Tag Archive: five

Five Guidelines for the New Year

Happy 2012!!!!

So, I wanted to kick off this year on a high note by chronicling some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten.

1. Know thyself.

Uttered by the famed sage Socrates as the definition of wisdom, knowing oneself is the key to why we are all here.  Life is a game in which you first figure out who you are, and then launch yourself into the equally daunting task of figuring out who you’re meant to be.   There is nothing to be gained in forcing yourself to be who you think you should be if you’re really not.  It seems like it would be an easy thing, but truth be told, there are some voices that are louder than our own, and tuning them out is not easy.

2. Good ideas are fleeting- start on them as soon as possible.

Paraphrased from the John C. Maxwell book in my bathroom, it bears notice that most good ideas never come to fruition simply because people never get around to following through on them.  It happened to da Vinci, it happened to Clinton, and it has happened to me.  If you have a great idea, take the first step immediately or plan a time to do it.  It may change your life, or someone else’s.

3. If it can be done in less than one minute, do it now.

This one is a real game changer when put into practice.  It is at least fifty percent of the literature available on time management.  This simple idea will revolutionize your home, organizational skills, relationships, finances—no kidding.  Try it.  It’s one of the best things I’ve EVER heard—I really can’t over-sell this one.

4. You can do anything for fifteen minutes/You can do anything fifteen minutes at a time.

Some people will not notice the difference between these two ideas.  The first one means that anything in this world that is not fatal can be tolerated for a set amount of time.  The second is more poignant.  Anything in this world can be broken up and managed in fifteen minute intervals.  You want to find the secret to anything you want in life?  Anything impossible or overwhelming is insultingly easy once broken into fifteen minute bites.

5.  Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

This one is near and dear to my heart—as a perfectionist, I have actually sacrificed getting things done at all for the sake of doing them perfectly.  I have accomplished a fraction of what I deserve or could have achieved because of fear and timing—which is all perfectionism really is.  But I recognize that at this point in my life, bigger and bigger opportunities are slipping away because I am afraid of not pursing them the right way.  The fact is, in life, the only way to pursue anything is by laying it all out there—by not being afraid to look stupid and embracing the fact that you could completely fudge it all up.

These are the things that I’m keeping in mind as I launch into my 2012.  I am going to take chances, make changes, stop being perfect, fuck stuff up, be a little irresponsible, and basically, enjoy what it is to be twenty-two in New York City.  I’ve always loved the fact that people saw me as responsible—and I am.  I know that there’s only so far from that I will go.  But I want to start enjoying my life and stop trying to be everything to everyone.  I want to let my hair down and take chances, and most of all, stop giving a crap what everyone thinks of me.  And you know what?  I think that in doing so, I would actually be happier and ultimately more likeable.

So this year, I chase my own dreams, and my own happiness.  Even if I make a little mess along the way.

Photo courtesy of MusicThinkTank.com.


I’ve noticed in my quest to determine what exactly it is that professional writers do that there is a growing call for writers to compose top five, ten, and fifteen lists. Never in my life did I believe that I would see this as a legitimized genre of writing. Top five lists? Professionally? I find myself alternately amused and consumed with fear by the very idea.

The top five list, as well as the top ten and fifteen lists and its myriad other manifestations, has long held a place in our culture. It is a short but effective means of communicating what items are important (as in, Top 25 Things Never To Do In Front of a Bear,) as well as which things are unimportant, (such as Top 5 Reasons To Watch The Jersey Shore And Immediately Gouge Your Eyes Out), as well as help our society develop in the coming age (Top 101 Reasons To Send Allaya All Of Your Money, and a stamped envelope).

Do I think that it is a full time endeavor, an art form for the dying breed of literary professionals? Eh, no.

Nevertheless, as a self-proclaimed intrepid explorer of the written word in all of its natural habitats, I will add my name to the list of professional writers boasting a list somewhere in their anthologies.

For someone, somewhere, is paying people to do this.

So here we are. Prepare to witness the making of history and the coming of worlds as I make the most minor level of commitment to this undertaking: the top five list.


Allaya’s Super Awesome Top Five List That Propels Her Into The Status And Commensurate Experience Of A Professional Writer

Top Five Words That I Can’t Live Without

1. Definitely. Part of Speech: adverb, interjection. Generally used to sprinkle another layer of sincerity and emphasis into a sentence, as in, “I definitely have no intention of walking to Ohio,” or, more commonly, “Anyone who expects me to walk to Ohio is definitely an idiot.”

2. Sarcasm. Part of Speech: noun, also see way of life. Not typically used as part of a sentence, however, employed frequently as an efficient and succinct means of communicating one’s innermost feelings to another person, particularly one with a demonstrated lack of mental competence. i.e.: “Good job walking into that wall there, buddy. Proud of you.”

3. Book. Part of Speech: noun, verb. A god-like, powerful, and usually inexpensive item with an ability to make you feel, say and do things completely disproportionate to its size, cost, or immediate relevance. May be used for entertainment, information, record-keeping, communication, fortune telling, and therapy.

4. Sister. Part of Speech: noun. A god-like, powerful, and usually inexpensive item with an ability to make you feel, say and do things completely disproportionate to its size, cost, or immediate relevance. Generally gives the best advice, hugs, and Christmas presents out of anyone that you will ever know. Treat well, and use as directed. Side effects may include arguing, missing clothes, twenty year grudges, feeling obligated to do things you’re not entirely sure you wanted to, death, and in rare cases, being tied to your peers with a jump rope.

5. Ineffable. Part of Speech: adjective. A word which generally means difficult or impossible to express, but which really means inherent cop-out of the English language to provide a word that accurately describes what you need it to, and complete absolution from your duty to locate and use such a word even if it does exist. See loophole. i.e.: “Although my book report is due today, I found the myriad feelings and ideas that emerged from such close scrutiny to be completely ineffable, so I simply wrote that word five hundred times. Upon seeing this, my teacher’s fury was ineffable, so she chose to express that by giving me an eff.”

So Tuesday night, I went to the movies to take advantage of my free Optimum tickets, and I saw “Black Swan,” starring Natalie Portman. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the movie, Black Swan tells the story of Nina Sayers, an extremely talented, yet tightly wound ballet dancer with an overprotective, overbearing mother. The film is absolutely wonderful, and I highly recommend seeing it. I was so impressed by the acting, and the parallel stories of Nina and the Swan of Tchaikovsky’s classically beautiful ballet are a perfect marriage, conveying one seamless tale. The movie incorporates several different themes and makes use of strong visual imagery and a creative, yet moving score to fully enthrall the viewer, and it’s well-executed, though somewhat abrupt ending, leaves you staring at the screen, hoping for another flash into the cinematic landscape of Nina’s world. Although I can generally find a reason to pick apart any film, Black Swan was impeccable. It is a perfect example of what a well told, well-crafted story should look like. I am very careful not to give anything away here; just know that you should run, not walk, to check out this film. There is definitely something in the film for everyone, whether it is the brilliantly choreographed dances, the overall visual appeal of the film, Natalie Portman’s fantastic and visceral performance, or a particularly hot onscreen kiss. Either way, prepare to be talking about this one for weeks.

Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself at the official site.

Anyway, I’m off to the DMV. Share the list (but not without telling me first), enjoy the movie, and happy trails: