Friday, December 10, 2021

Ten years later, will you thank yourself today?



Ten years ago, my colleague Alice was preparing for the postgraduate entrance examination. At that time, she was financially tight and did not dare to resign, so she could only prepare for exams while working.

Everyone who has experienced it knows that this is a VERY tiring thing. I vaguely remember her schedule at the time: wake up at five and read until seven; go to work; read from seven to ten in the evening at the nearby library.

In my impression, she is thin and small, always carrying a big bag that is disproportionate to her body. She walks like a wind and eats very fast. It is often when we just start to eat, she has already finished eating.

Eventually, she was accepted by the university, opening a new chapter of her life.

I met up with her a few days ago. We were reminiscing our past as we had not been meeting up for the past few years. Alice said that the exam preparation year was the hardest time in her life. She didn't go shopping or put on makeup. Social and entertainment activities were basically eliminated. Breakfast was bread and lunch was in the canteen. Even going out for a dinner was a luxury. She was very uncertain about her future, she won’t know what she will do if she failed the exam. Fortunately, her wish was fulfilled. Now that she think about it, she is very lucky. If she can go back to the past, she will really want to hug the "poor" girl ten years ago, thank her for her persistence in her efforts and not giving up.


Perhaps many people have had such tough period in their lives. They are extremely tired, confused, and almost want to give up, but if they manage to hold on, success may come.

I went to an office building yesterday. While I was waiting for the elevator, a girl hurried over, devouring a hamburger and at the same time, holding a large stack of documents in her hand.

When she entered the lift, the documents in her hand were scattered all over the place because of her urgency. I helped her pick it up and saw that there was also a workbook related to the judicial examination in a pile of materials. She looks like Alice from ten years ago.

"It's hard work, right?" I said. She gave a wry smile.

I watched her walk out of the lift, and deep in my heart I think, it's worth it. Ten years later, you will definitely be grateful to who you are today.


Everyone may have this or that plan in their minds, what kind of life they want to live, and what kind of person they want to be. However, the process of realizing a dream is never easy. You have to defeat confusion, grievance, laziness, and weakness.

And if you can hold on a little longer when you want to give up, and hold on for a little longer when you want to escape, tomorrow you will have another reason to thank yourself today.

When you weigh yourself every morning, you will thank yourself for resisting the temptation of ice cream yesterday and insisting on exercising for a while; when you win the recognition of colleagues and customers, you will thank yourself for uninstalling the game software yesterday and making the planning seamless. When discussing cooperation with foreign customers, you will thank yourself who wakes up early to learn new languages; when you get promoted and get a pay raise, you will thank yourself who are self-disciplined, hardworking and not lazy...

Thank you for not admitting defeat, thank you for not giving up, and thank you for working so hard to attain a better version of yourself.

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  1. Hi there,

    A good write up.

    Indeed, the road to success (and financial independence) is long and often a winding one. It does not stop just because you got into a good university, passed your exams, got a good job, got promoted and saved your first million. The journey continues until you have established a robust passive income stream that can sustain your desired lifestyle without work income (ie retired); or until you are too weak or too ill to work.

    I have worked almost 36 years, and my simple breakfast of two slices of plain bread and a cup of milo every morning has not changed all these years. Lunch is mainly taken at the office canteen. Chop chop.

    My wife and I gave tuition while doing our bachelor's degree at NUS, I did a part time (night classes) Masters also at NUS and she at NTU, while we were working full time. I did another Masters in the US after completing the part time one. Uprooted my family to the US for that. Yes, it was tough going through all that and there was literally little time left to do investment. A lot of "rinse and repeat" of the grind.

    Luckily the little investing that we did with whatever little time we had then turned out alright. And that was buying property.

    Fast forward to today, we have diversified our investment, bulked up our CPF savings and now receiving almost $200,000 in yearly passive income, including a sizeable interest of over $90,000 from our combined CPF savings.

    Slogging day in, day out is optional now. In fact, my wife has quitted the rat race to enjoy a well deserved retirement.

    Life is a journey. It may seem tough at times but as you pointed, your future self will thank the present you for the hard work, perseverance and sacrifices you make today.

    1. Hi mysecretinvestment,

      Thanks for the comment. I will certainly hope that the everyone will thank their present self for slogging so hard now , just like what you did years ago. =)


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