Two Months into 2017

february-2017-monthly-review

We are now 1/6 of the way into 2017 already and time really passes so quickly. From my reservist at the start of the year, which then flowed into Chinese New Year and a February marked by my transition into a new function within my corporate job, it has been quite easy to lose track of time. I thought I’d write this post mainly for my own purposes to review what I have learnt over the past two months.

Looking back at the goals I set for 2017, I think it is safe to say I will have to continue being focused and trim down the list of things to do even further. After some consideration, I am already thinking of dropping the idea of going for JLPT N1 again this year due to the onerous commitments that will bring. N1 is akin to studying for the CFA, only perhaps (a little) less stressful because it is a lot more about memory work than trying to learn and understand new concepts.

What went well?

  •  Finally took action on getting the online shop up. Placed orders in early February only to experience delays and unexpected additional shipping costs. But all in good stride – this was meant to be part of the learning journey, with many more lessons to come.

What could have been improved?

  •  I admit I have used the rainy weather as a convenient excuse, but I do need to keep tabs on how often I exercise (read: MORE).
  • Fallen a bit behind on reading, but a minor problem that can be fixed easily.

Most interesting podcasts:

Sidehustleschool, the new podcast by renowned world traveller Chris Guillebeau, is quickly becoming one of my favourite podcasts. Chris sought out to create a show where he introduces everyday people creating side hustles. Each day there is a new case study of someone earning extra income apart from going to their day jobs. What I like about the podcast is that 1) episodes are mostly (deliberately) kept under 10 minutes to make them ‘bite-sized’ so that you can finish it along your daily commute, 2) Chris tries to illustrate how there are many ways to having a side hustle – if you keep listening you will realise that the featured business models vary from episode to episode, and 3) some of the weird and crazy ideas stir up thoughts on how I can generate more ideas myself.

Among the episodes I liked:

  • Someone who turned unwanted penny coins to a work of art by arranging them to form a mosaic of Abraham Lincoln, later selling the poster outline online
  • A political analyst who sources for cheap flight deals online on behalf of his clients, earning on a subscription model basis as people pay to be notified whenever cheap deals are found
  • A Gallup Strengths Finder coach who printed his clients’ Top Strengths onto mugs, generating sales through his customised merchandise
  • An engineer who, being good with his hands, sold hand-crafted slate artwork to people who wanted signs that showed which state they were from
  • A guy who dropships crickets from cricket farms in the US to other buyers (perhaps to make cricket protein bars? hmm…)

Listening to Sidehustleschool has opened up my eyes to the many creative ways people are earning an extra side income, and inspires me to continue to look out and be curious.

Shows I recently watched:
I do not watch much TV at all, but I do watch some dramas and catch the occasional movie. Watching movies and dramas offer me a temporary glimpse from the perspective of others, and stir emotions within me that are not so regularly felt during the regular hum-drum of office life.

The Man in the High Castle. An alternate history drama in a world where the Nazis won WW2. It is chilling how there are so many parallels between what is happening today in the world and what went in in Europe in the early 20th century. Watch this to provoke your senses on what could have been, and what could possibly come (assuming a worse case scenario).

Jin, Seasons 1 and 2. I suspect most K-drama fans will know this as Dr Jin, but the original series did start as a Japanese drama adaptation of the manga by Motoka Murakami, so yea… It’s an old drama (2009-2011) about the protagonist who travelled back to the closing days of the Tokugawa Shogunate (much like Nobunaga Concerto, another J-drama whose main character travels even further back in time, to Oda Nobunaga’s period in 1500s). Watch this if you are a time travel drama fan while reflecting on humanitarianism and its progress over the centuries.

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