30 Day Challenges

Time is the most precious thing in this world.  Make every moment count and live your dreams.

~See Lemons Productive


30 Days of Drawing Evie

seelemonsonline : March 4, 2019 9:19 am : 30 Day challenges, list of 30

Random Observation/Comment #613: Take advantage of your technology as a tool instead of being a tool to your technology. (Seems like a 90s catchphrase).

Why this 30 Day Challenge?

I’ve recently found myself playing too many mobile games or getting sucked into always being connected to work via slack and emails. To do a level of disconnecting and taking advantage of the Samsung Note 9 stylus, I decided to do a 30 day drawing challenge around drawing the anime version of Evie.

When Evie was born, I had a web comic I planned around “Adventures of Evie and Hencat” with inspiration from Calvin and Hobbes. I drew lots of sketches of characters and came up with a few 3 panels which I thought would be a cute way to tell about the joys and struggles of fatherhood. One day I’ll publish them, but drawing web comics are not easy. I also don’t consider myself a good artist (even though I can now probably sketch random things on bar napkins to look eccentric and straight from an origins movie).

How was it done?

In terms of logistics, I tried a lot of different writing and artist apps, but they all seemed too complicated. For some reason the simplest one for me was to just use Microsoft OneNote. There’s no “fill” (color fill like from paint) or partial erase features (you erase by vectors drawn), but I’m used to writing with ink in a notebook, so I wasn’t too concerned.

The features that made me use OneNote:

  1. User Experience – A lot of the drawing apps weren’t recognizing the difference between the stylus and the finger, so I wound up drawing extra lines when my pinky was resting on the small screen
  2. Infinite scroll and canvas – I did all my drawings on a single continuous note scrolling downward and across as needed
  3. Works with multi-screen – It was easy to dock OneNote on the bottom and bring up anime references on the top half of the screen
  4. Default settings – I love how opening the mobile app automatically opens to the latest note (regardless of closing the app). This latest file functionality made it a one click to get to my drawing mode.
  5. General familiarity – I probably could have used a more feature-full app. It’s like buying more paintbrushes or colors for an artist that just does simple black and white. This just worked for me.

I wound up drawing everyday when I felt the urge to open a mobile game. I use these games to de-stress, but I found de-stressing with drawing is just as effective.

Now What?

I’m still thinking about drawing more of the web comic, but it’s been depressing without Hencat. Perhaps this is a way to remind Evie of one of her earliest friends. I definitely love the habit and hoping to keep it up. Maybe I’ll do what all the cool kids do and make a separate Instagram account for it.

~See Lemons Love Drawing Evie

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30 Day Drawing Journal Challenge

seelemonsonline : October 27, 2016 8:00 am : 30 Day challenges, Just Life, list of 30

Random Observation/Comment #562: I almost forgot the joy of just sitting down with a pen and drawing what’s on my mind – I highly recommend this challenge.


Why this Challenge?

I can draw one good line at a time, gauge perspectives, scale sizes well, and be patient with results. However, one of my all time goals is to be able to sit at a bar and draw something amazing on a napkin on the spot. I want someone to give me a subject and story, and then I can draw them a scene from it. Why? Because it’s cool and it’s on my 30 before 30. Why not?

What did you Draw?

The way I approached this challenge was less structured than my others. I first randomly started from watching Planet Earth with hump back whales. I decided to draw one in a cartoon form with the closest writing utensil at reach (a ball point pen).


The result wasn’t terrible, but I found value in 1) not copying from an existing drawing, 2) using a permanent and easily-bleeding writing utensil, and 3) keeping a simple creative structure.


My next drawing was of Henry (of course), but I started adding the environment and a few accessories to the piece. This lead me to asking Vinessa for advice on what to draw next. A koala bear dancing ballet in a tutu:


The pattern I liked in this challenges evolution was setting a structure:

  • Animal
  • With accessory
  • Wearing special outfit
  • In environment
  • Related to something from that day

Here’s a few samples:

From Zurich’s street parade, I drew a lion DJing:


From a wine festival, I drew a seahorse scene drinking a glass of wine:


From Vinessa, I drew a karrot karaoke knight:


From Crater Lake National Park, a Shell-fie


From watching Zootopia on the plane and starting the roadtrip, a sloth driving a racecar:


One of my personal favorites, a flamingo on a tightrope:


From the cruise’s first night, a polar bear cooking tepanyaki:


This, too, didn’t last very long because I ran out of animals I knew how to draw. Instead, it involved into something more or less random about the day. I’d draw something from a scene or funny part, and it always took a path of its own.  Ever since August 8th, I’ve been drawing on a daily basis and really enjoying myself.

Here’s a few more notable ones:

From the cruise’s honeymoon package of chocolate covered Strawberries:


From Alaska, a king crab eating a soldier:


From drinking all day at the wine tasting:


From flying to Heathrow after a long honeymoon trip:


From the first presidential debate:


From our 1 year anniversary:


From random nights and knitting hobbies:


From our secret blockchain project:


From a random fun weekend:


And my personal favorite, when Vinessa got a haircut and dyed her hair black:


From 30 day challenge to 90+ day adventure onward!



What’s Next?

I really love this as a part of my habits, and specifically as a wind down mechanism for going to bed early. It keeps devices out of the bedroom and gives me more creativity than just writing. On my ideal night, I’d be in bed by 10:45PM with my pen and notebook to sketch something from the day. This has definitely continued and become part of my day! Maybe I’ll even have a separate blog section, blogpost, or instagram feed for these.

I highly recommend this challege to anyone and everyone. Even if you can’t draw, you only get better when you try.

~See Lemons Love Drawing

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Actions of the Day Part 2

seelemonsonline : June 29, 2016 7:00 am : 30 Day challenges, Early Career, list of 30

Random Observation/Comment #554: Spending 5 minutes a day working on a small project leads to a fairly sizable project after 3 months. Routines are quite amazing things.

actions of the day

Challenge Set Up

Continuing the first part of Actions of the Day, I decided to do a follow-up that combines actions with questions related to careers. I posted these on FB and Twitter as Actions of the Day (AotD) and encourage others to complete the action as well.

Why This Challenge?

I started a new “career adventure” (which is what the cool kids are calling jobs these days) and I wanted to take the opportunity to reinvent myself and make a good impression. I think I did this at my previous workplace, but it was hard to maintain for 6 years.

  1. AotD #52: Write a list of your job responsibilities – are you doing what you were hired for?
  2. AotD #53: Learn your organization’s business strategy. How does the company make money and hope to adjust to evolving technology?
  3. AotD #54: What unique value in terms of strength, experience, perspective, and expertise do you bring to your company/group?
  4. AotD #55: Write down your list of Mentors and goto contacts. Goto contacts are professional connections that know a particular space very well and act as your goto for Q&A. What do you offer?
  5. AotD #56: Set up catch up time with your manager. How can he/she help you reach your goals?
  6. AotD #57: Review your existing organization system. What can you improve to make things more easily accessible?
  7. AotD #58: Review your digital storage organization. How are your folders structured on your work and personal laptop? Is everything easy to find?
  8. AotD #59: Review your digital collaboration tools. How are you sharing your content and incorporating feedback?
  9. AotD #60: Review your digital distractions. What apps can you uninstall to form better productive habits?
  10. AotD #61: Listen to your team. What do they need from you?
  11. AotD #62: If you work with tech/computers, learn the underlying architecture and data connectivity. What does the application take for input, add as value, and output?
  12. AotD #63: Learn about a different part of the company. How does it contribute to the bigger strategy?
  13. AotD #64: Align your short term goals with your group. What does success look like?
  14. AotD #65: Celebrate a team member’s accomplishment. What can you celebrate today?
  15. AotD #66: Write a thank you email to a client to follow-up. What did you learn from the quick catch up?
  16. AotD #67: Have coffee with someone on your team and talk about something not related to work. What do you have in common with this person?
  17. AotD #68: Lead by example. What is leadership to you?
  18. AotD #69: Create your comfort zone and healthy productive work environment. What makes you work hard and block all distractions out?
  19. AotD #70: Reflect on your professional accomplishments. What is your biggest achievement and what did you learn from it?
  20. AotD #71: List your top 5 people you’d ask advice about for your career that is not your immediate family. What are these people up to lately, and how can you help them?
  21. AotD #72: Reflect on your personal accomplishments. What skills can you bring from these successes into your professional world?
  22. AotD #73: Focus an hour on your hobby. What is the next milestone or deliverable?
  23. AotD #74: Map your hobbies into a matrix labeling the high/medium/low contributions to social, wellness, creativity, career-related, and cost of adoption. Are there hobbies you can remove or add?
  24. AotD #75: Dive deeper into your company’s sector and consider emerging technologies that can disrupt or assist. What’s the world going to look like in 3 years?
  25. AotD #76: Identify the risks in your project. How do you mitigate these risks?
  26. AotD #77: Identify the opportunities for improvement. What can you capitalize on?
  27. AotD #78: This morning, start emails on all the tasks you need to get done by the end of the day. Be sure to send all these emails and their corresponding results before you leave work.
  28. AotD #79: Practice the pitch for “What do you do?” Think of how you would explain it to different people with different backgrounds in your field.
  29. AotD #80: Practice your elevator summary of your recent accomplishments to your manager or your manager’s manager. What have you contributed?
  30. AotD #81: Set realistic goals for your work. Pace the intermediate milestones.
  31. AotD #82: Make a mission to learn everyone’s name and one sentence about them. How many people know you and identify you with the qualities you want to be known for?
  32. AotD #83: Identify a bad habit you’d like to change. What change, in the ordering of tasks or mindful control, can be added to stop these habits?
  33. AotD #84: Imagine you had a meeting with your company’s C-suite (e.g. CEO, COO, CTO). What would you present about?
  34. AotD #85: From yesterday’s action, bring that idea to your management and get feedback. How can you refine your talk to be relevant for long term strategy.
  35. AotD #86: Semi-relevant to career. Draw something on a napkin. What did you draw? Is it related to your career?
  36. AotD #87: Add some entropy to your daily routine by taking a different route to work. What did you see that was inspiring?
  37. AotD #88: Put yourself in your coworkers shoes. How are you performing?
  38. AotD #89: Post something on LinkedIn that is related to your industry. What is your subject matter expertise?
  39. AotD #90: Review your peers. If they are “more successful,” think about what they’re doing differently. Is it their network, expertise, or specific opportunities?
  40. AotD #91: Identify your special sauce. What can you do that only you can do?
  41. AotD #92: Keep a section just for ideas. You should bake these out before they are shared with your team. Is this idea worth prioritizing?
  42. AotD #93: Consider reporting and summaries. How can you represent your small data and draw conclusions from it?
  43. AotD #94: Say “no” today. Stop taking on new work. Are you spread too thin?
  44. AotD #95: Find your inner bitch. Nice people don’t finish last in love, war, and business. Who is competing?
  45. AotD #96: Recommend an article in your industry. What was the article about?
  46. AotD #97: Take a step back and let inspiration grow. The most fruitful ideas need time. How did the idea change?
  47. AotD #98: Double up your networking and catchups with picking up lunch with your mentor or mentee. What did you eat nearby?
  48. AotD #99: Recognize good colleagues and coworkers. Small actions like short messages showing appreciation go a very long way. Who can you follow up with?
  49. AotD #100: Set a goal that involves 100 things and do it. Achievement unlocked. What was your last unlocked achievement?
  50. AotD #101: Put your phone down and look around because you might be walking into someone that could change your life.

What’s Next?

I still love creating Actions of the Day, and I think I’ll keep going forward with it during weekdays. I think if I do some reordering and reorganization, I could create actions related to different aspects of career advancement. Some topics/categories could include: Networking, Understanding, Branding, Expertise, Organization, and #WorkHacks.

~See Lemons Continuously Active

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30 Days of MealPass

seelemonsonline : June 17, 2016 8:00 am : 30 Day challenges, Foodie, Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #552: I miss the simplicity of cafeterias at school. Who am I kidding – my mom packed lunch for me. Can I get on that meal plan again?

pacman food

At the end of April 2016, my colleague introduced me to Mealpass. Naturally, I signed up immediately and decided to make a 30 day challenge out of it and see how much money I saved (and at what hidden cost).

What is it?

The best way to describe it is “Classpass for food” with a few small details:

  • Only a limited number of restaurants in Midtown and Flatiron offer daily selections
  • Each participating restaurant can choose whichever dish they’d like to offer
  • You must choose/reserve your meal between 7pm and 9:30am the day before
  • Mealpass only works on weekdays for exactly 30 days (not month date to month date)

Experimental Setup

If I were to use this mealpass for what it’s worth, I needed to be regiment on booking meals and commit to eating what I booked for all weekdays. Of course, I had to collect data on this. First things first: create a Google Form that I could fill out every time I had a meal. This captured:



I used the google sheets output to help me run a few interesting statistics:

  • Initial Cost per month: $120
  • Number of Meals: 17
  • Average Price per Meal: $7.06
  • Normal Price of Meals (Sum): $161.50
  • Average Normal Price per Meal: $9.50
  • Total Savings: $41.50
  • Discount savings per Meal: 25.70%
  • Average size of Food: Medium-Big
  • Order again percentage: 58.82%
  • “Awesome” percentage: 47.06%

Does it work? Would you Recommend it?

Here’s what I liked:

  • It was pretty convenient skipping the line and picking up food
  • There were some pretty awesome deals of lunch that are normally $12+ (e.g. Reichenbach Hall and Japas 38)
  • Selection is actually pretty decent for working on 37th and Broadway (but pretty crap everywhere else)
  • Great conversation starter. I don’t mind talking about mealpass and its benefits.

Here’s what I didn’t:

  • Weekly repetitive meals. I got used to the menu and didn’t want to have anything that was too far of a walk away.
  • Ordering the day before. I lost a lot of my spontaneity, but at the same time I didn’t have to think about lunch because I already made the decision. Some good and some bad there.
  • Eating at my desk. Because it’s all food to-go, I did a lot more eating at my desk than I wanted to. Luckily, I had someone else who was getting mealpass so we went to pick up our food together.
  • Guilt of not using mealpass. This was a big one. it’s that “gym phenomenon” of getting my moneys worth and then winding up missing out anyway. I felt more guilty buying food on top of the cost I’ve paid because technically I’m already paying a flat fee per weekday I don’t use the service.
  • Less money saved from leftovers. As a person that likes to cook a lot, I think I saved the same amount of money just bringing leftovers from dinner. In fact, I may have wasted food for not bringing those leftovers to work.
  • Crappy credit card and money management. In the whole payment transaction process, I was not told how much I would be charged for this service to my credit card and I was not able to cancel without a lengthy email with the title “CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION” and a phone call. It was then that I realized that it’s only 30 days instead of month-to-month distinctions, so I needed to pay a separate make-up fee for the meals that went over (I did not include these meals or extra fee in this 30 day analysis)



It was worth the 30 day challenge to save a few bucks, but I did not renew (plus I do not intend to in the future). I really love eating with coworkers and choosing my food destiny with spontaneity, but I also think this might be a fun experiment for some people who live in the area.

~See Lemons Back to Regular Lunch

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Actions of the Day

seelemonsonline : March 27, 2016 10:55 pm : 30 Day challenges, Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #547: Life is a multi-player game.

action of the day

Challenge Set Up

Complete a different action every weekday for as many days as possible. I posted these on FB as Actions of the Day (AotD) and encourage others to complete the action as well.

Why This Challenge?

Before I learned about micro-resolutions and the you-app, I felt a little slump in my routine – it was like I wasn’t completing anything important for the day. Progress felt slow and also insignificant. I think I was working so closely towards a larger goal that I forgot about all the fun smaller goals along the way. Each day, I wrote a simple action that I could complete and looked to maintain these smaller actions throughout my regular schedule.

  1. AotD #1: Take 5 minutes and stretch – I was able to continue doing this throughout the week
  2. AotD #2: Plan 3 things you will get done today and Visualize them being done. Make these tasks realistic.
  3. AotD #3: Plan a trip you can take in one month
  4. AotD #4: Read up about a cool new technology topic – I suggest blockchain
  5. AotD #5: Take a photo with a friend
  6. AotD #6: Find 3 things in common with a stranger at your next networking event
  7. AotD #7: Write a journal entry with 3 things you loved about the day
  8. AotD #8: Take a different commute route to work
  9. AotD #9: it’s getting cold out. Donate those clothes you don’t wear anymore
  10. AotD #10: Find a new place to eat for lunch. I suggest Frank’s bbq.
  11. AotD #11: Contact someone you haven’t spoken to in 3 months
  12. AotD #12: Write down your Most Important Things. What is this?
  13. AotD #13: Listen to a new podcast during your commute to work
  14. AotD #14: Try a new scotch (if you’re into that type of thing)
  15. AotD #15: Cancel your plans (take a sick day or don’t go to that networking event). You’ve been doing great and need to focus on decompressing today.
  16. AotD #16: Send a postcard to someone
  17. AotD #17: Buy your parents a gift and send it to them with a note.
  18. AotD #18: Share one of your friend’s accomplishments.
  19. AotD #19: Write a recap and reflection of 2015.
  20. AotD #21: Don’t eat meat today. Why? It’s good to take a break.
  21. AotD #20: if you haven’t already, call your parents and tell them you love them
  22. AotD #22: Learn a new vocabulary word and use it as much as you can in conversation.
  23. AotD #23: Find out what you can organize in your apartment/house and do it. I threw out all my mismatched socks.
  24. AotD #24: Write down all the things that stress you out. What’s on your mind and what can you do about them?
  25. AotD #25: Update your wish list. This is a list of purchases or goals that you’re aiming towards. Maybe you’re saving money to get that new coat or vacation days for that upcoming trip.
  26. AotD #26: Unsubscribe to email lists you wind up just archiving. If you haven’t opened and learning from one in the past 2 weeks, you don’t need it.
  27. AotD #27: Surprise your significant other with an experiential gift. This could be a massage or dinner out.
  28. AotD #28: Plan your 2016 new years resolutions (and how you’ll keep them)
  29. AotD #29: Write a thank you letter/card to someone at work or at home.
  30. AotD #30: Write down all the promises you made and try to keep them
  31. AotD #31: Make a happiness jar and place those Random happy thoughts in there daily. Try to make it a physical jar with handwritten notes. Good memories take 40 seconds to imprint into long term smiles.
  32. AotD #32: Think about death and being more present. What really matters to you and what micro decisions do you make about time management?
  33. AotD #33: Plan a curriculum for your self improvement.
  34. AotD #34: Find a reason to give a high five today and give one to someone. High five!
  35. AotD #35: Listen to your favorite song. Why is it your favorite? What made it your favorite? When did you last hear it?
  36. AotD #36: Make plans with someone and actually keep them. See you at spin at noon, tt addicts.
  37. AotD #37: Sing a song in the shower. Maybe it’s your favorite song. Hopefully it’s bohemian rhapsody.
  38. AotD #38: Don’t bring your headphones today. Look around and observe.
  39. AotD #39: Ask for help from a friend. It’s better to be clear about what you’re looking to accomplish and then complete it together #cocreate
  40. AotD #40: Tweak your routine with experiments. Move all the essentials you need to leave in one place (wallet, keys, metrocard, hat, gloves, backpack, etc) within 5 feet of each other.
  41. AotD #41: Check up on those new years resolutions. Are you closer with creating positive habits?
  42. AotD #42: Introduce some spontaneity and randomness to look for improvements in efficiency.
  43. AotD #43: Learn deeper about your most passionate subject. Befriend someone who also shares this passion.
  44. AotD #44: Simplify your fashion style. Remove the number of clothing permutations and focus on outfits for occasion.
  45. AotD #45: Don’t just be a spectator, be a participant. If you ask, your help is usually welcomed.
  46. AotD #46: Write your new micro resolutions for a new month.
  47. AotD #47: Take a nap and start over. The day can always restart.
  48. AotD #48: Fight for your right to party
  49. AotD #49: Don’t be the first to complain about anything today. You are the still pond reflecting positive energy.
  50. AotD #50: Ask a silly question. “Why did they make a highway to the danger zone?”
  51. AotD #51: Fold origami. It’s really relaxing.

What’s Next?

The challenge ended arbitrarily, but it has not been forgotten. I think I liked the Questions of the Day a little bit better because it encouraged more interaction and a simpler response. In the long run, I do feel like there have been some great habits that formed from reflecting on my vision of success for the day. The small actions truly do make big changes.

~See Lemons Stay Active

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30 Micro-resolution Categories

seelemonsonline : February 1, 2016 2:38 pm : 30 Day challenges, list of 30

Random Observation/Comment #541: Motivation only gets you so far. Create long term habits that effectively build you to become a better person without even thinking about it.

yoga resolutions

Why this list?

90% of New Year’s Resolutions fail within the first 2 months – why? Because we set our standards too high and phrase our changes too broad. People focus too much on BEING a certain type of person instead of DOING different actions to slowly transform them to this person. After listening to a talk from Caroline Arnold and reading her book Small Move, Big Change, I’ve decided to implement her recommended micro-changes.

Before jumping in, I thought her explanation of willpower and autopilot to be important to point out. You only have a limited amount of willpower throughout the day and it gets spent when you actively initiate a task and make decisions (decision fatigue). Whenever you decide to go to the gym, you use up that willpower, however if you ingrain going to the gym as an autopilot habit, then you don’t need to use that extra power. Rewiring existing autopilot habits are very difficult, but not impossible – you just need repetition to make that change stick.

In essence, large resolutions declare war on autopilot and will always lose because they spend too much willpower to make those large changes. Instead, take on 2-3 micro-resolutions every 30 days and make those big changes in the long term.

As with all resolutions and challenges, the planning and initial few days of getting into the groove is the most difficult part. Caroline’s suggestion is to really analyze your existing habits and break down the bottlenecks that are stopping you from reaching your goals. The book is filled with lots of examples on how people have made these micro-resolutions, but it’s only effective if it is personal to your own changes. For me, I wanted to first outline categories for improvement and then dive deeper into each area to make small changes to the habit that can be sustainable for a longer period of time.

How to write this list?

Pay attention to your routines and consider all areas of improvement in your life. It might not be a bad idea to review your Most Important Things List and seeing if you’re doing anything specifically to block them. Also consider the broader category of changes in Mind, Love, Food, and Move.  Break these down into specific categories as you see fit. For example, Health may be too general, and you can dissect it into Diet, Exercise, Mindful eating, etc.

  1. Productivity – set aside more time to get things done
  2. Verbal Communication – speaking eloquence, summarizing, and idea transfer
  3. Simplified Written Communication – simple and clear requirements
  4. Visualized Communication – utilizing diagrams and infographics effectively
  5. Kinder Communication – awareness of other’s feelings when writing emails or speaking
  6. In-person Communication – awareness of body language
  7. Leadership – take initiative and ownership of items
  8. Mental Growth – learn something new in breadth and depth
  9. Stretch – physical limber
  10. Exercise Cardio – improved heart and overall health
  11. Mindful Eating – being more aware of what we put in our body
  12. Reduced toxins – moderation of alcohol, meat, caffeine, nicotine, etc
  13. Strengthen Physical – with activities improve performance
  14. Strengthen Emotional – having fewer things bother you
  15. Return to life – take time away from technology and hone in on what matters
  16. Connect – foster relationships and maintain connections
  17. Integrate – realize your own and others’ strengths, build something from it
  18. Mental health – meditate and relax
  19. Saving money for… – little costs add up and so do little savings
  20. Empower Others – inspiring and providing the resources needed for innovation/growth
  21. Creativity – thinking of more ideas in a practical approach
  22. Organization – storing and retrieving items efficiently
  23. Minimization – reducing our overall footprint of material goods
  24. Online Branding – filtering through your top 10 google searches of your name to ensure your preferred representation
  25. Career Reputation – honing what you’re known for at work through actions
  26. Hygiene – improvement of general cleanliness
  27. Physical Image – improvement of fashion, style, and personal view of yourself
  28. Happiness – general elation and the foundation of providing continuous elation
  29. Sleep – refill that willpower
  30. Patience – wait for it…

Now that you have some areas for improvement, think through how you can personally change 1 habit that will make this category better. Next post, My 30 Micro-resolutions.

~See Lemons Prepped for Resolve

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Questions of the Day #Qotd

seelemonsonline : September 28, 2015 7:58 am : 30 Day challenges

Random Observation/Comment #527: Questions get us into trouble sometimes, but it’s always the good kind of trouble.


Let’s poll the audience. Get the Creativity of the masses. Harness the power of the people. Make others think a little bit on a day-to-day basis.

Over the past 30 weekdays, I’ve proposed a question of the day #Qotd. It was a social experiment, and also a way to connect and learn more about friends. What did I learn? I know some pretty awesome people who really love life and have great advice to share.

  1. What lesson took you the longest to learn? – “… I need to love myself first before expecting someone else to.” ~Stephanie
  2. What habit have you broken and how did you break it? – “Gave up alcohol 11 years ago and smoking 15 years ago. Cold turkey. Demonized them both in my head and never looked back.” ~Sean
  3. What is your guilty pleasure? – “Bubble baths” ~Norbert
  4. Who do you look up to? – “People representing those who need it” ~Me
  5. What freaks you out about society? – “That we allow the student debt business to actually exist” ~Ra
  6. What can’t you live without? – “Toilet paper” ~Craig
  7. How do you eat healthy?
    1. “1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Avoid the center where items are “packaged” and consist mostly of additives
    2. 2. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, or don’t recognize an ingredient, put it down
    3. 3. Fresh = Clean” ~Felice
  8. What was the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you? – “Told me I was inspirational (she saw me speak about something) that did a lot for my growth” ~Stevie
  9. What would you give a TED talk about? – “Diversity issues in STEM fields” ~Kayla
  10. What good deed did you do recently? – “Helped a blind woman take the right bus and getting on it” ~Cecy
  11. Where do you want to travel to but never live? – “Moon” ~Abe
  12. Where do you want to get up and go live right now? – “Ojai” ~Jodi
  13. If you don’t need to think about money, what’s your dream job? – “I’m doing it!” ~Shannon
  14. What do you normally bring to/cook for a cultural potluck? – “Durian or fermented tofu” ~Jessika
  15. If you were to be interviewed on TV, what title would you want under your name? – “Force of Nature” ~B.A.
  16. What are you doing with your free day? – “Being delicious” ~Coop
  17. What’s one thing you can donate from your wardrobe? – “Pink/plaid Paul Smith suit” ~Chris
  18. What question do you wish people asked you? – “What are we celebrating?” ~Paul
  19. In your day-to-day life, what’s one thing keeping you from focusing? – “wedding planning and facebook questions” ~Vinessa
  20. Where do you see yourself in 3 months? – “In an exciting new relationship while gearing up for my final semester as an undergrad” ~Nadya
  21. How do you deal with stress? – “Steam bath” ~Dad
  22. What’s your favorite music lyric? – “Life is about love, last minutes, and lost evenings, about fire in our bellies and our furtive little feelings” -Frank Turner” ~Allison
  23. What book should I read next? – “Let the Great World Spin (Colum McCall…McCann…? Brain block), or any of the essays in Consider the Lobster (David Foster Wallace).”  ~Wendy
  24. If you had the ability to make a message go viral, what would it be? – “Give back every month. Donate not only money, but time. It’s the single most important thing In the world.” ~Lara
  25. If you retired today (got social security, a nest egg, and a pension), what would your day look like? – “Motorcycle tour of South East Asia, shamanic sessions in the Amazonia, writing, Zazen, tai chi, coaching people in need, learning till I can’t hold a book anymore, love my wife, cook for my friends and beloved ones, repeat…” ~Eric
  26. If you get clemens’d, it means you traveled somewhere without knowing the destination. What does your <name>’d mean? – “GLITTER BOMB” ~Lara
  27. What subject did you wish you studied in college? – “Oil painting” ~Gary
  28. What invention are you looking forward to using in the future (or even present)? – “Smart contact lenses” ~Felipe
  29. Which mythical creature do you wish exists and why? – “Chivalrous gentlemen” ~Pheon
  30. If you had an extra room in your house, what would you fill it with or design as an activity there? – “Airsoft/Paintball/live fire arena” ~Angus

Also, Lara answered the most questions, so she wins something. Yay Glitter bomb!

~See Lemons Poll the Audience

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Kindness Revolution #DisruptTEDActive

seelemonsonline : March 17, 2015 10:56 am : 30 Day challenges, Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #503: Kindness is contagious. Have an up vote.

see lemons keep that shit up

I’m inspired by people who do good deeds just for the sake of doing good deeds. For me, handing out these cards in NYC was just a way to recognize the common awesome people and make them smile.

For #DisruptTEDActive this year, I’m helping this community of extremely brilliant and motivated individuals to start a revolution. Revolutions start with the first follower and continue to grow with spreading that inspiration. Instead of just spreading ideas, we’re building upon them with like-minded people so our causes can be actionable changes in the world.

For the Kindness Revolution, I hope people can:

  • Pay attention more to good deeds. We spend too much time on our smart phones and connected to a second digital life. I think we need to break free from that during our commutes – take off those headphones and just soak it all in.
  • Tell people they’re awesome. Without any ulterior motive, give a compliment and show your appreciation for people who are genuinely just good people.
  • Be kind, rewind. We don’t need a reason to be kind. If you are able to do something, then do it.
  • Support a good cause. As a revolutionary, we aren’t limited to just one revolution. If you see a good cause, support a good cause.
  • Spread the word. If you have one of the cards, or even if you don’t, you can inspire others to be kind.

~See Lemons Disrupt

tedactive day1

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[List of 30] The Value of Giving a Speech

seelemonsonline : December 6, 2014 9:00 am : 30 Day challenges, list of 30, Toastmasters

Random Observation/Comment #485: The process of writing and practicing a speech is more valuable to learning than delivering it.


There’s a certain mystical power behind preparing for a speech. All of a sudden, you’re put on the spot knowing your colleagues, friends, and bosses will be listening intently to you for the next 5-7 minutes. All your words will be yours – unfiltered and fully planned to communicate your message and ideas. A message that represents your opinion on that subject and your expertise about that other world.

Scary? Probably. Even if you’re prepared, you will inevitably feel those sweaty palms and butterflies. However, your attitude, body language, and poise can fake everyone into believing you deserve to be there. In fact, you do deserve to be there.

Why should you actively put yourself in this position? Why should you volunteer and torture yourself with anxiety? Why should you go outside your comfort zone?

  1. It’s a challenge! Why not?
  2. Finding the right topic for the speech will help you sort your priorities and personal expertise (everyone has one).
  3. Organizing the speech will help with understanding how people learn things in a logical manner.
  4. Writing your speech will help with using conversational grammar
  5. Explaining complex concepts in your speech helps with finding the right wording to appeal to the audience.
  6. Thinking about the audience will help you relate better to different learning methods.
  7. Planning the message behind your speech will inspire yourself.
  8. Doing the research for your speech will dive you deeper into an interesting topic.
  9. Revising the speech will help you focus.
  10. Analyzing a full speech will help you see the overall energetic ups and downs to a good speech.
  11. Writing conclusions will help with confirming your message got across.
  12. Creating call-to-action items will back up the words with easy take-aways.
  13. Making visuals (if you use them) will help with keeping things simple and uncluttered.
  14. Making clean visuals will also help with connecting with the audience different emotions.
  15. Memorizing your speech will help you develop new techniques.
  16. Outlining your speech will help you with remembering and summarizing better
  17. Sharing with your friends will give yourself a new brand.
  18. Practicing the delivery will help with body language and eye contact.
  19. Watching other speeches will help you notice good techniques and common distractions
  20. Recording yourself speak will not only make you self conscious of your voice, but also show you some of your nervous ticks.
  21. Noticing and reducing filler words will help you in real life with removing those ums and ahs distractions (verbal pollution).
  22. Summarizing your speech for when you tell others about what you’re talking about helps you with elevator pitches.
  23. Speaking loudly and walking the stage will help with confidence.
  24. Giving yourself pauses will help with drawing people’s attention better.
  25. Using set-up phrases like “the most important reason for listening to my speech is…” will help you get people’s attention better.
  26. Repeating introductions will help with networking.
  27. Speaking with gravitas and articulation will help with telling more exciting stories.
  28. Giving the speech itself will give you more topics for small talk and casual conversation.
  29. Prepping for questions will help with listening and speaking off the cuff.
  30. Finishing the speech will make you ready for the next one.

So, yes. Prepare for a speech. Even if you don’t have one, write it out and tell people about it. If you need a platform, toastmasters can provide the resources, mentors, and tips to get you through it.

Once you finish one speech, you’ll find the next to be easier and the stage to be your voice for sharing what’s important to you.

~See Lemons Prepare for Speeches

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[Lessons Learned] 30 lists of 30 challenge

seelemonsonline : December 1, 2014 9:00 am : 30 Day challenges, list of 30

Random Observation/Comment #282: you know what’s better than starting a project? Finishing one.


30 lists in 30 days. It was easier to write the lists up than expected, but certainly a challenge to schedule time to write them out in one sitting. Definitely do this if you feel stuck and need to evaluate a stance on a position because lists naturally organize. I found the first 15 or so to be easy, the last 5-10 to require a lot more deep thought, and the final 3-4 extra ones that pop in a few days later to ruin the order of the original list.

As a bonus list, here are 30 lessons learned from 30 lists of 30.

  1. Have fun with it. Don’t take your lists too seriously because they’re all for you.
  2. Write it when you’re in a good mood. Put off writing it if you feel negative or down because the lists seem to take dark turns
  3. Incorporate writing the list into a routine. I chose the morning commute so the last 4-5 could be thought about throughout the day
  4. Make sure you give yourself enough time.
  5. Find a way to update your list on mobile. Sometimes thoughts come in along the day for the tough ones.
  6. Don’t be too concerned about making it perfect.
  7. Edit your list if you want to, but don’t dwell over 31 to 35. You can always have honorable mentions.
  8. Don’t be too concerned about being judged. Especially for the favorite songs and movies, I felt a little stressed because people will automatically peg me as a certain character if I don’t pick their favorites.
  9. It’s not someone else’s list, it’s your own. The product of this list does not need to be shared (although it’s cooler when it is).
  10. Write it for yourself. Learn for yourself as well.
  11. Be honest. I think this exercise works when you empty all the existing social norms and just be yourself.
  12. Do some research if you need to. Especially with quotes, I needed to look them up from somewhere and remember any adages taught by older mentors.
  13. To help with making the list, break the 30 into 3 or 4 categories. For example, it’s easier to write 3 lists of top 10 movies in action, comedy, and anime than 30 generic movies.
  14. Tie favorites to events in your life. I thought a lot about favorite songs to when I had my Walkman listening to my brothers cd mixes on the bus commute to school.
  15. Make the first and last one on your list important. Although I didn’t put any ordering to the list, I know people tend to skim quickly and spend the most time reading the first and last entries. I purposefully put more emphasis on those as 1 the most obvious and 30 the most fun-loving
  16. Be social with it. Share your challenge with friends and maybe poll the audience.
  17. Get creative. If you get stuck, try interpreting the list in different ways. For example, interesting people could be past, present, or future or things to do could span shorter or larger periods of time.
  18. Think outside the box. Writing more of these taught me to think weirder and more differently.
  19. Dig deep. A lot of the harder lists made me think broader and deeper about my life. It was a great reflection tool the almost replaced my journals
  20. Be thankful. Writing these lists made me realize how many great things we’ve all accomplished and how much more there can be done.
  21. Organize your thoughts. Writing this list helped me sort out some of those Most Important Things
  22. Know your givens. Writing these lists made it more clear to me what I have to gain and lose.
  23. Look for patterns. Writing these lists surprisingly connected a lot of dots in my head. The process was very rewarding.
  24. Bigger picture. Look at the story your lists tell you as a whole and when pieced together. I’ve found a happy medium to all of this.
  25. Follow your own pace. I think this is an exercise that requires significant thought and should not be rushed. Even if you don’t finish in one setting or in one day, I recommend finishing at your own pace because it will feel good seeing it all written out.
  26. Use lists everyday. These summaries are surprisingly useful in other facets. I’ve ported them over for writing emails and sorting thoughts in general.
  27. Think about the little things. While writing the list, I really put more thought into those memorable moments and did my best to connect all of them coherently in my brain.
  28. Don’t over think it. Sometimes it’s easier to just go with the flow.
  29. Take the second step. Don’t just leave lists as they are. If you wrote a full to do list or things you want to learn, take action and plan smaller things for the next 4 weeks. If you do a bigger challenge every month, you can easily put together your 3 year plan.
  30. Do this challenge with someone else. I did this with my gf and felt so good sharing our similar favorite things and moments.

There are so many more lists I want to write and I’ll probably create a separate section just for this. Like here.

~See Lemons Still Love Lists

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