Thoughts on How to Live Life – December 2011

If I wasn’t an investor, I’d probably want to spend the rest of my life reading philosophy and psychology. But ufortunately, I like to make money more. So here are some of my random thoughts on how to live life.

“Success is like a lottery. The harder you work, the more lottery tickets you get.” – Tony Chou

We all want to be successful. We all want to be multimillionaires, own the big house, nice cars, etc. But unfortunately, things aren’t that simple. They say that if you work hard, you can do anything. Not true. There’s a huge element of luck when it comes to the topic of success. So there can be guys who do barely nothing, get “1 Success lottery ticket”, and be lucky enough to win the Success lottery. On the other hands, there are guys that work their asses off, get hundreds of  “Success tickets”, and never win the Success lottery.

So does that mean you should sit on your couch all day, waiting for luck to hit you on the head? No. The harder you work, the more “Success tickets” you will get, which will increase your probability of being successful in life.

“There are two types of knowledge – textbook knowledge, and wisdom.” – Ancient Chinese saying

This saying comes from the philosophers of ancient China. Shu stands for textbook knowledge. Dao stands for wisdom. Without Shu, you will not have Dao. Dao is the highest level of knowledge. With it, you will realize that everything on earth follows the same, logical pattern. With Dao, you will be at peace with yourself.

“If you’re normal, then something’s wrong with you.” – Unknown

For some reason, society has this notion that if you’re not normal, you fail at life. Not true. Quite the cnotrary, rather. You see those kids in high school, partying around, doing squat, wasting their golden years? That’s the majority. Then there are the few “nerds” (or whatever you want to call them), are the social outcasts, and end up 20 years later as a super successful doctor. Who’s laughing at who, now?

The point is, if you want to successful (career-wise, etc), then prepare to welcome differentness. If you’re like everything else, what differentiates you from them? If you’re normal, what advantage do you have over others that will propel you to success? But remember. Being different is difficult. Back in the craziness of the .Com bubble, the few who predicted the doom of the tech industry were laughed at, called weird, and “why the hell would you want to think differently from the general consensus?” A few years later, the masses were wrong, and the few were right.

“Stubborness is fatal.”

What’s a big problem with us men? If we’re successful, we come to have an air of arrogance in our 40-somethings. Let me give you an example. I have a family friend (actually, a really close one) that when he was young, took pride in not being stubborn. Now, he’s a billionaire, hugely successful, and changed. He’s just become so stubborn, and unwilling to listen to different opinions. This happens to men really easily. He has a lot of real estate in China (actually, he bet his whole company on Chinese real estate). His wife was constantly trying to get him to sell the land. And guess what? He lost half a billion dollars almost overnight (real estate is being forced by the Chinese government to decline).

So sometimes, us men need to be less stubborn, and become more like women.

“Being a perfectionist isn’t a good thing.” – Tony Chou

We’ve all seen Steve Jobs. The only reason he’s made Apple such a success is because of his need for perfection. But because he put so much stress on himself (due to worrying about perfection), he died young. Nothing is more important than your life. Perfection has one, really negative side effect, which is stress. Stress keeps us awake at nights, constantly worrying about trivial things etc. There’s a saying that goes like this “strive to do well, and your results will be better than if you strive for perfection.” I didn’t understand this before, but now I do. Only by relaxing (which means forgetting about perfection), can you be your true self and put forth all the talent that you have deep inside you.

15 thoughts on “Thoughts on How to Live Life – December 2011”

  1. If money wasn’t the issue, I don’t think I’d want to learn more. I would just hire people to do my daily errands. I would just relax and do something fun, then nothing, then go back to doing something else fun and then do nothing.

  2. I love this one “There are two types of knowledge – textbook knowledge, and wisdom.” Very true. I personally have a lot more life knowledge then book knowledge. It seems to come in handy most times.

    Great post. One thing I need to concentrate on is enjoying the journey more. I tend to rush.

    1. Through hard work, we can definitely live better than the average person. But to be the next Steve Jobs, you need geniusness.

  3. Great post, Tony. I think we have a lot in common in terms of our outlook on life. As I continue down this road, I realize just how much more I have to travel, but just how interesting the journey can be as well.

  4. Life is dynamic and constantly changes. Each of us needs to be flexible and adapt to the changes. It is one of the reasons, I am still learning and changing.

    1. Good for you! We all need to be flexible, especially when we get older. Experience can lead to rigidy. I need to watch out for this problem when I get older.

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