A Reflection on the Toronto-Based Networking Event: Tofu

This evening I went out to a networking event for the young professional Asian/Chinese community in Toronto. It’s called Tofu and was organized by a friend of of a friend. For all those interested, you can find the facebook group here.

What struck me the most when I went was the homogeneity of people it attracted. While they were 95% Asian (with most being Chinese), to be certain, there was a good range of age groups that were there from the fresh college grad to the mid level managers in the late 30’s, a range of professions, and there was a decent ratio of men and women. But that’s not what I mean when I say the homogeneity of the group.

What I mean is the fact that almost all of the people who I networked with and spoke to seemed to be “stuck” in life. Stuck in the sense that they were in a job that they didn’t like, were at a stage in their life that they didn’t like, and were looking for something, anything to help them get through their mundane week. What’s worse, you could tell that they had lost the fire in their eyes, their passion for life, and the desire to succeed. It was apparent the moment I tried engage them in conversation. It was as they accepted the fate that life has given them, not knowing that they were the ultimate arbiters of their destiny.

And while there was one person who genuinely had a yearning for something different, it was as if he wasn’t quite sure what to do or how to get “unstuck”. I applaud him for taking the first step in coming out to this networking event, but personally, I wouldn’t look to this group for inspiration, motivation, or to be a role model for me in the future.

The other thing that I didn’t quite get was the fact that there were so many people at this event – by my guess, there were at least 50 people at this event. It even got so loud that I was practically screaming to be heard over the voices of everyone else. Maybe these people came for the sake of coming, because it was something for them to do, maybe they had othe intentions, or maybe they had other reasons; either way I was quite impressed by how big of a turnout there was.

Another interesting theme of the evening was the fact that many of them seemed to clamm up and be evasive when I asked them about thir job or about their hobbies in life. One person even said flat out to me “my life is quite boring actually”. And when I asked him what he wanted to do about it, he said “I don’t know”. And then the conversation died. And then I went on to talk to someone else instead of him.

But the point of this post and this experience is that it made me realize that there are a lot of people like that out there who are completely unsatisfied in life and who have few (if any) goals, limited ambitions, and almost no drive, or initiative to guide their life. They are completely reactive to the circumstances that happen to fall upon them. They react to whatever life throws at them and unfortunately more times than not, things don’t turn out the way they want or expect.

Reflecting on this experience, it has intensified my desire to be successful and reach my goals. As an entrepreneur, I am in charge of my destiny and have the ability to shape my future. I will not settle for second best, accept mediocrity, or lose theat fire in my eyes or become like some of the people I met today. I will embrace life, tackle it head on, and emerge stronger as a result of it.

There is so much to live for, so many opportunities out there, so much to be thankful for, and so much to experience that I can’t wait for tomorrow continue on this journey called life.

Let me sum up this article by saying this: Examine your life situation, set ambitious goals, and be better than average. All it takes is a small concerted effort on your part. As Socrates put it, “The unexamined life is not worth living”. What are you living for?