Stop specializing: I am my own niche

For years I’ve thought that the way to truly be successful and influential in your field(s) was to specialize – experts would always best Jack of all trades, masters of none.

Yet I quickly realized I had so many interests, genuine passions, for so many different fields that didn’t necessarily coordinate well together.

In high school, I’d be deeply interested in chemistry and math classes and how the world worked, my favorite class still was acting, and yet I received the top English award.

After class, I’d balance basketball practice with musical theatre rehearsals and violin orchestra practice. I constantly wondered whether I was spreading myself too thin, and I also realized I was never truly able to be the best in any one field.

I ended up dropping the basketball team out of lack of dedication, I felt like an imposter leading my high school strings orchestra as concertmaster for 3-years, and when I played Scar in Lion King I couldn’t help but have a lingering feeling of regret that I sacrificed basketball to sing. Why couldn’t I be like Troy Bolton?

Now I am at another semi-crossroads.

Am I the magician?

The philosopher, daily blogger?

Will I work on Wall Street and run a hedge fund, trading stocks, and options?

Or will I dive into academic economic research and cure poverty – my all-time goal?

I don’t have the answer, but I think I’ve come up with a path: I am my own niche

Specialization worked in the days of Henry Ford assembly lines, and yes it still works today too

But there’s something to be said about the creativity of bringing in interdisciplinary skills and disciplines

The most recent book I’ve been reading dives deeper into this concept of Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.

Steve Jobs famously cited his Chinese calligraphy class for giving him the inspiration for pioneering Apples typography and design

Roger Federer didn’t specialize in tennis until much later than his peers, and in fact, might have learned towards soccer at one point in his childhood

And Lindt chocolate brought together dark chocolate and spices to create something new, unique, and not necessarily specialized but surely special

There’s ultimately nothing wrong with specialization, and equally nothing wrong with having a broad range of skills.

I hope to find a balance between both practices so that I can further build bridges between philosophy and business.

slow and steady, sustainability, and space travel

It’s been over a month since my last post and I wanted to just get back into the game after my hiatus

The latest topic I’ve found interesting is space colonization and environmental sustainability on Earth

Of course, climate change and sustainability is a top issue for humanity and is perhaps the greatest challenge of the 21st century. I say perhaps because depending on where you live, climate change is on different degrees of importance. Even in America, climate change and global warming will vary in importance depending on the economic cycle. In a recession, society is more worried about the economy, job stability, and standard of living. While when America is in economic growth, there is more worry about the future, thus global warming and climate change become more of an important social issue (as it is now).

For developing countries, trying to survive the next day / few years, and getting out of poverty and maintaining economic stability is more important than climate change. We see this with China, which for decades sacrificed the environment to grow their economy. China is still the largest user of coal, but are now in we see a massive transition phase in China — they are now the largest producers and users of electric vehicles and green energy sources.

If we don’t make massive sustainability changes, we will eventually pass the point of no return in terms of destroying Earth’s environment and resources.

However, economists and social science predictors cannot factor in the growth of technology, and that is another aspect of potentially fixing the environment problem: space travel.

Perhaps we can find solutions for resources through space investigation. And of course, space colonization may prove a potential solution in the future. Keep an eye on Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

 

trying to do too much

I often feel like I am trying to do too much

  1. Teaching assistant for microeconomics
  2. Trying to write a book
  3. running two blogs
  4. a podcast
  5. 19 credits semester
  6. one independent study class
  7. side research for Upenn Wharton conference

Today I added two more things:

I am now trying to start a Pan-Asian Chapter at Villanova, and I am also now signed up to tutor the executive MBA class in introductory economics.

Other days, when I am sitting on the couch watching Netflix, I feel like I am not doing enough.

It’s a weird balance. Does balance exist for me?

results and hard work

I’ve considered myself a hard worker for a while now

I remember getting up at 4:30 AM to practice two hours of basketball before school started because after school I would have 2-hours of rehearsal for musical theatre and I’d be too tired to play basketball then.

I wanted to balance both basketball and theatre as well as maintain top grades.

At Villanova, I’ve constantly taken a full-credit load because I want to learn as much as possible given the fixed costs of my semester tuition.

But I have not necessarily been seeing the results of my ‘hard work’

Which makes me come to two conclusions:

  1. I am either unlucky / the universe is unfair, or:
  2. I need to work harder

Option 1 I can’t control.

Option 2 I can, which means it’s time to amp it up and keep going. I haven’t burned out yet, I’m just getting started.

Necessary and destructive happiness

Happiness is a just discrimination between what is necessary, destructive, neither necessary nor destructive, and what is necessary and destructive

We need the necessary essentials: food water shelter

We should avoid the destrutcgive: violence hatred and corruption

There are things that are necessary but also can be destructive: the oil industry, corporations, and burning the Amazon forest (for economic growth for Brazil)

But happiness is having a surplus of things that are neither necessary nor destructive because those things are often the best

Air conditioning is neither necessary nor destructive, but I often find myself the happiest when I am able to sit on a comfy couch in a well-AC’d room in the summer, eating take-out sushi and watching Netflix with my dear friends and family i care most avout

undervalued investing

I feel undervalued by society

whether or not I am justified in that feeling is for discussion another time

but in general value investing theory, you are taught to invest in undervalued stocks and companies

so now is the time for me to dive deep into personal investments

academics, career, physical & mental health, passions, creativity, knowledge

time for me to invest as much as I can into myself

undervalued investments pay the biggest dividends

Misinformed, my opinion on opinions

I respect the right for everyone to have an opinion.

I also support freedom of speech.

But if your opinion is either:

  1. Not founded on any information, data, research, etc.
  2. Founded on false information, propaganda, etc.

Then you need to willing to accept that your opinion is flawed.

I have an opinion on almost everything, most of them are flawed. For example, I have an opinion on 50 Shades of Grey, in that there is a general negative connotation towards the book.

But my opinion is flawed because I have neither watched the movie, read the book, or done any prior research about what the story is about. I just simply have an opinion. I think everyone does.

However, if an advocate of the book/movie were to come up to me and be open to explaining the story and how there are beautiful nuances to the storytelling and creativity, I need to be completely willing to hear them out so I can better understand the situation.

In the same breath, if you have an opinion that is founded on false information (i.e. you read one source or you are a victim to propaganda) then you need to do a better job and understanding the topic through diverse sources, or else you fall into the spiraling trap of confirmation bias.

The best politicians and economists are not those that completely dismiss the other side. Instead, they understand many areas and try to utilize the best out of each perspective.

Full stop. I am a liberal. (Though, there are different left-right opinions regarding politics, economics, society, etc.)

But that doesn’t mean I support extremist liberal ideas, nor do I completely condemn all the ideas of the right.

I am a liberal (socially), but I respect capitalism and markets (more right-wing). I also believe in certain conservative approaches to tradition.

Full stop. I do not think Donald Trump is a good president. (Even though my opinion has no jurisdiction. I can Canadian, eh.).

I do not like many of the things Donald Trump says are does. But I’ve also done my research. And instead of condemning all the bad things he has done, I will point out the good things he has done:

  1. I believe that reducing the corporate tax rate in 2018 was a smart move on his part to help from billions of dollars worth of money back to America from overseas (Example: Apple)
  2. He is the only President willing to challenge China’s rising supreme power, which I believe can be a tactical move (however I do not necessarily agree with how he has approached the matter, nor his methods). I believe that China has had a bigger upside in trade with America and also has been a country known to curve around certain guidelines. However, I also believe that challenging China is roughly 20 years too late.
  3. Donald Trump has been active in trying to repair relationships between that of South Korea and North Korea.
  4. Donald Trump puts America first.

I remember back in 2016 when disliking Trump was an automatic response. It almost felt like “I hate Trump” could be a personality trait, just like my opinion on 50-Shades is. Yet, Trump had not become President yet, nor did we know what he planned to do, nor did many people actually understand his campaign. I personally believe that my opinion to dislike him is just a bit more grounded in information, having been a person who actively seeks to understand both sides of the situation. My opinion on 50 Shades of Grey? Not so grounded.

Opinions are powerful. And I respect people’s right to have them, and I believe sharing opinions is an even more powerful tool to incite debate and discussion.

I am still trying to understand how I can better understand people that fall into the first two categories (no information, or misinformed people).

Most of my opinions, as I mentioned, are flawed. But when I do have a strong opinion on something, I want people to know that I don’t carry that thought without any extensive research are thought on why I have that certain perspective. I want to know how I can help people understand the topics that I am passionate about. It is difficult for me to reach out to these types of people, and a part of me just wants to walk away and not debate with people who I know are clearly misinformed, but if I do that, I am afraid that my opinion will slowly die off. We live in a world of a sharing-digital era, and I’d feel remiss if I didn’t share my opinions.

If you see yourself having an opinion that is not based on information, I urge you to be open about someone helping you better understand the situation.

If you believe you are misinformed on an opinion, or that you only have on side of the story,, I urge you to seek out more diverse sources and talk to people more familiar with the matter.

So, does anyone want to explain to me why 50 Shades of Grey is a good story?