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.

Genuine Happiness

I think I can genuinely say I am at the happiest point in my life right now

And not because I am exorbitantly happy–no, I fully expect myself to experience higher points of happiness.

I am happy because I see myself going up. Up this rollercoaster called life, and up towards something I don’t even know what it looks like but it’s something I am building towards.

Magic. Investing. Writing. Podcasting. Living

Everything I’ve done is to create something meaningful

And the shape I’ve created is blurry, but I can already see it’s beautiful.

And I hope when it’s finally finished, when my creation is done, I’ll see happiness.

Simone de Beauvoir says that genuine freedom means willing freedom for all of humanity, not just yourself.

I think genuine happiness is the same.

Until I can be genuinely and completely happy, I want to share this happiness with other people first.

So let me get back into my workshop, and let me create. Let me work. Let me build happiness and cut it up into small chunks. Let me share it with you.

Thank you for everyone who comes to watch me perform magic. Especially today.

A lot of people tell me that when I perform magic, it lights up there day. What my audience doesn’t realize is that they do the same for me.

When one person’s happiness becomes your happiness–that’s genuine happiness. That’s what de Beauvoir was talking about, and I think I finally understand a little bit about her amazing philosophy.

 

 

Taking Chances

Daily Blog post 385

I have no idea what it feels like to be in a relationship

I also have no idea what skydiving is like

Or the feeling of winning the lottery

Or driving a car

Or breaking a bone

Or participate in a flash mob

But I know what it feels like to perform on stage in front of hundreds of people. I also know what it feels like to mess up in front of hundreds of people.

I have felt the sting of rejection

I can do a one-handed push-up and one-foot squat

I have felt the tranquility of being on the Great Wall of China 

I’ve hated my body and subsequently learned to love it

I’ve done a lot of living but in hindsight, I also have a lot more that I have yet to do. Maybe all of those things will happen in the future, or maybe not.

But I think the most important thing I need to realize is that I’ll never be able to cross off all these bucket list items if I never take the first step.
As a basketball player, I know it just as well as anyone else: you never know unless you take the shot. If I never take a chance in the first place.

So here’s to taking chances. Here’s to jumping out of an airplane one day, to getting rejected and to getting accepted. Here is to a life full of taking chances. 

P.S. Don’t tell my mother I want to skydive…

Mystique of NYC

Every time I go to New York there is a certain mystique to it. My first Broadway show made me believe that magic is truly real. When I walked through Central Park I saw all these beautiful nuances—how many tourists have walked this path, how many relationships are built on these strolls, how many dogs pass through Central Park? I want to live in a beautiful Brownstone house. I can feel the energy of the people around me as I walk through Korea Town, China Town, through Washington Square Park, through Times Square. It’s different. The thing about New York is you see so much diversity—and you can never tell if someone is a tourist or real New Yorker just by looking at them. I am a tourist. I am a tourist of the world. I see beautiful cities and I immediately fall deep in love with the concept of the people, of the streets, of the homes, of the world that I could potentially live in if I moved to that city. Social media is weird for me because some days I feel like I am posting too often, and some days I feel like I don’t post often enough. I guess that means in the end I am posting just the right amount. I’m looking for magic and I think I found it in New York. (Watch out for a magic post next). For now, enjoy this fake #candid photo. #aesthetics