How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world—the world of fixed traits—success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other—the world of changing qualities—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.

In one world, failure is about having a setback. Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you’re not smart or talented. In the other world, failure is about not growing. Not reaching for the things you value. It means you’re not fulfilling your potential.

In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.

-Carol Dweck, Mindset

Sometimes I really don’t know where I get the motivation from to wake up in the mornings. I set the alarm for 7.30am because I knew that I definitely can’t wake up at 6am, and then I hit the snooze button so many times, until I finally rolled onto the floor at 10.30am. I think in the past I was fuelled by fear and the modules and professors were interesting, now I just have a lot of competing priorities.

Today and tomorrow will be spent swotting over the performance management textbook, and I just realised that I have DG tomorrow so that’s another ‘damn I can’t chiong’. The final semester is filled with so much lethargy, the interviewer yesterday said he spent the whole of his year 3 gallivanting around because he signed the contract with Arthur Andersen at the start of year 3. It might sound ridiculous but I felt a kinship with that guy, I wanted to say “me too, I have been terrible this semester, I literally don’t care about anything at all other than the things which I enjoy which also happens to not be graded.”

The things I want to accomplish in my life are sectioned into days, and as each day passes I am reminded that to succeed in the future, in those areas, I have to do a little bit every day. Which is frankly a drag because I just want to sit around and read and chew on some baby strawberry hello pandas. I enjoy the process of working, but there are some days where I just want to sit around and do nothing, even though I know it will slow me down.

But I have been living good days though. I will do my month in review soon- although I can actually just do it now. In January, I spent two weeks wrapping up the previous year of internships/studies, and I also spent it meeting new people and old friends.

February was:

Work

  • Applying and preparing for job interviews. It took a lot longer than I thought because of my criteria- the company has to be known for its service delivery and operational excellence.

So far, only two companies I’m interested in. I am not that arrogant as to think that I will definitely get the jobs, but I don’t want to apply for companies where I don’t fit into the culture or I don’t even like the job description. My top five strengthsfinder include Achiever and Learner, and I need to work in a high-performing company with a strong culture of training and development and self-initiated learning. Otherwise I will feel quite stifled.

School

  • Prepared for quizzes, handed in assignments, discussed group projects. I am quite worried for my accounting project but thank god, thank god I am on pass/fail because my teammates are less concerned than me and I would love to experience their lackadaisical attitude. Genuinely. Such happy people.

Church

  • I felt a bit out of place but by the second session I was speaking up and I guess I got to know people better. It is a process of not trying to fit in, but just waiting to sort of mold into the DG. And thankfully we are studying Luke. It is highly relevant to me being a lost, unrepentant, neurotic, sheep.

Health

  • Terrible, the only good thing is that my period is back to the 28-day cycle. It was once a very long 44-days. My body might finally be back in sync.

Reading/Writing

  • Too many to list. Currently reading ‘We are all currently besides ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler.

People

  • New friends, old friends, introduced everyone to sumikko gurashi although I myself have yet to purchase any toy. I really liked the hamburger one on carousell but it’s 150$??? I don’t even have a 150 cents to spare.
  • The HR talk a week back or so, I met two year-ones who were trying to decide on their career already and I was thinking to myself- was I this motivated in year one? But you don’t even know your major yet why are you thinking about career prospects in different companies. That company might not even exist in two years.

Fun

  • Watching a tonne of shows. Sherlock, K-variety shows, China variety shows. A lot of movies too. I spend all my spare time watching all the shows that I’ve missed in the past 2 years. I think my Chinese has definitely improved, and I am 100% certain that adults do not have their shit together. In my mind I will be a responsible and committed adult in marriage and will die peacefully buried in the snow peaks of some unexplored mountain to be served up to the Gods above, but in reality I am probably going to be like one of the people in 爱情保卫战,constantly worried about my murderous mother-in-law.
  • Am contemplating a hamster. I was walking along the canal two days ago and I saw this immensely, immensely FLUFFY shih tzu, but I think it is a mixed breed because it was the size of a …golden retriever. But it was so damn fluffy and the fur was covering its eyes, with brown streaks like some punk in a gangster fight scene. And it was reluctant to move, the owner had to cajole it all the way, so much that I thought “just put him on a rollerboard and let enjoy the wind against his little furry ears”. I really want a dog. I want a verifiable army of dogs, the sort that will stand in battle by my side. They will be in varying shades of brown, and I shall name them after brown foods like maple syrup and pancake and bailey’s.
  • Of particular joy is that late-night binge of double McSpicy and garlic chilli on fries, because I haven’t had a McSpicy in about 2 years. I think at 11pm something in me just snapped and I thought, let’s just eat it and watch Chinese shows until 2am.

Also, I have been using my intuition a lot more lately- doing things that I feel like doing, even if my rational mind tells me that the costs outweigh the benefits. It’s like the interview, I didn’t expect it to be so helpful, travelling to school for a 30-minute interview. But the things the interviewer said really changed the way I think. An interview is to show how resourceful you are, and also the fact that there’s no work life balance in consulting so I am a lot less keen on joining KPMG now.

I don’t want to spend my life in the office thinking about bottom lines, I want to spend it improving how humans work and live. It is true that my brain naturally gravitates towards money and operations and how to cut costs and create value, but I think I also have strengths in other areas, and I choose collaboration and creating value for internal clients (employees) over creating value for external clients and nothing for my own company. It might feel very good when you are delivering on client engagements because there are concrete results with every project, but then I am thinking- would any of this matter? New markets served, streamlining reporting processes, minimizing risks. Would any of it matter to me? Not really motivated by extrinsic things, plus I like long-term growth projects, with a timeline of more than a year.

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 1:14) 

The books that I’ve been reading so far are all new authors/self-help, the mindset genre. Where the authors don’t tell me what to do, but they tell me what they were thinking when they were going through changes in their lives. It helps to have a view of other peoples’ thought processes and what are the turning points in their lives.

I would recommend Mastery by George Leonard, I haven’t found the Robert Greene one because it’s on loan in all the nearest libraries. It changed the way I thought about my work- my reading and writing, sometimes I just don’t get any better and I can see it. I know I am not very good at either. I used to be anxious that I’m a good-for-nothing but now I think I am just on a plateau, someday I will be better again. I am already doing what I can so the crux is to be patient. I do have some journeys in the past to compare with, and I believe that efforts do build up. Even if there is the occasional month-long backwards slide into good-for-nothingness because I am tired.

http://palangi.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/mastery.pdf

But people with the growth mindset said:

“When it’s really hard, and I try really hard, and I can do something I couldn’t do before.”

Or “[When] I work on something a long time and I start to figure it out.”

For them it’s not about immediate perfection. It’s about learning something over time: confronting a challenge and making progress.

-Carol Dweck, Mindset

I forgot which book it was already, but I think the sentence was something like the sunrise is also common. But is it valuable? I would say that it is. I see the sunrise every day and it marks the beginning of a new day, there are hopes for better interactions, for better tasting fish noodle soups. I have the opportunity to be a better person. For what, I don’t know, but I know that I don’t want to be an asshole in the future. Starting at the bottom with each new venture, and seeing what kind of  a person I will be in the future.

Sometimes I get frustrated at my progress- I used to be good at running, and then I fell, and then TCM interferes with almost every aspect of my life, and then I became terrible at running.

But with each experience, as a person I am slightly expanded and slightly different.