NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS? CONSIDER THESE FIRST

New Year’s Resolutions? Consider these first!

 

Credits to geckoandfly.com
Credits to geckoandfly.com

As we are approaching the end of the (insert adjective) year of 2015, some of us, if not most of us will have already started to think about our New Year’s Resolutions for 2016.

I’m sure there are many of us who made resolutions such as the typical losing weight, eating better, study harder and so on and so forth. All of those can be considered as resolutions if your definition of making a resolution is to think of it on the 1st January and forget about it for the rest of the year.

New Year’s Resolutions should not be just about the talk but also the walk. We can talk all we want about what we want to achieve for the year but without any effective action, there will be no result. Over the years, every New Year, I’m sure a lot of us have heard from people like radio deejays to our motivational speakers talking about the importance of effective goal settings. I, personally have heard countless times from radio deejays every morning of countless Januarys talking about goal settings and what they want to achieve for the year. Even schools are practising that habit by asking students about their yearly ambitions and goals.

However, most of us fall of the wagon very early in the year. We applied for super expensive, overpriced gym membership, we signed up for language classes and sometimes, we even bought new and expensive books to start our dream of being an entrepreneur but to end up putting them aside after a few weeks. We were so motivated at the beginning but over the days, we become demoralised and unmotivated and therefore, falling back into our old ways.

I’m sure all of you know that feeling… That feeling of enthusiasm about our New Year’s Resolutions at the start but later on, nearing February, we felt like our beds are made up of soft, velvety cushions calling on to us to sleep for longer.

Therefore, I’m sure all of you want to know how to keep that motivation going throughout the year! I’m no expert and I’m still learning, but here are the tips that I use to keep me going!

KEEP A LOG/DIARY/BLOG

I cannot emphasise enough about the importance of noting down your daily achievements. It can be in any form that you’d like. It can be in a form of a logbook like a fitness logbook to keep track of your performance, in the form of a diary to write down your feelings and the things that you do at the end of the day or in the form of a blog (I personally subscribe to this) where you can just put in your thoughts, ideas and your achievements down in one neat post every day.

Why do you need to do this? It helps you track your progression on a daily basis. It also helps to remind you of your resolutions.

One neat trick that can help is to write down your thoughts and emotions in a form of a blog or a diary. By doing that, you will be able to see what affects you mentally and emotionally. This is awesome for anyone who
Over time, as you compile your days, you will be able to reflect back and see how much you’ve grown and mature. I promise you, it will be a wonderful tool for your personal development.

ASSOCIATE EMOTIONAL MEANING TO YOUR GOALS

Do you think goal-setting is just about plucking out something that you want from your mind and put it as a goal? No, definitely not! This is what I learnt that helps anyone to stay motivated. Pick a goal or a resolution that has emotional meaning. This means that for example, ‘My goal is to get in shape’. Your next question would be, ‘why?’, ‘because I want to be confident in my own body’. Here you will see that this person associated an emotional meaning to his goal of getting into shape. It is not just about wanting to get into shape but instead, it is to be more confident.

By associating emotional meaning to your goals, you will become more motivated as you remind yourself the reason for wanting to achieve that goal.

I personally used this method for my studies. I wanted to study not for myself or for the sake of getting a good course in university but instead, it is to make my parents proud. I wanted to make them happy and being Asian…
This is a document from milkthepigeon.com and it is a wonderful blog for those lost and unsure of what to do with their lives.

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CREATE PROJECTS & NOT JUST GOALS

Do not just create small goals that may not achieve much but instead create life-changing projects that will propel you forward in self-development. Here’s what I mean, consider the average person. He has a goal. His goal is to keep fit. However, instead of making it a goal, he creates a project. His project would be to become fit. Ehh… what’s the difference?

A goal is a destination, a final result that you want to achieve. However, a project is a goal embedded within a process. A project contains many things, a plan, a system and an execution. By simply changing the term from goal to project, you become more focused on the process of achieving that goal instead of being focused on a goal which, in your current state, might seem unreachable.

By creating projects, you see every small progress as a step nearer towards your final goal like a miner, slowly inching towards gold.

Let’s use the example of that average person. Let’s name him Joe. Joe wants to be fit. He starts his project called Project Fit. So, what does he need? He needs a plan, a system to go through that plan and execute. He decides on a plan to exercise so and so per week. He has a system of tracking his caloric intake and a food log along with his exercise log. With all those things done, he execute it! However, if he were to just have a goal of being fit. It would be something like this… Joe’s goal is to be fit… Then nothing… No plan, no system and no execution.

CREATE A PROJECT WHICH SCARES YOU

It is easy to have a resolution of wanting to start learning a new language. You can simply achieve it by signing up for some language classes. Easy. However, what you want is to have a resolution or a project that scares you… well… a little. You may think… isn’t it counterproductive to scare yourself away from what you want to achieve? Well, no. By having a resolution that scares you a little, it challenges you to improve yourself. Your mind knows that this is not within your comfort zone.

Back to the example, instead of wanting to start a new language, why not have a resolution of… ‘I want to be able to communicate to a native of the language’? This sets up a challenge for you and create that fear within you so that you’ll keep practising.

HAVE A RITUAL

Woah… a ritual? Is this some black magic nonsense? Well, NO! A ritual is a set of things that you do to prep yourself for the day ahead or a set of things that you do to calm yourself be focused. These are some examples of what are rituals, albeit a wee bit extreme.

Therefore as you can see, rituals are just some things that keeps you focused on your goal/project at hand. It helps you to prep yourself for the day ahead by keeping your mind clear and sticking to the things that you are familiar with.

A ritual can be very simple. I personally have a ritual before I begin my day which is to go and have a shower, a good breakfast and watch some Youtube videos before heading out. The most important thing about rituals is that, it has to be something that is familiar to you. Something that is calming to you. So, go and try it out yourself!

Setting New Year’s Resolutions are never easy. Personally, I’ve been thinking about them for days. However, they are something that should be taken seriously because of the potential they have. They will definitely keep you focused on what you want to achieve for the year and at the end of the year, you will feel accomplished. We have to make the best of our time especially in a time-hungry era and one of the best ways to do it is to have New Year’s Resolutions. Have a great year ahead!

 

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WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM FAILURE

What We Can Learn
From Failure

 

A s usual, like most people, I was casually surfing Youtube and scrolling through my subscriptions to find a video that will suit my morning breakfast meal (first world problems eh?) and I saw this video by TheSchoolofLife.

I subscribed to them because they produce such wonderful videos about philosophy, concepts and amazing ideas. Back to the story, so I clicked on this video entitled: ‘History of Ideas – Failure’. After I watched the video, I realised that there’s so much more to failure than just failing. There’s so much positivity in failure that we oversee.

So, the question is, WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM FAILURE?

In today’s society, failure is seen as a shame. Failure is neither respected nor appreciated. We see failure with such disgust that we pull ourselves away from anyone who constantly failed. However, rather than moving away and neglecting the lessons from failure, here are some things why we should embrace it instead.

FAILURE IS PROFOUNDLY NOBLE & HONOURABLE

During the Battle of Thermopylae, King Leonidas led the Greek army against the mighty Persians. The Persians were trying to enter the pass of Thermopylae. The Greeks were greatly outnumbered however, they managed to put off the Persian army for three days. We all know the ending to that story. The Greeks lost the Battle of Thermopylae when a local betrayed the Greeks and told the Persians about another route behind the Greeks. The Greeks were outflanked and proceeded to retreat. To protect the retreating Greek army, King Leonidas stayed behind with a small group of Greeks inclusive of his famous 300 Spartans, many of whom died after.

In its true essence, this battle was a failure, they failed to push back the Persians and died in the process. However, we see this act as an act of true bravery and honour but why? I believe, the answer can be found in the actions of the men. The men put in immense effort in defending the path and when they did die in battle, they were treated as heroes, dying for the cause of their nation/greater good. It is then not seen as a failure because they died for a cause that is seen by many as noble.

Therefore, failure is profoundly noble and honourable. However, for it to be seen in that light, one must try their best in achieving something first. In layman terms, one must ‘Die Trying’.

FAILURE MOTIVATES

There are two ways to deal with failure. To be destroyed by it or to learn from it. We can see the effects of the former everywhere around us. In the people we see in school, on the train or on the way to the supermarket. They are the ones looking sad, lost and depressed. They are the ones who take sleeping pills just to get some adequate rest. They are the ones who drink themselves to oblivion to forget about all their failures. However, when one is to learn from it, beautiful things happen. One will reassess their weaknesses and their strengths. One will work on what makes them fail and one will gain the motivation and determination to try and try again.

We see the latter type of people everywhere too. We see them in advertisements, we see them online, we see them in newspapers. They are the ones who are well-respected. They are the ones who are experts in their fields and they are the one who always look happy. They are your entrepreneurs, scientists, doctors, lawyers, engineers and all respected fields of work.

An article in the National Geographic Magazine entitled ‘Famous Failures‘ says that, “Failure—never sought, always dreaded, impossible to ignore—is the specter that hovers over every attempt at exploration. Yet without the sting of failure to spur us to reassess and rethink, progress would be impossible. (“Try again. Fail again,” wrote Samuel Beckett. “Fail better.”)”. It is in all aspect true. Do you think if failure does not motivates, can Elon Musk’s SpaceX succeed? Can Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Airlines succeed? Can the Manhattan project ran by geniuses like Albert Einstein succeed? These people took failure as a mere obstacle that they are sure they can overcome. They try and try again till they succeed knowing that failure is a way for them to learn and revise their current methods.

I am sure that none of us want to be destroyed by failure and I know that sometimes it is hard. However, remember, there are ONLY TWO choices when one is faced with failure. Be destroyed by it or learn from it.

FAILURE ERODES ARROGANCE

In the current world, success is defined by your fame, power and money. It is easy to become arrogant when all you know is success. You tend to look down on people and see other people as inferior to yourself. Look at our current celebrities. They have fame. They have some sort of influential power and they have money. However, most are arrogant.

However, by learning how to fail, we will start to realise that we are not all-powerful after all. We make mistakes and that we had to work very hard to achieve success. We become more humble and understood what it is like to start from the bottom. Here, failure through the process erodes our arrogance. We can see this from Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. He wears simply like a shirt and trousers and a hoodie. He does not show off and he loves to donate for the benefit of others. One such example is his fund for Personalized Learning where he aims to assist students with things that interests them.

Failure can be seen as something beneficial. Failure erodes arrogance and this only happens if people learn to achieve success through multiple failures.

FAILURE IS DESERVED

This might seem controversial at first but hear me out. In the video above, they said that Napoleon Bonaparte introduced meritocracy into his nation. This revolutionised the way his nation worked by awarding those who have the merit rather than awarding those who are born from a certain bloodline.

Meritocracy was said to be born in Ancient China during the time of the great philosopher Confucius who “invented the notion that those who govern should do so because of merit, not of inherited status. This sets in motion the creation of the imperial examinations and bureaucracies open only to those who passed tests.” Therefore, merit plays an important role in the status of someone in society. Now, back to the topic of why failure is deserved.

Through meritocracy, people can only succeed through the actions and the abilities of oneself. Most of the time, hard work and determination will develop people with skills that can succeed in a meritocratic system. However, in the other end of the spectrum, those who did not succeed will be seen as people who are do not have any useful skills in society. One that deserve to see failure because they did not put in the effort to succeed like everyone else.

This may be seen as a weakness in the meritocratic system. However, I personally believe that in a perfect world, failure in a meritocratic society is deserved. Effort has to be put in before results can happen.

In our world today, I believe failure is looked down upon. People no longer appreciate and respect failure. We view failure as shameful and something to be avoided at all cost. We become too narrow-minded and only respect people for the success that they’ve achieved instead of even acknowledging people who had went through so many failures but still came out alive. In the video it says that currently there is deep silence of what it means to fail and I agree completely.

 

MY TOP 5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS 2016

Most Anticipated Books of 2016!

 

2 015 has been an awesome year. It is the year where I really went all out in reading and it all started with a Youtube video.

Also, in 2015, I’ve discovered so many amazing books that I could not believe why I had not started being serious in reading earlier! It has been such an amazing journey travelling through the imaginary worlds of wonderful authors in 2015 and I hope for more awesome books in 2016. Below are as far as I’ve researched, my TOP 5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2016!

LADY MIDNIGHT BY CASSANDRA CLARE (THE DARK ARTIFICES #1)

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In the summary, the story takes place 5 years after The Mortal Instruments with the main character being Emma Carstairs and her parabatai Julian Blackthorn. There seem to be parallels between The Dark Artifices and the other two series being The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments. The characters stayed in an institute, there seemed to be someone trying to ruin the relationship between Downworlders and the Shadowhunters, and there seemed to be a cheesy relationship happening between the main character and someone she’s not supposed to fall in love with (I’m guessing her Parabatai, Julian Blackthorn).

Even though there seemed to be so many similarities, I am kind of intrigued to read further into the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Also, I’m super sure the covers of the series are going to be EPIC!

I love the Infernal Devices Trilogy and I’m also currently reading The Mortal Instruments Series. Loving them both and I’m sure Cassandra Clare will not disappoint us with this new series/trilogy?

RELEASE ON MARCH 8TH 2016

A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT BY SABAA TAHIR (AN EMBER IN THE ASHES #2)


If you have not read ‘An Ember in the Ashes’ by Sabaa Tahir, you’re missing out! It is a fantasy/magical/young adult novel with two perspectives about a slave girl and a young warrior. It tells a story about manipulation, betrayal and trust.

The story started from where the previous book left off which was the escape of Laia and Elias from the prison-like school for Masks, a group of elite soldiers who were trained from young. Their goal is to break Laia’s brother from the horrible Kauf Prison.

The summary also includes a possible betrayal by Helene Aquilla who in the previous book is super loyal to the Empire. That intrigued me because I found her to be such a burden in the previous book with all her loyalty to an oppressive regime. Definitely a book which I cannot wait to indulge myself in!

RELEASE ON AUGUST 30 2016

THE FATE OF THE TEARLING BY ERIKA JOHANSEN (THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING #3)

03 The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
This is a dystopian/fantasy-ish book about a young princess who was hidden by her mother and at the age of 19, was made the Queen of the Tearling. It is set in a dystopian future whereby the people lived in cottages and castles after the era of technology. It tells the story of a young girl, forced to grow up quickly to lead a dying nation against the tyranny and danger of Mortmesne, a neighbouring rival country.

In the Invasion of the Tearling, there were two perspectives within the book. One was of Kelsea, the Queen of the Tearling and the other was of Lily, an ordinary civilian in the past. I was pretty frustrated with the book because it did not disclose much about the relationship between Kelsea and Lily and why Kelsea kept receiving flashbacks of Lily. Also, the magic was very limited and I’m pretty sure there must be more to the it than just a few lucky incidences.

Therefore, I really cannot wait to read the final book of the series and hopefully able to receive some closure to the story! The politics, plotting and the lessons that we can learn from the books are wonderful and it is definitely a book worth reading and rereading!

RELEASE ON NOVEMBER 29 2016

THE ROSE & THE DAGGER BY RENEE AHDIER (THE WRATH & THE DAWN #2)

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The Wrath & the Dawn was an awesome and beautifully written novel. It is a retelling (sort of) of A Thousand and One Arabian Nights. It tells the story of love, loyalty and guilt.

I love the romance in the novel where it shows the triumph of love over hate. I’m also intrigued by the magical aspects introduced within the first book and I’m sure more of it will be introduced in this book. There’s so much misunderstanding between the characters that I feel like punching all of them in the face and telling them to calm the hell down.

All in all, I’m sure this next book will be awesome and a fast read like the first! I can’t bloody wait!

RELEASE ON MAY 3 2016

CALAMITY (RECKONERS #3) & THE BANDS OF MOURNING (MISTBORN #6) BY BRANDON SANDERSON

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I put these two together because both are by the amazing BRANDON SANDERSON. He is such a legend. I fell in love with his books when I read the original Mistborn Trilogy. Since then, I went on to read Warbreaker. His talent in writing original magic systems with interesting references to religions and cultures continues to astound me.

Calamity is the last book in the Reckoners series and when it comes out, I can finally start marathoning the whole series, I am also planning to do the same with the Wax and Wayne series. I just feel that it is not right to read a series part by part especially series from Brandon Sanderson. I do not want to shortchange the reading experience.

Calamity: RELEASE ON FEBRUARY 16 2016
The Bands of Mourning: RELEASE ON JANUARY 26 2016Most Anticipated Books 2016

Ohh, how amazing 2016 will be! I cannot wait for all these amazing books to come out! These are just my TOP 5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS, there are still more wonderful books which I am excited for! I’m sure in 2016, there’ll be more wonderful authors and more awesome books that I will get my hands on and that is enough to satisfy my reading in 2016.

 

The Quarter Life Crisis & My Current Experience

The Quarter-Life Crisis & My Experience

 

I just turned 20 on the 13th of December 2015 however, my experience with the quarter life crisis had started long before then.

It started when I was at the age of 18 when I was about to sit for my GCE ‘A’ Levels. There was a moment in that super busy point of time that I stopped and began to wonder… what’s next? What will I do after my ‘A’ Levels? What course shall I take in university and which path/career shall I endeavour? It all began to dawn on me that I have no bloody clue. I do not know what I want to do, I do not know what I want to be and I do not know what life has in store for me. It was pretty depressing having such an epiphany at one of the most crucial point in my life. So, like all other clueless teenager, I decided on following what my parents want and that is to take up a science course in university. I honestly do not mind because I am interested in science. However, it wasn’t clear to me whether I would want to pursue a career in it. We all know that studying a subject and having a career in that subject are two vastly different things.

From then on, every single day, I think about these things and it gets pretty confusing over time. I realised that there was so many choices and so many hard decisions to make. It wasn’t easy to just decide on one thing knowing that whatever happens from there on will be ALL MY FAULT. I carried on thinking, wondering and dreaming till I enlisted and graduated as a senior officer in SCDF.

During one of my thinking moments, I realised that I’m not going to be working for someone else. I’m not going to be ordered and told what to do by someone else. I do not want to be part of an organisation that does not respect creativity and freedom. I realised that what I really, really want in life is to be free from being controlled and to be free from the routines of an 8-5 job.

So, I began to brainstorm ideas and ways to get out of the system and to get out from all the possible unhappiness if I were to embark onto a career that controls my life. However, I encountered a problem. The ideas disappear as quickly as they appear. There were not much possible routes that I could take. It was depressing and I fall deeper into this quarter life crisis. I began to question what I really want in life. I began to question whether my current passion will always be my passion. I began to wonder if I can survive all alone…

I watched countless videos on Youtube about successful people and about startups and their failures… I read countless articles about how to be successful and how to build yourself from scratch. I listened to a lot of motivational speeches from people like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Vishen Lakhiani (Mindvalley) and many other motivational speakers. I tried to understand how and what makes them successful. I tried to pick up their positive character and their willpower to succeed. However, after all of that, I am still stuck in this quarter life crisis.

Some people may say that it is a part of life and working in an 8 to 5 job is normal. One of those people are my parents. However, I violently rejected that notion and I promise to myself that I will find a way out. I am not going to be stuck and contribute to a community that does not encourage any form of creativity or freedom. I totally hate the idea of being told what to do and being told when you can knock off. I hate the idea of not being able to do the things you want to do whenever you want to do it.

However, I am still lost but an epiphany struck me. I am afraid.

I have all these wonderful dreams and ideas that I’ve kept in my notebook and in my blog but what I realised is that I lacked action. I did not GO ALL IN. I did not put in my 101% in a new endeavour. The question is not ‘what I want to do’ but instead the question should be ‘when do I want to do it’. In the past few days of thinking, I realised that there’s no such thing as a million-dollar idea. What makes it work is the action. It doesn’t matter if your idea is not perfect. It does not matter if your idea is already in use. What really matters is that, you take that first step and GO ALL IN. You will learn a lot from the experience of taking that first step more than sitting around dreaming without any action. The entrepreneurial greats did the same thing. They did not know what they are getting themselves into but they did it anyway. They were passionate about it and they went ALL IN.

GO ALL IN
GO ALL IN

I realised that I will not achieve anything by dreaming. I need to take that first step. I need to remove my fear of failing and my fear of being ridiculed by people. You don’t find your passion. Your passion find you. What I need to do is to go out and experience.

Being in my 20s, I am nobody. I have no experience in anything. Basically, I start from Level 1. I realised that, I need to get out and experience life, taking risks and failing at things if I want to truly succeed. I know that life will throw many curve balls at me but I think, to escape my quarter life crisis is to just get out and experience.

I’ve not yet found my passion but one thing is clear. I NEED TO GO ALL IN.

The Quarter Life Crisis is a period of life which is not easy to navigate but I hope that whatever decisions that I make are in my best interests and not for the sake of others.