Vincent Liu

The Doorman

Simpson’s Paradox

When data is broken down into categories, it’s possible that the data suggests contrary to what the aggregate data suggests. That teases out the confounding factor (whatever it is)

Stigler’s Law

No scientific discovery is named after the original discoverer

Plan the Night Before

I have tried to do a lifehack of planning out the next day every evening, and to spend some time reflecting about what I have accomplished at the end of each day. Surprisingly, this is harder than I thought.

Firstly, to sit down and recollect what I’ve done for the day, made be realise at times how little I’ve accomplished, or worse, that I’ve frittered away my time frivolously, something that I acutely feel ashamed of. I don’t have an easy remedy to stop that yet, but it’s just good to have a sobering look at the reality. At this point, I would rather have the humiliation, than to be mindlessly unaware, and come to regret it later. Time lost, is truly not something that can be regained.

Secondly, it has been difficult to give myself time to just put everything else down, sit and think about what I have done today, and on what to do tomorrow. Modern life just has too many distractions that take my attention away. Other days, fatigue sets in, surprisingly makes it all the more difficult – all my mind wants to do is to vegetate in front of a screen and watch some Youtube videos.

This is all work-in-progress, but I am increasingly aware how big of a challenge it is – not sure if I’d actually improve, but at least I’m measuring and trying to improve on my track record.


Momentum is essential.

“When you experience positive momentum, you’ll never want it to stop.”

I relate to this personally. When establishing a new positive habit, it’s typically hard going at the beginning. Over time, you ease into it, give and take. There are days in which you will regress, but the key point is to acknowledge that regressions happen, but to follow-up, and not give up because of it.

People who have experienced this first mental shift care about momentum.

Being without momentum is rough. It’s how we normally live lives – on auto-pilot.

Without momentum, making lasting change will require way much more effort, and willpower.

Consistency and habit-formation is key in establishing momentum. Over time, the new auto-pilot behaviour will take over, and it would seem effortless.

I establish my habits by daily journal and review. I see the days that I’m moving backwards, but I keep myself accountable by acknowledging that and try again tomorrow. Sometimes, it takes days, even weeks before you get back after falling off the bandwagon, but keep at it. It will improve, as long as you don’t give up.

Confidence and Performance

Confidence doesn’t lead to high performance. Rather, confidence is a byproduct of previous performance.

I read another article along those lines from a college basketball coach, and the point made resonated with me. Again, it’s one of those proses that I couldn’t say better myself, and got lost until I got this quote off a business article lately.

Filing this as a reminder to self.

Introverts, Extroverts

Somehow, it wasn’t straightforward to figure out a defintion of an Introvert and an Extrovert. It was easy to conflate behaviours of shyness, asociality, brashness, showiness with actual internal states of mind. The definitions I’ve appropriated somewhere else sums it up better than I can:

Introverts reflect more, Extroverts experience more.

Tidy Up at the End of Each Day

Set aside 10 minutes each day before finishing to organise my desk.

It sounds easy, but personally, it’s still a difficult habit. At the end of most days, my head is rather frazzled and disorganized to remember this to do so. Also, when dealing with cleanups with computer tasks, it’s easy to get distracted and forget about what to clean, when to stop and pack up.

In addition, stopping is not a fixed time where I can anchor the behaviour to a wall-clock time – it’s typically very possible to end up working so late that it’s easy to bypass this habit and head straight off home.

However, it shouldn’t be such a difficult thing to do, and in fact it shouldn’t take me no more than 5 minutes.

I should also make a checklist of what to do for cleaning up at the end of the day. That way I won’t forget or have to expend more mental energy to remember what needs to be done.

Jewish Joke?

*Q:* “What do you think of the government?”

*A:* “Same way as I think of my wife,”

*Q:* "How so?"

*A:* “I love the government. I fear the government... and I want another government!”

Eat a Frog in the Morning

Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day” – Mark Twain

It is not easy to find a live frog to eat every morning (thankfully!), but there will always be unpleasant things (and waaaay more beneficial) to do that will make the rest of your day less ‘bad’.

Take exercise. It used to be a daily morning ritual, until I had to move house; it’s certainly unpleasant to be awake at 6.30am, especially if you had a late night out, and be working out while you’re groggy and sleepy. But, it does make your social life a little easier than having to go work out in the evening.

As an advice, it does not translate to everyday work. Not all days have unpleasant work and some work can span across days. For me, mornings are also times when I have the best focus – it has to be spent on important work, not things that I wouldn’t want to do.

Some gurus promote this as a productivity life hack; I wouldn’t say this can practically be done daily for all forms of work, or would have the efficacy that can be applied on a consistent, daily basis.

How Does Louder Make It Any More True?

‘Huat Ah!’, is a common vernacular heard during Chinese New Year. It literally means “to sprout”, or loosely means to be able to gain good fortune, usually with an expectation that it will be a sudden and massive amount of wealth attained.

It’s an annoying superstition/custom, given that people would shout it out at the top of their voices, repeatedly. It is as if the loudness and repetitions would somehow translate to an increasing probability or magnitude of it happening!

The wishful-ness of ‘something for nothing’ still runs strong in this country.