Sometimes I feel like I’m a failure

Recently I was watching David So’s video about being happy.

Kevin here.

Honestly I admire David and his hustle. He’s accomplished the new American dream that any Asian parent would be proud of.

He runs several businesses, including his ice cream joint, Drips & Swirls, in K-town. Hot Cheetos flavor is my favorite BTW. He’s was just in the movie Gook. And of course his successful YouTube channel with 1.4 million subscribers.

But the thing I admire most about David is that he’s just a real, down to earth, genuine guy. I’ve experienced it first hand. Btw he really does hug everyone he sees.

It’s easy to think someone like David has their shit together. Their life must be all figured out right?

But man. After watching David’s video, I realize that a lot of us are figuring out what the fuck we wanna do with our lives.

And it’s something I’m actually struggling with right now. If you’re trying to figure it out too, you’re not alone.

This isn’t a Buzzfeed quick “3 TIPS TO BE HAPPY” article. But hey. It might change the way you look at things.

No matter what I do, it’s never enough

A month ago I lost my dad and my job. No lie. I feel like everything that made me feel “successful” isn’t there for me anymore.

I know you’re not supposed to do it, but sometimes I ask myself… How am I doing compared to my friends?

And the answer is always the same. Things are never moving quickly enough as I want it.

  • My YouTube is a small compared to my friends, who are doing it for a living and make millions from it.
  • Refugee Hustle hasn’t generated a product or revenue… despite years of constant work.
  • I feel lesser than my other pharmacy colleagues because I didn’t do residency or fellowship.

Yet a lot of people see me as successful because I’m educated. They see that I “made it” out of pharmacy school with a doctorate. Or they see the six figure paycheck as a pharmacy manager.

But they don’t see…

The look in the mirror of disappointment and frustration with my life after a rough day at the pharmacy. How I want Refugee Hustle to grow, but I feel like I don’t have enough hours in a day.

Sometimes I have moments where like… Fuck it. Let’s just do it. Let’s apply to a pharmacy residency. Or chase a supervisor position within the pharmacy chains.

But then I stop.

Deep down inside, I know I still wouldn’t be “happy”… even if I had those things. It would be like putting a bandaid on someone who didn’t tap from an arm bar in jiujitsu class.

After all… it was the reason why I went to pharmacy school in the first place. I thought a safe, stable, and “successful” career as a pharmacist would make me happier, but I was wrong. And it hit me.

Like sure, who doesn’t want the perks? Who doesn’t want a bigger paycheck or bonus of a pharmacy supervisor? Or the endless career opportunities to do more than community pharmacy as a pharmacy resident??

Do I really want these things? Or is it fear that tells me to go for the “safe” option?

And that’s when I started thinking. What don’t I want?

Am I happy with the people around me?

Have you been in friendship when a “friend” consistently makes you feel judged or horrible for who you are?

It happened to me. One time I said no to editing a friend’s video. Honestly I have a lot of stuff on my plate alreadyBut she was like “It’ll be fun and maybe you’ll get into freelance. It’ll be good for both of us.

So I decided to do it… for free. That’s where I fucked up. 

It was our first time working together professionally. Communication shit the bed. Things took longer than expected on both sides. I expressed that I needed more time.

Why? I didn’t want to edit videos during my family cruise. Thank god because it was the last vacation I got to spend with dad.

She was pissed. And to this day I still don’t blame her. It was my responsibility after all that I didn’t say no from the start.

But like with all relationships, disagreements happen. And that’s when I realized our values and principles were different when it came to handling miscommunication.

Instead of talking about what went wrong and working things out, she already made up her mind. I wasn’t only a bad friend, but I was a shit person.

It’s one thing to get upset with people’s actions and decisions. Sometimes you might not agree with it, but did that automatically make me a horrible person?

We don’t talk anymore and agreed to stop being friends. No lie. I cried after that conversation. She was one of my closest friends in LA. I wanted to work things out, but it wasn’t just that one moment.

Being around her just made feel guilty for being differentEven though it was hard, it was one of the best decisions of my life. 

No one should have to feel guilty for being different

And I felt the same exact way when I left my job. I remember always feeling guilty for being different. The truth was I didn’t fit the typical pharmacist mold. 

I wanted to make pharmacy fun, help the public understand the human behind the counter, and tell people that we do more than just count pills.

That’s why I initially went into YouTube. It was why I woke up early in the morning to edit videos everyday… despite demonetization for most of my videos. Thanks Logan Paul.

So when my dad passed away, I took a break. My dad gave me this gift and opportunity to create a business I always dreamed and wanted. 

Why waste energy on feeling guilty about who I really was… especially when you can use that same energy actually creating a life that you really want?

The first week went amazing. I worked 40+ hours on my business. I accomplished more in one week than the last 3 years working on it as a side hustle.

Did everything go happily ever after?


But like my dad said, sometimes life doesn’t go the way you want it to. He was right. No lie. This was seriously my schedule for last week.

Wake up. Go to the gym. Shower. Look for parking. Tell myself I’m going to be productive. Stare at the computer screen. Feel guilty for not getting anything done. Repeat.

Being unmotivated isn’t normal for me. I couldn’t find the energy to…

And this feeling was different from just burning out. Like it didn’t matter how hard I worked to get out of this rough spot in my life; I felt hopeless.

I started thinking… Man… What the fuck am I doing with my life?

Is it that I’m too impatient with myself? Am I going to fail? Or is it that I’m just going through hella shit right now?

Either way I don’t know what it is, but I know this isn’t me. But I needed figure out… what makes me happy enough to my ass out of bed again?

Good friends reminded me that I wasn’t a fuck up

One thing I don’t do enough is reaching out to friends for help. Telling my friends that… “You know what? Not everything is ok. I’m going through some dark times.”

And that’s one thing, I’ve always been lucky with. 

Good friends remind you that you aren’t an asshole. If you’re like me and hard on yourself, a good friend can ground you with reality.

  • Tony PharmD, who I just podcasted with, reminded me that I have kick ass following

  • Nova Patra, who I also interviewed, reminded me that even bigger content creators believe in me and the vibes I spread across the internet

  • Jenny, who recently opened her own pharmacy, reminded me that compared to other pharmacists that I’m pretty good at investing and that these times are just temporary

  • Nelyn reminded me that I’m not a “shit person” and all the people I’m helping while I sleep/PornHub (Jk. I’m on NoFap)

What I realized from my friends was that I was treating my life/happiness like a resume. Like I would attach certain accomplishments on a checklist and that was what mades me “happy”.  The more the better right?

So when one of those things wasn’t checked off, I felt like a complete fuck up at life. But it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Happiness isn’t about getting what you don’t have. It’s about appreciating everything that you do have.

And for me, it was about all my friends, family, and followers who still stuck by me… even when I felt like a complete failure. This included my dad…

If all these people could show me unconditional love, maybe I needed to show myself the same thing too.

Although self love could be masturbating alone in a dark room, it means respecting and understand your own needs, especially when times are hard.

And for me, respect meant changing the words I used for self talk (AKA not calling myself a shit person). Understanding meant grounding myself with reality.

Maybe I can’t Chinese sweatshop everything right now, but it’s not because I’m lazy. Maybe it’s because I need to give more to myself to be “happy”.

Self love? ISSA practice.

Kevin Yee