RBYZ: Eternal Optimist (#010)

Meet Christopher Li, the serial entrepreneur who seizes the day before it’s dawn.

It started off as an immigrant story. Born in Hong Kong, our guest came to the US with his family. With intelligence and diligence, he went into management consulting and later became his own boss.

Meet Christopher Li, the serial entrepreneur who seizes the day before it’s dawn.

What you’ll hear:

  • What was his “Fresh off the boat” experience like in the ’70s California being the few Asians on the block?
  • How did he deal with culture shock coming to the US at the age of 11?
  • What values did he pick up from his parents as a first-generation immigrant?
  • What did the experience of delivering newspapers at 6 am everyday teach him?
  • What was dating like for him when Asian women weren’t many in the mostly White neighborhood that his family lived in?
  • What did he see in the face of divorce apart from the fact that it was a very public and expensive failure?  What are the silver linings?
  • Is an Eternal Optimist nature or nurture?
  • How did he tackle the bias of “executive presence” and the glass ceilings as a minority while working in management consulting?
  • How does he look at failures in entrepreneurship these days?
  • Being a result-driven entrepreneur, how does he deal with harmony in the Chinese culture?
  • And so, so much more!

Links from the episode:

 

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A weekly podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

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Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.
PPS. Christopher is one of the most open guests I have had the honor to interview. Kudos!

One more thing – If you are an American citizen in the US, remember to #VOTE today.

Fear less, fear no more

How many 3-0 do we have in a lifetime? 

The good news of being back is that I’m now burning RMB instead of USD. Roughly at the current ratio, seven RMB equals one USD.

But still, I’m burning my time at the same rate like everyone else.  Some of my college, high school friends are officially 31, married with kids, richer than ever.  In less than four months, I will be too, their age sans the man or the kid.

For the better part of my 3-0, I had lived in fear and dread.

  • I feared that I might not get the work visa.
  • I feared that I might be let go from my work.
  • I feared that I might have to pack everything and move back to China.
  • All the above.

By mid-October, all my worst fears became reality.

Am I in the fucking hell?  Hell, no. I’m back in Shanghai. I’m still alive even though tortured by pneumonia to no ends right now…

After living through my worst fear (thus far), wasting away dollars on bullshits like moving, customs courtesy, and doctor bills, I’m still able to keep my hope alive somehow.

Fear has not destroyed me, or twisted me. But it did change me… to be an optimist.

True, my heart got lacerated the day I left LA. I miss my LA friends dearly. I miss LA terribly for its weather, food, water, air… all the basics that I once shrugged and ignored.

Most of all, I feared that my drive was lost during the move. And yet, out in the desert, a new kind of drive is sprouting out, strong and steady.

I have taken on three writing projects at the moment.

  • One short film.
  • One feature rewrite.
  • One writeup for a company.

And a couple of others I’m developing for my artist visa.

Because of my recent readjustment back into my hometown, I have put my novel on hold. But I have been thinking about the story beats while I was doing the IV infusion.

By losing this much, I finally begin to focus on what’s absolutely necessary.

This time, I have no financial emergency, no landlord final notice, no impending fate to be decided.

This time, I’m racing against no one but time. How many 3-0 do we have in a lifetime, eh?

And yo, folks in LA, don’t you forget me too fast and furious, okay?

 

Yours truly,
YZ

 

Babies for sale

One item after another.  I detached myself from them. I have to stop loving them before I say goodbye. They are out in the world on display. Because I can’t protect them any longer.

Craigslist is a classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, for sale… Today, I finally posted some for sale on Craigslist.

My Oxford-green bike…
My plywood coffee table…
My sturdy drying rack…

Over the course of three years, I bought them all fresh out of the beige boxes.

A single child at heart, I was never a fan of hand-me-downs.

Friend helped me buy everything on Wayfair and the rest from IKEA. We even bought canvas paintings to give the apartment a little more flavor…

IMG_1785

I asked her if it was worth it.
Friend brushed my doubt aside, “You would stay in this apartment for three years at least.”

I believed her. I wanted to. And I chose to.

Truth is, I didn’t want to doubt my future in America. And I didn’t want to be the one to doubt. Secretly, I thought I could blame my friend for wasting my money later if things went south.

Now is later. A full year later. 

When I got up this morning, I made a decision.

One post after another, I listed my babies on Craigslist.

One item after another.  I detached myself from them. I have to stop loving them before I say goodbye. They are out in the world on display. Because I can’t protect them any longer.

I don’t have to rely on the fishy landlord to give me a decent price for my babies.

At least now I may have some leverage, some control in this life that is pulling me in all directions.

I still need to take photos to make the ads more believable…

But now, I just want to take a moment and hold my aching heart.

I vow that I won’t be this ‘lavish’ again until I have $1m in my bank account.

Let’s see how long that might take.

 

Yours truly,
YZ