Personal reflections on my recent Bali Trip
Lessons on gratitude; fate and mannerisms
If you have been following my Instagram, you’d know that I was in Bali the past week.
We arrived earlier to travel and explore Bali. Then, we spent Monday and Tuesday at the camp for investors.
My primary motivation for being here was to grow as a person.
The best way to do this is really to be around other driven people, who are ahead of me.
There is a Buddhist saying that paper wrapped around incense smells like incense. Similarly, a string binding fish, would smell like fish. Whoever we become is whoever we surround ourselves with.
Most people will not pay money to have access to networks and knowledge. It’s not that they do not have the money. They do and spend it on other things. It’s about them not valuing network and knowledge enough.
Hence, I felt the camp would provide me with a self-select group of people who are passionate about making an impact; business; growth; Southeast Asia and meaningful conversations.
Who else will take leave and pay money to fly to Bali for this camp if they are not growth oriented or serious in the first place?
I wrote down a few reflections about what I observed in my own journal. Sharing some of the interesting ones with you all:
1. Small hinges open doors
The Co-Founder of Hustle Fund, Eric, shared with us that small hinges open doors.
In the same way that a big door swings on a much smaller hinge; the choices and decisions one makes in life produce a much larger outcome.
He related this to an example of how little decisions he made at his first week at Stanford led to everything he had today.
Similarly, his Dad who fled North Korea to South Korea was able to get USA citizenship because he volunteered to treat the soldiers onboard an American vessel.
I reflected on just the past one year and how I benefited so much and grew so much by networking with investors - not just getting leads but also gaining the confidence to invest in private markets; being able to speak at events like Echelon Asia Summit 2023.
I did not have a specific outcome I wanted from Hustle Camp. However, who knows the experience and people I meet could lead to interesting things later on.
I will make it a point from now onwards to find 2-3 events per year to step out of my comfort zone; attend events and conferences like these where I can really increase my luck surface area.
2. Be grateful for our privilege and to treasure opportunities
During this trip, I tried to speak with the locals in Bali to learn more about their lives.
I learned that many Bali natives never even been to Jakarta before.
Many also did not lead easy lives. On Sunday, we went white water rafting.
The guide shared with us about how he had 4 children to support.
White water rafting injury rate is approximately 1 in 558. This is especially pronounced if one has to go down to the rapid rivers to push the boats like he did. He even suffered a few injuries the week before.
I felt sad thinking about what he was going through for his family. And how, being born in Bali means limited career options and mobility as well.
At the same time, I felt a lot of gratitude: How lucky am I to be able to visit Bali and, how lucky am I to even be born in Singapore.
It is because I was born in Singapore that I get to have this career in SaaS Sales. This is because Singapore is where there are tons of HQs for many of the world’s leading companies.
Knowing that I am one of the special few who has been blessed with opportunities like this made me value my time at the camp more. I made it a point to give my full attention when the speakers were talking.
Moving forward, I will remind myself to value every conference I get to attend and really not take things like these for granted.
3. Reminding myself to improve the way I carry myself
There were lot of business leaders and children of entrepreneurs who attended the event.
Those from these backgrounds generally place a huge emphasis on etiquette and interpersonal skills. This is because they understand the importance of making a good impression and relationships.
Observing others reminded me that I still have a lot to improve on. Here are some good examples I noticed:
One shared a story of how he worked as a mechanic in his family business workshop repairing vehicles and earning only $2000 per month. That experience taught him humility and respect; which helped him get the support of the old guards in the company when he took over.
I reflected on the moments where I did not have the same kind of humility and failed to work on ground support in organizations.
We were seated at a round table. When this CIO went to take napkins for himself, he’d also take for every single person on the table.
Candidly, there were many times at such buffets where I have slipped and only focused on my food and the person next to me, instead of everyone else.
While I was probably one of the youngest in the room and had little investing experience compared to them, many treated me like an equal and listened intently when I spoke even when I was basically the youngest person on the table or did not have any direct correlation to what they were doing.
In contrast, I at times focus on the most outspoken person on the table but forget to talk to those who are less confident.
These are very small actions but they do go a long way to make a super positive impression.
While I am not the best at this, I feel grateful too that my parents were quite strict about how to treat people and conduct.
A distinct memory was every family birthday celebration, I had to serve everyone older than me the cake first, starting with how senior they were. And, I’d be the last person to eat the remainders of the cake.
My parents were also particular about little things like exactly how much water I should fill for others in a glass when pouring for others; taking food and cutlery for others when eating; greeting everyone when I visited a house or left; and paying special attention to the needs of elderly in a group.
A 3rd generation business owner shared with us that there is this saying that wealth does not last three generations 富不过三代.
However, if the right values are not passed on, it can. This is because values last 10 generations 道德传十代.
I feel inspired to improve myself as a person and also to conduct myself better. This is so that my future children will be able to benefit from this and hopefully what we have can can last 10 generations and more.
4. 相遇是缘分, 相知是幸运
I thought about the concept of 缘分 (Fate) as the trip drew to a close.
Many encounters in life are not random but have a deeper purpose, therefore it is important to treasure them and not take them for granted.
So many things have led me to version of myself at the Bali camp.
This includes meeting Jeremy at Orchard Library when I was 16 years old; reconnecting again and then following his journey. This exposed me to an entire industry that I otherwise would have known little about.
Another event was include meeting the first person who taught me the term ‘alternative investing’ last year. We ended up reconnecting earlier this year and going to Bali together.
The entire trip I felt like a remora swimming together with a manta ray.
This person really took care of almost every thing for us - planning and book every single cafe / restaurant; shortlisting and booking places to stay and even making reservations for massage. 他一直替我着想 take fruits, take water, share vitamins and even helped me with my luggage. 真的觉得他很有教养.
I reflected on the Buddhist concept of 一期一会 and realized there will never be a moment like this again - the same experience with this version of us.
On the last day, I passed him a long letter of gratitude and wrote this line in it - 相遇是缘分, 相知是幸运 (English Translation: To meet you is fate and to know you better is my good fortune).
How lucky were we to be able to care and learn from each other for as long as we did.
Join me at the Endowus Wealthtech Conference
If you are keen to mix with people who are growth oriented, why not join me at the upcoming Endowus Wealthtech Conference?
This is Singapore’s first-ever summit dedicated to exploring the growth, opportunities and challenges in the WeathTech space.
The Conference will take place on 20 OCT - 21 OCT 2023, Friday and Saturday, at Conrad Centennial.
Day 2 Saturday features curated workshops designed for individual investors ,to enhance their personal finance strategies, covering everything from budgeting to retirement planning, to leveraging CPF funds (my segment) and investing in hedge funds and private markets.
If you are keen to improve your financial knowledge and mix with like-minded people, do get the tickets at $8 per pax here.
I look forward to meeting you all there 🙂