the lessons i’ve learnt

21 years isn’t a lot of time. it’s probably slightly less than a third of most people’s lifetimes. and I’ve realised there’s a lot more to this world than i can ever imagine. there’s lands to be discovered, ideas to be progressed and most importantly, people to meet.

but i’d like to think i’ve done a few stuff and those are probably worth reflecting on. i mean there’s a wealth of knowledge in each moment if we simply decide to ponder a bit more on what they represent. this is me, at 21, realising a few things about life. some of them are disappointing, most of them are hugely affirmatory , but i’m inclined to believe all of them are intermediary – merely steps to a bigger realisation. and these possibilities excite me.

so here goes , the lessons i have humbly learnt.

Realisation #1 :The Journey is a good as the People you take it with

I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to meet a lot of people over the past year. Some of them have been really close friends and buddies, some of them I’ve had to bite my tongue to avoid antagonism. But at the end of the day, these people have made the journey I was on what it was.

The fantastic projects and ideas that I embarked on were nothing without the team of people and partners I had. It’s a tribal saying – the journeys are always hard, so choose the right people for them.

In this day and age, there’s a disgusting sense of admiration for individualism and freewill as compared to loyalty and camraderie. As if everyone is granted a free-pass as long as you use the words “I want to focus on something new” .

I still hold on to the belief that commitments stand for something, and that means that you go the mile to make sure you back each other up. Those who must take up their own journeys, must do it with a sense of loyalty and responsibility. And I’ve respected the friends who have done that all the more.

Choose the friends who care about you as much as you care about them , who don’t see you as an afterthought or a convenience. These friends , you can emotionally invest in and expect the warmth of friendship over time. It’s a tough and busy world out there, I’ve realised, and the people you choose to spend time messaging and hanging out with starts becoming more selective. Not because you’re “too busy for others” but really because every person has a limited capacity , and it can get exhausting otherwise.

Mentors that are invested in you, Teams that will run with you, these are the people aspect of things that matter.

People matter in any industry or conquest. Stay close to the ones that you know have your back.

Realisation #2 : Love is key, Passion is furious

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I am three things – I am an Innovator, Strategist and Advocate. But the one word that would sum up all three of those is the word “Ideator” . I ideate every day, and have a notebook full of crazy ideas that I want to execute in my lifetime. The more feasible ones are being worked on now.

Some of them are really tough to execute. We face resistance to our ideas on a daily basis – convincing and selling them is an uphill battle we fight. But one of the strongest arguments I’ve found that really sell is the honest truth that you care about what you do.

When people see the fire, when people see you bleeding what you present – they realise the conviction you have in your cause and can get infected by it. By loving what you do, you seal the most important argument of all – “I am willing to stand by this with my life.”

It’s not so much about being foolhardy and putting all your resources into it, but rather about increasing the gear. Some of my mentors have told me about the 100 Hour Rule – as someone who’s embarking on whatever you’re doing, expect to put 100 Hours a week into your  job because you’re fighting the good fight. You won’t necessarily earn much immediately, but keep fighting and you’ll hit the flip where the passion that you’ve been running on rewards you with financial freedom, time and comfort. Keep the fire.

Realisation #3 : Think Sustainable

I’ve cut down the lessons to 3 because I realise I don’t want to overdo these posts. So I’ve chosen this as my last realisation, at least for this post.

Sustainability is a very valid buzzword of our time. We realise that any idea has to be executed with anticipation of the future.  Things may change, and you may need to expand capacity for bigger productions and projects. These are concepts that only someone who deliberately executes strategic decisions can appreciate .

Anything as simple as a school project to something as complex as a career life-plan has to allow for dynamic interference.  Where are you positioning yourself to head and what do you need to get there? I’ve met too many people and organisations that have focussed so much on the next day that they’ve forgotten to see how the next 5 steps are looking like. They end up overusing their resources and exhausting themselves.  A sustainable mindset is paramount.

My dearest hope is for the next generation of youths in Singapore to take on the mantle of being dream-chasers. And they have to do it right, they have to do it with an appreciation of the complexities that lie within the sphere of dream-chasing. But therein is the excitement – things are never simple in this realm. We are all warriors.

And that’s exciting



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