Be Wise in Where You Place Your Love

Today I came across a short story, it goes:

“While a man was polishing his new car, his 6 yr old son picked up a stone and scratched lines on the side of the car. In anger, the man took the child’s hand and hit it many times; not realizing he was using a wrench. At the hospital, the child lost all his fingers due to multiple fractures. When the child saw his father…..with painful eyes he asked, ‘Dad when will my fingers grow back?’ The man was so hurt and speechless; he went back to his car and kicked it a lot of times. Devastated by his own actions…….sitting in front of that car he looked at the scratches; the child had written ‘LOVE YOU DAD’.The next day that man committed suicide.”

Learn to Love What’s Important to You

You see, we human sometimes are just blind to what are the things that truly deserved our love and care. We can be so obsessed on monetary gain that we hurt so many people along the way. We can also argue with our parents and wife over trivial things like our phones, cameras, cars being damaged accidentally etc.

So the question here is, ” Have you fallen in love with your belonging and money?”

Things that can be bought are meant to be used, aiding us in our daily life and not to be love. When it is used, it is meant to get wear and tear and eventually broken and get replaced.

Family ties that cannot be bought are meant to be love. They shower love back to us, nurture our soul and act as our pillar of strength when we needed them. The relationship with them will only get better and better with time. These blood ties can be be broken and once the person is gone it can never be replaced.

So dear readers, paused for a moment and ask yourself:

Today, where have you placed your love in?

Buying Stocks Equal Buying Business

Yes! I hope Spectra of Life’s readers can think like a ‘business owner’ when you are buying stocks from the stock market.  Whenever people discuss about stock market, usually the topic will revolves around the price of the stock. For example,  What is the price for AA stock now? Do you think AA stock will gain a 20% in price this year blah blah blah. To me this is more of a speculator or simply, a gambler mindset.

Why should you think like a business owner?

Although frankly speaking, you don’t really literally own the whole company when you buy its stock, but you are still a minority shareholder. You share the company success or failure. By having a business owner mindset, you buy a stock for a reason, less of a gambling intuitive. You analyse the company health and weigh it against its pro and cons before putting your hard earned cash in it. Just like how you will look into various brands of handphones and its specification before deciding on your final purchase.

You tend to rely less on greed and fear when buying or selling. You have your reason to enter at a predetermine price because of fundamental reason and would only sell if the company no longer financially sound or you can have better return elsewhere.

For the next post, I will share on the 5 questions you should ask when buying a stock as a business owner. For now I would like to leave you with a quote by Warren Buffett:

“Price is what you pay, value is what you get”

So stay tuned~

Purpose of Education

Have you gave a thought on the purpose of education? Of course we go to school to receive knowledge that will open our sight to the world. Subjects such as Science, Mathematics and Languages will aid us in becoming successful in life. There is no doubt about this.

However, the next question will be: does scoring all distinctions that important? Does a student who don’t score well will destine to be a failure in the future? Recently there is a discussion with my friend who works as a teacher. The question is what should we do with the poor performer in class. I told my friend that it will be good if she can look for her privately to encourage her to continue to work hard despite her failure this semester. It is important for the student not to lose hope and to understand one failure doesn’t mean she will fail the next time. The message is that if you work hard, you should be able to succeed one day.

Soft Skills Are Equally Important

The above example is my philosophy is bringing up a kid. A child should learn that a failure now that not meant is the end to his/her future. It just meant that more effort has to be done. He/She should persevere whenever he/she meet with a difficult situation. As it is highly likely that he/she will face with failure and rejection when they step into adulthood. Right now, organisations are having a greater emphasis on Adversity Quotient (AQ) – ability to turn crisis into advantage. This ability to cope with crisis is a valuable skill that is highly sought for.  Other important skills such as interpersonal communication, values, resourcefulness and critical thinking are worth a mention.

Also this child might have other talents other than in academic studies. Everyone is build differently. Our education system is a system for the majority. The minority who is talented in other ways tend to get neglected and being regard as poor learner. This shouldn’t be the case. To illustrate on this point, a classic comic that has been circulating in the internet is as follows:

our-education-system

Good Grades and Degree Are Not The Only Ways

We do have real life examples of people who are college drop out and yet build the world most valuable companies. Some examples are:

1. Steve Jobs – Dropout from Reeds College and build Apple

2. Mark Zuckerberg – Dropout from Harvard University and founded Facebook

3. Bill Gates – Dropout from Harvard and build Microsoft

In Singapore, we have Nickson Fong as an example who from school dropout to Academy Award winner – http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/school-dropout-academy-award-winner-20130124

I am also sure there are other unsung heroes who are fighting a shining battle of their own without any spectacular academic background.

Although you might argue that not all people I mentioned are doing bad in academic studies (hello is Harvard University..) but the point is that they give up their studies to pursue their passion and created wealth and valuable business that benefit people all around the globe.

Conclusion

I am not saying education is not important and you should immediately give up on schooling (if you are still a student) and go start an enterprise. What I am driving at is that education is not all, a scholar doesn’t mean he/she is able to perform well in his career. On the other hand, average student can be just as successful. It takes soft skills to complement your technical skills or hard skills.

Who likes to work with a brainy yet an arrogant person?

Turn Down the Noise Around You

Do you feel your world is getting ‘noisier’ each day that it started to make you lose focus and more severely – to cause you to lose yourself? I am urging you to turn down the noise around you!

What are the noises?

Being human, we seldom live in isolation. Everyday we will have interaction with our family, friends, colleagues and the society. Through these interactions we will receive instructions from our superiors on what are the tasks for the day, our authorities on how we should conduct ourself. Moreover, we played different roles in each day. Our assumed roles and responsibility as a friend, as a parent, children etc, kind of dictate on how should we lead our life. We want to live up to the expectation of others, getting accepted by our loved ones through their approve actions. All these are known as external voices. Sometimes these voice can be so ‘loud’ that it actually ‘cancel’ off your internal voice. We termed these loud voices as noises.

The Impact of Noise

Having exposure to much of this noise for a prolonged period, you will soon turn ‘deaf’ to your own internal voice. These internal voice are important as it is what you are made of, your true self and your own desires to life.  If you allow such noise to stay for good, you will lose yourself.

A good example to illustrate this point is trying to explain why there are people who are unhappy in their jobs but yet choose to stay on. One possible reason is that perhaps they need to live up to the expectation of others, they cannot be jobless, without an income to support a family. Other reason could be that even though you dislike what you are doing, your boss keep praising you for your good work done, and you internalised this voice and think that maybe you are suited to this job and hence stick on to it. But in your heart, you know you are not, your unhappiness tells you so.

The Remedies

Actually a simple one sentence solution is just “To spend quality time with yourself”. Being alone and put aside all your commitments an hour a day can free your mind create an opportunity window to think for yourself. To provide you with examples on how you can spend time with yourself, I will share with you on what I did to seek for my inner self:

1. To mediate

Each day, I will sit down in my room and mediate for 10 minutes. This short exercise is like purging my mind after a tired day of work. By freeing my mind from all thoughts, the only thing I will be doing, is to be focusing on my breathing. Start by taking a deep breathe, hold it and then slowly release the breath. Through couple of repetition, I gradually can feel my body relaxes and gets lighter. Next, I started to feel some true emotions and thoughts in me. Is like a natural melody coming into me and I just have to feel it. This flow of thoughts is very different from my deliberate thinking that I have to do for making decision at work. Simply put it, is to have your inner voice to think for you!

2. To do writing

Next, I will do my writing. Just pen down any thoughts that comes into my mind. It can ranges from life, my goals or what have I learnt for the day.  I do not have to worry about grammar or sentence structure, instead it is all about my own creativity.  Sometimes I will be amazed by my own random thoughts on what I actually can come out with.

3. To have a vision board

To have my own goals decorated on a board. This board will be filled with pictures of my vision. The reason on why I use pictures instead of a list is that pictures have a greater impact to help me in visualising my goals. These pictures can be easily obtain from the internet, or through some of the photos I have taken.

Conclusion

Turn down the noise and let your inner voice dominates a small portion of your day to help you to find your true self. By knowing your true self, you will discover your own passions, talents and desire way of living. Just by spending an hour each day on yourself, you will see dramatic improvement in your life. I have shared with you what I did during my own quality time, so what’s yours?

Is time to think for yourself.

My Experience in Mount Kinabalu Climb: Part 2

Hello readers, welcome back! 🙂 First of all, thanks for the patience. It actually took me quite a while to upload the photos in preparing this part 2 post on my Mount Kinabalu Climb in Sabah, Eastern Malaysia in July 2013. So without further a do, let’s read on~

So after I had a rest in Laban Rata rest house for about 5 hours of sleep, I quickly get myself ready at around 2am in the morning. I didn’t really sleep well but my anxiety and excitement overcame my tiredness to get awake fast. I could feel my whole body aching especially my poor legs. What was worst was that it was drizzling out there and the weather was freaking cold!! All these factors seemed to be like acting against my motivation. Fortunately, I still managed to garner my determination and to sound out within me, “Hey this round 2 will be all the way up to the summit! The last leap, give it all your best!!” Just when I had successfully motivated myself,  it was kind of sad to hear that only one of my climb buddies (group of 6) decided to take up the challenge with me. The other 4 friends suffered from altitude sickness and were also too tired to proceed on with the summit climb. Although we felt it would be a pity that we could not complete it as a group, we didn’t want to push them too hard as our guide warned us that the second half will be more challenging than the first part. Hence just left the 2 of us suit-up in our winter clothing and with our strap on headlight checked, off we go to hit the ground for the second part of the climb!

It is not the bad quality of this picture. It truly reflect what it was like – really pitch dark everywhere!

As you can see from above, it was pitch dark everywhere. Although the initial climb was brighter (with everyone strap on headlight on), but as you move further up the light intensity get lesser as other climbers either went way ahead of you or way back behind you. There were also people backing out from the climb along the way.

Tips: For the summit climb, is a very different climb from part 1. Part 1 to Laban Rata is more of a trekking kind, but part 2 to the summit is more of a mountaineering activity! Yes mountaineering! You will face with the challenge of walking on granite grounds which tend to be slippery when rained, steep height and ropes for repelling or climbing. Hence there is a few items that you definitely need to take note:

1. You will definitely need a good strap on headlight. It will have to be waterproof, at least to have 4 LEDs and able to secure tightly onto your head.

2. Bring along your winter gloves, as not only it will get your hands warm but also serve as a good protection against rope burn. Remember I mentioned that you will use rope quite a lot in the summit climb.

3. Be light! Meaning, do not carry unnecessary items such as your bag, your trekking stick and other non essential stuffs (like clothing etc). Leave them in the rest house. You will need to minimise weight as you will need to be agile and as small profile as possible for your climb.

Just 10 more steps to the peak

As you can see from the above picture that although we looked still quite alright, but I must say our climb is definitely not an easy one. It was dark, freezing cold and worst of all, it rained very heavily. To a point, that my guide told us that if it continue to rain this heavily, we will have to call off as no one will be allowed to proceed due to the slippery and wet granite ground. But we still make it! and both of us just wanted to sit and rest while waiting for the sun to rise and cheer with us! My buddy was so cold that he can’t wait to make his way down back to Laban Rata.

Tips: From our attire, you should get a clue on type of clothing protection needed. Winter clothing is a must. If you can, get a waterproof one. As it might rain during your climb, a waterproof attire (including shoes) will make your climb less arduous. You will also feel much warmer up there as you stay dry. My friend on the other hand was not waterproofed. That was the reason why for his countless  shivering and complaining too! haha! Oh ya, if possible, bring a small vacuum flask filled with hot drink too. You will be grateful that you had a good hot drink up on top of mountain in the cold weather.

IMG_2635

Waiting for sun rise but it did not appear

All the climbers waited but was disappointed as the sun did not appear as a yellow yoke. It was shrouded by thick clouds perhaps due to the earlier rain. But the view was just as magnificent with its absence: The view at top of the mountain, staying above the clouds and looking at the other shorter peaks was just amazing!

A must take picture with the signage

As my friend could not take the coldness anymore, we decided to take a quick snap with the signage as it is a must take picture! Along the way down, I took a couple more pictures:

That’s how slippery the ground can be

The way down. Look at the slope. Imagine we were climbing up this gradient of slope in the dark!

Making way down by holding the ropes.

Not all road with ropes are good, is better to use alternative path. Look at how difficult it is to make the way down!

If the above picture didn’t convince you enough, look at this! Look at the tiny space that you have for your feet. Just one mis-step and that’s it, down the slope of the mountain! Scary

Tips: A good pair of shoes with good grip is a must for the summit climb. You will need to hold on to the ropes tightly when walking down dangerous pathway. My friend almost slipped and fall off the slope! Luckily he did hold on tight to the ropes as per advice. But not to worry, your guide will be beside you to guide you along, looking after you.

Sayat Sayat Checkpoint: Where there will be an officer taking checking your climb pass to verify your presence. This so to prove that you indeed climb your way up to the summit. This is also the point where if the rain persist on, we will be ask to turn back from here.

Tips: You need to make sure you displayed your pass and have your number ticked on his list in order to get the certificate of accomplishment later.

So after a tedious 2 hours way down, we reached Laban Rata rest house. We were so hungry that we quickly asked our friend to pack up fast (even though everyone still took quite some time in packing -.-) so that all of us could have a warm breakfast at the restaurant and proceed on with our journey down all the way to Timpohon Gate.

Climbing down was much faster, it took us on average 4 hour 30 minutes to complete. However, do take note that although you won’t be feeling as breathless as climbing your way up but your knees will be the one ‘suffering’ this round. Climbing down will cause impact to your knees as each step is quite steep.

Tips: Your trekking stick comes in handy again! Use the stick as a support with every step to minimise the impact. This can save you much later pain when you are back to civilisation! In addition, along your way down, you will get to see other climbers going through what you had been through yesterday, climbing up the mountain! Give them your support and cheer along the way. Trust me they will appreciate your effort and reciprocate your kindness with a smile or weak breathless “thank you”.

Conclusion

I have come to the end of my sharing. I hope you have enjoyed the 2 posts just as much as me when I was typing it out.

I would say Mount Kinabalu is definitely in one of my memorable trip list, taking into consideration that this trip is different from my other travel trip which usually consist of only sightseeing, museum hopping and shopping. To me, I felt that this climb was like an adventure trip, an accomplishment made. I would not forgotten the moments when how the mountain challenged my endurance and determination, making me a much stronger person both physically and emotionally.

I would strongly encourage all able person to give the climb a try, especially if you are still young. There is no excuse as I personally witness elders who went all the way up to the summit as well. Through this trip, not only you will be rewarded with a sense of satisfaction, the view up at the summit is also worth climbing for. It will provide you with opportunities for you to learn more about yourself and definitely make you a tougher guy or lady after the climb.

So what are you waiting for? Start asking your friends and planned a trip to conquer Mount Kinnabalu now! More details can be found at : http://www.mountkinabalu.com.

Last but not least, we were so surprise to bump into our university friend on our flight back to Singapore. She also went for the climb a day earlier than us and she stayed on in Sabah for an additional day. It is a small world after all. 🙂

3 of us holding our certificate of accomplishment with a pride and happiness!

Cheers~!

An Encouragement Letter to Myself

image

Encouragement bring you a long way

Thanks Joy (www.sharejoy.com), for the marvellous idea of writing your own encouragement letter. Sometimes we are just too hard on ourselves. Maybe is because of the culture of the society that we live in, we tend to compare with people who are more successful than us and therefore belittle ourselves in the process. We always doubt ourselves in achieving great things hence lead to procrastination and lots of dissatisfaction.

Therefore, I think is a good idea that we should stop be stingy and learn to praise ourselves more often. One of the rules of love is to “Learn to love ourselves and in turn you will be able to love others better.”  And my letter goes….

An Encouragement Letter to My Dearest Self

To Myself,

You are determined to achieve financial freedom by the age of 38. You have done a good job so far by learning about passive income generation through investment. The passive income you are aiming for is $3000 per month. Right now although you are only hitting 4% of your goal, please do not give up as you have been doing great for achieving that within a year.  

However, please do not forget your purpose of achieving such goal.  You want give your family a better life without having to worry about bread and butter. You also want to be able to spend quality time with them especially with your kids in their growing years. Hence, please do not forget your purpose and the true value of money. You need to remind yourself that money is only a tool for you to achieve your true happiness in life and not blindly working to accumulate wealth.  

In 3 years time, you will be getting married and setting up a family with your lovely girlfriend. Right now, you are saving hard for the big day. Good job! Continue to be prudent in your money management and you will be doing fine. For now, just focus on loving her, building up this great relationship with her. Do not lose your loving self. Be as encouraging as you embark the journey with her. A good pat on your back! All the best and do not give up! Fighting!

Cheers

3 Ways To Increase Your Income

Is it a dream or can I make it a reality?
img source: urban-review.com

Are you feeling that the meagre monthly pay check that you are getting is no longer sufficient to sustain your lifestyle? Are you eager to find out what is the formula for earning a higher income?

On media and in news, you will get to know of people who earns millions and wonder how they did it? First let me ask you a question, “Have you ever wonder how did your employer/market determines your income?” You might say is contribution, hmmm.. not quite. The exact answer should be value. Be it if you are a 8-5 employee or a business owner, the amount of income is determine by the value you created. So the next question is how can we create more value in order to earn more? Below are 3 suggestions for you to consider:

1. To Work For Longer Hours

I guess this should be easy to understand. When you are an employee and work beyond 8-5 (the usual office hours), either you get more pay through over time allowance (OT pay) or you are being more productive in generating more results at a longer working hours (Assuming that you are a doing real work). Hence the value you added to your company is to  put in more of your time and effort to generate more results/products. Best of all, what you generated has a direct co-relationship with your company’s revenues. This naturally will put you among the top candidates for promotion. And with promotion comes with higher salary and tadaa.. more income for you. Your boss will be gladly to reward you for your hardwork to encourage you to work even harder and longer for the company.

However, the truth is that this method is what I term as limited and a non-sustainable way to increase your income. Why? The reason is simple.First of all, although all of us have only 24 hours a day, we couldn’t be trading all our 24 hours  for money.  We still need to sleep, eat and shit anyway. Hence, no matter how a tough guy you are, the most you can go is working for 16 hours a day? And I cannot imagine how shag you will be if you choose to work at this rate.

Second, let’s say you are in your early twenties and still single, you can easily commit yourself to a few hours more per day in your work to produce results. Sooner than you realised, you will meet someone you love and together you form a family with kids. You realised you can no longer commit the extra long hours you gave before because you couldn’t wait to fetch your kid from school and weekend to you are precious for family bonding. Moreover, upon hitting near 40s, you realised you are no longer as energetic as before as you get tired easily. Thus, you take frequent medical leave to go for your checkup etc. Your boss might thought you are no longer committed to work as he don’t get the same value you gave before and therefore your pay will be stagnant for the many years to come.

Therefore I would only recommend method 1 to the young graduates who are fighting for their career at the beginning stage. The longer hours you put in can not only generate value to make up for your inexperience but it can also be your stepping stool to gain more knowledge and skills from your job. Then what about the more senior or experience staff? Is there hope for increment? Let’s move on to method 2.

2. To Upgrade Yourself 

Method 1 discuss mainly about productivity. To recap: how you create more value is to commit more of your time to generate goods and results for your company. Method 2 on the other hand, will be on efficiency. This will mean by investing your time and perhaps money in taking enrichment courses that teach you how you can create more value at the same stipulated time frame. If you are lucky, your company will send you for such courses for free! and in return, you increase your efficient and thus more value for the company. An example of such courses could be on automation.

Let’s say you work for a bakery. Everyday you can bake a total of 8 cakes from 8am to 5pm in your usual working hours. As a skilful baker, the 8 cakes you bake sells like hot cakes everyday. You realised the demand is high and you, being a reader of spectra of life blog, remember reading about method 1 and say to yourself. “Hey let’s create more value by working longer, than I can bake 2 or more cakes per day!” But you also just learn about method 2 and just happen that you completed an automation course, you decide to put what you had learnt into good use. And true enough, with machinery and automation, you are able to produce 20 to 30 cakes per day and all of them still sell like hot cakes! Wola, there you have created instant value for the bakery and no need to mention, promotion is also coming along your way.

Although method 2 sounds great, but can you do better than this? Method 2 guarantee you to create more value through the concept of leverage to increase your efficiency but it still lack of an impact. So how to create the impact? Read on…

3. To Reach Out For The Masses

Methods 1 and 2, teaches you to increase productivity and efficiency in the context of to your one company or your only business (if you are a business owner). The value you created will only potentially reach limited hands and therefore at some point in time, the income will still plateau.

Method 3 is the ultimate method we all should learn and adopt in order to have limitless potential in creating income.  This method want you to multiply your efficiency in creating more value. What I meant by multiplying is to generate the same amount of value at the same efficiency to a larger scale of people. This way, your value is received by more people and these new recipients will give you a sum of money in return.

So you might wonder how do this method come into real life context? In fact it has been happening everywhere in our daily life, for example the business model of franchising. Macdonald’s , the largest franchise retailer has a global presence hence they are able to sell burgers to every human possible living in this world. Now that’s a lot of business as our world population is growing exponentially every year!

As an employee, you could think of other channels to provide value to the masses, for example creating an info business on the internet etc. Take your hobbies and turn it into a business idea. For example, holding a class to teach about sketch-booking, cooking or even photography. Basically anything! Through these, you should be able to have multi streams of income from people who receive lesson as values from you.

Conclusion

So dear readers, do think about what how you can do to create more value. And I truly hope that you would not employ method 1 for long. Make it a temporary solution and move on to method 2 and even 3! Do not have a limit on the amount of value and the things that you can create as we are all created to achieve greatness and success in our own race!

All the best!