What does it really mean to 'work on yourself'?

I chanced upon a few Reddit Thread by a men (I assume) sharing dating woes.

I hear variations of the same questions in conversations with others. The generic advice is always ”Work on yourself”. 

No one actually explains what it means to work on oneself and the exact steps.

I recently chanced upon this inspirational success story by Xiao Ai (小艾) from China. I felt he was really an example of someone who worked on himself.

Two years ago, he posted online seeking advice on how to find a partner. He was on the rounder side; 170cm and worked a hard labour job for 3,000 yuan (S$573) a month.

He transformed his fitness; dress sense; career and finally managed to get married in two years.

Like Xiao Ai, here are some actionable steps you can take to work on yourself.

The lowest hanging fruit would be these three things: Physical Appearance, Social Skills and Career.

1. Improve your fitness

Looks matter. This is biology and genetics. Women generally would not feel physically attracted to men with higher percentage body fat and lower muscle mass.

In addition to working out, one can consider other small measures that would lead to huge outcomes.

This includes investing in a good hair cut that actually suits your face shape; some good quality clothes and dressing well for your body type.

Most local men struggle with ACNE. If you have an acne issue, I highly recommend AHA BHA Face Wash by Hada Labo which our NTU Science professor recommended to us.

AHAs work on the surface of your skin, they're great for treating surface pimples like whiteheads and blackheads. BHAs work underneath the surface to unclog pores and heal cystic acne more quickly.

If you struggle with acne scars, products with retinol are scientifically proven to improve this.

Every guy I know who works in job with long hours have dry skin, if this is you, invest in a good dermatologically tested moisturiser.

I feel like in life, there is really a lot of value to improving how one looks. It helps for career and also for personal life. There are only wins. This is one of the best investment in one’s youth.

2. Develop good social skills

This means posture; manners and the way you communicate.

One thing I did early on was really to observe the body language of leaders when they spoke, tonality and tried to imitate them.

I would practice when I was speaking to leaders at work and also later on in conferences.

After copying people for a while, I eventually developed my own style.

3. Grow your career

The number one quality I hear from women that are in my circle which they like is “drive” and someone who “knows what he wants” from relationships and career.

Would encourage everyone to really get in touch with your own emotions to define what you really want to achieve in your life.

In the path to success, there are little shortcuts. It is important not to engage in short term strategies like gambling, trading, buying hype stocks - really try to build something meaningful and put yourself in a better position in life.

You will become more attractive and also happier because your life would have more meaning.

Professor Scott Galloway also recently gave similar advice for young men on how to make more money, become more attractive and what masculinity means. Highly recommend you to watch the Youtube Video.

Why wouldn’t you want to give yourself the best chance for success in your personal life and career in your 20s and 30s?

Good romantic and career opportunities cannot be left to luck alone. Increasing your attractiveness can improve your odds significantly

The truth is that we make repeated choices in life that become habits, those habits determine our paths, and those paths determine our outcomes.

Shane Parrish

3 Lessons this week

I had the pleasure of meeting Eric Bahn, Co-Founder of Hustle Fund and formed a good impression of him. He came across as humble; open; good at storytelling and someone with depth. In terms of charisma and social skills, Eric is one of the best I’ve met.

This week, he shared an interview he did . I felt inspired and energized after reading it.

Here is a point that stood out to me

“But life is more of a multi-turn transaction. It's not about just one interaction or one venture.

From our time working together, I've come to see you as a founder with remarkable talent and integrity.

So regardless of the outcome of one particular project, I know that you have a promising trajectory ahead.

Whether we invest in your next venture or not, just being in each other's sphere assures me that something special is bound to happen.”

Erich Bahn

When bad things happen to innocent people

I found myself not in the best emotional state this week.

Before joining AlphaSense, I was at Spot. Spot was an Israeli startup before acquisition. My previous manager is Israeli and so are many of the colleagues I used to work closely with. We spoke on a daily basis.

At time of writing this, the death toll is 1300. The stories I read were particularly heartbreaking.

I imagined myself and my friends at a music festival; enjoying the ambience, and then having to run away from terrorists. It was simply frightening to see how Hamas Turned an Israeli Music Festival Into a Massacre. I just returned from Hustle Camp last month and imagined if the same thing happened and seeing my friends slaughtered, that would be so truamatizing.

It is unfortunate that despite what Israel faced, there was so much anti-semitism that was going on and justifying or explaining the attack on Israel. My views on this type of insensitive responses are similar to that of what was discussed in All-In Podcast.

"Hamas’ attack on Israel – attacking and massacring civilians is a massive terrorist attack. The kidnapping and unjustified murder of children – the acts of cruelty are shocking, and horrifying…

And this extreme violence must be condemned in clear, unequivocal terms."

I sat down this week to reflect on my own emotional responses. Here is what I concluded:

It is good to be compassionate and to care about things in this world beyond myself. However, I also need to accept that a lot of what happens is out of my control.”

Hope that this situation will get better 🪷