Midyear Re-Set

It’s already June 1st. Time is passing by faster than I thought. I still don’t feel 100% comfortable on getting a good GMAT score so I decided to do a 2 month plan to focus just on the GMAT. The goal is to retake the test by August so that I have time to retake it if I’m not satisfied with my score. I plan to apply to schools this year. I narrowed down my list of schools to 8. I will apply to 4 of them via the consortium and the other 4 independently. The goal is to apply for round 1 for all of them all depending on the GMAT score outcome. I’ll do another post speaking about which schools I chose and how I came to pick them.

MLT Update

So I was not able to get the minimum score needed to enter the MLT MBA Prep 2015 class. There, I said it. It took me a while to admit that defeat. I think it’s the reason I’ve lost motivation to keep writing, but I did not start this blog to let failures overwhelm me. I started it to get past those failures and continue to grow.  Luckily, I was able to persuade my way into the 2016 class. However, now I have to show a higher GMAT score by October 2014.

To achieve that goal, I’ve been attending a weekly GMAT prep class at my corporate office. Last Tuesday was the last day of class. The instructor was really good and having the structure of the class helped me stay on track with studying. The weeks sure flew by. I was able to keep up with the homework for the most part, but towards the last 3 weeks, life started getting in the way. My goal now is to finish all of the homework assigned and retake the test in June. 

Wish me luck!


On Finding Your Passions

I wake up at 6am.
I work out for 30 minutes.
I go to work for the entire day.
I get on the train back home.
I read a book.
I study for the GMAT.
I spend time with my husband.
I go to sleep.
On any given day, I am at the board meeting of one of the 3 organizations I serve.
If it’s Tuesday, I am at the Manhattan GMAT class.
If it’s Saturday, I am at the Philosophy class.
If it’s Sunday, I spend time with my family.
I start all over again, the next morning/week.

My schedule is packed to say the least. But within all of that, and I firmly believe, because of all the things that I do, I was able to find my calling. It came to me while reading “The Worldly Philosophers”, a book I found at the Philosophy school. Reading in the middle of a busy train ride, my heart told me what I should pursue. The beauty of it is that my passion has nothing to do with the book I was reading and it was not something that I was not actively seeking to find. I was just unwinding after a hectic day at work with an interesting book.

People find what their passions early on in life, but life and ‘education’ get in the way of their intended path. In High School I wanted to be a novelist, a theologian and a psychologist.

Why a novelist? I have a great passion for reading that started when my cousin rented books outside of her home. I had my own personal library, free of charge. At 14 years old, my mother moved right across the street from the local public library. I used to spend entire afternoons browsing the shelves. I loved reading both fiction books and non-fiction. I was able to learn a lot from both. So as a child, I also wanted to one day write one of those books.

Why a theologian? I have a very curious mind. I am always questioning and looking for answers. I was the child that was told that I ask too many questions. Even to this day, I still have that child like outlook on life. I had the great opportunity of attending a high school where only international students were allowed. A child in a NYC school is immediately exposed to various cultures and religions, but the fact that my school was so small and that we were all immigrants, made it easier for students to connect and share their culture. I grew up with a catholic mother, who never attended church, and a protestant grandmother who took me to church every Sunday. My family had a very progressive view of religion. My mother let me study with the Jehova’s Witnesses. I spend many Saturdays studying the Bible with them. My mother also let me study with the Mormons, and I learned all I could about Islam and Hinduism from my friends at school. My mother’s view on religion was very simple, as long as I was learning about god, she did not mind which religion I was learning about. One Saturday afternoon, I event attended a synagogue. I was learning as much as possible, and wanted to keep on learning. Hence why I wanted to be a theologian.

Why a psychologist? I love helping people. I also had a very difficult childhood, where I was separated from both my mother and father and at times did not have enough money to eat. I had the mentality of a typical adolescent; I questioned life; why do I hurt so much? How can I stop the pain? Most importantly, how can I help others with their pain? I knew then that through psychology, I might be able to find some of those answers.

Then came real life, I studied economics in college and pursued a career in Wall Street. How does that relate to all of my high school aspirations? How can I get back to that? As Steve Jobs said in his speech to the graduating class of Stanford University ‘you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards’. I determined that day on the train that it’s not too late to pursue my dreams and that I can still do that even if I had a different training. I immediately took out my notebook and started writing down my thoughts. First, I had to find why I really wanted to do those 3 things. What really attracted them to me? What traits can I find that I can use now to pursue something else? Creativity. Curiosity. Heart. Today, I want to be a writer, an economist and philanthropist.

Writer – I still have the dream of one day seeing my name on a library bookshelf. Writing is a powerful medium. I can express my ideas through writing and hopefully positively impact someone’s life. Today, I’m not interested in non-fiction writing, although I wrote a few short stories in high school. I would like to write about the things I learn along my life’s journey, as I do already via this blog. But most importantly, I would like to immerse myself in studying a field and present a new unique viewpoint or add to the literature on it. Which leads me to my second passion.

Economist – I initially chose this field, not because it would lead me to Wall Street and to earning a high salary, but because I found its founding principles inherently interesting. I loved the power the market has on every section of a person’s life and how one can use that to ones advantage. I loved studying how people make decisions and I’ve applied many of the principles learned to my daily life. Which finally leads me my last passion.

Philanthropist – I cannot help people with their emotional troubles, as I did not study psychology, but I can help them with their economic problems, which might lead them to have better emotional lives. Through philanthropy, I can make an impact on people’s life and use my passion for helping people.

I found what I love. I would like to combine my three passions, writing, economics and philanthropy to help people. I can do that by working in economic development, social enterprise or leading a non-profit organization. The training I will receive through a MBA will better equip me to do this successfully.

Jobs couldn’t have said it any better: ‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.’

Every accomplis…

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

This is certainly the year of “Accomplishment” for me. In a few weeks I can proudly say that I am an  MLT MBA Prep 2015 Fellow! 

Why in a few weeks? I still need to take the GMAT and get the minimum score of 500 required to enter the MLT Prep 2015 program. I’m in full GMAT study mode right now, so I have not been posting as much on this blog and missed two Philosophy Works lessons. Ironically, one of those lessons is titled “what You Give Your Attention to Grows”. Right now, I’m giving my full attention to the GMAT in hopes of growing my score.

I’ll be back on a regular schedule soon and will keep you posted on my MLT journey. Wish me luck!

Philosophy Works Week 3 – Waking up to New Knowledge


This week’s theme, awakening, really shows me how much I needed this class. I’m so glad that this year I decided to stop postponing all the things I said I’d do and took the plunge and enrolled in this class.

Today, the tutor reviewed our practice of “your word is your bond”. Most would think that this means that if we promise something to someone, we must accomplish it, but this can also mean a promise to ourselves.

I’m taking this class with my brother. This week, he could not join me, so I was late to the class. I say that because I was never late before because I kept my word to meet my brother at the train station at a certain time. Today, I was not accountable to him, just me, so I lost track of time and as a result was 15 minutes late to class. I broke my promise to myself to be at the class on time. By postponing and procrastinating, I did not keep my word.

Applying the meaning of “your word is your bond” to personal commitments became liberating to me. I usually set goals for myself and then feel guilty when I do not do them. Now I think of myself as another commitment that I must not break. It has made keeping my goals easier. Instead of telling myself a million excuses of why I should not do something, I can immediately take action and not feel guilty later for not accomplishing what I set out to do.

The tutor also reviewed the levels of awareness and brought to our attention when we are actually ‘awake’. In my view, being truly awake is doing things with intention, living in the moment and appreciating the now. Not looking at the past or the future. This does not mean that we do not need to plan for the future but that we learn to be in the present, and are practicing ‘purposeful action’.

We were given an additional exercise to practice this week, “whatever or whoever is in front of you is your teacher”. It should be interesting to practice this one this week.

What about you? When do you feel most awake?

February Challenge: 28 Days of Pilates


I learned a lot with my 30 Day Smoothie Challenge. I want to continue to build discipline, so I will keep doing these monthly challenges along with my other responsibilities.

Luckily, the challenges I’m choosing are not very time consuming. This month, I signed up for the “28 Days of Pilates” challenge done by Robin the creator of The Balance Life. I’m doing 5 minutes of Pilates a day with the videos posted by Robin.

Doing Pilates for 5 minutes in the morning is the best way to start the day. I wake up with energy and happy because I have something to look forward to. Today is day 4 and I have not had any trouble keeping up. Now, instead of snoozing for 30 minutes, I wake up and do something positive for me. I was even more excited to hear from a Facebook friend that my posts of healthy meals and fitness ideas are inspiring her to live a healthier life.

My hope is that you also get inspired by my posts to make positive changes in your life.

I will soon run out of Ideas on which challenges to do next, so please leave your suggestions in the comments section.

30 Day Smoothie Challenge – Complete


I’m happy to say that I finished my 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge from Simple Green Smoothies. During the past 30 days, I learned more than just making smoothie recipes.

I learned that if I am determined to do something I will do it.

I learned that sometimes if all the ingredients are not in place, you don’t have to give up the pursuit of your goals,”done is better than perfect”.

I learned that you can accomplish what you want if you really want it bad enough and are true to yourself when you set the intention to do something.

I definitely came out a better person from this challenge, and I’m looking forward to what February brings.

What do you guys think? What have you learned from any challenges that you have set for yourself?

Finding The Wisdom Within and Becoming Aware

I decided to start this year with the intention of becoming a better version of myself and finally doing the many things I always wanted to do but found a way to put off. It seems that the universe was listening because I saw a poster for the Philosophy Works class offered for only $10 as a gift to celebrate their 50th year anniversary in New York. The class promises to help you find inner happiness, wisdom and strength.
I’ve tried to take this class for the past 3 years and have always put it off. There was really no reason to, as the course was only $90 for 10 sessions. I always had an excuse, either I was too busy with work, my volunteering and exercise at night, or I’d just simply forget to sign up for the next time the class was offered.When I saw the class being offered for $10 dollar, I could not put any more excuses. Not even the fact that I’m currently studying for my GMAT and that I’m now writing this blog and that takes me some time during the week. Additionally, I thought it’d be a great idea to write about what I learned in the class in this blog. Writing about the teachings, will help me solidify them in my mind and really help me put them into ‘practice’. That is the purpose of the school, to practice practical philosophy. To learn a little about all the greats from various disciplines, but take what is learned and apply to our lives to make it better.

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.”  – Henry David Thoreau Walden, 1854

The first class “The Wisdom Within” took place last week. At the beginning of class, the tutor asked us why we came here. I think the quote by Thoreau pretty much sums up why I decided to take this class. I love seeking knowledge and applying everything I learn. This is a great quality, but at the same time it can be very dangerous.
We spent some time discussing what wisdom is. The root of the word philosophy is not simply but the combination of “love” and “wisdom”. It was good to learn that wisdom is within us, we only have to look for it. At the end of the class, the tutor gave us two exercises to put into practice during the week to be discussed at the next class. The first one is asking yourself the question “what would a wise one do?” whenever we feel like we need to come to a hard decision.
The second practice given was “the exercise”. This was a guided meditation to be done for at least two minutes during the day that will help us come to the present by being aware of our surroundings, specifically, our five senses. The exercise felt a lot like to me the last five minutes of yoga class when we are in savasana pose. We spent the first hour of the second class, “Levels of Awareness”, discussing “the exercise”. Did we make time to practice it? How did we feel? How did it help us become more present? I personally had a hard time practicing the exercise. As the teacher mentioned in class, my cup is too full. Meaning, my head is full of running thoughts, and it makes it hard for me to practice.
The tutor also introduced us to the principle, “your word is your bond”. Which to me means, if you say you are going to do something, you must do it. I said I will write on this blog, so I will continue to do it. I said I will practice the concepts given in class, so thinking about this principle will help me do it. I may not be able to be compliant all of the time, but this is the year when I am living an examined life and will put into practice what I say I will do.

“Done is Better…

“Done is Better than Perfect.”

Who would have thought that starting a 30 day smoothie challenge will actually remind me of my purpose to ‘participate’. The quote “done is better than perfect” came to my mind this past week when I didn’t have the right ingredients to do my smoothies. The old me would have just given up and not have done the smoothie, but knowing that I had challenged myself to drink a smoothie daily, I had to work with I had and make the best of it. Instead of giving up, I made my own smoothie recipe and drank away satisfied that I had accomplished my goal and learned a lesson too. Trying to control everything and aiming for perfection only leads to major disappointment and paralysis and we need to know how to act with just the tools that we have been given, even if is not exactly what we were expecting.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Banana Berry Burst


This is Day 5 of the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge and it’s going great so far! Today’s recipe is “Banana Berry Burst”. It’s a mixture of spinach, bananas, blueberries, raspberries and almond milk. Mixing the spinach with the milk before adding the remaining ingredients definitely makes a smoother shake.

Yesterday, I had to switch the recipe for a day 2 recipe, since my banana’s were not ripe at the time. Yesterday’s smoothie, “Gorilla Punch”, was Kale based with banana, apple, almond milk, peanut butter and cocoa powder. I definitely used the wrong portion of Kale on my day 1 smoothie because this one was actually one of my favorites. It was delicious!

To good health!