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.

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