Business 04 April 2018
Failing is one constant in life that even the most successful of people face. In fact, I have spent the majority of my 20s failing. But there is a simple three step process to overcome it.
Around the end of 2010, I received an eviction notice. This was after I had stopped paying my electricity bill for six months straight. I was microwaving my burritos from 7-11 in the hallway of the apartment complex because my fridge didn’t work and there were no lights at home. At that time, I had called my mother. I told her that I was going to spend the rest of my life under a bridge and wished her a wonderful life. She called my grandmother and next thing you know, my grandmother had picked me up and told me that I needed to live with her. I didn’t really have any other choice, except for hunting for a new place to live under a bridge somewhere in Los Angeles, so I obliged.
While living with my grandmother, I felt hopeless. I just lost my home. Everything I tried working on failed. My former girlfriend didn’t want anything to do with me. Most my friends turned their backs on me. And I really didn’t have a plan on how to get ahead. So I spent my time playing video games and watching TV.
This didn’t last long though, because my grandmother was tired of me staying at home and doing nothing. She started yelling at me and told me that I needed to find a job. If you have ever had an Asian grandmother yell at you, it is by far one of the scariest things in the world. I felt obligated to find any job I could so she would stop yelling. Then there it was, my first interview for a position at a startup doing marketing from a listing on Craigslist.
I went to work there for over six months, and within the timeframe I had worked there, I earned a whopping $2,300. Not $2,300 a month, but $2,300. That’s less than $400 a month, well below minimum wage and the federal poverty line. But the good news is that I was able to keep my grandmother off my back.
I came to a realization that I couldn’t be a burden to my grandmother, let alone live this way anymore, so I made a decision to move back to Los Angeles. Luckily, my friend gave me the opportunity to live on his sofa for $100 a month, while my other friend lent me a few hundred dollars to survive for a bit. When I arrived, it took me a little over a month to find a job, thanks to my friend Deinis Matos who was staffing for an entry level position at American Honda. But after being there for two years, I hadn’t seen a single raise.
By this time, I was able to live on my own while taking public transportation for an hour and a half to work and an hour and a half, sometimes two hours to get home. But taxes had increased $80 a month and I could no longer afford to eat the $1.60 quesadilla lunch I would buy from my work cafeteria.
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, let alone hungry after not being able to afford to eat lunch any longer. So I decided to put my all into three things: finding a new job, going back to school and writing.
Finding a new job went nowhere. Going back to school was a long game. But my writing took off because I kept at it every single day. It was read 2 million times within six months and 10 million times 1.5 years in. Now, I’m recognized as a leading expert in my field by various publications and media outlets.
When examining my entire life, I realized that there was a reason that I constantly failed. And that same reason I constantly failed was the same reason that others fail as well. It was because instead of letting our fears guide us, we either freeze up or run away from our fears. At first, I had difficulty figuring out what exactly it was that I was afraid of.
As I have grown older, more mature and in tune with who I am, I have come to find that fear isn’t something that we should run from. Instead, fear is something we should embrace and let guide us. When you are scared, it means that you are onto something great, something that would connect with others and propel you ahead.
After a long period of self-reflection, I discovered that my biggest fear in life was being hurt by others. Since I was scared of being hurt, I refused to be open, vulnerable, or willing to help others.
So how do you go out there and let your fears guide you? You follow this simple three-step process that I explain in my TEDx talk at UC Irvine:[thb_image image="19555" img_size="full"]
1. Recognize it.
In order to let your fears guide you, you first have to identify what it is you are scared of. Sometimes, this can be difficult because you have to go layers deep to discover what it is that you are truly afraid of. For myself, I am scared of a lot of things that involve talking with new people. Your fear can be derived from many things, whether it be speaking up in a meeting, reaching out to a prospective mentor, or the thought of how others would judge you if you decide to share something that you have experienced in your own life. You need to recognize exactly what it is that you are afraid of.
2. Face it.
Facing your fear is easier said than done. When you begin to face your fears, it may feel as if you are looking the devil straight in their eyes. Most people, what they end up doing is either freezing up or running away. If you’re anything like me, you will want to run away. But you can’t.
3. DSA it.
You can’t freeze up and you can’t run away. The reason for that is because you have to DSA it. To DSA it means you have to do something about it. For me, how I was able to DSA it was by writing my story of failure and broken dreams with the world. For you, it can be writing. It can be taking action and reaching out to a mentor. It could be asking your employer for a raise or even starting your own business. Whatever it is, you just have to DSA it.
If you want to stop failing and begin to become successful, I implore you to write down these three steps and to refer back to them each time you feel fear. Or even better, do something about what you fear right now. Because the only way to achieve success is to move past freezing up or running from your fears and to begin taking action.
5 Min Read
Every time I think I'm out of outrage — emotionally exhausted from how the COVID-19 crisis has exposed the fragility of all our society's systems and unable to think about it for another second — something forces me to dig deeper and find another well of it stored within me.
It's hard enough to watch people sick and suffering, families being split apart, healthcare workers risking their lives and well-being to provide care, and people losing their jobs left and right. It's even harder knowing that so much of this could have been prevented or lessened but for the poor decision-making and horrifying gaslighting that came from the White House in the weeks and months leading up to COVID-19's appearance in the U.S.
But to see some politicians use this pandemic as an excuse to ban abortion has been a low I wasn't prepared for while I shopped for extra canned goods and toilet paper.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a governing crisis for legislators at all levels. There is a role for everyone to play, from your city council members all the way up to your U.S. Senators. There are real needs these legislators should be focusing on to protect us all. But, instead, scores of politicians are using this moment to declare abortion care as "nonessential" and are forcing clinics to close.
Amid the necessary stay-at-home orders and guidelines for what kinds of services or procedures are considered essential and which ones must be delayed, Governors in Texas, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Ohio, and Oklahoma have acted to declare that abortion care is considered "nonessential."
They claim that these procedures must be stopped so medical personnel can preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for fighting COVID-19. But abortion isn't a procedure that can be easily delayed.
The longer you wait, the more expensive it is and, eventually, you run out of time altogether — sometimes because of existing restrictions on abortion later in pregnancy. Restrictions that these very same politicians support or maybe even put into place.
Abortion is connected to innumerable other issues that our society grapples with: employment, paid family leave, gender-based violence, generational poverty, adequate and quality childcare, job security, immigration, transportation, health insurance... HEALTH INSURANCE.
Every structure and component of our daily lives can and does impact a person's decisions around family-building and their ability to access healthcare when they need it. This doesn't just stop because of a pandemic.
Every single one of these issues is at risk right now, and leaving women with nowhere to go if they're facing an unintended pregnancy that they wish to end, is a new low.
To anyone who has been paying attention, how quickly our systems have buckled or how fragile our economic and health security actually is (and always has been) should come as no great surprise.
People with incredible privilege have been able to look the other way for years. But as their stocks tumble and they are forced to consider their health and that of their family members, perhaps they, too, will see that significant structural changes must be enacted to respond to the world we are living in.
The completely arbitrary nature of so many of our laws is being laid bare. The soul-crushing burdens of trying to manage everything — child care, working full time, and running a home and a family during a once-in-a-generation crisis — without a broad, systematic set of structures to support that process is being shown to be utterly impossible. It's simple logic.
Though opponents of reproductive rights have never been much for science, it's appalling how even now that is so blatantly true. Their argument for cutting off abortion access to preserve PPE for other health care services is easily countered when you note that continuing a pregnancy requires multiple prenatal visits and ultimately a hospital stay for actual delivery. All of which require a much higher amount of PPE being utilized over a significant period of time.
Meanwhile, we could transform the landscape of abortion access overnight if we simply expanded the availability of medication abortion, allowing women to get the safe and effective abortion pill without even having to go to a clinic. The U.K just took action to make this a reality. There's no reason, beyond petty politics, that the U.S. couldn't do the same. But, so far, the FDA isn't budging.
Of course, if we attempt to counter these increased abortion restrictions with facts, we'd be presuming that these opponents of abortion are arguing in good faith when they are absolutely not.
This isn't about health and safety during a global pandemic, and it's not about looking out for peoples' best interests. There's no reasonable argument to be made for forcing someone to continue a pregnancy against their will, especially while our entire world is in an upheaval.
The fact that these proponents of abortion restrictions are willing to twist a global pandemic to suit their own needs, and in antithesis to the simple facts of health and safety, is appalling. It is only adding more stress and heartache to already-challenging circumstances. Women in Texas and Oklahoma don't deserve that; no one does.
Pushing for abortion restrictions at a time like this isn't about healthcare, PPE, or even safety. It is a purposeful and manipulative political agenda that will make things even harder at a time when we can all agree things are hard enough.