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23 things I learnt by 23


The following list is in no particular order:

  1. Everyone’s deepest desire is to be loved. Give it to them.
  2. Regardless of how I treat my family, they are always the kindest, most honest and most available to me in a time of need. I must not forget to treat them well. Family members are the most important people in my life.
  3. There are seven sources of income. Diversify and learn to obtain income from each and every source is the most stable investment strategy.
  4. Wealth is about ownership of income-generating assets, not about disposable income earned by spending time (e.g. salary). The most profitable assets are the one which requires the least of my time to generate proportional income.
  5. Knowledge is an asset. Do everything to gain it from people who know what I don’t. It pays well.
  6. Expertise is an asset. Do everything to gain it from people who are experts. It pays well.
  7. Trust is an asset. Do everything to gain it from people who matter. It pays well.
  8. The more trusts I gain from others, the more freedom I will have.
  9. In fact, trust is the most expensive asset in life to gain, and to lose. Trust also has the highest yield of all the assets that one could own.
  10. I can’t please everyone. Please the people who have the most impact on my life.
  11. I can’t do everything. Do the things that have the most impact on my life.
  12. I can’t learn everything. Learn the things that have the most impact on my life.
  13. Real education starts after university. The most important lessons in life are not formally taught and have no exams for. For this informal education, I am on my own to figure out what I suppose to learn and how to tackle these learning challenges. Books and real mentors help.
  14. Success is like being pregnant. Everyone says congratulations, but no one knows how many times you were fucked.
  15. A girl becomes a lady when she is well dressed not with her look but with her proper manners: decency toward oneself and others. Good manners create trusts, improves one’s social position and show respects to others.
  16. Before making a million pound sterling, I need to know how to make a hundred pound sterling. Ask myself: “How can I create a hundred dollar of value right now that others are willing to buy?”. It is not about producing £100 in disposable income (e.g. by trading my time for a salary), but about creating £100 in assets, that others demand and willing to pay for.
  17. Life long partner is your best friend with great sex.
  18. Emotional maturity comes proportionally to how much insecurities, fears and pains that I have successfully tackled.
  19. I can figure out the depth of any person from their answer to the question “What do you firmly believe in that a lot of people disagree with?”
  20. My life is already 27% over, and I have roughly 3,120 weeks until death. There is no time to waste. Every day and every week matter. The best indication of my progress is that I need to be better than myself yesterday, and myself last week.
  21. The key to persuasion are not facts but stories. The most successful people are the best story tellers.
  22. Immortality is about creating the values that stand the test of time.
  23. My highest duty is to myself and my feelings. Things change, people fleet. Myself is the only one who is with me for this entire journey. I love me through thick and thin, through mistakes and successes, through every life event. I am imperfect, but I am complete, and I am enough. Do what directly serves my well-being and life goal, everything else will follow.


I have collected over 66 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 🙂 

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Illustration by my friend Karl –

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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.



  1. Chinmaya Madan

    This is literally the best thing of life.

  2. Jack Nguyen

    Wonderful post and very rich experience for a 23 years old. Happy belated birthday Mai! Wish you even more success in life and love.

  3. Phan

    Happy belated birthday! As a 22 years old I find your list so relatable and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your experience.


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