Hi, I'm Ye Chen.

I was born in China, but I grew up and live in the Netherlands. I graduated from the Rotterdam Business School in 2017. One year later, I started writing, mainly blogs; freelance content creation; and launched my own website. I write about self-improvement, overcoming challenges, reclaiming life, and embracing change, both personally and professionally.

 

"I currently write and publish on my own website, on Medium for The Startup, and Thought Catalog."

 

Why I Write

I’m not going to bore you with every bit of detail. So, in short, my life has gone through some major changes over the years in terms of what I value, what my interests are, what my goals are, who I consider my family and friends, and much more. It’s all a bit ironic. You see, I wasn't really looking to change myself at all, things just started happening. That's a nice way to sum up life I suppose.

At the same time, it's weird: although growing and changing is obviously a good thing, it’s also very confusing because you become a bit of a new person. Sometimes, a change is what you might need in order for you to stay the same. Unfortunately, people hardly talk about what they are going through and are afraid of it, even though there are so many questions. So, I started to write about my experiences in my blogs, hoping to inspire and change people's lives for the better.

 

While I have you here...

Below you can read a more detailed version of my changes in life.

Hello World

I was born in China, Fujian province. I was a few months old when my parents decided to move to the Netherlands to have a better life with more opportunities.

 

The first nine years of my life, I was living with my grandparents. They raised me, so it’s only natural that I thought of them as my real loving parents, even now I still do. At that age, I didn’t know the difference between grandparents and parents. I was simply being a child in my own world.

1989

Hello World

I was born in China, Fujian province. I was a few months old when my parents decided to move to the Netherlands to have a better life with more opportunities.

 

The first nine years of my life, I was living with my grandparents. They raised me, so it’s only natural that I thought of them as my real loving parents, even now I still do. At that age, I didn’t know the difference between grandparents and parents. I was simply being a child in my own world.

1989

My Real Parents

When I was ten, a woman would come and pick me up from my grandparent’s place to bring me to a Chinese school during the weekends, together with her two daughters. It turned out that she is my real mother and I have two sisters.

 

After some time, my grandparents sadly told me that my real parents wanted me to come back to live with them.

 

I was confused by what they meant with real parents. I thought I was living with my parents the whole time. As time goes by, I started to understand the difference between the concept of grandparents and parents.

 

So, I agreed to move back in with my real parents, because I thought that’s what I’m supposed to do as a son. It was the most awkward and hardest change of my childhood. Suddenly, I was sharing a room with my sisters, transferred to a new elementary school, and made new friends.

 

Every weekend, I spent my time visiting my grandparents. How could I not?

1999

My Real Parents

When I was ten, a woman would come and pick me up from my grandparent’s place to bring me to a Chinese school during the weekends, together with her two daughters. It turned out that she is my real mother and I have two sisters.

 

After some time, my grandparents sadly told me that my real parents wanted me to come back to live with them.

 

I was confused by what they meant with real parents. I thought I was living with my parents the whole time. As time goes by, I started to understand the difference between the concept of grandparents and parents.

 

So, I agreed to move back in with my real parents, because I thought that’s what I’m supposed to do as a son. It was the most awkward and hardest change of my childhood. Suddenly, I was sharing a room with my sisters, transferred to a new elementary school, and made new friends.

 

Every weekend, I spent my time visiting my grandparents. How could I not?

1999

Lost In Early Decision-Making

So, let’s fast forward to my high school years, where I wasn’t the typical good student. I did the stupidest things just to fit in with the popular kids, picked some fights during break time, and not being on time for class.

 

In the first and second year, I performed okay. I was a slow learner with average grades. I struggled hard with theoretical classes such as history and geography, but I rocked in the more creative and practical classes such as music and art.

 

In my third year, when we had to choose a certain study program, everything went south. I suddenly lost all interest in school, grades, and even life. Like I said, I was a slow learner and I didn’t know what I wanted to do or become in the future, whenever that is.

 

Because I didn’t know which study program to choose, I lost a great amount of time trying them all. I had a delay of two years and that eventually led me to not obtaining my high school degree. The worst part is that my unmotivated behaviour wasn’t a temporary thing. In fact, it went on for years.

2001

Lost In Early Decision-Making

So, let’s fast forward to my high school years, where I wasn’t the typical good student. I did the stupidest things just to fit in with the popular kids, picked some fights during break time, and not being on time for class.

 

In the first and second year, I performed okay. I was a slow learner with average grades. I struggled hard with theoretical classes such as history and geography, but I rocked in the more creative and practical classes such as music and art.

 

In my third year, when we had to choose a certain study program, everything went south. I suddenly lost all interest in school, grades, and even life. Like I said, I was a slow learner and I didn’t know what I wanted to do or become in the future, whenever that is.

 

Because I didn’t know which study program to choose, I lost a great amount of time trying them all. I had a delay of two years and that eventually led me to not obtaining my high school degree. The worst part is that my unmotivated behaviour wasn’t a temporary thing. In fact, it went on for years.

2001

One Book Changed Me

In 2008, I could finally start to pick up my life again.

 

I remember like it was yesterday. I was as usually searching for ways to reconnect myself with life and purpose. For many years, I have felt lost and unmotivated, until one day, that one moment when I turned my head towards the television and I saw Oprah Winfrey holding the book ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle.

 

Oprah said something along the line of: “If you’re feeling lost and can’t find meaning in life, then you need to read this book.” I hesitated for a moment thinking that this is just too coincidental. Right?

 

That afternoon, I went to a bookstore in Rotterdam and bought the book, just like that. I thought to myself, will this book really help me find meaning in life?

 

Without having any expectations, I opened the book and started to read. Surprisingly, I continuously kept reading. Normally, I would feel bored, close the book, and put it somewhere to collect dust. But this time was different because the course of my life depended on it.

 

Before I realised it, I finished the book.

2008

One Book Changed Me

In 2008, I could finally start to pick up my life again.

 

I remember like it was yesterday. I was as usually searching for ways to reconnect myself with life and purpose. For many years, I have felt lost and unmotivated, until one day, that one moment when I turned my head towards the television and I saw Oprah Winfrey holding the book ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle.

 

Oprah said something along the line of: “If you’re feeling lost and can’t find meaning in life, then you need to read this book.” I hesitated for a moment thinking that this is just too coincidental. Right?

 

That afternoon, I went to a bookstore in Rotterdam and bought the book, just like that. I thought to myself, will this book really help me find meaning in life?

 

Without having any expectations, I opened the book and started to read. Surprisingly, I continuously kept reading. Normally, I would feel bored, close the book, and put it somewhere to collect dust. But this time was different because the course of my life depended on it.

 

Before I realised it, I finished the book.

2008

My Wake-Up Call

‘A New Earth’ was a real wake-up call. It taught me to accept every moment as it is, instead of wishing for it to be different. Somewhere deep inside, I regretted I moved back in with my real parents. I missed my grandparents and it felt as if I had let them down. This feeling has haunted me since my high school years. My mind was clouded by negative emotions. I hated the situation where I was in, I couldn’t accept it and I wasn’t taking responsibility for it.

 

Once I simply accepted everything that I was doing, I also accepted to take responsibility for my own state of mind. Most importantly, I learned to find peace and enjoyment in the present.

 

The more I sought to find this enjoyment in your life, the more it became my source of motivation for doing things. With this in mind, I decided to enrol in a 4-years hotel management course, an intermediate vocational education.

2009

My Wake-Up Call

‘A New Earth’ was a real wake-up call. It taught me to accept every moment as it is, instead of wishing for it to be different. Somewhere deep inside, I regretted I moved back in with my real parents. I missed my grandparents and it felt as if I had let them down. This feeling has haunted me since my high school years. My mind was clouded by negative emotions. I hated the situation where I was in, I couldn’t accept it and I wasn’t taking responsibility for it.

 

Once I simply accepted everything that I was doing, I also accepted to take responsibility for my own state of mind. Most importantly, I learned to find peace and enjoyment in the present.

 

The more I sought to find this enjoyment in your life, the more it became my source of motivation for doing things. With this in mind, I decided to enrol in a 4-years hotel management course, an intermediate vocational education.

2009

Iceland, An Unforgettable Experience

In my third year, I got the opportunity to do an internship abroad for a half year. I decided to go to Iceland and I wrote a whole blog about it which you can read here.

 

In short, as if I was transported to a fantasy novel — a story that took me far away from my safe home to a mystical land full of adventure and uniqueness, which was exactly what I wanted. Nothing was good and yet everything was perfect.

2011

Iceland, An Unforgettable Experience

In my third year, I got the opportunity to do an internship abroad for a half year. I decided to go to Iceland and I wrote a whole blog about it which you can read here.

 

In short, as if I was transported to a fantasy novel — a story that took me far away from my safe home to a mystical land full of adventure and uniqueness, which was exactly what I wanted. Nothing was good and yet everything was perfect.

2011

Feeling Unstoppable

After four years, I successfully obtained my intermediate vocational education degree. I even received an honourable certificate from the school director for being the best participant.

 

For the first time, it felt like I have accomplished something in my life, and I have. I felt great, fearless, and unstoppable and I knew I could do even better. So, I decided to sign up at Rotterdam Business School for International Business Management, to take a shot at a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

2013

Feeling Unstoppable

After four years, I successfully obtained my intermediate vocational education degree. I even received an honourable certificate from the school director for being the best participant.

 

For the first time, it felt like I have accomplished something in my life, and I have. I felt great, fearless, and unstoppable and I knew I could do even better. So, I decided to sign up at Rotterdam Business School for International Business Management, to take a shot at a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

2013

San Francisco, Here I Come

I managed to obtain my propaedeutic in one year and in my third year, I had another opportunity to do my internship abroad. I was looking forward to this moment since the first year. My goal was to go to San Francisco.

 

I sent out my motivation letter and cv to different companies, and I received one rejection after another. I was about to give up all hope until I received a last-minute email from a social enterprise to be their communication and development intern. I couldn’t believe I was going to SAN FRANCISCO for five months!

 

At the same time, I was hyped and under a lot of pressure. I needed to get all my paperwork done, such as J-1 VISA, insurance, a place to stay, formally signed approval from my university and the company. The average time to get a J-1 VISA would take around three months, and I only had two months to get everything done.

 

I have never felt so determined in my life. Yes, it came with a lot of failures, but I was willing to fail if it means I can reach my goal. And fortunately, my hard work paid off. I got everything on time and before I knew it, I was on my way. I wrote a blog, so feel free to read up about my time in San Francisco.

2015

San Francisco, Here I Come

I managed to obtain my propaedeutic in one year and in my third year, I had another opportunity to do my internship abroad. I was looking forward to this moment since the first year. My goal was to go to San Francisco.

 

I sent out my motivation letter and cv to different companies, and I received one rejection after another. I was about to give up all hope until I received a last-minute email from a social enterprise to be their communication and development intern. I couldn’t believe I was going to SAN FRANCISCO for five months!

 

At the same time, I was hyped and under a lot of pressure. I needed to get all my paperwork done, such as J-1 VISA, insurance, a place to stay, formally signed approval from my university and the company. The average time to get a J-1 VISA would take around three months, and I only had two months to get everything done.

 

I have never felt so determined in my life. Yes, it came with a lot of failures, but I was willing to fail if it means I can reach my goal. And fortunately, my hard work paid off. I got everything on time and before I knew it, I was on my way. I wrote a blog, so feel free to read up about my time in San Francisco.

2015

My First Startup

After my San Francisco adventure, I entered my last year where I had to decide on a minor. Luckily, I already knew which minor to choose since there was only one minor I was interested in – Entrepreneurship.

 

My first startup, together with three other partners, we founded BraveBeard, a lifestyle brand for the bearded men. The life of an entrepreneur has been an exciting life packed with ups and downs. After one year, I decided to step out of this business, because of the many difficulties among the partners.

 

This has led me to a different path.

2016

My First Startup

After my San Francisco adventure, I entered my last year where I had to decide on a minor. Luckily, I already knew which minor to choose since there was only one minor I was interested in – Entrepreneurship.

 

My first startup, together with three other partners, we founded BraveBeard, a lifestyle brand for the bearded men. The life of an entrepreneur has been an exciting life packed with ups and downs. After one year, I decided to step out of this business, because of the many difficulties among the partners.

 

This has led me to a different path.

2016

Found A New Passion

After I quit BraveBeard, I did nothing for a month. Again, I felt lost and I was constantly thinking about what I should do next. Every day, I was on the couch watching Modern Family on Netflix. The idea of being stuck on the couch watching Netflix as days flew by scared the shit out of me.

 

I was thinking to myself what I really enjoyed doing when I was at my first startup. I had a clear answer to that and it was ‘writing’. I basically wrote all the content, such as product description, the story around the company, flyers, social media posts, online blogs, and everything else. Writing was something I enjoyed doing, so why not continue with it.

 

So, I made an account on Medium and started to write blogs about my life experiences. From there, the publisher The Startup noticed my work and asked if I would like to contribute by writing for them. I agreed to that because it would give me a huge boost in exposure. Slowly, I was gaining more and more followers.

2017

Found A New Passion

After I quit BraveBeard, I did nothing for a month. Again, I felt lost and I was constantly thinking about what I should do next. Every day, I was on the couch watching Modern Family on Netflix. The idea of being stuck on the couch watching Netflix as days flew by scared the shit out of me.

 

I was thinking to myself what I really enjoyed doing when I was at my first startup. I had a clear answer to that and it was ‘writing’. I basically wrote all the content, such as product description, the story around the company, flyers, social media posts, online blogs, and everything else. Writing was something I enjoyed doing, so why not continue with it.

 

So, I made an account on Medium and started to write blogs about my life experiences. From there, the publisher The Startup noticed my work and asked if I would like to contribute by writing for them. I agreed to that because it would give me a huge boost in exposure. Slowly, I was gaining more and more followers.

2017

My Own Website

I decided to become a freelancer in content creation and launched my own website where I publish my content for free.

 

After a few months, Thought Catalog noticed one of my blogs ‘Distance Means So Little, When Someone Means So Much‘. They reached out to me and asked if they could re-publish my blog on their platform. Now, I also publish on Thought Catalog.

 

To be continued…

2018

My Own Website

I decided to become a freelancer in content creation and launched my own website where I publish my content for free.

 

After a few months, Thought Catalog noticed one of my blogs ‘Distance Means So Little, When Someone Means So Much‘. They reached out to me and asked if they could re-publish my blog on their platform. Now, I also publish on Thought Catalog.

 

To be continued…

2018
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