My 2019 Retrospective

We spent most of our lives making money, and once we have enough, a new chapter of life begins.

“First, you get rich. Then, you get healthy. And lastly, you get peace.”

This year, I arrived at making enough. I found an equilibrium between my income and my desires. Now, I choose the job I want, with people I enjoy, when I want. And the ability to fire clients that I don’t enjoy working with.

This is by no means that I am wealthy or that I am flying business class. But neither do I want to.

“People living far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyles just can’t fathom."


(Previous retrospective: 2018)

What’s a retrospective?

A retrospective is when you look back on past events to identify what worked…and what didn’t work. A retrospective helps you celebrate your wins and identify your weaknesses. It helps you learn from the past and correct for the future.

How to do your own personal retrospective

To do a personal retrospective, you simply pick a particular project or time period and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s working? (“What did I do right? What am I proud of?”)
  • What’s not working? (“What could be improved? What are my biggest opportunities for growth?”)
  • How can I fix what’s not working for a better result? (“What specific things can I focus on next time?”)

Then you spend 15-30 minutes writing about each.

Bryan's 2019 Personal Retrospective


I found my stride in finances (And come to terms with the end state of my animation studio).​

  • I gave up growing Sage Animation. The business fulfilled it’s purpose for me to work remotely and get paid (enough) to explore other things. I learned that to grow the business (financially), the business become worse, losing it’s competitive advantage.
      • Created animation for big brandsOCBC, Epson and DHL.
      • Got on Google page 1 for most relevant keywords
      • 80% of sales are inbound through the web or referrals.
  • I saved my first $100K. And started an investment portfolio (retuning 12% since Feb 19′) using Ray Dalio’s All Weather portfolio.
  • I started contributing to my parents ($500 a month).

I started to explore what is art for myself (and what is the next project to take on).

I put work in searching and deepening relationships that I enjoy (And explored what I want in a romantic relationship).

  • I developed skills to make friends. I read books and took $2,000 online course (People School).
  • I host a monthly Documentary night to connect with friends.
  • I scheduled a giving hour every week where I give back to friends and people who I recently met.
    I explored what I want in a romantic relationship. (In defence of Junk Dating) I went on 35 dates – some didn’t worked and some became friends. I have learnt a lot here and will write more about this soon.
  • I checked-in to family therapy with my parent. We’ve been doing a monthly dinner but it doesn’t seem to move the needle. I’m very hopeful. More on that soon.
  • I fired a co-worker poorly. I reflected and wrote about it different: How to Fire People.

I doubled down on my physical health.

  • I got into the best shape of my adult life, from 86kg 73kg now. I wrote about it here:  Tools for Weight Loss.
    • I kicked the night snacking habit.
    • I prep delicious and healthy food weekly.
    • I kept the weight of 73kg for 3 months now.
  • I (might) have figured out the wrist issue – it’s a auto-immune condition, Spondyloarthritis (which can be keep at bay with modern medicine)
  • I adopted a daily movement practice (The Happy Body). It’s like yoga with weight. I do it every morning (even while traveling), and I feel better, every time.
  • I went on the Happy Body retreat in New York and got to meet the creator of the program, Aniela and Jerzy Gregorek. Bonus: I got to met Tim Ferriss (and passed him a thank-you note).


I need to get better with the relationship with my mum.

As I developed different interests and life philosophy, it diverges from my parents. This has cause us to drift apart, and without the emotional surplus of shared activities. We get into fights over small things. I find myself getting triggered, and am unable to give patience and empathy. 

I need to get to a reliable solution to the back and wrist issue.

The arthritis medication seems to work, but it’s not 100%. I still get wrist or back pain from time to time, which affects plans I made. I also can’t carry weight which hinders the improvement on my flexibility.

I need to develop a better framework for choosing projects.

As I’ve decided to stop growing the animation studio, it has freed up a lot of time. I came up with many options & ideas, but instead of picking one, I am stuck with the paradox of choice.


Action steps #1: visit a family therapist

Rationale: I’ve already tried to schedule in monthly dinner to hash out difficult topics. But the result are subpar. Two things, I think it’s the problem with the  messenger (me), not the message and I don’t know the process enough to lead. 

Action steps #2: track the days of the wrist pain (and find correlation)

Rationale: I can’t remember things accurately. And creating hypnosis out from bad data will cost more time than investing in a set of accurate data.

Action steps #3: create a decision matrix to evaluate projects

Rationale: Usually, I pick the project that I’m most excited about in the moment. This strategy leave me with many unfinished projects, as I hop from one to the other. A decision matrix would help in choosing, committing and finishing projects.

Well, that’s mine 2019. Now, what about you? What do you think is your biggest accomplishment last year? And what are areas that you would like to get better?

Send me a link if you ever got down to it. 

Work as hard as you can. Even though who you work with and what you work on are more important than how hard you work.


Thank you, Nate Green for inspiring the post.

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