The planning takes a top-down approach. It starts with the principles that seem right to me and ends with the specific tasks. Reflecting on how I did planning, I put too much emphasis on the details of a specific goal without explaining the motivation and general theme behind it. Principles are relatively harder to change though it is possible based on life experience, and current situations. Principles are like anchors. With that, the planning is a long-term one, not just for a year.

What kind of person would I like to be/ become? The answers to this question are principles. They determine the course of action, and how I will make choices, especially tough choices. To begin with, be a man with high moral standards, righteous and trustworthy. It means doing all things with good intentions. It is expected that people may take advantage of this principle because, for example, if I never treat, the best strategy in that specific instance for the other side is to treat. But it will only happen once. I will stay away from that person forever. I believe in doing all things with good intentions is beneficial in the long term. It helps me stay focused on creating value instead of a zero-sum game. It attracts people with similar traits. All human likes to work and be friend with a man with good moral standards, including non-righteous ones. But, they will never become a long-term friend/ partner of those with high moral standards. Another principle that falls into a similar category is to stay humble. Being arrogant can destroy someone because it stops you from objectively improving and evaluating the situation. History has repeated itself many times. It is hard to stay humble when you already achieved a lot. There are a lot of compliments and recognitions. Still, I must always reflect on and control myself. One effective way is to treat all capabilities as borrowed. The achievements originated from borrowed capabilities and therefore should be returned. The achievements do not belong to me. The last principle within this category is to be a useful man to the World. It does not mean I have to do great things. It means making use of my capabilities to bring value to others, to benefit others, and put others’ benefits together with, if not higher than, my own interests. The standard is indeed simple: whether I have used my gift to do things with good intentions to the best I can.

Staying healthy is a principle that cannot go wrong. Its importance requires no explanation. Understanding the World is another principle I selected. I think deep in our DNA, we all want to reason about what’s happening around us. Our ancestors create stories, and myths to explain natural phenomena. And that same drive led to the development of modern science. The power of understanding or knowledge is huge. In my opinion, the World can be divided into Physical World, Psychological World, and Logical World. The Physical World, at its face value, means something we can touch. But let expands it to things that are observable and measurable. Physics, Chemistry, and Biology study the Physical World. The Psychological World is about humans. Their thinking, emotions, and behaviours. Psychology and Economics study the Psychological World. The Logical World is special since it attaches to no objects or individuals. It exists on its own. Logic and Mathematics belong to this World. History is also vital. It adds a time dimension to the World. To understand the whole World, we have to know multiple disciplines, and constantly update our mental models since they can be wrong or obsolete.

Thinking in the long term is a personal/ strategic choice. I rather not paying too much attention to short-term fluctuations and focus on motivations, sustainability, and the outlook in 5, 10 years, or even longer. Thinking in the long term means being the friend of time. We all are going to die. Time is our common enemy. But at least, when making decisions, I can try to be friends of time by asking whether they are sustainable and whether they align with my visions or motivations. Thinking in the long term gives me peace of mind. Thinking in the long term, however, does not mean mental laziness. I should always think and adjust the course of action with a long-term view. Stay focused is my weakness. I am interested in many areas and wanted to achieve a lot. I want to make stay focused as my principle to remind myself that time is limited and focus is power.

This concludes the principles I think I should adopt right now:

  • Be a man with high moral standards, righteous, and trustworthy
  • Stay humble
  • Be a useful man to the World
  • Stay healthy
  • Understand the World
  • Think in the long term/ Be the friend of time
  • Stay focused

Then the next session is about more specific projects/tasks/to-dos. I have a long list but must stay focused and keep it short.

Stay healthyRegular body check shows I am quite healthy. But I want to improve on physical performance, for example, cardio and strength.
Understand the WorldAs mentioned in the above section, we have to know multiple disciplines. It is impossible to do so in a year. It should be a life-long project. For this year, I would like to finish what’s left from previous years to finish two books:

Calculus By Michael Spivak
The Wealth of Nations By Adam Smith
Think in the long termMoving to 28 years old, I have two questions needed to start thinking about:

What careers/ opportunities I would like to further explore? In my 30s, I think I should be doing something I like and am also good at.

Which country should I locate? After moving to Singapore, I feel that the World is big and I have choices.
General Improvements/ Stay humbleI am not good at building up relations with others. I have to reflect on this and try to improve.

Have a better budget for purchasing electronics. I am a fan of electronics and spent quite some time watching reviews and money. I should have better control of that.

Finally, regular reflection is needed to review how well my actions align with the principles and the progress of the above projects. I plan to spend 2-3 days each quarter in a quiet and distraction-free place to do reflections (A resort or a beach?).

Leave a Reply