NOT TIRED

Brian Lee

2024-07-22

Introduction

Nothing endures but change.
— Heraclitus

Purpose of the Book

“Not Tired” aims to be a companion for those feeling overwhelmed on their entrepreneurial journey. It shares my developing insights on perseverance, overcoming fears, and staying motivated. This book is intended to serve as both a guide and a source of inspiration for anyone facing the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

It might sound selfish, but I am writing this book primarily for myself. I now understand that writing down my goals, motivations, and commitments gives me the strength to keep going, even when it feels like the “walls are closing in” because nothing I try seems to produce any results. I often feel lost whenever I step away from my stable career in software engineering. Initially, I was terrified of financial ruin and the idea of starting my career over. But day by day, as I moved away from the 9-to-5 routine and focused on my true passions, that fear transformed into excitement.

Writing this book is like crafting a lifeline for myself by continuously programming my subconscious mind, as suggested in the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill. Each word echoes my deep commitment to see my adventures through. At last, I can call myself a real entrepreneur.

Personal Motivation and Background

I love developing skills to a high level of proficiency. It really motivates me to hone a skill when I imagine it becoming so automatic that it seems like magic. I don’t excel at everything I find interesting. For example, my skateboarding is not great, although I enjoy it a lot. On the other hand, I stayed up countless nights with dry eyes to learn computer programming until I was able to build a very comfortable living from it.

Finding a new interest is straightforward for me. When the question “Can I do this?” pops up in my mind, it becomes a challenge I can’t resist. It becomes another all-consuming obsession. As you may have guessed by now, becoming a business owner has been a life-long pursuit, although I haven’t had any success due to a variety of reasons. Sometimes, I was “too tired” to do it. Sometimes, I just didn’t stick it out. If there was a good enough excuse, I entertained it.

When I left my last software engineering job in April 2024, I said, “Here we go again,” without concrete plans. All I had was enough savings to last me 2 to 3 years of exploring business ideas and projects like writing this book. I work hard at it, but the same old excuses are creeping in again. But this time I know better. I started to read books on business, self-development, personal finance, and more to find solutions to problems and strengthen my mental resilience.

I set ambitious goals that I write down on paper every day to recommit to them. After it’s all said and done, I would like to donate 100 million dollars to autism research to help other children who may make a huge impact on society with the right help and guidance. I also see a lot of good in improving the lives of those with debilitating autism. We all deserve a chance to succeed in life and enjoy every moment.

Through this book, I want to share my journey and thoughts to inspire others to step out of the norm and find what truly makes them happy. I also want to remind all of us that freedom is not free; it comes with tremendous sacrifices that only bear fruit after a long journey. Buckle in and hold tight.

Uncovering My Life’s Purpose

I would like to share how I discovered my life’s purpose. Although this is an evolving area of my life, I believe I’ve finally made a breakthrough in solidifying my purpose, which will serve as a strong foundation for my future development. One afternoon, I was listening to a podcast by Jordan B. Peterson on Genesis. He suggested that everyone should read the Bible because it is a text that has survived thousands of years and has significantly shaped Western civilization. Missing out on what the Bible has to teach would be a mistake.

I am not a Christian, and I don’t claim to be one. Although I was raised Catholic, I have always resisted the idea of religion. The concept of an all-powerful, supernatural being watching over us never put me at ease. However, as I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey and committed to changing myself for the better, I decided to explore every avenue of self-improvement. I had heard that every book contains at least one good idea, so I started reading a few verses from the Bible each day.

With each verse, I felt a sense of clarity emerging. The timeless wisdom in the Bible offered me a new perspective on my struggles. Understanding that people have faced similar challenges throughout history gave me comfort and a sense of connection to the past. My eyes were slowly opening up to see a glimpse of the brighter side of life. I learned that humanity has been experiencing the same hardships for the entirety of our existence. No problems are out of the ordinary or new. We are still prone to our flaws and aimless wandering in our lives. This realization, although small, has freed me from much of the pain I’ve been carrying in my heart, and I started to breathe fresh air.

It’s been about three months since I began reading the Bible. I am far from becoming a Christian or having faith, but some pieces are starting to come together. All my life, I resented certain aspects of my life, only to realize that these are truly God’s gifts.

  1. Commitment to High Standards: I have very high standards for myself and others, especially when it comes to skill development. I like doing whatever strikes my fancy well, and I expect the same from others. While this can rub some people the wrong way, and I may not have a large group of friends, I am becoming more skilled each day to achieve my dreams. My friends are equally skilled. This is a gift.

  2. Embracing Solitude: I am mostly lonely by choice because I prefer to spend my time pursuing my interests. I have less desire for social interactions than most people. Additionally, I haven’t had parents around me since I was 13. This loneliness used to bother me, but now I see it as another gift. I have complete control over my time, the most precious resource we have in life.

  3. Overworking: I work a lot and constantly face burnouts. Many worry about me; I am fully aware that this isn’t healthy, and I’m looking to find balance. However, thanks to my tendency to overcommit and overwork, I am becoming more financially independent. This allows me to dedicate even more energy and resources to my projects. My mantra is, “It’s impossible to beat an ambitious and intelligent person with an extreme work ethic.” This is my third gift.

I believe that all these gifts reveal my life’s purpose. I am here to create value for others. My love for fine art may someday inspire another young artist. My passion for technology may improve our lives. My relentless pursuit of skill development may serve as an example to others, encouraging them to become more productive. It is humbling to realize that what I once thought were hardships are actually God’s gifts. They enable me to be in a unique position to create value for society. I am grateful for this realization.

What is your motivation?

“the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Why do you do what you do despite other comfortable options available to you? You could have continued your career and been promoted to a better-paying position, but you left that behind. While it might have been repetitive, it offered a sense of security. Instead, you chose the wild cards, full of uncertainty. The challenge and excitement always come from answering the question, “Can I?” Can I learn to invest and manage a stock portfolio? Can I grow a startup into a large company? Can I create and market a new product? It may take a lifetime to get the answers to these questions, but that is what makes it fun.

Choosing this path means you get to own everything, both the successes and the failures, because you are taking all the risks. This is exciting because you are not subject to somebody else’s ideas of what is right and wrong. You get to make decisions and be accountable for them. There is an immense satisfaction in knowing that your destiny is in your own hands. You are responsible for your achievements and your mistakes, and this ownership brings a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment.

By stepping away from the conventional path, you embrace a journey filled with learning, growth, and innovation. Every day presents new challenges and opportunities, pushing you to expand your skills and knowledge. This dynamic environment keeps you engaged and motivated, as you constantly strive to overcome obstacles and reach new heights. The uncertainty that comes with this path is not a drawback but a driving force that fuels your passion and ambition.

Ultimately, this path allows you to live a life true to your own values and aspirations. You are not confined by the expectations or limitations set by others. Instead, you have the freedom to explore, experiment, and create, leading to a more meaningful and rewarding experience. This pursuit of personal and professional fulfillment is what makes the journey worthwhile, despite the risks and uncertainties involved.

Overcoming Anxiety

I live in my head most of the time. As I mentioned earlier, I spend a significant amount of time alone, and my daily routine naturally leads to thinking about anything and everything. I am also introspective. If you are like me, I bet you are likely an anxious person, too.

I deal with anxiety even though I have a fanatical belief in myself and my ideas. Jordan Peterson’s personality test, Understand Myself, showed that I have zero agreeableness — it’s both good and bad. In other words, I completely commit to my identity and ideas. Even then, I still battle with self-doubt and anxious thoughts about my vision, goals, money, and more. There have been many sleepless nights over trivial matters, although I rarely express those days to people around me. I’ve always wanted to find ways to overcome anxiety, and I am starting to develop a method that works for me.

Clearly Define the Worst-Case Scenario

Being a software engineer, I am used to thinking about worst-case scenarios because it is my professional duty to handle them. When I clearly define the worst-case scenarios in my work, I feel comfortable knowing that either I am prepared for them, or the potential problems aren’t as bad as they seem. Tim Ferriss advises the same in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek. We get scared thinking about potential risks and impacts when we consider going against the grain and exploring alternative options, like working remotely from another country. He recommends that you define the worst-case scenarios and how you might overcome them. Often, these worst-case scenarios have moderate, temporary impacts.

For example, when I decided to leave Amazon in early 2023, all I knew was that I had enough money to live comfortably for the next 2-3 years while I looked at starting my own business. I had no guarantee that I would succeed. I had no guarantee that I could make the money last. It took another 2-3 months after leaving work to calm my anxieties down. I told myself, “Hey, I am committed to this. There’s no point in wasting my energy on something I can recover from by finding another software job, even though I wouldn’t enjoy it much. This opportunity is a gift, and I must embrace all I can.”

As soon as I started to focus on moving forward, I saw that managing my portfolio well allowed me to explore my ideas without any strings attached. I have never been so fulfilled, working on projects and pursuing all of my interests.

Focus on Finding Solutions

For me, uncertainty is the biggest source of anxiety. One way this manifests is when I work on a task with no clear end in sight. It makes me anxious when I can’t set a target completion date because it disrupts my schedule for the next two weeks or so. To combat this, I always ask for deadlines from myself and others, and my usual follow-up is, “All I ask is that you be on time.” Please keep in mind that I rarely expect all deadlines to be met. In fact, I anticipate missing some deadlines. However, I believe that having target dates makes us use our time effectively. The principle of setting expectations, even vague ones, applies to managing all uncertainties.

Further, I think that given any problem, we can tame it by focusing on finding a solution. A task sounds daunting and unmanageable when you say, “I don’t know how to do this.” This quickly changes when you adopt the attitude, “What is the easiest thing I can do to solve this problem?” and start looking at the most manageable solutions. For example, I started working on a software product using artificial intelligence without any experience in the field. The feedback I received on my idea from friends and professionals was great, but I didn’t know where to start. I asked myself, “What is one core feature that must work?” The answer was, “The software must be able to process images using AI.” So, I learned to work with OpenAI over time with the help of ChatGPT and online resources. I eventually found an AI expert to consult on the product, and I am making progress toward my goals. Focusing on solutions is very empowering.

The Power of Habits

I’m sure you’ve heard it before: habits are powerful. Gandhi put it well:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words
become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your
values, your values become your destiny.”

Habits embody every bit of you and your goals. This is good news because habits are easy to track and review to see if they align with your values and dreams. I truly believe that, little by little, like continuous drips of water, we can fill any bucket.

People often call me a creature of habit, and with good reason. When I find something beneficial, I stick to a routine so I can accomplish my daily goals regardless of how I feel. Of course, there are tough days when it feels like breaking through a sonic barrier just to do simple tasks like cleaning. But in general, I complete 90% of my daily goals. You might ask, “What is the point of never completing all daily goals?” My point isn’t to complete all goals every day. Instead, I aim to have more tasks than I can handle and do as many as possible to stay productive. I focus on tasks that propel me toward my lifelong dream mentioned in the Introduction.

You are witnessing the power of a habit as you read this book. I promised myself that I would write something for Not Tired every morning, even if it’s just a rough draft. Sometimes the words flow out of me; other times, it’s like pulling teeth. But it puts a smile on my face even if I end up writing a poor sentence or two because, as many around me say, I am “living the dream.” I’m absolutely thrilled that I have this opportunity to write a book, keystroke by keystroke, because I’ve always dreamed of writing one.

I do have some bad habits that I would like to change, but it is very difficult because they have become automatic over the years. For example, I constantly bite my fingers, especially when I’m thinking intensely. This has been a lifelong habit, and sometimes I think moving a mountain would be easier than to break the habit. Nonetheless, I am very aware of this habit and do my best to stop when I catch myself. I tell you this to illustrate that we humans are full of both good and bad habits. Even if you only have bad habits, you can change through self-awareness, developing a regular schedule, and using tools like habit trackers.

I would like to tell you how I developed a structured daily schedule. I encourage you to find a schedule that works for you; I believe that everyone’s body rhythm is different, and there’s no point in forcing it. My alarm has been set to 6 am every day since 2012. I don’t make it every day, but I usually wake up on time. I take care of important daily tasks in the same order. I give myself a little break when I’m on vacation. I remember how skeptical I was when I set my alarm to 6 am for the first time. Would it work? Is it really this simple? Yes, it was! It was really difficult to change the wake-up time, but as I adapted to the new schedule, I found that I was mentally sharp in the morning. It was incredibly liberating and satisfying to spend time on tasks important to me before dealing with other people’s priorities like work. I’ve been hooked since then. It made me realize it is beneficial to try easy-to-implement ideas and continuously integrate all of my insights into my life.

Importance of Journaling

Journaling is like planting a garden; each entry is a seed that grows into a plant of wisdom over time. Just as a gardener waters and nurtures each plant, regularly tending to your journal cultivates a rich landscape of insights and experiences.

I discovered the benefits of journaling recently, and I love how it helps me clear my mind. It brings my focus back to the present. Instead of letting my thoughts wander aimlessly, worrying, or trying to resolve issues that interrupt my flow, I stay grounded.

In the book Getting Things Done, David Allen says that committing everything in your head to paper helps free mental space. At first, I was quite skeptical because I didn’t think the time required to write my ideas down would be worth it. However, I was pleasantly surprised after putting journaling into practice. In the beginning, it took hours to write down the thoughts occupying my head. Over time, though, it took less and less time to journal my thoughts. I also followed suggestions given in the book Principles by Ray Dalio, doing my best to record how I make decisions on important projects like portfolio management.

I don’t think journals must contain the most beautiful prose. Instead, a journal should be a practical means of committing your thoughts for reflection in a concise form. I often don’t write full sentences but make sure to provide enough context and information for later reviews. I keep one separate journal per major project, five in total. One caveat is that it would be difficult to keep many physical journals, so I opt to use plain text files stored in a Git repository or Google Docs, depending on the nature of the project.

It’s been incredibly rewarding to watch my journal blossom with my experiments, successes, failures, and the valuable knowledge I’m accumulating. I think keeping a journal is like creating a photo album. Each entry captures a moment in time, allowing you to look back and reflect on your journey, seeing how far you’ve come and understanding the path you’ve taken. I haven’t done a rigorous study, but I feel like I make more informed and forward-looking decisions now.

Goal Setting and Achievement

Importance of Write Down Goals

As many literatures suggest, I find that goal setting is very important. I am a skill-driven person. I like to continuously improve a skill until I am satisfied with it, even if it means repeating “boring” practices. My usual mantra is, “You only have to do it better than yesterday.” This kind of personality goes hand-in-hand with goal setting. I tend to set goals that are constantly moving ahead of me to continue my efforts. Many would find this frustrating, but I like how it keeps me focused and occupies my mind—I do like to keep busy.

Once I decided to embark on a journey to become financially independent, The social media like Facebook suggested many video clips of Jim Rohn. He, too, emphasized the importance of goal setting. Books like “Think and Grow Rich” stress the same. I always kept my goals just in my head and worked on them. But I decided to follow the advice and wrote my goals in a journal every morning. This had a surprising effect.

One of my financial goals is, “I have 100 million dollars.” I write that every morning. Since I’ve done so, I stopped buying meaningless “fun” items. I focus more on buying and maintaining assets, like my stock portfolio. I choose to be more frugal, although I splurge occasionally. Best of all, financial decisions that move me toward my goal, regardless of how much it is, stopped causing stress.

One of my current design projects for fine artists will cost me a significant amount of my financial resources. But I can stay on course and not abandon it because it gives me an opportunity to build a business that moves me toward the 100 million dollar goal. I think this is a welcomed change. I have peace of mind even though my financial picture may seem uncertain at present.

Examples

I would like to share some of the goals I have and how I benefit from them.

I Believe in Myself.

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
Bill Gates

To overcome self-doubt, I always tell people that I have a fanatical belief in myself. It doesn’t matter whether others believe in me or not; some will, and some won’t. Their beliefs are out of my control, although I can do my best to earn their trust. As Charlie Munger says, “Become a person who deserves what you desire.” I think the phrase, “Fake it until you make it,” follows a similar line of thinking.

Believing in myself is different from thinking I’m always right. It’s about trusting my ability to learn from experiences and apply hard-learned lessons every day. It’s also about trusting the process to guide me to the finish line.

It’s easy to think the finish line seems like a distant horizon, far but not unreachable. For example, when I started my journey in fine art, I thought, “Wow, it’s going to take another 10-15 years to become decent at this,” especially when I looked at other artists I admire. But those years have flown by like a gentle breeze, and I’m still enjoying the journey.

It’s not that I’ll reach the level of mastery I want anytime soon, but I’ve given myself completely to the process, moving toward my goals one step at a time. Just as a river carves its path through rock, my skills are shaped by time and effort. I believe I will eventually get there. When I look back at all the training I’ve had, I’m sure I’ll remember it as sweet memories instead of the frustrations I feel now when I’m struggling to improve my skills.

I theorize that self-doubt is so prevalent because we tend to focus on short time horizons, like the next few days or months. The short time horizons serve our immediate needs, like relieving frustrations, but they don’t account for unforeseen delays, trials, and challenges in developing a new skill. Every time I feel anxious about what may happen soon, I repeat, “I believe in myself, and I have a long-term vision.”

I Innovate.

There’s a way to do it better—find it.
Thomas Edison

This is my favorite goal. When I say “I innovate,” I commit to finding better solutions to everyday problems. While I might not come up with a great idea daily, small improvements add up over time. Every small innovation feels like a step toward achieving my goals. Lately, I’ve been using ChatGPT more in my workflow—it’s been a game changer! For instance, when I need factual information, I used to visit several websites and create a summary myself. Now, ChatGPT does that for me. It searches reputable websites and provides a concise summary. I always double-check the response—but it saves me a lot of time. No more dealing with poorly designed websites or annoying ads. Although ChatGPT may use our conversations for training, I think that’s a fair trade-off.

I’ve also been using ChatGPT to help me code software faster. There are many products out there, but as long as ChatGPT meets my needs, why pay for others? After some trial and error, I discovered that ChatGPT excels at generating code if I provide unit test code with inputs and expected outputs. This approach, traditionally called test-driven development, saves me so much time compared to writing detailed code descriptions. It’s like having a smart assistant that can write and check its own work. As a bonus, I am continuously growing unit tests that give me confidence my code is correct. Knowing that I can speed up my coding process is thrilling. It makes me as happy as a kid in a candy store!

Learning

My Only Rule

Have you ever wondered how much you could learn if you dedicated yourself to discovering something new every single day? I did, and it changed my life.

I can’t remember exactly when, but in my early teens, I decided to learn one new thing each day. Nobody made me do it; I may have read about the benefits of continuous learning somewhere. So, I made it a rule. I figured if I learned something new every day, I would gradually gain knowledge, stay ahead of my friends, and amuse myself — I’m a bit competitive, after all. One caveat is that anything I learned in mandatory training, like school, didn’t count. If everyone had to learn it, then it didn’t count as a “new” item. This rule forced me to learn something outside of my regular routines, and I greatly benefited from it.

One side effect of this rule is that you never stop at learning just one new fact or idea. It often sparks my curiosity, and I end up looking through books or searching the Internet for hours at a time. Some of you may have done the same on Wikipedia. The whole experience is very stimulating and full of adventures. At times, it’s like Alice in Wonderland — you find something unexpected that excites you. Sometimes, it’s like a science experiment where you continuously find new variables to manage. I personally find it very enjoyable.

Here is a recent example. I had been making good progress in oil painting. After a class, I decided to look up what colors were used in oil paintings from the 18th century. I already knew most of the answer from previous studies, but I wanted to see if there was a new insight. After hours of watching videos on YouTube on this topic, I solidified a new understanding of how I think about skin colors.

“Old masters” — some of the best painters in classical fine art — used mainly “earth colors” to create their paintings. Earth colors refer to oil paints made from literal dirt; yes, you combine yellow dirt and linseed oil, and that’s paint! Earth colors aren’t as chromatic, in other words, saturated, as the modern colors we commonly see on cars and everyday products. Furthermore, skin tones are mixed with earth colors and some white, making the final mixture even more desaturated.

Having developed this insight, I finally understood why my colors always looked garish. I was having problems because I didn’t understand how chromatic skin color mixtures should be. Now, I understand that if I aim for something slightly desaturated compared to earth colors, I should be in the right ballpark. This matches the recent intuition I had from practicing painting.

I love how my rule amuses me and, at the same time, helps me develop my skills unexpectedly. The fun is in the journey. It’s quite the joyride.

Ultimately, this simple rule has transformed my life in ways I never imagined. It keeps my mind sharp, my curiosity alive, and my skills ever-growing. By embracing the habit of learning something new each day, I’ve discovered that the world is full of endless wonders waiting to be explored. What new adventure will today bring? The possibilities are limitless, and that’s what makes this journey truly exhilarating.

Study Your Learning Style

I think it’s important to learn how you learn. It may sound cheeky, but I have greatly benefited from continuously monitoring my learning methods and fine-tuning strategies and environments to suit my style. The two methods I use are called “observational learning” and “comparative learning.”

Observational learning, also known as social learning or modeling, involves acquiring new behaviors, skills, or information by watching others. This method relies on attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation. For example, when I watch artists draw and paint, I observe their techniques and incorporate them into my process through repeated viewings. This specific type of learning, where I focus on physical skills, is known as “observational motor learning.”

Comparative learning, on the other hand, involves analyzing information from multiple sources to understand different perspectives and synthesize common themes. When I wanted to learn options trading, I bought several books on the subject. By studying the information common across all of them, I could compare and contrast different viewpoints. This approach helped me grasp the subject more effectively. Even though I haven’t finished reading all the books, I’ve learned enough to manage my portfolio and plan to continue learning.

Both observational and comparative learning methods have proven very effective for me, and I imagine there are many others who benefit from these approaches as well.

Focus

The duration of my focus varies depending on the subject. Sometimes, I can stay focused for hours, although research available online suggests that 90 minutes may be the optimal length. At other times, I can only stay focused for minutes. For this reason, I stop studying when my mind starts to wander. When my mind wanders, I think it’s a cue that I’m disinterested in whatever is happening and am not productive. However, this is not always possible. When I choose to power through my vacant mind, I try to focus on the simplest and most immediate task at hand. Once my mind starts churning like a wheel at a regular pace, I can often regain my focus.

Theories

I spend a lot of time alone, thinking and working on my skills. I’ve been doing this since I was 13, and it has given me plenty of time to explore ideas in my head. I quite like it. Over the years, I’ve formed quite a few theories that some may call “strange,” but I find them fun.

Not too long ago, I realized that I should write down my theories because I enjoy watching them evolve. Doing so may also explain who I am, and perhaps it will help some people. I’m not a social butterfly, but those who are close to me seem to value my opinions. That gives me the confidence to believe that the effort I put into this writing will be worthwhile.

You may ask, “What do all these theories have to do with entrepreneurship?” I see them as representations of my thinking process, showing that anything can move you toward your goals. For example, the theory on skill level might seem only loosely related to staying motivated, but I believe that accurately assessing your skills gives you a clear goal to strive for, especially if you are as skill-focused as I am.

Skill Level Scale

Skill levels vary widely. When we learn a new skill, we gradually gain knowledge and resolve challenges to improve. However, not many people seem to have an internal scale of what “good” really means. What does it mean for someone to be exceptional?

I am focused on skill development. It seemed important to me that I develop a scale to judge myself accurately and help set goals for honing my skills. I haven’t researched any academic works on this yet, but as I often do, I enjoy developing a theory in a vacuum first and then checking the existing literature to see if I have anything valuable. So, I formed a theory some time ago, hoping to crystallize a skill level scale. This scale is listed in descending order.

Exceptional

You are one-of-a-kind. Just like my opinion on respect — that it should be earned, not given — I believe that having an exceptional skill means you are widely acknowledged by others as being exceptional. No amount of pride or self-proclamation can get you here. The sure sign of being exceptional is when there is never-ending demand for your expertise, and people start saying, “You have to be the one.” Not many people have this kind of skill. Examples include Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Michael Jordan.

Great

Many achieve this skill level through academic accomplishments, physical training, or other efforts. Your skill is well-valued, and there are a small handful of people like you in your field. People have options to consult your peers with similar skill levels, but they are willing to pay for your expertise, making you comfortable.

Good

I think “good” might as well be the average. We gain good skills through sufficient training, but by no means have we mastered a skill. At this skill level, you have learned the foundations and are ready to embark on a lifelong journey toward achieving “great” status. You stand out among novices, but you are easily replaceable, as this skill level is common among those who pursue their interests.

Bad

“Bad” is a word with negative connotations, but I think it accurately describes a beginner-level skill. You are still working on the basics, learning the language — what computer scientists call the “domain-specific language” — that embodies the skill you are pursuing.

Practical Lessons

Lessons from Software Engineering

I worked in the software industry for about 18 years, starting in 2006. Along the way, I learned a few hard lessons because I am an idealist and tend to be experimental. I used to think I was a perfectionist, but I am not, as you will see.

These hard-learned lessons seemed relevant only to software engineering. But now, I realize much of what I learned is about general problem-solving. It took me a long time to see that. Now, I apply these “engineering” ideas to my day-to-day life.

Problem-Solving Strategies

Minimize the Problem

Finding a general solution to a general problem can be quite challenging. I believe that career advancements come with tackling more complex issues. For instance, a junior software engineer starts by making minor updates and fixing bugs, which have a low impact if done incorrectly. A senior software engineer, on the other hand, oversees or designs projects that have a long-term impact.

At every level, problems are complex relative to one’s skill and experience. Thus, everyone is always solving overwhelmingly intricate problems in their world. A complex problem is daunting because it involves many variables, including unforeseen requirements, events, and oversight. I used to try to solve the whole problem in one go, hoping for a perfect solution. However, this approach often led to overly complicated and still inadequate solutions because the complexity of the problem remained unchanged.

Somewhere along my career, I discovered that breaking down a larger problem into smaller, manageable parts works best. Start with the smallest problem possible. For example, if we’re designing a system that must serve 1,000 customers a second, we first need to figure out how to serve one customer efficiently. When focusing on the single-customer solution, we have a few choices. Should we design a system that can serve one or more customers, or should we assume there is only one customer? I vote for the latter.

Some caution is necessary here. When you build an elaborate single-customer solution, you may create a complex system with many assumptions. Therefore, the key is to build the simplest solution possible for a single customer, which can then reveal paths to the final 1,000-customer solution. Some may call this minimal solution a prototype or demo.

It is important that you spend as little time as possible at each step, solving the problem just well enough so the system does not embody poor assumptions. Gradually, you can remove design flaws while continuously using partial solutions to meet business needs over time. This approach allows for steady improvement and avoids the pitfalls of overly complex initial designs.

In life, I find that applying this principle gives me a sense of accomplishment while continuing to make progress toward solving complex problems. This book is a great example. I am not a writer, and I don’t know what systems are used to write a book. So, I started with what I knew best: opening up a text editor and just typing a simple HTML page with minimal formatting.

Every day, I make adjustments or research more suitable systems for continued writing. Over the past three months, I have gone through many iterations of tools and frameworks. It was easy to switch from one system to another because I didn’t invest time in developing an elaborate setup. Every solution was just “good enough” to help me manage writing and publishing the book on the website.

Every time I adopted a new solution, I took the best parts from the previous one, allowing me to compound my learnings over time. This gradual approach not only made the process more manageable but also ensured continuous improvement without overwhelming me with complexity.

Experiment

There are several ways to solve software bugs. Among many, I have two favorite methods. One approach is to read the software code to find logic flaws. Another method is to set up experiments and test the code. For example, if an LED is not blinking at the expected rate, how do you find the problem? Suppose you’ve reviewed the code and found no obvious flaws. That’s when experimentation becomes helpful.

I start by setting up a hypothesis, then develop tests and collect data to draw conclusions. This process often repeats itself and guides our exploration. In this case, a possible hypothesis is that the software controlling the LED is correct, but something else is overriding it. To test this, we turn off everything else as much as possible and see if the behavior changes. If the experiment doesn’t yield any result, then it’s not a failure. We have negative data that says, “look elsewhere.” I like to summarize this process as: “Find what to measure and measure it.”

I believe that experimentation is the key to inspiration and developing insights into a problem. Do you remember running experiments in science class? I enjoy experimenting with all aspects of my life and daily responsibilities. Let’s talk about how I develop portfolio management strategies.

The first step is information gathering. I learn the terms, read online resources and books on potential strategies. I take notes and ensure I understand them. Next, I form a simple plan that seems clear to me, keeping the potential negative impact small by experimenting with a small portion of the portfolio.

I journal my rationale by jotting down a few notes and re-evaluate my theory over time as I continue observing the performance and gaining insights. For example, let’s say I’m unsure when to roll an option. I might write: “Roll the option when delta—or the probability of option execution—is above or below a threshold,” along with my reasoning.

I set an experiment duration, like a month. During this time, whenever I see an option meeting the rollover criteria, I evaluate potential actions and take one or more action if appropriate. Then, I continue to observe the market. After making a few more similar decisions, I re-evaluate my theory and performance and adjust the threshold. Eventually, I form a strategy that works well until market conditions change.

Not all insights are immediate or obvious in the beginning. However, they become clear over weeks or months. Sometimes, the feedback is immediate and makes me smile with quick progress. Some may call this fine-tuning or optimizing a process. Whatever your terminology, we all love to ponder and anticipate potential improvements in our lives, eager to find out if we’re right or wrong.

Continued experimentation and keen observation skills are keys to success in any challenge life brings.

Importance of Tools and Resources

I love finding tools with surgical precision. With a background in software, I get a kick out of discovering ways to automate or simplify my tasks. AI-assisted tools like ChatGPT have made great advances in recent years, and I’ve been learning about them while working on software projects and tinkering for amusement.

Here is how I use a customized ChatGPT, the Python3 Pandas Helper, to write a daily stock portfolio review script in Python. My daily portfolio review used to take about three hours in the morning. With this little tool, I finish a review in just one hour.

The script uses the numerical analysis framework called pandas. Pandas has a steep learning curve and continues to be puzzling at times, even when you understand the basic concepts. I found that ChatGPT does a great job generating scripts for my purposes, so I chose to customize ChatGPT to build the Python3 Pandas Helper. For example, this customized ChatGPT can handle prompts like:

Given the following table, reverse sort by column A and then B:
item, A, B
foo, 1, 2
bar, 3, 4

ChatGPT’s response includes Python code and a sample output:

Code:

import pandas as pd

# Create the DataFrame
data = {
    'item': ['foo', 'bar'],
    'A': [1, 3],
    'B': [2, 4]
}
df = pd.DataFrame(data)

# Reverse sort by columns A and then B
df_sorted = df.sort_values(by=['A', 'B'], ascending=[False, False])

# Display the sorted DataFrame
print(df_sorted)

Sample Output:

   item  A  B
1  bar  3  4
0  foo  1  2

It’s really fun to use technology this way because it makes me both productive and amused.

Here is another example. I use a customized ChatGPT to edit my writing. This ChatGPT is instructed to write at a 6th grade reading level while preserving my concise writing style. I think it’s been doing a splendid job. I can’t understate the improvements to my writing process and productivity. I am sure my writing style and taste will change as I read and write more. With more future edits for this book, I look forward to continuing to use the editing helper. I can’t share a link because this ChatGPT “violates” the usage policy due to the mention of “6th grade.” I’m appealing the decision and it’s in review. Here is a prompt you can try yourself.

This GPT is a helpful editor that preserves the original writing style as much as possible while correcting common writing issues such as grammar and readability. It aims to improve clarity with minimal changes to the original text, aiming for a 6th grade reading level. The target writing style should be less terse, more introspective and reflective, with a gentle motivational tone. When appropriate, it uses rhymes to enhance the text. It varies sentence lengths, uses synonyms where possible, and adds rhythm to the writing.

Lessons from Art

In my childhood in Korea, art wasn’t encouraged as a career. It was always seen as a hobby, not a serious pursuit. When I was about five years old, I found a place in the neighborhood with a sign that read “art lessons” on the window. Curious about its meaning, I asked my mother and then requested to take art lessons. This continued on and off for some time until I eventually left for Canada to study at the age of thirteen.

I enjoyed drawing and amused my parents with my sketches, but I never thought I could become an artist. I didn’t even know that being an artist was a profession. One day, while going through the bookshelf at the art school, I found a book with example drawings. A page filled with horse drawings caught my eye. I was amazed that someone could draw a horse so vividly. This sparked my curiosity, but as I grew older, I took up academics seriously and forgot the whole event.

Years later, in my 30s, my mother mentioned that my childhood art teachers had recommended I study art. At that time, I had a software engineering job, but I was very dissatisfied despite enjoying problem-solving. It was a shock to hear my teachers’ recommendations, and it made me realize that perhaps my lifelong pursuit was art. This realization led me to start learning art seriously.

My love for art grew intensely while taking drawing lessons from a local artist, Alan Daniel. Through his mentorship and encouragement, I decided to become a fine art painter. Thankfully, Amazon offered me a job that allowed me to move to Seattle, Washington, USA, in 2016. Early in 2017, I started taking evening classes at the Gage Academy of Art.

Over the last eight years of studying art, I’ve experienced successes, failures, and doubts just like anyone else. There’s constant pressure to meet the high standards I’ve set for myself, which can be quite frustrating. However, I’ve learned important lessons through these trials and challenges. These lessons have been vital in improving my perspective on everything.

Finding Your Creative Process

This applies to everything, could be referenced in other sections. Maybe refactor later?

As the old saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Many would agree that art is subjective, and how we create art often causes heated debate as well. There are many different schools of thought and methods. Some artists swear by the “traditional methods,” while others prefer to experiment, even if the resulting artwork may not endure.

In drawing, there are two common methods. The first is to draw what you see. In this method, you carefully measure what you observe and attempt to transcribe the world in front of you as accurately as possible. The second method is constructive drawing. In this approach, you interpret and reproduce the world using geometric shapes and previous training. For example, some artists study human anatomy, learn basic geometric forms, and then construct a human figure using a mannequin.

Both methods can produce excellent results, and artists tend to prefer one method over the other. I personally favor constructive drawing; however, it took me a long time to come to this realization. When I attended an art school that emphasized the first method, I was very unhappy. After a few months of deep reflection, I concluded that I strongly dislike the method used in the school and eventually left the school. Since then, I’ve pursued the constructive drawing method with great results. This journey helped crystallize an intuition I’ve had all along: to be successful in my endeavors, I must first find a system that makes me effective and enjoy the process. Once a system clicks, it’s almost as if I accelerate into high gear and start cruising.

Spend Creative Minutes

While listening to “Slow Productivity” by Cal Newport, I learned about an executive who kept track of how many minutes he spent on creative thinking, which he calls “creative minutes.” The idea is sound. We are often preoccupied with tasks that require our immediate attention, so much so that we are constantly putting out fires and don’t take the time to look forward, design new solutions, or improve existing ones.

I thought making sure that I spend some creative minutes each day would be great, whether it’s five minutes or an hour, because I enjoy brainstorming ideas. Since learning about creative minutes, I make sure to explore new ideas daily, and it has improved my productivity. Not all the ideas I generate are great, but some improve my day in unexpected ways, and I hope to compound the benefits.

For example, I spent a small amount of time designing a habit tracker to suit my needs over a few weeks. It has greatly improved my progress on projects like this book, allowing me to work on it piecemeal without getting overwhelmed. I’ll talk about the habit-tracking system in the next section.

Habit Tracker

I designed a habit tracker based on the popular bullet journaling system to improve my productivity and monitor my progress in skill development. It helps me keep track of as many projects as possible. The system is simple yet different from traditional bullet journaling in its organization.

The bullet journaling method organizes all tasks on a page or “spread” for a day or week. There is one item per line along with one column per day. This gives a great overview of the days but is inflexible and does not make it easy to sort tasks by changing priorities daily.

In my system, there is one card per task printed on 3x5 index cards. I can re-order index cards as needed, given daily priorities. I keep the index cards in an index card container. Every morning, I take all the cards from the container to my desk as a stack. As I complete tasks, I mark their completion and put the cards back into the index card container. This sorts tasks organically by priorities for the next day.

I create a table with 8 columns: the first column is for the date, and the next seven columns are for each day of the week, starting on Sunday. For example:

DateSMTWTFS
6/30      
7/1      
      

I make good use of the spaces around the table. I add the project name and the year before the table. Any leftover spaces are used for notes. I printed the template on 3x5 index cards using a printing service I found online.

Every time I complete a task, I fill in the square for the day. I prefer to use a brush pen to fill the whole square so it looks like a progress bar. Others might prefer just putting in a dot.

Here are some example cards I use:

I have been using this system for a few months. I find that I am more consistent with tasks and projects that matter to me. When I take a break, I am more deliberate about using my time well because the breaks are visually clear. Overall, I find the system very helpful in keeping me motivated to continue whatever journey I choose.

Overcoming Creative Blocks

We are born with an innate sense of beauty that grows as we get older. In contrast, our motor skills take time to catch up to our imagination and idea of beauty. This dissonance often creates frustration when learning and performing art. I frequently feel frustrated in my creative journey, but I remind myself to redirect negative energy into creative energy. With time and practice, I manage to do so.

In the book “Flow,” Csikszentmihalyi discusses the state of “flow experience,” where “attention can be freely invested to achieve a person’s goals.” In this state, we control how we use our energy. The book mentions Pam, who becomes so immersed in her job that she believes she can overcome any obstacles eventually. I resonate with this feeling, especially when I find a good rhythm in drawing classes while listening to music with just the right beat. By letting go of my emotions and embracing the moment, I finish each class smiling, even though I occasionally don’t succeed to do so.

As Csikszentmihalyi says:

The “battle” is not really against the self, but against the entropy that brings disorder to consciousness. It is really a battle for the self; it is a struggle for establishing control over attention.

I wholeheartedly agree with Csikszentmihalyi. An equal degree of disciplined concentration is required to experience the deep enjoyment provided by the flow state.

My process involves two steps. I find it helpful to slow down or pause from the task at hand. This usually takes me 10 to 15 minutes.

  1. Let the frustrations sink in, acknowledge them, and explore the feelings.
  2. Detach from the emotions and ask, “Why do I feel this way?”

When I find a clear answer in the second step, I often regain control over my energy and focus quickly. With repeated practice of reflecting and overcoming my frustrations, I become mentally stronger in similar situations. This process has helped me tremendously over the years.

Learning from Masters

some of this is similar to lesson 1, combine the section or rewrite both

There is no doubt that art is subjective. There are many different schools of thought on what art is and how it should be created. In this rich landscape, an artist is faced with numerous methods and techniques, and must make conscious decisions on how to create art. Faced with this challenge, I decided to build a good reference library to explore what works for me. It took a few years of continuous effort to learn from as many books as possible until I started to internalize what’s available, what works for me, and what suits my taste.

For example, I have 20 to 30 books on drawing techniques. While the books may overlap in foundational information, they vary widely in advanced topics such as the use of lines, forms, and even how a pencil should be sharpened. Studying different opinions gave me great clarity in what I prefer and helped me focus my efforts effectively to improve my work.

Lessons from Skateboarding

I fell in love with skateboarding in my 40s. Some say I am too old to skate, but I don’t think so. Many people work in very physically demanding fields until their 50s or so, like soldiers. Of course, people in mid-life won’t be like teenagers, but there is still a lot left in us.

I think we owe it to ourselves to seek challenges and opportunities to explore our abilities. The technical nature and physical aspects of skateboarding give me great ways to let off steam, focus on the present, and truly enjoy getting healthier, stronger, and more physically capable.

Perseverance and Determination

Skateboarding hurts. Learning a new trick means I have to overcome both mental and physical challenges. Conditioning and training my body to perform a trick is always more difficult and takes longer than I expect. Taking a “slam”—when you fail a trick, fall hard, and hit the ground—happens a lot. It’s bearable once or twice, but when I take slams for hours on end because I want to learn the trick, it becomes a tremendous challenge, both mentally and physically.

Skateboarding has taught me to ask, “How much do you want it?” I believe this lesson applies to everything in life. It is important to set priorities and have a strong desire to achieve your goals. This idea aligns with the book “Think and Grow Rich,” which emphasizes using strong desires to guide your mind and body toward your goals.

Learning from Failure

Skateboarding is difficult partly because it uses muscles and joints in the body that we don’t often use while maintaining balance. Depending on your skill and experience level, learning and executing a trick — skateboarders call it “landing a trick” — can take some time.

Take my journey to learn the kickflip as an example. A kickflip is a trick where you rotate a skateboard clockwise in the air by combining ankle and knee rotation. My lack of physical training, along with my fear of injuries, has made learning the kickflip take me well over three years. I also had many serious ankle injuries that prevented me from walking many times. I often thought of giving up, but taking well-timed breaks reminded me how much I wanted to learn the trick. Now, I can land kickflips from time to time, but I’m still not great at it and continue to work on it.

However, this experience has taught me that even what looks impossible and fear-inducing can be accomplished with persistent effort.

It’s been a long day.

“No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”
— Marcus Aurelius

When you have big dreams, achieving them takes many steps. But remember, you thrive on tackling the impossible. You have built a career by taking on challenges others avoid and committing to unreasonable deadlines. This path has led to failures, but you have always had the strength to move forward, grow your skills, and face new challenges. Bringing a new idea to life may seem impossible and involves many failures, but you succeed by focusing on your goals and dreams. Climb a tall mountain by concentrating on immediate, tangible steps. It is not much different from art and skateboarding. We commit to our dreams, face the challenges and failures, and persist to succeed.

It is too early to quit. You have so much more to give, even if you think you have come to an end. The human mind and body are much more powerful than you think. You must persist over your fears and commit to your goals, whatever it takes — if not today, then tomorrow. Take another step. You have made many sacrifices and taken on financial risks to start businesses. You have developed and continue to work on the necessary skills to achieve your difficult goals. In the past, you may have given up on your dreams for various reasons, but not this time. You owe it to yourself to give it your best shot, even if failure seems imminent. You might just be on the verge of a breakthrough. As Nelson Mandela once said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Have patience with yourself and others to be effective. As projects grow bigger, your team will grow, and everyone will bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table. As Peter Drucker says, focus on strengths and contributions, not weaknesses, to amplify overall effectiveness (Drucker 2017). Patience is not idling; it gives opportunities and people time to shine. In other words, patience to opportunities is what wood is to a small fire, nurturing growth and allowing potential to flourish.

Reflect on your own journey of learning to draw over the past eight years. It has been a long journey with many challenges, but with patience, you have developed foundational skills that will support you in making it a lifelong pursuit. This experience underscores the importance of patience in achieving long-term success and growth. By maintaining patience, you can navigate challenges, foster personal and team development, and ultimately realize your full potential.

Are you feeling “not good enough?” The world is filled with people more skillful than you, but don’t let the present define your place in this vast universe. By being a little better than you were yesterday, you are taking steps toward greatness. Compete with yourself, not with the world, and win what you deserve. By focusing on gradually improving your skills, you can make positive strides without comparing yourself to those who have spent more time and energy on similar pursuits. It is also fun to see yourself grow in the areas you love.

Remember, as Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Each tiny step you take toward improving yourself compounds, creating a significant impact over time. Imagine the progress you can make by consistently dedicating time and effort to your passions. This gradual progress not only enhances your skills but also builds confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Embrace the journey of self-improvement, knowing that every small effort contributes to your overall growth and success.

Now is the time.

“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.”
— Peter Drucker

Many have achieved the success you desire through hard work and perseverance. Hard work does not necessarily mean long hours, as it is possible to work long hours without any meaningful output. Hard work means taking on difficult challenges and effectively handling them. It requires not only energy but also time, the will to persevere, and giving yourself and your goals the time needed to materialize.

Remember that time is a resource that we must spend because it flows continuously. This makes time the most expensive resource, even more than money. To manage everything effectively, good time management is essential. Focus, plan, commit, and spend your time wisely toward your goals.

Implement Getting Things Done (GTD) to manage time and reclaim mental capacity. GTD is similar to Agile Software Development, and your experience in the software industry will help tremendously. Organize projects and tasks by effort and priority, and complete the high value items. Each task must be well-defined and small to ensure that you have achievable commitments. This allows for small gain every day, and it will keep you happy and productive.

A good environment amplifies productivity. Surround yourself with driven individuals and organize your space to fully commit to your tasks. Remember to focus on Quadrant II activities to achieve long-term goals and prevent last-minute problems (Covey 2020). Organization isn’t limited to long-term goals; keep both physical and electronic inboxes organized to quickly process incoming information and take timely actions. Once organized, you’ll remove mental clutter, find peace of mind, and clarify your priorities. Clear priorities will highlight high-value actions, ultimately reducing workload and hours (Ferriss 2009).

Track and reflect on your progress. A good system measures small gains that eventually compound to explosive growths in life. Use habit trackers or similar methods to track daily commitments, and review progress weekly to avoid dwelling on occasional bad days. Using habit trackers make time visual and reduces discouragement from “lack of progress” over short time periods. This technique will also help you commit to long term projects because we are forgetful, and a few days seem like an eternity. Remember, progress compounds over months and years, not a few days.

Don’t forget to love.

You push hard for the freedom to love everyone and everything important in your life. Love to be loved. Love the small moments and victories. Have time to love anything and everything.

Love the opportunities you are given and be thankful for them. You have longed for this moment to achieve the full potential. Be grateful for challenges that expand your mind. Do not lose the sight of the gift you are given.

You are not tired.

You would rather do something else, something more comfortable, something less mentally and physically demanding. But at what cost? Remember that you are driven and hungry.

Don’t indulge in excuses. If it’s important to you, it’s worth doing. Otherwise, it means that something else has a higher value and priority. Always stay in action.

Today always ends.

Everything that has a beginning has an end. Make your peace with that and all will be well.
Paulo Coelho

I often say, “Everything comes to an end.” Whether it’s good or bad, everything in our lives eventually ends. I adopted this view after facing disappointments in situations and relationships I hoped would last forever. Thinking everything lasts forever is naive, especially when we know our mortality rate is 100%. I bring this up not to be depressed or hopeless but to emphasize the importance of using our resources wisely.

I must admit, some days are harder than others. On those days, everything I hoped to accomplish or enjoy seems out of reach. But sometimes, I am pleasantly surprised by unexpected positive events. Maybe happiness is just around the corner. Recently, I realized that “bad” days aren’t significant unless they lead to dire situations; after all, life-altering events can happen. On “regular” bad days, I focus on assessing my mental and physical state. I ask myself, “Do I need a little break?” The answer is often yes. Sometimes, all it takes is a walk in the sun to lift my mood, brainstorm new ideas, or be inspired by the clear blue sky.

I also find my mood worsens when I neglect my passions, like fine art and skateboarding. When I neglect my passions, I wonder, “Why am I working so hard if not for what I love?” When this thought strikes, I visit a nearby museum, work on a painting or drawing, or skateboard until I can’t move my legs. In other words, I don’t mind shifting my priorities when alarms go off in my head.

I told my friend I like staying focused and working hard. He joked, “Why burn out tomorrow if you can burn out today?” That perfectly captures my work ethic. Sometimes, I feel buried under a mountain of self-imposed deadlines and responsibilities. Yet, the steady passage of time motivates me to accomplish more before the day ends. It’s like I’m racing against time daily. Yet, even the worst moments vanish when I close my eyes to rest. I believe we get new opportunities every day to march toward our goals.

However, this doesn’t mean I can easily turn off negative thoughts and self-talk. I accept them as they come, knowing they will flow out of my mind like a river. Eventually, I’ll be free of them—either by accepting the situation or resolving any issues within my power. It helps to remember that some events last longer than others. Some thoughts may linger for minutes, while others for months. Regardless, the outcome is the same: my mind finds acceptance or resolution, and I find peace again.

You might call it distraction, but I focus on redirecting my energy to positive thinking and staying productive. Dwelling on negative thoughts isn’t helpful. If a problem is beyond my control, I accept it, acknowledge my feelings, and push myself to create positive results that add to my happiness.

Quotes

These are quotes on values that align with me. I am sure many would agree they are inspiring. I fall into a rut from time to time because I am just a human. When I do, I take a break, reflect, and realign myself to my best abilities. During this time, nothing helps me like these quotes. These are not in any particular order. Sorted by the first name.

References

  1. Allen, David. Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity, Revised Edition. Penguin Books, 2015.
  2. Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Revised and Updated: 30th Anniversary Edition. UK: Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2020.
  3. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper & Row, 1990.
  4. Dalio, Ray. Principles: Life and Work. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017.
  5. Drucker, Peter F. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done. New York, NY: Harper Business, 2017.
  6. Ferriss, Tim. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. New York, NY: Crown Publishing Group, 2009.
  7. Hill, Napoleon. Think and Grow Rich. Official Publication of the Napoleon Hill Foundation. New York: Ballantine Books, 2005.
  8. Munger, Charles T. Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Essential Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger. Edited by Peter D. Kaufman. Foreword by Warren Buffett and John Collison. San Francisco: Stripe Press, 2023.
  9. Newport, Cal. Slow Productivity. New York: Penguin Random House, 2024.

Copyright 2024, Brian Lee