Publishing without being ready is liberating.

I got this idea from Maggie Appleton (Twitter: @Mappletons):

A coming soon section for unfinished work by Maggie Appleton

Perfectionism requires imperfect accommodations

Maggie Appleton

This practice has been so liberating for me, as a chronic perfectionist who needs constant pushing to publish consistently. I know I do good work, but it’s always been clouded by fear of failure even though I know it’s counterproductive. Like a battle of wills for myself. Argh.

And this is why it’s been hard for me to publish consistently. It always has been.

Which is why I’ve decided to fight back.

I’ve silently published 4 (!) new posts over the past hour. These are book notes that I’ve been writing for the past month.

The reason why I think this works so well for books is because for non-fiction books, I skip around a lot and consume information just in time, not just in case. This means my information diet is very lean, because the focus is all focused towards consistent focus so I could chip away at my goals.

The Elements of Style by William Strunk – Notes by Celz Alejandro

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Please nag me on Twitter @celzalejandro to finish this.
  • #Status: Stopped at Loc 74, 11% Similar clauses…
  • Elementary Rules of Usage
    • 1. Possessive singulars end with ‘s, regardless of final consonant:
      • Charles’s friend, Burns’s poems, the witch’s malice, the Beatles’s concert tour
      • used by: Oxford University Press, United States Government Printing Office
      • Exceptions:
        • possessives of ancient Proper names
          • Jesus’
          • Achilles’ heel, Moses’ laws, Isis’ temple
        • pronominal possessives such ass hers, its, theirs his, oneself have no apostrophe
    • 2. Oxford comma
      • Exceptions:
        • Business firms omit the last comma.
          • Brown, Shirley and Company
        • etc. is always preceded by a comma, even if only a single term comes before it.
    • 3. Parenthetical expressions, such as this phrase, must be enclosed by commas.
      • Exceptions:
        • If the interruption to the sentence flow is small, commas can be omitted bt never unpaired.

Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono – Notes by Celz Alejandro

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  • #Status as of !(2020-05-15) #Hold
  • Lateral thinking has the same basis as insight, creativity, and humor.
  • de Bono argues that creativity, insight, and humor are things you can’t really harness, whereas lateral thinking is more deliberate
  • THe best way to incept a new idea to change the status quo is to do it from the inside out. From the existing information already available in one’s mind, sintead of as an external thing that is very aliean and foreign trying to find its way in.
  • Insight is the only way to change an idea when information cannot be evaluated objectively.
  • Education is not only about collecting large amounts of information, but is also about finding the best ways to use the said information. Many people forget the second half, and only hoard information like a doomsday meal prepper hoarding toilet paper.
  • Progress happens fast when ideas lead information instead of the other way around. But we are yet to develop any practical tool for handling insight
  • The mind is super efficient at pattern recognition. Once patterns are formed and recognized, they are often used. The more a pattern is used the more it becomes embedded firmly into a system.
  • This pattern usage is very efficiant when it comes to handling information. INstead of needing to know 100% of the information, the brain needs just enough to identify anything that migth be a pattern and uses that as a reference point when handling a situation.
    • typoglycemia? A cognitive principle in our brain can read the words as a whole and not letter by letter, unless the word is unknown.
  • It’s easy to think of our brains as a computer, but it is more accurate to think of it as a self-organizing environment optimized for pattern formation. This is the “effectivenesss of the mind”
  • There are, of course, limitations. While patterns are easy form, they can be very difficult to restructure. Restructuring patterns is needed for insight and humor. Creativity also involves restructuring, but its more focused on exiting the pattern itself more than working with existing patterns.
  • Lateral thinking involves restructuring and emerging new patterns.
  • Creativity is a description of result, lateral thinking is a description of process.
  • In order to use creativity, we need to shed the mistaken notion that creativity is only a mysterious force that only afew are blessed to have. Instead, we need to see creativity for what it is: a way of handling information.
  • Lateral thinking is all about generating new ideas. It is different from the traditional way of thinking — vertical thinking.
  • Vertical thinking is all about sequential thinking, moving one step at a time in a set sequence.
  • Lateral thinking means being wrong at some stage in order to achieve a correct solution. In vertical thinking such as in logic or math, steps need to be sequential to arrive at a particular solution. There may be various solutions, but they all arrive at the same thing.
  • Lateral thinking deliberately seeks out irrelevant information, while vertical thinking deliberately weeds out irrelevant information.
  • Both types of thinking ar eimportant and complementary.
  • Lateral thinking is generative (General), vertical thinking is sleective (Specialized)
    • Related to generalists and specialists and polymaths.
  • Lateral thinking tempers the arrogance of the rigidity of the conclusion brought about by vertical thinking. Therefore, it gretly enhances vertical thinking.
  • Vertical thinking, on the other hand, further develops insights made by lateral thinking, fleshing it out, making it make more sense.
  • “You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hold deeper”
  • The purpose of thinking is to collect the best information and to find what it’s best used for
    • Have this same mindset coming into BASB. We are too often caught up wondering what we’re doing is right or wrong. Too much asking, not neough trusting. Too much ertical thinking, not enough lateral thinking.
  • Traditional vertical thinking can only refine existing patterns, not restructure them.
  • “Lateral thinking is concerned with restructuring such patterns (insight) and provoking new ones (creativity).”
  • Organization of the book
    • The book is organized as such: An individual chapter is divided into two parts. the first part is the background material or theory, while the second half is all about practical application of the concepts presented.
  • 1. The way the mind works
  • 2. Difference between lateral and vertical thinking
    • “Vertical thinking is selective, lateral thinking is generative”
      • Vertical thinking is convergence, lateral thinking is divergence

The Now Habit by Neil Fiore – Notes by Celz Alejandro

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Please nag me on Twitter @celzalejandro to finish this.
  • there’s a HUGE gap between simply giving a diagnosis of a problem and actually providing a systematic answer to correct it.
  • People who are Serial Procrastinators (Procrasti. Petra) don’t need any external negative labels and criticisisms. They already do it themselves.
  • What they need:
    • Positive, but grounded advice
    • Practical action steps
  • To go past stumbling blocks to finally, finally achieve your goals.
  • “Think Positive”
  • “Just focus:
  • You’ve already heard this advice so. many. times.
  • It completely misses the point.
  • you would have done it already kung ganon lang kadali.
  • People don’t procrastinate because they’re lazy, they procrastinate beecause it makes sense.
  • Because somewhere these are the things you do without prompting and without hesitation.
  • If we are conditioned that work = pain (bec of criticisms, failures, etc) insecurity creeps up to you.
  • You associate pain, hurt, and fear at certain tasks.
  • You shut down when you feel pressured to perform but you don’t see the benefits outweighing the cons by a lot. subconsciously feeling mo hindi worth it na gawin yung thing na yun.
  • The first step is to redefine your understanding of what procreastination is.
  • Procrastination is not the cause of our problems. It is a SYMPTOM of an underlying cause.
  • Procrastination is an attempt to resolve our problem. It’s a defense mechanism.
  • The problem it tries to resolve are underlying issues of self-esteem, perfectionism, fear of failure, indecisiveness, burn out, crappy goal-setting, and negative perceptions of work and self.
  • Procrastination – coping mechanism w/ anxiety induceed by starting or finishing a task or decision
  • those that are prone to thise are those who feel threatened by criticism, failure, and losing out on other opportunities because of opportunity cost.
  • decreases inner conflict
    • need tools for safe, positive, inner dialogue with yourself.
  • A strategic, well-rounded system, and not just basic how-to advice found everywhere on the internet
  • THis strategy frees you from work stress and enjoy leisure time without the guilt.
  • Ten Strategies That Make the System:
    • Create safety
      • how to put a psychological safety net to lessen fear of failure
    • Reprogram attitudes
      • positive self-talk to help identify negative messages subconsciously being said
      • replace negative thoughts with positive phrasing
      • redirect energy to “task-oriented thoughts” and “rapid solutions”
    • Symptom – Cure corrention
      • use old habits to evoke and strenghten new, positive habits
    • Guilt-free play
      • schedule play time (yes!)
      • Shift focus from work to play
      • Creates urge to work
    • 3D thinking and reverse calendaring
      • control being overwhelemed by so many tasks by making a step-by-step path, with time adjusted to accomodate rest, work, play, and celebrating your wins.
    • Tame the beast of worry
      • develop plans for coping with distractions to help achieve goals and strenghten ability to face the worst that could happen
    • Unschedule
      • pre-scheduled guilt-free play
    • Setting SMART Goals
      • clear the mind from “guilt-producing goals” (goals that can’t be completed at the moment) and are therefore less actionable
      • direct focus to FEW, worthy goals.
    • Getting into the flow state
      • Beyond stress and low motivation
      • “focused energy” and concentration within TWO minutes… REGARDLESS of how you feel about what you’re working on.
    • Controlled setbacks – turn setbacks into opportunities for growth
      • build persistence into overall plan for success
  • These strategies are not new.
  • In fact, you can say that ___ #tk
  • But what is new is finally there are instructions na kung paano mo magagawa, hindi puro positive thinking lang.
  • Feel positive and even (EXCITED!) at things that used to cause you stress and procrastination.
  • 1. From Procrastination to Production
    • 1. identify procrastination patterns and replace them with effective patterns of producers
    • The warning signs of procrastination:
      • Bookmark
        • turn into a quiz (online, for SEO 🙂 )
      • Although we call ourselves procrastinators we can actually hit deadlines
        • but we feel so miserable and stressed (unless you have the mistaken Notion, like Jem, na mas nakakaawork kapag may pressure, and that pressure helps push you to make it before the deadline)
        • The distress comes from the anxiety and guilt when we delay work, and regret about missed opportunities.
          • ex. Gusto ko uminom with friends pero need to cram this paper.
      • “Why do you procrastinate?”
      • “Kasi tamad ako”
      • Pero kapag ibang bagay naman na fun para sa’yo hindi ka tinatamad.
      • ‘Di ka tinatamad to take care of your child
      • You don’t get lazy watching KDramas, or baking
      • In short…
      • Hindi ka tamad.
      • I believe people aren’t innatelu lazy na kailangan nila ng pressure.
      • Procrastination is a self-defense to preserve and protect (haha parang yung police motto na to serve and protect) your self-worth
      • * black guy point finger at temple meme.jpg *
        • “hindi ako maccriticize sa gawa ko kung wala akong ginawa”
      • we procrastinate when there’s a threat to our self-worth.
      • It can be rejection, criticisim, failure. Scared na you won’t get the job or the client –> no money –> feel like a failure cause self image tied to self-worth etc
    • #aside Why make an FB group:
      • so people can talk about criticism more, since Filos are so sensitive. need to esstablish way to communicate (idk what i was trying to say here)
    • We only act lazy when our natural drive for productivity (fruitful activity) is threatened or suppressed.
    • No one procrastinates to make themselves feel bad. We do it to relieve deep-seated inner fears, albeit temporarily
    • Fears:
      • failure
      • being im perfect (perfectionism)
      • impossible expectations from self or from others (overwhelmed)
    • Failure:
      • (sub) conscious belief that a small error means that you;re an awful person. If you grew up na achiever ka na nagttop ka sa class or pinalaki ka na sinasabihan ka na special ka etc you get scared of being wrong.
    • Imperfection:
      • Interpret any criticis`im as a threat to perfection you wish to attain
    • Impossible expectations
      • Fear that even after you’ve worked hard, your onlu reward is more work and more difficult goals to achieve
    • I think I want to himay like ano nuances and differences among the three cause right now i see overlaps.
    • Be compassionate about who and where you are right now.
    • When I do coaching calls, I do baseline muna, To teach them 1) not to compare themselves to anyone but themselves, and 2) so they can appreciate where they already are. So I’m both analytical about it but in a very compassionate way, not reducing people to numbers and stats but really taking advantage of those numbers to make people realize how awesome they already are.
    • Self-compassion isneeded to overcome causes for procrastination.
    • you need to understand that procrastination is not the failure of your character but rather an attempt (unsatisfactory it may be) to cope with and protect our self-worth.
      • focus on the role that has power for action even though they’re still not ideal. You can’t wait for ideal. Ideal is built. Is fought tooth and nail for,
      • from victim (less actionable) -> judge and critic (not ideal but more actionable role)
      • Projects become more than just work to be taken care of — they’re reflections of your worth as a person.
      • “felt like i had to cath-up to them — they’re good at everything they do. I can’t be “just average”, I have to be the best.”
      • “Felt like I had to force myself to be good at X and Y”
      • “I hate being average”
      • praise withheld from oyou nung bata ka kasi “bala lumaki ulo” turns into a child who never feels like they’re enough.
      • Steps in consulting
        • You first need to redefine basic premise of work in first session.
        • next, discover negative assumptions
          • track when you procrastinate for a few days when and why procrastination occurs.
          • why? to see when old thinking leads to the negative thought patterns.
          • procrastination -> escapism
        • Replace negative assumptions and replace them with positive challenges
      • You need to redirect focus on the task instead of your self-worth.
    • procrastination temporarily relieves us from stress.
    • The more painful work is, the more you avoid it as a relief.
    • If task feels endless, you feel it sucks the life outta you and out of time you could be using to enjoy yourself.
    • We use procrastination to reduce anziety we have with certain tasks.
    • Also, procrastination helps us conserve our energy.
    • Delaying work sometimes has its rewards
      • boring work done by someone else (may nagbuhat sayo)
      • procrastination often doesn’t have punishment (ex when you procrastinate on studyingn for an exam tomorrow tapos biglang bumagyo so # WalangPasok)
    • Experts tell you “you have to get organized” or “just do it” “or think positive” or other things. lol.
    • Have you ever tried so many methods of trying to get things done, scaring yourself into action because methods attack procrastinator not procrastination
    • From Atomic Habits on personality-based habits:
      • “behind a system of actions are a system of beliefs.”
      • “behavior that does not agree with who you are will not last”
  • We use procrastination in 3 different ways (mainly):
    • indirect resistance to pressure from authority
    • way of lessening fear of failure by providing an excuse for less-than-perfect performance
    • defense against fear of success by keeping us from our best work
    • feel like a victrim controlled by others who make the rules
    • key phrase: “I HAVE to do X”
    • Safe way to “rebel”
    • How to break this pattern:
      • self-empowerment and stopping the victim rols
    • #status Loc 488, 17%

Time Traveling with Progressive Summarization

Better highlighting and note-taking techniques. A short guide to Progressive Summarization.

Why do Progressive Summarization

Progressive Summarization (PS) is an annotation technique that’s so simple it makes you wonder why no one else has thought of it before. It involves multiple passes, and you don’t have to do it all in one sitting. Here’s why you should do it.

Capturing information in the digital age is easy. So easy, in fact, that you can capture everything and forget about it. I bet you have a collection of notes somewhere gathering digital dust.

Information hoarding is a problem. 

We hoard information because it gives us an illusion of knowledge. Ever consumed so much information that you feel like you’re getting smarter?

There’s nothing wrong with this if your goal is just to enjoy it and nothing more. But if your goal is to actually get smarter, then we need to smash some misconceptions.


Continuous Learning

Digital Lettering May 2020 by Celz Alejandro

Learning should be a lifetime thing.

Personally, the thought of stopping my learning is horrifying. Learning has always been enjoyable for me. Or perhaps, I understand that there is a difference between learning and studying.

Studying has always felt constrictive, like a ruler that measures you against the average, and quantifying your success based on numbers. Learning, on the other hand, is freedom. With each passing idea becoming a feather in your cap, and eventually becoming your wings.

Learning is fun, but we don’t always have time for it.

“Life happens,” we say. But isn’t learning part of life? That’s why I’ve learned to stop saying that. Instead, I’m calling it for what it is — being caught up with obligations.

We feel that we have too many responsibilities, and we’ve long stopped learning about things that excites us, even as hobbies. A proposal: You don’t have to say no to either obligations or hobbies.

Instead, practice your hobbies in The Gap.


Antifragile Summary Notes by Celz Alejandro

In a nutshell

Author Nassim Taleb introduces and defines what antifragile is, gives examples of antifragility, the problem with our current fragile system, and why we should all strive to become more antifragile.

This book, from the way it was written to the message it gives, is full of contrarianism, and this is a good thing.

Note that these are my synthesized notes, summarizing my personal takeaways from the book.

Striking quote

“The lion in the zoo might live longer, but is that really a desirable existence?”

Nassim Taleb, Antifragile

Site rebuild and work in progress

This site is currently going through overhaul.

What that means is that it may be clunky and annoying until we sort everything out, but I’m leaving it live instead of going on maintenance mode so I don’t cut off the flow of live feedback from readers.

That being said, it’s also a time for introspection on the kind of content I plan on putting up here.

I originally intended for this place to be a free for all for all my thoughts and musings, but now I’m reflecting if I should niche down.

The thought of nobody reading my stuff makes me anxious, but I think reframing my mindset to write for An Audience of One, I can take a leap of faith and just start writing about whatever fancies me, at least at first.

It’s better than not getting any writing down, isn’t it?

My areas of interest include food, productivity, and learning, so we’ll see how that looks like. Whatever it is, the goal is to share more about what I’m learning in hopes of helping someone else.

See you soon.

Ooma at BHS Central Square, BGC Review (2020)

We ate at Ooma at BHS Central Square, Bonifacio Global City for my birthday! Ooma’s one of those places I’ve wanted to try, but was intimidated by for a long time. My only regret is that I should have come here sooner.

Here’s my review of the food at Ooma BGC