My Annual Review – 2019 Edition

At the end of each year, I sit down and look back at my year–what worked well, what didn’t, and what lessons I learned. It helps me be on top of my goals, and this practice provides a way for me to remember my goals and assess changes and improvements I need to make.

If you’re interested in doing the same, read about how I do my personal evaluation at the end of the year. Alternatively, read how James Clear (author of Atomic Habits) does it here.

2019: A Year Waiting & Dealing with Uncertainties

The year 2019 entered with a lot of joy and uncertainty. In November 2018, we welcome our second son, Caspian, into the world! Although, we are far away from family (who are in the Philippines), we managed to contain the chaos and organized our lives.

Thanks to the organization I work for, I enjoyed a rather long paternity leave–a paid one at that! That helped me take care of my wife, our new baby, and Kuya Malcolm who was in Kindergarten.

I faced two big uncertainties, though, at the start of the year. For one, our visa expires in March 2020, and unless we receive our Green Card before that, we will need to pack up and go back to the Philippines.

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Sometimes fatherhood feels like pulling your own teeth with pliers

At Malcolm’s karate class last week I saw a dad packing up his 5-year old son’s karate gear while asking his 3-year old daughter to wear her jacket and come to him. Good thing, his other child, an infant, quietly waited in the car seat.

He almost lost his cool toward his daughter. He raised his voice–almost a yell. Perhaps being in public helped him rein in his temper.

I’ve been in that position, too.

Being a father sometimes feel like pulling your own teeth with pliers.

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Biggest Surprise of the Year: We’re Pregnant (again)!

Before getting married, Cha and I have decided that we could have 2-3 kids. And that the ideal would be 2: a boy and a girl. So far, God blessed us with two energetic boys!

Even before Caspian’s birth last year, we talked about the possibility of having a third child.

If we were in the Philippines, we would have readily welcomed a third child. Alas, we are in the USA where healthcare is expensive, heck, pretty much everything is expensive! So, we thought that two is probably going to be the maximum number of kids for us.

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The Price of Success and Achievement

I’ve been fascinated with the lives of people who have achieved significant success and made a big impact in the world. I’ve read Walter Isaacson’s biography of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs.

While the author tries to present a full view of these famous person’s lives, I was still left in awe at the magnitude of what they have achieved.

Elon Musk has introduced significant innovations in online payment systems, in electric cars, in solar power, in the race for reusable space rockets. Steve Jobs also innovated many different industries – computers, animated movies, the iPhone, and the iPad.

As a person of faith, I have also read about the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. How he established a movement in the 1700s that some analysts say prevented civil unrest in England; and this movement continued and grew into the global denomination that it is now.

There is always a price for achieving huge success and creating big impact.

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7 Simple Hacks to Achieve Goals Effectively and Efficiently

I thank God for the New Year. It’s a great reminder of the circle of life. The previous year might have been great for you. Or not. But the new year brings fresh hope that things could be better if we make the most out of it.

We should all review the past year to learn from our experiences and celebrate our wins. But we should also plan for the new year that is here now. On the first few days of this year, I sat down to identify my goals. This has really become my habit at the start of the year since 2010.

During a meeting with my team, I just reflected on the renewed sense of commitment and energy. It will probably not last for very long. But by making some changes to my schedule and my lifestyle, I could probably make the most out of the excitement of the new year. I might even make this the year I achieved all the goals I’ve identified!

7 Simple Hacks to Achieve Goals Effectively and Efficiently

Here are 7 Simple Hacks that I am implementing to help me achieve my goals effectively and efficiently.

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The Over-Committed Person’s Guide to Streamlining Commitments & Simplifying Life

Bambang LRT Station, circa September 2012

She turned from me and wiped her eyes as the train sped away from the platform of Bambang LRT Station. Tears fell from her eyes, I’m sure of it. And my chest constricted. I looked up the ceiling of the station, trying hard to prevent tears from falling.

It must have been my wife’s monthly appointment with her OB-GYN. It’s the fourth month of the baby in her tummy.

And I could not be with her…

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Podcasts from the Philippines that I Listen To… [2017 Edition]

I love listening to podcasts. They help me learn new things about our world and they also entertain me some. Read my post on how to subscribe to podcasts if you have not done so yet.

Here’s a list of the podcasts from the Philippines, or by Filipinos that I listen to. I provide a sentence of two of what I like about them and links to some of the best episodes I have listened to.

I had a podcast back in 2014 and it ran until I moved to the United States in early 2015. There were only a handful of us, independent podcasters. Sure, there are several radio programs made available as podcasts such as “Good Times with Mo,” and some Love Radio programs. But I am glad that there are more and more podcasts that came out since 2015. Here’s a list of the home grown podcasts that I listen to.

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How to Subscribe to Podcasts

Podcasts are an awesome way to learn and be entertained. They could keep you company on a long drive, or when you’re stuck in traffic.

For the uninitiated, according to Wikipedia: “A podcast is an episodic series of digital media files which a user can set up so that new episodes are automatically downloaded via web syndication to the user’s own local computer or portable media player. The word arose as a portmanteau of “iPod” (a brand of media player) and “broadcast”. Thus, the files distributed are typically in audio or video formats…”

If that still sounds Greek to you, here’s (hopefully) a simpler definition. A podcast is like a radio program broadcasted over the web. You can listen to it on a website, or download the episodes to your smartphone or mp3 player.

How to subscribe to podcasts

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Recapturing Our Sense of Wonder

During our trip to the Holy Land, I was amazed at the excitement and sense of wonder of one of our participants. Lawrence would really just say “Wow!” and wonder at all the beautiful places he saw.

While climbing down Mt. Arbel, he marveled at the wonderful view of the Sea of Galilee flanked by mountains, and of the town of Magdala below.

He reminded me and the group about the importance of our sense of wonder.

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