I got 99 problems… palsy is just one


The gist: Maysoon Zayid, and Arab-American comedian with palsy, gives an absolutely HILARIOUS and inspirational talk of her journey of becoming a comedian and philanthropist.

“My name is Maysoon Zayid, and if I can can, you can can.”

First off, Maysoon is an amazing comedian. I laughed through the whole talk. Although she started off by warning the audience that she’s not inspirational, this turned out to be one of the most inspirational TED talks I’ve seen.

Despite her condition, her parents reinforced the notion that she “could do anything, that no dream was impossible.” Not only did she achieve her dream of performing on stage by becoming a comedian, Maysoon also became a philanthropist and advocate for the disabled. She says, “People with disabilities are the largest minority in the world, and we are the most underrepresented in entertainment.” The power of belief and dream is manifested at its finest on this strong woman.

There’s no doubt that Maysoon has to battle her disability daily, but she is still able to make jokes about it.  Her attitude towards life is so positive and authentic. It’s simply admirable.

I’m going to skip the “More of my favorite quotes” section because I don’t want to give out any spoilers. Please go see this talk!


Tuesdays with Morrie–Part II


 “Aging is not just decay…it’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”

People don’t like talking about death. It’s like a taboo. But Morrie had a positive view on it. Understanding death dissipates the fear and enables people to realize how they really want their lives to be. Sometimes people live like they will never die—relentlessly chasing after materialistic values. “We put our values in the wrong things. And it leads to very disillusioned lives.”

Morrie said that the wish to be young again signifies “unfulfilled lives” and “lives that haven’t found meaning.” The meaning of life is different for everyone, but there’s no such thing as “too late” when it comes to finding yours. Morrie was changing until the day he said good-bye.

“As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two.”

As my friends and I start to transition from early-twenties to mid-twenties, I can say that quarter-life crisis is definitely valid. Besides realizing that you are an actual adult, I think what freaks young folks out more is the realization that we can’t stay young forever. Since my late teenage years, I always looked back at myself from two years ago and saw so many immature thoughts and actions. The intensity has flattened out a bit; unlike looking at my 18-year-old self when I was 20, I don’t see a complete idiot when I think about my 20-year-old self now. Seeing aging as growth can help us accept getting older, since it will happen anyhow.

“It’s impossible for the old not to envy the young. But the issue is to accept who you are and revel in that.” Everyone gets their turn to be young; and every age has its beauty. But it’s up to you to find what’s “good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now.”

“This is how you start to get respect, by offering something that you have.”

This is one of my favorite quotes from Morrie. Existential crisis occurs when people start questioning the meaning of their lives. Offering what you have. What a beautiful and simple idea. I have a lot to offer! It could be tutoring young kids, volunteering, helping a friend in need, or simply being generous with my compliments. Offering makes you happy! 🙂 Continue reading

Tuesdays with Morrie–Part I

Tuesdays with Morrie is my favorite book. Why have I not written about it? 14 Tuesdays with Morrie with 14 valuable lessons, this book of wisdom is always on my shelf. Sometimes when I’m stressed out, I would open it and read a few highlighted quotes. It helps me take a step back and realize that there are more important things in life.

“Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

This is my favorite line in the book. If you accept the fact that you might die anytime, you might behave differently. If you were to die tomorrow, have you been the person you wanted to be? This is in no way morbid. It’s the opposite.

It’s not about big plans like starting backpacking around the world tomorrow. Instead, have you always wanted to donate blood? Hike in Yosemite? Volunteer in a shelter? Go do those things. Life is not about what you did in one crazy day. It’s a puzzle pieced together by every single day.

It’s not necessarily about if you’ve accomplished everything you wanted—if you got that law degree or traveled to Antarctica (although those would be nice, too)—it’s about whether you’ve been the person you want to be. Have you been generous, forgiving, loving, humorous, or anything you might “wish” you were?

“Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?’”

“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

The sense of meaningfulness that “devoting yourself to loving others” brings is incredible. It’s no secret that giving brings more joy than receiving. Personally, volunteering has been an important ingredient in my recipe of happiness. I’ve been a consistent volunteer at the homeless shelter and nursing home etc. It feels wonderful to make a difference by making someone’s day better. Not to mention that you can learn so much about others and yourself during the process. If you can afford a couple extra hours per week for a great return of happiness, please try it! It’s the most selfless way to be selfish.

It’s also in the small things. Surprise a stressed-out friend with a candy bar; compliment on the style of a girl who seems to have put in a lot of effort in her outfit today; buy the homeless man two muffins when he only asks for one. Continue reading