This year marks the end of my university chapter.
5 Years that encompassed
- Alpha Kappa Psi
- Southwestern Redline
- Walter Gage Toastmasters
- University degree from UBC
The past 5 years have been phenomenal and an absolute blur of AWESOMENESS.
That being said, I want to announce that I will be working on a new album, titled "Get what you came for."
A wise friend of mine, Alborz Massah, shared with me the following statement,
"You get in life what you have the courage to ask for."
I realized that the majority of people (including myself) don't always get what we want because we get to a certain level and we become satisfied with that level of performance. That's a scary thought, especially if getting what we want is just around the corner, needing just a little more persistence, dedication and commitment.
I'm moving on, and I want to capture all the feelings I've had over the past half-decade with an album to put those thoughts together.
I want to make sure that if you want something, you go for it.
You don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
You don't get to tell yourself that you can't get it, or that getting most of what you want is good enough.
Second place isn't good enough if you know you are capable of first.
This song was fun to do! It was also very different than what I've done, because hell, if I'm not growing, I'm dying. and I'm way too young to not be still growing.
To everyone that's been part of my university experience, thank you.
You've made it THAT much better <3
Click here to download: Jay Kiew - Get What You Came For (mp3 link)
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I'm at your command.
Half the tasks at you do you might as well turn over to me, and I will do the quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed. You must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done.
After a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people and alas of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, but I work with all the precision of a machine, plus the intelligence of a person.
Now you may run me for a profit or you may run me for ruin,
It makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will lay the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.
Who am I?
I am called HABIT.
- Author unknown
Ever thought of running your own business?
Have you wondered who you might go into a partnership with?
If you have, then here is one clinching factor that always seems to determine whether or not I end up with them.
Do what you said you were going to do. Always.
I find that those who value that principle are of a rare breed. Today's generation tends to make excuses, show up late and delay work. Some people promise the world and never follow through. I'm guilty of it sometimes too. Some of us say we'll be there and never make it. This isn't supposed to be a depressing article about how unreliable we are, it's a challenge for us to become more reliable.
If you're watching what you say because you know you will be held accountable, it's a lot easier to underpromise what you're going to do, and then overdeliver/exceed other people's expectations. This is, of course, in direct contrast to people who over-promise and under deliver.
We find that the biggest reason we don't do what we say we are going to do is because we don't feel like it. Doing a project can be pushed off by choosing to go to a party or choosing to stay at home to watch tv. Relationships and friendships can be moved to the forefront over work or school because it's the easy way out.
Albert Gray said it best: "The most successful people form the habits of doing the things that unsuccessful people don't like to do."
Having a person who sticks to their commitments is one of the strongest assets you can have on any team, whether it's work, sports or school group projects.
The question then, is the following:
Do you always do what you said you were going to do?
What I've learnt recently spending time with UBC's finest
At our fall Alpha Kappa Psi alumni social, Azim Wazeer, former UBC Senate and Board of Directors member, said something that deeply impacted me. Audience members were all looking for reflections of both UBC graduates and AKPsi brothers with the role of AKPsi in their lives. Azim modestly started with this: "I don't know how much wisdom I can share with you guys, seeing as I'm only 22, but I'll do my best to just share my experience."
This sparked a humble realization in me that as much as I do know, and as many people that I do know, there are so many people that are sharper and smarter than I am. I went on to approach 10 of the respected names I have here throughout my time at UBC yet never had the chance to officially meet. I wanted to sit down with them and get a better idea of their schedule on daily basis, what drives them, and why they're doing what they do. Here's a summary of what I've learnt from them.
Joshua Sunga, current president of AIESEC at the time of writing, started our conversation with "Jay, how can I help you?" I was shocked at how quick and eager he was to help me, but it came clear when he said later on "I know if I help you, you can help the students in organization who need it." He went on to point me in the right direction in regards to whom I should talk to.
David Hyunh, 2nd year CUS rep, shared how honesty and being up front with one's intentions has gotten him to where he is now. Having secured an internship with KPMG this summer, it is easy to see how he connected in the application process. His simple personal message? If you help enough people get what they want, you'll get what you want. He attributes learning this life lesson from Tim Tong. He has an innate compassion for helping people and doing well, driven by pursuing self-growth to become better than where he is now. David's solution for the future is hard work, an openness to new experiences & new people, as well as never being complacent with your accomplishments.
Sophia Ng reviews her lecture notes from that day to solidify what she's learnt, so yup, you guessed it, she's extremely academic. It doesn't stop there, but continues on with her rigid schedule that helps her balance her relationship, her schooling, her work, and her active lifestyle focused on healthy dieting and training for a marathon. She taught me that a regulated sleeping schedule and a simple understanding that discipline and commitment coupled with directive action lead to results. With five alarms set, five minutes apart from one another, she is always up when she needs to be, and I have applied that to my life and haven't been late ever since.
Jon Degerli stood out as one of the sharpest individuals I have met on first impression. Well-dressed and well-spoken, you can tell that he is eager to learn from others and knows how to get where he wants. He has direction long-term and understands how to properly connect and network with others. He shared with me his current focus: approaching 20+ marketing firms/ad agencies and setting up what he calls "information meetings." What are information meetings? They are short 15-30 minute meetings with a firm where Jon shares his background and experience, and -asks for advice-. His words? If you ask for a job, you'll get advice. If you ask for advice, you're more likely to get a job.
Margaret Kim is in her second year at UBC, yet will be taking over as the president for AIESEC UBC in a couple weeks. She reminded me that even if our original intentions don't work out, there are always opportunities and options to look into. She helped look into ways my job as a corporate recruiter could be promoted through AIESEC's conference and how I could help train students in sales.
Bob Wang, UBC Sauder graduate in marketing, is somebody I would describe as a good man. I've been friends with Bob for a while, learning something new every time. An avid reader, he spoke recently of John Maxwell and Stephen Covey. I was struggling with figuring out what to do when I overfilled my plate and had too many obligations. He said, "Why don't you go back to using the important/urgent grid and place your tasks appropriately? That'll help you get rid of the unimportant time wasters. (see picture at the bottom) Do what's important now Jay."
Kim Choy has an eagerness to develop himself. Having just come back from exchange in Warwick, he learnt that being an outstanding individual is dependent on who you spend the most time with. Kim has always been an athlete, whether it was running, swimming or basketball competitively, There's that quote that says you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. In Warwick, he met students who he felt surpassed him in everything: attitude, discipline, work ethic, you name it. Back in Vancouver now, he is pursuing life with vigor, realizing that it is easy to be complacent, but harder to do when you surround yourself with people who push themselves and you.
Ben Chen, founder of Blank Vinyl Project, UBC's first independent record label, surprised me the first time I spoke to him. From afar, he appeared like one of those guys that was really outgoing. When we met up for lunch, he revealed that he was more naturally introverted yet had grown out of that over time. He was soft-spoken, yet succinct and clear. His statements had direction and focus, passion and drive. He wanted to build something at UBC that would foster a community for musicians to grow and learn from one another. After spending time w/ him, I felt like we were fairly similar. University had pushed us into something different where we had figured out who we were and where we wanted to go. Ben Chen reinforced that if you have a vision for helping other people, it's only a matter of time before they see how they can help you.
Daniel Kong, president of Advertisinc, is an extraordinary individual who is passionate about fashion. After I shared with him my choice to be selectively ignorant (I don't watch the news unless something huge comes up), he introduced his two favorite places for information that was interesting and different: www.adage.com and Monocle magazine. Monocle is a niche magazine that shares diverse insight on global and current news in the world. He helped me find a way to continue learning new things and provide a source of conversation threads, without having to sift through Facebook for it (which is what I have done in the past with viral videos).
Dima Pel is one of my former roommates and the only student this year to be given an invitation to interview for Harvard's med school. I sat down with him and helped him practice interviewing because he wanted to make sure he stood out from everybody else. And stand out he did. Why? Whenever he answered a question, he drew on personal experiences that impacted him in becoming the person he is today. These personal experiences were intimate and private, but he shared with me story after story about why he wants to be a doctor. The way he was 100% genuine made me want to help him fulfill his aspirations because he was being a HUMAN.
Get it yet?
The world is one social network, interconnected in so many different ways. Family and relatives, friends and loved ones, co-workers and classmates are all there for you to help you get where you want, but only if you reach out and ask for advice.
Keys to Success (Pt III): Beneficial Habits
Last week, consistently, I was sleeping in for one to two hours extra each morning. My days felt longer and more draining, despite the fact that I was getting extra sleep! I asked myself, "why was this happening?" The answer? Quite simply put, based on my BMR, the amount of food i was consuming and the energy I was using during the day, I just didn't need that much sleep. I was being lazy and I knew it was a bad habit. Other bad habits generally include regular procrastination on things we don't want to do, or delaying proper action.
Habits constitute powerful constraints, both good and bad. They represent past solutions that worked well enough to become entrenched in the system. Worked well enough in the sense that you saw it pleasing enough to keep it in your life. One example could be starting bikram's yoga out of curiosity and then consistently getting up at 5:00am every morning because the pain of getting up that early is replaced by the pleasure of peaceful meditation and stretching. Why not use habits to constrain yourself to good practices in your daily life? Fitness routines, proper diets, dedicated working hours and routine reading schedules are all part of beneficial habits.
Habits also represent social learning about what is right/wrong. We inherently know which of our habits are beneficial to our life and which ones aren't. It's not difficult to see what is needed to be changed.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not AN act, but a habit." - Aristotle
The quote above highlights the idea that excellence and success is not a single act, but more a continuous repetition of deliberate practice. Malcolm Gladwell's concept of Outliers, anyone?
If I recall correctly, I think it was Stephen Covey who proposed that it takes 21 consecutive days to form a habit. Luckily for you, today can be Day One to start a new one.
If you've ever been in a business class, you've probably heard the term: key success factor, a factor/input that generates a positive result related to your goals/plans.
Today, here is one that applies to success in EVERYTHING: Accepting inconvenience and acting anyways.
When you set new goals, guess what? The actions necessary for you to hit those goals are NEW as well.
When we try to implement new habits, they are not already part of our lives. Actions such as waking up earlier, going for a run, going to class regularly, starting daily reading, starting yoga or improv classes are not part of our routine. The classic example of New Year's resolutions such as becoming healthy by going to the gym is not already part of our lifestyle on a consistent basis. Even venturing to eating regularly may be difficult to keep consistent.
Going to the gym is inconvenient.
Cooking lunch or dinner for the next day is inconvenient.
Commuting to a yoga class is inconvenient.
Waking up early is inconvenient.
The reason people are SUCCESSFUL with their goals is because they continue on DESPITE the inconvenience of it all. Inconvenience is going to come with every new thing you throw yourself into, until it becomes regulated and incorporated over a length of time (21-40 days normally). Accept inconvenience and act anyways.
Don't gripe about it, just do it. Food for thought. ;)
Quite possibly the greatest rapper of all time. A two decade career that has brought him from the underground to stardom, with numerous ebbs and flows throughout. Countless hit singles, multi-platinum albums, accompanied by the omnipresent watchful eye from the press. What makes him so successful?
Enter Kanye West.
The media's favorite obnoxious asshole. Starts his career as an instrumentalist/producer. Experiences firsthand record deals falling through (Listen to "Last Call" for the full story). Ends up with Roc-A-Fella, with Jay-Z as his mentor and friend. Came out of nowhere with The College Dropout and hit big on the mainstream. After a decent first single (remember Slow Jamz with Twista?), two things that got him noticed were his singles "Jesus Walks" and "Through the Wire". "Jesus Walks" had him talking about Christian belief in a top-40 chart song. Through the Wire had him spitting lines with his jaw wired shut. Having personally gone through jaw surgery, I can attest that it's hard haha. What made him so successful?
Enter Childish Gambino.
Actual name Donald Glover. Most notably known for his role as Troy in the NBC tv show Community. An up-and-comer. Raps about sex and how awesome he is. All the time. A Punch liner. Relatively unknown as a rapper, but I think we'll be seeing a lot more of him if he plays his cards right. Why did I put him in this list? What will make him successful?
Originally came out being known as Jimmy Brooks from the tv show, Degrassi. Released a mixtape that had executives chasing to sign him, a tour, and a number one single with no album. Came out of nowhere and now stands among the top of the game. Singer, Actor, Rapper. Triple threat and he's good at it. How about him?
Is there anything in common? Is there a success factor that is tying these guys together?
I'd propose with Eminem and Childish, there is one thing that places them ahead of their competition: Raw and directed emotion. They're open-book humans, honest to the utmost about what they're going through in life and they speak about it in their songs. Just by listening to them, you can tell they go hard. The concept of going hard is going all out in the moment, with vigor and fury, with deep pain and reflection, with anger juxtaposed with hope. In that moment, there is absolutely nothing stopping them. There are no social barriers that they feel they have to accommodate. No masks they put up. Nothing else on their mind. They are focused. Present. Determined. They just do them. (Oh, and their intellect is definitely impressive - Eminem's wordplay on "Infinite" back in 1992 was and is still unparalleled in any song up-to-date)
If you want to see pure uninhibited emotion in action, there are two videos you can see them go hard in. YouTube Childish Gambino's "Freaks and Geeks", link below. YouTube Eminem/Kanye/Drake/Lil Wayne's "Forever" and watch Eminem's verse in that.
With KanYe and Drake, it was simple. Their approach was that they were different when they were hovering around the periphery of the media's gaze. In KanYe's College DropOut, I loved how real Ye was. In conventional comparison to other rappers. his flow SUCKED in "We don't care". He sang in his songs, and he sucks at singing. But it was in those nuances that I felt he was somebody worth listening to. He was somebody on the big stage who just got there and was still learning the mastery of his own game. That little difference showed me that he was doing him, unconventional as he was. And it worked.
Drake was similar, not in that he wasn't good, but in that he brought a different style that we all caught on to. In a majority of his songs, you'll notice shorter lines, one bar split into two. Being comfortable with a slower flow, but concise phrases that still got the message across was/is Drake's strength. Success breeds success, and I'd say after their first album dropped, it was natural that they would do well: Talented artists with the names backing them up (Jay-Z and Lil-Wayne)? Of course.
Take a look at the dance floor the next time you hit up a club. The ones who dance the hardest, with their own style and energy, are often the ones people watch and are drawn to, not the people dancing the same way as everybody else.
Life is like that, people are attracted to those who have the most assurance about themselves and aren't concerned with society's expectations. They are open to being vulnerable and expressing themselves. This is because for them, their emotions/thoughts/views of life are expressed through their art. I wouldn't give that up for anything. The concept of success is simple.
Just do you, and go hard.
I've realized, that with diverse individual strengths and weaknesses, success is hard to quantify on an individual basis. While some may label me successful, I would beg to differ and instead comment that I've got a long way to go. That being said, with so many people asking for advice and wisdom, I have decided to write a epochal blog segment on my keys to success. Each Key will end in a daily invitational challenge for you to implement right away.
Key 1: Add Value to Others.
I run my own business selling educational products to families during the summer, and on one particularly slow day (no sales lol), I ran into a family who was open to seeing what i had. When the dad let me in, I came across the mom on the couch with a cast on her legs, and two kids running around, cracked up on that little kid energy that we used to have. These kids loved the books I had. When i say loved, i mean that I've never had a kid this excited about what i selling - she was even more excited than i was, and I doing the presentation! When i finished up my
demo and gave them the price, I made my way into my bag to grab the order pad. As I looked back up, the dad became unusually soft, and said, 'Jay, I love the books, and my kids do too, but we just can't afford it. I'm not even sure if I'll have my job in September, as they've been laying a lot of people off due to budget cuts." Unbeknownst to me until that point, it turns out that the dad was a teacher, who taught in the area i was selling. Now, a part of me was extremely bummed out about this - I was about to have a day where I made exactly zero dollars and I was really banking on having this sale. At first, mentally, I became really frustrated because I needed to make this or I wasn't going to hit my target for the week (you sales people know how it is =P). At that point in time, the kids came running back around and jumped on their dads lap,asking him to buy the books. "please daddy, could we pretty please get them? You can use the money from our piggy banks, we don't mind! Pleasseeee!" ...and they dumped out the contents
of the piggy bank onto the floor.
I stopped packing up, and I realized at that point that it wasn't all about the money, money always comes and goes - but I could have a part in helping these kids learn. I turned to the kids, and very seriously asked, "will you read these?" to which they replied, "Yes! Yes! Of course!" I got up, told them to wait, and i went to my car and grabbed a set of books that would make my day go from a zero day to a negative day (this is where you know I'm a really bad salesperson). I handed that set of books over to them, refused to take any money, and told the father that i was thankful that he is a teacher, that he was doing a good thing helping our future generations. Not gonna lie, this guy was confused. He didn't get why I would give him a set that he knew would cost me money. He kept on asking me, "whats the catch? There's no such thing as a free lunch. I don't want it, I'll feel bad." I eventually convinced him that i was honestly just doing it because of his kids - I think anybody who can be more excited about my product than
me is somebody who truly loves it. It was a gift.
I ended that day, broke poor and in the negative, and that night I questioned my actions, asking myself, "Dude, what about your recognition this week? You prevented yourself from hitting your goals!"
Quite the contrary, actually. No, I didn't hit my goals that week.
But guess what? Two weeks later, i was still working that area, and I run into a principal of one of the high schools.. It turns out he grew up with Dave, and was close friends with him. Dave had told him about this weird college student (me) who dropped by and gave his kids this set of amazing educational books. He ended up buying from me, giving me a personal, written, high value testimonial, and referring me to other teachers that were close friends who he knew
would want to take a look at what I had. Within the next couple days, i hit them all up, and broke my weekly career record.
You've all heard the term that things happen when you least expect it, and it's true. But I don't think it would have happened if I hadn't been looking to simply add value to others in the first place.
This is the one key that I have found to be the most important, and thus the first. The majority of people go through life always looking to gain from externalities (people, events). To take advantage of said externalities is by no means a bad thing, but I find that the opposite is less frequently practiced - the giving. While we may often measure the costs and benefits of a transaction (whether it be a relationship or business deal), we tend to maximize our gains and minimize our energy input into the transaction. The question is always 'what can i get from this
person or this thing?' instead of how can I add as much value as possible to this person.
The more that people realize you care for their wellbeing and are acting on selfless purposes as opposed to sucking them dry of their knowledge or resources, the more open they are to helping you out. By practicing adding value selflessly, we allow ourselves to avoid disappointment (from expecting a return that may not have come) and also open ourselves to unexpected surprises.
Daily Invitational Challenge: Ask yourself - "How can I add value to others?"
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.