So I have written a little bit about the importance of self-improvement.
Self-improvement is as much about learning, and doing, as it is about believing. Unfortunately for us Asians, this “believing” part is especially challenging. Definitely more challenging than it should be. This is because, with our conservative upbringing and general over-education, most of us are hardwired to think in a sophisticated and overly cautious manner. We often plan, think, calculate, think some more, worry, and then think some more still, before we (maybe) take action on something that we don’t believe to be entirely possible. Asian cultures have such a hard-on on the “losing face” aspect that we are often way too self-conscious about ourselves, and about making mistakes or embarrassing ourselves. As a result, we don’t step out of our comfort zones enough to challenge and improve ourselves.
There are many ways to improve your self-confidence and your “not-giving-a-fuck-ness”. The more ways you try, the better. However, instead of making things too complicated so early on, I’ll talk about one way only.
I firmly believe that there is a single fastest (and most learnable) way to improve your confidence. That, my friend, is to improve your physical prowess.
This means, if you do not already work out on a regular basis, start ASAP. Or, if you are passionate about a sport, preferably a legitimate mainstream man’s sport such as basketball or soccer (not bowling or polo), then play it as much as you can and get good at it. Own your body, and make it your own high-end machine.
If you already work out regularly or if you are ripped as fuck and is a regular bro on Bodybuilding101.com, then skip this section. For those of you who are new or unfamiliar with going to the gym: I can tell you this – if you put in the effort to go to the gym 2-3 times a week, do a few proper exercises, and drink a protein shake after each workout, I can guarantee that you will see (and feel) results after 3-4 weeks. This is assuming that you are a regular Asian dude like myself and not some genetic freak.
For starters, it is important that you do exercises with proper form and a decent amount of weight (enough to make you struggle on your last 2 reps, if you do 3 sets of 8 reps for example). If it’s your first time and you have absolutely no clue how much weight to start with, then start light and move up by 5-10 pounds until you find that adequate weight. When first starting out, do not try to be a zero to hero and overdo on the weight. It will wreck your form, and form is the most important component of an exercise. Not to mention that it also might cause an injury – no worse way to discourage yourself from starting gym! Once, I saw a 5’5’’, 115-pound skinny Asian dude at my university gym pushing 135-pounds on the bench press (45 lbs bar + big plate on each side), and his form was horrendous. I actually saw gym regulars gathering together to giggle among themselves and make fun of what the guy was doing. I don’t mean to discourage you, but just remember, if you do your exercise with proper form, then nobody will laugh at you, no matter how light the weight. However, if you attempt to lift weights way above your means by twisting your body in all sorts of ridiculous ways, then people will notice and find it hilarious. Baby steps, it’s key.
Another important thing I need to stress for our new gym-goers is the protein shake. For your own improvement’s sake, please take a scoop of protein powder after your workout. You can find protein powder anywhere these days, even at Walmart. Some people out there will be purists and tell you that you should be “all natural” or that your protein powder contains too much carbs, blah blah. If you are new to working out, ignore all these comments. As Asians, 98% of us have been gifted with rapid (and rather inefficient) metabolism that burns everything so fast and keeps us always hungry. We always have the appetite to eat massive meals yet we hardly ever gain weight (at least when we are under the age of 25). To counter-balance this gift/curse, you absolutely have to take protein powder after your work out, otherwise your muscles will grow very little, and it will take a lot more work before you can feel or see the gains. Gotta feed the hungry Asian genes after physical exertion!
As you start working out regularly and develop it into part of your routine, your physique will change. You will become more solid, thicker, and your confidence will go up without you even noticing. Combine this with a good, upright posture, and you are already on your way to being a sexy Asian man who exudes confidence. I was once a very scrawny kid myself, 5’11’’ and 140 pounds near the end of high school, shy and self-conscious. I got into lifting weights towards the end of high school, only 2-3 times a week and drinking a scoop of protein after each workout, and a year later, without using any supplements, I was up to 155 lbs, looking and feeling way better. If any of you are like me and found it almost impossible to gain weight in your teenage years (which is at least half of you), then you can understand just how incredible it was to be 10 pounds heavier! Now, almost a decade later, I am still 5’11”, but I am just under 170 pounds and I consider myself to have a normal, athletic build. The big head stick man days are long behind me! I am by no means a hardcore gym rat, but what I do works. If you want some serious gains, then do a Google search, there are tons of expert bodybuilding advice out there.
An alternative way to improve your physical prowess and, as a result, your confidence, is to play a sport and become good at it. In my late teens, I spent countless hours on the soccer field, whether it’s pick-up games or playing for a team. With above-average speed and below-average coordination, I am by no means a natural athlete, but by simply putting in the hours on something I enjoyed, I was able to improve my skill level, but more importantly, my mental ability, significantly. When you are a novice at a sport, you tend to panic and throw yourself all over the place. But as you gain experience through lots of playing, your mind becomes quicker and calmer. You develop this composure that gives you that extra half of a second. This composure is extremely important, as it easily translates to your everyday life, giving you that extra edge of calmness and swagger that all gentlemen respect and all ladies love.
Stay active, my friend. Be a better Asian brother.