How to Think About Choosing Your Spouse

 

The most important decision you can make in life (as agreed with Warren Buffett and Sheryl Sandberg) is marrying the right person.

I have been reading a lot of mental models (learning how to think) and thoughts on decision making.

Warren Buffett has this notion of the “20 Slots”. He says if you were to imagine that we are given just 20 slots on a punchcard in life and no more, you would think very carefully before you punch any of the holes.

And he believes that all you need is less than 5 good decisions to have a great life – financially, emotionally and so forth.

My aim with this post is to give you my thoughts and how I think about making the most important decision in your life.

 

  1. Your worst is your best indicator

Growing up, I was told to do well in school so that I could eventually get a good job and have my life financially settled before dating someone.

There is merit to this argument as it highlights the importance of financial security.

Given the fact that most couples argue about money more than anything else, I can see why this path is often preached by our elders.

But what if the reason people argue about money is because they expect it to always be there?

In other words, the financial security itself is the set-up for setting expectations that money will always be ready and that the worry for money is distant.

We strive so hard to be the best version of ourselves (well off, educated and calm), but we forget that the worst version of ourselves are still within us (irrational, emotional and unstable).

Look for a person who can deal with your worst side, because anyone can deal with you at your best, but not anyone will bother with you at your worst.

Have someone who will love you at your worst, not your best.

 

  1. She will not always love you

Like all things in life, they don’t last forever.

The more poetic way to say this is “This too shall pass.”

I learnt a concept from Seneca on making friends, he contends that one should not make friends so that he will have people be there when he is in trouble, but instead make friends so that he can help them when they are in trouble.

Simple, but profound.

Don’t view marrying someone as a having a lifevest when you are sea, but view it as being the lifevest when they are at sea.

This goes contrary to popular belief, I know. But it is this that brings true joy.

Shakespeare once said that the mother of all disappointment is expectation.

When we put the onus onto us to do what we can do for them, every little act done by them is greatly appreciated on our end and that forms the basis of most relationships – being appreciated for each one’s efforts.

Don’t make friends so that they will be there for you, make friends so that you can be there for them.

 

  1. Good things only come about through compound interest

What does this mean?

It means that little things done everyday add up to something stronger over time.

I can attest to this personally.

I used to hear that marriages are soul-sucking affairs; not to mention all the marriage jokes one hears.

But it does age like wine if you put in effort everyday to make it good.

Little things done daily amount to great things over time.

 

How to Be Productive: Eliminate Distractions

SH*T. IT’S 5 O’CLOCK ALREADY?!

 

I hate it when this happens.

 

You were researching for just one article. But you end up reading 99 other unrelated ones.

If you come across cat videos… GAME OVER.

 

You say to yourself:

“You know what, I need a break anyways.”

That break resulted in nothing important getting done during the day.

Then you say:

“Actually, it ain’t too bad. I can always get a bunch of Red Bulls and power through it tonight!”

*checks in at 9pm* watching videos

*checks in at 11pm*
“You know what I’m tired, time to go to bed. I need sleep in order to do REALLY GOOD work.
I will wake up at 4am if I have to!”

But you snooze and end up waking up at the same hour every other day that gives you just enough time to get ready and not be late for work.

 

And the worst part?

THIS HAPPENS ALMOST ALL THE TIME.

 

All this pasar malam negotiation with yourself would stop and can stop if you just put in the work when you are supposed to work.

In other words, keep your focus during office hours so you don’t need to think about work once you clock out.

 

Focus is a muscle. It gets stronger the more you use it.

But this being the introduction into productivity will be talking about creating an environment that makes focus all the more easier – that is to Eliminate Distractions.

 

 Eliminate Distractions

– For your laptop (I’m presuming you are using Chrome like the other 90% of people)

Install the following extensions:

  1. Block Site
  2. Facebook Feed Eradicator
  3. DF YouTube
  4. Pocket

 

  • Block Site

First things first, identify what are the no. 1 time sucking website?

For me, it’s YouTube.

Insert in just one website for now and make sure you can’t access it for a period of time.

I know that I’m at my peak in the morning.

So I set my active hours to 8am to 12pm everyday.

That way I’m not allowed to access the site no matter what during those times.

 

Once you get comfortable with the blocking, add more and more time wasters into the tool.

 

  • Facebook Feed Eradicator

As much as I rather not use Facebook entirely, I still need to as part of my job to contact certain media outlets.

What this tool does is that it removes the major distraction – the news feed and replaces with an inspirational quote.

 

  • DF YouTube

I use this tool even if I’m not working.

It gives you the option to block out what you know will distract you – the recommended section.

I personally block out everything except my feed for my subscriptions which are narrowed to just 10 channels.

I check them every morning and watch them on my way to work.

You can see what I am subscribed to here.

 

  • Pocket

You need to download this app on your smartphone as well. I repeat – you NEED to.

This app essentially solved my “bookmarked – read-it-later” problem.

If you are a productivity and personal growth nut like me, you would bookmark ANY article that you deem is valuable.

But then it ends up in a folder or your bookmarks bar alongside all the random shit you have bookmarked like the next book to buy or the next movie to watch.

So what this app does is – whenever you come across a particular blog posts that you know is gold, you Pocket it and it saves a barebone version of it without the sidebars and ads – JUST THE GOOD STUFF for reading on your phone.

Just turn on your WiFi or data and download the saved files and read from there.

P.S. this technique helps you fill up your time especially when you and your other half goes shopping. (instead of randomly scrolling through your Instagram and Facebook, I mean)

 

Side note: Check your e-mail as little as possible. Batch your sessions to at most 3 times a day.
I have found sweet spot to be at 7.30am (since I get my groove on at 8am), 11.30am (before lunch) and 4.30pm (before leaving).

 

 

– For your phone

All those extensions may still not be enough if your smartphone buzzes harder than a bee beatboxing (?)

  1.  Turn off all push notifications except Messenger, Whatsapp, Call or Text.

Side note: It’s okay to turn off your phone completely when doing heavy concentration work if you know that there is no one who would call you first in an emergency.

If there is someone who would ONLY rely on you in an emergency and you are the best in position to help them, keep your phone on.

Why turn off push notifications and not messenging apps?

BECAUSE STATUS UPDATES CAN WAIT. COMMENTS CAN WAIT.

Plus, if it’s really urgent and the person contacting you is close enough to know your number, they would know that calling you or texting you is the best choice.

 

 

– Your desk

Your work station is where you spend most of your time at.

For this I recommend the Only In Use Method, which is:

  1. Clear your desk completely (place the rest on the floor or in your bag or in the cupboard)
  2. Use your desk as usual (only putting what you need on your desk to do your work)
  3. That’s it.

You would be surprised how much stuff you thought you need to work didn’t need to there.

The photos, the papers and the stationary.

When your desk is as clear as can be, your mind has nothing to focus on besides your laptop.

A Millennial’s Cry to All Fresh Grads (and How to Get Unstuck)

CONTEXT: I’m a 24 year old law grad who graduated officially last November (convocation and all). Gotten a job offer by last September and landed my job of choice at iPrice by last October.

With all the recent barrage of media outlets covering the “unrealistic expectations” of fresh grads in Malaysia, I can’t help but to provide my two cents on the matter.

They frequently cited 5 reasons most fresh grads remained unemployed:

  1. Unrealistic salaries
  2. Poor attitude
  3. Choosy about job or company
  4. Lack of English proficiency
  5. Poor communication skills

Let’s start with salaries –

Referring to an employers survey conducted by JobStreet in 2016, it was report that 60% of fresh graduates expect a starting salary of RM3,500 while another 30% wanted RM6,500 to fund their lifestyle.

I personally think that RM3,500 a month isn’t an unreasonable ask given the rate of inflation we are experiencing. But please don’t go around thinking it’s a given when the average salary of most entry level positions are around RM2,500.

That said, kudos to the ones who are asking for RM6,500 for their ambition to think big.

But there is one HUGE thing to consider if you are one of them:

  • How much value are you creating for the company?

You must understand that from the standpoint of business, the boss will be more than happy to pay you RM10,000 a month if you can provide returns of RM100,000. In fact, they will approach you if you are that good.

Learn to give more value than you receive in payment

Poor attitudes –

Our mindsets determine our outlook on life.

I have no rant for this but just pure empathy.

Empathy for those who have yet to see what they are truly capable of.

I was no private school child. I went through all the Kebangsaan schools like everyone else did and I was never taught the power of the growth mindset until I started my path in reading book almost every week.

I was obsessed with the ones who are successful. I watch Gary Vee everyday, read Seth Godin’s books, had my Instagram plastered with fancy quotes and sportscars.

(This all happened after my finals, mind you.)

This entire journey changed how I saw the world. With that mindset, I went in for my job interview and got my job of choice 2 months before officially graduating.

My recommendation is to read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck.

Tom Bilyeu, the American entrepreneur best known as a co-founder of Quest Nutrition, the second fastest growing private company in North America described the book as “the single most important book ever written in the English language.”

Tony Robbins, when asked which books he has gifted the most on the Tim Ferriss podcast, said this book was one of them.

Here’s a video to get your feet wet:

Choosiness –

What’s wrong with that?

When you have choices, you should choose right?

But please, don’t sabotage yourself because of ego.

There is never a job that’s beneath you, only jobs that limit your potential.

Lousy English –

I can take on two stances on this:

  1. The school system is to blame for not putting emphasis on English
  2. You are to blame for not realizing it was important early on in the first place.

I prefer to take the second stance. But that isn’t fair to those who genuinely came from backgrounds that were very non-English.

If you have difficulty in English now, start learning.

There is no excuse. None.

Can’t communicate –

When we are trained to write more than we are to speak, our speaking will generally be worse off than our writing – for sure.

How to learn? Speak more in low risk situations.

Do it with family friends or close friends to begin with and then slowly move to colleagues and acquaintances.

You got to start somewhere if you want to get to some place.

CONCLUSION

Finding a job is easy. Any job I mean.

To get the job you want is the challenging bit.

The greatest lesson I have learnt since graduating and working on my career is to the virtue of being patient.

We millennials lack it tremendously.

There are times you would think to yourself that your employer is paying you oh so little in the beginning and you are not getting the perks you deserve.

But as long as you practice these two things, you would be alright:

  1. Always do what’s right (even if it doesn’t feel like its worth the effort right now)
  2. Be patient.

Don’t believe me? Ask your seniors.

 

This post first appeared on LinkedIn.

I Still Feel Jealous When I See My Friends…

Why do I still feel this way?

The other day I was scrolling down my Facebook feed when I saw a friend of mine post a picture of his first car purchase… I immediately felt belittled.

I felt inadequate… but most of all – JEALOUS (not envy).

But then it hit me – I don’t even like to DRIVE!

Have you ever caught yourself feeling that you were dealt the unfortunate hand when see your other friends succeeding?

“Why can’t I have that?” you say to your self.

We keep comparing our behind-the-scenes to other people’s highlight reels.

And damn is this unhealthy.

What is the best way to deal with it?

The answer is in the quote – comparison.

Comparing yourself in admiration to others is fine. If you strive to be the best in the world one day, then it is good to look at the best and see where you stand.

But the healthiest way (as cheesy as it sounds) is to compare yourself to your past.

This solves the huge “I’ll be happy when I…” problem as well.

Don’t sabotage yourself by delaying your happiness everytime you see something (or someone) that other’s have.

Instead you should look back:

Really. Think about how far you’ve come.

You should be proud and grateful.

There is no merit in jealousy.

SO BE GRATEFUL (but don’t forget to go for gold too)

🙂