The Lightness of Being

Thats how I feel now, after a 10KM jog in the park and after having lived my past 2 months with a heavy heart and a weary mind. I have finally graduated from college, but the last lap of this journey ain’t pretty and would hardly be worth a mention should anyone ever write a biography of me. Lets just say that my honors thesis was a horrible manifestation of my procrastinating ways that gnawed away at my soul for the past year I tried writing it. There I said it. I am not cut out to be an academic. No Dr. Bjorn Lee, ever.

With the conclusion of 20 years of education, I am ready to begin my next phase of life. And gawd, ain’t it difficult! I consider the past 5 years of my life to be an accelerated learning curve that followed a concave, rather than a convex, path. The earlier half was spent in military service and bumming around in college freshman year, lost mostly in mind-numbing military regimentation routines and drunk partying plus mindless mugging. But I learnt alot about my own character and leadership through that regimental life, and how to manage difficult people especially. I considered my freshmen year a gap year as I took a break to experience real social life again so maybe not much learning was done.  In my second year in college, I decided to take the entrepreneur path since I thought that was cool as I get to be my own boss for at least once in my life. I enjoyed getting my ego smashed and think i had a thicker skin to show for it.

Then the second half of that 5 years started. The learning did not taper with a decresing rate of increase as most learning curves would. IT accelerated. I left the comforts of my little dot of a country, SIngapore to the vast lands and competitive environment of America. Looking back, I might have though being young granted me a licence to be foolish. GOod choice, I still believe that now and am glad I realized that. I won’t go into details of my life there but I think Silicon Valley really opened up the world to me. There were just so many opportunities and exciting career paths that I think I had the slightest inkling of what it means when they said you are a mosquito in a nudist colony. I think choice is great, before I left for Silicon Valley, I thought a great job would be an investment banker cos i can make big bucks, but not so much anymore cos money ain’t everything and there’s much more to life besides banking,

But too much choice can also spell trouble. You begin to question yourself if you are making the right decision and that “What if?” will always plague me from then. Am I making the right choice? For those who learn economics, what is the opportunity cost of my current decision, should I change? ANd I think I was afflicted with that, what Bush would call “flip-flopping”. I also think my lack of focus is a symptom of my attention-deficiency. I didn’t really know what I want, which is good cos I am young. But I am not that young, which brings me back to the topic i started here — the lightness of being, because my lack of focus in a sea of bewildering choices contributed to a confused sense of self-identity and became a huge chip on my mind ever since I returned to Singapore earlier this year.

Running helps me think because I think my mind gets clearer once the heart starts flowing through the whole body instead of being bunched up in my empty head as I try to think. I don’t think I have the answer yet but I have been speaking to many people these past few months and these conversations help me internalize  these people’s  advice. I have been warned not to act smart, to learn to suck unpleasantries up/ be more disciplined and focused, listen to my heart and not just the brain, and also one takeaway which is that good things never come easily. You gotta fight for something otherwise it ain’t worth it.

A bunch of mambo jumbo today in this blog post. I am not too sure it will make much sense to you guys but I do believe writing helps to develop more structure to my thoughts, never mind if I am not finding the right answer. So do bear with me as I untie this knot in my life. I hope you have no knots in your life, if you do, please share how you untied them with me and I would be most grateful.


4 thoughts on “The Lightness of Being

  1. I think “not to act smart” is pretty good advice 😛

  2. Yo bjorn,
    Understand exactly what you’re saying. In fact, the more you write, you cannot see the immediate effects of the knots untying. You have always been articulate in projecting your thoughts out. And that has a long term effect on your emotional health.

    I spoke to Tristen recently, and I asked her how to make life decisions when there’s so many divergent questions. She said, look at a situation like you’re appreciating a diamond. Look at it with every single possible angle. Appreciate the colors. Scutinize the situation. And then, lke what you said, internalise it. Soon enough you’d find that there is a gut instinct towards 1 decision.

  3. Hey buddy,

    The next thing I’m gonna tell you might comfort you. Or it might anger you.

    “Uncertainty is very normal for extraordinary people”

    All of us, who choose to do things a little differently, experience this phase in our life. Fret not, you’ll figure out this phase soon … and get started on your new life. And if you choose to take the road less taken (entreprneurship), your first few years will have more phases like this.

    I know I’m going through the shit, a first-time entrepreneur goes through right now.

    The good news? Everyone’s gone through it – The reason why every successful techie made it big … is that they made their decisions and then stuck to them. It’s a rite of passage for us 🙂

    So, while I know you’re probably kinda confused and making decisions right now … just have a little faith. You’ve been extraordinary among your peers in the last few years. And you will be extraordinary when these dark clouds pass through.


  4. thanks, rachit. its comforting to hear that. all the best to you in your extraordinary career! =D

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