Monday, October 31, 2011

10 Life Lessons from Dad

p [Pic]

Everyone teaches me something. That includes my dad.

Dad was a traditional man, soft-spoken with occasional bursts of temper. Most of his advice and wisdom were not handed to me through direct words. I was sure they were there but I had to decode them. Some of the decoding took awhile, and some, many years later.

He seldom gave straightforward advice such as "You ought to study harder...". Come to think of it, he had never directly acknowledged my academic achievement of any kind. It was as if it would have been too arrogant to do so.

His rare advice in words were cryptic, like "That is not the way". I usually took the heed and tried some other ways to do the same.

Over the years, I realized that he has taught me much, in his own unique ways. Here are some:

Embrace 'now' before it becomes the past. [Pic]

Lesson 1: Everyday is worth celebrating

My dad was never too impressed with special celebrations such as birthdays. To him, 'Everyday in our life exists only once'.

That is so true. Special occasions are indeed special for some reasons. But 'today' will never revisit.

I learnt to embrace 'now'.

Lesson 2: Read widely and wisely

My dad read widely and as a child, I admired his wealth of knowledge. We would discuss anything from history to entertainment.

I remember bringing home a children magazine which was popular among the kids back then. In his usual nonchalant manner, my dad simply said, "It won't teach you much". Since then, I gave little attention to that magazine.

I learnt that some books are worth more than others. Always read something worthy.

Learn to see possibilities.
Not obstacles.

Lesson 3: Be observant and see beyond the surface

Occasionally, I followed my dad on his work trips. I would wait patiently while he attended to his business. I knew that some 'mini tours' around the town were next on our agenda.

My dad was not a typical 'tour guide'. He would show me sights that were often overlooked. Once he showed me some barnacles along the river bank and said "They are there all the time but you can only see them during low tides".

Many things are always there but it is really up to us to 'see' them. Very often, we look but we don't see. (read "You Look But You Don't See?")

I learnt to look for 'barnacles' around me.

Lesson 4: Walk into the alleys of life

When I traveled with dad, we walked a lot. It was a good way to feel the place and be close to him. He usually would not stick to the main road and I found myself weaving through alleys and lanes.

I did not like that but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by many unusual sights. I would not have seen them on conventional routes.

I learnt to try new 'routes' in life and welcome surprises.

The alleys of life are full of surprises.
Explore them.

Lesson 5: Everything has its good side

As a child, I hated my neighbor's dog, Napoleon. He was unfriendly and often terrified me with his hostile approaches. Just to clarify, I loved dogs and I still do. I just did not like Napoleon.

One day, on our way home, my dad brought my attention to a street sign. Sitting there was my most hated dog in his most unusual serene manner. Dad said Napoleon was a faithful dog and would habitually wait for the return of his owner at that time of the day.

Sometimes, we can get so caught up with our initial ideas about a person or something. We forget to see what could be good as well.

I learnt to see the good in people (and dogs too, of course).

Lesson 6: Earn your respect

We lived in a small town and my dad knew many town folks. I could see the respect they gave him and I could see why.

My dad was one of the most unassuming men I know. He was humble even though I knew he was superior to many in numerous ways. He earned his respect through his contributions, not status.

I learnt to earn the respect of others too.

No one owes you a living.
You decide how you live your life.

Lesson 7: Don't indulge in negative emotions

My dad was not the most patient man I know. I have seen how he would burst into flames and cause everyone around to be uncomfortable. I did not fully understand why but I am sure he had his reasons.

When we lose our cool, we always find our actions well justified. We give little thoughts to how unhelpful our actions might be. More often than not, some damage is caused.

I learnt that others do not owe me a living and I have no privilege to impose my foul emotions on them.

Lesson 8: Dirty your hands

When I was in Primary (Junior) School, I used to ask dad questions found in my science text books. He would suggest, "Try it out!"

I remember he helped me magnetize a metal pin and we saw how it worked like a compass.

I learnt that life is a lab. I need to do some experiments to learn in it. 

Life is like a lab.
Do some experiments in it.

Lesson 9: Parental advice isn’t always correct.

My dad did not know everything. He taught me what he knew but he might miss the point.

He had a certain way of learning a language and he believed that was good for me too. I was not gaining much mileage under his guidance.

We have different learning styles and I learnt not to copy learning approaches from others blindly. 

Lesson 10: Don't hold back

We were saddened by dad's untimely demise. I have always wondered what more he could teach me if he had been around awhile longer.

The answers will never be known.

I learnt that life is short. So say what you want to say and do what you want to do, now.

Everyday is the right day to celebrate. [Pic]

Today is not Father's Day and why am I writing this? Just like what I have learnt from Dad, everyday is worth celebrating. Don't wait till the next Father's Day to celebrate who your father is, or was.

You might want to read up more dad blogs.

"Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance." ~Ruth E. Renkel~

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Monday, October 24, 2011

What Happened to Your New Year Resolution?

2011 is ending in about 70 days.
Have you made good your new year resolution?

Before the start of this year, I shared My New Year Resolution.

Many of you would have made new year resolutions at that time too. In fact, you may have done so year after year. Right now, we have about 70 more days to the end of 2011. Have you made good what you have set out to do yet?

Hang on a moment, I think I heard some people saying "What was my resolution again?".

One of the most common reasons for failure
is the failure to plan.

Most do not meet their goals

If you have forgotten about your resolution or eventually fail to meet your goals, you are not alone. Experts say that new year resolutions are doomed to failure and 78% would have failed in their plans.

One of the most common reasons for failure is the failure to plan.

Many new year resolutions are ambitious but simplistic. They lack execution plans and do not spell any start or end point. For example, if you shouted out loud on January 1st 2011 that you wanted to quit smoking, you were not making a plan. You were merely making a wish.

You need real discipline to make
good your resolutions.

Is your resolution a mere cliché?

Take a look at a top-ten new year resolution list. Usually, you will find personal health and wellness on the list. Many people make these new year resolutions year after year. It makes us wonder why they would ceremoniously make the same one without realizing that they have been missing it for years.

You need discipline, not mood swings

To make good your resolution, you need discipline, real discipline. Winners take discipline as a tool to guide their performance. However, most people see it as a chore, a painful chore.

The bad news is that discipline can be painful. However, the good news is, you can practice so that the pain lessens or goes away.

What you think is what you get. [Pic]

Your thoughts drive your actions

What you do is a result of what you think. If you think negatively and always gravitate towards the downside of things, you will find yourself there most of the time.

In order to shape a positive mindsets, you would have to learn to do positive self-dialog. Each time you talk to yourself, you are in fact asking and answering a series of questions. The questions you ask and the answers you give go into your brain in a similar way how a programmer puts computing rules in a computer. Your actions and behaviors depend on how you have been programmed.

Say "I am doomed to fail" repeatedly, you would. Say "I am sure I will overcome it", you would too.

Get back on track each time you
There will be obstacles [Pic]

Be honest with yourself

Let's face it, making a resolution does not magically make you lose 5 kgs. You would have to work on it. While doing so, you may constantly face difficulties and distractions. While I have suggested working on your discipline, I did not say you have to drive yourself up the wall.

Do expect to derail along the way. What is important is to come back on track. Set your mind to your end point and keep going. Sprinting may give you a good speed but you will lose steam before you get far. Taking consistent small steps can be more powerful.

The journey of change continues. [Pic]

The last lap

You have 70 more days to the end of the year. It is never too late to start working on what you have set out to do.

70 days is not enough? Who says you can't have more?

Your plan need not be compartmentalized by artificial time line. If it is more realistic to have more than 70 days, give yourself that. Start working on it today. Since when you always have to start on January 1st and complete by December 31st? Time is seamless.

My new year resolution was to have none. What I really meant was I will make a commitment to change whenever and wherever, not just at the start of the year.

Forgotten your resolution? Fret not, you can generate new ones. Nay, just kidding.

"Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short." ~Adam Hochschild~

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Picture Blog #24 : A Thought A Day (Part 2)

You are who you think you are. Think like a victor, not a victim.

I shared A Thought A Day (Part 1) earlier this year. Since then, 238 days have gone by and 238 daily thoughts have been gathered.

It is believed that we have about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts on an average day and many of them are negative. If left unmanaged, they would shape negative habits and reduce our quality of life.

We need to be aware of our thoughts. While we can't rid all negative thoughts, we can have many more positive ones to influence our predominant mindset.

In this Picture Blog, I am merely putting down a tiny speck of what might have gone through my mind. Nothing is very new but it is always good to remind ourselves of the simplest and yet most often forgotten ideas.

I shall leave you with this quote and a collection of my daily thoughts taken from Vanilla Lenscape.

"Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny." ~Mahatma Gandhi~

Don’t be afraid to lose before you win.

The biggest mistake is to see a mistake as a mistake.

Accept that you are not perfect. Do your best nonetheless.

If you can’t do great things, do small ones with a great difference.

Falling down is a given. Getting up or staying there is a choice.

Would you rather take the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?

In this age of information, you have no excuse to be ignorant.

Everyone deserves a chance to be free.
You don’t have to the THE best. You just have to be at YOUR best.
Kind words cost nothing. Yet, they are priceless.

A lifelong learner never takes a break.

Focusing in simple things in life can be liberating.

Nothing is more ignorant than choosing not to know what you don’t know.

No one in this world can do a better job of being you than you.

Negative thinking makes you tired.

Don’t just wish that you have something. You need to act.

Every tiny step forward is a worthwhile action.

Your presence is a present to the world. Don’t forget to unwrap it.

When angry, take a deep breath.

For each failure you encounter, you are one step closer to success.

Everyone looks. Few see.

Don’t use a lot when a little will do.

How much you think you have depends on how much you think you need.

Life is an opportunity. Capture it.

Spend some time alone every day.

Don’t wait till the light goes out.

You are in charge of your attitude.
Sometimes, I suddenly understand something I’ve understood all my life but in a new way.

Images taken from: Vanilla's Gallery

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Picture Blog #23: Wise Words


Words of wisdom can make you wiser, if you use them wisely.

I learnt that everyday, an average person has about 60,000 thoughts. Only a small part of these thoughts are shared. Most of them dissipate and are never known ever again.

Quotable quotes are documented words taken from usually fairly well-known people. They are used to inspire, to teach and to remind.

On an average, about 80% of our thoughts are negative. It is therefore not surprising that some quotable quotes are not as encouraging. Some are even depressing and misleading. We would have to use quotable quotes carefully and within appropriate context.

Here are some of my favorite quotes. I hope some may find you at the right moment and give you a dose of much needed motivation.























"Quotes are nothing but inspiration for the uninspired." ~Richard Kemph~

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