I taught myself how to swim, got my open water certificate despite have a feat of drowning, taught myself how to create websites and picked up digital marketing skillsets from copywriting to local SEO. I taught myself how to be more attractive to women. I made my first dollar through business and I’ve achieved one Gold Medal in an international Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament. I am also well versed in Muay Thai, can debate you on how to invest in the stock market and have traveled solo to most of the continents in the world, excluding South America and the two icy poles.
IN some of these areas, I hired mentors when I was serious about it. Others, for example swimming, I didn’t. Over the years I am partially obsessed in the search of excellence, learning how to learn in the quickest, fastest and most effective in multiple disciples in my life.
There are generally couple school of thoughts when it comes down to learning. One of the main questions are:
Should you be process oriented, or should you be result oriented?
Experience with being Process Oriented
There’s a concept titled flow by a psychologist call Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It’s the feeling of losing yourself when pursuing an object or task.
However, through the years, I’ve found out that relying on purely process orientation leads to unfavourable results. I found relying purely on process orientation unmeasurable. Yes it may be enjoyable and highly creative. However you could argue that if you aren’t seeing any progress after awhile, you’re going to give up.
Take dating for example. You can be process oriented all you want, but if you arent seeing measurable results: dates, sex or relationships, you are going to give up.
Here’s another perspective: you can enjoy the process by being result oriented and gunning for a goal. Flow can also arise from being result oriented.
Process orientation can work if you’re too hard up about a goal, of if you’re a perfectionistic like me. Whenever I travel, I’m thrown out of my routine and mistakes are inevitable. Since I’m a perfectionistic cunt, I get really upset when shit don’t go my way. However, if I allow myself to make mistakes and say: this is just part of the process, everybody that travels fuck things up all the time, I feel better about myself.
I realized I was good at the process of stringing concepts from multiple disciplines together, from martial arts, music, investing, travel, entrepreneurship and etc.
This is why you won’t find any other site like mind. I publish everything from social skills, investing and entrepreneurship.
One of the processes I use constantly in all areas of my life is to hone in on fundamentals. I realized if you constantly repeat the fundamentals, you get to improve and learn quickly. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there are a ton of techniques. However, if you master the few positions and movements you’ll get a great base. It’ the same for Muay Thai and boxing. I can lose my fight conditioning, but I never lose my skillsets after not practicing for months straight. That’s because I honed in on the fundamentals: hip movement, weight, pressure, timing and precision.
Interestingly, martial arts, not dating or personal finance was the first art I ever took seriously on without Mum forcing it down my throat.
Experience with Result Orientation
- Smart Goals
This sounds cliche, but smart goals actually help you get over your fears. For example, if you were solely to be process oriented: you’ll say, I want to improve my dating life.
However if you’re specific, measurable, actionable, relatable and time constraint about your goal.
You’ll make a smart goal: I’ll go out twice a week this week and put it down on your calender with a dedicated time to it.
One of the reasons why I sucked in school in my earlier days was because I was a last minute kind of person. I had ZERO GOALS throughout the curriculum. Of course, the Singaporean academic setting is boring, I didn’t like it. Smart goals surely would have helped.
- Progressive Overload and Pushing Through
Secondly, being result oriented forces you to push through, bite down your teeth and execute the task.
Some people ask me how I travel solo, do shit that nobody does all the time. The answer is simple, I bite down my teeth and do it. Okay, over the years, I found out it’s not the best approach. Ideally, you should work your way up to certain goals.
Can’t take a 6-week solo trip in Europe? Start off with a 3 days’ solo trip to Bali. Can’t talk to an attractive stranger? Start by asking for directions. Can’t swim at the deep end of the pool? Start at the side. No, do not pass go and sign up for scuba diving course.
P.S. I almost failed my open water diving certificate by refusing to descent.
How to Learn: Self Esteem Based on Outcome
If you are like me, whenever I fail at something, I equate it to something based on my identity. Bad grades at University? You’re stupid. Lost a fight? You are a sucky fighter. Replaced as a band vocalist? You just can’t sing.
Somehow or another, the way you’re brought up can determine the way you learn and fail. In my case, if I didn’t do well in school back then, that meant I’m a piece of shit. Yes, it’s the typical Asian parenting style. You can laugh about it, but it’s actually psychologically unhealthy on multiple levels. Not all children are gifted or good at academics, much less what their parents expect them to be.
When you base your self esteem on external skillsets, you’re going to feel miserable. Not everyone is gifted or talented. The majority of human beings go through their life never feeling or committing to anything extra ordinary. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely fucking not. That’s just how the human condition, genetics, time, place and circumstances play out.
The key concept is to diffuse one’s emotions from your identity. When something goes awry, instead of saying: I am stupid, I am lonely. You can say, I feel stupid and I feel lonely. The first is a identity judgement, and the second is just a fleeting emotion.
How to Learn: Passion Can Come out of Necessity
People get passionate about a subject out of necessity. If you spoke to me about investing, I’ll lecture you on how most mutual funds, unit trusts and hedges do not outperform the market and everyone’s an idiot for not investing in index funds. I’ll lecture you on how bitcoin has no intrinsic value and you’re just looking for a get quick rich method.
Yet, for years, I convinced myself I didn’t have a ‘passion’ for finance. Here’s what I found out, passion is almost always borne out of necessity. My family faced financial troubles when I was young, and I guess that impacted me a lot. I once annoyingly told my Mum fuck school and I wanted to be an ‘investor’ when I was 14 or something.
There was a clear result that I wanted: a million dollars in the bank reaping me dividends as a lie back on my chair laughing at how I won at the game of money.
The process is: pouring through books, failing, giving up, going back and failing.
Spoiler: I’m still in the process.
When I wanted to get better at women, there was a clear result I wanted: hot naked girl in my bed. The process was again, pouring through books, failing, creeping girls out, giving up, going back and failing.
Spoiler: I might have made further leeway in this one than the first one.
Results and process go hand it hand. However, because I’m Asian, of my upbringing, I’m probably a little more result oriented and that’s fine as well.
Let’s be Honest, You Want to Win, and Results do Matter
Last of all, if we’re all being honest. You want to win in life.
I’m writing because I want to sound cool, wise and smart. You go out night after night in clubs because you want to take that hot girl home. You take that masters degree of yours because you want that swanky investment banking job. You want to win. You’re not purely doing something for pure bliss or joy of doing something.
I can’t say for sure that this will stay the same, however, these days, I’m a lot more result oriented. If something is not practical or effective, I adjust and discard it. Is it okay to be more result oriented? Yes. Like I said, the key is not to base yourself esteem on the outcome.