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How to be an analyst? (a guide for life)

A few weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on why we should all be the “yield” analysts of our lives. But how? Glad you asked.

I have an interest in data, but what I enjoy the most about being an analyst is probably not the number part but the actual analyzing process. There are lots of nuances in collecting data as well as “noise” in the data themselves, so if one only focuses on what’s reported or what the trends are showing, the insights will be most likely misinterpreted — just like how we can easily misinterpret our self-worth and/or what truly matters in life, influenced by our own worldview and people whom we surround ourselves with.

However, the first thing that comes to my mind when I analyze anything (and everything… yes, I get that some people call it “skepticism” but I call it “curiosity”) is not diving into the “data”. I believe that challenging our initial objective should always be the first step; in other words, questioning the question we have in our mind until we arrive at the right question should be the first step. We may or may not find the answer right away but it’s worth the pause. The right answer to the wrong question is still the wrong answer.

Knowing our timing is also important. Sleeping on trying to figure out the right question isn’t going to be helpful, either, so reaching out to people who we trust to gather feedback that can help us refine or reshape our objective is a great way to accelerate the process. Don’t rush through it, though, and be aware that not everything has to be figured out instantly. Even when we think that we have arrived at the right question, we need to give ourselves some wiggle room for road testing and accept that there’s always a margin of error. "Start" is the only way to truly know if we’re on the right track.

The next step would be sorting out the data. I’m not going to get mechanical here (assuming we’ve already filtered out the noise in the data), but there’s a harsh truth: Comprehending what the data don’t tell us is as equally important if not even more powerful than recognizing their implications, and it’s not easy. We need to practice listening to not only what’s said but also what’s not said. Notice both what’s done and what’s not done. See things and people for what and who they are, but also for what and who they are not. What do we learn from their absence? Just like negative space makes a beautiful art piece, hidden facts make life fascinating ;)


What’s next? Perhaps “How to be the CEO of our life”? 😎


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