It’s always necessary to sit down once in a while and clean out the our storerooms, especially the one in our mind. Living in New York and being in Columbia has pushed me to spend most of my time in pursuit of productivity or the relief of stress thereof. All these meant there were little time for me to sit and reflect on whether I’m mentally happy and whether my actions and thoughts are pushing me closer towards living a life well lived.

What I aimed for

I set out 2021 with a few goals:

  1. Get 4.0 GPA (Achieved)
  2. Grow my private fund by 100% (Did not achieve, only reached 65%)
  3. Meet new people and experiences in NY (Satisfied)

How it felt

There’s a theme in Hamilton the musical, which echoes through the whole life of Hamilton, detailing how Hamilton will never be satisfied and the rhythm of it regularly haunts me. Even amidst reflections and the cerebral belief that pursuits of ambitions would never satisfy me, yet I always come back, set ever higher goals, push myself through stress and sleepless nights, achieve or not achieve them, and feel unhappy if I do not get it, or feel empty if I do. It’s a negative expectation value game. I can never win.

Of course, it’s never all empty. Maybe I’m in an empty state of mind now as I’m writing this. Mind you I was just rejected by 3 firms for an internship and a girl. That said, I’ve just secured an internship with Maha, and know of girls who have crushes on me. Then again, misfits.

I’ve met interesting people: Minuk, Max, Cindy, Darius @ Maha; tried cool things: Mexico, cigar, codes and trades, asked a girl out in the library; marvelled at the beauty of our universe more through art, physics and logic.

What’s on my mind?

I know life isn’t about reaching goals. It’s not about having things. It’s about being free to choose my own mission/goal/passion/struggle. And that includes the need to be financially independent first more often than not.

Conversely, the pursuit of financial independence itself often comes at the price of misery? And money doesn’t earn me respect, so why do this?

Don’t think I can ever optimize this, except to do what I love to do all whilst hoping it earns me a good living. This would require radical honesty.

Lessons for this year

Have both explicit goals and habitual goals.

Goals for next year

  1. Solve one leetcode everyday, including optimization
  2. Do early morning habits
  3. Talk to one new girl every week