The Wander Notebook

A personal journey of lifelong learning, sharing resources, creating things, and trying to be better.

Tag: Inspiration

A Medium Catalogue

The Collection of My Best Work on this Site

A comprehensive list of every good story I’ve written on the topics of inspiration, creativity, productivity, technology, adventure, and more.


The Way of Walking Alone

Our Finite Everything


Actually Matters


The Art of Losing

The Trick of Time

Into the Void

The Hobbyist

The Best Time to Start a New Year’s Resolution is Right Now.

The Duality of Purpose and Work

The Way of Work


A Comprehensive Guide to Self-Learning

Zen of Housekeeping

How to Create & Plan Better

Tracking for Good

The Want of Difficulty

Everyday Manifesto

The Magic of Iteration

Time Management Notes


Making Good Work to Get Paid

The Craftship Workflow


Voluntary Art

Usage of Wiggle Room


My Writing Process

Rules of Journal Writing Learned After 5 Years

Being a Better Lifehacker

Essay in the Woods

How to Blog

Posting Every Day

Why I Write


CSS Hacks & Creating Blogs



You Can’t Escape It

Adventure is Out There


A Youthful Apology

Don’t take Medium for Granted

A New Quest

Becoming an Adult


Why Write?


Structure → Chaos

On Second Thought

Earn Your Keep


That Leaves for Tomorrow


A Thousand Giraffes

Dawn of Ursa Minor

Magnum Opus

The Way of Walking Alone

Kaijo no Fuji | Source

Forty-four Ways to Live Like a Samurai

When I was younger, I had a developed a keen interest in the feudal time period of Japan. I mean, what boy doesn’t think, at one time or another, that Samurai are really cool? But the reality was that I wasn’t actually interested in the awesome fighting, or tactical wars.

I was interested in Bushido, the ethics and honor code of the soldiers — how selfless and admirable their behavior was. This also lead to an interest in the philosophical school of stoicism and the lifestyle of asceticism. I bought a beautifully illustrated version of the Hagakure which included first-hand stories and precepts.

One work that particularly caught my attention was a list of precepts entitled the Dokkōdō by Miyamoto Musashi. It was twenty-one simple rules that are admittedly difficult to follow. Over the past few years I’ve tried to follow them, modifying and adding to them, in a way that I felt would allow me to improve who I am as much as possible. I’ve broken it up into separate parts for easier understanding and organization.

A Modified Dokkōdō

  1. You are alive, but only for a little while.
  2. You are a tiny speck in an infinite universe.
  3. You have a plethora of options in front of you today.

  1. Start living. Beginning this very moment.
  2. Cultivate a burning ambition for success.
  3. Sacrifice what it takes to achieve results.
  4. Apply overwhelming force.

  1. Be content with losing everything except your principles.
  2. Constantly pursue knowledge.
  3. Recalibrate and practice where necessary.
  4. Apply your understanding.
  5. Motivation only operates properly internally.
  6. Be honest with yourself, and then with others.
  7. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
  8. Be as thoughtful of your inclinations as possible.
  9. You will eventually abandon your body, but preserve your honor.
  10. Always respect, but do not hold expectations.
  11. Nothing is ‘risk-free’.

  1. Do not think the world cares if you are tired.
  2. Do not take anything for granted.
  3. Do not let your ego create fear.
  4. Do not seek out pleasure for it’s own sake.
  5. Do not, under any circumstance, depend on a partial feeling.
  6. Do not regret what you have done.
  7. Do not be jealous.
  8. Do not be saddened by separation.
  9. Do not let yourself be guided by feelings of lust or love.
  10. Do not fear the unknown.
  11. Do not fear death.
  12. Do not miss the mark, hit where you aim.
  13. Do not act following customary beliefs.
  14. Do not allow yourself to become comfortable.
  15. Do not assume your actions will have beneficial outcomes.

  1. Be detached from desire your whole long life.
  2. Resentment and complaint are not appropriate from oneself nor others.
  3. Spread goodness unto everyone.
  4. Discard all unnecessary possessions.
  5. You are not obligated to do a single thing.
  6. It is only a mistake the first time.
  7. Leave circumstances better than how you found them.
  8. Always be thankful; Communicate it.
  9. Always be complimentary; Communicate it.

  1. Measure the consequences.
  2. Never stray away from The Way.

A New Quest

Impression, Sunrise | Source

Finding the Middle Way and unlearning anxiety.

Soria Moria | Source

It’s a balmy Saturday afternoon, the hottest it’s been in Calgary so far this year.

My 20th birthday is only eleven days away. I don’t know if this is a milestone or not — but I do know that I want something to show for it. I find myself constantly recalibrating, trying to create an amount of meaningful work.

Hopefully, I’m pushing myself the right direction.

Looking back at what I’ve written so far on Medium, I honestly can’t say I like much of it. I’ve been writing like crazy — over a complete article per day — for around two weeks now.

Not because I’m good at it, but rather because these thoughts are ones I’ve been holding on to for a long time, sometimes years.

And sometimes it’s only when you write down your ideas in front of you that you’re able to see that they’re a bit silly.

Don’t get me wrong, though, the entire point of the publication is for silly ideas, a place where I can write without feeling the pressure of relevance or meaningfulness. A starting point — baby steps.

But even then I look at what I have with discontent. Too much navel-gazing and not enough doing. It’s easy to file these sort of self-doubts under that dreaded inner-critic, but I think it’s more important to push yourself to try harder instead. I have a few ideas so far of what I want to focus on.

Goals for Future Writing

  1. Authenticity. I want to be more authentic in what I say — I don’t want there to be a barrier between who I actually am as a person and who I come across as. But you can’t escape the existential nature of that goal — who am I really? Does anybody in their 20’s actually know?
  2. Vulnerability. By extension of authenticity, I want to allow myself to be more vulnerable as well. I want to write my own stories, not generic think pieces that are vague enough that anybody could write.
  3. Creativity. I’m starting to find my style a bit played out already, too. I think be weird would be a good motto. Experimentation with cadence and flow, as well as even breaking fundamental rules of writing. Here’s a great example.
  4. Patience. Essentially, I’ll be slowing down my pace. I also want to write in a more long-form format. I’ll need to do a lot more research and I have a ‘plan’ for a new structured outline method. If it actually works, I’ll write more about it in the future.

To add, in the future, I might write up a formal code of conduct for the publication in general. But for now, being actively mindful of these things is good enough.

Untiled | Source

Dichotomy of Ideas

When I find myself in a creative — or rather, manic — state, I usually end up doing one of two things:

  1. Idealistically come up with bold, long-term plans of creative endeavor. Meticulously planning and scheduling every detail. This usually involves talking to a group of friends in a group chat about creating some sort of brave new project until 5 o’clock in the morning — thinking we’re geniuses. This is then followed by nobody following through with any of it. I usually find myself too invested in research and get analysis paralysis.
  2. Writing something by the seat of my pants. Creating new things without any forethought or planning. For some reason, this is the only way I actually find myself getting things done — this is how I started Everyday Essays. However, as soon as I find that I’ve started to build-up a legitimate body of work, my anxiety takes over and I usually halt the project on an indefinite hiatus and mindlessly move on to something else.

I want to stop needlessly forcing myself into these two extremes — an important concept in Guatama Buddhism is the Middle Way — and I also want to stop myself from seizing up with fear of failure (or success?) and finish projects I start.

Rainy Night Inspiration

After a long day of housekeeping work, when I’m walking home at night, I find myself most inspired.

When I’m listening to Sufjan Stevens and smelling the aftermath of rain — the petrichor — is when I find myself balling my fists as my head fills with a cacophony of ideas and projects I want to begin or resume.

How badly do I want to start composing another album, or start a photography website or watch lectures on the intricacies of Java libraries.

As soon as I get into my house — a rugged bedroom — and lie down or open up my laptop to read a few Medium posts, that surge is gone. Too quickly do I find myself planning tomorrow, or balancing household budgets, or mindlessly browsing the daily stories of the internet. The mind becomes bloated with the information and complexity of our everyday life.

We are obliged to our adult responsibilities, we cannot squander our rent and groceries for our arts.

At the same time, I recognize that I’m not really an adult, yet. And that I’ll have the most have free time now to be able to pursue what I really want to. I cannot squander it, I have to be grateful for it.

Not all of us have the ability to do what we actually want — which is exactly why it’s so infuriating to see those who do have the ability flounder and ignore it.

I can try my best to create preventive measures and actively attempt to keep myself on track — I can announce that I’ll be working more on the projects I’ve abandoned , or new ones — but none of that matters. Silently doing hard work does.

I’m running out of alibis to explain my situation. Seems like I’ve said it all before. I can’t escape the paradigm, so I sign my resignation and say goodbye to something more.

The Best Time to Start a New Year’s Resolution is Right Now

Image Credit

Today is not your enemy. There’s no need to complicate today (as in right now) with the uncertainty of the next five years. Every day when you get out of bed in the morning, you have two options:

  1. Do what you want.
  2. Don’t do what you want.

That’s all there is to it. You’re tricking yourself if you think that there’s something beyond the choice of doing what you love or not doing it.

But I won’t be dishonest in saying it’s very easy to get caught up in thinking that there’s some sort of oasis of productivity that’s just a few more miles away, all the time. That we’re just one epiphany away from no longer struggling, a few more articles away from the missing link.

And before we know it, another year has passed. Or maybe it was another important—albeit sentimental — day. Perhaps this birthday marked the last year of your life where you muddled around. You’re getting older, we’re all getting older.

But we cannot forget that these are arbitrary dates on an arbitrary calendar. Instead, start now.

Plain Binary

It’s widely known that a large majority of New Year’s Resolutions essentially dissolve after February. It’s facts like these that make me wonder about all of these people. Why do they want to make a change in their life in the first place? What made them stop?

And there’s just too much research and media regarding this for me to spout any more nonsense about it. Because every day when you get out bed, you have two options:

  1. Be a person who is going to change.
  2. Be a person who is not going to change.

This isn’t about capability, this isn’t about potential. This isn’t about test scores or past accomplishments or downfalls. This is about today. At the end of it, you’ll have either accomplished one of those two things. It’s plain binary.

Baby Steps

I’m not asking the world of you. In fact, nobody good in your life is. Surround yourself with good people. Whether they have clout or connections is irrelevant. Be warm and kind these people your whole life.

But I digress; start small. You can’t build more than one good habit at once, and you can’t get rid of more than one bad habit at once. Just one. That’s what you’re capable of today.

The Blank Canvas

It is so easy to become paralyzed by the blank canvas in front of you. Especially if it’s been that way for a week, or a decade. It’s easy to get hung up over the fact that you did nothing yesterday or the day before. For some reason, our instinct is to allow this streak to continue.

And in contrast, our most effective way to counter is this is by starting a streak in the opposite direction. Push a little, every day starting today. And ignore the self-doubt that comes from messing that up every once in awhile.

Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can’t’ once and for all. — Van Gogh

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén