21 Trains of Thoughts

“I think, therefore I am” – Rene Descartes


Hi! I am doing #21TrainsOfThoughts challenge. Basically, it is about what I make of the things happening to me, or what I learned on each day for 21 days. Wanna see my friends’? Check out Vivi’s and Mona’s

🙂 Read on and learn something..

Day 21 – Accepting the past, welcoming the future

Train of thoughts. It means a connection of ideas, from one leading to another. And the same goes for the experience we went through in life. Everything leads us somewhere with new experience, new people, etc.

Today is Sunday. And it’s the last day of this train ride. On this day and from the past 3 weeks, I learn that my life has always given me stuff to learn, so that I can be a better person. And though the past seems hurting me lot, I can learn a thing or two. It just takes some reflections. Having courage and faith to accept the past is helping too.

Then, there is the future. The thing I am anxious of. Yet, the future soon becomes the past too. And I can learn from it. So actually, even if the worst must happen, God will guide me through it. He teaches me with the plan He has for my future. (But please God, not the worst, ‘kay)

I too learn that having a partner that goes through the same thing with me makes me more responsible of this challenge and more appreciative of each day we went together. For that, I wholeheartedly thank you Vivi (violetasaragih.blogspot.co.id) for finishing this challenge very well. Although, at the beginning I felt she would having trouble writing while juggling through her projects, but actually I worried over nothing.

So yeah… All good things must come to an end. I am going to miss this challenge. I am going to miss reading Vivi’s #Learnedfrom and #MyTrainofThought. I am going to miss writing this. But I know, I can still ponder and be grateful of each day God had taught me with.

Soli Deo Gloria. Love you, God.

Day 20 – Becoming a professional

I am grateful to have the opportunity to see how professionals do their work. I was accompanying a couple of sound technicians installing our new mixer and repaired amplifier. We worked quiet a while; it took us almost 4 hours.

And one thing that taught me was how knowledgeable they are in their job. I admired how they solder wires, debug our church sound system, and adjust the equalizers. They reminded me of how I too want to be a software engineer who is artful and who could use my skill to help others.


Day 19 – Letting God lead my life

I am so excited to meet and talk with my Bou, Pastor Ida Turnip. One question that has been on my mind is whether choosing to live alone for the rest of my life is good or bad. And that I asked her.

You know what? Even before we started talking, I heard her replying to someone who asked what we were about to discuss, ‘He (she was referring to me), is going to ask me something, but isn’t the answer to it is God?’. Hah. As I wrote this, I remembered some jokes about God always being the right answer to everything, so whatever your question is, God must be the answer. :p

And for my question.. yes, I agreed with her about God’s will be done. About God’s plan is the best. About God leading our heart into what best for us. But on one condition that I must fulfill: I must keep my ego down, not depending on this limited understanding of mine (See Day 14).

In short, if you are going to ask me, comment on my choice to live alone. Just pray for me, please. Pray that I will be willing to let God take the lead of my life. That I will not let my emotion, my immature self lead the way. That whatever choice I make, I can be held responsible for it. Thank you.


Day 18 – Hacking growth

Ah. Today I didn’t learn any new concept about myself or relationship with others. So I just updated about a new business concept relating to startups, which is ‘Growth Hacking’. In my own definition, Growth Hacking is just marketing experiment on steroids under heavy testing.

One success growth hacking story is from Airbnb — hiring photographers to take photos of their clients’ houses so the houses look more inviting, leveraging on Craigslist API to give Airbnb’s users the ability to post their Airbnb listing to Craigslist as well. So yeah, basically it is marketing with more ideas and tech in it.

I wrote about this because today, we had a training on growth hacking. The speaker is a growth specialist in Bukalapak. In my opinion, his presentation is interesting and engaging.

A bit more on growth hacking, I said ‘heavy testing’ because you must take note of every possible data that is coming out from your experiment. More importantly, you must pay attention to some metrics: North-star metrics, Related metrics, Relevant metrics, and Impacted metrics. I will just explain a bit about north-star metrics here.

There is (and should be only) one North-star metric (NSM) in a company. It is a metric that fundamentally give you the signal whether a growth hacking idea lead to a positive growth or negative. Take Facebook’s NSM, which is Daily Active User (DAU). If for some reasons, changing the appearance of their Like button resulting in a decrease of DAU, it is likely that the experiment is not worth implementing further. I hope you got the idea.


Day 17 – Caring for those you love

My sister is sick. 😢

But in her sickness, she taught me something. She let me experience the feeling of caring for others.

I was about to give my sisters some cake that my friend brought for me from Surabaya. My sick sister, however, could not eat it. So I ended up taking back the cake with me to my kost.

A memorable moment today was when she asked me to massage her hands. I hadn’t thought of doing it before but the moment I did it, I felt.. relieved. I hardly could think of a way to care for someone except by giving them things. I know caring is not only limited to giving material stuff, but I never know what others want from me. Being asked to gently massage her hands is the thing I am grateful for today. Because it showed me that caring is also about giving our time, ourselves to those we love.

I hope I could be more sensitive to what others’ needs so I can care for them with more love, more feelings, not only with things.


Day 16 – Being a role model

I would never thought to write about role model here, let alone being one.

I am super excited to finally meet with Dharma, my roommate when I was in university for 3 and a half years. He’s having a vacation in Indonesia for one week or so. And today we met at Taman Anggrek Mall.

As usual, I talked about my ‘galau’ moments a lot. ‘:D

One thing struck me, was when he mentioned that I am his role model. If this was an anime, my face must have turned red. XD He told me how I inspired him to be more polite in talking to others. He also missed the late-night talks we did during university, saying that it’s difficult to find someone to share more than small talks.

Today made me more aware of how my life actually impacted a few other lives. That this life of mine, no matter how insignificant or depressing I thought it is, it could be a blessing to others. I could be a role model. And I want to keep it that way, God.


Day 15 – Taking time off, seeing greenery

I am in Bandung! And I must say, Bandung is a cool place, literally and metaphorically. In Bandung, I went to places with my cousin who’s studying there. How glad to have someone who knows the city with you.

I could ramble a lot of things I do in Bandung. Yet to keep the spirit of sharing the essence of what I learned on the day, I would share one thing. And that is the importance of having a break once in a while.

Despite of not planning anything, I got to visit Dusun Bambu, a quiet (not really, there are many local tourists too) and soothing tourism attraction full of greenery. I spent about half an hour just idling. Then, I realized. How grateful I am to have taken a time off from my work. I learned that this, the journey to Bandung, was what I have been longing for to keep my sanity. From here on, I will make sure to allocate several vacation period in between work. I want to enjoy this one life of mine 🙂


Day 14 – Leaning on the Lord, not on my understanding

Despite reading being a productive and fun hobby, sometimes reading the wrong books can have a bad influence. This I realized when I listened to today’s sermon. It talked about guarding one’s heart as it is the source of life.

I have given too much credit to the self-help books I have been reading, too much for what it is. Because I forget that those are books made by man, imperfect. Not only that, every man truly lives a different life to another man’s life. So not all advice shall be deemed true and applicable. And regretfully, I forget about the one Book that’s meant to really help us all through life. The Bible.

I realized I should have paid more attention to the quality of my Bible reading instead of giving myself more time to read random self-books. Thank you, God for reminding me this.


Day 13 – History and literature

Only recently I realized how significant history is in our life. Take us, programmers. Whenever there’s a bug in our program, we sieve through the activity log to find where it went wrong.

And the log is a form of literature, sort of. It’s really surprising that my work can be seen as an act of examining history through literature.


Day 12 – Time flies

I wonder how many people updated their blog/status only stating “Time flies”.

But it does feel like time’s going faster than ever for me too. Now it’s the 12th post already. But my to-dos seem like not getting any smaller.

Ok. Motivation is there. Now I need a plan.


Day 11 – A small improvement

Kaizen. It’s a Japanese principle where you keep improving how you do your work, even by small increments. They call it “Continuous improvement” in English.

I heard the term in my 3rd year of uni. I like the idea. I have always kept it as my principle of doing things; to keep me motivated with my work. And today I think I reaped some benefits of Kaizen.

I was told that the most recent feature that I developed has less bug, and less problems in it. But so you know, this feature is the 8th or 9th one I work on.

Can you call that Kaizen? I don’t know for sure. But I will keep improving on whatever I do.


Day 10 – Ask, and it shall be given to you

You see. Days like this that keep me amazed as well as puzzled by how God listen to our prayer, even though it doesn’t sound like us praying. I mean, come on God, yesterday I wrote I would try to do everything as if it’s for You, without asking for external motivation, but now you were giving me what I long for?

Well yeah I did put up some effort but, I know how it could not happen if God didn’t allow it to happen. Like, how my friend turned down my offer of eating apples together. Hmm… Thank You for the motivation, Lord. You do know me the best. I shall learn to ask and trust in You more often.

Having said that, I wish I could really know what God answer is to whether I should get married or not.

I am so sleepy..


Day 9 – In need of motivation


It’s only Tuesday but I have little to no motivation to do my work for the next week. Coupled with the WiFi kept disconnecting this afternoon, I felt so lazy to do anything at all and ended eating at 4PM.

Today is more of like a reflection upon something I considered a failure. Maybe it’s humane. Maybe it’s okay to rely on external motivation. But I wish I could do and present my work as if to God, and not to any human. Let’s try again tomorrow.


Day 8 – Being defensive

“Mic buat backing vokalnya dikencengin, dong“, blurted a friend when the church service was over yesterday (in English: Turn up the mic for the backing vocals!)

“Abang kenapa gak pake jas hujannya? Basah, lho, jaketnya”, my sister scolded me after seeing me in my NTU jacket going to her place. (in English: Why didn’t you put on the raincoat? Your jacket is getting wet, you know.)

What did I respond to those supposedly well advice? I snapped. I raised my voice. And only after I finished arguing, then I really think they mean well. And I realized, maybe I get too defensive sometimes.

I should have listened to what they want to say, and replied in a calm demeanor. I only think of what I think is right. I really have to change it.


Day 7 – Preventing ‘I am sad’ moment – 1

If you befriend me in a social media app, you likely have seen me posting some melancholic stuff. A song. An article. A video. It’s a medium for me to let out the sad feelings I keep within me.

But the level of gloom I am experiencing is increasing over the years and it takes more and more effort to eliminate or maintain those sad feelings. So in the spirit of the saying, ‘Lebih baik mencegah daripada mengobati‘, I’d rather find a way to prevent the prolonged depression disorder.

So I turn to the crowd. I somehow think, being somewhere with people who are focused on doing anything will keep the sorrowful feelings from piling up or swelling. Just like tonight, I chose to do my work at McDonald’s Kemang. And it’s very effective. I should have just gone to Kemang straight after church.


Day 6 – Avoiding ‘I forget’ moment – 1

Okay. Today’s lesson is practical. Cause I have two of the same careless whisper mistakes took place today. They happened many times before, sadly. What lesson, you ask?

To prepare or inform others of the preparation they need to make, one day before you need all the preps ready. Let’s take today as a case study.

My sister yesterday didn’t leave the STNK for me when I retrieved our motorbike from her kost. We agreed I would take the motorbike yesterday. And my mistake was that I didn’t remind her of it the evening on the day before. So this morning, despite the motorbike was in my kost, I went again to my sister’s to get the STNK.

So the next time I have a plan for tomorrow, I should think what should be prepared and where they should be to avoid giving excuses like ‘Oh, I forget’.


Day 5 – Wasting money on fakes

You think you can save money by buying cheap fake items but YOU DON’T. My fake Sony headphones broke this afternoon when it was working fine yesterday.


Lessons learned. Next headphones will cost me some fortune but it’s okay, they will be the last one I buy (I hope).

Oh, and thank God for many ‘lucky moments’ today. 🙂


Day 4 – Maintaining focus

I like doing many things. Yet I cannot do many at once. In other words, I cannot multi-task. The end result of my multi-tasking effort is always a mess.

So I have to give my undivided attention to one thing from its inception to its end. Now the problem arises when I need to start doing, let say, my work, but I have other things I like to do at the time e.g. watching anime.

For some, they can stick to their priorities. As for me, priorities aren’t enough to shift my whole focus. And this week, I think I get what it takes to have a solid focus.

That is goal visualization.

My goal for this weekend is to enjoy an art showcase of the Simalungun tribe without worrying about work. I am often a bit anxious during the weekend. Because of it, I only need to imagine the opposite of what I often think and set it as a goal.

Given a clear picture of my short-term goal, the urge and willpower to stay focused at work becomes much stronger. Maybe I should try setting a goal for my weekend for next week too.


Day 3 – Hoping in others

I am done with hoping in other person. We can tell others we are expecting something but I prefer not to put my hope in them. Guess what? They are humans. Flawed. Forgetful. Unreliable.

It’s a sad fact. That is out of 7 billion people living on Earth, no one whom you could reliably place your hope on.

Gladly, I believe in God. He is perfect. He gives only the best to His children, to His own. I live in Him, and He is in me. Thank goodness I can still put my hope in Him, in spite of others disappointing me.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” – Lamentations 3 : 24


Day 2 – Learning new stuff

I love to learn everything new. New technique. New sport. New way of doing this and that.

“Let’s learn this stuff because, who knows it might benefit us later”, said our IT trainer.

The old Arga would totally agree with that and start learning everything about it, but we might not need that. We have limited time.

A cool friend, who started his own startup, told me this, “I just learn whatever important and whenever there’s a use for it. There’s simply too much to take if you want to learn everything.”

And from then on, I take learning easy. One important subject at a time.


Day 1 – Admitting loneliness

“Everyone is unique”. Can we agree on that?

“I am lonely, and no one can understand me”. How much do you agree with this sentence?

I am just wondering how many people out there are lonely and whether they are admitting it or not.

Aren’t we living by ourselves throughout our lives? Alone. That there’s no one who could truly understand what we are going through, how much the past had affected us, or why we are anxious to talk to others.

People gone through different life, having different perspectives. Looking for someone who would understand us wholly is almost certainly futile. And that makes me feel …