What is your anthem?

William Liao
2 min readJun 20, 2024

I’ve spent the first 3 decades of my life trying to be like the people and things I looked up to.

Growing up, I wanted to be like my brothers — whatever hobbies they pursued, I pursued.

In college, I wanted to feel like a grown up — whatever that means — so I joined a business fraternity, suited up (literally), and ran resume workshops to prepare myself and others for the ‘professional’ world ahead of us.

In my career, my distaste for mandatory dress codes and cubicle-dense environments grew alongside my envy for my peers in tech who generally didn’t have these constraints. I liked the idea of being able to work from anywhere as long as I had access to a stable and secure internet connection, so I transitioned into this space.

I have no regrets because in all cases, what started as pursuits driven by envy eventually transformed into passions and values I would eventually feel comfortable calling my own. Some of my brothers’ hobbies are simply my hobbies now, I rarely wear suits these days but making a point to dress up in them did teach me a solid lesson or two about the value of preparation, and I love the brain workout that working with large volumes of data in tech enables.

Now that I’m a few months into my 30s, I’ve started to ask myself: who am I trying to be like now? What is my anthem?

I keep on thinking back to this memory of a bright, neon sign I saw posted on the front window of a bar in San Francisco several years ago with words: “Do cool sh*t.”

The latest anthem of my journey no longer feels like a pursuit of who anymore, but of what:

“Do cool sh*t”

Now that’s a lively thought — something I can see myself chanting with conviction and a grin of excitement.

The discovery of things that feel cool to me. The pursuit of these cool things.

That feels right, let’s go with that.

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William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)