The Ride And The Destination

I am not that old! As comedian Chris D’ELia would say – “I am the youngest person you have ever met”, but of course, this is not true. Recently I turned twenty-eight, and as is customary with people like me, we think back at previous birthdays, and reflect on the years that have passed, but this time I went down a rabbit hole about time.

As my birthday approached this year I was already in a reflective state( that’s my personality), but I was thinking a lot about where I am, and where I want to be. While thinking back on this last year, I acknowledged some wins and losses, and like so many people, I am constantly wondering about the path I am on. I routinely ask myself: am I doing the right thing, should I just look for a “real” job, what happens if I don’t reach my goals, what are my goals? Then, in the midst of asking myself these questions for the hundredth time, I was hit with an epiphany. All of a sudden I realized how quickly this thing called “life” progresses, yes sometimes it seems to drag on, especially in our most painful circumstances. Though when you look back at your last ten years, it is too easy to wonder how the hell it all went by so fast.

This epiphany, though somewhat recurring, made me realize that the next ten years will likely go by even faster, because of the nature of our experience. Generally, as time goes on, we perceive it as going faster, this aspect of time reminded of the distinction between destinations and journeys.

We are all familiar with the concept of focusing on the “journey” instead of the destination, but most our lives are based on reaching destinations. However, when you reach a certain amount of destinations, you realize how quickly the feeling of accomplishment disappears. Once you reach a goal, it is passed immediately, and you must focus on the next one. This type of thinking can often get us stuck in a loop of “destination” focus, where we become totally incapable of enjoying experiences, because we are already moving to the next one as fast as possible. However, once you pass enough destinations at high-speed, you start to realize you should start enjoying the ride a little bit, because it only goes faster, and everyone’s final destination is ultimately the same: death.

I understand that people will disagree, for some, the unbreakable focus on outcomes, destinations, and goals is precisely how they want to live, yet many people who do not want to live this way find themselves stuck on a hamster wheel, always looking to the next “destination”. When you feel stuck on a ride you do not want to be on, it becomes inevitable that you wish it to be over as soon as possible, until you realize the ride is coming to an end.

For me, I am trying to approach things with a balance: trying to balance my insatiable appetite for personal success, with my equally strong desire to enjoy the best parts of life like: lifting weights, dancing, doing Taekwon-do, learning languages, and of course – women. Since I am realizing how fast this ride goes, it has helped me understand that the mile-stones we set for ourselves are important, but they are also just sticks in the ground that disappear once we passed them.

With this new perspective I hope to strive for success, but with the understanding that the time I have now is the most valuable thing I possess.

No Reflection, No Wisdom

It is clear that self-criticism is an important feature of a person who wants to improve. I have been chasing physical and cognitive endeavors for most of my life, and I would not have gotten anywhere if it weren’t for my ability to self-reflect, realize where I am weak, and take action to adjust.

In fact, with martial arts I hit some critical points where I needed to adjust or succumb to perpetual state of failure. I started learning Taekwon-do when I was seven years old, and got my black belt about three years later. Because of my size and personality( I tend to be laid back), I did not do very well in sparring competitions. I would regularly do the bare minimum in my sparring matches to be considered a participant. However, as I got older I began to dislike losing, a lot, and I wanted to change it.

In order for me to become a better fighter, I had to honestly asses my level, identify what was holding me back, and make adjustments. I did just that. I knew if I got better at throwing a lead-leg side kick, my defense and offense would drastically improve. So I got a classmate to help me with the movements of throwing lead-leg sidekicks in a dynamic environment, then I started applying the technique to my sparring matches, and it changed the game for me. As I continued to learn from my mistakes, and get feedback from my father (who was my coach), I made incremental improvements until I was winning tournaments all over the country. This is just one example of learning from my failures to improve, there are probably too many to count. However, I never let perfection get in my way, If I did something badly, I kept trying until it was better. I was not possessed by the idea that one of my previous mistakes doomed to eternal failure, because for the most part, that’s how life is. We do our best, make mistakes, hopefully reflect, re-adjust and get back on track. But our culture is on a different track, if some body makes a mistake on Twitter they not ever be forgiven.

Last year Kevin Hart had to step down from hosting the Oscars because of Tweets he made nearly ten years earlier. Kevin Hart is a comedian, so of course he is going to make offensive jokes, but even with that understanding aside, the fact people were upset with him over jokes he made a decade ago is a serious problem. It demonstrates an obsession with people criticizing others for not being perfect within the ever changing landscape of acceptable social discourse.

In order for people to grow, they must be allowed to make mistakes. In order to become a better fighter you have to get hit, to become a stronger debater, you have run into arguments you didn’t anticipate, after those difficult experiences you learn what not do, and also how to react. However, in the current cultural climate people are losing jobs and are attacked for things they said in the past, things which used to be acceptable, and they are not given a chance to be redeemed.

People must lack wisdom and reflection to viciously attack others for past jokes, and not allow room for explanation or apologies. The internet mobs are full of people possessed by mob-mentality. They think it’s cool to dog pile on someone to signal their virtue. It is also a sign of immaturity. People who live life, as in try their best and put themselves in positions to fail, are often forgiving of people who make mistakes, because that is what happens in life; we try, sometime fail, then learn. So if you find yourself soiling your clean new underwear because someone said a gay joke on Twitter ten years ago, try doing something with your life, and when you actualize the perfection you crave, then let your peers be the judge.

It’s Christmas Eve, How’s Your Year Been?

I know it is not New Years yet, but dammit, it’s close enough, and I can definitively say this year has been an interesting ride. We should all take a moment to look back at the year and view our ups and downs as impartially as possible. Remember, you can’t just have ups all the time.

For me, a theme of this year was getting financially ordered, at least more ordered than previously. Since graduating from University back in 2014, I have been through a whirl-wind of financial situations. I came out of college with nearly $40,000 of student and car loans, after quitting my first corporate job, starting my side business, and jumping into business with my dad, the financial situation seemed to get worse. This is how I learned about the importance of cash-flow, because when the cash ain’t flowing, the credit cards start pushing some extra weight. However, since making some major changes to my business and life, which included extensive downsizing, things are much more manageable, and I’ve nearly paid off my debts.

This year I also took my Chinese speaking abilities to a significantly higher level than last year. And regardless of it’s immediate utility, I continue to be addicted to learning and improving my Mandarin Chinese, so I can say I am proud of where I am, though I would like to see more progress.

My Latin dancing abilities also saw a drastic increase this year, though I am at plateau currently. I am still very thankful for the people who introduced me to the various levels of the Latin Dance scene throughout Houston.

Lastly, a very unexpected development was my decision to move to Taiwan for a bit. After having a fantastic trip there in September, I felt an intense feeling pulling me there, so I made a huge decision, and will be flying back to Taiwan next week for at least 6 months.

In addition to the changes and improvements in my life and hopefully others, I must take some time to thank God for the health of my living family members, and especially my father. I don’t know where I’d be without them.

Merry Christmas!

Why You Should Read Mike Cernovich

The first time I heard about Mike Cernovich was on Dave Rubins show in 2016. I remember Cernovich referencing himself being on 60 minutes, and having an overall interesting interview with Rubin. After the interview I thought Cernovich was insightful, but was reluctant to follow him. At that time I was listening to people like Ben Shapiro, and did not have Twitter, which I believe is Cernovich’s preferred social media platform. However, after jumping on Twitter in 2018, my perception of Cernovich dramatically changed.

What initially caught my attention was his confrontational yet grounded style of communication. Most commentators and influencers speak with the authority of someone who has never been punched, never had to grind, never really had their asses on the line. When I began reading and watching material from Cernovich, I got the opposite vibes. He struck me as a guy who was familiar with the gritty parts of life. After learning that he was in the military, was a boxer, and spent time living in South East Asia, I knew that he was somebody familiar with real life, not a man-boy who grew up in media without any hardship. Real people engaging in real-life struggle is important for me. People can be wise without going through certain life experiences, but it is rare. But a man who has come back from mistakes demonstrates a resilience and anti-fragility that the other do not have. Therefore, when I find a person who has lived and exhibits wisdom, I pay attention.

What kept me hooked on Cernovich content was his perspective on life and philosophy. Since he has actually lived and not merely commentated, he has unique insight about navigating the contemporary world as a man. In our culture of hyper-feminized males, and wisdom-less boomers, he encourages men to lift weights, take business risks, learn about fashion, and get women. These are age-old topics, but people do not cover them anymore, and it is an absolute tragedy given the state of our culture.

If you don’t want to read about manliness, then you need to read Cernovich for his political and legal analysis. Since he went to law school and has been practicing law for years, he is able to talk about political and legal topics from an informed perspective. This is in contrast to someone like Ben Shapiro. Shapiro has a law degree but doesn’t practice law, and his legal perspective leaves a lot to be desired. In addition to analysis, Cernovich lead the recent legal charge against Epstein, and he was responsible for the internet take down of James Gunn on Twitter back in 2018, after Gunns creepy pedophile tweets were re-surfaced. Cernovich knows his stuff.

The best way to put it is this: Cernovich has skin in the game. He only gives advice that he’s lived, and he is genuinely on the front-lines of culture wars, taking real risk for his work. You will hard-pressed to find anyone else on the internet that brings what Cernovich brings to the table.

How To Identify NPC’s

I have noticed while watching the news, and discussing issues with people in real life and online, that many people are working off of scripts. These scripts appear to be ideologically derived and incapable of handling nuances of real life issues and conversations. If you live off these scripts, you are stuck in the matrix.

It hit me the other day, while conversing with some “Twitter Philosophers” that there is a gigantic lack of nuance occurring within peoples minds, especially the radical lefties. I tend to focus on the Left because they pose an existential threat to society, but conservatives have their fair share of script followers. Recently, I observe these scripts when people bring up issues surrounding Trump. People who are ideologically possessed( as Jordan Peterson would put it), follow a predictable lines of attack, and their rebuttals are literally programmed; they simply parrot everything the mainstream media has said.

I have seen many arguments online, and talked with people who legitimately believe Trump has committed tax fraud, colluded with Russians, worked a quid-pro-quo deal with the Ukrainians, and more. These people buy hook-line-sinker into every mainstream media concoction about reality, and fail to think critically about it. They fail to realize the same main stream media that encourages us to believe Epstein killed himself, told us lies to get us into the Iraq invasion, Afghanistan invasion, Vietnam War, and more, are the same organizations reporting “Orange man bad”. I am absolutely stunned at the inability of people to think critically about this. The same ideological possession takes place when subjects like trans-rights or the patriarchy are discussed. People on and off-line have been emotionally bullied into adopting ideological positions that they do not understand. And I have finally been able to identify many of those people.

When I am talking with someone or interacting online, people give away their hands easily, and by hands I mean their scripts. In order to verify if someone is merely following a script, see how they engage in a nuanced or difficult conversation. People who are operating off scripts (NPC types) are only trying to win arguments, and they regularly fail to properly read and listen to what is actually being discussed. The typical behavior of an NPC( Non-playable character) always redirects discussion to well repeated talking points, every time, without fail. If you discuss issues about immigration, you will be either be attacked, or shown evidence that addressed points you were not making. This is because script followers are not capable of thinking on their own. If you bring up an interesting point in a discussion, a script followers goal is not to engage with that point, it tries to win, and when it cannot see an opening, it auto-defaults to a scripts which are closest to key words being used in the argument.

Typical script following NPC’s use phrases like “my body, my choice”, “… patriarchy….”, ” you don’t want immigration, because you’re racist”, “… you’re a white man, therefore you can’t say….”. There are many more phrases and words that NPC’s must adopt to signal their belonging to the NPC tribe, but you get the point. People that throw these phrases around are almost universally guaranteed to be incapable of actual thought.

When you start arguing with a script follower, you must learn to disengage. Script followers do not want to discuss ideas and discover truth; their goal is win, and they will use every script they know to accomplish this goal until you are both unreasonably upset. Therefore, when you encounter someone, a script following NPC type, caught in their ideological matrix you must either leave them alone, or try to pull them from the matrix, but you cannot engage in arguing the points they want to argue. They will remain in the matrix and you will leave pissed off.

Trump Has Been Impeached

The House Of Representatives formally voted to the impeach President Donald Trump, but it seems unlikely to have a substantial impact on him. After the vote from the house, he is supposed to stand trial in the Senate, however it is unlikely the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow the President to be found guilty.

I do not believe the President will be removed from office via trial in the Senate. I also expect this to help mobilize Trump voters in 2020, as this was clearly an attack on the President.

It is unfortunate the Democrats have taken their anger against the President this far, as it has continued to deeply divide the country. Hopefully the nation will be able to move forward, especially after Trump is re-elected in 2020.

I Finally Tried Stand Up Comedy

I wanted to try stand up comedy for years. I fondly remember getting the itch to try stand up comedy while I was still in China, at the age of 21. At that time, I had been consuming large amounts of stand up comedy, acquired a deep appreciation for the art, and loved to laugh and perform, so I figured I should give it a shot.

When I came back from China, one of the first things I told my dad was that I wanted to try stand up comedy. I remember he looked at me slightly puzzled, because it seemed like a random thing to say after not seeing your family for basically a year. But that’s how strongly I felt about trying stand up comedy.

After making the declaration to my dad, I hard a time following up. First, I got caught up in university life: hitting on girls, working out, preparing to graduate and start making some real money. Then when I graduated from my university and started working, my passion for stand up was reignited, and I began writing material, but never followed through.

Fast forward a few years, I quit my job, started multiple side businesses, and was working with my dad, and training for Taekwon-do tournaments. I had no time left over to think about trying stand up comedy, but the desire never died. Even during the most difficult times in small business life, I was listening to comedians on YouTube, and I kept wishing I could do what they do. This year and last year I almost went to an open mic multiple times, but I never pulled the trigger, as it would require me to forgo income to change my schedule. I had no idea the time had finally come.

Last month I noticed my English teaching work was beginning to decrease. Initially this resulted in me starting new projects like this blog, making more podcasts, etc. However, I realized that my opening to try stand up comedy was here. My schedule was not perfect, but it was as close as ever, so I planned on going on stage.

I started writing some material, and last week I went through the material a few times to get a feel for it. Then the moment of truth came. I wanted to chicken out and make excuses, but I didn’t. I got my ass down to the bar, signed up, and went on. It was awesome.

The best part about the experience was that I proved I could do it. After seven years of wanting to try stand up comedy, I finally got my shit together and did it. In our modern world of “keeping up with the Jones’s”, we too often forgo things we are really passionate about so that we don’t lose social status, but I believe I am finally learning to let the status fall where it may.

There are few feelings that compare to trying things you have always wanted to do, though many people never reach for the things they are passionate about. Next time you get the opportunity you want, take it, you probably won’t regret it.

Think About Survival

Last week I was getting my fill of the Joe Rogan Experience, and was listening to episode 1395 with Glenn Villeneuve. I had avoided the episode for a little while, because I did not recognize the guest, and at first glance he did not look interesting. When I finally did watch the episode, I was glad did, because it was a magnificent interview with a truly independent thinker.

Glenn Villeneuve decided to go live in the wilderness of Alaska for ten years, many of those years were by himself. While living in the wilderness, he was essentially self-sufficient. Except for some rare occasions, he lived off of what he could hunt. He built himself a small cabin in the woods with no bathroom; he pooped outside on the ground.

Listening to Glenn’s story kept me glued to the podcast, as many people only dream of accomplishing what he did. To live a life of complete freedom, away from all of the drama and busy work that takes up our time in society.

What struck me in the interview was how his life revolved around survival. He described that often times his days consisted of figuring out how he was going to eat that day. It seems scary to many of us, but it is also liberating. It seems liberating to live for livings sake, as opposed the artificial world we inhabit, where we must stress and worry at all times about our future financial and social status. This reminded me of why I enjoy travelling and exploring as much as I do: in a foreign place your survival needs become essential, and everything else is noise.

I am not big into multi-day backpacking trips through the forest( though I am not opposed), but I enjoy going to a place for a long period of time where I am not secure in the language and culture, because my mission becomes about daily survival and communication. This is why I love going to places in Asia, especially China and Taiwan. I can speak Mandarin, but I have a lot to learn about the language and culture. Ordering food, and learning new things is an active pursuit and forces me to focus on being in the present; I imagine it is a much more milder version of the the way Glenn felt living in the wilderness. Your daily chore becomes focusing on how survive and understand your environment. You do not take your surroundings for granted, as many more things have significance when you are far out of your comfort zone.

The Best Hostel In Taipei

I have been to Taiwan a couple of times, and have stayed at many places. However, few places in Taiwan felt more like home than Meander, near Xi Men. In fact, no place felt more like home.

My second trip to Taiwan was this year(2019), and I purposefully left my itinerary open-ended. The goal was to experience Taiwan as authentically as possible for the length of my stay, which was two weeks.

Before departing on my trip, I did the minimum amount of planning, which consisted of booking a room for the first days, from there, I could figure out where else I wanted to go. After careful searching on the World Wide Web, I came across a hostel called Meander, which was mentioned on several travel blogs, which was good enough for me, so I decided to book my stay their.

As the time grew closer to travel, I was nervous about the whole experience, especially since I was traveling alone. I was not sure If I would meet people or have a good experience, but I was going to be as open as possible.

When I finally arrived in Taipei for my first night, I was too tired to interact with anybody or anything except my bed. Also, I felt uncomfortable and out of place. However, I knew I would feel better once I got some sleep, and the next day everything changed.

After roaming around Taipei by myself, I arrived back at the hostel just before dinner, and was introduced to an extroverted, well groomed, and talkative American, who could also speak Chinese. We immediately hit it off. He introduced me to other guests staying at the hostel, and invited me to get some dinner. On our way to eat, we ran into another friend of his: an American college student who was doing an internship in Taipei. We quickly became friends. From that point forward, I felt like I had developed a home away home from in Taipei, and as the days continued I became friendly with the staff; we joked together, talked talked together, and they even invited me to a local barbecue. It was truly an amazing experience, and extremely rare. I have never felt so comfortable in foreign a country, except when I lived in Chengdu, China.

Next time I go to Taiwan I will be sure to visit Meander, as the people I met, and the experiences I had were unparalleled. If you decide to visit Taipei, you must stay at Meander. If you open your mind to experiences, it could be the beginning of one of your greatest adventures.

Both Your Parents Suck

I love listening and watching podcasts. It may seem weird to the uninitiated, but I would rather watch a three hour Joe Rogan podcast than any hot movies. Another one of my favorite podcast channels on Youtube is Your Moms House (YMH); they are a comedy based channel, and the content is hilarious.

Today I was listening to one of the shows they produce called the Honey Dew. It’s about the darker times of a comedians life and career. In the episode(#50), a comedian was talking about his shitty parents, actually he focused on his shitty father. While I was listening to this comedian talk about his shitty father, I was in complete agreement at first. His dad was a criminal, alcoholic, drug user, etc. At one point the comedian even discusses how he wanted to kill his father because he beat up his mom, luckily he did not have to witness it. However, when he continued talking about his story, I realized this guys mom was also pretty damn bad.

The comedian revealed that his mom was cheating on her first husband with his shitty father. And she knew his father was a bad guy, because he was already drinking and degenerate when she met him. Then, after leaving her first husband for this comedians horrible father, she continues to date him through all his bad habits, but she decides to marry him and have two kids!

As the story continues we learn that the comedians mom finally leaves his father, and the father continues his degenerate lifestyle in and out of jail, and getting into trouble. Later we learn that his mom is a heavy drinker as well. Now, there is no excuse for someone to be a shitty father, and hit his wife (unless it’s in self-defense), but this comedian harbors all of the hate towards his father, but completely overlooks that his mom willingly cheated on her first husband (with his father), dated his father knowing his problems, had kids with him, and put them in danger as well as herself. I understand that he hates his father, but the fact that he was not critical of his mother in the slightest bothered me, because she was a heavy part of the equation. According to his story, his mother was not tricked or duped into dating his father, she was attracted to the fact he was a “bad-boy”.

With so many single mothers and kids growing up without fathers, it blows my mind that we far too often only look at one side of the parenting equation. Sometimes two people get together and make mutually terrible decisions, and sometimes one person is worth than the other, but often times no one is innocent except the kids.