Reflecting on randomness in my career
How seemingly random stuff shapes lives
Here is a short summary of what’s to come in this newsletter. I will repeat them towards the end. It might help put things in perspective.
Impatience with actions, patience with results
Plans often don’t work but planning helps
It is helpful to not get too happy when things go well. It is even more helpful to go easy on yourself when things aren’t working out.
Openness to experience pays out if you keep experimenting. An open mind and an open heart are powerful assets
Take up projects and give it your all. You never know when and how life will change in unimaginable ways. It could turn out to be much worse or much better. You can’t know for sure. If you are too afraid to fail, you will find it hard to experiment.
Help others but don’t treat things like an accounting system. Give as long as you can without burning out.
Life punishes the vague wish but rewards a specific ask. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be able to read, write, think, play, give, share ideas for a living. That’s quite literally what I do. Things often didn’t work out when I wanted them to but being true to my curiosities seems to have worked (at least until writing this newsletter). Who knows what the future has in store but we live to see another day.
80-20 works. 20% of actions lead to 80% of outcomes. Just that it is hard to know which 20%. With practice, you can get better at figuring it out.
You will always find more skeptics than believers. Life isn’t about proving your competence to your skeptics, it is about sharing what you have with those who believe in you.
I met my life partner on the Great Wall of China. I decided to go for an MBA instead of a policy degree at the very last minute. Towards the end of my business school, I met with an accident and had to rethink my recruiting strategy on a hospital bed. Microsoft wasn’t random but it surely wasn’t part of my plan when I started my studies.