Before The Fire

There was no fear
There was no hate
There was no pain

But, one day, the fire lit
You burnt, you hurt
Yet you didn’t die
You remember
You just forgot how to let go

Years later, you were reminded
By strangers you don’t know
“How could they be so kind?” you think
And you cry, you feel again

That day, you become you again
Before the fire was lit

Control Your Attention Deficit Traits!

Control Your Attention Deficit Traits!

Have you ever felt restless, stressed, exhausted, disengaged, distracted, frenzied, or, perhaps, sick? And you have ever thought that you might be incompetent, not growing, or are going crazy?

Don’t worry yet. You are definitely not alone. And, there might be an antidote to it.

In an article Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform for HBR, Edward Hallowell mentioned that Attention Deficit Trait (or ADT), a very real but unrecognized neurological phenomenon, has become epidemic in organizations (familiar with increased responsibility and added work load?) Its symptoms are similar to the negative ones of ADD (ADHD), but without being rooted in the genetics. ADT is a response to the hyperkinetic environment in which we live.

Take the example of David below:
David drums his fingers on his desk as he scans the e-mail on his computer screen. At the same time, he’s talking on the phone to an executive halfway around the world. His knee bounces up and down like a jackhammer. He intermittently bites his lip and reaches for his constant companion, the coffee cup. He’s so deeply involved in multitasking that he has forgotten the appointment his Outlook calendar reminded him of 15 minutes ago.

People with ADT have symptoms similar to the negative ones of ADD (ADHD), e.g.:

  1. They have a tendency to procrastinate and miss deadline.
  2. They struggle with disorganization and tardiness; they can be forgetful and drift away mentally in the midst of a conversation or while reading.
  3. Their performance can be inconsistent: brilliant one moment and unsatisfactory the next.
  4. They tend to demonstrate impatience and lose focus unless, oddly enough, they are under stress or handling multiple inputs. (This is because stress leads to the production of adrenaline, which is chemically similar to the medications used to treat ADD.)
  5. Finally, people with ADD sometimes also self- medicate with excessive alcohol or other substances.

However, since ADT is not genetically caused, we can do these actions below to help us control ADT:

In general: Listen to your body!

  1. Get adequate sleep!
    (adequate = you feel fresh waking up, and, hopefully, in time.)
  2. Eat what’s good for our body!
    (although I’ve read somewhere else that it’s ok to eat what pleases you once in a while.)
  3. Exercise regularly, 30 mins every other day!
    (Is deep breathing an exercise? Yes, but try to do something that involves more movements.)

At Work: Check on your emotions! and thoughts!

  1. Create a trusting, fear-free, connected work environment
    (Emotion is the switch for our brain’s Executive Functioning.)
  2. Have a friendly, face-to-face talk with a person you like every 4-6 hours
    (Like = as in you like to talk or discuss with them because they energize you.)
  3. Break large tasks into smaller ones
    (It’ll look more manageable.)
  4. Act on, file, or toss every document you touch!
    (No clutters on your desk!)
  5. Each day, reserve some “think-time” and “planning time”!
    (Don’t forget to short-listed tomorrow’s priorities. And only attend to emails after more important tasks.)
  6. Do whatever it takes to stay focused
    (You love music because it helps you focus, but you think it’s disturbing others? Get a nice headphone!)

Feeling overwhelmed? Stop the clock, and look around!

  1. Slow. it. down.
    (Yes. Read. slowly. Just. a. tad. faster. than. Sloth.)
  2. Do an easy rote task
    (Reset your watch? Do short crossword puzzle? Read an HBR article?)
  3. Move around!
    (every 60-90 mins – Ultradian Rhythm?)
  4. Finally, do not worry alone
    (Ask for help: delegate, discuss, brainstorm with a colleague)

Thanks for reading!

Check out some of my other posts at:
1. On Psychological Well-being
2. Ignorance (A Bliss or A Speech of Hollow Soul?)
3. Incivility in Life

And feel free to connect with my LinkedIn



On Psychological Well-being

On Psychological Well-being

Out drinking with a few best friends, I threw a topic about our goals – what we want to be doing in the next 5 years. Everyone seemed to know where they were going, except for me.

So when it was my turn, I had to pause and think whether I should answer it diplomatically (I had a vague idea of what I want to do in the long run, but I didn’t know how to get there yet).

The question that struck me was: Why was I reluctant to talk honestly about my condition to some of my closest?

In a TED Talk, Guy Winch, a psychologist and an author, shared that we are practicing favouritism towards the body over the mind. We started caring about our gum health since we were children. We know that we have to cover that cut we have on our body so it doesn’t become infected. Continue reading “On Psychological Well-being”

Incivility in Life

Incivility in Life

Rudeness in work is rampant, and it’s on the rise.

As I read this opening line in “The Price of Incivility: Lack of Respect Hurts Morale – and the bottom line” by Porath and Pearson in HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence, I paused breathing for a moment.

It was shared in this research-based article that incivility can present itself in many forms, from insults, blame, belittlement, rudeness, door slamming, side conversation, exclusion, blatant disregards of people’s time, to a short check on your phone when someone else is presenting to you.

I couldn’t agree more. The conversations I had had with others, the incidents I had seen, the stories I had heard from many others, and the lessons I had learnt from my own experience suddenly hit me hard. They point me to the conclusion that rudeness in work – sorry, I meant, in life – is rampant, like the flowers blooming in the spring (except that one is not as favourable as the other – well, both are not favourable if you’re allergic to pollen or if you are a lonely hopeless romantic guy/girl).

Why would I say so?

Continue reading “Incivility in Life”

Being LOUD!

Being LOUD!

I might have been too loud. I caused, and probably will still cause, tension to arise.

Today, I get into a debate – I would call it a discussion, if the tone had been unassuming and non-judging – over Facebook France Filter. I was trying to say that people who use the filter shouldn’t be seen merely as people who only take advantages (read: creating a pretentious image) of the tragedy (of themselves), but also as people who, at least, learn about the tragedy (through the social media). Despite the fact that some prior tragedies were not covered and that some will go back to their original standing after some time passes, it can be seen as a starting step to break our current habits (and who knows some stuck with it).

Last week, I was in a meeting with friends. I understood that the intention behind the meeting was good, but I felt wrong about the reasoning. And there, I spilled it out. And, just a few days ago, I argue that joke about racism is not to be taken too lightly.


(All right, you caught me! I’m going to stop talking about myself from this point!)


The thing that I want to share is that conflicting emotions, uncomfortable situations will happen in our life, be it in our home, at our work, with our friends, etc.

Now, what should someone do about it?
Continue reading “Being LOUD!”

Those Blue Eyes

“Let’s get out of this town,” she told me quietly, after our long conversation.

Hours had passed by, but my attempts to read beyond her lips failed. The only thing I picked up was her wish to escape, to leave. I lost to her poker face, her naturally made-up act and always-on smiles.

They may say eyes are the window to the soul, but her beautiful blue eyes said nothing.

“Don’t run. Aren’t you tired of running away?” I tried to persuade her back into the common senses.

She shake her head, “No.” I stood there while she retreated into the void.

Ignorance. A Bliss Or A Speech of Hollow Soul?

Ignorance. A Bliss Or A Speech of Hollow Soul?

People worry. I bet some of you do.

Look at the people around you, be it your friends, family, acquaintances, or even strangers sitting in the same café as you. Notice their expressions and their body language. Feel their voice tone. Eavesdrop at some of their chitchats. Take few seconds to glance at what they do when they are a bit free.

Then, go home and take a look at your reflection in the mirror.

Those people around you, would look different from your reflection, of course (unless you have identical twin). However, can you list down the similarities that both you and those around you have?

One that I have come to fully accept few months ago is that just as your story would never be truly understood by others but yourself (and your therapist?), others’ would never be truly understood by you as well.

Others might share some of their stories, leaving out the deepest, bare ones. You might share more than what they are willing to, but, still, you would keep the darkest one inside.

They might have their smiles and tone up, trying to appear happy. But, alas! They failed in fooling some of you, the ones with invincible visual and audial recognition skills (and yes, having one means you are proving my point).

But, do you care to ask what they are really thinking or experiencing at that moment when you caught something off of them?

A weak, soft and hardly audible, whisper tells you that you might be able raise them from the deathbed they are on. But, some cynics once said, “Nice guys finish last,” and “You’ll never be able to help everybody.” So, you quickly dismiss your inner voice.

No. Even worse, you don’t even think it’s your business to get your hands dirty. It’s their problems and not yours. Well, your defense would be something like “Just as I don’t feel like sharing my deepest secret, I think that asking means I am intruding their personal territories, their bluish ice palace, like the one from the Disney movie, Frozen.” (Then, why don’t we re-write Frozen so that Elsa lives alone forever in her glorious but lonely palace!)

It’s not wrong to feel that way…

…It is SAD…

It’s true that some of us have full plate already. We’ve got no time to care for others. We can barely take care of ourselves! Besides, we are also not good consultants. We’re not flawless and we might be giving wrong advices. But, would it be true if I say that they don’t need us to answer their worry and that it’s our attention that matter?

Quoting from Black & Blue by Paloma Faith, “I know a man who fills his emptiness with strangers. I know people who use chat rooms as confessionals. I know people who take midnight drives for head space. I know what they’d give for just one loving embrace.”

We worry, often about ourselves. A healthy dose of it keep us from staying in our comfort zones. It might push us to look for the meaningful.

But, when it’s just too much, please share it with someone, someone whom you can trust or someone who seems to care.

And, when the thought of asking someone how he/she is occurs, do not let it evaporates. Act!

There is no darkness, but ignorance. And, as Joe Biden said, “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value,” the budget is your act.


P.S. This is the second part of my take on Make It Mighty Ugly, on naming our demons section. The first part, about our strengths/hero qualities, is covered here.

Photo credits: Gisela Giardino