Who am I?
Cédric Bollag (28) is an aspiring venture capitalist. Currently he is studying for his Master’s degree in Accounting and Finance at the prestigious University of St. Gallen. The motivation for starting this blog came from a deep passion for Startups, Technology and Innovation. Cédric is frequently invited as a keynote speaker related to topics around Startups, Innovation and online presence.
When I introduced myself in class to the guy next to me, we both started with our names. But interestingly our ages didn’t come up. It seems to me that the reason is that from a certain age, the age doesn’t matter anymore. What surprised me even more was the following: the place of birth and where we both grew up was a much bigger topic. The reason for it I see that we are in an international school and we both enjoy the intercultural exchange and the small details become less important.
Top 5 values
Determining my top five values is very hard because I feel it shows only a momentary picture of who I am. As a person grows older and becomes more mature his values change drastically. This statement of values isn’t connected to any timeline since I can have a value today and tomorrow and hear or learn something new, become more mature and realize that my yesterday’s value was totally childish or I don’t feel it as being a value anymore or you are realize that it was naïve to believe in it a value. A good example is to believe in a world at peace. While the value itself is very good and also very admirable, the fact remains that as long as there is humankind there is war. So when you read my five top values, it is important to know that they might change.
My top values are Honesty
Someone who is honest with himself and with the people surrounding him has a very good chance of being well accepted in the society. Even if it is hard, because the truth hurts sometimes, at the end of the day honesty is what lasts the longest. It was also very interesting when we discussed values in class, maybe particularly my group, that this value was not on everyone’s list. This shocked me a little bit because I feel without honesty nothing works in life.
‘If not for the family, for whom else?’ Family is what builds a person and makes him who he is. Immediate family (parents, siblings and wife) are the only people you can- only and always- rely on. So as a value it makes sense to put this one high up because putting in effort with family is the most worthwhile. No one picks his family and since we are all stuck with our families we should try as hard as possible to strengthen those relationships.
Commitment (Spouse and Religion)
This value comes together with purpose in life and standing up for past actions and what decisions a person has already made. After a person chooses a wife the question changes from if she is the right one to how we can make it work no matter what. It’s a process but that’s the commitment a person makes when he gets married. It is only a little bit different with religion. Because I never picked my religion (I was born Jewish) there was no decision on my part to commit. After digging a little bit into the subject of religion I found there are a lot of reasons as to why it is important to be religious and committed to it. It is very nice to be part of a tradition going back thousands of years and feel connected to something greater than oneself, but going into depth about the subject of religion is beyond the scope of this assignment.
“You are not happy, you choose to be happy:” A wise line I once heard. Life is not always a fairytale or a Hollywood movie. Sometimes life is better sometimes worse. This is one of my values because it’s so important to always see the bright side and good things in life. This decision to be happy is one we can make and is not based on a daily feeling. My father-in-law, a medical doctor, once said that life has hills and valleys and that’s how it supposed to be. He then compared it with an EKG of a patient in the hospital. You don’t want it to be a straight line; life needs the ups and downs. Our job is to be happy at anytime on the line.
This value is the value that I feel the most connected to because it’s the one that I feel is the least heteronomous. All the values I mentioned so far are classic examples of values and are basic to my personality, mainly based on how I grew up. This value of accountability is personal to me and defines my personality and I’ve worked hard to make it a part of me. Everyone around me knows that I follow through with what I said or what I committed to.
All these values help me with making decisions in life. Sometimes my inner voice says something different than my value-voice but in those situations it’s especially important to stick to your values because those values define your personality and who you are. There were a few times when a difficult decision-making process was ultimately decided by following my values.
One of the biggest applications of deciding to stick to my values that I faced happened a few years ago. I was facing a situation where I had the option to either stick to the truth and harm myself or lie myself out of this certain situation and get out of it without harming myself. The problem was not to lie, the issue was if I could handle after and dealing with my lie. The regret and after-effects I knew would come stopped me from lying because I knew it went against everything I stand for.
Knowing these things about myself will definitely help me when choosing a career because I know that I will not enjoy working in a place that requires me to be even slightly dishonest or spend too much time away from my family. I know that I need to be careful when deciding to accept a position and make sure that it is an accountable and reliable company with a good reputation for its honesty.
Personality type/Learning Styles
According to these test results I am an ISTJ. I am very happy about this result since I feel it really represents my personality, but not one hundred percent. My biggest criticism is about the head/heart. I prefer to think about something before I make a decision and not to feel. In the test I got a 55% on thinking, which still represents a higher score of thinking versus feeling, but I expected ‘thinking’ to be much higher. I am a very rational person and before big decision I always make pro/con lists to make sure I took everything into account before I decide. I believe that if you make a decision based on a logical and rational base it will last much longer than for someone deciding based on feelings. The first time I applied this technique to make a life decision was in my second year of yeshiva. I had a very hard time deciding about my future so I took a big piece of paper and wrote down all the four options that I was considering. Then I wrote down all the pros and cons of each option. I played it by ear a little bit because I kept editing it. And the more I played around with the options the clearer my decision became. That shows how much I rationalize a decision before I actually make it.
The second point I have to make about this test result is my sensitivity. I am a very sensitive and observant person. I notice every single slight change in a person’s looks or actions- especially if they are acting differently towards me. That’s how sensitive I am. Sometimes it’s really good because it helps me to be a good friend but on the other hand it is sometimes overwhelming because I read into situations and misinterpret situations.
My regular LSI is according to a test I did online and represents my KLSI very well. I am a very visual learner, I learn by seeing things and memorizing. This strategy works well for me when I have to study and learn something by heart like Psychology, Biology or Law. Subjects that require calculations, for example Mathematics, Statistics or Econometrics require me to write a lot and do many practice exercises to succeed at the exam. Once I figured out my best way of studying, it made my life much easier and my test results got better.
For every subject I had to find out the best style of studying or even for a specific exam within a certain subject. This class introduction game made me aware of the fact that there is a big difference between introducing yourself to a new potential friend and a new employee/professor. While a friend is much more interested in the details of a person’s life and you share personal information, an introduction to a professor is much more objective and less personnel since it is on professional basis.
My life decisions in education and social life have been impacted by my personality type and values in many ways. Making these decisions is the point where everything comes together – values and personality. People who get to know me now will judge me based on the decisions I made in the past. All together you can find that all of my big life choices, for example going to the Yeshiva I went to or marrying the person I married, are based on my values – honesty, accountability, commitment, happiness and family- and my personality- introverted, thoughtful and sensitive.
During my 23 years in this world many people have influenced me. I believe that every time a person meets someone or something happens to him, it has a meaning. Sometimes it is major other times minor, but we don’t know, can’t know and will never understand what kind of effect it will have on us. There are a few people and institutions that influenced me more over others and had a great impact on my life. Two I would like to mention here and they are representative for my idea.
First are my parents and my family: Without my parents I would not be where I am today. All my appreciation in the world goes to them. From giving birth to me, educating me, supporting me in hard times, being there for me, showing me love, being role models, planting deep and strong roots and all the good things you can imagine about parents – my parents have it. There are the ones that show me how important and nice it is to be a good person and to stick to values and goals in life. They instilled in me the basis of most of the values I have today.
The second is the Yeshiva I went to for two years: There, I had the chance to develop myself and focus on what I want in my life. It gave me the opportunity for real deep thought and decisions and it also had a very big influence on who I am today. Yeshiva was only able to have this big impact on me because I came from a strong religious home with good values and personality.
2. Ethical Code – Lying, Stealing and harming
This section was a very hard part of the assignment. After seeing my values it is easy to tell why. Someone with the value of honesty doesn’t think that lying, stealing and harming is an option at any time during someone’s life. Never the less, I see a legitimate reason why drafting an ethical code is important, especially to get to know yourself but also to being able to communicate with other people what’s right and wrong. Every person has a different code but still kind of standardized on the society s/he lives in. To avoid this blurriness, ethical code drafting is very helpful and it provides a good basis for a discussion.
Lying and deceiving are wrong except when you are telling lies to save someone’s feelings, telling a white lie to children and parents with the only purpose of protecting one’s privacy or to protect the children. This is important these days because children get so much bad information and influence from outside so sometimes they have to be protected in order to give them a good education. Honesty with children, in general, is necessary to have a trusting relationship but sometimes a small lie is needed to protect them from the big world. I feel that lying is allowed when it is about protecting the future generations to an extent. Another, and last, exception for me is telling a lie to prevent harm to one’s self or others. In this case, my reasoning is that if I can prevent causing harm to someone then I feel it is necessary to do so.
Stealing for me is a whole different story. I don’t see any exception for stealing in our society ceteris paribus. Back in 1938 in Germany and stealing some apples to have something to eat is a whole different situation, because there it was about life or death. But in our times, when it is about having more than the other, we are jealous, or we just have to satisfy our desire of having more and more, I don’t see any good reason to steal.
Harming is wrong except in self-defense and/or to defend family or very close friends. This exception is only true with the assumption that the opponent started first. I am referring here more to physical violence than to emotional.
3. What motivates you?
In every life situation I feel like I need a different kind of motivation. One life situation, for example, is school. In this category, what motivates me is on the short-term getting good grades (not having to take Moed Bet) and proving to myself and to the people around me that I am capable of doing well in school. On the long term what motivates me to do well in school is the knowledge that a good education helps in being able to make a living and even have some savings. This will ensure us (me and my wife) a good and quiet life with all our material needs provided for. It gives me a good reason to try and be successful and put in hard work. To have this as a motivator gives me a totally different angle and perspective to what I am doing day in and day out.
There are also other motivators, which keep me going such as money, competition, and satisfaction from achieving something that will be validated. To sum it up, I could say that there are two main factors that motivate me: future and purpose.
My personality is very well reflected in my motivation since I am trying to being focused in life on what is important and a big part that overlaps between motivators and values is family.
4. My Future
4.1. 5-10 Years I hope that in five to ten years I have finished my Bachelor and Master degrees. I hope I have found my first job and settled down in a nice city in Israel with my wife and children (please G’d) where there is a good quality of life and there is good education for our children.
4.2. A typical Day in 5-10 Years
I picture my typical day in five to ten years from now looking like this: Waking up at 6am and going for a good 45 min run (see 5.3.), coming back to our nice house and having a refreshing shower, getting dressed and say good morning to my wife and hopefully by then also to our kids. I plan to catch a Minyan at the Synagogue around the corner at 7am, learn the Babylonian Talmud following the praying, and then return home to see what there is to do to help out with the children and have some breakfast. At around 9am I would like to go to my office working for a good company with a prestigious reputation somewhere in Tel Aviv with a nice view of the sea. I work there until the big lunch break and because we live close to where I work I can go home for lunch and see my family. In the afternoon I will work again until around 7pm. Once I get home the entire family has dinner together and it will put the kids to bed. Then my wife and I will have some time to spend together and relax. Before we go to sleep, we both read a little bit and after a long and exhausting day we can fall asleep arm in arm.
5. Life and Learning Goals
5.1. Life Goal
In my life I would like to st
art a non-profit organization. To be more specific I want to start helping people in need. I was thinking of helping five to ten specifically chosen families that I know have financial problems to afford, for example, Challot for Shabbat. It would be my responsibility to buy it for them on a weekly basis. In this way I am assured that my help is useful and significant. I think this goal has a very big impact on me. First, it will help others in a way they need. Second, it will make me a better person- for example, more appreciative and humble about what I have. Once I established a little ‘club’ I might be able to find other people who want to join my idea and expand it to a real organization with sponsors and people in need. It might not sound like the most gratifying goal someone can have but I feel it is a goal that will give me a lot of satisfaction on the long-term. When I have the chance to look at how much I helped families in need and have a good impact on their lives I know that I will feel like I have achieved something important. This goal represents my values and personality very well since I am a thoughtful and caring person. I feel that within the next two to three month I will be able to get together the funds I need. Simultaneously, I could start writing and giving out flyers around my neighborhood to find families in need.
5.2. Career-related goal
By December 2022 I would like to be hired at a prestigious and global company, earning enough to support my wife and family. By then I would like to be a ‘senior’ or the leader of a world wide team dealing with financial expertise and helping companies developing their business plans. Since I am a very family-orientated person it makes sense that my goal is not based on a certain amount I would like to earn at a certain time, rather enough to support my family. My first sub-goal would be to graduate IDC with an average between an 80 and 85. Once I have graduated I would like to find a job at a very good company to get experience as a financial analyst. This would be my first job and a good alternative would be trading or to go into accounting. After doing this for two to three years, I hope to switch to a different company but start off there as a higher position and hopefully by then I will be able to make a living. If switching companies doesn’t work out then getting promoted and making my way up in the business I already work for would be a definite alternative. At all points in my life, it is important to be patient and focused on doing well at school, at work and always keep pushing a promotion. My career goal is also my personal financial goal, since by then I wish to be financially independent.
5.3. Personal Goal Spiritually
I would like to grow. I would like to get to know my religion better than from what I know of it now. Once I have acquired more knowledge I would like to put all the new learned material into action and to slowly start to live according to them. One of the main pillars of Judaism is the Shabbat. Keeping the Shabbat in the way G’d wants us to keep it is very hard and affects every single move I do on that day. To get a step closer to my ultimate goal of keeping it in a perfect way I want to sit down on a daily basis for the next two month and start learning about it but only ten minutes a day. Then when Shabbat comes I will try to apply one new thing every other week and every week my family will review the past two weeks together. Like this I will get used to it and hopefully grow spiritually.
There are a few things I would really enjoy to learn. First I would like to learn and finish the Babylonian Talmud. I have been learning it for the past 3 year on a daily basis. Every time I learn or I hear something new it will helps me in life and it makes me a tiny bit more mature. Second I would like to learn how to fly a plane. Since I have a Jewish mother and a wife this will always stay a dream.
For weeks I keep telling myself to go for a run every other day. I never pushed myself enough to actually start doing in. My long-term goal is to run 10km in about 45min. To reach this goal I will start exercising every other day for 10 minutes. Every week I will add an extra minute till I get to 45min. Once I reached the first goal I will try to work on my speed. The purpose behind it is to constantly increase my shape and make sure that I stay healthy.
It’s important to me to have a good relationship with my family. I want to make sure I always put in a lot of effort when it comes to them. It can be in many different ways: Either by writing them little notes, calling them unexpectedly or just being there when they need me. This will take a lot of practice because I don’t always have this sensitivity to feel what they need from me at a specific time. My goal for the next few weeks is to put in extra effort by doing things that are beyond their expectations of me.
All my goals are very enjoyable to me and I picked them based on what’s important to me, what my values are and who I want to be. I have to clarify that there are always sometimes more and sometimes less enjoyable but at the end of the day they will make me, and the people around me, happy.
This assignment gave me a great insight into my own personality and it will keep me focused for the next few years – focus: one of my newly discovered values.