The most game-changing insight that helped me achieve the life I wanted is a concept from Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

These words changed my life, my worldview, and how I behave to this day:

Dependence is the paradigm of you you take care of me; you come through for me; you didn’t come through; I blame you for the results.

Independence is the paradigm of II can do it; I am responsible; I am self-reliant; Ican choose”

As I explain in this article, when I was younger, I blamed my family’s lack of support formy failure to become a famous Asian pop star (which was my dream since middle school, and still kinda is haha!). That sounds stupid because it is. People have succeeded against greater odds than me, yet instead of accepting my inability to drum up the confidence to go after my dreams, I chose to view others’ actions as the problem, when really, I should be minding my own business on what I DO to create my success.

Once I read this line in Covey’s book, I felt like a lightening bolt hit me. This was myEureka! moment. I realized:

  1. I was immature to blame others instead of actually doing something about it. It’s easier to place the negative feelings on others, when in reality, you are only dodging your own reflection in the mirror, fearful of facing your feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, and perceived failure*.

    *If you learned something from times when things may not have gone how you planned or hoped, did you really “fail”?

  2. My life is my responsibility. Past being an infant, child, then young adult, we are all going to eventually grow up. It is no longer the fault of: our siblings, parents, friends, acquaintances, bosses, society, teachers, spouses, professors, for “how we turned out”. Besides – We are always “turning out” differently as each year progresses. There is no static version of who we are because we are always changing. Therefore we can turn out “great” at any age. In fact, as long as you think you’re great, you’re great. Who’s to say your version is wrong?
  3. Being negative was exhausting! It’s much easier having an optimistic worldview, where one can be Independent, thus free to choose: the life we want to live, our job we want to do, the physical shape we want to achieve, the accomplishments we want in our lives, literally anything! All the hate, misery, anger, and self-victimization, not only drained me and made me spiral downwards, I literally got nothing out of it except more bad stuff!

Negative thinking just isn’t impactful or effective in any way, so it’s not worth engaging in.

Negative Return on Investment (ROI) = Not a good strategy/mindset = Stop being negative, because it’s all in your head and it’s subconsciously impacting your outcome!

In summary, this single insight made me: much happier, feeling in control, confident, and hopeful for the future. I highly recommend the whole book, there are a ton of great insights. If it wasn’t for this book, my answer would have been Zootopia! That’s deep movie with tons of messages similar to what Covey’s book is all about!


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