What I Learned

Two years ago I found out I have an autoimmune disease. I will always have it. It changed everything about my life from what I do for money to where I live. It prompted a reinvention of myself which was at turns painful, but ultimately necessary. This is what I learned.

1. Never forego sleep. “You’ll sleep more over the weekend” is bullshit. Not sleeping is bullshit. There is no amount of money in the world anymore that can make me sleep less, even if I grumble about it: I’m convinced sleep is the single most important thing I will never, ever give up again.

2. Make your own destiny. The single best thing I have done in my 20s was to grab every damn opportunity that came my way. And there were plenty. Even if people can’t see the method in the madness, every little thing adds up. I truly believe that.

3. Be nice to your family. At least for me, they’ve been the foundation upon which I’ve been able to build a life. Through illness and in health.

4. Home is home. There are many reasons to not want to live in Singapore, but returning here to build my adult life here in my late 20s was the best decision. There are a ton of opportunities and we are in the centre of exciting things, at least for what I do in tech and business.

5. Surround yourself with smart people who care about people. I’ve been lucky to have some of the smartest people in the world in my direct orbit. I’ve learned an immeasurable amount from them. It’s the only way to be better. If they’re douchebags, nothing you learn can ever be of use.

6. If you need anything, just ask. There’s a longish essay in this that I need to write sometime. If you don’t know anything, ask as well. Only good things can ever come out of asking.

7. Don’t date people who want to hold you back. Or down. Ever.

8. Do date someone who inspires you to get up every morning and change the world. Who won’t laugh when you say that. Who will ask you what part of the world you would like to change today, and how she can help.

9. Milestones are a sham. You’re expected to check certain boxes by a certain time: degree, first job, first apartment, blah blah. It’s not that they’re not important, but following someone else’s timetable for your life is the biggest lie we’ve all been told.

10. Corporate conferences are never worth any amount of money you are asked to pay. Ever. If there is a giant billboard and a roomful of suits, go to the bar and do some real work instead.