Friday, 11 December 2015

Choose Yourself, Choose Happiness



Okay I lied. The first part of the title is not exactly my headline, but a term I casually adopted from a venerable author James Altucher. He wrote the book Choose Yourself and albeit I have yet to get my hand on it, I reckon it’s going to be mind-blowing. I definitely can’t wait to get one!

Imagine ourselves lying on the floor, barely able to lift our heads, unsure of where and when to turn. James has thrived in the past by starting up so many companies, but hit rock bottom multiple times too. Every year is challenging for him, but he still continued to live each day clasping his Daily Practices (reading, writing, doing podcasts and inspiring others with his unique experience and brutally honest and creative ideas, BEING THANKFUL). 

Just this week alone I have been pondering on the idea of happiness. Even during Sunday Service in church 5 days ago, my pastor talked about choosing happiness. How much more coincident can it get because I have been pondering the same thought for the past few days prior to the service.

I honestly admit I am not exactly a happy-go-lucky person, in fact I am quite the opposite. I always find myself struggling in the dark space of depression. Maybe you will think I am exaggerating. Anyone who knows me personally will never think this is the case. So you are safe, you are not alone. There were countless times I thought of ending my life, and it was awfully easy. I chickened out. Also, I hate seeing people who love me crying, worse still because of me.

But how come?! I thought you are a Christian! You have your God with you and if you do everything He asks you to do faithfully, you will never find yourself having to struggle with all these, right? Well yeah, that’s why prayer is important to keep me in sanity. Maybe you can keep me in prayer.

In life, everything can pull you down. Jean-Paul Sartre said “Hell is other people”. Imagine you are having a nice day thus far, then on the way driving home, you find yourself almost crashing into a reckless insensible motorcyclist. Then you started cursing and your day is no longer nice. I am 99% sure I am not the only one who get irritated easily at little things like this, but really if we let others dictate our day, it’s not surprising our happiness can be robbed from us in a split second.

What about people you love and people who love you dearly? They too can bring us down. When you form a relationship or friendship with someone, you subconsciously put a price tag on that person. You set an expectation. The painful truth is that everyone wants something from you, including your parents.

The sooner you are able to figure out what is the something that everyone wants from you, the quicker you are able to realign the expectation set earlier on and save yourself from unforeseen disappointment risk. It can be love, career progression, business deal, or plain platonic relationship.

Maybe this is when we can choose to be happy, meeting optimum expectation others placed in you and in turn meeting others’ expectation. Now this sounds like a bad idea, but it’s true! Life is full with meeting expectations. Whether from parents, bosses, friends, lover, children etc. The key word here is optimum. Optimum always work the best.

Firstly, it can prevent ourselves from burning out. Secondly, it can help us not to be lackluster.

Even if nobody chooses you, the only person who can choose you is YOU yourself. Quit your 9-5 job if you failed to find any meaning in your work. You yourself have the ultimate power and capability to rise up to be the person you want to be, by exercising your own customized Daily Practices. I am no expert in this as I am still learning. But you know who to learn it from.

Choosing yourself would inevitably bring happiness into your life. That is when you realised the purpose of your life – why you are doing what you are doing. Doing what you love, at the same time satisfying your inner desires.

Maybe you would like to change the world. Maybe you would like to add values to your network, by connecting people within your network who don’t already know each other but would immensely blessed by one another had they known one another. Are you giving your dream a chance?

Moving forward one step at a time means you are not stopping and you are on track on achieving your dreams. 

Another vital key is to be thankful. Whenever I find myself not happy and have nothing significant to cheer on, I often forget about being thankful. It’s easier said than done. But to practice it religiously daily is not a mammoth task neither. If you have not already been doing this daily, be thankful the moment you open your eyes can start your day right.

To be honest, every morning when I wake up I will ask myself these few questions:

- Did I sleep enough? Am I energized sufficiently?
(If I didn’t sleep enough, I will feel like crap the whole day. There goes my day. Can’t even start it right.)
- Is there anything I can be thankful of?
(Hint: Of course there are plenty of them. The very fact you are awake now and reading this are themselves two blessings already.)
- How’s my schedule like today? And how can I improve it to make it better? 

Come out with your own questions. I am pretty sure you can do way better than me.

Start your day right and you will be delightedly surprised that happiness comes knocking your door.

Lastly, don’t let happiness stand outside your door. Let happiness soak into your heart chambers.

Happy people attract more people. It is not always the case that we can become happy on our own, so being able to happy innately is an enviable gift.


I'm choosing happiness. Are you up for it? 

Friday, 4 December 2015

Why I Think Kepong 5 (UOA) Might NOT Work Out


I almost did it again. Bought into the sweet words of a property agent and book a unit at Kepong V Residences. I’m glad I did not. As you all know I have been looking around for a property. My main intention for this purchase is for INVESTMENT. And then this popped up. Kepong 5 / Kepong V / Kepong Square, by UOA.

Yes UOA! UOA is quite a reputable property developer that has been building projects after projects even before I was born. So I have no doubt about the quality of the project. If you haven’t heard of UOA because you are just a newbie like me or you haven’t been actively looking around for property, the entire Bangsar South is the masterpiece of UOA.

So far so good. Now here’s the deal: Currently it is still at the soft launch period, or pre-launch mode if you like. For a soft launch project initiated by such a reputable developer, nothing can go wrong, right? Let’s delve into it further, shall we?

Here’s the background: The project site is located at Jalan Lang Emas, next to Taman Segambut Aman. It smacked right in between Kepong and Segambut, and it is only 8 minutes off Mont Kiara and Desa Park City. There will also be a KTM station right behind the condo, which is fantastic! In addition, the construction of Duke2 Highway is already on-going, right in front of the project site.

The best part of it? It would be a MIXED DEVELOPMENT, i.e. a shopping mall with Cineplax embedded within, food and beverages, entertainments etc. Just like Publika, Tropicana, Paradigm, Mid Valley and so on. You get the idea.

There are 3 layouts and the one I chose was the middle one with 962 sqf, and its costs range from RM556k to RM620k, depending on the floor level of your choice. Through a simple calculation, you will arrive at RM578 per square feet. Not bad at all, right? Riggghhhttt?! Maybe..

OMG WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?!

I was ready to be sold. Seriously the moment I stepped out from the UOA showroom at Bangsar South last Saturday, I was so convinced this was the best deal I had ever came across. I was merely a lazy bloke ready to be sweet-talked into making a 6-figure purchase. Costly and foolishly.

But the thing is this, it is just okay, nothing too great to shout about. I’m extremely thankful for my seniors who kept asking me to reconsider my choice. Which leads me to…


5 Reasons NOT to Buy Kepong 5 Residences

1) Mixed Development. “How can this even be a reason for you not to buy this property?! I can’t believe you just said it.” Yes, I just said it. This should have been one of the biggest, if not the first, reasons why I should not buy into this project. Is there anything wrong with having a mixed development just below your condo? Let’s see. The targeted segment was high income earners from Mont Kiara and Desa Park City, but seriously when you come to think of it, Mont Kiara has their own shopping malls (1 Mont Kiara and Plaza Damas), while Desa Park City has 1 Utama and The Curve nearby. Why should they come to your shopping mall then? No reason? So again, this project would attract mainly middle income group. Think in the perspective of the potential crime rate.

2) The current state of Kepong and Segambut. I may be a little myopic on this, but despite the close proximity to Mont Kiara and Desa Park City, I don’t see the Segambut and Kepong areas growing fast enough to become high-end locations any time soon. It would take at least a few more decades, if ever, for Segambut and Kepong areas to be pulled up to the luxury standard. Plus the current residents are mostly middle income people who stay in landed properties. Again this are just my two cents, feel free to take it with a pinch of salt.

3) KTM service 100m behind the condo. This is a good thing right? I mean, seriously?! Not necessarily. If you look at the existing quality KTM offers, it has not been up to the satisfactory standard. Not only the timing is awfully inaccurate, the KTM users mainly comprise low to middle income groups, and even low-skilled foreigners. I’m not trying to offend anyone here, especially if you are a frequent KTM user. But I am speaking objectively. Of course there is always a chance of KTM management to significantly improve their services by say increasing frequency and improving timing of the train services. Again, this is merely a chance.

4) Duke2 Highway smacked right in front of the condo. Great? Maybe not. Think again. Currently the Jalan Lang Emas is already congested. Would it be a blessing for this Duke2 Highway to come in at this point of time? Or would it be a curse to the existing traffic? Again, it remains a possibility for the latter to happen. Imagine the 3-lane Duke2 Highway converging into the small Jalan Lang Emas in future. The sight is not going to be pretty, isn’t it? Think of yourself enduring this every day for the next 20-30 years, if you bought it for your own stay.

5) OXIDATION POND is just 1km away. For those who don’t know what an oxidation pond is, Google is just at your fingertips. Basically it is used for simple secondary treatment of SEWAGE effluents. Imagine the bacteria that could potentially spread to your property. 



So there you go, my reasons for not buying this project.

And because of this project, it has changed the way I viewed property investment. The next time similar opportunity arises, I would definitely ask myself this one golden question:

“Why shouldn’t I buy this property?” 


Always make it a point that if you managed to find even one flaw you are not happy about, you shall not proceed. Ignore that flaw and you risk it coming back to haunt you in future. 

Because every agent would want to tell you only the good things, but not the downsides of it. Always, I mean ALWAYS, remember that agents would ultimately prioritise self-interest. Their earnings are based on commission and that would only come through when the deal is sealed, that is when the SPA is signed by you and you paid the 10% downpayment. 

NOBODY TAKES CARE OF YOUR MONEY MORE THAN YOU DO. 

Think for yourself to avoid making all the costly mistakes! You wouldn't want to regret for the next 30 years just because of your impulsive decision.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Love Yourself First



“Hey, how are you doing?” is one of the most common questions we ask others or people throw at us, whether we realize it or not. Ironically not many people are genuinely interested about how you are doing, but rather it serves just as a form of formality or conversation starter.

Because we have been asked this question thousands of times, we subconsciously formed a default answer as well. “I’m fine / I’m doing great. Yourself?” becomes the default answer even when we don’t feel all that great at that point of time.

What happens when we give a genuine answer? In other word, be our true self. For instance, when I don’t feel all that blissful and positive about life or simply being dissatisfied at my workplace, I say “It is okay. I have been feeling tired at …xxx… and this boss has been squeezing me alive at work.”

Some friends may be caught by surprises for giving them unconventional responses and become empathetic at our situations, but the rest would be like “Oh snap, I wish I had never asked that question…” Have you ever been in that situation when you regretted asking your friend what is going on in his/her life? I am ashamed to say, I had.

So why should you be reading this post anyway? To be honest, no one is without one’s own problems, and we have a thousand and one decisions to make. A few decisions may put us in deep troubles, while most will help to improve our general happiness and contentment on life.

Speaking of which, behavioral economics has helped me to rationalize my decision making skills and see it from different perspectives. I strongly recommend books by Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist based in Duke University and MIT. Check him out if you like.

I am pretty sure I am not the only one who don’t feel like listening to others’ problems all the time as I have enough of my own, but most of the times I still choose to be a good friend. I still listen to others’ life situations and be empathetic. Then I realised not everyone loves himself or herself.

We, human beings, are strange creatures and sometimes we enjoy tormenting ourselves with our past experiences particularly those hurtful moments. At times we will recollect the happy moments and involuntarily smile, but when one or two particular songs come up on our Spotify playlist, painful moments immediately gush down the memory lane.

But that’s what makes us human, human. Without memories, we are just another aimless moving creatures strolling around making babies. Memories can break us, but it also possesses an immense capability and strength to mold us. Attributed to its unique mark in our life, we think and act differently. People may idolize the adage “Great minds think alike” but everyone went through different life experiences. Even great minds did, so they are not exactly identical.

Just last week alone I have heard of two cases where my friends’ boyfriends cheated on them. One was a distant story, about 2 years ago. Another one was just two weeks ago. Coincidentally, both cases occurred when their relationships turned into long distance relationships (LDR). I may never find out what was playing in the guys’ minds because of my devoid of relevant experiences, but I would never commit such shamefully distressing act.

Just because you are alone feeling lonely when you are abroad, it doesn’t give you the permission to flirt with another girl and worse still, sleep with her. Unless you don’t mind being labelled as an asshole douchebag. Even so, your act is outright despicable. 

Few weeks ago when I went to watch movie with my sister at Tropicana Mall, my sister told me there was this guy looking at her even when he was walking next to a hot girlfriend. Seriously, what’s wrong with guys? Of course I am stereotyping here, but it’s undeniable that guys are, mostly if not all, visual creatures.

So guys, when you already have a girlfriend, please treat her like a jewel because if you don’t, someone else will. Just like salt put onto a wound, it would never be the same for the girls who got cheated. They never deserved such treatment, definitely not from one of the most trusted persons they have poured out their hearts to.

Unfortunately shit happens.

There are two types of losers in a relationship:

1)  Those who don’t think they deserve someone better, and hang on to the current bad apple.
2) Those who think they are not good enough to deserve someone as excellent as [insert your dream guy/girl], and thereby not confident enough of themselves.

These two types apply to both guys and girls alike.

For the first type, of course it is difficult. It is never an easy task to save yourself, to bring yourself out of your comfort zone. Someone you have been so familiar with for the past xx months/years. But enough is enough. Love yourself. Save yourself time and energy. Get yourself out of the mess. When you sense something is not going right in your relationship and you find yourself having to struggle through days and nights worrying about it, disaster is looming.

As for the second type, you need to buck up. I’m not sure if you know this, but YOU ARE UNIQUE. The sooner you realize there is only one you in this world, the faster you will start to appreciate your self-worth. I used to be a Type II loser, until one day I realised I may not be too bad. I may not have found my soulmate yet, I know she is somewhere out there. I can only pray for her.

To my future wife / best friend / soulmate,

I know you are out there somewhere. Maybe working, or still studying. Until you walk into my life, I pray that you will always live your life joyfully and thankfully. Seek God and praise God when you are happy or even sad. If you are in a relationship right now, I pray you will find happiness and deeper meaning in the relationship. Guard your heart, love yourself first before anyone else. Everything happens for reasons, every relationship will teach you something valuable.

I pray that you will be more compassionate and empathetic towards friends and strangers, and find peace in all the little things around you. Slow down and listen to your little voice. I pray that you will be receptive of Holy Spirit’s voice, and follow Him. If you ever feel lonely and no one else understands you, please remember there is this guy right here who never ceases praying for your well being. You are never alone. But till then, please hang on tight. The storm will be over soon.

Till then, I promise you I will do my part. I will strive to improve myself in all areas, including my relationship with God, friendships with other people and family, as well as my health and finances. I am working hard now to provide a decent life for our future family. I will pass all the actuarial professional papers to further secure my career stability, at the same time not putting my savings and investments on the backseat.

I will take care of myself for you, and I hope you will take care of yourself for me too.

With all my heart and soul I love you,

Nicholas 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Sweetest Sound of All Time



As I walked towards the gate of my office after work, I saw this guy also walking towards the same direction with his friend. He’s my friend but his name seemed to vanish from my mind for a temporal moment, so for one whole minute I walked behind their back quietly. I hoped he never spotted me because I was ashamed of my wonky memory. When I finally managed to recall his name, he spotted me walking behind him and his friend. I couldn’t call out his name on time, so I just addressed him as “bro”. Hey Bro! How’s it going? The rest remain history.

I believe I am not alone in this.

I KNOW! I know. It sounds trivial. Not remembering other people’s names is a small matter and everyone does it, right? To be honest, yes it is. But if you come to think about it from a larger picture, this seemingly trivial matter has the capability to trickle into larger issues, and could be the one mammoth factor in determining one’s success in everything. Many business leaders and politicians knew this golden key and it helps them to manage people. It weaved its magic in the past, and will continue to do so in future.

After one week of barely reading a proper book (I read mostly random articles from websites and blogs), I resumed the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Again the insight I’ve gained was proved to be extremely relevant and practically real. Yes I know you are pretty good at guessing, and you guessed it right. It is remembering names.

I have to admit, I was (am) not very good at remembering other people’s names. In fact, this is one of my weaknesses I have been trying to work on. Where are the places and events you will get to meet a lot of new people? Networking events, church, conferences and during transitional periods. When you meet new people in church after service and during prayer meeting. When you just started working, you have hundreds of names to remember but everyone else has only one name to add into their mind. Unfair right?! We will get there.

"Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language." – Dale Carnegie

Consider this one CEO working in a company with the same group of employees, but under two very different scenarios. In Scenario A, this CEO can only recall the names of the top 10 names working closest to him. As you might have guessed correctly (again!), they are other top executives, heads of various functions and the general manager. On top of that, no one else.

Then in Scenario B, the same CEO acts very differently. He knows everyone by names, from the cleaners to the cafeteria workers, from junior executives up to the Board of Directors. Who do you think will be able to perform better, leading the company to the right direction and achieve targets within the shortest period of time? You knew the answer again, don’t you? Smarty pant.

Now that we know it’s important to remember names and just by doing this can have an immense impact in getting others to put us more favourably against everyone else, what can we do to remember names? It’s not really of our intention to forget their names though! Blame our short term memory and for some people, like me, our brains just work this way! Maybe there are some little tricks to remember?  

Repeat. Repeat. REPEAT. One thing about our brain is when we say out a name repetitively, we tend to remember it easier and better. You won’t notice it, but your brain knows what it is doing. By repeating something, you are emitting signal to your brain saying this is important, MUST REMEMBER! The magic works this way. If you tell your brain to remember this, it will. Conversely, when you don’t value this person highly enough, you are essentially saying “This is a waste of time! Can I go home now?” and then by the time you ended the conversation with the person, you don’t even remember his/her name. Chances are, he/she will be extremely glad to know you still remember his/her name the next time you guys meet each other.

Keywords also work wonders in helping you to remember names. It is critical to link their hobbies, careers and anything else you can think of to the person’s name and voila! You are well on your way to remember him for eternity. I’m joking, you don’t have to remember his name for eternity if you don’t want to. But in case you WANT, remembering keywords is going to help. I tend to categorise people I know into few categories. Previously, based on what they study; now based on their departments/companies or what they do for a living.

Because I am feeling good today, here is one personal tip for you – SOCIAL MEDIA! We all know how much social media has transformed the world, making it a more well-connected community. Through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you will remember someone’s name almost instantly. I don’t know about you, but it works for me.

That’s why when I meet new people anywhere I go, I will tend to search them up on Facebook or LinkedIn (for professional contacts) and add them right away, otherwise I will forget them by the next morning. So folks, don’t freak out when I suddenly add you on Facebook. I just want to be your friend and it helps me to remember you also. Unless of course, you don’t want me to remember you, then it’s fine. =/

Let’s practice this new skill today – try to remember as many names as possible. It will help you develop your vivid lifelong impression in other people’s minds. 

Monday, 23 November 2015

Target Driven Life


The past weekend has been physically exacting for me, because I was irrational bold enough to join the Sports Day organized by my employer Bank Negara, knowing I was/am not much fitter than the majority population. Still I challenged myself. I knew the chance for me to win anything was extremely slim – close to 0%. I took the first step and stepped out of my comfort zone. I made an impulsive decision to sign up for 800m and 4x400m even before I had time to regret over my decision. I took the risk of embarrassing myself.

The result? I managed to clock 2 minutes 47 seconds for my 800m run, attaining fourth place out of 6 runners. The runner who got third was not too far ahead of me, yet I had ran out of energy to sprint in my last 100m. Even more encouragingly, the other two runners in 5th and 6th places were physically fitter than me. For the first time in my life, I did not book the last spot in an athletic competition. It was a personal victory for me. I was extremely thankful, and definitely delighted.

As a consolation prize, I managed to get third place in an impromptu event I joined that day itself. I participated in the Tug of War event due to my slightly fine physique, and despite my team lost to the champion, we still got a medal. It was probably the first medal I have ever attained despite not winning the match LOL! But because there were only three houses in the Bank (Sasana, Tunas and Lanai), only three teams were sent, thus the medals – gold, silver and bronze. For some reason my team got a bronze, despite never get beaten by the first runner-up. I reckon we could have beaten them, but a medal is still a medal. I’m glad!

What’s next? I have been receiving a number of comments stating I am still young, so I have a lot more opportunities to join various sports events. I concur. Participating in this annual athletic event organized by my employer was just the first step. I am currently controlling my diet and taking my weight seriously. I have been weighing 80kg for a few months now and I don’t feel comfortable about it despite my general fitness level shows otherwise. I am feeling better than ever and I have no plan on backing down.

Last week I spoke to a senior colleague who has been fairly active in running especially in the recent past two years. He has been participating in various marathons and ran half marathons a few times. Half marathon covers 21km, in case you don’t know. I didn’t know, thinking it was just 10km. He gave me some advices on running. Apparently running is not all but just the first step. Knee injuries are real and will eventually come as one progresses further in running.

It is not surprising that many footballers tend to encounter knee injuries once in a while as they compete weekly league fixtures throughout their entire career. Is there any way to prevent knee injuries? Fret not, of course there are! There are plenty of exercises to strengthen the hips, adductors and core muscles. Strong relevant muscles will help absorb the impact rather than it going straight down to the knees. Even the running techniques matter, all to protect our athletic knees.

Setting realistic targets is not easy as it requires courage and strength to pull through every temptation not to keep up to the target. We have every reason to be lazy and let the passion die off gradually, but persistence will keep us afloat. I am not someone who will settle for things, because once I start settling in, I will start being complacent. I hope you will keep on improving every area of your life too, setting seemingly unattainable targets to push yourself to the next level.

Above was only my target on my physical health. One major issue about setting target though is the fear of failure. If you can overcome this fear, you are bound to achieve success in areas you wish to see breakthroughs. Opportunities are limitless, so one failure should and would never determine your fate and destiny. Giving up upon encountering one failure only shows our weakness on our desperation to succeed. 

Of course the magnitude of failures varies, so it will be foolish of me to deny its emotional impacts on each person. But the underlying principle behind every failure is always the same, regardless of its magnitude. Never ever stop to give it another try, because the next try may be the key to getting the qualification. Key to your dream job. Key to your dream relationship.  

My personal career progress currently revolves around actuarial professional papers. The most commonly taken Specialist Technical papers are Life Insurance (ST2) and Corporate Finance (ST5). Whenever I heard of someone taking Enterprise Risk Management (ST9), I will be utterly impressed because insofar I have yet to hear any success story regarding this paper. My dream of taking ST9 paper was recently revived all thanks to my senior colleague who has passed ST9 paper, thereby proving it is not impossible to pass this paper. Thanks HS! 

Indeed, setting targets not only sprinkles more flavors into your life, but also propels you forward as you hit those targets one at a time. Try it! I promise it’s going to be fun! You will discover a different side of you, something I reckon you would never regret. 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Why Procrastination Kills and Four Ways to Avoid It



Each time I thought of a great idea, it would daunt on me that the next challenging thing to do is starting the first step. Because starting first step is always the hardest, the urge to procrastinate kicks in. So there is this Rational Decision Maker who is extremely energetic and keen to start doing the work and complete the task on time, driven by dogged determination and passion, living within everyone. He is downright boring, but he as a perfectionist gets things done rather efficiently. But there is another partner in crime, an Instant Gratification Monkey.

This Instant Gratification (IG) Monkey is directly opposite of the Rational Decision Maker. He loves all the fun and at all costs avoids challenging problems. He indulges in instant gratifications (as his name suggested) and persuade the Rational Decision Maker to doing the same. On a normal occasion, the Rational Decision Maker will steer the direction of what I will be doing and the course of my actions for the day, but there is a problem. The Rational Decision Maker tends to be tempted by the cuteness and carefree attitude of the Pet Monkey, and always sometimes gets carried away by his pet monkey to join in the fun.

Come to think of it, the Rational Decision Maker is in a pretty messed up position. He couldn’t control what the IG Monkey is doing, yet he is enticed by the monkey’s uninspiring ideology of fun and convenient mediocrity. Thankfully there is this Panic Monster who will appear and shriek at both Rational Decision Maker and monkey, and the monkey will always be the first to run up the tree in horror. Sometimes the Rational Thinker gets scared and escapes together with the IG Monkey up the tree, but most of the times he will start doing what he was supposed to do a millennium ago.

Whilst the task would eventually get completed on time all credit to the appearance of Panic Monster, the result will be of subpar standard. That is how we always manage to complete 3-month worth of project in the span of burning one midnight oil, but never failed to complain at the mediocre result we obtained thereafter. Bosses publicly berate procrastinators and sometimes the paychecks they rely heavily on vanish into the thin air.

Why though? These are three of the many reasons:

1) It’s challenging and too complex to begin with, daunting to even think of.
2) Underestimated time commitments, by thinking this particular task can be done in one week when in actual it requires two, leading to delay.
3) Plain laziness. 

What can we do to obliterate procrastination once and for all? Come to think of it, I am not the most qualified person to advise you and my suggestions may even be flawed in some ways I couldn’t think of at the moment, but I will give my best shot!

A) Start Breaking Big Complicated Projects Into Multiple Little Parts
Most projects are complicated in a glance, but when you start breaking the big picture into many smaller parts, you will realize it is actually pretty manageable. This is uncannily similar to the definition of simplicity. You may give each of these little tasks an individual deadline too to make it more fun. The feeling of seeing one by one items being crossed off is profoundly satisfying too.

B) Celebrate every little victory
I love this one! Every little feat we have achieved shall be rewarded with a celebration. Never short change yourself by being awfully frugal, because you deserve every bit of it. Give yourself a nice holiday, or dine at a nice restaurant. The “nice” here means an exquisitely posh restaurant with 5-star Michelin rating of some sorts. Even crazier rewards can involve skydiving, scuba diving, bungee jumping and many other extreme adventures. It is essential that our brains are incentivized before starting a project.
  
C) Sleep with your To-Do’s list ready for the next day
Preparing a list is what I have been doing for the past two or three years and I found it extremely effective in improving my productivity level, at the same time helped me to remember things I need to remember. Because our brain memory is limited. I like to resemble my brain power with a pen-drive with limited space capacity, although the truth is our human brain is one of the most powerful weapons we can utilize on. But better be safe than sorry!

Also, your To-Do’s items should never be too long to the extent of making your list intimidating, and it should be arranged according to their respective deadlines. I personally use a Google extension called Momentum to write my To-Do list. Whenever I click to open a new tab on Google Chrome, Momentum page will appear with its scenic background refreshed every day. And it’s nice to have a little quote at the bottom to inspire me daily. Today’s quote is “It’s time to start living the life you’ve only imagined.”

D) Partner with a “Procrastinating Buddy”  
If you started thinking “where is this person?” chances are they are everywhere. He/she can be your close friend who have the same goals. Maybe your wife. Maybe your colleague. Maybe your study buddy. Show each other the To-Do’s list and start holding each other accountable. At least this will give you a little push to get things done. Imagine you are having an appointment with your buddy to exercise in the gym every morning, you wouldn’t want to miss the appointment, lest you seem like a jerk.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Vicious Trap Of Complacency



If you are a regular visitor of this blog, you may have noticed the reduced frequency of my post entries. Let me clarify, I have been writing an entry every weekday for the past 2.5 months, and it is my joy and privilege every time I write. But just last week, I realised this is not sustainable. I have a full time job but because I was still new and my team was pretty busy with their year-end project, I ended up having nothing much to do. Now work started to pile up and you can see where I might be heading next.

Not only my time allocated for blogging will be significantly reduced, my one big concern is writer’s block. My friends have asked me how did I managed to get inspiration daily, to update a blog entry every weekday. My only answer is to spend about 2 hours to read, daily. Read books, blogs and email subscriptions. Read 200 books, 50 books is equivalent to having one mentor. Check out the books that can take your breaths away. Read books that can keep your attention span for the longest period of time. 1 hour. 10 hours. 3 days. One week. Then write. Now I have cut down my weekly posts to 2-3 posts, in hope that I will come out with better quality posts. It is more viably sustainable this way. 

Could this be a vicious trap of complacency for me? A few weeks back I wrote about my fears, one of which is the fear of complacency. I am afraid once I get comfortable with something, complacency will start creeping in and eat me alive. Are you being comfortable with your finance at the moment? Are you living a carefree and enjoyable life, not having to worry about where is the next meal going to come from, OR you are worrying about not having enough money to pay your bills by the end of this month?

Not actively managing one’s financial health is the biggest mistake one can possibly fall into, sprung from the trap of complacency. One may be thinking one’s salary is sufficient enough to pay for everything, until one gets oneself into deep hole of debt, most commonly credit card and hire purchase. Many people opt to spend on short term gratifications than saving and investing. We buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like. It doesn’t make much sense but it’s true for many of us. Now I don’t know about you, but being complacent with my finance is the last position I will want to place myself in.

What about your job if you are working? Are you getting comfortable settling into your workplace, and start thinking what’s next? Is your job giving you the highest level of satisfaction, if not what can be done to boost the satisfaction level? A change of job perhaps? Maybe a shift to other department of the same company you are working at? If we start getting complacent of where we are, we risk setting ourselves into a stagnant mode. Nothing in your workplace will be more interesting than waiting for the arrival of this upcoming weekend.

Recently I read about one way to increase productivity in everything you do, at the same time keep your motivation and satisfaction level at the peak. Perhaps, this could be the key to combat the trap of complacency. 

Overpromise over-deliver

When we overpromise something, we tend to set the bar one notch higher than what we would have set on an ordinary basis. Many people (me) tend to be afraid in setting difficult goals and overpromise things simply because of fear of failures. Failures that will lead to public embarrassment and put our venerable reputation at stake. Admit it, we loathe public humiliation. Nobody is dumb enough to step out of their shell to do that, which may explain the reason behind most members of top management level and leaders being a conversative bunch of people. 

Most people who have built their careers from the scratch would do everything to preserve their career empires, but only a few would be bold enough to come out with radical ideas and overpromise things. As we climb up the golden ladder of success, our capacity to dream somehow shrinks. However when we overpromise things, we position ourselves in an uncomfortable state of mind, and it is this exact state of mind that will lead us to over-delivering.

Last weekend I went to this property showroom and the agent told me the completion period of this project is early 2019. When we asked why, the agent told us the project will most likely be completed by mid-2018, but because they do not want to overpromise the customers, they added a buffer period of 6 months which may seem perfectly plausible. But it reminded me that overpromise things is not necessarily a bad thing, if we can deliver the final result way earlier than the expected time without compromising the work quality.

What if we can’t deliver on time? Not likely, simply because our reputation will be at stake. It takes one or two decades to establish our name, but only one day is enough to obliterate our reputation. By overpromising and over-delivering, we leave no room for complacency. 

Napolean Hill’s Thought For The Day was sent to my email 5 days ago and it stated this: 




Friday, 13 November 2015

The Power of Leverage



Motivational quotes are ubiquitous. Whilst I myself am an avid reader of motivational quotes, they may not be sufficient to pull someone back on track, assuming the person has access to it. Many people are not that fortunate. Imagine someone so dreadful of life or fell so deeply in financial debt, waiting for time to pass. No purpose of life whatsoever, time is just ticking before that person drifts into extreme depression and eventually jumps off the window of a city skyline, or one of the cliffs in Zermatt. 

Why such pessimism? People who really need to be heard can't be heard, people who need help can't get one. The sad truth is they may not even have access to such motivational edification as they are engulfed by the horrendous reality of life, day in day out. People around them are too obsessed with themselves and barely able to notice their peculiar behaviour. Perhaps if we could practice a little more empathy, things could have been turned out differently. Lives could have been saved and transformed for the better.

Introspectively I am privileged to have gained easy access to the motivational sources as I am sure many of us do, and whenever someone comes to me with his/her problems faced in life, I will always try my best to listen and encourage. But I am weak myself. My voice is meagre. That’s why I chose to write blog post. Not for myself but to serve others. To encourage others. To brighten up someone’s life a little amidst all the looming negativity. My end goal has always been and will always be to help others, add values into people’s life.

To me, blogging is a form of leverage, but is not the only way. It is just one of many ways I personally embarked on simply because of its convenience. Perhaps you have your personal touch of encouraging others. Be kind to people, even strangers. One thing I realised about kindness is it would naturally be reciprocated to touch more people’s day, just like water ripple effect. Why not give it a try today? Even a simple smile would brighten someone’s life. It is contagious anyway, and people would generally be drawn to the person who smile rather than the one pulling a long face.

What is the form of leverage that can improve our life tremendously? Reading. Most successful people and world leaders, if not all, are avid readers. I dreaded of reading when I was much younger and I never failed to fall asleep if I were to be shoved a book right on my face. I was never able to appreciate the magic this reading habit can do in my life. It changes life! It certainly has changed mine ever since I started picking up a book of my personal interest and delve into the world of author’s dreamland and thoughts, coupled with his/her rich experiences.

I don’t think I would ever regret picking up reading habit. If there was one single thing I am thankful of this year, it is myself having picked up reading as my hobby. It allows myself to detach from callous reality. Not that reality has been harsh on me because everything has been falling in place for me conveniently and I am thankful for that. This is certainly not the case for many people. Reading is probably the one and only reality simulator, providing access to millenniums of events and human history. 

That was probably one of the reasons I enjoyed reading history books even back in high school, when most of my peers loathe reading them but were forced to. There is an adage “History repeats itself”, so if I am able to leverage on the knowledge of past events, I would be able to stand on the shoulder of a giant. History is my giant. I will stand a higher chance of surviving today with a smile, and brace myself for a tougher battle tomorrow.

One of my favourite authors, James Altucher, can’t emphasise enough how reading has impacted his life tremendously. He is probably the staunchest reader I have ever come to know. His reason for such dedication? “I read because it lets me re-live the lives of all of the authors, curated by them into a compact form so I can re-live that life in days instead of decades. Reading has saved my life more than once. It’s taught me to rob banks, it’s taught me to love better. It’s taught me how to be good and competent at things.”

Needless to say, reading is currently my ultimate leveraged weapon. It is one of the best and cheapest avenues for me to equip myself with an arsenal of knowledge I yearn for, be it property, financial, economics, motivational and personal development. Nothing by far even comes close to it. Take away my time off reading and you are taking away my life.


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Why Not Me?



When I was relatively younger, I used to doubt myself. I had poor self-esteem purely out of the thought of myself being untalented. I was raw and inexperienced in whatever came my way. In everything I encountered at school, I stood by the sideline and watched the high flyers performed to their best abilities and won tournaments, one after another. Then I would envy them. I wished I could be just a little bit like them, being outstanding in fields of their choices. 

And I bumped into this quote out of the blue, saying: "If others can do it, why can't I?" I paused. If others can do it, why can't you? There are so many people who have made histories, success stories are everywhere if you bother to look around. So many people have succeeded, why not myself? Many excellent students had attained straight A1's, what is stopping me from achieving the similar feat? What a powerful revelation! From that moment onwards, I started to gain courage, aim higher and strive for the best I could possibly achieve. 

That led me to the field of actuarial science, a field traditionally deemed as one of the toughest any sane homosapien can pursue in the world, because of its long grueling series of professional papers one has to endure in order to be qualified. I dared to challenge myself mentally, albeit having heard many failures occured in both past and present. There is no easy path, each professional paper exacts several hundred hours of discipline efforts allocated on revisions. Am I ready for it, both physically and mentally? At least at the end of the day, I can say I have attempted. 

These past two weeks I have been looking actively at properties, then I realised I have so much more to learn. I am just an inexperienced newbie. One thing I am extremely thankful of is the number of seniors available at my disposal to share with me their personal tips and opinions on property investing. As a starter, I need to make a few major decisions myself such as: 

i) What is my investment goal and the purpose of buying property (for own stay or passive income)? 
ii) Do I want a positive (sub-sale completed old building) or negative cash flow (new project)? 
iii) If negative cash flow, am I ready for such a huge financial obligation (which can be seen as a massive hurdle in times to come, bearing in mind I would have increasing commitments)? 

It may seem daunting at first as it did to me, but as long as I keep my mind open, I will be able to master it one day. Not only helpful seniors are everywhere within my reach, there are property blogs and websites that are freely available too. Only if you are willing and take your own initiative to spend some time on doing adequate research before committing yourself to huge financial obligation, you will improve over time. So far I am willing and hopeful to keep this level of enthusiasm high. I am still learning and will persist on equipping myself with knowledge.  

As soon as we are comfortable with our level of understanding on a certain topic, there is where the danger comes. Why do I say that? Because we feel complacent and thought we knew everything. We deluded ourselves into thinking we were on top of summit when we were barely at the base. We thought we had nothing else to fear. It is all innately entrenched in our mind and it is inevitable at one point we will feel this way. Maybe if we keep ourselves open to new ideas and always think we are just beginners, we shall never settle for ourselves, and we will keep moving forward! 

Another important point is we dare not step out beyond our comfort zones because of our fear of failures. As human beings it is natural for us to be afraid of uncertainty. Any venture demanding the stretch of our mental capacity and technical prowess daunts us back to our caves. It requires extra time and efforts, which means less time for something else – opportunity cost. There will be a complete shift in our priority list. But it has got to start somewhere. Perhaps this is a good beginning. 

Maybe we should just stop doubting ourselves, depriving ourselves of true potentials. When our minds and mental capacities are tough, nothing external can truly hurt us. Failures? Sure. Rejections? Bring it on! Not that I am already immune to all these, I know the sure-fire ways to climb back up stronger. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Where to Find Motivation?


Is there a day you just don’t feel like doing anything, but to lie on your bed staring at the ceiling and do nothing? Skipping everything you told yourself you will do every day and find yourself lack of motivation to continue doing it? That’s me right now, but I’m glad I have finally written my first three sentences to kick start my writing mood. I am demotivated. I have missed my gym session today, but I had an intensive badminton session yesterday evening. Excuse. 

Where do we find motivation anyway? I am curious if you would let me know your source of motivation, I will try to tell you mine. If you don’t have one, please read on. What drives you to do everything you are doing? Is it genuine passion and your love for the job keeping you where you are? Or is it financial security? Indeed one of the biggest challenges is to achieve breakthrough in your workplace. Quitting your job you don’t enjoy is one of them. 

Today my motivation was nowhere to be found. I woke up being frustrated,  instead of spending 10 minutes being grateful. With frustration engulfing me, it was not easy to be thankful. I missed my morning gym session and I was grumpy the whole morning. Good breakfast didn't make up much. Frustration converted itself into demotivation. But why am I being frustrated? I am devoid of patience and being restless about many areas of my life. 

"I thought you were supposed to be all motivated and positive about everything in life that you every day write to encourage others?", you asked. It's true, but I'm still a human anyway. Full of flaws and negative traits I'm trying to improve 1% on every day. There are days I feel depressed and all negative. Today is probably one of them. I just don't feel like improving 1% today. Maybe I have been too harsh on myself. Trying to meet my own expectations but when I can't, I get frustrated. 

Perhaps I was being frustrated for having fallen into a trap I don't know where about the end is. At 23, I am no longer a kid nor am I matured enough to take up huge responsibilities. If I act like a kid, I will be deemed childish but no one takes a 23-year-old fresh graduate seriously neither. I am smack right in the middle of this awkward group of young and ambitious people but often get disillusioned with their idealistic mindsets. 

Maybe that guy was right. About two months ago there was this certified financial planner trying to promote a term assurance product. He warned me over email that I will be frustrated over many things if I don't realign my expectations with reality. Maybe not. 

"I sincerely hope your deduction will come through in the near future, else, you have to see the reality of the world, the sooner the better, or if there is too much a divergence from what you hope and what is real, you will live a frustrated life."

This is not to be construed with living an idealistic life. I do aware of everything going on around us, nationwide and globally. I share the same sentiment with every Malaysian citizen, paying GST and pumping standard RON95, but I can choose not to be carried away by all these external disruptions. A victoriously positive mindset helps us not to complain so much (our typical Malaysian trait) but to steadfastly build our internal strength. 

But our golden question - where to find motivation? It can come from incentives and satisfaction derived from doing what you're doing. Perhaps my incentive and satisfaction is slowly fading off, but it's not the end. There are several ways to recharge your motivation: 

1) Go Back to Basics 
Reviewing our goals and objectives is fundamental to ensure us moving forward with revitalised purposes. Writing down a mission statement is necessary to provide greater clarity on our goals, and help us to realign our strategies in achieving our goals. 

2) Lift Your Foot Off Pedal 
It can be tiring going through the same things over and over again, everyday. Perhaps taking one or two days off would propel you even further when you resume your activities, with renewed strength and inspiration. Just don't think about it at all, do something else that is non-related to your daily activities. You will find yourself more motivated at the end of the day. 

3) Keep the Synchronisation in Harmony 
When I am lack of motivation to do things I am committed to do, more often than not I have not done something else properly. My daily blog writing hinges heavily with my habit of reading and exercising. I have been exercising frequently, but I haven't been reading books of different genres. I'm currently reading book on housing loan, nothing about personal development. I am running out of ideas. Or perhaps I am just a lazy bloke. 

4) Mingle with your Social Circle 
I find this extremely helpful to reflect on what I have been doing. After a while I may lose motivation on doing my daily works, but every now and then my friends would pick me up at the right time, encourage me to go on! Even dropping one or two kind comments makes my day! I have been really blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by nice people. We are social beings after all, being surrounded by warm and nice friends helps to edify us in times of emotional downfall. 

5) Reward System 
This does not have to be linked with scrumptious food but if that was what makes you tick, by all means go ahead. Say if you manage to pass an exam, go all out to celebrate with friends and family for one day, then return to your room to prepare for the next battle. Every small victory worths a celebration! If we only celebrate our huge victories, we may as well wait a century. Every single celebration, no matter how small in magnitude, encourages us to leap further.  

I don't know about you, but these five ways worked for me. Perhaps you can give them a try when you lose motivation in your daily work. 

Friday, 6 November 2015

Riding on Momentum



Many years ago I used to write New Year resolutions at the beginning of the year but only to regrettably see the excitement gradually being subsided by the end of February. At the end of the year, I may even be worse off compared to the start of the year. I believe most of us have encountered this at least once in our life. Because all the cool kids do it. Adults, growing teenagers, kids. Everyone does it, so we must follow! But let’s take a step back and ask ourselves, why bother making a New Year resolutions list if we never intended to follow it through?

Lack of discipline is one thing. Deep inside we want to be one of the cool kids, and cool kids normally have all the bragging rights, and they are generally well accepted in our communities. At least we wanted to feel like we are accepted. But this is not my main point. This may not be your reason. Maybe you wholeheartedly wanted to do things differently as the New Year approaches, to improve every aspect of your life. Then you started to religiously carry out the task.

After one month doing it, we get lazy. The things we thought they would be fun to follow religiously are no longer fun and exciting. They are getting boring. Firstly, it can be due to the nature of the task. It may indeed be very boring, for that even I won’t be able to follow through. Or secondly, our laziness kicks in. We allow ourselves to be lazy and let the momentum fades off itself. We then console ourselves, saying “It’s okay, just missing one day won’t do much harm.”

But how it actually works is this: When you miss one day doing something that you vowed to do every day, there will be second day missing. Then third. And fourth. By the end of the month, you will totally be comfortable with the notion of not doing it at all. This can be discouraging, but it’s the truth. More exciting things appear and the New Year resolutions become less exciting. This is still fine though, but it gets even worse when we just sit there and do nothing, when we were supposed to be doing something.

So what can we do to hack this weakness?

We can improve ourselves not only on New Year day, but every single day we are alive! Yes even today! 1% improvement on every area of our lives is the first key. What’s the second? Riding on momentum. We can have a good start for the first three weeks since inception, but if we failed to follow it through until we see the results, if we allow laziness and complacency to kick in, the new habit would eventually falter and become just a past history.

See what I did there? New habits! If we can convert the “new year resolutions” into habits, it will become second nature to us. I am certain you can easily name many habits you have formed since the day you were born. Many habits are good, some may be bad. The formula here is to increase the number of good habits and reduce the bad habits as much as we could. Doing this would immediately improve our desirability and acceptability, as well as our self-esteem and confidence level.

How can habits become second nature to us? Whether we realise it or not, we were riding on momentum. The momentum of kicking off a new conviction and sticking to it through thick and thin. It will only get easier over time, not the other way round. For instance, I have vowed to myself not to drink any carbonated drink since June this year, and I have been doing pretty well at refraining myself from consuming it. Any desire to drink even a sip? Nope, not at all.

Another thing is we tend to write New Year resolutions of mammoth difficulty level, which explains why we tend to fail most of the times. Why not start small? A small change can be easily executed, and once you get fairly comfortable with the change, the change will grow bigger and bigger. This is by far a more effective way than tuning our mentality to face a giant. When we are faced with huge challenge, we withdraw ourselves because we don’t know how to approach the problem. But if we work towards the small change by stages, slowly but surely we will overcome the mammoth challenge in the end. 

Starting something is always difficult, but maintaining it demands a whole new level of commitment. It requires a different set of rules and discipline. If only we can consistently do it and never to skip it once, it will be converted into our habit and cumulatively, our lifestyle. Maybe we can start thinking ways to improve our life mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. And we can start changing our lifestyle through little baby steps today, and ride on the momentum to convert these baby steps into a habit.

Start taking action today! Today is the day! 


Thursday, 5 November 2015

A Blank Page



Every day when I log on to Blogger and click on “Create a New Post”, a blank page appears. It is up to me how I want to smear it. Fresh page, white as snow, ready to be painted. I may not have anything particularly productive to write, but I can write. So I keep writing. I may be writing craps, which I am right now, but I still write. I have set this my personal conviction to write a post every weekday, so far I have been disciplined enough to cling on to this conviction.

Your conviction may be on something else. Maybe you had promised yourself you will go exercise every evening. Or every morning. But you have been procrastinating. Don’t worry me too, many times. Then I realised I don’t have to dwell in the sense of guilt. I may have missed today’s gym session, but I can go tomorrow. There’s always a second chance. There’s always tomorrow. A better tomorrow. Don’t miss it!

Everyone deserves a second chance. You deserve a second chance. But the problem with us is we tend to take this privilege of having a second chance for granted. Today you have missed your daughter’s ballet performance at school. You thought to yourself there’s always next year. Come next year and you are working on a huge project you can’t take leave to attend her ballet performance. The next thing you know is your daughter is a young woman now and she no longer participates in ballet performance. Her parents won’t attend anyway. No one at home is appreciating her talent. You have missed the chance. 

Maybe there was something someone has done to you in the past that hurt you deeply. Your loved one cheated on you and was caught flirting with the opposite sex. You were no longer his/her priority. Even worse, your loved one had slept with the opposite sex when he/she was still in a relationship with you. Your whole world fell apart. You no longer feel hope in love. You felt betrayed. You wanted to die. A second chance for him/her? Maybe a second chance for you. A second chance for you to open up your heart again. To learn to trust someone again. You deserve a better person. It will take time, but you have all the time you need. 

Maybe you have done something wrong and embarrassing. You argued with your loved ones over petty things because you were too egoistic. I argued with my dad many times over petty things and it somehow never failed to escalate to something more serious. You know it was petty, but the simple message somehow did not manage to get across. It turned out to be a disastrous argument. You hurl insults at each other, trying to pull each other down. Broken relationships. Cracked and scarred. Give him/her a second chance. Give yourself a second chance. 

Even a murderer deserves a second chance. There was this guy named Kenny whom son has been murdered by a guy named CY. You would have thought all the hatred and sense of revenge Kenny has for his son’s killer. But the next thing would shock you. Kenny shared this emotional message for the man who killed his son:

“He was God’s son. You are God’s son. Get on your knees and ask God to forgive you. And you know what? Maybe I’ll see you someday, and I’ll be able to forgive you face to face, because you’ve got the mercy of your Father who’s also mine.”

WOW! Such a deep and radical mercy from Kenny for CY! How is that possible? Kenny has done that with the blessing of forgiveness from God. Maybe we can start forgiving people who have wronged us. People who have accused us of something we were not aware of. People who have backstabbed us. People who have talked behind our back. People who have taken advantage on us. Comparing our case with the example above, ours are most likely to be trivial. I know we can do this. 

When we forgive, we feel liberated. There is no point holding on the grudges and the hurtful past. Think of it this way, when we refuse to forgive the person who has wronged us, that same person is probably living life to the fullest. But you are still here, stagnated at the past. Hard to move on. Of course it is difficult, but only when we forgive, we can drop the past bondage. We can give all sorts of excuses, but really, give it a try! Try it now if you have any! You will instantly feel relieved and much happier!  

Maybe this is how freedom taste like. 


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Fun Robbing Flexibility


Yesterday an unfortunate event happened in my family. My mom crashed her 7 year-old City unto a tall divider near her office and the front bumper dropped off! The steering wheel went out of alignment, so you can imagine how devastating the magnitude was. Fortunately nothing bad happened to her, and thanks to the help of some kind-hearted passerbys and two police officers, she managed to drive back home. The car isn't pretty anymore. Apparently her reason (or excuse) was the new divider was built too high up and she couldn't see it.

Of course not only the car was in a bad shape, I bet her emotion was in paranoia state too. I would never be able to comprehend because I had never gotten myself into an accident. But how does that affect me? Remember in the previous post I wrote about my excitement to join my colleagues for futsal later today after work, and I was supposed to drive the Myvi to work this morning. It would have been more convenient this way because then I can drive back home at night after futsal session. But yesterday everything was different. Everything has changed!

My mom needed to use the Myvi this morning for various purposes such as go to make police report and many other things I can barely recall now. My dad wouldn't want to follow her because he said it would have been a waste of time. Of course for my mom to drive the new City was out of question. She just crashed the old City, no way my dad would give her the permission to crash another one. For me, I wouldn't be able to go to futsal later. My plan was shattered last minute!

I wanted to go! I have been waiting to this day for more than one week and finally the day is here! And you are telling me now I can't go. As quite a rigid person, I couldn't accept. I wanted to go! Some people may not understand this, but playing futsal is more than just an ordinary sport to me. Futsal is more like my newly found hobby but has not been given much attention to, thus my exuberance. To some people, it may just be another sport and can be substituted easily with other sports such as basketball, badminton and gym. Not me.

There are not many things that I WANT, playing futsal is definitely one of them. So I was initially reluctant. I even argued with my dad (again?) and it turned out badly. I blurted out some hurtful words and I immediately felt remorseful. I regretted my action taken purely out of anger and frustration. I was so ashamed and embarrassed I tried to hide inside my room, and eventually fell asleep. I was not flexible at all. I was giving all sorts of reasons to justify why this futsal session is not cancellable. I was being selfish. 

I felt saddened my plan was changed abruptly. Maybe you will feel the same way too. This is not the first time and definitely won't be the last. I bet you would have encountered the similar situation before. You have planned something so meticulously one month before and when the time comes, it turned out to be something entirely different. Worse still, the plan got cancelled! If this is you, your feeling probably won’t deviate too much from mine.

So what do you do? You have multiple alternatives you can undertake. Of course you can choose to ignore the change and proceed with your initial plan. But continuing your way would instantly make you the most selfish and arrogant prick on Earth. You wouldn’t want that. I have learnt it the hard way so I hope you won’t be like me. Or perhaps, you can choose a more diplomatic solution.

Flexibility.

I know I don’t feel comfortable to changes at all. But changes mould one into a better person. I wrote about changes all the time, yet I still feel uncomfortable with changes. I don’t think anyone does. But this is one of the ingredients to success. If you are comfortable with something, you won’t feel the need to stretch yourself any further, then your growth will be stagnant. Of course I’m not talking about physical growth, but personality growth. Character growth!

Nobody can breed success from within comfort zone. Entrepreneurs often have to step out of their comfort zones, march into uncharted territories and build their empires out of thin air. Only by exploring in the uncharted territories your character will grow to weather ever increasing challenges. It is definitely not fun (unless you can make it fun, which is not entirely impossible), but your sacrifices and patience would eventually bear fruits. 

So what did I do? I decided to leave the Myvi to my mom, and I proceeded to work in the morning with LRT. Initially I thought I won’t be able to attend the futsal session later with my colleagues, but after a little discussion, my colleague is nice enough to offer me a ride to the nearest LRT from the futsal court in Setapak, KL. So yes, I will be playing futsal later! Woohoo! 

Here’s the takeaway: To get to Point C, one does not necessarily need to go through Point B from Point A. There are a myriad of alternatives we can opt to achieve the same result. But our flexibility to make adjustments and go with the flow would not only make an impact in our likeability, but also our productivity and efficiency level. How so?

Sticking to our original plan and not willing to make changes when things turn out differently will not only make you unfavourable in others’ eyes, but the seemingly best result will no longer be the best anymore. Now, we tend to anchor to the original plan because we had made the decision based on earlier judgement of circumstances and it was supposed to be the best decision, but when situation changes, we ought to change accordingly as well. 

Most of the things are uncertain and will never be 100% certain, so it is appropriate if we realign our actions when more information is received, to achieve the best result based on our goals and objectives. It may not be fun and comfortable, but it will work well in the long run.  


Favourite Music! =)