The Phoenix must burn to emerge.

It is that time of the year again! As always, I would like to share with the rest of the world my failure report of the past 12 months. Why? Because this allows me to get rid of any shame that I am carrying regularly in the back of my mind. Also, making my failures public makes me want to push myself even more to correct these wrongs. Finally, I do appreciate the people who messaged me on new year’s eve to not only wish me a happy new year, but also let me know that they are looking forward to reading my failure report. Seems like reading about my failures makes them reflect and think about theirs, which to me, is what I’d call success on this website (Read, Reflect, Improve!).

As Janet Fitch says, the Phoenix must burn to emerge. Here’s to burning all of my 2020 failures by writing this post so I can emerge to find my way to more success in 2021.

So here we go, in 2020:

  1. I failed at maintaining a regular journal. This bothered me a lot as I religiously did this every day for three and a half years. But this year, with everything going on in the world, I felt overwhelmed on certain days that I would postpone writing my journal until it’s bedtime. And by then, I was too drained to focus on writing anything meaningful, and used that as an excuse to postpone my task to the next day…and the next…until I realized seven days passed by with no proper journaling taking place (this vicious cycle occurred four times in 2020).

  2. When COVID19 hit Japan in February, I pointlessly worried about many things that were outside of my control, got glued to reading news about the disease and fell in the dark pit of negative news. Things got better towards the latter part of the year when I just stopped reading anything related to COVID, but by then, I had wasted a lot of precious time and failed to assemble enough good days to have a great year.
  3. I failed at eating healthy. Well actually I still ate healthy for the majority of time (still vegetarian for the most part with occasional fish), but I felt I gave myself more excuses than I should to order food instead of cook at home.
  4. I failed at reducing my screen time. In 2018 and 2019, I used to do “no technology” days every month, where I would put away my phone, laptop, tv, internet access, and just focus on resting my brain and my eyes. With me working from home since March, I felt I was stuck in front of my work laptop, personal laptop, and phone for the majority of every day.

  5. I failed at setting a barrier between when work ends and when personal life starts again as I started working exclusively from home. Previously, I used to go to the office by taking a 30 minutes train. That train ride would be my barrier, where I would wind down by listening to music or reading. 
  6. On a trip in September, I tore the muscle under my right ribcage when I lifted a heavy item while standing in a bad posture, leading to me being unable to exercise for more than two months. This happened for a simple reason: I failed to remember I am no longer 20 years old to do such things. I’m not saying I am old now, but I am getting older and I do fail at putting in the right effort to maintain good physical condition. 

Did I improve on my 2019 failures? Was 2020 all doom and gloom?

For the most part, I believe I did improve (2019 failures can be found here), and no I don’t think 2020 was that horrible of a year. Despite Covid19 ruining personal plans, losing four family members, and placing me away from my direct family for a long period, I was able to maintain strong mental health (thanks to occasional meditation and constant reflection) and use that to support others who were struggling. I also embraced everything I had learned from my startup failures in 2019, and applied it in my new line of work to be able to achieve my goals and grow my role. In addition, I launched my new coaching service, my girlfriend and I moved to a better apartment (and we rescued a kitten who’s starting to gain weight and feel comfortable in her new home), I was there for my parents nearly every day of the year to support them in their difficult and trying times, I donated to charities in Japan and Lebanon, I continued doing volunteer work with non profit organizations, I supported entrepreneurs through my new role with Loyal Ventures, and grew the Dose of Stoicism Facebook followers to 510 and LinkedIn followers to 1,018. But more importantly, I supported three friends fight their suicidal thoughts by listening to them, being understanding of their situation, pointing them to professionals who can help, and aiding them in seeing the beauty in life again. 

What is my 2021 mindset to overcome my current failures?

It can be summarized in 4 words: how can I help? If there’s something 2020 has taught me, it’s that the world needs help more than ever (I can’t think of 1 person who did not struggle this past year). If I can be there for others, I know I can make an impactful difference to them and also to me. Helping others always made me feel more energized, made me learn more about myself and somehow made me become a better person who fails less.

So with that being said, and if you have made it this far in this post and feel like you need help, please let me know. Reach out via Whatsapp, Facebook, or Linkedin and just let me know what is going on. In the worst case, I can sit and just listen to you (and you’ll feel a bit better). In the best case, I can offer some advice and help you overcome your challenge. I look forward to hearing from you!

Happy new year 🙂