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Brian T. Liao
Jan 8, 2019 • 6 min read

Philosophy to Life


My Ideas on Life, a lot with optimization of it and heuristics to guide it.

  1. Take Risks
    1. People are Risk Averse but Risk Neutrality achieves the best reward in the future
  2. Be Extreme (Programming)
    1. From Agile
    2. People Change. Adapt quick and with them
  3. People skills are the Most Important Skill to Have
    1. People are a resource
    2. There is always somebody better than you
      1. If you can work with them, you will get more done together
    3. You get best results if you can get somebody passionate about their work
      1. Passion comes from freedom, if you believe in people, they will deliver.
    4. Sometimes the task is easier to do on your own.
  4. Experience is the Best Education
    1. You will remember what you learn
      1. You will remember your mistakes
    2. You will learn to adapt and be quick
    3. You will learn what is important and what is not
  5. Comparative Advantage
    1. Say you are Tom Brady and you need to mow your lawn. You could mow your lawn and take three hours, or you can shoot a commercial, make millions, and pay a teenager a nice sum of money to mow your lawn. Choosing this gives you a mowed lawn, and a nice sum of money. The teenager also benefits from getting a nice smaller sum of money, more than if he worked that three hours somewhere else.
    2. This means get really good at something. Provide value, and utilize value others can provide. Trade what you have, time, money, skills, goods, and make both you and your associate both better off.
  6. Be Positive and Kind
    1. One can be a critic, come up with the worst case scenario. But this will make you unhappy. This will be a self-feedback loop that will lead you to destruction.
    2. Good things happen to those who are good to others. We live in a social society, and you never know when you will need somebody else's help.
  7. If Something Works, Don't Break It
    1. Google is a Widely Successful Company. They have tested things and found ways that work best. Somebody wanting to be successful can learn from Google and take their philosophy to heart. Your radical idea might sound good in practice, but there are many pitfalls you have not considered but Google has dreadfully experienced
    2. However, if you don't innovate you get left behind. Find a balance. Be yourself but look at what works first
  8. Be Pragmatic
    1. The problem with theory is there are so many edge cases, it can often not reflect reality.
  9. Don't Overthink. Trust Your Gut.
    1. Your Instinct is there for a reason. To make quick, tough decisions.
    2. Don't doubt yourself. Whatever happens, people adapt and can make the best of anything.
  10. Be Firm, but Learn and Listen
    1. If you disagree with something, speak up. This is noble and will reduce a lot of unnecessary confusion or failure in the future.
    2. However know that you don't know everything. You learn from people and can make better choices from them. 
  11. Communicate
    1. Others don't know what you are thinking. Only you know that. Communication will free up a lot of confusion and arguments in the future.
    2. However, add Social Lubricant. Ease what you are saying to a way that your audience will be willing to listen.
  12. Understand Your Costs and Invest for Them
    1. Gym Memberships are Expensive. But a Medical Bill is more expensive. A gym membership will keep you healthy and fit, happier, and save you money from not having to go to the doctor.
    2. Also note people also go to the gym to lose weight. They gain their weight from food. Eating less and healthier is a stronger factor than going to the Gym and will keep you healthy.
  13. Buy In Bulk But Be Reasonable
    1. Bulk is cheaper. If you use something a lot, buy in bulk. It is cheaper.
    2. But often you get more than you need and the surplus goes to waste. Are you really going to finish a large popcorn for 2 dollars more and 5 times the size or be satisfied with a small popcorn. Yes, the big one gets you more bang for your buck, but you still paid more. And if you want to be healthy, you add  more cost for a gym, etc.
    3. Does your startup that has no users really going to need expensive infrastructure for billions of users right now?
  14. Be Curious
    1. You may be stuck in your way of doing things, but you have not explored all possibilities that may be better.
    2. There's a reason we have natural curiosity as kids
  15. The Hedonistic Treadmill
    1. Be aware that more stuff will not make you more happy. The newest smartphone seems to have so many cool features, but once you have it, is it really that much more useful than your old phone, meriting you to pay hundreds of dollars?
  16. Embrace Haters
    1. If you don't make enemies, you aren't doing enough. It is impossible to please everybody, so don't waste your time on those that bring you down.
    2. From the Social Network,  "You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies." You'll make more friends if you embrace you'll make a few enemies along the way.
  17. Don't Get Angry
    1. Something I've read was you would move on if you lost a 5 dollar bill, as it's not worth fretting over compared to your net worth. Then why should you let a somebody who makes you upset for 10 seconds, ruin your whole day?
  18. Take Advise from Those Before You But Be Realistic
    1. They have experience many difficulties and have wise advise to help you avoid the troubles they faced
    2. However, sometimes the advise is a fantasy, people are still people and can't do things perfectly. Things will still happen and we should accept that.
    3. (This blog is an example. Many "ideals" on life, but many are hard to practice)
  19. Be Yourself.
    1. You can always be better. But embracing yourself makes you more comfortable, more confident, and much better to improve yourself. It makes you interesting and somebody people will want to know.
  20. Invest in Yourself.
    1. "The most important investment you can make is in yourself. Very few people get anything like their potential horsepower translated into the actual horsepower of their output in life. Potential exceeds realization for many people…The best asset is your own self. You can become to an enormous degree the person you want to be." - Warren Buffett

Amazon also has good values and for the most part I like them. But they seem very corporate and short sighted and misused sometimes. Amazon provides no amenities that make it nicer for employees for frugality as a lean business. I heavily endorse frugality, and their door desks are a beautiful example, but spending more on employees is an incredibly beneficial investment that returns multi-fold to the cost. You will have happier more productive employees, attracting the best talent, etc that pay for the cost of amenities.

Post by: Brian T. Liao