What to Learn from Burning Out

I’ve had one post under 100 words posted in the last two weeks.

I’ve hit the wall.

I know you’ve had the same issue.

Forgive yourself. Sometimes, things don’t get done. You lose motivation on a huge project or you fail to deliver a product. Unless you’re under a formal contract (you promised with a signature or work contract) then there’s no need to put more blame on yourself. Forgive yourself, find the energy to keep going or ditch the project if it isn’t benefiting you anymore.

For example, my awkward moments experiment went for 19 (and wrote about 17) days before I lost passion for it due to the stress of school, making friends from the previous days, and losing energy from the daily grind of experimenting.

So here’s something really awkward. I won’t finish it up because it wasn’t helping me anymore and it wasn’t benefiting as many people as I thought it would. If I need to restart it in the future, I will.

It’s like a movie. If the movie is so-so and you’re already halfway in, should you force yourself to finish it just for the sake of finishing? There’s no positive point to it.

If I forced my will to finish it to please anyone else, I would be pushing a ton of noise in the world.

I’ve grown through the awkwardness.

*The big project I wanted to add in with awkward moments will still occur, so do enjoy that when it happens.

What projects are you continuing to force? What if the best solution is to change projects?

Sharing Positive Energy

Day 17 of Awkward Moments Experiment


When your only goal is to spread positive energy around then you can never be disappointed.

November 8th, 2011. 11:00AM.

I finished my midterm and walked out of the classroom. I was walking through the hallways when I saw a girl that felt interesting to talk to. I awkwardly stated I would hang around for a few minutes while waiting for the bus.

I sat down and had a good conversation with her for about 10 minutes. We discussed her Sociology major and how she was from the LA area. (So many people are from LA that it was starting to make me laugh.) I got her Facebook.

I was attracted to her and wanted to see where it would go.

The awkward part occurred when her Facebook told me she was in a relationship with another girl, which caught me off guard.

Yes, I was hitting on a lesbian, which actually makes me smile. From her point of view, I bet she was happy that she can attract both sexes.

From my interactions, I’ve learned that college folks come from so many backgrounds and so many different places. Everyone has their own diverse taste and ideas.

It’s a microcosm for real life. Even if people appear to be something, you must actually speak to them to find out their quirks.

But I definitely made her day less boring with that conversation, so I’m pleased with myself. I shared the positive energy.

What Do You Think You Know and How Do You Think You Know It?

This is a guest post by Vlad Dolezal, who works as a life coach, and writes on Alive With Passion.


Imagine you have a table. Now imagine you have a person (let’s call them Gentleman A) leaning over the table, and a person (let’s call them Gentleman B) sitting on a small stool next to the table, their head just slightly above the level of the table.

Yes I’m invoking this convoluted setup to make a point. You see, there’s a water glass on the table.

“This water glass is circular shaped.” Claims Gentleman A.

“It most certainly is not. I can see as clear as day that it is rectangular.” Says Gentleman B.

“You are mistaken. It is very obviously circular.”

“Not at all. It is definitely as rectangular as a rectangle itself!”

At which point Gentleman A takes out a white glove and slaps Gentleman B, challenging him to a duel.

The whole problem above is that each person is completely convinced that their point of view is the only right point of view there is. Except they’re both correct. If you look at a water glass from above, the outline is indeed a circle, and if you look it at from the side, the outline is rectangular.

The mistake both of our lovely gentlemen above made was confusing the reality and their beliefs.

In reality, a water glass is not a simple outline, but a complex three-dimensional object. Actually, that’s a simplification too. In reality, it’s a convoluted probabilistic waveform that tends to resolve in a bunch of vibrating atoms we like to call “water glass”.

The point is, your model of reality is just that. A model. It is always, by definition, imprecise, and open to mistakes (or less-than-ideal interpretations).

Since Matt was so brilliant as to allow me to post on here, I figured I would go along with the theme of the blog, and share a big constraint I overcame a while ago.

What do you think you know? How do you think you know it?

In the summer of 2009, I was with my girlfriend at a summer camp, and she had a bit of a sore throat. So a friend of hers suggested eating ice-cream to soothe the sore throat. This idea horrified me, because I knew ice-cream is bad for a sore throat! But I let it slip.

Fast forward 6 months later. I’m with my girlfriend again, and again she gets a bit of a sore throat. She suggests eating an ice-cream, but I convince her it’s a bad idea, that it would only make things worse and that hot drinks are much better for a sore throat.

Then, in the search of truth, I decide to google the ice-cream vs. sore throat question. Well, I say in the search of truth. Actually, I was hoping to find more evidence to back my belief, so I could make a more convincing argument.

Except, it turns out I was wrong! Most people agree that ice-cream actually soothes a sore throat.

This blew my mind. I realized that something I accepted as completely self-evident for most of my life was in fact false.

I spent some time re-examining my beliefs, and realized I simply accepted this one as true because my mum told me so when I was a small child. So it got tagged in my brain as “true” and “from a very authoritative source”. And I never questioned those two assumptions again, until that day.

I was just like the two gentlemen at the beginning of this post. I thought my beliefs were the reality, rather than just a representation of it. A possibly faulty one, at that.

Ever since then, whenever I get in an argument about beliefs, I first pause and take a good inward look:

What do you think you know? How do you think you know it?

Those two questions will save you a lot of arguments. Considering them tends to turn most arguments from “my belief vs. your belief” to “let’s find the truth together”. It also helps you find weaknesses in your own thinking, and beliefs you’ve held so long you accept them as self-evident, even though they didn’t come from a very authoritative source in the first place – probably word of mouth from your relatives or friends.

And that’s how I overcame the constraint of thinking my beliefs were always right. Are you ready to do the same?


Vlad Dolezal works as a life coach, and writes Alive With Passion, a blog to help you live in a way that makes you feel deeply, passionately alive. Check it out for more personal development goodness!

The Double Bus Experiment

Day 16 of Awkward Moments

*Since I’m starting the second half of awkward moments, I’m going to attempt to talk to more than one person from this point on. I’ll slowly work my way up into macro mode where my brain gets exposed to multiple people.


October 28, 2011. Noon/4PM.

On the same day, I talked to two different people while waiting for the same bus route during two different times of the day. The first one occurred at noon and the other occurred at 4PM.

Person #1: I asked her how long it would take for the bus to come. She tells me that it’ll be another ten minutes. I decide to chat with her about her major, her friends, her background, etc.

“Yeah, I’m a human development major.”

“Yeah my roommates and I all met together back at our church.”

“I’m also looking for a job but as you know it’s difficult.”

Those were just a few of the lines that she told me. We continued talking for 20 minutes total until the bus came.

We entered the bus and I sat in the back. She decided to sit in the front at first but ended up joining me in the back because she liked the conversation. We talked for a few more minutes before her stop came up.

It was successful because I had enough time to build enough rapport.

*A few days later we would recognize each other on the bus and share positive energy by chatting again.


Person #2: I asked her how long it would take for the bus to come. She told me it’ll be 5 minutes.

Then a minute of awkward silence hits.

I asked her what her major was to create conversation and she told me about her design major. She still looked uncomfortable and ended the conversation.

A minute later, she met two of her friends and chatted with them relatively easily. On the bus, they continued chatting with one another.

Not successful because the person wasn’t comfortable enough and not welcome to my approach.


Two similar situations with two very different results! If I were to continue to do the same question over and over again in the same exact spot, I’m pretty sure I’d have a different result each time.

Don’t predetermine an outcome based on one trial. Keep trying because each situation will create its own story.


Stop calibrating.

Do it already.

Keep messing up.

Who’ll be laughing at you, mocking you, or making fun of you in 100 years (barring some life saving technology)?

Nobody because we’ll all be fucking dust.

The clock always keeps ticking.

It stops for no one.