My Philippine Adventure

Christmas break in Cebu More »

Defining Success

I believe the secret of success is to always be learning, always be developing yourself, always try new things, and always bring yourself outside your comfort zone. More »


I feel like experiencing unemployment is a lot like going through the 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. More »


Habits of high-IQ individuals

I recently came across an infographic named “The Habits of Smart People” (see below), but I think mine (see above) is a more apt title.

“Smart” is such an obnoxious word. Every stupid parent thinks their stupid child is “smart.” Every stupid teacher thinks a stupid letter grade is the best measure of how “smart” a student is. Every stupid self-help book out there promises to teach you how to “get smart” with business; “get smart” with people; “get smart” about your health. Give me a break.

There’s no single book out there that will magically increase your IQ. You can buy a math textbook and teach yourself multivariable calculus, and sure, you’ll probably be “smarter” as a result. But no amount of reading or studying will ever alter your brain to function with the same intellectual prowess as, say, Isaac Newton.

Which reminds me of a short story: while I was teaching in Korea, one of my students had a friend whose English name was “Isaac,” whom he liked to include in various stories he wrote as essay projects. Every time he wrote the name, he spelled it “Issac,” and every time I saw this, I corrected it. He insisted that it was the correct spelling. I explained that there is only one proper spelling of the name, and that he should spell it thusly. But he was adamant in his refusal.

The next time he wrote an essay, he began with: “Last weekend, I went to the park to play soccer with Issac (PLEASE DO NOT CORRECT THIS)…” To which I reacted by pulling out a fresh red pen, striking out his parenthetical plea, and — with embarrassingly immense satisfaction — drawing a fat “X” on the misspelled name. Above the majestic “X” I wrote: “Isaac.” (period included) along with a smiley face laughing maniacally. It was glorious.

Cool story, Alex.

Thanks, bored person.

Anyway, as I was saying. Plenty of high-IQ individuals fail miserably at life. They get bad grades. They aren’t successful in their careers. They make stupid mistakes. They just happen to perhaps learn faster and process information more efficiently. Lets not deify them. Christ.

I say this because a few of the habits listed below are self-destructive, and one could infer that “Hey, I stay up late and drink and smoke and worry and give myself panic attacks, but these are habits of ‘smart’ people, so I guess they’re just my cross to bear and I should do nothing to fix these problems in my life.” Of course, if that’s your mindset, you’re probably not a smart person anyway and this shouldn’t concern you. Haha.

Without further ado, here are the habits of intelligent-but-not-necessary-smart people:

(Click to enlarge)
The Habits of Smart People

Revolutions: Successes and Failures


It’s that time of the century: revolutions are all the rage. At this point, it is too soon to determine whether a single uprising has been “a success,” but there is no doubt that some have been more successful than others. During the Arab Spring, governments have been overthrown in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt. The Egyptians, particularly enthusiastic about protesting, have already ousted two presidents — Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi – since 2011. Protests in Syria demanding the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad erupted into civil war when the government ordered military action to quell the dissent.

Despite the absence of Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya from American news media, the countries are still rife with violence. The Tunisians, inspired by the Egyptians, have once again taken to the streets to protest the Islamist-led government. In Yemen, clashes between Shiites and Sunnis, as well as US drone strikes, have killed scores of people. Libya is infested with armed militias made up of criminals, thugs, and religious extremists, against whom the nation’s police are impotent.

But as of late, the news has focused almost exclusively on the crisis in Syria. The US faces what is essentially a choice of nightmares. Take military action against a regime that has been responsible for unspeakable war crimes and human rights violations, and risk entanglement in a conflict with no end in sight — or sit back and let the homicidal maniacs rome free.

The bleak situation has distracted many from the disorder in Egypt. It was not long ago that debates in Western media focused on the Egyptian people’s perpetual struggle for democracy.  Was the overthrow of President Morsi a step in the right direction or the failure of a revolution? Was the ousting of his government a coup or not? Should the US cut funding to the Egyptian military? Could this event further split the country into increasingly radicalized parties and explode into a civil war?

The life of a door-to-door salesman in Compton


Disclaimer: this post may be lacking in political correctness. Deal with it. I’m merely recounting my experiences.

As I mentioned in my last post, one summer during college I got roped into a shitty sales job knocking on doors in South Central LA selling AT&T products. So yes, I realize my title is a little misleading since my work wasn’t limited to Compton. I ended up in parts of Lynwood, Carson, Inglewood, and South Central as well. But that would make for a less catchy title.

Anyway, though mostly a waste of time, the job turned out to be pretty educational in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Here are a few nuggets of gold-plated knowledge that I gained from the experience…


If you want to gaze into infinity, just go outside and look up.

It’s pretty cool.

Reeled into the scam

One summer during college, after a previous year’s experience of unpaid internships that taught me nothing, I decided to look for a job that might actually give me some real world experience. I wanted something that would give me skills that could be applied to any industry, so I began looking for a sales gig. A job in sales requires a good work ethic, strong social skills, and intimate knowledge of the product you’re trying to sell. It takes patience, confidence, and critical thinking. It teaches you to numb yourself to rejection, and then learn how to overcome it. You learn persistence. You learn that life is a numbers game. You learn that failure is educational. You learn from your mistakes, you move on, and you create your own luck. That is how you succeed in sales. So it is with life.