… 2019: “Dear 2018, ready as we’ll ever be.”
By Julian Ho
My body of work this year speaks for itself. The amount of time and energy I’ve spent writing reflective psycho/socio/emo posts, contributions to magazines, and amassing lyrical pieces for an eventual guidebook/memoir, have left me all written out! But, in Julian fashion, I’ve reserved a few short special submissions that reveal my most impactful learnings of the year. I don’t expect this to be anything new to you, or life-changing to you, in fact, I didn’t think it to be that to me when I first came across them, but life’s full of surprises and a butt load of ‘ya never knows’. So I hope you enjoy this last blog submission of 2018.
(5 Short Chapters, 10 minute read)
CHAPTER 1 - TWO GAME-CHANGERS
One foot forward, from two steps back.
A single success, from many failures.
A lightning-fast blink of a high, from forever-seeming lows.
However much pain, discomfort, and sadness they bring, negatives are a necessity. The negatives in life are a necessity because they birth the perspective for positive. They push the human spirit to see the light in the darkness. The negatives reveal the cards that have been dealt and ultimately force a play of the hand.
2018 has been a year of adapting with action. Through the negatives, I’ve learned to course correct, cope quickly, and let go of loose ends. Rather than hold on to what was, I’ve honed in on what’s now, to push towards what’s next. As I reflect on 2018, two profound perspectives have allowed me to cope immediately with adversity:
1. Things don’t happen to me, they happen for me.
2. I don’t have to, I get to.
These perspectives are coping mechanisms. They shift the state of mind. They change the perception of the negative, and alter the biochemistry of our knee-jerk reaction. They force the mind to respond with reminders not reactions. As simple as the mechanisms may seem, they trigger a much needed flip of the switch. The quicker I came to these mechanisms following a hardship, the quicker I was able to switch out of the downward spiral of negative thinking. What I’ve learned is that we all have this mechanism of gratitude, but what makes this mechanism life changing is understanding when to wield it. Timing is everything.
CHAPTER 2 - GAMIFYING GRATITUDE
Gratitude is a compelling antidote for all of life’s adversity and hardships. Tony Robbins says it’s the solution to fear and anger. This year, it’s taught me how to navigate through 3 different types of breakups: a breakup with my core team, a breakup from a brotherly friendship, and a breakup with a girlfriend.
Gratitude has taught me the necessity for the negative. I’ve always known how negative can act as fuel towards a path of positive. But am I truly learning and evolving if these negatives are recurring? Big question for 2019, how can gratitude help me navigate away from negative, rather than out of negative. How can I break the cycle of lose then win, fail then succeed, heartbreak then redemption? To gamify the power of gratitude so as to not fall into the same cycle, is to wield it before and during, rather than after the fact.
CHAPTER 3 - 5 LOVE LANGUAGES
Another Tony Robbins quote has got me strategizing, “When expectation is traded for appreciation, your world changes instantly.” I come from an upbringing that sets high expectations and high standards in everything. So it’s difficult for me to not hold others to my own high expectations and standards. This has been my barrier from a young age. As I look back at the breakups, another major game-changer that has helped me this year is a needs and wants assessment tool called The 5 Love Languages. This immensely helpful tool is all about better communicating how you give and receive love.
The 5 love languages are:
Words of affirmation
Acts of service (devotion)
I’ve found these guidelines extremely helpful when navigating all of my relationships. It’s helped me understand myself better. It’s helped me understand people better. And it’s helped me to appreciate the power of listening, observing, and learning from relationships. Ultimately, changing my perspective on ‘relationships’ as an integral source of continuing education for life.
CHAPTER 4 - 5 SAYINGS
As a man of action, I’ve already accumulated 5 sayings that will give me hope, courage, and appreciation for the year to come. These anchor-points act as go-ahead goals, positive triggers, and means to gamifying gratitude.
1. “Be the change you wish to see” is my mission for 2019. I accept the challenges that will confront me, and understand the answers they will provide me. I will stay in my lane, do what I do better and better, and hope my humility will keep me in check. With a year of harnessing tools, honing behaviors, and hacking healthy habits, the question “who can you love becoming” is getting clearer and clearer. I am becoming the force I’ve always felt.
2. “Dig the well before you’re thirsty” is my mandate for 2019. The first rule to being a go getter is being a go giver. I am paying it forward, giving back, and making ‘giving’ a mandate of who I am. Growing up, I’ve always admired those who gave without asking for anything in return. These people understood that the act of giving is receiving. But what those people sacrificed from a life of selflessness, was themselves. I believe that we must have a balance of selfish and selfless. The success of this balance comes from how we communicate the importance of “me time” for the benefit of “we time”. You are only as good as your own health and well-being.
3. “Darkness is your candle” is my reminder for 2019. I’ve had more downs than ups this year of 2018. I can’t help but look back in shame, regret, and sadness. Though I am optimistic, I am realistic, forgiving, and compassionate. I continue to strive for clarity and understanding, but more importantly acceptance. Answers to why will not give me solitude and peace, I know this inside already. So I continue on with consistent growth and betterment, where the journey and the destination is all the same.
4. “I am because of you” is my mantra for 2019. It is the translation of the Zulu word ‘Ubuntu’, which speaks to our connectedness as human beings. A philosophy founded by compassion and humanity. It will guide me towards a higher understanding of my work for 2019, and support my vision of “I am because we are”, the powerful knowing of the we in the me.
5. “Things don’t happen, they are made to happen” is my mechanism for 2019. I know there will be ups and downs, good times and bad, but as long as I see obstacles as opportunities, I will seize them with a respectable effort. I will pay attention to my surroundings and make decisions consulting past patterns and long-term considerations.
CHAPTER 5 - FINAL THOUGHTS & FUTURE FOCUSES
2019: Journey to Interbeing: a study of the forces that connect us all. This interbeing theme is more of a focus than anything. It’ll anchor my energy towards researching what connects us all, as an effort to better collect techniques and tools to share with you. It’ll also encourage me to become a better curator of experiences for my 2.0 Toronto organization, as we have pivoted our audience from the general public to now peers and professionals in the industries of health, wellness, and fitness. Inspired by the work of Seth Godin, 3 understandings our team has been sharing underline this year’s journey to interbeing:
Connection is the new currency
Stewardship is the new leadership
Collaboration is the new continuing education.
Things that we’ll be diving into this year are the forces that connect us all: negative forces, positive forces, nature, nurture, love, time and timing, 4 elements, 4 seasons, and the 5 senses. Along with research, we’ll be putting our focus towards sharing our learnings through new projects we’ve always dreamed of conceiving. Below is a sample of our new long sleeve t-shirt. Purchase will be available at the end of January.
Thank you as always for supporting me with your readership. I appreciate the time and attention you’ve spent here. It means so much to me.
With love and chi,