Ashton Kutcher Taught Me

I have to be honest, I always found Ashton to be a silly actor ever since “That’s 70s Show”.  Unbeknownst to me, he worked hard to get the opportunities he has had. Someone shared this video (min 1:30) on Facebook and I found it insightful.  He mentioned 2 ideas that helped me reflect on my experiences.

Opportunity looks a lot like work.

I never planned to be an actuary.  I never thought I would be living outside of my home country.  I never expected to be away from family and friends.  And yet, here I am.  The whole process started years ago back when I was playing baseball for my country.  Being able to cope with my current situation requires independence, self-confidence, resilience, and self-awareness.  And I got to practice all these items throughout the 9 years I played baseball daily.

  • The daily 4 hour commitment taught me discipline.
  • Being an extracurricular activity taught me the balance of fun and work (schoolwork).
  • Competing for a spot on the roster taught me self-confidence and perseverance.
  • Fending for myself showed me the value of independence.
  • Traveling with the team help me cope with being away from home.

And the list goes on.  The road wasn’t easy, but in hindsight, it gave me the skills I needed to be able to take advantage of studying abroad, finding a job, and surviving the challenges of a career away from home in a totally different culture.

Build it Not Live It

This lesson I learned 2-3 years ago.  It’s what started my leadership journey.  It was a time where I let my circumstances dictate my life.  I was at work all the time, I worried about my team, the deadlines, the customers, the projects not done, and the stressful environment.  I had too many masters and wasn’t happy.  After a nervous breakdown, hitting bottom, and a lot of reflection, I finally accepted I needed to take control.

These series of event taught me that life wasn’t about fulfilling the expectations of the world but following a path built by passions, dreams, and values.  I realized that true happiness was more about finding a way to express what I valued most with the actions taken.  After reaching this conclusion, I realized:

  • Success and significance are a byproduct of being consistent with what I value most.
  • My environment and job are just the playground to create my master piece.
  • Once I know my values it is easy to say no.
  • Happiness is personal and subjective; it’s not define by the world but by achieving my potential.
  • At the end of the day, I control who I am and want to be.

I leave you with this quote by Winston Churchill: “There comes a special moment in everyone’s life, a moment for which that person was born. That special opportunity, when he seizes it, will fulfill his mission—a mission for which he is uniquely qualified. In that moment he finds greatness. It is his finest hour.”


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