Originally posted on 01 Aug 2019
How did you become who you are today? How is Lisa JY Tan the person today?
If I get a penny for every time I am asked this question.
It is not an overnight thing. Time is the answer to everything.
Hence, I attribute 3 factors to becoming Lisa JY Tan.
Curiosity in everything
Reflection + gratitude
Strong & healthy mindset
Always find a positive angle to look at, reflect truly upon each situation and practice gratitude. Give thanks for every fucking thing. You are not entitled. No one is. We are just so damn fucking fortunate to be born into specific societies giving us that edge. We are just very lucky motherfuckers. Harness that by leveraging these resources given to us.
Learn to love yourself and poke fun at yourself. It’s not fun if you can’t laugh at yourself. And learning to love yourself is to truly accept all the flaws you have AND actively mitigate those negative flaws such as wrong values in life. Do this by meeting different types of people and have open debates about everything. It was difficult to laugh at myself during times of depression, but hey, forgive yourself.
You are defined by the 5 people you are closest with. Hence, delete people who are toxic in life. Find new communities to be in. Spear no time for people who contribute nothing to the world. I’m not asking you to call Bill Gates and Tony Robbins to be BFFs right now. Look at your community and see what types of values you aspire to have. Find “your type” of people. Connect with people from different industries/world – finance, arts, entrepreneurship, environment, animals.
Get out of your comfort zone. I’m fortunate to have lived in 5 countries and travelled to 35+. It gave me the opportunity to see the world in its raw form – redefining my values. I used to be a complete prick – born to a fortunate family, amazing country/society, nothing to worry about in life. It created a false sense of reality growing up in such a sheltered environment. I realised that I was not entitled to ANY of that. I was just a lucky motherfucker. So, think about how you can get out of your comfort zone! Exposing yourself to a different culture is one of the best ways to learn. You learn to see yourself from their perspective and it changes a lot.
Education. Constantly educate yourself. Not just soft skills, but hard skills too – learn a new topic, read the latest news in your specialisation, etc. Never stop learning. When you become better, the people around you also changes. The weaker ones leave you and you attract better people. Simple law of attraction and evolution.
Probably the most important one. HAVE THE RIGHT SET OF VALUES. Question your current set of values – are they yours, society’s, parents, education institutions? Who are you when you are stripped off every material thing you have? What do you stand for? Why are you who you are today? Evaluate them. Have a long hard look about who you truly are. This takes years, but always be honest with yourself.
Some good values: humility, discipline, self-love, taking responsibility. Question bad values. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Mason has some answers to this.
Stop playing games, reading romantic books, indulge in shitty tv shows/movies. Start looking at what successful people do and mimic them. Read Principles by Ray Dalio.
It’s all about constant growth
Life taught me lessons in various ways while I also pushed myself to strive to be better. I picked up skills along the way like psychology, neurology, cultural appreciation, perseverance, design thinking, etc. The key is to apply these knowledge/skills across all fields, industries, cultures, etc.
Never stop learning. There are 7 billion people living and a gazillion dead. These people all have something to teach & share. Keep learning! Dip your fingers into everything and apply them in various ways. The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago, the second best time is now. Start today.
Learn from people, but also learn from yourself. There is no better growth than learning through your personal reflection. Get a book and start writing everyday. “What are you thankful for today? How did you make today great? What do you want to be better at tomorrow?”
Take baby steps. Recognise that you are not going to change overnight. Time is the most powerful tool on earth. It makes or breaks you without knowing. Make a constant effort to make better decisions – especially the smallest ones.
My favourite book of all time: Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen. I read it once every 12 months.