Firstly and sadly, you are not the center of the universe and the earlier you know the earlier you learn to deal with it.
At 20, your life revolves around an obsession of what others think of you.
At 40, you begin to not care what others think of you.
And at 60, you realize that when you were 20, you really weren’t being judged by anyone but yourself.
When I was studying at Chulalongkorn University, I was honored with multiple awards, winning various international debating and student case-study and essay competitions.
Interviewed by national TV and newspaper media, people (myself included) thought I was at the pinnacle of my life. I expended way too much time doing what I felt would make others think highly of me than what truly made me happy. For instance, I used every Valentine’s Day to write essays because the deadline every year was Feb 15. So the lesson is, do what pleases you and not what pleases others.
20 – in my Chula uniform, looking awkward
40 – more like 35, more comfortable in my skin
60 – hopefully the gray hairs won’t settle in that quickly
Force yourself out of your comfort zone because no one else will
During a spring trek to Israel in 2012 with 50 other Berkeley MBA classmates, we learned that Israel, a country of 7 million people, only sixty years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources—produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada, and the UK! Why? Because Israelis realize that they could be bombed any day and instead of living an ordinary life, they’d rather experience a memorable life. Their risk tolerance is absolutely off the charts. Israeli men said that when they see a girl they like, they don’t hesitate and simply go up and ask for her number.
Taiwan is a lovely place to be, people are extremely gentle and courteous. The weather is not extreme, food is cheap (and usually safe) so life is good. Unfortunately, people are also risk-averse and often opt for the path of least resistance rather than pushing their limits. When I tried to hire for Easy Taxi, the candidates and their parents were concerned with the fact that we were a two-men company and had only been in operation for a few weeks. Your comfort zone will certainly shield you from many uncertainties and failures but also prevents you from realizing your maximum potential. Furthermore, you can always start small but the sooner that you do, the earlier you can experience a “fuller” life.
Find a life-long passion that energizes you
My Germany house-mate would return home every morning around 8 or 9 am drenched in sweat as I grudgingly wake up. One day, I asked him, “Why do you jog everyday, even when it rains?” He replied, “My day is incomplete without a morning jog. It wakes me up and gets me ready for the day.” Then by coincidence, I started reading a book called What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. The fact that they all exercise (gym, jog or swim) in the morning intrigued me further. So I bought a new pair of jogging shoes, checked some Youtube videos on jogging and off I went! The first few days were tiring and taxing. But then one day, after about 2 km up the Berkeley hills, I suddenly felt invigorated as I heard my own heart beats and my steps paced into rhythm. I never felt that refreshed after the shower. Some people meditate in the morning, while others read newspapers, regardless of what it is, find that one thing that pumps energy to carry you through the day and gets you excited to wake up everyday.