Three Days Forward, Two Days Back

Alright, so I’ve been a bit ill lately, so now I’ve gotta catch up on my AoM challenge!

Day 13: Perform a mind dump of everything you’re worried about. From the leaky dishwasher to your family member’s poor health — get it all out. Dwight D. Eisenhower did it, and it significantly helped him manage his stress. Just as your body needs to…cleanse itself of waste, so does your mind every once in a while. Getting all your stressors on paper may alleviate some of that pressure. Use David Allen’s GTD trigger list to help you out.

OK Worries! They are: Loans, Finding a Job, being rejected from Med school, going back to regular school, finding ways to pay for it, that “presence” coming back, making a permanent mistake with Marlena, making a permanent mistake with ANY girl, utterly failing at Life, dividing my family, losing the girls, giving into temptation, wasting my time and money on useless things, wasting my family’s time and money on useless things.

Day 14: Write a review of some form of entertainment you recently took in. Whether book or movie or TV show or Broadway play, write out what you liked and didn’t like about it. Was the acting/writing good? Could you follow the story? Is there anything you can take from it about life, or was it purely entertainment? This is often one of the most enjoyable entries to write, as it’s especially fun (and quite nostalgic) to go back and read these in the future. I can imagine that 10 years from now I will thoroughly appreciate my thoughts from this week on Roy Baumeister’sIs There Anything Good About Men?.

Ninja Warrior has returned! I’m so glad that it has! Nothing motivates me more to exercise than seeing someone put their body to the test! Although all of the contestants hardly ever make it to the finish, it’s inspiring seeing them try! And every time you see one of them fall, they always say the same thing, “I’m going to do better next time.” These athletes who’s levels I don’t think I’ll ever reach, fall and rise again and again. I always say to myself, ‘One day I’ll do that too’ And I still have that in the back of my mind, to become the grand Ninja master and achieve Total Victory!

Day 15: Come up with your own Cabinet of Invisible Counselors. There are innumerable great men from history who we can learn from today. When thinking about your life or pondering some question or problem, yes, go to actual mentors and friends, but also take in the advice of men of yore. Write out who you would have on your list and what you admire about them. Having trouble coming up with a list? The comments in the post should offer plenty of ideas.

Hmm… I suppose my Cabinet would consist of:

  • Jesus – The Son of God, what better moral teacher than that?
  • Goku – A man who trained for the sake of improving himself, not for bettering others
  • Bahamut – Another Motivator, King of Dragons with an ancient Wisdom
  • My Father – My par for what I think it takes to be a Good Man
  • Sun Tzu – Master Strategist of Life and War
  • Theodore Roosevelt – Took a bullet and didn’t leave until his speech was finished, another Good Man
  • Giuseppe Moscati – Italian Doctor and patron Saint of the Catholic church, my par for being a Good Doctor
  • Albert Einstein – A slow learner who changed the world
  • Robert Frost – To remind me to take the Road less traveled
  • My Mother – To remind me to be kind to others
  • My Sister – To remind me that nothing is impossible
  • Aristotle – Philosophy is where I treasure this guy
  • Marcus Aurelius – Roman Emperor who believed that we are all connected by one singular energy
  • My Brother-in-law – Another strong man who fills the room with laughter, he bears traits that I admire
  • Balian of Ibelin – “What man is a man who does not try to make the world better?”

Is It Enough?

Today I had lunch with a doctor who was going to write me a letter of recommendation. So we walked from his office to a nearby Subway and he asked me questions about myself and my beliefs and ideals in order to get a more personal view of me. So I answered his questions in the best ways I could.

So he started of with “What made you want to become a doctor in the first place?” and so naturally, I explained everything I could, so I spoke of everything, my troubling birth, my near-death experiences, the death of my Father, the life of my Mother, and everything in between. Yet, the doctor didn’t follow up with another question and there was a moment of silence, I couldn’t tell if he was reflecting on my answer or if it simply didn’t matter to him, his expression didn’t change enough for me to accurately tell.

So then during that silence, only a few moments, my mind thought, ‘Is it enough? Everything that motivates me, that I’ve said, is it really enough to actually be tested against the Trails of the Doctor?’

I mean, there’ll always be someone who’s been through a lot more than I have and have done more than I did, and they will have earn their title of ‘Doctor’, so where do I stand in all this?

Hmm… Maybe this is not a question to be answered by others, but by myself… I mean, who really cares if my Dad died? I do!… Well, as well as my immediate family, but in terms of his death as motivation towards a goal. In this case, it’s only me, the rest of the world keeps going, but it’s only I who is able to be affected by his Death, and it’s only I who decides whether or not this is a valid reason to do anything!

So the question “Is it enough?” is a self-reflecting question! Asked by me towards me, and my resolve!

Heh, guess, I should try to find an answer for it.

I know most people would say, “Of course, it’s enough!” based on the pain, suffering, and sacrifices, that’s been painted throughout my life, but one cannot forget that there’s a bigger fish in the sea, and despite everything, I’ve been through, I subconsciously have bowed out to that unknown individual who’s scars are deeper than mine and who’s smile is bigger.

But I can’t just give up the fight.

I have to get it in my head that this is not some random battle, but a life-long journey towards the bitter end! A war spanning years. And while it’ll have it’s ups and downs, the point is that I cannot stop fighting, even if everyone thinks that my reasons for fighting don’t make sense, I know what’s enough for me!

So long as I know what I’m fighting for, who I’m fighting for, and why I’m fighting, the rest of the world doesn’t matter, let the Universe go against me, I know where I stand! I have to stick to my truths even if those who stand against me are those whom I love and trust, heh, which in this family, is probably something inevitable.

So then, are all my experiences, thoughts, beliefs, scars, and truths enough of a reason for me to attempt to become a doctor? Ha! I guess there’s really only one way to find out!

Finding Strength Within

“God never gives you anything more than you can handle.” This is a very common phrase, often used to inspire others, and yet, often times we find someone praying for God to grant them the strength/courage/will to overcome something. Quite the paradox, to someone looking from the outside in.

But to me, I believe that God has already granted us all the strength, courage, endurance, Intelligence, willpower, we’ll ever need in our lives, as Galileo put it, “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him discover it in himself.” The wells that contain these abilities lie within oneself.

It’s all based on one’s own beliefs, and ethics, and how strongly they hold to them. If someone is fearful, then they’ll think that they have no courage, but what the case really is, is that they have yet to tap into the source of courage that lies dormant within them.

Often times in stories, the Hero discovers a hidden/special ability/item that allows them to defeat the great evil that threatens oblivion, but even to acquire that ability/item, the Hero had to fight and travel using what he knew, what he started off with.

In the beginning of any Mario Bros. game, you had only 2 abilities: Run and Jump, and you had to use them to find the mushrooms and fireflowers, and Yoshis to help you reach the final level where Bowser has taken Princess Peach, Link starts off with a Sword, and in practically every Final Fantasy, you start off either at Level 5 or Level 1, with basic equipment. Yet, throughout each game, you have to use what you already have at your disposal in order to gain more advanced levels. In each quest, you have to stick to what you already know in order to go forward, and utilize them in nearly any and every way you can. For Mario, one discovers that when one jumps on several enemies enough times, without stopping, a 1-Up is gained, Link can use interesting sword techniques to expose an enemy’s underbelly, in Final Fantasy, critical hits are delivered at random and can cause severe damage to their enemies.

Translating this to life, one can see that within ourselves, we have all of the power needed in order to conquer ever demon that stand before us. All it takes is just the ability to stand up and say, “I can do this.” followed by small actions that lead towards that goal.

My current goal is to get a good score on the MCAT, and in order to accomplish this, I have to discover the formulas and equations hidden within my Well of Knowledge and Science, at the proper moment, but in order for that, I have to start at Science Level 1, and it’s a long and draining process. So what can help me keep pressing when my eyes are a nice red glaze and my mind is more fried than an egg? When the hours are late and the information is becoming more and more like a foreign language than an equation? It’s during these moments, that feels like the well has run dry, but beneath it, lies another. It’s more than strength, it’s beyond it. It’s the drive. When strength is gone, and the mind is drained, what lies beneath all this is the motivation to keep pressing forward. When the body feels like lead, the motivation keeps your legs moving, your heart pounding, your lungs breathing.

Motivation is what fills the Wells that one reaches into first, and from there, you go and dig deeper into your soul. You start to see everything that you can only see as you approach the bottom of the Well, your limitations, your motivations, and which of them will outlast the other. God has already given you everything you’ll ever need, from motivation, to how you’re going to see it and have it engraved in your own soul, so that when there are no structures left and all the lights go out, one shall remain…


The Forgotten

Nikola Tesla, inventor MANY things, including AC power and the Death ray, was overlooked by Edison and his invention of the light bulb, and his fraction of inventions that paled in comparison to Tesla’s. Upon reading more about the man, I’ve made it my goal to one day build my own Tesla Coil… If possible. It’s sad to see how often we over look someone who seemingly does SO much,  for someone else who has done so little. I wonder why that is…

The men and women behind the curtains, fighting the battles that the world will never see, saving it from dangers it never knew it had faced… This always makes a good story, like in the video game Tales of Vesperia, where you play an outlaw who leads a party to make the toughest decisions that saves countless lives, and through circumstance, your best friend, who’s a soldier, winds up taking the credit, despite his knowledge of your actions and sacrifice.

I remember being little, I’ve often told people that I would be one of those forgotten warriors, that I would never be the man people applauded and cheered, but I would be the man behind him, doing everything he could not do; in essence. succeeding where he would fail, reaching peaks that he would never attempt, facing opponents that he would never defeat. And I relished in that idea. I suppose I still do, because in my mind, I don’t want to become a doctor for the prestige, glory, and income that comes with it, I want to become a doctor because I want to help save lives and despite the fact that there are other ways to do this, I believe that this is the only route for me, personally, to take. To be the individual, worthy enough to hold someone’s life, literally and metaphorically in my hands.

I honestly think I can become this man. My only limitations are often the things outside my control, like my car breaking down several times, Mother becoming sick, and other such related events. But as a Catholic man, I am confident that everything happens for a reason, God has a plan to place me exactly where I need to be when I need to be there, I just need to make the effort into getting there. Yet, with my limitations comes knowledge, and wisdom to help me in the future. For example, thanks to my car breaking down, I can change anything on a car from it’s oil to it’s transmission module, which makes repairing my own car easier. Each event that seems to have pulled me back or hindered me in some fashion has helped me obtain experience that I would otherwise not have obtained. And it’s not just practical skills, they’ve also helped me learned patience, humility, to laugh at my own helplessness (which is truly a difficult thing to learn), to dust myself off after a defeat, determination, the values of kindness and compassion, and so on.

I know one question I will be asked is, “What makes you think you’re the One worthy of this?” And for such a long time, I have struggled with the answer, at least a proper response that is satisfactory for it to be my answer. I can’t simply say, “I just know I am.” that won’t do, that’ll just lead me to failure. So how can I properly explain this feeling inside? Not to mention that I must very clear in my answer, otherwise, I’ll end up tripping over my words and I will show signs of uncertainty…

I know that the answer lies within me. Somewhere within… Underneath the scars and the dreams, lie the answer to why I believe that I am the man who can hold life and death in his hands. I did a quick glance at a survey done by Kaplan that said that 49% of medical school applicants are in it for the money, that ‘wanting to make a difference’ and ‘the desire to help others’ are just plain, empty words. Will my words be just as empty? Will I fail to rise to the occasion and meet these penetrating questions without my courage, passion and strength? I should already have all the motivation I need in order to fashion a proper response, so why am I hesitating? What am I missing? Death? Life? Love? What more could it take to rid me of these doubts?!

… I suppose I’m not the only one with doubts, especially in this line of work. I have to do some internal searching and find the truth behind my motives, as deep and personal as they are, if they are asked of me, I will, no I must speak the truth. I’ve begun typing a list of everything that can possibly be my reasons for doing this, I will be sure to keep looking over it and reminding myself of the reasons why I’m in this. I know all of the reasons are within me, but knowing me, I know that I’ll only remember a few at a time and even less than that under strenuous circumstances.

I have all the strength I need to fight this fight, however I cannot allow myself to forget why I’m fighting.