives. My efforts may seem futile, but even if only one person reads an entry, and somehow learns something or thinks differently after reading, then I would be most thrilled. That one person has friends, family or colleagues that they can influence. I want to make more good in this world. That is how I make peace with my disappointments. Find your art or an avenue  for your activism.

9. Educate, don’t hate.
     Since the advent of social media, I noticed that opinions are getting more polarized. Friendships die because of different political beliefs. There are more facebook comments filled with attacks just because of opposing views. Offensive words are like a staple. You just need to look at the comments section and you’ll see so much lack of respect. What if instead of trying to win arguments, we focus on understanding the other party and offer education instead of shaming them? What if we choose respect? We can’t control other people’s thoughts but we can manage how we respond to them. We can engage in a healthy discussion and if the other person attacks, leave. Making a point is never the point. Enlighten instead of winning.

10. Live each day as if it were your last. 
     When I get caught up in the craziness of this world I try my best to remember that today could be my last day. Will I choose to live with anger and negative thoughts? How do you want your last day to be? Draw a picture of your last day on earth. Live that. Focus on what matters. We only have one shot in this life after all. Live fully. 

Unlock your fullest potential

There are epiphanies that we suddenly realize as we grow old. If we are to compare ourselves from who we were a year ago, five years ago, and ten years ago, we’d notice that we changed a lot because of our experiences. I find this constant process of discovery as an interesting journey. You have these expectations about who you are and who you will be and yet you surprise yourself that you have turned out different. As we tread these changes, I think the consistent theme in these different phases of our lives is, we can be at peace with where we are when we are making sure that we fully unlock every version of ourselves, and hopefully before our last breath, we can say that “I have exhausted everything, I did everything that I possibly could.” There will be no regrets nor what ifs.

The next question is, “How do you unlock your fullest potential?” I can only speak based on how I approach life and what I have learned overall, and that is by breaking it in to tiny, actionable steps. 

1. Make an irrevocable decision about the life that you want.
       When you know where you are going, there will be less mental burden about the decisions you’ll be making. Decide what kind of life you want, without any sort of guilt. Do you want to be a millionaire? Do you want to travel all over the world? Do you want to live a simple life on a hill or in the middle of a forest? Ask yourself this question everyday, “What do I really want?” and listen to your gut’s honest answer. Write it down. To be honest, I feel sad whenever I meet someone who is just wasting precious Earth time wandering aimlessly. We all have moments of uncertainties, but at some point, you have to choose your path. Ten years from now, what does a beautiful life look like to you. Make it as detailed as possible and then that’s it, that’s the life you want.


2. Schedule it. 
      If it’s not scheduled, it’s not getting done. This is just honest advice. If you keep on saying that I want to be financially successful, or have a family, or a car, and you’re just sitting there on the couch and praying to be abundant, I hate to break it to you, but it’s not happening. You have to put it in your calendar and make time for each step that will take you closer to the kind of life that you truly want. Start small. Take those baby steps which might seem insignificant at the moment. You’ll see that those tiny actions will accumulate and result to something great, something that only sheer hard work could ever do.


3. Eliminate anything that brings you down. 
      Are you spending so much time on social media? Do you have thought patterns or belief systems that aren’t helping you rise? Well then it’s time to let go of them. Turn your phone off when you have to focus and just concentrate on whatever task is at hand. Stay in the moment you are in. If it’s not making you a happier and better person, then let go of it. It could be a bad habit, or a dragging relationship, or even people who disguise themselves as friends. Choose your energy. Make sure that even if you plummet in to negativity a few times, you still take steps to keep yourself on a higher energy vibe.


4. Ask for help. 
      You are not an island. You belong to a species of organisms who need socializing. The news, COVID, financial setbacks, illnesses, they all are heavy to carry alone. The thing is, you don’t have to face every single one of them on your own. Ask for help. Be brave to humbly seek assistance whenever you need it. I can’t tell you how this simple step changed everything for me. I used to be the person who wants to prove that she doesn’t need any help from anyone. It’s pathological. This attitude has allowed me to be strong, independent, brave and extremely self-reliant, but it also made me a loner and somehow it closed my doors to opportunities and relationships that could have been good for me. Be self-reliant, but when you need help, please ask for it. 


5. Surround yourself with people who want to see you win. 
      Be careful who you spend most of your time with. If you just gossip, drink, or watch TV with your friends, I hate to break it to you, but you are not with the right people. If you want to become successful, you have to make sure that you are in an environment that will allow you to grow at the level that you want to. Talk about goals and how you are achieving them. Discuss ideas, passion, and creativity. Generate that energy of relentlessness. Assess if the people you are with want to see you win. Filipino culture taught us to value family, but sometimes extended family members can cause too much toxicity. You will get opinions you didn’t ask for or unwanted visits and demands. If that’s the case, stop complaining, save up, and move out. If they are not helping you, just get out of that negative space. You can’t possibly grow in a soil that isn’t capable of providing the nutrients that you need to achieve your highest potential.


6. Expect setbacks. 
      This is not a world of unicorns and rainbows. But I guess you already know that. Following your passion or chasing a dream can be equated to going through loopholes with fire on its outlines. It’s like running on a track with lanes with shards of glass or burning coal. It’s kind of morbid but there will be times when you will want to give up because it’s hard and painful. Circumstances will get out of control just when you think everything is okay. Expect setbacks, my love. There will be highs and lows but just hold on to hope. Keep the faith and know that nothing is permanent, even trials.


7. Have a go-to person. 
      To say that we have that one best friend is false in my opinion. I have a friend that I confide in depending on what I am going through. I hope you have these people. They will give you honest advice and a listening and non-judgmental ear. Having real friends is very comforting. They get you back to your senses when you are getting off track. They will patiently hold your hand when you are still healing. How do you have these people? Be a friend. Be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on for others, and when it’s your turn to be punched by the world, someone will always be there for you.


8. Come back stronger. 
      When setbacks happen and you feel like you can’t take another blow anymore, rest. Allow your body and your mind the time and space for recovery. Stop pushing when you know within yourself that you are mentally and physically exhausted. This time frame varies for every person. When you are already rested, roll up your sleeves and with courage, start again. You have learned the lessons, and now it’s time to use that wisdom in getting back up. Know that you are strong because you have gotten through the unthinkable. Nothing is impossible for someone who doesn’t have the phrase “give up” in their vocabulary. 


9. Give. 
      Having a generous heart will allow abundance to flow in your life. I have proven this repeatedly. Whenever I feel like there isn’t enough money or when I am scared, I give. It may be my time, or any form of help that I could give. Surprisingly, abundance follows when your heart is not guarded by the scarcity wall. Volunteer for an advocacy you believe in. Serve. Just give not because you want something in return but do it because it feels good to make others feel better.


10. Surrender. 

For me, life is 50% what happens to you and 50% of it will come from your actions. We can do so much with our precious 50%. When I wake up every morning, I do my best to keep things in order and accomplish the tasks that I need to do so that my dreams will come into fruition. But I also know that there will be circumstances and forces which are out of my control, and so when I pray I surrender that 50%. “No matter how this day goes, I will do my best and the Universe will do the rest for me.” It was hard for a control freak like me to utter the word “surrender.” However, I sleep better ever since I accepted that things will get out of control, schedules will get ruined, annoying people will pop up, but how I perceive these circumstances and my legwork is all that matters. Surrender your dream and each moment and eventually you’ll get there. 

Dealing with pressure

By merely typing the word “pressure” on the keyboard, I feel a little bit of it already. In Physics, pressure is defined as the amount of force per unit area. In terms of life in general, I guess all of us have felt it, a certain amount of force strikes us, often unexpectedly. Some of us are good at handling it. Some would feel immensely overwhelmed and would freeze. Some would sadly, do drastic things, either good or bad, when the pressure is on. In my current situation as a medical student, and in my experiences in this ever dynamic life, I am constantly seeking and practicing ways to relieve the pressure and handle it better especially when things don’t go my way. Again, I am not perfect. In fact I just had a mini meltdown last night. I still have a lot to learn but so far here are the tools which worked for me.

1. Humility
Oftentimes the pressure comes from having a certain level of success in the past. To be honest, sometimes I do feel like I have to be excellent because I have the constant need to exceed the level of achievement that I previously had. However, I realized that this mindset is not serving me. Realizing that those past accolades aren’t me took so much weight off my shoulders. When I read Elizabeth Gibert’s book, Big Magic, she wrote about being a vessel and not the source. I felt so much humility and much lighter because it gave me the permission to just do my best knowing that I am not the genius. That girl who wrote that piece of poetry, or who aced her exam, or won an award, wasn’t me. I am just the vessel, and not the source. The genius moves within me and when it decides to leave, I am totally okay with that. I let it go and thank it for moving through me. I cannot do excellent work all the time, but what I can do is work and trust. Please repeat this whenever there’s too much pressure, “I am just a vessel and not the source.These are not me, it comes from something, bigger than the little me.”

2. Hardwork
Laziness is the perfect ingredient for overwhelm. I am saying this because I was really lazy before especially when I was younger. When you know that you can do a certain task for a short time, you tend to procrastinate. You watch movies, spend hours on social media, or do irrelevant tasks instead of facing the problem at hand. Then, the tasks pile up, other responsibilities will pull you from all directions, and suddenly you are the human representation of a walking backlog and you end up not doing the important stuff that is essential to your life’s mission. Then you feel pressured, overwhelmed, and then you start to become so hard on yourself. You know how you can avoid this? Get off the couch and do something. Put your gadgets on focus mode. Work hard and work smart. Align with your body’s energy levels, work productively, and rest when you must. In that way there is less probability of overwhelm. There will be less pressure because you are on top of things. There’s no hack or easier way than working your buns off.

3. Gratitude
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I love writing about gratitude. That is because it works. Maybe you might think I’m just saying this because I haven’t been through a lot and trust me, or do a backread in this blog, and you’ll see that my rock bottom almost made me give up on life. You don’t need to feel better in an instant. I just want you to grab a notebook and write even just one thing that you are grateful for when you wake up. This doesn’t mean that you will be a ray of toxic positivity. You will just state one thing, not ten, not twenty, even just one. You’ll soon see that despite any challenge, there’s still something to be thankful for. It doesn’t have to be grand. It can be as simple as the air you breathe or your morning coffee. This attitude of gratitude builds momentum, and soon enough you’ll be able to reframe your thoughts. It might take days, or years, but just do it consistently and you’ll realize that even if there’s too much pressure, it somehow gets lighter as you acknowledge the good things in life.

4. Prayers
Disclaimer: I am not practicing any religion. But I am a firm believer that there is a bigger Being out there, that is too big to be even imagined by the human brain. I have this faith that God, The Universe, Being, Eternal Loving Presence, or whatever you want to call it is trying to manifest something, and that all of us has a part for this creation to come into fruiton. And so, I have made a conscious effort to pray that whatever I do is in alignment with my purpose. To be honest, I don’t even know clearly what that purpose is, but if you have faith, somehow the universe shows you the way. So pray that God shows you the way. Surrender and be willing to walk through the path that is for you. When you have this belief that, every experience is part of your purpose, it takes the pressure off, because it’s not just you who has to make things happen. You are co-creating with the universe.

5. Look for peace and it will come to you.
If you think about problems all the time, believe me there are a million ways to do that, in fact you just need to scroll on your newsfeed and be sucked into the youtube vortex and you’ll find millions of negative content that can feed your mind. These will catch your attention and make you an unproductive and anxious human being. But what if you decide to take the reigns and declare that peace is what you seek? What if you start unfollowing people and pages that make you feel like your efforts are not good enough, that no matter what you do, it won’t make a difference? Believe me, your life will change. Unfollow people or even friends that you tend to compare yourself to, that make you jealous, or afraid that you are missing out. Try focusing on your breath, on the task at hand, on the process. Just try doing things and appreciate them whether it’s good or bad. There is more peace within you and outside of you. Just don’t be lazy in looking for it. Make finding and generating peace a lifelong commitment and you’ll soon notice that when you are overwhelmed, you can always go back to that sacred place within you that hugs and tells you that everything is going to be okay.

You’ll be okay, love.

How to stop stopping yourself

You have to stop holding yourself back from the amazing you who’s still hiding in that shell. You just need to be a little bit braver. You got this.


“But what will other people say?”

Let me guess, you have been plagued by this repetitive question for a long time, am I right? We ask this to ourselves when we’re deciding what to wear, how to speak, making career moves, or starting a business. This question gives you a disease with a bad prognosis which is, “soul paralysis.” This will make sure that you will live a boring existence. People won’t have anything to talk about in your funeral because you lived such a safe and sheltered life. Let’s be real here, do you really want that? I bet you don’t. The mere fact that you are reading this blog means that you are someone who has a message to spread in this world.

So how do we open our hard shell and start exploring the world and expressing who we really are? The first thing that I will prescribe to you is, you must let go. Here are three things that you should let go of, if you want to bring the amazing you on the table.

1. Your toxic environment.
I am speaking from a place of truth and experience. We, as humans have to learn how to adapt to any situation. We cannot control the initial environment that we were born into. You are lucky if you were born into a family who genuinely love and support each other. But what if that’s not the case? What if turbulence was the norm in your childhood? What if you grew up in chaos, or in a place swarmed by backward thoughts? You can’t just go with the flow. If you recognize that your environment is taking a toll on your soul, do your best to get away. You can control your reactions and how you perceive things, though that’s challenging when you’re still on your formative years, but as long as you’re staying in a place that doesn’t serve you or contribute in your evolution into becoming a better person, then get out as soon as possible. You can only know your true self and be at your best by detaching from the world that you used to know. You will discover your likes and your passions. You can do your hobbies and express your art without thinking about what the neighbors will say. You can make your own mistakes without people giving comments about how you have to live your life. You can be you. Will detaching be easy? It won’t. Getting out of your comfort zone will not be a walk in the park, but it’s going to be worth it.

2. Your “friends” who are not into goals.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I forgot who said this but, in a way I do believe that this is true. If you keep on spending a lot of time gosipping, partying and drinking, do you think it will propel your soul forward? You don’t have to be all judgmental with your friends. Most people have this stage in their lives, including me. What I’m trying to say is you have to be more conscious of how you spend your time and who you spend it with. Why? Because any amount of time you waste, can never be taken back. You know that life is short, anyone could die at any moment, so choose people who will help you take one more step towards living an authentic and passionate life. Choose to be with people who inspire you to be better. I’m not advising you to abandon your friends, but rather, I’m encouraging you to spend more time with creative, genuine, and goal-driven people. This is initially hard, but it is necessary. This doesn’t mean that you hate your friends who drink a lot, this just means that you love yourself enough. Look for people who are changing the world, if there are none around, watch videos on youtube of people who inspire and motivate you. Curate your newsfeed by unfollowing people and pages that don’t stir your soul.


3. Your old self.
We all have phases. You probably are an entirely different person from who you were ten years ago. If you want to evolve or be successful in whatever aspect of your life, then you have to get rid of your own clutter. It is difficult to admit that we have our own unhealthy behaviors. We may get defensive about certain beliefs and values that we hold on to. I used to be an extremely emotionally numb person. I built my own fortress and stopped myself fom getting too close to anyone. It helped me cope in the past, but right now, it’s not helping me anymore. I used to be a neurotic perfectionist which has made me achieve a couple of things but did I feel good along the journey? To be honest I didn’t. When I became crystal clear about how I want to feel, that’s when I took on the task of cleaning my mental and emotional space. I grieved every phase that I had to let go of. But on the other side of that humility and constantly working on myself, was the true me, that I am genuinely proud of. So please, let go of the little you. Every stage of your life will require you to change, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

You have to stop holding yourself back from the amazing you who’s still hiding in that shell. You just need to be a little bit braver. You got this.

How to stay on track when everything sucks

We all have roles in this world and sometimes we feel like what we’re doing is not changing anything. But trust me when I say, every good deed has a ripple effect. Every single thought you have and action you take, adds up.

Sometimes shit after shit after shit happens. It’s like the cycle never ends. There are just those days when you feel like a joke is intentionally being played on you. And of course our natural response is to get upset. Even as adults we throw tantrums and lash out on people who have nothing to do with what’s happening to us. I am so guilty when this happens. Oftentimes, the people around me are the casualty. For us, personal development maniacs, we don’t want this happening. We always aspire to be balanced, focused, and on track. But life just isn’t like that. Nothing is and will ever be perfect. There are days when we can master our emotions but there will be times when it will just suck. How do we still stay focused and how do we get going even when the universe is seemingly against us?

I have two not-so-secret ingredients for that. These are gratitude and perspective management.

I know what you’re thinking reader. How on earth could I still be grateful when the bills are piling up, when there are deadlines to meet, kids to take care of, debts to pay, and a freaking pandemic? Just, how?


STEP 1. BREATHE AND SAY THANK YOU.
I want you to grab a notebook, and write. Write a list of things that you are grateful for. Seriously, if you want to stay true to your mission, do it now. I’m telling you, it’s impossible to not have anything on that list. Do you have a family or a friend who supports you? Are you eating at least three meals a day? Do you have the privilege of getting quality education? Maybe you have a pet who brings you immense joy or a plant that you are taking care of. If you have time to think about everything that’s going wrong, then you definitely have time to think about what’s going right. I want you to have as much as possible an objective and fair amount of positive and negative thoughts. So there’s a pandemic, it is a reality. The government is a circus, that is undeniably true. But please, even if so many bad things are happening, don’t fall into the trap of negative bias.


STEP 2. MANAGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
Now that you have listed the things that you are genuinely grateful for, do the work. Where are you right now and how can you make a difference in your own space? We all have roles in this world and sometimes we feel like what we’re doing is not changing anything. But trust me when I say, every good deed has a ripple effect. Every single thought you have and action you take, adds up.



STEP 3. CREATE THE THINGS YOU WISH EXISTED.
So you want a better world? Then start off with being a better you. You want transparent leadership? Then be that leader that you wish to be. Sometimes we get overwhelmed because we think only big things can make the world change. But the truth is, big wins are built by small triumphs. Start where you are. If you want to help the impoverished, then focus on making yourself financially full, little by little. Start a profitable business so that you can finance others who are in need, slowly but surely. If you are drowned in debt, start listing all those payables, and prioritize paying them. Do what you have to do to raise money to pay them. Cut back on your expenses. If you are a trauma survivor then maybe you can be that person who listens to someone who’s in a lot of pain. If you’re having trouble with academics, then be creative and specific and work on your weak points. Be your own hero. Be your own role model. You never know how much influence you are making.


You have to stay connected to your purpose and know that your mission in this world trumps every setback and every heartache. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Acknowledge what you’re feeling. Always remember the things which are working out. Create the things you wish to have existed and follow through. This is how you change the world, by first and foremost, changing “you.”

What I had to sacrifice for my dream

Think about the sacrifices you had to make for your dream. Are they really that harsh or maybe you just need a new set of perspective lenses? Remember that you are the captain of your ship and the master of your game. If you see your journey as a punishment, then it will be. But if you appreciate it and create a fun-filled and spiritually conscious life around it, it will still be a wonderful and exhilirating experience.

For dreams to come true, you have to work hard, stay focused, and be willing to make sacrifices. We all know these things, but being on the journey itself has taught me a lot of lessons that how I wish someone would have told me earlier so that I would have been at least mentally prepared for the challenges that came along with it. I know that nothing could have prevented the huge blow but I would have appreciated a guardian angel that could have softened the experience for me. Here are the top things that I had to sacrifice during this MD journey:

1. Sleep
We need seven to eight hours of sleep in order to optimally function as a human being. However, no matter how hard we try to be as healthy as possible, sadly, the medical education world, is not designed for that. We have a very fast paced program so you really need to read and review because you will have tons of exams. For instance in our school, we have exams scheduled every Monday. Just imagine how our weekend looks. To be honest I flunked some exams because sometimes my body couldn’t adapt to a no rest weekend and if I don’t sleep, I’ll get sick and that will be worse. It’s a constant battle between passing exams or getting sleep. How I wish the education system isn’t this toxic but we have to adjust to the current situation in order to survive. You will definitely lose sleep because there’s just tons to do. It’s kind of ironic because we are advocating for health but we barely practice this lifestyle in medschool. Since health is one of my top five priorities, I decided to not join any college-based organizations so that I can at least have five hours of sleep on a typical school day. It helped me have a better mood and concentration. It’s better if you know this now so that when you’re in medical school you will just say yes to commitments which are a priority for you.


2. Time with Family
This is actually the hardest thing to sacrifice. As an Asian, family is a big deal. This is also my priority because you can have a lot of achievements in life but nothing can take back the time you lost with your family. It is difficult to balance time with family and academics. This is actually the reason why I chose to study in a medical school in our province. I want to have more time with my family. However, since I can’t focus on studying when I’m at home, I need to stay in my dorm whenever there are major exams. Having a planner and scheduling everything is the key to med life balance, though perfect balance is a myth anyway. I still carve time for my family inspite of the busyness because, they give me the extra motivation and inspiration that I need to keep on studying. I am still not good at this but I try to be as present as I can because I want to live a life without regrets even if I value my dream of becoming a doctor. Being really clear and conscious about how I spend my time and making sure that my family is a priority gave me the opportunity to spend one last year with my father before he passed away. I therefore have no regrets at all.

3. Freedom
Since I need to study a lot, freedom, at least compared to how I used to live my life is relatively gone. Friday night drinks shifted to catching up with sleep. Social events are not a priority, rest is. There’s a concert that you really want to watch, but you will have to choose studying for exams. You can’t meet people as much as you want to. You won’t live a life that is the same with majority of people in their twenties. That is the reality of it, no sugar coating added. You will get jealous with people in your age group because they are getting married, traveling, or having babies. But you know what? It’s okay. I will not trade this life with anybody else’s. There are moments that I feel really down because I just want to progress quickly in my career but, all of us just have one life. I will not spend it blaming myself for not chasing my dreams just because I wasn’t patient enough. To others, my life may seem miserable, but to me, it isn’t. I have something to look forward to every single day. I am learning how to save a life. Not everyone gets to have a chance to do that. I value freedom, but maybe this is my own definition of it. It’s about working so hard for a vision that I can clearly see. It’s about not giving up when the going gets tough. It’s about getting through challenges and growing along with it. This is my freedom and my way of being proud of myself.


4. Money
I missed this part a lot. In fact, this is one of the reasons why I couldn’t go to medschool right after college. I like money. I like earning it. I like having a lot of it. But when you’re a student, you can’t spend money same as when you were still working. I had to say goodbye to my cashflow. You can have a side hustle or a business but if it will take a huge chunk of your time, then this is not the perfect timing for that. You have to set your priorities, unless you’re one of the select few geniuses who can multitask and learn medical concepts easily. As an average person intellectually, I had to set my priorities straight and just focus on medschool for now. I am really lucky to have a family and generous people who support my financial needs. I am also the type of person who is not motivated because of money. I want to be rich because money is a very useful tool to create the future that you are dreaming of. But for now, there’s a pause and it’s totally okay. As long as your worth isn’t connected to how much money you have in your bank account, you’re good to go.

5. Adventure
Gone were the days when you can just be a weekend warrior and book a trip or go on hiking. As an adventure junkie, this was painful because I know that my physical strength in my twenties will not be the same in the years to come. I love travel but my nomad alter ego is now on hiatus. You can still go for short side trips but it won’t be the same as the backpacking days that you used to embark on. This was hard for me but you can use the perfect tool for this dilemma which is, perspective management. Instead of thinking that you’re missing out on a lot of travels, why not look at your life as the ultimate adventure? I may have said goodbye to island hopping but this journey is still exciting for me. I shifted to discovering every coffee shop in my city and studying there. I jog in different places. When my boyfriend picks me up from school we choose to drive at the more scenic route. We take photos when the view is just surreal. My medschool friends and I eat at restaurants and try the different flavors of souffle. We watch free concerts on a friday night. The list is endless. I have found a way to be adventurous even without booking trips. I guess that’s the sense of it. You have to bring the adventure wherever you go and you have to look at life as the one big adventure. This makes my heart so warm and happy.

So now think about the sacrifices you had to make for your dream. Are they really that harsh or maybe you just need a new set of perspective lenses? Remember that you are the captain of your ship and the master of your game. If you see your journey as a punishment, then it will be. But if you appreciate it and create a fun-filled and spiritually conscious life around it, it will still be a wonderful and exhilirating experience. I mean, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How to be certain that medschool is for you

Envision yourself ten years from now. Will you be okay with not becoming a medical doctor? Can you see a career path that resonates more with your soul?

Career paths are tricky. When we are young, it feels like we are being pulled from a million different directions. There’s the expectation of your parents, the unsolicited advice from the extended family, and sometimes we forget the very subtle whisper. What do I mean by the whisper? I heard this ever since I was young. It is that voice that makes you want to do something that to others may not make sense but to you, it intuitively does. I can’t even find words to articulate this whisper, but I guess it’s a result of being in tune with one’s soul.

That is so far, the best description that I could construct about my reason as to why I chose medicine, and why I’ll keep choosing it even if it can be excruciatingly hard. One major purpose behind this blog is, as a kid, I needed a person who could have guided and told me about the medical world. In my brain, I knew that it was hard, but what I didn’t know was the depth of sacrifices and the waves of uncertainties that comes along with learning how to save someone’s life. So please allow me to be your guru for a few minutes, if you’re contemplating about becoming a medical student. Here are questions that you must take time to ponder on.

1. Do you love learning?
You’ll be reading tons of books. Your college books are nothing compared to medical books. You must have a genuine love and thirst for learning if you want to become a doctor. Education isn’t even over when you graduate medschool my dear. You will still learn new information since science and medicine are rapidly evolving disciplines. If you are the type of person who devours learning, then you’ll have the stamina to digest extremely technical scientific information. Being a bookworm and science nerd is a good indicator that you will last in this game.

2. Do you love helping people?

Helping is the nature of the job. Your goal is to ease people from sufferring. If you are on the more selfish spectrum, this career might not become fulfilling for you. If your motivation is money, don’t go to medschool, there are tons of easier ways to do that. Remember that you will be handling patients from all walks of life and your sworn duty is to help them inspite of whoever they are, so you should have a sense of altruism. It doesn’t matter if your patient is a philantrophist or a criminal. If a human needs medical attention, you must help. It must be innate in your heart so that treating patients will be in line with your personality. Plus, patients will feel it if you are genuine.

3. Are you willing to compromise?

You will see your friends moving forward in their careers and travelling but you will be stuck with your books for the next five years of your life. Time with family, friends, and your partner will be significantly reduced. If deep within your heart, you have this knowing that the sacrifices will be all worth it, then that’s great. It means that you can withstand the long years of studying. But let me tell you in advance that, there are many birthdays that you can’t come to, weddings or anniversaries that you can’t attend, and concerts that you won’t be able to watch. Financial freedom will be put on the side. Date nights will get cancelled. Know what you are getting yourself into.

4. Are you willing to fail?

Getting in medical school is a caveat by itself. You will get accepted because you’re a diamond in the rough. The admission committee saw that you can survive and thrive even in adverse situations. They know that you are smart and resilient enough for this path. However, you cannot be a jack of all trades. Unless you’re one of the select few geniuses who won the IQ genetic lottery, you will most probably fail exams. Plus, life’s challenges won’t stop just because you’re a medical student. Your parents might get sick, sometimes there will be death in the family, your mental and physical health might plummet, or financial meltdowns might occur. You have to remember in these moments that, no matter how many times you stumble, you will definitely rise. If you are okay with setbacks and failures, and if you have a fast move-on rate, then this path could really be for you.


5. Can you imagine doing anything else?

Envision yourself ten years from now. Will you be okay with not becoming a medical doctor? Can you see a career path that resonates more with your soul? If you can, then try that first. I did that because I wasn’t that sure when I was younger. However, I was faced with a fork in the road. I couldn’t unhear the whisper. I can’t imagine living a life of what-ifs ten years from when I was 23. If you can’t think of a reason as to why you must not study medicine, well, at least give it a try then. Go for it, if you can’t imagine doing anything else. And if you end up not liking this path, well at least you gave it a shot. You chose to be brave and that’s something to be proud of.

Again, I would love to hear your thoughts on this whether you’re a premed, med student, or a practicing medical doctor. Let us help each other out so that there will be more doctors who are in it because they consciously chose this path.

Guide to getting unstuck

Hi reader, so far in the Philippines I do believe that we are stuck in a shit pickle, and a really deep one for that matter. You know that I am not a fan of toxic positivity. I am more of a girl who likes to know the real score and deal with it to the best of my abilities. Just like you, everyday I still wonder when is this ever going to end? When are we going to stroll on parks, beaches, or schools without the fear of getting COVID-19?

If you have been following my posts for the past years, I have an idea that you are someone who’s chasing your dreams too. And for us who find satisfaction in slaying goals and reaching for the stars, being this limited is the worst situation that we could find ourselves in. We like movement, we love the momentum, and the chase. We find an adrenaline rush in getting closer to our goals. But then here we are, stuck, literally and figuratively.

Let me try to make sense of it all through my favorite form of expression, writing. I think this is the opportunity to be our most creative and unlimited self. What we have now is the best resource out there, TIME. Here are my tried and tested list of things that you can do when you’re in a hell of a negative situation. Feel free to add up yours in the comments section.

1. Be realistic and be informed.
We need to educate ourselves. We need true information in order to move forward. Education has brought me to places that has created such an adventure in my life. I like to know the reality. I appreciate brutal honesty rather than sugar coating things. I might not like what someone is going to say but, it’s okay as long as it’s the truth. You can only assess objectively if you are well informed.

2. Acceptance of the present.
I think the secret in life is knowing when to let go of the steering wheel and when to take control. There are things that you can do to make sure that your plans will fall into place. And I very much believe that you have to take control of your physical, mental, financial, professional, and emotional well-being. You cannot let anything or anyone take your power. But, you have to accept that no matter how perfectly crafted your plans are and how you flawlessly executed your moves, there will be times when shit will just hit the fan. When that happens, as much as it sucks, you have to recognize that this is the reality, and accept. Because if you keep on ruminating for a long time, you might miss the growth opportunities that the current situation presents.

3. Acknowledge your feelings.
As I’ve mentioned, you have to accept the present. I know what probably runs in your mind, that it’s easily said than done. Please understand that you must accept the present but you also have to acknowledge your feelings. Give yourself time to grieve the situation. Fully express your sadness, anger, or disappointment through calling a friend or by talking to your family or your partner. You can express your rage through art or writing. You can run or shout on top of a hill. But you have to feel and express your emotions. Don’t bottle it up or it will be your life’s poison. Feelings are meant to be expressed and not repressed. Okay?

4. Do something that brings you joy.
Once you have let all the feels bleed out, you now have space for joy. Think about the activities that make your heart feel a little bit lighter. For me, it’s writing or listening to Cardi B. I also love singing, dancing and coloring. Keep a running list of things that make your heart sing. Open your heart to joy. Tuck it in and keep it close. Have a list of these sanity pills and take them. They will heal you and open your mind to creative solutions to your challenges.

5. Access your body’s intelligence.
You know what causes too much thinking and mental exhaustion? It’s when you’re not channeling mental energy through your body. Do some workout, my friend. Stop being a couch potato. The poison loves it when you don’t move. Your blood and energy has to flow. Let it reach every corner of your organs. I do nike training club during not so busy days in the morning and when I am really stuck in the deepest puddle of shit, yoga is my saving grace. It fixes your breathing and keeps you present.

6. Sleep.
Recovery is an important part of the healing process. Give your brain the rest that it needs. Let your subconscious handle the complexities of the situation. Some of the best ideas and solutions pop up early in the morning. It’s because your brain is well rested and fully oxygenated. Remember that you can only be truly empowered if your machine is well-oiled. So love yourself and let your thoughts rest. Let it go.

7. Have a morning routine.
By sticking to a morning practice, you will have a foundation that you can always go back to. No matter how crappy the previous day has been, your morning routine will serve as your refresh button. I do encourage you to make it a habit. Whether it’s drinking coffee in the morning, declaring affirmations, or prayer, just do it. Make your mind a healthy garden for trees of positivity and creativity to grow.

8. Be decisive.
Stop thinking. Just engage and co-create the life that you want with the universe. Stop spending so much time in your mind because it’s so easy to drown in the negativity sinkhole. As Nike says, just do it.

9.Practice self-forgiveness.
I do believe that you should talk to yourself the way that you will talk to your little sister or your daughter. We are humans who are just imperfect. We make mistakes and do stupid things. Be that as it may, it is our job to be kind and forgiving to ourselves especially when we fall short of being the person we expect ourselves to be. When negative thoughts swarm in my head, my tendency is to be really hard on myself, and I admit that I am still a work in progress when it comes to this area of life. But I know that I have to try practicing radical self-love and self-forgiveness so that I can be truly free.

10. Be patient.
Great things take time. Sometimes we’re too anxious to get to the finish line, so much so that we don’t even notice how beautiful the journey is. Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes it’s easier to say I give up. But if you can find the beauty in crashing and then rising, I think you’re good to go. Be willing to wait and be patient with your process. Everybody has their unique path. You just have to focus on yours because no one can ever do the great job of being you. Respect how sacred your journey is. Love it wih every fiber of your being. Ready, set, go.

What are you here for?

What are we here for? This is a question that many of us want to answer. Some people spend their whole lives finding the reason behind their existence. How do we know what our purpose is and how do we live in line with it?

The unraveling of our life’s purpose starts at the moment we were born. Of course, we don’t have an idea about the things happening around us. We were just little humans crying and being fed. But, our birth marks the beginning of a path that is unknown, yet, meaningful. Yes, each of us has a meaningful purpose. To our parents, we are a part of theirs, and for us, the next events would reveal what we’re here for.

Experience

When we begin to be conscious of our surroundings we gather those little experiences. The things we are exposed to would shape our minds as to what we want to become. If you have so many colors in your room, it could be your first exposure to art, if you grew up in a family of musicians, then, there’s a strong possibility that music might be your way to fulfill that specific purpose. Experience leads us to what we become.

Heart

They say that you should always follow your heart. There are many choices that we are faced with. What is your heart saying? If something is not right, your heart has a way of telling. Well, we should not forget to use our logical thinking, aka, the “brain,” but, happiness doesn’t come from what your head tells you. At least, that’s what experience has taught me. If you choose your brain all the time, it can leave you numb and lonely. To be successful, you need to use a lot of brain but, you have to choose which one you want to prioritize, is it your head or your heart? It’s all up to you. Usually, what your heart says, is where your purpose is aligned to.

Passion

Along with what the heart whispers, passion, is that whisper. It is the thing that your heart is telling you to do. So you love sports so much, then that is your passion.

How do you know what your passion is? It’s when you can’t imagine living your whole life not doing it. It could be music, art, sports, academe, philanthropy, business, or it could even be the weirdest or most random thing in the world. The point here is, live your passion because you only have one life. Passion is the key to knowing your purpose. In one of Oprah’s talks, she tells this story about having the best facial treatment ever. Then she asked the lady giving her the facial, why she’s so good at what she does. Then the lady answered, because picking pimples, and blackheads is her passion. Whatever it is, no matter how big or small, if that is your passion then do it.

Everything Works Out

Experience, heart, and passion, are three key ingredients in knowing and living your life’s purpose. However, a lot of mind setting  is needed. There must be an attitude of, “everything works out.” Life has a habit of throwing random stuff at you, sometimes they’re  wonderful, shiny, and happy stuff. But, sometimes, they are really shitty stuff, to the point that you think you’re the unluckiest human being on this universe. I think it takes a lot of experience to realize and understand that no matter how much and how often bad stuff happens, there are still good and happy moments to come. And that, we should live for the hope of basking in the good stuff.

So what are you supposed to do when misfortunes happen coupled with pain, hopelessness, and a lot of hurt? Feel it. Drown yourself with all the pain you can feel. That’s the first thing you do. If you’re just gonna brush it off, believe me, it will come back haunting you. So please feel the pain. Don’t numb it. Allow yourself to cry and when you’ve poured out all the emotions that’s the time you rise, and move on. Then, start believing again.

That painful journey is part of your purpose. Well, most of the time we don’t understand why those things happen. But should we really know why? Does the world owe us anything? No. At the end of the day, whether you move on or not is all up to you. If you think you were born to share misery to the world, it’s your choice. However, if you will look at the other side, maybe your purpose after all is to be a living example of someone who’s been through a lot, yet smiles and is always hopeful. Maybe you were supposed to be the inspiration of that sick little girl, or that abused child, or the student with a lot of failing grades. Everything works out. Do you want to be a dark existence or a ray of hope?

Patience and Vision

There are two virtues that must be engraved on us if we really want to live a meaningful life. These are patience and vision. We all want to live an amazing life. Though, nobody warned us that it takes a heck of a lot to get anywhere. Sometimes, anxiety creeps in because it seems like there’s no progress at all even if we are working so hard to reach a goal. Getting to the destination needs loads of patience. Maybe, it’s just not your time yet. If we force certain situations to happen most of the time we do end up sabotaging our hard work. I think we must always work towards our goals but we must be careful not to get too obsessed about our expected results. Work hard, be patient, and trust that one day it will all work out. That vision you’ve been wanting to see will appear little by little. You just have to be patient and never lose sight of your goal. Don’t look at what the rest of the world is doing. Just focus on yours. You’ll feel more peace and there’s an element of surprise because you just worked, trusted, and let the magic happen.

Having Fun

Towards the journey to our purpose, we have a tendency to work too hard and forget to be happy. Sometimes we’re too caught up with our goals that we forget to live and have fun. It’s a Friday night, go watch a movie or drink with your friends. Have a blast because you deserve it. Never deprive yourself with the little pleasures. If you have fitness goals, then give yourself a break and have a cheat meal. Go on an adventure. Travel, climb mountains, go to the beach, or get a massage. You deserve it. All of us deserves it.

 

I think we all crave knowing what we’re here for. Maybe you’re already fulfilling it, but you’re just not aware of it.  We just have to make sure that we’re doing what we love. And I hope that what you’re doing is meaningful and is also helping other people fulfill or find their purpose. We have to live not just for ourselves but also for other people. Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if we’re all just trying to help one another? Maybe they’ll call you too idealistic for thinking that way. But, you do you. Do something because that’s what your heart is telling you.