The Golden Rule

Regardless of your ethnicity, your religion, the country you live in, or the language you speak, most people are familiar with the golden rule, which goes “Do unto others what you would have them do to you.” This verse is rooted from the bible, but still stands as a common law of morality across cultures. That’s because, as humans, we essentially want to be treated fairly.

Yet, why is it that this basic foundation of human nature tends to lack on a daily basis?

Wouldn’t you think that we all share the same feelings of wanting to be treated as human beings alike despite our differences?

Unfortunately, this tends to slip our minds with some people more often than others.

This past Thursday evening, I had the privilege of speaking to a class of college students from my Alma Mater, which was comprised mostly of Seniors who were graduating in only a few short months.

First, I began with introducing myself, giving them my background on how I graduated from the University five years ago, and then continued by explaining what I do for a living and how I got to this point since graduation.

After all was said and done, I gave them one piece of life advice, and it was this: Be kind to every single person you meet – Because you never know who that person is, where they came from, or how they could be a part of your life down the road.

Through the variety of experiences that I’ve had, I’ve learned that people will not always be kind or treat you fairly, but the best thing that you can do for someone is to simply show them kindness no matter the circumstance.

You never know how badly someone else could be struggling. Sometimes, we all just get too caught up in our own personal battles. Life gets hard and we all go through difficult times, but that doesn’t give anyone the excuse to treat someone poorly due to their own frustrations.

This past Friday evening, I was at a bar with my sister and our friend. At one point, we started having a conversation with the bartender, asking him what it’s like to constantly be serving people who really only care about ordering drinks, cutting loose, and getting drunk

He then began telling us a story about a guy who got upset just because he wasn’t able to order his drink from the bar since he was already seated at a table with his friends. The guy later proceeded to giving him a hard time because of this.

Immediately, I remembered what I had told those college students on Thursday evening.

If someone is treating you poorly, don’t let your first reaction be to throw it back in their face. If you do, the cycle will never end. Every tiny action has a ripple effect even if you don’t think it does. And the chain has to be broken at some point.

Be the one who starts it new and changes things.

One act of kindness will lead to another, which leads to another, which will ultimately make for a much better world down the road.

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Long Strides

For someone who was, and still is, as impatient as me, I often find myself waiting. I find myself waiting for things to happen as if I already know something will happen soon. It’s like I’m always anticipating the next move.

But the thing about me is that sometimes, I don’t wait long enough. I wait just long enough until I can’t wait any longer and then I make my move. The irony is that my move usually happens just before a move is made by some other force of nature. It’s like I’m taking a half-step too soon or coming in a beat too early.

And that is my biggest downfall.

I wait, but speak to soon. I wait, but act too soon. I wait, but react too soon. I think it’s because I’m afraid that if I don’t, then nothing will happen.

I think it’s because I don’t trust that the stars will align as they rightfully should. But, as I have learned in the past, the stars have never let me down.

The biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in my life were due to my own impatience. My own pre-emptive actions. My unwillingness to wait just a little longer for a breakthrough. But lo and behold, that breakthrough always happen. I just end up taking a step forward and two steps back in the process.

When I look back at the past five years since I’ve graduated college, I feel as though I’ve come a long way, but still haven’t gone very far. And I know that I still have a long way to go, but that’s where my impatience kicks in. And I know that this continuous solo dance of one step forward and two steps back will just tire me in the long run.

One of my greatest fears is not fulfilling myself with the life that I dream of. And I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

Actually, I know that I’m not alone in that.

As Nelson Mandela once said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” It seems like such a silly thing to be afraid of. But if you think about it, it really is a bit scary and slightly overwhelming to think that we are actually capable of the things that we set our mind to. It all just depends on our willingness to do what it takes to get there.

For me, I always thought that my preemptive actions were shortcuts, but they’re really detours. And the times where I have found the most peace and clarity was when I was able to really sit and think about what I wanted in life. Though I’m still figuring it out, the picture is much clearer now. I’ve learned that by taking fewer short quick steps, I’ve been able to take longer strides.

A Year in a Life

Not everyone is big on birthdays. Some people like to go all out, invite a hundred friends, drink until they can’t remember anything, and celebrate like it’s their last.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Frankly, I used to do the same. But on the flip side of things, when it comes down acknowledging to yourself that another year of life has passed, I tend to also enjoy being alone to really think about what I’ve accomplished in that past year of life.

My birthday isn’t for another 3 days, but this exact day last year in particular was of extreme significance to me.

A year ago today was one of my biggest failures to-date. I’d say that it was a turning point in my life. (Certainly not my last and most certainly one of many to come in the future, or so I hope.)

A year ago, I was let go from a job for the first time in my life. I never thought I’d have to experience that. At the moment, it really defined me and I’m grateful for it.

After that failure, the things that I thought about myself could have been the end of me, it could have been the end of my future successes.

But I’m glad that it wasn’t.

Failure is a funny thing. Depending on how you receive it, it can define you for the rest of your life. It can throw you off course, shape your perception of yourself, it can bury you. But you don’t have to let it.

Failure and rejection makes you feel like you’re not good enough, like you’re not worthy. But at the same time, it can empower you. It can make you strive to be better and you can come back ten times stronger after accepting and overcoming that failure.

No matter how big or small the situation, whether it’s a failure in school, in a relationship, at a job, an apartment or house you were trying to get, whatever it may be, you’ll always gain something out of losing.

I never thought I’d end up where I am now. Had I rolled over and called it quits, I’d probably be in a much different place. A much unhappier place.

You may not recognize an opportunity when it’s actually happening, but you will. I promise you will. Because something good always happens amidst failure. You just have to push through the bad until you get there.

Refresh

I was introduced to a new friend at church this past Sunday who was visiting from another country. I learned that it was his first time visiting New York City – and the United States in general – so I ended up giving him a mini tour. Yesterday, we walked throughout the streets of Lower Manhattan, trekking from the Meatpacking District to Union Square.

It was one of those unexpected, special New York City nights.

Whenever I encounter someone who is visiting New York City for the first time, I’m elated at the chance of being able to show them how spectacular I think this city it. Because for me, it truly is a city that I am constantly in awe of.

After living here for nearly four years, I’m still discovering new people and new places every single day.

I recently moved to a new apartment outside of Manhattan nearly three weeks ago. It’s my first time living in a new borough and at first, I was slightly devastated to not be able to say, “I live in Manhattan.”

After guiding my new friend throughout Lower Manhattan, I realized how refreshing it is to look at New York City through a different lens; through someone else’s eyes.

Sometimes, if you’ve been in the same place for long enough, you become jaded, desensitized, and un-phased by your surroundings. It often happens to people in a city as large and ever-changing as New York.

New Yorkers are somewhat known for their ability to block out the loud noises, ignore the distractions, and go about their daily lives almost as if they never blinked; as if their eyes were never even open to begin with.

Similar to a young child who is excited about learning something new, it often feels that way for me when I’m talking about New York. I’m overjoyed for someone to experience something the same way I’ve experienced it – in awe.

The thing about New York City is that your experience is completely dependent on how you want to experience it. You can choose to see everything or choose to see nothing. The same goes for your life. And for me, I want to see it all.

My Comeback (Part 2)

As an extension to my last post, titled the “My Comeback“, I’m giving some insight as to what I’ve been noticing since it was published. Specifically, I wanted to share some of the reactions that I’ve been receiving after publicizing my personal experiences.

I’ve noticed that ever since I’ve began exposing this kind of information about my life – the intimate details of my breakup, the loss of my job, the overall confusion in my life – people have felt the need to reach out and say something to me, whether it be directly or indirectly.

I’ve been receiving feedback, comments, and even having people share their own personal struggles. And of course, it is not my business or place to expand on the details of other people’s lives.

But, I would like to say that I appreciate and even applaud those of you who have felt compelled to share your experiences with me. I’m glad that I am able to motivate people to react, reflect, and relate to what I am going through.

The beauty of writing is that you are connecting with your audience in an extremely personal way. Knowing that I have reached people in a way that makes them feel like they are not alone is exactly what I aim for in my writing. And as a writer, that’s when I have done my job.

And if you are not necessarily able to personally relate to my experiences, then that’s okay too. Because my writing is not out in the open in order for people to feel sympathy for me. It’s to try to get people to think in a different way; For people to understand that everyone is going through something difficult even if it doesn’t appear so.

And with that being said, I think that it makes my comeback a little more worth fighting for.

Two Weeks Until the Philippines

Recently, I’ve been very silent with using this personal blog to disclose my recent experiences and emotions. Instead, I’ve tried expanding my horizons to other Publishing platforms such as Medium, LinkedIn and EliteDaily. However, I can’t fully neglect the base for which I started my writing journey.

So, here I am providing one very large update. Although much has happened in the time since my last real entry, the largest piece of news that I have to offer is this:

I am leaving for my second-ever International trip to my parent’s home country of the Philippines in two weeks.

If you are familiar with my most recent travels, I went to Australia (my very first International trip) last August and it had opened my eyes to the wonders of traveling to a foreign country and being introduced to a different culture.

Personally, this trip to the Philippines is going to mean so much more than just being introduced to a different culture. In fact, it’s not quite different for me at all.

Being raised in a dual-culture environment was a crucial factor towards the person that I’ve become. As a child, it’s difficult to fully commit to one culture or the other, especially if you are a minority. You cannot hide your physical features no matter how hard you try. I’m a Filipino-American, and I was raised in a predominantly Filipino household. However, I more strongly identify myself with being American.

My parents would speak to me in their native language, however, I’d foolishly refuse to learn how to speak. I understood the language, but I chose English instead. It wasn’t until I grew older did I realize how important that part of me is.

I don’t want to say that I regret the choices I’ve made in the past, but I will say that I wish I had made a greater effort to learn my parent’s native tongue and be more immersed in my heritage.

Millions of people came to the United States to pursue the “American dream” Many of whom made this decision for their children; to provide them with opportunities that they could not have had in their home country.

I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to my parents for coming here. I know that they made this decision for my sister and I. I also know that I will never be able to repay them for the sacrifices that they’ve made for us. However, I do realize all of the things that they left behind for us and I cannot say that it was in vain.

My family isn’t wealthy. We aren’t even on par with the majority of the Middle Class. However, we are happy with what we do have and what we have is something that most people strive for; a loving and supportive family.

Going to the Philippines will be an eye-opener for me. It will show me the bigger picture of where my parents came from, who and what they left behind, and why they are the way they are. I have a feeling that this trip will impact me in many ways and I couldn’t be more excited. There’s just something about going to your place of lineage and discovering your roots.

For many years, I was beginning to doubt if it would ever happen due to financial circumstance, but miracles can and do happen. Things only seem impossible until they are done.

Again, this trip wouldn’t be possible without the help of my parents. They came to America from the Philippines and now they are taking me and my sister back with them.

It’s going to be an amazing journey and I can’t wait to soak up as much as I can -Stay tuned for more

How To Capture Your Target Audience

In a day and age where authenticity is becoming less and less distinguishable, myself and many other consumers are much more cautious with where we put our loyalty and trust in a brand. I recently read an article that was published on Entrepeneur.com called, “Think Like a Journalist to Create Compelling Content That Gets Noticed” by Pratik Dholakiya, Co-Founder of E2M and MoveoApps. The overarching message of this article urges copywriters to put themselves behind the minds of their consumers and think about what really resonates with them. In the article, Dholakiya writes, “You need compelling content to engage the audience and persuade them to take intended action(s).” Naturally, this is always the driving force behind any sales pitch. But times are changing in the realm of marketing and advertising. It’s not just about straight-selling or making cold calls anymore. The key to obtaining and retaining successful business is through meaningful relationships.

I remember when I was in college, my Introduction to Marketing professor had always emphasized the difference between B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer). It wasn’t until I officially entered the profession of sales and advertising that I was finally able to comprehend the true meaning of this. Before, when I was a mindless young consumer with disposable income, I never thought about the hard work and effort that was put into marketing a campaign or product. I just bought things that were popular and well known and never thought twice about it. After being heavily immersed in the field of advertising sales, I can now see the larger picture. For those of you who are not involved in this area of expertise, it’s just like the science of any trade; long periods of strategic planning to ensure ROI (Return on Investment) with business. And when a brand giant meets a creative agency giant, products will be sold, money will be made, and consumers will grow an affinity for that brand.

If you are like my sister, you may immediately shed a tear when you see that heart-warming commercial that reminds you of the first time you ever rode a bike or the day that you first left for college. Creative agencies that touch upon significant memories and draw out these emotions create experiences with their audience. As humans, we seek relatability. We want to know that we are not alone in a certain cause. After all, we all experience the same emotions.

The NBA’s new creative agency recently released a promotional video, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech by showcasing significant milestones in NBA history in regards to breaking down racial barriers. They simultaneously align an audio track of Martin Luther King Jr. reciting his speech in the background while showing clips from specific events. Again, this is a perfect example of marketing that resonates with an audience when a brand giant meets a creative agency giant.

Copywriters, marketers, and advertisers have to dig deeper into the inner-workings of their audience. They have to find that soft spot that immortalizes a commercial through powerful messages.

To capture the attention of your audience, you just need the one key trait that a lot more of us need to work on…and that would be empathy. This is how you win people over. When you understand your audience, you will succeed; Not only in work, but in your personal relationships as well.

(*Versions of this article can also be found on LinkedIn, Medium, and AchorandLeap.com)

When the Miracles Happen

There are moments when you should throw in the towel. Those moments when you just need to call it quits like if you’re terribly miserable at your job or if a relationship just isn’t working. At times like these, it’s okay and perfectly reasonable to give up; those times when you’re compromising your happiness.

But then, there are times when you need to hang in there. There are times when you can’t give up even if life is throwing its worst at you.

2014 is over and a new year has begun. Close your eyes and just reflect on how far you’ve come and how much has changed.

And here we are.

We made it through another year. Of course, it was not effortless.

Looking back on this past year, there were many defining moments that tested my strength, patience, and tolerance for struggle. I can’t say that it was easy, but I can say that it was all worth it.

This past year, I came across a quote which I would call my definition of 2014 and I greatly appreciate it now more than ever. The quote is:

“The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens. Don’t give up”

It may sound like this quote contradicts the opening to this blog entry, however, I’m using it in a different context.

Every challenge that I faced this year made me feel completely defeated. I wanted to crawl into a corner, stop trying, and claim myself ‘a failure’. Yes, this is a little melodramatic for my age, but I know people would feel the same way.

I’m thankful that I didn’t crawl into that corner because if I had, I may not have accomplished the things that came later on in the year.

The beginning of 2014 wasn’t pretty. It was a reality check.

Even now, I still don’t have it all figured out. It will take years upon years. But with each year and each defining moment, I’m getting a little closer.

Miracles happen. They don’t necessarily happen at the same time for all people, but eventually they do. Sometimes you have to give up the good to go for the great. You have to leave something behind to go after something more. You have to rediscover yourself.

This past year, I got a little closer to doing just that.

I fell in love, I explored a new country, I became part of a band, I got a new job, I got a new apartment, I got a boyfriend, I ran the New York City Marathon, and this past Tuesday, I finally got published in Elite Daily for the first time.

I wouldn’t have experienced these miracles if I hadn’t kept it together.

My advice to you is to hold out for your miracles and know that they will happen. It may take time, but the time will be worth it.

“Word is Bond”

I often think a lot about words versus actions. I go back and forth, debating which is more important. Lately, my loved ones have been enlightening me on the importance of actions and I know that they’re right.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The more you say, the less”? Well, in my interpretation, it means that talking too much is useless. Words mean nothing if you don’t put them into actions. Take this from someone who does a lot of talking. I often have a lot to say and when I don’t say, I write (Thank God for this blog).

Another phrase that you may or may not be familiar with is, “Word is bond”. This is a phrase that I often hold true. Unfortunately, not many people have this same mindset.

Living in New York City yields a lot of opportunity for disappointment. There are always distractions and no one can ever really commit to one plan because frankly, there are just too many options. A Saturday night can start off as a regular dinner at a Thai Restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen and end up as drunken karaoke and disco dancing in Williamsburg. You just never know where the night could go. People in the city are always running around, partially committing to several things, and attempting to cross off every item on their agenda.

Yet, when it comes down to meaningful promises, you have to be more careful.

The promises you make to the people you love and the promises you make to yourself are the ones that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

With the New Year just around the corner, I’ve begun brainstorming the list of goals I want to achieve as some of you may also have done. I know that if I write this, I am more inclined to fulfilling it because as they say, word is bond. I’ll never make a promise to myself that I cannot keep and I try desperately to do the same with the people I care about as well.

So my goal for 2015 is to try to say less and do more for the sake of my loved ones and for myself.

After all, in the end, “It’s what you do to the people you say you love. That’s what matters. That’s the only thing that matters”The Last Kiss

A Quick Guide to Celebrating the New Year

As we are reaching the home stretch of another year, our eyes begin to widen and twinkle with hopes for a New Year. Out with the old and in with the new, many of us might say. But what makes New Year’s so special? Why do we celebrate and drink the night away long after the hour of midnight just to wake up with the same familiar headache as the previous year?

Many of us, including myself, get very nostalgic during this time of year. We reflect on the events that have happened in the months past. We hold onto the good memories as we attempt to forget the bad ones. We remember the friends who have come and gone. We carefully evaluate the seasons of change.  We think back on the defining moments. Then, we try to construct a plan for how to make the next year even better than the last. We write resolutions and make promises to ourselves and to each other that we often know we cannot keep. Why do we do this?

We do this because New Year’s is our opportunity at a clean slate, a fresh start. So here are a few tips for mentally preparing for that flip of the calendar:

Celebrate with the people that you truly care about

Getting sh*t-faced in a beat-bumping, crowded club with a thousand strangers is fun…once in a while. Try to spend your time with the people who are truly worth your time. If you’re somewhere that you don’t want to be, you’ll always look back and think about the people who weren’t with you rather than those who were. These are the moments you can’t get back. Celebrate with your real friends and the loved ones that matter.

Don’t set unrealistic expectations for the night (or the year)

Just remember that you can’t control everything. Things don’t always go as planned. You might not be able to meet up with your friends across town. You might lose your credit card. You might not get that magical midnight kiss. Go with the flow, enjoy the night as it comes, and be understanding that your “perfect night” doesn’t always look like a scene from the movies. The best moments are the ones that are unplanned. Setting unrealistic expectations just sets us up for failure. Have fun and embrace spontaneity.

 Don’t dwell on the past

The past is there for you to remember, not to dwell on. The past is the past. As cliché as it may sound, a New Year means a new you. Take what you have learned from the past and apply it to the present. Don’t get hurt all over again by the same person. Don’t let ghosts from the past haunt you. Sure, there were tough times, heartbreaks, and moments when you felt defeated, but you have the opportunity to move forward. Don’t dwell.

We celebrate New Year’s because we are celebrating life. We celebrate the unpredictable moments. We celebrate making it past all of the struggles, the sad moments, and the disappointments. We celebrate new relationships, new jobs, new places to travel, and more. We can never know exactly how far we can go until we’ve gone there. In light of a New Year, we look back at how far we have come and we celebrate the opportunity to go even further.

As we scramble to make plans with our friends and anxiously await that momentous countdown to midnight, we prepare ourselves for the unknown. Put on your party hats, search for that fabulous sequin dress, and get your bottle of champagne ready, 2015 here we come!