What I Started Caring Much More About As I Got Older
Is there anything that you started to care and worry about more as you got closer to 30 years old? This is the question I was asked recently by a younger team member in our company. When I heard the question, my response came without hesitation. It was regret. Or more accurately, not living and having a life full of regrets. This is what started to matter to me more as I got older.
Pursuing a life of comfort and ease
Yes, regret. Actually, I began worrying about having regrets in life when I was in my late 20s. I was living a very good, very comfortable life then. I worked for Mattel, and designed toys for a living. How cool is that? I was doing well in my job and getting regular promotions. I had a great boss and worked with great people.
I also had a great lifestyle. I lived in Los Angeles, about 5km from the ocean. Got off work at 4:30pm every day. Played tennis, biked along the beach, went to happy hours almost every day. Had lots of time to just hang out with friends. When I got home, I’d sit in front of the TV until I fell asleep. Every day was like this. The first couple years, it felt great. I was independent. Had a lot of freedom to do whatever I wanted. Felt very little stress or pressure in my life. I felt that I was living the life!
Being less than you are isn’t a great feeling
But then gradually, something began to happen. Every year that went by began to look and feel exactly like the one before. And deep down, my life began to feel empty. And I began to feel unhappy about myself.
And the reason is because I knew that I was living my life without any courage or passion. Everything I did was safe and in my comfort zone. Everything in my life was familiar and comfortable. I rarely challenged myself. I rarely applied my talent or energy to my job. All I sought was easy and fun.
I know that sounds great. But when deep down you know that you’re living a life that’s much less that what you could be and should be, it’s hard to feel good about yourself. It’s hard to ignore the feeling that you’re wasting your potential and taking for granted your good fortune. Living my life in this way is something that I knew I’d regret later on. That’s the road I was traveling down. And that began to worry me a lot.
Living your life with purpose and passion feels much better
So that’s why I encourage and try to help young people to pursue their passion. Because regret is a difficult thing to deal with as you get older. And one of the biggest things that people end up regretting is living a life that’s much less than what they know in their heart they have the ability to achieve.
幸运的是，当时的我意识到了这点，我开始改变看待生活的视角，去追求我生命中的一切可能。我辞去了这个我没有任何激情的工作，跳出了我的舒适区，回到学校读MBA，并开始我新的职业生涯。我来到台北，发现我喜欢帮助人们去追求他们的职业目标或取得事业的成功，于是我创办了自己的招聘公司：Wang&Li Asia Resources。然后我又去了香港，写了第一本有关职业规划的书。之后，我又去了上海、北京，先后写了两本相同类别的书。
I was lucky. I was able to recognize this back then and change how I viewed and pursued everything in my life. I quit my comfortable job that I had no real feeling for. I jumped out of my comfort zone. Went back to school to get an MBA. Began pursuing a business career. I moved to Taipei. Discovered my passion for helping people to pursue and achieve their career objectives and success. Started my own company, a recruitment firm, Wang & Li Asia Resources. Then moved to Hong Kong. Wrote my first book about career development. Moved to Shanghai, then Beijing. Wrote two more career development books.
Today, I live in Shanghai again. Last year, I launched my second company, a website that provides very practical, high quality career advice and encouragement. I hope it can become the Go-To Website For Career Guidance And Inspiration for many people in this market.
If you ask me today how I view my life, I can’t claim that I’ve achieved everything I set out to do. I’ve had big ups and downs. And big disappointments. But I live my life with passion and purpose. Every day and everything I do matters to me. That feels good. I’m doing what I really want to do and care about. And I can honestly say, no regrets.
Is there anything that you started to care and worry about more as you got closer to 30?