We grow up seeking confirmation from others. When a teacher or parents praise us for a job well done. We know we did a good job and we will keep repeating it. As we grow up, these praises become lesser and criticism become more.
Why bother when there is no acknowledgement? Slowly, we have stopped trying. When we try something, we short change ourselves by doubting ourselves.
We are not perfect. You have to tell yourself that you are good enough and deserve the future that you want. You can have the drive to improve and do more. But it should not paralyze you from improving.
When you feel that you are not good enough? Good. Time to improve.
Assess and recalibrate. Do you know where you are not good enough? Write it down on a piece of paper. You need to know before taking any action. Re-read the list, are you overly criticising of yourself? Identify the are that you need to improve.
Prioritize. Pick the area that is most important and most urgent that needs improvement. Many times, the area that needed the most attention is the simplest and most fundamental. To be good at something, you just need to master the most fundamental micro skills.
Take action. Nothing will improve if you do not take action. Plan out the task that you need to do and take aggressive action. Do not stop until you complete.
Rinse and repeat.
Bonus tip: To quote Steve Jobs, “Real artist ships!”. Do not get paralysed by your work. When it is time to ship or publish your work. Do it. It will not be good enough but there is always room for feedback and improvement.
We all have dreams to chase. Many of us rather give up than to start chasing that dream. The dream could be writing that book, building the world-changing app or wanting to become fitter.
We all get paralyzed by the sheer effort needed and we tell ourselves, it is impossible.
Sometimes, to have a dream, we need to have some level of insanity. The belief that we can do it. The belief that we can make it happen even though it is difficult or seem impossible.
There is a man in India managed to spend 22 years of his life carved out a path that is 110 meters long, 9.1 meters wide and 7.6 meters deep with nothing but a hammer and chisel. His name is Dashrath Manjhi. He shorted the distance between two sectors of Gaya district from 55KM to 15KM.
He lived in a village that has no running water or electricity. The nearest doctor was 70 kilometres over the mountain. He got this aspiration after his wife passed away due to accessibilities issues to medical care. He wanted to do something for the society and thus decided to carve a path through a hillock. The path will shorten the distance for his village to access the nearest medical care. He started this impossible task in 1960 and completed in 1982. During this period, he receives little support from the public. The little support is in the form of food or tools. There were no sophisticated tools or engineering blueprints. It was done purely through manual labour and sheer determination.
If you ever feel frustrated or overwhelmed by your dreams. Think of this man. Mr Manjhi who did not have any proper education. As a matter of fact, he was born to the lowest rung of the caste system. Basically, he lost out in the lottery of life where his position in society is sealed as soon as he was born.
Majority of us are born far luckier than him. What excuses do you have not to start? We have far more resources and blessed compared to Mr Manjhi.
Whenever you thought of quitting your dreams. Think of Mr Manjhi who chips away through the hillock with nothing but a hammer and chisel for 22 years. May his grit, his story inspires you to start pursuing your dream today.
Failure is always around us. Try something new? You are destined to fail during the first few tries. Try something familiar? You are still destined to fail but lower chances.
You have to make a full out of yourself before you can be better. Do you have the courage to make a full out of yourself?
If anyone says she has not failed. Means the person is not trying hard enough.
Let failure be part of your life. But do not let failure define who you are. Success in life is never a straight line. You can only stumble towards success. But you must first give yourself a chance to stumble.
Observe your feelings. As soon as you feel the sense of failure creeping up or taking over your life, ask yourself why are you feeling it? Feel it within yourself. When you acknowledge the sense of failure, you takeaways its power to take over your body. You are back in control. The more you fight, the sense of failure gets worst.
Face your failure. Where you fall is where you stand up. Regardless of where you fail, that’s where you need to stand up, recalibrate and take action. Lost a big job promotion? Assess why you have failed. Not enough skills? No support from your network? Maybe is time to start a new job? Assess and be ready to take action.
Exercise. Work out! Get your body moving. Give it all you got. By keeping your body busy. It helps you to focus on the task at hand. Once you burn the extra energy out from your body. Your body generates happy hormone when you exercise. You have a clearer mind to tackle your task.
Gratitude. Sit down. Write down ten things that you feel gratitude for. It could be someone holding the elevator for you. It could be your car actually started. There are many things to be grateful for.
The sense of failure will always linger with you. But use that sense fo failure to fuel you to do bigger things. It should not cripple you.
Do you feel trapped in your life? You look around and you tell yourself, you are not in the right movie. You are not alone. There are only 3 out of 10 people actually feel happy with their lives.
The human civilisation is never more advanced than yesteryears. In certain parts of the world, there are abandon food and shelter. But we are as miserable as ever. Does having more actually bring happiness?
Everybody wants happiness. Happiness can be in the form of money. In the form of being someone that you love. In the form of health. We all want that. The happiness that is ever so far away.
I can only share what works for me. And this what worked for me. By far, this is the fastest way to find happiness and sustain it.
Go to the nearest social centre or religious place and volunteer your time there. Volunteer for at least six months. Do it for at least one hour a week. Do any jobs that are assigned to you. Do each task by putting in your maximum effort.
After six months. I am certain the following will happen to you.
More confidence. You have spent six months being outside of your normal environment. It is outside of your family, school, and office. You have probably done something that you never thought of doing. It was going through the process of managing uncertainty but still gave your best that gave you confidence.
Improved skill set. It could be soft skills or hard skills. By giving your best during your volunteer hours, you have become better than yesterday. Your competitor is yourself. You have bested yourself by being outside of your comfort zone.
The best way to learn is by doing. Whatever that you have learned, it will stay with you forever. So start doing. Give yourself permission to be terrible. You make more friends. You make friends by giving. It could be giving your time. It could be giving your effort. The human mind is like a magnet. It attracts like-minded people. If you do everything by doing your best. You will attract people who value your effort and who are giving as much as you do.
Get rid of the toxic people in your life. By volunteering, you will meet people whom you never thought of meeting. There are from all walks of life. And you might find friends who last a lifetime.
There be more recognition. Ever stuck in a job that you hate? But the job that you hate helps to pay the bills. While volunteering does not. Nevertheless, you will find volunteering rewarding. The reason is that you gain recognition for your effort. Being recognised means a job well done and being appreciated. You have been encouraged to do well and do more.
This is known for engaging both employees and volunteers, many companies still fail to recognise their employees.
There be more opportunities. Your kindness. Your effort. Your energy will be acknowledged and noticed. And through a bigger circle of friends, you will have more opportunities. People recognize you as a go-getter. People feel comfortable around you. Opportunities will come knocking on your door. Be it meeting a potential partner, career opportunity or a business opportunity.
Stepping out from your comfort zone is not easy. Volunteer your time for a good cause is a wonderful way to get started. All you need is to take the first step by reaching out. I assure you, your life will never be the same.
Doing one job is already challenging. Doing two jobs are literally double the challenge and stress. No doubt modern life has created a lot of conveniences. Yet the demands in life has added more pressure to family commitments.
It is common to hold two jobs just to keep the family in order. If you are one of them. I applaud your conviction to provide to your family.
I have the experience to hold two jobs. I am constantly tired. I am constantly worried stressed over work and family.
Family and friends always comment that I am never around. If I did, my mind is in a distant land. I do my best to cope. Here are some things that I did.
Exercise. I always find time to exercise. A few sets of push-up or burpees will suffice. The intention is to keep the blood flowing, releasing the happy hormone and get some oxygen into the brain. I would feel better and sleep better.
The human body is designed to move. Find time to move and get some sweat rolling down from your forehead.
Practise gratitude. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed by work stress. Sometimes I bring the work stress home and let it on my family. It was only an un-employed friend remarked that I am lucky to have two jobs while he has been searching for nearly a year. He woke me up. Since then, I write down things that I am grateful for on a daily basis.
Today I grateful for my cup of tea, the eggs that my son cooked for me and the driver who let me into the lane. Just to name a few.
Cut back on alcohol. I used to drink a lot. I drink in the name of stress. I drink in the name of hanging out with friends. I wake up feeling terrible. I despise the world, my jobs because of my hangover. When I had a bad day. I drink even more. It was a vicious cycle.
I cut back on my drinks and focus on enjoying the company of my friends. I still can have a good time and wake up feeling fine.
Sleep. If you find yourself mindlessly surfing the net, maybe it is time to go to bed. You may think that it is your “me” time. If it is a real “me” time. You should be doing something that you find inspiring and challenging. When you are tired, go to bed and refresh your body.
Celebrate the small win. Why we keep two jobs? Because we want to provide for our family. But never forget about yourself. If you did a good job or receive praise from your work. Take some off to celebrate small wins. It can be a nice cup of coffee. Maybe a body massage. For myself, I would reward myself a cup of coffee at a cafe with a good book.
I know it is not easy to hold two jobs. Sometimes, it feels thankless and trapped. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. I feel the same way. I wish I could cry and breakdown.
The purpose of this blog. This site is to tell you that you are not alone. Keep going. Keek providing. One day, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
When My kids asked me this question, I was stumped. Many more questions race through my mind. Is eating an elephant legal? Is there a punch line at the end? How would they see me if I mess up the answer?
The answers to many life’s questions are short and simple. We somehow complicate it. A children game such as “How do you eat an elephant”, actually offers deep life lessons.
How do you run a marathon? One step at a time.
How do you build an app? One line at a time.
How do you write a novel? One word at a time.
We over plan our dreams. Then we study our plan and find fault in it. The plan is very complex. The plan requires a lot of time. The plan requires a lot of money. I do not have the support from my family, friends and my pet cat. Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.
In many of life’s quest, we just need to take one step at a time. How did I write more than a 120 post in LinkedIn? I do it one post at a time. If I do not feel like writing, I sit down and write one word at a time. Sometimes, I do not even hit the publish button. I keep it in draft mode. Here is how great novelist writes.
Your journey can be alone but you do not need to be lonely. Your family, friends and your pet cat cannot walk the path on your behalf. You have to take do it on your own but they will be there to support you. Even if they do not support you, then you can travel in silence. Let yourself accompany you in this journey. Take one step at a time.
What do you get out of it? You will get to know yourself better. You will have better insights about life. You will feel emotions. Tears of frustrations, anger and disappointments. The joy of success. The sense of awe. Regardless how you feel, it is far better than feeling trapped and bored with your life.
You do not need to take big steps. You can take small steps. When you are tire, you can rest. When you are lost, you can stop and navigate. Some people will hate at what you do. Some people will laugh at what you do. Let it be a test of will. How bad you want it?
Moving on from this moment, think about the elephants in your life. How are you going to “eat” it?
The year is 2019 and I am 42. For some, it is an eternity. Some has found what they want. Some are still struggling. I belong to the latter category. I wish I could do more. I have no plans to retire. I just want to keep going. My dreams as an entrepreneur were shattered back in 2018 and I have to start over. I dare not to tell my family. Sometimes, the ones who love you most give the worst advice. I have to bite my tongue and smile when people ask about my life.
Creating a life that you want to live is not easy. Not doing anything about it, is worst. How many of us are walking on earth but feeling dead within? If you are reading this. You are probably like me, feeling trapped and lost about life’s direction.
It is never too late to start. Colonel Sanders started KFC at the age of 62. Life is about a journey of self-discovery and reflection. Not all of us will have the chance to be rich and famous. But we all have the chance to live to our fullest potential.
Take stock. Do a review of your own life. Take out some papers and a pen. Write down what you know and what you have been doing all your life. These are your 10,000 hours. You may think that you have wasted your life. Not at all. Your experience and what you did will serve as the foundation of your new life. You do not need to do the same old thing that you did. Look at the skills that you already have and see whether it can be applied in other aspects of your life. If you are an accountant, you have the discipline of being number driven, meticulous and details oriented. Apply those discipline in other parts of your life. For example cooking. The discipline that you have developed will set you apart from others.
Set a time. Wanting to make a change and making a change are entirely two different things. If you are serious about starting and make a change in your life. Set a time and start working on it. I would either start my writing or studying at around 9 pm during weekdays. On Saturday, my studies would start from 9 am until 12 noon. Sometimes I may fall off the wagon, but I would remind myself and get back on. The first few months, you may not see any changes. In fact, it may even be frustrating and tiring. The thoughts of playing video games and watching TV is even more enticing. These are the crucial moments that you have to resists. It is a slippery slope. If you let it slide, it could be a bottomless pit.
Get an accountability partner or join a mastermind group. I regularly read and share advice in a mastermind group dedicated to entrepreneurship on Facebook. I may not be a successful entrepreneur yet, but it does not stop me from helping and learning from others. It is only through a mentor or a mastermind group will make sure you hold yourself accountable to achieve your dreams. It is human nature to take the easy path. Fight that temptation.
Have idea sex. Combine two ideas together and see its chemical reaction. What do you get if you combine a doll and action? You get GI Joe figurines. What if you combine ninja and turtle? You get Ninja Turtle. Both ideas are a combination of ideas that are common, if not boring. However, both GI Joe and Ninja Turtle has gone to make millions for their owners. Not all ideas will work. Experiment and explore.
Study and share. I know nothing about life improvement, motivation or life hack. I read, I study and I share. It is only through sharing allows me to know my knowledge gaps. It is the only way to learn and understand. I have been putting off the write up on a topic I have been studying. The reason for my procrastination is obvious. I know not enough to share. The best method of learning that I come across is the Feynman Technique.
As we grow older by the day. We have more yesterdays and than tomorrow. One day, we will run out of tomorrow. Regardless of your age. It is never too late to start. All you need is determination and self-awareness.