4 min read

My life from birth to 23

It’s been my goal to publish something everyday.

I like the idea of using a blog as a self-invention tool. But I’m so stuck on the mindset that it’s a self-promotion tool… That I never publish anything I don’t think be useful to you.

But I don’t think it’s possible to do that every single day. Unless I just regurgitate things I learn from books. I don’t want to do that. I’d rather link to them.

But I gotta publish something. Just because I want to. To start, here’s my life from birth to today, at 23 years old. It’s not written to help you accomplish specific things.

I hope you enjoy this piece anyway. And maybe even learn a few things.


  • I was born.


  • Mastered the multiplication table at 4 years old. Because my mom was rewarding my 7-year old sister every time she memorizes one table. I wanted ice cream too.


  • Got zero items right on an achievement test on addition. Because I multiplied everything. Teacher let me pass anyway.


  • Discovered Archie comics. The foundation of my reading and writing English.


  • Started competing in interschool Math competitions. Wow, I enjoy hanging out with people smarter than me.


  • Read Harry Potter. Fell in love with reading.


  • Spent most of grade school reading Judith McNaught novels.
  • I theorize this shaped my character forever: I wanted to be like the heroines in the novels. A woman who was fiercely independent. Guarded to most, except for very few, special people. Defies expectations.


  • Cried out of joy in an airplane. I qualified to compete in international math competitions. Something I’ve been failing to do for 5 years.
  • Realized being the dumbest person in the room is a good thing.


  • Spent the summer training with the smartest Math geniuses in the Philippines
  • First international math competition in China. Only award my team won was “most friendly.” Oh well.


  • College.
  • Got fat.


  • Getting fatter.
  • Tried jogging. It sucked.


  • Ran for student politics. Got cold feet.
  • Lobbied for everyone NOT to vote for me. Did not vote for myself. Won anyway.
  • Did not enjoy it.
  • Tried vegetarian diet. Fruits diet. Boxing. P90X. Insanity. Zumba. TRX. Other things I’m forgetting. Nothing fucking works.


  • Almost gave in again to peer pressure. This time, for student council president. Filed for candidacy.
  • Made a very public withdrawal.
  • Learned you shouldn’t do things just because people want you to. It’s OK to disappoint people. It’s OK to change your mind. One year later, you’ll see it’s not a big deal. You don’t have to do stuff, especially if they make you miserable.
  • Discovered NerdFitness and Paleo. It works!

March 2012

  • Graduated magna cum laude, a hard-won achievement.
  • I needed a perfect grade in all my subjects. And all my professors historically do not give out perfect grades. At the beginning of the semester, I told them the grade I need. I asked what I had to do to get it. Throughout the semester, I checked in with them on my progress.
  • Discovered the recipe for doing anything you want.
    • Be very clear about what you want.
    • Let stakeholders know you want it. Ask what you need to do to get it.
    • Do the work.
    • Follow up on your progress regularly.
    • Win.
  • Communication is equally (if not more) important than being able and doing the work. Set and manage expectations.

May 2012

  • Got my first job as an international management consultant. Without applying.
  • Got my first moneyz.

August-October 2012

  • As a benefit of my job, I got to travel around the United States (Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, California, New York, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota, Florida)
  • Monday morning flights with consultants and investment bankers. I see most of them are rich, fat, and miserable.
  • This is not who I want to be when I grow up.

May 2013

  • Quit my comfy job with a vague plan to be a freelance copywriter, a job I could do from anywhere in the world.
  • Got a lot of crap for trying to do my own thing without any experience. Tried not to care.
  • Joined Location Rebel.

June 2013

  • I will spend 3 months studying copywriting (i.e. reading about it)
  • Everything I knew about learning was wrong. I’d always thought I would do excellently in life because I was smart. But you learn and achieve by doing, not by reading. Being able to comprehend is not enough.
  • If you’re intelligent, beware the cleverness disease.

July 2013

  • Feeling stressed out about money not coming in.
  • Started SEO writing. Got my first $ online: $7/article. I loved it.
  • Quit after 1 month. I needed to experience earning money online… But I could do better than this.

Aug 2013

  • Emailed Sebastian Marshall, my biggest online hero.
  • He offered to get on the phone. Felt TERRIFIED and almost didn’t follow through.
  • I followed through anyway. Life has not been the same ever since.
  • Writing for $45/article now.

Sept 2013

  • Entered Damn Fine Words (business copywriting course worth $1400) scholarship contest. With her big audience on Men With Pens, I doubt I’d win.
  • I won.
  • Freelance copywriter now.

October 2013

  • Now I’m an online direct marketing consultant.
  • Got a $1000 email autoresponder project.

December 2013

  • Read Running Lean and discovered Lean Startup.
  • I was spending too much time (months) studying marketing and copywriting, before selling my services. How do I apply Lean methodology to services?

March 2014

  • Realized I didn’t enjoy working with clients as a freelancer.

April 2014

  • Started a “Cambodia Cash” business, Location Asia.
  • Even though I didn’t know shit about booking flights, lifestyle, or traveling in Asia. Thinking Lean now.

May 2014

  • Pitched Kevin Dewalt, founder of SoHelpful, on “analytics services” to test a business idea. Didn’t know crap about analytics, but also didn’t want to waste time studying something I can’t sell.
  • Copied and pasted sales copy from an analytics book, emailed him “I’ll do this for you, will you hire me?”
  • He said yes.

June 2014

  • Location Asia on track to do five figures.
  • Saw SoHelpful as a rocket ship. I fired my clients and joined SoHelpful full-time as a marketer.
  • Got a lot of crap from entrepreneurs because I “quit” my business.

August 2014

  • Today.

Life is good. I have never felt more sure that my life is on track.

If you have any thoughts and questions (i.e. be more specific about how I did certain things), I’d love if you leave a comment :)