August 2012

Today Is the Day!

What are you waiting for?

“Today is the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you will ever be again.”

I just read that from Marc and Angels blog about twelve negative thinking errors that hold you back. This is one quote that stuck out to me.

Life is too short and goes by waaaay too fast for us to keep sitting around and making up excuses as to why we’re not doing the things we say we want to do. We always say there is tomorrow, but what if tomorrow never comes?

The problem with procrastination (for anything) is that we have no solid guarantee of today.

“Oh we’ll, there is always tomorrow.”

“Well, I suppose it’s not that big of a deal if I don’t get this done right now.”

The God honest truth is that the more time we spend thinking about something, the less likely we are to do it.

Well guys, the ugly truth is: thinking about something will not get it done.
“But I’m waiting until everything is just perfect.”

No! Stop waiting!
If we waited until everything is perfect than we may as well never do anything, because perfection isn’t real.

What is perfect anyway? If perfection was real and it was attainable, we would easily be able to reach it (for those of us who wanted to, and…. who wouldn’t?) Within reaching the said “perfection”, we would all be the same. And if we were all the same, we would all be eating at Taco Bell.
Booooring…….

Perfection is overrated.

So don’t wait until you are perfect to try and accomplish something.
That will never come.

Now here’s my secret. For as long as I can remember, I have procrastinated on doing something because of my fear of the unknown. What if I’m not good enough? What if I ruin it? What if it makes no sense? What if nobody else likes it? I will start it when I get better at it, practicing first. Hell, I have always been good at making excuses for not starting (or finishing) a project or hobby. And I was comfortable about it. It didn’t strike me as bad that I was just doing the bare minimum. I never had an urge to care. I didn’t bother me that I wasn’t doing something progressive, because in my mind, I needed it to be perfect before I could start. I wanted to be the one who was just good at everything, all the time.

Well, that kind of dreaming didn’t take me very far.

The only thing I ever kept up with was writing in my diary. I wrote (and still write) in my diary, every single day. Writing takes up a big majority of my life. I failed in working out because I wanted to just be perfectly tiny already. I failed in sports because I just wasn’t as good as I wanted to be. I failed in gymnastics because my sister quit and I didn’t want to do it alone. Swimming – I couldn’t trust my body to float. Piano – I couldn’t read music easily.
Whatever it was, I quit before I gave myself enough time to practice. I have repeatedly underestimated the power of my brain and skills.

I would think about, what if I did become good? How would it change my life? What if I ended up hating it? Would I feel as if it were all a waste of time?

So many effing questions that seemed so important, now a mere chuckle when I think of them. Now, looking back on my life, I wish I had followed through with all the habits and activities I tried to start many years ago. Where it would it have taken me? I have no idea! But that doesn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that doing them made me happy. It broadened my horizons, taught me teamwork and how to put in real effort. It taught me selflessness and integrity. You can learn and grow from your habits, passions, and daily activities if you want to.

The bottom line: I was just lazy.

So one day, quite literally actually, I woke up and after having my first digressing thought, I yelled in my head, “No! Fuck that! I’m not letting this happen anymore!” And you better believe, from that moment, I did everything I said I would do. I finished projects, got in the shape that was right for me, discovered a love for yoga, finished book after book, and started making dreams happen!

Letting laziness, procrastination, or the fear of the unknown stop you from doing what you really want to do is not the best excuse. I know you can do better than that. Because I would make up so many excuses, it’s natural for me to smell an excuse a mile away. And if you let yourself become so acquainted with them, it will bring you down.

Who cares if it takes you one whole session of martial arts just to learn stretches? So you only lost three pounds this month, is that horrible compared to losing none?

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was the Great Wall of China.
Everything good and legendary in life takes time.


Photo Credit: Larry for BeckerBiz

So I ask again, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Go learn about the new interest you have! Progress! Improve! Push yourself to be the best you want to be! It’s up to you and no one else. If there’s no sacrifice to be made, then there’s no gain. No pain, no gain. Ya mean? You have the means, now just get the drive.

It’s a lot easier than you think. A lot more rewarding than you expect. And a lot more fulfilling than you will ever know.

So whatever it is you want to do, START TODAY.
Because it you wait now, you will wait forever.

Remembering What You Have

We have all been there. Some more than others. We are introduced to something new and suddenly everything about our genuinity and standards fly out the window!

What the hell is that about?

Sometimes going from our crappy studio apartment to a week in the Bahamas, staying at an all inclusive can give us a big head. The great part about vacationing is you can really be anyone you want. You can blow your spending money on whatever you want. You can finally let loose, get drunk, go wild and crazy, and dance with that hot foreigner who’s staying at your same hotel. Vacations are amazing!

But sometimes, ending a vacation is easier than ending the vacation mindset. We bring the attitude back in our carry-ons. We go home and demand more, ask less. We get into the habit of talking about ourselves more, as if the people we’re around everyday really want to hear our life story – again.

It’s natural to want to keep the vacations going. When we go on more, the dream of another one never goes away. In fact, sometimes we dream of vacations and “a better life” so often, we let our real life go by in a total blur. We dont realize how great our current life is. How much we love cleaning our place up, or working out for two hours at the gym, or cleaning up after the kids. We go through the motions and neglect the people, things, and activities we care about most.

Always dreaming of something more stops us from enjoying the moments we currently live in. We forget to make our moments special. Thinking only a vacation can give that to us.

Well, if you have been guilty in those thinking traps, you’re not alone. It’s a common phase we all go through once or twice.

So in those moments of loss, remember some of these helpful tools that even I live by:

1. Taking Time To Be Grateful
Every morning when I am sitting at the trax station, waiting for the train, I spend the 15-20 minutes usually expressing what in my life I am grateful for. Sure, I wish a lot of times I was back in China. Yeah, I would love to up and move to NYC or Seattle. Go live in South America just to learn the language. I want these things so badly that sometimes I can lose sight of what I already have. So I give thanks. I thank God everyday that I have a chance to live with my mom for the time being to really solidify our relationship. I thank God for all the blessings, friends, experiences, jobs, and wisdom life has given me. I am grateful to grow up and live where I do, because I truly think there is no better place.
Once you start giving thanks for what you do have, versus what you don’t have, you will see life in a new way.

2. Pretending You’re On A Vacation
Now I know this one may come off a little weird. Sometime about a year ago, I read a blog from marcandangel.com about ways to be happier. Number 19 on that list was to pretend you are in a different place. So sometimes, as I ride my bike, I look at the environment as if I had never been there before. Not that I purposely get lost, but I pretend like I am getting to know a new city. The beauty of somewhere different. For example, a lot of the times, I imagine I am in London. The days we have a beautiful cloudy sky, the mornings with fresh Snow….. I do pretend I am across seas. Not only am I openly happier about each situation that comes up, but I am more inclined to build rapport with strangers and am able to make their day as well (or vise versa). Making yourself happy and being able to make someone else happy, is one of the greatest feelings I believe a person can get.

3. Evaluating Self-Progression
As we have all heard – we are where we are today because of our choices. With every action is an equal and opposite reaction. What goes around comes around. What you put in, you get in return. There are hundreds of different ways to say it, but point blank – Whatever successes or failures we have this very moment is because of what we have decided to do. President Obama didn’t sleep his way to the White House. The RZA didn’t just build one of the greatest, most influential rap groups in history just by chance. And Michelangelo didn’t make a masterpiece in one night.  They worked their asses off to get to where they wanted to go. If they weren’t progressing or if they felt stuck in life, they took a step back and calculated every action up until that point. They thought about what was working, what was the worse of the two decisions, and what they could do differently to keep climbing that mountain.

So if you notice that you are routinely doing the same things everyday, while your mind is dreaming up new and exciting things – experiences and goals you want to work on and explore – you need to take a seat, maybe get out a pen and paper and write down all the things you are doing now. With another column down the same paper, make a list of all the things you want to start doing. With your last column, maybe on the bottom part of the paper, between the top two, make a list of how you are going to make it happen. You need to decide which things aren’t exactly time beneficial, such as 3 hour naps a day, 2 hours of TV time, 2 hours of mindless internet gazing. What are you doing now in the day, that you could replace with something productive? Something that will allow you be the better and more successful person you can be?

Remember: Wishing won’t accomplish your goals. Dreaming won’t make your success real.

Working hard and putting in 100% effort will bring you everything you want out of life. No matter what it is you are doing.

4. Taking the Focus Off Of Yourself
Naturally, for most human beings, we are our favorite subject to talk about. But the minute you start asking questions and taking the attention off yourself, the more you learn about other people, other places, and other things. Your imagine grows. Your conversational skills advance. You grow more trust in people and in turn, people pay more attention to you. You start coming together to make things happen. You build lasting friendships and fantastic first impressions. We are not the most important thing on this Earth.

5. “It Could Always Be Worse”
Enough beating around the bush…. STOP COMPLAINING!! Whether it’s the co-workers who make you want to pull your hair out, or the gossip that goes on in school, or the fact that “Oh my God did you see who Travis came to Monica’s party with?” or even the traffic that takes 30 extra minutes because of a highway accident…. whatever you are complaining about, STOP IT NOW!!! Think about it this way, You should feel lucky that you even have a job. You can make the decision to ignore gossip. And who cares who Travis is with? If he is gonna play you, gurrrrl, you are better off being single. So you have a longer commute to work, so what? That gives you more time to double check if you are on the up and up, listen to that kick-ass new song on the radio (or any music source you have set up), or drink your coffee.

Whatever is going on in your life that you feel makes it sooooo horrible, just remember that somewhere – millions of people are unemployed. Some people don’t have cars. Some people don’t have food or houses or shoes. Some kids will never get the chance to go to school. Some kids never see the light of day where they have friends.  A lot of people in this world live an unfortunate life that we can’t even fathom. Sometimes in China, their streets are actually covered in mud and sewage. That’s right. You walk in poop. Feel lucky you can flush toilet paper down the toilet. Be grateful you have a dryer and a stove, because some places, don’t provide those in their countries.

Whatever problems you’re facing in your life, don’t ever forget that things could always be worse. That could be you in the car accident on the highway. Would you be mad then? Would you wish you could stand up and shout to the other cars slowly going by “I’m sorry for the hold up but I just went through my own winshield!”? I know I would.

 

 

One of the best pieces of advice I received was both from my mom and close friend Wang Dong Mei. They told me, “Ashlyn, before you take any action, on whatever it is, think, think, re-think, and think again.” Only after that was when I could take action, if I still believed in my heart of hearts it was the right one. When I do these five things, I fully enjoy my life more. I don’t need the world anymore, because I have the most important people and things around me. I have the relationships I have always dreamed about. I complete the goals I want to complete. I take fault for my actions. I own up to my life and realize that even though I am not rich or have a trust fund or that I can’t afford all the name brand I want to, I still live a pretty kick ass life, and no material item or all inclusive hotel that top that. Those are just bonuses. Because we can’t take the beauty with us when we go. We can’t take anything. So enjoy it while you can and remember what you have.

Make It A “Me” Day

I’m sitting at trax reading all my favorite blogs, one by one on my Google Reader. The best blogs I know of (thus far) all in one place for my viewing pleasure. As I go through them, I star my favorites into a sub-category.

As I was just reading The Skool of Life, by one of my inspirations, Srinivas Rao, I thought to myself, “I should take one day and go through my list of favorite blogs. Re-read them. Re-amp my own fire.”
Because up until this point, I haven’t re-read a single starred post; completely destroying the whole point of the Favorite system.

On top of that idea, I decided, the day I do that, I will also pamper myself. Continue a book I’ve been reading. Take more time for the one I’m writing. Paint my nails. Relax.
That day, I’m going to make it a “me day”.

I’m been slackin on this day, myself. But I think we all deserve a day to ourselves. A day to not worry about our work life, our finances, or the news. We need a day to just “soak in a bath.” (or however you choose to spend it)

“Me” Days are important because they are a big part of our revitalization. They help us get it together. They can really help the motivational aspect of our lives as we take that day to remember what’s important to us, where our priorities lie, and what exactly we’re doing in life.

They help the moms feel individualized again. They decrease the stress in lives of workaholics world-wide. The help the crazed feel beautiful again. They help the men and woman in relationships focus on themselves again.

I guess you could say they are a fantasy day. And hey, whatever you want to name your “me time” is up to you. Name it whatever gets you excited for it!

As we go through life, we tend to get so caught up in the outside world. We worry about traffic, bills, other people’s problems. We complain about simple things. We look at the beauty of it all less, and stare into a black oblivion more. We forget about ourselves. What makes us go, what makes us feel great inside and out. We let things slide.

Well not anymore! You owe it to yourself to make a day, right now. Make one day, once a week, to dedicate to yourself. Drink some wine, relax, and do what YOU WANT.
Not what you need.

Have you been letting your hobbies wither? Have you forgotten about some passions in life? Have you been thinking about something lately that you just have an urge to do?

If the answer is yes to any of these, then today is the day my friend! Go spoil yourself. Make it your day and wash your worries away 😉

Just Do It.

We have all seen their shirts and heard the words.
But how many of us have really thought about the message that Nike is telling us? When you hear the famous phrase, “JUST DO IT” what do you think about? 

I have personally taken this phrase into every action of my daily life.

When I don’t want to wake up in the mornings, just do it.
When I am dreading the many errands I have to run on my bicycle in the middle of the afternoon, just do it. 
When I think about exercising, just do it. 
And especially when I start a project I’m proud of and other people have a negative opinion on it. I JUST DO IT.

There will always be someone down your path of success who will tell you that your dream isn’t good enough. That you won’t accomplish it. They will tear you down as much as possible. Their negativity will come into your world if you let it. A negative influence from somebody else is enough to stop you in your tracks from getting what you what out of life. You can’t runaway from them, but you can prevent more from coming in your life.

Sometimes your dreams may be out of this world. Inventing something no one has thought of before, starting up a company of old collections, or even just having a goat farm. It can be anything! But if it’s important to you NOBODY should have the influence to stop you.

I read a post the other day from TheChangeBlog.com of 11 Habits of Highly Successful Dreamers. The number 10 habit was “Successful dreamers seek out healthy support from others.” If you think you know what I am about to tell you, you might be right.

It’s time to cut the fat.

If you have negativity surrounding you and your bright, innovative ideas; you need to get rid of the negativity. You need to stand up and say, “Hey! This is my dream and if you have nothing encouraging to say about it, you can take your negativity somewhere else.”
Sometimes, you just need to stick it to the man!

Sometimes, we will fail. If that happens, we just pick ourselves up and try again. We take that as a learning curve, something to build on and improve on. We don’t fail from fear. That is where I draw the line. We don’t let the other person win and bring us down with them. That is just unacceptable. You need to remember that it’s not your fault if the person bringing you down is not accomplishing what they set out for. It’s not your fault that they are not working towards their dream or progressing in their life. That is not your fault and you should not be held accountable.

“Your dream is lame.”
“Nobody will come to your event.”
“That’s a stupid idea, you shouldn’t do it.”
“You are wasting your time.”

STOP LISTENING TO THEM RIGHT NOW!

You deserve your dream. You deserve the excitement it brings you and the payoff from the hard work. You deserve being around the people who cheer you on and raise you higher for it. You deserve people believing in your dream as much as you do.

So take a seat and ask yourself some questions that maybe you haven’t confronted to yourself yet.

Am I getting the support I deserve from others?
Are there people around me giving me negative feedback?
Am I letting others influence the direction of my dreams and desires?
Am I letting fear get in my way on my path?

If the answers you’re getting aren’t the answers you were looking for, then you have exactly what you need. You need to go through and find where the negativity is coming from. Once you have pinpointed the negative surge, you need to pour water on it. Take it out. Let it go. And allow more positive energy to come into your life. Unless you take out the bad, there will be no room for the good to settle in comfortably.

Sometimes, you don’t want to tell that person, “Sayonara!”
You’re friends, you have history, but they haven’t exactly made you feel the best when it comes down to the heart-to-hearts. It’s clear you two are on different paths. You need to separate yourself from them and get around people who share a passion for success like you do. Successful Dreamers who are around other Successful Dreamers, together become Successful People. In the long run, getting rid of the negativity will make a big impact on you, almost immediately. The sun will be brighter, you will be happier, and your vision will become more real.

It can be hard to ignore someone’s influence. Don’t take this the wrong way though, make sure you know how they are putting their words. Sometimes, they can be giving you legitimate advice, forcing you to not get so caught up in the dream that you don’t look at both sides. Looking at both sides openly is a smart thing to do. You must analyze all your options and challenges you may face on your path. You must figure out how you will overcome these obstacles and give yourself the right option. That is a smart friend who is only looking out for you.

It’s the people who give no suggestion and no advice. It’s the people who laugh in your face. It’s the people who intentionally create the fear to stop you from gaining your happiness. There is no need to defend yourself to these people or give them any sort of explanation. You don’t owe it to them and it probably won’t change their opinion. You will want to give them the “I’ll show them” attitude. But you know what? Don’t even give them that.

Whatever your dream is, do it for yourself. Do it because it makes you excited to think about it. Do it because it ignites that fire inside of you. Do it because it will make you happy. Pump yourself up, encourage yourself and surround yourself with other encouraging, happy, driven people. Follow your dream no matter how crazy it is.

If it makes you happy and it’s important to you: JUST DO IT!

Victoria’s Secret Top Ten

Every couple of weeks, the employees of Victoria’s Secret get what’s called a gratis. That means a certain product is available to us for $15 or less.
So this week, one of our gratis’ is to memorize and recite the Top Ten bras and then we get one of our choosing, FOR FREE!

So I made this rap and rapped it to the girls at work. Definitely worth a free bra.

“VS Top Ten”

The number 1 at Victoria’s Secret is the Very Sexy Push-Up, no need to explain it.
Coming in second is the BBV, the Demi that keeps everything in key.
And I don’t mean key like the one for ignitions, I mean the kind that keeps both the girls in position.
Now some of ya’ll dont like the demi cause its too thin, some of ya’ll dig to be big, like Heaven.
Spreadin your wings on memory foam feeling, is the cloud like bra, the third best selling!
Its Fabulous, I know, 4 it tells it all.
With the customized fit giving you lightweighted glow. They say the more you tan, the more you glow. The more revealin your girls wanna show.
So give me a five and let’s jive all night, in the Demi Dreams Angels under tops made bright.
No need to show off when the squeeze ain’t around, stay sixes with him, save the Bombshell look for a night- lights out. Why pay money when for ten times less, you can get two cup sizes more & the pain for less.
Right timing is the key, changing your look for society.
Grab a sweater & leave the 7 deadly sins, guess which bra you put on next…. The Perfect Coverage.
Both comfy and classy. Twirl around, jump up and down, & toss your fear of falling out.
Unless the attention is an ego boost, which it sometimes is.
Running down Main, but not so much in vain, still get the looks with the number 8 rate. The harder you breathe, the more it pushes up.
Keep the routine, you’ll have a Body like Victoria. Always stay modest, cause thats the hottest.
You’ll raise to a 9 by leaving it all to their mind. Keep the Fantasies going with the neckline and soft inline.
I promise by the end, girl you’ll be a Ten. Take my advice and find your strength and Amazing will parade on a rainy day.