October 15th, 2008

Change the Approach, Not Yourself

A guy on a TV show was talking about the myth of our personalities changing as we grow older (actually, the guy was motivational speaker Marcus Buckingham and the show, Oprah). He also suggested that we should try, in most situations, to magnify our positive traits instead of being obsessed with reducing the negative ones. It’s not all that groundbreaking but I thought I’d share how this approach has helped me in my work.

Magnify your positive traits

As a child, I had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a knack for problem-solving. At the same time, I was reserved and hated confrontations. I always thought I’d mature into a gregarious, eloquent woman. It didn’t quite turn out that way. Attempts to condition myself into becoming more of an extrovert was futile and eventually, I stopped trying.

I work as a designer, which is great because it involves doing a lot of research and finding the right solution to a client’s problem. This part of the job gives me great satisfaction and when I nailed the brief, I feel strong.

My job also requires me to interact with many different individuals and manage conflicts — two things I don’t enjoy but have accepted as part of the job.

It was a shift in mindset I had about 2 years ago that made this part of the job bearable. I started looking at meetings as opportunities to learn and solve problems. The more I open myself to learning at these discussions, the easier it is to find a solution, the less time I need to spend in meetings. A win-win situation for all.

The next time you are faced with a difficult situation that seems to suck all your energy out, stop and think if there’s another way to approach the problem, one that puts your strengths to good use. It’s much easier working with your strength than trying to work against your weakness.

| More
May 14th, 2008

Is It Time to Quit?
Book Review of The Dip by Seth Godin

The Dip by Seth Godin

Quitters never win and winners never quit, right? Well according to Seth Godin, author of “The Dip – A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (And When to Stick)“, winners quit all the time — they just quit the right stuff at the right time.

Every new project starts out fun and exciting. Then it gets harder and harder, until it hits a point where it becomes not much fun at all. If you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle you may be in a Dip—a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. [Read more....]

| More
April 7th, 2008

100 Ideas for Your Blog

No Cares What You Had for Lunch - 100 Ideas for Your Blog

I’ve just finished reading this– No One Cares What You Had for Lunch – 100 Ideas for Your Blog by Margaret Mason of Mighty Girl — in less than two hours.

Someone gave me this book because I was telling everyone how hard it was to find new ideas to post everyday for a month last month (I was on NaBloPoMo March blogroll). I wished I’d read this book earlier!

From the blurb “(this book) offers inspiration for bloggers who want to contribute something worthwhile — and perhaps build an audience.”

There are many suggestions worth considering, if you are maintaining a personal blog (like Growing Happiness). Here are some of my favourites:

19. Give us your scraps – Share your notes / clippings. If you think it’s worth saving, it’s worth sharing.

Here’s the latest entry in my Google Notebook:

importunate: troublesomely urgent

I’m pretty sure I’ll find a need for this word soon.

26. Share your expertise – Do you have a foolproof hangover cure? I’ve actually done this with my Best Cure for Hiccups post.

47. Promote truth – Outline truths you believe to be universal.

Note: This is not a book about how to write a blog, make money online, generate traffic or search engine optimisation, it is about ideas, ideas most suitable for a personal journal. I have to add this because I feel that it got some unfair reviews on Amazon, mostly from people expecting this book to be “about blogging”.

Another thing: the book is short — this is can either be good or bad — and I personally like it that way .

| More
March 22nd, 2008

Kid’s Answers to Life

My favourite answers from “Kids’ Answers to Life’s Big Questions” by Steve & Ruth Bennett.

Q. What makes rainbows?
A. Pieces of sunset.

Q. What should you do when you feel like hitting someone?
A. Ask them if they want to be hit.

Q. What kinds of things make people happy?
A. John Lennon.

Q. What are some things to be sad about?
A. Running out of coffee. < True

Q. Why do countries fight wars?
A. Because they don’t like cats and the other country has cats.

Q. What does the vice-president do?
A. He golfs.

Day 22

| More
File in: projects, random Tags: , ,
Comments: Add your comment
February 11th, 2008

Inspiration: SARK

Imagine the world in pink, yellow and turquoise where everyone embraces their creative spirit and the right to enjoy life.


The first time I bought a book by SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) was for a friend who had just won a battle against depression. I didn’t even read the book prior to that, I was just drawn to the colourful cover and its promise to uplift your spirit (or something like that) AND most importantly it suited my budget.

A few days later my friend called to say how much she loved the book and how grateful she was that I took the time to pick the perfect book for her. I didn’t tell her the actual reason why I chose the book, but her phone call piqued my interest enough to pick up a book myself. The book was Succulent Wild Woman And it became my first SARK book in many to follow.

SARK has a way of writing that’s magical and thoroughly heartfelt. With her childlike drawing and handwriting (most of the text in her books are handwritten), it feels a like reading a someone’s sketchbook/diary, one who has the ability to inspire you to abandon your inhibitions, free your inner artist and reach for the stars. If you or someone you care about needs a little cheering up, trying reading one of her titles. If the writing doesn’t touch you, at least her drawings will make you smile.

| More
File in: inspiration Tags: ,
Comments: 4 Comments | Add your comment
January 17th, 2008

The Secret

The Secret by Rhonda ByrneI was channel-surfing one night when I chanced upon an episode of Oprah talking about The Secret.

I was very skeptical at first, but by the end of the show, I was interested enough to learn more about this “secret”.

A few days after the show, I watched the the DVD

Now I’d be lying if I were to say it was a life-changing moment, but I’d be lying too if I say I didn’t learn anything from it. Most of the things in the DVD are stuff I already know packaged in a nice way. Some of the things though obvious, tend to be overlooked, so there were a few “ah, I see” moments.

Basically it’s about positive thinking. If you wish for something and focus your energy to achieve what you desire, the planets will automagically align themselves to grant you your wish. Or something like that.

So I did an experiment.

I wished for a cheque of $5000 to appear magically in my mailbox. I imagined how it felt like – blue, and crispy, with a handsome bank-ish smell- and what I’d do with the windfall – save half, give my mums a nice present, donate some to charity, buy a pair of sneakers, go for a trip to Bangkok and spend $100 on chocolates! I remember feeling a rush of endorphins through my system and a general feeling of happiness. It was a fun exercise.

Lo and behold 5 days later, I got a mail from a bank!

Cheque (Check)

A real cheque! In my mail! And it’s blue!
The punchline’s in the fine print.

Cheque - the fine print

Ha ha! So I got a credit cheque but it did meet all the requirements of my wish right?

So what’s my conclusion on “The Secret”? There’s no harm in positive thinking. The act of thinking about something that makes you happy is a great stress reliever and a fun thing to do. Who knows, you might even get your wish granted. :)

PS: I will continue to document my experiment with “The Secret” on this site. If you’ve had positive experience from it, I’d love to hear about it.

Link: The Secret – official website

| More