Tag: self-help

The problem with perfectionism

The problem with perfectionism

Back in the days when I was a student going through my business communication module. There was a class on interviewing skills.

The instructor asked for volunteers and one of the questions went like this:

Instructor: Tell me about your biggest weakness.

Response: I’m a perfectionist. I spend too much time getting caught up in the little details…

Cringe.

This was a decade back where this response was considered the model answer for “what’s your biggest flaw” type of questions.

This poster, found on the walls of... - Facebook for Education | Facebook
Poster on walls of Facebook office

Today, with technology and best practices changing so rapidly, perfectionism would be crippling to most organizations.

Agile, Scrum and Kanban are the buzzwords for innovation for almost every organization nowadays. It focuses on incremental changes, testing, and modifications. Rather than in-depth planning right at the beginning.

“If you think that’s a big failure, we’re working on much bigger failures right now — and I am not kidding. Some of them are going to make the Fire Phone look like a tiny little blip.”

Jeff Bezos on the failure of the Fire Phone

Successful organizations are increasingly aware of the importance of trying out, going fast and making progress instead of executing only when there’s a ‘perfect’ idea.

What’s wrong with being a perfectionist?

It is paralyzing.

“Perfectionism is insecurity with lipstick on it”

Gary Vaynerchuk

The quest for perfectionism is a defense mechanism that prevents us from doing anything. It is the worst procrastination tool around.

The true perfectionist will not try new things, because they know it will never be perfect.

If you’re looking for a perfect life, you will never enjoy living.
If you’re looking for a perfect opportunity, you will never find it.
If you’re looking for the perfect investment, you will never invest.
If you’re looking for the perfect relationship, you will never find anyone.

Many knows that their life could be better by investing, getting insured, publish their content publicly, or pursue their dreams.

But would never do it.

“Investing is too risky, best left to professionals.”

“It has already been done by many others, I’m too late to try.”

“I don’t think I’m good enough.”

We are afraid that we have no talent. That we will be rejected, criticized, ridiculed or misunderstood or — worst of all — not be heard.

But we forget that the path to being good at anything is to start.

The gap between expectations & reality

We often look at our idols, be it Michael Jordan for basketball, Warren Buffett for investing, J.K. Rowling for writing or Jeff Bezos for running businesses and awe at how good they are.

We start setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves as amateurs and compare ourselves with our idols. With what we see on the surface — perfection.

Our perfectionism starts to torture us when we overlook how hard others had work or suffered before reaching ‘perfection’.

The original Amazon website (August 1995)
The original Amazon website (1995)

Amazon did not start out to be the e-commerce powerhouse it is today. Jeff Bezos was rejected multiple times when trying to raise funds in 1994.

He said, “I had to take 60 meetings to raise $1 million, and I raised it from 22 people at approximately $50,000 a person.”

In the book The Everything Store, Bezos started out packing books, rushing to meet customers orders, and struggled to find supplies.

Nothing was easy nor instant. Bezos achieve what he has today with a constant struggle of refining, testing, failing, and improving before Amazon became the number one e-commerce store.

What do we do?

Start the process by not judging yourself.

At least not in the short term. Don’t judge yourself in a day, or weeks, or months. Judge yourself in a life.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.

Focus on progress, not perfection.


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How to ask better questions

How to ask better questions

Successful people are not more talented than you and I.

What makes them successful are often uncommon habits and asking bigger questions. The more ridiculous the question, the more profound the answers. For example, billionaire Peter Thiel likes to ask himself this:

“If you have a 10-year plan of how to get [somewhere], you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months?

Questions like these forces us to think outside of the artificial limitations we place in our head systems, societal rules, and standard frameworks we forced unto ourselves.

Allowing us to be aware of our ability to renegotiate our reality.

12 questions for ourselves

On the topic of questions, I’m reminded of Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, who once said:

“You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while, there will be a hit, and people will say, ‘How did he do it? He must be a genius!'”

Every 6 months, I will spend 30 minutes to write down the 12 questions that drive my intellectual curiosities. These can range from investing, health, relationships, and more.

I recommend you to try this out. These 12 questions will hold the keys to your next creative breakthroughs.

Invert, always invert

“All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.”
— Charlie T. Munger

This idea was inspired by mathematician Carl Jacobi. He often solved difficult problems by following a simple strategy: “man muss immer umkehren” (or loosely translated, “invert, always invert.”)

During Berkshire’s annual general meeting, Munger explains “Turn a situation or problem upside down. Look at it backward. What happens if all our plans go wrong? Where don’t we want to go, and how do you get there? Instead of looking for success, make a list of how to fail instead — through sloth, envy, resentment, self-pity, entitlement, all the mental habits of self-defeat. Avoid these qualities and you will succeed.”

Inversion is one of my favorite mental models as it forces you to uncover hidden beliefs about the problem you are trying to solve. “Indeed,” says Munger, “many problems can’t be solved forward.

Instead of thinking “what makes a good life?“, invert the question and ask “what makes life miserable?” Ideally, you avoid all those things.

Avoid stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance. Inverting the problem won’t always solve it, but it will help you to avoid trouble. It presents you with easy ways to improve.

How can we use this in practice?

1. Find our role models. Mine can be found here. Find a positive role model and a negative role model. These are the people you can learn from – on what to do and what not to do.

Warren Buffett did a similar exercise with MBA students at Florida University.

Think for a moment that I granted you a right — you can buy 10% of one of your classmate’s earnings for the rest of their lifetime.

You’d probably pick the person who has leadership qualities, who is able to get others to carry out their interests. That would be the person who is generous, honest and gave credit to other people for their own ideas.

And here comes the hooker: In addition to this person, Buffett told the students they had to sell short another one of their classmates and pay 10% of what they do.

You’d think about the person who turned you off, the person who is egotistical, who is greedy, who cuts corners, who is slightly dishonest.

If you see any of those qualities in yourself, you can get rid of them. It’s simply a question of which you decide.


2. Identify your goals and imagine all the obstacles that will prevent you from succeeding. Being aware of these obstacles and doing everything you can to overcome them will significantly raise your chances of success.

Asking questions like Tim Ferriss

If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution “. 
Albert Einstein

Most of us have an action bias and jump into tackling problems too fast. If we want to learn from the best in the various fields, good questions would be the map for finding that treasure. To build a world-class network, we need to communicate in a way that earns it.

Tim Ferris is a self-experimenter and bestseller author, best known for The 4-Hour Workweek. Newsweek calls him the “human guinea pig”.  Tim’s mission is to decode human greatness by asking questions. He has interviewed high achievers like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Fox, Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, Brené Brown, and many more.

The following are Tim’s advice to asking great questions.

1. Study questions of skilled hosts

Listen to podcasts of great hosts to borrow their questions and test them out. Some of my favorite podcasts include The Tim Ferriss Show, The Knowledge Project, and Invest Like the Best.

2. The question can be answered quickly

“A problem well put is half-solved.”
— John Dewey

Can the person answering think of an answer in 5 seconds or less? Time matters to people and questions that are too broad cannot be answered quickly.

Questions like “What is your favorite book?” is a bad question because they probably have read many books and it would take time to decide on one. A better question would be “What is the book that you have gifted the most?” This helps limit the scope drastically and it is much easier to answer.

Much like asking yourself the question “What makes me happy?” These questions are terrible because it is too broad. It would be difficult to define happiness. A better question would be “What makes me feel most relieved after work?”

3. Ask specific questions

Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask”. 
Tim Ferris

Whether the question is for ourselves or for an expert, it should be as specific as possible. Ask a general, half-hearted question and you will elicit a half-hearted general response. It goes something like this:

Question – “How’s it going?”

Response – “It’s fine. Things are going well.”

Sounds easy and obvious enough. Yet in reality, this happens more often than we would like. From parents asking how their kids are doing at school to superiors asking their employees are coping.

Be specific about what you want to learn. Scope in your questions by providing context, focusing on a specific event or time.

4. Sequence of questions

Proper sequencing is the trick to bring out optimal responses. Good questions in the wrong order get bad responses. You can rise above your peers by putting thought into sequencing, as most people don’t.

Always warm up your interviewee with questions that are easier and less intimidating. Once they are flowing and engaged, proceed to ask the more challenging questions.

Research shows that people are more willing to reveal sensitive information when questions are asked in a decreasing order of intrusiveness.

The Actors Studio hosted by James Lipton is famous for asking high-quality questions. James interviews the most successful actors such as Tom Hanks, Al Pacino, and many more to deconstruct their greatness. This questionnaire was originally used by Bernand Pivot, one of the greatest talk show host:

  • What is your favorite word?
  • What is your least favorite word?
  • What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
  • What turns you off?
  • What is your favorite curse word?
  • What sound or noise do you love?
  • What sound or noise do you hate?
  • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  • What profession would you not like to do?
  • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

James start by asking light-weighted questions and gradually escalate to complex and philosophical questions. If you want to ask those important questions, build up to them.

5. Provide Examples

When asking difficult questions, help your interviewees out by sharing some examples. This will help buy them 30 seconds or so to think about the answer.

For example, when Tim asks his interviewees “What is the most absurd thing that you love?” He would then provide his personal example on why the number 5 by 5 is good luck to him for many reasons.

Tips from Alex Blumberg

Alex Blumberg was featured in Tim’s book, Tools of Titans. Alex is the CEO and co-founder of Gimlet Media, which makes many blockbuster podcasts. Here are his tips on asking questions.

1. Ask the dumb question everybody is afraid to ask

At the center of a story often lies a very basic and dumb question that no one is asking. Alex gave an example of one of the biggest story he ever did on The Giant Pool of Money, was centered on this: “Why are the banks loaning money to people who can’t possibly pay it back?”

Asking the right dumb question is often the smartest thing to do.

2. Using the right questions and prompts

Good questions should draw out stories, not an uninformative yes or no answer. Alex elicit what he calls “authentic moments of emotion” by covering three bases: setting (e.g. where, when, who, what), emotions, and details.

Here are some examples Alex provided in the book – Tools of Titans:

Prompts to Elicit Stories (Most Interviewers Are Weak at This)
“Tell me about a time when . . .”
“Tell me about the day [or moment or time] when . . .”
“Tell me the story of . . . [how you came to major in X, how you met so-and-so, etc.]”
“Tell me about the day you realized ___ . . . ”
“What were the steps that got you to ___ ?”
“Describe the conversation when . . .”

Follow-Up Questions When Something Interesting Comes Up, Perhaps in Passing
“How did that make you feel?”
“What do you make of that?”

General-Use Fishing Lures
“If the old you could see the new you, what would the new you say?”
“You seem very confident now. Was that always the case?”
“If you had to describe the debate in your head about [X decision or event], how would you describe it?”

There is something to learn from everyone

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.”
— Bruce Lee

Last but not least, have an open mind. Strong opinions, loosely held. Have the courage to act on your ideas but have the humility to question what you know.

Challenge yourself to truly listen to people who have differing ideas and opinions than you do. Stay out of echo chambers – an environment where we only hear information or opinions that reflect and reinforce our existing thoughts.

After asking your questions, listen. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.

Don’t try to impress people and one-up their response with your reply. Ask follow-up questions and learn.

Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, has said that “The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything.” Substitute “master learner” for “novel,” and you have my philosophy of life. Often, all that stands between you and what you want is a better set of questions.


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The S curve of life

The S curve of life

Every process, be it a business, a country, or your life, is like an S-curve lying on its side. Like this:

We first start out by putting more in. By way of education, investment, or experiment before it starts going up. And when it goes up, as one would hope, for it to keep going up all the time. Nevertheless, it is an S curve and eventually, it reaches the top and starts going down.

Everyone experiences their tipping point at different moments in their life. As the curve moves down, we experience what is popularly known as the quarter-life crisis or the mid-life crisis. When work no longer feels as satisfying or meaningful.

In Peter Drucker’s book Managing Oneself, he explains that as our society transits from manual work to knowledge work, our productive years have been prolonged. Most of us get to be very good at our jobs, but it may no longer provide the growth, challenge or satisfaction it once did.

Starting your next S curve

We have to find the next curve while we are still climbing. Before we start hitting the peak of the first curve. Because it is tough to start new when it starts going downhill.

Starting a new curve is going to cost more than they produce at first. The curve will dip initially as we need new investment, education, and experiment before it starts to go up.

It will look like this:

Due to uncertainty, most of us find it difficult to summon the will or courage to pivot or change direction. For many individuals or companies, as they approach the end of the curve, wonder what went wrong. They start asking themselves why they didn’t change when times were good.

“Most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.”

Benjamin Franklin

Psychologically it is very difficult to start new when we are starting to experience the fruits of success. For individuals, the majority would “retire on the job”, and hope that life post-retirement would be more fulfilling.

For organizations, the inability to change course at their peak meant extinction or a slow painful death. Much like what digital cameras did to Kodak and what streaming did to Blockbuster.

Pay attention when your purpose changes

Learn to listen to your voice, and recognize that goals and purpose in life may evolve over time. Complacency and lack of curiosity are good indicators that it may be time to start your next S curve.

Sometimes, we may not know what our next S curve should be.

The best way to find your next S curve is by taking action. Taking action helps dispel fear and anxiety when undergoing changes. Finding your purpose is less about grand moments of discovery but more of developing the habit of awareness and experimenting.

In his book The Art of Work, Jeff Goins shared “When we say we don’t know what to do, we’re really asking something deeper. What we want to know is this: Can you promise me I won’t fail?”

Finding my next S curve

Starting this blog, reading biographies, and connecting with people has helped kickstart the process. By taking action, I hope to have a better visualization of what my next S curve would look like.

There was a lot of apprehension before writing publicly. But that was quickly dispelled with the privilege of having a supportive community.

In the spirit of celebrating small milestones, I’m glad that the blog has hit 15,000 views per month after writing close to 2 months. I’m also grateful for the kind words and recognition from the internet community.

I was particularly delighted when Gautam Baid, author of The Joys of Compounding shared my post on Figuring out a company’s intrinsic value with PE ratio.

This post gave me the opportunity to connect with many value investors.

Charles Handy puts it across aptly – stuff happens in life, apples fall unexpectedly into your lap, but it helps if you are standing in the orchard.

In short, if you have an idea of what you would like to pursue. Start meeting people, reading relevant books or finding the right online community.

Staying in touch

I’m thankful that you have taken the time to read my blog. If you would like to get in touch, I would be happy to connect with you on Linkedin.

Alternatively, you can reach me at contact@steadycompounding.com

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What basketball taught me about life

What basketball taught me about life

#Attitude. It means giving your best on and off the court. It means showing up on time. It means out-hustling others even when your body is wearing out. It means treating your teammates and your coach with the utmost respect and care. It means to be the best version of yourself.

It has been almost 4 years since I graduated. If there’s one thing that’d define my university life, it’d be basketball. There were many challenging moments that we always overcome as a team. Time spent hustling with my teammates, growing together as a team are experiences I would always hold dear.

Being a student-athlete means spending most of our waking hours training. My day would start at 6:00 A.M. daily with a 5km run, followed by hitting the gym. Evening time would be reserved for basketball practice with the team. Everyone worked tirelessly towards a common goal – to become the best varsity team in Singapore.

I’m grateful for the many lessons and values being a student-athlete provided me. My coach, teammates, and the challenges we faced taught me many timeless lessons. I hope you will find these useful as well.

Deliberate practice

Popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, 10,000 hours of practice is the magic number to greatness. In the beginning, showing up on the court and in the gym to put in the reps is the most important thing. After a while, we tend to go through the motion. Carelessly overlooking minute errors and missing out on daily opportunities for improvement.

Our brain naturally converts repeated actions into habits. For example, when we practice shooting and aim to make 100 shots a day. After many repetitions it becomes muscle memory. And if our shooting form was flawed, it becomes a bad habit that we subsequently have to unlearn and retrain.

Deliberate practice is the opposite of mindless practice. Instead of simply putting in the repetitions. It requires us to break down the process into parts, set clear goals, identify our weaknesses, and then continuously tweak our learning process.

Listen to your voice

Fear and self-doubt always strike at the most untimely moments. Surround yourself with supportive and positive personalities who believe in you. Avoid negative people who love bringing others down. It will drain you emotionally, preventing you from achieving your goals.

Throughout life, many will provide advice and opinions on how you should do things. Many of them are well-intended. With experience, you will learn how to filter out those that don’t sit right with your values and goals.

There will always be players who play dirty. Risking the safety of others and potentially inflicting career-ending injuries. They will convince you to do the same and they will rationalize their behaviors. In times like this, listen to your inner voice. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

This brings us to the next point on team culture.

Team culture

The speed and extent to which a team is able to grow together is largely dependent on its culture. A great team culture encourages open communication, promotes constructive feedback, and fosters a desire amongst teammates to see each other become better.

Our team set aside 10 – 15 minutes after every practice. Talking about what went well and what could be done better. A good advice would be to praise by name, criticize by category.

Alumnus would often be present to share their experiences. Every new batch of players did not start from ground zero. Under this environment, we were able to build on the experiences of seniors and alumnus quickly.

We never shunned difficult topics after every loss. As a team, we will trash it out and be critical of our performance. To find out how we can overcome challenges as a team. This form of candidness must be nurtured over time. And setting this tone starts from the top. Never let a loss go to waste, for setbacks provides the best opportunity to learn and grow.

Life isn’t a straight line

Life does not always move in straight lines. Sometimes you hit a plateau and move sideways for awhile. Other times you backtrack a little. It is tempting to think that everything moves in a linear fashion. As time pass, your career gets better, your relationships get better, and you become more fulfilled.

But the truth is that life will always throw you curveballs. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’ve gotten anywhere. Mid last year I had my ACL reconstruction surgery. Something that is dreadful to any athlete. Having to go through that prolonged rehabilitation process.

What matters though, is to focus on making tomorrow better than today. As the saying goes – if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Don’t be too hard yourself and focus on planning your next step. Get yourself out of that hole, one step at a time.

What you can’t count matters

What isn’t counted doesn’t count. That is how the saying goes and it is true that much of life is a numbers game. Headlines of sports articles are filled with how much points a player scored. How many rebounds were snatched. And how many assists and steals did a player achieved for the game. Was it a double-double or triple-double?

What counts can’t always be counted; what can be counted doesn’t always count.

Albert Einstein

Numbers, however, are incomplete. They don’t always paint the full picture. The points recorded for the game will not capture team players who fought for every loose ball. Hustled back for every defense. Team players who communicated on the court. And especially, selfless players on reserve who spent all their heart and energy cheering their teammates on the court.

All these added together create a lollapalooza effect. And it is what makes a winning team. This experience helps me appreciate beyond what is measurable. At work, in life, and with investments.

#Attitude

Having the right attitude counts. It is what makes a team succeed. And it is what makes a team complete. Attitude means to be the best version of yourself. Only with the right attitude, can our experience in life be satisfying.

I end off with my favorite pictures, which encapsulates much of my love for the game, and for my team.

On retirement, happiness and life

On retirement, happiness and life

Listened Navel Ravikant’s podcast and his interview with Joe Rogan, and Shane Parrish this week. The interviews were absolutely mind-blowing. Throughout both interviews, Navel delivered compelling wisdom on almost all aspects of life – retirement, happiness, education, etc.

In today’s post I will share my biggest takeaways and my thoughts.

On Retirement

“Retirement is when you stop sacrificing today for some imaginary tomorrow. When today is complete in and of itself, you are retired”

I don’t care how rich you are. I don’t care whether you’re a top Wall Street banker. If somebody has to tell you when to be at work, what to wear and how to behave, you’re not a free person. You’re not actually rich.

Navel Ravikant

For Navel, retirement is not receiving a cheque every month at 65 years old. Retirement is achieved when you can be fully present, today. And there are 3 ways we can achieve retirement:

  1. Save up so much money that your passive income covers your burn rate
  2. Drive your burn rate down to zero and become a monk
  3. Make a living doing something you love

There are multiple ways to achieve retirement. Most of us don’t give much consideration, or have the courage to pursue option 2 or 3.

Option 1 has been the most popular choice for most of us – trading in hours to make more money in a linear fashion. Because most of us were taught to work for other people and climb our way up the ladder. And hopefully, we will reach that promised land.

There’s a great story to illustrate this – the Mexican Fisherman.

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.  The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos.  I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

This story reminds me not to lose sight of the forest for the tree. One of the biggest mistakes people make in their careers is to treat work primarily as a means to an end. Whether that end is money, power, or prestige, this instrumentalization of work leads to unhappiness.

Since young, I have always practiced delayed gratification to eventually arrive at the promised land – to be able to spend more time with loved ones, pursue meaningful work, and to be present.

This is a reminder to me that the time is now. That doesn’t mean that everything has to change immediately, but start building joy into your life today.

On keeping up with the Joneses

Social media has degenerated into a deafening cacophony of groups signaling and repeating their shared myths.

Navel Ravikant

In today’s day and age of technology, the impact of signaling has been amplified. Posting on social media when we go on holidays, fancy restaurants, working out, volunteering, or reading books.

Rather than looking at ourselves, we are looking at how other people look at us. It builds up a strong self-image based on likes and compliments. Which could easily be torn down. It doesn’t take many insults to drown out all the compliments.

“As you get older, you just realize that there’s no happiness in material possessions.

“I think a lot of us learn as we get older that happiness is internal.”

Navel Ravikant

Happiness and fulfillment come from within. When we are trapped thinking all about how others view us, we stop living our lives. It disrupts our journey to retirement and prevents us from being present. To quote Dave Ramsey – We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.

Acknowledging that I have been guilty of this as well and to stop myself from falling into this trap, I have refrained from posting on social media. To avoid subconsciously doing things for the sake of signaling.

A good question to ponder when making any spending decision – Would I do this if no one else will know of it?

“The eyes of other people are the eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine clothes, fine houses, nor fine furniture”

Ben Franklin

On education

“The ability to learn, the means of learning, the tools of learning, are abundant and infinite. It’s the desire that’s incredibly scarce.

Naval Ravikant

For Naval, our current education system has been made obsolete. Today, we have the internet. If we have the desire to learn, we can attend online courses from Khan Academy, MIT, and Yale online lectures. We can read blogs and books published by brilliant people. If it is purely learning we are after, it can be done through the internet or by uniting through the internet with like-minded groups.

In the age of Google and smartphones, memorization is obsolete. Our education system still places undue weight on it just because that’s the way it has always been done in the pre-Google world.

As a one-size-fits-all model, the current education system is like a cookie-cutter. Many who don’t fit into this mold would feel inadequate at a young age. Everyone has to go through this model regardless of their strengths and interests.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Albert Einstein

On being yourself

“Looking forward to holidays takes the joy out of every day.”

Naval Ravikant

Many of us will tell ourselves we need to do this.. we need to do that. But what we should be doing more often is asking ourselves what we want to do. If we can’t wait for work to end or if we find ourselves always looking forward to the next holiday, we may want to stop and listen.

Stop trying to figure out how to do things the way other people want you to do. Listen to that little voice inside your head that wants to do things a certain way and then you get to be you.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Steve Jobs

No one in the world is going to beat you at being you. To Naval, our goal in life is to find the people, business, project, and art that needs you the most. There is something out there just for us. And we need to discover that for ourselves.

On compounding interest

“Play long-term games with long-term people. All returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.”

Naval Ravikant

Compounding is a concept at the very heart of this blog. This applies not just to wealth. But to everything else in life – relationships, business, knowledge, and fitness.

Establishing long term relationships – be it romantic or business – makes life easier because you know that person’s got your back covered. If we want to be successful, we have to work with other people. And trust is the core for any successful partnership. Mutual trust makes it easy to do business.

This applies to health and fitness as well. The fitter and healthier you are, the easier it is to stay that way. Whereas the more you disregard your body, the harder it is to come back. Even clawing back to the baseline would require insurmountable efforts and willpower.

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