Question of the day: What do Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, and Oprah have in common? They've all failed thousands of times before they've succeeded. I believe that failing is one of the biggest key components to succeeding. Trust me on this one. Trust me when I tell you that some of the greatest stories you'll ever hear come from those who failed more times than you can count. And I'm just here to reiterate what you already know.
Growing up in an Asian household (yeah, I come from a background that I'm sure many of you can relate to), I was deemed a failure. For awhile, I played the role exceptionally well. I was a loser. Why? Because I was born a girl. Because I had absolutely no desire in pursuing medicine or law. Because I never learned how to play a musical instrument and because I was never Valedictorian of my class. Instead, I was artistically inclined, observationally intuitive, and an insanely phenomenal tetherball player.
Due to the route I have unconsciously chosen, I find myself frequently thinking whether I was meant to be an artist or an entrepreneur. An acquaintance will tell you I am artist. A friend of mine will tell you I am an entrepreneur. I will tell you that I am simply trying to create an unique space that gives me room to be passionate, imaginative, and more importantly, unhibited. So I'd have to say that there's a conversion that exists between the two professions and I love it. Who says you need to fit into one category? And by being different and failing to fit that Asian stereotype, I've come to learn that I'm a lucky one.
Though it took many years for my mother to finally see and understand her daughter's wild spirit, I am lucky because I was able to escape the rigidity of the system, while completely dismissing the test of masculinity and femininity that are often given to my peers. Along with my friends and mentors' support, I have been further blessed with a stronger, much more rooted sense of reality.
However, there is also a downside to being different. Sometimes, my openness and sensitivity often exposes me to greater amount of vulnerabilities and failures. For instance, I woke up this morning, looked at myself in the mirror and started to bawl. The same pressure that used to help me succeed has become the same reason why I've felt so claustrophobic and alone. I wish that when people ask me how I'm doing that they would just pull me in and give me a big hug. It's difficult, guys. It's difficult going through this transitional phase of my life, getting pulled back and forth, and still having to wake up every morning with a purpose. While I could have continued to cry and feel bad for myself, I thought about the text message I received earlier this morning from a very dear friend of mine. "Have a blessed day," he wrote. Yesterday night, I was catching up with another friend and telling him how hard it has been for me. "I'm still learning. I just haven't been loving myself as much as I should." To that, he said, "Don't love yourself too much. You're going to be overloved since I love you too."
During a period when I have lost sight of hope and love, I was reminded by the people who care for me that I am capable of so much more. At that point, the tears stopped flowing and I was able to compose myself together after taking some deep breathes. I did not want to grieve and perhaps, end up hurting myself. No. I was fully aware that suffering was only temporary and that the pain I've experienced is never greater than the enjoyment I will receive once I make my family, my friends, and myself proud.
Lesson of the day: there is no formula for success, but failing is a part of that process.
And to the friends who always support me---I love you guys more than you'll ever know. This is not my journey. It's ours.