20. The secrets to my success

Or, How to live your best life

I am arguably, as of right now, living my best life. No one’s really arguing this point with me, but that’s how people talk these days. “This is arguably the worst mistake of the Trump presidency,” they shout at ghosts, then something far, far worse happens, and the ghosts move into the forest to haunt other dreams. My life is incredibly good, which feels at odds with all of reality. The dissonance is loud and behind my eyes.

How did I get here? There are many, many reasons, but I’m going to give you just my top two, tippety tippety top tips for achieving maximum success. These choices have had more of an impact on my ability to succeed than anything else I’ve done. And I’m happy to share them with you.

They are, in order:

  1. Having my parents.

  2. Being born in Canada.

Studying law was useful and moving to London had its place, but if I think about a direct path to the success I am today, these two choices are the ruler and plumb line. Let me break them down for you.

Having my parents

I probably could have been born anywhere and turned out pretty good, and I owe that to my choice of parents. I don’t want to take too much credit because it was a pretty obvious decision, but let’s get into the finer details to really demonstrate how clever I was to pick them.

Dorothy (Dot) and Tommy Wong grew up in Scotland and China, respectively, and right there you have a cultural double whammy. We all know fusion and remixing basically birthed the 21st century, and I am those things in human form. I’m kimchi burrito x DJ Shadow.

Tommy made his living as an architect, and I was told he got there through a process of elimination. He had dreams of being an artist, but rationalised it might not be the most stable career for someone who wanted to start a family. Same for interior designer. Architecture became the go-to, and it was a happy coincidence that he was really, really good at it.

Dot worked in an insurance office for roller coasters (true story!) before holding the fort at home with two slightly precocious children. Here’s what I remember being surrounded by growing up, in no particular order:

  • music and singing

  • books

  • baking

  • family friends

  • art

And here’s what I remember doing a lot:

  • camping

  • swimming

  • skating

  • skiing

  • sailing

Most of all there was the persistent sense that I could, without any real determination of how, be whatever I wanted. The world was open to me because I was never told that any of it was closed.

Being born in Canada

I think I can say this without hyperbole—being born in Canada is the best thing I’ve ever done. Some Nordic kids might kick off here, but pound for pound if you’re going to be born somewhere, do it in Canada.

Just off the top of my head, here are some reasons Canada might suit you as the place of your birth:

  • universal healthcare

  • mountains and lakes and rivers

  • Montreal

  • legalised marijuana

  • William Shatner

Being born in Canada meant I could sew a Canadian flag on my luggage, go anywhere in the world, and be welcomed with open arms. Being Canadian means you’re pretty AND funny and everyone wants you at their parties.

Deciding to be Canadian was good, but I also picked Montreal, the coolest place in Canada, to be born and then chose to move to Vancouver, arguably the most beautiful place in Canada, to grow up. Truly a masterful bit of life planning by me, the master of life plans.

And there you have it. Two simple but remarkably effective life tips for these trying times. If you’ve already been born in a different place to other parents they might be a bit difficult to follow. But I bet you have tips of your own. Amazing choices you’ve made that lead directly to your greatest successes.

One of the other incredible choices I’ve made is counting many of you as my friends. Deciding to meet you in the exact way we met and get to know you with unfaltering steps, not a single bit of it left to chance. That’s been key.

You have to control every aspect of your destiny. Otherwise, what? Let fate decide? Accept that life is a giant dice roll? Pshaw. Loser talk. If you’re not picking your parents and place of birth and people you meet and where you happened to be sitting the first time she knocked on the office door making you the first person she saw, what ARE you doing?


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