What about your current life would shock 17 year old you the most?

When I was 17 year old, I’ve made some plans. During the time, I was so naive and ambitious. As an overview, the plans that I made was generally related to what career that I shall choose and when I’ll get married. Until today I still don’t understand why I was so keen about this two things, probably it relates to the bigger picture on attempting to achieve stability and prosperity? I strongly believe that your career and to whom you get married will determine the convenience of your life in the future. Without further ado, let’s see what about my current life that would shock my 17 year old me (2000) the most.

  1. I am an engineer. When I was 17 I always wanted to be an engineer.
    I was enrolled in one of the most prestigious university in Malaysia (University of Malaya) in Mechanical Engineering programme. Finished on time (2006) with a fairly good CGPA (hint: 3 point something), and even started working as an engineer before I finished my final semester.
  2. I have Doctor as a title. When I was 17, I was torn, whether to become a Doctor or an Engineer
    Since I was not that ultra-genius, I can’t become a medical doctor. After 2 years of working as an engineer (2008), I decided to enrol in PhD programme in Mechanical Engineering and obtained my PhD in 2011. I guess having the title itself soothe the 17 year old me.
  3. I got married at the age of 25 (2008). When I was 17, I was planning to get married at 27.
    I put a target of 10 years later to get married. But I found my true love earlier than that and we got married two years earlier than I was planning. Both myself and my wife ventured out to finish our PhD afterwards.
  4. Perfect family setup (wife, kid, own a house, car and motorbike) by 32 (2015). I was planning to complete all this by 36.
    I am very thankful that everything went well, despite of the challenges. I guess when you get married to the right person, most of what you planned will be expedited through discussions, working towards the target and sticking with your ambitions.
  5. Jobs that I love. When I was 17, I anticipated that it would be hard to find job stability since in 1998, Malaysia was struck by economic downturn (Remember George Soros?).
    I love my job. I love being in university while at the same time retaining my status as an engineer in the society.

Moral of the story, be brave, dream big and have fun. Failures and success come and go. My SPM was not even that great. There will be many people smarter than you as you go through in your adventure. But be positive and be soulful in whatever you are doing. You’ll be surprised how remarkable things turn out.


To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed… And I think you’ll be happier for the trouble – Bill Watterson

To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it's still allowed... And I think you'll be happier for the trouble - Bill Watterson
To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed… And I think you’ll be happier for the trouble – Bill Watterson

A brief note about racism

Election season is around the corner. While it is evident that state-won by the opposition in 2008 could not deliver their manifesto, some of the points commonly raised by the outsiders to downplay the current gov’s achievement is racism.

Well, breaking news. Selection to universities and gov agencies nowadays is about meritocracy. If you’re are good, you’re in.

Anyway let’s educate ourselves on what is racism, shall we?


If I haven’t succeeded in my mid 20s, could I be successful in the rest of my life?

This is one of the interesting question posted on Quora. A very self-explanatory question, that you can easily relate to yourself in the age of quick-internet success stories. I picked the best answer for this one, to reflect, ponder and act upon it, given by Ian Peters-Campbell who is an engineer at Loopt and Carnegie Mellon student.

I remember that feeling 🙂

It takes a special kind of arrogance that comes with being in your 20s to think that it’s too late. The fun part of life is really just beginning at 25. If there’s something you’re interested in doing you have all the time in the world to get good at it and succeed. At 25 you could decide to go be a great guitar player, or an engineer, or a UFC fighter or a race car driver or a politician (please don’t become a politician) and you have plenty of time to become great and have a career.

All it takes is deciding what you want to do and then having the discipline to go and do it. Follow that thread for long enough and success (or happiness, or both) will come.


sidenote: Bonus in this post! Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule below!

Benjamin Franklin's Schedule

Chapter 45: On the Fallacy of the Great Idea (Felix Dennis)

There is a fallacy rooted in the minds of many who wish to become rich — the fallacy of the great idea. Having a great idea is not enough. It is the manner in which ideas are executed that counts. Implementation will always trump ideas, however good those ideas are.

Good ideas are like Nike sports shoes. They may facilitate success for an athlete who possesses them, but on their own they are nothing but an overpriced pair of sneakers. Sports shoes don’t win races. Athletes do.

I have lost count of the number of men and women who have approached me with their “great idea,” as if this, in and of itself, was their passport to instant wealth. The idea is not a passport. At most, it is the means of obtaining one. In some instances, a fixation on a great idea can prove hazardous, distracting your attention from the perils and pitfalls
you will inevitably encounter on the narrow road.

If you never have a single great idea in your life, but become skilled in executing the great ideas of others, you can succeed beyond your wildest dreams. They do not have to be your ideas — execution is all. When confronted with a great idea, your reaction should be to scrupulously analyze its commercial potential in the context of your own ability to transform that potential into triumph.

Ideas don’t make you rich. The correct execution of ideas does.

Excerpted from The Narrow Road. Published by Portfolio / Penguin. Copyright Felix Dennis, 2010.