Saturday, 10 December 2016

Review - Singapore Marathon 2016

Cognizant that my last post in relation to taking part in the Singapore Marathon was in end July (c. 16 weeks away from race day), and the goal back then was to focus on the process instead of the end goal. August and September came, went and bam I got swamped with loads of work, literally all the way till early part of October, which meant a stop start training runs, and I didn't manage to get my act together till the 2nd week of October, which left me with about 8 good weeks of training, which was when I resolved to hunker down to put together a training plan. 

I started off with the goal of setting aside Saturday mornings to put in the long slow distance, and another one more session of a shorter run / cross training with kettle bells. The first couple of Saturdays were extremely painful, with a target to cover a distance upwards of 30 to 35km or so. I started out by walking that distance, then building up to walking / jogging, and progressing towards jogging the entire distance in the last couple of sessions. Needless to say, I became pretty familiar with the trails of Macritchie Reservoir after a few sessions in. I know that this isn't a proper training schedule, and the going full steam ahead on accumulating distance covered probably wasn't the best idea, but it turned out to be a rather efficient (and high risk strategy) as I built my base fairly quickly. Towards the end of the period leading up to race day, work slowed down a little and I managed to do a separate 10 to 12km on a weekday around the CBD, which is beautiful at night. 

One of the training sessions that stood out was on a particular Saturday, where I had began running at 0500 and it started pouring at 0600. I was soaked to the bone but still pushed on for fear of missing out that training session. Subsequently I was stalked by a pack of dogs around the peirce reservoir area and was attacked by monkeys lining the road, but the feeling of completing that session was pretty exhilarating, even though I only managed to finish 20km or so instead of the 30km I was looking to do. It boosted confidence that I could execute and push through in not so ideal consequences, and was getting a tad better at being comfortable with uncomfortable. 

Unfortunately I caught the flu bug one week prior to race day, and that kind of affected the last stretch of my training plan, and I wasn't at my best for race day, but I managed to pull through to execute in about c.5.30. It's not the best timing, but it certainly feels good to have put in the requisite effort over the last 8 weeks and I felt I gave it my best sustained effort in light of the work situation. Now that I've built up the habit of waking up early on Saturdays to put out a long hard session, I found myself looking forward to doing so this morning, but unfortunately my body is still recovering from the pushing and I only managed to do 45 mins. Nevertheless, am quite pleased with this habit, and I look forward to wake up early on Saturdays for exercise in the foreseeable future. 

That is one good habit that came through on this process. The other bit which I felt an improvement on was the ability to take on suffering and being able to adapt the game plan to unforeseen twists (like work load or sickness). The marathon is always a humbling experience and I found myself doing good all the way till 28km before the suffering began to set in, but I stuck with it and managed to pull through, which definitely builds resilience that I hope will be put to good stead in other facets of life. 

So all in all, I did think while the process could always be improved, it was a decent effort thrown into the goal at hand and that's something I can be proud of this time around. Here's to future goals in life, to a fitter body and mind, and to a faster time. Cheers. 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Being comfortable with uncomfortable

Came across this great article online from Pocket recommendations sometime this week and it resonated loads with me. It was on exercising and the gist of it was how exercise could be one of the many keystone habits that help improve one's quality of living.

The quote that stood out was how important it is to be "comfortable with uncomfortable". Instead of constantly grasping for aversion of pain, how embracing pain and a lack of comfort might actually lead to greater tolerance levels, build resilience and strengthen relationships. What it takes is recognizing your thoughts, that say for example: "you're bitching about your work and the lack of direction given by your boss", but instead of repeating that useless thought, why not be with the pain and try to do something constructive with it.

I'm still way at level donut in trying to make sense of this, but I do realise that as I age, I tend to be able to recognize certain cognition habits better, and am able to make (mostly) better (I hope) decisions on how to use those thoughts to further reach the goal. Well I guess not only is physical exercise important, but also, mental exercise is equally important (such as meditation and its multiple uses in training the mind), as one seeks to continuously improve and evolve into a better human being. When was the last time you did something out of your comfort zone?

Anyhow, here's the link to the article below. It's a great read and I do hope it provides you with a dose of inspiration in the coming weeks.

NY MAG: Being comfortable with uncomfortable

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Self talk and the transient nature of all things

Been a while since I last posted. Things have been extremely busy  and it's been a challenge sticking to the fitness goals. Feels somewhat like a first year Analyst all over again but with better coping mechanisms (that's the only way to survive - sink or swim).

To cast things in a positive light - when things are busy and the industry isn't doing well, you'll double down on experience and "level up" much faster. To look at things from the other side, you can feel like you're being put through the juice wringer, where every ounce of omph is being wrung out, but you won't get rewarded for it in terms of monetary compensation.  But oh well, eyes on the prize RB35. 

The good thing over the last few months is that the markets have somewhat rallied, so my net worth has correspondingly increased to c. S$1.7m. Projecting the current trajectory and I think I might hit my target FU stash in of S$3.0m in another two to three years. Focus on the process of leveling up skills and various aspects of personal development. 

The good thing about aiming for a fitness goal such as say losing a set number of pounds, being able to tackle an event such as a marathon is that you'll have something outside of work life to look forward to. My weekly reprieve now comprises of long runs / walks around MacRitchite reservoir of more than 5 to 6 hours each weekend. It takes more than 20km to go into suffering mode where gains are made, and the suffering is ultimately a combination of a visceral and mental nature. Why suffer? 

Perhaps my mammalian brain likes it. Perhaps the science (of endorphins or the works) warrants it. Or perhaps it just feels as real as it can get. Humans against the elements. 

On a side note, I've picked up a couple of books written by Tan Chade Meng and he has been utterly inspirational, in the way that shows another path away from a corporate context which actually helps to improve society and the world at large. His techniques on meditation are extremely practical and useful as well, especially given my budding start since last March. I do find sitting down for 20 mins each morning (no matter how late work ends the night before) helpful. It's like a coat of amour that I put on daily, that helps to block the inevitable blows that come from work.  

I highly recommend picking up one of his books and picking up the practice. The one that I am reading now is "Search Inside Yourself".

Just another 2.5 months before the year wraps up. For those going through a tough period, keep going. It too, will eventually pass and if you search hard enough inside yourself, you'll find the requisite steel to temper all storms. 

Monday, 25 July 2016

New Goal for the 2016 Singapore Marathon

Decided somewhat on a whim yesterday that I was going to participate in the Singapore Marathon. All 42.2km of that. Perhaps it's because there's a little bit of a lull now that the summer is here, and I've all but clearly forgotten the good old pain that has yield in the past, but I haven't done something like that in quite awhile, and I did think it'll be good to burn up the physical thrusters once more and end the year on a naturally induced high (as opposed to artificial highs :p ).

I've done a couple of these long distance events, most of them just to tick the box of having had been there and done that, and some repeat events just to work on personal best times. Now here comes the crux of the decision, I'll be focusing 100% on the process this time (or die trying), of training consistently over the next 17 weeks or so.

No target timing in mind, just pure relentless focus on setting out a plan, putting through the paces, and going through with this, in an attempt to build resilience and further improve myself. This is perhaps one of the few times where I'm embarking on a self driven mission, with the intention to focus on the process instead of the prize at the end of the rainbow.

Let's see how different that feels as I document my training journey going forward. Every run, every workout, every setback. :)

Sunday, 10 July 2016

A Guide to the Good Life - William B Irvine

Just completed a first read of the aforementioned book and thought it might be wise to jot down a few quick observations and notes.

As the title suggests, William B Irvine espouses the formation of a personal philosophy of living, that helps guide one through his daily life. His choice of philosophy is that of Stoicism, but he, unlike some of the other 'philosophies of life' isn't dogmatic about that choice, and heartily declares that the everyone has his own path that he has to individually find, and that Stoicism, though which forms the foundation on which he attempts to base his daily life on, might not be for everyone. Other different philosophies that he did touch on briefly involved Cynicism, Hedonism, Christianity, Zen Buddhism, etc.

I found the book extremely helpful in providing practical examples on how to adopt Stoicism as a form of philosophy. I've come across many other interesting reads, such as James Stockdale's "Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot" and Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations" and although many of those books did provide interesting insights, they were not as helpful in providing practical examples on application of Stoicism to a modern day livelihood.

Some of the traditional psychological Stoic techniques that were discussed in great detail were:

* Negative Visualization - Contemplating the loss of what you value in your daily life, which works in tandem between being grateful for what you have. For example if you received 6 months of bonus, but your colleague received 9 months of bonus, you might be inclined to go ape shit especially if you brought in revenues. But taking a moment that you could have gotten a big fat donut instead, and giving thanks that this situation provided you with a opportunity to develop your mentality, might result in you feel more satisfied instead of being bitter.

5 years ago, I might have thought of this as settling for less, and mental hocus pocus, or rather intellectually rationalising, but the main goal here is to achieve tranquility and eliminate negative emotions such as jealously, bitterness, anger, sadness, so that you can live a life of joy. So even though you are technically settling for less here, you would be more joyful with less bitterness, which brings us to the age old question of what exactly satisfies oneself. My personal view now is that the pursuit of tranquility and being satisfied with oneself yields more than the brief high that material goods and money can provide. Ever heard of the hedonistic threadmill?

* Self control - Touching on the serenity prayer, basically focusing on eliminating negative emotions such as anxiety through the use of the locus of control. This has probably been touched on in mainstream media, but essentially it's thinking and working on things that you have the ability to influence and control and just letting others slide. Works in tandem with being in the present moment instead of constantly fretting about what the next day will bring.

* Internalisation of goals - Instead of competing to win, compete to beat your personal best. In line with the thoughts on self control, focus on doing the best you can in every situation instead of aiming for some goal. Say in playing a tennis match, the focus should be on preparing for the match as best as you can be and playing to the best of your abilities instead of beating the opponent.

* If only doesn't yield fruit - Constantly wishing the past was different doesn't help with the present and the future. One should learn from how doing things different in the past can help with the future, but one should not constantly carry the baggage of the past and spend time wishing things could be different. One should do their best to accept the past, whatever it might have been and to embrace the present, whatever it might be.

There are also other strategies and thoughts on dealing with status, admiration, insults, anger, temporary discomfort, self-discipline, amongst others, which are extremely interesting, insightful and practical, but it's just too much to summarize on this medium. :)

This is definitely up there in my personal top 10 list of useful reads over the last 5 years.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Best Part about Summer

You know it's the start of the summer holidays when you see a bunch of bright eyed college undergraduates swaddled with clothing that looks a tad too formal for them walking down the hallways of the trading floor, looking a little too enthusiastic for the countless beatings that will come over what may be the longest months ahead of their lives to come. 

Yes, the best part of summer isn't the part where the big swinging dick MDs head off for a couple weeks break, although that comes pretty close. The best part of summer is internship season, where it signals a reset of the recruitment cycle where you see an injection of new blood into the system, because post summer is typically when the newly minted Analysts and Associates fresh out of school and banking training programs hit the desk full time. 

I've always been a big believer in internships over an extended period of time (10 weeks is sufficient) for both the intern and the corporate entity extending the internship, to see if someone has the potential to undertake the real deal once he leave school. The intern on the other hand, benefits to see if the "real thing" matches up to what he perceived the industry to be prior to joining. There is only so much conjecture one can think up about what it's like to crank for more than 90 hours a week for a couple of weeks straight, instead of living through that phase. 

Summer internships bring about some other positive externalities to the organisation, as the lowest men on the totem pole (typically the rising first year Analysts) would have to guide the interns in their day to day job, which provides an integral set of skills that will be useful as they climb through the rungs. Also, the vitality and life force that the summer interns provide is always fun, given the numerous mandatory social events that get scheduled over the course of summer. 

This summer looks pretty bleak - markets in SEA are getting pummeled, and the negative global events such as Brexit wouldn't be conducive to conducting the traditional investment banking activities. Investment banks have already or are probably in the process of cutting headcount, something which would probably be expedited if the markets do not trend up soon after the latest Brexit blow. That probably means lower headcount for full time jobs that will be offered at the end of each summer internship, which makes the competition even more vicious. 

Having been a summer intern in the traditional Investment Banking Department (where people sell stocks and peddle mergers and acquisitions advice) more than half a decade ago, I find the traits of having a good attitude, being generally being grounded and getting along well with both your peers and the junior bankers to be quintessential in securing a full time job. No one is expecting the summer interns to be able to execute their jobs to perfection, but the young padawan learners must show the potential to be able to do so one day (and that day is always always sooner than they think). Oh yes, and if the group drinks, having the ability to do a few shots without getting pissed drunk helps as well. And if you don't have that ability, in some groups I know getting wasted is always way better than shirking drinks. Yes, very very strange, I know. 

I'm sure summer will be fun. Lighten up all you Brexit moaners. It probably doesn't affect you as much as you think. Even if it does, recite the serenity prayer, because even if you are David Cameron himself, you'll find that you have absolutely no control over the effects of Brexit. And wish well to the Summer Analyst and Associate classes of 2016. Good luck guys! 

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Update after the hiatus

Have had a hiatus on this blog as I face a struggle on penning down thoughts that seem pretty much repetitive in context. Have had quite a bit going on in the first 6 months in pretty much all aspects of life. Best buddies getting hitched, the ever changing work environment and also some developments on the personal front took up much effort and prescience over the first six months. 

I've pretty much adopted the mindset that a good life lived probably isn't much one that is full of creature comforts nor that of enhanced hedonism, but one that is filled with continuous struggles and suffering and seeing how one responds to those moments of adversity. The dukka that permeates each and every aspect of life lends perspective to a difficult situation at work, or a difficult relationship. 

What matters the most to me presently is the overarching aim of becoming a better person in every possible way, through each experience, regardless of whether that particular experience is determined as "good" or "bad. What has definitely changed over the last couple of years is a slow but sure movement towards that of a process focus, rather than a goal focus. 

Work continues to take up most of the aforementioned struggles and suffering, and at times I do have to remind myself that this is perhaps the best way to put myself through the fire and emerge stronger and more resilient through each transaction, without thinking much of the monthly income that pads the fuck you portfolio. 

The one thing I'm grateful for is the ability to make a difference to the lives of the more junior bankers, to shape thoughts, perceptions and have some form of influence (mostly positive I hope) where they can learn something outside of just the purism of investment banking. That being said, am still grateful to have a relatively secure job despite the various waves of retrenchment that have hit close to home. Have had a couple of friends and acquaintances who lost their ricebowls over the past few months - all I hope is that they land feet up, eventually. 

Feeling at tad philosophical and pensive on this nice cool Saturday afternoon, with a relatively freed up weekend for once. Quite heavily leaning towards exploring more of the stoical philosophy and double down on the meditation as I seek to develop my capacity for equanimity and tranquility, whilst I let the portfolio and financial freedom targets take care of themselves - the best thing about this is that those are pretty much on auto-pilot as you program in the key parameters. 

A strong glimmer of hope that there's definitely much more to come over the next half of the year with the social calendar pretty much cleared up and what seems like a renewed focus over the last couple of days. Like the soccer team I have supported through the years, I try to make it a habit of ending strong (and finishing in the top 4 for champions league places... haha). 

Hope all is well with you guys out there. If it's not, just remember that it too will pass, and you'll eventually be well if you wish so. :) 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016


On stretches of weeks like these, it seems that the only thing I'm living and working for is to F.I.R.E. A lull in motivation requires an increased level of patience with the bullshit that's constantly perpetuating in the workplace (it's like the freaking Kraken - the more you try to kill it, the larger it grows), and an added dose of naivety could certainly help in paving the way forward. 

These are times when I blame my seemingly hell bent analytical ability in calling management bullshit, and could certainly benefit from being a greenhorn believing in all that management espouses. Truth is nothing short of there being a constant sucker at the table, and if you don't know who the sucker is, it's probably you. Gone are the days I'll tell the more seasoned junior bankers that hey maybe it's actually good for us that management is doing such and such; and took on the belief that more work for you means more good experiences for your resume and character building, when all it means is the same shit repeated again, which you could probably build more experience learning about gardening (no puns intended). 

One of the few things that help with getting through phases like this would be repeating the mantra "Patience my young padawan learner, these times too shall pass. Just make the best out of what you can do and focus on the other good things going on in your life." 

It's a seemingly perpetual fight between the dark side and the light side. Oh yea Mr RB35, don't wander too deep into the dark side... Light is at the end of the tunnel. Just another 2.5 more years, like another national service duration and you'll be set for life. 

Oh well, the bullshit we feed ourselves to keep us going. Seems like I'm no different from my bosses, just different targets, that's all. *sheepish* :) 

Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Limited Use of Willpower

When I was a teenager, I used to have what seems like a copious amount of willpower - waking up before 0500 to put in a good hour and a half studying and catching up with the school work; losing up to 30 kg in a short 8 months time frame, and generally just coping and adapting well to the demands that school has placed.

When I started doing investment banking as an Analyst, well I didn't really need to call on my willpower given the pervasive use of the why that I constantly dangled over the top of my head in order to keep the wheels going true. But these days, with more time in my schedule, I have to deploy a conscious and concerted effort to implement some positive initiatives that will add value to my living. Say... instead of coming back home and gorging myself on TV serials (seriously Americans make legendary entertainment products... where do they get all these creativity from??), or drinking myself silly (beer creates endorphins and leads to good time...), perhaps a bout of HIIT workout or reading up on new concepts that can help me in future life (such as natural foraging, backpacking, human physiology, etc.) might be a more productive use of my time.

And that's when I realise that by lord, my willpower (the stat that I felt was one of the highest in my hero character attributes) wasn't that high anymore. I started noticing this when I choose to fucking sleep in most of the time. Say out of 10 times when I choose to wake up early to work out, I'll do it twice. Which is pretty fucking lame...

So I did some research and realise that it's probably my job that's burning a huge amount of my willpower on a daily basis, and my brain, realising that the reserves of willpower will be required during the course of the day, decides to switch off. Or well, at times when my willpower has been totally suckered out by the daily grind, well the cold can of Tiger beer in the fridge ain't that hard to resist...

I'm still trying to figure out a useful and productive hack that I can employ for this, and have done some research around creating systems and wiring habits into the fray. I'll definitely be reading more into this area and will come back with my experience and suggestions on how to make things better. But if you guys have something that has helped you to deal with these type of situations in the past, please shout out!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Beware - The Ego Trap

One of the pitfalls that many people encounter when embarking onto something novel in a bid to for self improvement is this very thing called the ego trap. The more commonly used abbreviation could be something along the lines of "one-upmanship", or constant comparison and thinking that one human being is better than another because of [x]. 

Here is an simple example: "I ran 10km today while you sat on a couch walloping the entire bag of kettle-chips when you should have been doing kettle-bells. Chips are not bells. I ran while you snoozed, therefore I am superior to you."

The ego is inherent in every human being, and whilst the ego itself is innately not a bad thing, one should learn that falling into the ego trap, where you mistakenly think that you are better than someone because of something you have or have not done or possess, is a sure way to allowing Kali, the Goddess of Destruction, a field day pass of fun and games into your personal relationships. 

After all, Fat Bob the Builder whose couch territory you have just invaded there, does not even want to hear how General Maximus Aurelius, Commander of the Armies of the North is superior to him (something that might actually be a fact...), much less Tan Ah Kow who in the past 6 months, has only just slogged out one 10km run on a threadmill in an air-conditioned atmosphere, and then openly or indirectly hinted that he's a better man... 

So how can one manage his ego better? My thoughts revolve around being more aware of your surroundings and social environment, and to focus on developing yourself as a better person in every way on a daily basis, instead of being competitive and bench-marking yourself against your peers or environment - i.e. in other words, adopt a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset (social psych buzzword of the last couple of months), which though it does make a lot of sense, is something that is extremely hard to adopt and make a solid habit out of.

Every day a better man, in every way. I think that itself is a hard enough target, but certainly a worthy one to strive towards. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016


Was digging up old photos for one of my best friend's wedding that's coming up real soon and wow, those memories back in JC and secondary school sure came flooding right back into my life.

Close friendships that were formed previously, and of course the sweet budding relationships that couldn't last the test of time and the lack of maturity. Add a strong dose of the Cranberries belting out their ever enduring tunes in the background, and voila, one enters into an overwhelming sense of nostalgia :)

More than 15 years have passed since my sec school days, and I am extremely grateful to have had kept that bunch of sec sch / JC friends close to my heart, something which I do admit to having taken for granted at times. Looking back, it seems like the bonds forged during the innocence of youth have certainly endured the test of time, and they most certainly look well poised to build for the future.

To lasting and genuine relationships with the friends in our lives, that is certainly the one thing that money can't buy. And to future milestones in life, that have been shaped through emboldened conversations out on that third floor balcony after a few rounds of drinks and our trusty XBOX 360. Yes, you guys know who you are.

These are most certainly one of the moments that gives meaning to living.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Role Models

This would possibly be one of the most doled out pieces of advice provided to young graduates fresh out of college and thrown into the frying pan  the workforce - that is to find some role models you adopt best practices from and emulate to bring about career success. Most people listen, nod (I know I sure did, looked out for how the best junior bankers went about their daily life, and started consciously picking up habits from them) and attempt to adhere to that very advice, to varying degrees of success.

I do believe that very piece of advice could be applied more pervasively to life - pick your role models not just in your work place, but the very character traits and daring that those human beings have actually shown on a consistent basis to how they have lived / are living their life. With a tad (or perhaps a huge dollop) of jadedness, it does seem that well you could certainly pick up career enhancing skill-sets such as being able to bullshit communicate effectively with your clients, being a star kiss-arse manager in both managing effectively up and dumping on your junior bankers down, but would these help in living a more fulfilling and satisfying life?

Yeah, these days, I do having the recurring thought that yeah I certainly could pick up some skills from the senior bankers in my team, but whether these skills are even meaningful would perhaps be the more important question to address. I gaze into the crystal ball and shudder struggle with the possibility of being in their position some 5 to 10 years from now. Well, the blunt truth is that I certainly don't want to be like them.

So what does one do if your primary environment does not provide you with an available supply of mentoring in determining how to live meaningfully? Well, the answer would perhaps be in the tomes of historical books available from wide ranging philosophers, and the great big internet that offers an opinion (unsolicited mostly like this article :) ) for your discerning analysis.

The wonders of modern times - sometimes I wonder if my parents and their comrades did struggle with these existential thoughts back in their time, and the brazen audacity this 30 year old kid has thinking about living on his own terms.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Thoughts on volatility

Back in 2007 / 2008, I was still in college when the global economy went through a market meltdown. For those who could use a primer in what caused the crisis back then, a useful and entertaining short 3 hour option would be to catch "The Big Short", a movie that does just about enough to encapsulate the origins of the global financial crisis back in the day, while providing a modicum of entertainment (hey finance can be pretty boring to most people alright).

I recall being feeling a little frustrated then, at being left on the sidelines, given a lack of income at that point in life and being unable to make decisions that could have reaped monetary benefits a couple of years later (case in point: wanted to place a punt when Citibank was c. US$1, but lacked savings and income to do so.)

History never repeats itself, but it certainly does rhyme. 8 years later, a similar form of market volatility has persisted since last summer, but the good thing about it is that I possess some existing ammunition and monthly re-supplies that will help in taking advantage of this situation. Now the thing about market volatility is that whilst the large majority of people do find it fear-inducing and even abhorrent to a certain extent, is that it allows one to to engage in the age of adage of buying low and selling high. And this is as good as a time to engage in setting oneself up for financial independence, or even fast forwarding the date come a few years later.

So even though I find myself facing more headwinds in my current job, and an increased apathy towards it given recent circumstances, I do think I'll be doing myself a big disservice by saying fuck it. Maybe the best play would be to stick with it and play down the efforts until one gets fired, but that itself would be going against my inherent characteristics of basically giving it my best shot, all of the time.

So the best play would be to stick with it, and invest every single available dollar in the market, whilst waiting for the bulls to takeover the market and history to rhyme again, which it most certainly will in due time, or at least play that hand until the referee calls time on musical chairs and one gets canned. It does certainly suck when one experiences c. S$90k in paper losses in one month, but one needs to be disciplined, resilient and persevere with the planned course of action, because these times are the the times that would make or break your goals in a couple of years time.

The worst thing an investor can do is to liquidate his portfolio right now and seek "safe harbor" in investments that are perceived to be safe, such as fixed income instruments, when prices on that front are going up. If you believe your investment thesis to be right, you should stick the course and not do a switcheroo when markets are going against you. That'll be disastrous.

Mark those words on this day, and hopefully in a year or two, one can look back at this blog post to see how their results have panned out.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Thoughts on Sumiko Tan's article today (31 Jan 16)

Not really a big fan of Sumiko Tan's (the Straits Times journalist) writings, but I found her article today (31 Jan 16) regarding salary letters, or the more commonly known bonuses to be a real nice gem.

She had some really good thoughts on perspective, which I think could act as a salve in these trying times for folks within the finance industry. And her breakdown on why folks work, i.e. either as a job that allows them to feed their passion and desire in other aspects, or to accumulate power, prestige, intellectual stimulation, the works, or that they treat it as their life's work, resonates strongly with me.

My experience thus far is that I've encountered a good mix between those three categories, but lately I am heavily weighted to the first category, where it's just to fulfill the financial accumulation threshold before leaving to do something else, of which I am still finding out for myself, what is it that I would like and be passionate about pursuing... Somewhat a continuous journey which is proving to be quite fun and challenging :)

On a separate note, I'm trying out something new this year, which is to start a weekly goal list every Sunday before I kick start the week proper. Here was my goal list last Sunday and the subsequent progress:

* Meditate daily (no minimum time) - Fulfilled
* Attend 1 [martial arts training] session - Fulfilled
* Workout an additional 4 times - 75% Fulfilled (Weds, Sat, Sun)
* Slowcarb diet the entire week with 1 24 hours cheat day - Fulfilled
* Complete reading one book - Fulfilled (The Art of Living by William Hart)
* No drinking until cheat day - Fail, try harder next time bro (Drank on Tues / Thurs)
* One blog post - Fulfilled (This short one suffices, I think)

Now let me go ponder on what I would want to achieve this week, during dinner :) I suspect it would be largely the same.

On a totally unrelated note, or maybe there's some association with Sumiko Tan's article, bonus was totally messed up this year. What fun and games. Maybe I'll pen a post on my perspective on banking bonuses, if there's some form of demand from readers.