Plot Twist

I love a good plot twist. Or “wow” factor.

If you’ve ever watched Kingsman, then you know how many great “oh-my-god” moments they have that completely surprise you,.

I think with new projects, or whatever you are creating, you should strive for a “wow” factor, something people weren’t expecting, something fresh and new.

Real cannons in a musical composition, a climactic volley that introduces a new factor to traditional musical compositions.

A magician who takes away the one out of the two main factors they use to perform.

A violinist who dances while playing.

A musical which combines rap and hip-hop with the American revolution. Or a musical which uses animals, like lions and hyenas.

A basketball player who uses his elbows to make a crafty pass that NO ONE expects.

And if you watch the 2nd Kingsman, you’ll see another “wow” factor when they introduce a new character I for one was definitely surprised to see. Or, actually, there’s two.

So, maybe you can combine two skills to create something fresh and new. That’s why we should be multi-skilled. And that’s also why we should have a book of ideas so we can write down all the “wow” factor ideas we come up with.

I am still working on my own “wow” factors. Hopefully, I come up with something that is worthy to share with the world one day.

So, what’s your wow factor?

Just in case you were interested in the references I made:

Tchaikovsky’s 1814 Overture uses real cannons. (he was also the composer of the scores of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty)

Magician reference: Teller from Penn & Teller, who is probably the most famous for being a silent performer. But there are many more (both past and present). Shin Lim is also famous for fooling Penn & Teller on their show Fool Us with a masterful silent performance.

Violinist: Lindsey Stirling

Musicals: Hamilton and Lion King

Basketball Player: Jason Williams

Grateful Day 89: I am grateful

Reading Day 31: Wow 31 days of reading and it went by so fast. I am looking to continue this habit of reading as much as I can.

Will continue to do more book reviews periodically.

Today I read about the Indian and Chinese economy.



Be Multi-Skilled

Be the lawyer who also is a certified sky-diver

The accountant who paints landscapes on the weekend

The illustrator who can file her own taxes

A professor who can do magic. (Looking at you, Adam Grant!)

Or be the business student who writes a blog, plays basketball and does boxing, reads every day, and also does magic.


Be multi-skilled

Don’t be a “jack of all trades”

But be multi-skilled in 2-3 other areas.

If you can be an expert in an area that is NOT your main focus, then that just makes it even more impressive.

People expect the software engineer to be very good at coding and have a strong technical background. Oh, he is also very active in theatre and singing, and great at public speaking? Tell me more about THAT and how being multi-skilled in a contrasting area has helped develop your character.

When you are multi-skilled, you become more interesting not just to other people, but also to yourself.

Developing skills keeps you active and broadens your range of knowledge and expertise. You’ll get to learn so much more about the other side of what you normally do, and it’ll develop your perspectives AND give you a new hobby. Combine those two skills together, and maybe you’ll discover something amazing.

Good Luck

Grateful Day 91: I am grateful for watermelon smoothies

Reading Day 30:

I read this comment the other day on one of my Quora posts:

“This is my first time commenting on Quora. You, however, Jeff give thought-provoking response. I am moved. Thank you for what you do.”

Comments like these are why I think I will never stop writing.


A book of ideas

Everyone has the potential to come up with great ideas.

Creative original ideas.

It’s a proven fact.

But the issue is that most of us don’t remember them or choose not to remember them.

I have a notebook, both a physical one and a digital one on my laptop, where I write down all the ideas I come up with. Business ideas. Book ideas. Magic ideas. And writing material.

I periodically look through all of the things I’ve written down in the past months and am amazed at how powerful my imagination is. This blog in itself is a documentation of my thoughts, and I often look back at past posts and marvel at how I managed to write such material. (Most of the time though, I gag a little at the cringe!)

Our mind is like a beautiful garden, full of flowers, and abundant in fruits.

We can admire the garden from afar. But if we want to truly harvest the ideas from our mind, we need to acknowledge them and write them down. Document them somehow. Take a picture, write a memo, create a voice recording.

Remember them.

Create a book of ideas. That is how you can materialize your thoughts.

And after a while, you won’t just be holding a book full of text.

It’ll be a physical version of your mind. It’ll be a documentation of your thoughts over years, showing your transition from youth to a student, student to adulthood, or adulthood to parent.

And I think that being able to see something like that is magical.

If you want to learn more about creating ideas and fostering your full potential, I recommend you read either Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance by Angela Duckworth, or Originals by Adam Grant.  Both are written by professors at the University of Pennsylvania.

(Those two books are my favorite non-fiction books so far!)

Grateful Day 90: I am grateful for people who encourage my ideas and encourage me to follow my dreams. These type of people–hold onto them.

Reading Day 29: 

I didn’t have time to read for pleasure today, but I did technically spend hours reading about banks for my job!

How was I supposed to know?

  • Did you know that in the 1960’s, that the average income in America, when adjusted for inflation, was about 30x more than China’s, and about 20x more than India’s?
  • Did you know that the reason there is a 2-3 month long break during the summer is that during the agricultural revolution, students had to help their parents in the summer during harvest season?
  • Did you know that the average inflation rate in North America is around 2-3%? This means every year, a dollar loses 2-3% of its purchasing power. $1 today, is NOT worth $1 in 2019; it’ll be worth about $0.97 cents.
  • And did you know, that the highest interest rate that banks offer in their “high-interest savings accounts” is about 1.5% (from CitiBank I believe)?
    • This means you technically LOSE purchasing power in your dollar for every year that you hold your money in a “high-interest savings account” at a bank.
  • Finally, did you know that the average person in North America will live for 700,000 hours?

Maybe you knew some of those facts. I think they are interesting trivia, and I just took them off the top of my head. I am sure I know a lot more random and interesting facts.

But I am not here to gloat and show off how much random knowledge I have. Here is my point: I am sure everyone reading this knows something that I don’t, just like everyone reading this probably didn’t know everything that I just listed.

Were you supposed to know that stuff? No.

But that’s why you need to build connections. That’s why a successful relationship, company, businesses, friend group, or any team, always requires collaboration.

No matter who you talk to–high SAT score or low, plays an instrument or dances, college degree or high school dropout, Chinese or Italian, boy or girl or gender fluid–that person will always have some knowledge to share with you that you do not know.

It might be an opinion. It might be a random trivia fact. It might be about the intricacies of the digestive system of a cow. Or it might be a cultural perspective that you could never learn about in a textbook, and only either experience it or hear about it from a primary source.

Every time someone teaches you something new that you didn’t know…ask yourself: “How was I supposed to know?”

And then remind yourself of the answer: you weren’t supposed to know.

That’s why we learn.

Good Luck

Grateful Day 88: I am grateful for KNAWWWLEDGE

And also reading. I love reading; it’s a newfound passion!

Reading Day 28: Well, I did a lot of reading about banks today. A bit boring to discuss, but I did put some interesting facts above (most of those facts I read about, but not all today)

A Fist bump is all you need

We all have misunderstandings

Between friends–new and old–, family, maybe even strangers

But at the end of the day, you don’t want to feel this uneasiness

You don’t like this feeling of unfinished business and all the stress both of the parties inevitably feel

A fist bump can release all of your anxiety.

A fist bump signals to the other person, that you understand that life gets tough sometimes and that people say or do things they don’t necessarily mean.

A fist bump is both parties apologizing at the same time and saying “let’s get over this hump and stop fussing about it.” It shows humility, awareness, compromise, and acknowledgment.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to finish unfinished business without words.

Use it to apologize, to say thank you, to say “good job,” after your friend hits a fade-away three-pointer, to acknowledge the other person’s presence, to show gratitude, or just as a simple way to connect.

Arm extended out. Closed first. Subtle nod. Eye contact obligatory.

Ahh, the bliss of a fist bump…

And yes, I first bump just as often with my guy friends as with my female friends. It’s universal!

Grateful Day 86: I am grateful for how many people AROUND THE WORLD read my blog!

I’ve had more people from India view my website this month of March than from USA or Canada. I’ve also had people from Egypt, Malaysia, Nepal, UK, Australia, and Taiwan.

I’d like to give all of my international viewers a big fist bump 🙂


Podcast Day 27:

Instead of a book today, I’d like to talk about some interesting topics I listened to on the Ted Radio Hour podcast

The topic was emotions.

Did you know, that you can technically die from nostalgia? It’s amazing how strong our emotions and feelings can get.

Artificial intelligence and technological robots can now detect emotions of positivity, neutrality, or negativity with a 90%+ success rate. They are also able to detect if a person is lying, based on their facial expressions, at a 90%+ success rate.

Our ability to perceive emotions of other people is actually completely unfounded. Females over the age of 65+ are more likely to die from a heart attack than men because when women visit the doctor, their symptoms are wrongly perceived as anxiety or nervousness rather than as a real issue by the doctor, and often the women leave the hospital without check-ups and end up passing away from a heart attack. Contrastingly, doctors more accurately diagnose heart problems in men.





[Book Review] How to Be Original

I finished reading  Originals, – by Adam Grant.

  • Adam Grant, who is rated the best professor at UPenn Wharton’s Business school, is an organizational psychologist who has written several #1 NYT books. In Originals, he discusses how Non-conformists (procrastinators, slow people, and other different personality traits) succeed in life with their increased creativity
  • This is my book review and 15 points on HOW TO BE ORIGINAL
How to champion Originality:
  1. Question the default
    • Don’t take the status quo; ask why they exist in the first place and how to improve
  2. Triple the number of ideas you generate
    • Every innovator swings and misses; more swings, more hits!
    • Baseball players hit 1/3
  3. Immerse yourself in a new domain
    • Broaden your frame of reference
    • As a great scientist learns art forms, broaden your skills
    • Job rotation
    • Learn a new culture (work in a new foreign country)
  4. Strategic Procrastination
    • In the midst of generating ideas, stop midway
    • Allow yourself to incubate current ideas and foster more while on break
  5. Seek feedback
    • Radical transparency about feedback (Principles by Dalio)
    • Accept and champion feedback from peers and enemies
  6. Balance your risk portfolio
    • Balance your risk areas (an entrepreneur who has a day job)
    • Mitigate risk in many aspects of life, so you can TAKE risks in others
  7. Highlight reasons NOT to support your ideas to make virtues clear
    • Describe 3 biggest weaknesses of your idea to understand virtues
    • Harder it is to create more weaknesses, you begin to realize virtues
  8. Make Ideas more familiar
    • Repeat yourself for unconventional ideas.
    • EXPOSURE and mix your new ideas with old ones, by using analogies and comparisons
  9. Speak to a different audience
    • Speak to disagreeable people who share your methods
    • Challenge authority and use your enemies to help shape you
    • Tough people with similar approaches
  10. Be a tempered radical
    • manage emotions
  11. Motivate yourself differently when committed/uncertain
    • When determined, focus on progress left to go (How close you are to reaching target!)
    • When unmotivated, focus on how far you’ve ALREADY gone (You’ve done so much; don’t quit now!)
  12. Don’t try to calm down
    • When nervous, turn anxiety into excitement and enthusiasm instead of trying to suppress it
    • Don’t say “just calm down” instead say “I am excited”
    • Nervous and excitement = synonyms
  13. Focus on the victim who is harmed, NOT the perpetrator
    • Focusing on perpetrator fuels anger and wrath and negativity
    • Focus on victim = positive anger to channel into positive action instead of revenge
    • Instead of harming the harmer, help the harmed
  14. Realize you are not alone
    • Even just 1 ally who believes in your vision can tackle the problem together will make you much more successful
  15. If you don’t take initiative, status quo will persist
    • Exit, Voice, Persistence, Neglect = 4 ways to respond to dissatisfaction
    • Might be good to take action (exit) if other methods don’t work

Grateful Day 85: I am grateful for naps

Reading Day 26: It’s crazy how much reading I’ve done this month, just like how much magic I did in February

I’ve already read 12 books this year and I plan to hit 50 for 2018!

Micro Vs. Macro

Micro is the small scale, the small actions we do to improve.


It means brushing your teeth twice a day. Reading even just 30 minutes a day. Writing–every day.

Every minute, every hour, every day

You won’t remember these micro-actions, but they add up, and you need to decide to make micro-improvements every day.

How are we improving ourselves, on a micro scale? What micro-actions are we performing to become a better version of ourselves?

Macro is the big decisions.

It means deciding to study abroad. or doing a service trip, or silent retreat, or what school to attend, or choosing an internship program, or signing up for a gym membership.

These macro decisions are the ones you will remember, the “life-changing” experiences.

But micro and macro improvement are both important, and they compliment each other.

Going to the dentist is a macro action, but to truly have clean and white teeth, you need to pair that macro action with the micro decision to brush your teeth every day.

Signing up for a year-long membership to an MMA gym–macro. Choosing to actually workout, on a weekly basis? Micro.

You can’t just go on one service trip, a “life-changing experience”, and call yourself a humanitarian or philanthropist, without having done some fundraisers or volunteer work on a micro-scale before or after that “life-changing experience”.

You won’t remember the micro decisions, but you are making them every day, every hour, every minute. And they add up. And they might be more important than those macro decisions.

Grateful Day 84: I am grateful for watermelon. It is my favorite fruit to eat on a daily basis

Reading Day 25:

 I am currently reading: Counting by 7’s

  • The book follows Willow Chance, a genius girl who is fascinated with medical conditions and plants. The story begins with the sad news that her adopted parents, who loved her dearly, sadly passes away in a car crash.

I find it very interesting how people are so willing to come to the aid of those who are in distress, and the book shows a great example of friends who so willingly jump into Willow’s life to help her through her struggles.