Embracing What Makes You Different, Embracing Fear

Note: This is a self-reflection, it probably has nothing to do with you. Buddha would tell you to go find your own truth, and while I am no Buddhist, I concur.

Peter Thiel once asked, “What is the thing that you are willing to do, that goes against everyone else in this room?” That one contrapuntal thing, is your identity. Your differential value. You.

In order to do so, this comes from a place of self-acceptance and understanding what we cannot change, or are not willing to change.

Our past, race, body type, IQ are things we can never change. The only things we can change our are current beliefs and our actions to maximize what we currently have which define the future.

Secondly, we should never question why people believe the things they do or what motivates them, as what motivates someone is unique to their identity. Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of Naruto once stated, “you cannot truly understand someone until you bear their pain”, and you shouldn’t want that for yourself. Furthermore, individuals usually don’t have one, singular purpose.

In order to go against the flow and find our why, it comes from the result of embracing our fears and judgement of what others think of us. For me, this is actually my fear of other people, and ironically my cofounders and I are all in the similar boat with our fear of other people that our company itself is a social program.

In a world of people afraid of intimacy, our intimacy with each other was ironically formed as we found ourselves in a similar tribe. The culmination of our identity in its wholeness of the things we can and cannot change, in its multitude of variations is what forms us and our tribes.

Our bond came at the price of other endless scars, from betrayal from friends, from self-interested men and women, whom for all my life bullied me out of insecurity, and from failed lovers, whom always saw me as a competitor to success. It is the result, of the cavalcade of pain my parents also have enacted on me since young, of carrying the onerous cross of their failures, instead of serving as the bundle of joy in their lives. It is the result, of being not only Asian-American, but doubly so, in a mixed society, of not knowing where to belong, of being a child of war, of confusion. It is the price of being a young female minority in Silicon Valley that can not only miraculously utter a few musings but can think, and think well. 

It is the price, of success, and all of us have paid that price. Some people think this is a tragedy that successful people aren’t “popular” or loved, that they’re willing to trade some human relationships for success.

The reality is, those are toxic human relationships, and people whose admiration mean absolute jack sh*t. 

I’ve learned to navigate my life in such a way of full transparency, while maintaining a distance with people. I understand that at times this will make me push away good people that may have no ill will. However, the opportunity cost of losing good people for me, is actually less than the time forgone and risk of betrayal and mindfuckery. This is an exponentially high risk, when humans are inclined to fragile egos, not inspiration, and self-interestedness, not selflessness. Though ironically, we like to read about hope, to not remind us of reality.

With some, we can be kind, true, and not close. My distance, is what has allowed me to bounce back after each failure, after each time I have been ostracized, and broken. It is because, I have nothing to lose. I value human relationships, value the brevity in its time, but to never truly grasp the core of intimacy. 

Camaraderie, trust, and friendship are things only valued because they are rare. 

Some say this is a tragedy and that one cannot live in fear, but I have embraced it and pain as my truest friends. I will never be betrayed, framed, or subject to commitments and time-wasters of having to submit to anyone’s expectations of me. I can only live an honest life, live to the fullest, and do good, to be an inspiration and then finally at rest, die.


K.S. Osone