Monday, June 28, 2010

Get Your Daily Motivation

Photo by Vanilla

Running out of fuel?

All of us do feel that way at one time of another. Essentially, we feel unmotivated about what we are doing at that moment.

Your body needs food to be powered up. Similarly, your mind needs motivation to be propelled. When your mind is 'hungry', you need to 'feed' it.

Learn how you can motivate yourself:

1. Revisit your purpose

What were you doing at that time? What was your original purpose?

We are usually enthusiastic when we set out to do something. We plan what to do and visualize our accomplishment at the end point.

That feeling is a good one.
Recap and feel those positive forces that set you off.

Photo by Vanilla

2. Stay focused

You could have felt unmotivated because you are trying to do too many things in one go. Instead of getting much done, you suffer from fatigue. You feel unrewarded when you see little or no accomplishment after so much effort.

Work on only one or two things at one time. Stay focused.

3. Stay away from distractions

Non-accomplishment is often a result of distractions.

Are you lagging behind because you are lured by televisions, the Internet or snacks? Learn to recognize distractions and steer clear of them.

Photo by Vanilla

4. Examine your feelings

Sometimes you feel lousy without an apparent reason. Well, at least that is what you think.

The exact reasons for your lack of motivation may not be obvious to you. You would need to sit back and ask yourself some hard questions such as, "How am I feeling right now?", "What makes me feel this way?", "How long have I been feeling like this?" and "Have I felt this way before?"

It helps to know what bothers you.

5. Negate negative thoughts

We have such thoughts. In fact, we have quite a bit of them.

Negative thoughts come from the way you analyze people and things around you. You feel bad when someone comments negatively about the quality of your work. You feel discouraged when you sense from your boss's body language that you are not appreciated.

Learn to focus only on the helpful stuff. Hear only constructive views and do not read too much into unclear messages. They cannot help you in anyway. Besides, they were probably not real in the first place.

Photo by Vanilla

6. Check your company

Are you being dragged down by 'negative' people around you?

In your weaker moments, it is best to stay away from them. Instead, get yourself surrounded by 'positive' people. They can help you to amplify your willpower and up your motivation.

7. Create visual reminders

Motivational quotes can be your daily reminders to stay positive and upbeat. Put them near where you work.

By the way, nothing lasts forever. Remember to replace them when they no long inspire you.

Photo by Vanilla

8. Read and be inspired

You can get tons of inspiring stories from books and online articles. They often remind you that there are so much more you can do. Reading such materials is like taking health supplements when you are feeling unwell. It helps.

Defeat does not mean no accomplishment

It is easy to focus on defeats and miss out other accomplishments.

When you are unmotivated, it does not help if you zoom in to unhappy outcome. When you are out of fuel, you look to refuel rather than trying to puncture your fuel tank.

Go and recount moments of past achievements and let them help to fuel you.

Photo by Vanilla

It is perfectly human to feel unmotivated at times. Accept that and learn to deal with it.

While is it almost impossible avoid such emotions, you can work towards cutting down the occurrence. The real question you want to ask yourself is thus, "How often and how easily do I feel that way?"

The key to this matter is not whether you ever feel that way. Rather, it is about how fast and how well you can refuel yourself.

Imagine that you are an F1 race car. In order to continue in the race, you have to be refueled at the next pit-stop in a jiffy. In other words, go fast when you are fueled. Refill fast when you are out of fuel.

It is never too early to learn to motivate yourself. Start today.

You might also want to read:
Monday Blues - No More
Perspective of Life
Happiness is a Choice

Erasing The Past?

“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.”
~Zig Ziglar~

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Tumblr - Connecting with You

Blogging is so yesterday, some say.

Whether you agree or not, the way we communicate via social networking changes everyday. In 2004, Facebook was launched and Twitter followed two years later. Unless you have been living under a rock, you would have known that they have since grown to become notable giants in the arena of social networking.

In 2007, Tumblr joined in the fun and just last year, Foursquare also took the dive. The popularity of these two newcomers is growing since then.

I am just naming a few players. I know I could go on talking about many more such as MySpace (2003), LinkedIn (2003) and Bebo (2005) but I am sure you got my point. Besides, I do not know enough to discuss any deeper than this.

I guess the advent of newer social networking services makes traditional blogging a thing of the past. Do note that I use the word traditional which 'traditionally' means the ways things are done since a long time ago. However, in the context of technology, it often refers to something which took place quite recently.

In some way, blogging is passe. Increasingly, more users are going for mircoblogging, giving shorter and smaller contents. Twitter, which allows updates in 140 characters or less. is a good example of microblogging.

I am currently using Twitter (@VFlavor). You can follow me and get updates on the latest post from this blog. (See "Tweeting - One Year On" and "Let's Do The Tweet")

I have also just started using Tumblr where I share "my photos & my thoughts".

I do not blog too regularly (usually once a week) but each time I would do a long post. Certain thoughts and ideas are better said in more than just a few words. However, if you prefer a mix of long and short posts, you can follow my Tumblr site, where I share my photos and my brief thoughts more regularly.

At the end of the day, a thought is a thought. It can be conveyed through a long post, in a few lines or simply via a picture.

After all, there is no right or wrong way to say "Let's Look At It This Way".

You might also want to read:
Are You Into Social "Nutworking"?

"Communication is about being effective, not always about being proper."
~Bo Bennett~

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Notes Left Behind

This book could make you cry, motivated and inspired, all at the same time.

I bought it some months back. Each time I picked it up, I could not read on. Writing about it is even harder.


'Notes Left Behind' is a true story of a brave little girl who left this world too soon. In her last days, 6-year old Elena Desserich fought an incurable brain cancer and left behind a big lesson for all of us to learn.

Elena Desserich, Dec 2000 - Aug 2007

I first learnt about her story in the news about a year ago. I was greatly saddened by her passing but very much inspired by her courage.
Due to her illness, Elena lost her ability to talk but she did not lose her ability to love. She was still able to write and so she did to let her parents know that everything was OK.

During her last days, Elena also fulfilled some of her wishes and one of them was to paint a masterpiece which now hangs in Cincinnati Art Museum.

Elena's notes

Elena's notes

Doctor gave Elena 135 days but she made it 255 days. After the cancer claimed her life in Aug 2007, her parents discovered a note left behind by Elena. They soon discovered in the following weeks and months, more notes hidden by her in places such as within CD covers, in book cases or under vases. Her parents have discovered hundreds of them and no one knows for sure if there are any more in the house.

Her notes would carry a simple message such as "'I love you Mom, Dad and Grace." or drawing of many hearts. These notes were no doubt simple but looking at them wrenched my heart.

Elena's drawing

According to her parents, they never spoke of death to Elena. Somehow, Elena probably knew that she wouldn't be around for long and starting writing notes, drawing pictures and hid them everywhere. Perhaps she wanted to ease the pain for her parents after she left them.

In some ways, Elena's parents are lucky to have received notes left behind by their little girl. I wish I too could get such notes from loved ones whom I will never see again.

Photo By Vanilla

A book with a big message

The book was written by Elena's parents as a memoir for her younger sister Gracie so that she may reflect on the strength and courage of her big sister.
It wasn't the initial intention of the Desserich family to publish the book. However, they later decided to do so as they wanted to channel the money to their cancer foundation, "The Cure Starts Now".

Elena's parents urge the readers "to take time to listen and not to get caught up in the days' rush".

Photo By Vanilla

Normalcy is a gift

Many of us are guilty of not counting our blessing but are busy getting upset over triviality. Elena's story sends a reminder to the readers that today is not here forever whether we choose to live it well or not.

At some point in time, there are pains in each of us. Very often, much of these pains are unduly amplified. We would have thought that our pains are unjustifiable. We feel that way because we have little awareness of people around us. Many of them are going through pains which put ours next to nothing.

Compared to their lives, ours are 'normal'.

Normalcy is a gift and I have learnt not to take that for granted. I have also learnt that normalcy comes from seeing things in perspective (See Perspective of Life) and filling our days with happier thoughts (See Happiness is a Choice).

For me, I choose to make today the best day of my life. Make it your choice too.

Watch this video about the book and the notes that Elena has left behind.

Official website of "Notes Left Behind".

"Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from."
~ Seth Godin ~

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Erasing The Past?

Photo by Vanilla

If only our past is erasable.

As a kid, I used to be amazed at how my little eraser could make those pencil lines disappear, leaving only bits of pencil dust. I could redo my drawing and writing again and again.

Unfortunately, our lives are drawn with a permanent marker.

In life, there are many strokes that we hope we can undo. We move on with regrets realizing that undoing is never possible. Sometimes we accept them but there are times, those erroneous strokes make life a drag.

Photo by Vanilla

If you tend to live in your past, you are missing out the present. Most importantly, you are not taking control of your future.

The message is actually quite straightforward: do what you can control and keep what you cannot as your reference. In other words, learn from the past and move on.

"Easier said than done" is often thrown back at me when I try to share this. I agree. 'Saying' is definitely easier than 'doing'. However, no one says that it is impossible to do.

Photo by Vanilla

If you are still living in the past, try these few ways to bring yourself back to the present:

1. List the past

What exactly are you are trying to undo? List them down. Answer against each of them, "What can I do about it?" At the end of this simple exercise, you should get a list of "Actionable" and "Non-Actionable" items.

Your next move is obvious, work on the first and discard the second.

2. Recap past glory

Somehow, you tend to brood on your past failures (at least, that is how you view them) and dismiss things that you have done well. Try to spend a few minutes and recap your past successes from your earliest memory. You will be surprised that there are so many little things that you have done right. Making a list of your past accomplishment helps to build your self-confidence.

You need that to fuel your journey to the future.

Photo by Vanilla

3. See the big picture

Your past looks overwhelming, your present looks insignificant and your future looks invisible. If that is how you look at things, you have a vision problem. You need to lift your head and look at a bigger picture. You would realize that you have taken many things around you for granted. For eg. your youth, your health or your loved ones.

These things are right there for you. Don't make them your new regrets.

4. Put your thoughts into actions

Sometimes, you may have some thoughts lingering in you mind but you are too afraid to confront them. You wonder if you could try something new but somehow you are convinced that you are never good enough.

Translate your thoughts into a list of possible actions. Make each of these small and realistically achievable. Work out a plan and start working on it. Start from the first action and move on to the the rest. One at a time. Don't stop.

Photo by Vanilla

Your past ends here and your future begins now. If you spend much of your time thinking about the past, you leave little time doing something for today. What you do now will create your new past. So, put in the right strokes while you can and don't bother to erase the old lines.

Don't let yesterday use up too much of today.

You might also want to read:
Monday Blues - No More
Perspective of Life
Happiness is a Choice

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present."
~Babatunde Olatunji~

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

An Email Interview with Vanilla

The organizers for the Singapore Blog Awards (SBA) 2010 has requested for a video interview. That sounds great except that it can be quite awkward for a closet blogger like me.

I guess an email interview would be the next best thing to do.

Here goes...

SBA: Tell us about yourself in 50 words.

Vanilla: I write anything but politics, religion, racism and sex. Enough of such talks these days already. I prefer to share thoughts on other usually forgotten but important stuff. In doing so, I hope to inspire myself. If others get inspired along, it would be my bonus.

SBA: How long have you been blogging and why did you start blogging?

Vanilla: Writing has never been my forte. It was freaking scary when I decided to write my first article in Aug 2008. Many asked why I write and I answered them in "It Feels Right To Write".

Now, writing is therapeutic to me. In 2009, I was one of the finalists for Singapore Blog Awards 2009, "Most Insightful Blog" category. I am glad to be a finalist again this year.

SBA: How do you feel as one of the finalists in the Singapore Blog Awards? What do you think is your chance of winning?

Vanilla: My chance of winning? Are you kidding? I did not even expect to be here answering this question in the first place.... Alright, I feel honored (I'm serious!) and I would love to win but many others in this category are really great bloggers.

SBA: Who do you think are the strongest bloggers in the category you are nominated for and why?

Vanilla: All the other 8 bloggers in this category are admirable in their own way. (nb: I have exclude Yu-Kym and I am not apologetic for doing that. Our values are poles apart)

SBA: What would you like to say to your blog readers and those who voted and supported you?

Vanilla: You guys rock!

SBA: What is your most controversial blog post and why?

Vanilla: Most controversial? How controversial can my blog posts get when I steer clear of politics, religion, racism and sex?

SBA: Have you ever gotten into trouble or got rewarded for blogging? Elaborate.

Vanilla: I blog to inspire and why should anyone get into trouble for doing that? So, the answer is 'No'.

Rewarded for blogging? All the time! My readers reward me with their kind words. Does that count?

Photo of Vanilla by Vanilla

I hope you will continue to support me. See earlier post, "Singapore Blog Awards 2010" on how to cast your votes and win prizes.


"When asked, "How do you write?" I invariably answer, "one word at a time."
~Stephen King~

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