I’ve always felt the new year was a powerful time to reflect.

Years ago, I read a book by the legendary educator Howard Gardner called Extraordinary Minds. It studied the patterns of four types of extraordinary figures, what he called Masters (e.g. Mozart), Makers (e.g. Freud), Introspector (e.g. Woolf) and Influencer (e.g. Gandhi). He tried to understand what made them so great and what practices could be applied to help each of us become better. Continue reading

About a week ago I celebrated a major milestone and turned *gasp* 30. Over the last few years, I’ve kept very careful track of how much time I had left until thirty, which was the age I thought I needed to have “made it”. In retrospect, the anxiety was unwarranted and thankfully in my old(er) age, I’ve gained the wisdom to see that.

Yes, in getting older, I’ve lost some naïveté, I look a bit more before I leap, and I get hangovers. But I haven’t lost my enthusiasm for building new things, and my body has held up surprisingly well. With age, I now have a series of rich mental models to run ideas through and long-standing friendships and professional relationships to draw on.

Perhaps most unexpectedly, I also have an awesome platform and community to share ideas and launch projects — which is this blog.

So for my birthday, I just want to thank anyone who’s read, shared, commented, or tried something different because of The Art of Ass-Kicking. I write for me, but I write for you, too.

Note:  I wrote up the results of the 2015 Asian American Man study on Medium.com, where it’s been read by over 70k people. National Journal, an Atlantic Media’s publication, covered the study in Asian Americans Feel Held Back at Work by Stereotypes.

Today we’re going to talk about a phrase. It’s a phrase you might use innocuously and infrequently, but one that many Asian Americans hear on a weekly if not daily basis, and can come across as unfriendly, even alienating.

That phrase is “Where are you from?” Continue reading

Have you ever looked at someone who was really good at what they did and felt a little daunted?

Maybe it’s how they seem to easily make connections with new people, or design an amazing-looking web page over a weekend, or how they casually mention the 6 miles they ran before breakfast today.

It’s natural to feel intimidated by someone who’s really good at what they do and get a little insecure about yourself. It happens to me on occasion. But whenever I find myself falling into that trap,  I remember something I learned from 16 years of gymnastics: Continue reading

I recently spent 12 days in Peru traveling solo.

It seems like multi-month international trips has become something of a rite of passage for our generation, but I’ve never found a good time to fit it into my schedule. 12 days was the longest I’ve traveled outside of family trips to China with my parents, and my first time traveling alone.

I wasn’t that familiar with the country, had only a basic grasp of Spanish, and a fairly light list of things to do and see. Rather than traveling because I had always wanted to go to Peru, I went because I thought it’d be a good opportunity for personal growth. Continue reading