What I’ve Learned At Age 20

Something I wrote about a year ago, but I just found it again, I think it’s worth taking another look at… Jason

I got a Facebook friend request from someone I didn’t really know. He said in his message:

“You just seem like a really professional kind of student, you know someone who is really going places with his life. Whatever advice you could give me on getting that same mentality that you have, would be pretty sweet…”

Now this guy is basing his impression of me on my facebook profile, but I’ll take his compliment for what it is.
The truth is my parents and other parents have asked how I got to be the way I am. I think they were talking about my good traits and not my ability to lose things on command, break anything I touch and get distracted by anything with words on it. I guess its more that I got into Stanford, I’m a pretty good gymnast, and I seem pretty sociable/compassionate/intelligent. They want to know where it all came from. Perhaps a lot of it was out of my control, perhaps it ismainly due to genetic differences. But environment probably played some effect. So here it is:

My Education

  • Included reading a lot of books – first fantasy and science fiction, then lots of science non-fiction, now a little bit of that literary stuff too
  • consisted of doing a lot of schoolwork that I did not really enjoy (although I did occasionally)
  • involved playing the violin for 5 or so years
  • involved a lot of gymnastics – 20 hours a week from 11 years old – present
  • did not involve much dating or even hanging out a lot with females until I was 16-17 years old
  • involved playing a lot of video games with other Asian guys on the weekends
  • involved surfing the Internet a lot – reading a lot of web articles and blogs
  • involved doing random projects on my own – like websites, fiction and nonfiction books and viral videos

Things I Try to Live By

  • treat everyone with compassion – we are all humans and life is hard enough
  • live boldly – a life of fear is a terrible way to live, and most failures won’t kill you, or even seriously hurt you in the long run
  • work on things you really care about – you’ve got one life, why waste it doing lame things you don’t like?
  • when doing the above, put everything you have into it – half-assed work is just pathetic, leave it all on the table and no matter what happens, you’ll have no regrets
  • behave honestly – don’t hide things about yourself, own up to your mistakes, and in general, tell the truth
  • don’t cheat – if you need to cheat to get something, you probably don’t deserve it anyway
  • be open to new ideas – be willing to change your opinion based on new information
  • continually try to improve yourself – you know where you need improvement so keep trying to get better
  • understand that happiness comes from within – getting more things, becoming more successful, etc won’t make you happy – you make yourself happy. That’s why there are so many miserable lottery winners, and happy paraplegics
  • you can’t control what happens to you, only how you react – a great deal of your life is out of your hands, make the most of what you have control over – your attitude, thoughts, and decisions
  • stay positive – the most amazing thing about life is that its never so bad that it couldn’t get worse – be grateful its not worse
  • consider the future, remember the past, but live in the present – the only thing that truly exists is the right here, right now. Everything else is just a dream or a memory
  • life is inherently chaotic – shit happens, and often for no good reason. You create the meaning of your own life, don’t let anyone else do it for you
Please support this site by sharing:

Jason Shen

Jason is a tech entrepreneur and talent expert. He is CEO of a performance hiring platform called Headlight, a Fast Company contributor, and an advocate for Asian American men. Follow him on Twitter at @jasonshen and subscribe to his private newsletter.

Latest posts by Jason Shen (see all)

Related Posts: