Thursday, November 19, 2009

Haha, finally I found the id and password for this blog. It is amazing. Guess I can start bloggin again.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Journey of Self-Discovery

I saw a woodgrain journal at the bookstore last weekend and fell in love with it immediately. I couldn’t resist the temptation to buy it, especially with encouragement from my friend who was with me at that time.

I have lost count of the number of journals that I have. Everytime when I go to the bookstores or stationery shops, I will always browse through the section that sells the journals. As a result, I have collected a number of them – I bought most of them and a few were given to me as Christmas presents.

I must confess that for some reasons I have a soft spot for these journals. When I was a little child, I love to collect these journals but of course, the design of the journals then was a lot simpler and it costs only a fraction of today’s price.

What do I use these journals for?

When I was much younger, I used them to capture the quotations that I came across or new words that I learnt. Occasionally, I would write journal – to capture the happenings in the day or my thoughts and reflections. Then I stopped using them to capture quotations as quotations were subsequently available in printed books (and I ended up collected different quotation books). I still wrote journal then, but less frequent. It was only in the recent years that I picked up the habit of writing journals again.

I was inspired by James, one of my ex-colleagues. He used to carry his journal everywhere he went, and he captured everything in his journal, be it official notes or just his thoughts. I recalled he shared with us his journey in journaling and how journaling had helped him. At that time, I was also attending a programme where our “teacher” encouraged us to cultivate the habit of reflection and keeping track of our thoughts, as part of our self-discovery journey. So I started writing journal on and off since then.

Now that I have written journals for a few years, I realised that journaling could be quite therapeutic which in turn help me to exercise more self-control. So it is not surprising that when I read my past journal not, I noticed I had written a lot more when I was down.

The process of journaling helps to stimulate my mind, body and heart, allows me to capture my thoughts, forces me to reflect, examines my beliefs, checks my emotion, etc. As a result, I am able to understand myself better, have better clarity of who I am, where I came from and where am I heading.

It has been a enriching self-discovery journey since I started journaling.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

That $10 note

A few days ago, I attended a seminar. The speaker asked, “What should you do next after attending the seminar?” Unanimously everybody replied “Take action!” He did not believe us and he wanted to test it out. He took out a $10 note from his wallet, and immediately I knew what he wanted to do. So I said to myself quietly, “I will get the $10 note this time.”

The speaker waved the $10 note in the air, “I am giving this $10 note away. Who wants it?” The hall was in complete silent and nobody moved. I hesitated, also did not move.

“Ok, let me repeat. I will give this $10 note to the first person who comes forward”. I hesitated for two seconds and decided to get up, but one guy was slightly ahead of me and the speaker handed the $10 note to him. The speaker smiled at me, “Why are you so slow?”

“Only 2 of you came forward. What about the rest of you? Why are you sitting there?”

The message from the speaker was loud and clear – all of the people know that they need to take action, but most will just talk about taking action, some will take action, a few will take immediate action, and only a handful will sustain till they achieve their goals.

I came across this $10 activity many times in different seminars or training sessions over the years, and I learnt different lessons each time:

- 1st time – I did not get up from my seat as I did not believe that the speaker was serious about giving the money away. I learnt about my belief system and what mental model is.

- 2nd time – I knew about the trick but I still did not get up as I was too shy to go to the front stage and afraid to be laughed at. I learnt that I care too much about how others see me and I am not a risk taker.

- 3rd time – I did not think I stand a chance as I was seated quite far back, so I did not even bother to try. I learnt that sometimes I give up even before I start as I am deterred by the obstacles lying ahead.

- 4th time – this time I was seated at the first few rows but I still did not get up as I thought the 10 stake was just too small. I learnt that motivation is important and I am one who is motivated by challenging goals.

- 5th, 6th, 7th and … - I did nothing as the $10 activity meant nothing to me anymore. I learnt that I have this “I think I know it all” attitude and my mind had been conditioned not to respond anymore.

This time round when the game was played, I made up my mind that I would take the $10 note away from the speaker and this decision prompted me into action. Unfortunately, I “paid the price” for that few seconds’ hesitation and ended up with nothing.

What’s the lesson I learnt? Once I make up my mind, take action immediately. Opportunities do not wait for me and if I hesitate or procrastinate, they will be gone!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Decision helps us start. Discipline helps us finish.

It has been a busy 1st week in 2008 – both at home and at work. I wanted to find some quiet time for myself – to reflect on 2007 and to plan for 2008, but have not been able to do so. I finally managed to do it this morning while the workshop is going on :-)

I look at the 2 mind maps that I have drawn up – one for 2007 and one for 2008. I have not completed them yet, especially for the 2007 as I could not recall much about what I had done and what goals I had set for myself, but when I look at the 2008 mind map, all I could say is I am too ambitious. There are just too much that I want to do, some are new goals and some are brought forward from 2007.

When I look at some of the goals that are brought forward from 2007, I feel guilty. A year ago, when I first set them as my goals, I was very enthusiastic and determined to achieve them, so I started to work towards them and track my progress regularly. After a while, my enthusiasm died down, I spent less and less time and finally they got squeezed out of my radar screen.

When the year end got closer, I then realized that there was not much time left, and I regretted not having enough discipline. When the new year began, I asked myself if these goals were still relevant, and the answer was yes, so the goals remained on my list.

This year, I decide to do it differently as I do not want to feel miserable at the end of the year that I have not achieved my goals. I am not prepared to drop any of these goals even though some of them have been on my list for many years, so what I plan to do is to prioritize my goals and focus on those top priority ones (or what I call KPIs). At the end of the year, as long as I achieve these KPIs, I will consider it as targets achieved. Anything more than these KPIs will be a bonus to me.

Well, I do recognize that at the end of the day, what is important is I must have the discipline to finish what I start. While I can identify a few KPIs, but if I do not have the discipline to follow through, at the end of the year I will still be lamenting about not achieving my goals.

The following is what I wrote on the board to remind myself about my commitment:
“Decision helps us start. Decision helps us finish. Start early, start small, start now!”

Monday, January 7, 2008

Keeping in Touch

Last Friday, I had lunch with Jack, one of my ex-colleagues. He wanted to thank me for acting as his referee for his new job, thus he gave me a lunch treat.

It was nice meeting up with him and I truly appreciate his effort in arranging for the lunch. Since he left the company, we have kept in touch through e-mail and SMS, and this was the first time that we met up. We had a nice chat while enjoying the food.

The lunch reminded me of the other 3 meals I had in the last one month – 2 with my old friends and the other one with a group of ex-colleagues. The feeling of catching up was really great and I am glad that I made an effort to meet up with them. Truly enjoy the fun, laughter, gossips, jokes, etc. They really made my day! Ha, I also discovered that TCC serves good food other than good coffee, and I finally visited Dempsey Hill – a place that I had always wanted to check out.

When I reflect on these get-togethers I had, I am really grateful that I still have friends around me after all these years. I am thankful to those friends who made an effort to organize the event and I am glad to say that I did my part too.
Of course, there are friends whom I would like to meet up more frequent and friends that I have lost touch, it is therefore my commitment in 2008 that I would make a conscious effort to maintain the friendship that I have, especially those that I treasure a lot.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Not the usual New Year's Resolution

Today is the 2nd calendar day of 2008, 1st working day of 2008, yet I do not feel like I have crossed the year. Unlike the previous years where I normally spent the last few days of the “old” year and 1st few days of the “new” year on reflection and planning, this year the crossover was just like any other normal day.

So I thought I should spend the morning on reflection and planning for the new year, but I was swamped by work – phone calls, e-mails, etc.

Nevertheless, I told myself that no matter what, I must still set myself a few key goals within these few days, not the usual new year resolution (which will not be kept anyway), but some goals that will guide me towards living my desired 2nd half.

Here's my initial thoughts on the top 5 goals (subject to changes of course, haha):

1) Manage my personal finance better – apply what I learnt from the Millionaire Mind Intensive seminar by T Harv Eker. One area that I am committed to pick up is stock investment. The other area is finding my niche area in the internet marketing space.

2) Attain the professional qualifications that are relevant and key to my 2nd career – have identified 3-4 relevant qualifications in total. Started one of them last year, but have not completed it as I kept procrastinating! The other one is one that I have put off for years!

3) Active networking, expand both my social and professional circle, get to know a few of my new friends better. Participate actively and enthusiastically in the alumni and professional society that I am currently in – at least 1-2 activities per month.

4) Spend time in nurturing my body, mind and soul. Live a healthy lifestyle, get in touch with the nature, attend to my garden, read at least 2 books per month, attend 4 self-improvement seminar, etc. There is a whole lot that I want to achieve here, but think I need to focus and be more specific :-)

5) Community involvement - contribute something back to the society, going beyond the “bread delivery routine”

Most important of all, I am committed to develop a deeper level of understanding of my life purpose and my 2nd half.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Letting Go

Office party was held this morning but I was not in a mood for it. Last week on the Christmas’ Eve, I wasn’t in a mood to celebrate and today on New Year’s Eve, the feeling is the same.

This is the 2nd year that I feel this way. In the past, I would make it a point to participate and encourage my colleagues to join in, but somehow I don’t feel this way anymore. Gone were the days that I am enthusiastic and excited about every happening in my work place.

Why the change? I don’t really know. Perhaps I am now at a different stage in my life, perhaps I am disappointed by the changes in the recent years, perhaps the people whom I am closed to are no longer around, perhaps my passion has shifted somewhere else or perhaps I have learnt to let go …

2-3 years ago, I was faced with a tough decision. I was offered a good opportunity elsewhere and I was considering leaving my job, but I found it extremely difficult to let go. I was then very attached to my job, my colleagues, my company and many other things - I felt guilty about leaving my team behind, I felt bad about “betraying” my bosses who had taken good care of me and helped me to grow professionally all these years, I couldn’t bear to leave my colleagues and the many footprints I left in the company, etc. So in the end, I stayed.

Today, to a great extent, I have succeeded in detaching myself from the job and the company. I have learnt to let go of the many things that I used to hold tied to. I no longer put my job in the center of my life at the expense of everything else. I no longer feel uptight when things are not smooth sailing, I no longer feel hurt when someone pass negative remarks, I no longer see the need to prove myself or climb the corporate ladder.

It has been a long process, but slowly and gradually, I let go. The toughest part is letting go of the emotional ties that I have built over the years, especially with the people that I have strong bond with. As the day goes by, the ties get weaker and I get stronger in handling this “separation”.

Looking back, the biggest difference now is, I have managed to detach myself from my job. As a result, I am a “free” person - in many ways. I am happier, more at peace with myself, more certain of what lies ahead of me and more ready to move on…

I am not attached to my past.
It lies behind me, a distant shore.
I am not attached to the world.
I glide over its surface.
I release all holds to hold onto me.
Having myself, I am safe, I am free.

... by David Viscott from the book “Finding Your Strengths in Life”