It is the December 28th, 2017, my 80th day of Inspiring Challenge.
Here are five takeaways/reflections about how I start the challenge and keep it through. I hope people who want to set a goal and stick on it, could benefit from my experience.
It is the December 28th, 2017, my 80th day of Inspiring Challenge.
Here are five takeaways/reflections about how I start the challenge and keep it through. I hope people who want to set a goal and stick on it, could benefit from my experience.
Imagine yourself is going to have a terrific weekend! Would you rather go to the beach, hang out with a bunch of friends, throw a large party, and have fun? Or simply stay at home, sip a cup of coffee, watch some Netflix for the whole day?
After 171 days of the challenge, I feel bored.
Yes, you hear me.
There are days when I found hard to extract “interesting things” on a boring day. There are days when I was too emotional to share intimate stuff on this platform. There are days which were too fun and I don’t have time to write them down… And there are days I just simply lack the motivation to do it.
There are a lot of reasons behind it. To keep you understood in the simplest way: I feel bored about doing this vague journaling challenge.
I did try to make the journaling thing inspiring and motivational.
You could see at the beginning I wrote some great posts: keep doing, eating disorder, introvert, etc. However, those posts with good content need one who constantly gets input. During that time, I was going through a depression period and was doing self-help. That was strong motivations.
I am the type of person who craves for change and variety. Self-help topic is always one of my passions, but not the only one. When I am feeling better and peaceful, I write more, but I am feeling extremely down or anxious, I don’t want to write at all.
Therefore, I want to change topics.
Inspired by Refinery29’s Try with Lucie, this week I choose a topic:
And I will do it in a mix of languages – English and Mandarin~
The more time I spend on thinking about creative ideas to accomplish, the more they come. The more they come, the more I dream about accomplishing them instead of writing them down.
What this exercise makes me realize is that I am a person with vivid imagination ability and a craving for change and variety. I always think about ways to present information in a different, better way, and this process takes me so much time. Therefore, I tend to procrastinate and forgot to finish.
What also makes me realize is that I need the audience to show my work. Every time I got excited about it, I want to share with someone and get them excited too. However, writing here with no people to read, I lack the motivation again. Sometimes, I don’t even know why I am doing this instead of telling you that I have a fantastic weekend: Friday I met my best American friends and ate Japanese Don. We shared a lot of interesting stories and de-stressed with each other; Saturday after a short period of study, I celebrated my 2-year anniversary in Rudy’s BBQ and watched Avenger: Infinity War with Frank. Ouuuu! the movie was!!!!!!! SPEECHLESS!
See? I am a spontaneous person. I do whenever I feel I want to write whatever I feel. Rigid structure hampers my personality. I need freedom, I need people, I need a change.
After years of crisis and self-discovery, I feel I more and more want to live in a way, not others wish me to be, but I want to be. I don’t want to spend the rest of years learning and working on things I could never be expert at them (design, coding), instead of my strengths with high potential to success (interpersonal relationships, career coach, writing).
Therefore, I have to take a pause of this challenge, for the second time.
As this semester almost ends, my junior year almost ends, I need time to think about my next step.
And the next time I come back, there will be another version of me, with more commitment, more authenticity, and more passions.
A Quiet Place
If not seeing the high IMDB score, I would not see A Quiet Place this film at all! For the whole time, I endured a nerve-wracking wait for the end. Ahhhhhhh! I hate those movies even though the acting, scene, plot, sound effect were all great and in a good timing. I just hate thrillerssssss
Wang Chao, Keyi’s ex-boyfriend said to her: “The livings for ambitious women are hard. I don’t want you to be that hard, that ambitious.” One comment below says: “I finally understand why I am always not happy. Like the character I just have too many desires and lusts.”
Oh. Well, same. People from big cities will never understand those in the small city wanting to get out of mundane routine. We want to see a bigger world and prove that we are capable of a good life. What we don’t realize is that, however, there is no universal definition of “a good life.”When Keyi asked her friend:”What do you mean ‘good life’?” she did not get answers she didn’t want to hear: “be independent, get power at work, and prove yourself.” Instead, her friend told her the dream “find a good husband, be pretty, and have two kids.”
Keyi didn’t understand at the beginning that ambition never has its fill. When she understood, it was too late. I feel I am now on the same path as her, chasing some meaningless goal – to be the best as an international student, as a female, as a young professional… but what I want is actually simply connecting with people, using my own abilities, and helping them be happy…
Two things happened related to my marketing research class. In the morning, one of my team members so enthusiastically shared professor’s approval of his research plan without discussion his opinions with us. It’s not about his great initiative but his communication style… making us feel excluded from the decision-making process.
And here’s what I replied back: Your ideas must be so amazing! We could definitely make great work with high grades! I really want to hear them! But I feel a little sad not able to get involved in the discussion process...
The other teammate said to me: Great job and thank my art of communication.
Another thing is during the class, our professor showed how much our survey data could reveal… I suddenly get excited by the exploratory process of research and want to know more about what is underlying… I feel we are touching some serious stuff…
“Google is created for the efficient, automated collection, transmission, and manipulation of information. Nowadays social network emphasizes immediacy and makes information kind of commodity. It promotes the speedy, superficial skimming of information and discourages any deep, prolonged engagement.”
“What makes us human is what at least computable about us – the connection between our mind and our body, the experiences that shape our memory and our thinking, our capacity for emotion and empathy. Our ability to meld with all manner of tools is one of the qualities that most distinguishes us as a species.”
“The price we pay to assume technology’s power is alienation.The net is diminishing our capacity for contemplation.”
For these days, I’ve searching new websites to move WordPress documents and create a new portfolio place. Wix is extremely user-friendly with the beautiful responsive layout but users have limited control, WordPress.org has unlimited design templates and themes but need extra money for a new host. I feel kind of angry getting tricked into WordPress.com…
A lesson for me is that I try so hard to find the “perfect” location for my future “greatest” artwork, but forgot what is most important is the core content – words, images, thoughts I create.
What’s the solution then? Keep doing this writing challenge here, using Wix free version, and continuing to build the core for me~
I met with Keyu talking about my Ted Talk idea. She thought I was pitching my idea and told no very coldly. Then, she offered a lot of advice how to do the marketing… I don’t know. I feel a lot overwhelmed and tell her I just want a conversation.
Different personalities. Usually, she will be contacted by her friends if her friends need help or a meal meet-up (I contacted her because of the latter). I told her, all I want is some emotional support and casual conversations. And I tell her she is more suited in a consulting role rather than marketing professionals because marketing is to communicate messages in the client’s way. She didn’t realize people have different personalities and some may feel offended by her straight-talking way.
Slept Whole Day…
Keyword for this week: Life
I watched the Ready Player One with my boyfriend. Wow, Steven Spielberg is so fantastic to show a VR illustration, greed for power, and importance of reality. Every game player will be amazed by these fine details and special effects.
One incident, when I purchased tickets, I put my login information wrong and therefore could not get access to my confirmation number later. When I arrived at the movie theatre and asked them to look for my information, the card of purchase is required and I left my discover card at my boyfriend’s home. My boyfriend was so furious about my forgetting to bring the card and not preparing fully that he tried so hard to suppress the outrage. Well, because of knowing his personality, I tried not to confront with him directly, let him drive back, got the card, and got into the movie theatre. Well, even though my friend was angry about my boyfriend’s behavior, I still told her: everyone has its own personality. You have to work on to adjust the best way to solve it. Because I know my boyfriend well, I know the mood is temporary, and I know showing powerless is the best way to deal with the situation. In the end, it just solved.
Highly recommend: check this 7 strange questions to help you find life purpose -As we were struggling with Youtube content, Serena and I searched Google randomly about “life meaning.” This website was a blast. We are forced to think, connect with the inner self, and find our passion again. Combined with the podcast I listened to on Friday, we are living in a society where propaganda is everywhere. We grow up with those messages so long that we get confused whether those messages come from self or outside world.
What makes my 8-year-self laugh because of pure joy? You just forgot how much fun when you solve a technical problem, lose in fantasy, clean home… The outside world prevents you to leave some space just for you…
I met with Ryan, a social psychology Ph.D. student who recently graduated, to ask for summer research opportunities. He was very warm and kind to introduce me a wide range of language and personality projects. Wow, they developed a program to analyze one person’s words and language on social media to tell his or her personality; they also developed ways to measure criminals, trauma… fantastic. I asked him whether he has a project related to digital media, and yes! He has collected years of film data and always wanted to analyze language behind texts to see why people love those films.
I feel everything now, everything I did during college, or even before college connect together. I love film and film, and I love communication. Design flyers, conduct mental health workshop, do interactive theatre, watch films… whatever I do, I all engage with media, people, and communication…
At 4 p.m in Jester, I did an interactive Using Planner Learning presentation for next year’s Sanger Learning Center Communication and Outreach Specialist position. The presentation and interview processes were great, but that’s not what I want to say here. My point is that I felt so anxious and overthought the bad outcome before doing it (blame to my vivid imagination) and preparing it. My perfectionism came out and drove me away from sleep that night. The true reason behind my thoughts is that I care about social judgments and feel diffident.
I finally got approved by Uni-Jiandan, a psychology study Wechat group. In that group, we are going to learn psychology and share thoughts together! It’s always happy to find likely-mined people to grow.
When I left home, I saw two birds staying on the roof and staring at me. I went closer— they are building a nest!! That explains why every day from 3 to 10 that I can always hear birds beeping. Ohh so cute! Their babies will come to birth near my window:)
After asking how many people read the required materials before class and seeing only a few of hands, our marketing professor first time lost temper. “I am going to say the same things as I did to my daughter. A lot of people tell you, you are the generation of future. When I was at your age sitting at your place, I was told the same. Opportunities are here and you are the ones who don’t treasure the opportunities…. You have to figure out how to live a meaningful life, not just getting a job, a career…I care about your learning, not just turning out some assignments as I told you…”
Well, he was right.
Three keys to happiness: forgiveness, gratitude, and keeping busy.
We are facing a Youtube bottleneck right now. Serena feels the youtube editing is really harder now and we need more time to prepare, while I feel we need to create more creative and funny content to attract more viewers. Either of us is feeling a great time doing haha. Let’s see…
Cried for a long time. Alec and I did a stress management workshop for CSSA. However, surprisingly, most of them were playing with their phones, writing homework, and not listening to our speaking. At first, I felt stressed, later turning it angry. Alec comforts me, that as long as there’s one person listening to us and getting affected, we are doing a great job.
Always thinking about how to make people heard about my unique ability – discover people’s unique strengths and connect them deeply. Always thinking whether to study communication, psychology, or education… Always… always…
Today, our professor discussed the topic of organizational culture. Culture shapes behaviors and actions. However, interestingly, companies with a strong culture do not perform financially better than those with a weak culture because the strong culture makes them hard to change. We discussed the highly competitive culture of Microsoft, the creative and inclusive one of IDEO, and most importantly, the result-driven and leadership-focused one of Mccombs.
In McCombs, we are required to take BA 101- professional career planning at the first or second semester, follow the standard resume template, dress always professionally for interviews, and network in career development events. Some students said we are trained to practice public speaking; some said the college pushes us toward consulting and investment banking; some said McCombs studied other top 10 schools and rebranded itself toward Texas number one. It is amazing that in this session, a lot of students expressed dissatisfaction experience at McCombs. As the professor says, the older, the harder to change a company culture. We are in fact, “newly-onboard” employees at McCombs, and those career guidelines and classes are used to strength McCombs’ culture and unity large diverse people. Well, but sad for people who do not fit in…
Today I listened to the ProBlogger podcast hosted by Darren Rowse. And he shared 7 social media trends.
I attended the BDP Digital Art& Media application review session today. Firstly, the advisor explained what interdisciplinary study means: to take various subjects outside of your major, gain wide perspectives, about innovation and collaboration, and complementary skills to your career. Our applicants come from a wide range of majors: biochemistry, marketing, advertising, electrical engineering…
Today I met with professor Dr. Pennebaker, our well-known social psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin. He just came back from Shanghai and became interested in how the Chinese language exhibits and hides the desire for power. I feel very excited when he shared the observation in Shanghai that people at the same age but with different culture and background still behavior in the same way (I completely agreed with him and joked if I was born in America, I would definitely join sonority. He laughed haha). One lucky thing is that he is starting to work with another NYU Shanghai Student to explore chinse language and I might be able to help him! So happy about this!
On the way home, I was listening to Kristy’s Food Psyche podcast. She invited Kalia, a marketing professional talking about U.S online marketing environment. Marketing is brutal. It usually uses words such as “NEW” “FREE” “YOU” “Imagine” “prestige” to trigger people’s fear about missing out opportunities and increase anxiety. We are living in a society where the trigger is everywhere. What you post online is actually building your own brand, and sometimes the brand becomes a burden. When someone who used to be a vegan and decided not be one anymore, she even got death threat; when someone claimed to be a health coach but is actually in rehab, she still cannot stop because people online rely on her… I feel this message resonates me deeply because I always consciously building a brand about how inspiring I am but sometimes people just forget I am also a human and have a bad mood…
Keyword for the week:
My boyfriend decides to go to London for graduate school. Well, a long distance year but I just feel so happy for him. With a more computer science focused study, he could have more opportunities to find jobs which suits his creative and outgoing characteristics.
Today I discovered two amazing UK master program with a combination of media and education! The London’s Global University has a Digital Media, Culture and Education program which explores the theory and practice of media in society with an education focus. The program is also partnered with British Film Institute! I love films so so so much! And the University of Cambridge has an Education master with focuses in either Arts, Creativity and Education focus or Psychology and Education! As an artist who loves education and a marketer who loves communication, I could not be happier to find more programs and explore more opportunities (Used to thought only Columbia University has the Communication and Education master I truly love…)
Wow. I had a rough sleep and woke up around 6. Having class 11:00-12:30, tabling for CMHC and chatting with a few nice fellows 1-2, getting an interview 2:30-3:00, having class 3:30-5, meeting with teams 5-6, having a quick dinner 6:00-7:00, and getting back home 7:00.
This week is hellllll busy. However, I don’t feel much stressed about endless projects/exam/events needed to be done.
We talked with a small start-up company who is in need of Chinese-English translators to help them communicate messages. It’s almost nice to know great responsibilities and recognition in this role.
After that, I went to FAC to replace my ID card. When the ID center guy called my name Yingxin without any accent, I was surprised and stared at his white face for a while. It turns out he is learning Chinese and has a Chinese name Mai Yuyou. I helped him to change the name which is easier to pronounce and aligned with his English last name Madison – Mai Yusen.
It’s a storm day! Busy past school life and bad weather made me sleep over the class… luckily, I have my friend Max informed of class materials:)
When holding the Coffee Chat and talking with fellow peer educators, Kaya shared something really resonated with us. She shared how the retreat, weekly discussions, and activities connect us. When doing check-in, you could let out things which you never told anyone; you are safe and free to be yourself. Once when putting hands the shoulder of one peer who you think says something touching or insightful, we just immediately get connected. This is a magic place. It’s not a place where you could find some closest friends who you could share every personal detail, but a place where you could always trust when you share the darkest secret and they will be there and support.
A rising senior girl shared regret not knowing this program last year and connecting us earlier. I told her, which inspired everyone:
“As long as you are interested in mental health, we are always connected. Aren’t we?”
Kind of sad. I went to university writing center to check grammar my scholarship essay. However, my consultant gave me a lot of feedbacks and advised for a complete revision. Well, that kind of hurts me, but I did not feel as devastated as I were at old times.
After three years of college, my resilence become better. I no longer criticise myself for any imperfect work and any negative judgment. Maybe because I gain more confidence; maybe because I pay more attention to self.
Submitted my Scholarship Essay! Hope it could get good results.
We went to see the Pacific Rim 2. I first thought it’s another monster film defame China, but turns out China plays a big role in it haha. JinTian’s getting more and more famous toward Western film industry, and it’s really good sign to have more Asian faces.
However, the film overall could only get a normal average view. There are too much extra scenes trying to show bonding of new drivers, old drivers… making the battle part ending too fast. Anyways, the special effects still win the ticket price back.
Keyword for this week: Turmoil
Well, I watched the movie Game Night tonight. The alleged thriller, rated R movie is actually great. I laughed, I awed, and I appalled. Every element is included: love, laughter, horror, mystery, tear… The only thing I feel weird is too many surprises. When the director tried to give too much, the surprise lost its magic. (Also, why Racheal McAdams was in so many movies and was in lead character, but still not got the fame?)
Austin is so ready for the summer. Today’s cloudy weather with depressing humidness disturbed people’s moods, suggesting the upcoming of Monday. Serena had an emotional outburst today. She was so so so unhappy. She cried to me and told me that she already got everything: a summer job, a relationship….why, why she’s not happy at all? She doesn’t want to start the school. She needs her mom…
I know you are scared. I know. Not just because of my great empathy, but also because I had the same question in the past two years. I felt everything was pointless and kept chasing external, short, superficial happiness. The problem is those are not I truly want. My inner self was never nourished.
I told her you to need to find what brings you happiness. And only you could find the answer. It’s the pain of growing up, but after that, you will know what I mean the sincere joy. I will be with you.
The first day of school, I felt extremely tired. A full day of study, homework, emotional drama, theatre rehearsal, interview preparation… with a bad sleep yesterday, I felt so exhausted.
Going some emotional crisis I have to say. Nothing happens to me directly but everything happens to anyone around me. Frank is wondering what he truly wants in the relationship and in a self-doubt crisis. Things about future and uncertainty make both of scared. I got a non-profit internship but was waiting and also actively applying others. On Wednesday I have to do the first theatre show for the semester…
But the most important question is that I felt disconnected with the inner self.I am always good at relationships. Frank needs the feeling of acknowledgment, approval, and respect. I just naturally know that and gives him without mentioning; I am good at discovering people’s uniqueness so I often offer life/self-discovery suggestions right to the point. Those are things I want to share with the world. However, my thoughts and skills are not heard…
I want to be a writer, a designer, a performer, a motivational speaker, a communicator and a connector. It’s the thing I truly want to do but I always ignore it. Instead, I follow the large group without great self-awareness…
Half a semester went away. Here are things I feel needed to record:
Fantastic night. We performed the ILLY first time this semester. Although as a perfectionist, I feel there has a lot of things need to improve… audience enjoy the performance and engage with us!
Interestingly, I feel I’ve done a lot of things but felt nothing.
Friday is always my emotional unleash day.
My friend and I had a serious conversation today about how the Youtube channel’s going. We finally agreed our goal: to share not to get more followers. She told me if she wants followers, in her strategical mind, she will contact an agency and get famous first, instead of doing these meaningless work. And I do know she understands me and gives me time, I just feel my creativity needs some break from the “strict deadline pressure.” There are conflicts and when we address and agree to solve them, things will get better. It’s more about working together toward a goal and accommodate others’ needs.
The interesting thing is that after I shared this story with my partner, he said how bad communicator I was. I am so self-focused when asking for my needs instead of considering ways to make the other happy. Well having empathy does not mean practicing care.
Such an emotional season. Everyone is thinking about future and worrying about uncertainty.
Keyword of this week: travel
I drove 3 hours to Houston with Serena! A nice friend invited us to his home and we had an authentic Chinese food~ Later, we walked along the lake and the park. To be honest, it is not a great trip at all. The weather is hot, the friend is too nice to get along with, and the trip is too long. We were so exhausted at the end of the day.
We went to Kountze (Big Thicket Nature Reserve), China, and Beaumont (port near the sea) three cities in Texas, drove up to about 5 hours, and had a big Texas mean in a traditional Texan steakhouse. The friend took cares of us a lot and tried to show the best scene around Houston, and we do feel something which we could only feel in China. For such a long time, in Austin, at UT, we have been exposed to American culture and quite forgotten.. nice to remember:)
In past three days, I’ve driven up to 9 hours. Today shopping at Target and picking makeup materials, I felt extremely dizzy and barely able to stand straight.
Actually, however, my tiredness comes from mentally not physically. Two days of bad sleep, long driving, and endless travel made me feel I suffer a lot. Used to express emotions poorly, now I have to suppress them. All I want is from my friend a word You suffer. Sorry. I feel terrible for you. She doesn’t know what I feel and I don’t know how to express them. After I told my mom, she shared non-violent communication. I cried. Thank you for the experience and I realize I take care of my mental wellbeing terribly.
However, we’ve finally arrived at San Marcos and so ready for shopping tomorrow! No matter what type, a girl will always get attracted by the idea of shopping – browsing one store by another, comparing prices, trying on and looking self in the mirror, and carrying bags! Lolol
Could you believe that two of us spent half of a day and shopped the entire two outlets in San Marcos?! (She is an autumn skin type while I am a spring one; we bought completely different clothes.) One good thing about it is that I finally disclosure myself to her and showed her my vulnerability. I am not that tough and strong as she thought. During the Houston, I actually felt I suffered a lot while she didn’t know. Glad we finally resolved, understood each other, and tried to take care of each other in a different way.
We watched the People Republic of China, an SXSW independent series documentary directed by Hao Wu. It is a story about Chinese young people seek fame, fortune, and connection, but find the same perils and promises online as off. At the last, I cried as I could feel two main characters representing family, fan, and agency’s dream and struggling in the virtual world.
One thing very touching is that Serena, on the way home, kept saying how depressing the movie is. Well, I thought she did not understand the essence and kept explaining, but she suddenly cried out and told me the great responsibility she feels watching those people stupidly chasing the unrealistic dream. She felt a great obligation to be successful, make money, and invest education so people could better. However, she felt so powerless. At that moment, my empathy made me feel her deep sadness and started to cry again. Well, people respond to things differently. Under her cold, rational brain, I could feel the warm, kind heart. I connected with her at that moment.
I interviewed with two companies today – one technology start-up and one non-profit. Somehow, however, I feel a deep distortion. Both jobs look for an advertising/promotion/design professional to create marketing materials for them. I have a lot of experience and skills which definitely could help them.
However, that’s just the strategical part of me. I definitely enjoy creating and helping businesses grow. Somehow, my intuitive part, however, looks for nourishment. I look forward to opportunities to write, to connect, to empathize, to helping people grow. Somehow I don’t know why I rush to chasing countless opportunities and feel so overwhelmed. Even though this spring break I had a great rest, I am not ready to be back yet. I want to do something just for myself…
Feeling lost and stretched, I remained awake all night. “I feel my emotional part was neglected. I have to exaggerate my 30% professional, strategical part up to 90% and squash my 70% to 10%” I told to Shanon, “I felt so tired. so tired.”
At 2 p.m, I opened my MacBook and randomly searched keywords “how to find yourself.” A blog post “6 Questions to Help You Find Your True Self” popped up. The writer, same as I am, is a marketing professional, gave the following questions:
Not just inspired by answering those questions, I am also inspired by Lisa’s title “re-branding agent.” She has the same passion as I do to promote right images, to tell stories, to help others. I used to think two parts of me, logical and emotional are completely separate. However, either account management consultant my professional dream or life coach my personal dream, I simply want to communicate changes and connect people. They are the same.
After the night, I feel so relieved. I am so awake.