Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.
When everything seem to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

This video inspired me. Time to hit the gym.

The Cult of Done Manifesto by Bre Pettis

(Found this out through Seth Godin’s Linchpin and really liked it)

1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.

2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.

3. There is no editing stage.

4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.

5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.

6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.

8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.

9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.

10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.

11. Destruction is a variant of done.

12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.

13. Done is the engine of more.

What does it take to lead?
The key distinction is the ability to forge your own path, to discover a route from one place to another that hasn’t been paved, measured, and quantified. So many times we want someone to tell us exactly what to do, and so many times that’s exactly the wrong approach.
Diamond cutters have an intrinsic understanding of the stone in their hands. The can touch and see exactly where the best lines are; they know. The greatest artists do just that. They see and understand the challenges before them, without carrying the baggage of expectations or attachment. The diamond cutter doesn’t imagine the diamond he wants. Instead, he sees the diamond that is possible.
Others may question your credentials, your papers, your degrees. Others may look for all kids of ways to diminish your worth. But what is inside you no one can take from you or tarnish. This is your worth, who you really are, your degree that can go with you wherever you go, that you bring with you the moment you come into a room, that can’t be manipulated or shaken. Without that sense of self, no amount of paper, no pedigree, and no credentials can make you legit. No matter what, you have to feel legit inside first
Books I’ve Read Over the Summer

Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis

Liar’s Poker was an interesting look at the financial world of the 1980s — rise of mortgage-backed securities, LBO’s, and junk bonds — through the lens of Salomon Brothers’ bond salesman, Michael Lewis. I started this book in the airport on the way to Hong Kong, put it down, and only restarted / finished when I arrived back in Hawaii. Pity, because it was a good read and good context in which to color the 1980s. However, I would find it dragging if I wasn’t in finance. 3.5 / 5

Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt

Sporadic and shifting yet engaging and thought-provoking. Freakonomics was certainly a great quick read. I finished it in a week. Steven Levitt asks interesting questions that probe the “common sense” reasons for various phenomena and then dismantles the accepted hypotheses with data. That is what makes this book great. Levitt is extraordinary at asking questions in a different way and producing an answer that is shocking yet convincing. Maybe he won’t win you over with his arguments, but it will certainly get you thinking differently. 4 / 5

The Pursuit of Happynessby Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner is the quintessential rags-to-riches story. He begins about his life growing up in the ghettos of Milwaukee, describes his move to San Francisco, his fall into poverty, and his eventual rise as a broker. Gardner shares his emotions and insight in this book. While the movie was great (Will Smith is amazing), I liked this book a bit more. Chris Gardner is truly an inspiration. 4 / 5

Linchpin by Seth Godin

This is a self-development book I tried to read before but never got to it again until now. Godin talks about the “new economy” and how we must become linchpins to succeed rather than be another “cog in the machine.” I’m sure there are many great insights in this book, but I didn’t find it as convincing. I did find some parallels, but I felt like it dragged on and was repetitive. It felt more like an addedum to The War of Art by Steven Pressfield than a totally original work. I would recommend reading that before checking this book out. 3 / 5

Life Hack #1

Always look at the nutrition facts. It would take a total of maybe 10 minutes of your day, but it might save you 10 years of your life through having a proper diet.

Bloodlust for Challenge

It’s a new year, new me. Every year I try to look within myself and assess how satisfied with who I am as a person. Looking back on 2013, I didn’t feel like 2013 was a year of significance at first. After some introspection and musing though, I realized that 2013 was a banner year for me. I’ve changed in ways that aren’t overt, but I know I’m a different person from 365 days ago.

This past year began with me in a low mental, physical, and emotional state. I was in the process of pushing for an investment banking internship position. I had already delayed my graduation for a year by double-majoring in accounting and had taken out about $10K in loans to finance it. I was trying to build my resume through a finance competition called the CFA Research Challenge while also maintaining straight A’s as a full-time student, doing finance work part-time, and applying to various investment banks around the world. I was not sleeping well, and I had no life. I remember often telling my friends I couldn’t go out because I had to do work or bringing my laptop to a parties.

However, on January 25, 2013, I received an email that would change my life. It was an email to schedule phone interview for an investment banking internship position. By then, I had pretty much given up hope, but this email was like a spark of new life. This was the only positive response I had gotten in the past six months or so. Eminem’s lyrics were ringing in my head,
Success is my only motherfucking option, failure’s not…
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow,
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”
In the next couple months, I put everything into preparing for the phone interview and the subsequent superday. I remember practicing two to three hours a day for a week before each series of interviews with Vira, who is my mentor, a successful entrepreneur, and ex-banker, as well as others, particularly Ben, a successful ex-NY business lawyer. Later on in the year, I remember someone looking at my resume at a mock interview at school and commenting that my resume showed focus. Thanks, I’m glad it does.

Then, getting to the internship in the summer and killing it was one of the most unique experiences ever. 80 hours a week is no joke, especially when I worked 16 hours on my 22nd birthday. Life becomes a constant chore, and sleep becomes your only escape. However, towards the end of it, I got hit with some profound thoughts that has since changed my perspective on life. Andy, one of the first-year analysts, told us during one evening when all the MD’s had gone home that those same MD’s probably envy our youth so much more than we envy their money and prestige. I was taken aback by that because I never had thought about that. Then, a few weeks later at an office bowling event, a fellow intern and I tried to leave early because we had work to do, and again Andy had something to say. “You need to learn to enjoy yourself,” he said. The work can get done later, and right now it was time to relax. I had been wound up pretty tightly from the past few weeks, but more so from the past few months of constant work. That day I just let go. I began to question why I wanted to be in investment banking so much, and why I was trying so hard to “make it” and get rich.

Towards the end of the year, I started doing pick up. In October, I tried to do a 30-day challenge of going out every night and hitting on girls. It was much harder than I thought. I am still an introverted, home-schooled weirdo. Still, I spent this past Christmas and New Year’s Eve with my Japanese girlfriend.

One of the most important epiphanies in pick up was the idea of tipping the glass over. I know I want to talk to that girl, but so many fears and excuses come up, I psyche myself out, and then go home feeling terrible. However, when I actually do approach, regardless of whether or not it goes well, I feel amazing. One night I realized that I really don’t need that much motivation to go up and talk to a girl. I envisioned a glass on the edge of a table, right about to fall over — that was me. I just needed enough motivation to tip the glass over to go forth and conquer all fears. I’ve learned to let go of my self-image and “just do it” because every night I go out. I can’t be half gangster.

All in all, those are some of the most memorable things I’ve done this past year. I’ve become less results-oriented and more process-oriented. I’ve learned that my mood moves in a cycle with high highs and low lows. I’ve learned that I can break out of those lows by immersing myself in motivational videos, people who are on fire and on point, and by “tipping the glass over.” One thing I still need to work on is finishing. I need to be a hard closer. It’s so easy to start something, but so difficult to follow-through. I’m like most people who make New Year’s resolutions. I still have much to do to evolve to a higher state of life, but after my check in the rear view mirror, I’m pretty satisfied.

Last year, my motto was, “Evolve or die.” I did evolve, probably even in ways that won’t be obvious until farther down the road. This year, my motto is, “Bloodlust for challenge.” I was watching a video on YouTube by one of the people I subscribe to, named Tyler. In the video, Tyler talked about how he noticed that what distinguishes many successful people is that they have a “bloodlust for challenge” — the burning desire to encounter novel situations. This is what I want to do for 2014. The person I want to become in 2014 is grounded, purposeful, and uninhibited. The person I want to become has a bloodlust for challenge.

What I think distinguishes somebody who is a hard closer is a fucking bloodlust for challenge.