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“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott

Have you been doomscrolling at night, feeling overwhelmed by the news and everything that’s going on in the world? Even if it’s not that deep for you, it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of endless scrolling due to boredom or procrastination.

how to unplug when you need a break

Many of us are craving a way back into simpler times when technology didn’t rule our lives. The only problem is that unplugging might leave you feeling disconnected. Especially right now when many of us can’t see our friends and family, wanting to go offline might make you feel like an outsider.

The truth is that we all need healthy time away from social media and the internet. Ultimately, we need to figure out what we want to plug into instead. In this post, I’m sharing tips for how to unplug without feeling isolated or left out.

The Effects of Staying Plugged In


how to unplug when you need a break

Plugging in affects your mindset

The internet can inspire you, help you make connections, and allow you to document your life to look back on someday. But it can also mess with your mindset and make you forget what real life looks like.

Being plugged in all the time has given us all a weird sense of reality. People now seem to post things for the sake of keeping up with an algorithm, rather than sharing what’s actually happening in their lives.

I often feel pressured to share my own life on social media, yet I struggle with this because I’m quite a private person. Sometimes I wonder if people from high school have forgotten about who I am because I’m never posting on social media. But then I think, ‘Who really cares?’ I’m not here to impress anybody.

I’m part of the generation that knows what things were like before social media, yet I’ve also grown up with it being a big part of my life. I remember having to wait until I got home from school so I could check Myspace and re-arrange my top 8. There was no way to check things on my phone back then. Distractions from social media didn’t even exist, and it didn’t have the same effect as it does now on my mindset.

Plugging in keeps you charged

Staying plugged in might be a way to keep ourselves charged in some way. We feel charged when we get likes from others, when we’re in on the latest drama, and when we learn new information. But is that the kind of charge we really need?

Being online all the time puts us at risk of living our entire lives through screens. You might think you’re close to other people (especially influencers and celebrities) because you follow their daily lives, but you don’t really know them. This can make you forget about what’s actually happening beyond the screens.

Though I’m conflicted in my thoughts on social media and the internet, I am certain that being mindful of the way you use them is the best way to approach things.

Related Post: 5 Ways To Have A Healthier Relationship With Social Media

How To Unplug When You Need A Break


Awareness is key to making changes. If you can find healthy boundaries and set intentions with the time you spend online, you can make sure you don’t lose a sense of yourself. Here are my favorite tips and examples of ways to unplug:

1. Address your mindset

Wanting to unplug can make you feel like an outsider. When your friends are always on social media and don’t seem to notice their addiction to it, you might feel weird for not being as into it.

You might also start to create stories in your mind because you’re not as active on social media as others are. For example, I’m usually the last to respond in a group chat because I don’t have notifications on my phone.

Sometimes I worry my friends are going to think I don’t want to talk to them. This is a story I create in my mind. Can you imagine if my friends of ten years stopped talking to me because I was late to respond in the group chat? If they did, they weren’t my friends to begin with.

Some things to think about:

  • What are you afraid of missing out on if you unplug? 
  • Do you fear that people will forget about you? 
  • Do you worry you’ll offend other people because you didn’t react to the meme you sent them?
  • Will people not want to work with you because you didn’t respond to their DM?

Notice when these fears creep up. Question whether it’s part of a story you’re creating in your mind. When you realize these fears aren’t warranted, you can begin to let go of them.

Related Post: 5 Daily Habits For A Healthy Mindset


2. Set boundaries & intentions

Be intentional

Most of us can’t unplug from the world completely (and we don’t really want to). In that sense, it’s better to focus on being intentional with how you use technology, rather than trying to remove it from your life.

Here are some things to think about:

  • What do you use different apps for? Is Facebook for connecting with family? YouTube for entertainment? Pinterest for inspiration?
  • What do you WANT to use different apps for? If you can create separation between platforms, you can better avoid endless scrolling when you’re bored or frustrated. For example, if you’re in need of a mood-booster, you’ll know to go to TikTok instead of aimlessly scrolling through Facebook.

Curate your following list

The people you follow and listen to WILL have an impact on your mindset. The best way to be intentional with this is to curate your following list.

Here’s an exercise: Make a list right now of people you enjoy following. Do this from memory, without actually going on social media. You’re going to forget people and that’s okay. The ones that you remember are the ones to keep on your feed. Mute everyone else who’s not on that list.

Stop seeking out your triggers

As humans, we love drama. Sometimes we seek out drama to feel better about ourselves, and other times it’s to feel intense emotions (good or bad).

You probably know what your triggers are. To have a healthier relationship with social media, it’s important to be aware of your triggers and stop yourself before you seek them out.

For example, I gravitate towards the comment section of videos, especially when I know they’re going to be triggering. Instead of automatically going to the comment section, I’m learning to watch the video without reading the comments.

Also, stop visiting the profiles of people who you know are going to trigger you. That includes your ex and public figures you disagree with.


3. Create an unplugging system

Image via #Offline48

The tricky thing about technology is that it’s created to be convenient and distracting. In order to unplug, you have to make it inconvenient to access apps and platforms.

Here are some ideas help you unplug:

  • Delete social media apps on the weekend (Venetia La Manna does this with her #Offline48 challenge)
  • Go offline one day a week (Tiffany Shlain talks about this in her book 24/6 which I wrote about here)
  • Have someone else change your social media passwords until Friday (James Clear recommends this in his book Atomic Habits)
  • Move social media apps to the last page on your phone screen
  • Log out of all social media on your computer
  • Put your phone in another room while you’re watching TV
  • Turn off notifications for social media apps (I personally do this)

Set expectations

Of course, one of the hardest things about unplugging is setting expectations with other people. Let them know your boundaries. People may think it’s odd, but you might inspire them with your actions if they see it’s working for you. 

Tell people that your phone is on ‘do not disturb’ mode, but they can call you if it’s a level 8 emergency. Tell them you’re taking Sundays to be offline and you won’t be checking emails. If you own a business and clients tend to DM you, set the expectation for them to email you instead of messaging you.

Setting these expectations will help everyone involved avoid miscommunication and unnecessary panic.

Plug into what matters

If we’re going to unplug, it’s important to plug into something that matters. When you unplug, you’re giving yourself permission to focus on the things you actually want to focus on.

Think about what you could do with the time you gain from not spending so much time online. You might choose to plug into your relationships, hobbies, health, self-care, etc.

“Unplugging is an act of separating ourselves from what doesn’t align with our values and our heart-centered desires.”

Caroline Makepeace from yTravel Blog


My question to you: What do you want to plug into?

I hope this post has encouraged you to make unplugging part of your regular life. The way you use technology is ultimately going to determine your relationship with it. Most importantly, think about what you want to plug into so you have a reason to stay accountable.

Leave a comment below! What are your tips for unplugging?

The post How To Unplug From The World When You Need A Break appeared first on The Blissful Mind.

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Stop Asking Couples When They Are Having Kids

“So, when are you having kids?” my aunt asked me soon after I got married. At that point, I had just 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 replied matter-of-factly, “I have not decided if I want to have kids.” Little did I realize that I would spend the next hour listening to stories of women who put off having children until it was too late, as well as women who had difficulty conceiving for various reasons, with the implicit message being that I was going to regret it if I didn’t hurry and work on producing babies.

This would be my life for the next few years, where I would receive constant questions around “When are you having kids?” from relatives and random people, 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 tell you to have “just one kid” when you were indifferent to the idea, will now tell you to have a second one, along with reasons why you should do so. It seems like this questioning process never ends.

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

I 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 life script that we’ve been told is *the* way of life, that 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, used to signify the epitome of happiness.

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 to what is really a personal question.

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

1) There are many different paths to happiness

Firstly, everyone has their own path in life. Some people want kids, while some don’t. Some think that having kids is the greatest joy in life, while some see them as a burden. At the end of the day, having kids isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are significant ups and downs that come with having a kid, and for some people, the ups do not justify the downs. For these people, it may simply be better to remain childless, rather than having kids just to fit in or to fit societal expectations, and then set their lives up for unhappiness. To assume that everyone should have kids, just because you think that having kids is great and important, is rude and disregards that person’s own preferences in life.

For example, Oprah Winfrey is an inspiring woman and humanitarian who chose not to have kids, but has instead dedicated herself to her personal life purpose of serving the world. Oprah hosted her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show 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. These are things that most do not get to do in their lifetime. Through the years, she has inspired millions and become a champion for people 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]

Is she not being a responsible or purposeful person or woman by choosing not to have kids? Definitely not. In fact, I dare say that she lives a much more purposeful life than many in the world, including some people who choose to have kids.

There are many famous celebrities who have chosen not to have kids as well.

  • Chelsea Handler is a talk show host who chose not to have kids. She has said honestly in interviews that she doesn’t have the time to raise a child, and she doesn’t want her kids to be raised by a nanny.[2][3]
  • Betty White is an actress and comedian who chose not to have kids because she’s passionate about her career and she prefers to focus on it.[4]
  • Ashley Judd is an actress and politican activist who chose not to have kids because she feels that there are already so many orphaned kids in this world. To her, her resources can be better used to help those who are already here, and I respect her for such a noble choice.[5]

And then there are others, such as Cameron Diaz, Chow Yun Fat, Marisa Tomei (the actress for Peter Parker’s aunt in Tom Holland’s Spider Man film series), Renée Zellweger, and Rachael Ray. These people choose not to have kids for different reasons, such as because they’re already pursuing paths deeply meaningful to them, because they do not wish to be tied down with a child, or because they just don’t feel a deep desire to have kids.

Not having kids has not prevented these people from being happy in life, and there’s no reason to assume why people must have kids in order to be happy. People need to stop painting this narrative that one must have children in order to be happy. There are plenty of people with kids who are unhappy, and plenty of people without kids who have found inner fulfillment in life through other ways. There is no one path to happiness, and people need to realize that.

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. For example,

  • Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan went through three miscarriages before having their firstborn.[6]
  • The Obamas had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF.[7]
  • 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.[8]

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

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.”[6]

3) Not everyone is in a place 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 my husband 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 obsesses 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 person’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 with 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! 🙂

Great thanks I love mindset

If you want to succeed in business, there’s one truth you must make peace with:

At some point, you will fail.

Your launch will flop. Your book will get terrible reviews. You’ll miss your sales targets by a mile…

Or it may be more subtle. After you’ve been running your business for a while — especially your first business — you might take stock and realize that it’s not what you imagined. It’s not producing the money, joy or freedom you’d hoped for. What happened to those big dreams and ambitious goals? Because the business you’re running now certainly doesn’t feel like the business of your dreams.


Start focusing on what's working rather than putting so much energy on what doesn't.
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When you realize you’re nowhere near achieving the goals you set for your business, you might feel like a failure, want to throw in the towel and move on.

Don’t walk away so fast.

While it’s tempting to quit, failure in business doen’t need to be the end of the story, it’s likely a just a necessary reality check.

Learning from Failure: A Reality Check for Your Business

Most businesses take quite a long time to become successful (even the ones that seem like they “made it” overnight).

Failure is a natural part of building a successful business. It doesn’t need to be the end of your story  — unless that’s what you choose.

The secret to moving on from failure is to actively look for, and capitalize on the lessons. Every stumble is a chance to grow wiser, stronger, and more capable of achieve your ultimate ambition.

In this live call-in show, I talk with Alicia, who confessed:

I’ve been running my own business for the last three years, but a lot of the things I wanted haven’t come true in the way that I hoped. I struggle with feeling like I failed. I’m left feeling like all of this effort I put in — all the things I worked really hard to create — none of them really generated the success I was hoping for and now I have to start from scratch. Help!

Alicia and I talk through how she measures success and why she feels so unsuccessful. Spoiler: It’s not because she’s a failure.

Watch the clip, and keep reading after the video to learn four mindset shifts that can turn your gnarliest failures into springboards to success.

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

Listen Now

Giving up on your business after its first failure or two is like leaving the theater in the middle of an epic movie.

Say you’re watching a two-hour movie, and 45 minutes in, all hell breaks loose — there’s a ton of conflict. The main character is floundering and the chance for success looks dire. If you walked out at that very moment, you’d think that character was a total failure.

But that’s just an inflection point. Their story isn’t over. And neither is yours.

4 Mindset Shifts to Begin Learning from Failure

Okay, so you’re in the thick of it. You failed. Big time. 

Now what?

Instead of bowing out in shame with your tail between your legs, the right mindset just might set you on a higher path. Use these mantras to turn your failure into a growth-opportunity:

  1. “Failure is an event, not a characteristic.” Judge Victoria Pratt said this to me during an interview and my heart cheered when I heard it. “Failure is just an event. It’s not a characteristic. People can’t be failures.” Look. We all make bad judgment calls. But your flops are events, not permanent character traits. Failure is not who you are. YOU are not a failure and can never be one.
  2. “I win or I learn, but I never lose.” This is one of my go-to mantras. Hearing it completely shifted my perspective. And thank God it did, because I used to love cataloging my every mess-up. But the truth is, there’s not a single instance in my past where my supposed “wrong” action or “botched” attempt didn’t eventually lead to something good and useful.
  3. “A fall isn’t final unless you stay on the ground.” We all wipe out. Physically, emotionally, creatively, financially, socially — everyone does dumb sh*t. It’s inherent to the human growth process. But here’s the key: a fall is never final unless you stay on the ground. Catch your breath. Get back up. Keep going.
  4. “Focus on what’s working.” Maybe you didn’t hit your sales goals this year, but that doesn’t make your entire business a failure. Instead of getting so caught up in the goals you didn’t meet, take stock of what you did. Look at everything you have accomplished. When we acknowledge wins and progress, we tend to notice them more. The more we notice progress, the more momentum we create.*

*This is backed by neuroscience. Research shows that celebrating small wins gives your brain a spritz of dopamine, a natural feel-good hormone linked with motivation, which gets you excited to keep going. When you stack and celebrate wins regularly, you build mental and emotional strength, which is an essential for long-term business success. 

DIVE DEEPER: This question will help you overcome your fear of failure. Plus, here are 4 steps to overcome a devastating setback with Dr. Cathy Collautt.

Finally…

Remember what F.A.I.L. really stands for. Think about the word “FAIL” like this: it’s a faithful attempt in learning. That’s it. A faithful attempt in learning. It’s nothing to fear and nothing to avoid. From this perspective, failure is not a glitch in your journey, it’s a must-have feature. As cliché as it sounds, you can only truly fail if you stop learning and growing.

What Key Lessons Can You Learn from Failure?

In the midst of or immediately following a screw-up, do I personally sometimes cry and feel like a clueless idiot? Yes, of course.

Do I ever beat myself up if I wasted massive amounts of time, money, or energy? Yes, yes, and yes.

But the nanosecond I remember “I win or I learn, but I never lose,” I begin to regain sanity and perspective. Something good will (eventually) come out of this. Something that’ll help me grow and do better next time.

So once you’ve wallowed, it’s time to figure out exactly what you can learn from failure.

Action Step: Look to your past and think about a specific time you failed (or more accurately, made a faithful attempt in learning). 

  • What are three good things that came from it? 
  • What lessons did you learn? 
  • What valuable understanding do you now have that you wouldn’t have otherwise?

Now think about your present challenge. How can you grow, change, or pivot now to avoid repeating this mistake?

Remember, hitting your goal is far less important than who you become in the process of working towards it. The biggest benefits of challenging yourself are the mental and emotional strengths you build along the journey, including: focus, discipline, determination, resilience, humility, and faith.

The qualities you’re developing through failure now are the distinguishing factors that’ll lead to success down the road.

Today’s Failure Leads to Tomorrow’s Success

“You always pass failure on your way to success.”

~ Mickey Rooney 

No one hits it out of the park on their first swing. When you’re feeling unsuccessful, remember that everything you’re doing now is an opportunity to learn and grow into the person you need to be.

Look, I get it. When you’re in it, still stinging with pain or shame from a disappointment, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. That’s when we need other people to remind us that we can find solace and inspiration in the stories of people like us who have risen above setbacks and bounced back stronger than ever.

One of my favorite stories comes from actress and director Bryce Dallas Howard.

My grandmother said to me, “Do you know how many auditions the average working actor needs to go on before booking a job?”

I guessed one in ten. And she said to me, “No, it’s 64. One in 64 auditions.”

And it was this clarifying moment for me to statistically understand the odds.

My grandmother went back into acting in her 60s and she started counting the number of auditions she would go on. She got up to 100 without booking a job and then she’s like, “Okay, I’m gonna start the count over at one and we’ll see if I make it to 64.”

And by 64 she did actually book a job and she had this tremendous hot streak for the last 10 years of her life.

So when I started auditioning I was very inspired by her stick-to-it-ness, so I just started counting. One audition. Two auditions. And I promised myself I wouldn’t get upset if I didn’t book something before 64.

I got the job on my 48th audition, and my agent later asked me, “How did you not quit? Most actors quit long before you.” I told her the story about my grandmother and she said, “I wish more creative people understood this because then they wouldn’t be so hard on themselves.”

The takeaway from Bryce? Rejection is a prerequisite to success. Whether you get criticized, passed over, or flat out fired, it just means there’s more to learn. You’re on your way.

Thomas Edison’s grade school teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything” and he was fired from jobs for being “unproductive.” But after 1000 unsuccessful attempts, he invented the lightbulb and made the future brighter for us all.

Oprah Winfrey was fired from her reporting job because she apparently couldn’t separate her emotions from her stories. Which, as we all know, is what made her into the world’s most inspiring and compassionate interviewer.

Truly, the world’s most successful people welcome failure and rejection because they know that it’s one more notch in their belt. One step closer to their dream.

Your Turn: Practice Learning From Failure

In the comments below, tell me:

  • Which of the four mantras resonates with you right now?
  • How will you put it into practice today?

Remember, on the road to any dream, Faithful Attempts In Learning are inevitable. But the only true failure is letting it stop you from pursuing your dreams at all. All the other let downs? They are chances to learn new skills, clarify your goals, and reevaluate your measure of success.

Commit to learning from your failures — both the setbacks you’ve experienced in the past and those yet to come — so that nothing can stop you from using your gifts to change the world.

The post Learning from Failure: How to Move On After a Business Flop appeared first on .

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What do you say to someone on the anniversary of a death? You want them to know you’re thinking of them. You want to offer them some comfort on this painful first death anniversary. You’re just not exactly sure what words to use. We’ve been there. So, we’re glad you’re here. This post is all …

Read MoreThe Best (and Worst) Things to Write to Someone On The Anniversary Of A Death

The post The Best (and Worst) Things to Write to Someone On The Anniversary Of A Death appeared first on Live Bold and Bloom.

I always adore anything related to self-improvement

%%sitename%% | The Self-Improvement Blog | Self-Esteem | Self Confidence

successful life

 Many people in other lands aspire to come to the United States to have a successful life. They believe it to be the land of opportunity, yet 98% of Americans are never successful by any definition, even their own. Some few are successful by almost any definition, like Robin Williams an extraordinary comedian who had a very large cult following, fame, and fortune, yet he committed suicide! I am now 83 and it is time for me to look back and ask the question, was my life a success? In order to answer that question, I need to define what is a successful life? This is not an easy question and possibly no two people would totally agree but it seems like an important subject, so I am going to try,

Measuring Success

We all come with some gifts and handicaps, so success must be measured against our own capabilities. Arnold Swartenager developed his body to the top of world-class standards and has certainly become a success in life. You or I may not have had a body type for that to ever be a possibility, and Arnold may never be able to compose a symphony. So a good start on a working definition of success would be to achieve a large part of our individual potential. Therefore I conclude that early in life it is important to know ourselves, our IQ, personality type, physical capability, social skills, etc. I am an extreme introvert so achieving fame and having paparazzi following me would never seem like success to me.

I did go from extreme poverty, living in a converted chicken coop, to having two moderately sensational homes in two countries and both a power speedboat and a 42 Ft sailboat. That level of success made me a target for people looking for easy money and I never learned to be comfortable in that position. If I had known more about myself and what success could be for me, I might not have spent years on a path to frustration. 

Get to Know Yourself

So, if you want your life to be a success, I suggest that your first project is to really get to know yourself, and peel away any self-deception. Your ego will survive, and you will be better equipped to succeed. If you Google Myers Briggs free Personality test, you can find out which of 16 personality types you are. If I had done this earlier,  I might have made better mating choices and created a better definition of personal success.

Know Your Destination

In navigation and in seeking success it greatly helps if you know your destination. Many people just think that it is having piles of money, but that brings a whole new set of problems that may be great for others, but not necessarily for you. If you are a people-pleaser and you want to be the next Mother Teresa, and help as many poor people as possible, you will certainly have a different vision than someone who wants to be a business mogul and the richest man in the country. Try writing your personal statement describing your vision of success and read and edit it weekly till you are satisfied that it fits you. If you know where you want to go, you are much more likely to get there.

Ask for What You Want

Once you have a clear vision, the next step is to ask for what you want, find ten people who have achieved your vision and ask them to mentor you to follow in their footsteps. Even if most ignore your request and only a few offer a single suggestion, you will be so much closer to your goal. Keep on asking the world for what you want. You will not get it every time, but if you persist you will be moved in the right direction. Those who do not ask fail to get help100% of the time.

Make Failure Your Friend

If you want successful life, make failure your friend. Colonel Sanders failed over 100 times before he sold his first fried chicken franchise. If he had feared hearing NO he would never have become successful. Failure should not be our only teacher, but it may be the best one! Perseverance really does pay. Each failure puts you one step closer to success, and it should be analyzed to see where you can do better next time.

Be the characteristics that you need in order to succeed. If you want honesty, be honest. If you want loyalty be loyal. You tend to reap what you sow or harvest what you plant. If you spend much time with toxic people you may become one and your chances of success are then nil.

Has My Life Been a Success?

Has my own life been a success? Yes, and no. I have had many failures, like four divorces, but I have finally have had a relationship that I will cherish and nurture as long as I live. I have explored the depths of poverty and the heights of wealth long enough to have learned that both can produce grief and that true happiness can best be found in the land of “Just Enough”. For me, making anything better than it was, gives meaning to my life. Be it a product, a company, or a dog’s life. When I am gone the best compliment that I could receive is “He made the world a better place to be.” That would be a major success!

In Summary

In summary: Know yourself and create a definition of success that fits you. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, and do it repeatedly. Get comfortable with failure for it is the best teacher. Give to others what you want to receive. Don’t hang with toxic people. That should do it.

%%focuskw%% | How to Have a Successful Life

best mindset super fan right here

%%sitename%% | The Self-Improvement Blog | Self-Esteem | Self Confidence

successful life

 Many people in other lands aspire to come to the United States to have a successful life. They believe it to be the land of opportunity, yet 98% of Americans are never successful by any definition, even their own. Some few are successful by almost any definition, like Robin Williams an extraordinary comedian who had a very large cult following, fame, and fortune, yet he committed suicide! I am now 83 and it is time for me to look back and ask the question, was my life a success? In order to answer that question, I need to define what is a successful life? This is not an easy question and possibly no two people would totally agree but it seems like an important subject, so I am going to try,

Measuring Success

We all come with some gifts and handicaps, so success must be measured against our own capabilities. Arnold Swartenager developed his body to the top of world-class standards and has certainly become a success in life. You or I may not have had a body type for that to ever be a possibility, and Arnold may never be able to compose a symphony. So a good start on a working definition of success would be to achieve a large part of our individual potential. Therefore I conclude that early in life it is important to know ourselves, our IQ, personality type, physical capability, social skills, etc. I am an extreme introvert so achieving fame and having paparazzi following me would never seem like success to me.

I did go from extreme poverty, living in a converted chicken coop, to having two moderately sensational homes in two countries and both a power speedboat and a 42 Ft sailboat. That level of success made me a target for people looking for easy money and I never learned to be comfortable in that position. If I had known more about myself and what success could be for me, I might not have spent years on a path to frustration. 

Get to Know Yourself

So, if you want your life to be a success, I suggest that your first project is to really get to know yourself, and peel away any self-deception. Your ego will survive, and you will be better equipped to succeed. If you Google Myers Briggs free Personality test, you can find out which of 16 personality types you are. If I had done this earlier,  I might have made better mating choices and created a better definition of personal success.

Know Your Destination

In navigation and in seeking success it greatly helps if you know your destination. Many people just think that it is having piles of money, but that brings a whole new set of problems that may be great for others, but not necessarily for you. If you are a people-pleaser and you want to be the next Mother Teresa, and help as many poor people as possible, you will certainly have a different vision than someone who wants to be a business mogul and the richest man in the country. Try writing your personal statement describing your vision of success and read and edit it weekly till you are satisfied that it fits you. If you know where you want to go, you are much more likely to get there.

Ask for What You Want

Once you have a clear vision, the next step is to ask for what you want, find ten people who have achieved your vision and ask them to mentor you to follow in their footsteps. Even if most ignore your request and only a few offer a single suggestion, you will be so much closer to your goal. Keep on asking the world for what you want. You will not get it every time, but if you persist you will be moved in the right direction. Those who do not ask fail to get help100% of the time.

Make Failure Your Friend

If you want successful life, make failure your friend. Colonel Sanders failed over 100 times before he sold his first fried chicken franchise. If he had feared hearing NO he would never have become successful. Failure should not be our only teacher, but it may be the best one! Perseverance really does pay. Each failure puts you one step closer to success, and it should be analyzed to see where you can do better next time.

Be the characteristics that you need in order to succeed. If you want honesty, be honest. If you want loyalty be loyal. You tend to reap what you sow or harvest what you plant. If you spend much time with toxic people you may become one and your chances of success are then nil.

Has My Life Been a Success?

Has my own life been a success? Yes, and no. I have had many failures, like four divorces, but I have finally have had a relationship that I will cherish and nurture as long as I live. I have explored the depths of poverty and the heights of wealth long enough to have learned that both can produce grief and that true happiness can best be found in the land of “Just Enough”. For me, making anything better than it was, gives meaning to my life. Be it a product, a company, or a dog’s life. When I am gone the best compliment that I could receive is “He made the world a better place to be.” That would be a major success!

In Summary

In summary: Know yourself and create a definition of success that fits you. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, and do it repeatedly. Get comfortable with failure for it is the best teacher. Give to others what you want to receive. Don’t hang with toxic people. That should do it.

%%focuskw%% | How to Have a Successful Life

anyone else love this post as much as me

2020

I started writing this post by trying to take stock of a few things about this year that were good.

The process was easier than I expected. Sure, 2020 has been a dumpster fire year in many ways. But when I really stopped to think about it, it wasn’t hard to identify several things in my life that wouldn’t have happened were it not for the world coming to a stop.

I began learning a lot more, for example. I used to identify as a “lifelong learner,” and at some point it became one of those things I said about myself that was more true in the past than in the present.

So this year, especially in the past few months, I’ve returned to active learning. On average, I’ve been reading and studying at least two hours a day. It feels great! And I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have happened if I was traveling half the time, hosting events all over the place, and starting tons of new projects.

That’s not the only thing on the list. It’s always possible to find silver linings, and in a brief examination I found several.

***

But as I made my notes, I realized that there was something even more important that was hard to put into words, or at least into a short bullet point on a list. Somewhere through this process, something else happened that far eclipses everything else.

Here’s the best way I know to put it: in 2020, I gained more awareness for daily life than I had before. I began to notice things I’d missed before.

Some might call it “living in the moment,” though I wouldn’t use that phrase myself since I’ve never been good at such a thing. But I don’t doubt the merit of living with intention and trying to appreciate each part of it as much as possible.

So for me, somewhere along the bumpy course of 2020, I simply began to notice more. I saw things I’d missed before. I gained a heightened sensitivity to dynamics I’d previously overlooked.

I also learned to appreciate a new routine that was much quieter. Travel-wise, I haven’t left the United States since February. This is not only a record for me, I’m pretty sure it’s a twenty-year record. There was a time not too long ago when I went completely around the world at least once a month. Now I go down the street to pick up food and carry it back to my home.

ShutHappens

We can, if we so desire, learn to see everything that is both terrible and wonderful about the pandemic time vortex. In a year in which so many of our choices have been shown to be illusory, this choice remains.

The lesson isn’t as simple as “Slow down and take it easy.” Not at all!

One of the things I was most looking forward to this year was a big tour for my new book, The Money Tree. I haven’t done a proper tour to meet readers all across North America for a long time, and I wanted to go all-out.

Like so many other people, those plans had to change. Instead of going to forty cities, I went to … zero. 🤷🏼‍♂️

It’s not like I’m turning my back on my old way of life. If I was able to tour like I’d planned, I would have happily done so. And I look forward to being able to do it again.

But instead of complaining about this year, feeling a sense of loss over not being able to do what I’d planned, more and more I’m feeling a real sense of gratitude. I am thankful for this forced adjustment, truly.

Lately I’ve been reminding myself that most pain comes from focusing on either the past or the future—neither of which we can really do much about. By not worrying about all the things we can’t control, we can become more centered in our intentions to influence the few that we can.

So I’d like to say thank you to the year known as 2020, for showing me (again and again!) the importance of living for each day.

Oh, and thank YOU, dear reader, for coming to my blog and taking the time to read these posts. I don’t take your attention for granted. I hope to always deliver something helpful or interesting to you.

For the record, I do look forward to 2021. But I’m not quite counting the days, because it will come in due time. As Sir Paul McCartney wrote: There will be an answer, let it be.

###

P.S. Every year I try to remember people who might be feeling sad during the holidays. If that’s you, please read this post.

More stuff on self-improvement ok? who agrees?

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott

Have you been doomscrolling at night, feeling overwhelmed by the news and everything that’s going on in the world? Even if it’s not that deep for you, it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of endless scrolling due to boredom or procrastination.

how to unplug when you need a break

Many of us are craving a way back into simpler times when technology didn’t rule our lives. The only problem is that unplugging might leave you feeling disconnected. Especially right now when many of us can’t see our friends and family, wanting to go offline might make you feel like an outsider.

The truth is that we all need healthy time away from social media and the internet. Ultimately, we need to figure out what we want to plug into instead. In this post, I’m sharing tips for how to unplug without feeling isolated or left out.

The Effects of Staying Plugged In


how to unplug when you need a break

Plugging in affects your mindset

The internet can inspire you, help you make connections, and allow you to document your life to look back on someday. But it can also mess with your mindset and make you forget what real life looks like.

Being plugged in all the time has given us all a weird sense of reality. People now seem to post things for the sake of keeping up with an algorithm, rather than sharing what’s actually happening in their lives.

I often feel pressured to share my own life on social media, yet I struggle with this because I’m quite a private person. Sometimes I wonder if people from high school have forgotten about who I am because I’m never posting on social media. But then I think, ‘Who really cares?’ I’m not here to impress anybody.

I’m part of the generation that knows what things were like before social media, yet I’ve also grown up with it being a big part of my life. I remember having to wait until I got home from school so I could check Myspace and re-arrange my top 8. There was no way to check things on my phone back then. Distractions from social media didn’t even exist, and it didn’t have the same effect as it does now on my mindset.

Plugging in keeps you charged

Staying plugged in might be a way to keep ourselves charged in some way. We feel charged when we get likes from others, when we’re in on the latest drama, and when we learn new information. But is that the kind of charge we really need?

Being online all the time puts us at risk of living our entire lives through screens. You might think you’re close to other people (especially influencers and celebrities) because you follow their daily lives, but you don’t really know them. This can make you forget about what’s actually happening beyond the screens.

Though I’m conflicted in my thoughts on social media and the internet, I am certain that being mindful of the way you use them is the best way to approach things.

Related Post: 5 Ways To Have A Healthier Relationship With Social Media

How To Unplug When You Need A Break


Awareness is key to making changes. If you can find healthy boundaries and set intentions with the time you spend online, you can make sure you don’t lose a sense of yourself. Here are my favorite tips and examples of ways to unplug:

1. Address your mindset

Wanting to unplug can make you feel like an outsider. When your friends are always on social media and don’t seem to notice their addiction to it, you might feel weird for not being as into it.

You might also start to create stories in your mind because you’re not as active on social media as others are. For example, I’m usually the last to respond in a group chat because I don’t have notifications on my phone.

Sometimes I worry my friends are going to think I don’t want to talk to them. This is a story I create in my mind. Can you imagine if my friends of ten years stopped talking to me because I was late to respond in the group chat? If they did, they weren’t my friends to begin with.

Some things to think about:

  • What are you afraid of missing out on if you unplug? 
  • Do you fear that people will forget about you? 
  • Do you worry you’ll offend other people because you didn’t react to the meme you sent them?
  • Will people not want to work with you because you didn’t respond to their DM?

Notice when these fears creep up. Question whether it’s part of a story you’re creating in your mind. When you realize these fears aren’t warranted, you can begin to let go of them.

Related Post: 5 Daily Habits For A Healthy Mindset


2. Set boundaries & intentions

Be intentional

Most of us can’t unplug from the world completely (and we don’t really want to). In that sense, it’s better to focus on being intentional with how you use technology, rather than trying to remove it from your life.

Here are some things to think about:

  • What do you use different apps for? Is Facebook for connecting with family? YouTube for entertainment? Pinterest for inspiration?
  • What do you WANT to use different apps for? If you can create separation between platforms, you can better avoid endless scrolling when you’re bored or frustrated. For example, if you’re in need of a mood-booster, you’ll know to go to TikTok instead of aimlessly scrolling through Facebook.

Curate your following list

The people you follow and listen to WILL have an impact on your mindset. The best way to be intentional with this is to curate your following list.

Here’s an exercise: Make a list right now of people you enjoy following. Do this from memory, without actually going on social media. You’re going to forget people and that’s okay. The ones that you remember are the ones to keep on your feed. Mute everyone else who’s not on that list.

Stop seeking out your triggers

As humans, we love drama. Sometimes we seek out drama to feel better about ourselves, and other times it’s to feel intense emotions (good or bad).

You probably know what your triggers are. To have a healthier relationship with social media, it’s important to be aware of your triggers and stop yourself before you seek them out.

For example, I gravitate towards the comment section of videos, especially when I know they’re going to be triggering. Instead of automatically going to the comment section, I’m learning to watch the video without reading the comments.

Also, stop visiting the profiles of people who you know are going to trigger you. That includes your ex and public figures you disagree with.


3. Create an unplugging system

Image via #Offline48

The tricky thing about technology is that it’s created to be convenient and distracting. In order to unplug, you have to make it inconvenient to access apps and platforms.

Here are some ideas help you unplug:

  • Delete social media apps on the weekend (Venetia La Manna does this with her #Offline48 challenge)
  • Go offline one day a week (Tiffany Shlain talks about this in her book 24/6 which I wrote about here)
  • Have someone else change your social media passwords until Friday (James Clear recommends this in his book Atomic Habits)
  • Move social media apps to the last page on your phone screen
  • Log out of all social media on your computer
  • Put your phone in another room while you’re watching TV
  • Turn off notifications for social media apps (I personally do this)

Set expectations

Of course, one of the hardest things about unplugging is setting expectations with other people. Let them know your boundaries. People may think it’s odd, but you might inspire them with your actions if they see it’s working for you. 

Tell people that your phone is on ‘do not disturb’ mode, but they can call you if it’s a level 8 emergency. Tell them you’re taking Sundays to be offline and you won’t be checking emails. If you own a business and clients tend to DM you, set the expectation for them to email you instead of messaging you.

Setting these expectations will help everyone involved avoid miscommunication and unnecessary panic.

Plug into what matters

If we’re going to unplug, it’s important to plug into something that matters. When you unplug, you’re giving yourself permission to focus on the things you actually want to focus on.

Think about what you could do with the time you gain from not spending so much time online. You might choose to plug into your relationships, hobbies, health, self-care, etc.

“Unplugging is an act of separating ourselves from what doesn’t align with our values and our heart-centered desires.”

Caroline Makepeace from yTravel Blog


My question to you: What do you want to plug into?

I hope this post has encouraged you to make unplugging part of your regular life. The way you use technology is ultimately going to determine your relationship with it. Most importantly, think about what you want to plug into so you have a reason to stay accountable.

Leave a comment below! What are your tips for unplugging?

The post How To Unplug From The World When You Need A Break appeared first on The Blissful Mind.

Greatpost really love self-improvement

Stop Asking Couples When They Are Having Kids

“So, when are you having kids?” my aunt asked me soon after I got married. At that point, I had just 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 replied matter-of-factly, “I have not decided if I want to have kids.” Little did I realize that I would spend the next hour listening to stories of women who put off having children until it was too late, as well as women who had difficulty conceiving for various reasons, with the implicit message being that I was going to regret it if I didn’t hurry and work on producing babies.

This would be my life for the next few years, where I would receive constant questions around “When are you having kids?” from relatives and random people, 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 tell you to have “just one kid” when you were indifferent to the idea, will now tell you to have a second one, along with reasons why you should do so. It seems like this questioning process never ends.

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

I 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 life script that we’ve been told is *the* way of life, that 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, used to signify the epitome of happiness.

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 to what is really a personal question.

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

1) There are many different paths to happiness

Firstly, everyone has their own path in life. Some people want kids, while some don’t. Some think that having kids is the greatest joy in life, while some see them as a burden. At the end of the day, having kids isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are significant ups and downs that come with having a kid, and for some people, the ups do not justify the downs. For these people, it may simply be better to remain childless, rather than having kids just to fit in or to fit societal expectations, and then set their lives up for unhappiness. To assume that everyone should have kids, just because you think that having kids is great and important, is rude and disregards that person’s own preferences in life.

For example, Oprah Winfrey is an inspiring woman and humanitarian who chose not to have kids, but has instead dedicated herself to her personal life purpose of serving the world. Oprah hosted her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show 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. These are things that most do not get to do in their lifetime. Through the years, she has inspired millions and become a champion for people 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]

Is she not being a responsible or purposeful person or woman by choosing not to have kids? Definitely not. In fact, I dare say that she lives a much more purposeful life than many in the world, including some people who choose to have kids.

There are many famous celebrities who have chosen not to have kids as well.

  • Chelsea Handler is a talk show host who chose not to have kids. She has said honestly in interviews that she doesn’t have the time to raise a child, and she doesn’t want her kids to be raised by a nanny.[2][3]
  • Betty White is an actress and comedian who chose not to have kids because she’s passionate about her career and she prefers to focus on it.[4]
  • Ashley Judd is an actress and politican activist who chose not to have kids because she feels that there are already so many orphaned kids in this world. To her, her resources can be better used to help those who are already here, and I respect her for such a noble choice.[5]

And then there are others, such as Cameron Diaz, Chow Yun Fat, Marisa Tomei (the actress for Peter Parker’s aunt in Tom Holland’s Spider Man film series), Renée Zellweger, and Rachael Ray. These people choose not to have kids for different reasons, such as because they’re already pursuing paths deeply meaningful to them, because they do not wish to be tied down with a child, or because they just don’t feel a deep desire to have kids.

Not having kids has not prevented these people from being happy in life, and there’s no reason to assume why people must have kids in order to be happy. People need to stop painting this narrative that one must have children in order to be happy. There are plenty of people with kids who are unhappy, and plenty of people without kids who have found inner fulfillment in life through other ways. There is no one path to happiness, and people need to realize that.

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. For example,

  • Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan went through three miscarriages before having their firstborn.[6]
  • The Obamas had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF.[7]
  • 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.[8]

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

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.”[6]

3) Not everyone is in a place 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 my husband 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 obsesses 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 person’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 with 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! 🙂