The Kaizen Newsletter #42 (21/04/2020): Why I can't live a normal life

It's now been 3 months that my brother and I started having a weekly call. We use these calls not only as a way to catch-up with each other lives but more so to talk about how we're feeling, our thoughts of the world and discuss problems that we're currently facing in our daily lives. And as we are both engineers, we always try and help each other out by providing each other solutions.

This week, we talked about having a "normal" life. What I mean by a "normal" life is just getting a chill 9-5 job, coming home and watching tv shows or just browsing youtube, or going out with colleagues. On the weekends, you go for brunch and hang out with friends. Eventually, you get married, buy a house and have kids (but not necessarily in that order).

And I want to preface this by saying there's absolutely nothing wrong with having or enjoying this lifestyle.

But for both of us, we realized that it wouldn't be possible for us to live such a life. Even though sometimes I wish I would be able to just relax and enjoy this lifestyle, I know deep down that I wouldn't be happy if I do so.

Do I think I'm better than most people? Not really. Am I cocky by thinking this way? Maybe a bit. But the reason I know I wouldn't enjoy having such a relaxing lifestyle is that I have this internal drive that keeps me pushing for more. I know that no matter what I do, I always want to try and become the very best (that no one ever was).

And I think it's important that I highlight the word "try" here.

Because even though I want to become the best at everything I do, I'm certainly VERY VERY far from it and have a hard time taking action that will push me in the right direction.

So right now, I'm in a sort of limbo.

I'm not happy with my current situation and want to push myself, but I'm also not doing actively taking action, which makes me feel even worse.

And why is this happening?

This is how I picture what's currently happening inside my head.

There are currently two forces at play that are causing my current state of inertia. There's the fear of being average that's pushing me in one direction and on the other end, there's the fear of failure that's pushing me the opposite way.

So the only way I can break out of this stalemate is to either decrease my fear of failure or to increase my fear of being normal. That's how I'll start thriving.

The hard part is that every single day when I wake up, these forces will be acting against each other and every day that I'm able to make my fear of being average greater than my fear of failure will be my good days.

But every day that we let the fear of failure take over, are the days where I'll stall.

This is why I’m going to refer to my friend the Pareto Principle. If my fear of being average is able to beat my fear of failure on average 80% of the time, then I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to get out of this rut.

On average, if I'm able to win 80% of the time, then I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get out of this rut.

So how will I do this? If you think of it, this can be kinda seen as a prequel to my being a maker newsletter because the only way I get out of this rut is by continuously taking action.

Any time, that I create something new and expose myself to the world will be the days that I "win". Every day that I don't will be the days that I "lose". Simple to do, but harder to actually achieve.

The good news is that I know that if I continue on my current path, I will eventually get to where I want to be. In the past few weeks (since the quarantine actually), slowly but surely I’ve been putting in work and have been really concentrating on setting up a foundation for me to continuously create be it through my writing, or other stuff (like my designs).

p.s. First time trying to add some of my own (bad) drawings. How did you guys feel about it? Let me know if I should continue adding drawings in my main posts!

Now, on to the newsletter.

Weekly Favourites

📃 Article

  • It's Time to Build - Marc Andreessen - If you only read one article this week, read this. A much-needed essay written by Marc Andreessen. He explains how we were definitely not prepared for what is currently happening, but it could have been prevented. But now that we are in this situation, how do we move forward? We build. Not just in healthcare, but also in housing (how come we haven't found a way to build affordable housing for everyone), in education (how come only a few % of the population can get education from Harvard, why not every 18 years old), in manufacturing (how come we are outsourcing to other countries, shouldn't we be able to build everything inside our country) and in transportation (how come we don't have flying cars yet). This is a rally for EVERYONE to push their ambitions to the max and to start building.

  • Building in World 2.0 - Daniel Gross - As a follow-up to the above article, Daniel Gross shares his perspective of what our "new world" will be like post-COVID. Here are a few things he believes will happen in a few months/years from now that I found interesting: No more handshaking, increase in trust between smaller groups but a decrease in trust in bigger groups, online concerts, death of open office plans, a decrease of public transportation usage.

🎙 Podcast

  • Kevin Systrom on Jordan Harbinger podcast - There are two parts to this podcast, but I've only had the chance to listen to the first one. I've listened to a few of Kevin Systrom's podcasts before and generally enjoy them. He's a really good speaker and in this podcast talks about how Instagram got founded (hint: it was a pivot) and how they were able to scale it to what it's become.

🐦 Tweets

  • Really enjoy the perspective that Ryan took for this tweet. Putting in a lot of hours early on in your career isn't really about slaving yourself away to your boss. Logically, if you put in more hours (say avg of 60h per week), then it just means that you will be more skillful than someone who put in 40h per week. As Ryan puts it, "the more reps, the more skills, the more you stand out at work (and beyond), the more opportunities you discover".

  • Not really sure how he did this all in Animal Crossing, but this is really cool content!

  • Just an overall good tweet I stumbled upon this week 😂

  • One of the best TikTok's I've seen recently.

🎧 Music



🙏 Shoutouts

  • Shoutout to Mai, Anh Thu, Moni, Anna, Vanessa and Jackie for a fun virtual hangout last Friday.

👋 End Note

If you want to know what I'm up to now, you can check it on my website here.

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