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How to Say No

Don't you just hate to use the 'N' word? You want to say no but it's difficult. Difficult because you believe there's a negative consequence in saying no. You fear that it may back-fire on you in future, you fear that they may react negatively or perceive you in a negative light; in the end, you just prefer to say yes than to worry about any of the above.

There are several common reasons on the surface that could explain why you find it hard to say 'No'.

#1 You feel guilty all the time.

You don't want to appear selfish and you don't want to appear like you're not helpful. You feel that it's your social responsibility to say yes to your friends and it's your professional responsibility to say yes to your boss or colleagues.

If this is why you find it difficult to say no, then ask yourself if that's true.

• Is it true that just because you're saying no, you're not a helpful person? Haven't you already help them so many times in the past which more than qualifies you as a helpful person?

• Is it true that it's your responsibility to help your friends, family, boss or colleague? Or is it their responsibility to help themselves to begin with and they are just dumping their responsibilities onto you?

Realize that if it's not your problem and not something you like to deal with, it's your right to say 'No' because you have no obligation to say 'Yes'. You have the freedom to choose consciously to say yes, but that's only if you really want to.

#2 You don't have a good reason to say 'No'.

Just admit it. Sometimes, we feel lazy and just don't want to do anything. Saying no becomes difficult because laziness is not exactly a concrete reason for us to say 'No'; it'll just make us look bad.

If this is your case, ask yourself if there's any valid reason to say yes.

If the request is important; a matter of life-and-death, I believe you would've said yes because the importance of the circumstances transcends your laziness. But if what they're requesting is not exactly a matter of life-and-death, you shouldn't worry what they'll think when you say "Nah… I'm feeling lazy."

Come on, do you seriously think that people don't know you're a lazy bum by now? If you have any real friends they'll know you're lazy. So there's no need to hide, just tell them the truth. If it's something unimportant that will not matter in 5 years or even in 5 weeks, it's not going to be a big deal for anybody.

Do you remember the last time somebody turned you down on a small and unimportant request? Of course not; no one does.

Okay, now we go into the real stuff. If you know it in your heart that the answer is 'No', here are some difficult people to say no to and how you can say no to them:


The authority can mean your boss, a senior colleague or a person of a higher circumstantial rank. This is usually someone who intimidates you, so saying 'no' naturally can be difficult (especially when you're not on very comfortable terms with them so to speak).

So if you need to take 'soft' approach, start with a sincere apology when you reject or decline their request, offer a concise explanation because they'll need it, and end your explanation with an offer for a possible solution. Examples as below:

• "I'm really sorry but I cannot say yes to this now, I'm up to my nose with work and I really need to take a break. If it's not urgent, can I get back to this later?"

• "I'm really sorry but I'm not able to take this up now, I've several other reports with deadlines closing in fast. But looking at this, I do have someone in mind who might be able to get this done, would that help?"

• "I'm sorry, the current circumstances does not allow me to do this. I'm in a middle of something important that needs my utmost focus. Do you need me to get someone else to handle this for you?"

• "I'm sorry but I'll have to say no, I'm a little stretched too thin right now and I'm worried if I take this on I might not be able to do a good job. Can I get back to you on when I'll be able to take this on? Just need to check my schedule."

If you have a better reason or a better solution in mind, by all means, use it. The key though, is to be honest and sincere. Seniors can spot a junior's honesty and sincerity; make no mistake about that. Once your rejection has been accepted gracefully by the other party, end the conversation with a: "Thanks for your understanding, much appreciated."

Again; honesty and sincerity is of utmost importance. Be grateful that "the authority" has just accepted your rejection: they came out as the bigger person by letting you off the hook. So say thank you and mean it!


The pusher is someone who always has a personal agenda in getting you to say 'Yes'. It could be they're trying to make you do something for them or they're trying to sell you something, etc. They push because they think they can make you bend over if they push hard enough.

The key is to stand firm and reject them confidently: a short "No, thank you." would do.

They may follow up with a "Why Not?"

If you have a solid reason, by all means go for it. But if you don't have one, don't worry. You don't owe them an explanation and you can repeat your answer without answering their question, "No thanks, I really want to pass."

However, my personal favorite (when I don't have a solid reason) is to always tell them: "I'm NOT going to make up excuses and lie to you. I'm going to say no, as I've said before and I hope you can understand. Can we change subjects?"

That's a very useful line. The key is to say it with total conviction, don't raise your voice, don't appear confrontational, and don't show the slightest hint of fear or uncertainty. I'll usually focus my intonation on the question, and show just a slight tone of irritation. They'll usually get the message and stop pursuing.

"A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble." -- Mahatma Gandhi

It will take some time to muster sufficient courage to say that – if you are the type that hates even healthy debates or rational confrontations. But I assure you that mastering the courage to say 'No' will help you go a long way in life: The more you say "Yes" to the things you don't want, the more you say "No" to the things you do want.

Read that last sentence again and think about it.


The puller is the opposite of the pusher. Instead of pushing, they get on your guilt-nerves. Sometimes they're so good you just can't be sure if they're doing it intentionally or if they're doing it subconsciously.

Either way, it sucks if you have a weak spot for guilt. They'll usually ask, then beg, then try to make themselves appear as desperate as ever and it kills you to say 'No' to a helpless friend.

Dig into your memory, "Pullers" are creatures of habits. You can always remember previous similar occasions when they asked, then begged, then appeared desperately in need of your help. They also usually prey on those who always say 'yes' to them!

So if you've already said 'yes' a few times to a "Puller", you're only digging a bigger and bigger grave for yourself. Shucks!

• Again, it might be helpful if you are courageous enough to say: "Gee Paul, I've helped you with ten other things before, and every time you come back asking for more help. I'm not responsible for your problems you know, I'd love to help you once in awhile but I've got my own problems to deal with too. I'm going to have to say 'No' this time. Sorry, but I'm really busy."

• And if you're not that straightforward with your words, you can always try "Hey Paul, I hate to say no but I gotta say this is really a bad time as I'm in the middle of some issues that I need to deal with. Can you look after your problems first and I'll give you a call once I'm done with mine and have time to help you with yours?"

And here's a very important tip, never commit yourself. These pullers would usually start a conversation with a "What are you doing tonight?" or "this weekend?" or "later?"

NEVER, EVER SAY 'NOTHING'. Always assume that they need help and ask them "Is there something you want me to do? I can't promise you I can do it, but what's up?"

It may catch them off-guard and they may quickly say "Nah... I was just calling to check... bla, bla, bla…"

But if they've got the cheek, they might just put out their request openly and you may have to learn how to muster sufficient courage to tell them square in the face that you don't appreciate constantly having to help them by sacrificing your own time.

I've a "friend" who has got lots of cheek to ask for everything he wants from me, and I really told him off – after 1 and 1/2 years that is, so you can imagine how far I went. Just didn't appreciate friends as liabilities, don't think anyone would either :)

Closing notes:

To put it simply, saying "No" requires some courage, but it shouldn't be that difficult. Using a combination of confidence, certainty and detachment from the false sense of responsibility to say 'yes', it should be as easy as saying "Hi" - a single syllable response, with no emotions involved.

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How to be Positive (When you're feeling negative)


This is my second “How to be positive” post, here I take a crack at how we can be positive when we're already negative to begin with.

I’ve always been advised that I should quickly and immediately replace negative thoughts with positive ones. My first reaction to that was always: “Easier said than done, Sherlock!”

Here’s the thing, when I’m feeling negative, I think about negative things. This then feeds itself into a negative-loop: Negative thoughts leads to negative emotions, negative emotions fuel new negative thoughts. I won’t necessarily spiral down into depression, but I’m still stuck at being negative.

At this point, it’s almost virtually impossible to push any thoughts of positivity into my mind. No matter how hard I try to be positive, I just can’t seem to switch into a ‘positive’ mood or mindset. I’ll receive a strong resistance from a negative voice that tells me: "The truth is ugly even if you try to be positive, the reality is painful even if you choose run away from it,"

This is because positivity and negativity are mutually exclusive - a lesson I later learnt. They simply cannot exist harmoniously because you cannot be positive when you’re negative and you cannot be negative when you’re positive.

This also explains why when I’m in a positive mood, nothing can seem to stop me. No negativity can get to me; complaints, hurtful comments, criticisms simply wouldn’t affect me – precisely because I’m already positive.

So when you’re feeling down, sad, disappointed, frustrated and angry, the first thing you need to do is rid yourself of all negative thoughts and emotions, before even attempting to be positive.

Detach yourself from the negative situation mentally and emotionally. Let go of everything that you are unhappy, disappointed or frustrated about. Give up and surrender it to the universe. The key is to detach the emotion completely – be an emotionless freak.

As soon as you’ve let go by declaring that you are giving it up, all your mental and emotional negativity gets released along with it. You will experience an inner peace like no other – your emotion calms, your thoughts collected.

All puzzle pieces will fall to the ground and you’ll be able to see the big picture of things - in a complete state of neutrality. When you've achieved this, choosing to be positive is easy.

Here are 3 tips on how you can eliminate negative thoughts or feelings to return to a state of neutrality, they are commonly effective.

#1 Stop whining and stop complaining.

These are two negative affirmations that will fuel your bitterness. We complain because it makes us feel better for awhile. It allows us to vent our frustrations and somebody will usually hear us out, or (worse still) complain along with us. This creates a false and unproductive sense of camaraderie.

Complaining only wastes time and effort. It does not change anything and you are probably attracting more of the things which you do not want. Instead of whining, do something to change it. If there's nothing you can do, make fun of it; create a joke so everyone can just laugh it off. Laugh it off and return to your prior state of calm and peace.

#2 Stop blaming, take responsibility and take action.

"It's your fault, your problem, your responsibility. You fix it, you make it right." Sounds familiar? :) You can't feel positive even if you 'delegate' the problem to someone else. Sitting around and waiting for him or her to fix the situation will probably frustrate you further.

If it's truly someone else's problem don't make it yours - (once again) just let go of what has happened. If you decide to do something about it (other than blaming someone else), then grant yourself "the serenity to accept what you cannot change, courage to change what you can, and wisdom to know the difference."

There's absolutely no need for negativity.

#3 Excuse yourself.

When I say 'excuse yourself', I don't mean make up excuses, I mean 'GO AWAY'; leave the room, take a hike, walk it off, sleep on it, beat it; do whatever else you can to distance yourself from the situation so you can (as discussed previously) detach yourself emotionally.

Once you're out of the situation, think (from a neutral position) about what kind of emotional state do you want to return into it. You can return to it feeling negative, or you can return to it feeling positive. It doesn't matter which you choose, for as long as you make a choice, you are at least doing it consciously - and you'll therefore more likely to choose NOT to be negative.

#4 Understand why you feel negative.

When we rationalize the negative emotions or thoughts, we raise our consciousness. Our negativity usually stems out of fear or uncertainty. The good thing about feeling negative out of fear or out of uncertainty is that we can overcome or conquer them.

"A clear understanding of negative emotions dismisses them." - Vernon Howard.

To conclude this post, always remember that to be positive when we are negative, we must first return to a state of neutrality. From there on, being positive is as simple as making a choice.

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How to solve any problems


This is a simple guide on how to solve any problems, old or new, based on what I’ve observed and learned in the course of solving some of life’s inescapable problems – Financial, Health, Individual, Relationship, etc.

Every once in awhile, we come head-on with a foreign problem that requires more than just recalling the known solution because there is no memory or experience to be drawn upon: It's simply a new problem that we've not dealt with before and the following tips may very much help you overcome it :)

#1 State the problem. Not all problems are problems - even if the initial 'symptoms' of the situation tends to suggest it. Take a step back and re-examine the situation and perhaps you’ll realize that it actually isn't a problem. If there’s a problem, state it: What is the problem?

A problem only exists when there is a difference between what it is currently and what you want it to be. If it is exactly what you want it to be, then there’s no problem. If you don’t know what you want, figure that out first, otherwise there’s no problem either.

#2 Weigh the worthiness of the problem. If there is in fact a problem, is it worthy of your attention? Does it necessarily need to be solved? Sometimes we have this tendency to sort all problems whenever we meet them, without weighing if it’s worth the effort.

And when the problem proves to be persistent, we become frustrated, stressed and upset. All these are unnecessary if you know that it’s not worth it to begin with. But if there’s fruitful reward (greater than the effort it takes to solve the problem) at the end to be savored, then that’s a different story altogether.

#3 Get creative. Creative people have no problems solving problems. Give them a problem and they’ll break it down, tear it apart, reassemble it and repackage it into an opportunity that they can actually seize and benefit from.

We’ve all experienced the joy and exhilarating feeling of solving a problem, so a problem CAN actually motivate you – IF you are creative. Take a step back, look at the problem again, is there a solution that you can come up with (create) easily at first thought?

If you consider yourself somewhat creative, capitalize on it and look at the problem from all sorts of different perspectives to see if there’s a different root or a different cause of the problem. Only through identifying the right roots can the right solutions be found.

#4 Don’t focus on just one solution. We (as in humans) have this habit of preferring to reuse a solution that has worked for us before, and stereotype every problem based on similar problems we’ve faced in the past.

When we realize that the problem we are currently facing is indeed "different" and the "assumed-solutions" are not effective, we panic because we believe we’ve hit a dead-end. The lack of creativity and imagination then harvests negativity which is counter-productive.

Again, use your imagination. Come up with as many possible strategies of solving the problem. Remember those times when you’ve heard or read somewhere that problems provide learning opportunities? Well, now’s the time to learn so max out your brain juice.

#5 Eliminate. Your quest of finding the right solution is a game of elimination: Which solutions didn’t work? Dump them out the window. Which ones worked half-way? Improvise. Slowly and surely, you will be able to eliminate what does not work, and arrive at a solution that does.

If you don’t think you have the patience to persist that far, return to point #2 :)

#6 Divide and conquer. Problems can be broken down into smaller bits and pieces. This enables us to solve the easiest parts first. Split them into categories and you can try to solve each part one at a time – depending on what your priorities are.

A financial problem such as trying to get out of debt is a good example. You’ll have credit card debts, auto-loans, mortgage loans, personal loans and what not.

Financial advisors will most probably suggest that you take care of high interest debts first (credit cards) as these are urgent in nature. Afterwards, you can work on personal loans which are usually smaller and easier to sort than the larger auto-loans or mortgage loans.

Not all problems can be broken down, but most complex problems that are difficult to solve can. So take advantage of the ‘Divide and Conquer’ strategy, and take one small step at a time.

#7 Build self confidence. The lack of self-confidence causes us to question a lot of things. This leads to self-doubt, skepticism, and worst of all – INACTION. Doing nothing and going nowhere means the problem is definitely going to stay.

Confident people on the other hand are able to solve problems because they take action. They are fully aware of their own capabilities and fully conscious of how they can convert those capabilities into results.

Identify what you can do; and do what you’re good at. If you lack certain knowledge or skills, courageously admit it. If what you lack is ESSENTIAL in solving the problem, then acquire it. Self confidence empowers you to do what it takes and obtain what you need in order to get to where you want to be.

"It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer."
- Albert Einstein -

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How to be Positive (The simplest answer)


Being positive is about reading situations positively, taking positive action in response to situations, and maintaining a positive and proactive attitude at all times.

We live in a world of duality: Good-Evil; Day-Night; Love-Hate; Yin-Yang; Positive-Negative. In this, life presents us with choices. It’s only difficult to be positive when you choose NOT to be positive.

The following excerpt is taken from “A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul”. I had the blessed opportunity to come across this book thanks to the internet; a beautiful story shared by Brian Cavanaugh:

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his powerful attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there, telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”

Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, ‘Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right, it's not that easy,” I protested.

“Yes, it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life.”

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him.

Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After eighteen hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the incident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.

“The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.” “Weren't you scared?” I asked. “Did you lose consciousness?”

Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, ‘He's a dead man’. I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’

Over their laughter, I told them. ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.’

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

As you can see, every situation is a choice – a simple fact of life. Being positive all boils down to the simple fact of making a choice; we need only choose, consciously, to be positive.

How to be happy? Choose to be happy.
How to let go? Choose to let go.
How to persist? Choose to persist
How to be strong? Choose to be strong.


[Related Post: How to be Positive (When you're feeling negative)]


What is Positive?


This first post of my positivity series addresses the "What is Positive?" question.

Positivity is about responding to reality confidently and optimistically, instead of aggravating the already undesirable situation to build up further disappointment, frustration, and anger (which of course does not help in any way).

However, there are some misconceptions about being positive; some think that being positive is to carve a constant state of positiveness like chanting in their heads continuously: "Oh… everything’s so positive… life’s good and great… nothing is bad, everything is beautiful… yada, yada, yada…" whenever they face an obstacle.

Well frankly, that’s just plain ignorance. Positivity isn’t to turn and run away from the ugly truths or painful facts of life and hide away in a mental state of ‘utopia’. It also doesn’t mean enslaving our thoughts in a constant state of "Everything is fine, nothing is wrong" mentality and completely ignore reality.

To properly illustrate what being positive is, compare the two versions of the same story below:

Joe #1 is an average guy on a typical weekday driving to work. He has an important meeting in an hour and he’s stuck at a traffic jam. He looks at his watch and curses with disbelief, only an hour left and if he’s late, he’ll be in big trouble.

And there’s that issue at home with his daughter – She’s just not putting enough effort into her school work. Her math teacher has threatened to fail her if she does not work on improving her grades. If that happens, Joe will need to enroll her in summer school which also means he’ll have to cancel the summer vacation he has planned for the family. Tough luck, he really needed that break away from work, now it just looks like there’s no vacation until the next summer. Good god!

As the traffic slowly crawls ahead, an idiot suddenly cuts in front of him. No signal, nothing, came in just like that. Joe stomps on the breaks, slams his fist onto his horn and cursed at the inconsiderate driver at the top of his lungs.

Loosening his tie, Joe thought to himself "It’s going to be a long day alright".

Joe #2 is an average guy on a typical weekday driving to work. He has an important meeting in an hour and he’s stuck at a traffic jam. He looks at his watch and sighs with relief, he still has an hour and he can use the traffic jam as an opportunity to rehearse his presentation.

Not forgetting the issue at home with his daughter – She’s just not putting enough effort into her school work. Her math teacher has threatened to fail her if she does not work on improving her grades. Joe thought perhaps he could sit down with her this summer and help tutor her to get her back on track. He’ll have to cancel the summer vacation he has planned for the family – which ultimately means the money can be saved for the next vacation (and he can probably make the next vacation grander too).

As the traffic slowly crawls ahead, an idiot suddenly cuts in front of him – no signal, nothing, came in just like that. Joe stomps on the breaks, checked his rearview mirror to ensure the car at the back had sufficient space to stop in time as well.

Loosening his tie, Joe thought to himself "That was real close, what a lucky day".

Now that puts a very clear perspective of positivity, doesn’t it?

In life, things big and small are happening every second of the day. How it happens is not within our control, but how we respond to them is. Choosing to respond to situations positively sets the right mindset and helps us maintain the right attitude when dealing with problems.

A positive mindset enables a much broader perspective thus allowing us to search for better and more creative solutions.

"Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will." -- Zig Ziglar

Being positive is about how we make a conscious decision to take the best appropriate action in whatever circumstances (fortunate or unfortunate). In the next posts, I will be sharing several strategies on how to be positive – mainly on how we can set a positive mindset and attitude towards the interpretation of circumstances happening around us.

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How to Build Self Confidence

Learning how to build self confidence is not difficult, this blog post highlights 5 simple tips of building self confidence.

#1 Trust that with TIME, your true wants can be achieved.

This method has worked effectively for me. Whenever I’m not certain about my abilities or the outcome of a certain venture, I remind myself that there’s nothing that I won’t be able to do if given sufficient time.

That’s because time enables planning, practice, learning, execution, evaluation, improvement, persistence and whatever else that is required, to be successful. It is a simple rationale that makes perfect sense and an intelligent break down of your irrational lack of confidence, consider the following:

• "I don’t think I can achieve it" – With time, you can do whatever it takes to achieve it.

• "I don’t think I’m good enough" – With time, you can practice until you are.

• "I don’t know how to do it" – With time, you can learn how.

• "I don’t know where to learn this" – With time, you can find out.

• "I’m not familiar with this" – With time, you will be.

Surely upon understanding this, there is no valid reason for your self-doubt?

We have to understand that whatever goals we set for ourselves, success in achieving those goals is a destination. And like the journey to all destinations, so long as we are on the right track, getting there is only a matter of time – an eventuality. If you are willing to do what it takes to get there, you should have utter confidence that success is inevitable.

However, do keep in mind that the phrase "With time" does not mean "with the passing of time". Time passes naturally but if we do nothing, obviously nothing will manifest. "With time" means taking time to plan, prepare, learn, do, evaluate, improve and persist toward the achievement of our goals.

#2 Understand that mistakes are not signs of weakness.

With each failed attempt, my confidence usually takes a round of self-beating or self-bashing; little doses of spirit and enthusiasm are drained with it. The fear of making mistakes hampers my confidence to take new steps, new actions and make new decisions.

"Confidence comes not from always being right but from NOT fearing to be wrong." -- Peter T. Mcintyre

If you’re feeling the same way, then understand that instead of letting these mistakes take away our confidence, it should quite be the opposite: The more mistakes we make, the more knowledge and experience we expose ourselves to, and we should learn from it and come out feeling more confident than before.

Secondly, we must realize that mistakes are part of the process, so we should not be discouraged nor feel insecure (especially if the mistakes are not life-threatening ones). We should only be worried if we are constantly making the same mistakes over and over again, without learning from them. Are you?

#3 Let bygones be bygones.

Similar to the 2nd tip; I read about this in a book by a motivational speaker (Nigel Risner). Nigel talked about how each of us has 3 roles within our minds: The commentator, the coach and the player.

The commentator is the voice that keeps reminding you of what has happened. Be it an experience failing at something or making a mistake, the commentator constantly reports this negative memory that eats up your confidence over-time.

The coach on the other hand is the voice that keeps telling you what to do next, "Take this risk, you can do it", "Do this, it's good for you". The coach's voice empowers you to take action and works to improve your confidence.

You are the player, and your job is to ignore the commentator and listen to what your coach tells you. Whatever negative experiences that you have had, it's in the past and you can't do anything to change it. If you choose to focus on the commentator, you will never able to move forward.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." -- Buddha

Seize the "NOW" and confidence will manifest.

#4 Do not be influenced by what others think of us.

In the aspects of my life which I’m fully aware and fully certain (conscious) of, I usually don’t care about what other people say, think or feel – because I know the truth.

In the areas of my life which I’m not fully certain of however, my confidence levels can still gyrate whenever someone criticizes me. We need to expand our areas of "certainty" in order to build stronger long-term self-confidence. This is one thing I’m still working on (even up until today).

Just because someone else thinks less of you, it doesn’t mean they’re right. What you need to do when it comes to receiving criticism, judgments or even disapprovals, is to assess whether if there’s any truth to it and if the truth is worthy of any response.

If what they say about you is true, what do you want to do about it? If you don’t think it matters enough for you to do anything, then move on and don’t let it affect you. If it matters, then make changes and work towards what or who you want to be.

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

I usually ignore criticism or judgments from strangers as what they say usually don’t matter (unless they were able to pinpoint a truth that strikes a nerve). But, I welcome their praises greatly as it takes effort to praise someone you don’t know, and that’s something I’m very grateful for.

Family or close friends are usually comfortable enough to tell me the truth, so I respect that and pay extra attention to their criticism. Their praises (though sometimes biased) are equally appreciated as words of encouragement.

#5 Spend more time with confident people.

Conversely, stay away from people who aren’t confident of themselves – Birds of a feather flock together.

"Confidence is contagious; so is lack of confidence." -- Vince Lombardi

If you spend time with confident people, their confidence will begin to brush off on you and you’ll feel more certain and more assured of yourself. Remember this emotion; how confidence truly feels on the inside when you’re mingling with confident people, so you can draw upon this memory whenever you need to summon confidence.

We’ll start to feel negative whenever we’re around people who are negative as well, this is the same principle. If you’re the type that is easily influenced by what’s happening around you, then this tip becomes even more useful.

Closing Notes:

Always remember that with time, everything you want to achieve can be. Never let mistakes bring you down as confidence comes from not fearing to be wrong. Never dwell on past failures and instead, focus your attention on the present. Asses the accuracy of judgment others pass on us, and take appropriate action to improve ourselves IF necessary. Mingle with confident people to learn how to be confident, no matter where you are.

Before ending this post, I have to say that reading this post alone isn't going to make you any more confident (sadly), you must take action. In the words of Dale Carnegie:

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."

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What is Confidence?


What is Confidence? Confidence is the belief and assurance that you can rely and count on someone or something. Self confidence on the other hand, is the belief and assurance that you can rely and count on yourself.

The purpose of building confidence is NOT just to feel good about ourselves or to boost our self-esteem (though it is handy in these areas as well).

Having a strong sense of self-confidence means believing in our ability to bring about change in our lives, as well as believing that we can bring about the outcome we want. Confidence empowers us to take action, and continue taking actions.

Conversely, the lack of confidence causes us to stop in our tracks, despite having taken the first step. This is evident where a sudden inspiration or motivation causes us to start something, but after some time, the lack of self-confidence causes us to give up.

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." -- Anonymous

Confidence is a state of mind, an emotion or even a feeling. It can be summoned if you know how to control it, regardless of what’s happening externally.

It is possible for someone to stare at the face of Death and still say, “I’m confident I will not die.” Ever witness the anti-hero of a movie that shows arrogance even in the face of death? That’s confidence – well, one form of it.

And similarly, it is possible for someone to tell themselves “I don’t think I can do it” even though they have the power, knowledge, experience, skill, ability, capability, competency, and potential to succeed.

[Related Post: How to Build Confidence]

Confidence unlocks the many of the great elements within us:

• Instead of worrying about a new day at work, you’ll wake up feeling excited about life and you’ll also feel motivated to solve all problems that you encounter - You’ll see them as interesting learning opportunities.

• Instead of a feeling trapped in a negative mindset, you’ll feel there’s nothing that cannot be done and there’s no tasks that cannot be accomplish. You’ll also have all the motivation to start taking action, and finish what you started.

• You’ll also begin to perceive everything in a new way; you’ll start seeing yourself in a positive and more optimistic light.

• You’ll be able to keep a clear mind even under stressful situations. And this enables you to make the right decisions and avoid the common mistakes that people make under pressure.

While confidence has its merits, we should also take note that over-confidence has its dangers. A person that is overly confident can under-prepare, under-plan, under-practice, under-execute.

Confidence is not being arrogant or egotistical. Remind yourself that confidence will not guarantee success, it merely kick-starts your journey – you’ll still have to act on your goals to turn them into reality.

“With confidence, you have won even before you have started.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

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How to be Brave


At some point in our lives comes a time when we need to know how to be brave to overcome life’s biggest and most feared hurdles. In this current era, bravery is probably not spoken of as often as in the past because the physical threats we face today are considered little or virtually non-existent.

Whilst a fair point (since there’s no threat of going out in broad daylight to have a hungry 200-pound lion pounce on you like food, and you’re not going to jump off a building without a parachute or dive into a swamp full of vicious crocs), it is not entirely true. We are constantly fighting new psychological threats.

This is evident in the many forms of ‘fear’ we experience these days: Pressure, tension, apprehension, stress, distress, worry, anxiety, agony, difficulty, complexity, nervousness, fretfulness, dreadfulness, uneasiness, jumpiness, angst, strain, panic, horror, terror, etc. (I know… a long list indeed.)

This is exactly what this post wishes to address: How to cope with all the “new fears” of the 21st century.

To be brave, we must first know what bravery (or courage) is. Being brave is not being fearless; we’ve all heard the saying that "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” -- Ambrose Redmoon.

Being fearless is only being ignorant towards the dangers and risks you take in the senseless pursuit of something worthless. Bravery, on the other hand, is making a conscious decision to overcome fear in the pursuit of something priceless.

Here are a few tips based on my personal experience on how one can be brave when the need for it arises. Remember: Whenever I use the word ‘fear’ in the rest of this post below, I’m referring to any one of the 18 types of emotion highlighted in paragraph 4.

#1 Confront Fear. Do not shy away from fear because it is only powerful when we give it power; it becomes powerless the moment we choose to confront it head on. But there’s a common misconception here: Facing fear does not mean staring them blankly in the face and doing nothing. By doing nothing, you actually feel even more powerless. Confronting fear is to take proactive measures to overcome them.

Find out what’s causing the ‘fear’. Is it:

• The piling up of new work/tasks on your job?
• Unfinished projects with deadlines closing in fast?
• New responsibilities?
• A change of job or a change of working environment?
• Credit card debts eating away at you like a financial cancer?
• Is your health deteriorating due to your bad diet habits?

Whatever your fears or concerns are, seek to identify them first. Next, you can make a conscious decision to evaluate the reason for your worry, and chart out what you can do to conquer it.

#2 Limit Fear. When you’re dealing with more than one form of fear, it will be extremely overwhelming and this in itself could be the cause of your anxiety, panic, and apprehension to begin with. Don’t attempt to deal with more than what you can handle. Realize that you can limit fear by narrowing your observation.

Face one problem/concern at a time. Remember how the 300 Spartans fought an overwhelming number of Persians in the movie "300"? By choosing the battlefield which lies constricted in a narrow path of the “Hot Gates”, the Spartans rendered the Persians’ vastly superior numbers meaningless.

Create a funnel vision in your mind which bottlenecks the problems in such a way that they can only come at you one at a time. Divide and conquer: When the problem lines up in a single file instead of coming at you as a whole, you are better able to shake them off – one at a time.

#3 Make Use of Fear. In a state of fear, our biological system reacts and this is naturally a good thing. Our adrenaline kicks in; our hearts beat faster, our breaths become shallow, and our hands become cold. Blood then rushes into our brains and we become more alert than ever.

This is an opportunity which we can exploit because fear (in the right dosage) pushes us over the edge and can actually help us achieve more than we thought possible. Consider the following examples:

• At work for instance, perhaps a sudden increase in workload causes some worry, stress, tension and pressure. But out of these forms of fear, you are suddenly able to muster sufficient power and speed to swiftly get everything done in a short period of time, and at the end of it, you felt more productive than ever. That’s one way to make use of fear (or the many forms of fear).

• Or to use an even more extreme example, have you ever had any experience running for your life? Perhaps being chased by wild, moody dogs that weren’t too happy when you crossed into their territory? All of sudden you’re sprinting 100 meters under 7 seconds, “volting” over tall fences without tripping, and even scaling over walls with lightning speed.

The adrenaline forces you to act instead of think, and this enables you to surpass your limits which you perceived to be impossible under normal circumstances.

#4 Build Confidence because it is the essence of bravery. Take two individuals with the same competency, knowledge, experience, skill, ability and capability for example. The one that is more confident, will naturally be more proactive as his sense of conviction helps him in translating his competency into desirable outcomes.

On the other hand, the less confident other will find reasons and excuses to support the belief that he is still not good enough, he needs more training, more practice and more preparation before he can succeed. This is where confidence becomes the factor between succeeding and failing.

Being brave is all about taking action, not holding back and pondering what may not work or what could fail. In taking action, we build new experience and new knowledge that feeds back into our competence, which further builds our confidence.

[Related Post: How to Build Self Confidence]

#5 Work on your Reaction. You would’ve probably picked this up by now as I’ve touched several times the importance of taking action when the situation demands it. One other way of being brave is to work on your reaction

Bravery is often motivated by an external occurrence and in this sense bravery can be practiced as your ‘default’ reaction.

Plan, chart and rehearse, in your head, what action steps to take should a stressful or dreadful situation occur. These are things that often throw you off your inner balance of peace and calmness.

You may be in debt, and every time you think about your finances, this dreadful thought leads quickly to frustration, anger and then misery. Plan how you would like to react to this dreadful thought. Chart what you should do whenever you think of your debt.

Next, rehearse in your head constantly that when this panic sets in, your reaction is to do something to sort it out (It doesn't matter if it’s taking a small step; remember that taking action is far much better than doing nothing).

Perhaps you could plan to cut your spending or pay off some of the debt each time you feel stressed or get frustrated by it.

Closing Notes:

Bravery is not fearlessness, but rather the conscious decision to overcome your fear by taking counteractive measures. Confront fear by specifically pointing out the exact cause of your worry, pressure, or stress, etc. Limit these frustration by means of funneling them into a single file before you so you can deal with them one at a time. Turn them into an outward force that produces constructive actions. Build confidence and work on your reactions so that you can react positively and handle the new and tougher difficulties you'll face in life.

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How to be Strong


Knowing how to be strong and being strong are two very different things. On a typical day, people can carry on with their lives without requiring much strength. These are the days when everything seems just fine; even though you may occasionally whine at the weather, complain about the traffic jam or about other people’s driving, etc.

Once in a while though, life throws something at you – something emotionally heavy. It is thrown so hard it hits and forces you down to your knees. These events do not happen very often, but the psychological and emotional effect is devastating and may stretch over a long period of time.

You’ll feel as if there’s no hope left in the world; that life itself has no meaning and no purpose. Whatever you try to do, it just doesn’t make you feel better. It doesn’t feel right to be happy or to smile; it doesn’t feel right to be positive or optimistic. There’s this force within you that just wants to feel depressed and completely give up on the notion of happiness.

The people around you, upon witnessing this, would remind you to draw whatever strength you have sitting within you. “Be Strong” they say, as they pat your back and put their arms around your shoulders. You nod along, even though you feel more inclined to stare at them blankly and ask “But how?”

Regardless of what your troubles are; the end of a relationship, loss of a loved one, failure in an endeavor, or getting trapped in financial turmoil, being strong means summoning your mental strength to carry yourself out of the difficult times and move on with life.

#1 Accept and Let Go

In times like these, your mind is either a great ally, or your worst nightmare. It can help you get out of misery; but it can also cave you in it, thereby entrapping you in a constant state of despair. Do not let your mind succumb to the overwhelming emotions you are experiencing. The first thing you need to do is to accept reality and let go of what you’ve lost.

"Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. -- William James

I have to admit that some facts are too difficult to accept, and certain things are just too disheartening to let go. But if we do not let go, we are forced into one of the most painful phases of life. It is a stage where we sink into denial, hurt, disappointment, frustration, anger and even depression because we choose to hold on to the things that we’ve clearly lost.

Remember 3 things:

• Nothing lasts forever; everything will come to an end at some point. Experiences end. Moods end. Circumstances end. Jobs end. Business projects end. Relationships end. Lives end. There’s no adjectives attached to it; it’s not positive or negative; good or bad, just the undeniable truth.

• You have no control over how it ends. But you can choose what you’re going to do when it ends. Are you going to hold on to the things you’ve lost and pretend that you still have them? I understand it may give you a superficial sense of contentment at first but in the end the truth will still inevitably sink in, and you will still have to accept and let go.

• Do you want to feel hurt, disappointed, frustrated or angry? There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s about choosing consciously how you want to feel. If you want to feel angry, no one’s stopping you. If you want to feel frustrated, knock yourselves out. But at least when you make a conscious decision, you know you are responsible for how you feel. When you’re ready, you can make a conscious decision to feel better.

#2 Cry and Move On

It’s okay to cry, being strong does not mean putting up a hard front. Cry your heart out and brood all you want; you need to get it out of your system. However, cry not because the sadness is overwhelming. Cry because you’ve decided to face a reality you hate to admit; cry because you are finally accepting the truth even though it’s painful; cry because you are about to let go even though you don’t want to; and cry because you are moving on despite preferring to stay where you are.

Moving on is the hardest thing to do but it is also the smartest thing to do. Everything that happens is just another chapter in life. When you choose to move on, you’ll start to see things differently; you’ll begin to identify the better and positive things in life.

You’ll start to feel a sense of liberation as if the weight of the world has been removed from your shoulders and your feelings of disappointment, sadness, frustration and anger turns into relief, freedom, motivation and love.

After the heavy storms of tears, we go through what is known as the numbing period. This is a vital stage; it’s an emotional junction: We can either choose to overcome the difficulties (by turning into the next exit) or choose to continue drowning in our sorrows (continue down the road towards depression). Choose to take the next exit.

#3 Overcome difficulties

Take action by choosing to walk away from the despair and begin to live a new life. Don't stand in your own way; if you CHOOSE to overcome all obstacles you face, nothing can stop you.

Whatever difficulties we meet, we overcome them by learning and moving forward, keeping in mind not its bitterness, but its lesson. "Life will give you whatever experience that is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness." -- Eckhart Tolle.

If you need support, don't be afraid to ask for help. You may not realize, but family and close friends are the best sources of strength to help you pull through difficult times. Talk to someone, ask for their help/advice and you’ll see that you are not alone. Strength exists in numbers, remember?

Last but not least, try and figure it out yourself. Dealing with pain, solving problems, getting over situations, etc. are all part of life - YOUR LIFE. Being strong has many things to do with self-reliance.

Nobody can see your problems the way you read them. Nobody can understand the problem they way you experience them. Nobody can connect with the problem they way you feel them. All these sum up to mean: No one can make sense and offer you a solution any better than your own mind can. True strength is gained when you overcome difficulties, not when others overcome difficulties for you.

"We acquire the strength we have overcome." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Closing Notes:

Accept what you cannot change and learn to let go. Everything comes to an end and we are not in control of how it ends and when it ends. It is okay to feel angry or frustrated, but remember that you choose how you want to feel. Cry your heart out if it will make you feel better, but do it because you are choosing to move on. When you are ready, choose to overcome difficulties. Take action and learn as you move along. Never hesitate to seek help, especially from yourself. Be Strong!

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PERSISTENCE: How to Persist

One of the main principles of success is persistence. Persisting is to continue even when faced with great difficulty and opposition. If your strategy of making money fails, would you just give up and say: "This doesn’t work, let's try something new." ?

Vince Lombardi said, "Winners never quit, quitters never win." And I’ve always thought to myself – How wise, but how is it done? How does a person NOT quit and persist?


(1) Not achieving the results that you are expecting is one of the main causes of quitting. This is evident in everything; when someone goes on diet, and doesn’t see the results of weight loss a day or two later, they’ll be inclined to dump the whole diet program and decide not to lose weight again (until perhaps a long time later).

The key to persisting in this scenario is to understand that results are not produced instantly or achieved overnight. Instant results are close to mathematical impossibility.

Consider what Thomas Edison said about his success: He did not fail. He found thousands of ways how NOT to make a light bulb. Thomas had to try a thousand times (literally) before the desirable results were produced.

This just goes to show that the chances of an undesirable result occurring is obviously far more significant than the chances of the desirable result because that's just the law of success: Each unsuccessful attempt only brings you closer to the successful one, and through this rationale, persistence is the sensible solution.

Even when results do not show, it does not mean it cannot be done. Thomas did not come to the conclusion that an electric light bulb is impossible to invent -- even though he had thousands of reasons to support the "impossible" mentality. He just persisted.

(2) The second most common cause of giving up is FEAR. When confronted with an obstacle or a difficulty, your "Fight or Flight" instincts kick in. Fear causes you to take flight. The most common fear is the fear of failure and it is also the most irrational type of fear.

Think about it: If the fear of failure causes you to give up, and giving up actually means failing, doesn’t that make it a self-fulfilling prophecy? i.e. You are afraid of failure, therefore you choose to fail.

Courage, on the other hand, is to press on in spite of fear, like how persistence is to press on in spite of difficulties. The two best ways of building courage are -- Believing in yourself (building self-confidence and self-esteem) and surrendering to the outcome.

Surrendering to the outcome means you will not sit and ponder about the chances of what's going to happen if it fails. You should be completely obsessed with finding success, up to the point where there is simply no time to stop and think about failure.

By overcoming fear, you’ll have the courage to choose to fight instead of flight. "Try and fail, but don't fail to try" -- Stephen Kaggwa.

(3) When you start to fight back, you start to persist. But constant fighting leads to fatigue. This is where you’ve been persisting consistently, overcoming obstacle after obstacle, tackling problem after problem, and feeling physically strained and mentally drained in the end.

Under the most trying circumstances, your persistence will be put to the ultimate test. Fatigue affects your ability to think and allow many more irrational things to get to you: Self-doubt, negative "what if’s" such as "What if I’m wrong?" "What if this strategy is not sound?" which puts you back into the FEAR zone and ultimately causes you to quit.

To persist in this scenario, one must be fully aware that feeling tired is just a small and recurring phase of life. Throughout your ENTIRE lifetime, you will feel tired about a lot of things. There’s no escaping that. The solution is to take some time OFF from the battlefield.

Just take a break, walk away and stay away (for a few days if possible). Get some well deserved rest. When you’ve gotten sufficient rest, you will then have the energy to persist. "Energy and persistence conquer all things." -- Benjamin Franklin.

Stop when you’re tired. Continue when you’re not. This ensures you reserve a healthy level of energy at all times.

(4) While persistence is practiced in order to achieve the right results (or in other words getting things done right), reflection helps you in determining if you are doing the right things. Doing things right and doing the right things are essentially different but equally important.

It would not be productive if you are persisting or persevering towards the wrong goals/objectives (even if your persistence is effective). And on the other hand, it would be highly motivating and empowering if you are persevering towards a true want or a true purpose.

Reflection is the conscious evaluation and reasoning of one’s own thoughts, perception, judgment, feelings and actions. You can ask yourself 3 main questions to evaluate whatever it is you are persisting towards:

- Why am I persisting towards this?
- Should I be persisting toward it?
- Am I persisting correctly?

Reflection can also increase the efficiency of your persistence, this is done by determining:

• If you are thinking the right thoughts: Were you thinking about how to improve the profitability of your business, or increase the size of your income source? Were you worried about not achieving the goals and objectives you set out? Were those the right thoughts?

• If you are interpreting and perceiving information accurately: Was your perspective accurate? Did you understand or interpret the given situation correctly? Can you further/better expand your perception?

• If the judgments passed based on your knowledge, experience and reasoning were sound: Was your rationale reasonable? Did you come to the right conclusion? Were these reasoning correct in the end?

• If your feelings or emotions are in check: Were you energized and empowered, or are you de-motivated? Were you impatient? Are these emotions helping to carry you towards your objective or stopping you?

• If the actions you took are correct: Did you react to the circumstances or did you respond to them? Did you make the right decisions, right moves and take the right steps?

As you reflect upon yourself, you will find answers to the questions above -- use each answer to plan what to do or try next. And by changing strategies, switching plans, expanding perceptions, shifting thoughts, or reasoning differently, you are already practicing persistence more effectively.

"Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action." -- Peter Drucker

(5) Learning is the process of achieving a higher state of consciousness and a deeper level of understanding through knowledge accumulation. In the course of reflection, you’ll be identifying mistakes along the way and this gives you ample opportunities of learning.

"Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous." -- Confucius

Learning through your mistakes is the most important aspect. It helps you persist further as you accumulate knowledge and wise up through your continued attempts. Constant failure will not lead to success if you are just trying the same things over and over again.

Albert Einstein said that Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you are just persisting by means of doing what you did previously, that’s not persistence at all; that’s just repetition and stubbornness.

Closing notes:

To persist effectively and efficiently, we have to continue when results are not immediate, master courage to overcome our fears, schedule our efforts to ensure we don’t burnout, reflect on the objectives, strategies and the mistakes of our attempts, and learn from each failed attempt so that progress is made through your persistent efforts. All success are achieved this way.

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PERSISTENCE: When to Give Up

How do you know when it is time to give up? Whilst persistence has always been a key ingredient for success, it should be done consciously. From my How to Persist post, this post is an extension which shares the many scenarios you can choose to give up.

(1) When you are persisting out of desperation. This is when you’re at the dead end of things, feeling completely hopeless, powerless and still having to persist as you desperately need to achieve what you set out for.

Persisting out of desperation serves no meaning and achieves nothing. Persistence is supposed to provide a sense of liberation -- Feeling empowered because you’ve chosen, CONSCIOUSLY, to work towards an inspiring goal or a motivating objective – Not because you are forcing yourself to do it.

It’s good to pursue your goals with great aspirations, hunger and burning desire, but NEVER desperation. A desperate state of mind hampers your ability to think rationally and make decisions intelligently.

By giving up, you allow yourself some emotional detachment from whatever it is you are doing, and this can (ironically) help you to move towards your goal more effectively.

(2) Know why you are persisting in the first place. If you are only persisting because of wanting to be persistent, you may be walking down the wrong path. The expression that “one is only in-love with the idea of being in-love” is the equivalent of “persistent on being persistent”.

Persistence is done towards a goal or purpose. What are you persisting towards?

As humans are inclined to change their mind, your purposes change all the time. Who you are today is different from who you were yesterday. What you want today is different from what you wanted yesterday.

Your goals constantly change. Some changes more frequent than others, but they are essentially changing. That’s human development and is completely normal.

When the purpose of persisting ceases to exist, it is time to give up. Give up so you can employ your persistence towards the newly enlightened direction.

"Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction." -- John F. Kennedy

(3) When persistence has become your second nature, there’ll be times when you’re too blinded to see that you have been persisting with the same strategy of accomplishing a goal and IT IS NOT WORKING!

When your game plan isn’t effective, it is time to change plans and re-focus your energy and attention towards one that will be more effective -- one which you deploys your resources more efficiently. Why waste time on something you’re not good at? Why don’t you direct the attention to things that produce better results?

Give up, so you can think of a new methods/ideas/strategies/techniques/means that you have not tried before. Blind persistence is not going to get you anywhere; persistence is NOT stubbornness.

(4) One must know what is worth their time and effort. Persistence is not to die fighting, but to live and fight towards your goals, feeling completely alive in the process, knowing that the outcome you are trying to produce will be much greater than the effort put into those 'battles'.

'You may have won the battle, but you have lost the war." -- Anonymous.

Give up on the battles that are not worth fighting for, and fight only the battles which serve your purpose. No point securing what you fought for only to find that overall, it was not worth pursuing.

Closing notes:

Persisting is not the only option, you can choose consciously to give up. In desperate times, give up so you can detach yourself from the situation and make objective decisions. Give up if persistence does not feel empowering or liberating, for that’s the wrong way to persist. Know your reasons for persisting and what you are persisting towards. Give up and move on to new goals when old ones become irrelevant. Give up when the same thing you have been trying over and over again does not work – persistence is not repetition. Give up when it is not worth the fight, for you can choose to fight for something more meaningful.

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Scheduling Tips for Beginners


Schedule in accordance to your preference. What would like to do in the morning? And in the afternoon? In the evening? And at night? Doing things during different times of the day can produce different types of feeling

Then balance your preference against your priorities. Some things may be preferred but some things are more important. Ensure that the things of importance to you are included in your schedule, such as working out, building a passive income stream, or reading, etc.

Start your schedule at the earliest possible time. In my experience, starting early is always good (not too early of course!) as my first-thing-in-the-morning energy levels at its best.

Never attempt to schedule long hours for a single activity. I find it more effective if I ‘dissect’ a time consuming activity into several smaller tasks. My rule of thumb is: Anything that takes longer than 2 hours should be dissected.

Don't worry about how long a task may or may not take. As first timers, we can only estimate the time needed to complete a task. Slowly, you'll be able to better grasp how much each activity consumes and you can tweak your schedules better. Only with experience can we time our tasks perfectly. So don’t sweat it, just make a "guestimate"!

Also include "rest slots". These are extremely useful; a rest slot of 5-10 minutes between each activity is usually good enough. If your activities are longer, you can opt to use 10-15 minutes rest slots. These short breaks give your brain time to relax before switching your focus and devoting your full attention towards the next task.

If you run out of ideas for things to do, don’t despair. It happens. In my case, I was more than happy to leave a few hours open as "Free Slots" where I'm able to do whatever I feel like. Sometimes, certain things in your schedule will tend to take up more time, particularly when you are fully immersed in the euphoria of the activity. Free Slots can act as cushions.

To know if your schedule is on the right track, just keep Benjamin Franklin's words in mind: "Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."

Go PLAN and LIVE your dream lifestyle!! :)

How to be more productive DURING WEEKENDS!

Are you one of those people who always complained "I wish the weekend were longer so I could do more things" ? Or "I wish I can get more things done during the weekend" ?

Well, I was. The fact though was that I never thought about how I could best use my time; I just whined. Why? Because I didn’t knew how!

Last weekend, I implemented a simple idea and it turned out to be one of my most productive weekends ever!

And since it was so liberating and useful, I thought I should share it. Here’s how you can do more things / get more things done during weekends:

(1) Eat healthy.

This is the most important rule I’ve learnt. Drink plenty of water so smooth blood circulation enables your brain nerves to function properly. You’ll also be able to rationalize and make decisions more efficiently.

I often experience improved body/mind coordination and hand/eye dexterity as well just by going through a 1-day fruit diet. A healthy diet also keeps me energized and thus allowing me to do more work, and work much faster.

(2) Sleep early so you can rise early.

This is the second most important rule I’ve learnt. By sleeping early, I’ll be able to get the kind of quality rest that I need so my body and mind can perform at an optimum level.

Sleeping early allows me to rise early, and that’s a perfect start to the weekend: The cool morning breeze blowing at my face just feels absolutely revitalizing; the morning air is also clean and refreshing, filling up my lungs with new oxygen that instantly gets my intellectual engine running.

Sitting down at the coffee table facing my front lawn, I would make myself a hot cup of black mocha, place it beside my laptop and begin working. I found that the first 2 hours after waking up are my most productive working hours and since then, I have been sleeping and rising early every weekend.

Quoting one of Benjamin Franklin’s advice: "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise"

Well said, sir.

(3) Plan your weekend activities.

If you want to schedule what you are going to do, you must first know what you want to do. Create a plan that lists all the activities you want to do but had been putting off for far too long.

Think about what you want from all aspects of life. Incorporate the most important things that you want to achieve into your schedule, take mine for example:

- A healthy lifestyle – Exercise/Work outs, cooking a healthy meal, reading, etc.

- An industrious career – Blogging, reviewing my investment portfolio and looking through new corporate annual reports, etc.

- A clean and neat living environment – House cleaning tasks, home improvement, and other household chores, etc.

- A leisurely lifestyle – Shopping, TV, social gathering, and other entertainment activities.

Depending on how your dream lifestyle is, plan your weekend accordingly.

(4) Schedule your plan.

Next, schedule your plan so you can look at the best way of turning your dream lifestyle into your reality, and you do this via a schedule.

How to Schedule? Good question.

I was once the type of person that never wanted to know how to schedule. I simply never had a schedule because I didn’t want to get tied down by one. I always preferred having the ‘freedom’ of doing whatever I want, whenever I want it. Little did I know, this perception of ‘freedom’ was completely inaccurate!

While it is theoretically correct to say that I have the time to do a lot of things because I didn’t have schedule to keep to, the reality wasn’t so. I actually spent most of my time thinking what to do next, and ending up doing nothing much except continuing “thinking” of things to do… never actually doing it -- what a complete waste of time.

I later realized that a schedule does not tie me down at all -- since I’m the one who’s in control of my own schedule. A schedule actually provides me ‘freedom’ because it allows me to do whatever I want and plan a time for it. I simply decide what to do, squeeze the activity into a timeslot and voila! I’m free to do it.

To give you a rough picture of how your schedule can look like, please refer to my other blog post where I shared: My recent weekend schedule. You can use it as an example and begin drafting the kind of lifestyle you want. Simply schedule it down and LIVE IT!

For more beginner's tips about scheduling, you can also see: Tips on How to Schedule.

(5) Follow the schedule and evaluate the schedule.

Planning is only going to be as good as execution. If you can’t follow your plan, all the plans in the world wouldn’t make a difference. Take action and stick to your schedule.

I never had a schedule before and having to follow one is quite tricky to be honest. If you’re like me, here are some tips to help you stick to your schedule: How to Stick to a Schedule.

We also need to know that not all plans work. Plenty will fail and most schedules will NOT give you the form of satisfaction you want. Change your schedule when necessary and keep tweaking it until you find the most fulfilling one.

Look back at your old schedules, and see what you would like to change or which activities you might want to cut out. After all, you are trying to schedule in accordance to your dream lifestyle.

Closing Notes:

To increase the productivity of your weekend, first adopt a healthy lifestyle and get plenty of rest ahead of the weekend, so you shall have the strength, stamina and energy to perform your desired activities. Ensure that you have your activities planned out and proceed with scheduling. Follow the schedule and make changes whenever necessary. You will soon find that your weekend has a lot more to offer than just sitting around lazing all day.

"Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions." – Benjamin Franklin.

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My Recent Weekend Schedule


6.00am – Rise and Shine BABY!
6.05am – Shower + put on workout clothes
6.20am – Protein Shake (Herbalife) + A Glass of Water
6.30am – Workout Begins: Brisk Walk toward “The Grocery Store”
7.05am – At “The Grocery Store”, load up on Tuna, Sardine, Onions and Oranges
7.15am – Brisk Walk home
8.00am – Organize the goods and drink plenty of water
8.05am – Clean + Wash Kitchen floor
8.30am – Mop the 1st Floor: Living Area + Bedrooms.
9.00am – Rest Slot: Workout complete, drink plenty of water
9.05am – Back into the shower!
9.25am – Too much workout causes hunger, TIME TO COOK BREAKFAST!
10.05am – LET’S FEAST (Not too heavily!)
10.40am – Time to do the dishes and clean the table.
10.42am – Rest Slot, and time to check if the schedule is effective.
10.50am – Sit down, meditate to garner complete focus on the next task.
11.40am – Rest Slot (5 minutes)
11.45am – Continue with Blogging!


12.30pm – Rest Slot (5 minutes)
12.35pm – Continue Blogging!
1.20pm – Time to do the laundry!
1.30pm – Take a short afternoon nap to recharge for the rest of the day.
3.00pm – Time to dry the clothes!
3.20pm – Light lunch. Menu: Tuna or Sardine sandwich!
3.45pm - Take a lukewarm bath to freshen myself up again.
4.00pm – Review the financial performance of my two stocks.
5.00pm – Read up on investing + business news of the week.
6.00pm – Take an evening stroll with wifey
6.45pm – No Plans Here (Open Slot)


8.00pm – Supper… Fruits!
8.15pm – Saturday Night Movie!
10.00pm – Bedtime.

This was one of my MOST PRODUCTIVE Saturdays ever! It felt good, the work outs made my lifestyle an active one! The cleaning schedules keep my home neat, tidy and comfortable to walk around :)

The cooking and meal schedules enable me to relieve tension (I heard cooking reduces stress). I had three slots for blogging which enabled me to work continuously without stopping (aside from those 2 rest-slots in the middle) because I knew this was the only time for my writing.

I also had time to finish up the week’s chores – laundry, so that was cool too. The afternoon nap was fantastic since I had already burned lots of brain and muscle energy by mid-day. The light lunch and lukewarm bath re-energized me for Round-2 of the day, and this helps me stay awake while reading (something I’m not too good at: I always fall asleep when reading).

Evening stroll with wifey also relieves stress :) And just before the end of the day, I had some time for leisure as well: MOVIE! Sunday's schedule was just a little different as below.


7.00am – Rise and Shine!
7.05am – Shower + freshen up
7.20am – Breakfast first! Menu: Egg Sandwich + Black Mocha
7.30am – Feast!
7.45am – Do the dishes.
8.00am – Straight to blogging!
8.50am – Rest Slot (10 minutes)
9.00am – Continue with blogging!
9.50am – Rest Slot (10 minutes)
10.00am – Continue with blogging!
10.50am – Rest Slot (10 minutes)
11.00am – Back to the shower and a change of clothes
11.30am – Leave home for the Supermarket!


1.00pm – Time to cook lunch!
1.45pm – LET’S FEAST!
2.15pm – Do the dishes…
2.30pm – No Plans Here (Free Slot)
5.00pm – Evening stroll (with Wifey)
6.00pm – Shower and clean up
6.15pm – Internet Surfing (Read up on latest World News)


7.00pm – No Plans Here (Free Slot)
10.00pm – Bedtime

How does your weekend schedule look like? :)

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