What I do, why and how

What am I doing?

Everything I’m doing can be boiled down to “Help people live well by influencing them to do X”.

Let’s break this down.

People” refers to:

  • Me
  • People closest to me (friends and family)
  • Other not-close people that I can affect within my ability

Live well” means living in a way that aligns to their personal direction and values.

Notice that I am choosing to “influence”, not control. This is mainly because a lot of things in life are not entirely within our control, but we can at least give them the biggest influence we can to nudge them towards the direction we want.

Do X” can be:

  • Laugh
  • Feel certain feelings (e.g. Joy, Gratitude, Discomfort, etc)
  • Connect with other people meaningfully
  • Clarify their values, goals and actions
  • Develop helpful habits aligned to their values
  • Get physically and mentally stronger against obstacles
  • Achieve progress towards their goals or direction

Why am I doing this?

  • It’s the best use of my time and energy – My time being alive and conscious is finite, so I might as well devote my energy towards trying to have a great time. Having a great time means living a life aligned to my personal direction and values.
  • Makes sense to scale up positive energy – If I want to have a great life, it helps to be surrounded by people having great lives as well. It starts with me making sure I live (fairly) well, so that I can help others live well too. When they live well, that positive energy comes back to me, which can also help me live well. It’s a win-win.

How am I doing this?

Here’s my strategy:

  1. Identify necessary actions (that appeal to me) to take that can influence people to do X.
  2. Practice influencing people to do X with a mix of appealing actions and inevitably some unappealing actions.
  3. Learn from results.
  4. Get better at performing appealing actions, and managing/performing unappealing actions.

My appealing actions that I’ve discovered so far:

  • Research, design and deliver experiences through:
    • User experience methods
    • Video storytelling
    • Comedy
    • Improv
    • Music
    • Parkour
    • Dance
  • Acquire new skills that can help me design and deliver the above experiences better

The unappealing actions are not that interesting so I won’t list them here. C’mon, this is my website. Lol.

I’m no saint. So here’s my common pitfalls that I want to actively manage when they prevent me performing appealing actions well:

  • Self-imposed harsh standards and self-doubt – I am usually irrationally too harsh on myself. I sometimes have so much self-doubt I find it difficult to accept praises. So I’m trying to be kinder to myself and learn to celebrate small wins.
  • Fear of undesired outcome – I fear mistakes and failures. So I’m trying to let go of this frequent feeling and force myself to turn them into precious learning opportunities.
  • Pain and sluggishness – I sometimes experience headache, or feel lethargic/unproductive, and feel guilty as a result. So I’m trying to optimise my habits and diet to reduce their occurrence, and when they do occur, reduce the effect of guilt on my actions.
  • Fear of conflict or being disliked – I sometimes prioritise “harmony” and being liked over conveying my truth or my stand. So I’m trying to assert my position and feelings more despite my fear of upsetting someone.
  • Tendency to not ask for help for my own tasks – Perhaps it’s ego, lack of trust in others, sense of responsibility, not wanting to be a burden to others, or a habit, I’m usually not a person who considers asking for help. This sometimes happens even when I am asked “Desmond, do you need help?”. I’m trying to learn to let go of the mindset that I have to do everything myself.

My values

I want to be (to myself and others):

  • Useful and helpful
  • Playful and taking myself less seriously
  • Loving and caring
  • Authentic and assertive
  • Self-improving
  • Nurturing to my body
  • Open-minded
  • Patient
  • Understanding
  • Generous
  • Appreciative