15 Brave Humans Share Advice They'd Tell Their Younger Selves

I asked some of my friends around the world to share advice they’d give to their younger selves.
And I was blown away by their responses.

Their advice is not only a great reminder to live life to the fullest—but filled with wisdom and perspective. This article was inspired by Thrive Global, a community of people who thrive in life (just as my friends do).

Here’s what these 15 brave humans shared with us:

Embrace living in the moment

Embrace living in the moment – that’s the advice I’d give to my younger self. People are always waiting for the next thing in life. “Once I graduate from school, after I get my dream job, when I get into a relationship – then I’ll truly be happy.” But this constant focus on the future prevents people from enjoying the beauty of today. It prevents them from understanding that their present selves are already worthy, even before reaching these goals. So keep working towards your dreams, but embrace all that’s good in your life right now and who you currently are – because once you accomplish that goal, you’ll no longer need to wait to be truly happy.

—Sarah Rahman, Registry Officer, Ottawa, ON

Invest time with people that bring you joy

If I had to give my past self advice, it would be to “invest your time and resources with people and hobbies that bring you joy”. Too often, I have tried to salvage a dysfunctional relationship, when I could have reinvested that time with someone that enhances my self-esteem. There are plenty of people out there in the world that like my lame jokes, values, and interests, so why waste time trying to put on a facade? That’s not to say I wouldn’t try to restore a friendship if there was a miscommunication, but I strongly believe in spending my free time with friends and experiences that I enjoy the most.

—Wesley H, Higher Education, Kansas City, Missouri

Don’t expect things to go according to plan

It’s good to make plans and set goals, but don’t expect things to always go according to plan. Life will throw obstacles at you, so try not to be too overwhelmed, and remember to breathe. Take things one step at a time and one day at a time, and hope for the best! And always try no matter the results, because that way you know it wasn’t because of lack of effort on your part and you won’t be left wondering what-if.

—Gusharan Sidhu, Medicine, Chicago, IL

Learn to love yourself

Always remember that you are loved and that God has you in its arms. You know, already, how painful life can get. Yet, somehow, you wake up every day and keep forging ahead. Keep your spirit. Enjoy the highs in life, sure, but no one ever teaches you how to enjoy the lows as well. Show love to people. Never compare yourself. Lastly, know that the only time you should look at what someone else has, is to make sure they have enough. But above all else, learn to love yourself.

—Gregory Mohamed, Case Processor, Toronto, ON

It’s okay to fail

I'd tell my younger self that it's okay to fail. Failure is the greatest opportunity for growth and to not be so hard on myself when things don't go right. I am a worrier and I tend to over plan to ensure everything goes “right” but sometimes it doesn't and it's okay. The most important thing is to learn from it and to rise stronger each time.

—Jocelyn C, Senior Marketing Operations Analyst, Toronto, ON

Smile your way through life

Smile your way through life. Life’s too short to live in bitterness. Always be grateful and try your best to see the positive in everything, and good things will come your way! Take a few minutes throughout your day to think of how blessed you are compared to the less fortunate living in poverty, hardship, and corruption. Here are some things to always be grateful for: your health, food, shelter, and a safe place to live. Stress less, everything will be okay. What's meant for you will come, just be patient. Smile more, don't stress, do your best, leave the rest.

—Anonymous

Live life under your own expectations

Live your life under your own expectations. Fulfill yourself with the goal of being the best version of yourself; you can’t expect that from anyone else. Break out of your shell, nobody’s opinion matters. Eat healthy, and sleep. Things that keep you up at night, emotions, games and shows won’t matter to you later on in life. Work hard, and get involved as much as possible. Go on that exchange. Don’t hold yourself back because of money; you will earn it back in your working years. Remember your bucket list? Just do it. Life and commitments will come and you will have a harder time to go do that. Continue to be kind.

—Willa Huang, Finance, Toronto, ON

Step outside of your comfort zone

Get out of your comfort zone. Throughout the past couple of years of traveling, I have met so many people who congratulated me for being brave and living abroad. I think that anyone can do it as long as they do their research and reach out to the right people who can guide them along the path. Everyday is a new adventure and even just going to a new coffee shop can open you up to a whole new world.

 —Kinga Szilagyi, English Teacher, Wuhan, China

Learn from your pets

I would tell my younger self to beg mom to get a dog sooner. Having 5 dogs now makes me realize that I have a lot more to live for in life. I come home to all 5 fluffs running towards me at the door way and it makes me think that I'm always treasured in their little hearts. With one shoe off, not knowing if I will be tackled down with licks or with paws, I will always cherish the moments when my dogs are excited to see me. These creatures have nothing but loyalty and companionship. They wait around all day for you to arrive home so they can go on walks with you, get massages from you, eat with you, and sometimes even steal and hide your shoe away so you couldn't leave. If I had a dog growing up as child, I believe it would've taught me to be more responsible, caring, and not blinding of my family's concern of me coming home late all the time.

—William Tran, Government, North York, ON

Make yourself a priority

Make yourself a priority. It's easy to get caught up with your responsibilities, friends, family and forget about yourself. You're not a superhero. You can't give what you don’t have. Take care of yourself. This means eat regular meals, sleep 8 hours every night, try to exercise and reflect. Identify your worth. Relationships should not be one sided. Time is precious and you should spend it with those who want to be in your life. It's not easy to let go but cherish the memories and take it one step at a time. You never know what will come next.

—Heather Pangilinan, Radiological Technology Student, Toronto, ON

Use your time and money wisely

Proper use of time and money is key to success. In my younger years, I wasted plenty of time without having any goals. In 2003, I came to Canada as an international student and slowly realized the importance of the time and money. Time carries opportunity and opportunity carries money. During my undergraduate studies, there were many co-op options and at first, I did not take the opportunity available to me. Later, I realized how great it was. But it was competitive and I missed my chance.

—Mohammad Hussain, Engineer, Scarborough, ON

Don’t take life too seriously

Don’t take life too seriously – it’s already serious enough on its own. Life is short, don’t spend it with unnecessary people you dislike or don’t make you a better person. Don’t be afraid to live outside your comfort zone – most of the time you won’t regret doing things out of the ordinary, even though it seems scary at first. Be true to yourself and don’t conform to society because of peer pressure – that just never ends well.

—Nadine Coetzer, Scientist by day, Avid Cookier by night, South Africa

Stop worrying about what others think of you

I would tell myself to stop worrying so much about how others think of you. Back in high school I had this constant worry about what others thought of me. Not surprisingly, I became extremely self-conscious. Am I cool enough? Do I look dorky? Will they like me? These types of questions stopped me from developing as a person because I never thought about who I wanted to be. People come and go. You are the only true constant in your life. Live for yourself.

 —Martin, UX Designer, Toronto, ON

It's okay to be unsure about your "purpose" in life

It's okay to be unsure about your “purpose” in life. Know that all the choices you make, whether it be big or small, will have some impact on your life. That may sound scary, but my advice is not to do something because it's easy. Do it because it intrigues you, broadens your knowledge, and scares you. Know you can do better and that you have choices. If you don't know what to do, then TRY. You won't know what you like or don't like if you don't try. No one will understand it better than you. You never cared about what people thought, even when you were in second grade when that kid tried to bully you. So, don't start now.

—Priscilla Wong, Beauty and Lifestyle Blogger, Toronto, ON

Things do get better

I’d tell my younger self that things do get better – “keep your head held high, love yourself, and let that confidence shine through.” Growing up gay within a community where it was frowned upon (and during a time where Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson were just solidifying their status as gay icons), I was terrified and hid many parts of me, hindering my growth in many ways. I doubted my potential and in turn, closed myself off from pursuing things I was most passionate about. As Mariah says, “there’s a hero, if you look inside your heart, you don’t have to be afraid of what you are.”

—Anthony O, Communications and Brand Manager, London, UK

I also pondered over the question “What advice would you give to your younger self?” and came up with this:

Be brave with your life

Don’t be afraid to dream big and do what makes your heart dance. Stay true to yourself, trust your intuition, and don’t let the fear of making the ‘wrong’ decision hold you back—because everything is a learning experience. So, continue to explore and invest in people and experiences that challenge you to grow. Focus on the person you want to become and the legacy you want to leave behind. Because when you’re brave with your life you inspire others, attract greater opportunities and even more incredible people. But remember that you're never going to have it all figured out and life will get messyso choose (self) love, celebrate vulnerability, and just enjoy the ride.

Published at Thrive Global

Practice Makes Confidence: Moderating the LYP Event

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Last Wednesday on May 29, I had the honour of moderating a private panel discussion and networking event for Live Your Potential. Believe it or not - I entertained the idea of moderating an event a few years back. I joked about it with my accountability partner, as I secretly wanted to do it.

When the opportunity came up, I knew I couldn’t say no. It would make me feel very uncomfortable, but I saw this as a challenge that would help me grow. And so, I took up the offer. I still can’t believe I actually did it!

And boy, was it truly empowering. I was so inspired from the vulnerable conversations I had with the speakers on topics such as overcoming self-doubt and the impostor syndrome, gaining self-confidence, dealing with burn out, transitioning careers, and action planning for professional success. I was able to relate to all of these topics and reflect on my own experiences.

We had a small, intimate group, but the energy was contagious. It was a safe space for all of us to share our insights, advice, and experiences. I missed attending events like these and surrounding myself with like-minded, ambitious women who share a similar vision of achieving personal and professional growth.

Thank you, Dr. Jean Kim and Lilit Simonyan for your mentorship and support over the years! I can’t thank you both enough, as well as the LYP community, for believing in my potential and pushing me to step outside of my comfort zone. Thank you to the panelists Daniela, Kathleen, and Diane for sharing your stories and providing us with so much inspiration and motivation that night!

6 Life-Changing Books You Need to Read

Have you ever read a book that changed your entire perspective on life? How about one that healed you? Reading is proven to be therapeutic and beneficial in many ways. According to the University of Sussex research, reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. Here are six life-changing books focused on mental wellbeing and professional growth.

Rising Strong

Brené Brown

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.”

Courage. Vulnerability. Shame. Guilt. Worthiness. Wholehearted Living. I love the topics social scientist Brené Brown covers in her books. ‘Rising Strong’ gave me so much perspective during one of the most vulnerable moments in my life. It’s about being brave, having fallen, and doing what it takes to get back up. To rise stronger than ever before.

Ted Talk: The Power of Vulnerabiilty
Netflix Series: The Call to Courage

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Elizabeth Gilbert

Uplifting and inspiring, this isn’t just the perfect book for writers and other creatives. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to be more brave and live with passion. ‘Big Magic’ is filled with so much wisdom, compassion, and insightful stories and lessons we can all draw from. Gilbert’s profound and unique perspective is truly transformational for my own creative journey!

Podcast: Magic Lessons

Bloom for Yourself  I & II: Let Go and Grow

April Green

It’s a poetry book that heals you. I love this collection because every single piece speaks to me. It touches upon topics of growth, healing, letting go, living your truth, and learning the language of self-love. I re-read the books multiple times (it’s literally filled with sticky notes), and I go back to it every time I feel ‘less than’. It gives me faith and helps me feel less alone through the pain and confusion of life.

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now

Meg Jay

Every twentysomething needs to read this book. But, I highly recommend it to everyone regardless of age (because you’ll want to make immediate changes right after, and it’s never too late!) This thought-provoking book is based on tons of research from psychologists, sociologists, neurologists, and reproductive specialists, combined with real-life stories everyone can relate to. ‘The Defining Decade’ provides concrete advice and tips on making empowering and informed decisions to live your best life.

Ted Talk: Why 30 is not the new 20

How to Be Everything: A Guide For Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up

Emilie Wapnick

Are you the kind of person who has a lot of different passions and curiosities? Often referred to as the jack-of-all-trades or generalists? It’s okay if you don’t fit perfectly in a box when you were born to stand out and design a life doing what you love. You’re a multipotentialite - someone with many interests and creative pursuits. Can I say this book is 100% relatable? Where’s my tribe at?

Ted Talk: Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling

Careergasm: Find Your Way to Feel-Good Work

Sarah Vermunt

Sarah Vermunt is so badass. She helps people figure out what the hell they want so they can quit their job and do what they love. I mean, she was a business professor, and now, she gives bullsh*t-free career advice as a writer, career coach, and founder of Careergasm. She’s my biggest inspiration, and I’m proud to say that working with her helped me improve my writing tremendously. ‘Careergasm’ is a witty and humorous how-to book, filled with relatable stories, practical advice, and reflective exercises for aspiring career changers.

Which books have you read? What’s on your list?

Published at Thrive Global

Women Empowerment (Why We Need a Community of Supportive Women)

Imagine yourself as a plant. Like the beautiful plant in your room—you need love and care from your surroundings.

To grow, you need to be watered and exposed to sunlight. Water and sunlight are your fellow supporters—like women support women.

You can bloom in a field of beautiful flowers without comparison, as you’re all unique in your own way. And you bloom for yourself.

But, having a community of supportive women will empower you. Here’s how.

They teach us to be compassionate and gentle with ourselves.

You show compassion to others—family, friends, and even strangers. But, are you kind to yourself? Do you think good thoughts and talk to yourself like you would to a loving friend? Being surrounded by a community of women who know how to treat themselves well will teach you to, too. Not only do they know how to take care of themselves but they act with grace and wholeheartedly embrace their imperfections.

They teach us to be brave with our choices.

Do you know any strong and independent women who live life on their own terms? They beam with confidence because they do brave work and make courageous choices (even though they’re scared as hell), because it’s risky and the ideal outcome isn’t always guaranteed. But their success is what makes them admirable—which inspires and motivates you to be braver. Everyone is on their own path making the best decisions for themselves. And these positive role models bring out their inner strengths and power to design the life of their dreams.

They see the potential in us that we don’t see in ourselves.

The best part of having a group of women who have your back is that they see you for who you truly are. And they will push you to believe in your own potential; to take the first step and do the work you need to do until you believe in yourself too. Sometimes we work hard, and opportunities present themselves—only to completely mess up through self-sabotage, impostor syndrome, and the lack of self-confidence—to name a few. That’s when we need our support system more than anything because they know us, and not the self-deprecating thoughts we tell ourselves. They will support us through difficult times and hold us accountable for our actions.

They remind us that we are already whole and enough on our own.

It’s always comforting to have someone be there for you. Someone who will listen, provide emotional support, and offer help in any way. Someone who will mentor, sponsor, and introduce you to others in their valuable network. Your circle of love will expand. You’ll learn to negotiate strategically and finally ask your manager for that raise or promotion. You’ll ask for help and support from your network (without feeling bothersome). And if the answer is “no”— your support system will serve to remind you that you are already whole, and enough, on your own.

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Live Your Potential is one of the communities that I’m incredibly proud to be a part of. I’m extremely fortunate to work alongside co-founders Dr. Jean Kim and Lilit Simonyan as a LYP alumni and content creator over the years. I’ve had the opportunity to meet other like-minded and empowering women like myself in the program, as well during the Talk Series events.

Today, I continue to pursue my passion for writing, with the continued support of the LYP community. This is why we need a community of women who will cheer you on and celebrate your growth to personal and professional success.

Originally published on Live Your Potential (April 18th)

Achieve Mindfulness by Building These 5 Fun Habits

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When life throws you a curveball, achieving mindfulness may seem impossible. But mindfulness is a skill that we can learn to integrate into our lives. It all starts with being mindful of your thought process and who you are. And it’s these fun (no stress) habits that you can build to cultivate mindfulness and positive change into your life.

1. Start with Morning Pages

Here’s a great exercise to do as soon as you wake up (or anytime of the day). Morning pages are three full pages of conscious writing about anything that’s on your mind, without judgment. There’s no wrong way to do this and it’s for your eyes only. By doing this, you’re able to clear your mind, solve problems, find comfort and set intentions for the day.  

2. Write Letters to Your Future Self

Writing letters to your future self is a meaningful way to reflect on where you are now and what you want to achieve in the near future. Once or twice a year I write letters to myself for different ‘milestone’ ages such as ages 25 and 30. It’s exciting to read these letters years down the road and realize how much has changed and how far you’ve come. Alternatively, you can write letters to your younger self, explaining the lessons you’ve learned and what you wish you knew.

3.  Practice Yoga and Meditation

Yoga is a relaxation exercise that has an enormous impact on your physical and mental health. Meditation is a part of yoga where you learn to focus on your mind and listen to your body. Any time you feel yourself slip away into negativity, slow down and just breathe. Even if you’re meditating for just a few minutes a day (try Headspace) , it helps tremendously to take you back to the present moment.

4. Create Your Own Happiness Jar

The Happiness Project is an incredible tool to find the happiest moments in each day. Every night I write 1-3 specific things that I’m grateful for on coloured slips of paper to throw into a jar. It’s quick, simple, fun and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. To my surprise, because I spend a lot of time at work, 80% of it is about work, which allowed me to perceive it in a more positive light than I did previously. I found this habit to be extremely effective for my mental wellbeing, so it’s definitely worth a try.

5. End the Day with a Good Read

Reading before bed is the best way to wind down (rather than to scroll through your phone and be exposed to blue light). The Sleep Council say ‘39% of people who are in the habit of reading before they go to sleep, sleep very well’ as reading has proven to reduce stress levels. And you know what they say—the person you’ll be in 5 years largely depends on the information you feed your mind today.

Some days are better than others, so don’t be so hard on yourself when you fall behind in your routine. Be mindful of what works for you and your ability to start again. Create fun habits that stick!

Originally published at Live Your Potential (February 5th, 2019)

Published at Thrive Global

5 Ways to Practice Self-Love

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“If I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?” - unknown

We tend to place others happiness above our own and not provide enough care on own physical and mental health. It’s crucial to love ourselves by exercising regularly, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep, but there’s more to it at a deeper level. Self-love starts from within.

Below are five ways to practice self-love:

1. Express Authenticity

Expressing authenticity is a fundamental tool to practice self-love. It means being unapologetically true to yourself and accepting your imperfections. It’s choosing to be yourself in public, even when you want to fit in with the crowd. It’s speaking up and voicing your own opinions even when it’s unpopular, and nobody seems to understand or agree with you. It’s being honest with yourself and saying no to good opportunities because you want to protect your energy and keep your priorities in check.

When you’re authentic, you don’t seek validation from others and lose sight of who you are and what you truly desire. Be free of others’ opinions and limitations on how you should lead your path. Chase perspectives, but trust in yourself and enjoy the ride. Being authentic takes effort in various situations, but practicing it on a consistently makes it easier to build your self-confidence and therefore, self-love.

2. Embrace Vulnerability

Embracing vulnerability means being true to your emotions, owning your stories and sharing your struggles. It’s being transparent, which goes hand in hand with expressing authenticity. Being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness, but an act of bravery. It’s as simple as asking for help when you need it, admitting your faults, and expressing your insecurities. It’s also taking risks, embracing uncertainty and rising again after having fallen.

Embracing vulnerability strengthens your relationships with others because you will receive support from loved ones and feel connected when you realize you’re not alone. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget all the small wins and tackled obstacles leading up to where you are now. Every failure and experience is a lesson learned that will take you closer to where you want to be. You will transform into a stronger and braver you for bigger things to come.

3. Build Your Tribe

You are who you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are and support your goals and dreams in life. Surround yourself with genuine, beautiful souls who will cheer you on when you’ve hit rock bottom, and celebrate your successes while you’re climbing the mountain – big or small. Build a support network of family, friends, mentors and professional connections that inspire, motivate, and empower you to do more and become more.

Surround yourself with people who will invest in you – positive role models that you can learn from or bounce ideas off of, helping one another thrive. These might be people who “get you” – your values, interests, and visions for the future. They will challenge you to live your full potential. Attract the right people in your life and keep the ones worth investing time in. Only then will you shine and soar higher than you can believe to achieve.

4. Cultivate Passion

We’re all passionate individuals, but it takes courage to tap into your passion and live it. You may face financial or emotional setbacks from not being fully supported by it. Your passion can be your skill or talent, hobby or interest that you invest your time in because it’s what you love to do; it’s what makes your heart dance. Whether you’re an artist creating your craft or in a profession doing what you love and loving what you do, you’re set. If you aren’t able to find the meaning or fulfillment in your work, you can change your job or your mindset about it.

Either way, it’s important to understand that you’re never stuck in your circumstances. You can cultivate passion for your work; whether it is to propose a new project, take on a new role, or perform a skill set you already have. Whatever you do and wherever you go, take your passion for life everywhere. Your life will be effortlessly more meaningful, and you’ll be noticed for it, with many doors of opportunities open before your eyes.

5. Exercise Gratitude

One of the best tools to live a joyful and fulfilling lifestyle is to exercise gratitude each and every day. When you dedicate a few minutes a day to be mindful and reflect on everything life has to offer and everything that you are – you’re able to appreciate where you are now while focusing on where you want to go.

Wake up each day with gratitude that you can, here’s another day to make it a good one. Go to bed each night expressing gratitude that even with the endless amount of to-do lists and tasks, you are enough. Physical exercise is crucial, but your mental health is just as equally important. What are you grateful for? Think about it, write about it, talk about it, and feel it. Count your blessings, visualize the day you want and reaffirm your priorities, choosing self-love as one.

There are so many reasons to love yourself and many ways to do so. Small consistent acts and positive self-affirmations lead to greater self-love. When you choose to love it will enhance every aspect of your life. Self-love is a daily practice, but these simple acts to express authenticity, embrace vulnerability, build your tribe, cultivate passion, and exercise gratitude boosts your overall health and happiness.

Originally published on Live Your Potential (February 23, 2018)

How to Adapt a Growth Mindset

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They say you only go as far as your mind takes you. Yet, training the mind to stay positive and open is difficult; it takes time and practice as with anything else. It also takes differing experiences to evolve and work on the mind. Here are some ways you can adapt a growth mindset so that you’ll stay genuinely curious, take calculated risks and invest in yourself.

Travel 

Expand your mind and comfort zone.

Travel is the best education for anyone seeking to live courageously and experience tremendous growth. Travel far and wide, more than anyone tells you to. It’s the absolute best way to expand the mind and your comfort zone. Whether it’s traveling with others or on your own, you’re bound to learn more about yourself and a completely different culture.

Constantly struggling, faced with unexpected challenges and unpredictable choices, you take the lead and create your own adventure. Surrendering to the unknown and embracing these spontaneous moments is what brings us together. Travel makes you more adaptable and flexible for vulnerable moments and constant changes to come. Being able to experience everything anew and meet others from all walks of life is what enables you to develop a positive, open-minded perspective and become a global citizen of the world.

Volunteer

Be a part of something bigger than yourself.

Volunteer as much as you want, for as long as you want. If it’s meaningful to you and the work is impactful, then why not? Volunteering is highly rewarding and gives you the opportunity to gain new experiences, learn new skills and meet new people who share a common goal, interest, and passion for a cause you care about.

When you work on something you deeply care about, you’re self-motivated to create a change and focus less upon yourself and more on the world and others around you. Being surrounded by other purposeful and passionate individuals also drives you to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

Attend Professional Events 

Focus on your own self-development. 

When you show up at an event for your own personal and professional development, you feed your mind with knowledge and possibility. You meet the speakers and other professionals who ignite the fire within you as you share insightful and relatable stories with one another. You share similar excitement about a topic or a passion project. Effortlessly exchanging ideas and forming a connection, you become one another’s support.

Whatever it is that you’re investing yourself in, whether it is attending a ‘Live Your Potential’ Talk Series event, public speaking workshop or a personal branding conference—your desire to learn enables you to leave the event with inspiration and a clear call to action.

Meet New People

Network and connect with others.

Meet new people by connecting and engaging with like-minded individuals as well as those who are entirely different from you. Engage with those who aren’t the same age as you, who speak a different language, and who live a different cultural lifestyle. Engage with those who challenge you, disagree with your opinions, and aren’t on the same journey with differing priorities and visions in life.

Engaging with others is how you learn to embrace diversity and be inclusive of the differences that make us stronger together as imperfect human beings. The greatest reminder to become a super connector is that you can meet people anywhere, anytime as long as you choose to stay curious, open and engaging.

Say “Yes” to New Experiences

Do something that makes you feel excited and scared at the same time.

The most exhilarating feeling is when you take the first step to do something that excites you but scares you at the same time. It could be to try something entirely new such as participating in a 10 KM run, dying your hair purple, or attending a MeetUp event on your own. It could be something bigger such as traveling solo, skydiving or working on your first book.

The point of saying “Yes” to new experiences is saying “No” to your self-sabotaging demons namely your fears, doubts, and negative thoughts. Saying “No” to others’ priorities that take up your time and making room for experiences that align with your goals and values will help you grow immensely either physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Learning to adapt to a growth mindset enhances your global network and perspective. Focusing on travel, volunteer work, attending professional events, meeting new people and attaining new experiences will train the mind to handle anything that life throws at you. You’ll readily respond with a mindset of achieving growth and life-long learning with every experience.

Originally published on Live Your Potential (June 24, 2018)

Published on Thrive Global

5 Positive Self-Affirmations to Start Your Day

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Some days we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, lacking in energy and not feeling like our best selves. Some days we carry our burdens and sorrows from yesterday. Sometimes we’re just not okay and that’s perfectly fine. And sometimes we need to remind ourselves how incredibly amazing we are as imperfect human beings. Here are 5 self-affirmations to start your day positively.

I AM LOVED

You are loved and worthy of love.

List all the positive qualities you possess and like about yourself. Name all the people in your life that matter and love you for who you truly are. These are the people who make life meaningful. They’re the ones worth your time and effort. But at the end of the day, you need to love yourself unconditionally so you’re strong enough to withstand anything on your own. You need to love yourself so you can show others how to love you.

I AM STRONG

No matter what you’re going through, stay strong.

Everyone is fighting their own battles. We jump through our own hurdles one after another but with every hardship and obstacle you overcome, you come out even stronger. Remember that you are mentally and physically strong—and you have what it takes to tackle the next big challenge, which will only help you grow and build your resilience.

I AM INTELLIGENT

Your grades, your job, your circumstances and your past do not define who you are.

You are an intelligent human being capable of making decisions for your own well-being. Maybe you didn't score the best grades in school or maybe you’re in a job that doesn't leverage your true strengths and potential, but you are more than that. You may not be where you want to be now but you will get there. All of what you’re experiencing now is temporary and a stepping stone to greater things ahead. Learn from your past experiences as they help you become the person you are today and believe in your ability to overcome anything.

I AM ENOUGH

Wake up each day and go to bed each night knowing that you are enough.

You are beautiful enough, smart enough, and good enough for yourself, your family, your friends and your partner. Anyone who is incapable of appreciating your presence and your unique self isn't worth your time. Don’t seek validation from others—know that you are both a masterpiece and a work of in progress. Nobody has it all figured out, we are all doing the best we can with what we have. Value the person you are now, while you work on becoming the best version of yourself.

I AM BEAUTIFUL

You’re beautiful inside and out.

You radiate the kind of energy that attracts other beautiful souls in your life. Your compassion for yourself and others and your passion for life takes you to places, people, and opportunities beyond your imagination. Your abundant mindset and open-minded perspectives give you the ability to adapt to various situations and diverse groups of individuals. Your presence brings joy and happiness to those around you because you’re beautiful—inside and out.

 

Originally published on All Women's Talk (Feb 13, 2018)

I Got You, Beautiful Souls

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I see you.

You shine when you’re hella passionate, when you’re living wholeheartedly. Eyes bright, full of curiosity. Wide smile, so genuine. Contagious laughter, alongside tears of joy.

I know you.

You’re the rebel that doesn’t conform. You’re the rebel that refuses to settle. You’re a dreamer, but you don’t just sit there. You’re a doer – you do what you can to make it happen.

I feel you.

It might feel like nobody understands. Like you’re all alone. All the noise and judgment envy and fear clouding your vision. Self-doubt and insecurities kick-in, and the “What ifs” ?

Your dream might feel far out of reach but this urge of deep desire and f r e e d o m you can’t ignore.

You seek change. You seek growth. You seek to explore the depths of the globe and your soul.

I got you.

You’re a visionary. You’re a trailblazer. You’re a changemaker.

Writer. Creator. Artist. Entrepreneur. Globetrotter.

Whatever you are and wherever you go, you have limitless potential and a sea of opportunities.

Keep going and just believe.

Dream big.

 

Originally posted on Society Rebel (Jan 12, 2018)

This is Why I Write

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I write cause it's what I love to do.

It's my passion, my hobby, my outlet, my escape.

I write for others and myself. I write when I'm feeling all sorts of emotions. I write to organize my thoughts and reflect on life. I write to keep track of all the moments in my life - the good and the bad. I write when I have a hard time finding the right words to express myself. I write to express my creativity. I write to connect and share my story. I write to inspire and motivate others to live wholeheartedly. I write because I can be my most authentic self.

This is why I write.

Ever since I was young, I've always loved to read. It was my favourite pastime, and I was known as the bookworm. I would visit the library often and borrow at least 15 books each time. I would read daily, a novel a day. My imagination would run wild, and gradually, my love for writing grew with my love for reading. My favourite genre was adventure and horror. Eventually, I wrote on a daily basis too. I would journal and write poetry and many stories. And I would get recognized for it too.

My first published piece was a short poem about being your authentic self. It was titled "Just Because..." My teacher thought it was a great piece, so it got published in a Young Writers Anthology. This happened when I was in fifth grade.

I wanted to be an author. It was my childhood dream. 

It wasn't even a big deal to me back then. Thinking back now, this was huge. This was the start of something amazing.

But, I'm not that cool anymore.

Growing up, I didn't read or write on a daily basis like I used to. I didn't get lost in the novel I was reading, losing all track of time. I didn't even make time to visit the library anymore, and would occasionally dream of going there to borrow books and read. Instead, I’d read textbooks to study for exams and prepare for university and my future more 'practical' and 'financially stable' career, which doesn't include any plans of becoming a writer.

In eleventh grade, I miraculously earned a perfect score on my final English project/presentation. My grade was quite high. I always did fairly well in English, and it was my favourite subject. Then my dreams of doing anything writing-related was crushed when I struggled to obtain a decent grade in twelfth grade English class. I needed a good grade to apply to university, and I got the grade I needed, but that's when I realized that my English actually sucks. Thanks.

Then in my first year of university, I became obsessed with TVB Hong Kong dramas. I grew up watching them, but I started reading a few fan fictions online. People were such incredible writers, and I started writing my own. I wasn't confident with my own writing, but I decided to publish a few chapters anyway. What happened was that I had many readers that gave me such positive, motivating feedback, which gave me the confidence and motivation to continue writing my fan fiction. I was on fire and wrote several chapters every night. I ended up finishing my story with 35 chapters. My grammar and vocabulary aren't nearly perfect, but I have to say, my story is pretty epic. (I never told anyone about this cause quite frankly, I was embarrassed.)

The website eventually shut down, and I stopped writing. University got in the way, new interests developed, and I had other goals to achieve. It wasn't until after I graduated, did I start reading and writing again. It wasn't until I met other writers (my mentors Anita Wing Lee & Bobby Umar) who advised me to just write and not be afraid. To publish my pieces and take in the criticism. It took a few turns of events for me to understand my truest passions and purpose in life. More than anything, I'm certain that I want to be a writer. Today, I no longer call myself an aspiring writer.

I am a writer. 

Moving forward in 2016, I wrote my first networking article on 10KCoffees, have my own travel blog on Verge Magazine, and my first anthology published.

Then in 2017, a month prior to returning to Canada after my year abroad, my mentor (Dr. Jean Kim) read my networking article and offered me a position at her organization (Live Your Potential) as a content creator. I also received a complimentary spot for the women’s leadership and career development program! Through this experience, I wrote many articles and built my writing portfolio.

I also worked as an English teacher in Toronto. Although I have my TEFL certificate and a year of teaching experience, I’m not OCT or TESL Canada certified. But, I still got the position! It was an extremely rewarding experience to create the 8-weeks ‘Power English for Adults’ program curriculum, teaching my students everything from public speaking, intercultural communication, business writing, networking, and personal branding.

The story doesn't end there.

In 2018, I connected with a writer that I absolutely adored - Sarah Vermunt (Author of Careergasm). She gave me a ton of tips and techniques on how I could improve my writing.

2019 rolled around, and I joined her 3-month writing program, where I wrote my ass off with a community of writers every other week. I even got to meet her book editor and learn the entire process of self-publishing and working with a publishing agent/firm. Eventually, the goal is to publish my own book. (I started working on it, but as of now, it’s for my eyes only.)

Just recently, I published my first article on Thrive Global (founded by Arianna Huffington). I am now a contributing writer for a blog that I love to read and a community I completely resonate with.

And now, finally, after so many years of talking about it - here it is, my very own personal website. All my work over the last several years.

What’s next?

I always knew what I wanted to be growing up. Now, it's no longer just a dream and an unrealistic goal. Who knows where it’ll lead to? I’m working on building a career out of writing and am seeking freelance opportunities. But either way, I’ll always continue to write and share.

Most importantly, I'm going to do all of this for me.

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(Last edited May 20, 2019)

How My Coffee Chat Experiences Changed Me

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I remember when I first started networking. It was an intimidating process, but I didn't think much into it. My burning desire to obtain an internship and job after graduation was greater than my fears and limiting beliefs. Luckily, I had a  mentor who taught me how to network authentically, and she kept me accountable for a good eight months.

For my first coffee chat, my mentor introduced me to a young lady who worked in the industry that I wanted to work in. She was so genuine and provided me so much insight - I took two hours of her time. I should have been more respectful of her time, but I was so curious and had many questions as I was new to the world of non-profit/social enterprise.

After that meeting, I had many other Skype, phone, and in-person meetings with people from all over the world. My network continued to expand as people continued to share their contacts with me and when I showed up to many conferences and events throughout the year. I learn something new every single time.

I would never forget the one coffee meeting I had that led me to my internship prior to graduation. I've reached one of my goals of the year and every time I think back, it still seemed so unbelievable. But I was not lucky, I put in a lot of hard work to get this. It is definitely one of my biggest accomplishments today and I always look back to it whenever I am faced with any adversity or failure. I created my own destiny.

My last coffee meeting of the year made me realize how much I've grown in just one year's time. I was invited to a coffee chat with a CEO of a huge company through 10KC. I was more happy than surprised because it is quite rare for someone older and more experienced to invite me to coffee when I would normally be the one who initiates as I would benefit more out of chat as a younger person.

This time, the conversation was much more reciprocal. He complimented on my firm handshake and how incredible he thinks my personal brand was. He told me that he learned something new from me - which is personal branding (something I've just learned this year!).

As I told him my life story since last year, he became more and more surprised about my accomplishments and experience for a 23-year-old. I was more level-headed than he thought I was. His intention that day was to mentor me and help me in any way, but when I asked him for advice he was somewhat speechless. Of all things I was surprised, because I knew that there was so much room for improvement, so much more things I needed to figure out in the long-run.

I even told him how all this isn't easy for me because I am a natural introvert - but I didn't appear that way at all when I spoke to him. I mentioned that I wanted to improve on public speaking and speak in a more mature way, but he reminded me that I was only 23 years old.

A few days after the meeting he sent me his observations and thoughts from our chat. I thought it was very helpful to know what his first impression of me and how he would describe my personal brand.

 

It was definitely a confidence booster. When I read this, I remember my 8-year-old self, wishing that when I turn 23 I will be brave, confident, happy, and social. I like to think that I've become that person today.

I realize that I actually do enjoy coffee meetings and am much more comfortable with it today. I think 10KC is an incredible platform and I hope that when I'm older I will continue to go on coffee chats to share my experiences with young people.

Let's connect! Invite me to coffee today  at 10kcoffees.com/tina-chow 

 

 

What I learned in 2015

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Life after graduation was better than I've ever imagined. One year ago, I was freaking out about my future and what to do with my life. Today, I have many passions and dreams that I am accomplishing one at a time. The future is much more clear to me but I also like taking a leap of faith into the unknown, not knowing where life will take me next. I've let go of all expectations for myself and others and am living the life that I truly want.

Trust the timing of your life.

Many opportunities came up when I was letting go of what I thought I should be doing, living my purpose. When I stepped out into the universe and show up. When I started networking, having conversations that moved my dreams forward. I've found my tribe and became a part of projects that were meaningful to me and made a positive impact on the lives of others. Not only was I able to help others from as far as Nicaragua, but even a close friend or someone 50 years my senior.

Your happiness comes from creating happiness for others.

At this moment in life, I want to travel and grow as a person. I want to see the world, immerse myself in another culture, and step out of my comfort zone. I want to meet people from all over the world, expand my mind, and make a difference. Now is the time. I can literally do whatever my heart desires.

Follow your call to adventure.

In less than two months I will be leaving to work in South Korea for an entire year without seeing my family and friends. Some friends may come to visit, but even then this is my first time traveling and living overseas alone.

It's been calling out to me for some time now, and I am happy to say that I've manifested my dreams after applying to EPIK twice. Even when you encounter setbacks, when you know that it is something that you must have and you're willing to sacrifice for it, then it will happen.

Keep Going and Just Believe.

My strong desire to travel lead me to many gigs where I was paid to travel.  Although I chose to spend the Christmas holidays with my family and friends and didn't end up working on a cruise ship, I decided that I also want this experience. It will happen eventually.

Those who are certain of the outcome, can wait and wait without anxiety. - Gabby Berstein

All of these experiences are stepping stones to help me become the person that I am today. It's starting to make a lot more sense now, with all my passions interrelated leading to me where I'm supposed to be right now.

I used to hate change, but now I embrace it. There are so many changes this year, but the best one was definitely my mindset. I have never been more optimistic and open-minded in my life to new experiences, new people, and most importantly my perspective on myself and my future.

You are exactly where you need to be, to learn the lessons you need to learn, to become the person you are meant to be. - Anita Wing Lee

There are way too many things I want to do, at this time, right now. I want to have it all figured out and I want everything to happen all at once. I know that I need to slow down and not overwhelm myself with too many things at once. Looking back, I couldn't believe that I was involved in 7 different organizations just this year. As much as I love to volunteer, I don't want to be a jack of all trades. I want to master a few things that truly matter. I need to keep my priorities straight and I've been learning to live more in the present moment. I'm still young, and better things are coming.

Focus your energy on what matters to you most now.

Once you start living life a little differently and you meet like-minded individuals that lift you higher, you realise that there's no going  back to the life that you've always lived. It's okay if the people that you've known forever don't understand what you're doing or see things the way you do. Stay open-minded but be true to yourself.

Let go of what no longer serves you any purpose. 

Both networking and mentorship have been a huge part of my growth this year. I've never thought that I would be complimented on my networking skills or have several mentors that contributed to my success today, one who has changed my life completely. I myself even mentored a few people and the feeling of helping others and witnessing them succeed is incredible. Networking is all about connecting with others and building relationships, and I've met so many amazing individuals this year that inspire me and unconsciously gave me permission to shine and dream a little bigger.

Life is a journey, not a destination.

2015 was so unbelievably amazing in that I accomplished 99% of my goals and learned so much - that even the adversity and 'bad' experiences were all a blessing in disguise.

Cheers to a New Year, I can't wait for 2016. Another year of change, growth, and travel.

Celebrate Every Little Success

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There are still two months left until the end of 2015. I am very proud of all the progress I have made thus far, especially my change in mindset. I've learned so much this year, met so many incredible people worldwide, and was actively a part of many meaningful and rewarding projects.

Sometimes I forget everything that I've been through. I forget to celebrate little successes along the way and I forget to be grateful and appreciate life and who I am.

I think a lot about my struggles and how far I have to go, not enough about my success and how far I've come.

This post is a reminder to not be so hard on myself.

For the longest time, my grades and my past defined who I was.

I should not feel the need to overwhelm myself and take on too many commitments just to prove my self-worth to others and especially to myself.

What matters most is what I’m doing in right now, in the present moment.

I'm at that stage where I feel trapped between all that I've done and all that I have yet to accomplish, the constant struggle between knowing that I'm capable of so much more but not feeling confident in my own abilities. The battle of working on the mindset, managing time, and becoming the ultimate player in this 'waiting game'.

This is all part of a beautiful journey. It's time to take another leap of faith into the unknown and trust that the universe has your back. Miracles have happened before, it will happen again. It is possible. I'M.P.O.S.S.I.B.L.E.

It all started ...

When I followed my intuition and took a leap of faith. I enrolled into a networking program and worked with a mentor during my final term of undergrad.

I said YES to life and many doors of opportunities opened throughout the year.

I was offered an internship prior to graduation after my first networking conference

After my first networking conference, I followed-up with the co-founder of a non-profit I wanted to work with. He invited me for coffee and offered me an internship right on the spot. It was one of my most rewarding experiences to work with an incredibly passionate group of individuals who create a huge impact in this world. I also learned the a lot from this internship. This is how you create your own opportunity.

Doctors For Doctors / Nurses For Nurses is a charitable organization that provides scholarships for medical and nursing students to increase access to healthcare in Nicaragua. Check out their work!

My internship and networking skills lead me to tutor ESL

One of the projects of my internship required me to reach out and network even more. This event gave me the opportunity to serve the community by tutoring ESL to international high school students. It was the perfect opportunity for me at the time because I wanted to gain experience teaching English for when I work abroad in South Korea. I didn't even need an interview for this. It was a rewarding experience to be able to teach and mentor these young people who have so much potential in them. It was amazing to be able to witness and be a part of their growth.

My desire to grow and travel led me to get paid to travel and work with young leaders at a fun-loving company (I Love Travel!)

Every time I look back at this experience, I am still in awe as how I did it. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone and I realized that I was more capable that I could ever imagine. I was a trip leader and lead 50 high-energy senior high school students to and from Montreal. I interacted with and supervised over 300+ students and it was an intensive week of no sleep and 24/7 staff support to ensure that these students have a trip of a lifetime. It was so challenging, but I had the best team ever. It was definitely was one my most memorable travel and leadership experience.

My first permanent full-time job

I remember the entire process to obtain this position took several weeks. I had to go through an intense multi-stage interview. Out of all of my previous jobs in the past, I've learned the hardest lessons from this one that will be remembered for a lifetime. Some of the lessons are included in my post here.

I obtained a Teaching English As A Second Language Certification

Taking a TESOL certification was mandatory for my teaching abroad experience, but it’s worth completing if you truly care about your students and becoming a “good” teacher. This is especially beneficial for those who aren’t certified to teach and are first-time teachers. It could also leads to future opportunities - I taught in Toronto after I returned home!

I was a part of 3 big conferences in a month:

  • SIPO Power of Ideas Conference

    SIPO Foundation (Spreading Ideas Providing Opportunities) is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to empowering young professionals to become leaders within their communities. They host annual networking events, workshops, and conferences.

  • I’M.P.O.S.S.I.B.L.E Seminar

    I'M.P.O.S.S.I.B.L.E is a performance seminar that demonstrates how to discover the limitless power within and create an abundant mindset by applying the Think and Grow Rich philosophy to all areas of your life.

  • SociaLight Conference

    SociaLIGHT is the ultimate leadership and entrepreneurship conference that provides empowerment, inspiration, and support to leaders, startups, and entrepreneurs.

Let me tell you - volunteering for conferences and being a part of communities such as these are truly empowering. This is where you meet courageous people who do big things with their life - even when fear meets them in the eye. And that’s how you dream a little bigger and live a little braver too.

 No matter where you are in life, remember to celebrate all the little things - big or small.

(Edited April 20th, 2019)

Not a Normal 23 Year Old

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I always wanted to be 'normal'. I wanted to fit in with society and lead a simple life. But in reality, I was always the outcast. The odd one out. The one with many distinctive labels that set me apart. The one that wants to stay low-key and avoid the spotlight, but always catch unwanted attention for being so different.

For instance, I am a quiet introvert. I think a lot inside my head, I prefer listening than speaking, and I only speak up when I feel the need to. And I always get called out for it.

However, I've learned to love and accept myself over the years. I enjoy solitude and care a lot less about what others think of me now. I am generally a very calm soul and I don't express myself often or feel the need to explain myself.

Recently it never occurred to me until a few people pointed out that for a 23-year-old, I was quite different from my friends and young millennials today.

I didn't share the same hobbies of some people I know. Perhaps I was a bit more mature, serious, and career-oriented based from my own past struggles and experience with being so occupied with my perfectly planned out future career, life goals, and should-have-my-life-figured-out mindset (by now).

But I am only 23 years old. I am young and I have my whole life to explore the world. It's an amazing thought to know that some the best days of my life have yet to come. All the adventures and lessons I will learn along this beautiful journey called life.

I've always taken life very seriously. At a young age as 6, I saw life as being hard. The world as a harsh place to be. That you just can't trust anyone in this world.

But now I've adapted a different type of mindset. I've learned a lot over the years and I've been surprised a number of times of how genuine some people can be. I now have faith in humanity. I love connecting with people and I believe in the "impossible." I see life with open doors and tons of opportunities and possibilities.

Hence, this year I've attended many conferences, workshops and networking events. I have my business cards, elevator pitch, professional social media tools, crazy entrepreneurial ideas, and big dreams. I fill my schedule with reading self-help books, enrolling in various courses, and attending coffee meetings.

Does that sound like most 23-year-olds that you know? There are definitely many out there, besides the well-known multimillionaire entrepreneurs. I'm referring to those fighting to simply obtain a job as a recent graduate with the high unemployment rate in our economy today. Or those on the road to self-discovery. I personally only know quite a few young people that hustle solo like I do. One year ago today, I wouldn't be brave enough to attend or be involved in these events all on my own, but today after everything that I've been through and come to believe, I'm all for that life.

One of my close friends makes fun of me because I would talk about conferences at 2 am in the morning much too frequently while he talks about dating. What can I say? My dreams and life goals keep me up at night and wakes me up early and excited to start my day and take action.

The other day I bumped into a classmate from high school and we caught up. He told me that he thinks I'm quite serious and I seem to have it all figured out (when in reality - I don't, we all don't). He asked me what my hobbies were. I told him that I have normal hobbies though he didn't think so. He believes that the typical hobbies of a majority of young people are partying, drinking, clubbing, and attending concerts. I do all of which he has listed, more frequently a few years back throughout undergrad, but not so much now. I've chosen to spend less of my time doing those activities nowadays. Also, the people that I've been surrounded by lately are all very inspiring, ambitious, and successful leaders, entrepreneurs, and changemakers.

Ever since I've stepped into the real world and obtained my first full-time job, I've spent a lot less time with my friends, which is perfectly normal. Work becomes a part of your life and everybody is busy with their own lives especially in our fast-paced society today, with our overly-ambitious schedules.

Nowadays, I spend a majority of my free time reading books and articles about career development, leadership, personal and professional growth and development. I obsessively follow successful idols such as Tony Robbins and Bob Proctor. I volunteer my time helping out at conferences and found my tribe of trailblazers, most of which are a lot older and experienced than I am. However, I love to connect with them because we share the same burning desire to create change and live the life of our dreams. I love the energy that these people have, and the meaningful and insightful conversations that I have with them.

These people are doing things that I want to be doing and they are the people that I want to become. Many are working towards their dream and they share their inspiring story of failures and mistakes which are lessons and blessings that shape who they are today. They keep their faith, persevere, and manifest their thoughts to reality.

At one conference, I was sharing my story with one of the volunteers which was over 10 years my senior. I was telling him how I much I believe in networking and how I've been trying to connect with one of the speakers present that day, several times in person and over email. This person was popular and probably too busy to respond. Even though I had brief contact with her, she doesn't know me in a much more personal level other than just another volunteer. But I was okay with that for now. I believe that she will be my mentor and we will work together someday.

That man looked at me and told me that he thought that I was inspiring.

He said that when he was 23 all he did was party and drink and he wouldn't be thinking or working so hard for his future. He was so genuine about it and he told my sister about me while I was present.

It was definitely one of the best compliments I've ever received, but I'm just happy to know that on that very day I was a part of a seminar that changed a couple hundred lives, including my family and a few close friends, and that I inspired this man that I just met.

I did have several more people that applaud me for being brave enough to take charge of my own life. My mentor who completely believe in my limitless potential, that I had big things in store for the future. My biggest influences and supporters of all time - my family, believe that I will be successful and have a great future ahead of me for all that I am doing now.

Sometimes we need the reminder from the people around us to keep going even when times get tough.

Nothing that comes easy is worth having.

Great things take time and effort.

Successful people do not conform. I no longer strive to be 'normal.'

"If you want something you've never had, you've got to do something you've never done."

17 Ways I Train Myself to Think Like a Proton (Think Positively)

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People I've known my entire life have asked me why I’m always so happy. I'm known as one of the "happiest people" at work. They ask me if I ever get mad because they've never seen it. And I look at them in awe—because let's be real, of course, I get mad sometimes. I'm human, too.

I wasn't always this optimistic. Believe it or not, when I was younger, I was an emotional mess. I've had my fair shares of dealing with anxiety and depression. I had extremely low self-confidence with a whirlwind of negative thoughts and limiting beliefs trailing my mind wherever I went. It took a lot for me to get to where I am today (feeling content with life and embracing my imperfections).

Usually, when others ask me why I'm always so happy, I answer, "I'm always happy around my friends." It’s true. Even if I was in a bad mood, it instantly changes around good company and good vibes. But you can't always depend on others for your happiness. You have to embrace who you are and find inner peace because at the end of the day, it's just you.

I always remind myself to stay grateful and to live life to the fullest. I try to find humour in everyday life and see beauty in everyday things.

When you master your mind, you control how you live your life. Whatever obstacles life throws at you, how you perceive and react to it determines your day. Train your mind to think positive and success-conscious.

What do you do regularly to stay positive and live a joyful and healthy lifestyle?

Here's my list.

  1. I only surround myself with people who lift me higher.

  2. I practice yoga consistently and meditate occasionally.

  3. I write to reflect, organize my thoughts and clear my mind.

  4. I make "Me Time" especially after a long, busy week of people and events.

  5. I pamper myself once in a while with good food, sleeping in, facials, massages, or anything that brings me joy.

  6. I volunteer for meaningful projects that make a positive impact in the lives of others.

  7. I attend networking events, workshops, and conferences regularly and meet a ton of like-minded people; many of whom I meet for coffee to share insights.

  8. I read books on personal/professional development and self-empowerment.

  9. I follow many inspiring influencers and thought leaders on social media, read their books gor listen to their podcasts to learn from them.

  10. I invest in myself by enrolling in various courses and programs to develop new skills and knowledge.

  11. I have several mentors that I turn to for advice and to hold me accountable for my actions.

  12. I try new things and take on multiple gigs because I see everything as a learning experience and an opportunity to grow. I don’t say yes to everything though.

  13. I adopt the mindset to live in the present moment and embrace the journey that I am on; everything in life is temporary.

  14. I let go of anything or anyone that no longer serves me any purpose. I won't settle for less than what I deserve.

  15. I refuse to conform. I dream big, so I set goals for myself and work hard for what I want.

  16. I travel to explore different cultures, lifestyles, and to be braver.

  17. I follow my intuition and my heart to make important decisions.

Self-mastery is key to a fulfilling lifestyle. Next time you catch yourself feeling down–remind yourself this and try to turn those negative thoughts away. If you're not satisfied with where you are now, brainstorm a list of things that you could be doing differently, to make that change in your life. Then do it.  Don't wait until the new year or when you think things will start to "slow down."

Ask yourself,

"What's something that you've always wanted to do but never did?"

"When was the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone?"

Create better habits for yourself. Build that auto success reflex and attract the right people in your life.