Growing pains

There’re too many good habits I’d like to have, like running, like getting up before dawn, like intense writing for three hours daily on average. And yet, other things get in the way. The things that feel so important at the time. The loud, the cute, the shiny…

Here’s my pattern: when I don’t get up at the hour I’ve promised myself, I start cutting myself short for the rest of the day. When I was in LA, I didn’t pay for training once a week, I might not even go to the gym that much even when I lived in Southern California for three years…  I throw in the towel way too early before I hear the whistle blows. 

I’d admit that what feels good at the time never really feels right later, or even right in the moment…  Life gets in the way as it always manages to. For the past two years, I would use my pending visa status as my perfect excuse.  “I can’t sit still for meditation today. I ain’t gonna write because I just don’t feel right.”

My other voice goes: When will you grow the fuck up? When will you evolve to be that person that you set out to be?  And its answer is more urgent than I wanted (“Thanks, but no thanks. Not now.”).

If we have to feel right to do anything, the human race would have gotten zero stuff done.  It takes a committed leader to claim independence against Great Britain; a single mom of three kids to rise early even when she’s just had three hours of sleep; a tennis champion to start practising her strokes again after she just won the Wimbledon Grand Slam the day before… 

To me, the ‘ruthless’ professionals are like an entirely different species, whom I’ve admired all my life.  It probably explained why I bawled my eyes out watching Jiro: Dreams of Sushi some five years ago at a time when I grilled myself every night about the meaning of my own existence. 

CUT TO: Five years later. Now. I’m living the dream as a working writer. And yet, the residue of my old self lingers in my veins like that of a recovering addict. I can’t seem to drain it out of my system just yet without serious upshots.

I want to be a world-class pro to earn that R.E.S.P.E.C.T.  It’s how Rocky became the Rocky we cheer for. And it’s why people eulogize Lagerfeld when he passed away at the age of 85 yesterday.

Maybe secretly I still fear of missing out on my wannabe-queen-bee social life. Maybe I still want to be loud now just because it feels good to hear people notice that you exist… I know those cravings are fading, but they’re still lurking in the darkness of my subconsciousness. 

To quote that line which is on the brink of becoming a cliche: If not now, when?
So yeah, what the fuck am I waiting for? My own death?

I’ve got the bullet.
Time to pull the trigger.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

RBYZ: Attention, Millennials (#011)

Here comes the second part of my conversation with serial entrepreneur and eternal optimist Christopher Li.

He shares observation and insight dealing with teenagers and young adults.  As CEO, what talents does he value the most in building his startup? What are the pitfalls us millennials can avoid in job interviews?

What you’ll hear:

  • The importance of EQ if you are to take corporate route, but relatively less so if you want to be your own boss;
  • How to balance your strength and your weakness;
  • What did he learn most from working at the management consulting firm?
  • What makes or breaks a ‘Professional?’
  • What’s his take on grit? Is it nature or nurture?
  • What does he think of the Millennial generation?
  • What did he see first-hand interacting with teenagers from China?
  • How did he convince people to join his startup? What’s his vision?
  • what kind of talents that Chris think would fit into his current startup?
  • What’s the most important aspect in building the startup?

There is no substitute for work.

Sometimes it takes a long time to get things done right. 

I don’t put out things with the quality that I don’t believe in.

You either move up, or you move out.

If we build it right, people would come.

Links from the episode:

 

Listen and subscribe to Rock Bottom with YZ:
A weekly podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

Listen to Rock Bottom with YZ on RadioPublic

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

PPS. Click here for the first part of my convo with Christopher.

Just keep swimming

I have this discussion with my cohort all the time.

Being a writer for life is hard. The rejection, the humiliation, the “you will never ever get there” self-doubt, the looming red in your finance chart.

I have a LA Lakers #8 Kobe Bryant jersey hanging on the rack. It’s the shrine of my daily faith and inspiration.

How did he get there? 
How did he become who he is today? Well, he wasn’t born this way. 
Where did he get this monstrous GRIT that all the great masters have? 
How did he overcome the physical pain day in and day out for the better part of his life? 
How did he challenge doubt when he failed?

Those might be the questions I want to grill him if I have the chance to meet him. I think I may have the answer already as everybody else does way before you read this rambling post.

You probably know it already when you watched Finding Nemo —

Just keep swimming.

So at the beginning of another gorgeous day in LA, I will breathe in and breathe out.

And write on.