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It’s My Life!

Its been a long time since I last wrote, my friends asked is the blog down?

I told myself the blog was getting nowhere, I had no inspiration, this StockSnap_FKX9UUUWQEblog just takes up too much time.

Truth was the blog was getting nowhere because I allowed it to be,

truth was I had plenty of inspiration, I just didn’t pen it down,

truth was  I loved writing, time flies when I write, all it takes it is 15 min a day.

In case you are wondering, the purpose of this blog was not to beat myself up.  It was a case of seeing myself in the eye, calling the bulls**t that I spin in my head.

While I haven’t updating the blog, I have always been thinking of the direction this blog is going to take.

I could continue to write about fear. But its pretty restrictive, and I  revisited the purpose why I started this blog to begin with. The idea to reconcile with my fears so that I could live my life the way that I want to. I decided to rebrand the blog, it will be about living!

I will share little snippets about my life, the projects that I am embarking basically about my adventure. I hope that by living my life’s project, I will inspire you to live the life that way that you want to.

Your life’s fellow journeyman,

Shaun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fear of Regrets

Recently I took part in a humorous speech contest at my toastmasters club. Fear of Regrets

Humorous speech is really tough, can you imagine having to make people for 5 to 7 minutes but still having to have deliver something that is not just a sequence of jokes.

Being funny is difficult, being lazy I never really put in as much effort during this contest as much as I did for the other contest. On top of that, I had not delivered speeches for quite something, I felt a bit rusty.

My aim was simple: As long as there were laughter, I would be satisfied.

Fast forward to day of the contest, the next contestant is: Shaun Li, the title of his speech is “Life is…..”, “Life is ….”, Shaun Li.

I started speaking:

Soon I delivered my first punchline…., no laughter, I told myself, never give up, never fall out. I delivered my second punchline……. “Haha”…The audience laughed!!!

It is quite an irony, isn’t it? In life, we hate being laughed at. But in a humorous speech, we crave, and we beg for people to laugh at us. If they don’t, we feel naked, and awkward.

But when they do laugh, its like adding fuel to fire, encouraging us to continue.

At the end of my speech, I sighed a breath of relief as I sat down, I told my neighbor: “At least people laughed at my speech.”

She smiled: “Of course, you did great!”

In fact, I think I did better than I expected, I created more laughter than I did in the previous contests.

Finally, it was time for the results announcement. The second runner up is……..(my name wasn’t mentioned), the first runner up is……..(It was someone else), the Champion goes to……!(I knew it wasn’t me, the best performer was ahead of the pack by miles.)

I knew I didn’t deserve to get placed: I did not work as hard. I took a break from speaking which meant that I wasn’t as sharp.

That being said I had the following thoughts: “What if I had worked harder?” What if I had spoken more consistently?” “What if I had stayed sharp?”

The “What Ifs” represents the regret.

Have you ever been plagued by the “What Ifs” questions in your life?

Have you felt regretful for either not doing something or doing something wrong?

What do you do when that happens?

Through chance, I recalled that I had received an invitation to attend a speech contest at one of my favorite clubs, Changi Simei Toastmasters Club.

I had always considered joining this club as my secondary club to reinforce my basic skills. But I got complacent after I won a couple of contests, and I dropped the idea.

Looking at the invitation gave me an idea: “What if I don’t need to wait for another year to wipe away my regrets, what if I can do it right away?”

I called the club president, thankfully he welcomed me, I joined the club and registered for the contest.

The contest was 1 week away, I made amendments to the speech, and I rehearsed frequently.

The day of the contest arrived: I spoken at arena that had about 400 people but in a room with 40 people. Cold sweat flowed. “What if the members don’t like me?” “What if they don’t laugh?” But I recalled the pain of regrets that I got after the previous contest. I told myself: ” No room for regrets.”

Contest started, and I delivered my speech.

It was finally time for the results announcements: I was……not placed.

Once again I lost but I felt very peaceful. I did my very best. There is no room for regret. It simply meant that I didn’t match up. I can only work harder, and sharpen myself. The best thing with with having 2 clubs, means that I have 2 times the opportunities to speak, 2 times the opportunities to sharpen myself, 2 times the opportunities to learn and contribute!

Everything happens for a reason, regrets happens too. When it does feel it, fear it, let it motivate you to do something about it. For me in this case, the pain of regrets, the fear of such regrets happening again, motivated me to join Changi Simei Toastmasters Club, to join the contest, to work hard, to stay sharp and to continue my pursuits of excellence. While I may have lost the contest, I defeated regret, and I am at peace with myself. My friends, if there is one thing you fear, fear regret, and you will never regret it.

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

Words That Are Left Unsaid

My friends, it feels like forever since I have blogged. Words that left unsaid

How are you? I hope you are doing great!

Many things have happened since during this window of time:

I started on a new job.

I proposed to my girlfriend

I got older.

But are those the reasons? No, they are at best excuses, I simply stopped.

I let my little whisper got to me: “You got a new job, you got to focus on the work, you need to spend more time on yourself. The blog can wait.” So that’s happened, I stopped.

But I am back! While I was spending time away from the blog, my heart spoke……..

Today I am going share with you what my heart told me through this article:

My friends, as I have mentioned before I am part of the toastmasters movement. Toastmasters is an international non-profit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide to help people with their public speaking, communication and leadership skills. Members can develop themselves by doing the following at club meetings: delivering prepared speeches, speaking on a random topic or simply by taking on appointments. One of such appointment role is that of a language evaluator, or grammarian, this appointment holder listens attentively during the club meeting and points out the great usage of the English language used as well as the mistakes made and how it can be corrected.

I took up this appointment recently, and there is this particular category of mistakes that I typically to point out: “Missing words in the sentence”. In this particular meeting, I heard someone said this: “If you do not know the toilet, its straight ahead” Did the person meant that if you do not know the toilet, we got to introduce ourselves to it? At that point, I had this imagine of myself walking up to the toilet and saying: “Hi, you must be toilet. I am Shaun, nice to meet you!”

However we should always look at the larger context, and we will know that the friendly toastmaster was trying direct us to the toilet. To complete the sentence and make it right, all we need to do is to add the missing words. Once we added “Where” and “Is”, and the sentence will be correct: “If you do not know where toilet is, its straight ahead.”

Through this example, we can see that in communication, we often focus on the reducing the number of missing words as it could cause embarrassment. However lets be honest here, as long as we understand the context, its likely that we would still be able to understand what the person is saying even if a couple of words are left out.

What about words that are left unsaid?

My friends, have you ever had the burning desire to saying something, but you held back because you felt its embarrassing, or you felt you might hurt someone.

Have you ever been hurt, cause someone to be hurt, felt a sense of regret because of words that are left unsaid?

Let me share with you an incident that happened in my first year with Singapore Airlines, as part of my job I had to write memos or papers to management, and the document had to be vetted by my manager. Through out the course of the year, I never received much comments from my boss on my memos.

That was until the day of my appraisal, my boss said this: “Shaun, you need to improve your writing skill, its written in a casual style, management may not like it.”

I am shocked “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?

My manager: “Well….just change your writing style moving forward”

My friends, had my manager told me about this earlier, I would have adapted my writing style to suit the management’s preference, and not only change one year after I have joined the company.

My boss was probably trying to avoid “hurting” my feelings by not giving me feedback.That being said he probably caused me much more damage in the long run as this affected my appraisal.

While I gave an example from work, but it can apply to relationships as well.

Have you ever found someone that you like but you lack the courage to say :”I like you.”

My friends, its important to say the things that matters, someone might get hurt and that someone could be you. That being said: Don’t take what I written here as license to say whatever you want, whenever feel you like it.

Its just as  important to tamper what you say with tact. After all, you are just trying to be helpful to the situation, and it does not help if anyone gets hurt or embarrassed.

Just a couple of tips:

1) Talk to a person on a one to one basis, you do not want the whole world to know. Also if you are confessing, you don’t want the everyone to know that you failed.

2) Check the mood of the person as well, if you trying to confess, do it when the person is feeling good, if the person has just been scolded and feeling angry, you don’t go and say: “I like you, will you be my girlfriend.”

3) Be selective in the words you use, when giving feedback: Instead of saying “you suck”,  you can perhaps use the following: “I noted that you want to achieve …. to help you achieve your goals perhaps you can do…. Note that I did not use the words “should” or “must”, which can be domineering and may invoke the “Why should I do it, are you my mum?” mentality. Instead when we use words like “perhaps”, “you can”, “I suggest”, we give the other party choices and such feedback is easier to accept.

My friends, words that are left unsaid may leave someone less off, be it you or another person. Let that be the fear that overrides all other fears, such as that rejection. Say what you need to say, but say it with compassion and tact. That is the also the reason why I am back, my heart tells me that: Wisdom that is not used or tapped, is as good as not having it. Wisdom that are not shared, is as good as words that are left unsaid.

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

 

Lessons from the Land of The Rising Sun

I just came back from a 5 days 4 night trip to Japan.Lessons learnt from the land of the rising sun

It was quite a stretch for me.

Some may ask: “Why?”

I was there alone.

“What’s the big deal?”

Its not the first time that I was overseas alone. In fact, I have traveled to 20 over cities over the past 6.5 years, and most of the time I traveled for work alone.

“Ok, what’s the difference?”

When I traveled for work, I book the tickets, buy the local currency, find out how to get to the hotel and how to get to work from the hotel. After that all I need to do is to fly on first or business class (perks for working in an airline!) and turn up! Generally, the schedule is quite fixed: I have breakfast, work, have lunch, work, grab dinner, and go back to the hotel. If there are sights to see on the way back to the hotel, that is a bonus.

As for leisure trips, I had often traveled together with my aunt or friends, and I had largely left the planning to them. I just tagged along.

For this trip, I felt stretched. It is because its the first time when I had to plan for my own holiday, booking the tickets, planning the itinerary, book the hotel rooms, buy Japanese yen and do everything else!

On the 20th of July 2013, I took a flight on Singapore Airlines at 2130hrs. I arrived in Tokyo on the 21st of July 2013, 0630 hrs. I checked into Hyatt Regency Hotel at 0700. Correction……. I tried to check into the hotel at 0700. I was told at the check in counter that I could only check in at 1400 hrs! There were no rooms available. I had forgotten about the check in timing when I planned my itinerary!

What am I to do from 0700 to 1400 hrs?

What do you do when things don’t go according to plan?

I checked my itinerary and decided to move forward a schedule which I had set for the following day. I decided to visit Tsukiji Fish Market and Ginza! As it was Sunday, quite a number of stalls have closed for business, however it did not take the experience away, the seafood stalls and their ensemble of sea food was colorful and delightful. After exploring the market for an hour, I heard a “Growwwl”, oops it was my tummy growling in hunger!  As tradition dictates, at the end of the tour of Tsukiji Fish Market, Sushi breakfast beckons. I looked around the market area before having my sights set on a restaurant, which had quite a crowd and even a queue at 8 am!. After a couple of minutes of waiting, my turn came, I ordered beer, and a tuna set. As I put the sushi into my mouth, I felt the fats of the tuna melt in my mouth, mashed with a tinge of saltiness from the soya sauce. Paired with beer, it was an absolutely divine experience. I told myself:”Even if I were to fly back to Singapore right now, I would have no regrets.” What a magnificent way to start the day! Feeling refreshed and energized, I set off for Ginza!

The lesson I learnt from this episode is this: Always plan and take in as much details you can because as they say “Fail to plan, plan to fail”. But be flexible, don’t give into panic when things don’t go according to plan, be ready to make changes. That’s basically the philosophy I adhered to for the rest of the trip and I had lots of of surprise finds!

The second lesson I learnt is one on money. My friends, I am a saver, my heart bleeds everytime I spend money. For this particular trip, I decided to enjoy and not worry about money. This is what I did: I set a budget. Not only that, I set a budget that was comfortable, one that didn’t require me to look at the wallet everytime I spend. Most importantly of all, I stick to the budget.

What a revelation that was: I did what tourist did, bought souvenirs, took cable cars, ferries and trains, and most importantly I ate in the best restaurants! I looked less at the money spent, but celebrated the experiences, the services, the food that I got!

The lesson I learnt is to have a reasonable budget, and stick to it. It does not just apply to travel but to my daily life as well. I have learnt to set a budget for not only my expenses but for my income as well. This helps to reach my financial goals.

I came back last Friday, fully refreshed, fully stretched and fully enriched with the experiences and lessons that I have gained during these 5 days. Once again the lessons are: Plan but be flexible, Have a budget and stick to it. My friends, what do you learn during your travels? Do share in the comments section.

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

 

Just Do It!

Have you had moments where you know you need to do something, but you Just Do It!procrastinated?

Have you had moments where you are about do something, but your mind keeps coming up with excuses, reasons, or excuses not to do it?

If you do, that have happened to me too! In fact, they happen to me all the time!

Often I would tell myself: “Relax, I still have time.” But before you know it, the deadline is just around the corner!

If its my own commitments, I would tell myself: “Hey, no one would know right?”

I would then procrastinate on exercising, studying, and even updating my blog!

The truth is: There is someone who knows. That someone is: Ourselves.

Often when after I procrastinate, the sense of guilt will creep into my heart, and I will feel bad about it. Does that happens to you too?

 

Recently, I started observing what I procrastinate on. Then I realize that they are things which I am most uncomfortable about doing, things which I term as “troublesome”. It can be replying an difficult email, or doing something which requires me to learn something new, or simply something which I am fearful of.

Yes, I procrastinate on doing things which makes feel uncomfortable, as what I shared in the article “Fear Sense”, when we feel uncomfortable, its probably something worth doing.as it expands our comfort zone.

About a month ago, I started having a daily “Just Do It” item. This item is something which I am uncomfortable in doing. It might be to reply to an difficult email, or even to say “No” to a request which I don’t want to do.

At first, it felt like a task because I had set a KPI for myself, I had to force myself to do it. But before long, this what I observed, it became quite natural for me to deal with matters which earlier on made me uncomfortable. My comfort zone had expanded!

Today, my “Just Do It” item, is to do spring cleaning of my room, its painful as I haven’t done that for ages. I found old letters and documents dated years ago which are no longer needed! I started the spring cleaning at 3.30 pm and I only finished at 8.30 pm. At the end of which, I felt exhausted, spent and yet at the same time satisfied. Piles of documents are now, cleared from my desk and cabinets!

Do you have a list of items which you have long procrastinated on, or felt uncomfortable about doing? Be it learning something new, calling someone whom you haven’t done so in ages, or simply saying “No” to things which you don’t want to do. If you do, why don’t you do one each day?

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing that scares you everyday.” When we “Just Do It”, we stretch like a rubber band. Like a rubber band that has been stretched, once the tension been released, the rubber band is no longer the same as it once was, it grows bigger. Likewise we are no longer the same. we have expanded our comfort zone!

What is your “Just Do It” item for the day?

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

Everything Begins With Awareness

I ran last Saturday. Everything begins with awareness

I was present to the surrounding, the butterflies flying, the breeze whispering.

Slowly I became aware of my feelings, my emotions and my thoughts.

My mind was brought back to a conversation I had with my friend Shirley, I was sharing with her how I will share on facebook, positive messages that appealed to me. Positive messages which I receive from fan pages such as “The Idealist” and “The Peaceful Warrior”. She said: ‘Shaun, I am bored of what I am doing. Do you have a message for me?” I looked at the posts which I had shared, and I realized that there were none related to boredom.

As my mind returned to the run, I came to realize that the messages I shared were of the following themes: “Being myself and not bothered by other people’s opinions about me”  as well as that of “Overcoming Challenges”

At that moment, I realized that I am affected by 2 issues: One is my fear of other people’s opinion about me. The second is that I feel that I need to go through a lot of challenges in order to progress in life

On people’s opinion about me: I found out that that I am always concerned about the people who have negative opinions of me and even people who have not given me any opinions!. (I wonder if they have bad things to say about me!!!). At that point of realization I started laughing at myself, at the same time I starting seeing the other side of the coin. I recalled the praises that my colleagues gave to me, my vendors gave to me and my friends gave to me. I came to the realization that I had focused so much on the people with negative opinions about me that I forgot about all those who had said great things about me.

Have you had moments where you noticed that little pimple on the face, and that became the only thing you could focus on?

While focusing on the pimple, did you forget about the rest of the unblemished face?

That was exactly how I felt!

On seeing the other side of coin, the rest of unblemished skin, I learnt to be grateful and thankful of the people who have showered me with praises, at the same time I learnt to celebrate myself. After all, I don’t need anyone’s approval except for my own!

I declared to the universe: “I am good enough because I am simply good!”

The second issue: I always feel that I have to be grilled and trialed before I can enjoy the sweetness that is to come. To me every new project, every new journey is like a odyssey, filled with trials and obstacles. Somehow this feeling and thought have subconsciously caused me to walk the toughest path, the path that is the hardest and full of resistance.

Once again, I had a laugh when I made that realization. I have inadvertently turned myself into a soap opera protagonist, with the need to got through all forms of obstacles before I can taste sweet success. However going through such a path every time can be very tiring and painful, its no wonder that I hate embarking on new projects! Its not because I fear hard work, but because I equate new projects with pain, and lots of difficulties!

I declared to the universe: “I take the middle path, the path of moderation.”

My friends, subconsciously we have programed ourselves to think and act in a certain manner, sometimes its productive, sometimes its counterproductive and even destructive. For the latter, its important to be aware of the program that we install in ourselves, as its blocking our progress in life. To gain awareness one can go for coaching, talk to friends who “get you”, or go into meditation, or even run. Awareness is only the first step. Once that is done, make daily declarations, and observe your behaviors, making conscious efforts to spot your fall back to old pattern or behaviors.

This is not easy, and its likely you will need a strong support system. For me, I have a group of great friends, my girlfriend, and my “Living in Passion” accountability group.

Seems like a lot of effort, right?

Do you want avoid the pitfalls of counterproductive and destructive behaviors, or

Do you want to understand the cause of your fears, or

Do you want to live a life that is free of emotional baggage?

If the answer to any of the questions is “Yes”, I think its worth the effort.

But no matter what happens, everything begins with awareness, and I invite you to make the following declaration with me: “I am open to receiving wisdom and knowledge that are and will be awakened within me!”

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

(P.S as I was running a while ago, I realized that all things happens for a reason, even my taking of the path of hardship. I realized that through taking the path of hardship, I learnt the lesson of gratefulness and thankfulness, and never taking things for granted. I am now truly ready to take the middle path, the path of moderation.)

What a Weird, and Wonderful Week!

Forest fires raging in Indonesia,   Weird and Wonderful Weekend

Smog, haze sweeping over Singapore.

The clear, clean blue sky that Singapore is famous for, is replaced by dirty, hazy and grey smog.

Everywhere you go, everyone is wearing surgical masks or respirators.

This is the setting that has been shrouding Singapore for the past 1 week.

The mood of Singaporeans has also become as grey as the weather.

Singaporeans are complaining about the quality of the air, or blaming the Indonesia for the situation.

Yet its under such a unclear and blurry setting that I found myself feeling awesome and wonderful!

“Shaun, are you crazy, you are actually enjoying this!”

No I don’t enjoy the smog, nor do I love to see people suffer.

Its just that I have learnt a lot of lessons and I will like to share them on “Live! With Fear”.

The first lesson is to be “present”.

Have you ever been at work physically, but your heart is somewhere else?

That used to happen to me, and it was quite a pain. Time crawled by painfully. Every single piece of work felt like a chore. There were only 2 things that I looked forward to: Lunch break, and knocking off time. Everyday at work was a torture.

Fast forward to present times: Things changed.

Nope, my job hasn’t changed. But what changed was my approach: I started having a daily “Just Do it” task.This task is one which is important but which I don’t do either because its difficult to do, because I find it “troublesome” or simply because I don’t like it.

I used to see such tasks as a chore but now I see it as a challenge.

For example, last week I had to update my company’s finance manual. To do so required me to first re-learn a software which I had only used once previously. On top of that I had to write and send out a circular which captures the essence of the update to the users.

Once I started on my “Just Do It” task, time flew by. At the end of 6 hours, I finally finished the update.

I was totally present, totally engaged, and the sense of satisfaction is immense. I had stretched my comfort zone (i.e. re-learning the software), and completed a difficult task.

What I learnt is that setting a “Just Do it” task to do everyday, increases my focus and presence, and it brings me much satisfaction when I finish the task.

The second lesson that I want to share is “Positivity begets positivity, negativity begets negativity.”

As I mentioned earlier, the mood surrounding Singapore is as gloomy as the smog casting over the Singapore sky.

Even with the smog around I was feeling great as I was present, but when I checked in on Facebook, I saw the rantings made by my friends on the haze. I started feeling cranky.

Have you found yourselves feeling negative because of the negative things people say?

I understand that its frustrating given the situation But I caught myself, I told myself if I focus only on the haze and the smog, I will see nothing but the smog and the haze. I stopped looking at the negative postings and instead started reading the positive messages that are shared on Facebook. It helped! I felt positive again.

I was tested at home too. One day my father suddenly lashed out at me, I was angered, I walked over intending to give him a piece of my mind. But bearing in the mind that negativity begets negativity, and that if I were to tell him off, that will only escalate into Word War X. (Not a typo error, as the war is expected to be that of words, and “X” represents the ….er hem…. descriptive words). Instead I gave him a hug, telling him that its going to be alright. He calmed down visibly. Yes, positivity begets positivity.

This is what I I learnt from this experience: if I focus on happy things, I will be happy, if I focus on the unhappy things, I will be unhappy.

The third set of lessons I learnt was that of not take things personally, and to celebrate myself and others. Yesterday, I was out with a group of friends. One of my friends (I shall call him John) commented that my club contest speech was not as good as another of my friend who was there (I shall call him Peter).

How would you feel if such a comment was given in a company of friends?

My heart was crushed. Even though I was the contestant who advanced to the next level of the contest, that statement threatened to take the victory away from me. At that moment I acknowledged the pain but I asked myself: “Do you want to stay crushed and allow your victory to be taken, or do you want to be happy?” I told myself: “I want to be happy and keep my victory.”

This is what I got from this experience: “I will be much happier if I stop taking things personally.” John’s opinion is his truth, not mine. My truth is as important if not more important. Even if the whole world don’t appreciate my speech, I appreciate my own speech. Encouragement and appreciation comes from within, not from outside. Furthermore, my speech was appreciated by the judges otherwise I would not have gotten first runner up. I celebrated myself silently at that point.

We moved on to another topic, we talked about how to deliver a good speech, Peter shared his speech template. I didn’t think much at that point in time. However while I was in reflecting on the events of the previous day, I thought that the template was awesome, and that the creator, Peter was even more awesome. I sent Peter a text this morning, thanking him for the tip. I had an “Aha” moment after I sent the text: When I celebrate an individual and his/her gifts, the gifts and the strength which I am celebrating becomes a part of me. Just as how I have internalized the template which Peter has shared.

Hence the lesson I learnt from this encounter was not to take things personally and to celebrate myself and others.

As I look out of the window, its clear! I hope it stays clear but regardless as to whether it stays the same, I am happy and grateful for the lessons I have gained this weird, and wonderful week. They are:

1) Be Present

2) Positivity begets positivity, negativity begets negativity

3) Don’t take things personally, and to celebrate myself and others.

Have a fantastic week ahead!

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

Fear of Not Being Good Enough.

“I am not ready to do this, I am not good enough.”   Fear of not being good enough

“No man I won’t do it now, I will be a disgrace.”

Have you ever said that before? Have you ever heard people saying that?

What did you feel when you heard yourself or others saying that?

Do you feel curious when you hear that?

For me I do, because the next logical questions are:

When are we good enough? When will we not be not a disgrace?

Before we attend to these questions, I will like to share with you what I experienced during my run this afternoon.

It was 1330, I finally plucked up the discipline to drag myself off my lazy bottoms, to wear my socks, ,put on my running shoes and started on my run around my neighborhood.

I live in an estate that is in its twenties, and I have lived there since I was 8 years old. (Oh yes that will give you an idea, how old I am:))

Owing to its age, it is undergoing quite a major face lift (similar to how we humans do), the residential blocks are given a paint job, previously empty plot are lands are now under construction to build playgrounds and other civic facilities, even the shopping mall in the neighborhod has closed down for a 2-year renovation.

Running while construction projects are on-going can be quite a pain:

“Argh my usual route is closed off, I have to take a detour…..again.”

” That smell, it must be paint. With all that paint job going on, who needs to buy paint to sniff.”

Oops, I just showed the complainer side of me, but hey that’s me too.

After running for a while, I saw a blue print for one of the many projects going on pasted on the metal barricades to shield the construction going on. I was amazed with what was being planned. A park, an exercise corner, a senior citizen corner, a flea market, and a few other civic facilities which I missed.

I had an “Aha moment”. We often admire the beautiful things around us, such as buildings, or painting. At the same time, we also envy the success of others.

How many of us actually admire the less glamorous side of equation?

How many of use see the “dirty, sweaty and messy” construction works that was done before the completion of the building?

How many of us see the countless number of drafts that were drawn and redrawn before the completion of a painting?

How many of us see the hard work that comes before the achievement of success?

To celebrate success and the completion of a project is not complete, we need to celebrate the dirty, sweaty and messy stuff that were done, the many drafts that were made and discarded, as well as the hard work that was put in.

Back to the questions: When are we good enough? When will we not be not a disgrace?

I can’t think anyone can. But what I do know is this: We will never be good until the day

we start doing the “Dirty, sweaty and messy stuff”,

until we start drafting,

until we start putting in the hard work.

As the saying by Zig Ziggler goes: You don’t to be great to start, but you need to be start to be great.

In the past one year in toastmasters, I have taken part in 4 speech contests, humorous speech, evaluation, international(inspirational) speech and table topics (impromptu speaking) contests. I was placed in all of the contests at the club level. In the latter 2 contests, I even managed to even advanced from the club, to the area and finally to the division (The level just before the regional (Singapore and Thailand) final). The best results I have attained ever. I often get this: “Wow, your growth these past 6 months is miraculous!”

To which, I will often reply: “Thanks, its nothing miraculous, this is the result of the hard work that I have put in over the past four years.”

I have gotten my fair share of stick over these past 4 years about my “Not good enough” performance. Along the way, I felt like giving up but my dream to share with the world on my message: “We have a choice!” kept me going. Just as how the blue print of the park: the exercise corner, the flea market kept the construction team on the right track despite all the dirty, messy and sweaty staff that is going on.

My friends, if you ever hear yourself or others say: “I am not good enough.” Please be of service by sharing with them or yourself this quote by Zig Ziggler  “You don’t to be great to start, but you need to be start to be great”If you have started putting in the hard work, and things still don’t seem right. I will like to share with you another saying: Take pride in how far you have come, and have faith in how far you can go.” By Christian Larson. Just as how I have persisted in my toastmasters journey by sticking to my goal.

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

Fear of Failure

Have you ever experienced heartaches whenever your efforts do not reap the fruits you desire?  Fear of Failure

Have these heartaches caused you to develop a fear that your hard work will go down to waste?

Have the fear of failure stopped you from starting or continuing the things you wanted to do?

Last Friday, I had a restaurant toastmaster chapter meeting, after the meeting I had an opportunity to chat with a club member which I haven’t bonded for a long time. We spoke on relationship, and he asked: “Shaun do you want to listen to my love story?” I said: “Of course” and as he finished his story, it reminded of me of my life…

Every once in a while I will beat myself up, especially when things don’t seem to work my way. I don’t mean beating myself physically. (I am a vain person after all).

I bashed myself up mentally: “Maybe I am not worthy. What’s the point on working so hard, I will either fail or if I succeed, I will not receive any recognition”

I will go all emotional, and feel down for a day or 2. During these periods, my girlfriend will be heart broken as she sees only a shadow of what I used to be, she will try to counsel me. “Don’t beat yourself up please, you are a wonderful person. Things will work out…..”

I wanted the attention of my girlfriend, at the same time I wanted shut myself in. “You are just consoling me. You know I am lousy.”

It will take some time but after I work off the emotions, I will slowly get back on the track of recovery. While I will recover, scars have been left in my psychic: “Maybe I am not worthy of success. Why try when I will fail?” The fear of failure will be planted in my mind, which in turn lead me to fear hard work.

How has this got to do my friend’s love story? Let me share with that with you.

“Shaun, I first met Pamela who was a fellow volunteer, in an event, we didn’t really talk but she left an impression. The following week, my colleagues decided to drive out for lunch instead of eating at the in-house canteen. I saw her! I approached her and we chatted briefly, and we exchanged contacts. Soon after we met up for lunch, and the rest is history.”

I asked him: Why did you approach her?

My friend replied: It felt right. I was looking for my other half. She turned up! I wanted to see where this would take us. As I looked back, its amazing how things worked out:  How she turned up for the event where we first met, how I happened to be working at my previous company at that point, how my friend decided to drive out that very day?”

I said: “Wow, how things got stringed together, to be so precise. At the same time, it was also critical that you recognized that the moment was right and acted accordingly.”

What I learnt from this sharing by my friend:

Keep a goal in mind, work hard at it, if things don’t turn out the way as expected, and the heartache sets in. Its absolutely normal to feel the fear of this pain of heartache and the fear of failure.

What if the failure, is not a failure? What if the experience is there to teach a lesson? What if the experience is there to help shape the success into the way its meant to be. What if the experience(s) is a built up to the moment, the key moment, which is to be seized and grabbed. The moment that will lead to success.

I pledge that instead of beating myself up when things don’t turn out well, I will ask myself: “What is the lesson?” and persevere in doing what I do, while incorporating the lesson learnt. While looking to pounce on the all important window of opportunity for success.

What about you? What would you do when things don’t turn out the way you expected?

To a successful life!

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fear of Hard Work

How I wish I can be…..!                     Fear of Hardwork

How I wish I can have….!

Have you ever found yourself saying that before?

Each of us have our own…., the…… represents what we want or what we want to be. Maybe its to be rich, maybe its to have someone to love?

My friends, have you ever wondered:

How do we bridge the gap between our wishes and the realization of our wishes?

How do we attain our wishes?

Yesterday, I had a meeting with my support group from the “Living in Passion” Program which I graduated from 2 weeks ago.

During the conversation, my group mate Maggie mentioned about her experience being a support to a friend, in keeping her friend accountable to the goals that were set.

“I used to text my friend: “Good Morning, what is your plan for the day?”. After a while my friend stopped responding.Text after texts, no replies came.

Finally my friend called me and said: ” You know Maggie, maybe I am happy being the way I am.”

This incident with my friend taught me improvement and goals are difficult to attain, it takes lots of hard work. Many people find that they are not willing to put in the hard work to reach their goals.”

My friends, I learnt from this as sharing by Maggie, that to realize our wishes, hard work is needed.

Have you ever been put off by hard work, have you ever feared putting in hard work?

Fear of hard work is one of my greatest fears. For me this fear does not have a symptom, such as shaking of legs, tummy turning. For me this fear works in the background and simply keeps me from even thinking about the things that I need to do.

That sharing by Maggie stirred my thoughts, and the question came: “What is the missing link between my goals and hard work?” i.e.How do I get myself to work hard?

I left the discussion group with that BIG question mark, hanging over my head.

Have that ever happened to you? What did you do when you have the Big question mark hanging over your head?

For me, after a couple of frowning, pondering moments, i knew it was getting me nowhere. I decided to I let the idea run at the back of my head while I continue to do what I needed to do. As they say: “The brain is an answer seeking machine.” I soon found answers from an unexpected source: Facebook. I was looking at some of the latest postings, and I saw this quote from Steven Covey, the late author of the book, “7 habits of an Effective Person”.

It says: “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the say to do that is by having a BIGGER ‘YES’ burning inside.” The thing that captured my attention was the phrase “a BIGGER ‘yes’.”

I got it:  To overcome the fear of hard work, to make all the pain, the sacrifice worth it, I need a Bigger ‘YES’, a Bigger ‘Goal’! The Goal got to be bigger than all the pain and sacrifices

Then comes the question: “What is the Big Goal?” To me the big goal is that one thing I got to do in order to fulfill my life’s purpose. it varies from person to person, after all we are here on earth for a unique reason.

I starting seeing the Fear of hardwork in a different light.

I see it as a test to see if My goal/wish/want is BIG enough.

With this realization, I will work hard to realize my goals.

My goals are to be:

1) An excellent Finance Manager, that can help the business improve.

2) To create a better life for myself and my family, by building multiple passive income streams via online medias.

3) A public speaker to spread the good word that: “We all have choices!”

The hard work that is expected this month are:

1) Study about the nuts and bolts of the new industry that I will be working in.

2) Relearn and reinforce accounting concepts.

3) Enhance the website “Livewithfear.com” to improve the visuals, and usability, enable Google Adsense on my website

4) Continue delivering project speeches at toastmasters setting, and to earn opportunities to speak outside of toastmasters.

My friends, next time when you say:

How I wish I …….?

Maybe you can ask: Is this a Big Goal? Or is it a nice to have?

If its a Big Goal, be prepared to work hard. If its a nice to have, do you have the time or passion to work hard.

(P.S I will report the status i.e. the results of my hard work at the end of the month under comments.)

Shaun

Your fellow human being;)