This year, I left my job, my apartment, sold most of my belongings, made the decision to leave the country to follow my dreams and heal from my family’s incredible loss (READ: I Left Everything To Travel The World For And With My Father).

Love Lock Bridge, Paris, France | Jinna Yang | Grease and Glamour

The most important thing that I gained from my journey in the past few months was a purpose – to live, love and dedicate my time to inspire people all around the world who feel stuck, just like I did only 8 short months ago.

“You are the master of your fate; you are the captain of your soul.” You don’t become who you want to be by wishing; you become who you want to be by believing.

If you’ve followed along with my journey on instagram (@projectinspo), you’ve read some of the learnings I’ve shared throughout the past few months. For those who haven’t, here are 10 things to learn in order to start living the life that you want – the life that you’ve always dreamed of.

1. If it doesn’t scare you, it’s not worth doing.

Jinna Yang | Grease & Glamour

Fear is and always will be present throughout your life, and being brave has nothing to do with being fearless. Being brave is about opening up about your fears, exposing them, choosing to become vulnerable regardless of who’s watching. Being brave is channeling your fears, refusing to let them guide you, but consciously letting them drive you to create the change you want to see in your life.

Pretending that you’re not scared is a crock of sh-t. That’s not bravery. That’s still pretending.

Everyone gets scared, and if you’re not doing something that scares you, then it may not be worth doing at all. If you’re not living a life where every once in a while you get scared sh-tless by what COULD happen, you’ll never create meaningful, positive change for your future. So remember: great things never came from comfort zones.


2. You are stronger because of your struggles.

paris from top of champs elysees

Your past doesn’t define you – it sets you up so you can pick yourself up after your failures. It gives you the strength to overcome, to continue, and most importantly to do things you’ve never done, but have always dreamed of. Don’t be a victim of regret. Don’t apologize for who you are and how you’ve changed because of life’s challenges, however crazy, intense, passionate, outspoken or quiet you may be.

You’re imperfect, complicated, but just as beautiful and wonderful because of your scars. Strength is built, and it’s a gift of circumstance that not many people are given.


3. Accept and embrace who you’ve become.

Champs Elysees Bokeh | Paris, France | Travel Inspiration

When my father passed and my family struggled, I was more lost than I had ever been in my entire life. No one could answer my questions, I thought I would never get closure, and I lost all hope in my future. I constantly asked myself when I would get back to “normal”. It wasn’t until I realized that I was never supposed to go back to normal that I took back control of my life. It’s okay to open up about your struggles. It’s okay to feel completely f-cked up at times.

What I went through changed me forever, and the second I accepted that was the second I found the strength to live the life I had always dreamed of.

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to know which direction to go.

4. Your plan should include purpose.


I used to prioritize myself, showcase myself, do what I wanted to have what I thought I needed. The moment my life changed was when I realized that my passion had the potential to become of service to people around the world – to become a voice for change for those who have faced challenges throughout their lives.

My purpose was bigger than I had imagined; much bigger than me.

Stop thinking about what you want to do solely for yourself, but how you can do what you love to ultimately bring positive change to the world. That will determine your perspective, your level of happiness and the overall course of your life.


5. Your perspective can change everything.

Cinque Terre, Italy

“The things in your life that you think are happening TO you, are actually happening FOR you.” If you truly believe in yourself, you’ll learn to look at the events in your life as opportunities for growth. This will determine your level of gratitude, happiness and confidence – three things you need to be able to live the life of your dreams.

There will come a time in your life when you feel like everything is falling apart. That is the very moment when everything will be coming together.


6. Stop comparing yourself to other people.

Jinna Yang

A question I always struggled with was, “When is it going to be my turn?” I’d watch people who appeared to be less talented, work half as hard, born from bigger means, climb up the ladder to become more successful than me, and I’d scramble around trying to figure out why. I put in more time. I taught myself things that they paid someone to do. I’ve slept 3 hours a night for the past year.

Then I realized that you have to stop comparing yourself to others, but most importantly stop giving yourself the short end of the stick. Believe that everything you’ve been through – all the hard work, blood, sweat, tears you’ve invested in your future is worth more than you think.

There is a path and purpose for everyone, so stop comparing yours to someone else’s. This isn’t a race. You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment you will ever make.


7. Hard work ALWAYS pays off.


No matter where you are from, what color your skin is, the wealth or name of the family you were born into, your age, or the challenges that were placed in your way, I promise you that hard work always pays off. It may not seem like it on most days, you may get discouraged from the speed at which success seems to come for others, but don’t be distracted from your own journey. Work hard, stay persistent, and don’t ever give up on your dreams.


8. You get out of this life exactly what you put in.

Jinna Yang | Grease & Glamour

If you want happiness, DO what makes you happy. If you want a friend, BECOME a friend. If you want to be successful, PUT IN the work. If you want love, LEARN how to love. If you want change, STOP doing the same things over and over again. Stop getting in your own way. Take a risk, work your a-s off and reap the rewards.


9. Chase happiness, not money.

New York City | Travel Inspiration

If money is your sole motivation in life, happiness will always come second. I was so caught up in the cycle of working more to earn more to spend more to sleep less. I thought happiness came with a price tag, and I based every decision I made on money. But I was never satisfied and years later I was still unhappy. So if life wouldn’t change for me, I would have to change myself. Become the change you want to see.

To get something you’ve never gotten, you have to do something you’ve never done.


10. You cannot be afraid to fail.


Don’t let success get to your head. Don’t let failure get to your heart. You cannot be afraid to fail for the sake of failing. Failure is an opportunity to learn, grow and avoid making the same mistakes. Success is a journey, not a destination, so keep on climbing.


Thank you so much for reading this post, for your comments, and for inspiring me as much as I hope to inspire you. Follow me on instagram for daily motivational posts + photos: @projectinspo.

With love,


208 COMMENTS ON "10 Things You Need to Learn to Start Living the Life of Your Dreams"


2 years 17 days ago

Oh Jinna! Those are smart words. I know that you struggles in life made you become the strong and beautiful women you are now. We’re so proud of you. You’ve become such an inspiration. And sincerely, thank you so much for sharing this wise tips with all of us. You never know when someone (maybe me) might need it.
With all my love,

2 years 16 days ago

Vera, you are so sweet and I’m sooooo thankful for your kind + supportive words. Seriously, means so much. Thank you thank you thank you and I hope you’re doing well. Sending you love <3 xx

2 years 17 days ago

this is sooooo interesting, I’m debating doing the exact same and can’t decide if i’m brave enough!

2 years 16 days ago

Hey Gina! Thanks for your comment. 🙂 Well definitely have a plan, and that courage that you need is inside you somewhere, just waiting for the right time. There’s no rushing it either – we all have our own timelines, you know? When you know in your heart that it’s the right time, you’ll have the strength to do it. I know it! Thanks for stopping by + for reading. <3 xx

2 years 17 days ago

I always love your posts. There are nights, like this one, when I magically find myself reading on your blog exactly what I needed to read and I’m really thankful for this!! 🙂

2 years 16 days ago

Siulia, so good to hear. Hope you’re doing well and don’t ever forget that you’re f-cking AWESOME! <3 xx

Alissa Loxton
2 years 17 days ago

Incredible post and beautiful photos!

21 year old travel blogger

2 years 16 days ago

Thank you Alissa! <3

2 years 17 days ago

I so adore this…I actually just wrote a post about #9 but I agree with all of your points! Absolutely beautiful post from a beautiful soul <3 You are such an inspiration!
~ Samantha

2 years 16 days ago

Thanks so much for your sweet comment Samantha!

2 years 17 days ago

Your blog is amazing! So great watching it evolve. Kudos! –

2 years 16 days ago

Thanks so muchhhh <3

2 years 17 days ago

Those are all things I’m learning right now, too. Such a great article. Thank you. 🙂

2 years 16 days ago

Good to hear Ashley!!! <3

2 years 17 days ago

Such a great article – love your outlook on life and travel.

2 years 16 days ago

Thank you for reading. <3 😀

2 years 16 days ago

Great article! Very inspiring!

2 years 16 days ago

Thanks for stopping by! 😀

2 years 16 days ago

this post set me back–this past year (or two) has been one HELL of a ride. I too have faced things I never thought I’d be able to get through, have failed and hit rock bottom. These 10 points you’ve made I have realized on my own journey, and I love the truth that rings from your words. It puts me in tears how these things I once perceived as faults have shown me some of my biggest strengths. Thank you for putting this all in words–to share and inspire others as well.

2 years 16 days ago
Man oh man thank you for stopping by and for sharing your story with me. It’s so inspiring to hear that you are feeling the same way as I am – usually people don’t open up about stuff, it’s easier to just pretend and go through the motions, but I know it’s important to recognize how far you’ve come, and part of that begins with accepting that yes, we have been through some SH-T!!! Lol thank you for your comment and I hope you look in the mirror every single day and recognize how strong you are, and that no… READ MORE »
Melody Williams
2 years 16 days ago

First let me say, your travel photos are beautiful! Amazing thoughtful and true advice too. I’m so grateful for you openly sharing your story/journey with us.


Mel @

2 years 16 days ago

Thank you so much Melody!

2 years 16 days ago

Love this Jinna! Your journey is so inspiring for me!

2 years 15 days ago

Thanks so much for reading and for your comment! Means so much 🙂

2 years 14 days ago

I’d say the most important one is to stop comparing yourself to other people, but that can be the most difficult!

– Ava

beck daily

2 years 13 days ago

Wonderful post and these photos are just beautiful:)

David Oyedokun Akeredolu
2 years 12 days ago

Thanks for sharing your taught, just what I need to hear, I am at that point you have described, now on my way to recovery now, your information will come handy in my journey to recovery.
God bless

2 years 12 days ago

the message you give in this post is incredible and the pictures are great as well. I love reading posts like this!!

xx Cecil //

2 years 12 days ago

This is exactly how I feel about life.. amazing article, I love it! 🙂

2 years 12 days ago

Just discovered this by “accident.” Love your honesty, amazing photos, outlook on life, and inspiring journey. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

Natasha Lancaster
2 years 12 days ago

What a great inspirational article! Thank you, it really picked me up and reminded me what’s important xx

2 years 12 days ago

this is beautiful! thank you for being so honest about your own journey, and sharing what you’ve learned along the way. 🙂

Lucy Brooke
2 years 12 days ago

This a great and inspiring post! Ive quit my job, left my flat and about to pack up and leave London to move to ethiopia in search of a challenge and a change.. Got the fear this week but this has reminded me of why I decided to do it! Thank you

Lucy @

Jackelyni Reis
2 years 12 days ago

Wow! Really I´m without words, after those incredible and perfect words. It seems you´ve choose them from your soul! Lovely, deep and real! Love it! Good work with your blog and I´m already a follower/fan/inspired by!

Tks for sharing your words!


Jacky | PINK Empowerment

Instagram: pinkempowerment

Jay Zaim
2 years 12 days ago

Brilliant.Much needed.Sharing.Thxs

Patti Dee
2 years 12 days ago

This post was so awesome. I loved the content and the creativity of how you added your photographs. The message, above all, was so important. Wishing you peace and happiness, always!

2 years 12 days ago

i cried reading your post. i am exactly in the situation u are telling us. i have this great fear of failing bec. it seems that everything is falling apart. i have ended a 10 year love affair with my job and it breaks my heart to do it but i have to. with my age, our economy, everything seems bleak. i just wish i had the same courage as u had

2 years 12 days ago

Wow! I was completely trying to ignore the amazing photographs. Your words mattered to me more. And seriously, I needed those. I have been trying to gather up courage to do what I want to do without worrying about things like – where would the money come from, what would people say, what if I failed and so on.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is difficult but I need to do it.
Thanks for this post. It would help

Caroline @ Shrinking Single
2 years 12 days ago

Exactly what I needed today as I start chasing my dream but get caught up comparing myself to others.

2 years 12 days ago
Man, I could not agree more. You are an inspiration. This past January, after 26 years in the U.S. military (Ret. 2002) and then 12 more years working for a large tech firm, I could not take it anymore. I was miserable despite the big fat salary. One day, I woke up, went to work, and told my manager I quit. BTW, I have been living i Japan the past 14 years. Anyway, I quit a job I despised and now pursue modeling and acting in Japan with the benefit of my foreign face. To date, some success too. But,… READ MORE »
Nasir ahmad
2 years 12 days ago

Great, Thanks for writing and posting.

Tanja Hermans
2 years 12 days ago

Thank you for the wonderfull pictures and the inspiring words. Love Tanja

2 years 12 days ago

You have a lot of Wisdom, thank you for being a bright light in this world. I am happy to have stopped by
and read your post!

2 years 12 days ago

Amazing post. It was very inspirational. The photos are all so beautiful!!! I really need to work on number 6 🙂

2 years 12 days ago

Hi! I’m just catching up on my blogs and just read this post and you’ve just hit the nail on head!!! You’ve basically written out what/how I felt in 2011/2012! THANK YOU THANK YOU! The road seemed so lonely when my Dad suddenly passed but making the choice to take a year off life was the best thing I ever did for myself! I look forward to reading more from you! THANK YOU FOR SHARING!!!!! xoxoxox

2 years 12 days ago
Very well written. I am on the very same kind of journey, hit the rock bottom after a loooong fall and am now years later still learning my new self and which direction to take. The thing is not only the v e r y true inputs you have written above, but also h o w to implement them for real with both mind a n d heart. They must imo be at least quite aligned. When the turningpoint came and my mind realized that i had to get going, my heart wanted to stay in sorrow, and it took… READ MORE »
2 years 11 days ago

This has come at just the right time for me – thank you so much for a truly inspiring post.

2 years 11 days ago

Such an inspiring post….really thank you. I will share it with my blog readers 🙂

2 years 11 days ago

I dont know what to say … but … Thank You so much … i will do what you write and i hope it change my life too xx
i really want to discover my self buy traveling and meet new people but girl in my place cant do this her

Nicole Daacke
2 years 11 days ago
Some how just stumbled upon this and I’m so happy I did. I was forced to leave a study abroad program that I’d been looking forward to my whole life. It seemed like such an awful thing and low point in my life, and I was so afraid of what others would think. But it was exactly opposite of that. I’ve now been traveling around Europe for 3 months and it’s been the most remarkable experience. I completely agree with everything you’ve written. I have absolutely learned all of these things and found such a change in myself and the… READ MORE »
2 years 11 days ago

Beautiful thoughts by a beautiful lady! Thank you Dreams are for living.

2 years 11 days ago

Lovely words to live by.

2 years 11 days ago

A fantastic set of principles to live by in life. Thank you for sharing your journey

Vanessa Vanderhaven
2 years 11 days ago

What a great read. I really enjoyed everything that you said, especially the part about being afraid to fail, very uplifting and inspiring! It’s the first time I have seen your blog but I will be back again 🙂 xxx

Heidi D.
2 years 11 days ago

Thank you for sharing your journey. What an inspiration! I stumbled across your blog somewhat by accident and am so happy that I did. I shared this post in my favorite links of the week this past Friday:)

Heidi D.

2 years 11 days ago

Cool pictures in Paris. I wish I was there.

2 years 11 days ago

Beautiful photographs and fantastic insights into life. You’re a blessing to all of us!

2 years 8 days ago

Leah thank you for your sweet words thank you thank you I am so grateful for your comment and for you reading!

2 years 11 days ago

You are such a Star! Help us a looot!
Hopes and Dreams from Brasil, XoXo

2 years 11 days ago

Thank You for this wonderful post – it is exactly what I needed to hear 🙂

2 years 11 days ago

This post is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I will be bookmarking this whenever I start comparing myself to others or if I need a little boost. Comparison really is the thief of JOY. Amazing post!


2 years 8 days ago

Paige! Thank you darling! Comparison is the thief of joy. Wow!!! Love that – I always struggled with that and it made me really insecure. Now I’ve learned to accept my own personal path. It’s changed my life by changing my perspective! Sending you love! Thank you so much for your comment!!

2 years 11 days ago
Jinna thank you so much for this post it’s something I definitely struggle with and had caused an uproar of panic and anxiety. I always put things off to do the things that I think I’m supposed to do instead of the things that I want to do. This was definitely an inspiration. I have been dealing with the loss of my sister since 2007 and always ask when will I be back to normal but thanks to your post I now have a bit of understanding. I would love for you to visit my blog once I have completed… READ MORE »
Alia Hansen
2 years 11 days ago

Wow thank you so much for sharing this, really inspiring! Hope you’re doing well and I’m sure your future has loads to offer you 🙂 Looove the pictures btw 😉

xx love