Breaking the ‘Can’t Afford’ zone.

I have a friend who is exceptionally peculiar, every time I meet him he has these strange, unconventional concepts that makes you bewildered for days. For example, he recently told me that he saw this video about how you should do something that scares yourself every day. It can be something simple as taking a icy cold shower early in the morning or something absolutely insane like lying on the road. (crazy, right?!?!)

My friend, thankfully, is more sane than that. He did a non-life-endangering version of lying on a pavement where pedestrians walk on. He had to gather courage for days, but when he finally did it, he said it wasn’t as scary as he thought. Some people took pictures, some people asked if he’s okay, some people ask why did he do it. Although, I do think he should’ve picked something that doesn’t inconvenience others other tlike a goddamn roadblock, I can’t help but admire his courage. (Yes, his strangeness is rubbing off me)

As I’ve recently been trying to push myself out of my own comfort zone, as I call it ‘Can’t Afford’ zone, I’ve been trying to force myself into situations that makes me uncomfortable, just so I can challenge myself to be a more courageous and in control of my own self.

For example, I volunteered to play games at a radio booth where videographers were filming. I never cared about prizes or fame, but I care about building my confidence and public speaking skills. I eventually won first prize – a bunch of random useless freebies and a point to prove that I can stay calm under pressure and nervousness.

Condition yourself every single day to be the person you want to be. When the opportunity arises, push yourself right into it.

The other day I heard someone in my block having a heated quarrel, heavy objects (probably a cabinet) were thrown, followed by sounds of glass smashing. Everyone in my block and probably the next block could hear it, it was that loud. The shouting, the shattering didn’t stop for a good 10 minutes and I soon got worried. What if someone gets injured? What if it’s domestic violence? I knew the right thing to do is to call for help to investigate it, but the other part of me tries to convince me to mind my own business.

Will I regret the next day if the papers reported that somone was killed at my block? I definitely will. I remember how hard I trembled alone at the staircase to see which unit it is just so that it will assist investigations. “What if the perpetrator saw me? Will he throw something at me as well?”, I thought to myself. It was then I realised I needed to make the call. If I was so scared miles away, how would the victim feel? I made the call. The call of being unafraid of getting into sticky situations or getting embarrased by a false alarm, the call to being true to myself.

The ‘Can’t Afford’ Zone.

How many times in your life have you attempted to plan your day, but decided well y’know, it’s a lot easier to just, see how it goes! And… you realise at 11pm you have done absolutely nothing at all.

People say, it’s not the number of days you live that matters, but by the number of days you felt like life’s worth living.

I’m not one who settles, I am an overachiever that always believes that there is something more in store for me, and so I strive to the best of myself every day of my life. Recently, however, I seem to have slipped into this familiar situation which they call ‘comfort zone’. I start to settle for a bare minimum job with bare minimum pay and having worked there for 3 years, I am at the end of the learning curve for that particular position.

Tonight, I realise that this seemingly comforting zone also comes with a negative mindset of i-can’t-afford-to. Should I try to start my own business? Should I try investing in bonds? I dismissed every single risk-taking thought simply because I was comfortable with being lazy, comfortable with being cowardly and comfortable with having a low confidence in myself. Tonight, it ends here.

That being said, it doesn’t mean that I’m gonna throw it all out on the table for a gamble. It means that whenever I have an inspiration (with some risks inevitably), I will do intensive research immediately, I will calculate my opportunity costs, I will consider the worst case scenarios and I will always believe that I am greater than my self-doubts.

The hard truth about friends who are no longer there.

At this current juncture, I’ve entered the workforce for 3 years now. I now truly understand when adults bitterly tell me that friendships are temporal and will eventually fade off.

I’m a people person, I don’t just like people, I love people, I invest time and effort to the people who are close to me, and I have chosen the less taken path of the hospitality career to dedicate my life to the service of people.

I used to have 20 close friends that I can call up (or vice versa) at 2am in the morning to whine my sorrows away, and 50 friends I used to enjoy hanging out on a bi-monthly basis; Obviously, that has changed.

No matter how much someone once meant to you, here are a list of people you need to purge out of your life right now:

1) People who are unresponsive.

All it takes is 2 seconds to respond to your message. If your ‘friend’ takes days to reply, and you constantly feel like you have to chase for a response, face up the truth, you mean nothing to them.

2) People who replies you, but never actually meets you.

Sure, these are one of the well-mannered lot, and they might possibly have a momentarily hectic schedule, but if prolonged over years, then you’re just not priority over a 2 hour movie or worth sharing a meal over dinner.

3) People who completely disappear from your life.

This is the silent breakup in a friendship. Regardless of how often you met previously, or how personal your talk used to be, cut that benefit of the doubt bullshit:they no longer wish to remain friends with you.

4) People who don’t appreciate you.

Never be a door mat to anyone. You deserve so much more. If you’re the only one sacrificing in the friendship, move on, you deserve better.

5) People who have bad character.

You hand-picked them from the multitudes and you call them your friend, but sadly, they have now changed in such a way that you cannot respect their decisions. You constantly feel conflicted internally because their actions goes against your own moral values. Toxic alert. Never let anyone pollute your morality.

You cannot choose your parents, you cannot choose your birth country, but you have power to keep the friends who are worth your time and effort. Stop wasting time chasing after those who can’t be bothered with you, you have had a wonderful friendship with them in the past and now it has come to the end. If they meant a lot to you at one point, send this article link to them and tell them thank you for the friendship but this is the end.

If silence is golden then writing is pure liquid gold.

People tend to keep their thoughts to themselves in an attempt to blanket themselves from the words of fury spurted out in a moment of impulse. They fail to realise that although no communication is better than failed communication, the severity of prolonged lack of communication might very well be more destructive than it appears to be.

What to do, what to do? How can one stay calm and inoffensive when already provoked? The answer is by writing, and always writing. Speaking wise, I’m not as tactful with my words as I’d like to be so writing gives me some space to sharpen or blunt my tongue.

Writing is a liberating form of expression. It gives you time to think through, reflect and release pent up emotions even if you didn’t send it out in the end.

Writing is also a way of rationalizing my innermost controversial thoughts and my way of challenging social norms in my own small, insignificant voice in a place I call my world.

Defending your love.

Everyone, yes, everyone has the potential to cheat on your partner. All it takes is a moment of anger, impulse, neediness and a moment of convenient temptation. How then can anyone ever be secure in a relationship?

You will if you both, have been consistently building your trust; If you have always been prepared for attacks, you will know when it’s time to defend your love.

A couple of months ago, I randomly posed a question to my boyfriend, “what would you do if this super-hot-super-your-type girl liked you?” He responded immediately “nothing.” I probed “what if she’s all over seducing you?” again, he responded “there’s nothing he can do.”

I was rather unsatisfied and felt uneasy about his answer but I couldn’t quite put a reason to it. But now I do.

A loyal, faithful spouse knows that everyone has the potential to cheat, so he carefully and painstakingly go great lengths to guard his heart. He deliberately prevents himself from getting into sticky, tempting situations and creates measures to avoid personal and emotional interactions with a female who he is potentially attracted to. The closer she gets, the louder the warning sirens. Now I know why I felt uneasy, it’s too passive.

A good defender, however inoffensive, will never be passive. A good defender and an attacker are in fact, both aggressive. As a defender, you do not sit by waiting for an attack. A defender aggressively builds defence structures, mechanisms, it’s a gruelling and demoralizing process because there is no end goal and you will never be too prepared for an attack.

The key to a good defence is early preparation and early prevention. Draw clear boundaries with regards to what’s-over-the-line and what’s not. For example, you both may agree to never send or be sent home by a friend of the opposite sex. For example, you both may agree to have minimal body contact and the limit is side hugs.

Come to a consensus with your “defence plot”. If either of us has a suitor, we will drop obvious hints that we are happily attached. If there is a particular person you find naturally drawn to, however, daunting, share with your partner. If he/she is mature enough, they will appreciate it and help you keep in check and to be your warning sirens.

Communicate. Honestly, immediately and completely. This may be the hardest part for most of us, but again, defending your love is supposed to be aggressive. You may think that you don’t want to sour the relationship, but honey trust me, if you keep it in, it’ll go bad anyway. Plus, you will seem overreacting with accumulated anger versus calmly sharing your thoughts on a minor issue the moment it bothers you.

That being said, it works two ways. On your part, you’ll have to be open to communication. Despite bitterness and hurt, learn to look beyond the negativity and listen to the hearts of your lover. Is he/she really saying this just to pick a fight? Or are they asking to try to understand you better to improve the relationship in the long run?

Ultimately, faith is built on trust. And trust has to be earned. If you feel that your partner doesn’t trust you, well then, what have you done to have earned their trust?

if the only time of the year you meet me is during my birthday, i don’t know if i should feel flattered or insulted.

Flattered because, hey! At least you remembered my birthday! Which, well, to be very honest my poor memory will never be able to do the same for others. (Or I hoped it wasn’t Facebook who reminded you)

Flattered because you took the effort to wish me, to meet me and to shower me with presents on my special day. Who wouldn’t like that? There certainly shouldn’t be a problem with this.

Here’s the thing. If you don’t give a shit about me on regular days, I’m not sure if you actually care for me or you’re just fulfilling social obligations. Hell, I don’t need your presents, or cakes, or surprises. All I really wanted was to spend quality time with you, to know that you care for me like how I cared for you, wondering how you’ve been, constantly trying to initiate to meet you but sadly, to no avail. We’re all grown up now, our friendships don’t revolve around material gifts or special occasions. I want to know what’s happening in your life, I want to know what’s the story about your marriage proposal, about your new job, about your bad day. I don’t want to like your photo and wonder, how have you been? Yes, you replied you’re doing great, but I want to hear it from you, I wanna know if you’re really happy, I  wanna know what bothers you, today I’m here, tomorrow I might not, cause life’s too short to be wondering. Let’s meet.

Less is More.

There’s a certain point of time in life, you need to do less, to love less, to hate less, to be less.

Step back.

Rest.

Watch.

Listen.

Maybe when you do less, people will start to appreciate what you’ve been doing all along.

Maybe when you love less, people realise your importance to them.

Maybe when you hate less, you’ll be kinder to your soul.

Maybe when you be less than what you always expect of yourself to constantly be, you will be free.

 

A message from a woman to men on female leadership

Dear men,

Many of you tend to think that most women aren’t as good leaders as men. I agree. Personally, I prefer male leadership. But here’s some suggestions on what-the-hell-goes-through-a-female-leaders-mind.

She is far-sighted and rational like most men, yet she is able to be extremely sensitive to emotions and politics. It is easy to be a villain or a saint but difficult when you can be both, at the same time. Hypothetically speaking, it is easier to make decisions when you are visually impaired than to have both able ears and eyes – your two senses may receive conflicting messages hence causing delay and unpredictability in the way you make decisions.

Speak Blessings.

I was on a cab and had a fairly pleasant conversation with the driver. He was a traditional Chinese man, old but full of life. The journey was pretty long, along the way we chatted on quite a few topics, news, politics – typical cabbie uncle topics. From casinos to soccer betting, I learnt that he buys lottery and 4D frequently. When asked about the winnings, he says he’s won and lost his fair share, but it’s more of the idea of the suspense and excitement rather than the obsession of striking rich. I saw his eyes lit up as he spoke.

My destination was at the driving learning center so he asked if I was learning driving and I said yes. Cheerfully, he exclaimed “Jia You! 加油!” I smiled. Not sure if I was more touched by his encouragement, by his positivity or the mere occurrence that I could connect with a complete stranger thrice my age.

Before I alighted, I said to him (in Chinese) “May you win a grand prize! 祝你中大奖!” He chuckled gleefully and exclaimed “May you pass on your first try! 祝你一次就及格!” Well, that’s way better than winning bets for me! We parted, all smiles.

I guess this is the power of blessings.