Korean YouTube vloggers who inspire(d) me

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It has been quite a long time since I started to use YouTube as one of the main sources for study and self-improvement. I can easily find quality content and I choose what I want to see further. I have used YouTube as a secondary study source even for exams (I got a 10 in my Philosophy exam thanks to the videos I watched to understand difficult philosophical principles that I didn’t understand well in class). Last year I started to search for Korean channels that could help me improve my Korean, and this is how I actually found out about minimalism. I could easily find very nice channels made by Korean housewives or single women, who shared their advice and experience on minimalism. The videos helped me learn a lot of things related to how to live a better life, and at the same time my Korean improved because I chose to watch original content which is very enjoyable, and it relates to the subjects I am interested in.

Since the beginning of 2020 I have kept on watching this kind of content, and lately I have also discovered Korean videos about gardening which I have a great interest in. At the same time, I have learnt Korean vocabulary related to gardening, housekeeping and so on. I am extremely grateful for the content created by these great people, and this is why I have decided to dedicate today’s post to the people who inspired me to become better in many areas. These are my personal perspectives and the scope of this post is only to express gratitude and to recommend nice content related to simple life and minimalism to people who are interested in these subjects.

꽃피는 산골 (read as Kkot pineun sangol, meaning The mountain valley where flowers bloom) is a channel about flowers, gardening, sustainable life and people living in harmony with nature). I have found this channel quite recently but I came to love it, not only because I learned a lot of things about gardening and cooking, but also because I feel so much at peace whenever I watch its content. The videos show the life of a Korean couple who live in a remote mountain area, working together in the garden and enjoying the fruits of nature and of their hard work. This is a channel about life that can be easily enjoyed when you slow down, when you understand the meaning of life and when you work with nature, not against it.

오느른onulun (meaning today but written phonetically in Korean) is a channel run by a Korean TV producer who bought a house in the countryside, and who learns to enjoy a simple and slow life while renovating her newly bought house. This is a channel I have only discovered this year but I came to love its content so much. I love how this 32 years old woman is brave enough to buy a house on her own and how she shows her experiences with living in the countryside, how she learns from scratch skills like gardening, how she shows her clumsiness as a natural human characteristic and how she gets to know the people in that region while asking for help, while trying to learn how to live simply and beautifully. A truly inspiring and healing journey.

냥숲nyangsoop (which could be translated as Cat forest) is one of my favorite channels. It shows the daily life of a Korean woman who lives in the countryside with her cat. I like how she makes everything look so simple and enjoyable. She cooks a lot, and I find myself inspired when it comes to cooking every time I watch her videos. I also like the way she made her small house extremely practical and cozy. Our house can become that Little Forest where we feel the most comfortable, a place that we can call home sweet home.

해그린달 haegreendal. This is one of the first Korean channels I started watching, and I fell in love with the content and with the storytelling of the videos. The videos are made by a Korean housewife and mom, and she often shows her daily life as a mom, recipes she enjoys cooking and so on. What I like the most about her videos is the way she arranges her videos, the way she films, how she tells the story of the video. I found myself interested in video editing thanks to her beautifully arranged content. I hope I can watch her work for a long time.

슛뚜sueddu. I really like this channel because the videos are neatly edited (I learned a lot from this YouTuber as well in this area), and the content is simple and very enjoyable. I also learned a lot about minimalism from these videos, and I love to see the evolution of this channel’s owner as a freelancer. Also I find inspiration and motivation whenever I watch the videos on this channel, so this one is a keeper.

Kimi Life and 키미 Kimi are two channels created by the same person, but they have similar content. The videos are mostly about cultivating vegetables and cooking with what we produce by ourselves. I learned a lot about Korean cooking from these vlogs, thus is always a pleasure to watch and learn. I love the opening of the videos on this channel, and I find the editing quite professional. The videos usually start with the view of the mountain village filmed with a drone. Absolutely beautiful and healing.

보통엄마jin (read as Bottong eomma Jin, meaning Ordinary mom, Jin) is a channel run by a mother of two boys and a woman who is very active and tries to live her life while being a mom and a wife. I find her videos very inspiring. I love how she makes efforts to be a good mom while taking care of herself. I remember watching her video where she decided to exercise in order to become healthier and she inspired me to do the same. I was ashamed that I made less efforts, even if I had not a husband or kids who could have made things a little more difficult. Inspired by her I also started to exercise, and I lost 6 kg that year. I also learned a lot about cleaning in a sustainable way and I gave up along the way on many chemical and beauty products that are harmful for us and for the environment.

Who would have thought that one day I would find my biggest passion, Korean, and that that passion would bring the best in me? One journey leads to another. Every decision that we make leads us to live our life in a way or another. Every decision leads to another. Every little thing that we do connects to something that we will do in the future. In my case, through my passion for Korean I got to know about minimalism and to be inspired to practice it, and later on, through minimalism I got to practice journaling, and through journaling I got to practice meditation. These small dots connected and created a better me who is interested in personal growth and who will learn something new everyday.

Today I am grateful I got to write this post. I hope you find your inspiration like I found mine.

Stay inspired, and I’ll see you around.

Hard work is more important than talent

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There is no stronger ally than hard work and continuous practice when you want to achieve your goals. I believe that hard work never betrays us and great achievements are always the result of hard work. Albert Einstein said that Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work, Thomas Edison said that Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration and Liviu Rebreanu, a Romanian writer puts it this way: One quarter of talent and three quarters of hard work will barely make a masterpiece. They have proved they were right.

I already wrote about my passion about Korean language and Korean dramas. Actually, I was inspired to write this article while watching a Korean drama, Prison playbook. The series tells the story of a successful baseball player who was sentenced to 1 year in prison after he killed the guy who tried to rape his sister. The main character had already had a surgery after a car accident in his youth and he had received chemotherapy for stomach cancer. However he successfully passed all these trials and he practiced a lot and became an even better baseball player. While he is in prison he is stabbed in his shoulder by a cell inmate and he finds out that he won’t be able to play baseball. However, he practices a lot in prison and trains everyday and he discovers that he can use his other hand to throw the balls. He is the portrayal of a passionate man who works hard and fights for his dream. He never gives up, he tries to find another way even when it seems impossible.

Thus while watching the series with eyes wide open, I started to analyze my Korean learning journey. I remembered the beginning, I saw myself again in the study room trying to read the words without using romanization, I saw myself writing words on hundreds of pages, reading texts again and again in order to read faster and faster. I remembered how I cried every time I failed, every time I was disappointed in my results, every time I succeeded. I used to think that my efforts were not enough, that I was not good enough after all these years. I only thought about me who was still unprepared, me who was still far from being confident in this language, me who was still disappointed that I am not getting better. I forgot about me who studied even after work when I was already tired. I forgot about me who studied alone and tried to become better. I forgot about me who didn’t give up even if it was already so difficult. No wonder I could not see the results. When you don’t appreciate the efforts you made for your dream, you won’t be able to see the progress, no matter how small it might be.

The bigger one’s passion is, the bigger the efforts are. The more we sacrifice, the bigger the disappointment is when the results are not what we expected. Shouldn’t we pat our own shoulder more for not giving up, for continuing to work hard even when results are not what we expected? Shouldn’t we appreciate ourselves for being better than we were yesterday even if the step we took forward is hardly visible? Shouldn’t we be more grateful to us who worked so hard for what we love? It takes as much courage to give up as it takes to go on. It is always our choice to do one or the other.

As for me, I may not be the best learner, but I never wanted to be that. All I ever wanted was to never give up on learning Korean, on learning new languages, a hobby of mine, as you already know. I am doing that and that alone is great. I am still learning and studying hard. I have a passion that motivates me to work even more. Every step I take, every new word I learn, every page I fill with my thoughts in poor Korean is still an effort I make toward my goal. Who cares is not perfect? If it was perfect than I would stop learning and that would be more painful than advancing slowly.

It is hard to see that your progress is not matching the efforts you put into something you really like doing. But the satisfaction you feel when you see you finally got it cannot be described into words. I remember how proud I was when I realized I understand more Korean than I thought while watching dramas without English subtitles or even without Korean subtitles at all. I was so proud that I started crying like a baby. I was that happy and satisfied. When something is making you that happy, you know you must never give up on that thing. Continue doing it no matter how slowly you advance. One day you will be surprised by how much your efforts have flourished.

So keep learning, keep doing what makes you happy no matter what others say, no matter how hard it gets. You will get there someday.
Until then, stay positive and healthy and I’ll see you around.

The little things that matter

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Because we live in very difficult times, not losing our motivation and taking care of our mental health have become daily challenges. More than ever before, we are forced to make even bigger efforts in order to stay on track and keep doing what we usually do.

I myself have many days when I feel down and lose my motivation. However, it helps a lot to think that better days are yet to come. We must convince ourselves that everything will get better if we don’t naturally believe so. I like to apply the yin and yang principle especially when I find myself in difficult moments. The bad times are only here to teach us something and to announce that better days are yet to come. There is no absolute good or bad here. In my case, this mentality helped me especially in the moments I wanted to give up. Maybe those good days I was expecting didn’t come when I wanted, but I like to believe they came when I needed. Just because I think this way, it felt easier many times.

Building a stronger and a more positive mentality is the key point when dealing with stressful situations, but it takes time and patience to get there. You can call it a personal training. You train yourself to become stronger and more prepared for when the problems hit you. You learn from others how to train yourself or you learn by yourself, from your own ups and downs. Either way is fine as long as it works for you.

It is strange that most of the times, when we are cornered and we feel everything is lost, we dont see any way of how we could handle a certain difficult situation, it is exactly the time we become the strongest, we focus with all our strength and we find the best solution. It is the preservation instinct within us and the efforts we made until that point in our life that gets the best out of us.

Talking about efforts, I am not saying that we should move the mountains every day. Most of the times, the little things we do every day matter more than moving a mountain once in a while. The power of habit is stronger than you think. Depending on what you want to achieve and on your personality, you can do small things at a time and step by step you will get there.

In my case, staying positive and motivated are extremely important and therefore extremely difficult. These two aspects are not only important for my mental health, but also for my personal development journey. Thus I put a lot of effort into making habits that I can keep and that can help me become more resilient and more focused on what really matters. These are the activities that I enjoy the most and the ones that help me deal with those bad days I was telling you about at the beginning. And they are helpful because I enjoy them. Make sure to find the ones that you enjoy the most too.

Not reading the corona news. Unless I need to be informed about some of the latest regulations, I don’t read the news about the virus anymore. I used to read the corona news very diligently. The result? Of course I couldn’t find the cure, instead I had to deal with anxiety and insomnia. Until I said stop and started focusing more on what I can do rather than stressing over things that I can’t control.

Journaling. This is definitely one activity that I enjoy and that helped me greatly with anxiety and stress. Journaling worked like counselling for me and I always encourage the people I know to try this method in order to organize their thoughts and to relieve stress. I also like to re-read my old journals because this way I can see how much I improved and what else I can improve when analyzing objectively. Also, journaling helps me detach from my problems. I don’t forget about problems, but at least I put them on paper so they won’t make a bigger fuss in my head. When you put your problems on paper, you will have a better view on them like you would if you could see yourself from outside.

Reading books out loud. I love reading books out loud, especially when I am alone because I can get as silly as I want and I can focus better. This activity is quiet healing for me because when I read out loud I put to sleep the noisy thoughts inside my head. It also helps with improving your pronunciation if you are practicing a new language.

Listening to music and singing out loud. Listening to music is extremely healing in my case because I have a special place for music in my heart. Music has been my strongest ally when I was studying and even when I wrote my dissertation. Singing is even stronger because it relieves stress like no other activity. No wonder Koreans love going to karaoke when they want to relieve stress. I couldn’t relate more.

Watching movies and Korean dramas. I am a big fan of Korean movies and dramas and I must say they are like headache pills when I don’t exaggerate :)) I feel refreshed and motivated even after watching 10 or 15 minutes of an episode. This method works without fail even after 10 years.

Clean the house. It might sound strange, but I find cleaning quiet healing. When I clean I feel like I also clean my mind from stressful thoughts. Also, cleaning is that physical activity that can actually stop me from overthinking. At the end, I win. I am refreshed and I live in a cleaner space.

Burning incense sticks. This method is very helpful when I have a bad mood. Nice smells are especially helpful for a better concentration, for relieving stress or when you simply want to change the atmosphere in your house. It is not only relaxing, but your house will also smell amazing.

Yoga. I started doing yoga almost at the same time I started journaling. I felt the need to move a bit while staying all day inside, but I didn’t like to move too much because I am quiet lazy when it comes to sports. Thus yoga was the solution to my problem and it was the best one. Yoga is extremely helpful for people who spend a lot of time standing in front of their monitors and it can also be fun when trying to find new poses.

Write to-do lists. I use this method daily in order to keep myself on track. It also helps me to stay motivated because I can visualize my goals and my results. I also like to set two bigger goals per month in order to better focus on every small step that will lead me to achieve those goals.

Write small motivational messages. I started using this method 2 or 3 months ago and I can say it is quiet efficient. I usually put a note with my motivation for a certain situation or period in time on my monitor so I can see it often.

These are the activities I enjoy doing in order to stay positive, motivated and productive throughout difficult times or when I get too lazy. These activities work like some sort of routine that helps me stay on track, but the good part is that I am also enjoying them. I feel extremely grateful that I have so many things that I like and that I find helpful. They are simple things and you might practice almost all of them in your daily life but maybe you don’t know yet how helpful they can be. Think about it. Think about all the things you like and might also help you stay positive and get over the difficult times in your life. Think about them and maybe even share them with me in the comments.

As always, stay healthy and positive and I’ll see you around.