Winding down June.

Hello, and happy Monday.

I’ve decided to get back on the writing grind. I send out a newsletter every Monday at 9:00 AM Eastern Time.

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Follow me and you’ll receive #chinalife, tech analysis, digressions on running 350 kilometers in a single month, and general musings. You’ll get them ALL, in small Jamesian doses.

I’m done with trying to put my writing into a tiny little box. I’m done with trying to just be “the tech guy” or “the Magic: The Gathering guy” or “the startup entrepreneur.” I belong to three cultures: Canada, Mainland China and Taiwan.

I am all of these things. Hopefully you will enjoy what I have to say. Carry on.

Winding down June.

It’s never great to “wish” a time period away, because life is short to begin with. All those days or weeks we thought we hated? We’d probably want them back when we’re lying on our deathbeds.

I’ve written about fully leaning into commitment, or being locked down, or dealing with adversity of some sort.

Life is about progress, and progress is hardly ever a straight line. Suffering can build character—not always—but there are surprising outcomes.

It could all just be our brains creating a narrative for us, but I don’t think so. At least, not every single time.

Having written all that, June was certainly a mixed bag for me.

The lockdown in Shanghai continues, and uncertainty does things to the human mind. I don’t love it. Or at least, I don’t love it for extended periods.

June has been phenomenal for me in a professional sense, though. I’ve been re-focusing my role at my startup to play into my strengths. There was an event in May that triggered my desire to re-connect with the best parts of my professional self.

I’m blessed to have colleagues who are highly supportive of my transition. For that, I’m grateful to them. I’m also grateful to myself for taking the initiative.

There is a wariness and caution I feel about the above, though. It nags away at me.

I believe that the times where I behaved like a “know-it-all” and not a “learn-it-all” have been detrimental to my professional growth.

Even as I feel more comfortable and confident in my new role, I’m reminding myself of the important things:

Don’t act entitled.

Don’t get cocky.

Don’t assume I don’t have blind spots.

Don’t be a know-it-all.

There are always things to learn from other people, from all walks of life.

In the end, it’s useless to act entitled and holier-than-thou. It’s impractical.

If I don’t get the rest of the company to buy into what I believe to be “right,” then I’ve still failed.

My general fear in life is that I take two steps forward and three steps back. One setback reverts progress and I feel shitty.

But really, what does it matter? It’s just the inner voice in my head.

I’m trying hard to lean into the philosophy of life isn’t a straight line.

Just a temporary setback. Carry on.

Easier said than internalized. Hopefully, sharing my thoughts with you, dear reader, will be valuable.

It builds accountability, and it reminds.

Allow me to end this on a positive note:

My interview podcast, Humans of Magic, has been a glorious lifeline during Shanghai lockdown season. I’ve had incredible conversations over the past three months with some great people.

I never thought I’d be just as excited to sit down with a guest, today, as I did when I started six years ago.

Every conversation is a treasure and moment in itself. I take nothing for granted.

I believe the best is yet to come in terms of my creative projects. I haven’t peaked and that’s a great vibe.

Looking forward to July and all the craziness that it brings.

Take care of yourself, and be well.


To get my writing in your mailbox every Monday, subscribe to the mailing list. Much obliged.

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