5 Things to Say No to if you want to Pursue your Dream

5 Things to Say No to if you want to Pursue your Dream

Oh, the illusive, excruciating art of saying “No.” It evades us all. But it must be done, especially if we have some goals to achieve. There are a few certain things you must deny, no matter how hard it is:

  1. Multitasking

Hobbies are good, work is well, but too much will stunt your progress. If you want to achieve a specific dream, you must put your all into it, keep yourself focused on it, make it the most important thing in your mind.

2. Procrastination

It doesn’t matter if it’s just “part of your personality.” You must say no to procrastinating your dream. Ignore your age, your financial status, your level of education, your circumstances. Get going!

3. Compromising

Your dream is much too valuable to compromise for anything. If something is forcing you to, whether it be a relationship or work position or a life choice or circumstance, then that thing is not worth having in your life.

4. Comparing

Comparing to others is such a dream killer. Not to mention a self-esteem killer. Stay away from this! Forget the others, this is your story. Who cares how they did it?

5. The past

If your past is holding your dream back, it’s time to say no and let go. There’s no moving forward until you do.

10 Thoughts you’ll Encounter While Pursuing your Dream

10 Thoughts you’ll Encounter While Pursuing your Dream

As you go about making your dream a reality, there will always be certain thoughts that cross your mind, bringing in doubt, fear, and discouragement. But they’re just thoughts, and we can’t trust our thoughts. Your head likes to mess with you, especially when it comes to the thing you love. These thoughts will likely stumble into your brain at some point, but there’s no need to dwell on them.

  1. “I’m too young.”

1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” So what if you’re still a minor? You should be working on your dream right now. There are dozens of success stories of people 18 or younger achieving amazing things. Age is irrelevant when it comes to achieving dreams.

2. “I’m too old.”

My favorite author C.S. Lewis said, “You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Did you know he was in his 50s when he wrote the first Narnia novel? And he actually first had conceptual ideas for it back at the age of 16, but he did not begin writing it until much later. Considered his greatest literary achievement, amongst others, that’s an inspiring story. Once again, age is irrelevant to dreams.

3. “I’m running out of time.”

How, exactly? Because you’re growing up? Because you’ve created imaginary deadlines? Because your achievement date doesn’t match that of your peers? No, you’re not running out of time. And you better be pacing yourself.

4. “I took too long.”

I recently came across a post that I then shared on social media because it spoke so personally to me: “Just because you took longer than others, doesn’t mean you failed. Remember that.” Remember that, indeed.

5. “I should have done it like the others.”

No, you are not them. They are not you. Your path is different. Something I always say: “There are many different paths to the same goal.” Just because you’re doing things differently from everyone else doesn’t mean you won’t achieve the same thing. Stop comparing yourself.

6. “I missed my chance.”

Doors open and doors close. They also open again. If you missed something, then something else will come along. It may change up your path a little, but like I said, there are many different paths to the same goal.

7. “I chose wrong.”

If it’s what you love to do, then you did not choose wrong. If you’re basing this off of the monetary success, well, DON’T! If your goal is to make money, well then, I hope you chose a path that made sense for that.

8. “I’m not skilled at this.”

If you’re passionate about it, then you will get good at it. Truly, ability should come naturally with passion, so perhaps you’re just underestimating your skills.

9. “I know nothing.”

Well of course, you’re still learning! That’s what studying is for! This is such a silly notion. If you’re passionate about it, the studying part will just be part of the fun.

10. “What the heck am I doing?”

Oh, we all think this, of everything. At least you’re doing something. So what if you have no idea? You’ll learn by trial and error. There’s no greater teacher. Let this thought slip away and laugh it off.

17 Soundtracks that give me chills

17 Soundtracks that give me chills

I am a huge soundtrack listener. About 90% of the time I’m listening to music, and about 60% of that is listening to soundtracks from movies, video games and tv shows. I even have my favorite composers like others have their favorite music artists (*cough* Harry Gregson-Williams *cough*). These 15 particular songs from some of my favorite soundtracks are on my top list of “Chills and Tears”, as I like to call it. They’re pieces that either give me chills or move me to tears because they’re unbelievably beautiful, they allude to a scene that was chilling or emotional, they evoke deep emotion, or they inspire me to dream. These are the pieces I highly suggest to those who love and need music for inspiration.

  1. “There Are Worse Games to Play/Deep in the Meadow”-The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2-by James Newton Howard

(Caution: Spoilers!) Fans most likely know when this piece plays in the last Hunger Games movie: the very last scene, as Katniss monologues to her baby while Peeta and their son play in the distant meadow, just before the screen goes black and the tear-inducing song of “Deep in the Meadow” follows in Jennifer Lawrence’s beautiful voice as the credits roll. Yup, emotions overload. I can replay this song over and over, and it will always make me weep every time. It’s my go-to when I just feel like having a good soothing cry.

2. “Alan Turing’s Legacy”-The Imitation Game-by Alexandre Desplat

The soundtrack for this movie is one of favorites, and the central piano melody always sends shivers down my spine. This piece tells exactly what the title states: the legendary and tragic life of the man who cracked Enigma during World War II. It evokes a bittersweet sensation.

3. “Only the Beginning of the Adventure”-The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe-by Harry Gregson-Williams

Naturally I love everything about Narnia. This was the soundtrack that made me fall in love with all of Harry Gregson-Williams’ work. This piece has it all: sadness, joy, thrill, tenderness, magic, innocence, timelessness. It spans a good amount of the story at the end of the movie, and so it travels and covers a lot of conflicting emotions and moments.

4. “Main Title”-Bridge to Terabithia-by Aaron Zigman

From one of my absolute favorite movies, this main theme is full of magic and the beauty of childhood. If you know the story, it also makes you cry, just a little.

5. “Arrival to Earth”-Transformers-by Steve Joblonsky

I’ve never particularly cared for the transformer movies, but they have one heck of a soundtrack. This is from possibly the most epic and memorable scene from the first movie. It evokes just that, a grand epicness.

6. “Merry Men”-Robin Hood (2010)-by Marc Streitenfeld

I adore the guitar and strings from this movie’s soundtrack. It’s so medieval and terribly catchy. This piece plays during the credits, which is one of my favorite credits (yes, I even have favorite movie credits. I’m such a nerd.) It makes me feel adventurous and capable, like Robin Hood himself.

7. “Mysterious Island Main Titles”-Journey 2: The Mysterious Island-by Andrew Lockington

The Journey movies are one of my guilty pleasure movies: entertaining, colorful, age limitless, with enough lighthearted emotion and fun action to be satisfying. You wouldn’t really expect that kind of movie to have a gorgeous soundtrack. Andrew Lockington took it a step up from the first film. I have several favorites from the soundtrack, but this one from the end credits brings it all together into one grand, cinematic finale.

8. “Forbidden Friendship”-How to Train Your Dragon-by John Powell

Did you know the soundtrack for this film was nominated for an Oscar? That’s how good it is. This one is the best piece from the album. It makes me feel beautiful, dreamy, one with nature.

9. “I Am Shay Patrick Cormac”-Assassin’s Creed Rogue-by Elitsa Alexandrova

The Assassin’s Creed video game franchise has some of the best gaming music out there (in my opinion). Each game has its own unique and original soundtrack and composer, with the music perfectly reflecting the differing historic time periods, settings, and protagonist’s cultural background. In result, the settings and events feel alive and present because the music so beautifully embodies it. That is what I find brilliant, especially when it’s by a different composer every time. I have a lot of favorites from this franchise, but Rogue’s is perhaps my top favorite. This piece from the album makes me pause and reflect on the protagonist’s intriguing and complicated story. Plus it alludes to an impactful ending cutscene from the game.

10. “The Lighting of the Beacons”-The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King-by Howard Shore

Everything about the LOTR trilogy is historic. Even those outside of the fandom can recognize themes from the movies. This piece plays in one of the best cinematic scenes from the third movie, which is merely a sequence of over sweeping shots of beacons being lit high up on moutaintops. It’s nothing but visuals and music, which is a cinematic achievement in the art of filmmaking.

11. “Liz on Top of the World”-Pride and Prejudice-by Dario Marianelli

Pride and Prejudice has one of those soundtracks you can fall asleep to and dream peacefully. A score made up almost entirely of piano stands out to be remembered. Just like the scene that this piece plays at, it makes me feel like I am standing on a cliff, on top of the world yet with nowhere to go. That is a very interesting and deep state of emotion to contemplate.

12. “The Grid”-Tron Legacy-by Daft Punk

The addition of Jeff Bridges’ monologue to the piece sets you up for a great film experience when it starts off with this. You can only go in thinking, “this is gonna be good.” The fact that this movie’s soundtrack is composed by Daft Punk makes it even more cool.

13. “Ezio’s Family”-Assassin’s Creed 2-by Jesper Kyd

This theme debuted in the second Assassin’s Creed game, and it was so darn popular that it popped back up in later games as the official standard theme for the franchise. Fans probably love it because it alludes back to everyone’s favorite assassin, Ezio (me? Connor for the win!). It is extraordinary, I’ll give it that. It’s raw, emotional, and competes with the timeless scores of gaming history.

14. “The Gravel Road”-The Village-by James Newton Howard

This soundtrack, with its haunting score, evokes that solemn, lonely, yet hopeful feeling that the movie evokes. Because of its slow, calm pace, this is the right song to think deeply to. It really shuts you up and forces you to feel the chills that run along with the solo violin’s melody.

15. “Fi’s Farewell”-The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword-by Takeshi Hama

Outside of the age-old Legend of Zelda themes that frequent every game in the franchise, this is a singular and original piece from the Skyward Sword title. It’s bittersweet and gentle, the perfect touch for a farewell scene. And farewell scenes usually always evoke intense emotions.

16. “Martha’s Theme”-Doctor Who-by Murray Gold

Murray Gold is a musical master and proved it when he became the composer for the revived Doctor Who in 2005. I always adored how all the companions have their own theme, but the theme for Martha Jones is by far the coolest. It’s so different from the others, it perfectly represents her character, and its haunting vocals make you sway in a kind of trance. It’s hypnotic, in a good way.

17. “Rather Death than Slavery”-Assassin’s Creed Unity-by Sarah Schachner

Yes, I am putting yet another Assassin’s Creed piece here, but this one is special. Unity actually has my least favorite soundtrack in the games, least enough to make me have no immediate interest in listening to it. This song, therefore, is like a diamond in the rough. It stands far above the rest of the score, and I think it’s the haunting choir vocals and the *tick-tock* rhythm.

Bonus 6!

“Natsuzora: Ending Theme”-The Girl Who Leapt Through Time-by Kiyoshi Yoshida

“Promentory”-Last of the Mohicans-by Trevor Jones

“Safe Passage”-The Last Samurai-by Hans Zimmer

“Evacuating London”-The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe-by Harry Gregson-Williams

“12 Years Later”-Treasure Planet-by James Newton Howard

“Liberation Main Theme”-Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation-by Winifred Phillips

Dear Starry-eyed College Me…

Dear Starry-eyed College Me…

You probably just graduated high school, and congratulations. It’s not every year a student does it in three instead of four. I admire your deadpan focus and rock solid determination. It helped you get a long way.

I ought to warn you, though, that there is danger behind that foundation.

Some would say that setting your goals into the ground, kind of like a house, is a good practice. Most of the time it keeps you in check. But, after a few years since graduation, I’ve found that there’s a more world-agreeable practice. It’s hard to see it now, but reality is a biter. It likes to ignore you when necessary. Then it coaxes you with breadcrumbs, like you’re a pigeon. Then it shifts its foot, and because we’re all skittish pigeons we flap and flutter in hysterics.

Then we do it again.

This is how things are. Don’t waste your energy denying it; you’ll only wear yourself out. I’m not telling you to be a puppet in the system, though. Here’s what I’m saying: accept what works, but don’t forget what works better. Go with the flow; discover the checkpoints. Does that make sense?

As you enter into the “college stage,” here’s a few things that you must know:

Figure out what you want-learn how to get it! It looks like you have all the time in the world to dilly dally, but please, for the love of God, do your research.

Start saving…now! I can’t stress enough how much money will soon become one of your greatest obstacles. You’re gonna hate it. Prepare yourself. You know, there’s great resources out there for you. You just have to find them…

Get over yourself and meet people. It’s time to stop being an antisocial baby and learn the art of networking. Your future, your career, and yourself will thank you.

Understand your weaknesses; operate in your strengths. There’s a great deal of importance in both. If you’re good at something, then do it. If you’re weak in something, understand why and move on.

And when the stress and the anxiety and the frustration and the depressive thoughts come (because they will come), have a plan of attack ready. Right now. Are you ready?


Here’s another thing: start community college classes now. Don’t wait half a year like I did. And then, before you finish your Associate’s, prepare for which school you will go to for your Bachelor’s, because you’ll need a Bachelor’s. I know, you’re angry with the system. You want to go outside the beaten path. You want to achieve the same thing in a different way. Well, you will, don’t let go of that. But be ready…life isn’t kind to those who travel a different road. But remember what Robert Frost said?

“And I…I took the road less traveled by,
And it has made all the difference.”

For college students like me, Earnest can make a difference in one of the greatest known hardships amongst young adults: money. Especially the kind paid towards school.

What I’ve Learned About my Battles

What I’ve Learned About my Battles

For the first post of the year, I’m going to get personal. I want to share some inner battles of mine that perhaps you are also facing, or can at least relate to, for which you can receive some inspiration, encouragement, or wisdom.

These four battles have either been longterm ones that maintained their status as the most trying battles throughout my life, or have just begun their onslaught. They are all battles I’m still facing today. Among the many different kinds I’ve faced, or am facing, these have stood out as the most resilient (but no less beatable!)

  1. Anxiety

Once upon a time I used to think anxiety wasn’t a legitimate mental problem. Then I experienced it for myself, and realized that it’s the real deal. The toughest part is the physical affect it has on me. It’s amazing how a problem that’s entirely in the mind has such power over your body and health. I’ve experienced drastic panic attacks that caused me to faint, and I’ve experienced the very subtle yet nagging symptoms like chronic nausea and inability to sleep soundly. Of course, though, I would really just like to be at peace in my mind for once.

What have I learned about it?

Anxiety is a heightened, severe version of worry. It’s gone past feeling concern for the future. It’s feeling straight up fear. So when we fight it, we have to treat it as fear. You know what we do with fears? We face them. Sometimes the best way to fight anxiety is to charge in to the very thing we’re anxious about.

For the physical symptoms, there’s a few things that can do some serious help:

  • exercise
  • healthy diet
  • taking vitamins
  • yoga and meditation
  • drinking plenty of water
  • herbal tea

Counseling, spending time with friends, reading, and partaking in a hobby have all proven, at least to me, that they can really help one deal with chronic anxiety.

2. Shame

This was no longer an issue of shyness or social awkwardness. I eventually realized that a lot of my social behavior stems from embarrassment of merely being in public! I act (and think) as if I am less than everyone around me, that I’m no good, useless, pointless, without purpose…and then I become consumed with shame.

And yes, sometimes, this feeling produced thoughts of suicide.

What have I learned about it?

This shame is an absolute, genuine, unadulterated LIE. I never needed another person to tell me that. I knew it for myself. Yet, I still let it hang around. That usually created this horrendous cycle of shame (“I’m ashamed that I feel ashamed”). How do I fight it? I recount the things I’m good at, the people who love me, and what I’m passionate about. I remind myself that I’m good at such-and-such, that so-and-so loves me without condition and has proven it, and that there’s somewhere I’m willing to make a difference: I am good, I am not alone, and I have a purpose.

3. Self-pity

Self-pity is a very dangerous game to play. Let it latch itself onto your heart, and suddenly you’re impossible to please, you’re bitter, you’re hateful, you’re narrow-minded, you’re unbearably selfish, and you’re a wet blanket. Basically, you become the kind of person no one wants to be around. It’s not too hard to wonder why.

My battle with self-pity became so bad that it reached the point where God had to convict me. Hard. It was destroying me. It is destroying me. It’s proven to be one near-impossible root to pull out. I let it become a part of me. I let it manifest itself in my everyday behavior and thought pattern. I have come to detest the person I am when I operate in self-pity.

What have I learned about it?

Self-pity goes hand in hand with clinical depression. Does this mean I’ve been depressed? Maybe. It puts blinders on our eyes that only lets us see ourselves. We’re the only ones we can possibly think about. How horrible is that? So you know what I do to fight it? I force myself to think about those in worse situations than me, like those with a terminal illness. Compared to them, I have no right to victimize myself. It quickly snaps me back into right thinking. With how deep self-pity has dug itself, it’s practically every other minute of my life. But I fight on. If there’s one thing I refuse to become, it’s a self-pitying wretch.

4. Jealousy/Comparing to others

I did not know that I had a deep-rooted issue of living in people’s shadows until the day I went up for prayer back in youth group. I had no clue what I needed prayer for, I only knew that I needed prayer and I was too compelled to stay back. Then the youth pastor began praying, and she prayed…that I stop living in my older siblings’ shadow. It shocked me so hard that my eyes shot open and I reeled just a little. That was an extremely emotional moment. It was like a glass had shattered and a light came on all at once.

That day I discovered that I struggled with being jealous and comparing myself to others.

I particularly compare myself to those more successful than me. Sadly, in my mind, that ends up being everyone! I make up some reason of why anyone and everyone is better than me. I secretly, and guiltily, desire for their success, desire to do what they did to get it…desire to get it faster. The end result is a dissatisfaction with myself, with where I’m at in life, and with what I’ve accomplished. I’ve even been so bad as to be dissatisfied with my current age. That’s when it’s just stupid and crazy.

What have I learned about it?

First of all, comparing is a big, fat waste of energy. Being jealous just makes you an unhappy cynic. The best treatment method? Thankfulness, thankfulness, thankfulness. I fight by replacing thoughts of jealousy and comparison with finding something to be thankful for. I don’t always succeed. I don’t always fail. So I’m making progress.


Do any of these sound familiar? Relatable? It’s okay. It’s normal. It’s human. Every kind of battle is capable of being fought and won. They each take different strategies and levels of action, but they’re all the same. You can do it, just like I can.

2017, the year of…

2017, the year of…

Tomorrow is a new year, and it’s time for a new word. For 2017, it is the year of Endurance.


Halfway through 2016, this could have honestly been my word instead of Independence. My mind was already shifting to this focus. This year I wasted a lot of time being disillusioned about my life; I fantasized way to much and ended up disappointing myself because, surprise! life isn’t a fantasy. My writer mind wishes it can create my own story just as easily as it creates others, but I’m not the only one who can throw curveballs into the fray. By October 2016, I figured out what word I needed to focus on next. It came like a clear beam of sunlight through the reddening autumn leaves.

Here’s why Endurance is my word for the year: I’m a wimp. I’m not saying that because I started hating on myself. I really am a wimp. Or, in nicer words, I don’t have as thick skin as I thought I did. I am a naturally emotional person who quits on things too soon because I didn’t get an instant “click” within the first few days. This bad trait has caused me to make several regretful decisions that I try to distract myself from to keep the shame level low. I don’t seem to have any endurance, for anything.

I think it was when I came across Hebrews 10:36 one September morning as I was on the bus that I decided on the word:

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

“Patient endurance” kept playing over and over in my head. It certainly was what I needed right now. The Bible has so many examples of people who endured through much suffering in order to finish and receive the reward: Joseph, Job, Elijah, Paul…not to mention Christ himself.

With a focus on Endurance, I want to develop every part of my endurance: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I don’t want outside forces to determine my choices anymore. I don’t want to be such an easy quitter anymore. I don’t want to be controlled by flighty emotions that just end up driving myself and others crazy. I want to endure, especially during the hard parts. I want to get strong. I’m working out this year, and I mean my mental muscles.


past years’ words

Going Crazy: A Poem

Going Crazy: A Poem

Just gonna first say…oops! I’ve missed FIVE weeks of poem posts! Because of that (and because of previous occasions of missing weeks), I will no longer falsely title my posts “a poem a week” because, well, it has not exactly been faithful to that timeframe. Anyway…have a poem!

Going Crazy

I pull the string and get off
Anywhere, and I walk, walk, walk.
Sit in front of a house I like
And close my eyes, pretend I live there.
Pretend, pretend.
Daydream until it breaks my heart.
Until I’m broken.
Then I get up and breathe,
Walk, walk, run.
My feet clop-clop on the sidewalk
Because I wore my heeled boots today.
And I breathe to that sound.
I breathe, and lose, and lose,
And can’t stop running.
Away, away,
Sit down and hold my breath.
I see another bus pass by.
Close my eyes again because
I can’t scream.
I tap my toe, bite my lip,
Bring my fingers to my scalp.
I look up to the leaves,
The shining orange leaves
That are beautiful and feel like forever.
They could stay forever, in my mind,
If I choose to let them.
There’s a house with a porch
And I almost take the steps,
Just so I can stand there and pretend
I could stand there forever.
And then I remember: nothing lasts forever.
There’s a bus stop three meters away,
And I walk, walk, walk.
I put headphones to my ears
And forget I was ever here.
And so to the end, the end of days
When I’ll remember this moment again,
And I’ll think to myself,
“Boy, was I crazy.”

Catherine Joy