“In a way, a man’s works are like vectors; unless they are aligned together, their [magnitudes] cancel out and he may just as well have been doing nothing.”

– Simeon Koh, 09/27/2012


Let’s briefly review vectors.  Vectors are like arrows: they have a direction (which way it points) and a magnitude (how long it is).

This is a vector, which tells me my life is pointed towards the right, with some amount of umph.  A longer arrow would have meant more strong of an umph in my life.

Vector 1

This is another vector, which tells me my life is pointed towards the left, with the exact same amount of umph as the previous vector.

Vector 2

The funny thing is that vectors can be combined together.  If I add two of the first vector, then it would be like my life was pointed towards the right, and then pointed towards the right even more, resulting in a longer arrow to the right (brown arrow).

Vector 3

In contrast, if I add the first and second vectors together, then it’s like my life is pulled to the right, and at the same time pulled to the left by the same amount of umph.  In the end, my life points towards both the left and the right, and therefore points to nowhere.

Vector 4


I made a vector analogy to life in my first blog post 2 years ago (see above quote).  At that time, I had finished college with nothing in particular to occupy my life.  I was doing random things, but getting nowhere because my life vectors weren’t pointed towards a purpose.  So I started this blog to get some of my life vectors pointed towards epicness, and I’m thankful for the adventures I’ve had.

Two years later, I’m back to the vector analogy, although in a very different place in life.  Now I’m in med school studying too many things and living in a different part of the country and apparently there exists this thing called winter that everyone keeps talking about, etc.  But despite my incredible productivity in life (many vectors with very large amplitudes), I feel like my life isn’t going anywhere.

On Thursday in Bible study, I was thinking about tropomyosin and microfilaments or something nonsensical instead of the churchy topic at hand.  Then I thought to myself, what is my life pointed towards?  Sure wasn’t pointed towards God very much.  Sure wasn’t towards my family back home.  Sure wasn’t towards my friends.  And the saddest thing was that my life vectors weren’t even pointed towards myself!  What was I doing these past few weeks?  I have no idea (maybe I should reread my blog posts).  I’m constantly running, but towards everything and therefore nothing.  My vectors are canceling out.

I’m still glad I’m here in med school studying what I signed up for so desperately.  I’m looking forward to the day when I’ll be actually useful to people.  But I need to think more about what kind of man I want to be and which vectors will take me there.

Simeon Koh

P.S.  Yes I realize I just quoted myself in the beginning of this post.  Is that weird?