Overcoming fear and doubt is a lifelong pursuit

β€œToo many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

β€” Les Brown

I found this quote almost 3 years ago, and it has remained one of my favorites up until this day. Something about it is just so poignant and so deeply true.

When I read this quote, I wondered “Am I living the life I want? Is this all there is to it?”

What a scary, yet brutally honest question to ask yourself.

We’re probably more similar than you think

Your life may have been like mine. My parents were first-generation Koreans who immigrated to the US from South Korea. They had no money, no extended family and couldn’t speak the English language.

All these factors led to a recipe for disaster. We may not be aware of it, but everyday people out there are constantly in fear and doubt. Check out Reddit under the depression subreddit. I lurk often because I can relate.

How tragedies change you

When I was in high school, my mother passed away when I was 16. I was frustrated, angry and depressed. I felt that there was no hope.

Then in college, I lost my father in a tragic car accident. At this point, I doubted life was worth living. I had no extended family, no one to lean on, and suddenly found myself homeless.

But deep down, I didn’t want my father’s death to be in vain. I had this burning desire in me to make him and my mother proud. I set my sights on achieving that by shifting gears and studying my ass off.

Small steps and changes in habits that helped me refocus

After what had happened, I decided to take action. Although I was scared and unsure, I knew that doing nothing would lead to nothing. I just had to move.

So day by day, I wrote in my scheduler, created detailed gameplans of what I was going to study, mapped out steps I needed to take to get a job and so on. I repeated this week in and week out.

As I continued this process, I felt more confident. The results were showing: landed my first 4.0 semester in my 2nd semester of college, landed my first internship and met a handful of mentors to help me.

I also learned how to “learn”. What I mean is, I stopped memorizing stuff. This shift changed me, and I started to take interest in what I was learning. I was excited. I felt like for the first time I enjoyed what I was doing, that I became curious.

Fear will always be there. So what will you do?

All my life I lived in fear. It was the result of my upbringing, my parents, the bullies. All of it.

When I joined the wrestling team and started taking boxing lessons, I felt less fearful. I learned that the worst thing that can happen was I got beat up a bit.

I took those lessons from wrestling and boxing, and applied it to my studies, my business, my relationships.

I refused to let fear control me.

When I competed for the first time in MMA, I felt a level of calm I never felt before in that cage. I realized, fear is just a conception of our mind. We picture fear to be this giant, ugly, scary thing–but it’s not.

All these experiences have led me to live a life of enduring challenges, learning new things, and never saying no to opportunities. Admittedly, when I was working in corporate finance, I became complacent. And it was terrible.

What are you waiting for?

We all wait for the “right” opportunities. We hope that a million bucks lands in our lap, or our bosses will promote us out of nowhere. The reality is, it doesn’t work that way.

Fear and doubt will always be there. It will be there till the day we die.

We have to control our own destiny. We have to take action, and we need to execute. We need to chase our dreams and chase things we are passionate about.

It’s not until then we get to see the world of endless possibilities.

Before I end this post, I want to share a Les Brown motivation video that I still watch to this day because it is so powerful. I hope it impacts you as much as it has for me. Enjoy!

Have No Fear by Les Brown

Future You

In 2012, I wasn’t sure where I would be, whether I would still be working, whether I would be alive. Where was my future?

It was, to some extent, a grim reality. So much happened in a such a short amount of time.

But when I thought about where I would go and what I could be, I thought, “Maybe….”

Today, I run a business, have a family and volunteer.

I would not have guaranteed you this would have happened.

But in 2012, I tried to look out 20-30 years and where I would go. I tried to think about what my future would entail.

This was enough for me to get up and try to change myself.

And for you, you can do the same.

We can do it. Together.

Try to think about your future self, the future you.

When you do, you’ll live life differently – with fulfillment.

The future you. My future.

Life is like the stock market – erratic, unpredictable but worth the investment

blue and yellow graph on stock market monitor
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. – Charles R. Swindoll

For many of us, life is filled with challenges, consequences and at times, amazing experiences with fulfillment. However, most of the time we focus on just the negative side of things, completely foregoing what lies ahead – our future. Trust me, I do the same.

Why life is like the stock market

Ah, the stock market. For many, the stock market is a place where we can invest our earnings in the hopes it grows overtime, leading to our eventual retirement sipping margaritas by the beach.

Unfortunately, like many, the stock market is a place that can cause panic and fear. Markets up 5%…great! One day later…markets are down 5%. Panic!

Although it’s frightening and nerve-wracking as it happens, the reality is this. It is normal. The markets, by its nature, will move up and down throughout the course of days and weeks. However, thankfully over the long-term, the markets eventually trend higher. And if it doesn’t, well then, it’s time to invest my money elsewhere :).

But just like the stock market, where stock movements can swing rapidly and unexpectedly, life behaves the exact same way. One day, you’re working a dream job earning $100k; the next, you’ve been called into the office by your boss to be notified you’ve been let go. And this is after 10 years of service, too!

Was that the plan? Was it your plan? Of course not.

But like the stock market, the long-term is what matters

Just like in the stock market, eventually markets recover and trend upwards. Just like in life, there are good moments and then there are bad ones. Sometimes, horrible ones.

Personally, my life has felt just like the stock market. My upbringing was a rather harsh one, dealt with both grief and sadness. Honestly, I believed for many years this life wasn’t for me.

When I was just 16 years old, I lost my mother. In fact, I had to be in the same room with my father at the time (he didn’t speak english) to confirm with the doctors to pull the plug. My mother was officially brain dead, and being left on life support wasn’t the best course per the doctor. As a young teen, it was traumatizing to experience.

Then in less than 2 years afterwards, my dad passed away due to a car accident. I was devastated, to say the least. I even had to prepare the funeral obligations and work with lawyers myself. I was just 18 years old. And it hit dawned on me – I was an orphan.

Up until at this point in my life, I never envisioned a world where both parents would be gone. But when my dad passed, I had a sudden revelation. I needed to grow up – and fast.

Making your choices and living by them

Despite what happened in my and my family’s life, I knew I had to continue moving forward. After my dad passed away during my freshmen year at UMass, I made a decision. I would succeed in college, that I would make my decisions and live and die by them.

This is the same code I live by to this day. Is it challenging? Of course. Can it be tiring? All the time. But even with everything that has happened, I believe we can survive and move forward. It’s not easy. In fact, I had to seek therapy at times because of the dark places my mind races to.

But like the stock market, just know that these things will pass. But also that we should take the time to be sad, to cry, to vent and let out our grievances. It’s part of human nature.

Although I try my best to stay strong and determined, I have my weaknesses too. I have days where I need to vent and just lay in bed all day. But this is normal.

We will all get there. And requesting support and reaching out to friends and family is sometimes necessary and healthy. We can’t all do it alone.

Focus on the long term

Just like the stock market, the focus is on the long-term. Day to day, week to week, life will be erratic, crazy and rage-inducing. Trust me, it will.

But just like the stock market, we’ll progress, trend higher, and reach and attain new goals.

Stay happy, stay proud, stay strong. Best wishes!