Thursday, April 26, 2018

11 questions from Tribe of mentors

I'm about to start reading on Tim Ferriss's Tribe of Mentors. If Tools of titans is a great encyclopedia of self help knowledge, I think tribe of mentors wouldn't do much worse. Tim went ahead to ask several people the same 11 questions, which are listed down below. Since I haven't start reading, I thought I will try to answer them first so that I get more out of reading what others have to say. So, here's my answers to the 11 questions:

1, What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

Without any doubt, the most given book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It's a children's book, and I love it because it has deep meaning for an adult to take home and reflect too. I've given it (together with my wife) to at least 3 different people. It just takes 5 mins to finish reading from cover to cover, but the lessons stay.

Which 3 books greatly influenced my life? This is a hard one for me, because I read so much. To just pick 3 is going to be really difficult, so I'll just pick the first 3 books that comes to mind. They are:

a. Trading for a living - Alexander Elder

It changes the way I look at charts. I'm still using the techniques first espoused in the book. I read this every now and then to refresh the knowledge.

b. E-squared - Pam Grout

Wow...this book changes the way I think about reality. How to convert thoughts to reality is what this book is about. It seems like pseudo science and magical mumbo jumbo, but I don't care. If it works for me, it's good enough for me.

c. The miracle of mindfulness - Thich Nhat Hanh

This is the first book that I've read about meditation and mindfulness. Greatly changes the way I handle my emotions and it profound effects on me. Even started a 30 days mediation practice that still affects me till now.

2. What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.

The one thing that comes to mind is the Oral-B genius 8000 electric toothbrush I bought from Amazon during a discount. After shipping, it works out to be about $140, which I shared with my wife. It started as an experiment to see what is the fuss about electric toothbrush. I was against it in the past, because I thought it was such a waste of money. What can an electric toothbrush do that a normal sub $10 can't do? After using, I though it was the best thing I ever upgraded in my life. You don't spend $140 on an electric toothbrush, you spend $140 to have the feeling of having visited a dentist to wash your teeth every night.

3. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

A hard question for me. I was racking my brains to think of a major failure...then I thought of my stock investment 'failure'. I had my stint of value investing, went deep into longcheer thinking that it's a value buy, averaging all the way down until I capitalised and cut loss. What a loss it is. Looking back, it's just 20 to 25k max, but it was a lot of money to me back then and it's a big part of my networth. I went into depression, at a point even having weird thoughts about jumping off. It's that bad.

I self healed after a month or so of hating everything, especially myself. Work brought me out of the misery. No matter how angry and frustrated I was, I'm never angry with my students. They are innocent. So after every lessons, I felt a little better. It was then that I discovered work is more than about making money to me. As much as I am making a difference to my student's grades, they are also making a difference to me. It's an epiphany.

After that bout of depression, I grew much stronger mentally. I grew a lot more chillax about life and money especially.

4. If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it—metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions—what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

This is on my whatsapp profile for a while already:

"You may shoot me with your words,  You may cut me with your eyes,  You may kill me with your hatefulness,  But still, like air, I’ll rise."- Maya Angelou

It's a sort of resilient guai-lan-ness that I like. I strive on your negativity and your discouragement. There is a very strong motivation to prove naysayers wrong. But these days I'm not so angsty anymore haha

5. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

It has to be my blog called Bullythebear. From it, I derived so much things out of it that it's just ridiculous. Here's a list of what the site did for me:

a. Met a group of close like minded friends. Some of them I knew for over a decade already!
b. A place to crystallise my thoughts. I don't know what I know until I type it out and see for myself
c. Some cheap thrills like ad money that I collected over the years. Not a lot but still thankful
d. Opportunities opened up for me, like a few business ideas, recommendations for tutors etc
e. Tremendous improvement in writing skills and editing
f. Leads me to learn blog related things like digital art, image edition etc

I've been writing on this blog since 2006, so it's nearly 12 years of writing and finding my writing voice. Hands down one of the best thing I've done for myself.

6. What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

I have a little bolster that I've been using since I was a kid. It's still with me, and I still hug it to bed every night. I call it some name that I'm too embarrassed to say, so don't ask me. I love it because it's an 'old thing', and it reminds me of a lot of things. It's sort of like a memory time capsule, except it's soft and hug-able. And I've threatened a few people who wanted to throw it away.

7. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

I've a few systems that I've set up that greatly improves my workflow:

a. I'm a tutor. After each lesson, I will write what transpired during the lesson and the reflection, and putting it up on evernote. I used to do this by memory, only writing it fairly recently on my notebook and even more recently, 'upgraded' to put it on cloud via evernote. This way I can take it everywhere I go.

b. Started doing homework on charts using investingnote. I used to do it on an infrequent basis, but I ended up missing some of the things that fit my system. These days, I spend like 10 mins or less running through the whole watchlist, and put those under close watch for needed actions within a week. This means that during a week, I will just focus on those under close watch. It improves my workflow and lets me know what to do if it happens.

c. Writing a diary. I started this habit last April and had been jotting down my daily affairs almost every day since. I use an app on my handphone and I will take a few minutes just before I sleep to 'close off' for the day. Not sure what benefits it brings to me yet, but when I do, I'll let you know through an article. This is still an experimental habit to see if there's improvement in my life. Still work in progress.

8. What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

Advice: Unlearn everything you learn in school. Don't think that having theoretical knowledge beats practical skills. It doesn't. Be humble, be curious and learn how to take shit. Say yes to everything because you're not ready to know what's not a 'no' for you yet.

Advice to ignore: Go for passion over money. You need both, probably more of the latter than the former.

9. What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

I'm a tutor. I've heard many people saying rote learning is bad. They should learn smart. It's bad recommendation because while we have all the information we want at our fingertips, if you don't memorise certain things, you won't be able to use them. I've students who don't want to memorise formulas, saying that there is a formula sheet given during exams. But if it's not in your mind, it's not going to get used, that's what I always tell them.

10. In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?

I've becoming better at saying no to projects that doesn't excite me and doesn't make me want to wake up in the middle of the night to think about it. If it's not hell yes, then it's a no. I get better at saying no because I realised that I'm at this age where I don't have to live other people's dreams and aspirations. It's time to live for myself. It might be a little selfish, but not now then when. There's also much more clarity in knowing what you want to do in your life.

11. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

I think the first thing is to be aware that I'm actually losing focus. It's not always apparent. Once I know it, then it's much easier. I can either tell myself I will do it anyway because of constraints, or say that I will come back to it when I have more will power and energy. A lot of time and energy is wasted when I wasn't even aware that I'm not sort of just drifts along without that realization.

I don't ask questions to myself. Usually I'll just tell myself mentally, or voice it off silently, "Okay, I can do this, I can do this".


Suzan Baker said...

I read this every now and then to refresh the knowledge.
meet and greet at Luton

Maria said...

Great read tthanks