“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”— 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!