3 actionable steps to help you fall asleep tonight.

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Tomorrow’s an important day.

You’re comfortable in bed, ready to rest and face a new week.

The realization slowly dawns — oh no.

You can’t fall asleep.

Since I started my master's program, I’ve been having had on and off troubles falling asleep. Usually around exam time. One of my greatest fears is the feeling at night when you know that it’ll be a fight to fall asleep.

It’s been like this my whole life.

I can’t shut my brain off. It just keeps replaying different anxieties, over and over again.

If you’ve ever experienced it, you’ll know what I…

My most important lessons after teaching for three years.

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After three years of teaching English, it still feels like day one.

Each day is an onslaught of new challenges. Sometimes it’s the material, sometimes the students, sometimes your own energy levels.

Often, the challenge lies in staying engaged even after repeating the same class, module, or unit over and over again.

Here are the key lessons I’ve learned along the way.

I hope they help you on your own teaching journeys.

1. You are the weather.

This concept from The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer changed my life.

In the classroom, the teacher is the weather. …

How walking 10,000 steps every day can boost your productivity.

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My right shoulder was killing me.

Like many of you, I spent the past year mindlessly scrolling Instagram since COVID-19 lockdowns began. It was Friday night, and I sat like soft pizza-dough. Bored and alone.

There was nothing to do in Toronto. We’d had 276 days of indoor-dining bans — the second-longest of any U.S. and Canadian city. I spent my days on the computer, and nights on my phone.

I lived life as a blob, and I hated it.

How Posidonius, Athenodorus Cananites, and Epictetus can help you navigate life’s chaos.

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I was always told, “The only constant thing is change.”

As a kid, I didn’t pay attention. Mom and dad would drop wisdom for no reason. I just kept playing computer games and thought it was one of those random sayings for old people.

After COVID-19, I realized my parents were right. Either they knew some truth to the world, or I’m now on the side of the elders.

Either way, 2020 was a rollercoaster year and 2021 might be even crazier. Uncertainty isn’t new. Chaos isn’t new. …

Spend money as a vote for the future you want, lean into your weirdness, and create with intention.

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Like many of you, I learned a lot about myself during COVID-19. Our relationship with the world changed. We grew more in one year than we had in the previous five.

Without the constant distractions of socializing, planning for future adventures, and being swept up in the daily grind, life forced me to confront my worst enemy — myself.

I freaked out back in March, wondering if we would end up in a horror movie-style global collapse. I felt angry that my plans suddenly vanished into ash. …

I turned 27 on Monday, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

That’s me!

Let’s jump right into it.

1. You’ll never figure “life” out.

As a kid, I always dreamed that one day, I’d “get it”. When I was finally a legitimate adult, I’d understand life. Surely the answers existed somewhere!

Someone must know the objectively best way to live life.


Every day, I stray further from God. I tried learning about Ethics and Philosophy in university for 4 years to figure it out. I read hundreds of books over the last 27 years in vain.

No answers. Just more questions.

And that’s ok.

2. Gratitude is the key.

The easiest way to have a good day is to start off being thankful…

Making mistakes is an important part of the learning process.

Illustration by Katherine Wong

As an English teacher, I have students from all over the world. Some students are about to start college or university in Canada. Others are in their 20s and 30s hoping to learn English to advance their careers and unlock new opportunities.

I’m lucky to help my students achieve their dreams.

Through my teaching career, I’ve seen students struggle with learning a new language. I’ve also seen other students level up quickly and enjoy the process.

I get it. I’ve always hated learning languages in school. I thought it was boring, and none of it was real or relevant to…

Jay Shetty’s #1 New York Times Bestseller, “Think Like a Monk” wasn’t what I expected.

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I thought Jay’s book would change my life.

Jay is one of the most viral content creators on the planet — On Purpose is the world’s #1 Health Podcast, and he’s got 7 billion YouTube views. I thought his book would teach me secret monk-techniques to live successfully and mindfully in today’s chaotic society. While the book is full of golden snippets, my three takeaways were unexpected.

Wherever you are in your life, you can live with purpose, and you don’t need to become a monk to do it.

Monks Have the Same Problems We Do, Just Monk-ified

I grew up adoring Paolo Coelho’s books on self-actualization and adventure-spirituality…

No more idols — You’re ready.

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I’m worried I’m a secret loser.

I look self-assured on the surface. I dance for no reason, and I speak publicly for a living. I masquerade as an independent thinker. Deep down, I’m terrified.

I always need to read one more article because I’m scared to contribute with my own writing.

You do it too, don’t you?

Being book-smart is easy. Follow the rules, keep track of what others say, and regurgitate them in new words. Isn’t that what we learned in school? Remix.

As the adage says,

“Stealing from one person is plagiarism. Stealing from many is research.”


JJ Wong

English teacher, language lover, and dancer. I write about learning languages, dance, and personal growth. http://jjwong.net I IG: thejjwong

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