2020 has been a roller coaster for me. What I planned, did not turn out accordingly. The first 2-3 months had been amazing, and then the coronavirus pandemic hit. It was stressful for me, but the last 5 months had been life-changing and I’m grateful.
Despite everything, 2020 has been my favourite year ever. We are expecting a little baby girl. God work miraculously. A timing I couldn’t understand at first, but it makes sense eventually. Thank God.
I got married in January 2020, we then lost a pregnancy around April-May. It was really sad, but eventually God gave us another pregnancy in July. I would never forget the day I heard our little baby’s heartbeat with USG. It is the most beautiful sound I’ve ever listen to. Thank God for trusting the sweetest soul to us. Helps us to be a better man and woman every day, to be a great dad and mom for her.
These are the most important lessons I learn this year:
1. We need a strong why
When I face what I couldn’t control, my natural tendency is to try to solve all problems perfectly. And when I couldn’t solve them after so many tries, I get frustrated and feel down. I would have given up if I don’t have a strong why.
You see, I am a very simple man. I can live with less, I started my life from a small bedroom with 5 of us sleeping on floor mattress. Without a strong why or reason, there is no point for me to work hard at all.
Looking for a why, I thought something like “changing the world” will motivate me. It doesn’t. I have seen the beauty within our imperfect world. I believe beauty can’t exist without ugliness. Also light without darkness, hot without cold, high without low. The world needs changes, but sometimes we are changing the wrong things.
A strong reason would be: “Helping millions prevent cancer at a young age”
It’s more specific, that would motivate me.
However, as of 2020, I’m simpler than that. I work hard because I love my family and myself. I want to provide a great life for my loved ones. And yes, I love myself. Not in a way that I want to indulge myself in good experiences all the time. I want to be the best version of myself, to love every second I have, to create the best I can. I want my life to have meaning. When we start expecting a baby, I learn how amazing this life that God has given us. I am grateful to be a live.
I want to keep challenging my limits in the areas that interest me a lot: investing, business, marketing, sales and psychology.
I want to become better every day in my most important roles in life: as a husband, father, son, brother, friend, entrepreneur and investor.
2. “The coffin theory”
Someone told me this: “Imagine that you are old and dead in a coffin, what would you want people to say about you? Then build your life around that, starting with the end in mind.”
Know what matters. Have clear priorities.
That was powerful. It made me rethink about my life. It helped me to decide who I want to be. It isn’t about what people will say about me, but about what I would have made them feel to make them say what they say. I want to make people around me happy, to be useful for them and to challenge them to be better. What they say next may not matter, I won’t be able to listen to them at that time anyway. Hehe. I just want to do my part for as long as I breathe.
3. Start only with the end in mind (End goal matters)
The coffin theory taught me about starting with the end in mind. It is easy for us to get caught in short term thinking, like wanting to get recognition or approval from others. Or as simple as wanting to get something instant.
But hey, what if at the end, what we want is different? Why chase the wrong things?
I have multiple experiences with that, I lost some money in investing because I wanted to “get rich quick” or getting short-term instant gain. I lost time in the wrong business that I’m not passionate about, just for the sake of trying to make money or make a point.
Making money is fun and all, but “how” we make it matters. I prefer to do what I believe in the long term. I want to run businesses I can see the future and have a vision for. I want to be able to dream big and do what I love in the process. A work I can keep challenging myself to be better every day. A vision I can work towards many years from now. Too good to be true? Maybe. Being alive is also too good to be true, isn’t it? Considering we win the competition with millions of sperms. Hehe.
4. Start with who we are
I grew up trying to be somebody else. I read lots of books, watched lots of movies, etc. I always wonder, how can I be like Steve Jobs / Richard Branson / Elon Musk?
Today, I have understood that we all have different stories. We started differently, we are exposed to different things, we care about different things. And it’s okay. It means we all have a unique journey that is created especially for us.
Imagine that we are all main actors and actresses in a movie called “You”. It started from when we were born, continuing until we grow old and die. We are all different and that makes it fun and meaningful. I want to create a life I want to netflix-and-chill for! No one would want to direct and act in a lame / boring / predictable movie, why would anyone direct and act a lame / boring / predictable life?
Think different. Be different. Act different.
5. Start with what we have
We all started with different privileges. Some would have more opportunities than others. Some need to work at young age to support their families, some would be able to study at prestigious university in US. And it’s okay.
With less privileges, it’s like playing a game in hard mode. That’s all it is. That’s why many of the best movies in the world is rags-to-riches, Cinderella type and David-vs-Goliath type. That’s a life I would netflix-and-chill for!
A reminder, this teaches me to always understand everyone’s difference circumstances and understand why people do what they do. Why people think how they think.
6. “We are in the same storm, but different boat”
We are in this together and alone at the same time.
The coronavirus pandemic has showed me so much about the world and people. People with less privileges would get hit the hardest, while the top 1% make a fortune in stock market and acquiring new assets. Capitalism at its finest/worst.
Wealth inequality is a problem. I have not figured out how this can be solved.
One thing I know, I want to be in a big boat. So that I am safe and I can bring a lot of people into safety with me. I realize that I am not a person like Mother Teresa that can sacrifice herself for everyone. I’m a selfish person that still love good experiences for myself, but I care about what is right and wrong (maybe not that selfish).
7. “God give me strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
This coronavirus pandemic taught me a lot about control. There are many things I can’t control. I would wish that the virus is gone forever so people don’t have to die. But it turns out that, that’s beyond my control. I can however stop going to public places, wear masks and wash my hands always.
“Life is about holding on and letting go.” A beautiful lyric I know from a song by Sidney Mohede. I totally agree.
Let’s support each other to have the strength to hold on during hard times and help each other to have the courage to let go when they have to.
8. We can’t change anyone, we all change within our own experience
Be a role model.
No other way to create meaningful influence. No shortcuts.
We can’t truly talk our way to changing a person, that will only be frustrating.
We inspire by having done what we say, not saying what we will do.
9. People change, understand them
According to researchers, the body replaces itself with a largely new set of cells every seven years to 10 years, and some of our most important parts are revamped even more rapidly.
Imagine how much a person can change in terms of the way they think, act and be? Even the whole body is replaced in 7 to 10 years, thoughts can change faster.
I learn to stop expecting people to be the same and to accept people for who they are now. They have stories I don’t know.
10. People change, relearn and confirm what we know first
Especially for people I didn’t like.. Yes, I won’t act like a saint and say I love everyone! Haha. Nope. And also for people I did like.
I would now relearn and confirm the past and present. Judging a person based on our past experiences may not be effective anymore. People change really fast.
The past is just a reference we can use to match with present data. If it doesn’t match, don’t force it.
Same with everything else: business, investing, food, etc. The past and present most probably aren’t the same at all.
We are all imperfect human. And it’s okay. Trust me, everyone is just trying to do their best every day. We are all trying to be the best version of ourselves and some of us just need more support than others.
2020 has been life-changing for both my wife and me. We are excited to meet our baby in person this year. Thank God for this life, family and the ability for me to fully experience these. I’m blessed and so are you.
Wishing the best 2021 for all of us!