On Setting Goals

WP_20130218_002Goals.

Begin with the end in mind, Stephen Covey said.

Define your Definite Chief Aim and read it everyday as instructed by Napoleon Hill.

So what is your life goal?

What is mine?

I asked myself this question many times over recently.

I had one many years ago but I guess things didn’t exactly go according to plan.

So is setting life goals pretty pointless?

As what one of my friends put it, is it just a way of just setting yourself out for disappointment?

Well, no one can really guarantee you the future, but putting a stake down in the ground and marking your way forward will probably get you a lot closer to where you want to go, as compared to wandering around in circles.

And more importantly, without a goal you can’t score. 

When nothing’s for sure, anything can happen.

Have a rough plan, figure out the details along the way.

So what’s my goal in life? What’s my definite chief aim?

Well I have my pen and paper in front of me.

It’s time to write.

On Doing Something.

A common thread that often comes up with conversations with friends my age is, well what we would like to call the ‘Quarter-Life Crisis’.

I’ve blogged about it before a few years back now and I guess it’s a lot more common that I thought, I’m not the only one that feels this way.

I guess when you hit the later half of your twenties, it suddenly dawns upon you that you’re really not that young anymore, and more scarily, some of your youthful dreams are starting to fade before you have any chance of living them.

You come to the realisation that after all these years of education and preparation for this great and wonderful life, kinda never came.

You end up at somewhere you don’t really want to be, doing something you don’t really want to do, week after week.

Sounds scary doesn’t it?

The scarier part that for a lot us, it’s true.

I came back from the UK 4 months ago and found myself after having such a wonderful adventure, to be exactly where I don’t want to be.

Coming down from a high, I struggled with who I was and what I am going to be doing for the rest of my life.

And then the societal pressures start to come in, looking around, you start to get affected by everyone else’s thinking.

A need to get a job that pays, need to conform to my parent’s thinking, need to settle down, need to save up enough money to buy a ridiculously priced house.

It starts to get a little confusing, a little depressing, and then the thoughts of perhaps giving in.

But no.

Don’t.

Because it’s your life, and there’s always a choice.

I’ve always loved the line from a Curious Case of Benjamin Button, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. 

But form personal experience, I know it can be a lot harder than it seems.

So, where do we go from here? How do we make sure the last few years of 20s be many times more awesome than the first few?

It’s time to take a bit of self-responsibility.

Saw this brilliant old school video the other day, I guess being self-respobsible is not that different than being self-reliant.

As seen from this article http://artofmanliness.com/2013/01/28/12-vintage-instructional-films-worth-watching/ 

Assume Responsibility – This is your life. Be responsible for it.

You are likely to be a free man, with free will to make decisions about your everyday life. If you’re not at a place you want to be, realise it’s your own fault for not being there or making an attempt to get there.

If you’ve failed in the past, realise that it was largely your own responsibility for your failure. Pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, don’t make the same mistakes again.

You and only you are responsible for yourself, stop blaming your parents, your circumstances or your surroundings.

Take charge of your own life and make exactly what you want out of it.

Be Informed – Knowledge is power.

In the age of the Internet, there really isn’t much of an excuse not to be informed.

If you need to know something or find out how something is done, go and Google it.

If you can’t find it or need more knowledge, find someone who has already done it and go out there and ask.

Don’t expect the world to come to you (even though with the internet it already largely has).

Leverage on information to create your destiny.

Know Where You’re Going Without a goal, you can’t score. 

What’s the point of finding out which road to go if you yourself do not have a good idea of where you are going?

Take some time out to really think about what you want to do with your life.

This is probably going to be one of the most important thing to do, because if you don’t, you’ll just spend your entire life looking for something that you don’t know what is (highly unlikely you’ll be able to find what you don’t know what you’re looking for).

Make Your Own Decisions – Decide.

It’s not that hard.

Take responsibilities to make your own decision.

Small exercise, when someone asks you, what you want to eat? Make a decision and go for it, rather than answering ‘I’ll have whatever you’re ok with.’

——

So, time to actually f*cking do something before I get too old to do it.

On The Human Game

Life is a game, play it well.

Life is a game, play it well.

How are you playing the human game?

On Working.

My day job, construction.

My day job, construction.

So I’ve spent the past 10 weeks back in Singapore from UK to a job that I ran away from 4 years ago to pursue my dreams as a decathlete.

At first my mind and my body rejected it.

Everyday I asked myself why.

Why did I come back to this mess, away from what I want to be doing.

But I guess for a large part of it, I was angry at myself that I’ve been lazy for the past four years.

I should have spent the times when I wasn’t training working harder at my studies or at establishing other sources of income.

Reading Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biography made me realised I lacked the insane focus and insane amount of hard work needed to get good at any one thing. (Whilst Arnold was a bodybuilder, he worked as a gym instructor and ran a construction business, went into the real estate business and continued on to become an actor and a governor.)

Sequential focus is the key.

Focus at one thing at a time, do it well, then move on.

24 hours in a day.

Even training for 5 hours a day leaves 19 hours for whatever else you want to do with your life.

And after 10 weeks, I’ve finally come to terms with what I actually enjoy and want to do in terms of work.

I want to build a better future.

Back in the company, I want to build a better future for my colleagues and my parents.

At the track, I want to run fast, jump and throw far.

And maybe in my own small way because of that, I want to build a better country.

On choosing.

Learning from the best.

Learning from the best.

At work today, I think I finally made the mental flip.

I realised, this will never be my life’s greatest work.

You only got one shot at life, why not make it your best shot?

You choose the life you want to live, period.

Don’t make any excuses for it.

I can’t once again use my family or the business as an excuse.

In fact, no excuse is good enough anymore.

Live.

Whatever it takes.

Dominique Arnold, 12.90s PB for the 110m Hurdles, in Singapore giving a hurdles workshop.

The lessons:

Don’t take your words lightly. Don’t take other people’s words heavily.

Don’t ever put yourself down or say things you do not want, once you said it you just made it possibly real. Control your thoughts, change your world.

If you don’t take it seriously, you don’t get serious results.

Don’t expect to be good at anything if you’re just ‘trying it out’. You want to get good, you work at it, hard.

Never say ‘I’m tired.’ To say it is to give in. You must push through.

What did you expect from a work out? It’s going to hurt, but accept it and push through. Don’t be a whiner.

Doubt comes from the lack of knowledge.

First you must know, then you can do. Then you do a lot, then you get good at what you do.

No limitations. Don’t put a limit on what you can do.

Usain Bolt on his first ever 100m race talking to Dominique and other experienced track athletes before race starts: ‘I’m going to go out and run fast.’

Notice that he never says, well maybe I’ll run a 10.2s or 10.3s?

He just says he’s going to run fast.

He ran 10.03s in his first ever 100m race.

Don’t ever put a limit on what you can do before you even start, because you never know what you are truly capable of.

These are the lessons I’ve learnt over the past two days attending the hurdles workshop by Dominique Arnold. Such a humble and great guy who’s eager to pass on all the lessons he has learnt on and off the track to help others to succeed.

And once again, I notice how these individuals who achieve success behaves, they simply believe in doing whatever it takes.

So, note to self: Whatever it takes, I will do.

Faith, Focus, Follow Up.

Loughborough Olympians, Mr Kunalan and wife along with Helena Wong.

Faith in yourself.

Focus in what you do.

Follow up on the things that need doing.

Attended Loughborough Alumni’s event in Singapore last weekend and met some old friends along with new amazing people.

One of the distinguished Singapore Loughborough Alumni members was Mr Leong Horn Kee, former MP and current ambassador to Mexico. He gave a short speech and towards the end shared a short message that he would like us ‘younger’ alumni members to keep in mind.

3 Fs, that was how he put it.

Faith. Focus. Follow up.

And seeing my fellow coursemate Helena Wong who became Singapore’s first female olympic weightlifter, I wondered to myself, how different will it be if I managed the 3 Fs 4 years ago before I went to Loughborough. Will I be closer to who I wanted to be right now?

Sadly, yes.

But it’s never too late to be who you want to be.

p.s. apologies for the lack of updates on my blog, definitely something I will need to follow up on more closely! I find there are too many interesting events and lessons I encounter day to day and would really like to share them with you, so I better keep up with my blogging!

On Making It, or Breaking It.

Better, Never, Stops.

Work 1 – Me 0

I guess I let work get to me this week.

Being hit by ‘reality’ in the face full force has a nasty way of putting you down.

I got reminded of all my shortcomings, all my past failures.

This was pretty much the life I tried so long to run away from and now I’m back in it.

Is this it? Is the rest of my life just going to be like that?

I choose not to believe so.

I believe in change.

I believe in better.

I believe that I can change whatever surroundings or situation I am in for the better tomorrow.

I won’t give up, I can’t.

Tomorrow starts my winter training phase to prepare for my decathlon season next year.

I guess now, I really will find out what I’m actually made of.

I’ll know tomorrow morning when I get up at 5.30am to hit the track.

Whether I’m still willing to leave it all at the track, and then head to work after.

Time to do something.

On Leaving Loughborough.

Made it through my 7th decathlon in Surrey. My MBII made it through looking a lot better than I did.

And with that, it draws my time here in the UK to a close.

Tomorrow morning I will be leaving Loughborough for London and the day after catch a flight back to Singapore.

The past few days has been extremely stressful for myself, you kind of forget how much junk you actually fill your life with until you start to move and clear out your house. I guess I under-estimated the task and by the decathlon I tired myself out simply by moving the boxes up and down stairs all day long.

It’s not the fairy tale ending to this journey, but then it wasn’t really a bad one either.

I fought from start to finish, I saw what I had to do through.

And in the end, I will look back at these 4 years of my life and think, damn, did I really go out and do all that?

Wrote a message to my friends on my facebook earlier today, would like to share that here too:

You know how they say you either get results or you have a story. I hate the fact that I have that many stories to tell. Finished my last decathlon here yesterday, didn’t managed a PB though, ran the best hurdles race in my life till I crashed hurdle 9 and did my left ankle in.

Thought I’d at least break 5k by now, but oh well, lived to fight another day.

Just want to thank everyone for these past 4 years here in Loughborough and the UK. It’s really been an awesome journey. Though many a times I felt like the kid in the video below training and competing with you guys, I can’t say how lucky I am to have met so many amazing coaches, athletes, track-mates and friends along the way. Especially to my training partners Adrian Hemery and Maxim Hall (and for a very brief period of time Lydia Philpott), my coaches and the rest of the Loughborough decathletes, you guys helped me from 0 to 4500, couldn’t have done each point without you guys.

And the rest of the decathletes I’ve met around the circuit, you guys must be the most awesome bunch of people in the world. After watching and hearing about it for so long, all I can say is that the brotherhood is real.

It’s amazing what you can do with your life when you have a dream, find the guts to go for it and refuse to give up. Doesn’t always go your way, but damn it sure makes life a heck of a lot more interesting.

So Loughborough, thank you for the memories and goodbye for now. =,)

 

On the Law of Success

Law of Success by Napoleon Hill, great book to read.

Amidst my packing, I have finally completed reading the Law of Success by Napoleon Hill.

Firstly this is a big book (1035 pages), I must have bought it more than 5 years ago back in Singapore but never really got around finish reading the entire thing.

Whilst I enjoy reading so called ‘Success literature’, I always take everything with a pinch of salt and know that there are more bullshit out there in the ‘Self-Help’ section of a book store than there are actual useful stuff.

(Always liked this scene from School for Scoundrels, watch at 0.40)

Anyway there are a few good books that have genuinely good concepts and ideas out there, this will be one of them.

Below is a questionaire at the start of the book which I’ve completed about 5 years ago, to score myself in each of the 16 Laws upon 100, I’ve put my new scores that I just did yesterday to the right of my original scores. Have a go yourself and see how you fare!

5 years ago Now
The Master Mind (Having a good team) 70 50
A Definite Chief Aim 50 30
Self Confidence 60 50
The Habit of Saving 10 0
Initiative & Leadership 50 60
Imagination 75 50
Enthusiasm 60 50
Self-Control 50 40
The Habit of Doing More Than Paid For 60 70
A Pleasing Personality 70 80
Accurate Thinking 50 80
Concentration 40 50
Cooperation 70 55
Profiting by Failure 50 80
Tolerance 70 80
Practicing the Golden Rule 60 90
Average 56 57.19

Interestingly,I thought I would have scored worst now than 5 years ago before I compared the results. The reason for that is sometimes now I feel a little lost in the sense that I’ve finished this 5 years and failed to achieve what I set out to do, hence now I got to figure out what to do next.

But when the averages are compared, I’ve actually improved by roughly 1 point.

5 years on and 1 point of personal growth.

Can’t say it’s been amazing, but then looking at the specific categories, I started to see why.

The dreaming side of things, like ‘A Definite Chief Aim’ and ‘Self Confidence’, have definitely taken a hit from my failures, but at the same time the doing side of things, like ‘Profiting from Failure’ and ‘Accurate Thinking’, have definitely improved.

My weakest point ‘The Habit of Saving’ still remains. I used to blame the fact that I have irregular income sources due to the nature of business and thus it is hard to be budgeting and saving, but I know that is just an excuse and I am determined to work on this factor everyday.

So to sum it up, I think what happened was that in the last 5 years, I set out with a huge dream but I didn’t really know how to go about doing it, thus I failed.

Now, I know how to go about doing it, but then I’m a little afraid to dream as big because now I know there’s a heck of a lot of work to be done to achieve it, and also having failed before doubt now sometimes overtake the desire to keep dreaming.

So, do I just back off, resign to my fate (if there is such a thing) and accept my limits of today as the limits of my future?

Or do I now armed with the experience of my failures and the knowledge of how to be doing, dare to dream big again and work 10 times as hard as I used to in order to get to where I want to be?

Well I think you know the answer to that. 😉

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