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5 Lessons To Learn From Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year or more commonly known as the Lunar New Year is a time of togetherness, it is a time of throwing out the old and welcoming the new, Chinese New Year at its core is quite similar to the Gregorian New Year as they both share the same spirit of starting a new but with a whole lot more fireworks and whole lot less of drunken partying. It is a yearly affair in which many Chinese people (this author included) look forward to, as we spend time with family over a tremendous amount of food and equally tremendous amounts of things being coated in red.

Image from partydelights.com

This year as we usher in the year of the Fire Rooster, we go through the motions of yet again following strict traditions in order to usher in good fortune and prevent bad things from happening. Coming from a family that values time together the most, my parents would –to this very day, still insist that we wake up at odd hours of the early morning to travel a couple hundreds of kilometers just to avoid the massive traffic jam in order to spend that extra time with family.

Throughout the many years of celebrating or should I say surviving this auspicious yearly event, I begin to reflect and have realized that there are many things that can be learnt from the many traditions and taboos still practiced today.

Below are five things I’ve learnt from years of successfully surviving the grueling marathon of cleaning a year’s worth of dust in a day, the test of agility and stamina by being part of the crew of people cooking enough food to feed the whole terracotta army, the test of strength and patience in answering uncomfortable questions courtesy of the many extended family members that I cannot begin to name, and the seemingly innocent house visiting and/or guests hosting events that never seem to end.

1.  WHEN IN TROUBLE : TAI CHI YOUR WAY OUT

Gambling, drinking, overeating and giving money away to big babies who do not deserve it has always been big no no in any Chinese household except for a select 15 days in that we like to call the New Year (Chinese). Annually on the Eve of Chinese New Year, Chinese families reunite in their households to usher in more luck and prosperity for the New Year, and this is when the lifting of the strict rules begins.

During this period of time, all rules that were stringently in place and behaviours that are usually frowned upon are allowed and sometimes even encouraged. To me this has been quite a curious phenomenon and from this I have observed that the ability to get away with something unfavourable can also replicated outside this 15 day period using the simple martial arts concept of Tai Chi.

Tai Chi is practiced worldwide for good health. It is the concept of pushing away the bad energy from ourselves and changing that energy into good energy and reverting it back to ourselves. This same concept I’ve found can be extrapolated and replicated to other situations outside of Chinese New Year.

When attempting to do something you know will not end very well for you, for example taking an extra cookie from the cookie jar, or maybe wanting to borrow an extra bit of money; it all boils down to pushing away the bad energy from whomever your targeting –by either distracting them or shifting their focus,

Image from diylol.com

making that energy positive again –by providing them with a bit of good news to get them into a good mood,

Image from heardcitizen.com

and then going in for the kill

2.  WHEN IN DOUBT: OBSERVE AND PLAY ALONG

Having a large extended family can make anyone feel dizzy after a while; this is especially the case during Chinese New Year when you have long distanced relatives who are supposed to be your grandmother’s second cousin’s daughter’s husband.

On top of having a long list of unidentified relatives, the list to the many traditions and taboos are equally as long if not longer. Both these situations leave many people in confusion and after a while you will realized that there will always be someone – a cousin, a sibling, a second cousin, who knows exactly what to do in those kind of situations. The best course of action is to then follow that person and play along with confidence almost as though you too are a connoisseur in all things Chinese New Year.

This concept can also be duplicated in other situations as well. Whenever you’ve encountered a roadblock and have absolutely no idea on how to get pass it, look out for people from your peers who might have the solution. I usually share my difficulties in passing with the people I meet; some people may have the answers I’ve been looking for and in the unlikely event that I find that

Image from memegenerator.net)

I'd at least get that person to suggest someone else to give me further clarification.

3.  DO THINGS IN MODERATION

After many years of stuffing my face and breaking the weighing scale after the 15 days are up, I’ve realized that when approaching the goodness of Chinese New Year too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. I’ve realized that whenever I’ve gone past my limit I usually say to myself “I’ve already gone past my limit anyway, what one or two more of these is going to change”. Sooner or later this one or two more becomes ten or twenty more and by that time I’ll be regretting my earlier decision of allowing myself to compromise on the little things.

Little things being overlooked will eventually lead to even bigger and bigger things.

Image from pinterest.com

The best way to ensure that you do not break deviate too far from your limit and goals is to do things in moderation. Doing things in moderation takes discipline and continuous effort. You would have to set a limit for yourself and learn when to say no thanks once you’re approaching that limit.

What I’d usually like to do when I realise that I’m nearing my limit especially when it comes to bad habits would be to distract myself with other things long enough for the desire to pass. About 90% of the time the desire to continue on with the bad habit will naturally just disappear.

4. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN GET OUT OF A NEGATIVE 'CRITICISM'

Leading up to the festive season a friend of mine posted a very interesting question. She wondered why during the festive season our relatives only asks us really uncomfortable questions. Questions like ‘Are you getting married soon?’, ‘Are you earning a high salary yet?’ and sometimes even the painful ‘You look like you’ve put on more weight this year’ but nobody ever asks you whether you are happy.

And that did get me thinking, why don’t they ever ask you whether you are happy? Is it because the society in which we exists in only functions to make us feel like we’ll never be good enough? Or is it connected to an underlining desire to see us prosper?

Image from pinterest.com

I choose to believe in the later, I choose to believe that my relatives me ask these uncomfortable questions because they associate wealth, appearance and having a stable family as things that will naturally make you a happier and better functioning part of society.

This choice to find a positive action you can take from a mean critic can get you far in life. Instead of being affected by the negativity it's best that you bounce back and try to find action steps to better improve yourself (though this needs to be done after thorough reflection and taking those criticisms you've received with a pinch of salt.)

5.  JUST SMILE AND WAVE

Speaking of intent and dealing with relatives who seem to shoot questions at you faster than a machine gun, the best way of dissuading them of their pursuit is to simply smile and wave. Despite being uncomfortable just smile and wave, despite feeling like sarcastically retorting to their questions just keep smiling and waving, this method works wonders in helping you remain in a happy mood

Image from pinterest.com

Your relatives will tire of asking you questions eventually and when it is all said and done, you’d probably be more likely to get away with even more things next year when you see them again (case in point number 1 above).

In following the fashion of this article, I will now tell you how smiling and waving can applied to other aspects of life. Smiling and waving can distract you long enough to get over the feelings of negativity. If you have a bad habit in which you wish to break start replacing that bad habit with a good habit, and I understand good habits are difficult to cultivate. A trick I used here is to smile whilst attempting to cultivate this good habit and sooner or later I believed that this good habit was something I looked forward to doing.

I hope you’ve found this article useful, write to me and tell me more about what you think about surviving Chinese New Year and maybe we could even exchange ideas on how to survive it better next year.

Starting The Year Right

As we wake up for work (or classes) today on the third day of the New Year, most of you are probably already contemplating breaking that good streak of going to the gym every morning.

New year’s is a magical thing, it gives many people –especially people who’ve always been putting off doing important things, the sudden rush of motivation to want to do/be better and conquer the mountains in their life, however this rush of motivation can only last for so long and when this motivation eventually fades off, we go back to doing things we’ve always been doing.

We sometimes think that maybe we’re just not meant to better ourselves, or think that we don’t have enough will power to carry through with what we’ve set out to do because the tasks is probably impossible. If you’re thinking this you’re probably right. Eventually you will give up mid-way and tell yourself that next year it will be different.

Instead of beating yourself up about not being able to sustain your motivation, let’s start this year a little differently. At this point of the year while you’re still on that motivation high, it’s time we take a pause, sit down and take a good look at how we’re going to go about sustaining this motivation and maybe, just maybe this year will finally be the year we achieve that same New Year’s resolution that we’ve had since 2012.

Here are a few ways in which you can start your year right in order to sustain that motivation to make this year your best year yet

STOP RELYING ON YOUR RESOLUTION

Some people may suggest that to achieve your goal you would need to have a big vision board and have it constantly in your face for you to sustain your drive to want to succeed but as mentioned above motivation can only get you so far, what really makes difference is your active choice to want to do something about achieving your goals.

The easiest way to do this is to break down what are the different components of your resolution and set up weekly or monthly milestones that you need to unlock. This reprograms your brain into thinking it as more of a game or a challenge that you can unlock instead of an arduous task that you have to complete at the expense of your own comfort.

THINK OF THE BENEFITS

Working towards bettering different areas of our lives is bound to be difficult but it doesn’t have to be. Things like leading a healthier lifestyle or saving more (or starting to save) money are probably difficult things to start doing.

Most of the time we are probably thinking

We need to start thinking of immediate benefits we can derive from choosing to say exercise or put away money. It may be slightly more of a hassle but if you want to keep that motivation we need to see for ourselves the immediate benefits we can derive from actively taking the decision towards bettering ourselves.

FINDING MORE ENJOYABLE WAYS OF GETTING THERE

For example, I find it absolutely difficult to go to the gym and almost every time for the past year I have been choosing to not go because of ‘reasons’. This year I am committed, I have told myself that for every five days I go to the gym I’ll get to indulge in eating ice cream and that will be my motivating factor to get me going.

You are far more likely to complete something you actually enjoy than to complete something in which you have to drag yourself to. Similar to doing things that you don’t like you are far more likely to do it if you find more creative ways to make it more fun. Distract yourself from the things you don’t want to do with something else more appealing.

JUST KEEP GOING

Whenever you feel like you’ve failed, or you’ve derailed from your original plan in achieving your resolutions this year don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes we get ourselves into this state where we feel that we’ve utterly failed.

Tell yourself It’s alright! We’re all still human after all, all we have to do is just keep going.

Image from memegenerator.com

What are your new year's resolutions that you've been trying to complete since forever? Comment below and let me know!

rise above the challenges

Conquering Your Fear

Fear, we all know it. It’s like that distant aunt you have but don’t really like, and just like your aunt fear will only ever appear just when you’re about to do something really important. During that crucial period of time she creeps up and shuts you down.

The original purpose of fear in humans just as it is with animals has always been about surviving. Built into our system, this fight or flight mode is automatically switched on when we sense danger. When we experience fear, our hearts starts racing, our muscles tense up and we automatically feel like running away.

As time passes and as we have learnt to live in safer places, places where we no longer have to worry about a possible bear attack or a tiger jumping at us as we walk on the street;

Stand out from your fear

Image from pinterest.com

We as human beings begin to evolve and this evolution has also altered the way we fear. We have progressed as a species to a point where we no longer find the need to be actively on the lookout in order to survive another day.

We have become specialized beings that have outsourced our basic needs –to survive, to a different authority and instead now concentrate our efforts on being well liked, accumulating wealth and becoming a functioning member of society. With this specialization, our fear has become more acute and is heightened to these things we deem necessary to survive in our society.

Although the things we fear have evolved to cater and adapt to our surroundings however the way we react to fear has remained the same. Whenever we face things that makes us afraid; things like spiders, speaking in front of large audiences or raising an issue with our bosses, our bodies automatically goes into that fight or flight mode, our minds still assume that the best course of action is to run instead of standing our ground and ‘fighting’ for what we believe in.

I'm not in denial

Image by quotesgram.com

The fighting part of this mode needs to be activated; we will continue to be paralysed when we encounter things that make us afraid unless we actively turn the ‘fight’ switch on. We can no longer be in denial or be selective about the reality we want to accept. Life is worth living and if we continue to let our fears dictate how we live our lives, we will find it extremely difficult to become success, I didn’t say impossible I just say that it will be extremely difficult.

If you are like me and are finding it difficult to get over these unfathomable fears by taking it head on, if you need a less direct and are looking for subtler way to ease out of your fears here are 3 simple steps you can take every time you come in contact with your fears.

1. Familiarize Yourself

Sometimes in life, it can very much be like a very difficult level on a video game and

Image from gamasutra.com

just like that Super Mario in the picture, both you and I will feel like there are many threats all around us just waiting for us to slip up.

For us to be able to get to the next level we need to get over these obstacles and we cannot have fear in our way. We can try pretending that the fear isn’t there but that will not help us get very far. We need to instead find out why we have this fear to begin with.

The fear we feel is usually based on a very real experience we have encountered, but if you are anything like me you have not we have absolutely no idea what that experience was to have triggered such a response. It could have been something you’ve encountered as a child and did not understand, it could be something you were brought up to fear or it could also be that the last time when you were younger, you tried to faced this ‘fear’ head on and it ended badly for you thus setting a precedence in your mind to always save yourself when encountering this same encounter.

Image from picturemic.com

Whatever the reason may be, it is still good for you to find the root cause of the problem. Unfamiliarity breeds fear, but if we know exactly what we are dealing with then it would be simpler to take one step towards every time we encounter it. We need to have a game plan on knowing this fear better and taking it down.

I have had the fear of speaking with my superiors and voicing my opinions for the longest time. Back when I was interning, the fear was very over whelming that I found it absolutely difficult to ask for help or more clarification when carrying out a task. I would also not talk to my boss unless I was spoken to and when I was spoken to I usually said yes or alright and tried to get out of the conversation as quickly as I could.

After skirting around my boss and always asking my colleagues when I needed more help, I’ve realized it would take me twice as long to get a job done as opposed to simply asking my supervisor for more help. Acknowledging that I have a problem, I then began to familiarize myself with it, uncovering the reason to me being so afraid of speaking out. Through a series of questions and a whole lot of reflecting I’ve come to realise that I did not like the feeling of being shot down and being made to feel small.

2. Just wait five seconds

Realising that I had this problem and understanding what got me into the state of panic, I’ve come to realise that I needed to convince myself that this fear is not as big as I initially thought it up to be. There was this one quote from a Hindi movie I once (twice, maybe a hundredth times) watched called the 3 idiots that really inspired me. The quote states that our hearts are easily shaken, if we are to forever follow what it says we’ll never do anything worth doing. To overcome this we would have to trick our heart by saying ‘All izz well’.

Taking five seconds to just be still, to take a deep breath and just waiting whilst saying ‘All izz well’ over and over again has greatly helped me in overcoming my fears. After that five seconds of convincing myself that all is well, my body –that was initially running on all kinds of frenzy, realized that there is nothing to fear, that nothing has happened yet, and we are probably doing just fine.

Towards the end of my internship, every time I needed to talk to my then supervisor –who would shoot down my ideas on a good day and look at me like I was stupid on bad ones, I would take a deep breath and just wait five seconds as I chant ‘all is well’.

I’ve found that my fast beating heart would calm down and I would also actually believe that everything was going to be okay. And although I still got shot down after presenting my ideas to my supervisor or got looked at like I was stupid when asking important questions that needed me to get the job done, I was better able to pick myself up, take in the good things he had said and pretended that I had only imagined the condescending demeanor.

3 idiots movie screen capture

Image from nairaland.com

3. Join a support group

Being able to overcome a part of your fear no matter how small is a big deal, thus you would need to celebrate it to ensure that you send a message to yourself to continuous look for new ways to better yourself. But what’s the point of celebrating if there is no one to share it with.

You would need someone to support you, to help encourage you and ensure that you continue to always flip on the fight switch whenever you encounter an unreasonable fear.

Neither on nor off

Image from electrical.about.com

You can share your challenges and triumphs with either one or more people who share the same fear as you or people who can identify with what you are going through. This will ignite the fire within to want to take the next step.

I’ll have to admit I wouldn’t have been able to voice out my opinion if I didn’t have people who had my back, people who understood what I was going through and people who were there to console me as I slowly licked my wounds.

If you could identify with being afraid and overcoming your fear, or are still on your way thriving towards become the superstar that you’re destined to be, comment below and let me know what you think!

Be an effective communicator

5 Ways To Communicate Effectively

It’s Not What You Say That Matters Most

Image from longtermheath

Communication in its simplest form involves the act of transferring information from one place to another. It is the interaction between two or more people being actively engaged on a certain idea or message that results in a desirable action. In more simpler terms, successful communication happens when both parties are on the same page.

There are many parts that make up effective communication and only about 10% of it is made up of words, be it online or in real life. In the world today, we are constantly flooded by millions of different messages every day, all vying for a piece of our attention. This constant need to process things then causes us to only focus on things that we find most relevant to us to a point where we even start picking up on things that wasn’t there in the first place.

communication

Image from lonelyplanet.com

Instead of concentrating on the words that are being presented to us, we tend to get distracted by so many different other things and although it is unfair to discredit the message just because we feel it doesn’t seem to relate to us; even the best of us simply do not have the time and energy to want to break down string of sentences together to decipher its true meaning.

Most experts say that it is not what you say, but how you say it that matters most. Below are five elements that we can try the next time we share our ideas to another person.

1. Speak With Conviction

What makes people most engaging is their ability to draw us into their world, to open our eyes to things we have never seen before, and to shed new light on certain subjects that do not usually catch our eye.

Keeping attention

Image from pinterest.com

There is this sparkle in their eyes and a fire that burns within their souls, that enthralls us almost like a moth to a flame and that is because we are naturally attracted to people who have a sense of purpose that guides them. Speaking with conviction replicates that process of having a passion.

To be able to speak with conviction we need to first be convinced of the idea we are trying to sell. This can be mastered through thorough reading of the subject and rehearsing your speech. The ability to speak with conviction can be duplicated for any situation, be it to pitch an idea to investors or to convince people to buy something. People usually buy into an idea if they are convinced of the general notion.

2.  Tell A Story

The best way people react to any information is when it is told through stories. Research has shown that stories does wonders in keeping people engaged. Stories can also help people retain information more accurately and effectively.

In any good story there needs to be a beginning, a middle and a twist. In order for us to really capture our audiences and have their undivided attention there needs to be some kind of information that challenges their preconceived notion of the world, to challenge what they already understand, to make them think and to decide whether or not to buy into what we are saying.

What most great speakers or story tellers do is to start out with a contradictory statement, something out of the norm and yet at the same time totally plausible. Take for example Malcolm Gladwell, he says that the underdogs win about 80% of the time (this challenges our preconceived notion of the norm), as we follow him on his story we get to the middle where he then tell us about people who have known to be underdogs and have won time and time again lastly he reveals to us a twist. He tells us that these underdogs have something special about them and we too can be like them at a price if we are willing to pay it.

So the next time you feel like you’re losing your audience try to recapture their attention with a story.

3.  Be Direct and Genuine

When trying to get people to go along with our ideas, when trying to get people to join us on a project and on events, and even when trying to sell people something we need to understand that there is a fine line between setting manageable expectations and over selling.

Many a time relationships fail –be it personal or in business because there is a large gap between what was promised and what was actually delivered. In communicating what we can deliver, the best route to take in most instances is to be as genuine and direct as possible, to not stretch the truth too much and to stick to our integrity.

Because let’s face it we already do encounter a whole lot of people who promise the stars and can only deliver on peanuts, it would do well to not be part of that group of people whose always have to take a foot out of their mouths.

4. Watch The Body Language

awkward situation

Image from pinterest.com

When meeting face to face with anyone (especially the first time), it is best to put our best foot forward every time all the time. People are more likely to pick up on our body language then they are to concentrate on what we are presenting to them. Therefore whenever we are talking to someone it is best to keep an open stance. Be welcoming in our posture and seating position. This can be easily achieved through smiling, maintaining eye contact and the occasional head nodding.

Quick Tip: Yawning, staring off into space or crossing our arms are big distractions so do try to avoid them

On top of that we could also try mirroring the person we are talking to, in order to make the other person feel more comfortable in our presence. Mirroring is the behaviour in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family. Have you ever realized how you act differently around different groups of friends, that’s mirroring happening on a subconscious level.

When we actively try to subtly mirror another person (key word here being subtly) we also simulate that feeling of closeness, this can condition the other person to unknowingly like us in return.

5. Value People’s Opinion

Being an effective communicator also includes the ability to be a good listener. It is no secret that communication usually fails because either one or both parties are only focused on what they have to say instead of what is being said. For the effective transfer of information, there needs to be a proper understanding and good grasp of what is being processed by the other party.

It is no longer enough that we silently listen to the other party to show that we are present in the conversation. From time to time, we could ask probing questions for the other party to elaborate further or ask the other party to repeat their points through paraphrasing what they said. This shows the other party that we are indeed processing what they are saying and in return the person is more likely to also listen to what we have to say.

How To Get People To Like You

Have you ever wondered how some people are able to command the attention of a large crowd of people? Have you ever wondered how some people are always able to get other people to go along to all their nefarious plans despite it being absolutely ludicrous? The answer to these questions isn’t in the way someone looks but in the way how someone carries themselves and in the way how that person appeals to other people.

Being likeable at its core is about the ability for people to invoke feelings of pleasantness and relatability within another person towards themselves.

( Image taken from quotesvalley.com)

So the question you should be asking yourself is:

How then am I able to invoke feelings of pleasantness
towards myself from other people?

Here are three ways to increase the chances of getting people to like you:

1. Make good first impressions

You only get one chance to make a good first impression so make it count. Based on a study conducted by researchers in the University of British Columbia Toronto, the first impressions you make are impressions that will last a long time if not forever. This then affects the way relationships are built and how people feel about you and react to things you do.

In order to get first impressions down, you need to be courteous and nice to everyone you meet. However we understand that takes a lot of effort - especially after I myself have gone through something not so pleasant. A simple trick to make trying to be nice for the majority of time more feasible would be to try to start the day on a good note.

As soon as you wake up, look yourself in the mirror and force yourself to smile. This helps as the human brain is pre-programmed through many years of evolution to adapt itself to the motions of our bodies to ensure our survival.

(Image from exchangewire.com)

Therefore to ensure your social survival you too must use the programming that you’ve born with to your advantage. So start the day with a smile.

In Power Up Your Success video course (which you can access below), Michael Teoh, director of Thriving Talents talks about how changing your physiology will attract people to you. 

LEARN THE RIGHT WAY TO IMPRESS YOUR BOSS (OR ANYONE IN PARTICULAR) WITHOUT SUCKING UP

Watch this 5 Part FREE video course on how to ATTRACT and INFLUENCE anyone in business including managers, co-workers, peers, staff and clients in 5 SIMPLE STEPS.

2. Reduce Cognitive Strain

According to Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winner in economics (yes economics), the brain is a very peculiar thing because for such a complex organ it is quite lazy. Our brains will usually choose the easiest option it can in responding to certain stimulus and more often than not when we are faced with something or someone who is in opposition to our view of the world, our brains will automatically respond with resistance.

In getting people to like you, you need to reduce resistance. But before you can do this you need to know what they are opposed to. Observe the person whom you’re speaking or interacting with. Ask questions about them and listen to their story, pick up cues on what they believe to be true and get a good gauge of what their world looks like. If you know them by name, always remember to use it in your conversations. People are known to be vain, we love the feeling of being recognized or remembered.

3. Having Integrity

Believing in something you hold dear and acting with honesty can also add to your likeability as most people react well to people who are sincere and passionate.

(Image from www.pa-knowledge.org)

It is best to have a firm believe in something and stick to it. There is a fine line between being polite and being someone with no opinions of their own. Be a human being with a mind not with a puppet that bends to the wind, because after some time even the puppet master gets tired playing with the strings.

Having a real character goes a long way. Sometimes, we tend to go overboard that it feels fake. And people can easily recognize it if you are not being genuine. One simple tip that Michael teaches is to try to be confident but respectful. For example, when you're introduced, step toward a person and bend slightly forward , in a gesture of a bow is a gesture of respect.

Another example would be to make steady eye contact with the person you are talking. This does not mean that you have to stare. It is fine to look away every now and then but generally, you should be facing the person. Small gestures like these will take you a long way toward making people think more highly of you. 

Achieving Your Peak Potential

Many times after failing to achieve a goal we have set out to do, we are often guilty of saying to ourselves: ‘If only we had more money, we could have done more to achieve our goal’, 

OR

We try and console ourselves by saying ‘At the time I simply did not have the time and/or energy to actually follow through with my tasks to see it through to fruition’.

It is only human to shift the blame onto an external force –that is beyond our control when things go awry, to say that we did not have the sufficient amount of resources to complete a task, but for us to really succeed and be the best at what we do we have to keep in mind that that the best achievers are not the ones who has the most resources but the ones that is most resourceful.

shoes-made-of-bottles

(Image from instrutables.com)

Being resourceful is defined as the ability and creativity to cope with difficulties.

There will always be a time where we will face difficulties in some form or another but what really sets us apart is the mind-set we actively choose to be at our optimal.

To reach our most ‘resourceful state’ when approaching our goals.

To maximize our productivity and personal-effectiveness as well as to have a proper tool of measurement to track growth and improvement, that is what will get us to where we want to be.

We understand that the road to always actively choosing to be at your optimal will be difficult and therefore here are a few tips you can use to achieve your peak performance level:

1. Try zooming in and out of the situation

When approaching a problem there is a high tendency for us to be sucked into the problem, and the further we dig into the problem the more we feel like we are getting nowhere with the problem.

digging-hole

(Image from http://www.tsheringtobgay.com)

The norm following such a predicament would then be for us to throw our hands up in the air and say that we simply do not have enough resources or knowledge to be able to carry out the plan.

The next time this happens, a better way for us to deal with this situation is to instead start zooming out from the situation.

Stop digging ourselves in too deep and try looking at the problem from a different view, gain insights from the people around us, people who aren’t involved in the predicament.

This can help us better understand the situation and enable us to find new ways of solving the issue.

2. Burning your boats

burning-boat

(Image from nomeathlete.com)

In the book The Art of War by Sun Tzu, one of his most famous strategies in winning any war would be to burn your boats and bridges once you are in enemy territory.

He says we need to make it clear to everybody that there is no turning back.

Similar to his tactic, in order for us to reach our ultimate state of resourcefulness we need to believe it in our hearts and recite it in our minds that there is no turning back once we have started our journey towards our goals.

We need to also make it clear to the people around us that we will be achieving our goal in the predetermined amount of time.

We should tell our closest friends and families about our new goal and how we are going to achieve them, leaving us without a chance to back out.

3. Pluck up the courage to ask for things

More often than not we are held back by our inhibitions, by the thought that we are most likely to receive a negative response to our questions and therefore we shy away from asking for important resources or information.

In order for us to reach our peak performance, we need the necessary information and resources to enable the pursuit of certain activities.

What we are asking for may seem outrageous, it may seem out of the norm to ask, but if it is something that we need in order to get the job done then there is no two way around it.

Asking is the most straightforward and effective way in getting the things we need.

4. Master the art of  getting information

In the time of high speed internet and even greater bandwidth, information is easily attainable with a push of the button.

With the innovation of the web, it is now easier than ever for us to gain a multitude of information if we only know how to look.

Here is an info-graphic to help you research effectively using Google Search Box.

infographic-useful-google-search-tips

(Image from achieve virtual)

5. Take immediate action

Just like most things, after taking that initial step towards our goal, after breaking that initial inertia present within our lives, there needs to be enough continuous energy to keep the momentum going and the best way for us to keep this momentum going would be to take immediate action.

We need to strike the iron whilst it is still hot and ride the wave of solving a problem.

As soon as the idea is initiated towards solving a certain problem, we need to try and test out the possible solutions in order for us to grow and learn and find our best ways for us to continuously perform our highest.

Living Life With Purpose

In the world that we live in today, we see the people around us on an endless cycle of rushing through their lives; walking down the streets, doing the same nine to five jobs, and going through the same path in life.

Seeing this we too decide that we should always be taking the safe route, always doing what was the norm, and sticking to the same old things. 

Running through life just going through the motions never really feeling happy and yet never really feeling sad, convincing ourselves that this is how life is supposed to be.

unhappy-staring-out-the-window
unhappy-driving

Image from pintrest.com

unhappy-working

But then every once in a while we see other people, a select few of other people who have a fire in their eyes, who despite working long crazy hours seem to perfectly happy with what they are doing. 

When we see those people, something within us begins to stir; something within us tells us that is what happiness looks like.

Here are four steps that can guide us in our pursuit towards finding our purpose, towards being empowered by our choices and towards working hard to attain that happiness we see in others.

1.  Trade things you do well for things you do best

For those of us who’ve always played it safe, it is time to take a chance and believe in ourselves, it is time to believe that with enough hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Great people who have made an impact in this world, never settled at doing something that other people told them to do.

What great people like Barrack Obama, Mark Zuckenberg and Oprah Winfrey did was trade what they were good at for something they knew they were the best at when they discovered their talents.

2. Try The Things That Makes You Scared

For those of us who are afraid of public speaking, afraid of putting our artwork out there, Afraid of pursuing something that is not in the trend; the time is not for us to leave those fears that are holding us back behind and be free to explore and try new things.

Unless we let go of our inhibitions we will never be able to venture out of our comfort zone. This is because:

life-begins-at-the-end-of-your-comfort-zone

3. Stay Focused To Take on New Challenges

It may be daunting to go through so many hurdles and challenges when walking down the path of passion but if we keep at it and stay focused, the challenges that is in our way too will pass.

No one is a master on their first try; people like Bruce Lee, Serena Williams and Usain bolt became masters in their field because they have put in thousands upon thousands of hours perfecting their skill to get to where they are.

These masters had to go through countless number of challenges in order to be molded into the person they are today.

4. You’re Never Too Young or Old To Start

Bill Gates found computers at the age of 11 and the rest was History, Warren Buffet tried his hand in the business industry at 7 and is now the most successful investor in the world, Reid Hoffman founded Linkedin close to 40 years old and turned his online platform into a multi-million company.

Sometimes in life, we may think to ourselves ‘I haven’t accumulated enough knowledge or enough experiences for me to venture into this thing that is completely unknown’.

We need to change this mindset, to understand that at any point in our lives should we encounter something that gives us a thrill like no other, something gives us this energy to work tirelessly then we should focus our energy and resources into perfecting the skill and turning our talents into something lucrative.

Feeling like life should be lived with purpose? Let us in on your thoughts and tell us what you think in the comment section below. 

You could also say hi and email us at whatsup@thrivingtalents,com.

Sending you love from across the screen. 

1

The Meaning of Being Thankful

We are constantly being bombarded by images of luxurious cars, millionaires living in mansions and glossy images of models in expensive clothing in the media we consume every day; conditioning the way we think about ourselves and the world around us.

In a world where materialistic gains has played such a prevalent role in shaping what we consider important and shaping what we consider being successful looks like,

Giving Winston Churchill Quote

(Image from quotesvalley.com)

Can being grateful as well as selflessly giving –not only your time and effort into helping someone else but also your respect and love to others, ever be considered equally as if not more important than materialistic rewards?

The answer to this question was put quite aptly by Dr John. F. Demartini (best-selling author) in his book From stress to success in Just 31 Days

He says that gratitude is the creator of miracles. because gratitude can always be felt by those around us.

He says that gratitude is the secret to success and that gratitude can always be felt by those around us.

Gratitude exudes a positive energy that can be felt, the pleasant hum of serenity that all is well within the world no matter how stormy the seas.

If we took the time to observe those who are grateful –just like Inc.com writer Geoffrey James, we too will discover that people who are grateful are constantly aware of what's wonderful in their life.

They enjoy the fruits of their successes, and will continue to seek out more success.

And when things don't go as planned, people who are grateful are better able to put failure and challenges they face into perspective.

There are even psychological and physical benefits to being grateful.

By being grateful we are able to sleep better at night, be more likely to exercise and even able to remove toxic emotions that drag us down.

Here are a few steps that we can actively take towards becoming more grateful:

1. Say Thank You More Often

thank you in different languages

The easiest and possibly the best way to show someone else that we truly appreciate them and all that they have done for us would be to offer them our most sincere Thank You.

Thank you goes a long way in bridging that gap between people. It is all most like a form of transference of happiness. In some languages, the word thank you also means you're welcome and excuse me.

For the majority of us, we often fail to thank another person because we either feel that it is their responsibility as our family member and friends to help us or that we have purchased their services.

Being grateful and appreciative of another person’s contribution shouldn’t be based on the condition in which the help was rendered but rather the feeling of gratefulness present within our hearts.

Just saying a simple "Thank You" has brought about countless blessing to my life from receiving helpful tips to free meals and even sometimes recovering a lost item..

After conducting an interview for our Talentpodz segment, we came across a quaint little Traditional Thai Restaurant. It had a very vintage feel and the servers were being very hospitable. 

After finishing our meal, to communicate our gratitude for the food we decided to repeatedly say 'Kapunka' (Thank You in Thai). We were in such a good mood after the food that we actually left the shop without realising we forgot to take our microphone

Up to almost a week later, whilst preparing for our next interview only did we realise that we were missing our microphone. In a frenzy Julian searched every where for it before coming to the conclusion that we may have left it in the shop.

Gratitude brings fruit

Julian retrieving the microphone from a Thai restaurant

Our miracle came when we contacted the Thai shop and the lady remembered us. She told us that she had kept the microphone safe whilst waiting for us to recover it.

From this experience I've realised that being appreciated is one of those things that really motivates us as human beings, both at work and in life. It validates the things we do and makes us happier people.

As we try to become a more grateful person, it is crucial that we appreciate the people who have contributed to our well being or have helped make our lives better.

Say 'Thank You' to the next 10 people you meet and tell us how that made you feel

2. Give the People You Love a Hug

cute cats hug

(Image from graduateschool.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk)

Another great way for us to show someone else especially the ones we love that we are truly grateful and appreciative would be to give them a hug.

A hug does wonders towards strengthening our relationship as well as making another person feel truly loved and appreciated.

​Research have shown that by hugging someone you're able to grow closer to the person and have a sense of comfort with the person.

It helps in building relationships, mending rifts and even making someone like you better.

However, I'd like to advise that you proceed with caution. Hug when appropriate because consent is always important.

Give your spouse, siblings or parents a big hug the next time you see them

3. Do a Random Act of Kindness

To those of us who would like to go above and beyond and feel that being grateful should also be about helping the community, that you can start with doing random act for people around you.

Start helping out around the house, or help take care of your neighbour's pet. These are a few ways you can start.

As you get used to helping the people around you, you can also expand your reach by helping strangers around you. But just like hugging people, I'd advise you to proceed with caution. Below are a few suggestions of things you can do.

  • Pay it forward when you buy coffee in the morning.
  • Sign up as a volunteer at your local homeless shelter
  • Write a positive note to a co-worker

For ideas on Random Acts of Kindness, click here.

4. End Everyday on A High Note 

Lastly, before you go to bed, instead of scrolling through social media or making preparations for work the next day; trade those activities with either Thanking God or simply reflecting on the day you have had. 

Note down the things that are grateful for and feel at peace with yourself. 

This will enable you to end the day on a good note and to condition your mind for a better day tomorrow.

We strongly believe that having daily gratitude is so essential that we included it as part of the Thriving Goals Journal.

In the Thriving Goals Journal, one of the daily activities involves reflecting and listing 3 items to the Gratitude list. 

There seems to be something magical at work when you start listing down items in your Gratitude list.

Don't believe me? Try it for yourself and see.

If you want to set and accomplish your #1 goal in 90 days, check out the Thriving Goals Journal here.

  • Be grateful for the family who has continuously been there to support us,
  • Be grateful for the friends who have always had our backs
  • Be grateful that tomorrow will be another day for us to do great.
  • Be grateful for making it through the day

Why You Have Been Doing New Year’s Resolution Wrong All These Years

Every time the clock strikes midnight on the 31st of December, many people jump for joy as they feel a rush of excitement run through their bodies because only during this time of the year does it hold such promise for a fresh new start.

The feeling that no matter what happened in the past year we can now make amends, renew our determination and prepare ourselves for a brand new year.

Filled with this sense of purpose many people tend to sit down by themselves or with friends and family on New Year’s Day to write out resolutions that will ultimately be a guide for the rest of the months to follow.

However, the reality is that 80% of these resolutions tend to fail and each year time and time again we optimistically rewrite the same resolution that we have failed to accomplish the year before.

(Image from 9gag.com)

After being in an endless cycle of renewing the same resolutions each year we find ourselves asking this question; are we as individuals simply incapable to sticking to our resolutions?

If that is the case then why then do we stubbornly make the same ones each year?

We as individuals are very capable at achieving things that we have put our minds to and that is a fact, but our minds and to a greater extend our will power will only allow ourselves to focus on small bite sized pieces of information at a time.

How to achieve your goals this New Year? Here are 3 simple tips you can take:

1. Break down your tasks​

This year instead of having a long vague list of resolutions we want to keep, we should instead try to have a resolution for every quarter of the year to better break down a large task into smaller bite sized pieces to focus better.

Weight loss

(Image from makeusof.com)

For example if the main resolution is to lose weight simply writing down losing weight will not cut it anymore.

This year we shall try to go jogging one kilometer every morning at 6am for the first quarter then slowly increasing it to two kilometers then four then five.

By breaking down one large task this way, it helps our brains process it better thus being able to stick to it a whole lot easier.

We like to use what we call an Action List (an activity extracted from Thriving Goals Journal) and found it to be really effective in planning out steps to achieve a certain goal.

10 Steps to use an Action List


1. Brainstorm for ways to achieve each goal as well as what it takes to achieve each goal. List each and every step down on a piece of paper, no matter how big or small they are. Make sure your list is thorough. We call this a Brain Dump Session.

2. Circle any item that must be addressed this week

3. Put a star on any item(s) that must be done today

4. Everything else that does not fall into the “Done Today" category will fall into the “Soon” category.

5. Write your Goal at the top of the Action List page.

6. Write down the Week that you are beginning your goal.

7. Write down the starred and circled items into the Action List.

8. Keep your action list close with you all the time. Make sure it is somewhere convenient. Remember to check your list several times in a day.

9. Continue to add to your list. Add two small steps every day that move you towards achieving each of your goals.

10. At the end of the day, tick off items you have completed.

Download ACTION LIST Worksheet

Download the same weekly Action List Worksheet that we use to help us achieve our goals

Action list template

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2. Get an accountability partner

Other than breaking down our resolutions, another thing that we should try would be to get an accountability partner to hold us accountable for our progress and perseverance to sticking to this resolution.

We shouldn’t just stop at telling our accountability partner what we have accomplished but make our accountability partner a part of the process in getting to our goals.

This makes us feel a heightened sense of responsibility thus motivating us higher to want to achieve that resolution.

An example would be that if our resolution is to go jogging every morning at 6am, we make our accountability partner also go jogging at 6am at the pre-determined place.

Knowing that we would have to get up earlier to make the appointment or our friend would be left to jog alone would help give us that extra push in getting out of bed and going for that jog every morning.

3. Keep an Achievement Journal

Lastly, keep an achievement journal. Record down not only the progress we’ve made each day but also the days where we’ve failed to keep to our resolution as a reminder to ourselves to keep going and as a good way to reflect.

This gives us an extra boost and rush of excitement when we see how far we’ve come since we first started and if we haven’t achieved as much as we would have liked then it gives us that extra motivation to want to get back onto the right track.

At Thriving Talents, each member uses the Thriving Goals Journal to help us achieve our #1 goal of the quarter. 

It incorporates all the elements mentioned in this article to help you focus on that one goal.

If you are interested to find out more about the Thriving Goals Journal, check it out here.

Download ACTION LIST Worksheet

Download the same weekly Action List Worksheet that we use to help us achieve our goals

Action list template

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