A Letter From The Hot Air Ballooner

My dear friend,

I’m writing this letter to tell you the story of my hot air balloon.

You see… people are assholes.

All I wanted was to have an air balloon that can I fly with, so built one in my backyard (which, as you know from your past visit, is a pretty damn large backyard). Because this air balloon was so conspicuous, some people began approaching me. Talking about hot air balloon with strangers was fine, but the problem was they all had guns in their pocket.

Damn guns!

The conversation with these people usually went like this.

“Howdy, you seem very busy building this hot air balloon.”

“Oh my, yes, I sure am.”

“Are you planning to go somewhere with it?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m going to the Himalayas.”

“Himalayas… you mean those tall mountains?”

“Yes.”

“That is a terrible plan.”

“Excuse me?”

“You fool, who do you think you are? That is a terrible plan; nobody has ever done it before, and you will fail, and you should feel bad about yourself.”

“…”

“You know what, I think you’re better off just doing some woodwork in the nearby town. I heard their pay is good.”

At this point, I didn’t want to talk anymore, but their guns just went “bam!” Bam, bam, bam; they holed my air balloon! I’ve lost count how many people have done it—dozens, or perhaps hundreds—and you won’t believe how many holes I had to stitch because of them.

What’s up with these people? I don’t know, my dear friend, but here’s a guess: maybe they don’t want me to succeed. Why don’t they want me to succeed? Maybe—just maybe—it’s because they haven’t succeeded themselves, and me successfully arriving at the peak of the Himalayas with this hot air balloon would make them feel bad. Real bad.

As I write this, I’ve finished building everything, and I’ll be departing to the Himalayas tomorrow. Had these people not shot my air balloon, I would’ve departed weeks (or months) ago.

Damn assholes.

Anyway, I’ll definitely write you another letter when I can. I heard the Himalayas is stunningly beautiful. Perhaps I can capture some of its beauty and send it to you.

Your dear friend,

The Hot Air Ballooner

November 11, 2021

Notification Is Gummy Bear For The Mind

Twitter is a town hall inside a screen. It’s meant for conversation; it’s void shouting with replies. If you converse and create engagement, Twitter rewards you with notifications. It doesn’t matter what you say, how much outrage you create, how much value you build: if you converse and create engagement, Twitter rewards you with notifications.

These notifications are mental candies. They’re like gummy bears for your mind, transmitted through screens. This is the most addictive town hall known to mankind; this is th—

Oh look, a new notification from Twitter! I’ll go check it. Bye.

November 10, 2021

You’ve Won The Money Game When Money Chases You

Here’s my observation: Some creators on the internet are so adored that their fans outrightly ask how they can donate. On the other hand, there are creators who shill their donation link without much success. Likewise with selling products: some creators sell their products like hotcakes while the rest end up becoming a starving artist.

Some chase money, some attract money. It’s an interesting phenomenon. What causes the attraction?

October 27, 2021

Optimists Build, Pessimists Complain

Optimism is revealed through action. Building something brand-new and risky reveals more optimism than merely saying “I am optimistic.” Pessimists, on the other hand, are complainers: “Why is this like this, why is this like that? Maybe I’m doomed for life, and there’s nothing I can do,” say the pessimists.

The act of building and creating can start small. If you notice a repetitive and dreadful task you keep doing on your computer, writing a script to automate it is an act of building; if you notice the eventual demise of this earth because of fossil fuel usage, building electric cars that delight customers is an act of building. Pessimists see problems as something to complain about, optimists see problems within their circle of competence as an opportunity.

October 24, 2021

The Mind Is Like A River Of Flowers And Dead Rats

There’s a beautiful river near the cottage where Odette lives. Each afternoon, after lunch, she sits by the river—on a big, flat stone that’s hidden beneath the shade of a tree. The arrangement of pebbles inside the river, the murkiness when it’s raining, the relaxing sounds it constantly produces, the chirping birds, the clean air, the flowers and the dead rats that often pass by, she loves everything.

“When I take my friends here, they seem to like the flowers and dislike the dead rats, but what of it?” Odette often asks herself. When a flower passes, she’s not excited; when a dead rat passes, she’s not bothered.

Years ago, when Odette first met the river, she would be like her friends—excited when there’s a flower, annoyed when there’s a dead rat. Emotions would stir within her: up, down, up, down; happy, unhappy; elated, bothered; excited, fearful; hopeful, annoyed. But as time went on, she slowly realized that those flowers and dead rats have nothing to do with her—the flowers have no intention to please anyone; the dead rats have no intention to annoy anyone. It just passes by; it appears, then it’s gone.

It’s the river being itself.

October 22, 2021

The Cost Of Creating Digital Product Is Your Living Expenses

One, two, three, four, five. You just read a series of words from me. A hundred year ago, for me to share my words with you, I’d have to write a book, hire an editor, print the book, and worry about the logistics. But now, I’m doing it all in the comfort of my bedroom—no editor to talk with, no publisher to deal with. The cost of creating things and sharing it with the world is going down rapidly. In fact, the cost is so cheap that it all boils down to the creator’s living expenses. No permission required, no capital required.

Most see the internet as a tool for consumption; few realize how empowering the internet is.

October 22, 2021

Lukewarm Response Is A “No”

I sometimes ask my sister out for badminton, and her reaction falls into two categories: “Holy shit, let’s go!” or, “Meh, yeah, let’s see.” If her response is lukewarm, I see it as a “no” from her.

Lukewarm response is a “no” without the offense. The thing being offered could be anything: your music, your painting, your business proposition, or even yourself (when dating). Some people are comfortable with saying no directly, but most prefer giving lukewarm responses to avoid rocking the boat—it’s a polite, socially acceptable way to reject something.

Think of the time when you rejected a salesman by smiling, nodding, and saying, “Ah, yeah, maybe later.” What would happen if the salesman persisted in peddling his wares? Your lukewarm response would probably morph into a deep annoyance—your “maybe later” would turn into “just fucking leave!” Pestering a lukewarm response won’t turn it into an excited enthusiasm; a polite no is still a no.

October 20, 2021

You’ve Got Business When People Care What You Create

Ultimately, making money is about creating things people want. You can write, sing, dance, vlog, code, cook, or create anything you want, but if people don’t care, there’s no business.

What do people want? Well, I don’t know—happiness, enlightenment, the next cool gadget, a new content from their favorite content creator, who knows. Maybe you can ask them.

Just kidding. The worst way to know what people want is to ask them.

Lips lie, actions don’t.

October 9, 2021

The Confession Of A Banker

I want to paint, but I’m a banker. Painting is for painter, not banker. Banker, banker, banker, I’m a banker, and a banker doesn’t paint!

Every weekday, I go to my boring office, talk with boring people, and shuffle boring papers around. Nine-to-five, nine-to-five: that’s my life. I always watch painting videos on my lunch break, but, alas, I always have cut it short because I have to get back to work. There’s a canvas sitting silently in the corner of my living room—with few brushes beside it. It has been sitting there for nineteen years. Nineteen years! When I sleep, my dreams are often filled with the imagination of me painting on that canvas—painting freely, like a painter—but outside my dream, my hands feel handcuffed when I try to paint. In fact, that canvas has collected more dust than paint. I can’t, I can’t, I simply can’t paint. After all, I’m a banker, not a painter, and a banker doesn’t paint.

October 9, 2021

A Band-Aid-Based World

Imagine having a terminal illness, and you had to pick between two doctors: The first would work twelve hours a day, every day, for two decades, giving you treatments with complex, high-tech machines and brightly-colored prescription pills to soothe the pain; the second could cure you in two hours. Which doctor would you pick?

October 4, 2021

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