Patrick Dang Downtown Los Angeles

I didn’t get a fancy job at a big company like some of my friends did after I graduated from USC. Actually, I didn’t apply to any full-time jobs at all because I had planned to start a business right after finishing college. But a month after graduating, everything fell apart.

So there I was, a fresh USC graduate with a business degree chill’n at home. Unemployed. But I wasn’t going to let life pass by waiting for handouts or for luck to come around the corner. I was determined to create my own luck.

I began by cutting my ties from the rest of the world, including my close friends, to “figure it out”. Then I spent the next few months in isolation researching and self-studying through books and the Internet planning my next moves in life. This was my schedule: Wake up. Gym. Study and research all day. Gym again. Sleep.

I realized I wasn’t going to the gym twice a day because I wanted to get RIPPED; going to the gym was the only time where I didn’t feel alone and lost. Smiling and saying, “Hi!” to the cute girl working at the check in counter was probably the highlight of my day.

Many of my “friends” and even some family members assumed my life was a flop, acting as if I was wasting my time unemployed at home. And no matter how hard I tried to explain I was relentlessly working to carve my own path, they never really understood.

Patrick Dang Downtown Los Angeles

Eventually, I got a full-time job at Oracle.

SUDDENLY everyone wants to be my friend again—telling me how great I am and how they always knew I could do it. 0 to 100 REAL quick.

The entire process helped me realize that the biggest misconception everyone has about you when you’re “figuring it out” is that they think you’re just chill’n. They don’t see how hard you’ve been working, and even if you did try to show them, they just brush it off. In my case, I’ve always been the same passionate and hardworking Patrick I’ve always been, but everyone forgot that until I got my full-time job.

Whatever it is you’re trying to do in life, whether it’s finding a job after graduating, pursuing a singing career, or even starting your own business, people will criticize, discourage, and question your passions.

But don’t let it get to you. Keep doing what you do. The world may only acknowledge your successes, but it’s your journey that makes you who you are.