Falling back and answer to TF’s 11 questions

The past three days have been really tough. We lost two colleagues in two days, one due to covid (65 years old) and one due to chronic condition triggered by COVID related stress. Both of them I know well, and with one of them I shared the office floor for few weeks before he retired last December. We are all devastated. This pandemic is hitting us too close.

My mind went wild, lost, digging into darkness, worried, feeling powerless, yet can’t make my mind what’s our course of action.

I don’t like this state of mind when everything is uncertain, life and death are so close, and I am not sure which action or any action matter to change the outcome.

But obviously this state of mind is not going to lead anywhere so I’m determined to get back on track, no matter what.

To start, I will get back to meditation. I started skipping few weeks ago and now I almost don’t even remember to do it. Today is day 1 of getting back to it.

I’ll return to mindfulness, meaning cut down out on social media consumption as numbing mechanism when I don’t want to feel the pain. It only triggers more anxiety.

I’ll get back to reading. After I finished Becoming, I can’t read for more than 1 page at the time, probably linked/caused by social media consumption which prevents attention focus. To get back to reading, I’ve started another of Tim Ferris book, Tribe of Mentors. this is comfort reading for me and I already love the promise of this book. Ask 100+ guests on the following 11 questions. As I read through them, answered popped out from my mind so I thought I’d share here:

1. What are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

The Gift of an Ordinary Day, Essentialism, Solve for Happy. My top 3 books from 2020.

2. What purchase or $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months?

Oura ring, although it’s more than $200. Other purchases that bring me joy are books, probably $100 per month 

3. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success?

I’d say maybe my divorce. It would be called as failure from conventional wisdom but it was probably a big step forward to true self for me. I still wonder sometimes whether it was the right decision. But more and more so, I have less doubt that it was the right decision FOR me.

4. If you have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why? 

Take time to know and listen to your self, identify what makes you happy and fulfilling, and go all in to get/do them. Reassess from time to time.

5. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? 

Invest in building relationships, with my loved ones, with my friends, at work. 

6. What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

I love total silence and alone time upon waking up for 1-2 hrs.

7. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Belief: knowing that being busy is a form of laziness, and that WHAT to do is more important than how to do everything else.

Behavior: reduced social media consumption, read whenever and wherever I want/need mental break.

Habit: take walks with husband, with my girls, daily if possible.

8. What advise would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? what advise should they ignore?

Invest in relationships beyond technical skills. Ignore who tells you to be on top of everything and do more.

9. What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession?

Evidenced basis policy advise is over rated. We need to build trust and relationship before having the chance policymakers listen to us.

10. In the past five years, what have you become better at saying no to? What new realizations helped? 

I’ve always been good to say no to people. What I learned more in recent years is also say no to myself. I realized that in order to do well, I need to be focused. I need to identify what is essential and critical that I need to do, and what others tasks that I could and should delegate.

11. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? 

I ask myself past experiences and what I did that took me out of that state. Meditation, mindfulness, spending time with the family, reading, daily exercise, are what I need to calm down. 

That’s it. Let me end this post with the pic of this kitty, that I’m thinking to adopt! 😉 I know… I can’t believe I’m saying it. She’s just very cute and I see her everyday when I go out for walk/run. She seems to like people (according to my husband who’s a cat expert!). I’ll keep thinking about it as I’ve never ever had pet in my life.

2 thoughts on “Falling back and answer to TF’s 11 questions

  1. I’m so very sorry to hear about your coworkers. That’s just terrible. How sad!!!

    Interesting answers to those questions! That does sound like a cool concept for a book. Solve for Happy was such a great book. I want to read it again sometime relatively soon. I was surprised to hear you say you’ve been using too much social media- I didn’t think you used it at all anymore!! Hopefully returning to all your good habits will help you deal with this stressful time. And that sure is a cute kitty! I am not a cat person at all, but I do think they’re cute! I like all animals. 🙂


  2. So sorry to hear about your colleagues. That hits too close to home. 😦
    I am an animal lover and our puppy is giving me and my family so much joy, even with all the trouble he gets into. So I am all for getting a pet if you love them.


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