Category Archives: Fear and Relationship

Fear of being Stretched

Are you in a race for success? fear of being stretched

In the race for success, have you had moments where you felt stretched and feel as if you can’t sustain the pace, and feel like giving up.

For me this one week feels like a stretch, career wise I kick started a key project, relationship wise I am heading for a critical juncture, in my toastmasters journey, I am about to take part in the highest level of contest I have been ever been to, blog-wise “Live! With Fear” is getting good reception, and I wonder if I can continue to generate such good articles, fitness wise I have maintained it well, but I need to attempt and pass my physical fitness test by Tuesday, 7 May 2013.

I am afraid.

I am afraid that I cannot hold my ground in the “all out assault” on all aspects of my life.

I am afraid that I cannot hold myself to high standards.

Have that ever happened to you? What did you do?

Recently, my girlfriend asked me: “Shaun, what if this sweet and loving feeling we have right now is just a phase? What if this phase passes.?”

I thought for a while, and I answered:……….

Before I share with you the answer, allow me to share with you another story.

Yesterday, I took the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). IPPT is the recurring nightmare that plagues all able bodied Singaporean men that will only end once they hit 40 years old. Why do I say that? As long as you are an able bodied Singaporean, and is part of Singapore Armed Forces, in active or reserve capacity, you have to pass this fitness test every year.

Sounds simple right? All you need to maintain your fitness and take the test, and pass it right? Not if you include overtime at work, family time, dating with girlfriend, gathering with friends, toastmasters engagement, and blog writing even! Where do you have time for fitness training?

To overcome this problem, I developed a theory if I exercise at least 15 minutes a day in the morning everyday, it will work. Afterall, that will work out to 1.5 hours of exercise each week! Since February 2011, I have been switching between static exercise (push ups, sits ups, squats, pull ups) and 2.4 km run on each alternate day.

Still my passing record in the past 2 years have been dismal, and the culprit is always standing board jump (SBJ). This how it works, the jumper stands at a line marked on the ground with the feet slightly apart. The jumper takes off and lands using both feet, swinging the arms and bending the knees to provide forward drive.

Yesterday, I had the “fortune” of attempting SBJ as my first station. I told myself: “Sigh if I fail this station, I will fail all the test but I will still have to complete the full series of test” I took a deep breath, I told myself to relax, and remember the training that I have undergone. I bent my knees to 90 degrees, swung my arms, and as my hands reached the end of the swing, I lifted my legs up to the knees, I was in the air, and it felt good!

I looked at the score: 2.12 m. I have passed!!!

This has provided me much motivation, I breezed through the rest of the static stations: 8 pull ups, 38 sit ups and completing the shuttle run at 10.3 second. Top scores, all of them!

Finally, I have come to the last station, the 2.4 km run. My heart starting beating rapidly, partly due to the earlier exertions, but mainly due to anxiousness. I was thinking: “What if I can’t continue this magnificent form into the run? What if I fail the run?”

At that moment, I remembered the lessons that I learnt from my recent speech contest. If there was ever a moment, for all my efforts to show up the moment is NOW! I remembered the pain of waking up 15 minutes every morning, the pain of working my body through the routines. Don’t get me wrong, I love the exercises, but overcoming the inertia is painful. I asked myself: “Is this pain and discipline showing all for naught? If there is a moment for the pain, effort and discipline to show, the moment is now!!!

My turn to run came, I jogged on the spot, when the test conductor went “GO!”, I ran.

As I ran, I told myself: “Run at your own pace, you can do it!”

First 3 rounds was quite a breeze, i completed them under 6 minutes, passing mark is 13 minutes, I am making good progress.

By the fourth round, the legs started feeling heavy, the 4 pm sun is starting to make its presence felt, my heart was pounding hard against the chest, breathing started getting painful, my panting starts getting heavier. With great difficulty, I cleared the fourth run.

At this point, I saw people walking, and chatting as they make their way out of the camp, it felt like a great place to be. I wanted to slow down. I caught myself: “You are almost there, 2 more rounds to go!”

I started looking in front, I looked for someone to pace, my goal became to maintain my distance from the designated runner. I focused on each step that I made, I focused on the fact that every step I make gets me closer to the goal.

As they say, the final leg of the race is hardest, as I reached the last 200 meters, every cell of my body screamed for me to STOP! I had to ignore it, I did it by roaring louder than my body! “ARRRGGGHHHHH!!!” I roared as dashed through the finishing line. 12 min, 7 Sec, silver standard!

The lesson i learnt from this run is this, in life we are going to encounter challenges, the only way to deal with them, is to apply ourselves diligently, focus on doing one thing at a time, and to have faith in the efforts that we have put in.

Back to the question that my girlfriend asked: “Shaun, what if this sweet and loving feeling we have right now is just a phase? What if this phase passes?”

This is what I told her: “I can’t predict what will happened to us in the future. But what I do know is this: I will continue to do what I do right now, or even better. I will do it even though I may feel, moody, tired or busy with work. I believe a relationship is like physical fitness, it got to be maintained by training in a discipline manner. If I spend quality time with you now, I will continue to spend quality time with you in the future. If I listen to you now, I will continue to listen to you in the future. If I perform acts of services to you now, I will continue to do that in the future. If I love you now, I will continue to love you. There are many things that will happen which I can’t predict all of them, I can only do one thing at a time.”

My girlfriend smiled and held my hands tighter.

Ladies and gentlemen, many things is happening around us, and we might be handling many tasks. It might feel like a stretch, and you might want to just give up. Which is great! Because to be in the position to be able to handle many tasks means that you are capable, competent and strong person. Just like how I won’t be able to pull off an assault on so many fronts if I was strong to begin with. Just remember that you are strong, have faith in the strength, have faith in the training and discipline that gave you that strength to begin with, and focus on making ONE STEP AT A TIME. As they say, people are like rubber band, if we stretch the rubber band, the rubber band becomes larger, and if we stretch ourselves, the end result is that we grow! Happy stretching!


Your fellow human being:)

Fear of Abandonment

Have you ever been hurt in a relationship?                                                fear and abandonment

Be it by a lover, a friend, a colleague or even a family member?

Did it leave a scar in your psychic?

Did the fear of getting hurt stopped you from forming new relationships?

Ladies and Gentlemen one of the ways, how you can hurt anyone in relationship is to abandon them.

The impact on the abandoned can be tremendous because it might leave the following lingering thoughts:

Why did you abandon me? Am I not worthy?

Maybe I shouldn’t form any relationship anymore, because I might get hurt.

Since I am not worthy, whoever I be with, I am destined to get abandoned.

If I ever i get into a relationship, I will abandon the person before he/she gets a chance to do that to me!

Its likely that these thoughts will never get an vocal outlet unless  we have gone through some form of coaching, it will lie in the subconscious, and like anything that lies in the subconscious it will find a way to creep up and influence our behaviors in disruptive ways.

How do I know all these? Simple, I was abandoned. I was abandoned by my primary school best friend.

Alvin, was that kind of kid. You know, the kind of kid that everyone wanted to be. Handsome, came from a well to do family, top student, and came in tops in sports. He was perfect.

He joined my primary 2 class in the middle of the semester, he easy going nature meant that he made friends easily. Soon he was Mr Popular. Me? I was Mr Quiet, the kid who is sitting in one corner of the class, never noticed, never recognized. For some reason, Mr Popular and Mr Quiet, clicked. We soon became the best of friends. Soon we (or rather he)formed a nucleus  of a group of friends, which we call the “Group of Seven” or “GOS”. The time I spent with Alvin, and the GOS are the highlights of my childhood.

After 4 and a half glorious years, then came the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), we graduated from primary school and each of us went our separate ways.

Alvin and I remained in contact through out the first year of high school, I looked forward to every term holiday, it meant that I could hang out with him. During the mid year break of my high school 2nd year, I was like :”WooHoo, time to hang out with my best friend!”. I called Alvin’s home number. I got the following reply:” The following number is no longer in use.”

I kept calling, but I always got the same response.

I started asking around members of the GOS, but all gave the same answer: “He changed his number after primary school, he didn’t even update us.”

A couple of days later, I went to his house, knocked on the door. As the door opened, I had a glimmer of hope.. “Alvin! You are a joker, you never gave me your new number! Did you forget!”

It was a stranger. “Yes?”, he asked.

I walked away.

That day I knew, I had been abandoned by my best friend. I cried silently that day, just as how I am crying as I am updating this blog. The joyful moments that we had, the happiest moments that I have ever had, surfaced in my mind. “Those are my treasures, my happiest moments. Don’t they mean a thing to you?” I kept questioning the image of Alvin that surfaced in my mind.

It took me the entire holiday to recover from this trauma. But the damage has been done.

Since the incident, at a subconscious level, I kept people at a certain distance. I still had best friends but those were my only friends. Even with them, I was still not as open as best friends should. (Coen, JunZhong, MingHui, thanks for sticking with me and being my best friends in high school, even though I held back.)

This past trauma lay hidden for a while until yesterday. You see what happened was that about 6 years ago, I reconnected with my high school best friend, Coen, and he introduced me to this fantastic organization known as Toastmasters, a non-profit organization which help people express themselves via public speaking. After only 2 visits, I joined this fantastic, and vibrant group of community in Tampines Changkat Toastmasters Club. That proved to be one of the best things that happened to me.

After a 4 years of progressing a step at a time, I was placed in both our club’s international speech and table topics contest. I was also given the honour to represent our club at the next level, the Area level.

On the 13 of April 2013, that was yesterday, I was the 2nd runner up in the international speech contest, and the Champion of Table Topics. As I down with flu, everything was a blur. The only thing I remembered was the well wishes I got prior to the contest:

“Shaun, I am here to root for you.” Shaun, you can do it”, “Shaun, all the best!”

For the first time in a very long time, I realized I was not alone. Using toastmasters as a platform, I was doing the one thing I haven’t been doing, which was to be open, and express myself. As I did that, I made lots of friends, and I didn’t even realize that! At that moment, I realized I am very fortunate.
I will like to take the opportunity to thank all my friends. Especially Coen Tan: “Bro, thank you for finding me again, for believing in me ,and sticking with me all these time.

My friends, in life we can get hurt by people,  we try to close ourselves up out of fear that we might can get hurt. That may be true. However in doing so, we will only close off those that truly loves us or prevent ourselves from forming relationship that truly matters. Isn’t it much better to forgive the person who hurt us, releasing us from the fear that of getting hurt, and opening up the opportunities to form beautiful relationship?

Alvin, where ever you are, I forgive you. I believe that whatever you did, you had your reasons.

I open myself to the wonderful possibilities of forming great friendship.

I dedicate this post is to all my friends.Thank you my friends, for sticking with me. Especially you, Coen!

Cheers to fantastic relationships!

Your fellow human being:)


P.S These are the links of the following organizations that I have joined, as well as the link to my best friend Coen, a wonderful gift to the world:)


Fear and Relationship

Have you ever feared losing a relationship?

Have you ever wondered what is the secret of keeping a relationship strong and going? fear and relationships

I thought I knew the answer. After all, I have been in relationship for 2 and a half years, not very long but during these 2 and half years, there were no major arguments, the relationship was made up of largely sweet and lovey-dovey moments.

“Ewwwww”, I believe that is running through the mind of some of you. “Shaun, are you trying to brag?”

No, I am not trying to brag. Through books such as “How to make friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. I learnt that people want to be heard, they want to be empathized.

When a person is complaining about his/her boss, the person is not asking you to get rid of the boss, the person just wants to be heard.

When a person is sharing about his/her emotional hurt, the person is not asking you to fill the emotional gap, the person just wants to be heard.

When a person is sharing about his/her pain, the person is not asking you to take the pain away, the person just wants to be heard.

Therefore to make friends its essential to be a great listener, to have a relationship its essential to be a great listener,  to maintain the relationship, its essential to be a great listener.

I trained to be a great listener, a great emphathizer, and  often I would hear people saying to me. “Shaun, it was great talking to you.” ” Shaun, thanks for getting me.”

One of the reasons my girlfriend loves me is that I don’t question her, I don’t advise, i just listen.

However, as much as I try not to, I find myself getting affected by the emotions of the things I hear. if I am in a good mood, no problem, the good mood neutralizes the negativity i hear. However, what if, I am in a bad mood myself, can I possibly take in any more negativity? What about me? Don’t I need a listening ear as well?

One of the greatest fear I had is this: What if both myself and my partner, family member, good friend are both in a sulky mood, and both needs a listening ear?

What is going to happen? Listen and take in the negativity and in the process making me more irritated? Bitch about the things, and in the process make the other party feel unloved. Or simply not talk to them. None of them seem right.

Recently, both myself and girlfriend are facing challenges in our lives, and my girlfriend is someone who needs to get things off her chest, me I need personal time to dwell about it. So when my girlfriend was pouring her thoughts to me, something in me switched, I committed a taboo in communication: “I gave advice.”

She didn’t make a fuss about it. But there was an awkward silence for a while.

Have you ever felt as if you are not doing the right thing in a relationship? What do you do?

One day later I had a chat with my best friend Coen, that was when I learnt a huge lesson. This is an extract of our conversation:

Shaun: I think in relationship the process of being vulnerable has to be managed.

Coen: Why?

Shaun: If both happened to be in bad mood, and both happened to be vulnerable, it can be a disaster.

Coen: Bro, that is on the assumption that you are taking on the emotions and content about each other. The reality is this: When someone is ranting, the emotion expressed is not that person, the content expressed is not that person too. The question is this: Are you listening to the person?

To put it simply: Are you focusing on the person or on what the person is saying?

Or to use an analogy: While going on a hunt for a deer (Person) , the hunter got distracted by a rabbit (emotions), a bird (content of what the person is saying) and forgot about the target which he originally set for himself.

When a person is talking, one just wants to be heard, and our job as a conversationalist, is to listen, to “get it”, and speak when the other party has finished his/her turn.

This has a tremendous impact on me, now I know that even if both of us are in a bad mood, its still ok to be vulnerable. All I need to listen, “get it” and simply speak when its my turn. There is no need to be involved emotionally, to be dragged into the negativity. All I need to do is just focus on the speaker and instead of focusing on the “what”, focus on the “why”. “Why is the person saying what he or she is saying?”

My friends, next time if you have challenges in your relationship, perhaps you can ask yourself if you have been focusing on the emotions, content of what the other party is saying or are you focusing on the person and “why is the person is saying all these?”

That very night I texted my girlfriend, and I told her I will be a better boyfriend and I will listen to her, the person, at all the time. I may forget from time to time but give me chances as I need to practice.

At this point I will like to part with something that Coen shared with me, “A girl will never get bored of a guy who never gets bored of listening to her”

I wish you all well in your relationships both present and future:)