Change begins within

Think sad thoughts and you will become sad. Think happy thoughts and you will be happy. Smile and you will feel elated. Place your hands on your hips and you will feel powerful. Repeat to yourself that you are handsome and you will soon believe it. Tell yourself that you can do anything, and your body will mobilize to make it happen.

The mind-body connection is powerful. We can fool ourselves into becoming our ideal selves by allowing our bodies or minds to take the lead. If we can harness this connection, we can achieve our ultimate desires.

Whether you begin with the mental or somatic pathway is besides the point.

The point is, change begins within.

Feed your mind

“Miss a meal if you have to, but don’t miss a book.” – Jim Rohn

Read a book.
Watch a documentary.
Talk to a stranger.
Travel to another country in real life,
Or scour the globe via Google Earth.
Wander a new space.
Research an interesting topic.
Fall down an internet rabbit hole.
Visit a museum.
Listen to your grandparents’ stories.
Explore a new route.
Experiment with a new recipe.

Follow your curiosities.
Expand your worldview.
Invite your friends to join you.

It will make you that much more interesting.

Forget the mass, impact the special few

There is great satisfaction in impacting others, even if it is one person.

As I am in the midst of building my marketing knowledge, I am learning that it is important to focus on the smallest viable market: the smallest group of people who you choose to serve. The idea is, if you obsessively try to understand and cater to these special few, they will voluntarily spread the word about your product or service as a result of the value they derive from you. This also allows marketers to create a stronger brand, community, and projects that they are proud of.

“The relentless pursuit of mass will make you boring, because mass means average, it means the center of the curve, it requires you to offend no one and satisfy everyone.” – Seth Godin, This is Marketing

I experienced this firsthand earlier today when I received my first blog comment from a stranger. I was surprised to see that he felt strongly enough about blog post, compelling him to leave a comment. This comment was not just any comment but one of great depth and vulnerability. The joy that I received from that one comment reminded me of why I write these blog posts.

By focusing on impacting a special few, you are able to provide value to those who want to hear what you have to say.

“We must begin with a worldview, and invite people who share that worldview to join us. ‘I made this’ is a very different statement than, ‘What do you want?'”

This points back to the old adage, “Quality over quantity.”

In a world that is convoluted by the “more”, focus on the “better”.

Focus on impacting the special few. 

Measures of success

I love reading other people’s annual reviews just as much as I love writing my own. One of my favorite to read is Bill Gates’. This excerpt in particular resonated with me:

Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.

Melinda has helped broaden my thinking on this point. So has Warren Buffett, who says his measure of success is, “Do the people you care about love you back?” I think that is about as good a metric as you will find.

Our measures are dependent on our age, values, circumstances, and definition of success. It is important to step back every so often to ask, “Do my actions align with my measures?”. Alignment can be achieved by simple adjustments in our focus and strategies.

On another note, I admire how human thinking shifts when we age to focus on the more meaningful, intangible aspects of life. It makes you remember that though we are different in many ways, there also have undeniable commonalities that connect us all.

Have faith, embrace the uncertainty | Note to Self

When you are working towards a goal that doesn’t have clear outcomes, it is easy to believe that your efforts do not matter.

However, whether you are starting a business, searching for a job, or waiting for results for a health test, we must have faith that things will work out.

“Trust who and what you are, and the universe will support you in miraculous ways.” – Alan Cohen

It is a simple mindset, but it can power us to trudge forward regardless of the situation. If you are like me, you often believe that you can will yourself into achieving any goal. However, these unique situations force us to relinquish our control and give ourselves to universe.

“Everything you want is coming. Relax and let the universe pick the timing and the way. You just need to trust what you want is coming, and watch how fast it comes.” – Abraham Hicks

All we can do is try our best, push ourselves to be better, maintain our integrity, and hope that the world will work in our favor.

No matter what happens, you will be alright.

Call your loved ones

As we grow older and more preoccupied with our own lives, it becomes more difficult to spend time with our loved ones. How paradoxical. Technology makes it easier than ever to connect with others, yet there is a disconnect in the quality of our connections.

What are the effects? We lose feelings of belongingness and forget how loved we are.

What would the world look like if every person felt loved? I’m assuming it would look like this. More kids would know that someone believe in them, making them feel more free to explore and speak their minds. More parents would be armed from a loss of purpose when their children leave the nest. More outcasts would be less inclined to perform heinous acts in search for attention. There would be more empathy, understanding, and joy; and less hate, discrimination, and injustice.

Create positive ripple effects.

Start by calling your loved ones. Text someone you haven’t spoke to in a while. Volunteer at your local community center. Smile to the strangers you walk past. Make eye contact and listen when people speak.

I myself am trying to call my parents at least once a week. How odd is it that I talk to my parents more now, after I moved out, than when we lived under the same roof. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. The happiness they show every FaceTime makes my heart sing.

Tell people you love them. Show people why you’re grateful for them.

Doesn’t matter if you do this once a month, once a week, or every day.

Just start.

The best stories happen between caution and courage. Be open. Say YES.

The world has a funny way of telling us what we need to hear. It speaks to us through our gut feelings, dreams, and serendipity. However, are you open enough to hear the whispers?

Similar to many others, I was raised to be fearful of strangers. I held this fear until my last year of college, knowing from my own experiences that not all strangers are dangerous. To overcome this pervasive trepidation, I embarked on a solo trip to the quaint town of Ojai. There, I encountered several strangers, however there were three particular ones that resonated with me: Nancy the AirBnb host, Brett from the local bookstore, and Rich Tell from the city bench. I had the chance to engage in long conversations with the Ojaians, ranging from 20 minutes to almost 3 hours. After the trip, I was much less afraid to strike conversations with every day people.

I used this newfound courage to strike conversations in every setting I could: coffeeshops, the park, Ubers… (Amongst my friends, I was notorious for digging deep into the Uber driver’s life, asking question after question. This was amplified when I was intoxicated.) This helped me connect with people from all walks of life in my trips to San Francisco, which led me to opportunities and invaluable, wild adventures down the line. My friends know best about the countless shenanigans I’ve gotten into since I’ve moved to the Bay.

I’ll name the most recent one. Yesterday, I went to the Bay Street shopping plaza for the first time to read at Barnes and Nobles. Before B&N, I explored a Canadian furniture store called EQ3. Think quality mid-century modern at an affordable price. I spoke to a female employee, telling her it was my first time in the story and that I had just moved to Oakland, so she proceeded to give me a grand tour, starting with a grand view of the city. The designer in me was freaking out. Iconic Eames chairs. Collaborations with Marrimekko. Beautiful variety of wood. I had connected with the woman on a deeper level. A 26-year old Bay Area native who just moved to Oakland and had a marketing background (Sound familiar?). She had to carry on with work, so I wandered the store. Before leaving, I said goodbye, telling her that I felt like we could be great friends. Immediately she asked if I was free at 7 PM, 30 minutes from then, to go grab drinks in Walnut Creek. I obliged and had an unbelievable experience.

Turns out, this woman runs a LLC, very knowledgable about people, and is a bona fide “boss ass bitch”. I was in need of more strong women in my life. The universe answered, presented the opportunity, and I said yes.

How do I regularly have these spontaneous experiences?

By being open. (Often times vulnerable.) By placing my trust in the universe. By both cautious and courageous. The best stories unfold when you dance between the two.