In the United States, we are celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving -- where it is customary to take one day out of the year to think about everything one is grateful for in life.
I wanted to take this time to express my appreciation and gratitude to you and the rest of the CaseInterview.com community.
I'm grateful for... (wait for it...) THREE reasons...
1) An Audience
In the U.S., there's an idiomatic expression that says, "If a tree falls in the forest, but nobody hears it, does it make a sound?"
Similarly, if a teacher teaches but no "students" notice, is the teacher really a teacher? This was the question I asked myself when I first started CaseInterview.com a few years ago.
It all began with my website getting perhaps one or two visitors per month (thanks, Mom!). I chalked it up to an interesting side experiment, but promptly forgot about those initial efforts.
About a year and half ago, something odd happened. My webserver kept crashing for some odd reason. It turns out my side project, caseinterview.com, was getting quite a few visitors and causing it to crash.
Suddenly, I had an audience who was paying attention -- which is a wonderful thing. Suddenly, I was a teacher, not just some guy talking to himself online.
For someone who loves to teach, there are few things more gratifying than having "students" voluntarily show up to learn more. For this, I am very grateful.
Once CaseInterview.com started to get noticed and word-of-mouth spread, I made one seemingly small decision, which has been so rewarding. I encouraged people to email me about their successful job offers -- and hundreds of people did.
What this did was provide me with the factual data (you know me and data!) that perhaps not only was a teacher, but just maybe I was actually an effective teacher.
This may come as a surprise to you, but I've never really thought of myself as a teacher. I've always thought of a teacher as an "official" profession of some sort.
But between the thousands of "thank you for being a great teacher" emails, and the hundreds of "I got an offer!" emails I've received, my self perception has changed quite a bit.
It is one thing to have a self-limiting belief about yourself (which I definitely do have... and which is also a topic for another day).
It is another to have thousands of very talented people think better of you than you think of yourself. In the face of the factual data, I've finally been able to let go of some of those self-limiting beliefs.
So today, I see myself as a teacher and dare I say maybe even a good teacher.
In part due to this shift in self-identity, my wife and I recently pulled our oldest (8-year-old) daughter out of school to home-school her.
Since my wife and come from Asian families where "school" is highly valued (which I differentiate from education), it was not an easy decision for us to make. In fact, up until a few hours ago, I didn't even tell my mother. (Yes, I too still have parental expectation "issues".)
However, my daughter is very happy these days, as she gets to spend more time with Mom and Dad, while learning more about topics (science) that interest her in a way that suits her learning style.
(On a side note, she came up with her very first "hypothesis" a week ago. We debated which family members were closest in height to each other. She set a hypothesis. I helped her design an experiment to get factual data to test her hypothesis. She collected the data, and it turns out both her hypothesis and mine were wrong, but now we know the answer.
In case this sounds familiar -- and it really should sound familiar to you by now -- it's because the scientific method and the case interview "scientific" method is fundamentally one and the same!)
In addition, now that I see myself as a good teacher, I have decided to devote more time to doing it. I get many requests for advice and tips related to case interviews, consulting, and business careers in general. The first two topics do not surprise me, but the last one does.
I can now say that there will be more of all three areas coming soon.
I have two case interview related projects I'm working on that will be made public by end of year. In addition, I have nearly a dozen projects in mind for "business careers in general" planned for the next three years.
I'm extremely excited about all of these projects... and I haven't been this excited in a very long time.
For this change in self-identity and all that is has enabled, I am very grateful.
3) There is no item #3! (Oh, the horror....!)
Okay, so I tried really, really, really hard to have three key points, but I can only come up with two.
But in my defense, if I were to re-label my first two points as "How Others See Me," and "How I See Myself," it's MECE right?
In all seriousness, I have a lot to be grateful for these past 12 months, and am grateful for what I see ahead of me in the next 12 months and beyond.
I want to thank you for that, and to wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving and holiday season.