What have I learned about myself in summer 2017?

I felt that I could do better in terms of productivity and creativity in the beginning of summer 2017. As of 20170606, I still have the remaining of summer 2017. It’s no use crying over spilled milk (复水难收), but I could focus on the upcoming days and weeks.

Nevertheless, the past period of doing nothing helped me to understand more about myself.

  1. I need to define a new dream [1]. I remember a wise saying to raise children because they can teach us more things than what we thought we can teach them. The sparkles in Little Prince’s eyes while role-playing his dreams motivated me [2].
  2. I thrive in a system, an environment with deadlines. Parkinson’s Law applied to me. When people have all the time in the world, more time is taken to do things.
  3. I love learning new things and sharing knowledge. I could give tuition classes [3], it seems that there is lower risk that (smart, beautiful) robots will replace teachers (0.9%) than reporters (11%), computer programmer (48%), accountants (94%). As of spring 2017, robots have also replaced some portfolio managers at BlackRock.
  4. I love diversity. I prefer to experience diverse career to being a pigeon-holed in my current profession. In the past, I love photography to the point that I consider a part-time profession as a photographer, but now I only take photographs for future Little Prince and Little Princess, so that they remember how fortunate they were and their dreams. It’s okay if I miss taking the photos of food, the best angles of a particular architectures, etc.
  5. I prefer simplicity. I feel overwhelmed by information in the internet, the scientific advancement, the man-caused (e.g. wars, riots) and natural disasters.
  6. I am more dynamic than I thought. Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the idea of traveling and seeing the world, but in summer 2017, I feel like staying at home more [8].
  7. I am more easily influenced by other people that I thought. According to Jim Rohn, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Solution: I need to constantly (daily) remind myself on my core values and purposes.
  8. I have a little fear to take a pay cut (it feels like moving backward), but it seems to be reasonable when I make a career change, provided that I can make a significant jump in pay after 18 to 24 months.
  9. Humidity saps my motivation. It has made me feel sweaty and sticky. Solution: take a shower and ride on the after-shower freshness to create and produce meaningful things.


[1] When I was a little child, I had many dreams. As I grew into a teenager, I had less dreams. I wanted and needed a scholarship, and another one to pursue my graduate study. I am tremendously thankful to my benefactors and have achieved a dream of mine, which is also simultaneously my father’s dream. I could see how proud he was when he visited the university where I work and I brought him to a networking event courtesy of Huawei.

“When our dreams become reality, they are no longer our dreams, it’s time to start pursuing our next dreams.” Hugh MacLeod

Now, the big question is what’s next (while simultaneously striving to be wiser parents than ever [4]).

“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I need to listen to my life telling me who I am.” Parker Palmer

I ponder on the followings:

  • writer (I need to be financially independent enough, read more [5], constantly improve my command of English, learn to be more disciplined and hyperarticulate)
  • entrepreneur [6] (be prepared to work long hours)
  • consultant (I love traveling, solving new problems, yet I feel exhausted attending meetings that seem futile to me. Yes, I’m an introvert. I also crave for spending quality time with my children).
  • financial analyst / portfolio manager (I am tempted to take CFA more for the opportunity to learn about finance than the prospect of slaving hours in exchange for a big sum of money).
  • property investor (How to do it while we are still have a mortgage to serve as of summer 2017?)

I asked myself the following questions:

  • What do I love?
  • What am I good at?
  • What do people want from me?

See my brainstorming notes at ref2017*/learn_self_*txt.

[2] Exposure matters. After flying a lot in spring 2017 and visits to cockpits (we asked permissions, received yes and no), Little Prince imagined himself as a pilot of the airline that flew him from Middle East to Europe.

Before spring 2017, he often role played as a taxi driver or a bus driver. Although this profession is tiring, one uses a lot of brain energy to drive long hours, and the wages are not spectacular, we are tremendously thankful to people who transport us safely from a place to another, from humble Malaysian bus drivers to reckless Pakistani taxi drivers, whom we encountered.

[3] My first part-time jobs included giving mathematics tuition sessions to my junior before I started my university education.

[4] Wise parents do the followings:

  • encourages children to think again (says, “think again, and you’ll find the answer”) instead of says “you are wrong” or “you have no idea!”
  • says “think about the consequences!” instead of says “don’t do that!”
  • shows the child why it’s better to do it this way instead of show the child what they need to do.
  • teaches children to search for answers, instead of provides the answers.
  • deals with the cause/source of the problem, instead of deals with the consequences of a problem.
  • cares about him or herself and sets an example, instead of spends all their time wit the child, not leaving any for him or herself.
  • clearly tell children that parents are the most important people in the family, as advised by family psychologist John Rosemond, because we do not want to raise children who feel entitled.

[5] While I got my free eye checks when I bought a box of contact lens that reassuringly revealed to me that I do not have further deterioration of my eyesight, my eyes feel tired and strained after spending a lot of time (with breaks) in front of my Asus laptop. Solution: type and look somewhere far away, just let the flow of words being transformed into tangible stuff.

[6] Having lived with a start-up co-founder, the daily lives of an entrepreneur is far from what being romanticized to the public [7] in an efforts to diversify economy. In fact, the co-founder struggles everyday, was very frugal to spend even for his meals, and envious of his peers who secured jobs in big companies.

I haven’t had any solid idea of what products or services to offer as of 20170607 (Solution: I need to meet up and network more with driven people. Equally important, I also need to learn more about artificial intelligence, machine learning, programming, etc.)

[7] There are many who have tried, but only few will make it like Magic Pony Technology that uses neural networks to improve images and was acquired by Twitter on 20160620 for a reported $150 million, just within 18 months. Its co-founder Rob Bishop (Masters in Electrical and Electronics Engineering) and Zehan Wang (PhD in Computer Vision) first met at Entrepreneur First.

[8] I remember that I enjoyed so much the outdated travel brochures that I collected from a nearby travel agent. I used the visuals in the brochures, to imagine all the wonderful places in the world that I wanted to see. In summer 2017, I felt like staying at home more.

What are the possible reasons?

  • The need to pump breastmilk for Little Princess every 3-4 hours.
  • News suggesting that our world is increasingly unsafe, even to just cross a road.
  • A tiring 2016 and 2017 from motherhood and work.




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