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.

Releasing bad habits, social media addiction

My worst bad habit: Overusing Instagram.

Instagram is the bane of my existence. I delete and reinstall the app more times than I like to admit.

In 2018, I tried to remediate my addiction by opting out every other month. One day I’m posting like mad and I’m gone the next (The password changed by a loved one because my self control is nonexistent). When I detox, especially after the first week, I experience several the positive benefits: better focus, calmer and positive mind, closer connections with my loved ones, etc. However, when I reinstall the next month, my itch to scroll and all the negative effects that come with it return. Of course.

It will be 2019 tomorrow, and I ask myself again, why do I use Instagram? 1) I use Stories to practice take photos, 2) to show people what I’m working on, and 3) to see what my favorite people are doing. Since my detox was in November, I’m opting from Instagram this January, however I am wondering if I can forgo using it the entire year. Maybe I can start taking photos on an actual camera or simply save them on my phone. Maybe I can savor showing people my work until after it’s done. Maybe I can regularly text my loved ones to see how they’re doing.

I read this quote yesterday in Tony Robbin’s Unlimited Power:

“If you can find enough reasons to do something, you can get yourself to do anything.”

If I say no to Instagram, what do I say yes to?

  • Yes to better focus on my goals
  • Yes to a healthier headspace, both calmer and more positive
  • Yes to more time to do what is most important
  • Yes to better connections with my loved ones
  • Yes to being more present, living for today
  • Yes to nurturing my creative passions
  • Yes to thinking space

I challenge you to think about your goals and list all the reasons why you want to achieve it. Think long and hard, create an action plan, and motivate yourself to succeed.

We need more commitment and less complaining.

“Reasons are the difference between being interested versus being committed to accomplish something. […] Why you do something is much more important than how to do it. If you get a big-enough why, you can always figure out the how. If you have enough reasons, you can do virtually anything in this world.” – Tony Robbins

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.

Keep the most important thing, the most important thing. | Note To Self

It’s easy to forget our goals.

In the age of social media, we often gravitate towards tasks that will give us the most attention. Why? Immediate gratification. It fuels us with external validation. Dopamine hits are addicting, but does building a fancy website or posting on Instagram every day further our goal of becoming a better _____?

I often have to remind myself of this:

Stay focused and put in your reps. 

Want to be a better writer? Write every day.
A better speaker? Practice speaking every day.
A better photographer? Take photos every single day.

Whatever your craft is, improve it every single day. Consistency is key to exponential growth.

Though marketing is crucial to building any business, the quality of your craft is what will keep your audience engaged long-term. How beneficial is it to build an audience when you have only completed pieces of the prototype? When it’s time to market, you’ll market.

Fixating on publicity will not enhance the quality of your work.

Keep the most important thing, the most important thing.

Related reads:
Continuous Improvement: How It Works and How to Master It
The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards

2018 review: reflection process, accomplishments, biggest lessons, and new goals

In the last weeks of the year, I like to devote time to reflect. I do this for a few reasons: 1) to note the biggest lessons 2) to celebrate the wins, and 3) to gain clarity in crafting the new year’s goals. I ask big questions, write extensively, think silently for hours, and discuss ideas with my closest friends. The questions, gathered from articles like this one, change every year depending on where I am in my journey. This year, my goal is to find a job that is fulfilling, stimulating, and challenging. Having moved out from my family home, I see this period as an opportunity to design the life I truly want; thus, a portion of my reflection focused on my thoughts on life, work, and how they integrate. The fixed portion of my reflection involves answering these types of questions:

  • What were your 2018 accomplishments?
  • What do you want in 2019?
  • What’s going to be different this year?
  • What do you want to change and transform?
  • What are some mental beliefs that you need to work on to achieve your 2019 goals?
  • What is the exercise routine you are willing to fulfill?

After answering the questions, I set up one-on-ones with friends to gain a different perspective and add an element of accountability. I’m experimenting with my strategy this time – writing a list of my ideal self at the end of 2019, paragraph of my January goals, and a separate paragraph acting as if I had accomplished my January goals.


Celebrating wins is important in creating a sense of fulfillment. Fulfillment comes from pausing to appreciating what is: what has happened, what you have, and what you’ve created. Also, I believe it is important to allow yourself to feel proud, because it feeds your inner child.

2018 was my year of rebirth. I grew immensely in my sense of self, laying down a stronger mental and emotional foundation for my next challenge. I became more resilient, fearless, faithful, unapologetic, and balanced. This year, I:

  • Healed from a big break up and got back out there
  • Paid off my student loan debt
  • Found my solid social circles (Fortunate to say, I truly love every person in my life.)
  • Accomplished my 24-book reading goal (first time ever)
  • Moved to my favorite city
  • Gracefully left my job of 5 years to pursue another path
  • Travelled more than I’ve ever travelled in a year (SEA, SF x 3)
  • Succeeded in my “vlog for a month” goal (ended up vlogging for 6 months!)
  • First time having my art featured in a gallery
  • Learned how to twerk (big win.)

Biggest Lessons

Writing is a daily practice for me as it’s my primary method for processing the world. One series I started this year was writing things I learned that day. Here are five of the most impactful lessons:

  1. Patience is key. Make sure to grind day in and day out, and results will come. If you are constantly thinking about how to be better and questioning yourself with courage and humility, it’s only a matter of time.
  2. “Too often we give power to the things that drive our ego,” (Megyn Kelly). We are more than our titles, our jobs, our accolades. We are who we are due to the things that don’t receive merit but make us feel the most alive. Attribute your personal power to how you impact those around you, to those who you love and love you, and your strength and virtues.
  3. Communication is an art. Every word you speak must be purposeful, succinct, and clear in getting your message across. By thinking about why you’re saying what you’re saying and organizing your words accordingly, you can build your ability to communicate, as well as increase the weight of your words (aka more power).
  4. Using your resources is not a burden on others, unless you make it so. Package your words respectfully and graciously. Be thankful. Relinquish your ego and be the student. Those who are the students learn more and become more successful than those who think they need to be experts. Say “I don’t know”. You don’t need to be an expert. Being an expert is a lonely role anyway. If you come with good intentions and honor your teacher, they will not find you burdensome. It’s a mutualism. They feel great for teaching, and you feel great for learning so much at such a fast rate.
  5. 20’s are indeed the years of maximum risks, maximum rewards. You’re in the right place, and it’s the right time.


I was hesitant about publicly publishing my goals, but this will keep me accountable. (Also, it’s a way for me to “do the fearful thing”.) Here are the big ones:

  • Job stability and financial growth
  • Dig deep into finance, cooking, and design
  • Create every day and publish it
  • Read 30 books from a wide range of topics
  • Volunteer in an organization
  • Physically toned all around
  • Travel to Paris (and possibly another country)

I am spending the last few days of 2018 collecting insight, reading, and designing my plan for each goal. If you would like to discuss ideas, feel free to reach out. Otherwise, best of luck, get wild, and good vibes for the new year!

Stay hungry, stay foolish. – Steve Jobs