5 Habits I Picked Up in 2019

2019 has been a year: My first brand, ATEM, turned 1 year old, our cosmetics R&D startup is going into our 3rd year, and I turned 27.

In this time and despite my work taking most of my attention on my days (excluding Sabbath, Sundays!), I developed some new habits that have supported my betterment.

1. I started exercising regularly: 3 to 5 times a week!

Result: Exponentially increased physical health, increased mental fortitude (ie. focus), and emotional wellbeing

2. I started flossing daily, after setting up my daily habit tracker in July, 2019: I now floss every day without needing a reminder or a checklist to tell me I have to!

Result: Increased self-control: A developed appreciation for discipline and keeping to some “orders” of the day

3. I started regularly writing down things I am grateful for, or allocating a protected time to visually go down the the things I am grateful for.

Result: Increased mental and emotional wellbeing – rewiring the “space” for automatic negative thoughts to come in to a space for positive, gratitude filled thoughts.

4. I started making my bed more regularly: This is a habit to solidify in 2020 as I still do not keep to the habit.

Result: Increased self-control: A developed appreciation for discipline and keeping to some “orders” of the day

5. I started being more careful and controlled about the things I utter about myself or my life: Saying less “I can’t,” or “I’m not,” and more “I hope,” “I can,” and “I believe.” I hope to continue this habit into this year, and applying this principle as I speak of and to others as well.

Result: Increased mental and emotional wellbeing – rewiring the “space” for automatic negative thoughts to come in to a space for positive, gratitude filled thoughts. As Carl Lentz one said, “change your mind, change your life.”

A habit I would like to change completely in 2020 is not letting my moods dictate my actions as much, particularly in the physical with my waking and sleeping times. I had experienced a season of mild depression, and because of this, it was difficult to get out of bed at times I wanted to on a daily basis over a span of 2 some months. I felt like I was chained to my bed, and sometime woke up feeling like 2 tons of cement were lying atop me and I’d go to sleep again because it felt like too much of a struggle to try to fight it.  During this time, what I lost in time/productivity, I made up for, but this was not great for my overall health. This year, for my wellbeing, I would like to commit to regularly sleeping a number of hours per day, and waking up consistently at an earlier hour of the day. I write these down, as writing my intentions down will incentivize me to action.

 

 

 

 

Some Experiences of 2018 and Goals for 2019

Experiences of 2018

1. loved

2. made life long and diverse friendships from my time in California in the summer

3. tested myself as the CEO of my own company– and dealt with and am continuing to deal with the everyday prospect of rejection and personal rejection and observing myself responding to and living these moments, well, or not so well.

4. saw the fruit of my strong relationships with the women in my life

5. revealed a personal long term trauma of mine from childhood to a room of 60+ colleagues and strangers > which unintentionally sparked a wonderful and effective road to recovery, healing, closure, and peace in my life. It was a mixture of owning the experience and being of the age and emotional maturity to really own it. I’ve talked about this trauma to other people before and when I was younger, but I was never “there” emotionally and mentally to free myself from the burden of my experience. This time, it seems I was.

6. actively sought to support, pray for, and aid the people in my life and colleagues I met once or more than a couple times through my work.

7. experienced very little depressive thinking and anxiety

8. had the opportunity to travel and experience the most wonderful new things nearly every month

9. lots of family loss and pain because of health problems + dealing with the painful history my immediate family shares.

10. learned to love my body and myself even more. Not over exceedingly. Just accurately.

11. practiced killing my pride and the areas of my close-mindedness

12. Experienced both the bliss and fortitude of not comparing myself to anyone and the pain of putting myself down or making myself insecure by comparing myself to others throughout intermittent months

Goals of 2019

1. Be a better listener. More actionably, stop interrupting and learn to put pen to paper if my thoughts keep overruling my desire to listen to the other and overwhelming my head and tempt me to interrupt conversation.

Enforce the mindset that a conversation with ANYONE = a precious time to show my appreciation for and understanding of them through LISTENING – action.

2. Stop my pattern of mumbling.

3. Last year to become fluent in French

Take it as a black or white scenario. Winner takes all.

(This kind of harsh mentality might not work for everyone, but I’ve found that for me, when I deal with mental absolutes when setting expectations for myself, I end with half or half + the expectations I set myself. )

4. Be increasingly there for my family members, H, W, J, and J while keeping boundaries for the life and identity that I am uniquely constructing for myself on my own terms.

5. Learn how to say NO – two reasons – 1. protect my wellbeing, and my limited energy (if I keep saying yes, I’ll run myself to the ground) and 2. check bullshit from others as the first sentence is uttered or written. Find a way to stay kind and respond or ignore messages without feeling guilty and without bile to people who seek to take or have an agenda that is not wise or in service to you or others?, or… I feel like there is a wiser way of going about this. But I haven’t come to the answer yet.

6. Have ATEM succeed

7. Work better to protect the marginalized and misunderstood, particularly those with issues I am personally passionate about:

  • sexual harassment
    • check people, even if they are people who are more powerful than me or men I have a personal attachment to.
  • gender discrimination
    • grow as a woman who denies expectations prescribed to her present and future (be independent! Be a wife! Don’t be a wife! Don’t quit your job! Quit your job! Be more dependent! Be less dependent!). Grow as a woman who determines what it is to be herself on her own terms. Grow and inspire by example. Currently, it means being secure and proud of the fact that I want to 2. continue doing fulfilling and meaningful work, and 1. [In the future] devote all of my resources to be the best family woman there ever was. I want to have a wonderful husband and I want to have children. I want to devote myself 100% to my partner and am okay with throwing myself 100% to support my partner’s career aspirations (if and when a family exists), so long as when the time comes that I am asked to make a sacrifice, the changes are decided on “together” with the mutual understanding that it was needed not because I am a woman and it’s the responsibility of the woman to fulfill the family rearing needs, but because it was my choice, my honor, and my joy to take that choice for the family; I am 100% supportive of any partner making career changes or stepping back from something for the family as a whole. That is my definition of being a woman and a person on my own terms.
  • racial discrimination
    • be more vocal in the public sphere and during my day to day commute when I see this happening for example on NY subway platforms.
  • domestic violence
    • explore and identify projects I might want to get involved in either with my resources with time or finances
    • think proactively about the future: while there are not many in my personal network that are married, the numbers will rise with time, and it is important to be diligent and create a strong foundation for my female (not excluding males too) relationships now of openness, compassion, and willingness to listen, so that if the time ever comes these people (or even me) have someone to fall back on and trust or send an SOS too.
  • lack of access due to socio-economics – financial/human capital
    • immediately actionable: use the professional and personal network I have to nurture and help individuals in the ways I can.

8. Visit my mom in Korea

9. Go back to France. 🙂

10. Find a new system to reincorporate an optimal rate of reading and doing/seeing art (things I love) as I continue to build ATEM – system I continued into 2018 with and worked with throughout the year doesn’t work anymore due to the immense time suck I’ve had with my personal time due to work demands and stress (stress, because when super drained, it is hard to read, even if you do have that hour).

My 5 Favorite Books of 2017

2017 has been a whirlwind of a year for me. I took on a new job, learned of some big family news, and also confronted some health issues and personal demons of mine..
One of the biggest and most constant sources of joy to me this year was when I read.

I love books [really any form of great writing, short or long form]. I like them for the following reasons:

  1. I can escape into them: On a good, restful day, taking the time to read for myself helps me achieve an even higher state of zen, and on a crazy, tiring day, I can escape the traps of “my depressing life” thinking and jump instead into the world of the book I am reading, and this gives me deep solace and strength. Sometimes they even help me cry and grieve for the things I’ve probably been meaning to cry for, and they help me bring my guard down even if it’s for only a minute to feel what I have been feeling that day, that past week or the past year. Sometimes they bring a greater joy to the things I’ve been experiencing in my life by offering up similar and parallel scenarios that add more color and zest to the contexts of my real life stories.
  2. The authors help me live lives I’ll probably never have the chance of living with this one body. You can’t be in three places at once, but with books– you can! Limits to time, geography, and resources are blown away like “chaff from the wind” (sorry, I had to add in the Biblical reference – har har). I can imagine myself in the village of Combray, France, or find myself the next day in Middletown, Ohio on the suburban streets. I can bring myself back to post-war England in the 1940’s, where the last of true aristocracy habits were finally coming to an end. I can put myself in the shoes of the invisible black man of the early 19th and 20th centuries, of the white man experiencing discrimination from those that cry out “down with white privilege!” or even of the young Irish orphan in Tuam, relegated to a life of social marginalization and impoverished youth.
  3. Books elucidate thoughts I’m thinking and am grappling to understand better. They give me a deeper wisdom about the things out there and add another puzzle piece to the mental “map” I have about the kinds of people, lives, and thoughts I see co-existing in the world at large, from Chile to Cambodia, with time unbound. They tell me I really don’t know much, that I only know so much, and that I need to learn so, much, more in order to do the things I think I’m meant to do in this life (apparently according to the Social Security Administration, I have about 61.6 years, 739 months, or 22,484 days left to figure life out- time’s a tickin’). Every book, every line of well written prose gives me a deeper understanding for the human experience, of the brokenness amongst our global communities, of the complexities of our problems and our progress, and of the shared experiences we as humans all go through, sometime and somewhere on this Earth.

For those who’re not too much of a book reader, I’m sure you probably experience the same kind of things through a different medium. Maybe it’s art. Maybe it’s music or film. Maybe it’s through your career vocation, I don’t know.

Anyways, without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2017:

 

  1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight

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2. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

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3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

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4. Kick Kennedy: The Charmed Life and Tragic Death of the Favorite Kennedy Daughter by Barbara Leaming

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5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (recommended by friends Max and Sewon)

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If you’re interested in seeing what else I’ve been reading, feel free to check out my Reading List, with a list of the books I’ve read from 2016 to present, and Wordy Treasures, which includes my favorite excerpts and aphorisms.

 

My 2016 Book List: Let my Year in Books Inspire You as Well!

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Here is my 2016 book list of books I’ve carried through completion and thoroughly enjoyed, with random, rambling annotations:

Books with * = well read, well worn, well kept

Books with ** = SUPERSTAR

  1. *The Unpublished David Ogilvy by David Ogilvy, Joel Raphaelson
  2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  3. Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann: Recommended by my friend Nick McClish; Hans Castorps take on life in a sanitorium is hilarious and may I say, morbidly magical.
  4. *Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  5. *How Proust Can Change Your Life by Marcel Proust: I bought this at the Strand bookstore for $2 and it opened me up to the world of Proust. Guys, $2 + tax can indeed change your life for the better.
  6. *In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust: This book changed my life, but if you are a grammar N*** or someone who considers brevity a virtue, then this is not that life-changing book for you.
  7. *Bible (NIV): For my spiritual and moral feeding – I hold this very close to my heart, always, for the truth of the Lord breeds the purest of love, knowledge, kindness, goodness, forbearance, joy, and peace.
  8. ** Leonardo’s Notebooks edited by Anna Suh: my eyes were burning from the amount of manuscript notes I had to read that he created; can you believe that someone with a non-classical education has over 20,000 notes in total of mind-blowing studies and findings found through sheer observation and experimentation? Wowzers.
  9. Chaos Monkeys by Antonia Garcia Martinez: hilariously scathing, and very tell-all by nature, a book on the going ons of the SV tech world from the eye of one man who managed to get acquired by or work for some top companies. A peer and Director of Salesforce who I recently met told me this is much like the HBO series: Silicon Valley, so for those who liked watching that, you ought to take a chance on this.
  10. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli: I never got to read this in school, but all of a sudden I had the urge to read this now and on Machiavelli’s thoughts on acquiring, conquering, managing, and losing principalities/power/people. Pretty relevant, I’d say.
  11. The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller: talks a lot about the moralistic brothers of the church vs. brothers who’ve gone wild and then returned to the folds of God – really cool and enlightening read on the hypocrisy of institutions like religion and even more importantly, why it’s even more necessary to stay steadfast in your faith in God.
  12. **Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan: I had been exposed to surfing this year through a man I loved, and naturally became curious as to the intensity of adoration felt for this specific hobby by him and by many other friends. Finnegan explains the surfing life perfectly, and I am totally hooked – theoretically speaking.
  13. *Blood, Brains, and Beer: Autobiography by David Ogilvy
  14. **Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: recommended by my friend David Kong. I enjoyed it and as a Jane Austen fan, really glad I got to read another stellar work of hers!
  15. Ein Mein Manifesto by Eric Jarosinski
  16. **Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  17. Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths: My older sister had this on her Audible.
  18. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport: because I enjoy reading Cal Newport’s blog and was deeply changed by his book Deep Work. This is an earlier book of his, and I have noticed that his prose here is not so pithy, but still to the point. It serves its purpose.
  19. **Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations by Michael Malone and Rich Karlgaard: because I wanted to make the company I worked in at the time better.
  20. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
  21. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Recommended by my dear friend, Victoria Wong! It’s one of her favorite books. Funny story: There was a time when I was quoting this book, and a friend had asked me who the author was, when I replied, “Mila Kunis” with the sureness of a cock. I was deservedly embarrassed.
  22. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein
  23. Who Needs the Fed by John Tamny: I picked this book up because my younger sister works at the Fed, and I am always down to read a book that will enlighten me more on the activities of loved ones.
  24. Virtual Billions: The Genius, the Drug Lord, and the Ivy League Twins Behind the Rise of Bitcoin by Eric Geissinger: The book in its entirety wasn’t engaging, but the first couple chapters were amazing in detailing the foundations of Bitcoin & its network, and the influencers * all the the ants involved in this crypto currency ecosystem.
  25. The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane: written for the layman, it reinforces wise mental hacks that are necessary to live both in optimism and be successful.
  26. Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security by Laurence J. Kotlikoff: A book picked up in an effort to aid my parents when they become of age.

Things I’ve started or am looking to read in 2017!:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: I’m reading this one to get to know my younger sister better. She is a big fan of Tolkien.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: I’ve only read the first few chapters, and so far the story lines of the characters introduced and families are absolutely ACE! The complexity! The depth! The scandal! Recommended by my good friends: Sewon Yang and Max Heering.

Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man by Martin Kemp

I wish the world the biggest growth it’s seen yet this 2017.

Bises,

Soo