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Believe in yourself

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It’s the final countdown: Eight more days before I’m officially free from the agonising hours of cramping copious amounts of academic information into my memory and regurgitating them out in a three-hour session. I’m so excited and so lazy at the same time. Instead of focusing on the present and the things I have to do NOW, I keep fantasising about the future, which is detrimental to my productivity.

I recently tweeted that I’d be more productive if I read less, watch fewer TV shows and stop taking so many naps in a day. It’s true, you know, maybe if I didn’t have a TV or Internet, I’d have found a cure for cancer or win a Nobel prize by now. Haha!

In the past one month of not blogging (because I was busy with two major projects), I sense a fear growing within me and I shall verbalise it now, so you can help me chase the demons away.

Sometimes I lay awake in bed at night wondering: Many people have said I will accomplish great things in my life, but what if I never fulfil my destiny?

What happens then? Am I doomed to wander the earth like six other billion faceless souls living ordinary lives? Scary thought, huh?

I guess this is where desire steps in and forces me to stay focused and brave and disciplined. I also realise I tend to be more philosophical on Sundays. It’s like I let my thoughts culminate the whole week and I pour them out to you.

So I will end this blog post on a positive note, because we all need encouragement at times to spur us forward (especially more so if you have doubts as often as I do). If you were looking for a sign that you’re on the right path, here it is.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. There’s no one better at fulfilling your dreams than you. So go for it.

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LOL every day to keep all illnesses away

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Photo credit: Distractify.com

The 28 Most Flawless Responses To A Wrong Number Text…LOL! (http://distractify.com/fun/fails/24-flawless-responses-to-wrong-number-texts/)

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Photo credit: Distractify.com

The 35 Naughtiest Dogs On The Planet. You’ll Laugh So Hard When You See What They Did! (http://distractify.com/fun/fails/dogs-who-are-shamelessly-proud-of-what-they-just-did/)

Above are some of the funniest photos I’ve read in December 2013 and they are still funny in 2014. Both webpages are still open as tabs on my FireFox page. I can’t bear to close them just yet, because I still laugh whenever I read them again. And I’d laugh so hard that my stomach aches and my eyes tear. And since I’m a generous person, I am sharing them with you today, because I want you to laugh as heartily as I did. Haven’t you heard? Laughing really hard is equivalent to doing crunches and it’s more fun too. Fun and beneficial for health; what more can a rather lazy person ask for?

From the Telegraph UK (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7635143/Laughter-really-is-the-best-medicine-as-doctors-find-it-can-be-as-healthy-as-exercise.html):

“… the high you get from a giggling fit was similar to the endorphin rush from exercise. … it can reduce your risk of a heart attack and diabetes and generally regulate the body’s vital functions.”

From the Discovery channel (http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/10-reasons-why-laughing-good-for-you.htm):

“… laughter improves blood flow, suppresses stress hormones and gives you a burst of exercise. … laughter has been shown to increase levels of salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA), an important antibody that fights bacteria and infections, especially those in the respiratory system.”

Enjoy and spread the laughter!

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I love you but not in that way

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Have you ever experienced something this — when someone tells you that they think they love you or they think they are in love with you or they are falling in love with you or they will always love you or they really love you but just not in that way? I mean, just how many variations of “I love you” can there actually be? Should loving someone be a simple and straightforward thing?

But no, some people just have to complicate matters. I’ve encountered all of the above scenarios before with different people at different points of my life. And there was one common denominator for each of them, which was it all became equally puzzling for me whenever it happened.

Maybe I really don’t know what love is. Maybe love is still one giant mystery to me. Maybe love is really complex than what I expect it to be. Wow, I should really be a songwriter. Totally nailed it.

I never really ponder beyond this complex mystery though, because I had better things to do. Haha! Then years come and go. And this issue came to the forefront of my mind only after I happened to catch one episode of Gossip Girl few weeks ago. Ahem. It was really an accident.

I’ve stopped watching Gossip Girl ages ago. It was probably halfway through season two, I believe. It became too draggy and overly nonsensical for my liking. No matter how hot I think Chuck and Blair are, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the episodes anymore. Until that day when I let the TV play for background noise and decided to watch it.

It was episode 17 of season five, The Princess Dowry and this particular scene caught my full attention.

Chuck: Because I love you.
Blair: And I love you. I always will. But that doesn’t mean I’m in love with you. At least not right now, not the way you need me to be, not the way you deserve. I’m sorry. I have to go.

I swear I could feel Chuck’s heart breaking. It was probably less painful than getting stabbed or shot in the heart. I’ve never been shot or stabbed, but I have a feeling that these are far worst than a heartbreak (but far better than childbirth, naturally).

Someone once said something similar during a conversation with me. She said she still loves her ex, but she’s not in love with him like how she’s in love with me, if my memory serves me correctly. It has all became very vague recently. Then when we broke up, she said she will always love me, but… (There’s always a but in such circumstances. Why?!) … But she wanted a different life that I did not fit in with. Sad, huh? I remained devastated for a very, very long time.

So what does it mean if I still love someone that way and I have never stopped loving her at all this whole time? A loser? A fool? A romantic? Hahaha!

Blair: I’m here because it’s time I was honest with you. I love you. I’m in love with you. I have tried to kill it, to run away from it, but I can’t and I don’t want to anymore.

(Episode 24 of season five, “The Return of The Ring”)

Quotes were taken from chuckandblair.org

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The first step towards getting somewhere

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“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” —Unknown

Very true and wise, don’t you think? I’m been feeling so lazy recently it’s crazy how one can just lay in bed all day watching TV and playing on the iPhone. I’ve lost that bit of motivation somewhat in waking up early to have breakfast and get started on existing work or driving for more new business. I’ve been too … comfortable. And it scares me.

I recently attended a course on entrepreneurship, which discusses about the types of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial traits and whether they are born with the qualities and if their circumstances that made them that way. It was a good module, because I finally learned how to spell “entrepreneur” correctly without struggling after the “p” part. Haha! But seriously, it taught me to look at myself — my behaviour in general, my attitude towards situations or people and my surroundings — and I have determined that I currently lack drive, because I’ve been too comfortable with life.

I still read a lot, but I’m not progressing any further with the new information and knowledge I’ve been absorbing like a sponge. I’m on a plateau and I need a push off it. I need to remind myself how thrilling it is to be filled with vigour in clinching new business, the pride in churning out quality work before the deadlines and (this is the most important bit) the joy in receiving that paycheque at the end of it.

Deep down, I know I’m born to do more with my time in this world. But the only way for me to do that is to stop sitting on (actually, it’s lying down most of the times) the plushy bed and get up (to work on the computer) to do stuff — useful things that will lift me up from the plateau to the peak of a menacing-looking mountain with a nice snowy cap. Perhaps I should take notes from a true entrepreneur, Richard Branson, who wanted more in life and dared to set up so many businesses and challenged the norm and was not afraid to fail and keep trying. In doing so, he became a knight for his bravery in the corporate world. Maybe if I ever falter and revert back to lazy mode, I should just keep asking myself: “WWRBD (What would Richard Branson do)?”

Sounds like a great doable plan. I have a totally smug expression now. If only you could see me now.

Right, so it’s five minutes more before my alarm rings for me to get ready for one full day of work. I’m gonna head out there to try seizing the day for myself. I hope this blog post has sort of inspired you to do the same. Carpe diem!

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Laughter is the best drug

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Two or three weeks ago, I happened to turn on the TV one morning and an episode from Sex And The City was already playing halfway. I immediately settled down to watch it, because I secretly adore the show, even though I won’t tell anyone about it!

It was the second episode of the first season, so everything looked retro, even though it was only 1998 then. But it was still hilarious. It was about beautiful people, aka models, and whether dating them is a privilege or a chore (more like death sentence the way how it was portrayed in the show). And how less beautiful people, aka 99% of ordinary average-looking human beings, behave differently (feel insecure?) when they are around models. Hence, the title Models and Mortals.

The ending was particularly sweet. It was a conversation between Carrie Bradshaw and her Mr Big at the usual cafe that she writes her columns at.

Carrie typing on her laptop (VoiceOver): “I began to realise that being beautiful is like having a rent-controlled apartment overlooking the park — Completely unfair and usually bestowed upon those who deserve it least.”

Mr Big [walks into the cafe and slides into the booth where Carrie is at]: “I’m not interrupting your work, am I?”

Carrie: “Hey, what a surprise.”

Mr Big: “I can’t stay. I’m late for a meeting, but I’ve been thinking about your article on men who date models.”

Carrie: “What about them?”

Mr Big: “First of all, there are so many goddamn gorgeous women in this city.”

Carrie: “What an amazing observation.”

Mr Big: “But the thing is this … after a while, you just wanna be with the one that makes you laugh. Know what I mean?”

And Carrie couldn’t stop smiling after that. I guess she knew what Big meant? I didn’t really get the reference Carrie used in the beginning of the scene about the rent-controlled apartment. Maybe it’s a New York thing.

Anyway, my takeaway from this is that laughter is good. Being with someone who makes you laugh is better. Being able to laugh at the same things with that someone is even better. Being able to laugh at each other all the time? Now that’s gold.

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It’s okay if you haven’t achieved anything yet

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So I opened my Feedly app and this image and headline was the cover page of the day’s top news. With over 700 “shares” for this article, there must be plenty of people feeling the same way as I do. Coincidence? I think not.

According to a Facebook employee, you don’t have to achieve everything when you’re young. That’s a relief because I was getting worried about my lack of stellar achievements in my 30 years on earth.

It’s true what Anthony Sharwood said on news.com.au: If you don’t have the most happening career and the most Twitter followers and the greatest this and the most excellent that, you might start to look at all your successful friends and wonder ‘Why isn’t my life like that?’. And then you might begin to feel pretty down on yourself.

If you’re sighing sorrowfully now like me, the following might just change your entire perspective for the better. Kejia Zhu is a 29-year-old guy who was born in China. He grew up in the UK and now lives in America. Here’s what the Facebook employee has to say about the pursuit of success in his blog post:

“Do you sometimes lie awake worrying that you aren’t succeeding fast enough? Are you tortured by younger peers who have global businesses, penned acclaimed books and a string of iron-man medals? Do you count down the years until you can no longer make the 30 under 30 list? Take a deep breath. My 92 year old grandpa has some advice for you.

“He is a tremendously accomplished individual and considered by many to be a pioneer in biomedical engineering. I visited him in Beijing recently. We were taking an after dinner stroll. I was pestering him for details about his career, looking for tidbits that might help my own. What was he like at my age? How did he work? Is there a secret a routine? He stops me mid-sentence: ‘You know, my career only really took off after I turned 58.’

“Hang on, what?

‘Yes, I’d say the 10 years between my 60s and 70s were my busiest.’

“I was floored. Here is a man who helped revolutionise medical technology and he did it in his twilight years.”

Kejia’s grandfather had gone through various hardships in China, because of the political turmoil and World War II. He found success only in the late 1970s.

“My grandpa’s story made me reflect upon the worship of youthful achievement and our drive to get it all so early in life. I, like many other insecure overachievers, feel an urgency to do big things. Deep down I know this anxiety is root in fear. That I’m not actually any good. That I will waste my shot at life and be a disappointment. So I strive for a quick success because I need to validate my worth. After that I can relax and everything will be plain sailing. Right? Instead, this warped expectation more often leads me to behave in a manner that’s unsustainable and counterproductive.

“It’s easy to forget that our careers extend for decades beyond our 20s and 30s. The truth is significant works usually take a long time. Whether it’s business, academia or the arts, most of the contributions made have been the result of many years of toil. It’s just that we hear of the young overnight success because that’s a more attractive narrative. Even then, those rare few who achieve a lot early in life do not simply stop. The race doesn’t end with the win.

“My grandpa had no choice but to wait a long time for his opportunity. It’s likely he would have achieved even more had be moved to the West. However, had he missed his moment, I dare say he would still have had a fulfilling life. Without the acclaim and recognition he’d still be the jovial, curious and industrious man I love.

“His advice to me: ‘Don’t be in so much of a rush. Be easier on yourself. Comparing yourself to what others are doing is a waste of time.'”

Kejia’s grandfather dispenses one last morsel of wisdom—an old Chinese saying “大器晚成” that roughly translates to “A big construction is always completed late.”

Encouraging, huh? If you had been holding your breath and worrying yourself sick this whole time wondering if you will ever get to the metaphorical “top”, you may exhale now. Take a chill pill and be patient.

Something else Kejia said to news.com.au struck a chord in me:

“It feels like I was part of the generation groomed to feel like they could and should achieve everything. I, for one, have been anxious about living up to this expectation and could see many of my peers felt the same, though it was never talked about. …

“Despite some early successes, I feel rather unremarkable here, which is a good thing. I wanted to be in a position, where I could feel like a rookie and soak up the learning. I do think that the high achievement-driven attitude that fuels this area has a negative impact on people’s expectations of themselves.”

You know what the moral of this blog post is, don’t you? Don’t fret over whether you’re the smarter than everyone else or if you’re way ahead in the rat race. Just know what you want in life and do things in your own time and trust that the universe will do the rest.

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Nothing makes me happier

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Nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder … than you.

It’s true. I haven’t felt right for a long time. It’s nearly 1.5 or two years… The past few days I had so many thoughts and emotions running through my mind, as I recalled the conversation we used to have. Oh well, let’s move on. I can only feel ’emo’ for this long. Besides, this quote is applicable for my studies and shopping purchases as you will read below…

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged for close to a month. In my defence, I was swamped with work and studies, though there’s nothing to crow about, since I will most likely not get any first-class honours. It’d be a miracle if I do receive high distinctions for my papers. Still, my fingers will remain crossed. After all, I’m always lucky. You never know…

Also, in spite of my busy schedule, I found time to go on a shopping spree, which was therapeutic, but certainly not cheaper than getting a massage or spa treatment. In fact, I might need to see a therapist after this. You know how it is when your friends show off their shopping goodies and you’d tut-tut at them for spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on branded clothes, bags and shoes (and sometimes they’d be broke after that)? And then you would exclaim how you would never spend that much money on such materialistic items, because you are absolutely confident that you can find cheaper and equally nice substitutes? Yup, I’ve become one of those people you’d tut-tut at for spending ridiculous amounts of dough on luxury goods. Now I know why Carrie Bradshaw from Sex And The City goes crazy over expensive branded shoes. I totally get you now, Carrie.

I swear I’m not a brand whore, BUT … The stuff I buy are really, really nice, because I have excellent taste and fabulous dress sense. Ahem. Anyway, I’m lazy to post pictures; you just gotta trust me on this. I highly recommend everyone to buy ridiculously expensive clothes and shoes, because they are really comfortable. And the quality is absolutely topnotch — so good you know for certain it will probably outlast your lifespan. Say, you slip your feet in well-crafted exquisitely soft leather shoes, you’d immediately feel like “Ah… This is what a good life should be.”

Once you buy your first pair of $500-700 luxury shoes, you’ll wonder why have you spent half of your life without them. And the next thing you know… You’re signing a credit card slip for a $1,200-worth pair of shoes. Yup, by the time you reach home, you’re still in a daze from the swiftness of that transaction, but you are also gleeful of how good you look in the mirror. Then when you add the cost of the branded shirts and bottoms to the shoes, you’d realise your outfit from head to toe is probably worth around $1,000 or more, which would shock you for like five seconds and then you’d quickly put it out of your mind. Because you’re thinking of your next purchase. True story.

The only thing I haven’t splurged on is bags, because I have a specific requirement for them. But I have my eye on a few items already… So don’t be surprised if you see me on the streets looking like a million bucks one day; my outfit would probably have cost that much. Hahaha!