September 20th, 2009

This Moment

Be happy for this moment.
This moment is your life.
Omar Khayyam

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September 9th, 2009

Habits of Happiness - Matthieu Ricard

Matthieu Ricard gives his take on the nature of happiness and how we can attain it. Uplifting speech with a good dose of humour.

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November 7th, 2008

A President for the World

There was an air of quiet celebration in the house on Wednesday. My husband and I had taken a little time off work to watch the results of US Election on CNN.

When Obama’s name was announced as the president elect, I watched America and the whole world throw their fists in the air and celebrate. Some were crying, in relief, joy and hope (and for some, disappointment). I can’t help but shed a few tears myself. I’m just happy to be granted the privilege of witnessing this momentous occasion in history.


Last week I was chilling out on the couch after a very tiring day when my 11-year old nephew asked, “Why do the skinheads want to assassinate Obama?” referring to a newspaper report last month. In my state of fatigue, I tried explaining about racism and supremacists but find myself at a loss when he asked, “Why is the colour of one’s skin such a big deal?”


Earlier this year my husband and I were pondering on the probability of America having Barack Obama as president. His proposed policies are generally multilateral, his background is global and he’s got this thing called charisma.

To the world, Obama seemed to be the preferred candidate. Parts of Asia sees him as one of our own (“He speaks Bahasa and has lived in Indonesia! He’s more Asian than your uncle Jo”). Africa, or at least Kenya, claims him as a son of their soil. Middle east welcomes “Hussein” along with the olive branch he’s extending. In a sense, he is a president for the world.

But he is black (or grey as I call it, since he is half white). And we’re afraid that though the world was rooting and ready for him, America didn’t share the same sentiments.


We were wrong to assume that Americans were not mature enough to look beyond racial lines and for once I’m glad we were. There is so much hope and expectation placed on this one man. And he has shown us, with his election, that there is some hope in this world.

With the current global economic crisis and the peril of climate change, it is definitely a challenging time to be the leader of a nation so powerful and influential. Let’s hope that he lives up to at least some of the expectations. :)

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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.

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July 29th, 2008

Road to Success - The Right Attitude and Hunger

Positive thinking plays a big part in determining whether you will be successful and this is how I’d chart their relation:

Success depends on how positive you are

The more positive you are the more likely your are to succeed.

I came across a graph from one of my newspaper clippings collection and promptly pin it up because I like how it outlines another key factor — success is not only determined by the kind of attitude you have but also by how bad you want it (which is to be followed by a plan of action).

Chance of success is determined by the right attitude
Through purely unscientific inference, I conclude that if we solely depend on positivity, we’ll likely fall into the “I think I might” to “I think I can” spectrum. Therefore, to increase our chances of success, we’ll need to rise to the next level. When you’re at “I can” or “I will”, a natural question that follows will be, “How can I make this work?” and you will be on your way to writing you own blueprint to success.

Of course, there are other factors that would influence your chance of success – connections, luck, fate, cats (having too many cats greatly reduce my chances of a spontaneous getaway — who’s gonna feed all the cats?!) — but as they say, success is 99% perspiration, so get sweating and good luck!

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