Your job is to fix yourself, to create yourself, to craft yourself into the best version of yourself. It’s not your job to fix other people, especially if they do not want to be “fixed”.
Within my friends groups, I’m notorious for getting into crazy situations. The reason is, I am a yas woman. If I get into a situation where I must choose to stay or go, I choose go as much as possible (that is, if my intuition tells me I am not in danger).
Saying yes has led to stand-up paddle boarding in the San Francisco Bay, cooking delicious meals with a stranger, grabbing dessert with a “boss ass bitch”, endless nights of dancing, multiple concerts, tours at amazing companies, unbelievable sunset views, and so much more.
Today’s example: I was running through Lake Merritt after my MLK volunteer event and ran into Anthony and his old coworker Nathan. Ant invited me to eat pho for dinner later that night. I gladly accepted the invitation. After dinner, the three of us went to (my first) comedy event at a bar I’ve been meaning to try. I laughed for two hours straight. The lineup was stellar, and the venue was extremely hip. Now, I am exhausted and do not want to talk to anyone, but I am so happy I went. I will definitely come back for Monday night comedy.
Say yes, because why not.
Many of my most memorable moments stemmed from moments of spontaneity.
How could it not when you’re open to what the world has to offer?
I once told my friend that “Wrong turns make great stories.”
She responded, “If you live to tell the tale.”
There is great value in doing the thing you’ve always wanted to do, in exploring your curiosities, in taking risks and leaps. It makes you that much more interesting.
As an American, you are part of the global 1%. You have your basic necessities of food, water, shelter, warmth, and then some. When you see the world through that perspective, you realize that you have it good, though you may consider yourself “broke”. “Broke” mentality prevents many of us from giving back to those in need or treating your friends or getting your parents gifts. How long do we have to wait until we can start giving back? What income bracket do we have to reach? Or can we start doing it right now?
My father has this lesson I like to call “The Hundred Dollar Idea”. He encourages me to be generous to our loved ones when we can, especially when they have treated us well. He says,
When people treat you right, treat them right. Don’t worry too much about the money. A hundred dollars won’t make you richer or poorer.
Of course there are situations when a hundred dollars do make a significant difference and one hundred is an arbitrary number. However, this idea makes an important point when it comes to maintaining relationships and contributing to society.
Buy a bagel for a homeless person. Volunteer a few hours to a local non-profit. Surprise your friends and pay for the bill. Send a card or letter back home.
Being generous does not require large amounts of money, as giving time, thought, and energy are other ways of providing value.
With any goal you pursue, it is necessary that you establish clarity of that goal.
By “clarity”, I referring to your Why.
Why do you want to achieve goal X?
You have to dig deep to understand your true motives and how goal X links up to your ultimate goal and the life style you want to achieve. Analyze your current habits and actions and how they compare to the habits and actions needed to reach your goal.
The deeper you think, the more crystalized your thoughts become, and the more clarity you have in reaching your goals.
Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, psychologist, and author of the world-renowned book Man’s Search for Meaning says,
Those who have a Why to live for can bear almost any How.
Your Why is your true North. It is what will guide you in how you prioritize, make decisions, and execute. When overwhelmed with information, refer back to your Why, determine which initiatives align with it, and eliminate what is irrelevant and unnecessary.
Establishing clarity in my career path has helped me create results in my job search. For months, I applied to any job that sounded suitable to my job criteria. These jobs ranged from sales to human resources to marketing. When I realized this strategy was futile, I stepped back to recalibrate. I took a honest look at my core skills and thought deeply of fields I was genuinely curious about but also matched my past experiences.
I chose marketing and shifted my efforts accordingly. In a matter of two days, I revamped my resume, LinkedIn, and the story that I was telling recruiters. After sharing this new vision with friends and sending out a few applications, I am now in the third round of a marketing role that deeply interests me. Despite my lack of expertise in the field, I was able to convince the recruiter of my story and clearly express how my past work relates to my future in marketing.
If you are not clear about your goals, how is anyone supposed to help you achieve those goals?
Clarity gives you the lens you need to filter out the noise and focus on what matters most.
If someone treats you out, does you a favor, or gives up their precious time to help you problem-solve, do it back. If you want to be less overt, then reciprocate the next time you meet with them. Or surprise them with their favorite snack, flowers, or tickets to a sweet show. When someone pays it forward to you, you can either continue spreading the positive energy or let it die with your taking.
You’d be surprised how great you feel after showing your appreciation.
Make it a habit and you will be surprised at how often life works in your favor.
If you know me, you know I love food. I love watching food. I even wrote an ode to chefs.
When I tell people I spend my free time watching food documentaries, they next ask me, “Do you cook?” I answer, “Yeah, I’m getting into it. It’s a work in progress.” Then they ask, “Oh, what do you cook?” This is when I get sheepish. I scan my mind for the most complicated dish I made in the past few weeks and say, “Oatmeal and fish.” (This raises questions because it’s so peculiar. It’s actually extremely delicious when I add all my fixings.) In actuality, my go-to meal is the classic sunny-side up egg and bread. However, since it isn’t complex, I find myself feeling too ashamed to even mention it.
Sunny-side up eggs and bread is the breakfast of my childhood. I dress my eggs with different ingredients depending on my mood for the day: soy sauce, pate, pepper, red chili flakes, harissa, chives, spinach, etc. I also experiment with different types of bread: Vietnamese baguette, french baguette, wheat, rye, etc. It is extremely delicious, equally satisfying, and ultimately, very simple.
Today, I realized, there is nothing shameful about having eggs and bread as your favorite dish. Moreover, there is nothing shameful about saying that you are a beginner. That you are just starting off. That you are not entirely knowledgeable (yet). Or even that you are a highly skilled cook yet your favorite meal is the most elementary food.
There is a vengeance to obtain from knowing you are mediocre at something, great excitement in knowing that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, and undeniable humility is admitting you love the simplest things.
After all, great cooking begins with the egg.
Similarly, being in a state of uncertainty is not shameful. Whether you are unemployed, recovering from an addiction, going through a divorce, or “failing at life” (for the record, if you are trying, you are not failing), own it. There are crest and troughs. There are mountain and valleys. There are great moments and terrible moments.
You are human. It is normal.
What you make of the troughs is, however, should not be taken with mercy. These challenges are tests of your mental toughness. Push. Act. Rise. Be the contender and tap into your inner strength.
Success without challenge is mediocrity.