You can’t choose

Sometimes, you can’t choose when it is the right time.

When it is something you love to do, the time can be anytime. It’s often I wake up in the middle of the night or absurdly early because my mind wants to get to work, it wants to build on the ideas in which I’d dreamt but not remembered.

Do you ever get this feeling? I believe it has something to do with flow because these times are in which I am most loving, most passionate and most excited to do whatever it is I am doing. The best part is that it is easy, it’s something that just happens because I let it, it’s as if these words write their own and I am just a passenger looking out into the world, seeing my fingers typing and warm body moving.

Snap me back to reality you might say. I really dislike that term, reality is where the impossible really does feel impossible and this state is it’s exact opposite.

❤ Jason

Institutionalized

Institutionalized.

That’s the word my “experienced” colleague used to describe his generation when we talked about how these trialling times of virtual working will change the way we see our workplaces in the future.

It gave me both a laugh and serious thought, not only because it brought flashbacks of one of Shawshank’s greatest moments of moral implications, but also because it reminds us as young professionals within our own organizations to think differently, to fight for what we believe the future of OUR workplaces should and will look like.

How do you think the way we work has and will change because of this?

Feature image – Grand People’s Study House, Pyongyang, North Korea. Taken on the 7th of March 2016

The Human Isolation

Even in the worst of times, we must look up at the possibilities and see a brighter future amidst all the chaos and fear.

What I find most incredible during The Isolation is the way people came together in ways that were unexpected and inspiring. It’s incredible to think that although we are more isolated than ever, we are also closer to one another than we have ever been before. There has never been another time in history where the people of the world have been forced to close off from one another but at the same time not be in fear of one another.

It’s incredible to think that although we are more isolated than ever, we are also closer to one another than we have ever been before.

Jason Li

The virtual media we have fostered over the last few years have allowed us to seamlessly upload our lives online. It was never intentional for this to be the case, yes we connected the world but at what initial cost? It was our attention that we lost first, a constant attention to social media. But who would of guessed that this virtual world, this social media would actually be a power for immense good during the worst of times?

At first it was our families and close friends who reached out to each other. It was as if they were by our side in the virtual plane. We couldn’t play outdoors so we played in-virtual-doors. Something that would normally take weeks to bring us together was a click away to see each other’s laughs and smiles, and there it was, as quick as we were isolated was as quick as we were reunited.

Our places of work, for years working from home was a “thing” people did but we rarely ever did ourselves. We looked at the work we do and wondered how this could even work at home, for some it was a lot easier than others, and for others it never seemed so straight forward. It took years for a company’s culture to change it’s perspective on working from home. It took days for the world to realise it’s actually a reality.

It took years for a company’s culture to change it’s perspective on working from home. It took days for the world to realise it’s actually a reality.

Jason Li

Then it was those age old friends, colleagues and one-on-one’s which you rarely ever get to see that catch up with you. And this is when something special happens. Even with years of separation, long distances and random conversations, you’ve never got to really know each other until now. It might be that a portion of the population is in fact more comfortable opening up (maybe at first or over time) in the virtual plane rather than in real life. There are barriers that are unseen or unbroken in reality that are, when we see each other over a distance. This is an interesting thought, one that I’ll carry to another day.

What all of this tells us is that what we lose from physical presence, we gain back by a virtual presence. It may not be the same, nor may it be more or less comfortable for some than others, but it is the way we’re moving forward for the future of humanity. I ask you this, readers, how long will it be until this virtual presence takes even another step into a virtual reality?

What all of this tells us is that what we lose from physical presence, we gain back by a virtual presence.

Jason Li

Thank’s for reading my friends. Let’s reach out to our family, friends and long lost friends during these times and make the most of it whilst it lasts.

Much love, Jason

P.s when I refer to The Isolation, it was the unprecedented event of Covid-19 which shook the world in 2019/2020.

Feature image – Pondering over the world in the backyard of my beautiful apartment in Notting Hill, London during The Isolation. Taken on the 22nd of March 2020

Variety

My great aunt once said that the key to living a long and healthy life was in the variety. She said never to be picky with the foods you eat, that a good variety of all foods in your diet will keep you healthy for many years to come. I must of been no more than 6 years old when she told me this. I believed her, and never stopped believing.

Today, I eat everything and anything, in moderation and in great vast variety. I am never one to turn down an interesting cuisine, an odd dish or a crazy food (yeah, even the creepy crawlies!). In fact, I really enjoy them! It’s one of the reasons why I love travelling for food, for the cultural food experience. I always have that feeling of “give me something your mum would cook you”! and never have I turned back.

To me, food in all it’s forms is a blessing, how lucky I am to have food on the table, to have the meat of another animals sacrifice in which I thank deeply in this circle of life; to have the greens that mother Earth provides. This keep me humble, to not pick and choose, to not chase or fight but just enjoy the goodness that life brings.

Sometimes, I’d like to attribute this to my good health, my strength both body and in mind and my immunity to allergies and intolerences. Ofcourse, I’d never really know if it was really the reason for it, but better not take that chance and let’s keep eating our way through the world.

Thanks for reading ❤

Feature image – In North Korea, myself and four other travellers delve into a classic Korean BBQ. The traditional “Banchan” refers to the variety of up to 12 small dishes which are shared amongst your peers. This was taken somewhere in Pyongyang, North Korea on the 8th of March 2016.

Questions – How do we find purpose in our lives?

How do we find purpose in our lives?

I think the key is being thoughtful about what your real purpose in life is and what really drives you, motivates you and gets you excited about things and making sure that the career choices you make, the kinds of organisations you work for, the kinds of skills you cultivate are aligned with that broader set of interests and not just letting it happen by accident. It’s also simply about just believing that it’s possible, that whatever your purpose in life you’ve found is, that it is achievable against all odds. Always remember, the universe is on your side no matter how much it feels otherwise; like a friend once told me, you just have to ask for it.

Feature image – On one eventful day, a group of strangers dressed in yellow raincoats set out on a mission to share laughter, joy and happiness throughout the city. Taken at St Pauls Cathedral in London, United Kingdom on the 22nd September 2019

Five Years

Is it just me or does everyone hit a point in their lives where they think about where they are in life and how a lot of it, or certain aspects of it are not aligned with their goals and dreams they had in their minds.

Sometimes, even the thought of this reminds me of what sounds quite funny at first at the humble age of 26, but on a serious note, a midlife crisis. But what if this crisis is actually a representation of a modern crisis, one where it is a by-product of a generation that has been raised in the most globally connected, wealthy and “free” time in the history of mankind. We have something that our predesesors didn’t have until they were in their late thirties and that is more knowledge, more freedom and more choices. These choices whenever abundant can give rise to doubt; the what if’s that run through our minds when given options and we choose one over another.

The real big question is how does any of us know they’ve made the right choice? Some might tell you to follow your instincts, others base their decisions on the judgements of their close family and friends and furthermore others would use pure logic and reasoning to judge the right move. Risk over reward, right? Well, everyone has their own take on this and the truth is, no one really has the right answer.

All I know is that for me personally, I am at a crossroad, a point where I’ve still the freedom to change the direction in my life. Maybe that’s one we can all take away though, maybe at any given “present” moment, we can make that change. But for now, I am reaching what people call the 5-year mark, or the 5-year rule; it marks when you have been at a company or role for that amount of time and it’s a good time to change companies, go for that payrise or what I think is becoming more and more relevant in today’s age, change careers.

It was only years ago where we would say that job stability or dare I say life stability came from the amount of years you were employed for in a company. In fact, it’s quite likely we get that from our older colleagues of whom we work with; 10 years, 15 years, 25 years, 30 years! They’re incredibly proud of it and to me, that is one hell of an achievement because I can’t see further than 6 months into my future let alone 10 years!

Times have changed and they’ve changed so rapidly at that, I struggle to believe that staying in one company, in one role, being the “master of one” instead of the “jack of all trades” will be enough to survive in this modern world. This is not because it is not important to be a master, it is because it is increasingly becomming tougher to be a master of any trade. The knowledge that a master holds is becoming increasingly easier to access, you can see that with not just the immensity of the global knowledge held on the internet but the expert driven courses which can be found at your fingertips. Anyone can be an expert in a field so long as they put in the effort and significantly less time than 30 years. But even then, it is not those singular experts that truly move the world and make a difference, I believe it is those whom can bring expertise from a number of fields into one that can make the real change in the world.

So let’s say, we follow the 5-year rule, but the modern one. In 30 year’s you would of had 6 different careers, all spanning a wide range of interests, hobbies, dreams, goals and passions. Maybe one or two of them you really enjoyed and stayed on for longer, and maybe those in which you did not enjoy so much you stayed less.

Now I propose the most important question, one for the readers to think about, who has more expertise after 30 years? Who is more likely to have followed his or her dreams, achieved greater heights and will live to tell more stories?

It’s still a tough question, one that we all still have our own opinions on, but maybe this time after reading this, with just that tiny bit more clarity.

Thanks for reading my friends, I guess this one was more for me at this point of time in my life. It hasn’t come across because I don’t enjoy my work or I think there’s something better out there for me; it’s more the side of me that seeks to learn more about the world, the undying curiosity and adventure that I seek. Is one life too short to be spending 80% of your time on one thing? I would always, always, always say yes.

Feature image – Represents how slow we should be living life in retrospect to how fast it feels; this was during my wanderings on a little island national park at Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea taken on the 30th August 2017

Opportunity and Luck

Opportunies can be found around any corner of life. Often, it is not about the search to find them, but instead about being able to see them for what they are. They all have one thing in common and that one thing is how they all begin and this beginning, starts with you.

Opportunities don’t always come in the shape of you recieving. In fact, the greatest opportunities in life are those in which you can give. People say that the greatest gift in life is what you can give to others without expecting anything in return. Because what this gives you, despite the expectation, is luck; and what is luck? I believe that luck is simply opportunity in disguise!

I believe that luck is simply opportunity in disguise!

Jason Li

When you share your good fortune with others around you, over the long term, it will come back around and surprise you in so many ways. People who often attribute their successes to luck and just being in the right place at the right time often are understating all the work that has gone on behind the scenes. The truth is that it is not that fortune or luck favours them, it is how they position themselves now to create the opportunities that bring luck in their future! So how can we do this? Be proactive, get out there, talk to people, interact and engage with them, be genuine always, let them know what makes you excited and make sure they know how your talents might be able to help them with what makes them excited

Be proactive, get out there, talk to people, interact and engage with them, be genuine always, let them know what makes you excited and make sure they know how your talents might be able to help them with what makes them excited

Jason Li

Have you ever thought about what you can do to create an environment where opportunities flourish around you?

Thanks for reading ❤

Feature image – Disneyland, Tokyo, Japan taken on the 5th December 2018

A Long Walk

A long walk.

There’s something about a day spent walking that brings thoughts to me. A day spent walking feels like a day that stretches as long as the distance is far. It is where the twists and turns that the path reveals with each step feel like those in which life takes you on each and every day. Have you ever wondered how they often seem alike to you?

How a straight path guides you to what you can see clearly and safely up ahead. How one that twists and turns can make you dizzy with wonder at what’s in front of you. How sudden a corner can creep up to you and is there before you even know it. What’s more is the corner in which forks in two directions before you’ve even decided. And what to do with those paths that end with what seemingly feels like nowhere else to go. But i think what’s most unsettling, are those that lead you back to where you began, as if you’d never left the place you stand; but the night falls still, none a wiser to where you’d hoped to go.

There’s something about a day spent walking that brings thoughts to me. How i wonder so often where the path will take me.

❤ Jason

Treasures

It’s interesting what you choose to keep when packing up your whole life.

Rummaging through all this stuff you’ve collected over the years, stuff that just sits there and brings you no joy and no memories.

But then there are those rare moments where through the shadows of all this stuff, you see something that looks and feels like it’s alive. It talks to you not through sound but directly to your heart. “How can this be possible” you ask, and as you hold it in your very hands, you now understand how it can be so; and so you bring it up against your heart, almost as if not to lose something that has always been with you from the very beginning.

Feature image – An unexpected photo for the post written about treasures in a box representing a deeper meaning to the things which play at your very own heart strings. Taken at a family wedding on the 6th of October 2018