Day 4 : Staying focused and keeping the momentum

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The next thing that I want to focus on, is probably getting a higher level of efficiency and getting into the right state of mind more quickly than I did before.

Something else crept into my mind during the past couple of days, and that is, there are a lot of empty gaps that I am noticing as I go about moving along the day. The thing about these gaps were, I think I was repeating the same questions and trying to self validate the reasons as to why I want to pursue those things. As a matter of fact, there was actually a lot of food for thought when I went through Saturday. So how do am I going to be able to separate all the junk from the stuff that really matters?

First off, perhaps things were not exactly junk. But I think the gaps that present themselves most obviously was taking that action that was going to fulfil me. The thing was, that I have not even began to plan my course of action, what strategy I was going to pursue, what kind of goals am I going to set for myself, and what would I need to do to achieve those goals.

I guess the main reason for not proceeding with doing it, was that I really needed a high level of certainty, on the reasons as to why I was going to do things. For one, if my reasons were not strong enough to pull me towards doing what I will ultimately do, I would simply just be doing things for the sake of doing them. I really needed time to think, and I needed to write things down. On how these things are going to impact my life.

Now having perhaps wrote over a thousand words on my views my perspectives, talking to myself, reflecting on what is happening on a day to day basis, it all really comes back to knowing the reason why I am about to embark on the things that I am going to do.

Having ranted in full sentences for the past several days, I think its probably going to be more beneficial to look at stuff that I did in point form.

On Saturday morning :-
1) Watched the 3 way talk from Tony Robbins, Frank Kern & John Reese. Main topics included having that vision of the future, and just knowing that it is inevitable that you will arrive at that place and situation.

2) Understanding that a huge percentage of people give up on what they embarked on, and a lot of people in spite of getting started, a lot of times they gave up. They don’t get the results. How do you get people to follow through? What’s the right thing to do and what is the wrong thing to do?

3) Good place to start: “I’m sick of this”. People typically hit rock bottom before they respond to it. We aren’t in a must situation yet, but we are in a desire situation.

4) What pisses you off and what excites you, its all relative. So we have to find the right ritual on a daily basis in order make the change, and then get to the place that we want to go.

5) Tony Robbins shared 4 key factors for people to move from 1 place to another.
Potential -> Action -> Results -> Belief -> Potential again

What if something comes along and can provide you with absolute certainty that this thing is going to work? When you are absolutely certain, you will do anything it takes to increase your potential and take massive action and achieve those massive results.

How do I produce certainty, when the world is not going to give it to me?
We got results in our head, and by visualising the outcome, keeping focused on that vision, you will eventually change your beliefs, know that huge potential that you have to take massive action. If you can visualise success, your beliefs will change accordingly. If you visualise failure, you will get what you believe. As John Reese mentioned, its really like a self fulfilling prophecy.

So, basically in the morning, I was really focused on how do get my mind into that peak state, and stay focused on the vision I have for those passions I listed.

Following that, I began to write down in my notebook, what type of visions do I have for those passions that I have. At that point I was just laser focused on what I wanted and what I visualised about teaching English, my vision for my Tennis and combined my thoughts for Human connection and personal motivation. I haven’t wrote about what I had envisioned about Music yet, but I already have it vividly in my head, and I know this vision is just not only going to drive me, but it was going to pull me towards it.

The video also emphasised a lot about mental conditioning, being laser focused on the rituals that we will ultimately decide on doing.

While writing on my notebook, I remembered the video I watched about Selling your Crap, paying your debt and doing what you love. I then wrote down what I was going to do on Sunday, and that was selling my crap. So having done that, I realised that for the first time in a very long while, I actually had a day on the weekend planned out. I was going to spend time disconnecting and repacking those things I was going sell. And by doing that, I actually free up funds to cover the cost of pursuing those passions.

Another really productive thing I did in the morning before heading off for my trial piano lesson, was that I just had enough time to watch a video from Tony Robbins about his Rapid Planning Method, and I managed to write that down onto my notebook. Still maintaining that keenness and excitement of moving forward and make another small step towards my ultimate goal.

I was also pretty happy with myself, that for once in a very long time, I took a shower earlier, changed early, and did my preparation in a very leisurely manner, without the need to rush to the piano lesson. It was a really small thing but it made a very big difference in making the first half of the morning great.

The piano lesson turned out better than I expected, and I was just ecstatic yet strangely nervous before heading into the trial lesson. Turns out, although 3 people registered for the trial lesson, I was the only one who showed up. So I had a really good opportunity to talk to the piano teacher 1 on 1. It was just so nostalgic to look at musical notes again, and although I had forgotten a lot of it, I was able to connect with the teacher easily. Having been a musician myself for a decade allowed me to understand what it takes in order to succeed at becoming competent in playing music. I realised looking back, it has been ages since that I had the high level of enthusiasm, and I raised many valid questions on how I should practice, what is the route map of the course, how long was it going to take, and what kind of level I was going to achieve when I arrive at the final level. Seeing him play Careless whisper on the piano, gave me a real solid vision of what level of music I will be playing in the future. I knew that it was going to involve a lot of work, and I kinda knew what I needed to do to get there, but that didn’t discourage me at all. I just discovered more clearly on how I was going to achieve it.

With that piano lesson, it already made it an awesome day. I met a piano teacher that appeared to be very good natured, and I really liked his demeanour. I managed to understand more about visualising my goals, and I stayed focused on those passions that I had defined.

The afternoon was just a time for me to relax, and enjoy being in good company. We ate, drank, played texas hold’em and it really was stress relieving. One interesting thing to take away from eating and merry making yesterday, was when Kiki shared about how hugely rich the people around her in China were. She shared multiple stories on how her friends and relatives back in China, had so much money that it just didn’t matter what they did. They could change their cars in a whim, go to expensive VIP cafes and restaurants at a whim, buy expensive clothing, and not needing to care about their spending at all. Having listened to those stories on the rich living their lives richly, to me was indeed intriguing, but it didn’t make me envious at all about how they live their lives. I mean, if your problem is about deciding what’s the next paint job you want on your Lambo, I wonder if you’re truly happy despite all these possessions. Perhaps I was already in that zone where my life’s context was just completely different from what she shared, and although I could understand what she was trying to say, that wealth is so easily available in China, I started to think to myself. Is there going to be any opportunity for me? What would I do with the information she shared? Would it be a better idea if I went to China and start a business? How would life be like? Most important of all, how does that apply to my visions and passions that I have been spending my time on.

Come to think of it, yesterday after the long chat over coffee, I asked myself this question, was really what she said really pointless? Was there really nothing that I could take away from by what she shared about how people get wealthy and generate more wealth and have such huge abundance, that they could do anything they wanted. Now thinking about it, I am actually making a decision here. Do I choose to ignore it, or at least consider it? Being the person that I am, I always want to understand things from other people’s perspective a little bit more. And I decided that, “Hey… this is something that I need to think about too.”

Aside from looking at personal fulfilment, was it going to factor wealth into the equation? Am I having a really limited vision of what would make me happy and fulfilled? What would it mean to me to start my own company? If I were to think of a business idea, what would it involve? How am I going to start making passive income? And I realised that although I have discovered my passions and what I need to focus, I also need the time and energy to dedicate it to attaining financial freedom. Because while pursuing those passions that I have listed, I wonder how its going to make money. If I was going to start a company, what would my company be about? What would I promote? Do I have good ideas? Do I just copy a business model and just go do it? How much money would I need to invest? How long will it take to turn around profits etc… and this just to me right now, it feels like I’m just opening another can of worms here. There is just such a huge challenge to look at things from a sound business perspective. And looking inwards, there just isn’t any part of me that wants to venture into a business at the moment. However, I shouldn’t close the door on that yet. As a matter of fact, I think I also need to spend more time on how I was going to make my money work for me, instead of the other way round.

The next question is… when am I going to do it? Will it cause me to lose focus on my passions? Why would I even think of that in the first place? I guess this is where I have what Tony Robbins described as inner conflict. You want to do something that will change your life, but you think that by pursuing that, its not going to improve your financial situation, and then you just get mixed emotions about it, and you just lose that focus, give up, and then settled for a non-decision. The problem with that, as I have experienced first hand, its the choice of making non-decisions that got me into this situation in the first place.

So with that. I need to make a decision quickly. What action am I going to take when it comes to money? How can I ensure that I stop having inner conflicts with money? For one, I believe that by teaching English tuition part time is going to make a difference. That is the only thing for the moment that can synchronise my passions with money. So with that, I need to plan and strategise how am I going to kickstart teaching tuition, how often am I going to teach, how much extra money can I make a month, what goals do I want to achieve, and what goals am I going to set for the kids I’m going to teach.

Heading back home now to get my crap ready for sale, and I hope that I still have enough time to write my vision for Music before heading off to meet Cherr for dinner.

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Day 3 – Realising a very deep need for music

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I won’t say that yesterday was a fantastic day, but it wasn’t a bad day either. On the other hand, it was even harder to get out of bed. Mainly because I slept at 1am again, leaving less than 6 hours of sleep, when I really need 7-8 hrs to be optimal.

However getting less sleep was necessary. I needed to write, and it was vital to reflect on as many conscious decisions that I am making on a daily basis. Is my decision-making bringing me closer to my purpose in life? What am I focusing on at this very moment? Am I in that peak mental state as Tony Robbins explained? Our state of mind, and our emotions are a key driving force with how we go about daily life. For the past 2 days, I think I have taken small steps to get closer to what has eluded me for a long while. I realised the need to raise my standards, and also to change my rituals.

So far, I’ve managed to watch less frivolous stuff on youtube, and make more time for reading and writing, listening to TEDx talks, and also making a more conscious effort on every little thing that I do. I don’t spend as much time on Facebook I think, not that I have completely ignored it. I probably should come to think of it. I think I spend at least an hour or more on Facebook on a daily basis. If I can just cut that down to just 15-30 mins a day, I free up just a little bit more time to doing something more productive. It can be anything from just relaxing and listening to music, to reading a few extra pages of a book, to getting more sleep!

Moving back to reflection mode, after I was done with my blog entry the previous day, I went back to my notebook of passions and continued writing. As I was writing my thoughts on personal motivation, came this phrase called, “If only I had…” This phrase held exceptional weight and meaning when I was watching the TEDx talk from Larry Smith, an economist who was giving the talk titled “Why you will fail to have a great career”. I think I will watch that video again later because it was just so spot on with the type of lives we lead, and the gigantic regrets we have in life when we finished life without having even lived it.

When I started to continue writing last night, I already identified 4 major passions the day before from a list of 11 things that I was interested it. In no order of ranking, they were the English Language, Tennis, Connecting with people and Personal Motivation. As I was playing the soundtracks from Long Vacation, I realised that there was one more major thing lacking in my life, and that was Music. Having played music in wind bands for over a decade, I started reminiscing about how it felt to perform music. And while I was listening to the music playing on my Mac, I had this powerful surge flowing through my veins. I wanted to play the music that I was listening to. That surge of emotions was just overwhelming and I was totally consumed. I began to write about how I felt about music, how it was enabling me to explore my emotions, feelings and touch my soul. This was my 5th passion, and I couldn’t stop writing about it. Of the 5 passions I wrote about, Music was the one that I wrote about the most, followed by Personal Motivation, Connecting with people, the English language, and lastly Tennis.

I guess the next question here is, which one should I put emphasis on? Can one have more than 1 passion? Can I pursue all of them at 1 go? Ok that was more than one question. ^_^

Come to think of it, I am thinking about these questions because I have lived a life of conformity for most of my life. Sacrifices needed to be made in order to fulfil a certain level of responsibility. I needed to support myself, get a job, and I had this belief that meeting the person that I love will bring enough happiness and I would be contented. I was not completely wrong with those beliefs, but I had become simply complacent that I could live a simple life, because I thought that by marrying my wife, I had already achieved the ultimate dream. I had this romantic and dreamy version of love, which did not come with all the other things like managing finances, relationship dynamics, how to sustain a marriage, and there was just zero strategy going into living at the new place. I left everything to spontaneity and chemistry, and it became the recipe for disaster. Because the moment we lost our spontaneous energy, I was so complacent that it would come back because of our relationship status. It never came back, and by that time, we just lost our connection. By that time, whatever I did became useless. Because the damage had already been done, and my wife’s fire for me had been stepped on by none other than myself.

Looking back, there is no doubt when we make such mistakes in life, we always say “If only I had…” But there really isn’t anything that I could really do now, other than to look at the past, understand what happened, accept it, learn from it, and continue living forward, ensuring that I don’t ever repeat the same mistake again.

I didn’t want to live the same subconscious and cloudy life that I used to live anymore. I really want to live my purpose as I was destined to live. And the way for me to do that, was really to understand what drives me forward to do something that had the greatest meaning to me. If I were to decide something for myself, without any criticism, regardless of my resources, regardless of what other people thought about how to live life, what would I choose out of the thousands of paths that I have been exposed to.

But of course, the reality of life is that if I were going to pursue what I love, I needed to understand if I can make a living of doing all those things. Sure, I can continue enjoying doing all these things in my leisure, but if I were completely serious about my passions, what would I be willing to give up to pursue those things? The fact of the matter is, very little. Paying for the mortgage for the next 3 years is of top priority, and should my marriage not work out, I still have a mortgage to pay every month to have a sustainable lifestyle. My father is not going to be able to continue working as long as he wants, and there’s no chance that my mum will ever find a source of income again. That easily boils down to taking up the responsibility of caring for the family. And eventually, when I have kids, what is life going to be like? How can I continue to live a life of fulfilment, care for my elderly parents, and set the right example for my children to follow?

I cannot afford to live a life where I am simply pursuing my passions without due care for money. Earning money is a personal responsibility. Sure it is important to understand our life purpose, but it is equally important to consider where our responsibilities lie, and the key is finding out how I can create a healthy balance. For now, there is no doubt that fulfilling my financial responsibilities will always take priority over anything in life. With that in mind, where do my passions lie? How can I still continue to pursue English, Tennis, Human connection, Personal motivation, and Music, and yet fulfil my primary responsibilities?

So far, I have established how important it is to lead a life of purpose, but apparently, this is inconsistent with my current job in Regional Logistics. I didn’t choose this job. It was more like this job chose me. I really had no clue and idea of what I wanted to do for my career when I was in university. When I looked at Business, Banking, Accounting, Law, Engineering, Arts – the Arts had the biggest appeal to me, but I just had this concept that I could never be successful if I took an Arts degree, so I chose Management with Law. Ok… take a pause here. See I think this was where things got a little messed up. I think ever since I finished my ‘O’ Levels, where I achieved astounding results, far better than what I thought I was capable of, I kind of lost my focus and lost my way after that. Because at that moment, I was positively and fully focused on what I needed to do to perform and get the results I wanted. I was at that peak mental state, and I understood all the subjects and although I wasn’t fully motivated, I had that high level of focus when I was sitting for my examinations.

When I graduated, the world suddenly turned massive, and it was so extremely difficult to commit to my choices. For one, I was always afraid of committing to the wrong choice, and as a result, I kept avoiding making my own choices, for fear that I would be making the biggest mistake of my life, and live a life of regret. What I didn’t know back then, was that by not making a choice about where I was headed, didn’t make me less likely to fail compared to if I had made a choice that I would regret.

Come to think of it, if these things were my major passion, why didn’t I spend more time on those things. Was I distracted? No I don’t think I was. I was extremely driven to play pool at the time, and I just wanted to be that player who will just get into other player’s heads, and beat them flat out. I will never forget the time when I had trained immensely hard with a friend, and I pulled off some amazing wins while I was competing actively at that time. However, the thing that really got me, was really very much about staying in reality. I realised at some point in time, there was a real disconnection between living my passion, and yet living a responsible life taking care of my finances and my focus shifted. I realised that although I was pursuing the things that I love, I really was not truly happy till I finally met the woman of my dreams. And when I did, I just thought, I can finally relax and so call… “Be myself”. A real problem surfaced, and I was actually becoming complacent having achieved the goal, and after that I was really aimless in terms of what was driving me and what would genuinely make life fulfilling. In the end, by not being self driven and not staying in a peak state, what I was actually doing was simply burdening my wife with the kind of dissatisfaction I had, and because I so over concerned about what I was going through, I failed to make the conscious effort to fill her up and make her feel loved.

So I guess the lesson here is this. I have proven to myself on more than 1 occasion that as long as I set myself a goal, and that I had a vision that it will happen, nothing is going to stop me from getting there. Of all the visions that I had, I have managed to realise practically all of them, aside from maintaining a blissful marriage. I could do it. I was truly only limited by what I believed I could do. Heck, I never thought I would be in the logistics industry, but the fact of the matter is that I understood that without taking responsibility to have a job and to make a living, I wouldn’t have done a thing.

To be honest, since I have written about the things that I have genuine passion for, despite losing a bit of focus in the past couple of days. I still believe without a doubt that I can make a difference. I know that whenever I get the chance, I will inevitably touch someone’s life and say something that can give hope to people. I really want to see the people around me succeed, even when they are not at their best, they will always be able to do something good.

This post is getting a little too long so I’ll stop and continue the next day. Tomorrow, I will be writing on my notebook again, reflecting on those passions and what they mean to me. After that, I am going to reflect on what I have written on the blog, and hopefully I will come up with the ultimate vision of the future and be able to setup rituals and plans to take action.

Daily reflections – Day 2 – 1 Dec

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Started of the day struggling out of bed having slept the previous night past 1am. It was one of those mornings where it had rained at 5am, leaving a cloudy sunrise. My phone alarm didn’t sound off either, and I just woke up automatically at 6.42am. Seeing the dark sky left me going “urgghh… shit” when I forced my ass off to wash up.

I managed to leave at a reasonable timing at 7.10am, not too late nor was I that early. My mind was in an unconscious state. If anyone were to pounce on me and grab my wallet I’d probably not have been able to react at all. Guess that’s how secure we can actually feel when we leave our apartment. Took a round of Clash of Titans to get my brain started. By the time I felt more awake I was already transiting to my next train at Serangoon. I then took out Luvijic’s book titled “Limitless” and proceeded to flip to the contents, scanning through over 30 topics, a rather comprehensive list of stuff that can be applied to stuff and challenges that we go through in our journey in life.

It was a lot more spiritual and God centred than I expected. Edwin had lent the book to me to read about Luvijic’s trials, that God never really intends to ruin us, but expects us to grow with all the tough situations. That God already knew that we would be able to face them head on, because He knew what we were fully capable of, and there was no doubt that He believed that we could conquer our trials, and become better than we were before.

I didn’t really think of it that way in the morning as I was still awakening from my slumber, but having read a small part of his story, allowed me to focus a little better on what matters, and I finally made it to the bus on time with breakfast. For the past few weeks, I kept missing the bus and had to walk 500m to the office to make it on time. For once I was punctual and not perspiring and looking all anxious at the morning huddle.

I thought I completed quite a bit of work throughout the day. Its never a dull moment in the office, just so much work to do and never really able to finish up everything. Come to think of it, I forgot to update my meeting minutes again. But I did clear up some stuff that have been outstanding for a long while. Like weeks overdue. I guess moving forward, it would be better to clear up any sort of work within the same week to maintain a smoother routine. But its hard to prioritise work as always, yet, its the end of the day I find that I get rewarded with some rest.

Initially I thought that after work, I would be a little more energized to continue reading the book, but my mind was just exhausted having done an extra 80 minutes of work. Was thankful to have a couple of episodes of Running man left in my phone that I haven’t watched. It helped a lot with the commuting. I decided to head to Nex to see if the iPhone 6 plus was in stock, but was out of luck. No matter, took the train back to Fernvale, and planned to reward myself with dinner at Fish n Co. After 10 mins of waiting, the manager said that food would take another 20-30 mins. Feeling famished, I walked to Shokudu and ordered their signature Curry Omurice with beef patty. Had a satisfying meal, and then decided to explore the basement for awhile. It just hit me that this mall wasn’t selling any cheap stuff, and yet there was so much activity happening in the new mall. It made me wonder how rich we are and able to afford such expensive stuff.

Now having arrived home, I was just totally exhausted from the day. And also a little sore from the game of tennis the day before. I just sat down with my Macbook, surfed Facebook, and for once in a long while, turned on iTunes on my laptop and played my Top rated playlist. I haven’t modified the playlist on my Mac for ages. Boy, was I glad I didn’t. It contained the exact music that I needed. Soundtracks from what I would term as the most romantic drama serial, Long Vacation, plus a couple of really nice songs I haven’t heard for a long while. It was just what I needed to gain back that emotional strength to start writing my daily reflection for the day. I was close to giving up till I let myself immerse in the music, and let my feelings flow along. As cheesy as it sounds it helped.

The music wasn’t the sole defining factor. I decided to whatsapp 2 friends. In the end, I found myself whatsapping 3 friends. It was nice to have someone respond to my messages. I guess I haven’t managed to get much of that with my wife. I wish we could talk more, even after a long day. But I guess I have not developed a habit of reflecting over the day as I am currently doing. So perhaps may have led to less effort on my part to communicate on how my day went, what I got out of it, and what I didn’t get out of it.

Its already 11.26pm, and the time where I’m supposed to be sleeping in bed, my mind is now coming alive. For one, a friend just shared that she began her first day at her job. Working appears to be such a chore for her. Being curious about others, I asked question after question, about why she felt bored about work. One of my closest friends in another chat, suddenly dropped a bomb, saying she was sorry if she had ever been a jackass. Wow. I was more amused and entertained by her gesture than anything else. We have been friends for a really long while. I just realised we hit the decade mark of being friends. One of those things that I am truly grateful and thankful for, is having experienced true friendship. As I am typing this, I managed to fix a date to catch up with an old friend whom I haven’t spoken to in ages.

Ain’t a shabby day. Not the least. I think I might still have a little energy left to continue writing on my notebook from where I left off about my passions. Hoping the next day will be just as fruitful if not even more.

Beginning of daily reflections: Day 1 – 30 Nov

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Having spent more time on trying to understanding what life is about, and also looking for direction and focus, I felt that there is going to be a need to establish a higher level of consciousness in what I do on a daily basis.

After watching a video on Tony Robbins, about how our rituals and consciousness is going to affect our decisions, I realised how vital it is, to consider what gone through the day in my mind and write about what happened so I can reflect on whether I have made the right choices and decisions on that very day.

So starting off, I woke up at 9.30am, took a shower, and messaged my wife, asking her if she wanted to join me for breakfast. Strangely I didn’t really understand one of her messages when she said she had to meet a friend at 11.30am so I thought she would not be able to join me but she eventually did and I was confused, because I had made an internal assumption that she may not have wanted to see or talk to me anymore. But I realised that I should not have let myself have this kind of pre-conception and assumption.

We ended up having breakfast at BK at Compasspoint, and it was the very first time that I decided to use a coupon to get a discount for fast food. I haven’t done that in ages because I think that it was unnecessary, and that if I could afford it, I wouldn’t need it. But for the first time in a long while, I was thinking a little harder about how I can save money. And I liked the fact that I did this small thing to make a change.

We started talking about what we did over the weekend, she asked if my tennis was confirmed and who was I playing with. I guess that was just to kick off the conversation, and I moved on to share about what happened over the weekend and that I told my parents what happened in our relationship, and the problems that I had and that I had shared those problems with them. She asked what reaction they had, and I said that they were disappointed and emotional, but there was hardly anything that could be done as things had already happened in the past, and the only thing to do is to move forward, and besides it’s not going to be the end of the world. My memory is a little bit hazy about what we talked about, but I do remember that she brought up something regarding how men can appear really good to their wives and to their friends in general. But in reality, the guy was actually seeing another woman outside in secret. So she appeared to be rather heated about why men did that? I said that sometimes people get married for selfish reasons, and that we in the society that we live today, have multiple reasons for getting married. At times, reasons can be completely self serving like the man that she just described who cheated on her, and yet still appears to maintain his social stature as a good husband. We then talked about why people get married and it led to me asking her, whether that by sharing her about my problems burdened her. Was marriage about sharing everything about each other’s lives. Turns out on the contrary to Edwin’s advice, she didn’t find that when I shared my issues with her, like say for example if the husband shared a financial problem with his wife, she didn’t feel that it was a burden set on to the wife. Instead she had the same beliefs that I did, in that marriage is indeed about sharing your lives with each other. And so I asked if I had done anything that really burdened her and we ran out of time, and she had to head off to meet SH. I thought it we had a great conversation with each other, and it reinforced my belief that she is truly the one for me. I don’t think I will find anyone else whom I can talk with like this, or share my life. I can’t picture anyone else, where I can have a connection like I have with her.

So after she left, I went straight to get my Popular 3 year membership card. Following which I totally forgot to get additional writing materials for planning and kick starting my life plan. I found myself on the LRT and realised that I could head to Seletar Mall, and found that the Popular outlet there had opened. It was extremely crowded and the mall wasn’t that big. I spent over $70 on writing equipment including notebooks, A4 paper and stationery. Something that I have never done for years since I graduated. For once I really started to feel that I am doing something different in life compared to what I did on a normal routine, doing things unconsciously at home, and doing things on a whim instead of making a conscious effort to actually focus on something.

Having bought the materials I came back home, feeling exhausted and hot from the weather, laid back in bed, and watched a few Youtube videos on TEDx talks. I first started off with an NCIX video about a customisable keyboard that had 2 separate parts so that you could have your hands in a much more ergonomic position whilst typing. It was a very cool product and I had long wanted to see something like this come out in the market. However the real drawback here, was that it was not only really expensive, but you actually needed to assemble and make the keyboard on your own (yes it is that kind of customised product). I could see the appeal of doing something like this, but from the comments I saw a lot of feedback that with that money, one could buy a really high end RGB backlit gaming keyboard, and it would be usable right away. Honestly, I really like this idea of having 2 separate parts to a keyboard. The next question is, when will we see an actual finished product on sale that has such an ergonomic solution? In my mind, if I had the capital, knowledge and the expertise, I would capitalize on this opportunity right away and come up with some prototypes immediately, and come up with a finished product for mass distribution. The reason being is, 1) It is much more optimal for gaming, as the gaming mouse doesn’t to be too far away from the keyboard and hence makes your hands feel much more comfortable. 2) Ergonomics. It will take a lot of getting used to typing on separate pieces of keyboard, but man, it will be so much more comfortable to do it, and when you do get used to it, you actually tend to type faster and improve your accuracy when your hands are in their natural position. 3) Novelty and uniqueness. This is the very first time I have seen this product, and its extremely interesting and intriguing. This is a product that can definitely create a big impact on the market.

The other Youtube videos I watched, were TEDx talks on 1) Why you will fail to have a Great Career, 2) The most important lesson from 83,000 brain scans, 3) Sell your crap, Pay your debt, Do what you love. 4) Don’t just follow your Passion: A Talk for Generation Y. The 1st and 3rd videos were exceptionally insightful, and these are the kinds of talks that really provide food for the mind.

After watching the videos, I felt less lethargic, and it allowed me to stay at a higher level of consciousness compared to what I usually do on weekends, which is basically just doing things on a whim, without real focus or direction as to what was going to make a difference to my life. The talk by Tony Robbins on changing my rituals and raising my standards, really left a deep impression on me as I was seeking to revolutionise my choices in life. I felt way more focused than I ever have been on a weekend, ever since I graduated after 5 long years of studying part time. I unpacked all the stuff I bought earlier on, picked up the notebook and packed my stationary into my bag. I then realised I forgot to get a pencil case and eraser, so I went back to Popular to get those items, and headed to Coffee bean to get lunch. I was lucky to get a seat, and ordered the all day breakfast item at $9.90. Had a decent meal, and started writing about my interests and my passions onto my new notebook. It was the very first time I had ever done such a thing in my entire life, and to be honest, although I did not manage to finish what I wanted to write, I felt that I was doing something productive by writing down those things that really meant something to me and were the things that made me feel alive.

Unfortunately I bumped into my friend, and since he asked when the wedding was, I choked and couldn’t really find any excuses anymore, and told him the truth that I was having issues with my wife so the wedding was postponed. It suddenly felt awkward as his wife was with him, so he smiled and they excused themselves. I then proceeded to text him what happened briefly, that my wife had moved out since Aug. He expressed his sympathy, and agreed to keep the information classified, since I told him that I wanted to keep things quiet for now.

It was really noisy, but I managed to pen down a couple of pages after getting some food. I then decided to head back home instead. I rested a little and watched some tennis videos to psyche myself up for the tennis game from 6-8pm. At this point, I felt like I had accomplished a lot for a start, having a notebook and having penned down my passions, was a small but significant stepping stone in the right direction in seeking my passion, and moving closer to my map of life. Having psyched myself up for the tennis game, I quickly changed, packed, call the cab, and headed to St Wilfrid for my tennis game. It was nice to meet Irwin and Jolene again, and also met TH for the first time. It was cool to see someone use the newest Wilson RF97, but I exclaimed that it was just too heavy and I wouldn’t be able to use such a racket. We proceeded to warm up, and I was really psyched up to hit the ball. Despite having not played for about 3 weeks, I felt different at the court today. I felt that I could focus so much better at the ball compared to previous sessions, and I was conscious of how my body was moving. I have not felt like this in such a long time while playing tennis. I was also moving rather well, and timing my shots better than I usually did. My forehand felt really good, and now come to think of it, I really felt more focused. We played a really long set, where TH and I were trailing at first, but once I got hold of my service motion, we made a comeback and won the set 7-5. Of course, if I were to take into account that Irwin and Jolene actually played tennis on the same day in the morning, it would certainly be an advantage for TH and I coming in fresh. Regardless, it felt great to make a comeback. It was again, the very first time I made a comeback on a doubles game. Awesome. 2nd set we switched partners and lost, but just having won the 1st set already felt awesome. I managed to hit some decent shots, including a really big forehand cross court winner. My forehands were working great, and I was getting my timing, positioning and technique all working well for me. I sweat a ton, and I haven’t felt so pleased about my tennis game in awhile. I thought I played fantastic, and looking back. I think having made the conscious effort to emulate Federer’s forehand, visualising how I should hit the forehand, made a huge difference. The amount of focus on the timing, the strokes. It was key to my performance for the evening.

After dropping off at Seletar mall again, unsuccessfully finding anything to eat there, I settled for chicken rice at the coffeeshop with a soft drink. I was starving.

Headed back home exhausted, washed my soiled clothes, took a shower, and then tidied up the kitchen. Something that I rarely did after I moved in. I felt the need to raise my standards, and I was pleased with myself having put just that tiny little more effort to improve things. Started watching a few more tennis videos to relax and watch NCIX again. and then decided that I would end the night with a final video of Tony Robbins speaking at the TEDx event again. I think that if I keep watching the video, it will help to reinforce those concepts that he explained about our mental state, about focus and the conscious decisions that we are making at every single point of our lives.

Oh, and this sudden awesome idea just hit me while watching Youtube videos. So far, I have not seen anyone provide any services for videoing tennis sessions for amateurs like me, and provide some useful analysis on what they are doing, and how they can improve by watching themselves on video. I think that if I were able to offer such a service for free, there would definitely be someone out there who would take it up. Of course, it would be even better if I could get paid for doing something like this. But being someone who loves tennis as a sport, and if I can help others video themselves, I think for sure that I can make tennis a much for valuable experience for tennis players out there who enjoy playing the game as much as I do. So with that in mind, I think that I should come up with a strategy and think about how I can offer this video service to someone, how I can do it well, and how can I bring more value to my target audience. How cool and interesting would that be.

Also, moving forward, I would like to spend more time and effort on analysing what my passions are, and how can I do something about it to create something that I can do for a living. I also need to spend more time reading the book Edwin lent to me, and also continue to make a conscious effort to raise my standards, and also to stay focused on discovering my road map to a much more fruitful and satisfying life ahead.

What am I passionate about? Can I make a living out of it?

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This has been such a huge question that has been on my mind.

I’ve heard all sorts of analogies behind this school of thought.
“Why would you want to make your passion become your work? That’s crazy.”
“If you don’t have the talent, then maybe you won’t succeed compared to someone who does.”
“You already have 10 years of experience, why let that go to waste?”
“Your job is like 4D or TOTO, if you have a job, learn how to love your job, and if you love your job, you would be doing what you love.” – this one is so tricky!

Everything above was negative except perhaps the last one.

Lets explore this notion deeper.
1) Can one learn to love and enjoy a line of work?
2) What makes work unenjoyable? What makes it enjoyable?
3) If you are doing something you are passionate about, does the part that is not enjoyable feel as bad as something that you are not passionate about?
4) Is getting the right job the same as getting the right marriage?
5) How does your job define you as a person? Do you feel like your job is an accurate representation of who you are as a person?

With the above questions
1) Can one learn to love and enjoy a line of work?
I believe this will happen if it utilizes and brings out the potential and strengths of the individual. But honestly speaking, in my own context, I just happen to chance upon a job availability in the market, and because having preconceived ideas that were perhaps incorrect, and not having a clue on what I genuinely wanted to do in life, I just took the job to get by, at least it is something better than not having a job at all. Which was not the wrong thing to do. I just took the first opportunity that showed up on my door while job hunting. Coming to about 10 years I think I reached a certain limit as to what I could do with my talents and potential in that particular job. So as a result, I became really frustrated with myself, and I really began to dislike my line of work. The fact of the matter is, although I got to utilize my strengths in certain areas, I only felt good when my efforts were recognized and made an impact.

So in summary, perhaps it is just ridiculous to love your actual job. But think about this, what if you started something that you wanted to do on your own, and just take responsibility for your own decisions, instead of submitting to what the world expects out of us. That changes the whole dynamic doesn’t it? By deciding to get a job, I basically said to myself, “Its too difficult to start a business, there is too much risk, and getting a job will be more secure.” But really, how secure is a job going to be? We basically putting our lives in greater risk, but not taking responsibility for our own life, and instead depending on others to help us get through our own life.

I realized that by doing this, I really have been living a life of contradiction and submission to what the world presented me with, and by doing so, I essentially decided that the “safer route” was in fact, what happiness was about. It wasn’t about taking big risks, you try to appreciate and be contented with life, and you will still be able to find happiness.

But after talking to friends, and laying it all out, I realized how deluded I was

2) What makes work unenjoyable:
a) you have no interest in the job
b) without interest in the line of work, you lack motivation to do a good job
c) if you lack the motivation to do a good job, you don’t perform as well as someone who enjoys it
d) if you don’t perform as well, you don’t get good appraisals from your superiors
e) Lack of good appraisals result in even further loss of motivation, and it becomes a cycle.
f) You will not be happy with your job, and if that happens, you will start seeking other things that will improve your happiness.
g) When you start seeking other things to fulfill you, you depend on the other things to be happy. And your job just becomes one of the things in life that you do not enjoy, but depend on to facilitate the other things that make you happy. Isn’t this the truth? If so, what don’t you do something that you really enjoy doing, and just be happy doing it without the need to look for other sources of happiness?
h) Other sources of happiness can come in different forms. The temporary ones involve retail therapy, buying something new, going for spas or taking a vacation. You could also buy new clothes to refresh your wardrobe, make you feel better about yourself, getting a gym membership, believing that if you pay money to work out, you will do it. If you have hobbies, you will undoubtedly spend money on that too. If you enjoy reading, you will buy books, if you like to fiddle with gadgets, you will spend money on that too, such forms of happiness tend to have a more lasting effect, which is why many of us stick to our hobbies for many years. And when you get married, your money will go to maintaining your bond with your partner, paymets for the apartment, and when you have kids, all of your money is going to support the people that you love and cherish. Bonding with your loved ones would entail the most permanent source of happiness.
i) The point of the matter is, if you don’t love your job, it is highly likely, that you will depend on all the other things for your source of happiness. So, if we think about this rationally, if we don’t enjoy doing our job, we undoubtedly place a whole lot of pressure on what we do outside of work to make us happy.
j) The less things that you enjoy doing outside of work, it would be perfectly logical for one to be at risk for being completely miserable in life.
k) In order to achieve some form of happiness, a person has 4 options
i) Get a job that he/she loves and enjoys doing
ii) Find a life partner that will he/she will be happy with on a permanent basis
iii) Have personal time for enjoyment and personal hobbies, including friends
iv) Do all of the above
l) If we can’t even possess a single thing above, there is a huge possibility that we are going to the most miserable and unhappy people.
m) If we put things into perspective… how can we ever live a fulfilling and happy life, without being passionate about anything? If we aren’t passionate about our work, if we aren’t passionate about our spouse or family, what else is there aside from sadness and constant disappointment?

Another thing that comes to mind is… What is passion exactly?

Passion is a term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, compelling enthusiasm or desire for anything. – Wikipedia

On a fundamental note, to have strong feelings for something would involve
1) It has to mean something
2) It has to impact someone
3) The meaning and impact has to be understood by us.
4) The level of meaningfulness and level of impact, will ultimately influence as to how much feelings we have for that particular thing.
5) You can either feel positive or negative or neutral about something. Neutral feelings will never invoke passion or drive to do something
6) On the other hand, the positive and negative feelings we develop towards things, will undoubtedly drive us to act.
7) The next question is, how do we act upon those feelings. And I guess this is where things become so complex.

Having watched a youtube video on Tony Robbins speaking at a TED convention, provided some very insightful observations

There are 3 Decisions of Destiny
There are 3 decisions we are making every moment of our lives
1) What am I going to focus on?
1. Focus=feeling
2. Past/present/future
3. Self or others?
2) What does it mean?
1. Is it the end or the beginning? Are you being punished or rewarded?
3) What are you going to do?
1. Are you going to give up or move forward?

There are 2 primary patterns:
The invisible forces that shape us

1) In the moment:
Our “state” physical/emotional
2) Long-term
Our Model of the World/World view: the shaper of MEANING, EMOTION and ACTION!
There are 6 needs that humans have that shape our world
1) Certainty
2) Uncertainty
3) Significance
4) Connection & Love
The 1st 4 needs are what he calls the needs to form a Personality
The last 2 are what he calls the needs of the Spirit, and this is where fulfillment comes
5) You must grow
6) To contribute beyond ourselves

Aside from our needs, how we live is going to depend on our beliefs and our emotions.

When faced with certain emotions, it usually leads to action or inaction. i.e. Decision making. They can range from being trivial to being truly difficult. Like say for example, deciding that its time to have lunch, vs deciding if this person is the one you want to marry.

As Tony Robbins revealed, the secret to life, is in our choices, our decisions.

What makes work enjoyable:
a) When you get to utilise your strengths, and you find that it makes a difference in other people’s lives. You create an impact on others, and thus leaves an impact on yourself.
b) You genuinely enjoy doing your job, and when you perform well enough, you feel satisfied with what you have done for the day.
c) When you get paid well to do the work that you enjoy, its twice as sweet.

State of mind, emotions, needs, focus and how to correct life

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More often or not, I find myself questioning why am I here, and since my wife brought up the issue of separation, I had one solid conclusion about my life choices… I made some good ones and some bad ones. But somewhere down the line, I made bad choices after bad choices.

So, how can I make the right choices from today onwards, how can I be sure that whatever I choose, will be a choice that I will not live to regret further down the line? How can I give the maximum drive and effort, and not let myself down with a mountain of excuses, on succeeding in life.

I guess when it comes to problem solving, we always look at the current situation, analyse what is happening and then proceed our next course of action.

Negatives about the current situation
1) I dislike my line of work, and I don’t feel that I am making any significant difference to anyone’s life.
2) The state of my marriage is in jeopardy, and I don’t know how to save it.
3) I put on the most weight and I don’t feel as attractive as I felt before.
4) I never had a long term plan laid out for my life. I never knew what I wanted to do for a living, and till now, I am reluctant to change because I’m already into my thirties, and already have 1 foot into a logistics career, which I absolutely hate and have no passion for.
5) I failed to plan my future, thus I think that I have totally failed in life since my wife decided to separate from me.
6) I still have another 3 years of loans to pay to fully pay up for the renovation loan, and within that period, I wonder if I will still have a relationship with my wife.
7) I have nothing but excuses for my failures.

Positives about the current situation
1) Although I dislike my work, I still get decently paid to support my lifestyle, and have an opportunity to be productive
2) In spite of going through separation anxiety, I can afford more time for self development, and to focus on what I need to do to change my life and make it better than before
3) I’m not fat to the point that I can’t run my ass off to lose the weight I gained. I can do something about myself to make myself attractive again.
4) If I never had a long term plan. I just have to do it.
5) After I am done with the loan repayments, I don’t need as much to live a decent life.

Things that prevent me from getting where I want to be
1) Not knowing where I want to be, and not being resourceful on what I truly want in life
2) Making excuses all the time for not doing what I should be doing
3) Living a life of excuses, instead of pursuing what will ultimately let me arrive to where I want to be.
4) Submitting to my feelings all the time, instead of controlling how I feel, and staying focused on my ultimate goal in life.
5) Allowing my happiness to be dependent on my wife’s happiness. It was just too much to ask from her.
6) Spending too much time on frivolous activity. For eg. instead of reading articles to improve oneself, get easily distracted by social media, and lose focus on what I ultimately have been craving.
7) Procrastination – allowing myself to put off everything and just settle for what I felt was good enough to get by.
8) If you don’t know what your ultimate goal in life is, you end up getting by, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
9) Fear of failure, that all the efforts would go to waste!

Things that I need to do to get to where I want to be
1) Figure out and decide what will be the best thing to do for a living. And just go out and do it.
2) Have, weekly, monthly and yearly plans – think about when do you want to achieve this goal
3) Staying focused on the goal, consider what are the worst things that could happen in life?
4) Think about how you are going to make the transition from your full time job to what you really want to do in life, and still allow yourself to survive on a decent salary.
5) Think about the risks involved, how would you go about managing those risks.
6) At minimum, ask yourself, how will making all the sacrifices turn out. Ultimately, what will you have to gain and what are you going to get out of it?
7) Believe that its not too late and at 34 years old, you are still at a prime position to succeed.
8) Consider your career longevity – can you continue doing the same job till you are way past the retirement age
9) Instead of worrying about what others say about what you should be doing – for just once, take control of your own life, and don’t ever let anyone decide that for you.
And a whole lot more…