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Journal - My Renaissance Journey

March 21, 2021

Alright, I've decided to write a journal here to document my thoughts and also to better plan & execute my self-development.

Current life overview and self-development accomplishments:

I am a 28 y.o. Filipino male turning 29 this year. I'm like 5'5''. I live with my parents here in Canada. I recently transferred to the emergency department a year ago.  And worked in medicine floors for 3 years before that. I moved back into my parent's house 5 months ago, after having lived alone for 1 year, renting an apartment across from where I work. My parents live about 10 minutes away from where I work as well. I have travelled alone to: Bali, Colombia, San Diego, and Ohio. The last couple of years I've developed myself in these regards.

My weaknesses:

  • I smoke pot a lot. Just last week, I smoked 7 days straight, on my days off.
  • I take noopept (a nootropic) which helps me perform and face anxiety for work (about a pin-sized dot, once a week... I've been doing this stuff since college days). The negative effects of it includes being increasingly irritable, and due to the anxiolysis I might say or do something I would regret later on.
  • I haven't had a girlfriend since elementary school.
    3 dates since I graduated high-school? [although in elementary school, I had a decent streak where I was seeing 3 girls at once, somehow I got into the "cool crew" at that time]
  • I only have 1-2 friends I see outside of work. I have difficulty developing new friendships.
  • I buy a lot of books, and courses and don't get the most out of them. I often take on too much out of a need for novelty, and get paralyzed by the number of options.
  • I am not as diligent at learning and developing my knowledge and skills for my career in nursing as I should be (Frankly, I'm not too passionate about my career choice, although it has proven to have developed me in many ways)
  • I can be reckless with my money. I spend too much. And I'm not good at building it, and only have around $25,000 in my bank account. Although, I don't have any debt. I tried investing in stocks, and I've lost $1000, so I stopped and withdrew all my money.
  • I am not as comfortable in my own skin as I'd like, socially. I can be easily dominated by dominant personalities. I am aware of my tendency to be passive, and passive-aggressive at times.

Feedback I've received from trusted sources (Either came from a trusted source, or I've heard it a lot enough that I consider it trust worthy feedback):

  • "You can be butt-hurt at times."
  • "You have this Everyone is against me" and If they do something, it's a personal attack on me"....
  • "You're trying to figure out where you're at. So you're floating in purgatory. You haven't decided what path you want to go on. You're still throwing options in the air - so you're detached and disconnected. But you're trying to detach to something OUT THERE. So, when you're just fully connected to yourself...."
  • "You're so nice"
  • "You're decent looking" or "You're handsome" or "You're cute"

This is my overview of  where I am currently in life, my achievements in the last few years, and weaknesses that are most salient to my awareness now.

I recently finished War of Art, the first module of PU, and started reading No logo.

For this week, I am quitting smoking. Both pot and cigarettes. I've been smoking for 8+ years. It's been a while. I have had many ups and downs. Many relapses. I also think it's a good place to start with my self-improvement right now.





Lucio Buffalmano and selffriend have reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmanoselffriend

Rock on JM!

A few quick notes from my side:

  • Money isn't your issue at all right now. 25k aside in case is more than the vast majority in the world has ever had -including a big percentage in the West-
  • Focus your learning: War of Art and No Logo are great but frankly they're not providing you much, if anything, towards your current goals
  • Congrats on seeking feedback: sounds like you've got some strong and very helpful feedback already to work on
  • List goals, not weaknesses You list weaknesses, which we all have and always will have. But weaknesses count for shit... Unless they're an issue for you. List goals, rather than weaknesses
Stef, JM and selffriend have reacted to this post.
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

March 23, 2021

Thank you for your advice, Lucio. I hope you're all well.

I wanted to post an update for today:

I haven't been doing well with my first goal (to quit pot). I've smoked pretty much, every day since.

On the positive side, I continue to read power university. I felt much better when I stopped reading other books, it took a mental load off! I finished two modules today.

And, also I had an interview for a sponsorship to study critical care in my hospital this morning. Unfortunately, I messed up on the last question, and now feel embarrassed for messing up that bad! One of the interviewers was the respiratory therapist Manager. And the answer (and they were both hinting me towards it with many tries) was to call a respiratory therapist (to check the ventilator). And I only realized it until a few hours after the interview. No wonder the RT manager looked disappointed. I was thinking I totally insulted her!

Regarding figuring out what my goals are.

  1. Quit smoking pot and cigarettes
  2. Learn how to lead MYSELF (more of an umbrella goal)
    - Find out what I want from life (I don't think I want to be a nurse for the rest of my life, unsure).
    - I want to be passionate about what I do. 
    - When I am in my days off, all I do is smoke pot, play games, and drive around. I need help learning how to execute outings better, or how to execute a  good experience for myself in general.
  3. Finish the P.U.; and gain strong awareness and skill of power dynamics and concepts taught.
  4. Be more centered and balanced internally - grounded.

I will flesh these out, in more days to come.
Thank you,




Great that you caught the mistake, and very good intuition in realizing her disappointment, that's good social smarts.

On quitting pot and cigarette... Have you thought about breaking  it up?

Focus on cigarettes first.

Stef and JM have reacted to this post.
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Hi Lucio,

I appreciate your feedback!

That's a great idea. I usually smoke cigarettes at work.

Lots to work on, and I look forward to it! I already threw my pack last week, on the last day of work.

I got work a day after tomorrow. So that'll be my first real challenge.


Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on March 24, 2021, 5:20 am
  • List goals, not weaknesses You list weaknesses, which we all have and always will have. But weaknesses count for shit... Unless they're an issue for you. List goals, rather than weaknesses

On quitting pot and cigarette... Have you thought about breaking  it up?

I would recommend Atomic Habits as a book to quit smoking cigarettes.

It's very hard to quit something tied to emotions through sheer willpower.

Like Lucio said, introducing some goals, strategies, plans, systems would help to break this habit and addiction.

Examples of Introducing Barriers to Quit Smoking

  1. Every time there's an urge to smoke, listen to 10 minutes of Atomic Habits
  2. Or apply something smelly on the cigarettes so you associate smoking with something distasteful
    (People do this to break the habit of biting fingernails)
Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Hi Matthew,

I appreciate the message and feedback! Although, I'm going to focus only on power university for now until I finish it and master it.
One of the problems I encounter is taking on too many things at once.

On another note Matthew, I read your post on nootropics! I got myself some gyukoro tea to try, and a bottle of L-theanine.




Lucio Buffalmano and Matthew Whitewood have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

March 27, 2021


Alright, so my first 2 days of work have been good so far. I was successful in resisting my urge to smoke. It was strongest on the very first day, the moment after waking up. But I'm very glad and thankful that I did not. Interestingly enough, I was taking care of a lung cancer patient that first day.


My reflections on power:

I'll start with pointing out the aspects of power I am well aware of, and what I am applying in real life.

On my first day of work, a more senior nurse was more focused on her work and wasn't really working together with me. I was feeling a bit resentment about her not helping me, and I was bombarded with work demands.

Knowing the strategy of giving first as a means to power: instead of feeling resentful, I decided to take care of my stuff and then help her first. She reciprocated with warmth and then opted to help me with my work afterwards.

Then later in the day, she began to push the envelope and started pushing some of her work unto me. Realizing this is her taking without giving, I said no.


Understanding that those who check in with others is the one in power. There was one nurse placed in the lead position. I was checking in on her if she needed a hand, and her facial expression appeared irate. I believe she was aware of this power dynamic, and did not want to give up her power in that sense. And so I stopped checking in on her.


The next thing to note for me is I am uncomfortable in giving people work to do, in certain circumstances. Yesterday, I had a bunch of things to do, and I was uncomfortable in delegating work to the support staff. Then after I did that work and joked around with her she asked, "why didn't you make us do that?". It's a minor weakness to note.


There is a lot on my mind, and I will let these things settle. One of these things includes not letting people know where I am coming from. I used to believe that being 100% open and vulnerable with people was the way to go about life. That meant, being 100% honest with my feelings, and telling them when I feel sad or depressed or what my addictions are. And I don't think that way anymore. I realized that it's more effective to share these important emotions and situations only to my inner circle of people, and people must first earn my trust for that. It's a work in progress, as I still have a tendency to talk about my inner life openly.


Moving forward, I am very glad to be on a positive start to quitting smoking. It's going to make me a more genuine health oriented person and nurse. I am going to continue studying power university. There is a need to review many concepts and techniques. I will do so. I am fairly motivated to do this, and this forum gives me a fair bit of motivation - knowing there are other good people on here learning to better their lives as well. My career and my future job is still something I think about from time to time. I will let these thoughts percolate in the back of my mind for now.










selffriend has reacted to this post.

March 29, 2021

I finished my rotation, without smoking cigarettes! Yaay me! My rotations are 4 days long.

For those wanting to quit cigarettes, something I did that worked for me, was taking L-theanine at the beginning of my work-shift. It helps to reduce anxiety, without sedation... which addresses why I was using the cigarettes in the first place (pre-work anxiety, in facing the demands of the ER).

Okay, now onto some self-reflection regarding power dynamics. I finished the module on micro-aggressions just now. There were some interactions at work that I wanted to reflect on.  (Names changed for privacy).

Scene 1

Last night, I walked up to 3 people (my charge nurse, another charge nurse, and a paremedic - 1 guy, 2 girls).

Me: hey guys!
Jeff: What the fuck do YOU want? (he says it with a hint of joking-ness, he's usually an easy going, and funny guy)
Me: (noticing the aggression, did not address it) Well, Ariel wanted to trade spots with me, is that cool with you guys?
Diane: Yea that's fine.

So here is a clearly aggressive statement from him. I made the mistake of not addressing it, I was too passive. To be honest, I wasn't ready for that one. He's usually really nice to me. Maybe it was the two women there, and he was showing off his power? I'm not sure.

Some possible responses here are:

  • You seem a little upset, are you okay?
  • Well, that's a little mean. Anyway...
  • I can see Jeff is his usual friendly self!

Scene 2 

I was wearing a disposable surgical cap. I never wear these, but I tried them on tonight. 

Jisselle: (Notices the cap)
Me: You like the cap?
Jisselle: Yea, it's cute. (says some stuff).  It's very third-wave. (Paraphrased, but what stood out was the term "third-wave")

I was confused for a minute, because I didn't know what third-wave meant. But after having searched it on urban dictionary, I now think that this was a back-handed compliment.

Some possible responses here are:

  • What do you mean by that? (surfacing the microaggression)

Scene 3

This one is a bit long. But it's one I need to reflect a lot on. It's gonna take some discipline to flesh out:

Me and Roxanne are in the nursing station and we have some downtime. And I remember someone mentioning she got her bloodwork done, implying something was wrong during yesterday's shift for her and she needed to get checked out.

Me: Hey are you okay, I heard something went wrong yesterday?
Roxanne: Yea why, what do you mean? What did you hear? (She's visibly flustered, trying to figure out what someone said about her)
Me: Never mind... that's good.
Roxanne: No!! John, you can't just say that.

*Girls get really flustered when you leave them hanging like this. I didn't even do it to fluster her, I was just concerned and didn't want to reveal what I overheard. *

Roxanne: So... John, how were your days off? What did you do?
Me: Oh man, if I had the time to tell you I would!
(I usually say, "nothing" or something boring - but I got feedback that it implies I have nothing going on)
Roxanne: We have all the time
Me: I've been working on stuff on the side.
Roxanne: Like....
Me: I don't really like to talk about my personal life.

(She then frames me as being vague here.... on one hand, I want to be vague, since I don't want to just share my personal life when she hasn't done the same. I was taught that the less people know where I am coming from, the better). But I could have executed it better, since it did come across as a bit vague and avoidant.

Then we join another nurse, and it becomes a 3 set of people. 2 female nurses and myself.

Roxanne: Hey Rachel, John here is being his weird self again.
Rachel: That's just John though. He's like that sometimes. It's okay.
John: I'm the weirdest ever. I'm the weirdest guy ever. Anyway...

This was microaggressions. I should have said, "What do you mean by that?" or "That's a bit mean, anyway". I kind of repeated myself here with the agree and exaggerate. Could have been done better, with better composure.

The two of them, proceed to tag team, and question the previous statements I made about Roxanne and whether she was okay (and how I left her hanging with that) and not wanting to talk about my personal life. They go meta on me, and try to teach me a lesson about how they are my co-workers and I should feel okay sharing my life with them. And that I shouldn't leave people hanging.

So they pry with more questions about "What did you do on your days off". They accuse me of being vague.

Me: I've been working on stuff on the side. And what do you mean by vague, I'm answering all your questions!
Roxanne: You are answering them, but you're not.
Rachel: Yeah John! So... what did you do on your days off...
Me: Okay, uh... Oh, here... since you asked, I've been flipping stuff on the side. Going to thrift stores, buying stuff, and reselling them. But it's kinda hard to sell things online.
Rachel and Roxanne: Okay, where do you go?
Me: I don't know, places like value village.

I went on the defensive here, and started explaining myself. I can see they took on the judge role here.


I will stop here, this post is long, and I don't want it to get too sloppy. There were some good points during this rotation too.

Something I did great on:

I stood my ground against 4-5 police officers aggressively asking me questions and making demands of me. I answered them assertively, and with surprising calmness.
My colleagues watched the event unfold and were saying afterwards, "wow you handled that really well" and "they were pretty aggressive there". The girls were talking about it amongst each other.
I pleasantly surprised myself there!


Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Hey JM,

congrats on starting a journal. You rock and are going to rock even more!

Some feed-back in addition to the great ones you already got.

It’s a great ideas to list your flaws, weaknesses, addictions or insecurities. I think it’s the first step. It allows you to see where you currently are without lying to yourself. I do the same. It also helps you to focus on priority issues and solve them one by one. So I would do a list (and keep it private) and structure it like the one above. Then you can pick 1-5 of these that you want to focus on and turn them into your yearly goals (not more than 5, it’s a lot) in your case, I would focus on these 4

1. Self-esteem/self-love: it’s foundational and will affect everything around you

2. Nicotine addiction: this will give you tons of self-confidence and self-esteem. I stopped smoking and can share with you how I did it if you want.

3. Social skills and social life: this will give you more happiness and confidence to tackle other things.

4. Developing a growth mindset: this will affect all parts of your life.

Are you interested in me elaborating on these topics?

I’ll do my best to read more thoroughly your journal to give you more tailored feed-backs. Gotta clean the old flat now!