Over the last few years, I have worked on quite a few entrepreneurial projects.Â They have all stopped for one reason or another.Â In all honesty, I did not commit 100% of my time to them.Â Here again, I am in NYC work on various projects and not committing to one project.
I just read the posts that I wrote myself 3 years ago about choices in career.Â I am somewhat not in finance any more, back to work on various projects.Â Apparently, I have not found my calling yet.Â I re-read Paul Grahm’s article on love again and this paragraph stood out for me.
“The test of whether people love what they do is whether they’d do it even if they weren’t paid for itâ€”even if they had to work at another job to make a living. How many corporate lawyers would do their current work if they had to do it for free, in their spare time, and take day jobs as waiters to support themselves?”
One of my business now is importing lumber and supplying other goods via government contract.Â I am pretty sure I can safely say that I would not be doing it if I was not getting paid.
Gosh, if money was taken out of the equation of deciding what work I love to do, I would be at a complete loss.
The search continues.
What do you want?Â What does everybody want?Â Money? Health? Better relationships?Â Love?Â In the end I think what we all want is happiness.Â Are you happy?Â How happy are you?Â Can you be happier?Â What will make you happier?
So how do we go about finding happiness and determine how happy we are?Â That depends on what makes us happy.Â For example, money to some people is very important, they maybe happy just seeing a big number in the bank statement and the security of having that money for emergencies makes them feel secure and happy.Â To others money allows them to do what they love doing.Â If you have money and love traveling, money allows you to not work and go see the world.Â As another example, some people treasure vacation time more than money.Â They would rather have four weeks of vacations a year rather than two and they are willing to be paid less for it.Â Free time is what we all don’t have enough of.Â When I was younger, I didn’t value free time too much, but since I have been traveling, I think about all the places I want to visit and new activities I want to do and people I want to meet along the way.Â What I don’t have enough of really is time.Â Often traveling is less expensive than one imagines.Â There are many beautiful amazing places to see in the world.Â Working and earning in the US or other first world countries allow us to leverage the differences between our economy and economies of countries we visit.Â A school teacher earning 35,000 a year in the US can afford to Central America two months a year on a comfortable budget.Â However most people in the US only have two weeks of vacations a year, so free time is what we lack and therefore is valuable.Â So how do we use free time to make us happy?Â For me, I love learning anything new.Â You may love playing sports or sit around shooting the shits with friends or you may love playing poker.Â When you have the free time to do what you want, you probably would be happier.
We can also compare and contrast happiness today and happiness in the future.Â For example, some people work hard all their lives to save up money for a grand retirement.Â They are not happy at their job, but they know when they retire, they can do everything they want to do with their money saved.Â They sacrifice happiness today for happiness in the future.Â People who work in investment banking often puting 80 to 100 hours a week to get ahead in their career.Â Then they plan to retire by their mid-30′s with a few million dollars in the bank.Â Again, it’s a choice of sacrificing happiness today for happiness in the future.Â Which is better, being relatively happy everyday or not being happy for a few years and then have the freedom and happiness much later?
We need to know how and why each area of our lives affects our happiness, whether they be free time, love, money, health, relationship or whatever they maybe.Â If we can say ” money gives me freedom to travel but I don’t need 50 million dollars today.Â I only need at least $20,000 in my bank account to travel at leisure, then I’ll be happy.”Â Or “Having free time makes me happy because learning to play piano gives me a lot of joy”.Â “Family time makes me happy because I want to share my life with my loved ones” “Being in a great relationship makes me happy because it satisfies me emotionally and physically.”Â “Having faith and being involved in my religion makes me happy because I can feel spiritually fulfilled.”
When we can define how and why each area of our lives contribute to our general happiness, we can then see what we are lacking and where we need to put our focus to make us happier.
Apparently there is a Jewish Christmas tradition in NYC.Â Since everything is closed except for movies and Chinese restaurants, Jewish people go to Chinatown for a lunch meal and then do the movies afterward.
My Jewish friend and I walked through Chinatown in search of a restaurant that didn’t have an hour wait.Â We ended up picking one with roast ducks on hooks hanging in the window.Â I had been eating Fujianese cuisine near my part of the Chinatown.Â The Cantonese roast ducks, congee, beef chow fun, and shrimp egg noodles were oh so delicious
Even though I hadn’t quite felt the Christmas spirit the last few days, being in the crowds and later at the ice rink in Bryant Park today has brought me new cheers
Really deep down inside, there’s an entrepreneur in me that’s waiting to get out.
Like most people, I have a lot of ideas and like to talk about them.Â Most of the ideas die out in this stage; after a couple beers, they are never talked about again.Â Funny thing about this idea was that I never talked about it; I just went and did it.
When I came back to the US, I was looking to help my uncle, who owns shoe factories in Vietnam, secure a few contracts with US brands, so I started looking details of the import and export business. The gist of the business would be to represent his company, a shoe manufacturer, in obtaining shoe contracts from name brand companies.Â Other than wearing shoes everyday, I can’t tell you much about the details of shoe making.Â Naturally that would make pitching a shoe factory’s ability to a shoe designer quite difficult.
At the end of the day I am connecting buyers and sellers.Â So who are the big buyers out there?Â Think about this for a moment.Â Nike?Â What about Target?Â What about Walmart?Â Now we are talking.Â Or the US Government!Â Bingo.Â If the US government is the biggest buyer with their ungodly budget, then why don’t I find out what they want to buy and find people who have the goods?Â The process makes much more sense when it’s driven by Demand rather than Supply.Â Further, they are probably the most recession proof demand there is because no matter how bad the economy is, people are still paying taxes and the government is still spending.
That was four weeks ago.Â Fast forward to today, I now have my first contract with the military to deliver Apitong Lumber to them.Â www.taiwanjackllc.comÂ
Admittedly, my entrepreneurial track record is not very good, but I have high hopes for this one
I remember what a friend of mine said when he moved to NYC a few years back.Â “New York is such a big city; there are so many people.Â I will probably feel lost.”Â He made it here just fine although he did move back to CA just a few months ago.
Living in NYC is like being in a room where 100 rotating mirror balls hang from the ceiling and go-go dancing lights flash in your face.Â There is so much stuff going on all at once.Â Everyone has many choices of what to do with his time, assuming he is not working 12 hour days and hoping not to be on the blacklist for the next round of layoffs.
Good thing about NYC is that old friends from high school and college have found their way here.Â It’s good to see familiar faces and catch up.
I just moved to the smallest 3 bedroom apartment in Chinatown part of NYC.Â I live with a turkish film maker, who by the way sports a beard too, and two russian students who decided to move into a 6′x8′ cubicle.Â This is a far cry from the comfortable Boca apartment Jose and I shared, but I am one block away from the best food in the city.
So life begins in the big apple. As Frank used to sing…
â€œIf I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,
It’s up to you, New York, New York.â€
Last destination of my trip was Hong Kong. I had been there before back in 1990, but of course when you are 10 years old, you don’t remember much of it. More than anything else, I went to see a few old friends.
These two good looking guys, Pat and Lawrence, and Pat’s fiance. They are friends from middle school. That’s 14 years I haven’t seen them. I can’t believe it’s been that long.
And my boy John from high school. It’s been 10 years since I last saw him.
And Jackie and I, we go way back.
Gosh, time flies by so fast.
I have been back in NYC for two weeks and where the did the last two weeks go?
Time seems to just disappear under the radar when I am not traveling. I am back in the routine of getting up, working (on something, not a job yet), taking salsa class and then sleep.
I have got to find something to break up the routine. Otherwise, the next time I check, I will be 35, somehow got married with kids and wondering, where did all that time go?
The last six months have been just incredible. I would comfortably say that I have *lived* more in the last six months than any other six months of my life. I want more of it – see more, do more, experience more, live more.Â Don’t we all?