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Do something for your future self today

Always put yourself first.

Always put yourself first.

I thought this would be inspirational for everyone, since it’s Monday again — the start of another work week. Oh, the horrors. I haven’t been able to log into WordPress via the iPhone app, so some intelligent tech person has to sort that out pronto. It feels weird to be blogging on my laptop, since the last time I did that was months ago. That’s how useful the WordPress iPhone app has been, but I think the new iOS 7 is screwing some of its functionality. SORT IT OUT, WordPress.

So I spent the past two days trying to juggle several things at once, and have successfully not accomplished a single thing. This goes to show how bad I am at multitasking, but also how good I am at procrastinating. It really depends on which perspective you prefer to see. Ahem.

On the bright side, I have sort of formulated a long-term plan for my future. What’s next is to overcome my fears and hesitation in detailing the steps to achieve it and then, of course, carrying it out faithfully. But right now, I have six 1,200-word essays to finish by end-September and one 3,000-word coursework to complete by 7 October. Argh! I felt like I have wasted my whole weekend doing nothing of importance. All my 48 hours were not being utilised well, because I had to sleep, eat, shower, entertain friends and watch TV. Somehow, writing this blog post feels like more precious time is being taken up too. Sorry, my loyal readers, I was only being brutally honest. That’s why you love me! Ahem.

So, I am going to do something today that my future self will thank me for. Spend the next 40 35 minutes doing a quick draft of one essay before I watch the derby match between my beloved Manchester United and those City wannabes. And sleep by 1:30am, so my liver can be super productive and start detoxifying my body.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

Photo credit: The sweet Internet

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Monday is gonna be fine

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I was feeling bored the other day while waiting for others to finish their lunch that I suddenly exclaimed: “I think I have magical powers.” Eyes immediately turned to me.

“It’s true. I tried killing a cockroach last night but it disappeared without dying in front of my eyes, so before I went to sleep, I made a wish. I wished that the cockroach would show up dead, because I wanted to sleep in peace.

“And my wish came true! This morning, it was lying near my door looking very dead. See, my powers worked.”

I immediately felt that my colleagues’ eyes were trying not to roll themselves. “That’s not magic,” one of them said. And their attention started drifting off to their mobile phones.

And I laughed. What I failed to elaborate further was that the cockroach disappeared near the windows which were the opposite where the door was… So for a dead cockroach to appear in the morning at the opposite direction was really quite a miracle. I was truly convinced I had magical powers to do anything I wanted—I could command the law of attraction to get the Universe to do my bidding. I could almost hear myself cackling evilly.

“Maybe I will wish for money to drop from the sky next.” I grinned at my colleagues, thinking they were foolish to dismiss me.

I had no idea what I wanted to convey with my story, but I wanted to demonstrate 1) the power of thought; 2) what the universe can do for you; and 3) what you can achieve if you put your mind to it. Amazing huh?

So Mondays don’t always have to be associated with the blues. Mondays can be the days when anything you want will happen. Mondays can be joyful, but only if you allow happiness to be present. Start your Monday right and your whole week will be amazing, and maybe even magical. Why not, right? It’s “anything-can-happen” Monday.

P/S: I was chatting with my friend on Friday night and she asked how I was doing relationship-wise. I said I have moved on since a month ago when I was at my lowest and on the verge of breaking down. I told her I’ve stopped looking at things I shouldn’t and stayed away from things that were harmful to my mind. When I removed the things that were blocking my recovery, I recovered faster.

What I didn’t say was that meditation saved my mind too. It gave me clarity and a sense of calmness that lifted the heaviness in my heart. Maybe one day I’ll be less embarrassed to let more people know I meditate daily. Meanwhile, you should try meditating if you need some zen in your life.

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Because I’m worth it

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So I’m still sad, but I’ve mostly numbed myself from reality or seeing/reading anything that could affect my emotions. Thinking about it hurts obviously, but I’ve learned to not resist and instead of finding distractions, I allow myself to view the pain from far. Then I’d observe the sadness as I would an art exhibition and let it go like releasing a balloon into the sky. It’s a conscious effort to will myself to not over-think and just let go, like what I have been saying in the past few blog posts.

I also realise I tend to blog on Sunday nights. Perhaps my mind becomes clearer after unwinding from the hectic workweek and my thoughts have been allowed to incubate.

Anyway, I read this article on The Guardian early last week when I was doing research for my work and thought “Wahey! I totally understand what this guy’s saying – economic terms and theories and all!”

It was a proud moment for me, because it proved that investing in myself to go for further studies had not been a complete waste of money and time. So yay. I deserve at least two pats.

Anyway, moving on to the article. It made me laugh. I was thoroughly amused by the author’s views and methods and, of course, the happy ending all good stories should have.

Here’s the premise: When one economist couldn’t get a girlfriend, he had an idea: restrict his supply, find a gap in the market and establish a monopoly.

Yes, the guy basically found love by using the principles of economics, which is bloody BRILLIANT. Don’t you think?

I realised that you can only play hard to get once the woman actually knows and likes you. This is because by then you have differentiated yourself from the other men on the market, so you gain more control over your market price. As you come to be seen as an individual with unique characteristics, rather than one of many men trying to get some attention in a club, the market structure changes from one of many competitors selling homogeneous goods to one of a handful of competitors. Playing hard to get is suited only to at least the second or third date, because only then is demand sufficiently inelastic for a woman to tolerate, or even be attracted by, a rise in price.

Being with Sarah cost me time, money and emotional investment. It also cost me the things that I couldn’t have because I was with her, such as nights out with my friends and the chance to meet other women. Those missed things are what are known, in economic terms, as opportunity costs. With these, we have to look at our spending decisions relative to what else is available to make sure we’re getting the best deal for ourselves.

If I’d thought more like an economist, I’d have known to disregard the time I had already spent queueing. That time had been and gone; it was a sunk cost. What I should have asked was, “What do I want to be doing right now?”

In short… Approach the problem (in this case, meeting the right person) rationally, target it with a few possible solutions, try, discard solution if it doesn’t work and try again until you achieve your goal. Simple… Right?

In conclusion, I’m gonna be a Rolex watch, baby!

P/S: If I ever fall in love again, I’m gonna love my other half using the Keynesian Multiplier approach.

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It’s my 30th birthday

Happy 30th BirthdayBe nice.

Today’s the day I turn 30. And I am a little nonchalant about the 30 years I have taken to get here. It should be an impressive milestone celebrated with the family, close friends and perhaps a life partner, but all I feel is ‘meh’. While in my teens, I’ve always thought I’d die young.You know, because I’d be living the fast and dangerous rebel’s life.

But the minute I hit 25, my perspective changed to ‘I want to live for as long as possible and to do great things in my life’. So far, I have accomplished the ‘live as long as possible’ bit, but sadly I’m still far away from the ‘do great things’ part and was getting depressed over it.

So what did I do? I Googled about ‘turning 30’. And my best friend did not let me down. In 0.43 seconds, it showed me 234,000,000 results on why turning 30 may not be that bad after all.

Julie Tilsner, who wrote about the subject in her book 29 and Counting, said:

‘Thirty is nothing to be afraid of. You’ve got a whole new decade to work with, and this time you’re prepared! You’re educated, you have years in the workplace, you finally know what your hair will and won’t do. You can still dance on tables, but you have some life experience. Turning 30 is actually a really awesome thing.’

All sounds very positive. So there’s absolutely nothing to feel gloomy or to freak out about.

30 Is Different for Everyone

When I was younger, I’d dream about being an astronaut, or a pilot (much like Tom Cruise from Top Gun. Still a brilliant film and a handsome guy, no matter what anyone says!) or Indiana Jones. Whether I become a lawyer or a doctor, I’d be cool, charismatic and carefree like the heroes I aspire to be.

Then I hit the teenage years and things started going downhill from there. I got mixed up in the wrong crowds, I played truant from school, I ran away from home, I gave up a promising sports career in the national team and I dropped out of school. All before I turned 16. In short, I got distracted from obtaining a good education that would supposedly set me on my path to greatness.

Two years later, I woke up metaphorically from my ‘going-nowhere-in-life’ slumber. I also had my first major heartbreak from a relationship I thought would last forever. I nearly killed myself because of one person, until my mum came home just in time to stop me. How silly, right? I felt stuck working in a restaurant. There is nothing with earning a decent living as a service staff, but it just didn’t feel like I was in the right job, doing the right thing I like. That got me thinking about my life, my future and myself.

I picked up the pieces, bit by bit. I changed to a permanent part-time job at a pub and I signed up for part-time classes to get the necessary certifications to get to the art school I wanted. I even went back to my former secondary school to seek help from my art teacher to improve my portfolio. That was how determined I was.

At age 20, I finally got into the art school I was aiming for. I was taking my car and motorbike licences. I had a relatively cushy part-time job. I met someone new to get over the heartbreak I had been nursing for the past two years. I was popular in school, just like in secondary school. So I was still cool, charismatic and carefree. I was delighted with life.

In the year that I was due to turn 21, I met someone who would prove to be a great love of my life. We spent all our waking hours together and we were inseparable and everyone was envious of us and what we had. There were rough moments. I had the nastiest temper and I was immature. And yet we were together for the next five years, most of which were good and we stuck together through the ups and all obstacles that objected to our relationship. We had a fiery relationship and sparks flew all the time. But it was tough to keep the spark between us alive, and ultimately, it was to burn out like a flame. I had to let go.

In my 25th year on earth, I found a job I enjoyed and something I can proudly proclaim to be relatively good at and skills that have enabled me to earn a decent living. I was a journalist. I’ve always wanted to write for a living and I did. I also met someone I thought I could fall in love with and start afresh in my love life. Well, it started afresh alright, but it wasn’t meant to last because I was still in love with the great love of my life. I couldn’t let go and it took a toll on me. I had volatile mood swings and my behaviour was dodgy. I would have dumped my sorry ass too, now that I am looking back. We spent close to a year together, but the relationship ended and gave me the second major heartbreak of my relatively young life. It took me a year to get over it and dust the debris away. One of the reasons I created this blog was to write about the pain I had inside me. I was broken for a long time, but while learning to deal with the pain, I learned many things about myself and I made some new lasting friendships that helped me through the turmoil I was in.

Soon the year I was turning 28 arrived. And I met someone whom I wanted to give my whole life to make her happy all the time. More than half of the posts published (and set as private) on this blog have been dedicated to her. I have never filled up so much virtual space about someone before. I have no idea if I would ever do (or feel) the same for anyone else again.

Now That I Am Finally 30
Now that I am turning 30, the past no longer seems like a chink on my armour. I get that I may not be as talented, as popular, as good-looking, as famous, as wealthy as other people my age, but it’s okay. I am still special in my own way; I am a little unique snowflake that will just be doing adult-like things in my own time. I may not be a best-selling author or a successful CEO yet, but I am still a success in my own way.

Should I have spent my teens studying hard and get Bs so I could have gotten into a good college? Should I have not spent all my hours on going to dance clubs and drink myself silly? On hindsight, maybe I should have. Should I have done better in art school instead of watching TV and playing Warcraft with my friends and indulging in Football Manager on most of my days? Maybe. But I didn’t, because I have not touched Warcraft or Football Manager since 2005 and I do not regret getting the most joy out of those games, even though I know I was wasting my time.

Yes, there are people who have made millions before they are 25, earn $10,000 a month by 27 or be famous and successful entrepreneurs before turning 30. Maybe I am an exception. Maybe I am on a different timeline from the rest and there is no happiness to be gained if I keep comparing myself with others. Life is not a race. Life is what you make of it and how happy and satisfied you deem yourself to be, not to spend your hours being envious of others.

Our whole idea about life before or after 30 should not be defined by the progress we are supposed to make or terms dictated by society. It doesn’t mean if we don’t realise our potential by 30, we are never going to succeed; there may be pieces of us that take years to gel and make us the successful person we will become.

According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, we should live our whole life as if we’re in our twenties. ‘It’s that keep-inching-forward mentality that will allow you to be happy with your choices.’

Yes, I admit I am a little sad at the things I have not accomplished or the stuff I thought I would have achieved by now like being an extremely successful high-flyer, having my own apartment, being with the love of my life and travelling around the world. Maybe I am too old to be an astronaut now. Maybe this is the wrong era to be Indiana Jones. Maybe there were many decisions I could have made to get to a different place from where I am now.

But, have I failed at life? I went from a school dropout to studying part-time for a business degree now (very much like Larry Crowne but without the hot lecturer. Nice movie anyway. Go watch it!). I went from a junior service staff to having a relatively okay-paying mid-level media job I enjoy. I have my health (until the results confirm otherwise) and my parents who love me more than I can ever imagine. I am much more confident now and wiser than in my 20s. I am also more than okay to spend time alone and to enjoy my own companionship. I also value myself more. I imagine life can only go up from here.

I am not sure if I will like the idea of turning 30 at all, but now that I am already here, I might as well enjoy it while it last. After all, there’s still the looming 31 to dread over.

So, I will enjoy the year ahead with as much vigour as a unique little snowflake should, because I am 30 and to hell with the rest of you, I’m gonna celebrate by pampering myself the whole of today.

Because today is my day, and no one can be Me-er than Me. 🙂

And stay tuned for the 30 life lessons I’ve learned from my 30 years.

[Image via Sommecards]

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Think before you react

I am not in the best of moods tonight and I’m having difficulty concentrating on what should be my highest priority now. Let’s just say my mood involved plenty of uncontrollable tears and keep it as that. My mind has gone wild and restless and I can feel myself on the verge of doing something very impulsive and illogical. So I let my mind wander and thankfully I did, otherwise I wouldn’t have come across this image.

Sometimes I think the Universe always sends us a message when it senses that we need help in our greatest hour of need. And tonight is the moment I needed a clear head.

“Before you react, think.”

Very apt. And so I’ve calmed down. The bonus is that the quote is from one of the authors that I’ve always emulated my writing on. Double yay!

If you were like me trawling around the Internet hoping to find some answers or a sign, here it is. Here’s your sign. I hope it helps you as much as it gave me peace. 🙂

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Drink less, work more

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Gina Rinehart, world’s richest woman, wrote: ‘Do something to make more money yourself.’ (Photo: AFP/File, Tony Ashby)

I read this article few days ago and I thought it was one of the most useful inspirational pieces someone who’s striving to be a success in life can take as motivation.

Writing in an industry magazine column, the world’s richest woman, Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, urged those envious of the wealthy to do something about it, and stop whining.

Rinehart is the matriarch of her family iron ore prospecting fortune of US$30.1 billion, which also makes her Australia’s wealthiest person.

“There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire,” she wrote.

“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.

“Become one of those people who work hard, invest and build, and at the same time create employment and opportunities for others.”

Other people (they’re probably myopic) have slammed her supposedly controversial remarks, but I think her words made absolute sense. And the fact that she has multiplied her family fortune to where it is now only enhances the value of her advice. Priceless.

I truly believe that if someone has perfectly functional limbs and mental intelligence, then they should work hard for what they want, instead of begrudging the government or the society or the environment or the people around them for not serving everything on a platter to them. Agree?

Those, who have been protesting that Rinehart should share her wealth with the poor, should just shut up. How would you like it if you were told to donate half your salary to poor strangers you don’t know every month? Don’t argue that you have less money than her. It’s a matter of perspective.

Giive Rinehart the benefit… She probably does her fair share of charity work and just hasn’t publicise every single activity, unlike other publicity seeking organisations that have to advertise every dollar they donate.

Remember, there’s no monopoly in earning your first million dollars.

Rinehart, you’ve got a supporter in me!

P/S: If your kids insist on taking you to court over the trust fund and you’re thinking of disowning them, I’m available for adoption. Ahem.

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Make it happen

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Hi! Miss me? Bet you’ve been missing me and my witty words terribly, eh? I had two long weeks at work and the slow Internet connection — whether it’s via 3G or Wi-Fi — on my mobile phone has been shit. SHIT, I tell you.

At this modern day and age, trickling slow Internet connection can really drive me nuts, especially when I’m impatient and bored. It pisses me off when my service provider (StarHub) is utterly useless and yet it has the audacity to charge a high rate for its ‘services’. Pui!

I can’t even surf the usual social networks a day without getting frustrated with the quality of my media consumption. I can’t wait to switch telcos, and you should too, if you’re using a shitty service provider like I unfortunately am. 😦

Anyway, I digress. I’ve been wanting to blog for ages after watching an episode from the third season of the TV series White Collar. It’s brilliant! I have a massive crush on Neal Caffrey and his posh lifestyle. The show is also witty, and has the right balance of intelligent humour (think sharp wit that’s caustic at times), drama and action. Like what’s new, right?

There were a few standout quotes in episode eight “As You Were” that really caught my ears. I like how they made me pause and ponder some of the things we chase for our whole life.

On needing to have passion in life:

Caffrey: Yeah, it makes the world go round; passion to get what we want, passion to keep what we have, passion to get back the things we lost.

On making decisions and enjoying the good days:

Jones: We can’t have it all, right?
Caffrey: Well, why not?
Jones: Well, because choices are sacrifices. And, inevitably, that means giving up something that you want, for something that you want more. So, now I have to ask… What does “having it all” mean to Neal Caffrey?
Caffrey: Never having to worry about money. Um, doing something that’s meaningful, being surrounded by people I care about and respect, you know. That’s pretty much the dream.

Are you already living the dream? I can’t wait to live out my dream!