The importance of knowing what 100 percent feels like

Before I ran track in high school, I only thought I could run fast.

When I got there, my coaches pushed me to to throw up, to pass out, to collapse. They told me my legs *could* move faster, I just needed to commit the movements to muscle memory. They told me I could break a five-minute mile. They told me I could keep running when my mind screamed STOP.

What I thought was 100% before track, was more like 60%.

By having experienced my highest threshold, I could more consistently practice at near 80%.

As my skill and endurance improved, my output at 80% improved and then, in turn, I had to reset the limiter.

I’m writing this so I will always remember to apply this to whatever it is I’m working on. And always remember the value of having a coach.

Two notes:

1.) For everyone, there is an absolute max. Not everyone can be an Olympian. You have to know what you’re good at and go for it.

2.) Regarding figuring out what you are good at: beware of paralysis by analysis. Pick something and just start. Give it your best. You’ll learn along the way and make adjustments as you go.

The way of the Tao

The goal for wu wei is to get out of your own way, so to speak. This is like when you are playing an instrument and if you start thinking about playing the instrument, then you will get in your own way and interfere with your own playing. It is aimless action, because if there was a goal that you need to aim at and hit, then you will develop anxiety about this goal. Zhuangzi made a point of this, where he writes about an archer who at first didn’t have anything to aim at. When there was nothing to aim at, the archer was happy and content with his being. He was practicing wu wei. But, then he set up a target and “got in his own way.” He was going against the Tao and the natural course of things by having to hit that goal.

A dramatic description of wu wei is found in chapter 2 of Zhuang Zi:

A fully achieved person is like a spirit! The great marshes could be set on fire, but she wouldn’t feel hot. The rivers in China could all freeze over, but she wouldn’t feel cold. Thunder could suddenly echo through the mountains, wind could cause a tsunami in the ocean, but she wouldn’t be startled. A person like that could ride through the sky on the floating clouds, straddle the sun and moon, and travel beyond the four seas. Neither death nor life can cause changes within her, and there’s little reason for her to even consider benefit or harm.

This passage is metaphorical. To a Taoist, things arise dependently. The soul and body go together, because if there were no soul, there would be no body and if there were no body, there would be no soul. All these arise dependently like this (this is the meaning of the Yin-Yang symbol; if there were no yin, there would be no yang and if there were no yang, there would be no yin). A person who follows the principle of wu wei thus realizes how ridiculous it is to cling to good and to obsessively stay away from evil. By realizing how things arise dependently, a Taoist is able to accept both the good and the bad. Because he is able to accept any outcome, he is then able to have no goal to aim at. When Zhuangzi is saying a fully achieved person is like a spirit, he is saying that a fully achieved person does not differentiate between good and evil, benefit and harm, and therefore is not concerned with them: his actions become one with the Tao and as such he leaves no trace of having acted, nor can the consequences of his actions affect him.

-wikipedia on the concept of wu wei.

Asia timeline till end of year

Here is a little timeline including some events that have already taken place:

  • July 7-21 Melissa and I toured Vietnam – including: Ho Chi Minh City/Sigon, Na Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hanoi, Sapa.
  • July 30-Aug 7th we went to Singapore to spend some time with my uncle who manages Asia Pacific for JMJ Associates. He’s great, learned about his business just hanging around there.
  • Aug 7th until December 18, Melissa will remain in Hong Kong (more on that in a sec).
  • Aug 7th – Sept 13th I’ll be in Hong Kong I’m going to take most of my time here working on personal projects, trying to meet as many interesting people as possible, see what the startup culture is like, and prepare for my upcoming studies.
  • September 13th until December 10th I’m enrolled at Beijing Language and Culture University for a short semester – 5 hours a day of Chinese language instruction and 1 hour of private tutoring per day. I’ll either be living in a dorm with a Chinese roommate or in a home stay. Either option will be fun.
  • After the new year there will likely be some time in Hong Kong to wrap things up, but the current plan is move up to Shanghai sometime in Jan or Feb and join the guys at 88 Spaces Coworking.

When are you coming to visit?! 🙂

It’s going to take awhile to get a grip on what’s going on in Asia overall, but I’m having fun figuring it all out. I really like it here (HK), I’m excited to study Chinese in Beijing, and I’m looking forward to working with Markus and Lucas on 88 Spaces in Shanghai.

When are you coming to visit?????

Startups in Hong Kong

I’m finally starting to settle in here in Hong Kong. Melissa has started her work at Interactive Brokers. Since there are no coworking spaces here(!), I’m working from a Starbucks.

I’ve started looking up Hong Kong startups, entrepreneurs, etc. to start meeting with. Here is what I’ve found so far:

  • Hong Kong Startup Association – This is really cool. Their about page has a list of Objectives. They are along the lines of what I see Startup District doing for Austin, once it’s officially functioning as a not for profit. It looks like HKSA is just getting off the ground, so I’m hoping to discuss with them how they will run the organization, how/if it’s funded, what real-world activities they will be hosting.
  • 852Signal – A tech blog run by Angus Lau covering web2.0 in Hong Kong. Would be cool to meet this guy.
  • Web Wednesday HK – Tech networking group started by Napoleon Biggs, I have a feeling they meet on Wednesdays… I’ll definitely hit this up.

Something I’ve noticed at a couple of these websites is that they have a list of the startups in Hong Kong on a side bar or on a separate page. Granted, it’s only about thirty names long, it’s a great thing to do.

I haven’t figured out what VC firms have a presence here. Or what they state of funding is.

Overall I’m a bit surprised more sites don’t come up when I search “hong kong startups” or “honk kong venture capital” or “early stage investing hong kong.” It does, however, make me appreciate how great AustinStartup.com is what I great job Bryan Menell has done over the years to keep up coverage in Austin.