52 lessons from 52 weeks of 2021

Hi friends,

Happy new year! Welcome to 2022 ~ POW POW 🥊 !

It’s been a wild year and to help me feel grounded and back in touch with myself, I went on a spontaneous diving trip into nature to Jervis Bay and Seal Rock with family, partners/friends and baby cousins.

I spent most of my time free diving with wild sea animals, catching our own food (there weren’t any supermarkets nearby 🐟), playing hide and seek with the kids and hanging out with family over yummy sushi and seafood hotpot that we caught.

We had no reception at all. This was a little uncomfortable at first but after the first day, found it incredibly calming and blissful.

For the first time in a while, I was finally present in the moment. The voices we all have that narrate our world quietened in my mind and I'm was left in awe of the world that's been given to us.

Our life is such a gift.

One of my biggest realisations was how giving the ocean is. It gives us food. It gives us oxygen. It gives us all these amazing animals and this sense of calm. It grounds us. It gives us life. However, I've given nothing back to it.

It made me realise that if the ocean was a person, and I was its friend, I would be a terrible friend who only takes. In that, I felt the unconditional love from the ocean towards me. At the same time, I observed a deep sense of gratitude bubbling up inside me, back towards the ocean and the world.

Given it’s a new year, I’ve decided to go higher level today and share my top 52 learnings in 2021 on business, finance, and life!

The pursuit of entrepreneurship, working for yourself and becoming an investor has nothing to do with the greed of money. It’s all about the pursuit of personal freedom.

I want to be able to choose how I spend my time.

It’s not an easy road. It’s not for everybody and there’s nothing wrong with working for other people.

But you know what, you find out when you get your first deal and have success with that, you just work harder. I don’t need more money, I just need more time.

- annonymous billionaire I learned from


Here goes nothing! In no particular order ~

1. Always be kind to each other. Be the kindest to yourself.

Deep down, we are all children, wanting to be seen, affirmed and cherished.

2. Done is better than perfect.

Your favourite athlete’s first workout was just as bad as yours.
Your favourite chef’s first meal was just as bad as yours.
Your favourite artist’s first work was just as bad as yours.

Keep going.

3. Value sleep like your life depends on it.

4. Maturity is learning how to start when you feel like procrastinating and learning how to listen when you feel like talking.

5. Start with the end in mind. Work backwards.

I am 28 now and have gone through about 30% of my life.

Now let me fast forward to the end of my life, imagine I’m on my very last day lying on my death bed, reflecting back on my life.

Did I lead a life worth living? Is what I’m doing today aligned with that?

6. Be impeccable with your words.

7. Don’t ever take things personally.

8. Don’t make assumptions.

9. Always do your best.

10. Immediately get out of bed when you wake up.

11. Let go of anger.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else — you are the only one who gets burned. - paraphrased from the work of Buddhaghosa in Visuddhimagga IX, 23

12. Three big things to spend time deciding: who you're with, where you're at, and what you do.

13. Choose your values over your feelings.

Be confident. Don’t make decisions from a place of fear and insecurity. Don’t let emotions push you around. Instead, be clear about what’s truly important to you. This will anchor you and help you resist the whim of the moments and make decisions that truly matters to you.

14. Crypto can make people greedy.

Because people expect the price to go up just by them sitting there looking at it. People are addicted to checking the price every day and are trapped every 45 mins hitting refresh. It’s like being in the casino.

The truth is, crypto goes up, down, sideways - there's not a single thing you can do about it.

If you believe in it, just put money in it and stop looking at it for the next 10 years. And then go build things. Build things that excite you. There's never a good time, so you might as well do it now.

15. Love never prevents a man to pursue his own personal legend. If it does, then that is not true love. Not love that speaks the same language as the soul of the world.

- The Alchemist

16. Shallow happiness is trying to conquer the world. Deep happiness is trying to conquer yourself.

- Kaiwen (friend)

17. A strong, long-lasting relationship is founded on four main pillars:

  1. A common vision for the future
  2. Communication, without fear
  3. Sexual attraction and chemistry
  4. Joint hobbies that mutually look after each other’s health

- Anonymous old man I met on the street under the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 6 am, who’s been married for 70+ years with three kids.

18. People do change. It’s just a slow process and completely out of our control.

Your emotions get really involved with people close to you: in dating, parents, work, close friends, people we employ, etc.

There are sometimes things you need a person deeply to change. However, sometimes, it gets to a point in life where you’ve communicated calmly, in a neutral way, what it is you’d like to change about the dynamics, you’ve given many opportunities and space for that change to happen, and where you have it confirm over and over again where this change is just too big for this person - whether it's never happened, or it's a 5 mins shift where the person very quickly snap back into the same position again.

When this happens, you have a tough decision to make:

  1. Remove this person from your inner circle because we can no longer rely on this person OR
  2. Make peace with this part of the person because it's something you've complained about so many times and have done nothing, where the source of the problems has now shifted from them to you. They have always been who they've been.

It's not within our control that others change.

19. Listen to your heart. Trust your gut.

Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don’t focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fallout. Don’t seek joy at all costs. Don’t keep going when you know to rest. Don’t stop when you know you should keep going.

As the years pass, I’m learning how to better trust my gut and not do the wrong thing, but every so often I get a harsh reminder that I’ve still got work to do.

20. If you want to slay a dragon, slay it in its lair. Don’t wait until when the dragon has come to our village.

21. Purpose is a sense of joy that you look forward to.

Focus the mind on the joy instead of the fear and your body will follow. It's not about cultivating a mindset to fight and conquer, because when you fight, it creates a lot of stress.

Play instead!

22. Every rich person has lost money. Your 20s are for taking big risks. You need to be willing to lose.

23. Top 3 management skills to succeed at business are:

  1. Cashflow
  2. People
  3. Personal time

24. There are three types of income:

  1. Earned income - salary
  2. Portfolio income - income from stocks, bonds, crypto, liquid assets
  3. Passive income - income from real estate, startups, businesses that earns for you while you sleep.

The key to being wealthy is the ability to convert earned income into passive income or portfolio income as quickly as possible. Taxes are highest on earned income. The least taxed is passive income. If you want to be rich, you must understand what kind of income to work hard for, and how to protect your assets.

- Robert Kiyosaki, Rich dad poor dad

25. Investing: put your money where it's going to work the hardest.

26. If you want to be wealthy, spend your time earning, learning, or relaxing. Outsource or ignore everything else.

- Naval Ravikant

27. On Envy

"Within a few years of starting my first company, I spent more time looking sideways than I did forward."

It’s hard to move forward when you’re always looking sideways.

28. On Work

"I believe the purpose of work is not merely to make more but to become more. The value of work cannot be measured by the objective output of a job alone; it must take into account the subjective transformation of the person who is working."

The measurement question here is one of the big challenges: How do we measure “becoming more?”

29. You can attract luck simply by sharing your work publicly.

30. A ship is safe in a harbour, but that is not what ships are built for.

- John Sedd, Salt from My Attic

31. Obsessing over the right details matters a lot.

People who excel tend to obsess over the details. People who struggle also tend to obsess over the details. The difference is what details they focus on. Minutiae vs. Polish. Most things don't matter - but when it does, you want to get the details right. Because those details compound.

32. There is only one way to learn, that's through action.

The Boy: “What's the difference between you as the Alchemist and the other Alchemist who tried to make gold but fail?”

The Alchemist: “They were only interested in gold, as supposed to living out their personal legend of obtaining gold.”

- The Alchemist

33. The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.

No heart has suffered in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is an encounter with God. When you search for your treasure, every hour is luminous, because every second would be getting you closer to your dream.

- The Alchemist

34. Bias towards action

On working with Jeff Bezos:

one thing I've learned working for Jeff is that he is a man of action. If there's a traffic jam on the highway, he'd rather take the side roads even if it takes him longer to reach his destination. He must always be moving. It's inspiring, and sometimes infuriating.

35. Fear makes idiots of us all. Your are 10x more likely to live in regret when you operate from a place of fear. Fearful decisions make regretful people.

36. Everyone has fear. It’s how you handle that fear, failure that makes the difference.

I've never met anyone who likes losing money. I've also never met a rich person who's never lost money. However, I've met a lot of poor people who's never lost a dime….

Winning means being unafraid of losing. In my own life, I find winning usually follows losing.

Before I learned how to ride a bike, I first fell down many times.
I've never met a golfer who's never lost golf balls.
I've never met people who's fallen in love and who's never been heartbroken. I've never met someone rich who's never lost money.

Falling off my bike was a part of me learning to ride. For winners, losing inspires them to study harder. For posers, losing defeats them.

- Robert Kiyosaki, Rich dad poor dad

37. Rich people are focused. They are not balanced.

Do not put a few eggs in many baskets. Put all your eggs in a few baskets.

- Robert Kiyosaki, Rich dad poor dad

38. Instead of pivoting your startup, jump!

- Naval Ravikant

39. What you’re working on now should make the rest of your career looks like a footnote.

40. Stress comes from not taking action on things you know you could have some control over.

It's a warning flag for ignoring things you shouldn't be ignoring. Stress doesn't come from hard work. People don't dislike hard work. They dislike things being out of their control, they can't control their environment.

- Jeff Bezos

41. Only focus on Plan A. Make Plan A work.

I don't have plan Bs, it distracts you from plan A. Plan B should always be, make plan A works.”

- Jeff Bezos

42. Don't be afraid to start over. This time you're not starting from scratch. You're starting from experience.

43. Act from a place of advantage.

When starting something (a venture, a job), always ask yourself, what is your competitive advantage?

44. On what to work on for young people:

  1. Do something you’re passionate about.
  2. Do something that you’re REALLY GOOD at.
  3. Do something you’re going to learn a lot from.
  4. Do the right thing. That’s table stake.
  5. Work as hard as you can. This doesn’t mean working crazy hours. Decide the hours you’re going to work, then make the most of those hours.
  6. Take care of other people.
  7. Start investing as early as possible.

45. Do what you’re really good at.

You can try and look for shortcuts. But at the end of the day, you know what you're really good at. Just go do the work. Go do the work.

46. The only way to achieve your best is to surrender to the outcome, be relaxed and play.

I finally did a freediving course in 2021. Instead of training with just anyone, I was fortunate enough to learn from Adam Stern, the current record holder for freediving in Australia (he can dive 100m + in one breath!)

It was during this course and certification that I finally grasped a very important life concept:

If we want to perform at our best, we must surrender ourselves to the challenge, the obstacles, the scoreboard. The better we want to be, the more we need to let go and surrender.

The person who’s having the most fun, most relaxed, cares less about the score ultimately does more.

When speaking with Adam over lunch, he said: “There’s a really massive difference between the top 100 divers in the world and the top 10, no in-depth (only 10~30m difference), but in mindset.

The top 100 divers in the world focus on the goal. They push and challenge themselves. They look down at the bottom of the ocean to see how far they've got. They try to push for that extra 1-2 meters. However, they can never break past their limit.

This is because pushing and challenging yourself actually creates a lot of additional stress to the body, on top of the extreme water pressure at the competitive depth.

The top 10 divers in the world never push. They love every part of the dive, being in the water, the CO2 narcosis, the breath-hold, and the “urge to breath”. They listen to their body and focus on its sensation when they dive. Having fun and being relaxed makes all the difference.

It’s such a paradox.

The truth is, to get better, most people should give up on challenging their current record and start over from the beginning. They should start with shallow beginner dives again, rebuild a different, fun, loving relationship with every aspect of freediving and build it back up. There’s no secret and this is my view. However, most people are not willing to start over.”

47. Be a Time Billionaire

Much of the world measures billionaire status by the number of dollars that a person possesses, but the measurement of billionaires based on dollars is not the right way to look at it in my opinion.

Graham Duncan coined the phrase “Time Billionaire” and it has stuck with me ever since I read about it. The idea is that time is the only asset in the world that can’t be purchased. Warren Buffett is worth tens of billions of dollars, but no young person would switch lives with him if they had to be in their 90s. In turn, the young person is wealthier than Warren Buffett because of time.

I am 29 years old soon. If I am fortunate enough to follow the average life expectancy of an Australian male today (current life expectancy 83 years old), I'd have less than 20,000 days left. I’ll have to avoid catastrophe, but the odds are in my favour. The funny thing is that I’ll continue to increase my financial net worth, but I’ll continue to lose my time net worth.

A lot of people I know are well into their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. They’ve been chasing financial wealth for the majority of their life, yet they have wasted their wealth of time with reckless abandon.

I am committed to making sure that doesn't happen to my life.

48. Spend time with people who give you energy, not those who take it.

Additional: Spending time with kids grounds you.

49. Work out regularly every week.

50. Be close to water and nature. It’s very cleansing.

51. Inspiration is perishable. Act on it immediately.

52. If you want something in life, give something first!


What’s something you’ve learnt in 2021 that you’ll carry into 2022?

Share it with friends if any of my lessons has resonated with you.

Lots of love.