How I Hustled My Way to Ikigai

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Man laying on a couch eating chips, representing lack of a reason for being by GradSImple.

The alarm clock, or should I say the IPhone clock app used to be my mortal enemy. I damn near had to bribe myself every morning to put on pants and get out of bed. Sometimes, I had to give myself ultimatums, where if I didn’t get up in 5 seconds, a bomb would go off and I would die. Dramatic? I know, but highly effective. 

In the spring of 2020, that would change. 

You see, during my junior year of college, I started being able to jump out of bed without an alarm. I felt alive. Something in me had changed, like a switch was flipped. I stopped wanting to sleep in. In fact, I had to be convinced to sleep in. 

So what changed? 

Well, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had started pursuing my ikigai. I simply wasn’t aware of the concept and didn’t have the vocabulary to describe it. 

Perhaps as an after effect of having a quarter-life crisis in my 2nd year, I stopped doing what I was “supposed to do.” 

While my peers were busy finding internships (and failing because, 2020), trying to become VP of “accounting club,” and partying because it was “cool,” I started doing sh*t that I actually cared about. 


I joined the First Aid Student Team because, why not? I tried selling dog beds online (and failed). I tried building a brand by drop shipping women’s clothing from Aliexpress. I dabbled with print-on-demand. I filmed my own ads (they sucked). 

I won’t sugarcoat it. There were plenty of struggles and learnings (I say this with the biggest grin on my face). I lost money. I spent days and nights stressing about ad spend. I had to figure out things that were completely foreign to me, things like search engine optimization, A/B testing, web design. 

But this “work” wasn’t work. I wanted to do it all. For the first time as an adult, I was driven by my curiosity. I felt like a child again. 

I’ve stuck with curiosity as my north star.

It has led me to places and opportunities that I never would have dreamed of. It has pushed me outside of my comfort zone (where the real magic happens), and go on amazing adventures. Psst… if you want to hear my stories, you should subscribe. 

Anyways, I use curiosity to resist the temptation of falling back to my old ways of mindlessly doing what I “should be doing.” And this has served me well. 

But enough about me, I know what you’re ACTUALLY here for. The ultra secret, extra spicy, ikigai sauce. The Tyler Yip special. So as promised, here it is. 

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The human who runs the ship. Occasional writer, occasional web developer. Yes, this is the guy who hired a raccoon (if you know, you know).

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