"I focused my time on learning, hanging around people who were uplifting and willing to share their knowledge and experience, and giving 110% effort to every opportunity that came my way."
I never had a long-term ambition or goal, or a career plan. I just needed a place to start. And every opportunity that I got, I immersed myself intensely and learned as much as I could. Other opportunities somehow found me when the work today starts to speak for itself.
Twenty years ago, I never could have imagined that I would have opportunities to work at a steel mill, a nuclear power plant, a stock exchange, or be given the privilege of building an airline from scratch and growing it until its IPO, or starting a global internet video-on-demand service. I didn't seek these opportunities out. I focused my time on learning, hanging around people who were uplifting and willing to share their knowledge and experience, and giving 110% effort to every opportunity that came my way.
Interestingly, that's been my philosophy of how to run businesses. I've stopped worrying about crafting the perfect 3-5 year long-term strategic plan, or even worry about details of a 12-month budget. The world today moves at a much faster rate of change. There is no way to anticipate what will happen around the corner, and no 12-month budget or annual plan has stayed constant without being re-written every couple of months. Instead, focus on having the courage to take that first step to launch, collect lots of feedback, listen to the market, and keep adapting and improving every day - at a faster rate than your competition.
My professional experiences:
HEALTH & FITNESS
My journey from being a clinically overweight individual (BMI > 25, Waist-to-Height > 0.51) to an Ironman triathlete today, may appear impressive to some, and more concerning, unattainable to many. Many don't see the long, arduous journey, the many setbacks, and moments of sheer frustration. It wasn't a linear, straight path. And there was no extraordinary capability on my part.
Firstly, I didn't set out to have lofty goals. I merely wanted to be able to last longer than a few minutes playing indoor soccer with friends. Even then, it took almost two years of being more careful with diet and more regular exercise, before there was a noticeable weight loss. After all, the body needed time to undo years of bad lifestyle habits. I didn't set out big goals to change my life. I focused on how I could feel better each day, and changing my personal rewards from junk food to social interactions (with the right set of positive-oriented friends!)
When I discovered running, I thought accomplishing a 10km run was a big deal - until I saw grandmothers and grandfathers completing full 42km marathons. It may seem impossible at first, but when I found an activity that I enjoyed, and I find friends who share the same passion, all it took was focusing on "one day at a time". Enjoying the tangible progress I made - first to slowly increase distance from 10km, to 21km, to 42km, and then to slowly improve on the time it took (from over 5 hours, to under 5 hours, to under 4 hours) and then to add more variety by moving on to triathlons - which required that I learn how to swim - from scratch - at 40 years of age. And ultimately progressing to full 3.8km swim, 180km bike, and 42km run Ironman races. The long, impossible journeys are just a collection of small daily steps.
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"I didn't set out big goals to change my life. I focused on how I could feel better each day, and changing my personal rewards from junk food to social interactions (with the right set of positive-oriented friends!)"