On Doing.

A new reminder, something to remember every single day.

Something’s changing, finally.

Somehow, I’ve finally woken up.

It’s easy to realise what you have to do, but it’s a whole lot harder to actually do it.

Saturday was the first time I puked on the track.

“Congratulations! You’re now a proper athlete!”

Wise words from an experienced training partner.

The hardest part is when you realise that the cause of your failure is yourself, and that if you just keep doing the same, then you’re only going to fail the same.

I guess I was grieving for a life that could have been, I dug a hole in the ground to keep my head in so that I can postpone reality.

But my life is going nowhere fast and I have to dig my way out of it.

My professional life, my social life, pretty much every aspect of my life am in flames despite me trying to put up a front for it.

But over the past few days, I felt like I’ve reached a tipping point.

I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

So I’ve got my arse up from the chair and started doing something about it.

I choose to fight on.

I choose not to give in.

I choose not to give up.

And I express that choice by doing.

On London 2012

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And so, the London 2012 Olympics is over.

Finally went down to London on the last day of the games and managed to see the Men’s marathon, visited the Olympic Park (couldn’t quite get in because I had no tickets, but the shopping mall right next to the Park felt like it as there were loads of people from all over the world and Olympians in their team kits just roaming around) and watched the closing ceremony on a big screen at Victoria park with thousands of others.

Gosh, what an amazing and electric atmosphere! Everywhere you went in London you could see people from all over the world draped in their national flags, smiling and laughing, mixing around with total strangers from another part of the world.

And I think that is what the Olympics represent, yes it is a bubble, but it just shows humanity at its best and gives us a glimpse of hope of what the future could be.

Watching the closing ceremony of the games, especially during the athletes march in, I just kept thinking, how I was I was there part of it. Not as a spectator in the stands, but as one of the athletes.

These whole Games had been brilliant and I must say I’m gutted not to have made it.

I still remember back in 2005 when I watched how London won its Olympic bid back in Singapore, I was 18 then. I did quick calculations and thought, in 7 years I’ll be 25. That would be when most athletes peaked, thus the perfect opportunity for me to go for the Games.

It feels funny to be now at the other side of that 7 year tunnel, I am 25, and still about 3500 points short of the Olympic qualifying mark for decathlon.
I guess back then I just thought that is I believed it enough, wrote it down on the wall, go to the right places, somehow it would happen.

I talked myself into it, I talked everyone around who cared to listen about it and soon I became known as the guy who was going for the Olympics.

But the one most important thing was missing, the performance.

I only did my first decathlon in 2010, that’s a good 5 years after I first dreamt about making it to the London Games. And the part that was unforgivable was that many of the 10 events I only first competed then in 2010, even though I could have done so back in Singapore individually (Singapore does not have any decathlon competitions). Yes I was injured from my army days and everything, but I can’t help but think that I could have done more. If I had so, that would have been an additional 5 years of sprint and running training I could have gotten by now.

As you get older in life, you realise that you have a very short window to live out your full physical potential and do what you want to do.

But that is all in my past now and the saying goes, you can only understand life going backwards but you have to live life going forwards.

So what is my future going to be life? What will 7 years ahead look like?
Well, I’ll be 32, if I live that long that is (I sure do hope so, but as everything else, you’d never know).

I was doing 400m training on Saturday and I was just way off pace.
Sometimes I do feel that perhaps it’s a case of me not being talented enough to become a decathlete, it’s hard enough to be good in any 1 event, let alone 10.

Yet on the other hand I feel that I’m in the perfect event because I will never have the talent to make it to the Olympics as any one single eventer, but as a decathlete, becoming fit and skilled, I can.

Becoming fit and skilled is not about talent but about hard work.

And the question is, have I actually worked as hard and as smart as I could have all these years?

No.

Like these 400m sessions, I really dislike them and haven’t been doing much of them, but that is exactly what I always needed to be done.

So do I continue? Do I keep going on this path?

I won’t kid you, I desperately want to, for I know there is still a lot of points in the decathlon that could still be gained.

Will I reach Rio in 2016?

I’ll be entirely honest with you, I don’t know.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. – Samuel Beckett 

I guess this time I’ve wised up, not like the young naïve kid when I was 18, I’ve learnt that just because you write it down doesn’t mean it’ll come true.

But I do know that if I work hard and take advantage of all that I have learnt and put myself through these few years, there is a lot more in me before I reach the limits of my potential.

And where will that lead me?

I’m not sure, but then when the time comes, I’ll experience.

For now, I’ll just imagine, and continue working my arse off.

On Second Chances.

Watched a thousand day countdown until tomorrow.

So an incredible thing happened last weekend. I was supposed to be competing in my last decathlon and today should have had nothing left on my mind except to pack up and get ready to head home, finishing my 4 years here.

But instead, on Friday morning when I woke up, I sprained my neck getting out of bed.

Sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.

Sometimes in life, sh*t happens.

It was one of those injuries that you get once in a while but a couple of days after, you’ll be completely fine. It’s just that it happened with horrible timing.

I was incredibly frustrated at that time, but somehow now, I’m relieved.

You know how they say everything happens for a reason?

Somehow I was feeling quite tired and lost the past couple of months, I keep going through these cycles of ups and downs. Maybe it was a combination of the realisation that I’ve failed and that I’m not sure which way to go from here, but I was definitely feeling both physically and mentally exhausted. I felt like I wanted to end the season soon and have a break.

That then actually lead to a bad lead up to this decathlon, even though technically I’ve gotten more competent, I was struggling to keep myself mentally and physically there.

On Sunday, when my neck got better,I did a small session at the side of the track as I watched my friends compete. Then I could feel that I’m definitely not in my best shape and wouldn’t have been able to score something that would justify me to continue.

So somehow in a sense, I feel that my sprained neck gave me another chance.

I was watching Robbie on the high jump finals earlier and in the post competition interview he was saying how Fuzz, our coach, told him off a year ago and asked when is he going to start taking it seriously and actually apply himself. If he didn’t then he should stop wasting his own and his coach’s time.

And the truth is, I watched the thousand day countdown to this Olympic Games and I too have wasted a lot of my own and other people’s time.

Although it might not seem like it in my blog post and in person if you ever meet me, I waste a heck of a lot of my time doing nothing. Procrastination is a bad habit that I’ve had throughout my life and I still haven’t kicked it.

So many could haves, should haves and would haves, but I didn’t.

And the worst part is I’m to blame for a large part of it.

Deep down I know it’s true.

So I’ve decided to do the last decathlon that is available here this season, it will be on the 8th and 9th of September.

That will give me 4 weeks of training and 1 week to taper off for it.

My rent runs out on the 8th of September as well so that fits in nicely (will have to bunk at my mate’s place for a couple of nights when I get back before I fly home).

And in these 5 weeks, I need to sort out my life.

I need to earn enough money to keep going, get my apartment cleared and get all those work that I’ve been putting off done right.

I used to think that perception defined your reality, not any more.

Actions creates your reality.

Time to get productive.

On The Olympic Games.

Watching the 2012 London Games Opening Ceremony in my room at Loughborough.

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.  – Theodore Roosevelt

There’s just something magical about the Olympic Games isn’t there?

I still remember watching the Beijing Games Opening Ceremony 4 years ago, I was 21 in Bintan at a resort hotel room.

I remember thinking, wow, I’m going to get myself to the next one and compete in the decathlon just like how I thought I might have when I was 18.

Never mind the fact that I’ve never actually done a decathlon or most of the individual events before, or that I was extremely unfit coming out of the army with a busted left knee.

Somehow I believed.

Fast forward 4 years, I’m sitting in my apartment at Loughborough watching the Opening Ceremony.

So I didn’t quite make it, but I sure did try.

I must have been amazingly naive then, having no idea what it would actually take to get to become a decathlete, let alone qualify for the Olympics at that event. There’s a reason why the decathlon winner at the Olympics walks away with the title of the world’s greatest athlete.

Performances look easy when they are just numbers on a screen or on a sheet of paper. I thought, ah yes in a year I will be running this much faster and jumping this much higher scoring x amount of points, but you’d never realise how much it actually takes just to get a little bit faster or jump a little bit higher.

4 years on, my PB is 4534, about 3416 short of an Olympic ‘B’ qualifying mark.

Watching all the different events on BBC, which I must say have done an amazing job of covering the games, I can only imagine what it must be like to be actually there.

I think what draws us to the Olympics is that we get to see what is humanly possible, with 4 years of commitment at a time, it just shows how potent this mixture of time, dreams and hard work can be.

It shows how we can be at our best, where the world can come together and agree on something, and perhaps gives us a glimpse of how the world indeed can be a better place beyond these 16 days.

And in 2 days, it will be my last decathlon of the season. Not quite at the Olympic stadium, but it too will bring this 4 years to a close for me.

Will it be my last ever? I’m not sure, for a variety of reasons, it may well be.

Somehow the difference between now and 4 years ago when I was watching the Beijing Games, is that it was mainly just a thought exercise then.

Today, it’s real.

In 2 days time I have to hit the track again.

The physical exertion and exhaustion is no longer something I just see on the TV but have a deal with in reality.

I feel like this time after 4 years, I actually know what I have to do to get to where I want, but damn the amount of work ahead is scary.

Is it worth going on?

I’m not sure, I really don’t know.

But once again it’s time to let go of my doubts and fears, and let this last decathlon be a celebration of the work I’ve done for the past 4 years.

Somehow, I still believe.

I still believe in a better world.

I still believe in a better me.

Hold on to the Dream.

Hurdles training 24/07/2012

Had a hurdle session today, block starts over 4 hurdles placed 1 foot in at 1m high (1 click below full competition height).

Hurdles is one of the events that I’ve always struggled with right from the start, in fact, I have never completed a race with 3 strides down all the way yet.

Today, whilst my technique wasn’t quite there as my legs were still heavy from yesterday’s hard 400m session, I was still going through each of my runs successfully. And then it struck me, gosh I’ve come a long way haven’t I?

So I went to look back at some of my video footages attempting hurdles a few years back, gosh the difference, take a look for yourself.

I guess for most of us, it always seem to take a heck of a lot longer than we though or hoped, but don’t give up. Hold on, work hard, you’ll get better I promise.

Hold on to the dream.

On Parents

New GB Flag up at HiPac, can’t say I’m sure about the muted colour scheme though.

Skyped my dad yesterday, somethings never change.

I must say, the biggest source of demotivation in my life, it’s not the lack of performance, it’s not the injuries, it’s not the lack of progress, it’s actually my parents.

I hate to say this, but it’s true. It’s always a love hate relationship.

My parents after all these years still think I’m wasting my time and life being on an ‘extended holiday’, as what my dad terms it, for long enough already and should start focusing on work and such.

He told me that dreams don’t always equate to realities and it’s time to move on.

Whilst I understand where he’s coming from, I can’t help but feel annoyed.

My parents grew up at a time where it was a struggle to survive, and thus the definition of success in their books is measured by the size of your wallet.

And as I mentioned before, I do admire my parents for they instilled in me the ethics of hard work, which is how they got to where they are, but I think I’ve grown to see the world from a different perspective.

Whilst I know I will never change their point of view, and that they may never understand, all I can do is to have faith in myself and continue in what I believe in.

After all, that’s how societies can change within a generation, when people dare to be different and show others that it’s actually ok.

Be the change you want to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

It’s unfortunate, but to avoid unnecessary conflict and irritation, I have to cut down on my communications with my parents, hopefully my work will justify itself someday.

And when it’s my turn to have kids of my own, I will try to understand them instead of imposing my own views. Support them by teaching the lessons I’ve learnt along my way and then give them the tools they need to create their own life no matter how they see fit and understand that they will view the world very differently from me, and that’s ok.

And one day when my kids turn around to tell me that he or she has a dream, I’ll be able to look at them in their eyes and say:

Go for it kid, just like I did. =)

Memento Mori

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living by Damien Hirst, 1991, at Tate Modern.

Remember your mortality.

That was the theme of Damien Hirst’s work and exhibit.

Visited Tate Modern’s Damien Hirst exhibit yesterday to experience and understand the popularity and demand for Damien Hirst’s work.

I was trying to understand what it reflected about ourselves and the society we live in, for as what Alain de Botton mentioned, we seem to be drawn to things which we consider beautiful because it is a reflection of what we are missing with our lives.

Damien Hirst’s work is mainly about life and death, the inevitable yet hugely uncomfortable.

Modern society has led us to take life for granted and living in a sense has become too easy, too easy to the point that we forget the value of living your life.

We spend so much time in our mortality in pursuits of physical gratification that we often forget that it doesn’t mean anything at all in the face of death.

We forget that life actually is meant to be hard, and anyone who needs a reminder should go watch a nature documentary.

One of the best ways to live ironically is to remember that you are going to die.

That then pretty much put the things you want to do into a much clearer perspective.

 

On Not Giving Up

At the track this morning with William and our coach George.

Olympic Trials, just a reminder of how harsh the world of sport can be, but I guess in a sense, it’s just reflecting the nature of the brutal world as it is.

You train your arse off for 4 years, give up so much, have so much potential, was on your way to live your dreams, and then it all comes crashing down.

The two athletes that I look up to the most, and had the pleasure of knowing, didn’t quite have their Olympic Trials go according to plan.

Bryan Clay crashed hurdle 9 and initially DQ-ed the hurdles race, only to have it re-instated after appeal when he fouled out 3 throws in the discus.

William Sharman, who had a hard season due to injuries and such (I know because I actually train with him and have the same coach), lost out to two younger up and coming hurdle stars and lost the 3rd place by 0.03s.

But what makes a champ in this harsh world? I realise what’s on the inside is a heck of a lot more important than what happens on the outside, because eventually, the light from within always shines through.

Bryan Clay went on and finished the decathlon, even though he knew he ruined his chances of making it to the Olympics, because he didn’t want to let his kids see him quitting. He wanted to be a good role model and he still is.

William, still got one final shot because of the UK’s discretionary 3rd slot system, he’ll be running this weekend in the European championships. And let me tell you this, we’re at the track this morning working, and I still believe in him.

I think that’s what I’ve noticed champions have, the ability to give everything no matter what and never giving up. They might not always win, life isn’t always that kind and many are equally deserving, but you can never rule them out until it’s over because to them it doesn’t matter what the odds are until the end.

And we can ask ourselves, how can we be a little bit more like them? What would you be doing if you’re not gonna give up?

Then do it.

Never Give Up.

On Following Through

This building could have been mine, if I followed through.

I know myself that I’m a really good starter, I find it easy to take the first step, make the commitment to certain things, but I have a horrible tendency of not following through.

And that just feeds into my fear that is slowly turning true, that I’m gonna be one of those guys that almost could, went around trying so many things and had so much potential when he was young, but it kinda just never happened.

I’m almost 25 now.

And this habit of not following through has just filled my life up with half-baked projects, unnecessary purchases that would have been a good buy if I actually used it and followed through.

All the gear and no idea.

I don’t want to be like that anymore.

Pushing through as a decathlete for the past 6 years have filled me with the confidence that I have the guts to see things through, now I just got to bring that same state into all the other things I do.

The building above was in the auction at London that I went for, I made the calculations, know the mortgage brokers, made the contact with the investors that could fund it, found the perfect use of the building to generate the kind of cash flow that makes it worthwhile, but I didn’t finish bits of the business plan and go through the legal pack to find out what are the exact things that I needed to do to make it fly. If I had followed through to the end, I know that it would have been a good buy, the building went to a bidder for a really good price.

I’m know I’m oh so close, I have to find the guts to see this through.

Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal. – Bruce Lee

Go make that move, now, and follow through.

Every Tear Drop is A Waterfall.

This is what a truely awesome concert looks like. Coldplay Mylo Xyloto @ Manchester 2012

I was at Coldplay’s concert in Manchester last Sunday and gosh, what an amazing experience that was. Somehow that to me is artistry at its highest, being able to communicate emotional content through sonic vibrations and visual extravagance. It was also a reminder to me on what a person can achieve being at the top of their game, relentlessly honing their craft.

I do wonder what will be my life’s greatest work, now that at 25 it just seems like this is the time to make it happen.

I seem to be torn between many identities at times, trying to be a decathlete, businessman, trader, and investor at the same time. With only 24 hours a day sometimes I just feel that I’m doing too much yet not doing the important things enough.

As one dream concludes, I still dream about my future.

Do I still dare to dream as big as I used to when I was young and idealistic? Or do I start to accept what I have fallen into now that I’m older and experienced?

I guess only time can tell.

In a perfect world, I will break 6000 points for decathlon by the end of the season, move back to Singapore for a year to prepare for the SEA games 2013 and get the business in Singapore running back in shape. After which I would come back to the UK for a season to prepare for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014 and by then my property portfolio here in the UK will be sizable and the internet company will be generating good revenues.

And when that’s done, I’ll head over to buy a house at Zuma beach and chill in California for a while.

Sounds like a pretty crazy future doesn’t it?

Haha, but dreams are just dreams and it’s always fun dreaming about the future.

But as what a good friend of mine said, the present is the only place where the future can be created. Having the guts to live in the present and do the work for the future is something that I must strive to everyday.

I hope you do too.

Will leave you with Coldplay’s performance for Steve Job after he passed away to celebrate his life. Song is about grabbing every day and treating it like your last, cheers!

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