Today marks the 25th issue of Wellness Wisdom 🎉
I’d like to celebrate this humble milestone accordingly with reflections gained from 6 months of weekly writing.
I started Wellness Wisdom at the start of the pandemic. Honestly, more as a coping mechanism rather than a declaration of any type of domain expertise. At the time, many of my friends were getting laid off or had loved ones with COVID. The uncertainty of both physical and egoic death weighed caustically on all our consciences.
For the first time, we became relegated into the confines of our homes - alone with our thoughts for large bouts of time. It was then that we realized that the chokehold of a physical prison pales in comparison to that of a psychological one.
I had the sudden epiphany that the years I spent investing in books on mindfulness, coaching/therapy, and architecting the perfect wellness routines didn’t matter.
None of it mattered if I wasn’t able to deploy my toolkit effectively during what would probably be one of the most uncertain periods of my life. The true hallmark of effective practice is demonstrated when you’re in the game. And now was showtime.
Like a cruel (or genius?) global A/B test - COVID was the control (the constant variable), and humanity and its institutions were the variants. We were the systemic, psychological, and physical mediums for the virus to run its course - deciphering the strong from the weak.
Wellness Wisdom was a safety float I cast into the Internet abyss for my own sanity, really. If others grabbed ahold and learned something new or just felt less alone, that was icing on the cake. After some time, that ended up being what kept me going.
Soon enough, the newsletter became more of a digital anchor I could consistently return to. A place I could resurface old and new learnings from ongoing explorations in wellness and philosophy.
It may be corny, but I truly think writing publicly has tweaked the trajectory of my life - if not through the far-off fruits of its compounding iterations, definitely through accelerating the direction I was going in anyways.
The people I’ve serendipitously met, deep conversations we’ve sparked, and internal shifts I’ve personally felt - have all made this endeavor very worthwhile. I want to thank you for supporting the newsletter with your attention, the most valuable currency today.
I hope it continues to be a harbor of psychological safety for you and a launchpad into exploring your inner-worlds.
Without further ado, here are..
12 lessons I’ve learned from 25 newsletters:
- Write to test the waters for a new career or hobby 🌊
- I decided to quit my job last week. This newsletter definitely played a part in helping me realize that I want to shift my career towards building products in the wellness space. Products that help humans live to their values. (More to come on what’s next~) If you’re curious about a career, start writing about it as a way to test the waters. It is our birthright to spend our waking hours working on the type of problems that keep us up at night. Let writing - both privately and publicly - illuminate your path.
- Writing is the gateway drug to creating 🖼
- Putting something out into the world in a semi-permanent fashion is scary and vulnerable. Unlike a physical product or company, writing is lower stakes. Getting used to the feeling of shipping anything consistently, helps normalize receiving positive and negative feedback to a point where it begins to not matter - you just enjoy creating for its own sake. The spirit of shipping this newsletter has encouraged me to subsequently ship other fun side projects like FlowBox and Subtle Asian Food.
- Writing for myself is the #1 way I've been able to stay consistent 👩🏻
- I think on everyone’s journey, you come to a fork in the road where you can either write for others or write for yourself. I’ve always oriented towards the latter. And of course, ideally you can do both. The strongest way to stick to a habit in my opinion, is to do what feels good. Throughout the iterations of this newsletter, I've edited out parts of the newsletter that no longer sparked joy, and double downed on the parts that did. Keeping this publication free also enables me to hone in on my genuine voice and interests.
- Remember, you are both the creator and the audience of your own work. You must make the things that you’d want to engage with yourself.
- If you find yourself dreading an upcoming writing deadline, skip it or change the cadence of your writing to be more infrequent ⌛️
- Writing should be fun. A reprieve and safe space for you to process and play with new ideas you’re musing. You can’t force creativity and revelations on-demand. I’ve seen many newsletter writers who publish only when they have something to say. I’ve also seen newsletter writers publish 2-3x a week. For me, I fall somewhere in between. I need the bi-weekly cadence to push me to write, but it also leaves enough time for ideas to bake. And that’s exactly what I did. I moved Wellness Wisdom to bi-weekly and launched a bi-weekly art newsletter called Amor Fati to fill the time.
- Taking 2 steps back, to go 3 steps forward 👣
- Launching Amor Fati was purely self-indulgent for me. It wasn’t meant to fortify my professional brand or increase my productivity. Quite the opposite, it forced me to slow down and exercise the right part of my brain - which often takes a backseat to the optimization-heavy nature of my routines. Immersing myself in art quickly became one of my favorite things to do. It made me feel more human. And consequently, that makes me a better writer. Taking 2 steps back to go 3 steps forward can apply to all areas in life, really.
- Social accountability is one of the biggest life hacks 👨👩👧👧
- Have to admit, there’s been a few times that I’ve published out of projected guilt and shame from “letting people down” if I didn’t. In reality, no one cares. But! The illusion is helpful in getting yourself to do something. And you see social accountability working super well in all applications of habit formation - AA, masterminds, weekly accountability groups, OnDeck, etc. This goes against the “write only when you have an idea” ethos. However, I’ve often found that in the course of forcing myself to sit down and write, I’m actually forcing myself to do deep thinking. Inevitably, something always comes up from this cleared space. Which leads me to..
- Don’t think about what you want to write. Write in order to think. 🧠
- Having original ideals is really about taking the ideas of others, and shaping it into something that is unique to your personal experience and worldview. Writing gives one the space to put those idea blocks together. Good writing isn’t just the result of deep thinking. It’s where deep thinking happens in the first place.
- Writing helped me find my tribe and routinely attracts like-minded people into my orbit 💪
- I’ve always felt like sort of a weirdo - preferring to stay home to read books or working on quirky projects vs. going out and partying. I’ve lost count of the number of blank stares I've collected at dinner parties in response to my latest philosophical rabbit hole. Writing has brought many new and old friends into my life who hold similar values. I’m no longer afraid of leaning into who I am.
- Create more than you consume in order to still your mind 🧘♀️
- Everyday we consume information at 100 mph through the ever-rotating streams of tweets, articles, newsletters, and emails. Is it surprising that we feel drained and ADHD by the end of the day? So how do we feel better? My 2 cents is to take better digital mental poops so you don’t end up feeling mentally bloated and overwhelmed. One way to do this is through creating *more* than you’re consuming - defined as producing new content (blogs) or processing content (writing). Writing is the same as offloading your thoughts to a server so they aren’t continuously swirling in your head.
- Write to heal yourself or as Lenny says “write about what you’re most insecure about” 🍵
- I write about wellness because at one point in my life, it was one of my biggest challenges. As a child to immigrants, my identity and physical location was constantly in flux. Control channeled into career and academics became a locus of stability and self-esteem, where inputs generally correlated 1-1 with outputs. Much of my 20s was about unlearning the illusion of “control” and desire for approval from extrinsic sources. This newsletter is my continued way of propagating that process. In fact, I think writing is the most accessible and cost-effective form of therapy there is.
Any talent, wisdom or insight you have that you don’t share becomes pain. - Unknown
- Don’t wait until you’re ready to write ✍️
- The longer we wait to share our work, the more disconnected it becomes from reality. We need to share in order to connect with others to realign with reality. Otherwise, we risk getting lost in our own web of delusion.
It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.
12. Lastly, take your writing seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously ❤️