Epiphanies that Saved My Sanity

Spend your most precious resource sensibly.

It’s a bit odd that most of us are obsessed with how to make and spend money fast, easy and shrewdly. What most of us overlook is that money isn’t the most valuable resource that we need to guard — it’s actually time. Money can be made, spent and regained. Time, on the other hand, is more than scarce — it’s non-renewable. This moment right now — yes, now, when you’re reading my post — you have no other choice but to expend it at this instant. If you think about it, you can never save or stock time like you do with money & other necessities; what you can learn to do instead is how to invest time in only the best ventures. Ask yourselves these questions more often: this thing I’m doing, will it count one month from now? One year? Five years? One year from now, will I look back and be happy with how I spent this moment? If not, what would? How can I start investing my time in that?

Mt. Daguldol, our happy mountain in the Philippines

Get up early.

No, really. I was never much of a morning person, until recently. What I found was that if I woke up just one hour earlier than usual, then I found myself with a lot of free time to read/ think/surf/blog/jog. Plus, I already feel a sense of accomplishment from the tasks I managed to tick off by 8 am, that the satisfaction lasts throughout the day. Moving my workout at the start of the day, for instance, was one of the best choices I’ve made. If I can subject myself to endure physical pain in the morning and still survive, all the tasks left for the rest of day don’t seem too daunting. Ask my colleagues — I’m so annoyingly smiley in the office now.

Give it a dry run for at least a week (better yet, do it for 21 days so that you can train your neurons into making it an unavoidable habit) and just see the difference. If it can turn procrastinating skeptic like me into a preaching believer, it’ll work for you.

Happy feet atop a random sandbar in the middle of the Indian Ocean
Happy feet atop a random sandbar in the middle of the Indian Ocean


Don’t feel guilty about me-time.

If you had the monster of all juiced-up cars, would you drive it day and night without caring to pull up at the gas station, or for even a single tune-up? Even the top calibre of all high-performance machines need to recover and recharge, else they turn dull and lacklustre. I find that at times when I let go and I choose not to be stressed (yes, it is a choice!), these are the moments when I become lucid about what makes me happy, what are and should be my real priorities – and my next steps miraculously seem to fall in place. It’s so uncanny, I slap my forehead on why it took me so long to see the obvious.

I put my me-time early in the morning as well. The goal is sit for 10 minutes, trying to just calm the noise in my head. Trying to think of nothing in particular, but be more aware about everything.  At least for 10 minutes, I am on ‘vacation’ mode, pondering things I don’t normally think about when I’m in a hurry. I look at it as training my mind to focus on the 20% of things that will give me 80% of what I want in life. Sort of like a mental defrag.

Mortar-and-pestle-ing with a vengeance.
Mortar-and-pestle-ing with a vengeance.


Choose your battles.

I usually have a high tolerance for annoying people, but there are a few idiots who I swear were just sent my way to test me. At those moments, I can literally feel the heat rising out of my neck. What I do is slow down my breathing to calm down, but there are times when that doesn’t work either. When all else fails, I ask myself this one question — one year from now, is this going to matter? If the answer is yes, then I let all hell break loose and fight for it. If not, then I brush it off; it’s neither worth losing face nor grace.

Just be a better person than you were yesterday.

It’s the mother of all baby steps. No need to compete with the Einsteins, Michael Phelps, and Donald Trumps of the world. All I need is to make sure that I was a better person than I was yesterday, and then I’ll know my day was a day well spent.

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