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Success and wealth at a young age compounds

I was listening to Open AI’s Sam Altman’s interview on my way to work this week.

He shared:

If you work really hard at the beginning of your career… there is a compound effect…

The beginning of your career, in terms of setting the trajectory the rest of your career follows, is the most valuable time.

Sam Altman

The younger you are when you achieve success and wealth, the earlier you get compound interest to work for you. These things build upon one another leading to exponential growth

I have been observing some of my successful peers.

They knew that their 20s was going to be a defining decade of their life that they should make the most of.

They did not achieve this success through shortcuts like trying to time the market.

Instead, they decided what path they wanted early on and went all-in:

  1. Built their network and personal brand diligently to gain leverage and attract opportunities to themselves

  2. Honed their communication skills; personal grooming and social etiquette

  3. Focused on improving their core skills required for the job or business

  4. Made smart moves with the help of their professional network; mentors and business acumen

  5. Put themselves in the right environment i.e. high growth companies with driven and talented people

Starting early meant their wealth; skills and network could compound.

They became high net-worth individuals (HNWI) in their late 20s and early 30s.

Here is how they get to enjoy the dividends of their labour.

⭐ E became a parent at 34 years old. However, he has the luxury to be able to go out after work often. This is because he can afford a landed property where his parents can move in with him and send his child to infant care. Money gave him the ability to create a proper support system so he can balance his aspirations of being a father with other aspects of his life.

⭐ J won Forbes 30under30 and also became a known figure in the VC space. A few years later, in his early 30s, he became a Dad but still have free time run a successful podcast; author a book and is now taking a career break to be full-time parent.

⭐ N decided to take one gap year in London when he turned 32. He was able to bring the entire family from Singapore including in-laws and parents to take a break together; travel all around Europe with two kids and partner.

⭐️ J became a HNWI at 31 and was able to fly to fly to any country she feels like to work remotely when she feels like it. Expenses were not even 10% of her monthly income.

⭐ R became a HNWI when he turned 32. Outside of his small business, he spends the rest of his time going to the gym and doing community service to help other Singaporeans. He has a house in Japan and occasionally he’d go there to stay.

Those who sort out their life when they are young get to enjoy a period where they have energy; resources and time.

If you are already 30 years old, it is not too late still.

You can always transform your life around any time you want. The power lies within you.

三观一致: Alignment on three levels

There is a Chinese saying 三观不合,不必同行.

It is important to look for friends and partners who 三观一致.

This means to be aligned on three levels with someone:

🪷 价值观 Common Values

This is the most fundamental. If values are misaligned, everything else will be. No relationship can be successful. Values guide us on how we make decisions in our lives; how we respond to situations; our outlook on life and the world.

🌱 人生观 Outlook on life.

Desire for impact; focus on health; wanting to maximising potential; role of men and women in relationships etc.

🌏 世界观 Worldview

Human society, moral ethics, and the meaning of the universe

What happens when people are not aligned on these three levels?

The parable of the frog and the mouse explains this well.

There was once a frog and mouse who were in love. They decided to tie their legs together so that they could go everywhere together.

On land, life was good. They could each eat the things they like and enjoyed their time spent together.

When they came to the pond, the frog jumped into the water to swim. The mouse was dragged down because its feet were tied together.

The frog was having fun in the water, completely forgetting the fact that the mouse could not swim.

The poor mouse drowned.

The mouse's body floated to the surface. It’s feet was still tied to the frog.

An eagle in the sky spotted the mouse and rushed to the water to catch the mouse.

The frog sensed the danger and dived into the water. However, it could not escape the fate of being captured and became eaten by the eagle as well.

The ending of the story tells us: When people who are too different come together, it does not make them better. Rather, it only brings harm to both parties.


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I am a Singaporean tech worker and content creator.

Every week, I share ideas on how we can become our best selves in our career; finance; health and relationships.

💙 Hit reply and share your views with me or drop me a DM

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