What Do You Wake up in the Mornings For?

How to set the right goals for a life of fulfillment

A few years ago, I watched a video of Alibaba’s billionaire founder, Jack Ma explaining his success:

“People like me, I was born in a very poor family. I never got a great education. I failed all the examinations — for what reason? I don’t know. But later I realized, I don’t have money, I don’t have technology, I don’t have a lot of good backgrounds — a rich uncle or something. The only thing I can compete with young people is let’s compete for 10 years later. This is what I believe 10 years later will be happening. So everything I do, I do for that goal I think will happen 10 years later.”

While I understood the message and theory behind it — to aim for ten-year goals in which you have a chance at winning, I couldn’t really relate at the time, until recently — for different reasons altogether, and after having taken time to reflect upon turning 30.

You see, most of my life, I’ve simply followed the currents like everyone else, letting it carry me wherever it wanted; if there was an opportunity, I’d try my best to ride the waves and likewise, if there were obstacles, I’d try my best to stay afloat. I’d like to say I knew what I was doing or what I wanted to do, but I didn’t — I didn’t have any clue at all.

My career was the exact same way. I transitioned, Continue…

The Only Thing That Matters

A story of hate, resentment and the journey within

Early in my 20s, there was someone I once hated.

We both graduated from the same high school, but I didn’t know him well at the time — except for where he lived, having knocked on his door once in an attempt to fundraise.

At school, he was quiet, even reserved — the sort of person you’d likely forget, until years later, when rediscovered within a yearbook. So I wasn’t exactly surprised several years later, when I realized I had indeed forgotten him when being reacquainted as his coworker.

At work, we were amicable but couldn’t be considered friends, given the disparity of our interests in all things other than each other’s purchases — which, while surely could’ve been the common ground for a great friendship, wasn’t and was instead the reason behind such misguided resentment. Continue…

A Story of Ironclad Persistence

And Why It's Not Always About Winning.

It’s summer, of 2012. My phone vibrates beside me, but I ignore it.

I’m in my parent’s garage, eyes glued to the TV. The garage is sweltering hot, like the insides of a sunbathed car, my only solace the dusty old fan dug out from the attic — but, I don’t care.

Because my attention at that moment, is on the screen, in London, on Kieran Behan — the first athlete I’ve ever been truly inspired by, participating in the 2012 London Olympics.

I don’t follow Behan because he’s talented or famous (although he does hold the title of being the first Irish gymnast to ever qualify for the Olympics), nor do I follow him because he’s particularly good-looking; I follow him because of his ironclad persistence — persistence that’s earned him the right to compete as an Olympic athlete, despite having had not one, but several injuries that left him immobilized for years at a time, including his very first injury when the doctor’s diagnosis was that he would never walk again.


The Ordinary’s Guide to Becoming Extraordinary

The secret to unlocking your potential.

It’s 2:00AM and I’m sitting in the dark, typing furiously, having rewritten this post at least a hundred times now— possibly more, but I’ve long lost count.

The once imagined sentences — formed gloriously in my mind, are now on paper — sporadic and unwilling, a mere whisper of the post I had wanted to write.

I ask myself:

Is writing supposed to be this difficult?
Am I destined to forever be a mediocre writer?

These questions, along with many others, fill up my mind as I struggle not to fall asleep:

How is it that great writers are able to write so effortlessly?
How is it that the people we look up to and admire, especially those we recognize as
extraordinary, are able to achieve all that they wish?

Because if anything, the question I really want to ask most is:

How do ordinary folks, like you and I, become extraordinary?