Everyday, there are choices we can make: the lies we choose to believe and the actions we consequently take.

  1. If you’re somebody who is unemployed or underemployed (fully 82% of Americans as of Feb 2021*) you’re probably focused on yourself. Because you probably don’t feel you’re at the place you want to be.
    • So, you’re hard on yourself. You maybe say hateful things to yourself and strangers on the internet. Because it’s so not fair. Society did not set you up for successful. But you set yourself up for failure. As you did.
  2. If you’re somebody who’s made $$$ in major cities (likely in tech or banking, like myself), you probably feel more concerned about injustice. This is your country after all. You have the smarts and empathy.
    • So, you rally for social progress. You stand by #StopAsianHate. As you should.
  3. If you’re influencer, journalist, or business leader, you’re probably asking, how can I best engage my followers. You want to inspire, “be bold”, and take a stand.
    • So, you dish out your “impactful opinion” to your followers. And tell your story (for maximum heart-to-heart feels). You leave your mark on society. As you should.

Oh, the lies we tell ourselves.

  1. To the self-focus, self hating: You’re right, life isn’t it fair. We are all born with the mind and circumstances we have. More precisely, no one could have provided you with the possible lack of attention, discipline, structure and self-control that now controls your life. It’s all thanks to the internet.
    • So be kind to yourself. I’m here (tomwong.xyz/meet).
  2. To the well-paid coastal yuppie (like myself): Be self-aware (its hard to discern real and fake even for ourselves, when we all know how we must act) and kind to those you hate. There’s a poetic justice and privilege you (and I) feel and possess. But there too are then blindspots.
    • So be humble and have humility. Advocate love. Friends don’t let friends hate, either.
  3. To those with influence: Be kind to humanity. What you’re doing may be toxic to society. If you have a platform, you have an inherent bias: You know exactly what to say to play to your audience and that’s a problem.
    • So, spend 30 minutes to think over the inherent bias (of wanting to be liked). And consider not talking, if what you have to say is honestly vapid, pandering, and willfully ignorant. Stop, for the sake of everyone.

Over the course of the year, I want to communicate and figure ways to curb this nasty game of unintentional consequences. We keep doing self-destructive behavior onto ourselves, others, and society. It was only 31 days ago (April 1, 2021), I abruptly stopped the business I was building and published an (outdated) 2021 plan.

That was probably not a good idea, because I’m still figuring all this out. The more prudent thing to do would have been to simply state the faults I see in the way things are. And to outline the future I want to see. So that’s what I’m doing here.

 

You can see the full size outline here: The Choices We Make (click for the full-size image).

Note: The images (broken out) are included below, if the full-size image is too large to navigate.

The outline represents everything I wish to potentially cover (and actually contribute).

With the understanding of where I see problems today, I’ll express what I can practically do on my end (and maybe your end).

  • Try to spread compelling ideas.
    • My network is not big. But it’s something. They’re mostly well-paid Silicon Valley and New York liberals.
      • I hope I am able to spread “idea viruses” to them (hi, if it’s you). These are precisely the people who I wish to communicate. 
    • The very many topics to explore, including the fallibility of our mind (stories), language games (the difficulty of communication), and the ways to actually solve important issues (win-win society).
      • A lot of the practical solution includes love and make the world feel less hopeless (and lonely).
      • We truly do not understand nor are we able to control our own tunnel vision. Yes, meditation is a way to train the mind… but this may be insufficient…
  • Community-build and hypothesis test ways to solve problems (again, specifically addressing language and hopelessness, which roots so much of society’s issues).
    • There’s not much to say for now. As you may know, I’ve created subreddits /r/CommitToFriends, /r/AskFriends, /r/AskDepression, and more… These (or different communities) may be further fostered through the year.
      • I except to fail miserably for reasons that include the time constraints (and everything I want to try). But it is what it is. No wonder most people just stick with pretending to help by making a Substack (newsletter).
  • Make myself available to everyone for any reason. (tomwong.xyz/meet)
    • I am not above anyone. Everyone needs (or would like) somebody sometimes. This includes maybe racists who need to vent or a struggling academic who needs career advice.
  • Lead by example.
    • I am a publicly shy person. But I’ve grown over the years to also be a confident person. I know my heart is in the right place, and over the long-term (maybe too long, like 10 years), this will be clear.
    • I already know some people will weirdly think I’m doing all this for some kind of gain. I’m not. I get nothing, the potential stigma from future employers (when I’ll likely start looking again sometime in 2022) and past colleagues by publishing an Open Letter to Google has already caused me a good amount of stress. But I’m powering through. I truly think the opinion I share in my article is so important, it’s worth the alienation I’ve caused. Because if I don’t speak, who will? It’s been 5 years. Even if you disagree with what I write, please consider my opinion and maybe we can chat.
      • I’m an Asian liberal. But I’m not a political person. I’ve avoided any risk of offending in my 5 years at Google. Somehow, being able to speak openly about things has become political. It shouldn’t be. 90%+ of people believe in good-faith speaking (without fear), but somehow that’s taboo. That’s what friends (whom we don’t humiliate are for).
      • Vast majority of the times now, when people say “I’m not a political person”, it’s out of absolute fear of career and personal risks. How did we devolve to this? I’m not political either, but the ability to talk without fear matters. I will cease mentioning the importance of good-faith discussions for several months (at least), because it has such a bad smell to it. Which is so unfortunate.

As always, I’m open to feedback, disagreements, and whatnot. If it sounds like I’m stroking myself (my ego) too much, let me know too. That’s definitely not what I want… I know I can be stupid and wrong… But I always have a listening ear. My door’s always wide open (meet).

Again, you can see the full size chart here: The Choices We Make (click for the full-size image).

Here is an outline of it:

The rest of this is simply the outline, broken out (if the full-size is too difficult to navigate), in image and and text form.

The Choices We Make

A Template of Us (click for the full-size image)

A Template of Us

Our Unhopeful Present (click for the full-size image)

Our Zero-Sum Struggle: An Unhopeful Present

A Bright Future (click for the full-size image)

A Wholesome Prosperity: Our Bright Future

 

Here is the text version of my outline (though the image is a better representation).

 

Below is the text version of my outline (the present day vs the future I want to see). Again, I recommend you read from the image, but it’s up to you.

 

Our Zero-Sum Struggle

(The Present: Tit for Tat, Eye for Eye)

A Wholesome Prosperity

(A Good Future: An Expanding Economic Pie)

Perceptions & Realities The Lucky
Few (18%)
eg Techies, Bankers
The Worried
Many (82%)*
The Grateful Talents (30%) The Rising Many (70%)
Personal Wealth Up Flat Up Up
Mental Wellness Down Down Up Up
Social Network Up Flat Up Up
Professional Development Up Flat Up Up
Societal Outlook Down Down Up Up

 

 

Our Unhopeful Present

A choice to let our emotions (thereby, unintentional consequences) dictate our future.

A Bright Future

A deliberate collective choice for humility and love for everyone, even if it hurts.
Self-
Determine*
(Stories we tell
ourselves.)
Self-Inflict
(Excuses & unkind things we tell ourselves.)
Personal Growth
(Kind and forward-looking things we tell ourselves.)
Self-Deprecate
(Lost confidence in
humanity, government,
and ourselves.)

Self-Isolation
(Poor diet + exercise + mental
health, & loneliness
due to apps & internet.)
Confidence
(Belief in the people, the
powerful, and ourselves
for a better tomorrow.)

Harmony
(Healthy diet + exercise + mind,
sound personal relationships
balanced with the internet
to help us grow.)

Social Circle
(People who witness and
participate in our quests.)

Social Signals
(Identities we carry
from the people we follow)
Social Progress
(Character we’ve chosen, inclusive of those we hate..)
A Safe Space
(Place that select people can express certain views without fear..)

Filter Bubbles
(Our source of love,
hate, loneliness, and
0 social progress.)
A Friendly Forum
(Place that anyone can express
their whole selves without
fear of shame or retribution.)

Kind Algos & Influencers
(Tech companies &
Influencers work to
surface inspiring
thoughts that do not
amplify toxicity.)
Institutions
(Forces that damage
or help our journeys.
A Repressed Society
(Forces that desire money and chosen to pander.)
A Responsible Economy
(Forces that find ways to
make the pie bigger for everyday)
“The Great Filter”
(Willful ignorance & fear from the media & “leaders” that make it hopeless for civilizations to advance.)

Trump 2024*
(A reversal if
nothing changes.)
A Spirited Debate
(Media & leaders provide opinion,
analysis, and impact without
fear, pander or slander.)

A New Deal
(Rise in our standard of living
and available opportunities
eg universal basic income,
jobs or infrastructure bill.)
* There’s very little (or no) evidence of free-will (self-determination)…. but we need to believe we control our fate to flourish. So persist, but be kind to yourself.
** 82% Unemployed or Underemployed. New York Fed, Feb 2021
“The Great Filter” is a nod to the Fermi Paradox.
*** * This is an (apolitical) outlook based on our inability to communicate.

89% Not happy with US direction (Gallup, jan 2021).



Sources:

https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/college-labor-market/college-labor-market_unemployment.html#

https://news.gallup.com/poll/328778/satisfaction-early-january.aspx