- "Passion, Hardwork, Perseverance."
Thursday, Apr 21, 2011 5:48PM / Standard Entry
By: James Z. Feng
A few years back while working on a project, I suddenly received a text message from this girl I was dating telling me she got a new job in Singapore. She said she wanted to get away from her dead-end job in China and get a fresh start somewhere else. She then proceeded to tell me she was leaving that very night. It was a bitter shock to me since we just recently started to get serious in our relationship. We met at a friend’s baby shower and started dating a few days later. We’ve been dating for a few months and have grown quite close in that short amount of time. Not that we were in love or anything, but we certainly had a lot of potential. Minus the chain smoking, I really liked her, she had all the qualities I wanted in a girl: funny, kind, generous, caring, and extraordinarily patient. She was one of the few girls I knew who could handle my crazy personality. But after seeing that text from her, I knew our future just went down the drain. The dejected side of me didn’t want to see her off; I wanted to be cruel and cut her completely out of my life right there and then. All my life, I’ve always avoided face-to-face breakups; the physicality of detaching from someone often leaves me with a staining residue of loneliness. When it comes to goodbyes, my preference would be either a phone call or writing them a letter, it’s easier. But in this particular case, I felt this instinctive urge to see her off one last time; I felt she had deserved it.
After my grueling 14-hour day on set finally ended, I quickly went on my way to see her off. On the drive there, I start being selfish and questioning myself whether it was necessary to see her one more time. The insecure part of me kept suggesting I should protect myself and go home. I was trying to battle my detachment phobia and it was becoming harder to win. I started reexamining my past relationships and searched for answers on how I became this way. From the day my best friend passed away to my first girlfriend that broke my heart up, I saw a past full of painful relationships that often left me feeling abandoned. Over time, I started to build a barrier to keep myself away from intimacy in fear of abandonment. When you invest yourself it another person, you leave yourself vulnerable to pain and betrayal. The truth is I hated goodbyes because I didn’t want to get closer to people who were about to leave my life. With this girl in particular, I didn’t want to see the picture of “us” one last time before having to let her go. The truth is, I didn’t love her, yet. But I felt I owed her a goodbye because she was good to me.
Still caught up in deep thought, the cab driver suddenly interrupts my soul searching “Xian shen, wo men dao le (Sir, we’re here)”. I step out the cab and see her waiting for me from a far. I slowly walk toward her not knowing what to expect. She walks towards me and hugs me. After that, the two of us just stand there, gauging each other’s emotions, speechless, no “hi’s” or “how are you’s”; just silence. After seeing the disappointment in my eyes, she reached over to hold my hand. She knew she was wrecking my world with her move and I didn’t approve of it, she also knew I understood why she had to do it. Still standing there face to face, my wall of facade started to crumble. In my moment of weakness, I desperately started seeking signs of validation that maybe "us" could miraculously workout somehow no matter where she went. I started magnifying her good qualities while downplaying her flaws, going as far as convincing myself that her chain smoking didn’t really bother me; passion has a funny way of toying with our minds into believing false realities. Caught up in the moment, I knew all I had to say was "let’s try to make this work” and she would have agreed. Those words never came out of my mouth. In that moment, I grew up. I replayed montages of past long-distance relationships that never worked out and knew this was no different. I cared for her enough that I didn’t want to trick us both into believing in a phony relationship. Once I made up my mind, she felt me letting her go and started to do the same. We hugged each other one last time. That last hug carried all the good and bad times we had together, once we let it go, it was over. It was interesting seeing a relationship dissipating in the air, we both knew we couldn’t stop it; nor did we want to.
I call another cab to go home. I went to sleep that night and tried not to think about her, luckily the fatigue from the 14-hour workday quickly carried me into a dreamland. I woke up the next morning, went to work, thought about her a few times, went home, slept, woke up the day after, went to work… With the passing of each day, I thought of her a little less. People say a busy schedule is the best cure to getting over someone, they were right; it wasn’t long before I stopped thinking about her altogether and started dating again. Till this day, I never did see her again. Last I heard, she eventually moved back to China and started her own fashion consulting business. Thinking back to when I was a kid, I use to wonder how adults could ever give up on finding true love and simply settle for mediocrity, I understand that now. Since those years, I’ve learned we become a bit more desensitized after each goodbye.
In retrospect, life is filled with special moments where we see the potential in something or someone, and we have a choice whether to pursue it or not. Everyone can go back in their memory bank and think of certain choices we’ve made in life that changed our whole lives. These monumental decisions change the direction of our lives and we all have to live with the consequences; whether good or bad. It’s also typical to wonder the possibilities and consequences had we made different decisions in life. If you had an opportunity to make a different decision that would alter everything in your life, would you? I have always lived by the motto to never regret, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think of how differently things could have turned out. For example, I use to wonder what life would’ve been like I pursued her to Singapore, would we have lived happily ever after? The what-ifs of life can destroy someone’s morale when it’s fueled by enough regret and alcohol; I’ve seen it many times over. Sky is the limit when it comes to thinking of infinite fantasies, but reality is something we must wake up to everyday. Life moves fast and we can’t control everything, no matter what happens from now to the day we die, the Johnny Walker commercial said it best: keep walking.
Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 4:09PM / Standard EntryTonight was suppose to be a productive day for Fight Life as I had a lot of work lined up to be completed. However, none of that got done because one of my buddies just came back in town and we hung out instead. Like old times, we had a bbq and watched a cartoon/anime called "Major". I won't get into the details but the general question it left me wondering was "What's your next goal after you've reached your current goal?". Before I get into that, I wanna go over "yips".
Lingering psychological effects of mental trauma are called "yips" in this show. Yips happen all the time in sports when players go through slumps and can't figure a way out of it. The great players usually get out of the slump and are able to reach further success in their careers. This type of mental trauma really makes the player question his abilities and often lead promising superstars into mediocrity. In sports, we call a lot of these types of players "busts" whenever high expectations were placed on promising superstars who did well in college or minor leagues. The great players are the ones that are able surpass expectations and dominate in pressure situations. Sudden injuries also have a way of turning good players who are on a roll into an insecure athlete. Having experienced this recently due to my ankle injuries, I could never figure out why I couldn't play basketball the same I had before. The truth is these last injuries have made me scared of getting hurt on the basketball court. My style of play is full of intensity and fearlessness, I'm usually the guy always taking it to the hole and falling on the ground after drawing fouls. Now I've become a jump shooter or a 60% take it to the hole player. The truth is I'm afraid oft stepping on someone's ankle and not be able to play for a few months. Now that I'm older, injuries take a long time to heal and getting hurt is constantly on my mind. I have yet figured out how to cure these "yips" myself especially since I'm not physically 100%, but the point is I understand why certain athletes could never regain their form after a major injury. Tiger Woods is a prime example of the "yips" we have in sports today(not including his personal "yips" lol).
When you apply these "yips" to life, it's the same concept in all of our life experiences. We are all going to go through experiences in life that will scar us and may even lead to long term detrimental effects that will stay with us forever. Whether it's a death, a strained relationship, sickness, a divorce, unfulfilled expectations, an accident, or a simple mental breakdown, we all go through these in life because nothing is perfect. In a perfect world, we can read the future and prepare ourselves mentally for what bad experiences life throws at us and build our defenses before we actually go through them. I guess the beauty of life is you don't know what you're gonna get and you can never prepare for anything. All we can really do is make the best of every situation and learn to live it. Staying positive and really believing in yourself through the hard times and getting past these rough patches are the only way we can really move on and enjoy life.
When I think of kids and adults and what the difference is between the two and also when we stop being kids and became adults. When I look at all the people I know, I realize some adults I know are still kids, but rarely. Most people I know are quite bitter and don't have the same naive hopefulness they did when they were kids. I guess when you see the world for what it really is, you get down at reality and lose that innocence. In my mind, I still try to think like a kid and never lose that passion for what I do. I have to admit at times it gets hard because certain realities teach me the rules of the game. In my mind, I don't want to know these rules and just want to believe that somehow someway, things are going to workout. It's like when I was a kid I wanted to become a tennis player and worked day and night towards that goal. I never had doubts I wouldn't be great and that's what made me the good player I was.
I remember I started playing tennis at the age of 13 and everybody doubted me because I started late and was competing with kids who started playing when they are 5 or 6. Four years later, I would become top 30 in my age group in Northern California state rankings due to my hard work ethic. I always found it ironic that no one ever said I was talented until I got good through hard work. Since then, I never believed in the word "talent" because I thought it was full of bologna. I was the kid with the chip on my shoulder that everybody said would never make that liked having that chip; it made me different and gave me the drive to be better than everyone. My motivation back then was to prove to everyone "What did you say I couldn't do? In your face!".
That attitude still carries with me today and has fused into both part of my confidence and identity. I guess the "yips" I had with tennis was when my doubles and training partner passed away from cancer. I never did recover from that and I quit tennis altogether senior year of high school. I guess in the end it all came full circle because I picked up acting/film-making to fill that void of being a professional tennis player while I became a tennis coach teaching kids in my leisure time. Everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that.
I illustrate my own experience above only to show that nothing is impossible if you really believe in it. It's when you stop believing that your days as a *blank* is over. Your mind is so powerful that it can will your body through impossible things. A great example is when people who lift up cars to save someone under it. Physical impossibilities can be overcome with pure will. When we are kids, we have that will to believe in something and be stubborn enough to not listen to anything else. That stubbornness is what makes great players like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Pete Sampras, and Brett Favre.
Today on Sportscenter, former football coach Herm Edwards was giving advice to some future NFL quarterbacks and he said "Be like Brett Favre and never stop being a kid on the football field." That line had me thinking for a bit what he really was talking about. I've always watched Brett Favre and sometimes wondered "What the hell are you doing?" in certain games when he'd still be going for 50 yard TDs after being intercepted on the previous drive. After thinking about it tonight, I realized the only way Brett Favre knows how to play football is throwing those bombs and not caring whether it's TD or interception, that's his way of football. I use to never understand why his coaches wouldn't tell him "Hey Brett, can you tone down the interceptions and play a little more conservative please?" The truth is his coaches all knew he would stop being Brett Favre and lose his greatness if he changed his style. In Brett's mind, he believes every bomb he throws will be a TD, and that's what makes him so great; his stubbornness and belief in his abilities. After every interception, he's thinking like a kid "The next one we'll get it! Get me back on the field!".
We all lose that fearlessness when we become adults no matter what we do in life, and trying to regain that and one day achieving it is what makes us great human beings and really fulfilling our potential. As people we all get caught up in the rat race and try to conform to the rules of society and what we should be doing: buy a nicer house than the next guy, buy a nicer car than the next guy, get a hotter wife than the next guy, get a higher paying job than the next guy... I guess in the end everything we do is to fulfill these expectations society sets on us telling us what we should be doing with our lives.
When we were kids, we didn't care for any of that, and we made friends because we liked them, not because we can use them. A lot of times I go to networking events and it's so lame because people just want to meet more people to add to their "network" and possibly work together and use each other for work. I still do them because it's necessary to "network", but the reality is I don't really like a lot of the people I meet because we don't click but we do what we do because that's part of survival in the real world. It's so obvious when you meet these people from their eyes how fake they are. You ever notice how some people's eyes light up when they are meeting someone "important", yeah I've met a lot of these phonies. Everybody wants a shortcut in life and think that meeting the "right people" will help them get there. Even though that maybe true for some people, I wasn't brought up like that.
Hard work has been my motto for success and that ain't never going to change no matter how many "important" people I meet. Some of my friends in Asia always wondered why I was never intimidated or awestruck when I met or hung out with celebrities, the truth is, I always believed I'd one day be just as successful as they are, so why should I be in awe of them? In my mind, I was just as good if not better than them. This isn't something from foolish pride or alpha-male insecurity syndrome, it's my belief. People have no idea how hard I work to have that belief, but one day they will.
As adults, we become users and have selfish motivations to advance our own careers and don't really give a damn about anybody else. Luckily the people I work with are all people I value and enjoy working with and I have God to thank for that. All in all, I guess in my own walk in life, I'm trying hard to hold onto my youthful spirit and believing that I can do anything I can put my mind to, but it's getting harder and harder everyday as more roadblocks come my way and I've become quite weary. I'm glad I didn't get much work done today because it was important for me to learn an important lesson in life and ask myself "What's your goal and why are you really pursuing it?"
Monday, Jul 12, 2010 4:48PM / Standard EntryUploading a new video, got some time to blog finally. I've been so busy I haven't had time to really blog about anything lately. Latest update: film's going well, everyday we're getting closer to finishing. I'll be flying to LA for a good weekend of editing with Ramon this week, which I am very much looking forward to. My last trip down there was very intense and we got a lot done, I think everyday for 3-4 days we went home around 3-4am. I remember every night driving thinking to myself how great it was to accomplish something towards our ending goal despite how tired I was. I don't think I've lost passion for what I do yet, but I can see how if certain things didn't go my way, it'd be difficult for me to keep pursuing my dream. Money is a huge issue in film-making where if you don't have any, you can't accomplish anything. I use to see a lot of artists who I thought were extremely talented but never understood why they didn't "make it". After being in the entertainment industry for almost 4 years now, I finally understand how that could be.
Most artists go into the industry blind pursuing their dreams with a pure mind thinking if they work hard enough, they'll move up and eventually get famous one day. Many of these artists are extremely talented and deserve to be in the limelight, but that's not how the industry works. If you don't have the hustle in you, you will never get anywhere. Unfortunately, even if you did have the hustle in you, it's still not a guarantee you'll have a good career. In the last 4 years, I've seen a lot of people lose heart who started out strong in their careers with some even having had moderate success. When it comes down to it, it's really about if you really love what you do. The truth is a lot of people I know never really did love it. I believe a lot of people get attracted to the entertainment industry because of the glam and always believing they would someday achieve it. One day they wake up after a certain number of years of hustling realizing the chances of them being famous are slim to none, then they quit and pursue other things in life. In the end, what they loved was the fame part, and what drove them for those years was this mystic tangible idea of being famous that they thought was so close to reality. The people that really love what they do are people who would still be doing what they do without any incentives such as money, fame, etc... Making Fight Life, I saw how a lot of our fighters did the sport and pursued it when it wasn't popular and didn't make any money. In the back of their minds, they had their minds set on what they loved and pursued it without thinking too much. Of course they want to be famous and be on tv and making money, but if they didn't love it, they never would've persevered those tough years before they made it. I remember Gil telling me "I don't know why people ask us how it was back then and how tough it was, it wasn't tough because we were doing what we loved, and even though we were broke, it didn't matter, we were happy."
I'd be lying if I said I didn't love the fame part, especially when I first started. I too started like everyone else wanting the fame and believed I could make it. The more I was in the industry, the more I saw how the clock turned. I knew what I would probably have to do to get to where I want to. It was quite daunting at first but I didn't waiver because I had already started to love what I was doing. I loved the feeling of shooting, editing, working with everyone on creating something, that's what really drives me now. By now, I don't give a damn about all the fame because I've seen beyond all that. The way I see it: I'm gonna be doing what I do, and if I become successful, cool, if not, oh well, I'll still be doing what I'm doing, nothing's gonna change that." I believe hard work will pay off eventually and whether that equals fame or not doesn't matter anymore. What matters is living life and not having any regrets. I've chosen this path and I've gotten this far due to my hustle and determination, I think I finally passed my own test on what I wanted to pursue in life. I think I'm finally at peace now that I've found my passion whether it will turn into a career or hobby. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and in between that, give it all you got so you can say you left your heart on the court; nobody can knock that.
Ok, video finished uploading, now I can sleep, goodnight.
Sunday, Apr 18, 2010 12:05PM / NewsLook for mention of our documentary film FIGHT LIFE on CBS Strikeforce's Fights tonight at 9pm during the championship fight between Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shields.
Checkout our new trailer for our champion Jake Shields for Fight Life: MMA Documentary:
Join our facebook & twitter to support:
Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 10:43AM / NewsYay!!!! Great news!
Just released a 2nd teaser for my feature-length documentary on the sport of mixed-martial arts titled Fight Life! Oh yeah, there's a familiar logo in the beginning of the teaser... Mad love to you know who for all the support! ;)
Here's our 1st Official Trailer if you've missed it earlier:
We spent the last few weeks working hard to finish this teaser piece. It's a lot of work to be editing a film on top of doing teasers like this! I know it looks short but it took A LOT of work! I can hear all the filmmakers in the house say "Amen" to that, Hahahaha, but I ain't complaining, I'm doing what I love, and that's all that matters =). A special thanks to all my post-prod team for working mad hours to get this done, I appreciate everything you guys have done for Fight Life.
- Actor/rapper turned indie filmmaker(writer/director/producer), I'm all about passion and hard work in everything I do...Actor/rapper turned indie filmmaker(writer/director/producer), I'm all about passion and hard work in everything I do. I hustled in college (starred in 20+ student/indie films in 2 years) and went on acting in China for two more years. After that experience, I felt I wanted more out of life than just being an actor. That's when I started writing my first short screenplay -600- and simultaneously learning the craft of film making. After we finished the film a month later, to my surprise, the reception to -600- was incredible and everyone there encouraged me to keep pursuing film making. I went ahead and followed my heart and returned to the USA after some health issues to learn more about film making before preparing to head back to China in 2009. I believe if I put in enough sweat and tears, it'll amount to something one day. In this life, through passion, hard work, and perseverance, anything is possible. You just gotta believe in it. I believe.
- Occupation: Actor , Director , Screenwriter
- Gender: Male
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