One Year Older, None the Wiser

I’ve been (over)thinking a lot recently about who I want to be in the future. It’s quite a dramatic shift in how I led my life; Not too long ago, I was all for going down the path of a full-on code jockey, spending my days learning about code, writing code and refactoring code. Now although at the high-level, nothing’s really changed, I’ve come to realise that there are many more aspects of life that I’m interested in, and that I want to invest my time in.

Much of this stems from the recent book I read - The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. Although the narratives in the book felt awkward and forced at times, they did serve their purpose in bringing across a few ideas on how to live life that I sincerely agree with, most of which was the phrase “the purpose of life is a life of purpose”. It explains how we can derive joy from simply having a goal and working towards it purposefully. “Happiness is a journey, not a destination”. The book has helped me to frame the age-old question of “what am I here for?” and kept me relatively sane the last couple of weeks, as compared to around two months ago, when I had nearly reached burnout.

Working with Jurvis has also had a great impact on me. He’s one of those people that just “gets shit done”, and I really admire that about him. Once a goal and timeline is set, he can be depended upon to deliver results. I’ve always been one to dwell on problems as they come, complaining to others about how bad they are, instead of trying to find solutions. It might sound completely illogical now, but I’m sure we’ve all been there one way or another. I also tend to not deliver on time, but if I do, it’s always subpar. Working with him and trying to keep up with his pace not only forced me to finish the tasks on time, but also to turn immediately to finding solutions when faced with problems, instead of being caught up in them.

In a stroke of luck, one of my friends at a meetup I attend recommended me to check out @naval on Twitter. This led me down a whole other rabbit hole, in which I discovered the power of being able to successfully rationalise and articulate our own thoughts. Naval’s tweets are incredibly enlightening; every tweet he makes carries with it some deep meaning or connection to our daily lives. Although not everything he tweets is completely novel, his ability to take existing concepts, and apply a new way of thinking to them is something I truly admire. Another wonderful person to check out on Twitter is @visakanv, who tweets with a more local context as he resides in Singapore. He too, just seems to be able to come up with ideas, opinions and topics to discuss. This is really something I want to work on, and hope to improve in.

Through reading Jurvis’s blog posts and Naval’s and Visakan’s tweets, I’ve realised that one key similarity exists between them - They have the ability to form their own original opinions on different and communicate them effectively. Think back to all the essays we wrote in school, all the reports we’ve completed that had asked us to “give your opinion” on the topic. Did we really? Well not me, not most of the time anyway. Most of my “opinions” were just lifted off others and paraphrased in an attempt to avoid the plagiarism checker. When I actually double back and try to give my own, original, honest opinion about a topic or theme, I find it really quite tough. What’s even more difficult is to have “strong opinions, weakly held”, which requires one to readily accept criticism and change according, something I've found difficulty with. This is another area of my life I seek to improve.

Hopefully, I'll find the will and the way to act on what I've written down here. I wrote this post to formalise my shift in emphasis for the year to come, from deepening my skills in tech to broadening my knowledge base and learning more about myself, others and society as a whole. I know that this change in my focus does sound cliché and unoriginal, but I'm still working on that.