1. Be Grateful

aren't they precious?

One of the most fundamental things I have learned this year is pretty straightforward: be grateful. While this is such a simple lesson, I think, in practice, this is not as easy to implement. I have found that I have taken a lot of things for granted and was never grateful for stuff until after the fact. To be honest, I have never really think what I am grateful for in life, and only after someone asked me point blank for what I am grateful for in life that I started to think about it. To this day, I continuously look deep down into my soul for what I am truly grateful for.

Related writing: https://blog.smsunarto.com/what-im-grateful-for/

2. Everything Happens For A Reason

Personally, failure has always been hard to swallow. Often times, we blame ourselves for not being good enough or working hard enough; some other times, we simply think that the world is unfair. I am also guilty of this. Reflecting upon my ups and downs these past few years though me a valuable lesson: everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we can't really see why it occurs in the first place and why we need to face the bitterness of failure, but as we go through life, we find our way back and will eventually be grateful that life took us down that path.

Related writing: https://blog.smsunarto.com/connecting-the-dots/

3. Want To Be Above Average? Don't Do Average Things

Deciding to take a gap year was probably the best decision I have ever made in my life. Going through my gap year gave me a lot of amazing experiences, but one of the most memorable takeaway from it was the very fact that you can't do average things and expect to be above average. Often in life, by the pressure of society, we opt to make decisions that are taken by everyone else, assuming that is the "correct way"; that many people can't be all wrong, right? Wrong. There are a lot of hidden pathways and choices that a lot of people do not consider and would put someone in a great advantage. These hidden pathways do not always open itself to everyone, so if you have the opportunity to, take it, and it will surprise you.

Related writing: https://blog.smsunarto.com/the-choice-you-didnt-consider/

4. Give Compliments To People Who Don't Deserve It

If you know me, you would probably have never been complimented by me. I was someone that rarely gives out a compliment for no particular reason. During a conference I attended, State Fall Business Leadership Conference, one of the tips that I got was to "Give compliments to people who don't deserve it." To be honest, I'm not quite sure of the efficacy of this one (yet), but I can tell you that a lot of people seem to be dubious every time I compliment them. God help.

5. Write For Yourself

This year, I started writing, and it was a transformational journey. I enjoy writing because it allows me to tell my stories easily, and it also helped me organize my thoughts a little bit better. At one point, I started writing to impress others instead of for myself, and at that point, I began to hate writing (again). Luckily, I was able to fall in love with writing again after (re)discovering the secret to enjoy writing: write only for yourself. Understanding that I am now able to enjoy the process of writing again and, as a result, I love the things that I write, and I hope you also enjoy it too!

6. You Can Only Truly Love Someone Once You Are Comfortable Being Alone

To be honest, I probably found this quote at Facebook (subtle asian dating?). However, this was something that I believe in after reflecting on it a lot. Often humans find a partner just to fill a gap in their life; as a result, they don't truly fall in love with their partner but instead fall in love so they can feel a bit less lonely. This doesn't seem right, no matter how you see it.

7. Be Comfortable At Being Uncomfortable

Being in Silicon Valley and surrounded by many people that are way smarter than me puts me in an awkward position. On one side, I'm thrilled that I am around some of the most intelligent people in the world, but on the other hand, I always felt uncomfortable because of how smart they were in comparison to me. However, I found that putting myself in that position is where I will be able to grow the most because one truly grows only when they step outside their comfort zone.

8. Learn To Sell, Learn To Build

This simple advice has been the guiding path of my learning. As engineers, we often forget that building a business is not only about the technical aspects. A lot of people specialize in trying to be only one of the two things: either a builder or a seller. Why not be both?

9. Live Intentionally

In everything you do, ask why.

As humans, we often spontaneously make decisions, and this resulted in wasted actions and time. What if every single choice that we make in our lives was intentional and decided by proper reasoning? What if we take control of how we spend our time rather than being easily sidetracked by time-wasting activities?

Knowing that my time is minimal, I want to make sure that every time I have is well utilized. It does not mean "work, work, work," but instead being intentional in spending quality time with the people you love and doing the things you love.