Lessons Learned August 17


  1. I’m proud of being confident and congruent with myself at the wedding 
  2. I’m proud that George complimented me by saying I had not asked him a stupid question the whole night.
  3. I’m proud of Asha coming up with the idea of pitching Instaroid to cafes & bars
  4. I’m proud of thinking “what would a prolific creative & voracious learner do right now” and doing it.
  5. Fake it till you become it is a real thing. If you assume confident body language and actions, you will start and internal and external feedback loop that makes you confident. Same with if you assume the actions and lifestyle of a hugely creative and learning person.
  6. Asha isn’t too keen on travelling for long periods of time away from Singapore. This is going to cause strain in our relationship, but she is (and so I am) confident we will find a way to be happy without either of us overly sacrificing.
  7. I’m proud of where Asha and I are in our relationship. We’ve figured out the foundations, I believe. We’re amazing for each other, and I’m confident that next to nothing could break us apart.

This is part of The Daily Meditation Experiment, where I am practicing one school of meditation per week(ish) to understand the overall structure & effects of each.

Meditation Method: The Flame & The Void (Mushin Meditation)

The nerdiest of all meditation styles I’m trying in this experiment, The Flame & The Void comes from The Wheel of Time fantasy novel series by Robert Jordan. It is very alike to Mushin Meditation practiced by martial artists (a state of flow where the body moves on instinct and training instead of thought and planning), and to Mindfulness Meditatation.

Characters who use The Flame & The Void in the books experience a complete focus on the present moment & what they are doing in it, while being completely detached from anything else (including physical pain, fear, etc). One mark of this is to be able to be aware of physical pain and yet detached from it as if it were “happening to someone else”.

“I imagine a flame, and then I push everything into it. Hate, fear, nervousness. Everything. When they’re all consumed, there’s an emptiness, a void, inside my head. I am in the middle of it, but I’m a part of whatever I am concentrating on, too.” – Rand Al’Thor, The Dragon Reborn

How it’s done:

  1. Imagine a flame.
  2. Feed every thought, emotion, & feeling that comes to you into this flame.
    1. It may help to take a visual representation of the thing and feed that into the flame.
  3. When everything is gone, let the flame go and surround yourself in the Void of emotion and thought that is left.
    • Go back to step 2 if the void disappears.
  4. Take the actions you need/want to take, unaffected by thoughts or emotions.

I practiced The Flame & The Void in many different scenarios, some extremely uncomfortable or even painful:

With my hand in ice-cold water, on a bumpy and uncomfortable bus, in bed going to sleep. I would also do miniature meditations when I needed to deal with something like emotional turmoil, boredom, or getting my eyebrows plucked (I’ve got a unibrow by default. Gotta keep that thing tamed).

Ice water was the most painful, and therefore most indicative of success in trying to distance myself from physical pain. I was able to hold my hand in ice water for 3 full minutes, the maximum I’m sure I can go without causing myself harm (chosen by following in the footsteps of Mythbusters in their Pain Tolerance experiment).

Most people can’t do this, and I know I would have given up in the first minute if not for this meditation.

Throughout the three minutes, I had a few solid moments where I was completely successful in not caring about the pain, and a few where it hurt intensely and the only way I was able to keep my hand in the water was to just continually feed that pain into the flame as fast as it was hitting me.

Adherence: 69%


Singapore At Night

  • Never assume you’re going to get money until you have the money. Things go south.
  • Relationships can be hard as FUCK. They can devolve into painful, psychologically harmful, shitstorms of damaging emotions and mutual harm causing. They can really suck and break you down.

  • Video games can be excellent family bonding tools. Even/especially when the family is not together
  • Watching the world go by on the train is quite relaxing & enjoyable
  • When Asha asks me to listen to her music, it’s often because she’s in a flow and wants to show it to me in that moment. Putting it off can result in the flow ending without her showing it to me, and leave her frusturated and sad.
  • In Paypal’s early days (pre acquisition by eBay), they only hired people they knew though could become good friends with.
  • Board game meetups can be a lot of fun.
  • Lorenzo’s got a tattoo of a pillow in his right arm. It says, in Chinese, Grace’s pillow. Because that’s where his daughter Grace slept when she was a child.

What I Learned This Week (July 27 - Aug 02)

  • When Asha is feeling moody, instead of feeling moody as well, I should make her happy. Bring her into my sphere, not go into hers.
  • Sleep is vitally important to Asha. We must ensure she gets it.
  • Work is sometimes more important to me than sleep. Than almost anything except Asha (with whom it must find a balance). Especially when I am inspired.
  • Asha & I can figure anything out, can do anything, when we’re true to ourselves and work together.
  • Making money can be really easy. Especially when you’re skilled, confident, and good at making connections.
  • Both Asha and I have a tendency to focus on the bad and not the good