How to get over a break-up

So, it has been quite a crazy 3-month period. This should be a good checkpoint since people often say that three months are enough for people to get over a heartbroken situation. In fact, one of my rules is that I should never start a new relationship within 03 months since the most recent break-up.

I got myself emotionally broken a while ago. The situation really got the worst out of me. Believe it or not, I would nominate this as the most terrible break-up I have been through and I have been through a few terrible and awkward breakups before. I think I have done almost all of the things that many people have been going through a situation like me normally do. So, I will present my experience and, also, some tips if you are unfortunately going through something similar.

  1. Alcohol phase

This phase should last around the first few days to a week. It is hard to accept the fact that you are dumped. If you are somewhat of an overthinker like me, you will go through a self-interrogation with hundreds of damaging questions like: what did I do wrong? Why can she/he do that to me (after all of the things I did for her/him)? Is this really happening? Is that because I am not good/pretty/rich enough?

I know, it sucks… big time. This destroys your self-confidence as harsh and quick as being hit by a train. You feel like your standing ground collapses, your solid beliefs seem vague and, all of sudden, you are left with the crazy loneliness. I think this is probably the reason that people keep saying “the first week is the hardest” when it comes to addiction treatment. Being pressured like that, people tend to rely on a number of measures, some are typical and straightforward while others can be pretty hardcore and, well, weird. I myself like to keep it at the basic level – an “appropriate” dose of alcohol.

So, yes, I started with alcohol. I am not particularly proud of this but, yes, I drank a lot just to get through the first week of the breakups. It did help somehow. If someone tells you that alcohol does not help anything during a breakup, they, while are reasonably right, probably have never really enjoyed alcohol. I mean, good or bad times, I still can enjoy a glass of martini or a pint of a good craft beer. Alcohol phrase is probably something I will always go through during this time.

My point is not that you should go straight away from the very last conversation (I hope it is truly the last one) to a pub/bar/club. I am saying that it is okay and super normal to feel and need a getaway from all the pain you are suffering. Alcohol, apparently, is a quick, cheap, easily accessible and arguably legal option for many people. Thus, for me during the first phase of a bad break-up, a wash-out shit-face drunk could be a good way to relieve the pain and taking a break from a post-break-up suffering.

Tips: Taking one of your bros/sisters, tell them that you are going through a bad breakup, demand them to let you enjoy and make them promise to take you home. I hope I don’t have to say that this but don’t drive.

Pro Tip: Lemonade with a lot of sugar can effectively cure a hangover.

2. Emotional breakdown phase

Now, you have accepted the fact that the break-up happened and you started facing your emotions. The first wave of emotion is probably anger, you can’t accept the reasons that person giving you, you are pissed with his/her behaviour and manner, you want to call tell him/her that she/he is wrong and stupid and unreasonable and the worst (they probably are!!!). Then, you feel lost. It may feel like regret or guilt but I would go with lost because you feel like you are losing something important. Like a kid watching her balloon flying up and up to the sky, you feel a piece of you is stolen and your heart is suddenly emptied. Absurdly, you start missing that person whom you are so upset about just a moment ago. You started feeling all of the love and affection that you used to have with that person but in a greyish and melancholy colour. At some point, you may even think that you cannot survive without him or her and if right now there is even the slightest chance that you could make that person change her/his mind, you gonna do it at all cost. Of course, as an adult, your logic and ration will come sooner and later and take over the controlling authority. Your rational mind will tell you and your emotional ass that nothing you can do about it and all these emotions should fuck off. And like a TV screen when you press turnoff, both rational and emotional parts of you will leave you with an immense loneliness and empty.

You may experience this phase in a different order or without some of the part I described or you probably experience some entire other emotion. However, you will agree with me that once you realize that the break-up happens, you will ride on an emotional roller coaster. This phase may last from a few weeks to a month depending on whether you are generally emotional or rational.

What can you do about it? Well, not much. If you have been through this you will realize that no amount of work, talks (with your friends), or alcohol can truly take you out of all of this emotions. They will emerge whatever you do. Nevertheless, you can either sit at the corner of the room doing nothing and let those emotions take you or you can carry on your things. As a normal responsible adult, of course, my firm does not allow me to take a few days off just because I am going through a bad break-up. And, by saying the most commonly spoken phrase of a being-dumped person: “I will now focus on my career”, I actually mean and do it.

My advice is that you should take this chance to put a little more effort on your work, your body and your hobby. I know it’s not going to be easy to do stuff while your mind is full of the old memories. You need and will do your work anyway. All of this things-doing seem like some distractions but, then, you will start feeling the emotions less and less harsh. You do not enjoy their company but you are aware and neglect their presence because you have no other choice.

Tip: Sleeping is the ultimate cure for pain. Take a good sleep. Don’t overuse stimulants.

Pro tip: Cry.

3. The I-have-a-plan phase

You will eventually realize that break-up and sadness are generally troublesome, unproductive and very unhealthy. You will argue that all of the energy, which you are spending on missing that significant one or cry your eyes out or get wasted, should be used in other stuff. I mean this break-up could be a wake-up call. It’s time to work out more, learn something new, travel somewhere you always want, or start doing your job properly (haha). You don’t have to spend time on your boyfriend/girlfriend anymore anyway. So, you probably have more free time to spend now. Isn’t it just perfect to improve yourself, to become a better man/woman. Whatever it is, you are now a little more positive about this break-up and you are serious about changing your life. It’s like when you are at the 30th December of every single year, thinking to yourself: “This is it, this is my year, I will get my abs, my promotion, my realistic-but-not-practical goal”.

I will have to be honest with you. While this is a good opportunity to look deep into yourself and plan to improve yourself, it will not be so much of a pusher. It may be a trigger, but not a sustainable motivation. Because, at the end of the day, your main reason is still to become so much better that your significant one will regret leaving you. That thought may be reasonable but it will not last long because, at some point, you will eventually get over. In conclusion, I highly encourage the positive thoughts that you are having at this stage because it is the very first sign that you start moving on. However, if you achieve something, it is probably because you are already hard-working and determined and not because of a wake-up call from a bad break-up.

I, at the very beginning of this stage, decided to become a yes-man, a concept from a movie with the same name. I would say yes to every invitation, every hang-out events, and, any favours I was asked to do. Though it seems quite funny and entertaining for my friends and colleagues, it also did help me a lot. After the first few weeks, I have already been in a lot of outings, hang-outs with new people, and, even, trekking a mountain. All of these are super fun, to be honest. Once you have only one option of saying yes, you will not face the trouble deciding whether you should go or not. You will simply do it and, obviously, face any consequences if things go bad. Then, I realise that all of these are simply too much and forceful and start seriously planning my life more carefully. I start going to the gym (while not as often as I wish) and learning something new and, also, picking up a new hobby.

Tips: Talk to your friends as much as possible.

Pro tip: In fact, talk to as many people as possible. You may find out some new activities or skills that interested you.

4. The I-am-not-entirely-happy-but-I-am-okay phase

At this point, the breakup does not affect you much anymore. Sure, you still miss her/him now and then. But all of the emotion does not exhaust you anymore. Now, when you choose to do something, it is simply because you want to do it, the break-up cannot interfere with your decision making anymore. And, you are actually enjoying it. You even start considering going out again, maybe ask a girl out or tell your friend to set up with the cute guy from work. Generally, you are not fully recovered but you are okay.

I am at this stage now. I am sure that a lot of stuff still needs to be fixed and my emotionally unavailable state will last for a while. However, I truly believe things will get better. It must be.

Tip: write down something to mark the journey

Pro tip: don’t post it on your public blog. It is too cheesy.

5. Getting over phase

When I get there, I will tell you more about it.




Guess that I am gonna plan something…

So, it is probably clear by now that I have been through the worst breakup in my life so far. I was terribly miserable during the last few months. I am convinced that, by now, I have gotten much better. There will be still a lot of things need to be emotionally handled and, probably, I will be mentally unavailable for any new datings or relationships whatsoever in near future. However, I think this is it. This is a good time to drop the excuse of a broken heart for not doing anything productive with your life.

I recently got a raise. While it is extremely and tremendously satisfying. I can’t help to feel strong unsettle feelings of being not good enough for the expectation from my boss. It is very strange to my friends seeing me anxious and upset as a reaction to getting a raise. However, it is exactly how I feel now. Maybe I am just being performance insecure or maybe I am practical enough to see that I am probably at the right time and in the right place. Anyway, this is still a good news at the end of the day. It put me in a situation that I have only one goal: getting better at what I am doing right now so that no one, especially myself, will doubt my worthiness.

This is a very confusing time of my life: while my heart is still in the healing process, my mind keeps questioning my ability. If I can give myself an advice right now, it probably goes like this:

“Why don’t you try to do something you are best at? Go planning or learning something…”

While I have a lot of weaknesses, planning strategically and persistently following one is not. So, yes, after four months of not writing anything, I start writing again just to telling all of my readers (like there is anyone anyway) that I am back. I am going to write again, learn again, and I am going to plan something even bigger than studying abroad, passing CFA, or getting a good job. I will bring back the GAME PLAN. Basically, it was just a short diary of mine (not this cheesy WordPress, obviously) where I divide it into three main sections: Rules of life, Goals, and Habits of the Champion (aw, crap, now it is also cheesy too). Maybe I should call this Game Plan 2.0? or Two Game Two Plan? haha, weird joke.

Please stay tuned. I will be very active again.


Everything is going to be okay

I am not sure why I want to write these things down. But I seriously have a strong urge to write and share these stubborn feelings. These days I easily get bored. I was used to high-frequent pressured and tight schedule for the last few months. The last two weeks, with its enormous amount of free time, is not very relaxing for me to be honest. Somehow, I got lonely as much as during the time I was studying, if not more.

Anyway, I will adapt to this quickly as entertaining stuff is pretty easy to be found these days. The main topic of this post, however, is something a bit different. As I got a lot of time for myself: sleep a decent amount of time, go to the gym daily, start to eat healthily, etc, I also spent a great deal of time thinking and reflecting. While it is supposed to help me with my future, it was mainly about the past. So here it is. Just a mess of thoughts.

It has been one year. Crazily how quick time flies. I can still remember vividly that day. It was a long inter-continental flight followed by a ride by train from London back to my beloved Glasgow. I spent almost the whole day traveling back to my flat after a well-deserved trip. I was heart-broken, utterly sad, and crazily lonely.

If you have known me well for the last few years (or, even before that), you probably think of me as cheerful, carefree and, hopefully, charming. I think of myself the same way. However, during this time one year ago, I was under a very devasting time of my life. I barely want to do anything except, well, drinking. Right, I think I start to enjoy drinking during those days. If you are really close to me, you probably know the whole story and how miserable I was during the last summer. I am truly truly truly grateful for all the precious friends who have bear with me my whining and comforted me. It meant the world to me.

I don’t want to go into too much detailed of what happened for a good reason.

However, if I can travel back in time and meet myself, the best thing I could say for sure is:”Everything is going to be okay”.

So many times I wish everything to happen in different ways and I should have done these. However, it was meant to be. It cannot be undone. I suppose I have to learn to live with it and, even, be appreciated for what happened. Because, without those devasting time, I could have not become the man I am now. And I like myself now.

So let it be. Because everything is going to be okay.




So what is the next big thing?

Recently, I have just finished one of the most brutal tests in my life. The result is not out yet, and I am not quite sure that I am gonna pass this time. I am at the very anxious and uncertain state right now. Of course, after the first two times, I know it’s not gonna stay in my mind for long and I will busy doing weird shit as usual.

The thing is, this time it is different. Right in the very last 5 minutes in the exam room, when I have already double-checked my already double-checked answer, one very strang thought strikes me. There is high chance that this will be my last time I sit for the CFA exam, this could be it, the true end-game. Don’t get me wrong, I would be so so so so happy if I could pass this time and it would be the pain in the ass to go through another year of study. Plus, I am not absolutely confident in my performance anyway. The answer can go wrong in any part of it, and there is also a high probability that I am not gonna make it. Right now, I am just gonna hope for best and prepare for the worst.

However, if, even it is a very small chance, I pass the exam, what’s next? I have spent a great deal of my time on this journey. It has always been a significant activity for the last three year of my schedule. More importantly, I was really enjoying learning CFA program. What am I gonna learn next when this journey, hopefully, end?

I made a small list of what I wish to do. But just in case I jinx anything, I am not going to start anything before the result is out. For now, I will just relax and enjoy the 10 weeks before the result. The short-term target is probably to improve my fitness, to write this blog again (I truly enjoy writing things down, for no good reason), and to practice my English.

For the longer-term goal, I really wish to learn a new language and a musical instrument. Somehow, I feel like my life has always packed with finance stuff. I want to diversify my daily exposure to a new source of knowledge, different people and non-financial-related activities. Kind of exciting, isn’t it? Now I really want to pass the exam *finger cross*

Everyone needs someone

Is it strange that you start to enjoy doing stuff on your own? Since when did you find it super okay to go to the movie alone? Spending some time alone in a nice cafe also isn’t too bad, is it?

When you get older, somehow you feel lonelier. You start thinking about it and it makes sense. Now, as you get older, your friends from high school or college seem to be different, maybe because they have a very different career from yours. You can feel the distance between you two and the friendship, which once seemed inseparable, is now fragile.

Plus, when you reach twenty-something, you suddenly realize that it is extremely hard to find and make a new friend. Because being close to someone or building a friendship takes time and, when you reach adulthood, you probably don’t have enough time to get to know people the same way as you did in College or Highschool. I guess it was simply more natural to make friends back then. Friends come to you because they, well, want to be friend with you. Things were simple.



The little plan


I am currently in one of the cutest cafes in Hanoi. The weather was surprisingly warm today. The cafe has a very interesting name – The Little Plan. So, I thought it would be a good idea to be here and start writing down my study plan for the last level of CFA program. Turn out, it’s kind of noisy here. Regardless, I still manage to complete my study plan, more complex, more detailed, and, hopefully, more useful.

I have exactly 189 days or 27 weeks until the exam day. I still don’t know why this year CFA Institute decides to move the exam date 3 weeks later than previous years. But, obviously, I don’t mind at all. I am a bit short of time and behind the schedule for studying anyway. For the level I, I spent almost 600 hours on studying. For Level II, I pushed it to 700 hours. That was roughly 2.6 hours every day for 9 months. I am proud at first because of this, but now it just sounds like an inefficient way of learning. If others can make it around 300 hours, I should be able to do the same. That’s why I plan to reduce my study plan down to below 500 hours this time. To be precise, it is 486 hours. However, when I have a full-time job, things will get tougher.

Since I came back to Hanoi, a lot of things have happened. I am glad that things start moving, but also I have a lot of decisions to make very soon. I am very grateful to have friends from all of the places that could give me many suggestions and advice for my situation. I know it is really hard to be sure, but it would be very nice if I can make it to Sai Gon. I mean I love Hanoi, but I need to go. I know I need to go, this way or others.

By the way, I need to find a good cafe that I can come often. This does not seem like the one.

How to value a company, an asset or anything… theoretically

I spent a great deal of my time to learn how to put a price tag on everything. It’s not easy but it is not impossible, either. There are so many methods that experts can use to value or price an asset for their purposes. However, if you try to categorize all of the methods, it would be only three ways to value anything, well, in theory. Sadly, this post will probably not help you much in valuing a stock, I may try to cover that in the future at length. For now, let just focus on the three ways to value an asset.

The first way stresses how the assets were created, let call it the Cost Approach. Now, try to imagine that you want to buy a car, how are you going to determine the car’s fair value? Well, identifying the cost to build the car can be the answer. So, Cost Approach will try to look into every single step of making the car and conclude the total cost to create the car. For example, if all of the materials and parts cost the manufacturer about $1000, the price should not be lower than $1000. We can next try to identify the value of the technology, the uniqueness, and, maybe, the reputation of the manufacturer. Regardless, the Cost Approach focus mainly on how the expenses to create the asset. As you can easily see, this method has one significant disadvantage. It cannot reflect the opinions of the buyers. If the said car now is not popular and none wants to buy it, it will be very unlikely that the car could be sold at $1000.

As the result, the second approach focuses mainly on how the market participants’ opinions on the asset value, let call it Comparison Approach. In this approach, the expert will not try to identify the cost to create the asset, but rather focus on the value of the asset in comparison with other similar assets. Looking back at the previous example, the buyer now will try to compare the car with other cars from other manufacturers. The process of comparison may need some adjustments. For example, if a comparing car lacks an important feature (like GPRS or hybrid energy), its price should be adjusted up (because if it has that feature, its price will be higher). In other words, the price of an asset should not be higher than the average price of all of the similar assets. Otherwise, the buyer could just go ahead and buy one of the other assets. The main problem with Comparison Approach is that not every asset has an adequate collection of peer assets or some types of asset are simply so unique to compare (paintings, special real estate,…).

The last approach is arguably the best approach to value any asset since it focuses on the potential of the asset, let call it Discounted Cash Flow Approach. The name has explained the idea behind the approach. The Discounted Cash Flow Approach will try to identify all of the cash flows that the asset can generate in the future (even in perpetuity). “Cash flow” is not necessarily cash, it could be profit, dividends and any type of earnings that the analyst cares about. Come back to the car example, the buyer now will try to estimate the benefit of owning that car: how much money he or she could make out of the car? How much cost could be saved? If the owner decides to sell the car in 5 years from now, how much should he or she get? Then, when all of the cash flows are identified, the buyer will discount all of this cash flows back to present value and come to the fair value of the car. Now, let take a closer look at Discounted Cash Flow Approach. The process of identifying the cash flows focuses on the potential of the asset and, thus, the concluded value will reflect better the benefits of owning the asset. Also, the discounted rate will reflect the general expectation from the market and the opinions of market participants. It is, as the result, generally considered the best approach to value an asset…in theory.

Do you find something odd about all of the approaches I wrote? It seems like the better the valuation method is, the less we care about the asset itself. We start to care more about the opinions of other people and the benefits of owning the asset because we simply do not want to pay more than what most people agree to pay for the same asset. The valuation process becomes a game of guessing other opinions rather than focus on your own opinions. It is just like a classic example in finance. Imagine you are a judge in a beauty contest and you were asked who YOU think will be the winner. Now, to answer that question, you will not try to figure out who you think is the most beautiful but you will try to determine the lady that most of the judges will find the most beautiful. Thus, despite the question is about you, the answer is more likely from others.



Fun time is over. Get back to work.

Time flies. It has been more than a year since the last time I wrote something on my blog. It was a bit strange to me since the last year was one of the most crucial years of my life so far. All I can find is the draft for Efficient Market Hypothesis, which I planned to finish writing by the end of January.

I spent the last 14 months abroad, working on my master degree. I’ve always believed that one year abroad would change my life. Well, it did but the changes were simply not in the way I thought. I want to write so much about the UK, about studying in Glasgow and all of the great people I met, or about travel. However, I will leave all of that for the other time. Now, I just want to write about my current state.

I prepared so much for the come-back. I planned all of the things I will do when I get back to Hanoi. The plan was fine, my mind and body are just fine (jet lag does not affect me much). However, I simply feel empty and unmotivated. I do not know why but my home is simply not quite the same. Maybe I am different now. I feel like I leave something very important back in Glasgow and I am not sure how I should feel about it. I do not want to brag about the past or complain about the present but, honestly, now I just need a good cup of coffee with someone I could share everything. The problem is this “someone” can only be either one of two people. And, both of them are so far away from me.

Anyway, nothing I could do about that. Now, challenges are coming and they are tough. I got a skype interview with HR executive from a bank in next Tuesday. I had an assignment for a fund application need to be done in one week (which is now only 5 days left). I need to call the HR of my previous firm for my upcoming assessment. Also, CFA level 3 curriculum should be ready for me on Monday, so as my study plan. Things seem to start moving and moving nicely. However, I need to set my mood straight and focus on the prize.

The game is on and I should be ready for it.




One or two random thoughts before the dawn

I have a lot of good habits and skills. Yep, I can confidently say that. One of which is planning skill. Boys, I am good at planning and, a little less excellent, at following a plan. I almost always know what I need to do or start at what place. The thing is I had decided where I want to be in the next few years and the rest is pretty basic, working hard toward it. If I see an opportunity to achieve better, I grab it and adjust my plan with a little higher goal. I feel fine with the fact that I can often find useful things to do, books to read, stuff to learn anytime. I even sometimes call myself positive and visionary. Maybe I really am. The thing is, deep down in my heart, I am scared. I am scared of the possibilities. I am scared of being lost. At those negatively honest moments, I even think that all of my plans are just some kind of defensive ways so that I can feel safe. The problem with the specific plans is that they are amazingly useless against unexpected events. Occasionally, they can turn upside down your entire plan.

Recently, I get myself some alone time. The reason is pretty predictable, my plan does not work out as it is. I have a week off plan, not a big deal. I spent some quality time taking care of myself. However, somehow I still feel so empty inside. It is really strange to me since I always love doing what I am doing right now.

Well, even this post is strange to me because I have never published a post without a clear message.

A glimpse at Brexit

It was a hot summer day in late June of 2016. There was an event that most of the traders and investors observing minutes by minutes, just like a football match. The UK was on a referendum about Leave or Remain in the EU. I will not try to analyse in detail the general picture, I was just trying to show my experience on one of the most important days in 2016. Continue reading “A glimpse at Brexit”