October 5, 2022

Growing up is a trap! I never want to grow up!

At the end of September, entrepreneurs and investors finally escaped their respective corners of the world and assembled in Singapore for a series of meetings and events. I was invited by some of our LPs for a long overdue face-to-face, during which we got to catch up on our investment situation over the past few years. They were blown away to hear what our small team had achieved, such as producing 12 industry-disrupting unicorns and building a portfolio that covered the entire world map. 

During the discussion, they asked me the kind of question we as investors usually put to founders: “What are you most afraid of being an early-stage investor?” I’d never considered this question, and without a moment’s hesitation answered: “I’m afraid of growing up!”

The investor thankfully didn’t fall out of his chair in response to my admittedly mystifying answer, allowing me time to explain: “What I mean is that I hope I can always look at the world from a child’s perspective, believing anything is possible.”

As children, our imaginations are so powerful that we can believe in anything, like Santa Claus or magic. This is a capacity that most people lose when they grow up. Kids have no self-imposed limits or boundaries, which is the gift of being a child. Adults, however, only believe in what they can see and therefore cannot see the possibilities in the unknown. And when we lose this curiosity, this urge to boldly explore, our focus inevitably shifts from “creating” to “obtaining”.   

So when I say I don’t want to grow up, I mean I do not want to lose these capabilities. Without them, I would be unable to believe in those startups without proof points who are destined to become game-changing pioneers in their respective industries. Our childlike wonder is our greatest secret weapon. 

This way of thinking goes beyond investment to our careers and everyday lives. If we are constantly evaluating risk and calculating potential losses, then we will never move out of our comfort zones, leading to a life of endless compromises. 

Try thinking about things from the perspective of a child just one time – I promise it will bring unexpected results and change.

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