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weekly roundup: 2022 week 11

Welcome to another weekly roundup, filled with three resource gems from the internet, two ideas from me, and one mini essay to pass on!

Apologies for the lapse in the weekly roundup for the past few weeks, was on vacation ☀️

3 Gems of the Week

  1. Social Inequalities Explained in a $100 Race (4 mins)


    If you haven’t seen this clip yet, I implore you to watch this. Or even if you have, I implore you to rewatch it. When you do, I’d like you to observe two heart-wrenching things:

    1) The final gap in distance between the back of the starting line and the front, along with the specific demographic of those at the start of the line.

    2) The look in their eyes from people in the back when they start to realize the moral behind the exercise, as they slowly get left behind.

    Even watching this years later, it still elicits a physical response when I observe number two.

    As a first generation immigrant, I grew up with an up-close look at the other side of privilege. My parents came from one of the poorest provinces in China. Watching this video, I envision my parents participating in this race, out in the rice fields, and count the number of steps they might have taken.

    They wouldn’t have taken many.

    That look is what brings me to recall, many years later, the many steps I can take forward because of my parent’s hard work, and the painfully real simulation of what privilege does for you.

    Because of this, I save this as a reminder that I have no excuse not to work hard and help others with less opportunities to move forward.

    And more importantly, on days when I am frustrated at the world and how far away my own $100 reward is, to remember to look back at all the steps forward I’ve been able to take, because of the sacrifices my parents and ancestors have granted me.

  2. Making decisions (1 min)


    The internet is already overflowing with the amount of respect for the President of Ukraine. Just adding one more drop to the bucket.

  3. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (8 mins)

    “It’s a dictionary of made-up words for emotions that we all feel but don’t have the words to express, filled with new definitions, illustrations, etymologies and essays that seek to capture the forgotten corners of the human condition.”

    Through the course of 12 years, what started as a Tumblr project has transformed into a book. A mixture of made up words and words inspired from other languages, it was through this website that I discovered words like sonder, and wondering about the vivid and complex lives other people lead.

    The Curious Case of the Word 'Sonder'

2 Thoughts of the Week

  1. On a personal brand.
    Thanks to technology opening the gates and bringing the rise of the solo creator, there is so much emphasis on building a personal brand.


    This can sometimes feel like performance art. Debuting a certain image of ourselves online for others to see. To behave in a certain manner that “aligns with our brand.

    “What if sometimes we just “be,” and focus less on the constant performance art of being a brand?

  2. Time travel is real.
    Whenever I hear someone resurfacing their old notes or ideas, I get a mini jolt of happiness.


    The same applies for me when I find old thoughts or ideas, and can feel my body react with the same excitement as when I first discovered that insight.

    Because in these cases, it means we’ve successfully time traveled: leaving bread crumbs by our past self to re-discover for our future self.

    In the age of information overload, we consume information consistently. There’s just so much out there. But that information will never compound into knowledge if we do not take notes and build upon what intrigues us, what captivates us.

    These notes transmute into knowledge that compounds over time.

1 Mini Essay

Every Lunar New Year, my husband and I do an annual Marie Kondo / new year’s cleaning as part of our cultural tradition.

It’s become a joyful ritual, seeing which items spark joy and showing thanks to the multitude of inanimate objects that help improve our day to day lives. Without them, we find significantly more inconvenience and possibly a lesser sense of well-being.

It doesn’t hurt that, in accordance to Chinese tradition, new year’s cleaning is a way to purge bad luck and welcome new fortune 🙂

Giving thanks is one part of the process, then there is thanking and discarding the things that have fulfilled their purpose, or are no longer wanted.

This year’s Marie Kondo episode sparked (pun intended) a powerful lesson for me.

Several years ago, in a similar Marie Kondo exercise, my parents had gifted my husband a YSL cologne for Christmas. After much consideration, I remember he ended up discard it because it didn’t match his taste or style. 

And so it was relegated to the re-gifting box, an item too fancy to throw away or donate, to be saved for someone that would enjoy it.

Imagine my surprise when this year as we were cleaning through our re-gifting box, that he took out the YSL perfume and stashed it away in our bathroom mirror.

“Seriously? I’m pretty sure I remember how you said you never wear perfume and would never use something like that.” — I said, incredulous at his changing tastes.

He shrugged. “Guess I changed?”

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How to Manage Frustration Tolerance

I’ve been on a quest lately: to identify the themes behind why we struggle with our goals.

After a tumultuous 2021 faced with numerous setbacks and challenging emotions, I found myself at the end of the year with my self-confidence in tatters.

I had a vague inkling of what were the things that were impeding my progress, but nothing concrete. And so this research was something I needed to do for myself.

College Humor Are You Ready To Begin Your Quest GIF - College Humor Are You Ready To Begin Your Quest Hermit - Discover & Share GIFs

While conducting research, I came across a curious concept that surprised me: the idea of frustration tolerance. 

AKA our threshold for composure before something begins to peeve us.

The something is diverse — it could be something as big as missing a milestone for a quarterly business KPI. Or something as small as your toddler releasing their inner Jackson Pollock on your freshly painted hallway wall.

Frustration is the emotion we feel when we face a setback on a goal, or something does not happen according to our ideal expectations. Our ability to process this frustration productively is known as frustration tolerance.

It’s the ability to overcome obstacles and withstand stressful events.

Psychology Today, Frazzled: High Anxiety and Low Frustration Tolerance

I was surprised by how obscure this term felt to me.

It seems so relevant as an emotional tool when it comes to completing goals. What baffles me more is how little research or information continues to be out there.

Based on the high level overview, this idea tackled me to my knees: this is something that has severely impacted my ability to complete the things I set out to do.

Oba Votu GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

It hit me: my inability to effectively process frustration has been one of the key reason I’m not able to pursue and succeed at certain goals.

In the face of setbacks, over and over again I found myself either too emotionally aroused to continue, or having my frustration mutate into despair and giving up completely.

As I was reading, I was surprised by the lack of articles that outline this concept and address how to overcome it. Below is research I compiled to learn more about frustration tolerance, what causes a low tolerance, and how to improve my own.

Frustration Tolerance and It’s Consequences

From the research I could find, the ability to withstand and process frustration effectively has a large impact on achievement. 

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People with low frustration tolerance see their frustration mutate from low intensity anger into seething rage, as those of us familiar with road rage have experienced — the nameless driver shaking their fists, spittle flying from their mouth as you just know they are there yelling obscenities at you, muffled in their car. Whether that’s you or the other driver.

However, anger is just one path your frustration can take.

A low frustration tolerance can lead to many things:

  • Procrastination or avoidance of a difficult challenge
  • Anger, rage, or injustice when your expectations aren’t met
  • Crippling anxiety in the face of stressful situations
  • Lashing out in your relationships and creating unwanted tension
  • Negative emotions like: self-pity, hurt, burn-out, depression, anxiety, dissatisfaction or helplessness

More heartbreaking still, is when in the end, the frustration becomes too much to bear and we simply just give up.

I’ve fallen into all of these camps.

Moments where something did not align with my expected plan and I was suddenly blinded by uncontrollable rage or anger.

Losing patience because of rush hour traffic and taking my frustration out on my partner even though I was the one that took an hour and a half to get ready.

Road Rage Car GIF by A24 - Find & Share on GIPHY

Frozen right before a big presentation and unable to perform.

Burn out, burn out, burn out.

And other times where I’ve thought to myself: this feels too painful. It’s easier to just stop trying.

Both of these experiences are correlated to frustration tolerance.

Frustration tolerance: it’s impact on well being

In a 2012 study on the impact of frustration tolerance on college students, research showed that frustration tolerance is a fundamental ingredient towards psychological well-being and health.

If we can better handle setbacks, we encounter less obstacles in our day to day. Or when we do, we are more likely to persevere and continue pushing with our goals.

On the other hand, if we struggle with processing frustration when encountering challenges, those feelings devolve into something worse: self-pity, hurt, burn-out, depression, anxiety, and dissatisfaction or helplessness.

And perhaps fatally, the frustration becomes too much to bear and we simply give up.

One quickly sees how this becomes a problem.

Achieving goals imbued with purpose and meaning requires a lot of effort, which in turn doesn’t necessarily always guarantee success. There are often plenty of steps backward in the journey.

It is often the worthwhile and important things that require discomfort and struggle to accomplish them.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…

I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

Theodore Roosevelt


A low frustration tolerance saps our curiosity and desire for improvement.  If you’re not used to tolerating frustration your desire for knowledge and understanding will be limited by the amount of difficulty and confusion that you can withstand.

To become more curious, then, you must develop your ability to combat uncertainty. When people ask me how they can increase their creativity and productivity, my first answer is always “Increase your ability to tolerate confusion and ambiguity.”

Could Thor have beaten Thanos in Infinity War if he had Mjolnir as well as Stormbreaker? - Quora

When we think back to the moments we’ve failed or given up, or perhaps seen others give up on things they try to accomplish, we are often unaware that it is a low frustration tolerance that erodes our efforts to play a new instrument, learn a new skill, get back in the gym, or take on a new project.

And sad to say, this turns into a perpetual cycle: when we give up on something due to frustration, we reinforce our tendency to give up in future instances.

Our grit and perseverance dwindles down to zero.

When we intentionally decide to withdraw due to frustration, it becomes a part of our self-identity.

We become someone who gives up easily.
We become someone who feels inadequate.

Indeed, it looks like in order to be happy, we need to increase our frustration tolerance.

How to improve your frustration tolerance

As I continue to study peak performance, I’m fascinated by how little in life is stagnant. Almost everything can be viewed from the perspective of a muscle — the more you practice and build it, the stronger it gets.

If you spend less time developing it, it also atrophies.

The same can be applied to frustration tolerance.

It develops directly with our ability in successfully overcoming challenges. The early support and encouragement we experienced in our childhood does influence our starting line, but this can be unlearned and learned: you can shift your starting line over time.

Below are a few recommendations of ways to increase your frustration tolerance muscle. I’ve ranked them from lowest hanging fruit (in my opinion) to most difficult.

1. Increase exposure.

One of the lowest effort ways to build threshold is simply by increasing exposure to challenges and frustrations. This can be as abstract as moving beyond your comfort zone, or journaling and coming up with a list of things where you tend to get frustrated easily or overreact.

For example, some areas I’m looking to improve is not overreacting when my dogs misbehave or reducing my snacking due to boredom or cravings.

I plan on increasing my exposure by walking my pups more often through highly distracting areas. I know I’ll have to practice staying calm or riding out my frustration because they will be more likely to get distracted and not listen to me.

2. Acknowledge learning.

Whenever we learn something new or take on a challenge, it is completely natural (and expected) to experience frustration.

We simply haven’t learned the skills yet. It hasn’t become natural.

It’s like the frustration we experience as a teenager learning to drive — it’s exhausting and frustrating. But as we build the skill over time, slowly the frustration will abate until it becomes second nature.

How can we expect to master something we were never taught or knew how to do? Sometimes, we just never had the skillset.

In these cases, (as is most), knowledge is power.

We see this in managers who don’t know how to manage, yet expect to automatically know what to do and follow an unrefined intuition.

Or beginner chefs that expect to know how to julienne carrots with the finesse of Julia Child.

Instead of being frustrated, ask yourself: how can I learn to do this better?

What are recurring things you often find yourself challenged by? Make a list of what you can learn.

And when the learning gets tough, remind yourself that learning is a process. Things will get easier over time.

Hilarious Teacher Memes About Distance Learning

3. Change your mindset.

So many studies and articles reference Carol Dweck’s pervasive work related to mindset.

Mindset seems to be the panacea towards many of the struggles internalized within ourselves. When it comes to improving frustration tolerance, it also plays a key component.

Sometimes, shifting your mindset (or check your attitude, according to my mom), does wonders.

“Why won’t this work, I’m so frustrated” can turn into “I’m frustrated because I’ve been working so hard towards a goal that’s important to me.”

Frustration after all, is not failure. It is a reminder that we are working hard towards the goals we set out to accomplish.

Instead of focusing on the frustration and setback on a particular goal, shifting our mindset here refocuses us on the fact that we have a big, hairy, audacious goal. And they are meant to be tough. We are meant to struggle.

Struggle is a sign we are growing, we are learning.

“You’re only frustrated because you’re working so hard towards a goal that’s important to you”

Actionable step: What is a better way to reframe the situation to remind me why I’m doing this, instead of what’s not working?

Remember: frustration is a good sign. It is evidence that we are learning.

Change How You Think | New Trail

5. Cheer yourself on

When we struggle, the biggest thing we need is a little encouragement.

After all, the etymology behind the word literally means to strengthen the heart, to fill with courage through the “action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.”

If you have friends, mentors, or loved ones that can offer this encouragement, that’s wonderful.

It is great to have people to lean on, to help carry the weight and imbibe you with strength.

In moments where no friend is around however, having the ability to embolden yourself is a beautiful thing.

Being our own cheerleader can be a great alternative in moments where we need a little strength.

Oftentimes, frustration builds when we doubt whether we’re capable of handling these stressors.

“I hate waiting in line.”
“I can’t stand when someone calls me by the wrong name.”

Thoughts like these can easily derail our days and increase our feelings of frustration and anger. But when we can give ourselves a pep talk, a simple ‘You can do this!’ can remind us that we are more than capable of handling challenges.

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6. Accept that life can be difficult

The secret to feeling less stressed is accepting that problems are a part of life. A great life does not necessarily mean everything goes the way you want it.

Feeling frustrated or anger does not mean anything is inherently wrong in your life; that’s just how life is, sometimes. It’s not always just or fair. Just like it’s not always relentless. There are good days and bad days.

And the thing to remember is that bad days should exist. They are a part of reality. Blaming the world makes you feel good but doesn’t change anything. It’s a way of convincing yourself that things are unfair instead of accepting them.

You cannot change other people or situations that bother you; however, you can change how you respond to these annoyances by accepting them. If you’re repeatedly frustrated by an unfair situation, ask yourself if it’s one you can change or if you need to change your response. If the situation is out of your hands, then focus on acceptance.

Our beliefs about life also play a role in how well we tolerate frustration. Beliefs about how things should be or who should do what are often the root of frustration.

Life Is So Hard GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

If a person believes, for example, that “Life should be easy,” and if that same person stubs his toe, he is unlikely to deal with the pain as easily as someone else who believes that “Life isn’t always easy,” but that “I can deal with the tough times.”

Because the belief systems of these two individuals differ, how they choose to react to and deal with their stubbed toes will also differ.

7. Manage expectations.

So much in the formula for happiness lies in the reality = expectations equation.

When we overemphasize a perception of what we expect life to be, how it should be, the bigger the difference between our expectations and the actual situation, the more intense our feelings of frustration.

Being rigid in our internal world view of how we expect the world to be will only increase our vulnerability to frustration.

Having flexibility in our thinking or reshaping our assumption that life should be easy can improve our resilience to frustration.

Instead of being frustrated at the weekday rush hour traffic because we expect traffic to be smooth and easy, we can accept that traffic is a part of life and so begin on working to mitigate this aspect of life.

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onwards and upwards

And even when we experience frustration, it’s helpful to remember—it can lead to positive outcomes that move us toward new learning, innovation, or even anger that is expressed in an assertive manner. When this happens, we can become more resilient when facing life’s challenges–including traffic congestion and assembling a bookcase.

As Angela Duckworth says in her book Grit:

I learned a lesson I’d never forget. The lesson was that, when you have setbacks and failures, you can’t overreact to them.”

Angela Duckworth

Frustration tolerance is perhaps just one small component to building grit.


  • The consequences of a low frustration tolerance:
    • Giving up easily or avoiding tough tasks
    • Procrastination
    • Anger and rage
    • Lashing out and impacts relationships
    • Negative emotions like: self-pity, hurt, burn-out, depression, anxiety, dissatisfaction or helplessness
  • How to build a high frustration tolerance:
    • Increase exposure
    • Build problem solving skills
    • Improve mindset
    • Adjust beliefs
    • Cheer yourself on
    • Accept that life is difficult
    • Manage expectations
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weekly roundup: 2022 week 8

Welcome to another weekly roundup, filled with three resource gems from the internet, two ideas from me, and one story lesson to pass on!

3 Gems of the Week

  1. Club Mom from r/wholesomegifs (1 min)About as wholesome as it gets. Parents during the pandemic deserve their own specific badge of honor for managing to keep up the well being in their own lives as well as the lives of their kids around them, where it’s harder to explain: there is an invisible enemy that is forcing us to stay indoors.Adults already are easily restless after so long after the pandemic, and that’s with understanding the nature and importance of world events. But younger kids, I can only begin to imagine how difficult it is to wrap their heads around why the world suddenly changed.

    Peep this mom trying to make home life entertaining and stimulating for her kids. Looks like everyone (DJ Mom included) are having a fabulous time.

  2. Using an A.I. program to win the New Yorker cartoon caption contest (8 mins)
    The fascinating experiment of a team using GPT-3, an AI program that imitates human-like writing in an attempt to create a winning caption for the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest.The article documents the process and logs the various caption results, as well as where they placed among the entries.This was an interesting observation: “We noticed that many of our entries were hitting the right themes from among the high-ranking captions, but just weren’t written in the clever, pithy style that’s appropriate for a cartoon.”

    They eventually transitioned to the idea of a hybrid idea generation process: merging GPT-3 with feedback and tweaking from expert writers.

    Why I found this interesting:
    As automation continues to creep into every facet of daily life, industry professionals staunchly advocate that automation cannot replace creativity. This caption contest experiment however attempts to do just that.

    Submission: ranked in top 28% (1,934th) “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were hiding something.”

  3. Famous Movie Quotes by Nathan Yau of Flowing Data (3 mins)I always enjoy visual sketch noting, and this felt like a fun twist on visualization of text.I haven’t watched all of these films, but love how instantly recognizable the graphic is for something I’ve seen already — kind of like the film’s story is encoded in this one visual.

    How many of these can you identify by the image alone?

2 Thoughts of the Week

  1. On a personal brand. Thanks to technology opening the gates and bringing the rise of the solo creator, there is so much emphasis on building a personal brand.This can sometimes feel like performance art. Debuting a certain image of ourselves online for others to see. To behave in a certain manner that “aligns with our brand.”

    What if sometimes we just “be,” and focus less on the constant performance art of being a brand?

  2. Time travel is real.Whenever I hear someone resurfacing their old notes or ideas, I get a mini jolt of happiness.

    The same applies for me when I find old thoughts or ideas, and can feel my body react with the same excitement as when I first discovered that insight.

    Because in these cases, it means we’ve successfully time traveled: leaving bread crumbs by our past self to re-discover for our future self.

1 Story Lesson

Today, I want to share one passage from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, and the myth behind the Windigo spirit:

The Windigo is the legendary monster of our Anishinaabe people, the villain of a tale told on freezing nights in the north woods.

You can feel it lurking behind you, a being in the shape of an outsized man, ten feet tall, with frost-white hair hanging from its shaking body. With arms like tree trunks, feet as big as snow-shoes, it travels easily through the blizzards of the hungry time, stalking us. The hideous stench of its carrion breath poisons the clean scent of snow as it pants behind us. Yellow fangs hang from its mouth that is raw where it has chewed off its lips from hunger. Most telling of all, its heart is made of ice….

This monster is no bear or howling wolf, no natural beast. Windigos are not born, they are made.

The Windigo is a human being who has become a cannibal monster. Its bite will transform victims into cannibals too….It is said that the Windigo will never enter the spirit world but will suffer the eternal pain of need, its essence a hunger that will never be sated. The more a Windigo eats, the more ravenous it becomes.

Consumed by consumption, it lays waste to humankind.”

The Windigo

“Traditional upbringing was designed to strengthen self-discipline, to build resistance against the insidious germ of taking too much. The old teachings recognized that Windigo nature is in each of us, so the monster was created in stories, that we might learn why we should recoil from the greedy part of ourselves. This is why Anishinaabe elders like Stewart King remind us always to acknowledge the two faces — the light and the dark side of life — in order to understand ourselves. See the dark, recognize its power, but do not feed it.

“The beast has been called an evil spirit that devours mankind. The very word, Windigo, according to Ojibwe scholar Basil Johnston. In Ojibwe ethics, Steve Pitt says, “any overindulgent habit is self-destructive, and self-destruction is Windigo.”

And so, on days when we are consumed with our own desires and self-wanting, remember: the Windigo spirit exists in each of us. It is our duty to understand the threat of its existence, and not to let it consume the human nature within us.

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weekly roundup: 2022 week 7

Welcome to another weekly roundup, filled with three resource gems from the internet, two ideas from me, and one story lesson to pass on!

3 Gems of the Week

  1. Changing my mind, by Rika (4 mins)
    My problem was that I was clinging onto information, onto knowledge, because I thought it would help me to become a better writer. But that’s just tip of the iceberg. I was holding on tightly because I didn’t trust myself. Notes became a crutch.” 

    A real time thought exercise of her approach to note-taking. And beyond that, a more important meta lesson: changing our mind is a good thing, and not necessarily that we are easily swayed or lack conviction. 

    She shares this wisdom from Daniel Kahneman:

    I change my mind all the time, and I change my mind in research all the time. That drives my collaborators — also, I like to collaborate so I work with people — and I drive my collaborators crazy. I change my mind.

    I keep telling them … and also I am not very respectful of their ideas, either. I keep telling them: “Look. I treat my ideas as badly as I treat yours. This is part of the process.

    I think encouraging people to change their minds is a very, very good thing for an organization to do. That is, rewarding it. That we want people who can “think again.”

    Recognizing that the ability to change your mind is just part of good thinking … that improvements in thinking are incremental. You don’t find a flaw and fix it. You find a flaw and fix it, and then you find another flaw in the fixed thing. That’s the way it works.

  2. Sergei Polunin, “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle (4 mins)
    If I could ever do it all over again, I’d love to explore an alternate reality where I danced ballet.Like yoga, there’s something I find irresistibly fascinating about the craft — the combination of strength and elegance, of yin and yang.To me, ballet is a pinnacle of what true mastery represents: a beautiful and inspiring art form. It takes intense difficulty, immense strength and ability to accomplish these moves, blended with the creativity and elegance through the expression of dance.

    You see it here: how Sergei Polunin weaves powerful emotion with jaw dropping precision in movement.

  3. Writing advice sent to a young fan of Lewis’ Narnia books (1 min)A damn fine lesson in the HOW and WHY to “show”, not “tell.”
    Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified.

    Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers:

    “Please will you do my job for me.”C. S. Lewis
    Letter to Joan Lancaster
    June 1956

2 Thoughts of the Week

  1. On Pressure.I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of pressure.

    In physics, pressure is force over area: a continuous physical force exerted on or against an object by something in contact with it. What units can measure pressure? | Socratic

    It’s curious that we also define it as something more abstract: “using persuasion, influence, or intimidation to make someone do something.”

    Quite often, that someone is ourselves: we coerce, coax, compel ourselves to pursue many things.

    Things we want to do.
    Things we should do.
    Things we think others want us to do.

    Things we expect from ourselves.

    The root of happiness is matching expectations to reality. And when expectations and reality don’t match, in that delta lies pressure.

    When we translate this law of the physical world into a metaphysical one, it made realize how absurd this idea is. Because applying continuous physical force to something will eventually crush this thing.

    Fun fact: Listening to Surface Pressure on repeat as I write this section.

  2. Favorite Question. 

    When we only focus on the seriousness of work and cease to make work playful or irreverent, it begins to feel more like an obligation and less like freedom.Which can lead to less feelings of joy, and eventual burn out. So one of my favorite questions to counter this is:

    How can I have more fun with this?

1 Story Lesson

If you haven’t seen the show Ted Lasso yet, it tells the story of a kind and well-intentioned American coach brought in to rescue a football team. It weaves the story of how he slowly changes everyone in his vicinity: his staff, the team-members he coaches, and even the owner of the team itself.

One of the star characters in the show is Roy Kent: the irascible, grumpy midfielder with a penchant for swearing at children who transforms into a motivating team captain and eventual coach.

Brett Goldstein Responded To A 'Ted Lasso' Theory Roy Kent Is CGI

The actor, Brett Goldstein, was originally a writer on the show Ted Lasso. HIs original plan was to be behind the camera, not in front. Sort of like a Phyillis from the Office story.

5 episodes in, he began to realize: I think I’m Roy Kent.

But he also thought no one thought of him like this, being the reticent, Muppets loving person he is.

After finishing up writing the series in LA, before his flight to London, he filmed 5 scenes as Roy Ken and emailed them to the producers with the message:

“Thanks for having me. If this is awkward, or this is shit, pretend you never got this email and I promise you I will never ask you about it.

But if you like it, I think Roy Kent is in me, growling.”

By the time he landed in London, the producers had written back: “D’you know what, we can’t be bothered to keep looking, that’ll do.”

Goes to show how putting yourself out there can garner an Emmy win in return.



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weekly roundup: 2022 week 6

Welcome to another weekly roundup, filled with three resource gems from the internet, two ideas from me, and one story lesson to pass on!

3 Gems

  1. Most Beautiful Songs According to Reddit on Spotify

    A wholesome thread of song recommendations crowdsourced from the Internet, a great playlist to play in the background during light work.

    Allow yourself to marvel at the wonder of the Internet when you stumble across a song that resonated powerfully with you, and know that it resonated equally powerfully with someone else.Check out the actual Reddit thread and 975 comments here for submissions, and feel the joy seeing other people endorse a submission suggestion as their favorite track as well.

  2. Having Realistic Expectations Could Make You Happier Than Being Over-Optimistic (22 mins)
    How often have you heard the phrase: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll among the stars.”This study proves this cliched phrase is not the best advice to pursue our goals, and how realistic thinking about life outcomes tends to make you happier than if you over estimated or underestimated them.

    The research pulls from a sample of 1600+ people, showing that people with realistic beliefs (AKA achievable stretch goals) scored higher on psychological wellbeing than those with too low or too high expectations.

  3. 12 Life Lessons from 2021Some favorite lessons from the YouTube great, Ali Abdaal. There were a few on there that really resonated with me:

    2. ⛔️ Steven Bartlett’s quitting framework – Quitting isn’t for losers, it’s for winners. Knowing when to quit something is a big life skill. Here’s how it works:

    3. 📈 The gap and the gain – If we want to motivate ourselves, we should look back at the gain we’ve made (’wow I’m looking way more hench compared to last year’), instead of judging ourselves by the gap between us and our ideal outcome.

2 Ideas

  1. Daily Digital Detox (1 hr)
    Previously, I wrote about the value of a weekly digital detox where every Sunday from 10 AM – 7 PM we committed to a digital fast with different ranges of intensity.Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a daily micro detox for an hour or so.

    I’ve noticed on days when I consciously avoid digital products for an hour, I am substantially more successful at doing things I’ve been procrastinating around the house.

    This is an example of tasks I was able to complete in one my sessions, that I likely would have procrastinated for several days or weeks if I had not had an hour of boredom that I wanted to fill up time with, scrunched up on the couch scrolling.
    The brain is truly a fascinating and productive thing — especially when we remove distractions.

  2. Things that bring me joy
    Instead of a gratitude journal, I’ve been listing three things that bring me joy as part of my daily morning routine.On rough days, I often couldn’t find things to write when I did gratitude journals. It’s hard to feel grateful when things are tough.

    But joy, however, felt easy. Recalling things that brought me joy resurfaced easily, and in that brief period of remembering, I could literally feel it opening up my body — bringing with it a renewed outlook and brighter spring in my step.

    And it also allows for more feelings of awe, fascination, wonderment and a variety of other positive emotions than just gratitude, emotions that have been proven to bring about powerful trickle down effects.

1 Story Lesson

There are a few moral stories that begin with a glass of water.

It can be the timeless, proverbial question of: is the glass half full or half empty?

Or it could be the lesson on managing priorities, and asking ourselves: is the jar full?

These are all great life lessons: learn to view things optimistically, or learn to prioritize the important things — prioritizing the rocks, pebbles and sand priorities (in that order) for your jar of life.

But perhaps one of the most compelling story lessons I’ve encountered regarding a glass and water was the question a professor asked to a classroom of students:

How heavy is a glass of water?

Glass of water

At first glance, it looks like a basic question of physics: the weight of the cup + the weight of the liquid contained inside.

The professor shook her head, smiling at the different answers being thrown about.

She replied: “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter.

It all depends on how long I hold it.

If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor.

In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”

Reading about this story, it brought to mind the Greek mythology of Atlas: the Titan with the burden of holding up the weight of the world for eternity.

It made me realize how heavy a price that is to pay. What an immeasurably heavy load to bear.

And at the same time, how much more compassion I feel for the weights we carry.

There are some pains and traumas we’ve carried all our lives. How heavy they must be after so long.

And so, like the professor continues:

“Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water.

Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little.




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weekly roundup: 2022 week 5

Welcome to another weekly roundup, filled with three resource gems from the internet, two ideas from me, and one story lesson to pass on!

3 Gems

  1. The Six Thinking Hats (3 mins)
    I’ve been reading Jim Kwik’s book Limitless: Upgrade your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life. In his chapter on Thinking, he introduced me to the idea of “six thinking hats” to problem solve in a more organized and productive way, where you identify with six different “roles” or perspectives.

    This method allows you to look at an issue from multiple sides — the pros and the cons, as well as both parts of our brains, the rational and the emotional one. I’m looking forward to using this mental model on the  the next problem I stumble across, and following this mental model.

  2. What’s the Fastest Language? is an app that lets you practice problem solving and figuring out logic puzzles. Each exercise features a question and if solved incorrectly, a thorough explanation to learn from.

    This was a fun exercise to learn how information theory impacts how we express ourselves and communicate through language and syllables.”

    The concept of information is so fundamental that it has quietly revolutionized everything from how we decode the genome, to the learning algorithms that underlie our digital lives, to how we understand information processing by the brain.”

  3. How To Never Run Out Of Things To Say In Conversation (4 mins)
    Human connection is a crucial element to our wellbeing and survival as a species.

    Therefore, it’s important to understand how to connect well with people. We can only connect well with people by spending time truly engaged with each other, hence why it’s important to learn ways to stay engaged in a conversation.

    Check out these five tips!

2 Ideas

  1. There is no such thing as a history of unwritten ideas.
    Write your ideas down. Think on them — ask yourself:

    Why does it resonate?
    What unanswered questions do I have left?
    What can I expand on?

    If you don’t write them down, they won’t make their way into history.
    Instead, they disappear into the void.There is no such thing as a history of unwritten ideas.

  2. Pursue the right goals.
    The great opera singer Robert Brault once said: “We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”

    In the end, we’ll usually follow the path that is most clear.

    Very few people have true clarity on the most important things in their life:Who they are.
    Where they’re going.
    How they’re getting there.

    As a result, most people’s lives are often a jumble of priorities and possibilities, with nothing really getting the lion’s share of your attention and focus.

    And when everything is a priority, nothing is.

1 Story Lesson

Every Monday and Thursday, my two pups go to doggy daycare as a way to let them socialize and for my partner and I to get some days of deep, focused work without interruptions.

Our doggy daycare is wonderful; it offers a Nest Cam so super attached moms (like me) can check in whenever they’re missing their pups. The other day, I watched one of my pups playing with a ball: tossing it high the air in a parabolic arc, waiting patiently as it began to fell back towards Earth into her smiling mouth.

She was having a glorious time.

But then, one of the caretakers pulled another ball from her pocket and tossed it into the crowd. Another dog leaped from the pack to snatch it in his jaws, claiming it for his own.

My Reya trotted over, sniffing the dog and the new trophy intently, before making a rush to snatch the ball from the other dog’s jaws. The other dog batted her away, while her own ball rolled away, abandoned to the side. It was clear she wanted something else now.

Unfortunately, as she locked into a new target, a smaller pup surreptitiously scooped up Reya’s original ball and, tail high and waving, walked off to another corner to play. When Reya realized the new ball wasn’t worth chasing, I saw her backtrack to her own — only to discover it was now claimed.

Paws up: Remembering the GIFs of past Puppy Bowls

And so she stalked to a dog bed and plopped down, head in between her paws.

Even through the grainy Nest cam, I saw clearly it was a slump of defeat.

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year in review: 2021

This year, I had a lot of fun creating a Year in Review visual, something I might try doing for future years.

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this year’s Year in Review is that — despite a difficult year of burn out, COVID fatigue, and all around mental hibernation towards the latter few months, this was the first year where I didn’t look back and ask myself: what the hell did I even do this year?

I think this is attributed to the systems I’ve built in place that actually benchmark milestones in the year through my projects, highlights, and tracked goals.

I imagine as my Year in Review content and review itself iterates over time, I’ll add more.

But for now, just creating this visual and reflecting on the year is grand.

My next goal will be to figure out how to incorporate a good Annual Plan that is

  1. Realistic and feasible
  2. Measurable
  3. Easily reviewed and re-aligned throughout the year

Until then, onwards and upwards!

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weekly roundup: 2022 week 4

Welcome to another edition of my weekly round up! Changing up the format a bit while I get back into the swing of things and tweak it until I like it.

I’m thinking I’m going to make it into a 3-2-1 Newsletter for now:

  • 3 resources curated from the internet
  • 2 ideas from me
  • 1 story lesson

Continuing to remind myself that this is me thinking out loud as I go — and the format (and language) is still in progress. Now, onwards!

3 Gems from the Week

  1. Why Do Cameras Do This? | Rolling Shutter Explained by Smarter Every Day (7 mins)
    A fascinating explanation that merges lessons in both technology and physics. Check this out if you’re curious to understand why an iPhone will capture a rapidly moving object very strange in the processed photo. (Tested and replicated by yours truly, can confirm!)I watched this years ago and can still remember the logic and reasoning why behind Destin’s explanation. This is a great example of a person explaining a complex concept through story telling and making it thoughtful / engaging.
  2. How to Make Yourself Work When You Don’t Want To by Heidi Grant (6 mins)
    We all have those days when we need to do the work and just don’t feel like showing up.Heidi Grant, one of Thinkers50’s most influential management thinkers globally, emphasizes that beyond learning actionable techniques to overcome procrastination, it’s important to understand there are different underlying sources to this feeling.Figuring out which tactic to use depends largely on the reason why you are procrastinating. Read this article to understand the different reasons why and strategies to overcome them.
  3. Billie Eilish: Same Interview, the Fifth Year by Vanity Fair (22 mins)
    I love, love, loved this video and series. Not only because I love Billie Eilish in general — as an artist and a person, but just the idea of doing the same interview year over year and seeing how a person changes and matures.I love that she calls out her former self on earlier answers, being like “wow, that girl right there was having an identity crisis” or “wow, clearly lying.” While we don’t get to see her progress throughout the years, you see her transformed with each interview. The honesty and growth she wears shows how she as evolved in her own hero’s journey.This video just makes me want to be her friend so we can go do cool shit together, being goofy and ourselves and embracing who we are.

 2 Ideas from me

  1. The Importance of Focus.
    We all have the same 24 hours in a day.This is the same unit of measurement across every human’s life.
    We cannot increase it. We cannot improve it in any way to sustain a competitive advantage.
    We are ordinary people, we are mortals.The best ting we can do is to shift our obsession with time to an obsession with focus. Only by improving focus can we stand out from the crowd.

    Although we cannot escape the lives of ordinary people, at least we can make ourselves a little better through better focus.

  2. Building Frustration Tolerance.
    There’s a lot of advice floating out there about the different skill sets we should build to become better at achieving our goals.Things like: Learned optimism, growth mindset, good communication, meaningful purpose, forming habits, etc.I challenge these assumptions and believe one of the important skillsets to prioritize is building our frustration tolerance.

    Our ability to withstand frustration has a large impact on achievement. In fact, a low ability to manage this leads to negative feelings like rage, depression, helplessness, burn out, etc.

    And most fatally, the frustration can become too much to bear where we simply give up.

1 Story Lesson: the Voyager and Courage

Voyager 1 & 2 are Earth’s farthest spacecraft. They are a a physical manifestation of human curiosity: Both have spent the past 41+ years traversing the solar system with flybys of our outer planets and moons, exploring space at the farthest reaches of our solar system.

It is the farthest man made object to explore our galaxy.

Whenever I am afraid of doing something, I think of this space probe, this voyager in microgravity.

I imagine it hurtling outwards, shrouded in blackness and enveloped in the coldness of space. It must feel incredibly lonely, being the farthest man made spacecraft.

And it must be so brave, knowing it will never return home.

Voyager will never be able to make its way back to us. This was always a one-way trip.

When they lifted off in 1977, there was no way of knowing what they would encounter, what data they might bring back.

When I decided to leave my corporate job, I was never more scared in my life. I had no idea what lay ahead.

Whenever I feel that way, I think about how Voyager is still out there somewhere beyond our solar system, going further than anyone ever thought it could.

So on days when your fear consumes you, don’t stop.

You can do this.

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weekly roundup: 2022 week 3

Hi there!

Experimenting with something new. Over the past few months, I’ve been slowly at work designing yina’s Ecosystem (might share this in a later post) as a way to explore how to stay organized with the knowledge and content I find, as well as my tasks and life management.

It seems I’ve gotten to a good place with personal knowledge management. My Library in Notion has started to help me resurface helpful articles I’ve found. And so much so, I feel confident I can start sharing them out to others so voila — a little experiment with a weekly newsletter sharing my curated highlights from the week.

The way I see it, this serves a win-win purpose: it helps me review items in my library and recall what I learned from them, and share it where you can hopefully learn something as well!

I imagine the format, frequency and style of this will likely shift over time as I figure out what works so bear with me — but that’s the beauty of it, right? Experimenting until something clicks.

And so, let’s get started with this week’s Weekly Roundup!

3 Gems from the Week

3 various pieces of content that resonated with me this week

1. The science-backed ‘Future Self’ strategy can pave the way to greater success (Article)

Understand the psychology of our future selves: how we identify with our future selves is a driver of our current personality and behaviors.

Thinking about how I can benefit future Yina has shaped a lot of my behaviors and decisions that might be geared towards a more short term reward.

Often times, the things that can benefit our future selves are usually things that don’t help our present self. For example, Future Yina will benefit if Present Yina put the chips back in the pantry, but Present Yina loses out on any sort of reward.

But in the end, I’m still getting a reward, aren’t I? It’s just been kicked down the road. By thinking that it’s my future self that will reap the reward, I find it more bearable for my present self to lose out on something in the short term.

When you see your future self as a different person, with different perspectives and preferences, then you can make present decisions based on what your future self would want.

These decisions may go counter to what you actually would prefer in a given moment. For example, your current self may want to eat a bag of doughnuts, but if you consider what your future self would prefer, you may come up with a different decision.

2. Transformation Glow Up: A Progress Report (IG Post)

Have you ever tried something new and consistently felt like you’ll never master it? Well, if you ever need a motivational boost, watch this transformational video of Lauren Flymen’s journey from jump rope beginner to pro.

Back story: Lauren started playing around with jump roping at the start of the pandemic. And as her skill and curiosity in the sport increased, it’s led to becoming her full time role, and best part — mastery of the skill.

This was a wonderful reminder that oftentimes, we don’t realize we are making progress until we look back at how far we’ve come since we started out. I’ll be loing back at this whenever I need motivation / hope that mastery in whatever I’m attempting at the moment is possible. But only through consistent practice and hard work.

Best part of this video: the fence behind her also has a glow up as well!

3. How I Tricked My Brain To Like Doing Hard Things (Video)

I’m continually on a quest to learn how to make doing hard things easier. We all have so many goals, desires, projects we want to finish. And the challenging part is — it’s obvious these are things that would be good for us down the future — but why is it so hard for us to actually do them?

This video walks us through these two questions to help us with the Quadrant II (not urgent but important) tasks and avoiding procrastination:

  1. Why are some people more motivated to tackle difficult things?
  2. And is there a way to make doing difficult things, easy?

The answer to these two questions: dopamine.

The dopamine detox starves you of all the pleasure you usually get, and in turn, it makes those less satisfying activities more desirable.

To put it simply: dopamine detox works because you become so bored, that boring stuff becomes more fun.

He simplifies the neuroscience down to this key point: a lot of businesses chase revenues through the dopamine effect. Very smart people have designed highly stimulating and easily engaging products all around us (social media, gaming, junk food, etc) that release high amounts of dopamine.

The best way to solve this: a scheduled dopamine detox where you purposely avoid these high dopamine activities to reset dopamine levels. AKA learn to sit with boredom to improve your motivation to do the hard things.


  • Make time to be intentionally be bored. When you’re bored, you’re more likely to do the things you’ve been procrastinating on in order pass the time.
  • Treat high dopamine activities as a reward — something as a treat after you’ve done steady deep focus work that might not feel as rewarding in the short term.

Hope you find these fruitful! Enjoy!

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how to take the pain out of moving

First things first: click here to skip straight to the template (available for purchase). Otherwise, read on for details.

Why I needed to build this spreadsheet

Living in New York where the cost of living is high (per Numbeo it’s 100 on the index) — rent takes up a large portion of your living expenses.

At the end of your lease, if you find apartments that offers a better deal for more space, you tend to pick up your things and move out. If only it was easy as “pick up your things and go.”

In my time in New York (seven years and counting,) I’ve moved seven times in the last seven years and accumulated much moving experience.

When I first moved to New York from London, I moved with two suitcases. Over time, as life and things accumulated — my suitcases (and boxes) have increased with time and memories.

Too many things

Can you say hoarder?

This meant with each subsequent move, the process of moving took over more and more of my daily life another week at a time; things couldn’t be rattled off and thought of ad hoc in my head. I simply had too many things to keep track of at once.

In earlier moves I often found myself with my face in my hands dodging stacked boxes and piles of clothes — trying in vain to remember where the hell did I put the hair dryer?! in the middle of my apartment shit-storm.

Mood when moving

Mood during the entire moving process

As I’ve moved over the years, I learned that centralizing all my information related to the move helped with my stress levels (and memory) the most. This way, I could reference it quickly and add more information where needed.

In addition, according to my love of spreadsheets and Type A nature, I optimized the process and created a workflow to make the experience. This turned into a moving spreadsheet I created to facilitate my moves and ta-da!

Click here for your own central repository to make future moves easier and less stressful 🙂



How moving can feel with an organized spreadsheet

The spreadsheets, a breakdown

Tab 1. Inventory

This tab includes a list of larger furniture items.

Movers will be typically move more than just boxes, and this inventory list is an example of larger items you will likely need their help to move.

When I was moving, this tab helped me for two reasons:

  • Build trust with your mover so they can better plan manpower and moving vehicle logistics.
  • A good check at the end of your move to make sure everything is accounted for.

Breaking down the tab:

  • Items: Item description
  • Room: Room location (click arrow to see choices)
  • Quantity: Amount of each item
  • Category: What “type” of item is it (click arrow to see choices)
  • Action: Keep? Sell? Donate? (click arrow to see choices)

PRO TIP: Movers typically require a high-level inventory list in order to provide a quote. By going through and identifying all the items we needed into this tab, it was easy to copy and paste the information to different moving companies and get a fairly accurate price quote on the first round when comparing rates.

Tab 2. Movers

One of the most tedious and mentally taxing things is comparing options. We live in a world of increasing optionality, so there always begs a question — how do you know you are getting the optimal choice?

More importantly, what do you do when you research and call moving companies, only to come back with half-answered questions in the shape of email, texts, calls, and voicemails? You are now stuck juggling multiple conversations 10 different ways, each at different stages of the sales process.

One of the best solutions for me (for a lot of things, now that I think about it) is a 2×2 matrix. AKA, a comparison chart.

By first defining the parameters you want to compare against, you eliminate the cognitive load of trying to keep track exactly what information you need. You’ve already done the work in defining it.

Better yet, you only need to define this once.

To prevent my brain from frying trying to keep track of all the information, I’d drop the information into my spreadsheet so I wouldn’t have to re-do the thinking for each conversation.

Tab 3. Packing

This is presumably the most crucial of the tabs.

The Packing tab identifies all your boxes and the items inside in an easily visible (and searchable) format where you’ll add all the packed contents of each box. We then labeled each box on the outside with the corresponding identifier.

When I used to move solo, I could easily remember what items were in which box during my move. Because I also had fewer things, unpacking was relatively quick.

I noticed that since my husband and I moved in together, the two of us combined accumulated waaaaay more crap than just one of us alone. In addition, unpacking took significantly much more time given the sheer volume of things we own.

As we accumulate more and more things, there will longer time spent living out of boxes during that limbo period where key items you need — like that god forsaken hairdry mentioned earlier — are still buried in some box or other but you need it to continue living your day to day.

Breaking down the tab:
  • Row 1: Box number (prefill based on number of bins / boxes)
  • Row 2: Category box number (ex: Assorted 1, Box 17)
  • Row 3 (& onwards): List of items

Pro Tip: During your move, you will likely have items you’ll need on the fly during the packing / unpacking process.

While you’re packing, highlight items where you’ll need quick access. This way you can stack your boxes and/or access them easily once you know which box they are in.

Tab 4. Legend

Certain columns within the spreadsheet have a dropdown list of pre-set categories.

This tab is where you can change and modify the information to update the dropdown list. (This part might get a little confusing, let me know if I can help)

Best of luck to you 🙂

And so, there you have it.

The spreadsheet that has slowly evolved over seven moves (and saved my husband and I from many moving-stress fights).

Enjoy, and best of luck with your move.

Click here to access the spreadsheet!

I’m not going to presume you need help with the move-in, organization, but as of Jan 5th, 2020 I will be moving in (and decorating) a new apartment in a few months and will work on documenting the process.

If you’re interested in getting this when it’s ready to launch, drop your email here!

I’m interested in a New Home Move In template!