Category Archives: Live without Fear

Loving Fear

What do you do when fear comes knocking? Loving fear

Some of you might be thinking: “Hey Shaun, didn’t we talk about this earlier? Are you running out of things to write about?

We did talk about it: We question fear, we address its concerns and we leverage on it.

When I started this blog, I saw fear as a “third party”, as something that is not part of me, as something that just happens to come knocking on my door, and since its there I might as well make use of it.

I took a 2 weeks hiatus from writing the blog, while its not excuse, its because I took part in a speech contest 2 weekends ago, and the weekend before I took part in a seminar, “Living in Passion!”  While I had a break through during the speech contest, it was the seminar that changed my mindset towards fear altogether.

Will you like to know what I have learnt about fear?

Before that let me share with you another story, recently my girlfriend texted me: “I am so touched by this video, and you know I am rarely moved. Go watch it. Its on my Facebook wall.”

I did as I was told (who wouldn’t right?). It was a video from the Chinese Talent Show, or “Zhong Guo Taren Xiu”, the play back started out with this introductory video with this girl saying: “The heavens have blessed me with this special hand to play beautiful music.”  The scene then shifted to the auditorium at the TV studio, where she took her place at the piano and started playing. As the girl started playing the piano, I heard her gratitude, her happiness, and all that is expressed in her music, beautiful music from the heart of her soul. The camera shifted slowly to the piano keys, where I got to see the “special hand” in action, it was her fingerless right hand, and it was fluttering like a butterfly among the piano keys.

At that point, I got it, she was grateful for the hand that was given to her and its ability to play music!!!

At the post performance Q&A, one of the judges asked her:”What are your motivations for learning to play music?” The girl replied:”At first, I was moved by the sound that piano makes, so I make myself work hard at it, after a while I learned that the heavens are kind to me, as they blessed me with this special hand that helped me find music and most importantly play music.”

Amazing, isn’t it. Many people will see handicap as a…..handicap, an obstacle that impedes their lives. But this girl she sees it as a blessing, as a means to express her gifts to her as a musician.

My friends, what if everything happened for a reason?

Both the good things and the “bad”.

What if the “bad things” are there to help us express our gifts to world?

Back to what I learnt during the seminar “Living in Passion”, in one of the sharing session by one of the participants, she shared her frustrations she has with her mum, the trainer said: “Acknowledge the frustrations you have over your mum, we are both god and the devil at the same time. Love the devil as much as the God within you.”

At that moment, it all came together:

1) Fear is not just a separate entity from of us, fear is part of us, born within us from the experiences of our lives.

2) When we reject fear, we reject these experiences that happened to us, when we do that we reject a part of us.

3) When we reject a part of us, we don’t love ourselves totally.

Personally I think Fear is good, its to be loved, afterall it serves as a test of my conviction, and if I am paralyzed by fear, its not fears fault, it simply shows that my conviction is not strong enough.

Through this experience, I believe  that there is a lesson and reason to everything that happens to us, and if we reject the things that happened to us, we won’t learn the lesson and we won’t see the reason.

If we miss the lessons and not seeing the reasons why things happened to us, we might just miss the clues that might just help us see what are our gifts to this world. It took a long time for me to acknowledge the fear of abandonment by friends, and when I did that and accepted the experience, I started to see that I actually do have lots of friends and by closing myself out previously, I am pushing them away from my life. I learnt that I was the selfish one, letting my abandonment by Alvin push people away, people who cared.

My friends, what do you do when fear comes knocking? Acknowledge it, (don’t let it come in though go out and meet it), talk to it, and listen to the story which fear has to tell, learn the lesson from the story, and at the end of the sharing, say: “I hear you fear of…….(e.g. abandonment) , thank you for sharing, thanks for the lesson, and I love you, and since you are me, I love me too.”

This is the FB Link to the video.

Shaun

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:)

Shaun

www.livewithfear.com

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:)

http://www.toastmasters.org/

http://tampineschangkat.blogspot.sg/

http://coentan.com/

 

Fear of the Future

Have you ever worried about what future has in stall for you?    Fear of the future

Have you ever compared with your peers, and worried that you can’t match up?

Recently my toastmasters club was tasked by my community centre to deliver a talk to a bunch of primary (elementary) school students.

The topic is on “Handling Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE)”. PSLE is the graduating examination that is taken by all Primary 6 students. The results will determine the high school that the children will go to in their next phase of the education. Sounds simple right?

However, streaming system of Singapore’s education system clashes with the competitive nature of the Singaporeans.

Why do I say that?

Depending on the results you get in Primary School, a primary school student will be streamed into one of the following streams. Normal, Express or Special.

“Special” and “Express” are four-year courses leading up to the Singapore-Cambridge GCE “O” Level examination. The difference between these two courses is that in the “Special” stream, students take ‘Higher Mother Tongue’ (available for Chinese, Malay and Tamil only) instead of ‘Mother Tongue’. A pass in the Higher Mother Tongue ‘O’ Level Examination constitutes the fulfilment of the Mother Tongue requirement in Singapore, whereas Normal Mother Tongue Students will have to go through one more year of study in their Mother Tongue after their ‘O’ Levels to take the ‘AS’ Level Mother Tongue Examinations.

Normal is a four-year course leading up to a Normal-Level (N-level) exam, with the possibility of a fifth year followed by an O-level.

By theory, the streaming concept works, if you perform well academically, you are put into the express or even special stream where you will take 4 years to complete, on top of that you will loaded with more subjects.

However when you match it with the Singaporean culture, its a ultimate recipe of disaster. Singapore is famous for these 3 adjectives: Kiasu (Afraid to lose), Kiasi (Afraid to die), Kiabo (Afraid to be left out). To top it up, we Asians are an extremely afraid of losing face, or rather we like to gain face. Face is the metaphor for dignity and social standing. In short, we are super competitive and proud.

The result?

Express became the new normal. “Normal” stream became associated with being substandard. Parents became fixated with getting their kids into special stream or at least avoid getting into normal stream. The results and the school that the kids get into become a source of bragging rights or taboo. Can you imagine what the parents will do to the kid?

Home tuition, supplementary lessons, deprivation of playing times.

The result?

Stressed kids. Unhappy kids. Kids with no childhood. Kids who feel bad about themselves, not feeling good enough.

I spoke to my niece on her thoughts on PSLE, and she said: “I fear not being to able to live up to my parents’ expectations” and she also said: “I think parents should have more realistic expectations, I have a classmate who have been getting “Bs” in her subjects. She studies very very hard, but that is the best she could do. Still her parents wants her to go to the best school in Singapore.”

Through this interview, I asked myself what is the greatest fear that parents have, is it really just about preserving face?

I spoke to my brother and that is what he said:” I fear that my kids can’t survive in the future in light of the competitive landscape that is Singapore.”

“Survival”. But does studying well equates to survival? Does performing badly at school equate to doom?

This remains me of the story of Gillian Lynne. As a child, Gillian always fidgets about, she can’t focus her attention. She can’t keep still. According to her mum, Gillian “had problems with her studies” Her mum took her to see a doctor. After listening to the symptoms that the child exhibited, the doctor said. “Give me some time with Gillian”. After a while, he switched on the radio, and he told the mother, lets go out and talk. Gillian’s mum was anxious. “Is she alright?, Can she be cured?” The doctor smiled and said:” Take a look. He opened the door slightly. Lo and behold, Gillian was dancing graciously to the music! “She is not sick, she is a dancer.”

Gillian’s mother sent her to a dance school. She grew up to be a ballerina, dancer, actor, theatre director, television director and choreographer noted for her popular theatre choreography associated with the musical Cats and the current longest running show in Broadway history, The Phantom of the Opera!

The “sickness” has since been become known as “Attention Deficit Disorder” of ADD, assuming that the doctor had treated her of this “disease”. Do you think her talent might have been “cured” along the ADD.

Ladies and gentlemen, often we worry and try to cure the symptoms without looking at the root of the issue. Just as how Gillian’s mother worried about her daughter’s inability to study well, many parents and even students worry about whether they can do well for their studies. But the question is why are you studying? If the answer is: “Equipping oneself with knowledge to interpret the things that are going on around us.” Fabulous, by all means, study! But if the reason for studying is for bragging rights, is for survival. Maybe we are looking at the wrong things. We are born for a purpose, and the time we spent doing the things we are not good at , means that we are not doing the things that matters. Just like how Gillian would have struggled at conventional school and not expressing her gift as a dancer, if the kind doctor not make the right call, and the mother not making the right decision.

Next time when we have fear of whether you have a place in this world, and that you are lagging behind others in the race of life.

Ask yourself: “Are you expressing the gift that you are born with?” and “Are you even running the right race in the very first place?”

P.S You might want to look at this Youtube video where I got this magnificent story from

Your fellow human being:)

Shaun

www.livewithfear.com

Fear and Success

How many of you want success?

How many you are in pursuit of success?

In your pursuit of success, have you ever asked yourself the following questions?

Can I be successful?

What does it takes to be successful?

When will I ever be successful?

Do you? If you do, great! I have got good news for you. The good news is that we are not alone, many people doubt themselves in their pursuit of success.

The funny thing is that until the day you feel you are successful, you will never know the answer to the following questions.

After all, as Steve Jobs, said in his Stanford commencement speech, you can only connect the dots backwards but not forward.

In the meantime, we continue to work, continuing to work on the good things that will lead us to success. Until the day success comes, what do we do in the mean time? What do we do with the fear? I found the answer in a most unexpected of ways…….

During Valentine’s, I came across this story:

It was summer in 2005, India, Arun fell in love with the love of his life Candy. He doesn’t know why but he knew that the moment she spoke, she was THE ONE. After the game of courtship, they became steady. Everyday was a bliss until, one day Candy said to Arun. “Dear, my company asked me if I wanted to relocate to Singapore. There is job posting there. Do you think I should take it?”

Arun knew it has always been Candy’s dream to work overseas. Deep inside he wanted to scream:” No dear, no I don’t want you to go. Stay! Stay with me!” But the loving and selflessness side took over, he said: “Go dear, go pursue your dreams. I will be not far behind.”

As he kissed her goodbye at the airport, he said hello to job applications. Day after day, he would apply for jobs, but day after day no good news would come. He started having doubts. “What if I am never meant to have a job in Singapore? What if I am never meant to be with Candy?” Only the communications with Candy over Skype, and Whatsapp kept him sane and on track. After a while, he started asking for feedback from friends, or simply anyone on his job search approach, and refined accordingly. Whenever he got some any queries, he took that as positive feedback on his refined approach.

Day after day, he kept on sending the job applications, months after months, he would seek feedback and refine his approach.

He would look at his email every other hour with anticipation to see if there were any replies, only for his heart to sank when there was none.

His heart would thump “Budum, budum” whenever he receives a call, only for it to sink when it was a call from a credit card company sales man.

A year has past….still no job. Doubts continually assailed him. How would you feel if you were him? Dejected, disappointed?

Only the picture of him and Candy, that he has on the table kept him on track. Months, after months, he continued the process of sending application, ask for feedback, refine his approach, celebrate any respond he got, doing it all over again.

Its coming to an end to year 2011. He received a phone call: “Mr Arun. We received your application, we will like to meet you in Singapore.”

He blanked out for a while.

“Mr Arun?: The Hr Officer prodded.

Arun: “Yes, of course I can make it.”  

Finally, an interview!!!! He flew to Singapore went through the interviews. On Jan 12, he reported for work at the new office in Singpore, 2 years after he started applying for a job in Singapore, after 700 applications. SEVEN HUNDRED APPLICATIONS!!!

The lesson I learnt from this story is that: In our quest for success. we experience 2 fears.

 1. Are we worthy of success?

2. Are we doing the right thing?

Familiar?

For the first fear, its one on belief. The questions to ask are:

Do you believe that we are here on earth for a purpose?

Do you think that by fulfilling that purpose we are successful?

If the answers to both questions are yes, then YES we are Worthy!!!

The second fear is a valid one. Lets be realistic if we want to get to east, we will most likely not get there if we travel west.

Questioning the approach is only something we do during the planning stage, and during check points. Just like in a journey, we plan where we want to go, how we want to go, then we move off. To see if we are on track, we need to stop at check points and see where we are versus where we are going to be. If we are on track, great! If not, we have to rework our route. When we are on track, celebrate the fact that we have reached a milestone, rejoice! Even if we are not on track, take heart  as we could be in a much worse situation.

Finally, the one that ties it all up, the most important factor. On any journey, its important to have hope and desire to get to the end point, the end objective. Just as how Arun’s desire to be with Candy pushed him to overcome the self doubts. Hope and desire is the fuel that pushes us through   the obstacles both physical and mental in our quest for success.

My friends, in our quest for success, we often find ourselves assailed by fears and doubts about ourselves and our goals. While fear keeps us on the right track, during the check points it is ultimately hope that keeps us going. Ladies and gentlemen, lets celebrate the progress that we make in our lives and may you be successful.

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

www.livewithfear.com

Live Without Fear

Hi everyone,

It was in Jan 13 that I established the intention of creating a space for myself and others to talk about fear and learn to leverage fear.

I was searching through Google on what are the common things that people are writing on:

Live without fear, life without fear, fearless.

No fear, all guts, is that really possible?

Fear, is it the devil that everyone claims it to be?

Fear, is it shameful to have fear?

I hesitated, is this what I should write about?

Then I looked back at history and past events.

I remembered the titanic, the owners claimed that its a ship that even God can’t sink. Such audacity and fearlessness, meant that life boats were under-prepared. 2,224 people boarded the ship, 1,514 of them died.

I remembered world war 2, the allied nations did not believe that Germany the defeated could ever rise up. Such complacency and fearlessness, meant that Germany rose from the ashes and started the largest war that mankind has seen.

I remembered about my foray with the margin trading account, I did not believe that I would make massive losses. Such greed and fearlessness, meant that at the lowest point in time I had lost 95% of my cash holdings.

Fear isn’t so bad after all, had the key personnels listened to that little voice of caution that is fear, the tragedy or losses might not have happened after all.

Don’t ever feel shameful about having fear. It as natural as how night is to light. If hope is the accelerator that brings you closer to your goals, and your mission in life. Fear is the brakes that prevents you from crashing the car. Have hope but leverage on fear to get you to the destination safe and sound.

Ladies and gentlemen, listen to that little voice, ask what it is trying to tell you, and address its concerns, and may you achieve your goals safely.

Free feel to comment and share your thoughts, your fears and your hopes.

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)