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Notes From a Time Capsule: 3 Insights from CEOs

It’s good advice from great people: check out these three quotes to help you make smarter moves while you’re still young.


I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a powerful quote. Particularly when it’s an answer to the question, “If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?” And if that quote comes from a power player in the business world, so much the better.

With that in mind, here are my favourite pieces of sage advice from three industry tycoons. Until time travel is invented (any day now, right?), I’ll settle for learning from these people and living smarter now — before I’m too old to regret it.


Wisdom in Uncertainty

Spiritual guru and co-founder of the Chopra Centre for Wellbeing,Deepak Chopra, recalls that when he was young his future seemed incredibly bright — until he lost his medical fellowship and had a young wife and baby to support.

It was a troubling time for him: “I thought security was my friend and uncertainty my enemy.” As an older man, he realised the opposite is true.

“If only I knew then, as I know now, that there is wisdom in uncertainty — it opens a door to the unknown, and only from the unknown can life be renewed constantly.”

My take: Certainty is safe, sure, but it can also be limiting. Living each day not knowing what is around the corner is exactly what life is about — enjoy your rollercoaster ride into the unknown.


Put in the Hours

You know you’ve made it big when you rise to the enviable position of naming a company after yourself. Enter Rachel Zoe, the CEO of fashion brand Rachel Zoe, Inc. This former stylist doesn’t just boast brains and beauty — but a strong work ethic too.

“No one told me this, but I instinctively figured it out on my own: never pay mind to the clock,” she says. “When you are first starting out at a job (and even when you are settled into a company), stay as late as you can and also always be the first person to work in the morning,” she advises.

“This is obviously easier to do if you love your job — but even if you are in an assistant or entry-level role, you must understand that putting in the extra time will move you closer to what you want to do.”

My take: Putting in long hours isn’t just hard work for the sake of it — nor should it be done solely to claw your way up the ladder. For me, working long hours is a continuous acidtest that helps me answer the question: is this what I want to do? And if working overtime fills you with dread, consider a change of career. If you can happily plug away at a presentationover a holiday, you may have found your niche.


Spend Your Money Wisely

Despite Chopra’s wisdom, I have a tendency to put much of my money aside for a rainy day. Which is great up to a point, but us scepticalmillennials need to remind ourselves to have fun, too.

Hence this prompt from Dominik S. Richter, the founder of food delivery start-up HelloFresh, resonates with me: “Don't buy stuff with the little money you have, spend it on experiences instead. There is so much stuff that one can only do at certain stages of their lives,” he notes. “Make sure you take full advantage of this.”

My take: One memorable holiday a year will always beat blowing my salary on high-grade wireless headphones and videogames. Even if the box set is the unforgettable Breaking Bad!


Final Thoughts

There are hundreds of clever quotes and anecdotes out there, so it’s about finding the ones that resonate with you. Whichever words of wisdom become your mantra, hopefully they help you continually ask: what can I do now to ensure I don’t have regrets later?


WRITTEN BY:

Kenny Loh

About Keith Lim

Keith is on the FRANK team at OCBC. He enjoys taking long walks, watching movies in bed, and instagramming every now and then. You can find him @fivefreeminutes.