Episode Description: In this episode, we learn about Oz Chen. The stories range from how he started as a writer and getting back into work to working on your creative self and working with a long distance relationship.
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- Intro – 0:00
- Flying Back from Taiwan – 5:37
- Does Traveling Take A Lot Out of You? – 6:05
- Melatonin and Sleep Apnea – 6:23
- What Got You Into Working Again? – 7:20
- Remote Work – 8:00
- The glamorization of Having Your Own Business and Entrepreneurship – 8:30
- Wanting a Team in Entrepreneurship – 10:10
- How Do You Feel About Going for a Position You Have No Experience In? – 11:30
- Blogging In The Old Days – 12:30
- What Have You Notice About Yourself Since You Started Your Entrepreneurial Journey – 14:28
- How, What and When Caused this Step Back? – 15:48
- How Objective Are You is a Very Subjective Question – 17:00
- You’re Pretty Go with the Flow – 19:18
- You’re Writing Has Flavor and to the Point – 21:02
- How Has Your Creative Process Changed? – 22:42
- Tackling Low Self Confidence – 23:40
- Find the Earliest Work of the People You Admire – 25:25
- Desi Perkins -25:52
- What Are Your Current Goals? – 27:20
- Doing All of the Drugs – 31:10
- I Wanna Build Something Big – 32:20
- This Struggle In Writing – 33:40
- Choosing Your Default Path – 35:00
- What Would Your Older Self Tell Your Younger Self – 36:00
- The Idea of Starting a Podcast Too – 37:30
- Following Your Curiosities – 39:34
- Have You Talked About Your Dating Life? – 41:00
- If Someone Shows You the First Time Who They Are, Believe Them – 41:40
- If Someone Where to Judge You Harshly, What Would That Say About Them? – 44:10
- Giving Off Mean Vibes – 46:20
- Chasing This Girl Around Spain – 47:10
- Long Distance Relationships – 49:10
- Taking a Weekend Trip Together – 51:04
- Potential Boyfriend Checklist – 51:50
- Do You Like Who You Are When You’re With Her? – 52:20
- Last Thoughts and Wrap Up – 53:05
Interviewer: This is an interview segment where I have a casual conversation with people who have done things, the things that you dream about doing. We get into the nitty-gritty, we get into mindset, sometimes we go off-topic. But, it will be a really good roadmap for you, an encouragement, and inspiration, and a way to follow your curiosities and see how life is like on the other side of that decision that you’ve been wanting to make for years. So, stay tuned for more, and thank you so much. So, Oz, tell me about your flight home yesterday.
Oz: Okay. Flying back from Taiwan is always brutal, so, I did it back to back. So, I was in Madrid for two weeks, chasing a girl, and now she is my girlfriend.
Interviewer: Yeah. That’s one of the questions that I wanted to ask you about, yeah.
Oz: And then I came back to L.A. for a day, and then the next day I flew out to Taiwan for a family trip.
Interviewer: Do you know how, like, does travelling take a lot out of you, energy-wise.
Oz: I’m feeling my age a lot more now through travel.
Oz: Yeah. I realized that on this trip, where, there are things that, I used to able to just knock out on a plane, and now I can’t. I can’t sleep on a plane anymore, I have to take something like melatonin.
Interviewer: And even that works? Because melatonin is a really light, I feel like melatonin is a really light sleep aid.
Oz: It depends on the dosage.
Interviewer: Yeah. I see, I take a really low dosage.
Oz: That’s probably good.
Interviewer: I had sleep apnea when I was little, and so I’m really cautious with what anything that like puts me to sleep, so I’ll just like pop five mills.
Oz: Yeah. That’s about the amount that I take as well.
Interviewer: But you pop like three at a time?
Oz: Yeah. I’m like out. They’re like, “Um, you’re here, sir.”
Interviewer: “Sir, you never got on the plane.” You’re dreaming, you’re like having inceptions dreams like you’re on the flight, but you never made it.
Interviewer: That’s funny, yeah. “I don’t have a girlfriend actually. That was incentive, that was all a lie. I never left L.A.”
Interviewer: Okay. What got you into working again? Not that you haven’t been working, like I know you work, but like why did you decide to like start and go back to work?
Oz: This is actually a great question I’ve been trying to ask myself as well. Because I think my lifestyle and like being more of a nomad, working remotely on my own thing, that’s been very glamorized. So, a lot of my friends are like, why like go back to like a “real job.” So, there’s a very practical reason for that, and one of them is, to get experience in a new field. So, I love user experience and that’s what I’m all about, but I’m moving into content strategy.
And they overlap a lot, but I realize that there’s a couple of things about remote work. One, I realized that remote work can be very lonely and I do miss like having a team. But then the practical part of it is I want to work as part of that team as I’m making this career transition, so I’m not stabbing in the dark, working with a team that really knows this topic, content strategy. So I could like learn a bunch, obviously contribute as much as I can, and who knows what will happen after that?
So, I think I have a pretty basic understandable reason for going back to work. But the other thing that I want to write about actually is this glamorization of having your own business or entrepreneurship. And I think it’s great if someone can pull it off, but, in my first two years of running solo and doing my own business…
Interviewer: And how long has it been?
Oz: It’s been two and a half years. When I got last laid off from Transamerica, like our whole L.A. office got laid off in April 2016, yeah, it’s more than two years for sure, two-and-a-half years, yeah. So it’s been two-and-a-half years since I’ve had an office job. And one thing that I realized was I was making my goals for business where like, oh, I want hit a certain amount of revenue so that I could hire employees and all that. And as I started thinking about the real numbers I needed, I got really impressed with normal companies.
I was like, “Holy crap, like these enterprises can pay someone 100K, 200K to educate like one person. So these companies are literally funding like thousands of lives.” And I never saw it in that way where I like really respected like the operations and scale that doesn’t even have to be big companies but just successful, profitable companies are able to achieve.
And I really realized that, like, I used to project my values onto other people a lot where I was like reading, you know, book of Tim Ferriss “The 4-Hour Workweek.” So I would always kind of like preach that, like, entrepreneurship, work for yourself, do your own projects. But I never really considered like other people who thrive really well in corporate environments. They just kick ass as like a team lead, or in the office environment, and I didn’t give that as much credit like where it’s due, so.
Interviewer: I mean, I don’t wanna say you’re being a little hard on yourself, but, it’s almost like we just…wherever our eyes are that’s where we’re focused, right? So, when you were focused on entrepreneurship, it was a different mentality than it was now that you have your values or your goals are changing. But, I’ve had the same realization, because, I want a team. I’ve been an entrepreneur for like 13 years.
Oz: Holy hell, I didn’t know is that long. Thirteen years, wow.
Interviewer: Yeah. So, Posh started in 2007. And so I’m also at a point where I like really want a team. I want to lead a team, or I want that experience, I want that knowledge, and practice, and I want to work with people. And I’m at a point where I’m either like, need to build up the company to that capacity, or find that kind of team mentality somewhere else. And I’ve also considered working corporate, and that’s something I’ve never done, so it’s scary, but scary, you know, always, to me, sounds like fun and exciting.
Oz: Oh yeah.
Interviewer: I’m like, “Ooh that’s scary? Sign me up.” “Oh, never been on stage before? Sign me up.”
Oz: Very growth-oriented. That’s awesome.
Interviewer: But, I have a question. Since you’re sort of changing, you’re not really changing careers, but like sort of kind of changing careers, like how do you feel about going on this interview for a position that you’re don’t have experience with?
Oz: So, part of it is I think that there are so many themes that tie into this question, like imposter syndrome, and trying something new. And this is very meta, because I do UX career coaching for people who want to enter into UX. And I’m in the background silently making this transition into content strategy. So, I’m gonna give a really long-winded answer to this, where I haven’t been a “Content Strategist” as a job and I lack that experience. But it’s such a new job in a new field, kind of like what user experience was like even just five years ago, that there are ways for me to adapt my previous experience such that I have experience, like, “Oh I have been doing content strategy all along.”
So, one of the big realizations I made, probably, it was about two years ago when I started writing more seriously on my blog. Where I realized that, in college and even before, I was always writing, you know. I was blogging about random things like dating, and personal development, and all these things. And I started even from like Zynga like back in the day, you know, blogging on whatever platforms there were.
Interviewer: I don’t even know what that is. Confession.
Oz: Oh Zynga.
Interviewer: Confession, I don’t even know what that is.
Oz: Not a lot of people do. It’s kind of like Blogger back in the day, or like live journal. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Live Journal. It’s like all these old, older publishing network.
Interviewer: Confession. I know it. I know what Live Journal is.
Oz: Okay. Did you have one? Did you have a Live Journal?
Interviewer: So, I’ve been blogging forever, but, I think running in the background of my mind this whole time was that, I couldn’t make money writing, and that was just a untested script in my head. So, even as I went along in college, I studied economics, and I followed a very like defined path. Where it was like, study business, get a business job, and profit, or like that would be my life, right? And as I kept writing on the side, I realized over time that, you know, I could monetize it, you know. And that’s been my business for the last two-and-a-half years where I’m selling UX design courses, and career materials, and videos, and stuff like that.
And I made a huge loop, where it was like I went from having writing as a passion and interest, but ended up getting a first business job. But from that business job, wanted to do something more creative, so I went to UX. And in the last few years producing UX material, I realized that, wait, I can monetize written content, and so, going back into content strategy now feels very natural and it’s like a circular thing where I’ve come back to the beginning, but now I’m more informed and I’ve tested my assumptions now, and it only took me 20 years. Or, yeah 10 years since I was 18, yeah.
Interviewer: Yeah. What have you noticed about yourself since you went on the entrepreneurship journey? Like, what has that given you? Has it given you more self confidence, has it given you more trust in things? Because you, what’s interesting, I think this is the part that was interesting was, you enjoyed writing, but you didn’t think you could do it for money. And so you went on this whole long path of how you think you can make better money, and then you end up writing again. I guess I’m just trying to, like what kind of like growth or like what have you noticed, or what have you developed even through these like wandering paths that kind of sometimes may look like it’s not going anywhere, you know?
Oz: Right. Yeah, like, how did I manage this career journey? And I think a lot of it speaks to you like the relationship I have with work, and that’s changed. And I think that’s the broader thing that, I used to think in like, and I still compartmentalize things a lot, where I was like, entrepreneurship to this bucket, and I’m like gonna treat life as this bucket, and like corporate office life is this bucket. And throughout my entrepreneurship journey, so to speak, to answer your question, I realized that I was kind of putting these buckets in like very, they’re very arbitrary. And a lot of things, when I took a step back, they actually all blended together, where I realized…
Interviewer: Wait, can I ask you? How did you take a step back? What caused this step back to look at it from like a different perspective, like an eagle’s view rather than in the maze? What allowed for that to happen, so you could see how everything works together? And when did that happen? Like was there like a catalyst, was it a point in time like maybe it was after like a couple years of working on your own or maybe it was after like a travel, I don’t know what it is, but when did that come about and how did it come about as?
Oz: I think like a lot of realizations for me it occurs over a series of conversations with different people. And so, for me, that’s how I learned where I need the same idea kinda come across my brain like several times. And then there is a certain point in which like that idea has penetrated my brain, and then it clicks, I’m like, “Oh, okay, this is what the universe is telling me,” I’ve been having similar conversations with friends.
And one of those things was being part of a mastermind for about like three to four months. And it was during that mastermind where I was talking to other business owners and similar domains where they were all operating like online teaching businesses, where I kind of got a gauge of where I was in relation to them. They gave me some objectivity. And, you know…
Interviewer: It’s interesting that somebody gave you objectivity, because I feel like you’re a person in my life that provides that.
Interviewer: Do you know what I mean?
Oz: Oh. I think objectivity was something I was actually really lacking.
Interviewer: Now you know what end of the spectrum I’m on.
Oz: I feel like you’re a very objective person.
Interviewer: I can be.
Oz: But I guess that’s a subjective, right? How objective are you? Is a very subjective question. Yeah, that’s another thing that came up for me, which is, I wasn’t being objective enough with like my life, my business, how I was looking at things. So, with masterminds, and talking to other people about their businesses, and talking to people who didn’t have their own businesses, but were really enjoying their corporate careers, so on and so forth, that was able to give me this view, this like ability to step back and kind of look at myself more to be like, you know, what am I avoiding? What things that was I not measuring? What assumptions that I have?
And I think I had a lot of assumptions entrepreneurship, that this is going to be like a crazy lifestyle. Like, you know, working on your laptop on the beach type of thing, and that was like the image in my head when I first started out. But, as I go deeper into it, I realize that, of course, like any other business owner, I wanna make a ton of money and a ton of impact, but, I just realized that, whether I’m an entrepreneur, or a office worker, or a contractor, or a mix of everything, like work is so fluid now. I kind of don’t care as long as I feel like my message and impact is growing stronger and I’m able to get it out there.
So part of me going back in the job market is because I find that there’s this domain that I really care about, but I don’t know enough about. And, for me to figure it out on my own, I can do that, but I think it would just be faster if I’m around other people who are really good at it.
So, I’ve seen that used as a strategy too for some other entrepreneurs, who, they will literally get a job in one domain or industry, learn everything they can about it, and then maybe start a business around it. I’m not hinting at what I’m trying to do, but it’s definitely been in the background my mind.
Interviewer: Cool. I’m not sure what you go through internally, but it seems like you’re pretty go-with-the-flow about these types of things. I don’t feel like you have a lot of like inner turmoil about making decisions. Do you? Are you type of person that just gathers all the data and then you’re like, “All right, that sounds better.”
Oz: You know, I would say that I’ve gotten better at making decisions over time, and a lot of that has hinged on meditation, which is just being more self aware of like things that are coming up like, “Oh, am I acting or am I thinking about something out of fear? And if so, can I change that relationship? Can I remove that fear and replace it with love?” So meditation has been a huge help for me. It’s something that I totally preach, and, you know, if someone’s going through problems I’m like, “Have you tried meditating?” You know, that’s like my first band-aid solution to everyone.
And I would say that increasing the accountability in my life. I have two accountability calls a week, like separate ones. And one of the themes with my friends who are running their own businesses is, what’s something that’s in your way right now, what’s a barrier? And what are some things that may be problems that you’re creating for yourself? So, just having someone to talk to outside of myself, being able to externalize my problems, that’s been hugely helpful. Because, I’m sure as you know, being like working solo for so long, it’s like you’re literally in your own silo, you’re in your own thoughts, and for me to be able to just have someone to share thoughts with, that increases my productivity a lot. Because, just by talking to someone, I’m able to see like, “Oh my gosh, I had that thought in my head this whole time.” Like, that’s crazy that’s like useless. But when it’s just contained inside and I’m not talking to anyone, it’s gonna take a lot longer for that realization to filter out.
Interviewer: One thing I actually really appreciate about your writing is how you’re able to make a point in a way that your writing has flavor and color, but it’s also very like to the point. How do you do that? You’re not telling some like long like beautiful story, not that your writing isn’t beautiful but, you know, like at the same time, you’re like making the points that you wanna make. It seems like your head is very like organized.
Oz: Oh, thank you, I appreciate that. It’s not. I doubt my own writing a lot.
Interviewer: So, wait, how do you get to that point? To the point where you’re like, “All right, this is good and I’m gonna post it.”?
Oz: What’s really interesting to me is that, sometimes I’ll write an article that I think people would like, and like, “Oh, this is gonna be interesting, people are gonna like it.” And it gets like crickets. And then something that I’ve maybe forgotten about or I just kind of post on a whim, sometimes that gets a lot more shares, and likes, and stuff. And I’m just like, “Oh, interesting.” You know, so, I haven’t figured that part out, but, I think recognizing that how popular, or read an article is gonna be, is kind of arbitrary. So, that’s actually a realization for me that’s kind of like relieved some pressure, where it’s like, hey, Oz, you’re gonna write some stuff people are gonna like it, and sometimes people aren’t gonna like it. So, just write what you want.
Interviewer: That’s exactly what I do. Like, with the YouTube, with the podcast. Anything that comes in mind that I need to like I want to talk about, or interview, or whatever, I just do it. And I know that whoever finds it will find value. And if people don’t find it, then I’ll be like, “Oh, well.” It’s like out there, it’s content.
Oz: Yeah, yeah. You know, question for you is, how has your creative process changed? Because I feel like your creative output is definitely like increasing or has increased a lot, you know, coming out with videos, and podcasts, like, what helped you just start producing so much more?
Interviewer: A shift in mindset that went from, “I don’t have anything of value,” to, “I know that I have a lot of value to add.” That’s it.
Oz: How did you get that shift in mindset?
Interviewer: Honestly, it’s a lot of hard work. Because first, you have to identify what it is. You have to identify the root, which is like the root of that is low self confidence, and low self esteem. And then you have to identify all the thoughts around it that are causing you to not to move, paralysis. Then you start knocking those down one by one. And the way you knock them down is…and each one doesn’t go down with the same dose of something or another, you know, there’s like, let’s say I have a list of probably like 10 to 20 things that I’ll try to do in order to break down my own barriers, once I identify them. And I’ll just start attacking them one by one with that list.
So sometimes it’s affirmation, sometimes it’s meditation, sometimes it’s writing, sometimes it’s self hypnosis, sometimes it’s exercising, walking it out, or like dancing it out. Not specifically like, “Oh, I’m gonna do this dance for my low self confidence.” But sometimes it’s going to dance class. Like sometimes it’s going to bed thinking about like praying, like help me with this, I have low self confidence, I wanna be better, this is what I have stuff of value. Sometimes it’s making a list of everything that you have done that has improved somebody’s life.
Oz: Oh that’s a great exercise, that’s a fantastic exercise.
Interviewer: Do you know what I mean? Sometimes it’s making a list of everything you’ve accomplished. Maybe it’s making a list of everything you learned about a failure. It could come in many different ways, and I have like an arsenal of things. Because I have a lot of like beliefs, and normally about myself, like self doubt that hold me back from doing things. And then the other part of it is just having courage, just do it. And knowing, this is one thing that helped with like the content creation, is like, I’m really afraid of what people will say about me, because of my low self confidence.
And so it’s telling myself that people are going to beat it down, and just keep making a commitment to keep going with it, and improving every time that you produce something new. The only like, you know, people say, like you’re only racing yourself, only look at yourself. It’s like I’m not gonna look at somebody who has two million followers and 400 videos, because they’re way ahead of me right now, I’m not gonna be at their level. Nobody’s watching their number one through 16, 14, 15 videos, nobody’s gonna see that. So like, just keep going at it, and improve every time.
Oz: So I think, as an exercise to myself, I’m gonna find those people that I admire and like try to find their earliest like articles and work, and actually use that as an inspiration. Like, “Hey, this is where they started too.”
Interviewer: I’ve done it.
Interviewer: Yeah. Would you mind sharing like who are some of those people that you’ve done it with?
Interviewer: Well, on YouTube, I really love Desi Perkins. She’s a beauty blogger, so, you’ll think she is like the hottest thing ever. Like, she is super cute. She has like a really cute personality. I don’t follow much of her makeup tips, because her skin is a lot different than mine, and also she’s like a pro makeup and like I just can’t do that every day. But I just love watching her, because, I don’t know, she’s Jose knows. I’m like, “Jose, check out Desi Perkins,” he’s like, “Oh, I know Desi Perkins.” And I was like, “You do? Intro me.” He’s like, “No, no, no, I mean, I know her YouTube.”
Oz: Like I’ve seen her stuff.
Interviewer: But she’s just super cute, she’s fun to watch. Like, even if you don’t wear makeup, she’s like fun to watch. Don’t you think, Jose?
Jose: Oh, yeah, for sure.
Oz: Okay. I’ll check her out.
Interviewer: We’ll link her below. And then, you know, like, there’s this girl I know, The Skinny Confidential. Do you know The Skinny Confidential? Lauryn Evarts?
Oz: I’ve heard of it.
Interviewer: So, I used to date one of her friends, and now she has like million followers. But even back in the day, I knew her when she first started her blog. I knew what she was doing, you know, like I saw her stuff back then but I know that she’s also improved like significantly, you know, over the past like eight years. And so…
Oz: So, I’m really curious in terms of goal setting for your creative processes. I’m actually not sure what you’re working on. Actually, I’ll ask that first, like, what are your current goals? What are you working on?
Interviewer: Work, work?
Interviewer: Okay. So, we still do the Amazon online stores, and then we also do consulting. So I go to Australia, I have clients there that I, like for brands that wanna sell product on Amazon. And then I’m also launching new brands and building up new stores.
Oz: That’s very cool. So, like the podcast and your other creative output, is this kind of tied into that or is it kind of like a separate thing?
Interviewer: This is all part of my marketing strategy. It’s to build and create content. So like I speak at events for marketing, and also to improve my speaking abilities, because we all know like I live inside of my head most of the time.
Oz: I think you’re doing a fantastic job.
Interviewer: Thank you. So, yeah, it’s for marketing and providing value. At some point, when you have everything you want, right? You have enough money. You have your group of friends. You can travel whenever you want. You can do whatever you want, at any time of the day. Like, I find myself asking like, “Well, what do I actually really want now?” I have everything that I’ve always wanted, and it’s still not enough.
And by not enough I mean like, I’m not satisfied, like in here, like my soul needs to be fed. And then at that point I started asking myself like how do I feed my soul? And then it’s, really, this is gonna sound so cliché, and I don’t even wanna say it, but the words are gonna come out of my mouth. It was like let’s like, you know, I wanna help people. And that’s how the whole consulting thing started. I have, like now, after I broke down that barrier of I have nothing to give, it’s like I have a lot of experience, a lot to give, and that’s where like the building content and stuff came from. Building content, marketing, and consulting is because like, now that I have everything that I want, I need to give in order to feel whole almost.
Oz: Okay. Yeah. I’m going to relate to that in a weird unexpected way based on something I heard from effective altruism. There’s this site that’s called like 80,000 hours, and it helps people through their careers. And it’s all around like, well, what is a career worth pursuing and how do you find passion in your life and all that. And it was really interesting, because, a lot of their advice is, you know, some people feel like they want to contribute to the world so they must get like a nonprofit job, or they must like work at an animal shelter and whatnot. But, their take on it is like, hey, you should probably get a high paying job, and if you have one that aligns with your interests, even better.
If you take 10% of that money from your job and donate it to a cause that you really care about, it’s probably gonna have more impact than kind of being miserable, especially if you are like, you know, in debt, out of college and all that, like working at a nonprofit that’s like not paying you much at all. So, how I’m like tying that back in to what you said about like feeding your soul. It just reminded me of like, at a certain point you felt like you had. It’s almost like the opposite way, where you felt like you’ve had enough, you build up your business, you have all this freedom, and now there’s this, kind of coming from the other direction, there’s this burning desire to like help and like reach out to other people.
So it’s really interesting to see how that first advice that I heard from 80,000 hours. That’s kind of like someone at the beginning of their career, and I feel like what you just shared is kind of someone like mid-career, you know, where you have a totally different frame of mind.
Interviewer: You know what I can relate it to? Remember earlier, when we are looking at these cups and they say, “Do what you love.”
Interviewer: And you’re like, “What if you love drugs.” I was like, “Do all of the drugs.” I did all of the drugs. I did all of the drugs. I ate all the food that I wanted to eat. I went out whenever I wanted to go out. I traveled whenever I wanted to travel. I gave myself gifts whenever I wanted them.
Oz: You didn’t hold back?
Interviewer: No. And at the end of the day, all I wanted to do was work.
Oz: Interesting. Because work fed your creative soul.
Oz: And fed you.
Interviewer: And this is how I express my creativity. The writing, the videos, the interviewing people, where we get to like interact, like this to me is fun. It went from, I was at a point where I didn’t have to do day-to-day work, and so the question was, what do you wanna do? What do we wanna do? And this is what came out of it, just like creating stuff. And I still feel like I’m not living up to my own ideas of what that is, but I know I’ll get there at some point.
Oz: I’m curious, what is that idea of maybe, where you wanna reach creatively or with your work? What does that look like?
Interviewer: Well, I obviously want a really large audience to help. I wanna build something big, that’s what I wanna do. My end goal is to build something big. So everything I’m working on I want it to grow. I feel like a farmer right now, planting seeds. I feel like I’m doing it for me in a way, but not for me. Because, when I got to that point where I was asking myself like, “What do you want to do?” I had like everybody but myself in mind. It’s not like I wanna be a like Oprah or something, or I wanna be a, you know, like a person, it was like, I wanna help a lot of people. And the only way I could do that is by providing value in building the audience.
Oz: I agree. I’m on the same mission as you, just serving…
Interviewer: Fist bump.
Oz: Fist bump. That’s awesome. You know, one thing I struggle with on this topic of creating things, and scaling things, and all that is, doing work for myself, for example writing things for my own interest, versus tackling things that I know other people want. And it’s this symbiotic relationship.
Interviewer: Wait, tell me about this struggle.
Oz: So, for writing, it’s interesting, because there’s a couple of different types of writing that I do, and I noticed that when I do something informational, like I’m covering a certain topic, I’m very logical about it. I’ll make an outline and it’s like I had to slog through it. It might take me a whole week just to make one article, maybe even longer, right? Maybe it’s something like, how to start a blog, you know. Something that’s more informational and instructional. And I feel like there’s a lot of that content that I could make that people want for example. But then there’s other types of content that comes more from “my heart” where it just flows and it’s something that’s from personal experience, it’s about like love, and hurt, and pain, and anxiety.
Interviewer: Give me an example of something you want to write right now. Or like a month ago, if right now is too much.
Oz: There’s this theme that, you know, I was actually just doing this exercise of like writing down all my goals and revisiting my goals like short-term and long-term. And one of them was, impact the world by making people more curious through these topics. So, one thing I’ve been kind of obsessed about and want to grow, but I’ve been letting this fear of like, “Oh, what if it’s not popular, what if people don’t like it?” Is this idea of questioning the default. And what I mean by that is, I think there’s automatic programming and defaults in everything. And to a certain extent that’s a really good thing, you start somewhere.
But, for me, I’ve been able to identify many aspects of my life that I just kind of took for granted and didn’t question. Like, I would just follow that default path whether it was like choosing a college, or what to do for work, like up till graduating from college and like getting my first job, looking back on younger Oz now. I’m like, “Oh, my gosh I just like followed this very linear plan.” And I didn’t really like dig in and question everything, all my underlying assumptions.
Interviewer: But maybe that was the plan.
Oz: I think it was a plan, but I wasn’t as present in it as like I would like to do.
Interviewer: You weren’t consciously choosing decisions. You were doing like, yeah, you were on a track.
Oz: Right, yeah. I was totally on a track. It’s not to be on a track but I think it’s, for me, what bothered myself a lot about the way I was acting, was the lack of like intention, and thought, and like really asking myself like, “What do you want, this is the…”
Interviewer: Are you’re judging it teenage self?
Oz: I totally am. Yeah, like, I often think about like, you know, what older eyes would say to a young one if I create like time travel. And, honestly, one of those things, and I wrote about it actually in response to one of your questions you had for like your cousin’s 18th birthday.
Interviewer: Yeah, I remember that. I shared it with him.
Oz: Right. What I would tell my younger self is like, “Try a lot of shit,” like, “Try way more shit than you’re trying right now, because you’re just like looking at this narrow scope right now.” And I think a lot of that was fear, honestly. Growing up, and my mother’s household, very loving, and, you know, she’s great, but I think, you know, parents do the best that they can so she told me what she knew. Like, “This is a stable career, go into accounting, go into this or that.” And I kind of just operated within that sphere.
And it wasn’t until the last probably like several years out of college and changing jobs and all that, where I came upon this realization that like, “Holy crap, I have to design my life. No one else is gonna do it for me.” And reading “4-Hour Workweek” like early on really planted that seed in my head, which is not necessarily like, “Start a business.” But it was more like, “You have to design your life.” This idea like what I would want to right now right now, but there’s like fear around it is all the themes about like questioning the default things. Actually about a year ago I had the seed of an idea to like start a podcast called Question Default, and I still have like the domain name for it and all that.
But I think a lot of my present priorities and pressures like kind of caught up to me and I was like, “Okay, maybe it’s not a type of priority.” So, I still struggle with that a lot, which is, carving out enough time for creativity, and expression, and doing things that I really want to, you know, produce and put out in the world. But I feel like I’m still in a stage of like establishing certain bases, or more stable bases to do that.
So, sometimes I’m like, “Well, Oz, should you just do it now?” You know, and sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes the answer is like, “Hey, you have a really great opportunity in front of you right now, like my website UX Beginner, which I’m like producing courses for, like, “Finish that first and then do this other thing.” So, I would say, internally, I vacillate a lot within these decisions of like what to produce, when to do it.
Interviewer: So, is it your hesitation in producing things that you really wanna produce because there’s no justification for it other than that’s what you wanna do, but you can produce this other stuff and it makes money?
Oz: I think it comes down a lot to the ladder where like there’s a lot more clarity around the ladder where uxbeginner.com right now, it has a large audience. I know I could better serve it, and there’s like way more revenue opportunities just in front of me. And so there’s almost a sense of like, in the past I have like switched focuses before and then came back to like, “Wait, I had a good thing going on, why didn’t I give that a full shot?”
So, for me, it’s kind of balancing out between, and I think the framework I’m trying to use is like 20% time or like 80/20. Like 80% of the time do this thing which I still like doing, and I’ve already built out a clear roadmap for. But then experiment with other creative ideas and projects in my 20% time. At least for the time being. I feel like, oh man, this idea of follow your curiosity is so useful across so many domains. I think in dating, for example, I’m in one men’s group online that my friend runs.
Interviewer: Are you dating men now?
Oz: I’m dating all the men. There’s none left for you, sorry.
Interviewer: Tell me where all the good boys go, the dating group I guess.
Oz: Most visit it as a men’s development group, personal development.
Oz: And I noticed one theme is more like relating back to following your curiosity. I think that’s more fueled by enthusiasm and curiosity rather than like just an outcome. Because a lot of the compensation that goes on in that group is like, how do I get a girlfriend? A result. You know, I just want this, I just want a girlfriend, and what she represents.
But, I think it’s hugely beneficial to just lead with curiosity and be like, instead of like thinking of every girl or person as a target to become your something, it’s more beautiful and relaxing to be like, “I wonder what she’s all about? Kinda curious about her.” That’d be like find out more about her, and actually get to know her rather than be like, can she be my girlfriend or not? Because what if she’s terrible? Or maybe she’s great? Have you talked about your dating life on your podcast?
Interviewer: I think there might have been one video I’d gotten, yeah, like maybe one, but not in depth. It was more of like, “This is something that happened and like don’t let anybody tell you who you are or what to do.” That’s what came out of that. So it wasn’t like in detail about, it was just like, something happened and it sparked a thing in my head that was like, “Dude, don’t let people tell you who you are.” And if somebody shows you who they, like, Oprah always says like her best advice from Maya Angelou. I think is like, if somebody shows you who they are the first time, believe them.
Oz: Can you give me some context?
Interviewer: See, I didn’t get this quote either. I was like, “Yeah, like, duh.” But then like okay, you know, then you keep making the same mistakes over and over again, or you let certain people into your life, or you let certain people treat you a certain way, right? I’ll give you a very concrete example. If you get the impression that somebody’s flaky, they’re probably flaky. Don’t try to talk yourself out of it. If somebody gives you the impression that they’re a fussy eater, they’re probably a fussy eater.
Oz: This is so interesting.
Interviewer: If somebody gives you the impression that they’re manipulative, they’re probably manipulative. These are little things that go off in our heads that we tend to ignore. We tend to look at the better side of them, we tend to ignore their bad sides and just look at the good sides. That’s what I think the quote means to me.
Oz: I really agree and disagree. And this might come because I don’t have the most intuitive feel for people the first time. And because of that, I feel like I could be like nervous or not myself the first time someone comes across me. I try my best and I try to be like myself, and kind, and all these qualities I have. But, in certain contexts maybe I’m more nervous, maybe I’m not as present as I could be.
And I myself would hate to be judged in that one instance, you know. Like let’s say I had a frazzled day, I just had a ton of interviews and I met up with a friend who’s introducing me to their friend, and I just kind of like wasn’t there, I was kind of checked out. If that friend was like, “Oh, Oz is kind of just like not a pleasant person. Like he’s not, you know, someone I would ever want to talk to.” I would be crushed. I’d be like, “I had a crazy day, man.”
Interviewer: But what does that show you about that person if they say something like that?
Oz: I would say that I could understand why they would think that, but, I myself would be hurt, have been judged in such a way. And I admit I’ve done that judgment myself where, you know, maybe it was just like the first time I came across someone and, you know, like, just left a bad air in the room. But then I was thinking like, “Well, I don’t really know them, this is just like one slice of what I got.” So, it kinda comes back to my tendency to like have this struggle between intuition and trusting my gut.
Interviewer: Wait, wait, wait, I think we’re missing something here. If somebody were to judge you that harshly, what does it say about them?
Oz: That they’re very judgmental.
Interviewer: Do you wanna be around somebody who’s judgmental like that?
Interviewer: Everything that you need to know is in that, is right there.
Oz: I see what you mean from one aspect.
Interviewer: Like you are who you are. You may have a stressful day. So, I get like this too, where I get into my own head like, “Oh, am I gonna be enough for these people?” Usually, the people that I’m not enough for don’t belong there anyway. And the other people who are like, how I’m like, “Oh, guys, like I was really off the other day.” They’re like, “Dude, no, you’re fine, you know, you were how you were.” Those are my people. Yeah, you were acting weird but we love you. Not the kind of people who are like, “Dude, what’s up with your friend? She’s really spacey over there in the corner, she sucks.”
Oz: I totally see what you mean. But I’ve also seen the power of, being given the grace of like a second impression, and also like being able to give that grace to someone else before. Like one of my really good friends now, who I went to her wedding last month. When I first met her on this like summer exchange trip, I totally thought she was a mean person, like just by the way she held herself, you know, the way that she looked.
Interviewer: She had bitchy vibes.
Oz: Yeah, yeah, yeah. She didn’t look approachable at all. But I gave her a shot, because, you know, it was like summer exchange program and I was like, “I’m here to make friends.”
Interviewer: And because you’re like non-judgmental and an open-minded person.
Oz: That’s true. But it was so…
Interviewer: Maybe she was so hot that you were like, “I just see hotness. I just see hotness, I need some of that.”
Oz: This is gonna be so funny for her to hear later. Hi, Priscilla.
Interviewer: People say I give off bitchy vibes especially my younger years. People would like come up to me, and we’d become friends, and then they’re like, “You know, I really thought you were gonna be a really mean person.” Like, “Why would you think that?” They’re like, “I don’t know. But you’re actually not.” I’m like, “Okay.” I guess in a way it means, know that about that person. It doesn’t mean you have to like block yourself off from them, but just means that that’s one thing that you know about that person. If that person is judgmental, that person is just judgmental.
Oz: Right. Like, don’t ignore signals that make you feel something.
Interviewer: Yeah. So, I’ve actually, we only have like a few more minutes. But, I have to ask about you chasing this girl around Spain. Okay, how did that come about? What happened?
Oz: I met Kayla at the first time I was in Madrid, totally fell in love with the city. If you haven’t been, Madrid, Spain is just incredible. I actually met her on Tinder.
Interviewer: While you were there?
Oz: Yeah, while I was there.
Interviewer: Wait, so does she live there?
Oz: So, she is there for a year and working there. Yeah, but she’s Canadian.
Interviewer: So, are you gonna like, how do you do that?
Oz: I think this is a great broader conversation about like fear and decisions. Because, I think before we mutually made the decision to give a relationship a shot I had a lot of fears about like, I’ve never been in a long-distance relationship before. I’m inexperienced in this, like is it gonna work out? And I was just kind of thinking about like the end. But then how I came around, like personally, to the decision where I was like really excited to be with her was, in the time that we spent together, there were so many qualities that I love about her, that it dawned on me that I would be a fool if I didn’t give this a shot, you know.
And it’s like, oh, if I could do long-distance with anyone, I would choose her. Like I reframed the question from like should I do a long-distance relationship? To, if I could have a long-distance relationship with anyone who would make it work, who would it be? And so, that helped me a lot. I think it also helps that we were both on the same page in terms of being realistic. So, we both agreed that, like, at a certain point we do need to have a plan to be in the same place, you know. It’s not gonna be a long-distance relationship forever, but we have a lot to figure out over time.
Interviewer: Cool. Okay so you met her in Madrid like when, last year?
Oz: No. This is just a few months ago. I was in Europe for two months, and I was in like Spain for like half that time, for like a month.
Interviewer: Okay. So you were Tindering in Madrid, you met Kayla, how long did you have with her on that first meet?
Oz: Oh, I see. So, it was like a week, like, I guess we saw each other a lot. And it was really only spend within like a week and a half maybe, but we saw each other like several times. So, I think what surprised us both was that in the span between that last trip and recently I went back to see her, in the two months that passed, like we actually kept up. You know, we talked on messenger every day. And like actually got to know each other even better throughout that time.
Interviewer: Sometimes long-distance relationships can do that. Because over the time all you have is like you’re talking and getting to know each other, and sometimes it may even be easier messaging or something, or writing, and like talking on the phone, but I have noticed that too like sometimes you could get really deep with somebody over long distance.
Interviewer: Okay. At what point were you like, “Okay, I need to come back.” Was it like, “If you come back like you can stay with me,” was it one of those things, or like…?
Oz: It was like we both knew from our conversations that we miss each other, and so there was already that contention. And so when I saw a flight deal that was really good.
Interviewer: Okay, so you went and then you were there for a month this time?
Oz: I was only there for two weeks.
Interviewer: Okay, you were there for two weeks.
Oz: I think we both kind of knew that in those two weeks that something would develop.
Interviewer: What were your intentions going?
Oz: To grow the relationship. To be more curious about how we were. Because, I felt like the first time that we were together, which is like a week and a half, like wasn’t enough for us to make a decision to be like, “Hey, let’s be boyfriend and girlfriend.” Right?
Interviewer: I know exactly what you mean, yeah.
Oz: Yeah. So this second time it was like a concentrated period in which we could spend a lot more time together, there was focus. We also took a one weekend trip, like…
Interviewer: Where did you go?
Oz: To Bilbao.
Interviewer: Oh nice.
Oz: Yeah. Which is in the north of Spain. And, to anyone who’s listening, the north of Spain has better food than elsewhere in Spain, that’s where the best Spanish food is. And I think traveling, you know this as well, traveling with someone is like a really quick way to get to know someone. I mean, we didn’t do like in-depth travel, but just like there’s so many logistics and little things that happen that show how you could have partnership and teamwork with someone like through travel. And Kayla is like such a pleasure to travel with. It’s like…
Interviewer: That’s so important.
Oz: Yeah. We could like share responsibility, she takes initiative as well, and making decisions together is like really easy
Interviewer: My potential boyfriend checklist of activities in order to get to know somebody, travel is one of them. Must travel together, like take a trip, wherever.
Oz: Yeah. I completely vouch for that.
Interviewer: If that doesn’t work. He’s got to go.
Oz: Yeah. I guess because when you travel it’s kinda like a container for a intense relationship, for however long that travel is. Because you’re having to make decisions like all the time together.
Interviewer: One thing that I’ve realized over the years is, my friend, he help me with this, is, do you like who you are when you’re with her?
Oz: I do. Sometimes probably even more.
Interviewer: See, that’s like a super good indication, that’s how I like face things off of nowadays, do I like myself with this person? Do I like who I am, am I my best self? And if I can’t answer yes, then that’s another test check thing, yeah.
Oz: Clear signal for you.
Oz: Yeah. I’ve heard something very similar that like I love the way you expressed it. How I heard it is, it’s not just how you feel about that person, it’s how you feel about yourself when you’re around that person, that’s such a great heuristic for relationships.
Interviewer: All right. Well, let’s wrap this up, because Oz is going on an interview. You have to update us, let us know how it goes.
Oz: Yeah. Send good vibes.
Interviewer: We’re sending the best vibes. So, the job is in Manhattan Beach, will you commute?
Oz: Well, it’s more like an early conversation, which like…
Interviewer: It’s a prelim.
Oz: Yeah. It’s just like getting to know some people there.
Interviewer: Getting the feels. All right, cool. Well, we’ll send you off with good vibes. And thank you so much for being on our YouTube channel, and Posh Incredible Transformations podcast.
Oz: Thanks for having me again. I realize the entire time I haven’t been really looking at the camera, so, I would love to come back in the future.
Interviewer: All right, cool. Yeah, let’s do round two.
Interviewer: Awesome. If you want like your links or whatever, just tell me what you want in the podcast and I can do it on the intro and the outro, for a plug.
Oz: Yeah. It’s quite easy. My personal blog is ozchen.com. And I post articles about everything there. Content strategy, relationships, productivity.
Interviewer: Cool. All right, thanks Oz. Love you.
Oz: Thank you. Love you.
Interviewer: Love you long time.
Oz: Love you long time. Love you long 10.
Interviewer: All right, cool. Thank you.