Monday, 11 January 2016

Here We Go, 2016!

One full month! It’s been a month since my last post so you might be wondering where I have been.

Just before the year 2015 ended, I have made the ONE decision that I never regretted making –booked the flight ticket to Vietnam for my first ever solo trip. I was having so much dilemma whether I should go out of my comfort zone and go for some exciting adventure. After two weeks spending time alone in Vietnam, it’s pretty safe to say there was never a moment I regretted making this bold decision, but rather I was filled with so much gladness and joy. I will leave that for the next post. Stay tuned!

I spent my New Year’s Eve and New Year in Sapa (Vietnam), at one of the local farmer’s house. And then I remember making wishful New Year resolutions that most people will forget about after two months entering into the New Year. I don’t think I had written any New Year resolutions for 2014 and 2015, but along the way I still developed myself into a different person in relative to myself in 2013. Thank God, a better me!

Warren Buffett once said about thinking of 25 things-to-do but only focusing on the top 5 tasks as main priorities. Similarly, there’s no point writing so many New Year Resolutions but barely able to follow up on 3 of them by the end of February. So again I won’t unnecessarily list out 10 or 20 New Year resolutions but only my top 5 priorities.

1. Keep changing for betterment!
This is vague, but this applies to every area of my life. Never stop improving! Improve 1% every day! Improvement requires change. The moment I feel I am too comfortable with something, it’s time to change, to challenge myself to go an unconventional route, even some radical ones. Improve my relationship with friends and family, spend more time with them and put them as one of my top priorities.

Often we are so caught up with our own busy schedule and never realised the value of quality time spent with our family members and friends, until we lose it. By then only we start regretting why we never spent enough time with our family members in the first place, especially parents. It’s always dangerous when we start taking things or people for granted. Our parents never owed us anything, so maybe it’s a good idea to cherish every moment left we get to spend together.

Being extra thankful should be made a daily mantra.

2. Take care of my finances.
If you don’t put much effort into maintaining something, it will fade and eventually be self-destructive. Again it applies to everything, including finance. I am glad I have put in efforts in managing my finances. Managing own finances, especially amidst rising cost of living in Malaysia, is not easy nowadays but not impossible. Develop a habit of keeping budget and consistently accurate record of your cash flow will do.

Making wise financial decisions is also essential, considering the temptations to buy new flashy gadgets, new cars and new house are ubiquitous. Something we have to face every day and if we are not careful, might fall into the trap of buying something we don’t really need. I am currently facing that right now – buying a second hand performance car.

Yesterday I went for a short test drive of this car – Proton Satria Neo CPS 1.6, with bolt-on turbo. My friend is buying a new second hand Golf GTi, which led him to selling this precious gem. Coupled with low mileage (60k) in 5 years, this car has been maintained pretty well, except that it has been modified heavily at the same time. About 50% of the car has been modified and are aftermarket products. So far this car is clocking 228hp @7000rpm and 240Nm @4500rpm, excellent figures for a local made car. RM25k for this car is a fair value, considering the market price of this car of similar mileage and year made (according to and Carlist) is about RM27k. Good buy?

Which led me to the most fundamental question: Do I need it? No I don’t. So this is a ‘want’ rather than a ‘need’. If you had known me long enough, you will know I am a massive fan of turbocharged performance cars! Yesterday was the first time I got my hand on a turbocharged car and as expected, it was so much fun (although I got the engine stalled for multiple times because I haven’t driven a manual car since the day I got my driving license about 6 years ago). I would never be able to justify why I would buy this car, except for pure pleasure and adrenaline rushing excitement.

I would like to think I am buying the experience, not a need. There are times we can pamper ourselves, so I suppose this is mine. Maybe it’s time to save money and eat bread for the next 6 months.

3. Treat other people better, show genuine kindness!
A little kindness every day acts as a ripple effect in other people’s life. When you are being kind to someone, that same person would be inspired to be kind to people around him/her. People around him/her would in turn be inspired and act the same way. The world we live in can be a little better if everyone does this. Not everything has to be motivated by hidden agendas, as we would so often be led to think.

Maybe give some food to the homeless will help. Apparently I heard giving money to them would only encourage them to beg more, so we can perhaps show love via other mean such as food and unwanted (but still of good condition) clothes. This would help them more than you have possibly thought. At the very least, this will put a smile on their faces.

4. Treat MYSELF better!
Eat better, sleep better and live better! Treating other people better is necessary, but first and foremost we must treat ourselves better! Nobody will take care of you more than yourself. Sometimes we are so caught up with work and study that we barely give ourselves time to relax and enjoy the many little things in life. Ultimately this will only lead to stress.

For me, I hated stress so much that I vow to myself I must emphasise leisure hours. To strive an optimum balance of leisure hours and working hours. I heard actuary is one of the few jobs in the world that can attain that. Mentally and intellectually challenging but stimulating at the same time. It would be more than sufficient for me to pass at least two papers this year.

5. Travel more and see more of the world!
After my exciting two-week solo trip to Vietnam and met more than 20 friends, I can safely attest I am addicted to travelling! If you are not comfortable with the notion of travelling alone, you can always get a best friend to travel with you. See more of the world, look at how the locals live and carry out their daily life. Listen to exciting stories other travelers got to say. If you seldom get out of your comfort zone, travelling alone will definitely force you to do so. Explore yourself and get lost in a foreign land (a map or Google map will be useful). I guarantee you will not regret.

My next trip: Siem Reap, Cambodia (June 2016).


What about you? What is your view of making a list of New Year resolutions? Do you make it just because everyone else does? What is your plan of following up if you are not? Let me know at the comment below! =) 

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