The recipe of me

I have been reading Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinenmeier Hansson and got particularly curious at one of their ideas. It said “Emulate chef”. The example is famous chefs often write cook books, unselfishly sharing their secret recipe and techniques on television. They are doing so not afraid of someone opening a restaurant next to them.

Businesses are often paranoid and secretive about how they do things. Only a rare few things offer true competitive advantages. Most are pretty much analysed and documented. So, the authors suggest business and individuals to share your “cook book”, share what you think is informative and educational and build your audience. From that, many benefits can be reaped.

So I took the advice and started to think about the “recipe” of me, for people who may want to experience what I have so far. I consider the below are my achievements in life so far:

  • Have a beautiful family with my lovely wife and wonderful son
  • Visited 15 countries, lived in 3 and worked in 4
  • Worked in both corporate and start-ups (very small to large) and doing something cool and impactful
  • Completed half marathon (Many people can do this.. but it took me a solid three months of training so I am putting it here)

So then, how did I get here, what is the recipe?

Read often

I cannot stress enough the importance of reading. It is a virtue. When you read, you open yourself to listen to someone’s else idea in its entirety. You focus and dedicate your mind to it. It opens your mind, expand your knowledge and makes you realised you do not know much at all. The last point is particularly important. For me, I become more humble and self-aware of my limitation. From that, it creates a virtuous cycle to make you better each day.

I read mostly non-fiction including history, economics, business, social sciences and popular sciences. I also read news from more credible sources like BBC, Economist, New York Times and articles, posts from Medium. Two week ago, I started to pick up on literature to experience with different style of writing and also, for the purposes of learning something new and seeing things differently.

Make people aware of what you want

People may not know what they want. It may take a while for you to know it. However, when they know, some often too afraid to speak up. You cannot expect people to read your mind. Speak up is the first step to make what you want happen.

When I was in Melbourne working for Accenture. I wanted to work overseas. Everyone I met, I told them exactly that. People remembered and when the opportunity of working in Hong Kong came, one person told me, and I took it right away.

I am applying this lesson at any place I work. I actively tell my manager, my colleagues of what I want to build, to do. However, be reasonable as well. It may take time for what you want to happen, but make sure people know what you want. They will help you.

Travel well, travel often

The world is amazing and thanks to the invention of flying, it has become smaller. Travel, like reading, opens your mind. In each country you visit, there is always something new to learn. It makes you aware of people’s differences and thus make you a more understanding individual.

Try to experience different ways of travel as well. Be cheap on some trips and splurge on other to see different perspective. I was in Malaysia and staying at an upmarket residence in KL for expat. During that stay, it came to me that I was living in a bubble, the real KL was not where I was. I started to be conscious about each place I went. I want to get out of the bubble and see the real life.

Be disciplined

You can succeed as long as you have discipline. Set out a plan with small goals and knock them out. When I trained for my marathon, I sticked to a schedule. Day which I got tired from work, I still managed a short run. Don’t break your your streak, you can reduce the load but keep the habit going.

The same applies for my reading and recently, to my writing. I set myself to write at least one post a month. Last month I was lazy, but I put up a short book review, which is easier for me to write.

Lastly and most important, be disciplined in financial planning. To free yourself from financial constraints, first you need to set the constraint yourself. Save and put away money so that you can have option. Quitting your job to do something exciting is easier when you have a peace of mind of knowing your saving can last you 3 or 6 months. You can always find a job again.


Please feel free to leave a comment or a question about my post. I will be more than happy to talk to you about the above points. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I writing it.

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