Natalie Sun

Do one thing that scares you a day.

Facing your fears

“The hero is no braver than an ordinary man – but he is braver 5 minutes longer.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

In 2012, I:

– Sang to 200 people
– Learned how to play guitar
– Moved to a different state
– Talked to my childhood crush
– Went to New York
– Hugged a stranger at a zoo
– Hiked one of the hardest peaks in Seattle with no hiking experience
– Went on a blind date
– Learned how to code

After 365 scary (sometimes terrifying) tasks, I do not regret a single thingEach of them have have made me stretch my comfort zone a little farther, and each of them have made me realize that fear is all in the mind

The imagination is a wonderful, yet terrible thing. It can stop you from doing something that could significantly change your life for the better by simply asking “What if…”. The simple “What if?” stops you in your tracks, and you refuse to go any further in fear of what could possibly be there. Yet, you realize you never finish the sentence. But when you step back and take the time you answer your own question, there really is no what if. What if…what? What could possibly go wrong? 

But…I could tell you everything about my experience. I could tell you every story that I’ve derived from each of my challenges and everything that I’ve gained. I could tell you how I was definitely not the first to do this, and certainly will not be the last. But in the end, you will have to be the one that holds yourself accountable.

Where should you start? Trust yourself. And tell yourself that no matter what happens, you are still you, and you’ll be ok. Count down to 3…and take the leap.

You can’t expect yourself to be someone different if you continue doing the same thing. It’s a simple concept that many people fail to understand. But the sooner you understand this, the sooner you can become the person you want to be.

Life is what you make of it, and it’s up to you to get what you want.

As for what’s next?

Subscribe to One Piece of Art a Day and see what’s next to come!

Happy 2013 🙂


PS: This blog was an effort to hold myself accountable. As a result, the Things That I Plan To Do page will not be forgotten. I plan to finish each and every one of them, so I’ll constantly be updating each task with the dates which they were accomplished. 🙂 Keep checking back!

Do one thing that scares you a day

I created a new year’s resolution for 2012 based on two things I wanted to change about myself:

1) I never took risks
2) I thought my life was uninteresting

Eleanor Roosevelt said “Do one thing that scares you a day”, so I took that quote and ran with it.

Each day I have to do something new, big or small, that helps me expand my comfort zone just a little bit. People have been asking me to keep them updated…so here you are! I’ll do my best to update it everyday.

Key is as follows:

Bold: Particularly difficult tasks
Blue: comments on the task
Green: Life lesson learned

Leave comments if you have more ideas on ways to scare myself throughout the year! 🙂



1 Made the decision: New Years Resolution “Do One Thing That Scares You Everyday”

2 E-mail law professor to ask to sit in on his graduate class on Mass Media Law and Policy. Sit in all quarter.

3  Initiate conversation in graduate level course. Do whatever you can to keep discussion going.

4 Introduce myself to everyone sitting around me in each of my classes.

5 Check out art museums at in downtown on a school night. Take one of the last busses home


7 Initiate conversation with [name omitted] at party

8 Practice ballroom dancing by myself in a public place

9 Tell someone something embarrassing about yourself.

10 Apply for a copywriting job I’m unqualified for.


12 Go to a school drama production myself. Sit front center.

13 Convince friends to see a movie they’re completely uninterested in.

14 Begin to learn the guitar.

15 Slide horizontally down an intersection in the snow with my car.
This was unintentional, but it scared me enough to constitute as my task.Seattleites cannot drive in snow. But, besides the near-death experience of almost slamming into oncoming traffic, IT WAS AWESOME.

16 Take the reigns for crazy drama project.

17 Do hot yoga POWER SESSION (1.5 hours)

18 Stay overnight at Poplar Dorm

19 Say Hi to everyone I walk by.
This got awkward REALLY fast. Not everyone appreciates the random friendliness…

20 Laugh with classmate who laughs at everything, while no one else finds it funny

21 Work on SBC design all night. Don’t sleep.

22 Ask for opinion on design from random people

23 Introduce myself to the Four Peaks guests without any help from supervisor

24 Sit in a cafe and tell a stranger my life story.

25 Ask stupid questions in class.

26 Meet Greg B for the first time.

27 E-mail Greg’s son for meeting for coffee

28 Dance with people you don’t know at the TSA semi-formal.

29 Get on the wrong bus deliberately.

30 E-mail [hollywood screenwriter] to meet and have coffee.
People are more willing to help than you think they are. It never hurts to ask.

31 Introduce myself to Jordan Weisman


1 Start a conversation on omegle. Don’t leave until you’ve had a long conversation.

2 Go the writing center for help with absolutely no preparation

3 Say yes to hanging out with a friend I barely know

4 Be 100% honest about everything at meeting with [hollywood screenwriter]

5 Study with someone I just barely met

6 Ask teacher for personalized tips at dance today

7 Talk to that cute guy in the library.

8 Call relatives I don’t know well just to say hi.

9 Eat at a nice restaurant alone and introduce myself to the people around me.
This was by far one of the best experiences of this exercise. The people I met were absolutely lovely and I had a fantastic time getting to know them. We exchanged lovely conversation, I learned more about the history of Seattle, and they imparted words of wisdom that I will continue to live by.

10 Sit next to the professor throughout fieldtrip. Initiate conversation.


12 Essay due Monday. Don’t start until 11:59PM Sunday.
Not fun. at all. Underestimated the essay. Wrote until 6AM then went straight to class.

13 Ride bus to King5 studio without any planning.

14 Slap myself if I think any sad thoughts about being forever alone.

15 Pulled an all-nighter. Now try to go as many days as possible without sleeping.
I lasted a lot longer than I thought!

16 Introduce myself to Jerry Collins

17 Be devil’s advocate in a classroom discussion about race

18 Drive in Seattle downtown at night

19 Do everything to get good pictures during the finals of the Junior Open, despite everyone’s teasing (rolling on the floor, etc)

20 E-mail an old supervisor that doesn’t like me very much

21 Only text in Chinese

22 Overschedule and see if I can make it to everything.
I didn’t. Ended up getting to a place 5 minutes too late and had to sit out in the cold.
Don’t overestimate yourself. Make sure you understand what you’re capable of and schedule accordingly. Don’t be afraid to let people know you can’t do something.

23 Ask to leave early from volunteering

24 Initiate conversation with a friend I haven’t talked to in a long time.

25 Leave cell phone at home for the entire day

26 Tell parents I’m interested in someone.

27 Go to TA’s office hours to ask about life rather than schoolwork

28 Force a conversation with a friend who’s been really cold to me

29 Run teleprompter at the Four Peaks Show.


1 Over-exaggerate performance in final drama project

2 Go to MCDM Happy Hour: Ram into a group of people you don’t know and join conversation
Things got awkward really fast, especially after I carried out an entire conversation based upon a misheard word, and I got out of there really fast.
Note to self: think about 3 questions to induce conversation before forcing yourself into a group conversation.

3 Play guitar in front of a few friends

4 Agree to go to a dinner with people I don’t know well.

Best exercise. I was completely terrified, I found out he wasn’t as amazing as I thought he was. After 8 years, it was a great weight lifted off my shoulders. I only regret that I didn’t do it earlier.
JUST DO IT! Don’t beat around the bush. We often romanticize things in our head, creating assumptions about people before we get to know them. The easiest solution is just to do something about it, then move on

6 E-mail Greg of and tell him how awesome he is

7 Draw an impromptu drawing in front of everyone in class

8 Say no to parent’s request

9 Demand help from group members for the final project

10 Don’t update for a month.

11 Screw studying for finals. Watching All England Open instead.

12 Tell internship supervisor that you’re ready to take on more responsibility.

13 Roll through hallway of Savery Hall screaming “WHEEEEEE!”

14 Invite a stranger to study with me for finals

15 Give an honest opinion at work meeting
They weren’t taken very well, but it really induced conversation to generate more ideas.
Don’t tell yourself that anything is bad before it gets shot down. And when/if it does, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Have some humility for the good of the team.

16 Yell “SPRING BREAK” in the middle of campus

17 Go all out despite injuries in badminton tournament.

18 Take a different way to work

19 Spend entire day at library without a computer

20 TEST FEAR OF HEIGHTS. Go to highest viewing point of Seattle Public Library and look down for at least 60 seconds.
Looking down gave me a cooler perspective of the building. Well, I lost feeling in my legs so I was forced to admire the beauty…

21 Hang out with a friend without any plans– make them up as you go

22 Get out of car during traffic and run through the Canadian peace arch

23 Go to a club and dance in a cage.
This was a spur-of-the-moment decision, in a different country (Canada). At least I can say I did it…

24 Try to get myself drunk
It didn’t work.

25 E-mail a professor I’ve never talked to for help on getting an internship

26 Have a conversation with the barista

27 Introduce self to professor on first day

28 Confronted intern supervisor. Told them I wanted to do more constructive things.
Turned out better than I thought. Ended up making a pretty good impression.

29 “Ask me anything and I will answer honestly” status post on Facebook.
People REALLY took advantage of this one, but I realized that I had nothing to hide. Oh, the things people learn about me.

30 Parents are coming back. Don’t obsessively clean up the house–leave it as is.

31 Go to class potluck. Don’t bring anything.


1 Random trip to Canada on a Sunday with people I don’t know very well/ Play the penis game on the UBC Campus
The penis game was a lot less daunting in another country. (For clarification, it’s a game where you take turns saying penis, saying it louder as you progress and see who gets embarrassed first)

2 Talk to the really cold guy at work.
Really cold guy is really cold. Conversation died almost immediately.

3 Walk with professor to next class

4 Admit to a close friend that I really didn’t want to go to a party we planned to go to.

5 Meet Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger, and ask him for some life advice.
He said “Don’t worry about getting a job. Go do something wild for a year.” Is “Do one thing that scares you a day” wild enough?

6 E-mail guy at Google for advice
I got really nervous and actually butchered this one quite horribly. 😛

7 Admit to parents that I’m never going to go to law school, and I want to pursue something in art + technology.
They took this surprisingly well. As long as I was following what I felt was right, then they were fine with it.
Give your parents a little credit. Even if they don’t agree, you’ll be satisfied that you chose to be honest about yourself and your dreams.

8 Tweet a direct message to a semi-famous person I’ve only met briefly once.

9 Confront mother (who is very very angry) and don’t go to sleep until you cheer her up

10 Donate blood
When I was in high school I donated blood, but they made a mistake and had to re-poke me 3 times, and it took 3 times as long as everyone else to get my blood. As a result, I’ve had a phobia. But it wasn’t so bad!
If you’re going to do something scary, make it a good deed at the same time.

11 Dance to the mailbox in my pajamas in daylight.

12 Explore South Lake Union by foot, starting from campus

13 Eat junk food in front of the people who said I should watch my weight.
Because screw them, that’s why.

14 Repress the need to fill awkward silence.

15 Make this blog public

16 TWO TASKS! Ask a work acquaintance to help set up a coffee meeting with a friend of hers & E-mail Iain for advice
Oh, the power of the internet and it’s ability to connect people.

17 Act overly optimistic and hyper despite excruciating headache
I tend to baby myself and wallow in a pool of self-pity when I’m in pain. It felt good until I found out I had a fever at 4:00PM and crashed. 😦
Know when your body is telling you to sleep… NEVER!

18 Ask mom if I can go to New York for an after-graduation trip
I had intended to use an alone-trip to NY as another “Do one thing scary”. “Sure thing, if you get someone to pay for it.” Touche, mother. Touche. This isn’t over.
Scroll down to November 2012 and you’ll see…if there’s a will, there’s a way.

19 Don’t do something scary.
No, this isn’t a cop-out. I had such a busy day that I decided to ignore the pressure to “do one thing scary” and just…let it go.

20 Dance in the main bus station (Westlake)
“I Missed You” by Josh Radin

21 Control my emotions
It’s often said that controlling one’s emotions is an essential skill in leadership. Much harder than it seems. But it can help you keep a level head in situations where a stupid, irrational decision could occur because of extreme anger or frustration. In a moment of anger, you could potentially do something that you’ll regret later. Learn to control.

22 Submit Google Creative Labs application

23  Walk down 5th Avenue in an oversized paint suit. 
(Had to wear it for work. Took the front entrance instead of the back entrance)

24 Eat a fried fish head

25 Make class project into movie-form instead of a poster

26 Sneak into an Electrical Engineering/CSE graduate lecture…then leave.
I walked into the CSE building for the first time last week and saw some pretty cool stuff, so I had intended this to be an ‘exploring the CSE’ building task. There weren’t cool things flying around this time, but there was a lecture about Lytro, the ‘shoot now, focus later’ camera. I saw it on a Co.DESIGN article so I figured….why not. I didn’t go in with the intention to leave, but after half an hour…I realized I could use that time to do something else instead.
I think I died. It was like Spanglish to me– I knew there were words, I knew what those words meant, but I didn’t understand how they came together to make any sense. Basic knowledge is important–you can’t expect to hop into something and expect to understand it.  If you try your best to understand, but realize that you’re not learning anything…time is valuable. Get out.

27 Tell intern supervisor that I didn’t want to do dirty work because the work I was doing at the time was more beneficial for the company

28 Give a hug to a stranger at the zoo

29 Become friends with ‘really cold guy’ (see April 2nd)
(later) I persisted on becoming friends with this person, and eventually he became my favorite person at the company, and shaped my future more than any of my supervisors there. I have a lot to thank him for…all because I persisted.

30 Sit down with parents and talk about possibilities of change upon graduation
Talking about the future is never easy. Choose the right people to talk to.


1 Group discussion in class: Figure out which out of the two sitting next to you you’d rather partner with–and choose the opposite.

Start a conversation with blogger @usabilitycounts on twitter!

3 Finally hit “send” to all the jobs I’ve applied to around Seattle

4 Go back to the store that treated me like complete crap and thank the manager for the excellent customer service (after it took me a month to get my money back!)

5 Don’t obsessively control the situation to be on time
This was extremely uncomfortable for me. I have a phobia of being late, so by the time the approximate time for the party started, I was squirming in my seat. Haha!

6 Talk to an old friend.

7 Sit with supervisor during lunch and ask for her life story/advice

8 Start kung fu classes

9 Ask CEO at internship for total control on social media marketing campaign.

10 Drive to a new place without a GPS, map or any directions.

11 Ask dad for horror stories from his days practicing surgery.
Oh god.

12 Open bottle of water and drink out of it before paying for it in the grocery store.

13 Play guitar and sing a song I just learned for my parents

14 Start running at 6AM. (Going to try to do this every other day.)

15 Confront a friend about someone I’m interested in.

16 Establish a fee for graphic design job I was referred for (no more working for free!)

17 Hike up Rattlesnake ridge
Not fun with sore legs from running, but the view at the top was amazing. No words to describe how beautiful it was. We ended up hanging dinner up there and enjoying the view before making it back down. Absolutely lovely.

18 Introduce myself to as many players as possible at the Washington Open

19 Serenade to 200+ people at the Washington Open 2012 Banquet
Hero by Enrique Iglesias. I learned the guitar tabs+chords for this, and it was so touching when everyone sang along with me. One of the best challenges to date.

20 Let someone search through my computer. 

21 [will post later]

22 Stay for an alumni lunch and go to class late.

23 Walk like a toy soldier all the way back home from the bus stop
I don’t know why.

24 Keep a dying conversation going

25 Spontaneous trip to Portland, OR

26 [sick. slept the whole day D:]

27 Ask librarian to validate my parking ticket, knowing they can’t…

28 Don’t go play badminton. 😦

29 Go through the neighborhood taping flyers on mailboxes

30 Discipline: practice Chinese like I promised to myself, despite being really tired

31 Delete my birthday off of Facebook/Go to Henry Art Gallery, sit in front of a painting and draw it.


Don’t make an excuse to cover up a mistake I made.

2 One-minute cold shower.

3 Go-Kart racing for the first time– go an entire lap without touching the brakes.

4 [Birthday!] Spend the day working at a new cafe I’ve never been too.

5 DON’T TAKE CEL PHONE OUT to pass time throughout entire Phi Beta Kappa induction, sit front center. Instead, take the time to observe surroundings.

6 Take an entirely cold shower
Mother of god. Taken as a suggestion from Julien Smith’s book, The Flinch.
The most important part of overcoming your fears, as stated in the book, is the self-motivation aspect. It’s easier said than done, and when put in the actual situation of taking the step, people usually back out. Stop the “flinch” of fear, and just do it. I’m still alive, right?

7 Don’t go to the Communications graduation.
I had planned not to go, but my intern supervisor had told me I should.
If anything, she taught me not to do anything for anyone else, but do what I want. This has been one of my biggest challenges–caring too much about what other people want, to the point that I forgot to do what makes me happy. Initially, I wasn’t going because I had things to do for my parents. I changed my mind and decided to go…but after thinking about it for a while, the only reason why I was thinking about going was because she told me I should. I toggled between “what will she think of me if she doesn’t see me there?”, but I realized….this was exactly what I wasn’t supposed to be doing.

8 TRIPLE THREAT! Drink black coffee/Sit in a restricted seat at the EMP/Go to the DX Arts BFA 2012 show by myself and talk to people.
What a fun, scary day.

9 [GRADUATION!] Wear cap and gown through the mall 🙂

10 Stanley Park – walk on the ledge dividing the sidewalk and the beach– ledge was approx. 10 feet high.

11 Ask to exchange for a new MacBook Pro, despite having bought it past the two-week mark.

12 Walk in pouring rain through Kirkland Downtown without an umbrella

13 Plan out day hour by hour– actually follow it.

14 Act overly nice to my mother, who’s giving me the silent treatment. ALSO: E-mail for finishing the book and submit my “story” (the blog)

15 Share 3 embarrassing things about me on facebook.

16 Go on a blind date

17 Clean up the outdoor storage room that hasn’t been touched in at least a year.
I’ve never seen so much rodent poop in my entire life.

18 [Job stuff. Can’t post!]

19 Send a message to an old friend

20 Collect all the misplaced carts on your way to the car from Costco and put them back in the cart return

21 Dance like crazy and sing at the top of my lungs while driving with my sunroof open
Don’t do this, kids. It’s not safe driving. On top of that, nothing on the radio is good anymore so it was hard to get into the music. Besides that, it was a LOT of fun. I kept thinking the police sirens were after me, though…

22 Give my address to a stranger.
If you don’t see me post after a while, COME FIND ME. 😛

23 Lie on a mattress for one minute, then flop around…and to the same to 5 other mattresses in the department store.

24 Delete Windows Live Messenger from my computer.
First step to my  waste-of-time detox. Coming July: 30 days away from social media! AHHH.

25 Ask for half price more off my half-priced book at Half-Priced Books.
My try at the Rejection Game.  Needless to say, I was rejected.

26 Turn off Wi-Fi for the entire evening.

27 Compliment 5 strangers

28 Eat a pepper from the ridiculously spicy food

29 Resist from talking back/justifying in an argument

30 Ride the Giant Ferris Wheel in Seattle– lean against the window and look down! (Fear of heights…)


1 Begin 30 day detox from Facebook and Reddit.
I started about 5 minutes ago and I’m already in pain. I’m using a site blocker extension from Google Chrome, and I’ve deleted all of my apps on my phone. Here we go. (I chose not to ‘detox’ from Twitter b/c I don’t use it to socialize– I use it to get updated on news.)

2 Ride my brother’s bike through the neighborhood at night

3 The Flinch: Volunteer for the first thing that comes up. Accepted a job as a substitute teacher.

4 Practice mindfulness when it comes to pain (I learned to do so in Search Inside Yourself)
Rammed my arm into a door my accident. My first instinct was to yell out in pain, but I forced myself to take a deep breath and ‘experience’ the pain while focusing on breathing (‘meditation’ and ‘mindfulness’ I learned in Search Inside Yourself. Great read, I highly recommend it!). The process was actually VERY interesting–the feeling turned from pain into a patch of coolness on my arm. But when I thought I succeeded and ‘overcame’ the pain, I moved my arm and it hurt again. Meditation and experiencing is going to take a bit more practice…

5 Lie down in the middle of the parking lot at night

6 See a movie myself  

7 Ask a stranger if they want their picture taken (they were trying to take it themselves)
Rejection Game.  Ask for a discount on Batman socks at the Richmond Night Market.
No Batman socks for me 😦

8 Wear a sleeveless dress
Like most girls, I have body self-esteem issues…to the point that I refuse to wear anything sleeveless without a jacket, or anything short. This might seem trivial, but I’m sure there are plenty of other girls out there who feel the same way– and they shouldn’t! Quite refreshing!

9 Take my nighttime stroll barefoot

10 Walk to the local park at night and meditate for 5 minutes on the playground

11 Choose a random movie I’ve never heard of on Netflix
#firstworldproblem. As a HUGE, really picky movie buff, I’m ashamed to say this was difficult for me. Halfway through the movie, I shut it off. Haha!

12 Introduce myself to my neighbors

13 Don’t tell my parents about my one-day road trip tomorrow

14 Let someone listen to my unlistened voicemail

15 Ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn

16 Roll down a steep grass hill

17 Wear really heavy make up.
For those of you who don’t know me, I don’t wear make up. Ever. So this was really terrifying for me. It’s amazing what make-up can for you…or to you.
My dad was a plastic surgeon, so he was constantly working on beautiful people. I kept whining about how I looked completely different, and he said something very important: “You are you. You might look different, but it’s just a different you. The most important thing to remember is beauty comes from the inside out– you have to have the confidence and personality to build that beauty. But if you have that, there’s nothing wrong with make up. Celebrities are, in fact, real people. The only difference between you and them? Make-up.”

18 E-mail someone for an invitation to something past the RSVP date/Sacrifice a badminton tournament I already signed up for…to agree to go on a roadtrip to California– departing in two days.
What is going on today?!?!

19 Face backwards in the elevator

20 (Roadtrip was postponed because of weather) Contribute to Exquisite Forest
I’ve been a long time fan of data artist Aaron Koblin. A lot of his work consists of crowdsourcing artwork– a topic that I’m particularly interested in. Building communities through art is such a fantastic thing, and technology has only made it better. That being said, I’ve never been able to contribute a piece of my own to any of their projects. I’m not particularly confident in my art skills, despite my love of illustration. But I did! 🙂 Check it out and add to my piece here:

21 Roadtrip to LA without planning a thing. Drive as long as I can drive (8 hours), don’t change lanes or accelerate for tailgaters

22 Give a big bear hug greeting to a relative I barely know (who doesn’t remember me)

23 Play along as others make fun of me
Life is best when you can laugh at yourself.

24 Agree to help/work at my aunt’s company rather than relax on the week of my ‘vacation’
When you see a valuable opportunity to learn, don’t turn it down. You’ll thank yourself later.

25 Propose a business plan to my aunt

26 Live one week without my phone
This was halfway forced. I left my phone at a relative’s house during the roadtrip, which is 1.5 hours away from where I was staying in California. I had the option of driving back, or waiting until next week. I decided to test if I could endure a week without my phone.
Even though it might seem like you can’t live without something, the longer you endure without it, the more you realize that you are you, and you are not made up of your material things. It’s possible to live without something. Give it a shot!

27 Bargain a price (another Rejection Therapy game?)
Didn’t get it 😦

28 Show the dean of an art school my amateur sketches

29 Tie myself to a chair until I finish watching my coursera course.

30 Say yes to everything.
Can you set up a computer? yes. Can you create an outlined sketch of this photo with a lot of random crap for our company website? yes. Do you understand our coding structure? yes. Do you want to hear about our lengthy company history? yes. We don’t want this thing that you worked all day on, is that ok? Yes.
I was forced to figure everything out on my own. It was an extremely productive day…I learned so much! Thank God for Google search and being able to figure everything out.

31 Write an opinionated public post on my badminton blog


1 Do my nighttime chores in the dark.

2 Take the dark trail home (As you can see, I have problems with the dark.)

Go Go-karting in a skirt/ Say no to something I don’t want to do.

4 Eat In-N-Out
This was actually a scary for me, because 1) I haven’t eaten fast food in 6 years, and 2) last time I did, my stomach hated me. Turns out, things haven’t changed. My stomach wants to murder me from the inside out.

5 Take leadership role in planning Las Vegas trip for 6 adults

6 Go into the SCREAM exhibit at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum

I’m very particular with how I spend my money. I lost $11 dollars at the slots. It was fun, though!

8 Ask my aunt for her life story
Growing up, I was constantly told how my aunt was from my parents perspective. This was difficult mostly because I knew whatever she told me would challenge what I thought I already knew. But if anything, it was incredibly enlightening. There are ALWAYS two sides to the story…if not more. Learn to accept that there will always be a different point of view, and learn to come to an understanding.

9 Start a conversation with a group of programmers about something I don’t know about

10 Admit to all my new coworkers, who are die-hard Lakers fans, that I’m a huge Celtics fan.
This is hard for me, especially in a new crowd, because I’m always trying hard to fit in. I don’t mind the Lakers, frankly, but I figured it’s best to stand by who you truly are, even when it’s small things like this. Because if you waver on the small things, you could waver on the big things too….and admit that you’re something that you’re not. It takes 1000 lies to cover up one.

11 Play Halo. T_T

12 Sales! Sell our company’s product to a guy who’s clearly only hitting on me.
Got him actually interested in our technology. Of course, I’m not sure just how interested he is, but it’s a start! 😛

13 Use the Japanese toilet in the restaurant. o_o

14 Stop planning for the rest of the group, and go to a party without them.

15 Wash my hair in the sink to spare a bug’s life (he was hanging out in the bathtub)
I could have easily washed him away– he was fairly small, but my Buddhist conscience reminded me that bugs have very little life span– cutting it short would be horrible. 😦
Tell my mom I would like a pie thrown in my face.

16 Try on the most expensive shoes in the store.
Turns out they’re for display and not for trying on…LOL.

17 Draw a picture for the waiter at the restaurant we ate at for dinner

18 Sit and finish my “How to Build a Mobile App” class on General Assembly. (I’ve been procrastinating it for a long time…)

19 Switch to FB Timeline, even though it gave me an extra week before switching. 😦
The artist in me wanted timeline because it’s pretty…but the UX designer in me hates it because of how hard it is to navigate. Plus, then designer in me didn’t want a cover photo until I could create the PERFECT one. But, alas, it was inevitable.
Don’t postpone the inevitable– embrace it.

20 Accept work, even though I’m ‘on vacation’.

21 Make an appointment to meet with someone I really, really don’t want to see.

22 Force myself to use the whole day to finish packing.

23 Go to the 4th floor of the Microsoft building and shout “Hi, I’m Natalie!”

24 Start to diet
It would never happen unless I announce it somewhere public. Here we go.

25 Talk to my brother honestly about my future
My brother is in psychology and academia…so he’s brilliant. But at the same time, he’s extremely straight forward; never sugar-coats the truth. It’s difficult for me to talk to things honestly with him, especially because I often look more for comfort than a real answer.
When you need a real answer, be able to “fight the flinch” and ask someone who will tell you the truth, and not just tell you what you want to hear. The truth is what you need. It may be hard to digest at times, but that kind of serious thinking will push you forward to get things done.

This was by far the SCARIEST THING I’VE DONE SO FAR. Mailbox peak is considered one of the hardest hikes in Seattle, and I have close to no hiking experience. Oh, my curiosity of seeing the mailbox at the top!!! The climb up was difficult but rewarding… but the climb down? ABSOLUTELY. TERRIFYING. I’ve never been so scared — there was a point that I thought I would never make it down the mountain. It just goes to show you that you are capable of getting through the absolute most DIFFICULT times as long as you keep going…(especially if you have no choice…)

27 [Work related]

28 Give our remaining Gameworks timecards to strangers

29 Negotiate to keep job despite relocating to a different state

30 Kayak on my own boat — shout “WOO!” to a Ride-the-Ducks boat (if you’re from Seattle, you’ll know what this is)

31 Move to California.


Drive my uncle’s HUGE van full of fragile equipment.
Because if you can’t trust yourself, who will?

2 Explore California streets on my own without a GPS 

Spend the entire day with my cousin

4 Take full control over a project at work.
Got the guts to tell my boss “Let me take complete control over this project so you can focus on something else”.

5 Sit in on a conference call that I don’t need to be in

6 Begin my first UI design from scratch! 😀

7 Go to the Laguna Dance Festival with a group of people I don’t know!

8 Sit down on an open toilet in a furniture showcase store/Go swimming in the deep end / Go to a new badminton facility and introduce yourself to everyone there
I can’t swim….so I swim to survive…I’m glad to say I survived with a lot of water up my nose 😦

9 Attend a political fundraising party. Play poker 
I hate politics. I dislike poker.

10 Add a nighttime routine to my workout

11 Help take apart an iMac monitor to fix the hard drive/Call a company partner directly for help on a project

12 Ask a coworker for criticism 

13 Run naked past my balcony window.
….No comment.

14 Take a different route home from work

15 Don’t back down while arguing with my frustrating uncle. 

16 Attend church

17 Attempt to configure and set up Wi-Fi at home with new routers

18 Eat a bag of carrots.
I feel like a 5-year-old saying this, but I’m not a big fan of carrots 😦 Used to love them as a kid– maybe that’s what turned me off. When I was young, if I complained about disliking a certain food, my parents would make me eat it until I liked it…so I guess that’s what I’m doing now. #firstworldproblems…

I’ve dibble dabbled on Khanacademy,, etc…but never followed through. It’s about time I did so–I have no excuse. I have 2 great programmers who are incredibly supportive, and an office to sit in. Today begins day #1 of staying at the office for an extra hour to do coding everyday…let’s see how it goes.

20 Reconnect with an old professor for advice

21 Stay late at work/Get to know a coworker who doesn’t talk much

22 Meet my uncle’s girlfriend

23 Get as close to a Monet painting as possible at the Getty Museum
Wow, Monet is great at using different strokes and colors to enhan–“PLEASE STAND 2 FEET AWAY”

24 Host a business conference call …on the other side of the world…in Chinese. Wooooo. 

25 Confront the maid about the Starbucks cups that were in my room
As a side project, I was drawing portraits of people on Starbucks cups. Each one took me a 2-3 hours, depending on how detailed I wanted it to be…one day, when I came home, they were all gone. The maid had come by. I suspected they were in the trash but when I looked, they weren’t there. She’s had a history of stealing my mom’s stuff as well, but my aunt (who pays her) doesn’t think much of it. Whether she took them or threw them away, I’m not sure…but it was a little heartbreaking to have lost these things that I’ve spent so much time working on. 😦 What looks simple to you takes an artist a lot of time to create– don’t take it for granted.
Stay up until I finish reading Delivering Happiness
If you haven’t read this book, I highly advise it. It’ll change your life.

26 Don’t wear makeup to work.

27 Add a previous interviewer (where I didn’t get the job) on LinkedIn

28 Attend a “Taiwanese business people”s meeting… pitch our company’s iPad apps to the restaurant owner

29 Ask one of the more advanced players at the badminton facility to play with me.
Rejected 😦

30 Be ultra-nice to someone who is mean to me.
In all honesty, the best way to deal with someone who hates you is to be SUPER nice back. It’s hilarious…it’s hard to do, but it’s also hard for them to take. After a short amount of time, they end up softening up. 😛

On a side note: At this point, I’ve realized that I’m not scared of any challenge that comes my way. Things/tasks still scare me, but I don’t even flinch before doing them, which is amazing. I face things head-on, and I end up “scaring myself” multiple times throughout the day– it has transitioned from a “planning” exercise to a “thinking back trying to remember what I did for the day” exercise. It’s AMAZING.


1 Sign up for a stock trading account.

Scold my cousin

3 Give my first corporate sales meeting/presentation


I FORGOT TO DO ONE. I did two on 10/7/2012, to make up for it.

6 Run into a glass wall in a department store…then walk away like nothing happened/ Get lost on purpose–far far away, and figure out how to get back without a GPS.

Drop a coursera course. 😦

Don’t leave my chair until I figure out how to solve the function in Codeacademy without using Google or asking for help from friends.

Take my Coursera final without studying.

10 Begin organizing all of the office’s filing systems.
/Pitch a new marketing idea to my boss.
😀 Went better than expected. Now to start mock-ups…

11 Ask to extend my work trip to New York so I can explore the city 🙂
See April 18th. IN. YOUR. FACE. YEAHHHH.

12 Sleep ridiculously early on a Friday night.

13 Straight-forwardly decline joining the IVC badminton team, after beating around the bush for…a long time.

 14 Slam down on the gas pedal on an empty road/Dance down my driveway “like no one’s watching”/ don’t check my work e-mail all weekend.

15 Don’t go on the computer after I get home from work.

16 See how long I can go without my coworkers finding out that I’m sick/Be overly positive & happy!
I like to combat negativity/feeling horrible with insane optimism. This doesn’t come naturally–GOD no. It’s also easy to look for the sympathy of others. I chose not to.
I like to think of it like this: Someday, I’m going to be an important part of a company–either someone else’s, or my own. If that’s the case, I don’t want me being sick to cut off progress at work–especially if they can’t function without me. I have to learn to face small battles so I can someday fight big ones. Learn to battle it. Figure it out. Keep telling yourself “something really good is going to happen soon”. And sure enough, it did. 🙂

17 Sign up for Startup Weekend Orange County.
I’m terrified.

18 Try to read a source code and understand it. (Glen Murphy’s Europa)
Learning coding is like learning a new language– the more you use it, the more you understand it. Our CTO made a programming joke and I actually understood it, so I decided to challenge myself. Yeah. That didn’t go so well–but I understood some of it!

19 Take the blame for a string of mistakes by my coworkers that I wasn’t aware of.
As I should? I’m not sure. As a project coordinator/manager, I should be aware of everything going on at all times– even the details. In short, I took the fall for a bunch of tasks that weren’t completed (small things, thank goodness) by a few coworkers of mine. BOY, this was tougher than I thought. I took a pretty swift verbal beating and apologized profusely. There were times where my mind would say “Just say it wasn’t your fault!”– but that’s not the way to think.  Time to step up my game and make sure everyone’s on task!

20 Give a homeless person all the cash in your wallet.

21 Valet park my car.
I’m very frugal, so this was out of my comfort zone. Don’t judge me 😦 It was EXPENSIVE! Not going to do that again for a while!

22 Finalize my shipment on– buy a bunch of books I’ve always intended to read but never got around to doing.

23 Attend my first meetup! (Tech in Motion)

24 Attend a dribbble meetup
I’ve never seen so many friggin flannel shirts.

25 Give someone a job to do, rather than just doing it myself.
I’m not good at ordering people around– if it’s in my capacity, I’ll just end up doing it myself to avoid ordering someone around. Haha! Not really the sign of a confident leader, is it? But fake it till you make it!

26 Ask coworker to explain Math.random() thoroughly, despite him insisting that I didn’t need to know how it worked/ BUY STOCKS!! 😀

27 Pick up and read random books in the library.

28 Jog&go swimming with a friend of mine/ Jump from the jacuzzi into the ice-cold swimming pool water (apparently this is good for you…)
Battling that self-conscious part of me. I’d rather go jogging by myself–but I end up giving myself breaks and not going 100%. When I job with someone else, I’m forced to keep going and not give up. Swimming is another issue–I hate myself in a swimsuit.

29 Take on a coding assignment from CTO

30 Code our website in HTML!

31 Show (super serious) CTO my costume of him. Hehehe.


Look for criticism in my work from my coworkers

2 [HORRIBLE FLU/VIRUS- Bed-Ridden] Stay home from work/Give up Startup Weekend – OC. 😦
I’ve been looking forward to Startup Weekend ever since I bought the ticket. I actually had convinced myself that I was feeling fine enough to go, so I forced myself to call my mom and have her talk me out of going. Thank goodness I didn’t–it got a lot worse after I decided to give it up. 😦 Till next time, StartupWeekend.

3 [Sick]

4 “Relax”- Stay away from the computer and take a long drive/walk.
Because I missed out on so much work, the first thing I wanted to do when I felt a little better was start working. I pulled out my computer, and within 5 minutes my head started to hurt again. My aunt, a workaholic, ordered me to stop working. “YOU NEED TO RELAX. STOP IT. Go. leave. Go take a walk.” I felt incredibly lost. So I went for a long drive, then took my shoes and went for a long walk along the trail behind our house. Climbed every hill I could find, meditated while looking out on the water, and relearned how to relax– something I’ve forgotten how to do. It was really rewarding.

5 Ignore upper management— Do what I think is best for my customer, and the company.

6 Stay in the office until I’ve solved my client’s problem (Stayed until 10:15pm.)

7 Call a relative I’ve never met and ask them to meet for lunch/dinner in NYC

8 Be a pseudo-engineer. (Get on my hands and knees and install our hardware together at our clients location– wires, wires, wires)

9 Ask an old friend I’m not very close to to get together in NYC.

10 Talk/get to know everyone sitting next to me on all the planes. Don’t pull my laptop out.

11 Pull the TripAdvisor mascot’s tail.
Hehehehe. I pulled it, and then ran quickly back to my booth. I turn around, and NEXT THING I KNOW THAT CREEPY OWL IS COMING RIGHT AT ME. I WAS SO SCARED. LOL.

12 Go to a gay bar

13 Go to a class at Parson’s New School

14 Try to negotiate cab fare. (The Rejection game!)

15 Person sitting next to me on the airplane was a softball coach. Ask him to explain the world of college sports to me– a topic I have no idea about and have no interest in.
My god! It’s amazing how much I learned from his run down of how college sports works! He gave me an entire history from the change of the NCAA from the 1960’s, how football makes money, how he recruits students, the loopholes and problems of a college sports career…it was amazing how a lot of the problems of this industry were applicable in all different parts of the education system. I learned so much! ANYTHING can be interesting if you look into it.

16 Confront boss of my honest feelings about the problems of our product.

17 FINALLY GO TO LACMA. Tweet my thoughts about the slight possible connection between Andre Breton’s ‘Exquisite Corpse’ and Chris Milk/Aaron Koblin’s ‘This Exquisite Forest’.
First of all, GOING to LACMA was not the scary part. It was just something I had planned to do for a long time, but was too scared to weather LA traffic to actually GO. After debating last night, I decided driving the 1.5 hrs to get there was better than wasting an entire day at home. It was wonderful–I LOVED it. SECOND of all, when I saw the Exquisite Corpse exhibit at LACMA, my mind immediately connected the “Exquisite” title with Milk/Koblin’s “This Exquisite Forest”. But besides the fact that it’s a collaboration among many artists, there aren’t many other similarities. I debated on whether to tweet it–possibly making myself look stupid, but I bit the bullet and did it anyways. 🙂 Good thing Aaron Koblin confirmed the connection!!! (Both my heroes Koblin and mr.doob tweeted me? MY TWITTER CAREER IS COMPLETE.)

18 Take all the still-living earthworms on the curb and put them back in the dirt.
Blech. Apparently a ridiculous amount of earthworms were left stranded on the sidewalk from the rain a few days ago. The buddhist in me couldn’t bear to watch them struggle, so I counted to 3 and put them back. THE MORE I PICKED UP THE MORE THERE WERE WTF. There’s something redeeming about watching them happily dance in the soil, though….that sounded a lot less disgusting in my head.

19 Take leadership role of the new hire– assign tasks, assign projects, give the rundown of the company etc.

20 Add a bunch of people on LinkedIn that I don’t know too well.
When you set goals for yourself, you have to break down barriers that stop you. For example, my goal on LinkedIn is to get more than 500 connections. But how would I accomplish this if I don’t get rid of the voice in the back of my head telling me I don’t “know people enough” to add them? This would limit so many new connections! It doesn’t hurt anyone for me to add them, but it hurts me if I don’t add them. A little closer to my goal!

21 Put together and send out a sales proposal on my own

22 Don’t eat meat. ON THANKSGIVING.
I’m trying to limit my meat intake, for a lot of reasons. This was…difficult.

23 Get acupressure (kind of? 刮痧) from parents.
Talk about pain endurance exercises. Holy crap. I don’t remember the last time I was in so much pain…
Ask my dad to dance at the banquet.
A lot of times, because we’re afraid to be embarrassed, we miss out on great moments with our parents. Dancing is just swaying with the beat, and no ones watching anyways, so take some time to make some great memories with your parents when you have the opportunity.

24 Test of patience: Put together a bag of shredded dollar bills.
My aunt’s housekeeper came to us with a bag of shredded paper–she told us someone (her kids, perhaps?) had shredded up dollar bills. It was a significant-enough amount of money for her to be completely distraught. I had heard some time ago that if you had more than 3/4 of your dollar bill present, then you could exchange it. I liked a challenge, so I grabbed myself a cup of tea and sat down to see how much of it I could piece together. I took a few breaks and got my dad involved… unfortunately, it took us hours to realize that a lot of the vital pieces were missing. We recovered a good amount, and we’re still waiting on the remaining pieces. Hopefully she’ll be able to replace them 🙂

25 Get into a display Tesla car while someone else is already in it– chat with them!

26 Take over the work of the engineer who called in sick
I remember my mom once telling me that a true leader doesn’t depend on anyone else to get the job done. She said this to me when I was much younger, when we were watching an episode of a Chinese show. I can’t remember the name, but I remember that scene vividly: A successful man moved to America to seek better opportunities. All he could find was a job as a dishwasher in a rundown restaurant. One day, during work, he got so fed up of orders from his boss that he screamed at her and told her he refused to wash any more dishes. Without hesitation, she said “Fine.”, picked up the sponge, and began to wash them herself. His stunned face made me realize the difference between luck and true success: falling to the bottom doesn’t stop the truly successful from climbing right back up.

27 Contact a bunch of leads that weren’t too interested in our product.

28 Back a Kickstarter project (CLOUDS)
I found a Kickstarter Project that pushed me to break through my overly-frugal mentality. CLOUDS is an interactive documentary that focuses on data art, media art and visualization. Ever imagine being able to create 3D films that you can interact with? It’s here. FUND IT. FUND IT NOW! 🙂

29 Begin ‘Adding One Person a Day on LinkedIn’

I have problems saying no, as in rejecting responsibility. As a result, work has been piling up like there’s no tomorrow and although I get them done, it’s taken a toll on my health (and time to myself). Today I gathered the courage to reject work from my boss, and tell them I have way too much on my plate.


1 Get rid of a bunch of things that I love, but don’t use. 
Ah, consumerism at it’s finest. My parents helped ship all of my belongings from Seattle. I NEVER REALIZED I HAD SO MUCH STUFF…THAT I DON’T USE. Admittedly, my mother and I are…kind-of-hoarders. We have a hard time letting go of things. Well, this changed that. I kept a mentality of “Although I love this, someone else will love it more” and started to get rid of a lot of things. Time to downsize.

Talk to my parents about the possibility of moving…again.

Go to a huge meetup party alone…meet 10 new people.

Postpone a meeting that I’m not ready for.
Sometimes you have to weigh your pros and cons and make the best decision for you and your product…In this case, I had way too much on my plate and I was choosing between killing myself and not sleeping to make this meeting (with a UI mock-up that would have been half-assed), or simply postponing it to present our best foot forward. Whether this is right or wrong depends on the situation, though, so plan accordingly.

5 Conduct a product demo on an unfinished product for a VP with 5 minutes notice…alone.

Sit through one of those “I CAN MAKE YOU RICH” excruciating videos.
-_- Long story. Don’t ask

Rejection game: knock on the [closed] post office door until they open it.
My mom REALLY needed a box. All 3 of the post office workers ignored me– it was the cleaning lady that was kind enough to open the door for me and answer all my questions. 🙂

Think for myself ahead of everyone else.
I have serious issues with this…Anyone take the “Self-Care” Skillshare class?

9 Control the situation calmly when someone else is screaming at me
[Unnamed family member] has serious problems planning. As a result, things that need to get done are often postponed to the last minute, sending us into a whirlpool of stress due to her very hot temper. Tired of her yelling orders at me and my family, I decided to take the situation into my own hands and plan everything for everyone instead. Almost instantly, everyone obeyed and went along their merry ways to get our stuff done. YELLING DOESN’T DO ANYTHING. Calmly think about the situation, and act accordingly.

10 Rely on my developer to go on-site himself.

11 Corporate meeting: Try to talk as little as possible, and let the client talk as much as possible.

12 Go to TechInMotion Meetup — meet at least 10 people.
Despite doing one scary thing a day and introducing myself to so many people throughout the year, meeting new people still takes a little bit of a kick. Funny how that works.

13 Volunteer to do graphic work for Global Womens Conference OC

14 Remain calm when glass door shatters. Stay mindful, watch how my dad handles the situation, and remain calm. (And don’t pass out)
The glass shower door shattered on me today. (My bathroom looked like a crime scene).  Upon seeing the scrapes, blood and gash on my arm my first instinct was to panic, but I remembered Search Inside Yourself by Chade Meng Tan of staying mindful. Like the pseudo-engineer that I am (lol) I assessed the situation and took steps accordingly. Thankfully my dad is a surgeon–how blessed I am. My mom was in shock that I was so calm. As my dad cleaned me up, my next challenge was to not pass out. I felt woozy, so it was quite a challenge. Quite a morning.

15 Wear slippers around the mall

16 Take a bite out of a lemon
Watching my dad wince was the funniest part. The great thing is this is a fantastic example of how strong the mind is– I winced as soon as I took the bite, but soon later it was over. My dad, on the otherhand, didn’t take the bite but was still wincing long after…just the thought of it made him cringe.

17 Look at my wound after my dad unbandages my arm
Again…the mind goes wild with the imagination. Perhaps because of the trauma and the blood, I really thought my wounds were A LOT worse than they actually were. The cuts were deep, yes, but not as wide as I had imagined. It was all in my mind…

18 [work related]

19 Send a very important e-mail I’ve been meaning to send for….4 months now. 

20 Drink my [extremely bitter-tasting] herbal medicine in one breath

21 Leave work before everyone else.

22 Overdress.

23 After the photoshoot: In my nice clothes, get splashed on the beach by a huge wave

24 Try duck tongue.

25 Talk to my dad about the deepest insecurity I have.

26 Drive through the valet parking area to escape the traffic.
HOME FREEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeohhh damn. Back in traffic.

27 Swallow all my vitamins at once.

My brother and I had a long talk about coding and what I should be learning. For a while I decided I should learn front-end development mostly because I’m interested more in design, but he convinced me that a knowledge in both back-end and front-end development are equally important, which is true. I just fear back end development.
Thankfully, the internet is so wonderful that there are plenty of tools that make it approachable.

29 Make a final decision, & sign the lease for a new apartment.
I’ve successfully moved 4 times in the 5 months. Haha!
Take my cousin’s dare via FB and apply to my dream job.

30 Sing and Dance like nobody’s watching.

31 E-mail someone famous that has made a difference in my life. (Does that count as a celebrity?) 

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