3 Reasons That Stops You From Discovering Your Talent

I believe many of us are still seeking out for our aptitude and so be able to grow and develop this talent within us. It is like either you keep thinking about it, or you choose to temporary ignore it, but it will be back to haunt you another day. All of us will definitely questioned ourselves on the purpose of our lives  at some point through the journey of life.

For those who found their’s, a big congrats and well done! ūüôā

For those who have not, have you ever wonder why is it so hard for us to discover our talent if it is already suppose to be in us since birth?

1. You have not expose yourself wide enough

The outcome of our life is much dependant on how we make certain choices and decisions in life. This also applies to the work we do.  For example your current job.

The work you are doing now might not be utilising your talent. You keep lamenting how dreadful you are in the work you are currently doing. Yet, you are either reluctant to change to a new environment or just simply too comfortable to be in your current state. As a result, you choose to be status-quo, nothing change.

So without trying other stuffs in life how can you ever find out what you really like to do in life? Is just like without trying to learn how to play a piano, how would you know that you actually do have a talent in music?

Hence, I urge my readers that instead of living your life in a misery why not be more receptive to changes. Nobody can limit your area of exposure except yourself. Have an attempt to learn new skills and you will discover much more about yourself.

2. The culture in your society that you are living in is inhibiting you

Imagine this, after studying hard for a couple of years and graduated with a first class honours degree in engineering, you decided to work as a drummer in a musical band.

How will your friends react? How will your parents react?

I bet they might think you are out of your mind!

But what if you really loves drumming and making music? Will you follow your own heart instead?  Or would you choose to fulfil what your society expect you to do? We could not denied that the environment and its culture do have a great impact on us and our choices in life. But ultimately, we are still the one to hold responsible to for our own decisions. As a grown up adult, we should be able to make sensible choice out of our situation.

3. Our education system is just too structured and biased

By saying so, I do not mean that education is useless that all students should quit schooling now. What I’m trying to drive at is that our education system is optimised to cater for a certain group of people with a kind of learning style – read and write learner. If you those types of students who is able to sit quietly, pay attention for just an hour of lesson and fully comprehend what the lecturer/teacher is teaching, then most likely you will be able to excel in the traditional education system.

In addition, our education system is structured in a way that it prepared our children to take on clerical role or jobs that we hold high regard of. For example, as an administrator, a doctor or a lawyer. Subjects such as language, science and mathematics are a package that you enrolled for in school. Other subjects such as music, technical skills and physical education has a lesser emphasis in the school curriculum and perhaps not even have its scores taken into consideration in a student overall report card.

Hence the problem is, what if you are a kinaesthetic learner and is unable to learn the way you are expected do so? What if you are only good subject such as arts or sports?

Most likely, you will be labelled as a low ability student and be placed in a class which identified to be of requiring teachers’ special attention. Because of this stigma being slapped at you since you were a young kid, ¬†you will perhaps naively accept your fate and allowed the force of self-propency into play.

4. Conclusion

Whether the reason is because of your insufficient exposure, the education that you received or the environment that you lived in, you will have to be aware what is the dominanting reason that might deter your process of seeking your own talents. Then you will naturally find ways to circumvent the situation. It is not an easy task, but remember, you only live once and you are the only person responsible for your own life.

To lead a purposeful life or not, is really up to us to decide.

Know Yourself Through The 2 Worlds

Whenever you question on how do you know who you really are? What’s my passion? There will be multiple replies and suggestions answered back. Not convince? Try google “What is my passion?”

Sometimes I do wonder, have we complicated things too much that it makes any life challenges to be too daunting to overcome? For myself, I do believe the approach should be kept simple. To me, I would like to think of that there are basically 2 worlds that we need to explore in order to get a good idea on who we are.

1. The Outer World – Our Environment and Surrounding

In this world, I refer to the world that you are born into. The world that exists long before you were born. So why is it important to understand the outer world?

  • The culture that we are born into will influence the way we think. It might not be who we really are, but we must be aware of these external factors so to be able to have a control over them. Is up to you to allow such tradition to enter into you or not.
  • The operation of the¬†society¬†¬†will influence you on ¬†how you deploy your talents. By knowing how this world function, you can start discovering yourself by perhaps a simple mix and match technique to see how do your own passion match with what the world needs.
  • ¬†The Technology and Tools out there will aid you in achieving your goals. Knowing what’s out there will give you upper edge in resources planning in managing your time and talent deployment.

2. The Inner World – Our Soul, Thoughts and Feeling

This world only exist because your existence. It started when you were born as a baby and you started to embark a journey call life. Throughout this journey, you will feel happy and sad, encourage and disappointed and so on when trying on new things or mission. Knowing this world is important because

  • ¬†You need a destination¬†just like when you are driving or travelling. You need to be clear of your own destination as you are the only driver in your ‘vehicle of life’. Imagine how aimlessly you will be “driving” without any idea on where you wanted to go.
  • You need a clear direction¬†when ‘driving’. You will have your own preference on which route to choose for your destination and how long and fast you wanted to go. ¬†I would like to bring an example of taking a cab in Singapore. Usually when you board the cab, the cab driver will often ask your destination follow by your prefer way. Sometimes I do wonder, isn’t it reductant to ask for the route as usually the answer will be “the fastest and shortest way, please!”¬†. However to think about it, different people will have their own “fastest and shortest route”. And the decision will be made by yourself and in the process facing any “traffic jams”, there is no one to blame except yourself.
  • You are unique and important¬†that no one can really guide you on the way of living. There isn’t a guidebook written in which you can follow exactly step by step to reach success. Even all the self-improvement books written to me, I felt is more of for your own reference. Pay more attention to your own feeling and thoughts and you will realised a pretty much more stuff about yourself.

3. Conclusion

There is a chinese saying “Áü•Ś∑ĪÁü•ŚĹľÔľĆÁôĺśąėÁôĺŤÉú‚Äú Ôľć In knowing both yourself and your opponent, you will win in every battle that you fight. In our context, it just refer to knowing yourself and the outer world, you will definitely have a satisfying life.

Lastly, a piece of advice: These 2 worlds exist at the same time, hence do not fully concentrate in trying to understand one and neglect the other. It should be a 2 way traffic and a simultaneous process – meaning doing both at the same time!

All the best in knowing the 2 worlds and have fun living! ūüôā

Germany: Berlin Part 2

This is a continual post on my visit to Berlin. You can read about Part 1 here. This post I am going to share with you how I took the train to Berlin famous outlet store known as: Designer Outlet Berlin.

This place houses at about 100 brands selling at up to 30% discounted price. Some of the brands they carry are Boss Hugo, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Crocs and so on and so off. You can visit here to know more.

I have read that many people would prefer to drive there rather than commuting on the public transportation due to convenience. However, after I done my own research and a bit of asking, I realised the journey by train is not that daunting at all. This was how I started off my journey from Alexanderplatz Train station to Spandau on S5 line.

Alexanderplatz Train Platform

From Spandau, I will need to do a transfer to RE2 line to the following ODEG train towards my destination Elstal.

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You will need to walk a short distance before able to take this train to Estal

Very Comfortable Seat - By the way this is 1st class cabin

Very Comfortable Seat – By the way this is 1st class cabin

By the way, I didn’t bought a first class cabin ticket nor I did know it actually do have such a categorisation! (Other U and S line do not have such separation) The moment i boarded this train, I instinctively make my way up to the upper deck. It was till a train attendant came over, checked my ticket and said that I went to the wrong cabin. I am so embarrassed that I quickly pick up my stuff and make my way down.

Elstal is just a 3 stations ride from Spandau. It is an open station with nothing in particular at sight at around it. No high rise building, no major roads, no landmark except for a overhead bridge for you to cross over to the other to board a bus to the outlet store.

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Estal Station

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Spot for the bridge, follow the board, turn left and take Bus 662 to the outlet. There is only 1 bus at the bus stop anyway. No excuse to get lost!

The bus ride is about 20-30 minutes to reach the outlet store. Is hard to miss as almost everyone on the bus is going to the same destination as you. Hence, you can just conveniently follow the crowd.

Welcome to Berlin Designer Outlet Store!!

The setting of this outlet store is like a small town. Very beautifully design.

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The Store Map/directory

That’s all for this post on Berlin Designer Outlet Store. Do stay tuned for the next post where I will share with you on my general tour around Berlin City which includes Kawade and Outdoor Car Exhibits.

When Your Good Debt Turns Bad

I believe¬†you would heard of the definition of Good Debt Vs Bad Debt and why you should¬†avoid bad¬†debt and take only the good debt.¬†For the benefit of readers who aren’t sure, a short description is provided here:

Good Debt: Borrowing to invest our purchase assets that are either income generating and/or potential of capital appreciation. Examples of such loans are house loans and loans for stock investment.

Bad Debt: Borrowing to purchase mainly consumer goods that has neither income generating ability nor the potential of capital appreciation. Examples of such loans are credit cards loans and car loans.

1. Good debt doesn’t mean you take them without prudence!

In this world, there is no such thing as a guarantee earning. Think about it, even the job you are holding might not be a stable one, the company might¬†face crisis and needed to laid off staffs or suffered a pay cut etc.¬†¬†So what’s make you think that¬†the investment¬†you are going to make is going to be absolute risk free and a sure win?

I am worried when I¬†read¬†an article¬†on¬†Singapore debt levels ‘among highest in Asia’, where it was reported that Singapore households are among the most indebted in Asia relative to what they earn in which households had borrowings worth 151 per cent of their annual income last year! One possible reason is that Singaporeans borrow from banks in order to get a slice in the property investment/rental market.

2. When Good Debt Turns Bad!

So let’s take an example of what is hot in Singapore, the property market,¬†to illustrate¬†my point of good debt turns bad. You might think what could go wrong with taking on a good debt for a new condominium for potential rental income benefits especially Singapore¬†where it’s¬†land is scarce?

– When your property is vacant for a long period of time.

I know you did your calculation and is confident that whatever you collected as rent is more than whatever you need to pay for your rent. However, did you consider what if your property remain vacant for pro-longed period of time due to low demand in rental market? You will need still need to pay for the monthly instalments with interest. Not only that, in the midst of finding a suitable tenant, you will need to pay for the agent fees and any advertising fees. All this will sum up to a huge sum of money and the effect will be detrimental to your cash flow if you are not prepared for it!

РA spike in interest rates

Currently, we are in an unprecedented low-interest rate environment (of about ~0.588 SIBOR, house loan hovering at around 1.6-1.8%). This has encouraged excessive borrowing which the borrower has the wrong impression that they could afford it well. But what if situation starts to change? The US decided to execute its tapering and interest rate start to spike sharply to say about 3-4%? This innocence jump of 1.5% is enough to cause a significant different in your near million or millions dollars loan.

– Valuation of your property falls

Right now, Singapore government has been actively in introducing cooling measures in property market. The latest being a total debt service ratio (TDSR) of 60%.  This TDSR of 60% means that the total debt of borrowers cannot be more than 60 % of their income. This will definitely reduces the demand of property in the market to a certain extent.  Fundamental economics states that with demand drop and supply increases, the price of the goods will fall. Hence this will affect the price of your property.

You might be wondering, so what if it got to do with me? I am not going to sell until the price is right! But aha! There is something you need to be aware of the term and condition: Loan to Valuation (LTV)  which you agreed with the bank when you signed upon the dotted line for a loan. Typically, the bank will offer a 80% loan based on the valuation of your property  (60% for 2nd property). Hence, a fall in valuation will mean, you will get margin call from the bank to request for a payment of the difference. If you are not prepare for this, it will definitely give you a shock as the sum could easily compute to be a 6-digits figure!

3. Conclusion

In conclusion, I would like to create an awareness that although there is a clear definition of what’s a good debt and what’s a bad debt, it doesn’t mean we should all take up all the good debts that we are possibly eligible for. Think of what could go wrong during the loan period and ask yourself if you are able to stomach it.

Most importantly, invest prudently too! Do not overstretch yourself (or your dollars) too much. Just like you are able to work 18 hours daily, doesn’t mean you have to unless really necessary.

Germany: Berlin Part 1

6 months ago I was given an opportunity to visit Sweden and Berlin. These 2 places are very different in terms of culture, history and people yet I totally fall in love with them. Allow me to bring you through Berlin first then follow by Sweden travel experiences.

Berlin¬†is the¬†capital¬†city of¬†Germany¬†and one of the 16¬†states of Germany. Berlin being Germany’s largest city it doesn’t feel packed or cramped with a population of about 3.3 million.

My colleague and I decided that our first trip is to visit the one of the shopping street of Berlin. Then we walked randomly to wherever the road take us. To our surprised, we found ourselves landed into some beautiful building and places in the city of Berlin.

Friedrichstrasse Station

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From my hotel located in Alexanderplatz, take U2 to Stadmitte. Just look at the train network! Omg, so closely packed !

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In berlin, the train stations are so closely intertwined together, that there are just so many train stations in one location! Really very convenient!

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Even with their fantastic train system, Berlin still has a tram system to even facilitate commuters! People are also encouraged to cycle around. Cars are almost an unnecessary item living in such a city.

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Museumsinsel aka Museum Island from far

Nice river surrounding the city

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Sandwich Club

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My medium-well done steak! yum yum!! It is really delicious!

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A deserted old school with graffiti

Berlin is a city that has graffiti on building around the cities. These murals are so beautifully drawn that people don’t find it eyesore at all.

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Concert Hall of Berlin

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Side view of the concert hall

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Street Performer at the open spaces of concert hall

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Street performer 2

The street performers are not only professional in their performance, but also being gracious. They will allow the other to performed finish before they commence on theirs to avoid attention divergence, noise pollution and whatever you can think of. The important point is that they actually spare a thought for others. This is a much desired characteristic for us living in a city.

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Concert Hall is a House With Soul

As the night creeped in, I decided to walk my way back to hotel with my colleague instead of taking the train. I always like to be on my feet whenever I am exploring a new country. Through walking, you will get to see and experience more of a country.

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River at Sunset

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Finally reached Alexanderplatz after a much enjoyable long walk back hotel

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“Home Sweet Home”

That’s all for part 1~ Stay tuned for part 2 as I will share with you my way to the only designer outlet store in Berlin!

Expectation Vs Reality

Today I witnessed a conversation between my boss and a colleague. The topic is about expectation vs reality. It really makes a lot of sense to me and I have the urge to share with you readers.

Everyone, including your boss, parents, spouse and friends will have certain expectation from you. Having expectation is not a bad thing. In fact, if you take it positively, people will only have high expectation of you when they have high regard of you. But what if the expectation from a someone is too much to take or on the other hand, you are disappointed with someone who never meet with your expectation?

I think one particular sentence from her just strike hard into me, “People are born differently, with different strength and weaknesses. We have to accommodate the fall short of one another.”

Let’s face the fact, we are living in an imperfect world. I agreed with her that we will be too much if we ask for the ultimate perfection from someone, it is impossible. Even we can blame others for their mistakes, we must always be conscious that we are no better than the person we are blaming. We also cannot expect everyone to be just like us, as we have the tendency to place ourself on a perch. ¬†Everyone will have their working style and thinking. That’s what make us human, aren’t we?

So, in my opinion, there is no need to please everyone or expect everyone to please you, it is not possible. There bound to be friction, expectation gap and mis-alighnment of goals at some point of time. These gaps if to be treated positively, are actually a good tool to spur us and the team onto greater heights. We shouldn’t put all blame onto ourself or others.

The key lesson here is communication. We have to communicate to calibrate to each other’s expectation and needs. If you want or need to work in a team, then you will have to digest this adage:

If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together

How Mature Are You? Can You Handle Your Finances Well?

If I were to ask you this question,¬†“How mature are you?” You could perhaps answered me, “Well , I am able to think for myself independently and able to differentiate from good from bad. I am also able to take care of myself well enough. I should be pretty mature.” However what if I turn this question into the perspective of you handling your money, are you able to confidently replied me that you are able to:

1. Differentiate between good and bad debts?

2. Able to allocate your resources (paycheck) well?

3. Able to take care of yourself by saving enough for retirement?

4. Able to build your own safety net to have some sort of protection (buying insurance) to cover yourself in times of crisis?

How do you fare in these questions then?

Financial Maturity

Recently, I read a book authored by Sean Seah ” Financial Joy”. In a segment, he defined maturity into various stages as below:

1. Financial Adult – He/she will take first 10% of his salary to save and invest into buying assets that able to provide you with a stream of passive income. This group is believed to become very wealthy eventually.

Personally, I would like to add that people in this group will also be able to mitigate the damage in times of crisis by having adequate protection and emergency funds on hands. Most likely they have a few steady streams of income that funds their retirement age. They are on their way to financial freedom, where your income is larger than your daily needs. If lucky or well plan, they could even reach the stage of having financial abundance, where your income is much larger than your desired lifestyle.

2. Financial Young Adult – He/She will pay their bills and save the remainder. Those in this group are responsible people and they will not get into much financial trouble as long as things remain stable.

Personally, I would like to add that I believe majority of people falls into this category. Everyone will know the importance of saving but not investing. Many still prefer to safe keep their money in bank account which pay interest rate of less than a percent. By doing so, they are having their wealth being eroded away by the force of inflation. Hence, their concern will always be how much is enough for retirement? 

3. Financial Teenagers – He/She will spend whatever they make and wait eagerly for the next pay check.

Personally, I would like to add that this group of people are bound to be trap in the rat race forever unless they change their financial habits. By spending every single cent they made, their greatest concern will always be ” what if something happened?” They are bound to work as if they stop working, their mouth will stop feeding.¬†When in times of crisis in which they need a huge sum of money to tide over, they will find themselves struggle to stay above water.¬†

4. Financial Babies – He/She will spend more than what they earn!! Such as overspending their credit cards and sometimes unable to pay on time. They will then resort to find “creative” ways to cover the credit cards debt by borrowing from somewhere else.

Personally, I do hope that spectra of life readers do not belong to this group. Even if you are, please allow me to knock some sense into you so to change your spending habits!! It is not only unhealthy but also you are digging your grave to expedite your death! Sorry for being crude, but I couldn’t emphasise enough by saying the danger of having loads of consumer debts. Credit card loan interest is at 24% per annum. At this rate, your debt will snowballed into an uncontrollable size if you do not mitigate the situation on time. You have to learn to take care of yourself financially so please take¬†appropriate action if you are really belong to this group.

Conclusion

In this post, we talked about maturity, not your age but is about your way of handling your finances. You should be able to have the maturity to not only protect your wealth but also to grow your wealth! So the next time you receive your pay check, do give a thought on how will you want to allocate your money. For your reference, you can refer to this post, for an idea of how you could allocate your money into various money jars!