Category: Personal Communication

Think Less, Talk More

Think Less, Talk More

I’ve been pretty absent online in 2018. For one, I didn’t create a lot of content: podcasts and video fell to the wayside. And even when I wrote, it was just so… empty. Bare bones stuff.

That was my attempt to be efficient– direct and to the point.

But then it was just words on a page with no life. No spice. No zest. That writing didn’t give any sense of Jon Dao.

And the real killer is– one of my big learning moments of last year– no matter how simplified you try to make a lesson, sometimes it just doesn’t stick anyway. So damn, what’s the point, right?

knew the whole social media puzzle wasn’t something I was going to crack anytime soon, so I let my online projects sit to the side. I focused on my in person clientele and through working with them I keep getting ideas:

  • December Dumps
  • Check Your Case
  • Endless Insecurity
  • You Don’t Know You

And none of those things make any sense to you, but oh man, I’m excited to develop those bullets into media when I get the time.

Hm. So there’s another epiphany…

On the fitness front, I’m constantly telling people to adapt to the time available. Embrace the 15 minute moments to workout instead of searching for the hour long stretches that just might not manifest in your current lifestyle. Things don’t need to be perfect. Things don’t need to be crazy. You just need to find consistency.

On the communication side, I’m constantly telling people to get outside their head. (This is in the context of working with people who overthink, deal with self-esteem issues, struggle in finding the confidence to speak.) Crafting the “perfect” thing to say in your mind is too slow of a progression. You need to talk things out loud. You need to refrain from being overly self-critical, so you can stumble towards success. It’s tougher, but the improvement rate is so much faster.

And so with both sides, I realize I’m not doing such a good job of practicing what I preach. Oh sure, I’m consistent with my own fitness. And, I developed a good system of consistency to re-ignite my Japanese study.

But, for whatever reason, that didn’t work with the whole online thing. I overthought that to hell.

I didn’t refrain from being overly self-critical. I had no chance to stumble because I didn’t even move. I stayed inside my head. I’d dream of the ideal and put things off until they were “perfected”.

I want to be the guy who practices what he preaches. Sure, I’d like to be cool too. I’d love to gain a bit more notoriety. But more importantly, I want to do it Ghandi-style: I want to be the change I want to see.

In order to encourage others to take action with less reserve, I need to be making strides too. I’m hoping 2019 is one of my most creative years ever.

The Tests Don’t Mean Shit

The Tests Don’t Mean Shit

Back in 2012, I briefly considered doing grad school. But after working as a teacher, I had a real hard time convincing myself it’d be worthwhile to be on the other side of the classroom again.

I thought renewing my personal trainer certification would be the extent of having to deal with standardized testing, but tomorrow afternoon I’ll be tackling another beast in the form of the JLPT N2.

And honestly, my chances of passing are slim to none. It’s just too many concepts to have tried to cram in 3 months. That’s kind of what I get for not really touching Japanese study in any substantial way for 6 years. Sure, it makes me wish I had more time, but I’m okay with that.

For one, I’ve been in a study rhythm that’s been consistent. If I would’ve signed up for the summer or winter exam in 2019– a plan that makes way more sense– I know I would’ve continued to put off actually studying.

The other thing that keeps the stakes low for taking this test? There’s not exactly a real good reason for me to be taking it. (Major props to my friend Jo for calling me out on this.)

Oh sure, it’s useful for working in Japan, but I’m not going down that route. I mean, it could help my with my own coaching business. Maybe. You know, by… finding better Japanese clients or something.

In other words, the JLPT isn’t a barrier that’s blocking me from achieving my goals.

For some, the TOEFL or TOEIC is a “necessary” evil. They need to pass that in order to enter a university. They need the certification in order to get a job. And sometimes you have people who have legitimate language skill who fail, while you have people who can pass the paper despite being completely unable to use the language.

The last time I took this JLPT level, I failed miserably. Anybody who’s never studied Japanese had an easy shot of scoring better that me– that’s how poorly the final tally came out.

And yeah, it was pretty soul crushing.

Back then, I didn’t prep for standardized testing. I didn’t drill things specifically for test taking skills. I naively thought I could brush by with my subconscious learning gleaned from, you know, living and breathing in Japan and Japanese.

But the test doesn’t mean shit.

If I pass from dumb luck, nothing is proven. If I fail despite knowing how to use all the concepts overall, nothing is proven.

If I can pass and know how to use the concepts? Well, that’s the idealistic hope and dream for the people who came up with this test in the first place, huh?


Don’t Worry About Dad

Don’t Worry About Dad

Another year, another Father’s Day— and that means seeing a string of “Thank You, Dad” posts on my social media. Now luckily, I like the people on my social media feeds for the most part. Many of my closest friends are now fathers themselves– and damn good ones at that.

They deserve to feel the love, no doubt.

It’s just with every good father that makes time to play catch, there’s a father out there who’s really dropped the ball. For every dad who busts his ass to put his kid through college, another is years past due on child support. For each dad bod we want to laugh at, there’s so many we can’t even poke fun at because they’re not even there.

So many nails to hit, y’all

Surprise, surprise, I grew up without “dad” playing a key figure in my life. I promise I’m not bitter. More indifferent than anything. And that’s why I wanted to write this post: it pains me to see the friends I have who agonize over this day.

There are people who feel anguish on Father’s Day because for them it’s a reminder of what they never had. They feel like they’re missing something grand. These people are left with longing.

And sure, if that person was in their lives, wouldn’t things be better? I mean, maybe. Maybe not.

The sentiment that irks me the most: “If I had a Dad, he would’ve shown me how to do things right.” If a father was around, he would’ve shown me how to be good.

“What is good even?” – Great Philosopher N. D’ambrosio

That’s a very idealistic way of thinking about it because there’s simply no guarantee.

A good guide is appreciated, but when you don’t have a map, you still need to find a way to navigate. Kicking yourself for not having one, while understandable for a brief moment, doesn’t get you anywhere. And it’s going to suck when 20 years down the road, you haven’t gotten anywhere because you’re still hung up on that.

Good Dads, I salute you. Bad Dads, well, whatever then.

Actions Really Do Speak Louder

Actions Really Do Speak Louder

“Actions speak louder than words.”

That’s a pretty well-known maxim. It’s right up there with “don’t spit in the wind” and “five dollar footlong” when it comes to familiarity.

For my non-native English speakers out there, that quote means that doing has more impact that speaking. But, I bring this up because there’s both an English and communication lesson in there.

The other day I was caught in traffic and running late to a client session. I texted him a heads up, and he replied back with:

“Safe driving”

I understood him, of course, and it’s a very easy fix: drive safe. In that correction we have good rule of thumb to follow. Focus more on the action (i.e. verbs) rather than the nouns.

Think about it conversationally:

  • Have fun
  • Be safe
  • Enjoy the movie
  • Have a good night

Too often, in the pursuit of trying to translate from one’s native language, there’s too much focus on finding the right descriptor or single word choice. Even if you find it, you’ll sound unnatural.

Here, you don’t need big vocabulary, and if need be you can always explain in more detail. That rings true in the professional world. When you have to talk about yourself in an interview, you can’t use fancy words to describe yourself. You’ll sound pompous and unrelatable. You can, however, simply state what you do:

  • X I’m very organized. –> I put all my files in alphabetical/chronological order
  • X I’m very creative. –> I prefer to make my own templates instead of…
  • X I’m a good communicator. –> When I’m at a social, I try to talk to as many people as possible.

Use those verbs, mmkay?