Personal Success · women · writers · writing

Spotlight on Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Writer

Hello all, I published this two years ago. I thought I’d publish it again for those of you who may have missed it:

 

“If you really want to do something, you’re going to have to go for it.”

Marie Myung-Ok Lee

I first learned about Marie when I was researching Korean-American history for a San Francisco State University’s ethnic studies class I was going to teach for Dr. Grace Yoo (during her sabbatical). Her book, Somebody’s Daughter, expertly covers both the adopted child/adult’s perspective as well as that of the adoptee within two cultures. Marie Myung-Ok Lee is a Korean-American author and essayist, writing often for The New York Times, The Atlantic and Newsweek. She’s been published in Witness, The Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly and Slate. She teaches creative writing at Brown University and Columbia University.

10850251_10153163264626071_9137212956767722318_n
Marie Myung-Ok Lee

If you’re interested in being a writer, Marie is sure to inspire you. She is not only an accomplished writer, but a loving mother to an autistic teenage boy. Her essay for The Atlantic Monthly “What My Son’s Disabilities Taught Me About ‘Having It All’” is one of the most moving, enlightening articles I have ever read.

Despite her extremely busy schedule (she’s working on her next novel), she graciously and generously spoke with me on the phone. She is a modest, hard-working, intelligent and creative person. When I informed her of my objective with my blog (to help others achieve goals by reading of people who have already accomplished them), she got right to the point:

“I constantly write. Every single day from 4:30am to 6pm. I never take a day off.” She lives in NYC in a small apartment with her husband (a professor), and their son.  Previous to writing, she was an investment banker for five years. Although writing does not even come close to the money she made before, Marie couldn’t be happier with her work, “I love it.”

Another tip: “I get 10 rejections to each offer. You have to be committed to writing. If you really want to do something, you’re going to have to go for it.”

Marie is down-to-earth, honest and practical. When I congratulated her on all of her great work, she was quick to point out that it took her eight years to write her novel, and that she couldn’t live on her salary alone. The family is on her husband’s insurance and she constantly juggles motherhood and her work. When she left banking, she was a ghost writer, a freelancer, an editor. She obtained fellowships and worked hard at her novel.

Wanting it, working hard, sacrificing hours each and every day, utilizing your strengths (and challenges)…going for your passions: these are the secrets to her success.

Marie’s most recent article can be found here, on Salon.com. She provides a careful analysis of the McKinney, TX pool party incident, tying in a personal example of mistreatment by an adult when she was a teenager.

You can follow Marie Myung-Ok Lee on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarieLeeWriter

Her Twitter handle is @MarieMyungOkLee

motivation · Personal Success · writers · writing

On “Perfection”

thought-catalog-217861.jpg
photo by Thought Catalog

On Perfection:

Elizabeth Gilbert, American Author

“Perfection is the death of all good things, perfection is the death of pleasure, it’s the death of productivity, it’s the death of efficiency, it’s the death of joy. Perfection is just a bludgeon that goes around murdering everything good. Somebody once said I was disingenuous for saying this, because surely I try to make my work as good as it can be. And that’s absolutely true — but there’s a really big difference between ‘as good as it can be’ and perfection.” – TED, September 2015

 

 

Health · meditation · Personal Success

Laziness #2: Pema Chodron

parker-byrd-89354.jpg
photo by Parker Byrd

Yesterday’s post was a review of Pema Chodron’s take on laziness (part one) from her book The Places That Scare You. Chodron asserts that there are three “debilitating habitual patterns” that we often partake in.

The second type she identifies is “loss of heart.” One symptom of this form is when we tell ourselves something like, “I’m the worst. There’s no hope for me. I’ll never get it right.” (Chodron, 90).

When we become lazy with loss of heart, we avoid interacting with the world. We retreat and we watch lots of TV (or surf the net). We eat, drink, smoke and watch the screen mindlessly. We have forgotten how to help ourselves.

The remedy for Lazy Type 2 is the same for Lazy Type 1. Get curious. Ask the right questions (hint: one wrong question would be, “why me?”).  Notice that you don’t have to subscribe to negative thought or belief patterns. You can choose differently.

We often condone our behavior. We say we are “happy” and deserve to relax. But in reality, we are “haunted by self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy.”

Why concern ourselves with these notions of laziness? As Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor, 161 – 180 AD) reminds us in The Meditations, our lives are short. There is no time to waste.

 

Health · motivation · Personal Success

2 Small Actions = Major Transformation

andrew-neel-218073.jpg
photo by Andrew Neel

I made a couple changes this year and they’ve led to greater productivity (published my first book, lost a couple pounds and enjoyed more quality time with family). I thought I’d share them with you:

  1. Create an Intentions List, not a “To Do” List. Reflecting on your intentions (as opposed to “tasks”) ensures your actions are aligned to your deepest values.  When you sit down to enumerate all the things you want to get done, think about your intentions. Is it your intention to help others? Bring joy to loved ones? Be creative at work? This line of questioning will lead to precise calibration of your actions to your ultimate goals.
  2. Make your first intention task easy and simple. Crossing a task off your list will light up the rewards center of your brain. It gives you a natural boost! Start the day off with an (easy) sense of accomplishment.  Set yourself up for success!
Health · Personal Success

To Do Lists Are “Dope-amine”

glenn-carstens-peters-190592.jpg
by Glenn Carstens Peters

“To Do” lists can help you with your motivation. Crossing your tasks off as you do them actually releases dopamine (a neurotransmitter) in your brain. Excitement, satisfaction and pride are emotions that are experienced during this chemical reaction.

If you’re having a hard time getting motivated to do something, break it down into small tasks and assemble a list. As you do each step, cross it off. It might help you feel a sense of inspiration and before you know it, you’ll achieve your goal!