Goals and Founding Myths

At some point in life you have turn around and say I have to find my own way

In past posts, I’ve noted the stabilization of my career – and more broadly, my life – often questioning whether stabilization is equivalent to stagnation. Regardless of what it means, that stabilization is opening up opportunities as I have more time, money and energy now than at any point in recent memory. With that in mind, the question becomes – what do I go for? and what are my goals?

I’ve written on goals in the past and want to provide an update in light of recent events, but before we get there, it may be worth examining my own history and the founding myths that I tell myself. After all, people often look to where they’ve been in order to figure out where they want to go. So here are some Founding Myths –

  1. Growing up immigrant – teaches self-reliance and hard work above all. I couldn’t count on my parents for much help – time, money, connections or culture or even help with homework. I felt poor and insecure most of the time (didn’t know Brett Favre). Parents worked hard so I had that example. Learned at some point about my dad working 7 years on the railroad. Also – the importance of education in getting ahead.
  2. Early aptitudes on reading, standardized testing, computers and finance – Accelerated Reader and the Book It! program. I read every book in the library. Had to stop for awhile because there wasn’t anything new. Maxed out the new pan pizzas – 30 books in a month! Coded a website in 2nd grade; knew about investing. Tested well in Johns Hopkins and Stanford testing. But I hit a wall – public school and resources (people/drive?)
  3. Public school – I was smarter than everyone else and acted like it. I didn’t have the skills. As a result, I felt like teachers never gave me the grades I deserved. But instead of accepting other people as gatekeepers to achievement, I pushed towards pursuits with objective measurements. That said, these experiences showed me the basic importance and inevitability of human relationships.
  4. Teen years – Tempered my intelligence with athletic ability. Swimming taught me the importance of hard work vs. talent. It’s a training sport and you get out what you put in. As athletic abilities increased, I became more normal in many ways – cared about my social standing and knowing pop culture- positive as I tried to make friends. Negative in that it diverted me from the things that made me unique. But that plus working normal jobs senior year made me profoundly normal. Didn’t fit in but didn’t fit out.
  5. College – Finally out of the small pond into the big ocean. A lot of failures – jobs, girls, physics, swimming, depression. The failures forced me to learn and up my game and strengthened my resolve. Finally succeeded at physics – narrative of being able to succeed at multiple things, regardless of interest, due to flexibility of mind, hard work and “climbing the mountain” – but perhaps a not interesting narrative. How finance? Interest, desperation (felt poor all my life), exposure/competitiveness (had friends doing it?)
  6. Chicago/SF – Didn’t know what I wanted to do so went to McK. That choice was really the culmination of fixing a lot of flaws and following teh crowd. Moving to HF afterwards was actually just the seed that had been planted before – what I wanted to do in college – and a desire to come back to California (for my lifestyle). Grown a lot since then. People skills. Really growing up. Developing hobbies. Developing a trade.

F as platform -> talks (giving and going to) and F Labs and recruiting…

F as event-driven -> soft catalyst, more connections, deal database and industry knowledge. May achieve goal soon.

Girls – > No progress.

Travel/health -> Tons of progress. 4 S’es.

New goals -> new social circle/better skills, cat bonds, stats/coding/AI, more industry knowledge.

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