Friday, October 14, 2016


When times are hard, we tighten our belts. We hope to tide over the bad times. We partake in a few more luxuries when times are good. We brace ourselves for the worst of times.

I have varied interests in my life. I don't do them all at once. I wish that I can, however, I rather spend my time doing what interests me than wishing for them to happen.

If there is one thing that I have learnt well is: Time is a finite resource. Once you use it, it is gone. We can regret time lost in wasting it away, or appreciate the ‘moments’ we have created with another person.

Despite what we have learnt, we cannot ‘save time’, ‘buy time’, ‘make time’ or ‘invest in the time’ – we can merely make full use of it at every moment. Medication and healthcare may ‘buy us time’ with another, yet spending time connecting with a patient means more as our sense of time is distorted (in a good way). How we spend our 24 hours in a day needs to be ruled by our clarity of thought, strength of purpose, and fervency of choice: Profession, recreation and service to others.

Time is a ‘sense’. It is an abstract like human emotions.  We can measure it with watches and clocks, yet these instruments merely provide us with a reference point. There numerous points in time we can refer to: memories, accomplishments, achievements, celebrations, and milestones.

Each of us has a unique ‘sense of timing’. How we pace ourselves can be learnt, yet we have a natural cadence that we are ruled biological by. Yet, this metronome within us can be calibrated to our priorities, passions, and purposefulness.

These are my approaches to how we can utilize time, and be timely in our delivery and decisions.

1)   Set deadlines for mundane matters and chores (give yourself a Self-Compliment when you meet each mini-deadline; use a Gantt Chart to visualize your progress).
2)   Set SMART* Goals for mid- to long-term achievements.
3)   Plan ahead, and make simultaneous preparations (engage your personal Project Management for your next vacation).
4)   Take on a challenge. (22-day Pushup Challenge for PTSD patients, 1-Minute Plank Everyday For 30 days, NanoWriMo 30-Day writing challenge, 5km run race).
5)    Learn a new skill within 3 days, 30 days or 3 months.
6)    Give yourself 20 minutes to write all you can on your blog (or somebody else’s). Ensure it is edited. Yes, that is how fast you have to think, write and edit. Keep the piece short: 3 minutes worth of ‘eyeball time’.
7)   Like an exam-paper, if you get ‘stuck’ – move on to the next task. Return to this later, but you still must get it done! (I am writing a book review, which I put aside for now, and will complete within the hour).
8)   Stand up, for a few minutes. Sitting is hazardous to our health long-term. Avoid painful conditions that can be reduced through ‘mindful’ posture and activities.
9)   Be creative. Start with the first answer/solution, and apply the next. Never stop thinking too quickly. There is always more than one right answer!
10)                 Be inspired, be stoked by other’s achievements, be happy for their accomplishments, and ask yourself one Key Question: WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM THIS? Be present for the next surprise coming…

By the way, this post took less than 20 minutes to complete. Secret ingredients = Motivation + Discipline + Inspiration (from my friends).

SMART*: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely.

Sunday, October 9, 2016



I watched the Ironman World Championships today, and was stoked not only by the winners and professionals, bu also with the age-groupers. Each age-grouper - all amateurs - earned their spot to participant by some form of qualification. It is one thing to qualify, it is another to complete the entire 226km of swimming, riding and running within 17 hours. There are also wonderful stories of these age-group athletes who brave many trials and tribulations to take their spot at the deep-water start-line of the race.

Queen of Kona - Paula Newby-Fraser - who dominated Kona in the Ironman eight times. 
Having completed my dream of finishing this same race in 2013, I was assisted in reliving my own memories vividly. I recall most of the details, mostly of emotional upheavals and suffering. However, indelibly etched in my brain are my personal experiences. Again, these involve inspirational people - competitors, champions, volunteers, and supporters. 
My friend's father, Kor Hong Fatt - octogenarian Boston Marathon finisher encouraged me to qualify for this race, and I did.
Soonchul - Sydney-based friend who is a Ironman finisher and consistent sub-3 hour marathoner.
I love inspirational people! They inspire me to get off my seat. I assure you, I spend a lot of time sitting with my notebook or paperback book - so these people help me kick my ass from the comfortable throne of procrastination and Sloth. 

It is so easy to conjure excuses. It is much harder to do what we are supposed to do: choose, duties, errands, paperwork, cleaning up, organising, and the like. Sometimes, part of the process of achievement involves doing what is necessary and needful. Inspiring people have fewer excuses, and they inspire and motivate us indirectly by doing the seemingly impossible.
Dr Hannes Koeppen - World Champion in the Ironman triathlon (Physically-Challenged). Strong and fiercely determined. I appreciate that - as a corporate trainer and speaker - that my profession allows me to stand 95 percent of the time, and that hobbies also engage my mobility. Thus, I have been busy writing, interviewing and researching actively these past few days. My fellow blogger and former-corporate leader, Khairil Annuar has stimulated my mind with attractive conversations. Of course, our mutual interest in India Pale Ale (IPA) beer and craft-beers lubricate our dynamic arguments.

And, of course, when training with other athletes I have to work harder. Plus, the people who nominate me for physical challenges. I am glad you know I would likely complete my task. 

Once, I blogged everyday for three years - thanks to a challenge suggested by marketing-guru Seth Godin.

Thank you, to all my connections on Twitter, Facebook, as well as face-to-face friendships and acquaintances.