Achieve Everything

Did you ever think that your goals conflicted?  I was brought up with a dichotomy that I could either have a career or have a family.  I went to college and had to choose a major and felt like I had to give up a lot of other interests in order to pursue it.  While I think it’s important to have concrete goals and to pursue them ruthlessly, I think that we can, actually pursue more than one goal in a great way.

The title of this blog is “achieve everything,” and while I think that achieving everything isn’t actually possible, I think that we can redefine everything to be our top 10 and achieve to be our best at those top 10. My top 10 are: God, volunteering, fiance, church, school, career, family, general health, investing and friends.

While I do get the best of the things I really want in life, there are many things I have given up.  I also don’t do all of these priorities all the time, and I know they aren’t of all equal priority.  When it comes to goals, people tend to fall into two categories.

  1. Goal-less.  These are people who have goals in the back of their heads with no deadlines and no requirements.  They wander around and aren’t sure exactly what they want.  Or they want too much and too many goals.  Or they can’t picture their goals or are afraid to go after them.  Or they want to be a renaissance person without defining what, exactly, that means and without setting clear priorities for themselves.  Here’s the problem with this: you can’t achieve a goal that you don’t have, and you can’t achieve every single goal there is to achieve.  Instead, try establishing clear, concrete goals or images of what you want your life to look like.  Then go after them.
  2. Ruthlessly single goal-oriented.  I used to fall into this category.  I wouldn’t hang out with friends, and I would try to get my goals regardless of who it hurt and what was coming by way.  This can work for a while, say, when you’re studying for finals or meeting a deadline, but it’s not a way of life because you are off-balanced.  Instead, try establishing goals for every area of your life that is important to you, and ruthlessly be goal-oriented in all of these.  It’s cool to be a little off-balanced but only if it actually reflects your real values.

How about you?  In what ways are your goal-oriented?  What new goals do you need to establish, visualize and accomplish?


Bigger Is Better (Goals, that is)

Today we’re writing about goals.  Most people claim that your goals should be obtainable and realistic, but how do you know what is obtainable if you haven’t yet tried?  You could base what obtainable is on your family background, past experiences or what other people have obtained.  But this doesn’t seem to cut it either because you’ll be held back by past accomplishments of yourself or of others.

Goals are the drive for why we wake up early and why we hustle.  Some winters, I sign up for races in order to make sure that I have a goal, and I don’t get out of shape due to lack of concrete objectives.  When you’re looking to set goals and wondering how big your goals should be, go back to childhood and think, “How big were my goals when I was a kid?”

When I was a kid, I wanted to be

  1. President of the United States
  2. An author of a book
  3. An astronaut
  4. A Ninja Turtle

While my tastes for politics and turtles have changed over the years, I need to ask my kid self for advice on how to set goals because, if you haven’t noticed, this world will drag you down.  It’s like gravity worked on me all these years and slowly brought my goals down from President of the United States to making enough to pay rent, feed myself and go out every other Saturday (because every Saturday is too expensive).

Recently millennials have been hit with a lot.  Despite having left the recession, the global economy will never bounce back and be the same.  But that doesn’t mean we need to reduce our goals, hunker down and try to survive.  Instead, we need to set higher goals and achieve more.  In a world with plenty of uncertainty, we need to strive to be the best instead of listening to the voices saying, “It’s ok.  The economy is tough.  Life is hard for you and everyone else.”

What are your goals?  Do you even know what they are?  Are they big enough to inspire you and your kid self?  If not, re-write your goals and inspire us all.


Do It Now


Every day, my list of things to do grows just a little longer.  It’s a good thing that I put things on my list so I don’t have to remember them in my head.  However, sometime tasks never seem to get done.  If you can relate, I’ll tell you what I did to combat this.

1.  Include the address

I started adding the address of places I needed to go into my Google calendar, and miraculously, this made me dread running errands so much less.  It cut down one step, and I’ve been much more successful going places, not to mention getting there on time.

2. Prepare for the activity

I realize that some activities have multiple steps.  One of the steps might be looking up a phone number or gathering documents to go to the DMV.  If I write “get new license” on my to do list, I just never get around to it.  Instead, I broke this one up into 3 tasks: a) look up requirements b) pack up required documents in a folder & schedule location/time on calendar, c) go to DMV.

3.  Sleep in my clothes

This is a trick for working out.  Somehow, if I sleep in my work out clothes, I’m more likely to work out in the morning.

4. Prioritize

If I do the most impactful things first, at least I got the most important things done.  I might not be able to get through my whole list, but do things in order of importance.  Sometimes after doing the most important item on the list, I realize that the other items aren’t important, and then I can cross them off by not doing them.

5.  If it takes very little time, and I have it, I just do it now.  For instance, send out an email.  Do it now.  Sometimes being hurried makes me get done more quickly, and the email is nearly as good.  Why work for twice as long for something that isn’t twice as good?

How about you?  What are your do it now tricks?




Fears in today’s society have been embraced like never before.  Fear the stock market.  Fear the housing market.  Fear the unknown.  Fear going to college.  Fear not going to college.  Fear creating a business.  Fear becoming an actor.  Fear going into the film industry.  Fear marriage.

It’s natural to have fears, but instead of embracing fears as a way to keep us safe, we should point them out and say, “No, don’t listen to that voice!  That’s fear!”  It’s like the unhealthy person who is afraid to sprain an ankle, so he won’t work out.  You’re dooming yourself with certainty to a state less than where you want to be.  You’re betting against yourself, and you’re causing yourself to lose every time.  Instead of losing every time, why not allow yourself to aim higher, win sometimes and never settle?

One really big reason for fear is a lack of faith.  We listen to all of the negative news in the world, and then decide not to listen to what God tells us to do.  If he puts a dream or a desire in us, wouldn’t it be better to listen to it instead of spending our lives trying to squelch that voice inside of us that tells us we can do more?

Some of us have unrealized potential, debilitating stress and some compulsive bad habits just because we listen to fear instead of to God and faith. Sometimes, in order to kill that desire for more in ourselves, we lie to ourselves and say we’re content with less than what we can do.  We’re content with the safe life pursuing safe dreams and safe goals.  There is nothing wrong with safe dreams and safe goals if they push and drive us.  The problem comes when we walk around without goals, without passion, without desire of any sort.

In what ways are you betting against yourself?  In what ways have you chosen fear over faith?  What is one thing you can do to step out in faith instead of letting fear rule your life today?


Scouting Locations

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This week, we’ve been scouting locations for From the Shadows. It’s an exciting process to see the places where this film will come to life. When we walk into a place, we can’t see it just as it is. We have to see it as it will be. We have to see its promise. The movie may be in our heads and hearts now, but that’s how it comes to reality.

There are some people whose feet are too firmly planted on the earth. They live in the present. These are the people who will get it done if it is the same task they did yesterday. They are highly efficient and may be fantastic at what they do, but new ideas, new innovations, new dreams aren’t their thing. You see, these people don’t believe in anything they can’t see.

Then there are people who are always remembering the good old days. They live in the past. The past for them has that golden hue in which only the good things are remembered. They peaked in high school when they were the star athlete and had straight A’s. Their past achievements are their best achievements. It’s hard for them to live in the present our imagine a better time than the past in which some golden childhood dream replays constantly.

Some days I’m stuck in one of these two categories. Instead, I want to be firmly planted in the future. I want to keep working toward this future place – this future promise that God has prepared for me. If God promised it, it’s as good as real. The best is yet to come! So whether you’re scouting locations imagining what is there or creatively solving problems at work or at home, know and feel that God is with you working things out for you. That doesn’t mean that life will be perfect. It means that you have a future waiting for you.

How about you? Are you stuck in the busyness of the present? Are you stuck looking at the past? Or are you seeing the future and making it happen?


Category Best, Category Done

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Today I got an email from a friend asking me to translate a simple set of instructions for her.  I translated the sign adequately so that there would be no confusion from reading the sign.  Then, my friend, who was also on the email, translated the sign better.  Then, he translated the sign again even better.  Then, he sent an email apologizing because he’s at work and could do a better job translating because he’s just not satisfied with it.

To be clear, this was a sign stating when to check your kids in.  This was simple, and getting this task done adequately would have the same effect as getting it done perfectly.  This got me thinking about what needs to be done perfectly to the best of my ability and what just needs to get done in a timely and adequate manner.

For everyone, these tasks are different.  For instance, I want to be a good cook.  But I’m not trying to be a chef, and there’s a trade-off there.  I could cook the best meal ever once a month, but that then everyone would be hungry the rest of the time.  So I need to be a good cook, but not a wonderful cook.

Let’s put first things first.  In the best ever section for me are: (Luisa) coding, writing, developing algorithms, math, presenting, coming up with new ideas, hardware implementations, relationships with important friends and family, personal health and for Ofu: writing, acting, social media, directing, networking, relationships with important friends and family, personal health.

Things that need to get done adequately: clean house, clean dishes, laundry, folding laundry, responding to not that important emails, translating simple signs, my hair every morning, nails, painting the house, mowing the lawn and grocery shopping.  Mostly, it looks like chores and other auxiliary tasks to my important passions need to be done adequately, but not to the best of my ability.  They need to be done quickly and efficiently, but I don’t need to create art with my laundry folding.

How about you?  Do you have a list of your priorities?  Do you have a list of things that just need to get done adequately?  How does this help you focus?


Preproduction Attitude

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Hi from Skyrunner Productions. We’re in pre-production, and I wanted to update about some of the work we’ve been doing.

Preproduction is the least glamorous phase of movie making. Production is hard, but there is energy and action. You see the progress, and you are surrounded by support. You almost have your movie. Your story is nearly told.

Preproduction is like you’re running drills in the off-season. You’re not appreciated because it’s not yet your time, and you’re not enjoying air time on the big screen. You’re just working hard with a small team far, far away from applause.

Some of our recent preproduction work includes putting together a team, marketing to investors, practicing acting and hitting the gym. (No one wants to see an assassin who is in good shape but not camera shape. Plus, I’ve got to make sure I take everyone down in the fight scenes!) The other less glorious component is just working to fund the film through my other business ventures.

Sometimes it’s tempting to sleep during the off season like adding vacation pounds. Instead, I’m sweating now so I’ll be ready. Ready for production, ready for action, ready for applause.

How about you? What are you working toward with little current reward?


Creative Triggers

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This weekend, I was at Six Flags when I suddenly felt creative.  I was by the Batman ride, and the theme music came on, and my imagination went wild.  I wanted to start writing immediately.

Movies, music and art can definitely trigger creativity for artists.  They can also provide distraction, like hours of mindless Facebooking or procrastination.  They key is knowing if you’re resting, triggering creativity or procrastinating.  It’s also important to know what your creativity triggers are because this is how you get things done.  It’s how you create worlds in your mind and then bring them to paper.

This isn’t just for art.  Art is a beautiful mirror for the real world.  It tells us truths about what’s around us in a more simplistic way.  Sometimes we don’t notice the superhero in ourselves until we see a film about it.  Sometimes we don’t see the beauty in daily life until we see artwork.  Creativity triggers can also trigger solutions in other fields and in personal relationships. In that moment, we are lifted of the ground to a higher plane.  We’re flying with the birds, sitting on a mountain top or gazing at the earth from on top of a satellite orbiting the earth.  We’re in a new and different place, and we see things from God’s perspective.  We’re at peace.

What we’re realizing here at Skyrunner Productions is that the worlds we create in our minds come to fruition.  We have to see it first in order to work toward it.  We have to see it first in order to make it happen.  And once we see it, we can act upon it.  Art helps us with seeing first.  Without this outlet, we’re often stuck on the ground, wondering how we’re going to get our feet out of the mud.

I think that science has a similar effect.  Science is like magic except real.  You can make things that you never thought possible using science.  New technology is amazing.  But lots of science was first inspired by art.  Think Twenty Thousnad Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.  It was published in 1870 when none of the underwater exploration was possible.  And it was created first by art and then by science.  This underwater exploration then inspired space exploration.  And much of the technology for space looks just like it did when artists first thought it up in their minds.

So what are you seeing in your life today?  What are your creative triggers which can help you see and then create your goals and dreams for now and the future?


Clear Mind

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It’s said that authors write about whatever they need to learn.  This is so true.  Today, let’s talk about having a clear mind and my to-do list.  Sometimes, I have a million things to do.  It’s hard to have a clear mind.  So here are some organization methods that I’ve been implementing (and trying to implement) which are helping me have a clear mind and to perform at a high level. My first and favorite method is Google Calendar.  I have an Android phone, and so this calendar syncs perfectly with the phone.  I can have reminders emailed to me and notifications pop up on the phone.  It’s like having a personal assistant all the time.  I know where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing.  Awesomely, my business partner = fiance can also be on the same page because he can check my calendar at any time.  I don’t just put meetings on there.  I put appointments with myself to do certain work so I know what I’m supposed to be working on, and when I’m not working on it, I don’t have to worry.  My calendar will remind me when the time comes. Going along with my favorite Google (which, by the way, knows too much about me), I love Google Keep.  I can keep lists on there, and the lists are accessible online and on my phone.  I’ve been to the grocery store way too many times and forgotten to get the one item I absolutely needed, so this wonderful device is keeping me on track.  It also stores a list of books I want to read, should I ever need to buy a book or kill time. My lab also implements Feng Office which keeps a list of tasks and their due dates.  It’s not my favorite method, but it’s nice to have a list that my adviser and I can be on the same page. I’ve found that I get more done by being organized.  That I worry less even if my list of things to do is high because I know my system will ensure that I do something. Other things I do is delegate or hire someone if I know this task will be better done by someone else.  And, if a task is not worth doing, I just don’t do it.  I used to feel guilty for this because usually the task would stay in my head somewhere, and I’d think, “I need to do this someday! I should do this!”  But now, I just don’t do it because no one can do everything, and I would rather get 10 important things done than 50 unimportant things. How about you?  How do you organize yourself?  How do you leave your mind open for creativity and more important things than your to-do list?  How do you sync with your significant other/boss/BFF?


The Team


Have you ever stopped to think of who is on your team?  Today I’ve been thinking about the people on my team.  I am doing a mental draft so I can choose who is a positive influence on me and who isn’t.  This isn’t the same as people who happen to be in my life.  It’s the people who cheer me on and encourage me.  It’s the people who want the best for me.  My fiancé is one of those people who always wants the best for me.  If he sends me a text, it’s usually to encourage me.  I know that he always means the best.  My sister is another person who’s on the home team.  She always wants the best for me, and I can show her my unfiltered self and know that she loves me.

I have co-workers on my work team who help me accomplish more than I could if I worked in an office alone.  I have friends who are on my home team emotionally and who physically make me get in shape by scheduling early morning runs.  Sometimes I can define who’s on my team by identifying who isn’t on my team.  I have a few friends who are gossipy.  These are friends still, but they’re not on the home team.  And I have other people who help me go along as long as I’m useful, but I have to filter out what they say for the useful things.  I can’t just accept what they say as true because it could be discouraging.  And I don’t have time for discouragement.

So today, I’m focusing on the team.  I’m focusing on the people who encourage me and help me get my goals.  How about you?  Who is on your team?