Year end bits and pieces

2014 was one of the greatest years I have had in a long while. I have seen and learned so much. So here it goes …

1. Create pocket of stillness for yourself everyday. Alone time where you can gather your thoughts and “just be” is very important. It helps to clear your mind and let you focus on things that are important to you.

2. Read. Read everyday. Read anything that relates to your interests and expertise, but also read things that are relevant to what’s happening around the word, even if is outside the subjects/topics that you’d normally read. Warren Buffet reads 500 pages everyday and he is a busy man! That is quite a bit for most people, even for me, someone who spends around 2 hours a day reading, whether it be books or articles. The point of reading is to cultivate knowledge. And when you read like Warren Buffet, you get really knowledgeable. A lot of creative people, business owners read non-fictions and I do read a lot of those. These books give you clarity and also give you a treasure box full of information that you can apply to your daily life and they are also great conversation starters. However, I also believe is a good thing to read fictions and novels. Why? Because stories allow you to be someone else and see things through different perspectives.

“Literature is the greatest reality simulator – a machine that puts you through infinitely more situations than you can ever directly witness.” ~ Alan de Button

“A book is a little empathy machine. It puts you inside somebody else’s head. You see out of the world through somebody else’s eyes. It’s very hard to hate people of a certain kind when you’ve just read a book by one of those people.” ~Neil Gaiman, Interview on Create

3. Empathize, always. No one person goes through the same things as you do. We all perceive the world differently even when we are in the same situations. So don’t assume they are having a great day just because you are having one.

 4. The world doesn’t owe you anything. It was here first.

5. Have routines. I am still trying hard to schedule my days in better ways. The only routine that I have successfully added into my somewhat ‘chaotic’ life is my early breakfast time, where by I now wake up at 7:30am and spend an hour and a half having my breakfast and reading my daily dose of articles, newsfeeds and newsletters in peace and quiet. That’s my optimal time for absorbing and retaining information (Is quite shocking to me that I actually remember most of the things that I read every morning). From 9am – 10am, is the time I get ready for work which is also the time I listen to podcast. This one routine stuck with me and I have reaped great benefits from it. I am suddenly interesting when I see my friends because I have a wide range of things that I can talk about now. I am gaining so much I feel quite accomplished that I have developed such an awesome morning routine in the latter half of 2014!

6. Be unapologetic for who you are and have the courage to own up to your words and actions.

7. At some point in our lives, we all lived in a closet. Hard is hard. There is no harder or hardest. Don’t judge. I learned this from one of the greatest TED Talks I’ve came across this year.

8. We live in a world filled with corruptions and evil. Be mindful and be careful.

9. Sleep is very important. If you don’t get enough sleep, it can cause havoc to your body. There are so many articles on why getting enough sleep is crucial to us all. Here’s one I’ve read recently.

10. Eat Healthy. Live Healthy. Stay Healthy. Your older self will thank you later.

11. Little steps will add up to something big in your life. Taking that big leap can be overwhelming and may cause you to second guess yourself. Instead, take chances with little things. They will accumulate into something bigger, I promise.

12. Don’t just look. Observe. You will gain much more insight and knowledge on other people’s thoughts and mood if you pay attention to their body language.

13. Love is a choice (as per previous post).

14. Don’t just hear. Power Listen.

15. Have a curious mind and be inquisitive.

16. Don’t be afraid to share your work. I still struggle with this as I fear the judgements and criticisms. But I know I will never grow if I don’t share my work and get feedbacks. I can’t be a good judge of my own work. We all need other people to tell us their suggestions and opinions in order for us to build on our existing knowledge. You don’t have to agree with what others say to you, but it is still another perspective that you can ponder on. These titbits of information here and there might come in handy in your next project or blog post.

17. Try new things, especially things that scare the crap out of you. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. I always have trouble talking to strangers and mingling in social setting. I blend into the background and would always leave an event without meeting anyone on my own. I tried forcing myself to go to networking events but I ended up hating them and my self esteem suffered. Instead, I tried a different route. I started using “dating” apps and websites. I say “dating” because my intention in using these apps is not to find a partner but more so to meet interesting people and cultivate friendships. After the many ‘first dates’, I got good in talking to people who I barely know (the exchanges of messages of course helped before meeting these people) and now I am more comfortable in striking up conversations with random people in a coffee shop or the elevator.

One more day til my birthday and two more days til 2015. This post seems appropriate.



First Argument

Is always a bit of a pain when you get into an argument or disagreement with someone for the first time. You don’t know what to expect from that person when negative emotions are running wild. If you have fought with or argued with a friend, you’d at least know the type of response he/she would give you. You can speculate and also empathise better because you know how your friend reacts to confrontations. Is he/she strong-headed and won’t let the other person talk? Does he/she give you the silent treatment? Is he/she rational or does emotions overshadow all logical sense?

I recently had a slight disagreement with a friend. It was draining because we argued via whatsapp, and really, it is never a good idea to argue over text. You have no tone, no facial expressions and no context to feed off of. There can be, and were, so many misinterpretations and misunderstandings on how the messages were meant to be delivered. I had to ask him whether he was pissed off or upset because I couldn’t tell. For me, every message from him was so detached and cold. I couldn’t sense any feelings even though he said “I am upset because I have upset you.” All I thought was he couldn’t see why I was upset and that he was trying his hardest to defend his actions and viewed what I have brought up as ridiculous and silly. I am sure he felt the same, one way or another.

So to “patch things up”, we met up in person the next day and the moment we saw each other we knew it was stupid. We gave each other a genuine smile and sorted things out in 10 minutes.

Okay, so what did I learn?

This was the small stuff; and in any relationships, we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t let the little things blind you from what’s important and the big picture. Remember to talk with each other not talk past each other. When people are upset, they tend to only focus on themselves and try to give an avalanche list of reasons to justify why they are feeling a certain way as soon as possible as if it is a race. It is not a race. You are not going to lose out if you can’t spit out your reasons in the first 5 minutes. Relationships are not about win or lose. People also tend to shut down their ears and not listen to what the other person has to say. Their ego gets the best of them and nothing the other person say registers as being possible alternatives. Misunderstanding arises when the parties involved don’t know where the other person is coming from and they took it the wrong way. Chances are things were being left out because assumptions were made and we assume the other party would know what we meant. When trying to resolve conflicts, always come from a calm and honest place. Respect each other’s views and try to understand what is being said and the feelings underneath those statements. Maintain realistic expectations as you can’t control someone’s behaviours but you can control your responses.

Is not something easy to do, but is worth keeping these points in mind the next time you get into an argument with someone.