Amazing very informative

By Leo Babauta

Every now and then, I have to remind myself to do one thing at a time.

The tendency to try to do a whole bunch of things seems to be a natural result of my wanting to get everything done as soon as I can. Many browser tabs open, switching between one thing and the next, endlessly, endlessly.

No wonder I can never focus on anything!

Then I remember to do one thing at a time, and it’s like coming home.

I close all my browser tabs (bookmarking them first, so I can come back to them). I close my email and chat apps. I close everything.

Then I pick one thing, and I just do that.

Just read one article, with my full attention.

Open a full-screen writing app, and just write (as I’m doing now).

Just listen to something, with nothing else open. Just watch one video.

Just respond to one message, as if it’s the only conversation in the universe that matters.

Just wash one dish. Just eat one bite. Just brush my teeth, or wash my hands, or walk without stimulation. Just exercise.

One thing at a time.

Each one fills up my entire world, as if nothing else exists.

Each thing becomes everything.

It becomes practice in mindfulness. In being fully there. In letting go.

In being fully appreciative of what’s right in front of me. Falling in love with that thing, this gift I’ve been given.

who else gets this

Stop Asking Couples When They Are Having Kids

“So, when are you having kids?” my aunt asked me straight in the face, soon after I got married. At that point, I had been married for a few months. I didn’t even know if I wanted kids, much less when I was having them.

Caught off guard, I said, “I have not decided if I want kids.” I would spend the next hour listening to stories of women who had difficulty conceiving for a variety of reasons, with the implicit message being that I was going to be like them and regret it if I didn’t hurry and work on churning out babies.

This would be my life for the next few years, where I received varying forms of “When are you having kids?”, followed by a routine, almost ritualistic pressurization to have kids.

Lest you think that it ends after having a child, it doesn’t — the people who previously tried to persuade you to have “just one kid” when you were indifferent to the idea, now tell you to have “just one more.” It seems like you just can’t win. 😒

The problem with asking, “When are you having kids?”

I can understand why people like to ask this question. Find a partner, settle down, get married, and have kids. This is the life path that we’ve been taught to follow since young. This is the path that we’ve been told is the way of life, which would bring us ultimate joy and happiness.

This is especially so in the Chinese culture, where having kids is seen as the ultimate goal in life. There are even sayings built around this notion, such as 生儿育女 (shēng ér yù nǚ), which means to birth sons and raise daughters, and 子孙满堂 (zǐ sūn mǎn táng), which means to be in a room filled with children and grandchildren.

Multi-Generation Chinese Family at the Park

A multi-generation family, often used to depict a vision of happiness in the Chinese culture

So after you get married, people automatically assume that you should have kids. “When are you having kids?” they ask, somehow expecting you to give them a straight answer.

The problem with this question is that it’s rude. It’s presumptuous. It’s also insensitive.

1) Happiness can come in different forms

Firstly, everyone has their path in life. Some people want kids, while some don’t want kids. Some people think that having kids is the greatest joy in life, while some see having kids as a burden to their carefree life. To presume that everyone should have kids, especially when the person has never said anything about wanting kids, is rude and disregards the person’s preferences and choice in life.

Take for example, Oprah Winfrey. She chose not to have children and has dedicated herself to her personal purpose of serving the world. Oprah hosted her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show which ran for 25 years, founded a leadership academy for girls and became a mother figure to the girls in attendance, and started her own television network. Through the years, she has inspired millions and become a champion for humans worldwide. As she says,

“When people were pressuring me to get married and have children, I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having them, because I feel like I am a mother to the world’s children. Love knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if a child came from your womb or if you found that person at age two, 10, or 20. If the love is real, the caring is pure and it comes from a good space, it works.” — Oprah[1]

There are other people who chose not to have kids as well.

  • Betty White, actress and comedian, chose not to have kids as she’s passionate about her career and focused on it.[2]
  • Chelsea Handler, talkshow host, doesn’t have kids as she doesn’t have the time to raise a child herself, and she doesn’t want her kids to be raised by a nanny.[3]
  • Ashley Judd, actress and politican activist, chose not to have kids as there are already so many orphaned kids in this world, and she feels that her resources can be better used to help those already here.[4]

And then there are others who chose not to have kids, such as Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Cameron Diaz, Chow Yun Fat, Marisa Tomei, Renée Zellweger, and Rachael Ray. These people choose not to have kids for different reasons, such as because they’re pursuing paths deeply meaningful to them, they do not wish to be tied down with a child, or they just don’t feel a deep desire to have kids. Not having kids has not prevented them from being happy in life, and there’s no reason to assume why people must have kids in order to be happy.

2) You may well cause hurt and pain

Secondly, you never know what others are going through.

Some people may want kids, but maybe they are facing fertility struggles.

  • Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan went through three miscarriages before having their firstborn.[5]
  • The Obamas had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF.[6]
  • Friends star Courteney Cox had a total of seven miscarriages before having her daughter, as she has a MTHFR gene mutation which raises the risk of miscarriage-causing blood clots.[7]

About 10% of women have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant,[8] while 13.5% of known pregnancies end in miscarriages, with the figure rising as the maternal age rises.[9]

For some people, the journey to conceive is fraught with deep pain, struggle, and losses as they experience miscarriages, undergo round after round of invasive fertility treatments, and wait in hope of the double blue lines on their pregnancy kit each month.

And then there are people who cannot have their own biological children due to issues with their reproductive system, which could have been there since birth.

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and family

Barack and Michelle Obama had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF

While you may be think that you’re being helpful or funny by asking people when they’re having kids, your question may well trigger hurt and pain. As Zuckerberg said,

“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience.”[5]

3) Not everyone is in a position to have kids

Thirdly, having kids is simply not a reality for some people due to their circumstances in life.

Some people may lack the financial resources to have kids, a reality in a place like Singapore.

Some people may be facing problems with their marriage, in which case their priority should be to work on their marriage, not to have kids.

Some people may be so burdened with caring for their dependents that they are unable to consider kids, at least not at the moment.

And then there are people facing chronic health issues, issues that you don’t know and can’t see, which make pregnancy difficult due to the toll it would take on their body.

4) Some couples could still be thinking

And then there are people who are neutral to the idea of having kids, like myself when I just got married. These people need time to think it through, because having kids is a permanent, lifelong decision with serious consequences. There’s no reason to assume that having a kid should be an automatic decision, because you’re bringing a whole new life into this world. This is a decision that will change your life forever, as well as the life of the child you’re bringing into the world.

For those yet to have kids, they need the space to figure out what they want, not have people breathe down their neck day in and out about having kids.

My experience

For the initial years after I got married, I just wasn’t thinking about kids. Firstly, having a child is a lifelong decision, and I wanted to enjoy married life with just my husband first, before diving into a decision as serious as that. Secondly, both my husband and I were genuinely happy spending the rest of our lives with just each other — we didn’t feel the need to have kids at all, not in the way my culture obssesses about it. Thirdly, my husband was dealing with some personal problems, and I was fully focused on supporting him through these. These were issues that we needed to sort through before considering kids, if we were to want kids.

Yet I kept getting nudges to have kids, even though I never said anything about wanting them.

“So, when are you having kids?”

“[This relative’s] baby is so cute, isn’t it? Why don’t you hurry up and birth a baby?”

It was as if I was some vehicle, some production machine to have kids, where my own views in the matter didn’t matter. The most frustrating thing was that I kept getting this question, while my husband would never get it (as a man), not even when we were in the same room together.

It was as if my sole reason for existence as a woman was to have kids, and until I had them, I was regarded as unworthy or incomplete.

The decision to have kids

Yet the decision to have children is a personal one. It is also a complex one. It is a decision that will permanently change the lives of the couple in question.

It is not a decision that one should be pressurized into making because their mom wants to carry grandchildren or their aunt wants to play with kids. It’s a decision that a couple should make because they genuinely want to nurture another life.

Because when a child is born, the people bugging others to have kids aren’t the ones who will be caring for the baby 24/7, whose lives will be set back by years (even decades) as they care for a new life, or who will be responsible for every decision concerning the child for the next 18-21 years.

It will be the couple.

And the people who aren’t ready, who were pressured into having kids because they were told that it was the best thing to do, may have to deal with regret as they are stuck with a decision they cannot undo. Because there are people who regret having kids, and we need to be honest about that. These people regret, not because of the child’s fault, but because they were simply not ready to have kids, be it financially, emotionally, or mentally. Unfortunately, the children are the ones who eventually suffer, from living in dysfunctional households to dealing with issues of violenceabuse, and anger.

We need to recognize these realities, and not make parenthood seem like it’s some magical band-aid that solves a lack of purpose or life’s pressures. Things don’t magically get better because people have kids; existing problems usually worsen as having a child puts a big strain on a couple’s lives. Digging into people’s plans to have kids, and pressurizing them into one of the biggest life decisions they can ever make, will only stress them out and perhaps push some into depression. As this redditor shared,

“I have a friend who went through 6 years of miscarriages and fertility treatments before the doctors figured out the problem and she had her son. The nosy ladies at her work and her in-laws questioned her constantly. The depression from that made it harder for her to conceive.”

Stop asking couples when they’re having kids

So, if you tend to ask others when they’re having kids, it’s time to stop that. It’s rude, insensitive, and it disregards people’s privacy. It’s also none of your business.

The reality is that if people want kids, they will work on having kids. They don’t need you to prod them about it.

If they don’t have kids, it’s either because

  1. they really don’t want kids,
  2. they are not in a position to consider kids right now, or
  3. they want kids but they are facing some struggles.

For people in group (c), they aren’t going to share such deeply personal experience over some afternoon coffee chat, and certainly not by you asking, “When are you having kids?”

The best thing you can do is to give people their personal space. Understand that having kids is a personal decision, and people don’t have to share or explain anything. Respect that others have their right to privacy. Respect that people are individuals on their own path, and this path may not involve having kids. And this doesn’t make them incomplete or lesser in any way.

Instead of asking women or couples, “When are you having kids?”, talk to them like how you would a normal person. There’s no reason why conversations should suddenly revolve around childbearing after marriage; it’s not like a person’s identity changes to revolve around having kids. A person still has their own passion, goals, and dreams. Talk to them about what they’ve been doing. Understand their interests. Know them as a real person, not some random being here to fulfill society’s checklist.

If you’re really interested in someone’s plan to have children, you can simply ask, “Are you and your partner planning to have kids?” If they wish to share more, they will do so. If they give a generic answer, then take the hint and move on.

Ultimately, having kids or not doesn’t change a person’s self-worth. A woman is complete with or without kids. A marriage doesn’t need kids to be deemed complete. Having kids should be a conscious choice, not a result of external pressure. Don’t judge people by whether they have kids or not. Some people will have kids, and some people will not have kids. Some will have kids early, while some will have them later in life. All of these are different paths, and there’s nothing wrong about any of them.

For Me

For my husband and I, we eventually had a few discussions and decided to have a baby, and had our baby girl this year (2020). 😊 Yet other people’s comments and nudges to have children didn’t make me want to have children; it only annoyed me and made me want to avoid these people, because having a child is a personal decision between me and my husband, that has nothing to do with them. It was after we had the space to settle down and enjoy married life without kids, and took some time to actively pursue our goals and interests, that we finally felt ready to try for a kid last year.

In the meantime, I hope all of you are doing well. There are other things that I’m working on, other things that are happening that I look forward to sharing in time to come. Sending lots of love to you, and remember that whatever life challenge you’re facing, you have it in you to overcome it. I’ll talk to you guys soon! 🙂

The post Stop Asking Couples When They’re Having Kids appeared first on Personal Excellence.

Worlds best mindset fan right here

I haven’t been taking the time to do nothing lately. Even though the world has given me plenty of time to slow down, I’ve been stuck in a go-go-go mentality.

In our society, we’re taught that if we’re not being productive, we’re being lazy. This fear of laziness can affect our mindset towards relaxation without us even noticing it.

5 tips to let go of the hustle mentality

But if you don’t give yourself time to decompress, you’re more prone to burnout. The problem with burnout is that it negatively affects your creativity, motivation, and mindset – the things you need to do good work in the first place.

In this post, I’m sharing the negative side of the hustle mentality and practical tips to help you slow down without guilt.

What Is Hustle Mode?


Defining Hustle Mode

Justin Anderson defines hustle culture as “the belief that one must spend every waking moment fully exerting themselves to become successful.” If we’re not doing something…ANYTHING, we start to feel like we’re being lazy.

I’ve always tried to juggle a million things at once. Back in 2016, I was working a full-time job, getting my master’s degree, and blogging on the side. More recently in the past two years, I was trying to juggle my own business, contract work, and coaching a dance team.

There was a point when it all became too much. I thrive with variety in my work life, but not THAT much variety. I felt like I was constantly in hustle mode up until very recently.

At least in the U.S. where I live, there’s a huge emphasis on the hustle culture. I was talking to my friend recently who said her coworkers will email her at 10 pm. I remember one of my old coworkers used to send emails at 2 am.

Hustle culture is definitely romanticized. We hear stories of people grinding late at night until their hard work finally pays off. We think we need to do the same and use it as inspiration, even when we’re struggling.

I’m all for creative energy, and I recognize that it comes in waves. Sometimes I stay up late doing work because I’m inspired, but it’s not part of my routine.

It’s rare to hear a success story that involves a solid balance between work and personal life. Instead of trying to mimic everyone else’s hustle, I think it’s important to try and achieve better levels of balance. I’d like to believe it’s possible to be successful without hustling yourself to the ground.


The Problem with Hustle Mode

Burnout is real and it affects your creativity, motivation, and mindset. If you’re in hustle mode, you might be making things more stressful for yourself because your mind is constantly in a state of overwhelm.

Hustle mode doesn’t give you much time for self-reflection or the opportunity to learn and implement new things.

There’s also the issue of feeling pressured to stay busy because other people are telling you to. Just because you have free time doesn’t mean you need to fill it to the brim with activities. There is beauty in slowing down and doing nothing.

During quarantine, you might have felt pressure to take on new hobbies and learn new skills. If you feel inclined to do that, that’s great. But if you feel called to relax, that’s what you should do.

I like what D’Shonda Brown said in this article: “I see classes, seminars and webinars galore about how to “properly” use your time during quarantine and how to keep yourself busy and productive. Truth be told, I think that’s the issue. We shouldn’t feel like we have to do something just because we can.”


Do you need to slow down?

One way to know that you’re stuck in hustle mode is if you feel useless when you’re not doing something. Do you feel guilty if you take a break or don’t get your to-do list done?

If you want to figure out if you’re overworking yourself, click here to find out if you might be dealing with burnout.

5 Tips To Pause and Slow Down


How do you counteract hustle mode? Here are some tips that have helped me to slow down:

1. Notice when you’re inspired by hustle culture

When you’re scrolling through Instagram or reading books for personal growth, notice if you feel inspired by someone’s hustle. It’s obviously not a bad thing to be inspired by other people working hard. But you also need to be smart about your strategy. It’s important to do things with intention, not just because you think they should be on your to-do list. Think about ways you could find a better balance between action and relaxation.


2. Check yourself when you think “I need to do more”

Where does this thought come from? Are you trying to prove something to someone? Realize that you don’t need to do EVERYTHING. You’re already doing enough. If you can train your mind to stop thinking you need to do more, you won’t feel as overwhelmed.


3. Adjust your daily routines

Create space in your day that separates your workday from personal time. Do something for yourself in the morning before jumping into emails first thing. At the end of the day, do something that signals it’s time to let go of work (take a bath, go for a walk, etc) and try not to do any work after that.

Related Post: How To Create A Daily Self-Care Routine


4. Schedule in blank time

Add a blank timeblock to your schedule at least once a week (better yet, once a day). You don’t have to include any particular tasks or plan it out to a T. Block it off and know that it’s your time to spend doing anything but work. Something that’s been helping me is taking a weekly tech detox every Sunday. On these days, I no longer check emails or do anything work-related, which has given me some much-needed balance in my life.


5. Journal it out

To better understand your relationship with hustle mode, you may need to dig deeper into your mindset around self-worth and productivity. Here are some journal prompts to write about:

  • What about being productive makes you feel good? How do you feel if you’re not being productive?
  • Who inspires you in the business/work world? What type of lifestyle do they lead?
  • What would your ideal work-life balance look like?
  • Do you feel like you need to DO something to be worthy? How are you worthy outside of work? How are you valuable in this world beyond your work?

New to journaling? Guide my Master Your Mindset Journaling Guide.


Do you have the hustle mentality? What needs to change so you can slow down?

I hope this post has encouraged you to step away from the hustle mentality or at least try to find a balance between being productive and letting yourself relax. Let me know in the comments if you can relate!

The post 5 Tips To Pause Hustle Mode And Slow Down appeared first on The Blissful Mind.

More stuff on self-improvement please

Do positive self-affirmations work? If you’re used to feeling negative about yourself, you’re probably also used to talking negatively to yourself.  Your self-talk has a significant impact on your self-esteem. That’s why it’s essential to repeat self-worth affirmations daily. As you start, it doesn’t matter whether you believe them right away. When you get used […]

The post 101 Powerful Affirmations To Boost Your Self-Esteem And Confidence appeared first on Live Bold and Bloom.

anyone like mindset as much as me

By Leo Babauta

Every now and then, I have to remind myself to do one thing at a time.

The tendency to try to do a whole bunch of things seems to be a natural result of my wanting to get everything done as soon as I can. Many browser tabs open, switching between one thing and the next, endlessly, endlessly.

No wonder I can never focus on anything!

Then I remember to do one thing at a time, and it’s like coming home.

I close all my browser tabs (bookmarking them first, so I can come back to them). I close my email and chat apps. I close everything.

Then I pick one thing, and I just do that.

Just read one article, with my full attention.

Open a full-screen writing app, and just write (as I’m doing now).

Just listen to something, with nothing else open. Just watch one video.

Just respond to one message, as if it’s the only conversation in the universe that matters.

Just wash one dish. Just eat one bite. Just brush my teeth, or wash my hands, or walk without stimulation. Just exercise.

One thing at a time.

Each one fills up my entire world, as if nothing else exists.

Each thing becomes everything.

It becomes practice in mindfulness. In being fully there. In letting go.

In being fully appreciative of what’s right in front of me. Falling in love with that thing, this gift I’ve been given.