William Liao

October 17, 2021

Tomorrow's worries

5 days before a vacation with friends was set to conclude, I remember speaking with one of my friends about what time we should head to the airport when the trip is over. Another friend who overheard our discussion remarked: “it’s too early to be spending time worrying about this, let’s figure it out in a few days.” As someone who like...
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October 15, 2021

Failure as fuel

Every failure is an opportunity to learn. Every lesson learned is a moment of growth. Every time you grow, you increase your chance of succeeding in whatever it is you’re pursuing. Failure, when leveraged, is merely a synonym for growth. Having said that… Some days, you will be able to champion failure and get value from it. Other days...
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October 15, 2021

Stepping away from the problem

Feeling stuck? Step away from the problem. Running out of ideas? Step away from the problem. Exhausted and frustrated? Step away from the problem. There’s plenty of research in favor of stepping away from a problem, relaxing your attention, and allowing the mind to wander. Some key benefits include increased creativity, enhanced learni...
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October 13, 2021

Where more ≠ more

In a factory, your output is directly proportional to your input. More time = more widgets. This is not true for knowledge work: More time awake does not always equal more productivity — in fact, it can lead to the opposite. More effort does not always equal more results — again, it can lead to quite the opposite. Jerry Lee posted a po...
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October 12, 2021

Kuai Kuai

Last April, BBC wrote about how my favorite Taiwanese snack, Kuai Kuai (乖乖), became a cultural phenomenon. Kuai Kuai, which translates to “behave” or “good behavior” in both Mandarin and Taiwanese, isn’t just popular for how good it tastes. Packages of the beloved corn snack are also thought to be powerful good luck charms that ensure ...
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October 12, 2021

Work small, create value, iterate

Change at any scale can be hard. Here are three practices to help manage it: 1. Work small: break down big changes into small, well-defined steps. 2. Create value: make it clear to each stakeholder how the proposed changes map to their values. The more value they see, the stronger the advocate they’ll be for changing. 3. Iterate with f...
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October 10, 2021

You are always learning

When something doesn’t work: that’s new information about what isn’t effective, what to try differently, and what not to do next time. When something does work: that’s new information about what is effective, what to pursue further, and what may be worth trying again. Success, or “failure” — unexpected or as planned — each observation ...
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October 10, 2021

What' the best that could happen?

When you ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen?”, your mind skews towards fear. When you ask yourself “what’s the best that could happen?”, your mind skews towards possibility. Before making a pivotal decision, seek to have the full balance of both perspectives. Don’t just fear the worst; be equally intrigued by what’s possi...
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October 8, 2021

Take off your shoes

A colleague I used to work with had a reputation of asking three questions at the beginning of every meeting: 1. “How are you doing?” He was very good at reading people and if he sensed that you were giving a canned response, he’d immediately follow up with: “How are you doing really?” 2. “What do you need to be successful?” 3. “How ca...
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October 8, 2021

Keep moving forward

Change happens over time, not in a day. Celebrate the good days. Be kind to yourself on the rough days. Don’t over-index on either, and remember these 3 words: keep moving forward. In the long run, consistency > intensity.
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