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The Happiness Choice: The Five Decisions That Will Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Marilyn Tam

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This is not the Life I thought I was Living

Born into a very traditional Chinese family in Hong Kong, I was the second daughter of parents who were desperate for a son. Then my mother gave birth to three boys and cemented my position at the bottom of the totem pole. With three younger brothers I grew up an unwanted, neglected, and abused child in a culture where dirt was more valuable than a useless second daughter.

My one blessing was the name given to me by my grandfather. A very unusual honor for a Chinese girl, he named me Hay Lit after two respected Chinese emperors. This proud name empowered me to grow up believing that someone in my family cared about my future and inspired me to think that one day I could do something important with my life.

I knew there were other children who were much worse off than me. One of my schoolmates and her family of five lived in a single room where they shared a kitchen and bath with two other families. With both parents working, my friend still didn't have proper clothing or enough food to eat. It didn't seem fair that she had to live this way. At the age of 11, I knew that making a positive difference and helping people in need was my true destiny.

As a teenager, I came to the United States alone for a college education. I was driven to making positive change in the world. Working my way through school, I completed my undergraduate studies ...

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