I started writing a journal when I was 12 (now I’m 26). I’ve always enjoyed writing and in the beginning it also served as a creativity outlet (very colorful journals with glitter, stickers etc!). With 16, I started to realize that these little treasures between two hardcovers had more to give than I initially thought. Going back 3 , 5 or even 10 years, allowed me to recall forgotten experiences and linking my present self to my past self by simply reading my thoughts when I was younger. It also turned out to be a very helpful tool to see patterns in my thoughts and my life in general — being aware of those patterns, was the first step to change them or develop them further.

  1. Journal excerpt: “Now that I think about it while writing my application: I can’t offer the “hard tools” like a large network in that industry or 10 years of experience, but I have many tools in my tool box I can develop further … maybe that’s just as valuable?” Instead of acquiring resources only, focus on resourcefulness! Resources, like money, business partners, etc. can come and go and while its important to keep those in mind, too— don’t forget to cultivate your resourcefulness, too. Resourcefulness is about adopting to new situations, keeping an open mind and just be willing to experiment.
  2. Journal excerpt: “I’m pretty content with my journey so far, but every time I see someone in my network who have achieved way more than I do, I stop and think what I’ve done wrong..” If you feel the desire to track your “success”, don’t let the comparison with others be your ultimate yard stick. Some say “Comparison is the root of all unhappiness” — I felt this unwelcome feeling many times. School, university, hobbies and even advertisements-they all render very potent fields for comparison with others. While it motivated me to accomplish new goals and push forward, it also made me feel frustrated and sad when I was performing poorly comparing to others. When I realized that, I started focusing on my own growth only. This was not only more rewarding but also allowed me to see the next steps instead of feeling lost.
  3. Journal excerpt: “It took me some time to regain confidence in my own abilities and strengths.” Transitions often come with doubts. Sometimes it‘s a break-up, sometimes it’s as new work environment where you feel small and unexperienced, sometimes it’s a significant financial loss. Self-confidence (at least to me) came only through mastering tough situations. I really think of it as a muscle that we can train.
  4. Journal excerpt: “I felt insecure and not at the top of my game that day — I just got refused for a job I felt excited about and didn’t feel any motivation to continue sending applications”. Having a healthy self-confidence doesn’t mean you will always feel confident about yourself. There will always be moments where you feel insecure. It helped me to realize that this feeling comes and goes (just like most other feelings, too) and that I shouldn’t bother concentrating on it.
  5. This goes hand in hand with #1: Ego! Why do we want to compare ourselves with others, why do we want to be “better”? It’s because we have this drive in us to be and do something “special”. Our ego can be a pretty nasty thing — while it can be a motor in life, it can also lead to feelings of depression, frustration and anger (towards others and ourselves). Sometimes, we make stupid decision based on our ego. I studied finance major for 2 years in my bachelors because I wanted to work in investment banking, which I regarded as very prestigious at that time. Pretty soon though I realized that finance is not something that brings me joy. Today, I ask myself WHY do I want to start a new project? If I can’t see any benefit in it beside an ego stroke, I’m out.
  6. ASK many fu**** questions! When I was younger, I was too afraid to ask questions. I was afraid at school and beyond to ask questions, out of fear I might be labeled as stupid. Especially the basic questions are crucial. If you don’t get the answers to those one, you are making your further learning pretty inefficient & unpleasant.
  7. Take care of yourself first. Although that may sound selfish , it is actually a prerequisite to help others. You know these security instructions on planes, right? First, you have to pull the oxygen mask over yourself before you help kids and other people in need. This is true for many other situations in life. Like many others, I have a desire to help people in need (not just with 2 Euros but on a larger scale like famous philanthropists) . The truth is though: You can’t help anyone unless you help yourself first (make sure you are in good health, financially stable, mentally healthy etc.).
  8. Journal excerpt: “If I’m honest with myself, I spend the entire evening worrying about the outcome of my Bachelor exams instead of enjoying my birthday party…such a waste!” If you can’t influence it, stop worrying about it! For me, this is the toughest one! Although I would consider myself an optimist, I would sometimes keep thinking about everything that might turn out “worse” than I want. It helps to ask yourself: “Can I do anything about it?” Being aware of the fact that you can’t influence a certain outcome, is the first step to a peaceful mind. Another possibility is to embrace the “worst” outcome and ask yourself, what is actually so “bad” about it. Maybe this outcome holds valuable possibilities to grow or start anew.
  9. Journal excerpt: “The entire room was crowded and everybody looked so sharp! Everybody was super dressed up — except for me! I started to feel slightly uncomfortable and thought about all the possibilities to get a nice dress somewhere near and sometime soon…”. Everybody is way too busy with themselves to care about you or your dress! Especially if it’s at a casual party…the only thing that counts is your own perception. How you feel is how you will look like.
  10. Journal excerpt: “And again I ask myself: what the hell am I doing here? It’s super expensive, many successful people haven’t even studied and my Bachelor maybe already enough to start the career I have in mind right now…” I think I can say I didn’t waste my time by getting a Masters degree. While you’re at it, the hype of the “unconventional” super kids might distract you and make you question your “lost” time on formal education. Our education system is not perfect by far but we are still living in a system, where formal education is required to get into many jobs…a proper degree just gives you more options and it’s worth the time. Plus, these “Wunderkinder”, who started coding at 6 and sold their first company at 16 are rare!
  11. Making bad decisions sometimes (hurt someone you love, lying, cheating in an exam..) doesn’t make you necessarily a bad person! What counts is that you realize when you fucked up and apologize and/or don’t make the same mistake again. But don’t let one mistake define who you are. I believe that most of us out there are honest, good people who make mistakes sometimes.

Written by Marina Zayats. You may follow her Blog to read more from here. MarinaZet.wordpress.com


  1. my most recent quotes (passed two days)
    my words are my records, facebook is tha trunk of my car. everyday i’m hustlin. – shin kwon
    there is nothing wrong with tha world, so there is nothing to complain about or criticize. – shin kwon
    accept or reject but never expect – shin kwon
    tha curious life is filled with ideas discovered and mysteries uncovered – shin kwon
    you are more than who you think you are. you are what you’ve done. you are many different things – shin kwon
    without inner peace, tha war within rages on – shin kwon
    selflessness begins with self interest – shin kwon
    you cannot see tomorrow when you are living for yesterday – shin kwon
    expectation will always eventually lead to disappointments – shin kwon
    i am a perceptionist. i see things perfectly – shin kwon
    you can create, avoid, or resolve a situation, and you become either instigator, victim, or rectifyer of circumstance – shinkwon
    if people took care and looked after themselves, we’d have no need for government – shin kwon
    right and wrong are mere perspectives, and relative to tha beholder – shin kwon
    debt is always fear based and is a form of control. monetary debt (property) to control your mind, spiritual debt (original sin) to enslave your soul – shin kwon
    jesus never said anything because jesus never existed. – shin kwon
    be happy what makes you happy – shin kwon
    i love everyone even though not everyone loves me and that is fine by me. – shin kwon
    make a wish, and then make it so – shin kwon
    you are always on your life’s path, no matter how lost you feel – shin kwon
    tha only things that ever happen is what was meant to happen, if wasn’t meant to be, it just doesn’t happen – shin kwon
    do not fret over time. you have an eternity to figure this shit out – shin kwon
    love and knowledge are alchemical, not precious metals – shin kwon
    some people have pink eye in tha mind’s eye. a stink eye
    – shin kwon
    life is reactive. who we are is our own reactions – shin kwon
    our evolution is at odds with tha status quo, tradition, and tha mundane – shin kwon
    all secret societies are social groups in gated communities – shin kwon
    true happiness is found in love and love is everywhere – shin kwon
    you become what you desire – shin kwon
    intellectuals have information. lovers have intuition. couple tha two and you have wisdom – shin kwon
    do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life – shin kwon
    if you can’t find a way to do it yourself, make a way. you are a pioneer – shin kwon
    without love, nothing can be created or accomplished. for it was out of love creation exists – shin kwon
    you are always you. when have you not been you. even during out of body experiences and psychotic episodes, you will always be you no matter what you say or think – shin kwon
    love is tha greatest force in tha world, and yet it still needs your permission to work. surrender to tha greatest power that will ever exist and become powerful – shin kwon
    if it wasn’t destiny then it wouldn’t have happened – shin kwon
    tha intellectual is tha immovable object, love is tha irresistible force. love wins irrefutably when love disarms your defenses – shin kwon
    what is hypocrisy when existence is a paradox? – shin kwon
    philosophy is public domain and property is theft, especially intellectual property. – shin kwon
    lead by example and inspire others to follow suit – shin kwon
    philosophy, it is what i do for a living n*gga~! it’s how eat for a living n*gga. soul food – shin kwon
    it’s okay to look back as long as you keep moving forward – shin kwon
    do you know what tha cure for depression is? love. duh~! stay in love and never be unhappy again – shin kwon
    drugs do what love does to people all of tha time – shin kwon
    what hurts you is preparing you for invincibility – shin kwon
    emotions are mental statisms – shin kwon
    there is no need for an apology. i just say oops – shin kwon do not let anyone else rule over you but you. be tha god of your own reality, tha center of your known universe – shin kwon
    long story short, i tell short stories long – shin kwon
    when you die, just because you won’t be here doesn’t mean you won’t end up somewhere else. you’re going back to where you came from – shin kwon
    tha time has come. tha time is now. what will you do? fight or take flight? – shin kwon
    i am for everyone, but i am not for everybody – shin kwon
    do not mistake an intelligent guess over predicting tha future. – shin kwon
    you are entitled to anything your heart may desire. – shin kwon
    you wouldn’t do anything if you didn’t want to. so if you find yourself doing something you don’t want to remember not to blame obligation for what you choose to do in life – shin kwon
    everything and everyone is a muse. some people and some things will motivate us, whereas others and other things may lead us to feel uninspired – shin kwon
    i used to work on myself for me. i still do, but now i do it for us – shin kwon
    you seem to be doing nothing when at rest, but in fact you are healing yourself and rejuvinating your spent energies – shin kwon
    your birth was a possibility come true. your life is full of endless possibilities – shin kwon
    if you are disrespected when not around, don’t think that you were ever respected in tha first place – shin kwon
    let your actions speak to tha mind, let your words speak to tha soul – shin kwon
    i might not like people in general, but i will love each and everyone of them on an indiviual basis – shin kwon
    you’ll just have to accept me for who i am because there’s nothing you can do to stop me – shin kwon
    not everyone wants my love, not everyone feels that they deserve my love either, but they are gonna get it anyhow – shin kwon
    sometimes your mind needs to understand what your heart already knows – shin kwon
    learn to live as a person who lives to learn – shin kwon
    one must first know what it is to be selfish in order to choose to be selfless – shin kwon
    not all survivors are happy to be alive – shin kwon
    you’ll never stop evolving, because in reality you don’t ever want to stop moving – shin kwon
    what is greatness when one can become a great big a hole? – shin kwon
    self research, self discovery, and self development are steps on a stairwell leading to your highest self. – shin kwon
    be happy with what you have. you could always have less – shin kwon
    less of it means more of you – shin kwon

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