Improve yourself the same way Google (stalks and) improves your photos without asking

My 2019 Personal Development Endeavour, Experience, and Progress (Part 2 of 2)


This is a continuation of: My 2019 Personal Development Endeavour, Experience, and Progress (Part 1 of 2). Please take a read on that so you know what I’m talking about here 🙂

Health (Fitness and Appearance)

Alright, let’s get right to it: One of the things I also consciously decided on what to improve my fitness. I’ve been on this on a so-so level before. When I was in university I had some free time so I could afford to go to the gym several times a week. Now that you’re older, not so much. I was never the type of person to go to the gym to look good. Well, I mean I did, but just so I’m not excessively fat. I’ve never aspired to have “washboard abs” before.

Throughout the years, I’ve also worked out just enough to perform on my activities. For example I worked out (relatively) more when I got into futbol and snowboarding (both require legs, core, and cardio) but I wasn’t pushing myself excessively. I then realized that maybe I should push myself to the best of my abilities when it comes to physical fitness. I’ve never experienced this before and I’ve never aimed nor worked for a toned/ripped body. Looking at it, there’s nothing to lose here: I look good, I feel good, I satisfy a curiosity, and I become healthier than ever. And so I decided! WE’RE DOING THIS. WE RIDE AT DAWN ITCHES.

Note there are two big things to mention here: first and foremost, changing my diet and eating habits were a big proponent to this. In fact, it’s a prerequisite I’d say. If it weren’t for that, I’d be slower and less fit that I’d be extra demotivated in continuing. Just changing your eating habits alone make a big difference and you can see results even before you hop in the gym. This was a stepping stone in encouraging me to go to the next step.

The second point is…actually it’s a separate topic in itself and it connects to this next one!

Appearance + Presentation

Not going to lie, there’s a shallow part of me that was curious “how does it feel to look good that women possibly checking you out people are looking at you for a change?”. Like I said, I’ve never been that person nor have I aimed for that. Substantially, I didn’t want to be those people who Ed Sheeran sings about. But I’m wiser, older, more confident, and secure about myself so that concern’s pretty much gone. So why not right?

On a more serious and subconscious note, appearance and presentation are important that’s why I wrote this. Yes, looks contribute to dating but it also affects your professional, social, societal lives. When a person sees you, a fit person who dresses well, there are two things happening: first they take in and enjoy the spectacle that you’re offering. The second is, there’s a couple of subconscious things that run through people’s heads:

  • This person’s fit, he must be regimented/committed and that’s good for me because X
  • This person puts an effort to dressing for me, that shows…~well effort. He’s taking this interaction seriously.
  • (for dating) This person dresses well, this indirectly tells me that he is economically well-off

Basically there’s a lot of assessment and “sizing” that happens at the first few glances of people seeing you, whether it’s dating or otherwise. You can still convey those messages later on without having to resort to looks and appearance (and no lie, this is what I’ve been doing for the longest time), but you’re just making it difficult for yourself.

Imagine if you have a minute to pitch an idea to an investor, you’d be burning through that minute easily just trying to convey the fact that “I’m trustworthy” when you could’ve just presented yourself better, convey that in 0.5 seconds and use the rest of the time to pitch the solution to the problem you’re trying to solve. Right?

I made my physique look better (“after” photos coming hopefully soon lol), I dressed better, I improved posture and how I communicate, I even reno’d my photo game: everything – social media, linkedin, dating profiles, and even in this site. Basically everywhere I have photos of my face lol

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”

-A bunch of successful people


I also had to re-engineering my social life. It can be further sub-divided into three categories. Here:


I had a crazy 2019 work-wise. I had two 3-month projects (back-to-back) that were very stressful. Thanks in part to my time management skills, I timed it so that I get to have a trip right after that 6-month sprint. That was my Argentina/Uruguay trip.

I had the trip and of course hands down I had fun. As always, it makes me think: “Live life or career growth?!” hahaha! That’s my personal never-ending dilemma. It always resurface after trips lol.

Anyways, I had the trip, had fun, went home and realized: I spend too much time in front of screens. It doesn’t help that that’s my job lol. You work with screens, you go home, you also unwind with screens. It’s just…ugh. It’s either you realized this already or you WILL realize it. Inversely proportional to it is that I realize that I spend way less time with actual people. This was big and this event was historic for me for a couple of reasons:

  • It makes you think if this is really what you want in life (you know, healthy amount of self-doubt 🙂 )
  • If so, how are you going to handle this? Like yes sure, software development builds wonders, but it sure as hell doesn’t improve your human/soft/leadership skills. So how are you going to scale Dan?
  • Technology is unintentionally hurting my social/personal life
  • Last I checked, softwares don’t feed people. It doesn’t let you live life, but the full/best version of you. So…

Maybe this is because I watch too much Designated Survivor and the unshakeable Tom Kirkman lol. But ultimately, I’m realizing that I spent too much time excelling in my craft (and I don’t regret it) but I did miss a lot social knowledge, social….~social anything. So maybe it’s good to realize it now and maybe compensate and/or balance all these out.

My resolve in all of this? I’ve definitely been much more social. I make it a point to talk to people rather than talk to machines via code. This is applied to everything:

  • Work? Socialize, network, and participate. I get to know the business, operations, and I’m selling myself properly out there
  • Friends? Catch up and be a proper friend. Also I get to have updates on things I missed and things I should pay attention to.
  • Success? I can make web pages/apps look nicer for you or I can directly help people on more human things and actually make a difference in this world and make it a better place? I wonder what’s more gratifying…Ps, that’s also why this blog site exists.

Committing to the “high-value Me” and raising the bar

I’ve decided to not write this section…for now. The subheading is more than enough to give an idea already and I think it’s helpful for people to know that this is a point of improvement but I’ll refrain from further details for personal/privacy reasons.

People Audit

I agree to the idea that you are a reflection of the top 5 people around you. You are what your friends are. Don’t worry actual friends, there’s nothing wrong between us LOL. We’re all good! If you’re a fan on my blog site, you’d probably follow the similar pace of maturity I have, and you know that as you grow wiser, your circle of friends get smaller and smaller. Don’t fret, this is a good thing. You’re always left with the tried and true friend. You’ve probably experienced too disappearing from a friend’s storyline (actual), that’s also fine! You probably distanced away from each other because it wasn’t working out. That’s totally fine and natural!

So that’s what’s happening with me and I’m sure other millions of people. But on top of that, I’m a better judge of character than I was before. Before my problem was I’d sense “red flags” about people and I’d always excuse it.

E.g.: She’s this and that which is clearly messed up but she does X, so it’s alright.

It’s coming from an (overly) innocent personality and also having much success of giving people benefit of the doubt…people come through.

But I now realize everyone’s not like that. I also get reminded that some people intentionally do not want to change. Some people are not deserving of a second of your time and value. So now, I can clearly fucking see red flags like a bull and I run tf away the other direction. Yes I can use that time to help and make me and/or someone better, but I can give that to someone else more deserving. It’s a fact of life: there are toxic people in this world. It’s nobody’s but my responsibility to play minesweeper with these guys.

Admittedly, it’s also a tough realization that being “too nice” wastes so much time…in fact it WASTED so much of my time…ffs…omg those are times I’m never getting back…omfg…


I did a lot more and trust me 2019 was productively busy. I’m not going to list the rest though for a variety of reasons, but I’m just showing that if the two parts weren’t enough for you…boy did I do a lot more.


I attended to a lot of hard-hitting items in my life this year. It’s not just for this year. This will be perpetually ongoing. It’s also in my personality to constantly improve myself every time. As for duration, I was never a fan of those X-days challenge. Like seriously think about it. It’s either it wasn’t worth it enough of your time or you did it but after that fad is done, so does your action. That’s not what I(or you should) want. You want something long-term, something life-altering. Easy come easy go as they say.

I personally feel a lot of improvements and advantages already with these things I’ve done. I’ve reaped some of the benefits already, for most of it, I feel that I’m actually rolling up to better and bigger things. It won’t be long…

If you’re someone who has been aiming for bigger things in life no matter what those are, I hope you learned and gathered insight or at least motivation out of these two articles. It’s friggin tough and it takes time, but I’m here to show you it works. I’m not out of the tunnel yet but I can tell you from where I stand, I see the light. I also see strobe lights and I can feel thumping music so I can tell you there’s a celebration in the end. You have the reason for celebration. Deliver the package. Complete the story. Live life.