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Tiff Lin’s Happiness Project

I must acknowledge my Enneagram Type 7 – fear of anxiety/missing out on new experiences/impulsive escapist attitude

“Sevens attempt to control their level of anxiety by keeping their attention occupied with ideas and possibilities that excite them. They keep their mind full of activities that they can look forward to, positive experiences that they know they will enjoy. Every time anxiety rears its head, Sevens are ready with a new adventure, a new book, a workshop they plan to attend, or an exciting new relationship. As long as they can keep their attention occupied with positive expectations, Sevens can hold their pain and anxiety at bay. They do not want to deal with their anxiety or examine its causes in their lives because doing so draws them inward, making them more anxious, while extroversion pulls them outward, toward the environment, repressing anxiety, at least temporarily. They discover that the distractions which their activities provide repress anxiety whenever it threatens to erupt into consciousness, but that they need to keep searching for exciting activities to keep themselves safe from their inner distress. They therefore throw themselves into more and more experiences to avoid having to face anxiety or any feeling of unhappiness…”

The problem is that the more Sevens fill up their minds anticipating the fun they will have in the future, the less they are in touch with whatever experience they are having in the present

The more anxious they get, the more they distract themselves by anticipating the future and the less their experiences serve to quell their anxiety. Sevens keep fleeing outward into the world of experience as they try to outrun the fear and hurt inside them. But the more they flee, the bigger the thrills they need and the harder they are to sustain.

Well…folks, I already knew this about myself. But knowing is half the battle. Knowledge is nothing. Action is everything.

and i’ve had just the SLAP TO REALITY that i’ve needed to take myself seriously.


As of May 28, I’ve been in the hospital for a total of 15 days bedridden and went through 3 surgeries and got pumped with IVs in 6 different places. I’m currently still going to the hospital everyday for hyperbaric oxygen therapy to repair cells/quicken the healing process. I’ve placed myself willingly under house arrest for a total of 3-4 weeks.

I’m at the point where I don’t really want to talk about it because this has been the story I’ve repeated over and over again…to 6 different doctors and to the rest of my worried friends and family from Taiwan and the US.

The main point is- that i’ve learned (the hard way) that I do things to myself without understanding consequences. I think I’m invincible to pain but then I learn that the human body has a funny way of catching up to you before you realize it.

But i’ve grown stronger in a way. Mentally speaking. Anyway, these are just some insights that I’ve taken from reading a book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben that led me to seek out truth in my own process.


I am happy, but I want to be happier/more grateful/less anxious about future/more appreciative of the present.

I’m excited by the environment and respond strongly to my surroundings, throwing myself into the world of experience with enormous vitality. But is this childlike wonder/excitement sustainable?

Living a life of paradox

I want to change myself but accept myself
I want to take myself less seriously but also take myself more seriously
I wanted to use my time productively  but also have time to wander and play
I want to live in the moment but not worry that day-by-day is going to waste

So how do you change without having to change at all?

Follow commandments/principles

  1.     Be yourself
  2.     let it go
  3.     act the way I want to feel
  4.     do it now
  5.     be fair
  6.     enjoy the process
  7.     lighten up / cheer up / be silly
  8.     do what ought to be done
  9.     no comparisons or calculations
  10. there is only love
  11. forget the past
  12. spread joy
  13. never bother with people who don’t matter
  14. stay in touch
  15. life is fleeting
  16. create something that wasn’t there before
  17.  stop collecting useless crap
  18. make mistakes
  19. Give thanks: for the ordinary and the extraordinary
  20. create something that wasn’t there before
  21. Choose not to take things personally
  22. This too shall pass
  23. I am already enough
  24. What do I really, really, really want
  25. Keep it simple
  26. If you can’t get out of it, get into it

If I had to pick 10

1. Be Tiff Lin – be comfortable with yourself and know your limits
2. Do good, feel good – when you do a good selfless deed, you feel it lift you up
3. Don’t make promises you can’t keep
4. Always arrive on time – it’s a sign of respect and is the first step towards being true to your word
5. Inspire and be inspired – teach and learn simultaneously- share/exchange
6. Life is simple- don’t overthink/assume – you can’t predict everything
7. Listen to others and accept them for who they are despite their differences= everyone has a story
8. Be more patient and generous with time – small steps equate to big changes
9. Be a powerhouse of energy for others to follow- mental/body/spiritual
10. Enjoy the moment for it might be your last

Secrets of Adulthood

1. its okay to ask for help
2. do good, feel good
3. its important to be nice to everyone
4. people don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think
5. what you do every day matters more than what you do once in awhile
6. consistency and routine and healthy daily habits count more

Why study happiness?

Happiness can prepare you for adversity- to develop the self-discipline and the mental habits to deal with a  bad thing when it happens
Happiness can prepare your mind to be mentally strong


Having now being forced to be indoors during recovery, I have to find other alternative options to substitute what once made me happy (expressing myself through movement/activity/constant stimulation/meeting strangers and hearing stories) and to find another way to be constantly stimulated (drawing, writing, painting, poetry, reading, decluttering, personal projects)


I’ll dedicate a post on each. It’s been fun in a way. Learning that with focus I can do quite a lot.

Everyday is hard. Every morning I wake up, I have to remind myself that happiness is a choice. And put myself through “my process”

But it’s still been a learning journey and that’s all I can ask for of myself. at this present time.




Just Start

I acknowledge that I am my own worst enemy.

For months now, I’ve been working on myself. I mean isn’t that the point of traveling? Couch/bed/floor/beanbag surfing 19 different cities on 20+ different surfaces with +20 or so different modes of transportation in a span of 2 months? Ridiculous…these numbers mean nothing to me now and in fact paint an entirely different story to what I can recall was an amazing well use of time/budget. Numbers just seem like a point of validation. And I’m beginning to understand that validation is what ha(s)(d) define(s)(d) me (middle child Taiwan-born American-raised born in unconventional family circumstances seeking for attention/understanding?) for the majority of my life.

“Life is full of beautiful yet fleeting moments” That’s the mantra that I had chanted on my independent travel abroad prior to coming to Taiwan (to study Chinese for 3 months/reunite with family). Fleeting is right. Yet right now on this cold rainy night …I’m kicking myself for feeling this creeping inexplicable emptiness…its a sense of shame and guilt that this phase of my journey may be considered “the beginning” or “the end” …and its this uncertainty that I don’t know exactly how to react to anymore. At first, I thrived on it, but now i’m not so sure. The emotion of “emptiness” had just left me as I am writing this sentence. Because as soon as I’ve done typing…i’m looking back and just literally scoffing at myself for how pathetic it sounds. There you go. fleeting. its ups and lows here. its weird.

i think it’s because this is the 4th month i’m in Taiwan yet I feel like I have nothing tangible to show for it.

Wonder/Ponder Moment: Why is it so easy for me to be the highest ideal of myself when I know that I’ll be leaving within a week span? I pride in myself that I have the ability to connect with so many people on so many levels and feel completely free…to be the weird little kid captured in awe over everything new about my surroundings …to revel/shake people up  to see and appreciate their  environment with new eyes.

YOU HAVE STARS! INFINITE STARS ABOVE YOUR EYES” – I scream, to my CS host in Queenstown, NZ. It was a beautiful moment and an amazing sight, walking uphill for 10 minutes back home gazing up at the pitch black starry sky…Having lived in NYC for the past 6 years, you begin to forget that theres another universe out there….all you have to do is look up.


SO…i’m starting over. Taiwan is a really interesting place to live right now. But i find the Taiwanese don’t understand. I want to explore this further. How? Well, thats thinking too much already. I need to just do for now.

I think the first 3 months was a lot about me adapting to something “Stable” “routine”..but I’ve taken many personality tests and even the DISC (a dedicated post on that later) to see that i demand a fast paced environment where I’m encouraged to constantly learn and inquire. I seek freedom from routine, control, and minutia ….so why fight it? My lifestyle is comfortable right now…and i struggle with that.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone (emphasis on ambition/risk/adventure) vs Be content and happy where you are right now. Live in the present (emphasize Mind Zen). i fight both constantly.

but i digress….(shit i think this whole post has just been a lot of digressions huh?)

Back to the point of writing “I acknowledge that I am my own worst enemy”

I’ve been meaning to write for a long time but there would always be something holding me back. Another “busy” task I add onto my list. A friend/mentor/lover said “Just start” With a notepad in hand, I’m doing just that.

What I’m working on:

Generally: To focus. To channel my interests. To learn for the sake of learning. To be present and aware of my surroundings. To create. To commit. To ask questions. To observe. To listen. To see with new eyes. To write

Specifically: My website. My photography. My videos via Google Glass. My chinese. Piano. Cultivating relationships. Saying “no” . Priorities. Myself.

ah, its good to get that out of there. 

I acknowledge that I am not the best comprehensive writer. That i am a bit scatter brained. That I do tend to think too much…and can sometimes find myself lost in the infinite abyss of my endless mind….but then again, this is me, for me….

You have the option to x out whenever you want.

tomorrow, i’m sure i’ll read this and shake my head in embarrassment. but then ill bask in it. and move on.

you gotta start somewhere. What are we without our words? You declare something to the world and its one step closer to making it happen.


such is life.


Multipotentialite- Passionately Curious


I stumbled upon this blog by Good.Co this afternoon titled “Are you a Multipotentialite?”

The first sentence basically sold me.

“If you were to draw out your ideal career path, would it look more like a tree than a straight line?”

A tree…a jungle gym…a grapevine. I’m nodding vigorously at this point.

This is the Wiki definition of a Multipotentialite:

“An educational and psychological term referring to a pattern found among intellectually gifted individuals. [Multipotentialites] generally have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions, they are confronted with unique decisions as a result of these choices.”

I don’t think that I am “intellectually gifted” by any means, I’m more of a generalist than anything, but I do resonate with the nothin that I can be successful in many different professions unlimited to one lifetime.


Looking back, I don’t remember much from my academic career at NYU Stern. I can say coming out I had the yellow string on my grad cap, B.S. in Marketing and International Business/minor in Business of Media, Entertainment, and Technology. But what does all that even really mean or translate to? Affirmation that I will come out knowing more about myself and my career decisions in the business world? LOL.

If there is one thing that I enjoyed about my college career, I’d have to say it was going to my internships. When I wasn’t in school busting out 20 credits/semester worth of study time, I’d devote 20 hours/week to provide some sort of arbitrary value to a company. It was what I looked forward to.

I’ve worked for 11 companies the past 6 years. Dabbled in PR/Media Planning/Brand Management/Office Manager/Retail Marketing/Market Research/Digital Marketing/Product Development/Social Media/Operations/Project Management. I say dabbled in for a reason.

Here’s my resume

Someone in an interview last year had called me out for being a “generalist.”

I have now come to terms with that.

I LOVED the non-commitment temporary exposure, knowing that it was a “no hard feelings if I leave” “I’m going to get what I put in” sort of contract. Being labeled in the office as “the intern who had just biked in the rain to rush back to 6 PM class..that girl cray.” I would make myself remembered. But at the same time, it would be a “on to the next” sort of process for me.

During my last day on the job, I’d receive my praise/thank you’s from my colleagues/managers, would give the “thank you for xyz, exposure to kdz, keep in touch mkay?”. Meanwhile, I’d think to myself “WELL that was fun while it lasted…not sure if I would ever want to work their full-time…love the people, but I can’t envision that this is what I want to be doing for a  looong time..”

Which makes me then think “What are people driven by? How can people just stick to one thing without thinking about the road not taken? What do I do when I want to do everything?”

Was I really caught up in that NYU Stern ratrace to find a good paying job at a reputable company so that I could prove to my friends and family that “I’M WORTHY”? Yes, in a way that was why I approached my first internship. But it was really because of boredom and this passionate curiosity to explore the infinite unknown that made me want to “go on to the next” without any consequence or acknowledgement to what it could mean for my past, present, future.

I didn’t come out post-grad knowing exactly what I wanted to do but at least I didn’t pigeon-hole myself into a career that I didn’t want in the first place either.

I just do things just to do them.

I’m going to end with the fact that the whole “What do you want to do 5 years” interview question is complete bullshit and everyone knows it.

NOBODY knows what they will be doing 5 years from now. And if they do, they’re lying to themselves. I could see myself in San Francisco being a LYFT driver, working in public relations at a nonprofit, being a personal trainer or SOULcycle instructor, teaching English in Japan, being a photographer and capture dynamics among generations in Taiwan, leading my own bike tourguide service in NYC, volunteering in South Africa, owning a small jazz cafe/bookstore/bikeshop in Denver, being this treeman and starting a movement to create genuine reaction. I want to integrate and connect people.

i can do anything

I’m a scanner. A generalist. A Plate spinner. A polymath. A Multipassionate.

It’s true. I refuse to specialize in, or subscribe the world’s view that one must commit to only one goal, one dream, one profession.

“But”.., Sher advises, “at some point, Scanners who never finish anything should sit down and look at what’s really going on,” “When a Scanner hits a certain wall, they stop. Often, it’s because they’ve lost interest. But sometimes, boredom is actually just a manifestation of subconscious fear. I tell people that they must, at least once a year, push through that anxiety and stick with a project until completion. They need to experience that discipline. And there’s a chance they’ll experience twice as much joy from experiencing that unfamiliar degree of depth.”

I’ll explore this further when the time comes, I’m just too excited that there is now a term to discuss what I am and have been feeling for years.

You have a new passion every week and you wonder what is wrong with you. Nothing is wrong.

The world needs people who can integrate and connect

Your unique mishmash of talents allows you to see what no else can see

Give yourself permission to do it all.

We are not mad, we are not lazy

We are not confused or aimless.



PuttyTribe Manifest0 16x20b

Top 15 Lessons for Life

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Ask yourself “will this matter a year from now?” If the answer is no then move on.
  2. You are responsible to everyone, but you’re responsible for yourself. Nobody else is going to find success for you, and nobody else is going to instill happiness into you from the outside. That’s on you.
  3. You can always get more money, you can never get more time. Don’t cut your life so short that you miss out on experiences. Go travel. Go sperlunking. Go to that music festival you say you’ll find time to go to next year. Book a ticket a year in advance and don’t look back.
  4. Blur the lines between work and play. Make everything you do into a game. Mix targets/end goals with rewards/incentives/goldstars.
  5. You can’t force others to like you and you can’t force others to change their opinion. Just be true to your own self and your own conscience, the rest is secondary.
  6. You are your word. And you are your actions, more than your words. Stick to your commitments and values. Results are measured in time and distance. While words are empty and meaningless without action. Never make excuses, stop blaming others, and own up to your mistakes.
  7. See problems as challenges. A problem is viewed as a drawback or a struggle while a challenge is an opportunity, a dare. View obstacles as challenges and take it on one step at a time.
  8. Make sure you’re always learning something new. We live in a Googable world. We have access to public libraries. We have smart phones. Be curious enough to learn and absorb info from everywhere around you. Take up a new activity, explore a hidden alley, read a new book.
  9. Take care of your health when you’re young and keep going when you’re old. It’ll be easier down the road when you’re older. I don’t care if you work a 9-6 job, there’s always time during the day to respect your body.
  10. Be Positive. Appreciate everything and everyone around you. There are things you cannot change or are beyond your control. Instead of focusing on how unfair life is, be at peace with yourself and appreciate where you are and how far you’ve come and how bright the future is.
  11. Develop a sense of wonder and awe. This will keep you young. Open your mouth in awe. “The only cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity/
  12. Nothing is permanent or eternal. Not your clothes. Your car. Your fancy watch. Not even your relationships. Your possessions shouldn’t possess you or define who you are.
  13.  Choose your friends well. Let friendship be based on mutual respect and trust. While common interests are a good go-to, there’s nothing wrong with branching out of your comfort zone and intertwine with different social circles. Surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to acheive your goals. Also, do not be afraid to have critics. Embrace those who are blunt and have no filter.
  14. Realize that nobody cares, and if they do, you shouldn’t care that they care. Got a new car? Went on an exotic vacation? Nobody cares. You’ll get some gawkers for a couple of weeks—they don’t care. They’re curious. Don’t base your happiness on people caring, because they won’t. And if they do, they either want your stuff or hate you for it.
  15. Always give more than is required of you. You take full responsibility (the 100) for the relationship, expecting nothing (the 0) in return. When you take authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not the other person quickly chooses to take responsibility as well. Consequently, the 100/0 relationship quickly transforms into something approaching 100/100. When that occurs, true breakthroughs happen for everyone involved.


First of all, let me preface by saying my TypeSeven- The Enthusiast. personality seems clearer to me than ever.

Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over- extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness.

At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

  • Basic Fear: Of being deprived and in pain = FOMO. BREAKING BONES
  • Basic Desire: To be satisfied and content—to have their needs

Key Motivations: Want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid and discharge pain.

As long as Sevens can keep their minds occupied, especially with projects and positive ideas for the future, they can, to some extent, keep anxiety and negative feelings out of conscious awareness. Likewise, since their thinking is stimulated by activity, Sevens are compelled to stay on the go, moving from one experience to the next, searching for more stimulation. This is not to say that Sevens are “spinning their wheels.” They generally enjoy being practical and getting things done.

On a very deep level, Sevens do not feel that they can find what they really want in life. They therefore tend to try everything—and ultimately may even resort to anything as a substitute for what they are really looking for.

“If I can’t have what will really satisfy me, I’ll enjoy myself anyway. I’ll have all kinds of experiences—that way I will not feel bad about not getting what I really want.”

On the positive side, however, Sevens are extremely optimistic people—exuberant and upbeat. They are endowed with abundant vitality and a desire to fully participate in their lives each day. They are naturally cheerful and good humored, not taking themselves too seriously, or anything else for that matter. As we have seen, the Basic Desire of Sevens is to be satisfied, happy, and fulfilled, and when they are balanced within themselves, their joy and enthusiasm for life naturally affect everyone around them. They remind us of the pure pleasure of existence—the greatest gift of all.

We can see this in action even in the most trivial areas of their daily lives. Unable to decide whether he wants vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice cream, a Seven will want all three flavors—just to be sure that he does not miss out on the “right” choice. Having two weeks for a vacation and a desire to visit Europe brings a similar quandary. Which countries and cities to visit? Which sites to see? The Seven’s way of dealing with this will be to cram as many different countries, cities, and attractions into his vacation as possible. While they are scrambling after exciting experiences, the real object of their heart’s desire (their personal Rosebud, as it were) may be so deeply buried in their unconscious that they are never really aware of precisely what it is.

^People who have gone out to eat with me or travel by my side can attest to this..I love my options and will exhaust myself in the pursuit of life to try everything…

Reflection– YES, I am impulsive. YES, I like to seek new experiences.

I acknowledge that by doing so much that I spread myself too thin and can never form concrete long-term relationships/commitments.

Currently, this is my level 4/5 as a Type 7. I’m hoping to get to Level 1

Level 4: As restlessness increases, want to have more options and choices available to them. Become adventurous and “worldly wise,” but less focused, constantly seeking new things and experiences: the sophisticate, connoisseur, and consumer. Money, variety, keeping up with the latest trends important.

Level 5: Unable to discriminate what they really need, become hyperactive, unable to say “no” to themselves, throwing self into constant activity. Uninhibited, doing and saying whatever comes to mind: storytelling, flamboyant exaggerations, witty wise-cracking, performing. Fear being bored: in perpetual motion, but do too many things—many ideas but little follow through.

Level 1 (At Their Best): Assimilate experiences in depth, making them deeply grateful and appreciative for what they have. Become awed by the simple wonders of life: joyous and ecstatic. Intimations of spiritual reality, of the boundless goodness of life.

I acknowledge my security blanket of having encouraging, free-spirited, “we support your decision to do whatever you want as long as you are happy, healthy, and treat other people with kindness/respect” parents gives me the support to take on higher risk for career/living situation exploration.

I’m undisciplined and scatter-brained. I’m privileged. I’m appreciative. And I am loved.

Also a point of inspiration-
Life is simple. Do the things you love and do it often.

So…..with that all in mind. Literally, all I have been thinking about past month^, I feel wholeheartedly justified in my decision to quit my job.

What spurred it to action was when I had started reading Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg over the weekend. One quote stuck to me “The cost of stability is often diminished opportunity for growth”

I thought of my values, my options, my energy, my passion, my integrity, my time, my commitments and my own definition of “stability”

The next day, I gave my notice.

Your career should be about growth or utilizing your strengths and skill set to better yourself, company, society in the process.  I went for a well-paying job knowing that it was good income, low stress, great people to work with, but soon found out the actual position was not demanding of my self-worth. I worked hard throughout high school and college for a reason…how can I live up to my word and integrity if I’m being inauthentic to myself and compromising my love for learning in the process. The opportunity cost for me is time. The time I could have used to acquire more skills on a professional and personal level.

I feel justified in my decision and walked out of that authentic conversation with my boss feeling more liberated and excited for new possibilities than ever.

I could have stayed longer and may have had a possible promotion (maybe in like 5 years..), but project management and following “process” isn’t for me. Hell, I’m beginning to think a typical 9-6 isn’t for me anymore.

I had my “one year” benchmark to reevaluate my progress/potential for job growth. Assessed the situation. Understood the consequences of my decision.

Now I’m onto the next.

Check out this article by Penelope Trunk, career adviser for 20-something’s

Make life more stable with more frequent job change

Moreover, my understanding of stability is knowing you have a life where you can do what you love, during your whole life, not just at the end.

“Your career is a jungle gym, not a ladder.”

What does “stability” mean to you?

If it means killing yourself to retire early. Get a house. 2.5 kids. dog. pool. backyard. Then by all means, sprint to get there. Who am I to judge?

Studies show that happiness leads to success, not the other way around. A successful career is one that stirs up a certain level of excitement, passion, and happiness in a person. Every person’s exact definition of a successful career is different.

Without adding money or salary into the definition, every person is going to be inspired by a slightly different occupation because individual interests, morals and values vary from person to person. So, ask yourself, do you love what you do or do you just do it to out of fear of being UNreasonable or vulnerable.

Out of fear that if you quit your job, your dream of being x and doing y will be one barrier/excuse less to pursue your dream.

I recognize I’m a job hopper. But don’t worry that my time will be wasted.

So, please when you ask me “why?” or “what are you doing after?”, just know that I’m going to respond by saying “why not?” and “i’m figuring it out now…LIKE RIGHT NOW.”

But really though, I’ll be staying within WeightWatchers until the end of June. Going to California for a week to visit friends/determine whether I should live there in 2 years. Thinking of going on a biking Shikoku pilgramage in Japan in August to gain peace of mind. Go to Taiwan to study Chinese at Shi Da University with my sister from Sept-November to get back to my roots.

Come back, with a fresh mind, and start climbing that jungle gym all over again. STARTUP STYLE.


How to be “Great”

I’ve been positively gleaming or glowing these past few days.

The conversation usually starts off as something like this

A: How are you doing?

B: Great, just GREAT!

I can’t even articulate how great it has been which is why I have a goofy smile on my face all of the time.

So I’m going to try this…

What does “great” even mean?

For me, being great or capable of “greatness” means you’ve overcome being “small”

To be great means that instead of asking for “fish”, you’ve requested “fishing”

if I request you to teach me “fishing” I have the power to create much more, albeit potential of failure/rejection/shame.

To be great, means you’ve achieved a breakthrough in performance..whether that be getting recognition/promotion at your job, or finally coming to terms with your sexuality, or being able to run 5 miles without stopping. You’ve come a long way and even when there is nobody on the other end of the finish line to say “hey man, you’re awesome.” You know it in yourself that you’ve achieved something “great.”

I’m in the process of mastering my life to achieve “Greatness” and here is my outline.

1. Making a difference and contribution

  • To be powerful, means you have the ability to inspire “groups”
  • By starting with the individual, you can conquer anything in the world.
  • Take the time to think of what matters to you in your community and dedicate some time to just think of what YOU can do to make a difference, small steps = big changes

2. Mastering reality

  • Being with something exactly the way it is instead of adding/deleting from a statement and constructing a story based on assumptions- adding meaning to nothing.
  • To separate your thoughts, feelings, intuition from what’s real in front of you : What’s happening versus the story
  • To be present instead of letting the past determine your future

3. Mastering identity and ultimately the self

  • As “identity” you can either be part of something or not something. As “self” you are the space in which it all shows up. You are who you show up to other people and your actions are correlated with what is occurring for you…directly influencing how you occur for yourself in dealing with those situations
  • Be unreasonable – Being reasonable means being controlled by your reasons. You may feel compelled to find reasons before you can do something. Being UNreasonable means doing something simply because you are doing it, taking responsibility for it, and enjoying it as it is.
  • Be vocal- Ask and you shall receive, knock and the door will open. Just say it/do it and know that whatever the outcome, its better than just sitting around and waiting for “something”
  • Be expressive – To communicate that you are happy instead of saying “I am happy” by self expression is a skill. Perform to your hearts intent without fear of judgment.

Ending with a quote:

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – Lawrence Persall Jacks

Live, love, learn,


Lessons Learned

I’m at a point in my life where all the fortune cookie sayings, as clichéd as they may sound, have hit me in a way where I’m nodding vigorously and all I want to do is live, breathe, and feel. Feel all sorts of emotion so that I can practice redirecting my insecurities of self-doubt, shame, frustration into something positive. To fail and get up after a failure is beginning to look a lot more enticing than just settling for something “stable”.

…Because, when you settle for something less, you get less than what you settled for…

I came up with this saying to try to sum up how I feel about this matter

“Life is like riding a bicycle; that once we learn how to balance, we never forget. Although we might, every so often, still fall off.  The easiest way to fall over is when we stop moving so just move, one little step at a time.

My sister had just recently attended the Educo Seminar in the Bahamas. Her company sponsored her to go on this 2 week “life transformation” class so she could bring back some takeaways to share. A free 2 week trip to the Bahamas? MAN, what an opportunity right?

Opportunities like this shouldn’t be viewed as “random”. As outlandish as it sounds, I believe when you pour energy into something, the world has a way of presenting you with these thin sliver bits of opportunity. You just really have to go for it…with an open mind and positive thinking. That part is entirely up to you.

I view my sister as a happy medium. I have spent enough time with her to be influenced by her emotions and see how she carries herself. When she smiles, you smile. When she’s upset, you get upset, and wonder how in the world can I make her smile again. I learn from her by example and have always as a little kid sister aspired to have that sort of infectious charisma. I’m pretty positive that growing up I was a tool and tried too hard “to fit in.” I’ve learned…and am continuing to learn…to “just do me” Nothing else really matters because in the end nobody really cares what you do.

These are the lessons I’ve learned in the past year.

Living life in a blur is not living.

I’ve always been the type of person to try to do everything all at once. To cram every sort of activity in one day. I would literally bike from one end of Manhattan to another and time myself during the process as a personal challenge. Clap yourself on the back and feel a sense of acknowledgement. I just biked a 4.45 min/mile. NOBODY CARES. I’d feel a sense of triumph for “exploring” NYC despite the fact that I never stopped to smell the roses at a park or stopped to chat with the local street performer and thank him for his time.

I think I realized this when I got hit by a taxi recently. Haste makes waste. Life isn’t a competition even if its with yourself. Personal development and achieving goals is one thing..but is shaving one minute off your daily commute really going to make a difference?

SO…take it from me…once in a while, just stop whatever you’re doing and think of where you are at this present moment. When you are rushing to catch the train and have spilled coffee all over your pants in the process of running across the train tracks…just stop. Catch the next one and fix yourself. This again happened to me a couple of days ago. I took the bus instead and it all worked out.

Oh, and if a street performer/artist makes you stop in your tracks, even for 30 seconds (big deal in NYC), you owe him a dollar. Or at least a thank you.

We’re all Connected. Empathy > Apathy

During one of my philosophical conversations with a fellow couchsurfer, we touched upon human emotion and the difference between “people who do good” and people who are evil” The Swede said empathy. Apathy or ignorance are reasons why there is so much hate in the world. It makes sense right? If a mass murderer couldn’t relate to human emotion, how are they to understand that the significance of a bomb and what it could mean to a family, a community, a town, a state, a country. It’s empathy or the feeling of human connection that enables people to have a stronger connection to themselves and the world around them.

Small example: Being ignorant is equivalent to someone thinking that throwing one piece of trash out into the streets wouldn’t make a difference. Tragedy of the commons dude. We’re all connected. This is my park just as much as it’s yours…and this squirrels…and this wandering toddler who will probably pick up your dog’s shit and play with it (I would have as a kid..).

Another thing. If someone chooses to be vegetarian, respect their decision. Instead of saying “why”, ask yourself “why not”

Learn to respect and empathize with peoples beliefs.

Which leads me to…

How to Build Rapport with People

I’m an extrovert. I used to shout at introverts and say things like “You’re going home already? We just got here!” Read this Thought Catalog article about things you should stop saying to introverts.

It used to frustrate me. Knowing that people have the power to live such astonishing lives if they just got up from their couch and left their apartment. But preaching and or blackout yelling at them in the bar to “live a little and take a shot” isn’t the right approach I’ve come to realize…

To build rapport, you need to again empathize. Build trust and create an atmosphere in which people feel free to respond freely. By allowing yourself to be a nonjudging/open-minded individual, you are allowing someone to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Try mirroring someone to build rapport with someone more quickly. If you meet someone who is shy, match their shy state and then move them towards a more excited state. Use gestures, eye contact, tempo of speech, posture. If they follow you into this new position, you know they are in a state where they are comfortable to respond to you. It’s at this point when you can try to influence someone’s decisions.

Also, replace “But” with “And.” The word “But” can destroy any sort of rapport. When you use “and” it implies you have acknowledged what they have said but you have a few insights they might be interested to hear as well. Again, empathize. You’ll get farther along that way. Nobody likes to get preached to.

I’m going to stop here for today.

This is my attempt to share the power of influence and how to build “rapport” with the people around you. After all, you are the product of your environment. We live in a world where we engage with so many people around us. Coworkers, family, friends, neighbors, your barista…By living a more powerful life, one in which you can fully control, start by controlling your emotions by stopping/being present with yourself and then focusing on how to channel your energy onto others.

For my next braindump “these are my life lessons take it or leave it”, I’d like to look into representational systems and how to read people through understanding if someone is more visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. You can do this easily by seeing how they shift their eyes when you’re talking to someone. My sister taught me about this…

Practice this exercise! Ask someone how their weekend went or better yet how their last date went. When they are speaking, focus on how they shift their eyes.

Visual people shift their eyes up.  They are more visually expressive and might start their response by talking about the atmosphere of where the date was “the restaurant had really great décor! We totes have to go next time!” Visual people speak faster and generally maintain more eye contact.

Kinesthetic people talk more about emotions. They remember an action or feeling and might say something like “Well, he was nice but I felt like he just didn’t listen at all to what I was saying…” They tend to speak more slowly and/or repeat themselves. They look down much more when speaking.

If their eyes shift left to right, they are most likely doubting something or are insecure…or maybe embellishing/lying.

These all seem like generalizations I know but hey you can’t deny that  the eyes are the windows to the soul.

It was brought to my attention by my sister that I’m more kinesthetic. I talk slow and look down as I’m feeling a lot of pent up emotion towards a significant event. I also tend to avoid eye contact when it comes to a conversation or anything that involves intimacy. Haha. Well at least I’m cognizant of it! Acceptance and acknowledgement is the first step…


By identifying these different representational systems, it would be easier to understand people and better guide them into a positive state of mind. When you are around positive people, you in turn will be a more positive person. Energy flows where attention goes.


–          Always learning, living, loving          

<3. TIFFLIN 3> — haha it’s a butt on an ice cream cone

Burn-out Phase

I’ve been nonstop in my hustle since my last post about moments of influence that keep me moving.

I look like I haven’t slept for more than 4 hours in the past few days. My brain feels like scrambled eggs. My eyebags are getting darker. I still have acne on my chin. My mind is never in the right place..ESPECIALLY when I’m in front of a computer. I have 20 tabs open right now and can’t focus on one task at a time. My heart is beating so fast. I’m not on any drugs if thats what you’re thinking. I’m beginning to feel cough sick so I’m taking Dayquil/EmergenC to prevent sickness before I leave for California/Coachella this weekend.

I realize when I’m with my friends, I talk nonsensically about nothing/everything all at once. it’s like regurgitation of the mouth.

You: “How was your weekend?”My mind processes this: “3 frenchies . maple syrup..Thai dinner..La Caverna..5 AM..$ pizza..longboard..zombies…williamsburg… food…bridge..Frenchies/swede..13th step..$ pizza..5 AM…Day trip with Swede..Unisphere..Met Stadium..Flushing…Jackson Heights…5Pointz ..the boil..crawfish..street chair..what was the question?”
What I end up saying: “uhhhhh” weird smile on my face.
I just end up mumbling..and saying stupid shit. People either think i’m stoned because I talk too slow (cause: sleep deprivation) or that I’m high on crack (most likely just ran/biked and you’re experiencing aftermath of biker high)

Anyway great weekend.

Highlights:Walking around Queens Zoo seeing kids run around picking up Easter eggs
Me: “Babies. Toddlers. Describe in one word. Go.”
Swede: “Drunk midgets”
We see a kid skating belly down on skateboard pass by…”yes…yes..”

tonight is the last night i have until i set a new challenge for myself..still figuring that one out. after i complete my post 6 PM wunwun task, im going straight home to clean my room/declutter my life. Watch Walking Dead..greet a new AirBnb guest…and pass the eff out.

Feeling Inspired

I’ve been feeling really inspired these past few months. Inspiration leads to reflection. Reflection is best expressed through words. I’m not the best at articulating my thoughts in person..but i’d like to be better at it. Anyway, blogging..this might be a temporary thing so don’t get too excited. Post 6 hr flight from Colorado, I’m feeling a mix between delusional and inspired now. Here’s to letting the stream of consciousness take its course…

I take a lot of pictures. It is a way for me to transcribe my experiences into proof or acknowledgment that I’m alive…that I’m grabbing life by its horns and hopefully influencing those around me in a positive way.

My goal is simply this: To exhaust myself in the glorious pursuit of life.

When I die (probably in a tragic accident doing something that I love..i.e. biking in the city) I want to leave a digital trail behind for my loved ones to know that I’ve lived a fulfilling life…that i’m trying and will continue to improve myself everyday..physically and mentally.

Although there are times that my “quirky” lifestyle may seem “unsustainable” and unfit “for a real person” (these are actual real quotes from my friends who only mean the best…), I want them to understand that right now I have certain priorities and values that have are shaping me to become the person that I am. If you’re thinking that I’m going to put myself in awkward situations in order to get a good story out of it, you’re right. This is going to be my rendition of living a life like Hannah Horvath from Girls. Deal with it.

I wake up every morning in excitement for what the day brings. I learn from my past mistakes. I continue on making mistakes. I live and I laugh.

My feelings are always changing. In any case, I’m on the road to self improvement and I’m still figuring myself out. Writing all of this down will give me a greater sense of accountability.

So aside from leaving a digital trail behind for my 90 yr old self to look back on how I’ve lived my 20’s (I can already picture myself reeling in tears, laughter, shame, embarrassment. I also wanted this to be a channel for me to encourage others to “Live your Life.”…gosh, not in a YOLO (i knew you were thinking it!) way but in a more philosophical…success doesn’t always equate to happiness so stop bitching about work and just live in the present sense. I’ll practice what I preach.

to give my ramblings a bit more structure, I’m going to end/begin every blog with a quote


the things you own end up owning you” – Tyler Durden Fight Club

You won’t find happiness or the meaning of your life in the shopping mall or in the click of a mouse. Like in Fight Club, Tyer shows Jack that aquiring more and more stuff is a meaningless pursuit devoid of purpose and fulfillment.

“You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”

The rise of consumerism has us chasing fancy cars and luxury materialistic things, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. And then throwing it all a way once something new has come along…

This quote or sentiment was inspired by my talk with a guy named Mike..a good friend of this “homeless” chick, Raina, I met last Thursday..(reminder to dedicate a post about her).  Anyway, Mike is awesome. He’s always around St. Marks walking laps due to his OCD so chances are you may have seen him before.

Week 1 Challenge: 

Buy shit you need not what you want. Clean your room. Get rid of your crap that you don’t use. Give it to the homeless or to your friends 

There you go, I’ve typed it out. Meaning I’m held accountable.

Challenge accepted.

and so it begins.