Hong Kong’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs Follow This Counter-Intuitive Advice

By Lee Williamson

We asked Generation T listers to tell us advice they swear by that on the surface might seem counter-intuitive—or in some cases downright crazy

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1. Don’t think big

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Gen.T lister Paul Niel, adventurer and social entrepreneur.

“Think small! I find that I can get easily side-tracked or overwhelmed if the goals I set are too big or too crazy. I would have never made it up Mount Everest if that had been my only goal. Instead, I made one small step after the other.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean it’s not important to dream or have vision, but to realise these ambitions you need to walk many smaller steps to get there.”

2. Don’t listen to anyone

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Gen.T lister Gina Wong, filmmaker and founder of Pineapple Underground Film Festival (PUFF).

“Do not listen to any advice. From anyone. Do not take anyone’s word for it. Because no one can give you advice or support for something that the world has yet to see. Only you know your work better than anyone else. Just do it.  

Train yourself to have the courage to go against the grain. I do that every single day. Even the smallest gesture of defiance works wonders, and all that practice will come in handy when the real challenges come.” 

3. Drink more

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Gen.T lister Christopher Wong, co-founder of HK Brewcraft.

“There’s always time for a beer. As an entrepreneur, there will be times where you’ll find it hard to let your guard down and share your thoughts and problems with people—because entrepreneurs are only allowed to act cool, right?  

It’s important to not let this ‘entrepreneur loneliness’ consume you and eat up your creativity. Remind yourself that you need to experience life in order to create something relevant for the world. Next time when you are stuck on something at work, take a break to go grab a beer from your favourite bar in town and talk to real people. It normally takes me five trips to a pub (in the same day or not) before an idea sparks.”

4. Embrace failure

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Gen.T lister Ramona Pascual, professional MMA fighter.

“The world will constantly tell you who you are, who you should be, and project its fears onto you. Believe in yourself and believe in your ideas. Then be prepared to do the work to back it up. If you should fail, take immediate ownership of it and don't lose confidence. Keep on going.”

5. Be less busy

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Gen.T lister Laurel Chor, founder of Hong Kong Explorers Initiative.

“Don’t put so much importance in ‘being busy’. People, particularly in Hong Kong, seem to think that being busy has value in itself, or that one has to be busy to be successful. 

Pay more attention to how productive, efficient and effective you are. Take the time to do your favourite things, spend time with your loved ones, to slow down, and even to do nothing. Those are the moments that make you who you are, and getting caught up in the frenetic pace of life for no real reason will just lead to burnout. 

Here's a trick I use to figure out what's really important: instead of saying ‘I don't have time’ for something, I say ‘I don't prioritise’ it.”

6. Don't stop moving

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Gen.T lister Wesley Ng, founder of Casetify.

“In martial arts, having speed makes you invincible. Like Bruce Lee said, speed comes first, then accuracy, and then power. The same applies to startups, where we move fast and break things.”

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