Push to Create your Habits

When creating new habits, most everyone will experience the same issues:

  1. You have trouble remembering to act on the habit you want.
  2. You lose interest in creating the habit after a few weeks or days.
  3. You find that the habit isn’t becoming natural even after doing it for a long time.

If you read my blogs, maybe you’ve noticed that the last two days I have not put out the best content. I wrote both blogs from the previous days on my phone while lying in bed. I have somewhat of an excuse as I have caught a cold, but not enough of an excuse that I would allow it to continue for the third day.

In fact, I didn’t intend for it to continue onto the second day. But who has ever intended to mess up and forget to do something they do every day? As I was falling asleep after putting out a very weak blog, I thought about how far I had come with writing and why it was valuable to me to push this habit.

A few weeks ago, I was unable to post a blog. My computer was dead and the WordPress app was not allowing me to post. I went to bed, feeling a little ashamed, but slept nonetheless. When I woke up, I remember thinking that I had ruined my habit and my writing streak was completely ruined.

However, habits don’t work like that. The reason we create healthy habits is so we can mess up every once and a while without worrying about the world imploding. It’s similar to healthy eating – the 80/20 rule. If you do the right thing and act well 80% of the time, the other 20% where you maybe mess up doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t have enough power to destroy all the hard work that came through the other 80% of your actions.

The reality of creating a habit is that it’s not easy and it shouldn’t be. Very few things in life that are valuable are easy and you should be wary of the ones that are. Instead of believing that your habits are impossible to change and living through them, you have to put in the work to shift your behavior so you can create habits that help you.


Writing Blogs on Mobile

When I write my blog on my phone, I know it’s been a rough day. Today, I’m just tired. Sometimes it happens to be a day where I just wear myself out.

Today is one of those does. Tomorrow will be hard. Eventually, everything will settle down.


Reaching for What You’re Bad At

I am notorious for enjoying things that I suck at. For example, my body is not really built well for ballet. It doesn’t want to contort itself into the positions that the art form requires. Yet, I still go and dance and have improved tremendously over the past two years.

Calculus kicked my ass today. I know I enjoy math and want to enjoy the process of it, but I find it difficult to do so when I’m so overwhelmed. With some patience, I hope the outcome will be similar to my experience in ballet.


What is Worth Your Energy

A few weeks ago, my mentor suggested I write an article on, essentially, what type of education is worth your time. While that piece is in the editing process, I wanted to write this quick…preview? Not really, it’s more of a sister piece, but the title and relation are unimportant.

Today was my first day of university classes and, to be honest, I didn’t hate it. My calculus professor is a funny, older man with a bit of a grumpy side. My philosophy instructor seems insightful and passionate about her job. She’s not afraid to make a self-deprecating joke for the sake of a laugh from her class. My French professor is also very funny, although she is blunt and stern. The only class I didn’t truly enjoy was Legal Anthropology.

The course is being taught by a Ph.D. student instead of the usual professor who is on sabbatical at Harvard. I felt some inkling of guilt as yawned while watching this young instructor flip through his beautifully designed slides. He was passionate as well, just perhaps not as eager to express it. Anyone who was willing to chase a Ph.D. in Anthropology must love the subject, but I truly didn’t feel any of that enjoyment in his lecture.

However, I refuse to give up that easily. Today was only syllabus day, which is always bound to be boring. Hopefully, the classes will get better in the coming weeks. I know I will soon regret longing for work and something to do, but I feel as though I must always long for something. Whether that is summer or midterms, my desire to stay busy may be what turned me off from anthropology already. It seems slow and thoughtful, two things I don’t usually like to pair.

Time will tell if I can stick it out. Three good classes out of four on the first try is a fantastic ratio.


Self Defense in Canada

While living in the states, a lot of my friends would remark about how “lucky” I was that I was a dual citizen of the US and Canada. I’ve written about Canada and why I don’t think it’s as golden as leftists in the states make it out to be before, but I want to touch on another controversial topic: self-defense.

When I told my boyfriend I was going to be out late for classes and lectures, he immediately asked if he could send me a bottle of pepper spray. We talked about it for a while before deciding that it would be in my best interest to be able to defend myself regardless of how safe Montreal is known to be. Yesterday, he reminded me that I really needed to purchase a can or let him send me one. After digging around and trying to see where I could find any form of mace, I was informed that it is illegal in Canada.

Canada has some pretty strict laws regarding firearms. Vice did a great video showing exactly how extensive and irritating the process of purchasing a gun legally is. Although many people agree that firearms are not necessary for a day to day life, they may not be aware of what objects are classified as such a label. Under Canadian law, pepper spray is in the category of firearms.

Kellie Leitch, a member of the Canadian House of Commons, recently proposed that ban on pepper spray be lifted for the sake of women’s rights. The government responded with a statement to the Huffington Post:

“… Ms. Leitch’s proposal is unrealistic and offensive to women across this country. Her misguided approach places the onus on women to defend themselves rather than focusing on addressing and preventing gender-based violence…”

As a woman, I actually do want the onus to defend myself to be placed on me. I don’t trust anyone more than myself to do what is best for me in a crisis. I sure as hell do not want to depend on the Canadian government’s ability to “address and prevent gender-based violence” instead of respecting my right to defend myself. There is not enough security in their promise.

You may be asking yourself, what can Canadian’s use to protect themselves? Well, we get to use the Streetwise My Kitty Self Defense Key Chain.

self defense

At this point, I’m not really sure what the Canadian government is trying to express. On the one hand, they want women to understand that they shouldn’t expect or prepare for assault because the government is working¬†so¬†hard to end it, but on the other hand, they give us degrading options like a pointy keychain that looks like a cute cat. What’s worse, the fact that my government is trying to make me believe that the reason they took away my right to defend myself was to lift me from oppression or that my only choice to get around self-defense laws is this ridiculously embarrassing toy?

Women do not want the state to take our self-defense into their control. They want the right to carry pepper spray, the right to feel safe late at night, and the right to know that their families aren’t dreading a phone call that the ended up dead in a metro station. Kelly Leitch’s proposal was not oppressive to women. What is oppressive is that women now have to depend on the promise that the Canadian government will do such a good job at ending gender-based violence that we don’t even need to think about protecting ourselves. This is not only a problem for Canadian women, but for everyone residing in this country. We were all born with the right to take our own security into our hands until it was stripped from us and we were told to say “thank you.”


Doing Work You Love

There’s a moment I’ve experienced a few times that I think some people will never see in their entire life. It’s the moment when you realize that what you’re doing in the current moment makes you incredibly happy. You feel fulfilled and challenged and capable all at the same time. It’s invigorating, yet peaceful. The work you do is finally meaningful.

Perhaps the first time I felt this was during a ballet class. When I was straining muscles I didn’t even know I had, I found myself absorbed in the present moment. Nothing I had to do was worrying me, and there was nothing else I would rather be doing. It was an experience that has shaped my mental and physical health and brought me to a better quality of life.

I experienced this again today when I excitedly messaged my mother and said “Look, I’m making promotional plans and writing ad copy and being given actual work! I get tasks on Asana every day, and it really feels like what I’m doing is important.” I sat back for a moment after sending this and smiled. During the first phase of my current internship, I felt lost and confused on what I should be doing to help. None of my efforts seemed to be amounting to such. As soon as I started taking my work into my own hands and connecting with the right people, my role began to form.

“Community catalyst” is what my supervisor refers to me as. I like it, it’s simple, and it’s a title. I’ve been craving something more than “intern” for a while now. Although I could settle for something simple and easily defined such as intern, I knew it didn’t amount to much on paper. Community Catalyst outlined what I did and gave some importance to it. My supervisor is finally getting value out of the work I am providing them. I’m much more inclined to do my job and check in with my co-workers.

There is an incredible value to feeling useful. When I felt as though my work was unimportant, I rarely checked in, rarely completed it, and rarely enjoyed doing it. I would say I feel the complete opposite towards the work I’m doing now, simply because it seems more important.

Interns, although lacking in experience, have a lot of passion. They know that the future will require a lot more than a college degree. They’re ready to gain skills that will get them to where they want to be. Giving them tasks that don’t suit their abilities or interests will just end in burnout.

Instead, internships should be a collaborative process between the worker and the supervisor. There should be periodic check-ins about how the work is going, what the person is enjoying most, and if they’d like to try anything new. Once my supervisor implemented some of these strategies, I felt as though my frustrations or successes were pieces of information they were interested in. It became a team effort to cultivate skills I desired.


The Ponderings of an Intern

Delving into the world of entrepreneurship and cutting-edge ideas was not on my list of “things to do before starting college,” yet here we are. Very few students who intend to pursue a university degree become interns before going off to school, but I didn’t want to sit around until the summer after my freshman year. I wasn’t willing to wait to embark on a journey that seemed to call me – unpaid internships.

It’s true, I felt drawn to the world of acting as, essentially, a sponge. I wanted to work with fantastic people and absorb every groundbreaking idea they voiced. Getting in at the ground level of intriguing startups was the easy part, but finding my place in them was not so simple. I spent time traveling, working on planes, in airports, in random coffee shops and co-working spaces to make it all fit. Although my work seemed tedious and unimportant at times, I knew that someone had to do it.

This has been going on since April, and in that time, I’ve had a lot of thoughts about how my work as an intern may impact my professional life going forward. Although everyone has said that making a reputation for myself as a hard worker will never hurt me, I’ve often wondered if it will stunt my growth or creativity. There is always a nagging voice in the back of my mind asking me “why bother working for a startup when you don’t have an idea for one of your own?”

Ponderings such as that are tricky. My own consciousness does beg a decent question: is it worth it to learn the workings of a brand new, yet complex idea if you don’t have plans to ever use the knowledge to create something from your mind? The answer to this question has to be found inside of every intern, but here is my reasoning on why it is still valuable to intern at a startup:

  1. You’re learning something: Regardless of what you’re doing, you’re increasing your skill set. I don’t care what anyone else says, the more you’re capable of the more your value will increase. You’re being taught how to communicate with people, convince them that your idea is worth a shot, and how to follow through on that statement.
  2. Your network of connections is expanding. The best advice I’ve read in a long time is to always ask for two introductions from everyone you meet. It doesn’t matter if they’re the CEO of the biggest company in the world or just a casual friend you go get drinks with on the weekend. It truly is who you know, not what you know.
  3. You are actually building your reputation. By working with startups and people who want to see the world move and shake, you’re creating a name for yourself as someone who is willing to do the hard work that gets good results. Supervisors don’t want people who were never willing to risk working at a startup, they want people who saw the risk and took the chance anyway because they had the confidence that their skills could push the company to where it needed to be.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have your own idea. One may come in the future, one may not, but working as an intern doesn’t define your position for life. The only thing it says about you is your willingness to pursue a career despite any barriers or stereotypes in your way.