Do Assholes Finish First?

Being Born Kind

Asian kid growing up poor but kind.
Simplicity sometimes provides the best results. Likewise, complexity creates drama. When I was a kid, my family didn't have much. But because of that, I found life was purer. Despite not having much, I was grateful for what I did have including my family. But that same purity was what allowed me to get pushed around by everyone.
A toddler dipping his hands in a pool.
As I entered public school for the first time, I dipped in the social pool. Immediately, I realized that I didn't have as much as my peers. I was shunned by society because I didn't have the best clothes, latest gadgets, or hairstyles. Because of this, I was shy. Later on, this grew to resentment.

Assholes Finish First

Image of Henry Cejudo - The Triple C.

It's funny how life works. When I was poor, I was kind. But when I had access to things, I became mean. It's because I subscribed to the status quo. Early on in life, I wanted to fit in. To do that, I analyzed the most popular kids in school and found common traits. These traits were Charisma, Clothing, and Communication.

Popularity is often looked up to because it represents being at the top of the social ladder. Society rewards certain types of people that exhibit certain behaviors. The ones that communicate, represent, and embody this are rewarded with a tribe of people. At school, the popular kids sat together. These kids all wore the best clothes of the trends, knew all the lingo, and attracted the attention of everyone around them. A lot of people desired to sit at the table. 

School lunch table.

I observed how these kids' treated others. Normally, they outcasted and shamed anyone that didn't fit into social norms, and exclusively welcomed the ones that did or exceeded them. Society rewarded people that had social proof and resources, which created a glut of desire. It created a vicious cycle where the ones that did not have them, desired more. Because of this, I believed in error, that assholes finished first.

My Supervillain Arc

Image of me wearing a venetian mask.

I slowly began to lose myself. As I endeavored to become richer and famous, I began to lose my kindness. This became truer as I grew into an adult. Because I didn't come from much, I hustled desperately to achieve the financial and social success that I wanted as a kid. To do this, I was willing to sacrifice my health, time and relationships; I became highly productive as a result.

I squeezed 8 to 12 hours a day to fit in every single goal I had, and if anyone got in the way, I snapped at them. In my goal to fill my weaknesses: body, finances, and material wealth, I lost sight of what really mattered. In my pursuit for riches and fame, I became engulfed in resentment at anybody that got in my way. I shunned the people closest to me like my mom and dad because I felt like they were pulling me down to their level. I felt like they didn't want me to succeed because they kept trying to take my time or belittle my goals.

Image from Wiki of Bane from the DC comics.

Sometimes, I would wake up from this delusion of grandeur and have moments of clarity. I would feel guilty for treating my parents and friends this way.

A Moral Dilemma

No matter what I did, it felt like nobody understood me. If I became too kind, people would take advantage of me. If I became too mean, people would shun me. I knew about balance, but it was easier said than done. My goals of grandeur needed to be protected, but I was losing my grip on kindness at the same time. I became an asshole.

Image of a man faced with two paths.

"How can I become productive to achieve my goals, but also retain my kindness?" I asked myself.

Audit, Isolate, and Strengthen

GIF of Goku Hyperbaric Chamber

Incidentally, I went through 10 years of isolation. I had goals to achieve, so I felt like having friends or spending time with family was a waste. It was a period of small successes but larger losses. It felt like every time I had a small breakthrough, before I could scale those breakthroughs, people around me successfully broke me down. I grappled with my conscious. I had toxic up and down swings where I wanted to be kind but also enforce boundaries. But if I was too kind, people took it for weakness and would derail me from my path. If I was too assertive, I became domineering and lashed out on those closest to me. 

GIF of my progression of self-confidence

During those 10 years, I reflected and learned more about myself: My weaknesses and my strengths. Previously, I focused too much on my weaknesses which caused me to lash out in insecurity. That was a waste of time. Instead, what I should have done was find the equal yet opposite reaction to those weaknesses in the form of strengths.

I did an audit of some of my weaknesses: "I am only 5'6", have ADHD, and I am shy.

Then, I found its equal counterpart of strengths: "I have a nice face and fashion, I have a spreadsheet to track my thoughts, and I am stoic"

I strengthened these positive attributes, traits and philosophy to counteract my weaknesses. Thus, I developed myself while becoming a genuinely good person. Being able to locate my strengths allowed me to be practice the law of gratitude and focus on solutions instead of ruminating.

Although it has taken me my lifetime to achieve a better place of Zen, I no longer care to compare myself to others. I have the same grandiose goals for riches and fame, but I expect it to be long and arduous. I only care for incremental improvements and being in the moment. I am no longer an asshole.

Watch the video for more context

Alex Sung

At an early age Alex knew he was different from most kids. He had D's and F's in early education and even had undiagnosed selective mutism alongside other mental health hurdles.

Despite these challenging experiences, he persevered and was able to "Tigerhack" his way to success. He created the Tiger Dojo to help everyone uncover these secrets.


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