All writing

About me

My companies


10 Ultimate Lessons I Have Learnt In 2014


The below are lessons I learnt in my personal life in 2014. For the lessons that I learnt on my job, I have written a separate blog here.

1. On Identity: One’s job and background are a part of their identity not the identity itself. We often too easily label people with what they do, their income and the university they go to (mostly ‘facts’); hence forms quick judgements of a person. One thing to remember is that those background facts will change as people evolve. I have learnt to identify others by their passions and wills, as well as their drives. It gives me great enjoyment exploring and learning about their growing personalities and the paths they take to get there.

2. How to talk to anyone: Think different to achieve what others can’t achieve. But think indifferent in term of self-perception to make friends and create support base. In order to achieve what others can’t achieve, once must have originality in their thoughts to identify what the crowd misses out. However, no great success will come by without external support, either emotionally, physically or professionally. In order to socialise, make friends and gain support, one should try to believe he/she is of no difference in background and personality than the person they are talking to (neither superior, nor inferior). Of course the reality is there are always differences between individuals; but if you can omit this in your mind, this removes the mental barriers and allows you to talk to anyone, including strangers, with ease, as if you know them for years. The more you think that you are super different than the rest of men, the more you’ll have problem in social interactions.

3. To defeat impulsivity – wait until tomorrow: There are activities that give great short term enjoyment, such as shopping/spending and playing games. To defeat impulsivity and the strong desire to act on something just because of short term enjoyment, wait until the next morning to see if the urge/desire is still there. Unlikely it will be.

4. To defeat procrastination – do it now: Specially, if something can be done in 5 minutes, do it immediately. If it can be done within hours, do it on the same day. If it can be done within days, do it on the same week.

5. On failing: It will be bitter. Very bitter. The acceptance, acknowledgement of failure is the hardest stage where I realise my own incompetence and that I’m not perfect. However, if you view failure as a ‘delayed success’, that all the lessons of picking myself up after failure will be useful at later stage, you will realise it’s more like a learning process and stop keeping scores.

6. Passion: Some passions are more realistic and achievable than others. And not all passions are worth the pursuit. When you are carried away by a particular passion, do a reality check: asking friends, family, co-workers, mentors and investors as well as doing your own research. AND your passion will change over the years/ months. So don’t commit too much on one passion, time, financially and emotionally, unless you are 100% sure that it is the right path to sacrifice for (e.g. using the reality check)

7. Most confuses optimism with arrogance: The most successful people are those who are aware of their own arrogance. We hate those who deceive us but never realise that the person who deceives us the most is our own self. The difference between being optimistic and being arrogant is that those who are optimistic still believes they will fail and be well prepared for situation where they fail.

8. Care of your family: They are the one and only people who love, forgive us unconditionally and would never lie to us. At some point in our life we are too attached by new accompany and material pursuit that we forgot of our family and those who truly care. We usually only come back to family when we are in trouble; but family is always forgiving, care and talk to us as if nothing has changed. Treasure your family, especially your parents, as they won’t be there forever.

9. On being nice: Most of the time the problems with those who care too much, including me, is the fact that we feel great being nice to others, but at the same time, we expect the same treatment from others. Most of the time we won’t get the same returns and it will disappoint. I have learnt that I can’t be nice to everyone, because my time and resources are limited. Cares of those who cares; helps those who appreciates. Treasure reciprocality; don’t disappoint once reciprocality is not met, that just mean the person is not worthy of your time and effort. Help and be nice to those who reciprocates, and sincerely treasures you; and walk away from those who don’t.

This brings me to my last point:

10. Love yourself. You yourself are the only true companion you have in life, beyond your family, life partner, and friends. Learn to be yourself’s best friend.

  • People only truly love you once you love yourself. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” (My favourite quote from an old movie “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” starring Emma Watson) Have you ever wondered why the most selfish people get treated nicely? Because they don’t settle for less than what they think they deserve.
  • People only truly respect you once you respect yourself. In contrast to popular belief, respect comes from within, not from externality. Once you feel important, you are important.
  • People only truly realise your value once you realise your own value. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I learnt this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt a few years back and it’s still evident in most interactions of my life. You get no less than what you believe you are worth – more importantly, your actions should reflect this value that you place on yourself.

This is a sequel to the note “10 ultimate lessons I have learnt in 2013” 

I have collected over 100 of myself and my friends’ cover letters and published it at Cover Letter Library to help you. This member-only library includes successful cover letters from people who secured jobs at all major investment banks, big 4 firms and other. Check it out 🙂 


Illustration by my friend at ANML Studio. Check out her IG and support by buying her art @anmlstudio

I am also active on Instagram! Follow me @official.mai.le 

Written by Mai Le

My name is Mai. I am originally from Vietnam. After my university years at LSE, I worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs. After a wonderful time there, I started several of my own business as well as helping others on theirs. I've always been building communities and businesses for as long as I can remember, and absolutely thrilled to see others enjoy what I've built.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Be the first to know of new article (I don’t write often)



Creative Writing

Startup & Careers

Thought Journal