22 September 2013

6.5 years, this blog is storming!

Well, well, well. What started as a simple blog to jot down ideas has turned into something that has lasted longer than my comedy career! Go figure!

So we're into the long weekend of Mid-Autumn festival and guess what! We're expecting a crazy typhoon Usagi in HK! I'd post a satellite image of the typhoon but that's pretty pointless because it means nothing looking at it. What is more meaningful is an image like this:
Nothing makes people in HK more excited than the potential of having a day off because of a typhoon and imagine this, we already had Friday off because of Mid-Autumn Festival and to have Monday off as well would be nuts! Then again, when you're self-employed, it doesn't exactly work that way...but still a holiday!

So the last 2 days have allowed me to take some time to both rest and breathe a bit and also just live a little. I mean, life has been in the fast lane for the last few months I haven't had a chance to just take a long moment to absorb the world around me. I must say, now that my comedy career and web design work is flowing well, it's more about keeping the engine running smooth and just driving rather than worry about making sure I have enough gas in my tank. What I've found is after being busy, busy, busy for so long, I've learned to better buffer myself and also squeeze out more with my time. Speaking of squeezing out more, my lovely building will finally upgrade to Fiber-to-the-home broadband! In October, I'll be able to finally enjoy 300M broadband speeds and boy will that change a tonne about how I work. I've always had to limit myself to how much I take advantage of the cloud for back up work and file-syncing but now with this, things are soooo going to change. And it comes in great time! I'm going to be flying to Singapore in October and have gigs in Macau and Kuala Lumpur in November and I could sure use the ability to get my files and stuff from the cloud rather than my portable drive and laptop. Heck, at least I'll be able to stream my music from home while I'm away! :)

So I've been spending a lot of time and effort trying to promote my Chinese stand-up comedy group Viveknfriends and I must say, it has proved to be quite the challenge. I've turned from just comedian/headliner to comedian/headliner/promoter and well I have to admit it, it's proving to be quite tough. What I've learned is that the culture of stand up comedy is quite limited for locals in Hong Kong. I mean, sure most of them have heard of the famous celebrities like Dayo Wong and Michael Hui and these guys deserve their fame for all their hard work and contribution to the world of comedy. However, what I've found is that when you introduce a new culture to people, if you're not using TV-celebrity-ness, or performing at a very grand-level (ie. at the HK Coliseum), it's hard to convince people to give your show a shot. I don't blame it on HK people, I think it's more about how HK has so many options. I mean, if someone came up to me and said "hey, come to our show, we've had great reviews!", no matter what, I'd still need to think about it simply because in HK, for every decision you make, the sunk opportunity cost is to big! I mean literally, if you decide to go do something, you are giving up the chance to do a lot of other things and thus, you want to make sure you're making the best decision and you often end up suffering analysis paralysis and end up doing nothing.

As much as I read books and people tell me to keep things simple and don't over-think stuff, it's very difficult to decide to do something without thinking of all the alternatives. Heck, even going out for dinner has to be compared to just sitting at home and relaxing.

And this brings me to a good finding for myself. I've come to realize, a lot of times when I stress myself out, it's because I often worry about my sunk opportunity cost coming to haunt me later on. For example, if I decide to be lazy and just watch a movie tonight, at the back of my head, I'm thinking "yeah, but what if I run out of time tomorrow to finish my work? Then I'll hate myself for being lazy tonight!" and I must say, it's a weird thing because I've developed this sort of self-discipline that has become part of my nature and expectation of others. I mean, I understand when you're just not in the mood for work, but it's getting difficult for me to understand people who just can't be bothered to do what they should do. I mean, I get it, it's like I have this obsessive need to finish my work like someone has this obsessive need to keep their house clean, but isn't this a good thing? I mean, sure it makes me borderline workaholic, but what I've found is, once I've finished my work (which is rare), and I have spare time, I literally want to reward the heck out of myself (usually in the form of a kick-ass workout or some serious computer-gaming). So in a way, I've created the dangling carrot for myself where I so crave that feeling is job done that I just want to do my stuff already, even if I know I could procrastinate and do it tomorrow. Don't get me wrong, I still procrastinate big time, but I usually procrastinate with other work that needs to be done.

What's cool is after 6.5 years of writing this, I still remember the lessons I learned when I first began this blog. I think things haven't become rigid but are more efficient to the point it's not so much about squeezing every ounce of every second I have, but it's more about making sure whatever I'm squeezing is the right thing to squeeze. It's not so much about making sure the ship is sailing and properly fueled and moving safely, it's about making sure the angle it's going at is the right one because for ever 1 degree error I make now, it'll compound into a big difference later on. This, I have to say, is the grey area that I need to master better. Who knows, maybe 6.5 years later I will? ;)

Update: You may have noticed strike-through's over the word sunk. I was corrected by a friend that I had the term opportunity cost and sunk cost mixed up. I bet my economics teacher is having a good laugh now ;)