(English translation at the end of each Chinese paragraph)
This is my 11th year writing the annual reflection. The theme for 2016 was “exploring different aspects of myself and falling in love with myself again,” and the theme for 2017 should be “after exploring the brightness and darkness, I appreciate all the beautiful things along the way more.”
[Annual Highlight: Internship at MEF in Peru]
In February, I received an email about an internship opportunity in the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Peru. In May, I already landed in Lima and embarked the craziest journey in my life. I was a stranger, a foreigner or an intruder. I felt frustrated and lonely sometimes, but Peruvians’ gentleness kept reminding me that how lucky I was to feel my life again. The first time in South America, the first time working in government and the first time exploring the other side of myself – I enjoyed my life to the fullest and put all my heart in loving Peru, loving Lima and loving all of you. Not sure if I could have another chance to put all efforts to love and to experience, but I’ll bring the warmness and braveness to cherish what I have and love what will happen. Thank you, my dear friends! (Reference blogs: Internship at MEF; Travel Tips in Peru)
[Life at Harvard]
What I appreciate HBS the most is that it gives me a set of lenses to look at various aspects of the world – history, politics, economics, morality, management, etc. I find myself analyzing problems, interacting with others, living life and even traveling in a different way now. In addition, I audited in Law School, joined study groups in Government School and participated in activities in the Harvard system, trying to escape the trap of sustainable mediocrity. I might not perform better back to consulting, but I know I’ll have a more interesting life. In general, it’s been a fruitful year. I wouldn’t say every moment was enjoyable, but I enjoyed the whole experiences a lot. Love people inspiring me, forgive people hurting me, remember people giving me warmth, and apologize to people I might hurt. Thank you, Harvard and all of you! (Reference blogs: HKS Israel Trek; HKS India Trek; HBS New York Art Trek; HBS Mexico Field Project)
[My Beloved Family]
Without my family’s support and understanding, I couldn’t be able to explore the world freely these years. However, 85+ years old grandparents, family members’ health and financial issues, the dispute of land justice of grandma’s grocery store and supporting me and my brother to study abroad all make my parents stressed and exhausted. Sometimes, I felt that I didn’t take enough responsibilities of the family while I was pursuing to be a global citizen. In addition, as I stay in the U.S. longer, the anxiety of separation from my grandparents and parents and my own feeling of instability keep growing strongly. In the future, we all need to learn to deal with our emotions. Life will definitely get more and more difficult. Thank you for always being here with me, no matter what. I’m very blessed to have you as my families!
[Friends that Support and Respect Each Other]
After growing up, I prefer friendship with mutual respect and support more than friendship with frequent interaction. In every interaction, we save time and space just for each other, and we inspire each other to explore a bigger world. Though we might not have frequent interaction, we all believe in the deep and long friendship. There are many people that we don’t have a chance to fully understand, but I always think that how lucky I am to have memories with you about eating the dinner you cooked for me, listening to your dreams, chatting with you and exchanging learning in these days. However, one day, when I found that I knew nothing about how my friend suffered, I realized that sometimes I had focused on my life too much and didn’t provide enough care and support to my friends. Give myself one more chance, and I’ll do better!
九月時，確定在畢業後加入 BCG 芝加哥辦公室。選擇留在美國工作有幾個原因：挑戰在國外工作的感覺，更加了解美國和希望能找到安定下來的機會。開心之餘，心裡還是相當緊張，不知道在大中華區的工作經驗是否也適用於美國、不知道是否能夠克服語言和文化的障礙。還記得光看到可能的專案清單就覺得好興奮的那種心情。記得做出有意義貢獻的那種快樂。希望未來我能記得這份對於顧問業的熱忱，而不是用薪水、升遷與福利來衡量自己的事業。謝謝一路上幫助我的人！
[New Life Style]
Due to the jet lag from the trip to Israel, I started to work out every day in the morning before classes/work, even when traveling to Mexico and Peru. To get up early, I went to bed early and cut down late-night activities. In addition, I prepared most meals for myself and chose healthier food. Although the heavy work, phone time and crazy travel in Q4 destroyed the new life style a bit, I kind of already have the habit to keep it rolling. In general, I’m more confident, more focused and happier. Happy for the achievement!
I have taken a picture per day for four months and composed my experimental work: “The Daily Project” with each picture appearing for one second in the video. Initially, I wasn’t sure which pictures were more representative of my life than others and should be selected into the video. In the end, I realize that it doesn’t matter. What’s more important in this project is the consistency and continuity of life, not the life itself, because life only exists when it happens and is impossible to be represented. Memories are discrete, but emotion is continuous.
[Vulnerable but Not Fragile]
When you really love someone, you don’t want them to change. When they need to change because of you, you simply feel so bad about yourself and want to apologize although you don’t know what you should apologize for or who you should apologize to. On the other hand, changing yourself is also very painful and stressful, and sometimes you just don’t know how you could change to meet both your and their expectations. Maybe the only way to deal with that is to believe we are vulnerable but not fragile, so after some adjustment, we will settle down in another dynamic equilibrium, safe and sound.
假設有兩種典型情況：(1) 不需要分享，無欲則剛；(2) 渴望分享，較為脆弱。一般而言，我們認為 (1) 是我們該追尋的完整人生、(2) 是我們該避免的路線。然而，這個想法的前提是「一個完整的人生，代表本質上我們不需要他人，就算有時候其他生命會讓我們擁有更好的人生」，但我更偏好重新定義完整的人生為「一個整合自我與總體環境、並能夠打通所有聯繫以溝通無礙的人生」，那麼 (2) 裡對分享的渴望與能力才是使我們人生完整的關鍵，而不是該移除的缺點。
[Desire to Share]
Assume two typical patterns: (1) no need to share and be strong and (2) want to share and be vulnerable. Usually, we perceive (1) as the complete lives we should pursue and position (2) as the less preferable lives we should avoid. The premise of this statement is that we define a complete life as “a life that fundamentally we don’t need others although lives can be better when others join.” However, I prefer the definition of “a life that unite itself with the ecosystem and open up all channels to freely transmit any message without difficulties.” In this case, the desire to share in (2) is what makes us complete rather than the weakness we should get rid of.
[Temporary Fear of Love]
I grew up in an environment full of love and was not afraid to love and be loved. However, just like people staying in the dark for too long will be photophobic for a while, people living without love for too long will be uncomfortable to be loved for a while. After moving around for several years, sometimes I feel like an astronaut floating around the space and disconnected to the real life with silent solitude. It’s often that when I live independently for a while and then move back to the familiar environment with families and friends, I felt shaky and anxious when facing the responsibilities and emotions coming with love. I do not know what I can give them. I thought I had become a better person with minimum demands and independent life, but I just become inaccessible for others. Hope I can keep the abilities to love and be loved.
[Like It, Not the Concept of It]
How to distinguish “like it” from “like the concept of it”? We are often fooled by all labels and fantasize rosy pictures without digging into the truth. One day we might end up realizing that the reality is a totally different story. It’s understandable to get attracted by labels, but do we put enough efforts to understand what we are looking for? If we just like the concept of it (e.g. highly ranked schools, prestigious jobs, exotic relationship), it’s easy that we overlook the downsides and maybe also the true upsides. However, if we like itself, then that means we understand and accept all the good and bad and appreciate the existence of it without conditions.
[Don’t Bother if You Don’t Care]
Spending time on great things is the most enjoyable luxury. In work, friendship and relationship, it’s impossible to have great results without full engagement from each party. People say: “How do you know if you don’t try?” Maybe being impatient and impetuous means adventurous nowadays; however, I really hope that at least we can slow down and take time to express ourselves and understand each other with our hearts. On the other hand, as a risk-adverse consultant, I usually planned strategies and confirmed feasibility before making commitment. Recently, I kind of change my thoughts. In fact, sometimes we really need to make commitment first, so the persistence will increase possible options and drive people to put more efforts to make it happen.
[The Elegance and Persistence in Doing the Impossible]
Why do I continue practicing to be persistence and persuading myself not to give up when facing difficulties? Because I don’t want to feel guilty that I contribute too less and take no responsibilities. Sometimes, I wonder the meaning of putting efforts to prove myself when it doesn’t matter. However, I know if I don’t accept and overcome the challenges, I won’t be able to choose what I want freely in the future due to deep fear and the lack of successful experiences. Assuming the best intention, separating others’ issues from mine and dealing with mine elegantly is my expectation for a more mature self.
[One Step at a Time]
“Automation/ERP cannot solve any problem of your processes; it can only speed up your defect rate. You should spend time to optimize processes and remove defects, and then you are eligible to introduce automation/ERP.” Isn’t it similar to many things? Independence cannot solve your problems; to have a better economy, you need to improve overall policies. Marriage cannot solve your problems; to have a happy life, you need to figure out the formula of a happy life. We too often put all the hope on a simple concept and expect that it can help us solve all problems. Actually, these issues all depend on important ground work – scrutinize all assumptions, evaluate effectiveness of implementation, etc. Be realistic and don’t believe any super remedy – it’ll just speed up the path to failure. One step at a time. We will be there.
[Just Good Enough]
Sometimes, I wondered that how we should love others in a mature way. We couldn’t put too much emotion in too short time, but we also couldn’t protect ourselves too much and lose the ability to be authentic. We couldn’t exaggerate feelings, but we also couldn’t communicate too less and lose the opportunity to understand each other. We should embrace it with our hearts like poets, but we should also keep the rationality like consultants. In the end, I finally realize that when we meet the right people, we’ll feel comfortable and don’t overthink anymore.
“No need to be better. Just good enough.” You bring so much happiness into my life. Thank you for holding my hands along the way. Te quiero, a ti y a todas tus personalidades.
【書本 / Books】
- 解憂雜貨店 / The Miracles of the Namiya General Store
- 看見 / What I Have Seen
- 被討厭的勇氣 / The Courage to be Disliked
- 我們仨 / We Three
- 浮躁 / Turbulence
- 伊豆的舞孃 / The Izu Dancer
- (Currently reading) 推力 / Nudge
- (Currently reading) 小說燈籠 / Roman Dourou
- (Currently reading) 偉大城市的誕生與衰亡 / The Death and Life of Great American Cities
- (Currently reading) 藝術市場探密 / Seven Days in the Art World
- (Currently reading) 疼痛是一道我穿越了的牆 / Walk Through Walls
【旅行 / Travel】
- 墨西哥 [Mexico, Playa del Carmen, Jabi]
- 古巴 [Cuba, Havana / Varadero, Irene]
- 美國 [U.S., Nashville, HBS Section F]
- 以色列 / 巴勒斯坦 [Israel / Palestine, HKS Israel Trek]
- 美國 [U.S., New York, HBS Art Society / VISA]
- 墨西哥 [Mexico, Mexico City, HBS FGI]
- 祕魯 [Peru, Lima / Arequipa / Cusco / Titicaca / Iquitos, Internship / solo]
- 法國 [France, Paris, solo]
- 智利 [Chile, Santiago / Easter Island, solo]
- 美國 [U.S., Chicago, BCG Welcome Weekend]
- 哥倫比亞 [Colombia, Bogota, Germán]
- 印度 [India, Delhi / Amritsar / Kolkata / Hyderabad / Mumbai, HKS India Trek]
【舞台表演 / Shows】
- Something Rotten!
- The King and I
- Ballet Folklorico
- The Phantom of the Opera
【摘句 / Quotes】
- “One cannot improve human beings, but one can improve systems. The same flawed human beings with a better system will be able to produce better results.” 「一個人雖然不能改變人類，但可以改變系統。在更好的系統裡，同樣不完美的人類也能產出更好的結果。」
- “We’re gonna build a road going to the sun. We’re gonna move mountains one by one. It may take a lifetime, Lord. But when the work is done, we’re gonna have a road going to the sun.” 「我們會有一條通往太陽的道路。我們會慢慢移開一座座山。這或許會需要一輩子啊～但當工作結束時，我們會有一條通往太陽的道路。」
- “If being crazy means living life as if it matters, then I don’t mind being completely insane.” 「如果瘋狂意味著認真去對待生命，那我不介意當個十足的瘋子。」
- “We meet on the ocean at a dark night. You have your direction; I have mine. It’s fine that you remember it, but might be even better that you forget it – the brightness of our short interaction.” 「你我相逢在黑夜的海上，你有你的、我有我的方向；你記得也好，最好你忘掉，在這交會時互放的光亮」