Creating over consuming. Action over inaction. Fail fast over stagnation. Ask for forgiveness over permission. Why not over why. Discipline over indulgence. Listen to your heart over head. Fear fear over fear.
Abundance over scarcity. Exploration over quick-fixes. Present over past. Possibilities over limits. Experience over status. We over me. And over or.
Curious over disparaging. Freedom over constraint. Compassion over apathy. Constructive over condemning. Living now over waiting. Mindful over drifting.
Think of life as a prototype. We can conduct experiments, make discoveries, and change our perspectives. We can look for opportunities to turn processes into projects that have tangible outcomes. We can learn how to take joy in the things we create whether they take the form of a fleeting experience or an heirloom that will last for generations. We can learn that reward comes in creation and re-creation, not just in the consumption of the world around us. Active participation in the process of creation is our right and our privilege. We can learn to measure the success of our ideas not by our bank accounts but by their impact on the world.
Brown, Tim (2009-09-16). Change by Design (p. 241). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.
“1. Be curious. Read widely. Try new things. I think a lot of what people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity.
2. Say yes to everything. I have a lot of trouble saying no, to an pathological degree — whether to projects or to interviews or to friends. As a result, I attempt a lot and even if most of it fails, I’ve still done something.
3. Assume nobody else has any idea what they’re doing either. A lot of people refuse to try something because they feel they don’t know enough about it or they assume other people must have already tried everything they could have thought of. Well, few people really have any idea how to do things right and even fewer are to try new things, so usually if you give your best shot at something you’ll do pretty well.”
Recently I came across this old Canto-pop song. It first came out in early 2008, when I graduated from college. It was one of my favorites, and a great timing as I was looking forward to beginning my life after college. Fast forward five years, as a midpoint check, the decisions I have made so far have mostly fared positively to the questions this song posed.
Dear new graduates, I wanted to share with you this song. I translated the lyrics here; they say it all.
Enjoy the journey. Stay true to your beliefs. Bias toward action. Keep your edges. Most importantly, strive to make the you in ten years proud.
To the Me in Ten Years
The things that you have done in the past ten years Did they leave you without regrets, and make you proud? Your beliefs back then Are they still intact?
Have you found your life partner and true love? Have your accomplishments been satisfactory? Over the journey, you accumulated experiences and as a result, did you let go of your edges?
Are you feeling weak? Did you mature but lose your style? Are you still as dedicated as you were in the beginning? The edges in your character, did they become blunt?
Are you feeling weathered? Do you rather become wise but without impulse? Will you be tired of taking deliberate steps?
Are you happy? Do you still remember your promises to not be numbed by the handful of successes or failures?
Are you happy? Did you forget about your ideals and get caught up with life? Don’t wait another ten years and then ask if you are happy
When we are presented with moments of crisis, large decisions or new opportunities often we find ourselves crippled by the lack of knowledge. We justify inaction with our insecurities in not knowing the right way to move forward. Or we trap ourselves in an endless search for knowledge to attempt to reassure our actions.
Over the course of my career and journey as an entrepreneur, I have learned that success and fulfillment is found when we push ourselves beyond our comfort zone. There is tremendous value in having knowledge ahead of time—I am now CPR certified—but simply taking action is often what it takes.
You don’t have to do it right. You just have to do something.
3 weeks ago I packed up my belongings and moved to san francisco. I got rid of my 4 year old apartment with the first set of own designed bed and sofa, packed up 6 boxes to move back to parents’ and 2 suitcases to board a direct flight to SFO.
Since I landed, I started working the next day. My life has just been turned around 180 degrees. I started a new routine (more on that next week), and also began to work and live in a new city.
One thing I have gained in my new life is a lot of walking. From train station to the office, it is usually a good 20 minutes walk. That has significantly differed from my previous routine in a dense city where no commute is more than 30 minutes from point to point. Daunting at first, not only of the potential of ‘wasted time’ but also of the fear ‘what would I do with the long chunks of offline time’, I have really started to enjoy these unplugged moments.
During my walk to work, I began to pay more attention to the surroundings, the nuanced change in season, the cute vintage cars, a lively neighborhood and also the life I am experiencing recently. At times, I pause to admire the beauty of the life around me, feeling the tremendous gratitude to what that has been bestowed to me.
I really like the quote that Leo Babauta of Zen Habits says ‘The only response that life deserves: overjoyed applause”.
Whenever life gets ‘too much’, I remind myself to go for a walk, pause a bit and look up - applaud for what life has given me. Applaud for the hard work I have done. And most importantly, applaud for the gift of experience that has been bestowed upon me today, now.