Orchard Lab

A place to share my thoughts and learnings

Next Journey

Posted at — Dec 2, 2022


I promised to share what will be my next journey. But before that, I want to share 3 personal stories.

Story 1

In 2015, while I was living in Foster City Bay Area, I met my neighbor Robin. At that time, I started running on and off, but unfortunately in the every possible wrong way (this simple sport seems not simple at all). Turns out he’s a seasoned ultra and sub-3 marathon runner, most importantly, he’s patient and willing to guide me through.

He invited me to the BURN running community, started coaching me on how to run the first marathon (The longest distance I ran before that was 5k). He made plans for my 3 months training, check-in after every hard workout, helped me through the injured times and how to recover from it.

Eventually, in the December CIM (California International Marathon) race, he paced me the whole race, and I finished in 3 hours 17 minutes. I can’t even possibly think of finishing 26.2 miles for the first year of running, not even to mention under 3:30!

Story 2

At the beginning of this year. My son Aaron saw I had a brand-new notebook (LEUCHTTURM 1917) sitting on my bookshelf. He asked me whether he can have it. I thought this would be a great way to nudge him to start journaling, also an opportunity for me to journal more often (which I only do one or two times per week). So I created a little challenge with him.

The rule is if he can journal 30 days in a streak, then the notebook would be his; at the same time, I will start journaling with him as well, if I skip any day, the notebook will also belong to him. So while giving me some motivation, it also makes the challenge a little more fun.

Fast-forward to now, Aaron finished his 30 days streak (even on his sick days), he is still journaling now and then when finding interesting things or back from a family trip, he got his notebook of course. For me, I journaled every single day since that. Its Aaron helped me “installed” this micro habit which I don’t even need to think about it before bed now.

Aaron not feeling good journal

Story 3

I’ve always wanted to start blogging again (last time was still in college). But always put it off for all kinds of reasons. In James Clear’s book Atomic Habits, he shared that he’s making bets with his friends to encourage himself to build the habits. So I thought to give it a try. Then I sent this message to my friend Jason on Telegram on Jan 25, 2022.

I will write 5 articles by end of Feb 10, and published it. Otherwise I will give Jason Lin 1000 dollars.

Yes, I finished 5 articles before Feb 10 (Cause this guy published the message to LinkedIn, which turns it into a thing not about money but pride).

But I still vividly remember, after the 3rd article, I felt like running out of steam. I don’t think I would have finished the last 2 posts if there weren’t someone out there expecting the writings from me (and the 1000 dollars, and the post).

Connecting the dots

Maybe these stories seem random to you, but to me, they are all connected, showing the importance of human relations, the importance of even simple message check-ins with real human beings once in a while.

As people working in software and technology, all the time, often over-estimate the power of machines and under-estimate the power of human beings. At least that’s something blinded me for such a long time.

Forgot about all the apps, websites, fancy tools, it’s only taking another human being to transform yourself, even if (especially) if it’s a kid.

I am happy to start my next journey at BetterUp, which I believe, could help more people transform themselves through other human beings. No matter if BetterUp can success or not, but at least, we can redirect some attention to human relationships, not just technologies.