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Finally moving to Korea

It’s been a long time coming – but I’m finally moving to Korea. Yes, this is the moment I’ve planned for for over a year. It took me a while to get here, but from stubborn determination I was able to do it.

I’ve had a lot of good memories in SF, especially in 2012, and I’ll never forget that. But it’s time for me to move on to the next step in my life. I’ve been preparing for over a year for this moment.
After I came back from Korea in Sept 2013, a place that fit me to a T, I promised myself that no matter the cost, I would find a way to be there. I would learn another language, I would give up my job, I would give up living in SF, I would give up making lots of money.. for a chance to be in the place that I love, for a chance to find a girl I love. That’s not a crazy thought – it’s who I am, and what my destiny is.

This year was a year of enlightenment – I didn’t have any crazy trips like in 2012, or go to crazy parties like in 2013, this year I focused on one thing only – getting to Korea. I continued working at BitTorrent for over a year to get experience, I lobbied hard at Walmart to get a remote position, and I re-dedicated myself to Korean, attending two semesters at Sejong Academy and 3 months of Korean tutoring.

I learned that experience is more valuable than anything. I was spending crazy amounts of money over the past year and a half – $30k in shopping expenses – about 30% of my total income was being spent on unnecessary things, and this year I’ve learned more than ever that money was not the key to happiness nor was owning a lot of things. I’ve sought this year to keep my spending to a minimum – and I’m happy to say that last month I’ve reduced my shopping expenditures to a mere 9% from 25% a year before. Experience is what counts – not owning things.

I’m doing all this because I was tired of living in America, in Canada, in western culture. The so called “American Dream” is really just making a lot of money, and owning a lot of things. In SF, all the politically correct nonsense that people have to put up with (Gamergate being the latest example of nonsense caused by feminists and the media). All the tech companies here are filled with 70% tech-obsessed males who live and breathe code like some kind of zombies. When I look at Korea, I see a country where they value being together. Being with others. Drinking fun with your friends. Eating with your co-workers. Taking cute pics with your boyfriend/girlfriend. That’s what life is about. Not about owning the latest 4K TV or smartwatch. But being with people.

Everything I have to do myself. Just last month, I had to call up Blue Advantage Arkansas to manually send me my health insurance card (Shouldn’t Walmart have done that?), I had to pay $200 to see the doctor (because Walmart didn’t mail me the insurance card on time), I had to pay $2500 to get rid of bedbugs from my apartment (left me with tons of scars and got in trouble with the condo management), pay $50 for someone to unlock my iPhone and they never called me back, pay $260 to mail back my passport in time (passport renewal failed because my passport photos weren’t correct which also wasn’t my fault), pay $200 for a background check for my soon to be tenant (my old high school friend), help set him up with an interview, do the paperwork, unit inspection, etc. I had to pay $600 in towing/parking fees to the SFMTA even though they wrongfully towed me (I mailed a towing dispute 3 months ago with no response), I have to call up everyone to confirm things that were supposed to be done weeks ago. I have to find an apartment in Korea, pay a massive deposit (Korea’s deposit is a year of rent), somehow find health insurance there, live like a vampire (work SF work hours), transfer my money over, buy furniture, etc.

As you can see I’ve been quite stressed last month. I’m sick of it, frankly. I need a fresh change. I realize the life in Korea is not perfect. They have to study from a young age all the time, be competitive all the time, study hard, get into a good school, find a good job, work long hours, live with their parents, marry the right person, etc. Conversely, I’ve been living by myself since I was 18, paid for my own tuition working part time and the PEY internship, paid off my student debt within a few months of graduation, found my own full time job in California right after I graduated making more than my parents, and have never been unemployed since. I did this all with very little help from my parents. They helped me look for a place initially, and helped finance my current home, but everything else was mostly my own doing.

And now once again I’m on my own to move to Korea. And I will do it. Because unlike many people, I have the ability to focus when I need to. I have my mother’s stubbornness and my father’s talent to thank for that. This is why I can’t play games or watch TV for long, because I can’t do anything unproductive for sustained periods. I have to be productive. So I make videos. So I study Korean. So I play guitar. So I read Wikipedia. So I blog. So I do programming. And so on. I have to do something with my time that’s worthwhile. And I believe when you really really want something badly enough, you will find a way to do it. No matter what obstacles are ahead. I’ve always believed this. Human willpower is a very strong thing. As long as you have something to motivate you, a passion for it, an absolute desire for it, then it’s like Michael Jordan going in for a dunk; nobody can stop you.

난 비생산적인 하는걸 싫어서 오래동안 티비랑 게임하는거 할 수 없다.
매일매초 생산적으로 해야된다. 그러니까 동영상를 만든다, 한국어를 공부한다, 기타를 친다, 위키피디아를 읽는다, 블로그를 쓴다, 프로그램을 한다 기타 등등. 어떤 뜻있는 일을 해야된다.
만약에 어떤 걸 진짜 진짜 원하면은, 어떤 방법을 찾아낼 것이라고 확신해요. 아무렇든지 방법을 강구할거예요.
내가 인간의 의지력을 항상 믿는데 동기를 주는게 있고 열정 있고 의욕 가지고 하면은, 아무도 못 말려요.

Edit:
I can’t help myself but complain about this issue: Mark Zuckerberg speaks Chinese and all the Chinese girls on the internet praise him. How come no one ever praises me for speaking three languages? So Zuck speaks one other language (and not that fluently FYI) and gets praised for it, while I can speak 2 languages fluently and one at an intermediate level and I get nothing. Is this because Asians are expected to know more languages and Westerners are not? Why the double standard? Ok I’m done ranting with that.

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I never believed myself to be lucky

我从未认为我自己是一个幸运的人。 事实上我认为我比别人倒运。 看来,我没当出去都带来风暴跟着我走。 啥东西,摸到了之后就枯萎了。 我似乎永远都没有什么成功。然而我一直想告诉我自己,终于一天,我就会把握成功。 但是我还没有成功。 运气真的存在不?难道有些人比别人幸运? 其他人做这做那却我就不会?为什么事务一到我的手上就失败了呢?

。。。后来我意识到了。 别人不必比我走云。 我的失败多因为我的尝试多。我的跌倒痛因为我冒险多。 我的情况比别人复杂因为我希望自己能够成功。 我越要成功我的生活就更加复杂了。 我的生活越复杂,我就越失败。 我打破更多东西因为我购买了更多东西。 我赔更多钱因为我挣了很多钱。 我得到了多少就失去了多少。

最后我理解了。 比我幸运的人都联合了准备和机会。 于是他们恰好位于正确的地点, 并合适的时间。 我始终都在错的期间中,因为我的准备不足,而我绝望了。这跟冒风险不是一回事,而我缺少先见之明。

今后,我的远见要使更明确,然后也许会比较幸运。

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Power of human destiny and decision

One of the people who I admire most is Steve Jobs. He characterizes everything that a leader should have – vision, dedication and tough management.
He gave a commencement address at Stanford University and some of the things he said were very relevant to me:

1) He talks about how you cannot connect the dots going forward, you can only connect going back. The future is entirely unknown but you should always give things a shot. His attending of a calligraphy course changed PC history.

2) Love what you do and don’t mind the failures. Life has alot of great ironies, and he talked about how getting fired was the best thing to happen to him.
Sometimes a bad thing can lead to a good thing. But you always have to have the faith to keep going, the failures that you make cannot set you back.
Always look to the future and not to the past. I have regrets in life but I don’t think about ‘what ifs’ because they are irrelevant. History has put
you on this path and you can’t rewind back time to redo things. The only way to go is forward.

3) Death overrides everything. Death is the thing that no one can escape and he talks about how the prospect of dying drives him to do all that he could.
It’s true. In life, there’s lots of risks, but what does it matter? If you are going to die, you have nothing to lose. Taking risks is what makes great companies
and great fortune. It’s a shame people often fear it because they fear the unknown.

One of my great mantras is that life is 50% your decision and 50% fate. The ‘fate’ can be substituted with any external force beyond our control.
Call it karma, or destiny, or God’s will, but there’s a certain part of your life that is uncontrollable. However I believe a great majority of your life is controllable. Our decisions make alot of impact. If you put your hand on a hot stove, then you can’t say it was ‘fate’ that caused your hand to be burned. There is direct causal relationship between putting your hand on the stove and your hand burning. In short, X->Y implies that it was entirely your decision.

An example of something that’s entirely fate would be your friend dying in a car accident. You have absolutely no control over how/when your friend dies, therefore your decision, X, has no relationship to the outcome, Y.
In this case, it’s entirely ‘God’s will’ that let it happen. You could also make an argument that it was your friend’s decision to drive a car or get drunk, but that also depends on whether you believe that everyone else on earth is the same as you. What if other people on earth are not like you, they are merely illusions or machinations and the only causal factor on your life is you? But I’ll leave that for another story.

In any case, our career, finances, relationships, health, all have a degree of control that is attributable to us. Some of these decisions can lead to fate controlling and others up to us entirely.
Example: I don’t write my SATs and I don’t apply to Princeton University => Princeton University doesn’t accept me. This is directly a cause of your decision not to apply. What if I reworded it?
I don’t write my SATs and I apply to Princeton University => Princeton University doesn’t accept me. Now it’s still causal but now the cause is I didn’t write my SATs. What if I do this?
I write my SATs and I apply to Princeton University => Princeton University doesn’t accept me. Now we bring fate into the picture. You did what is required to apply. The things you have control over is your SAT mark, GPA, references, Extracurricular, Essay, etc. But now there is a bit of the uncontrollable factor => The admissions board at Princeton. You have no control over their decisions. So merely by our decisions, we can cause fate to be brought into the picture. Interesting isn’t it?

In conclusion, I highly value Steve Job’s advice and I think that more things are actually under our control than we think. Our decisions might account for more than 50% of our life if we believe that fate can also be influenced by our decision. Those things which are PURELY fate are actually quite rare.