Ever since I met Yong Tien Cin during Christmas season in December 2018, she injected a stream of fresh air into our community by initiating a monthly Yoga and Sutra session. Besides the relaxing and therapeutic activities that take place in nature, what we appreciate even more is her yummy and healthy homemade snack!
While Tien always beams like a sun with her bright personality and charisma, I am always curious about how she developed her philosophy of life at such a youthful age and why she came back to Malaysia when many young people strive to get out of the country.
1| The courage to see possibilities in uncertainties
“Well, the grass is not greener on the other side,” Tien laughed with a sense of humour. She realised the importance of family while being a world apart from people who matter.
Besides that, being a nutritionist and being associated with food all her life in Canada, Tien wanted to start anew in holistic physical health coaching. In order to do that, she decided to have a clean slate with food and get out of her comfort zone in Canada.
Leaving behind a life she spent 5 years building, instead of being crippled by fear, Tien was excited to embrace the endless possibilities that she could create out of tremendous uncertainties.
I realised that Tien’s positivity and perspective define who she is, how she lives life, and how she brings light to people around her.
2| How to gain clarity through journaling
It is interesting that being a millennial in her mid-20s, Tien has an exceptional sense of self-awareness and confidence.
Besides being open-minded and trying everything to find out what works, Tien attributes her clarity in life to the habit of journaling. It has helped her to reorganise thoughts, relook at a situation, step back and learn from it.
We often go through life in a hurry and miss the valuable lessons that are often found in tiny little moments. For Tien, being able to scan through what she does in a day and write down important things enables her to understand how and why she makes a decision and detect her blind spot.
3| Wellness comes naturally when you love yourself
As a fitness coach, Tien firmly believes that if we treat ourselves well, we will naturally treat people well. Taking care of herself physically and spiritually enables her to establish a better relationship with self, a better mindset, and hence become a better person in alignment with the quote ‘I think, therefore I am’.
While many people make ambitious health resolution and fail to keep it up, Tien, on the other hand, enjoys doing the hard thing. To her, working out is an escape when there’s nothing in her mind except the movement and grinding.
She finds that it’s important to love what you do and do what you love in order to work out consistently. Instead of finding excuses, she encourages everyone to try out new things in order to find the activities that suit you.
4| Self-discovery and exploring life through adventures
Coming from a place of comfort, Tien has created many wild adventures of her own through solo travelling, backpacking, couch-surfing and hitchhiking.
Her journey around the world is also an important process of self-discovery where she learned about what she enjoys doing, what she prioritises, her identity in relation to a new culture, and how to manage time and money.
Travelling has taught her to trust in humanity when she relied on people’s generosity and kindness to survive. She found that people are generally nice and helpful; it is only when we put on a wall that we attract people who reflect that back to us.
5| Life tips for young people
The best investments that Tien had made so far are the quality backpack and good shoes that empowered her to explore the world. She learned to spend money wisely on things that matter and not follow the trend blindly.
While travelling the world on a shoestring budget involved a certain amount of risk and required her to get out of her comfort zone, she advice aspiring young traveller to strike a balance between risk and opportunity cost.
Tien hopes that the younger generation would consider slowing down, taking a step back or a gap year to learn about themselves, explore the world, read more, work part-time, before committing themselves to a 3 or 4 years university course.
Life changes when you change your perspective
As a wellness coach and writer, Tien hopes she could bring light to people’s lives and empower them to feel good about themselves.
In her article ‘No amount of self-help is going to help you’, she wrote:
“Once you’re compassionate with yourself, you’ll start to be more willing to take risks, to be able to look past from your mistakes and remove feelings of guilt. You’ll even start to develop better relationships because you’ll be more compassionate, even emphatic towards others too. You can connect on a deeper, more intrinsic level, and actually feel the emotions the other person is experiencing.”
Before we ended our conversation, Tien mentioned that she lived by the principle ‘nothing is permanent’, which is universal teaching in Sutra and Buddhism. If we could live this moment unattached to the good or the bad and know that everything is changeable, we are able to root ourselves in the gift of life and make the most out of every precious moment we have.
Own Your Story Podcast features interesting guests with fascinating stories and unique perspectives on life, taking viewers on a journey through the lives of others and ultimately inspire them to embark on an adventure of their own.