I’m starting this off with a story about myself. I am writing this for my friends and family who are currently dealing with a similar situation in their lives, and really just anyone who needs a boost.
I’ve fucked up a lot in my life. Maybe not more than most, but I definitely cannot count them on my fingers. When I was 16 years old, like many other Asian-American kids, I was expected to get good grades in school and eventually get into a good college. I was fairly good at tennis. I was and always supposed to be a good student, a role model for my younger cousins, and live up to my family’s expectations. This is how it was for many friends and cousins as well.
So when I 16 years old, when expectations were still sky high, I fucked up.
I fucked up by not getting the grades that were expected. I fucked up by not being as great at tennis as I thought I could be (I lack the natural talent required, in reality, I was barely decent). I fucked up by just being a stupid teenager, trying to make sense of my life while a slew of decisions that would dictate pretty much the rest of my life were approaching very quickly. I lived my life based on what I thought my family expected of me. I wanted to make them happy. What kid who loves his family wouldn’t?
Then my mom told me randomly at dinner one night that she didn’t care if I didn’t get into a great school. She didn’t care that my grades weren’t at the top of my class. “Just graduate.”, she said, adding on later, “As long as you try your best, I am proud of you.”
This was a ‘holy shit’ moment for me. This sounds really cliche, but it was the turning point in my life. I started putting in significant effort in school. I worked hard at tennis practice. I actively worked on my flaws. I had always wanted to make her proud, I just didn’t know how.
Fast forward to 29 years old. I am happy. My family is proud. Nothing worked out the way I thought it would. I would fuck up many more times after 16. I was able to succeed because I put in the effort. Sometimes my effort earned me absolutely nothing. Sometimes everything worked out just fine. That’s life.
Do not be afraid to try. And if you are going to try, put 100% effort into whatever you’re doing. Half-assed effort is the same as not trying at all. You should be very afraid of regret. Regret is a monster that will sow doubt in your mind. It will make you less confident, and will continue to hurt you until you can overcome it.
People may question you. You may be told that you shouldn’t do this or that. They may be right, they may be wrong. That’s fine. Respect their opinion. In return, they should respect yours. Tell them you don’t ever want to regret not trying.
Give it your all. Do your best. Never regret. Don’t be afraid of fucking up.