By now, if you’ve thoroughly read all of the articles in my guide plus the books I’ve recommended, you should have a general idea of the mindset required to become a fully sovereign adult as opposed to being under your Asian parents’ control. Still, I’d like to draw your attention to a few big picture issues I’ve only glossed over in the previous pages.
Beware of Tradeoffs
The following triangles represent the ways you can prioritize your values. These values are: Freedom, Empathy, and Pride. If your goal is to gain freedom as quickly as possible, be prepared to completely throw your pride down the toilet and let your empathy for your parents reach new lows. If all you cared about was your pride, you won’t have much empathy or freedom. Finally, if you were completely empathetic to your parents, you won’t end up with much in the way of freedom or pride. I’m not saying that you need to be 100% focused on freedom but be aware that these 3 values will be competing for your limited attention and resources.
Take a look at the triangle above. Most young adults, by default, will likely spread their attention equally among all 3 values. That’s fine if they’re not particularly serious about achieving freedom from their parents and they get to keep some of their pride and empathy as well. But what happens when freedom becomes a major priority? Take a look at the triangle below:
Empathy and pride will naturally receive a smaller share of your attention when you devote most of it to achieving freedom. Of course, once you’ve achieved freedom and have a life and career of your own, you’ll certainly be able to focus on the other two without falling back to being a slave or servant to your parents anymore.
Take things gradually. Don’t start focusing 100% on freedom at the expense of the other two right off the bat after reading this guide. Gradually ease into it, making it a higher and higher priority each day. This is much less likely to set off your parents’ “alarms” and also gives you an opportunity to test the waters and see where their boundaries lie.
Independence Doesn’t Mean Cutting Your Parents Off
Also, please stop thinking in black and white terms. Many young Asian Americans believe, either consciously or subconsciously, that they must either continue to obediently listen to their parents or cut them off completely (or be disowned.) Instead, think of them more as mentors with more life experience than you instead of a boss or king that you must answer to. Your relationship with them is more likely to evolve to this point if you pursue freedom like a marathon as opposed to a sprint.
“NO” is the most powerful word in your vocabulary. Whenever you say “no”, you end up not wasting your precious time, money, and other resources which can then be deployed for greater pursuits in your life. Learn to say “no” to anything that doesn’t add value to your life including supposed friends who don’t respect your time, parents who don’t respect your goals and values, coworkers who dump all of their work onto you, etc. As long as the consequences of saying “no” is bearable in the worst case, don’t be afraid to use this magic word.
Read the Power of No by James Altucher or borrow it from the library.
Also, take a look at The politics of life : 25 rules for survival in a brutal and manipulative world by Craig Crawford for practical advice you can apply to either manipulate your Asian parents or avoid being manipulated in order to attain and maintain your god-given rights and freedom as an adult. You can borrow it from the library as well.