Some random thoughts and reflections

1. My way of categorizing the world isn’t by that of domains or fields. A question I constantly get is: how do you reconcile your passion in visual arts and tech? They seem remotely different. I believe that what drives me in art and tech are essentially the same. I want to create something that expands upon an interesting question, or impose my version of a better world to a greater population. I have a strong desire to be as close to the product as possible: to be the producer. What drives a business development manager who works in tech probably shares more resemblance to an art dealer than to me despite us working in the same industry.

There are many entrepreneurs that intrinsically share values with or think like an artist. An evidence is this unconventional speech by Jack Dorsey which I was lucky enough to enjoy live. 

2. Art has the greatest power to endure over time, while tech is the most effective in terms of scaling and reaching out to the most people. In the end of the day, it’s the conviction that matters (ideas are just temporary manifestation of different phases in which the conviction evolves). 

3. While traveling during summer, I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t talk about something I’m working on until it’s at least 30% done. Everyone has an Achilles’ heel, something that’d make all the difference between a mediocre life and something that may be a bit more interesting, and by interesting I meant the extent in which one is embodying a philosophy, a core belief, or a fascinating question. I believe that even among the ambitious, there are three times of people:

-The pawn that desperately tries to move across the board to be a queen (~60%)
-The chess player who figures out the rules and strategies of the game (~38%)
-The inventor/ designer of the game. (~2%)

My Achilles’ heel  is that i have for far too long aspire to be a chess player, rather a game designer. Now that this has surfaced into my consciousness, and because I have previously spent so much time internalizing the rules of the game, I need a detox period when I only surround myself with signals, and intentionally try to filter out the noise, one of which is the desire to obtain external validation. When I only talk about something after it’s 30% done, I can ensure that my sense of satisfaction and fulfillment comes purely from the process of creating the product and not from people approval. This decision has been healthy for me thus far. 

4. Life, strangely, has never been more peaceful. I made a conscious effort to figure out my conviction and what drives me at the beginning of senior year, and used the entire senior year traveling and reading to figure it out. It’ll always evolve and grow but at least, it’s now at a stage ready to be translated into a concrete product idea. This time, I didn’t feel the same hype as I did when I came up with other product ideas. For the first time, I feel like I have developed a mission/ vision I am willing to work on for a very, very long time. The idea was a natural progression of my conscious effort to develop a conviction, and hence, there’s a sense of inevitability around it. Perhaps hype is an indicator that you’re doing something not for its own sake, but for something external, which is seldom a sustainable motivation. 

5. I realized that I genuinely love learning for the sake of it, which is usually perceived as a positive trait but it also makes it harder for one to prioritize interests, since the first 10% of everything is going to be fun. 

One of the great history teachers in those days was a University of Chicago professor named Karl Weintraub. He poured his soul into transforming his students’ lives, but, even then, he sometimes wondered if they were really listening. Late in life, he wrote a note to my classmate Carol Quillen, who now helps carry on this legacy as president of Davidson College.

Teaching Western Civ, Weintraub wrote, “seems to confront me all too often with moments when I feel like screaming suddenly: ‘Oh, God, my dear student, why CANNOT you see that this matter is a real, real matter, often a matter of the very being, for the person, for the historical men and women you are looking at — or are supposed to be looking at!’

I hear these answers and statements that sound like mere words, mere verbal formulations to me, but that do not have the sense of pain or joy or accomplishment or worry about them that they ought to have if they were TRULY informed by the live problems and situations of the human beings back there for whom these matters were real. The way these disembodied words come forth can make me cry, and the failure of the speaker to probe for the open wounds and such behind the text makes me increasingly furious.” 

-The Humanist Vocation      

On curiosity

The problem that interests me the most is a strange one, and I am honestly still learning to articulate it. That’s perhaps the real reason behind writing this post. The problem is what I called distorted curiosity.

My definition of curiosity is one’s desire to move from form to essence through inquiry and exploration. 

By essence, I meant a direct manifestation of truth; a form of universality. 

By form, I meant the way essence manifests itself in the material world (i.e. it’s directly observable) 

Curiosity (the movement from form to essence through inquiry) can be displayed through a series of questions, for instance: 

How do airplanes fly? (Ans: because of the shape of their wings)> How does the shape of the wings help airplanes fly? (Ans: the upper curve of the wing is shorter than the lower curve, so the wind moving along the curve on the bottom goes much faster than the wind moving along the upper curve)> Why does the difference in wind speed help airplanes fly? (Ans: Bernoulli’s principle says faster moving air has less pressure than slow moving air. Thus, the high pressure below the wings pushes the wings and the airplanes upwards)> Bernoulli’s principle is derived from the principle of the conservation of energy and Newton’s 2nd law. 

The essence is usually a universal theory, and it’s never static because of human’s undying thirst for understanding the world around us. It’s also always a spectrum. Bernoulli’s principle is an essence relative to the explanation using wind speed, but it’s a form relative to Newton’s 2nd law. 

I believe we were all born with curiosity. I have never met one kid that doesn’t continuously want to feel the things around him, and ask questions that sometimes, even parents have a hard time answering. 

One of the biggest criticisms for modern day education is that it suppresses curiosity. I beg to differ. Curiosity never goes away- it just manifests itself in ways we less expected:   

  • the (annoying) popularity of gossip magazines 
  • wikipedia addiction (please don’t deny this has happened to you at least once per week) 
  • facebook stalking

We asked way more interesting questions when we were kids- How were rainbows formed? Why does the sun rise from the east? Why do stars sparkle in the sky? 

Something happen between childhood and adulthood that leads to questions like “Who’s Jennifer Lawrence’s new boyfriend?” or “What did my best friend have for breakfast?” 

I’d like to call this distorted curiosity. 

There’s danger in indulging in distorted curiosity- questions that are supposedly important remain unanswered, not just on a societal level but on an individual level as well. I will give an example:

I have always believed that success comes in different forms in different contexts. When I was in college, among economics major, the most common form of success is a job offer in investment banking or consulting. Most college kids hop onto the opportunity without considering the essence of success, i.e. their own definition of success, which is related to what drives them. 

If power is what drives a person, the next question that should be asked is, how would I define power? Power in terms of direct control means being in a position to make executive decisions that could affect many. Power over time would mean creating ideas (like Capitalism or Marxism) or things (like novels, films, or paintings) that could influence generations beyond our own. Definitions are important because we derive actions from them. In this specific example, the two different definitions of power have a direct impact on what the person should do after graduation. 

A person who doesn’t ask these questions merely internalize norms, such as well-traveled career tracks. The people who left a mark in history are those who created something that never existed or walked on a path seldom trotted on. In other words, the downside of form is that it’s specific to contexts, contexts change, just like how “success” at a certain point in time does not necessarily correlate to success in the long term. The stereotypical image of success is being a leader at an established institution. This stereotypical image is a representation of form. The essence is still what matters. By obsessing over the form, one neglects other alternatives. Why obsess over climbing up an existing ladder when you can build one yourself? Why indulge in the status quo when you can take part in enriching the current definitions? Ultimately, what matters even more than our decisions is the consciousness behind those decisions. How far did we go in our attempt to understand what drives us, and live a life that’s consistent to that? 

If you ask me what education is for, I believe it serves the purpose of sustaining curiosity, and giving us the tools and foundation to chase after the questions we care about. Life itself should be a quest of going from form to substance, our endeavors should contribute to humanity’s progression towards truth. This can come in many forms. Picasso inspired Cubism in his attempt to better portray truth through multi-dimensional portrayal of representational forms. Steve Jobs created a graphic user interface so personal computer could better resemble how we actually learn and communicate. Even if it’s impossible for us to reach ultimate Truth (whatever that means), it’s the motion as we embark on that path that matters. It’s the attempt, and consciousness behind the attempt. 

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."

-Walt Disney 

P.S. I guess Truth is vaguely defined here. For now, my version of Truth is greatly influenced by Hegel’s illustration of The Absolute because that’s the most convincing one I have read thus far. 

 

On growth trajectory

One sentiment I have experienced over and over again in the past few months is feeling embarrassed by thoughts imprinted in my journals, or things I said in conversations. They usually come in the form of big, fancy statements with gross generalization, or ignorance of contexts disguised as bold insights. 

Some examples are:  

"Very few contemporary artists today have real skills or techniques. I can’t respect people who disguise their lack of commitment to the craft with abstraction and intellectual contexts." 

"I believe in innovation in adherence to the classics" 

"I hate people who are overly comfortable with comfort. People should have dreams and chase after them." 

A mere few weeks devoted to reading art history and several good conversations are adequate to make me feel dumb about the above statements. Whenever I was reminded of this sentiment, I feel a strong hesitancy to say or write anything in public, or even among my friends. 

I can think of two solutions to this:

1. Balance your statements out. Alway consider different points of view. Intuitively, this makes sense. But it is also true that an overly balanced statement lack real insights or convictions that matter. Very often, it’s rooted from a cowardly desire to hide from accountability. You become the David Brooks of whichever field you are in. 

2. Learn to appreciate the beauty of growth trajectory. I recently hopped on skype calls with several people I really respect, a question I asked was, “What is something you wish you had known when you were my age?”. They unanimously referred to growth trajectory, and the importance of surrounding yourself with people who do not judge the stage you’re at, and can steepen your trajectory. The upside (and perhaps the only upside) of writing down your thoughts is that you can literally track your growth. 

It is, perhaps, the only thing worth being proud of. 

It’s not about what you choose, it’s about what you forgo

We like to say things like “stay true to yourself”. The reality is, we overestimate our capacity to be completely honest with ourselves. There’s a reason why diaries, meditation, and psychotherapy exist. We need to break through walls and walls before we can truly reach in to our “inner voice”. I have always believed that one of the people hardest to get to know is myself.

An example of these walls is our ability to list out reasons (note that this is different from the ability to reason). I experienced this when I went through recruiting in my sophomore and junior year in college. With a bit of preparation, it’s not too difficult to “reason out” why you are applying for a certain job. A few days of diligent reading in theory of persuasion further equip you to convince the interviewer that you are THE person for the job. The question is, is it the company for you? 

There’s danger in being good at persuasion. Sometimes, you unconsciously persuade yourself as well. When your beliefs and behavior oppose each other, you are motivated to reduce the dissonance through changes in behavior or changes in beliefs. This means that as beliefs can affect behavior, behavior can also affect beliefs. Social psychologist Leon Festinger called this Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. I like to call it “internalizing the external”. 

In this case, perhaps it’s not entirely about the choices you are making. Perhaps listing reasons is not the best way of evaluating whether you are making the right choice. We need to be cautious of our reasons, one of the most common I have heard is: “This is a great job. I’ll learn a lot from it, it’s a great stepping stone to success”. There’s an infinite amount of things we can learn, you can practically “learn something” everywhere, that’s why we embrace the term “lifelong education”. The truth is, we can’t learn everything, and the key is choosing what to learn. Choice implies priorities, and the best way to evaluate your current choice is to think about what you have forgo. Economists call this opportunity cost. If your opportunity cost is higher than the value of your choice, then you are by definition not being rational. To give a concrete example, if your utmost passion is making important films, or starting your own company, it doesn’t matter if you can list out hundreds of reasons why you should be an investment banker or a consultant, you are forgoing your first choice.               

Life is obviously not that simple. Sometimes, we have to forgo our first choice in the short term for constraints such as financial security or lack of industry knowledge.   But the key here is to be conscious of the fact that it is your second choice, and that you should avoid internalizing it to be your best choice, no matter what you tell your interviewers or your friends. Don’t compromise. No matter how compelling your status quo is, you are not living up your potential if your are forgoing something you are most driven to do. 

 

Critical Gameplay: reinventing video games

Some inventions are hip and sexy, others just warm your heart. Video games are usually the former. But when I stumbled upon this company called Critical Gameplay at a computer art fair in Paris, I had the pleasure to be exposed to some thought-provocative games that embody both qualities.

Critical Gameplay’s mission is to create a collection of “strategically designed” video games which seek to help reevaluate our perspective on gameplay experiences. As Critical Cartography changes the way we perceive the world, Critical Gameplay seeks to offer alternatives perspectives on the way we play. 

Let me give you a specific example. What is one of the most common forms of an RPG (role-playing game)? Shooting. It doesn’t matter what the storyline is- it can be the second world war, or some ancient Chinese battles. Essentially, you are destroying obstacles or enemies to achieve victory or a specific goal. Interesting questions to ask would be: are the games encouraging a binary world of enemies and adversaires? What are some assumptions that avid gamers might have internalized?

Critical Gameplay does not attempt to answer these questions, but rather, open up the dialogue by creating alternatives. An alternative directly in respond to the example above is a game called “Healer”. Instead of shooting characters, players must heal victims of historical massacres (the one I tried was based on the Nanjing Massacre). The player can reverse death, by pulling bullets from the victims. The soldiers that committed the massacres are still lurking, so the player must work to keep the recently revived alive. The player can also put themselves between the bullet and the target or strategize to reverse the tragedy. 

Another game that brought a big grin on my face was “Big Hugging”. The premise is that the world of human computer interaction is an impersonal one, where touch is mediated through glass and plastic. So this game replaces your controller with a custom teddy bear controller size of a 5-year-old child. Players complete the game by providing several well-timed hugs to the teddy bear. It is “an experiment and gesture in alternative interface”, and replaces firing toy guns with a physical expression of affection. It’s quite fun to play, and even more fun to watch hardcore gamers enjoy some intimacy with the “remote control”. 

You can watch videos of players trying out these games here

I recently read a book about Theodor Adorno’s (a leading member of the Frankfurt school of critical theory) differentiation between high culture and pop culture. He believes that “high” culture is “dialectical” and in conversation with its past, while “pop” is non-dialectical or defined by formulaic artisanship. Video games have always been closer to pop art, but Critical Gameplay blurs the line by taking up the role of challenging assumptions in the mainstream video games and creating alternatives. In a way, it is conversing with game creators in the past who set up the premises present in most video games.

It is frightening how much we allow ourselves to internalize conventions and values. Alternatives are nice because they bring us out of this monochromatic status quo. These games have been displayed on a tour for a while now, promise me you will go check them out when they come to your city.  

On traveling

Between August and December of 2012, I traveled to 10 countries, 25 cities in Europe. My biggest takeaway, aside from the memories and encounters, is a thick pile of scattered notes, inspirations, and thoughts currently sitting on my desk. 

The downside of traveling so extensively in such short a period of time is that I barely have time to fully embrace all the “eureka moments” that popped up- they can be a theme for a series of paintings, an insight inspired by a conversation, or a discovery about myself. Developing an idea takes time, and when I only had a week to see a city, I didn’t want to waste time writing in my room. So what I have learnt is how to capture ideas with very few words and sketches in my notebook. They have to be concise enough to not take up too much time, but extensive enough to help me recall the full eureka moment despite being thousand of miles away from the actual spot. This allowed me to fully indulge in a constant stream of stimulations without worrying that I’d lose them. 

I was lucky enough to be raised in a family with a deep passion for traveling. so the exhilaration of visiting new places isn’t something new. But I wanted my trip to be beyond that. Self-discovery or development can occur at every point in life, but I really wanted this trip to be an intensive journey of trying to tackle some of the harder questions that have been on my mind. Some people believe that these are questions that we will never be able to answer until the day we are on our death beds, but I believe there’s merit in answering them to the degree that whatever projects or career you dive into are purposeful choices based on intrinsic motivations rather than a result of trends or societal expectations. So the questions I had in mind were: 

1. What drives you? 

2. What are some insights you have (about human nature, civilization, or the fields you are interested in) that very few people share?

The main reason for first question is that I genuinely believe that both happiness of an individual and the success of a conceptual innovator are contingent upon how well-developed his/her core belief is. “What drives you” is one of the questions that’d bring us closer to our core belief. Fancy one-liners such as “I want to have a positive impact in the world” or “I want to change the world” wouldn’t work. The answer has to be built from the ground up. What I meant by ground up is that I believe that there are things, and then there are the idea of things.  For example, there’s the passion for creating art, and then there’s the passion for the idea of art. A deep connection with the notion of pushing frontiers through creating something from scratch is the passion for art, wanting to be seen as artsy and appreciative of the finer things in life is the passion for the idea of art. Enjoying the process of experimenting with new business model is the passion for entrepreneurship, wanting to be known as a founder is the passion for the idea of entrepreneurship. It is not uncommon for people to be distracted and therefore waste their lives chasing after the wrong things that don’t make them happy. One thing I try desperately to avoid is letting the hyperbolic glamorization of individuals in the media distract me into wanting things that do not necessarily connect with my core motivations. Those are indicators of success, not success in of itself. It’s the difference between internalizing societal’s definition of greatness versus externalizing your own. In the long run, the creations that matter are those that have truly pushed frontiers by redefining what it means to be human, and that can only happen when people stick to their authentic self. Traveling, especially traveling alone, helps us focus on who we are, and not who we want to be. It’s almost like an incubation period for that so-called “authentic self”.

As for the second question, Peter Thiel does a great job in articulating why insights are important in his lecture, “Secrets”, so I won’t bother repeating it here.

I want to devote the next series of blog posts to capturing some of the inspirations I got from my travels. In a way, this is just a very personal attempt to clarify my thoughts and hopefully, capture my growth. Regardless, I hope they will provoke thoughts or at the very least, amuse the inner wanderlust in you. 

Death, and a beginning

On 11th January, 26-year-old Aaron Swartz was found dead in his apartment. He has committed suicide.

It is hard to define Aaron Swartz. He was known as a precocious programmer who co-developed Reddit and RSS but beyond that, he had an uncompromising vision of how the open web and government should function. Fascinated by his life stories, I spent some time going through his personal website.

My personal blog has been relatively stagnant because I often get indulged in self-criticism towards my own writing before it has the chance to land on the world wide web. This is something I intend to change. But for now, I am inspired by how Aaron Swartz divided his blog up into a section on “raw thought”, and another on quotes and passages that inspired him. I never realized how much you can tell about a person’s vision, ambition, and values just by looking through what inspired him. 

I am starting this quote log to capture the writings and speeches that inspired, provoked, or amused me. On one hand, it is a great way for me to trace my growth. On the other hand, if I fail to make a mark in history through my endeavours, I hope I can at least leave behind a rich collection of inspirations others can use to pursue theirs.

As for this blog, it will remain to be a platform for my raw thoughts. Now that I am back in Chicago from three months of traveling, I have thoughts to organize, and a wealth of stories to share.

Life’s a bet. You increase your odds by thinking for yourself.

I have come to believe that every decision we make in our live is essentially a bet. We are betting that the set of beliefs or assumptions behind our decisions are right.

Here’s an example: let’s say time is finite (i.e. we have 24 hours a day) and we have to allocate it between developing our internal (e.g. knowledge, skills, intelligence), and our external (branding, credentials). By devoting more time in accumulating knowledge and skills over maintaining this blog, I am betting that real substance will prevail over branding. I am betting that the world will eventually get tired of the excessive amount of self-promotion and noise in the web, and that it’s worthwhile to focus my energy into learning and creating quality products while I am still at a young age. It’s like putting in the effort and time to polish one’s lens to see better, and by “seeing better”, I am referring to the capacity to produce better insights than other people who are exposed to the same set of facts and observations.

This is my premise, and I could be very much wrong. But I am making many of my day-to-day decisions based on this belief, so this “bet” will play a big part in how my life will eventually turn out. Our beliefs behind our bets determine our lives.

If this is the case, how do we increase our odds?

I tend to agree with Peter Thiel that people don’t seem to believe in anything anymore. If you ask the average college students from a top university what they want to do after they graduate, at least 60% (more so if they are an econ or business major) will tell you that they want to work for an investment bank or a consulting firm. When asked why, 90% of them will tell you it’s because (1) they open up new opportunities, (2) the industry is “competitive and challenging”, (3) they like working with smart people. It’s scary how these are repeated like some sort of a set doctrine. If you sit down and think about it, none of the above reasons are exclusive to the ibanking and consulting industries. In particular, doing something purely because it’s “competitive” means that you fighting over something just because a lot of people are also chasing after it.

The inherent assumption behind this is that if the crowd is fighting for it, it must be good. With more people jumping into this assumption without truly thinking, the size of the crowd increases in accelerating speed. Isn’t this a bubble in itself?

I believe that competition and value are not synonyms. There are a lot of industries that are competitive, but (excuse my political incorrectness), I do think that not every industry is equally valuable to humanity, or at least, not every industry is pushing humanity to the next frontier. Most industries are like the “back-end” of a company, making sure the world maintains its operation. They are important, but not necessarily as valuable. I believe that competition is an outcome, not a value proposition. There could be correlation between the two, but it shouldn’t be assumed. It’s dangerous to see competition as a value proposition, because you are then easily manipulated. It’s like if you throw out two bones (one quality one, one bad one) to a kennel of dogs, and then have the dogs fight over them. If the majority of the dogs are running towards the bad bone, does that make the bone any better? It’s irrational to think that it does.

One may argue that the process of fighting over the bad bone makes us stronger, but that’s about the only benefit competition has, and you are not even sure the “muscles” you built up over the course of the competition will be the ones that are applicable in the future. In the long term, being able to pick the “right bone” despite what the crowd tells you is more valuable than the muscles you gained by the competition.

After all, life’s short, and we only have that much time to do what matters to our hearts.

To believe in something, one has to develop introspection. We are all shaped by a certain degree of social engineering and pressure to conform. The easy default is to absorb what the society tells you like a sponge, and figure out the highest utility you can get as a function of your capacity and the state of the society. This usually works if you are comfortable with being the best among the mediocre. You may be considered “successful” at a specific point of time, but it will not be sustainable. If you analyze the most influential players in different industries, you will find out that they have a common factor: they usually have a liberal arts sort of mindset and develop a few specific beliefs of their own that’s relatively abstract and intellectual.

Ray Dalio has been named “the most influential hedge fund manager" for the past few years. What distinguishes him from other hedge-fund managers is his intellectual ambition. He is very keen to be seen as not just a  billionaire trader, but like his rival George Soros, he aspires to the role of worldly philosopher. He spends little time in staring at his computer screen or doing discounted cash flows, and focuses on figuring out how economic and financial events fit together in a coherent framework.

His beliefs are captured in “Principles,” a hundred-page text that is a required reading for Bridgewater’s new hires. It’s not your usual company introduction. It is partly a self-help book and partly a management manual. In other words, it’s Dalio’s personal “Bible”, a platform for him to express his beliefs and insights. It’s a documentation of the assumptions behind his bets.

There are many other examples of betting on beliefs. Steve Jobs is not just a CEO of a successful tech company. He is influential because he embodies a certain sets of philosophies: it’s okay to be different; "I know what you want more than you (customer) do", and so on. These are the premise behind his bets, triggered down to the day-to-day operations of Apple. For instance, Apple barely does any customer research or surveys, and focuses just on what they believe are quality products. This is drastically different from how most companies are run, especially those that are selling consumer products. This is his “bet”.

Forming beliefs is the first step of making the bet, but successfully doing so doesn’t necessarily lead to a positive outcome. But not doing so and just following the path most traveled by, you are making the assumption that the crowd always develop the most intelligent beliefs. Whether this is true is too long of a discussion to be included here. But if you look at the short span of human history, it seems that we will be better off thinking for ourselves.

Happy independent thinking, and, in the words of the game officials from the Hunger Games, “may the odds be ever in your favor”.

The best kind of business is thus one where you can tell a compelling story about the future. The stories will all be different, but they take the same form: find a small target market, become the best in the world at serving it, take over immediately adjacent markets, widen the aperture of what you’re doing, and capture more and more.

Once the operation is quite large, some combination of network effects, technology, scale advantages, or even brand should make it very hard for others to follow. That is the recipe for building valuable businesses.

Love reading the note from Peter Thiel’s classes at Stanford. (via nickcrocker)

(via jamtoday)

Bucket list before I officially graduate (i.e. Spring 2013)

  • go through all the notes of classes taken and develop a document of insights/ takeaways
  • gain experience at a VC firm
  • learn Ruby on Rails, html, css, javascript, and C++ 
  • try a 7-day cleanse/detox diet 
  • obtain reading lists of classes you were interested in but never had time to take; create your own self-development curriculum to be followed through within 3 months
  • do a road trip/spring break adventure with best friends 
  • study abroad
  • start learning Italian and Japanese 
  • develop lasting relationship with several mentors/ professors 
  • experience psychotherapy 
  • learn flamenco, belly dancing, ballroom dancing, and tango
  • develop a strong art portfolio
  • hold a solo art exhibition
  • climb a mountain
  • see the northern light in alaska 
  • get in the yelp elite squad 
  • intern abroad in London or Switzerland  
  • tried at least 2/3 of the michelin-stared restaurants in chicago, and 1/4 in paris
  • develop a workout routine…and stick to it 
  • develop a systematic way of improving your writing
  • join the toastmasters
  • go through the dale carnegie institute training
  • produce a film/ video
  • finish a feature-length screenplay
  • go skydiving 
  • learn meditation 
  • finish personal website 
  • master lock-picking  
  • be good at poker and bridge
  • learn how to bike… (I know how embarrassing this sounds)
  • get certified as a mixologist or a sommelier 
  • get certified in diving 
  • stay at the Elephant Sanctuary in TN (www.elephants.com) or Nairobi for at least two weeks
  • go through a formal three weeks min. training to improve golf swing
  • master 5 more softwares 
  • develop a habit of at least 15 minutes of yoga per day
  • write KIT for Pearson
  • start a personal “bible” that captures all the inspirations+insights+ideas you developed 

It’s time.

I have been a prisoner of myself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, prisoner of likability, prisoner of insecurity, prisoner of wanting to impress, etc. 

Time for a jail break.