Thursday, January 21





Saturday, January 16

Wake Up!

2016's Resolution:

- Forgive the past
- Appreciate myself that "I am great"
- Accept my weaknesses for who I am 
- Celebrate little success no matter how small it is
- Take failure as it is
- Recall and restore passion to do greater good to the world
- When problems come, think like a 8-year-old kid

- Become who I used to be, with passion to do what I want to do, with passion to do good to the world, with love and care towards others

Wednesday, January 13

6 Elements of Success

What makes up success?

First, a goal. A clear and ambitious goal. Self-explanatory.

Second, powerful passion and determination. 
What makes up passion?
Something that you love to do. Something that you will be extremely and extraordinarily happy to do.
But what kinds of things give you those feelings?
a) Money. Doing that something will bring you money. Because it is the fundamental survival needs under Maslow.
b) Learning. Doing that something brings you huge learning, it can be a larger happiness than money.
c) Impact. Doing that something means you are bringing impact, contributing towards something bigger than yourself, changing something.

And the magnitude of these three elements must be larger or at least equivalent to your capability or the amount of effort that you are putting it. Or else the non-equivalence will only cause sorrow and disappointment.

However, at the end of the day it's your choice. You can 'create' passion and even 'magnify' passion. Because they are your choices. Passion made up from what you think and how you think. If you choose to love it, then you will love it.
"Nothing is good or bad, but what you think makes it so." According to the Bard.

Evidence: The passion and determination that I had when I wanted to change course in UM. It was super huge passion where nothing can beat me even the sky falls. 

Third, hope and belief.  Strong one. 
Any doubts or single thought of "Can I do it" will ruin your passion.
But what makes up belief? What gives you hope?
a) Accept yourself for who you are (a.k.a. Self-esteem, self-confidence, self-appreciation, self-recognition)
All of these similar words. If you truly know yourself (Self-awareness), if you truly accept who you are [Know your strengths, accept what you are sucked at (Your weaknesses)], you will always be proud of your strengths, and believing that they are going to help you to achieve your goals, they give you hope. And you will never frown upon your weaknesses, because you know they are just part of you, they don't define you, they are not gonna kill you. On your hands there are always different chess, they are strong and powerful one, they are also some mediocre and weak one. It depends on whether you can use the strong one to the maximum, and cover/minimise the weak one.

b) Evidence (Real evidence that make you believe that you can achieve the goal)
Far-fetched stuff will only give fluffiness and confusion, and then doubts come in. Human needs real evidence to convince himself. But how do you convince yourself that you can achieve the goals? They seem big and hard!
The only way to convince yourself that you can achieve something is to achieve something.
It doesn't make much sense right.

Evidence: In 5 days time I almost completed the president application. It seemed almost impossible in the first place, but everyday as I made slight progress, I started to appreciate and believe that I can do more, step by step. And I achieved 70% at the end.

Just take an analogy, to convince yourself that you can finish a marathon of 10km. You must first complete the first 500m, the next 500m, then 1km, 2km, 4km, 8km and finally...10km. Imagine in the first few minute of running, you already keep thinking about the goal of 10km, how difficult it can be?
"10km is such a long distance, it seems so hard." "10km? I am not even at 1km yet, how can I do it? It seems a long way to go" "I am so tired, 10km, is that possible?"
All of these doubts will come across your mind if you are keep aiming towards the end goal of 10km (If you are just a normal man but not an athletic runner)

To remove all the self-doubts, to really make yourself believe that you can do it, is to aim really really small goal, achieve it slowly. Once you achieve the first small goal, you gained confidence. You got REAL EVIDENCE that you can do it and you can aim higher and do more now. Aim to complete the first 500m, then put your goal in the next 500m, then you can add your goal's magnitude to 2km, to 4km to 8km and finally you achieve it!

c) Powerful experience and personal values
This is a long-term solution, an element that requires long time to build up slowly. A person with a lot of intensive experience (No matter the ending was good or bad) that challenged him a lot is a person that have a lot of grit. The moment you see and interact with such a person, you can feel his boldness and his 'resume' (You can feel that he has gone through a lot). He has very strong personal value and belief system. His past experience told him that nothing cannot be achieved and he can do wonders.

In front of the hardest task, you might not be able to have real evidence to convince yourself. Your strengths might not be great enough to support you too. At such crucial moment, it is your past experience and personal values that hold you firm and strong to achieve your goals.

"I believe we can make it out from here. I believe it because I choose to believe it."
Quoted from the main character in the movie "The 33", Mario. He was the leader of the other 32 men and he brought them to go through the survival challenge during the mining accident in Chile.

Fourth, a back up plan that gives you a sense of safety.
Sometimes failing can be really really scary. Thinking about failing can be the scariest thing in earth. This kind of fear will stop you from doing the things and striving for your goals because you are so afraid to fail.

But having a back up plan, a plan of "What if I failed, I still can XXX". Of course, the consequence of failing will only close the door of success and you can only opt for a secondary alternative which is most of the time mediocre and lesser in values. However, knowing that you will not die and at least you have an alternative (though mediocre) giving you courage to move on, because the worst is not fatal but just mediocre. And you can always restart and improve from mediocrity again.

However, do not hold this fourth element strongly, because keep thinking about backup plan will make you lose focus towards your current ambitious goal. If you keep thinking about it, you will tend to be satisfied with your backup plan which is mediocre.

This fourth element is only intended to be a mechanism to conquer your fear in the extreme circumstance (When you are really really so afraid of failing and the fear is so overwhelming).

Evidence: During my process in fighting to change course, I always have the thought of "Even if I can't change it now, I can study Engineering for one year first then I apply to change to Law again. I don't mind wasting one year." This backup plan gives me a sense of safety that even the worst come to the worst the only thing I need to sacrifice is to lose one year. I have nothing much to lose. At the same time this backup plan didn't make me idle, because I was still super firm with my determination to change course (Element No.2 above)

Fifth: Never stop adding values to youself
Read books and articles. Volunteer and do good deeds. Share your stories to people, no matter good or bad. Mix and mingle with great people, nice people, good people.

Sixth and the last one, be simple, be happy.
This is the most fluffy, abstract and non-scientific element.
But it is the most practical one. Alot of times we get too obsessed with thoughts about the goals, the challenges, the fear of failing and the joy of success, we forgot our fundamentals as human being, which is to be really simple and be happy, like a kid.

Happiness boost productivity. If you learned how to be happy and put up a smile at 24/7 regardless of what is the outcome or what's happening, you will just do better in your work. Because you know you have nothing to lose, no matter what happened, life is good, life is great, life is happy.

Please believe that, everything happens for a good reason. A damn good reason. Sometimes they looked really good, sometimes they are blessing in disguise, but they are always good and great.

The Journey | Part V: Ending, and Beginning

And here comes to the end of this confusing, long-winded, negative, dramatic story full of ups and downs. He fell into his lowest point in life after a series of failure. He suffered serious anxiety and he self-blamed everyday. He realised his problem and started letting go of his past. He recalled his determination and passion. He thought he had recovered fully until he encountered another huge challenging test which pushed him to his edge. He breakthrough one last final bottleneck, which is to appreciate himself as someone great, and start doing things step by step slowly. He had finally finally recovered. 

Someone said success comes from the formula below:

(Clear & ambitious) 
(Positive & Strong) 
Backup Plan/Alternative

He might not have a very clear goal now as there are too many uncertainties, too many crossroads, too many choices and options. But all of these required very strong passion, determination and courage to go through it. And he has it now, in fact he has them all the time, just he submerged them sometimes, and now he found them back, bigger and stronger. In addition, he has hope and belief, something that he has not had at all in the past one and a half year. He knows that he doesn't need to aim for very big thing that will scare him off and bring him great pressure. He just need to move step by step, one by one, slowly, patiently. He appreciates who he is now. He knows he has a lot of great parts, he has great strengths that will bring him far, he has great values that will make him shine. Even he still have a lot of weaknesses and lousy parts, he acknowledges them, he accepts them, he knows they are part of who he is, he can slowly improve them one by one. Any failures, weaknesses, lousiness don't define him, they co-exist with his strengths and values. They are merely parallel with each other, with little or no intersection. 

And lastly, because of his strong powerful past experience, he built strong values and belief system, no matter what challenges are ahead of him in the future, he will fight and overcome them. Because he believes he can. And the only reason that he believes he can, is because he chooses to believe it.  

The Journey | Part IV: Stand Up

He didn't handle all those huge commitments and promises well. He sought for some external help, he read some articles and books, but still they weren't sorted out. He ran to Cambodia once again.
The role wasn't very challenging if he was who he was in the past. But this time he went there with great pressures and all those backlogged he didn't finish/achieve (But he supposed to). Although his dad told him that worries are the biggest enemy for human being, he still can't absorb it well, because his subconscious mind wasn't changed. The smallest obstacle he faced in Cambodia (Eg: Cant mingle well with extroverts, can't connect well with the team, can't come out ideas in choreographing dances) gave him great pressure and made him felt that he is useless again. Luckily there were still some really kind people who gave him some love and care. He gained inspirations there. The most powerful one would be from his chairperson, whom told him that:

"I believe everyone in this world is destined to achieve certain highest point in life. And this highest point only belongs to him/her, it's extremely unique and no one else could achieve that besides him/her."

"Every single personality is neutral, they have both sides, depends on how you view them, perceive them, use them. They are biological, hard to change, but once you appreciate them, they can be so powerful."

He was struck. He finally recalled back his strengths, his values, his powerful skills, his strong mindsets, his good parts and his passion. He started to acknowledge and accept his weaknesses as part of him. He realised that he had ignored them all the while, for more than a year. He kept thinking that he is not good and any good parts that he witnessed on others, he wanted to have that. The fact that he didn't have those things made him feel that he was useless. But this thought was wrong, absolutely wrong! He realised that he had not been appreciating himself at all, but keep condemning himself as a useless person. And he realised that he did not accept his weaknesses at all, in fact he took them as the biggest enemy, some nightmare that would traumatise him. He was really really afraid of people revealing and talking about those weaknesses. But now he learned that those weaknesses don't define him as failure, they don't harm him as a person.

He also once again recalled, realised, and reaffirmed his passion for leadership, for youth development. His chairperson's experience from jumping from a local level vice president to a national president gave him inspirations, motivation and confidence that he can do it and he should do it as well. His determination is back! Really, finally it's back.

Back to Malaysia again. He left 5 days to do TWO president applications. It seemed like a mission impossible. He would definitely feel super stressful and intended to give up if he was who he was in the past 1.5 years. But this time he didn't. He kept reminding himself the word that his chair told him. "Everyone has that powerful strengths and values that, only him/her can make it the best and most powerful one.". He started to believe himself and he started to take actions. 

Although the process was super hard, super scary. And he was still quite stressful, but this time the stress wasn't because of the work anymore, it wasn't from his own doubts anymore. He didn't think that he is useless and he can't do it anymore. The stress was purely from the tight timeline, it seemed like a mission impossible. Everyday he had that few moments thinking of giving up because it seemed really impossible to complete so many questions on time. But he kept telling himself he can, he keep forcing himself to recall his strengths and his powerful attributes, then he gained confidence and continued moving on. He started making progress, the more he had done, the more confidence he gained, and he kept moving. All those small steps and smallest progress gave him huge confidence and hope and belief that he can do it, he moved on. 

At the end, he didn't manage to do it. He left 7 questions unanswered, around 30% not done. 2 hours away from the deadline, he was so so so tired and exhausted. He stopped doing it. It might sound like a disappointing ending once again and he seemed like a failure again. But unlike one year ago (where he gave up on similar thing), this time he did not have any guilty and negative feeling. In fact, he felt satisfied, he felt empowered, he felt fulfilling. He knew he is someone worthy, he knew he has great capability and power. He knew he is not a failure. He knew how to appreciate himself. He knew achieving 70% progress in 5 days time is a great achievement. A really really very very great achievement for someone who doubted himself very much in the first place, for someone who has been taking himself as a failure in the past 1.5 years. He made a great step forward and he ran out from the past! He finally broke the chain that locked him with his past. 

The Journey | Part III: Final Test

While he was in Yangon, he received a message and a call. An opportunity came and he was invited to be back to AIESEC again. He was extremely excited for a big challenge again, but at the same time he fell into the mindset of "200-300% effort" again. As usual, when he had something on his to-do list, that thing will automatically branched out into 200-300 things, because his thoughts would ask him to put 200-300% effort to achieve a 200-300% results, anything less than that weren't tolerable at all. He not only became a perfectionist, but he became so afraid of failures. He  had totally forgotten the 20-80 principle. The only thing in his mind was to do more and more and more then only he can achieve more and more and more. He started those stressful and pressuring thoughts again when he was in his last stop at Laos, thinking and fearing on all the 200-300% things that he has to do in his mind.

So he accepted the invitation, and at the same time he got the momentum and he intended to do more, to apply for more roles. He started to give himself some empty beliefs that he can do a lot of wonders. He started a lot of day dreaming of successful moments, they looked so good and so cool. He thought he was coming to a 100% recovery very soon. His beliefs towards success were coming back. But the reality wasn't so simple. His executions later were far from satisfactory level. 

He was so excited to be back to Malaysia, because he had hundreds of amazing and wonderful (In his opinion) things to do on his to-do list. He kept imagining himself doing those things and he couldn't wait to realise those moments. But his AIESEC role gave him a very huge challenge. Those challenges pushed him to his edge to really test whether he had recovered 100% or not. In fact they were his final test. The highest bounce always comes from the deepest and strongest strike. At that point of time he didn't realise that he was quite empty. A lot of crucial skills (resources management, goal-oriented KPI skill) weren't on his hands and in fact he had lost/forgotten some skills (team management, training planning, people structure HR skills), or simply because he had never equipped himself completely with those skills (because the training/learning he received last time was pretty not systematic). All of these gaps caused him to keep failing and failing. 

As the issue of 'craving for success' was still quite imminent, he felt very anxious, tensed, pressured in the entire process, especially when results didn't turn out well. And then he had more and more roles, more responsibilities, more planning and more challenges to tackle when the team wasn't performing. He felt overwhelmed and he started to be afraid again. He wanted to avoid and run away from those huge burdens again. Because everything seemed so big, so hard for him. 

In the 3 months between October to December of 2015, he had so many inner thoughts and in fact his personal core values had been changing everyday through his intensive self-evaluation. He was so excited during the beginning, kept imagining the moment when he brought the team to achieve results. He put a lot of dedication and hardwork in the role and responsibility. He conducted meetings, trainings, education sessions. He will make calls to ask those experienced one and learned from them. But success wasn't so easy. Failures prompted him to reflect and reevaluate himself. He troubleshooted the non-achievements, and tried very hard to find ways to solve it. Reevaluation meeting, reset new goals. Putting very strict weekly priority on himself, forcing himself to follow it. But everything was so overwhelming, it seemed so hard and so difficult. He started to burn out and feel like not doing, feel like delaying, procrastinating, avoiding, running away. 

Starting from the mid of November, he was struggling very seriously. He was lost at certain point of time, not having very clear end goal and direction on where did he want to head towards. He just did all mere minimum and required processes. Furthermore, time didn't wait for him. Multiple things came in again that forced him to bear up more and more commitments. Part time jobs, facilitating opportunity, president application (which he promised himself to go for it). 

The Journey | Part II: New Hope

A support meeting group saved him. They noticed that he was so abnormal and seemed like having deep troubles. They bombarded him a lot of questions. "Have you let go of your past failures?" "When was the last time you truly felt happy?" He realised he had never let go of his past. He grudged them so hard. His limbs and arms were all tied tightly with the past, that's why he hardly make a move. Even just one step forward was extremely difficult for him. He wanted to achieve, not because that he wanted it, but because of his past failures. He wanted to compensate, he wanted to redeem. He never wanted to strive for the future, the only motivation for him is to strive for the past. He never accepted his past failures and say "Yes they are failures and they are part of who I am today. So let's start the fresh chapter today.".

The meeting struck him hard. He realised the root cause now finally. But he only knew the root cause, not the strategies or solutions. In fact it was so hard to find a solution. Step by step, day by day, he tried to change his mindset and thought process. But it was hard, really hard, damn hard. They seemed like planted deeply into his subconscious mind. Often times he will fall into the old thought process and start thinking that he is worthless, he wanted to achieve huge success to prove himself, but he doubted himself at the same time. Because deep down in his heart he still craved for huge success, he still have doubt on his capability, even though he had let go of his past. The problems still weren't solved, because no one was there to teach him that huge success doesn't matter in life, or simply he needed more time to start believing himself again.

It took him months. At the end of May, good things finally came (like it has been a really long time). He submitted his thesis. He went through the last exams and got some pretty okay results. Things seemed going smoothly and it seemed like the recovery process had come to a final completion stage.

But don't know why, some bad moments came again. He felt huge stress during his travelling journey with parents in Hong Kong. After coming back, he worried even more on his soon-to-come Cambodia volunteering journey. Worries kicked in again, he started to doubt himself. Negative feelings just came in naturally and he can't control. He just felt bad when he thought about the fact that he need to go for this volunteering soon, somewhere full of uncertainty. His positive motivation and purpose can't withstand the huge negative and anxious mindset at all.

So he flew to Cambodia, kicking start his 6-week journey. Unfortunately the things that he encountered weren't that smooth, in fact there were series of bad things happened that required some courage, some skills, some confidence and most importantly positivity to solve them. He started to frustrate over those problems, and kept complaining, kept comparing with others who didn't encounter similar problem, kept thinking that his journey wasn't that "successful" compared to others.  That was a sign of huge low confidence. Because he wasn't confident on himself, he wanted to compare with others, he wanted to feel a little bit of good feeling when he found he is better than someone's experience in certain aspect. He had that kind of thought, he thought that if in this exchange journey he can't create wonders, it would define him to be a failure and not successful person. And when he overheard someone else is doing great in his/her exchange journey, he would feel inferior. 

Luckily he has a great friend who was able to enlighten him, giving him confidence, slapping him and made him to recall his purpose of coming to this volunteering project. He wasn't that crazy anymore to demand 200-300 percents of success in everything (This proved that he had recovered partially, especially after submitting thesis). But still, he was quite afraid of failures, and afraid of doing things because worrying that they might all turn into failures. But the only thing he can do that time was just to be patient, going through everything step by step, challenging his internal fear one time over another, slowly and patiently. At the end, he didn't solve many of the problems, in fact a lot of things remained unsolved, he just continued to do what he supposed to do, contributing his minimal impact in the midst of those problems. He knew it was not really a 'success', he had no choice but just to accept them.

Later, he left Cambodia and started his Indochina travelling journey, from Cambodia to Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. There were a lot of fun and amazing encounters and experiences. But still sometimes he kept thinking about what are the 'right ways' of travelling. He intended to do a 'thorough' research, a completely thorough one. He wanted to visit and read through almost every single travelling websites. It sounds quite insane and also stupid because travelling is not an exam, not a competition. And of course as usual he will fail what he expected himself to do, because what he expected were those abnormal 200-300% effort which seems so difficult for a person with low confidence and self-doubts like him. He will worry that his planned journey or itinerary were the wrong one, the low quality one, the one that he would miss out some important places and be called 'stupid' by his friends. Also everyday he was worried about the money that he is going to spend. 

The Journey | Part I: Darkness

There was this boy. He failed his academic thesis, with a grade F, simply because he didn't submit anything. He failed to lead a huge group of people in getting results that they wanted. They ran blindly to nowhere with blurred directions. Also, he was terrible in fulfilling his commitments with his friends and family. But the worst thing was, he always bore things on his shoulders and unintentionally magnified many small mistakes as his faults.

The feeling was so sucky. The feeling of failing was so horrible, so scary, so overwhelming. He told himself, he cannot fail anymore. He wanted success, he wanted to prove to the whole world how great he is. He became very obsessive and he craved for success crazily. He set very high goals. He wanted to get dean list results in the last 2 semesters. He kept telling himself he must go back and hold a bigger role, take a bigger responsibility, lead a bigger team to achieve a bigger goal. He started drafting all silly personal timetable and schedules, even for the most trivial thing in life. He thought every single thing in life matters so so much, every single thing must be perfect and they can't run away from 'success'. He can't accept the smallest uncertainty and imperfection, because he deemed those things as big big failures. He defined himself as failure when things didn't go well. Those days, that kind of life was so painful, so suffering. He wanted a two-hundred and three-hundred percents level of success for every single thing in life. It was extremely abnormal and over.

And such kind of crazy expectations created huge pressure. Because he had been failing for numerous times in the past 1 year, it was so difficult for him to believe that he can do it. In fact every second he was doubting on his own capability, his own worthiness and his own values. At certain point he would think that he is kind of useless like a garbage. Every thing became so difficult for him, even though he has the capability for it, and in fact he had done it well before. Furthermore, he demanded himself to achieve two-hundred and three-hundred percents for everything in life now. It was like demanding self to become someone amazing but at the same time he chose not to believe that himself is amazing.

Because they were so hard, because he deemed himself as failure, because he subconsciously believed that he can't do a lot of things, he just felt like running away from everything. Because running away is the fastest "method" to avoid failure, to avoid pain, to avoid all those negative memories again. Sometimes he slept whole day, sometimes he sat in front of the computer and think of all kinds of negative bullshits. He just barely make progress on anything. He became more and more last minute, because he didn't even have the will to progress. Sometimes he made lies to cover his lack of progress. Sometimes he tried to find all possible ways to run away from commitments. He can close himself in a room for days and weeks doing nothing, but pressuring himself with all those internal monolog that went on everyday. 

He knew that he was in deep trouble. But he didn't know how to solve it, he didn't know why, he didn't even know what were his problems. Because it was very complex and complicated for him. He tried to find some trustworthy person to seek for help, but no avail. And he didn't even feel like telling the problems to some people, because for him it was shameful to tell, it was a failure to tell others that he is a failure.