1. ALWAYS be grateful for EVERYTHING you have. (Cambodia)
After hearing about the tourist traps and witnessing people beg and lie to me to make a living, it seemed like anything goes. Most of the locals were making $50-100USD per month. That's less than $2/day. Yet Cambodians seemed to be the happiest people on Earth, in the simplest living conditions. Limited hot water and electricity in some places made even the worst conditions in Vancouver seem like a fairy tale.
Sinac, my Tuk-Tuk driver for a day, showed so much appreciation and joy from GETTING to work, I was extremely humbled. Could you imagine being that appreciative of where you're at, wherever you're at?
2. Work your ass off and never settle for being mediocre. (Philippines)
While I was enjoying what seemed like luxury because of the currency exchange differences, I also realized the huge opportunity in earning capacity back home. Though life seemed simpler in Manila, it's also a lot harder. With long days and long hours, brutal pollution and working conditions, Canadian employers seemed like guardian angels.
... Yeah, you're right. Maybe that's going too far. But putting my head down and going to work seems like a mighty fine idea.
3. In unknown territory, go explore. (Thailand)
The best feeling in the world wasn't getting lost in Bangkok for 10 hours and absorbing everything the city had to offer. It was unexpectedly finding my way back home after that. Not only did I see tons, but it felt amazing discovering familiarity. There's nothing quite like activating your internal GPS and independence and rushing off on an adventure.
I went through an emotional roller coaster of feeling exhausted, grumpy and judged to feeling confident, exhilarated and at home in the span of the day. I wouldn't trade those tougher emotions for anything else. In facing them, I grew immensely.
Oh, and if I didn't go explore, I probably wouldn't have had the best meal of my life. (LINK)
4. Writing is the best outlet for clarity. (China)
Want the cheapest and most uplifting cure to stress and worry? It's writing.
Because I was traveling by myself for the majority of my trip; I often had a lot of time alone with my thoughts. Personal questions about work, relationships, and life constantly barraged my conscious mind and in effort to maintain my sanity, I would write to clear the air. Sometimes I didn't have any answers, but I would just jot down questions. As the day passed, I would monitor my thoughts and find probable answers. Ranging from mildly retarded to highly genius, I would constantly be throwing poor ideas out and storing the better ones for later use. Creativity soared as I searched for better ways to describe or invent stories. Reading other books was great too, not only to increase knowledge about new topics but also to explore different forms of prose.
5. There's always a party. (Vietnam)
Singing and dancing like no one else is watching is the funnest thing I know to do. Completely disregarding judgement, I found that I could pick my mood up instantly by singing dumb ass songs or bobbing my head on a train. It's cool to be different. Trust me, everyone else on the MRT was jealous I was having more fun than they were.
Self-talk played a huge part in keeping myself company as well, as I entertained and chased laughter in self-amusement. In gloomier moods, I would begin talking out loud to myself and narrating play-by-plays. Nothing better for attitude management.
6. Asking for advice is the quickest route to success. (Singapore)
Everybody has different problems in life. The good news is that my relatives have gone through most of my problems already. It turns out that the dilemmas that I'm currently dealing with seem trivial compared to the stuff they've dealt with. Got relationship problems? Family issues? Strapped for cash? Career in suspense?
It's not that bad.
In one instance, I spent 5 hours listening to how my aunt raised my cousins. I found out what the hardest thing was for her and how she balanced raising kids as a mom with her work as a professional. Without sharing my problems, I just asked her what obstacles and challenges she overcame and then I shut up and listened.
Because she had raised such amazing kids, I knew her advice was solid. Through her perspective, I was better fit to deal with my own life. I find that more people are willing to give advice than to take it. Shoot, give it to me! I'll take it all!
Through this trip, I learnt to follow examples of success in problem areas and ask how to emulate it. It's not often you get to mentor someone younger, and when you do, most people jump at the chance to instill wisdom.
Turning this to you, what lessons have you learnt from traveling?
PS. When traveling, you're never really alone ;)
This year marks the end of my university chapter.
5 Years that encompassed
- Alpha Kappa Psi
- Southwestern Redline
- Walter Gage Toastmasters
- University degree from UBC
The past 5 years have been phenomenal and an absolute blur of AWESOMENESS.
That being said, I want to announce that I will be working on a new album, titled "Get what you came for."
A wise friend of mine, Alborz Massah, shared with me the following statement,
"You get in life what you have the courage to ask for."
I realized that the majority of people (including myself) don't always get what we want because we get to a certain level and we become satisfied with that level of performance. That's a scary thought, especially if getting what we want is just around the corner, needing just a little more persistence, dedication and commitment.
I'm moving on, and I want to capture all the feelings I've had over the past half-decade with an album to put those thoughts together.
I want to make sure that if you want something, you go for it.
You don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
You don't get to tell yourself that you can't get it, or that getting most of what you want is good enough.
Second place isn't good enough if you know you are capable of first.
This song was fun to do! It was also very different than what I've done, because hell, if I'm not growing, I'm dying. and I'm way too young to not be still growing.
To everyone that's been part of my university experience, thank you.
You've made it THAT much better <3
Click here to download: Jay Kiew - Get What You Came For (mp3 link)
Ever thought of running your own business?
Have you wondered who you might go into a partnership with?
If you have, then here is one clinching factor that always seems to determine whether or not I end up with them.
Do what you said you were going to do. Always.
I find that those who value that principle are of a rare breed. Today's generation tends to make excuses, show up late and delay work. Some people promise the world and never follow through. I'm guilty of it sometimes too. Some of us say we'll be there and never make it. This isn't supposed to be a depressing article about how unreliable we are, it's a challenge for us to become more reliable.
If you're watching what you say because you know you will be held accountable, it's a lot easier to underpromise what you're going to do, and then overdeliver/exceed other people's expectations. This is, of course, in direct contrast to people who over-promise and under deliver.
We find that the biggest reason we don't do what we say we are going to do is because we don't feel like it. Doing a project can be pushed off by choosing to go to a party or choosing to stay at home to watch tv. Relationships and friendships can be moved to the forefront over work or school because it's the easy way out.
Albert Gray said it best: "The most successful people form the habits of doing the things that unsuccessful people don't like to do."
Having a person who sticks to their commitments is one of the strongest assets you can have on any team, whether it's work, sports or school group projects.
The question then, is the following:
Do you always do what you said you were going to do?
Self-confidence is a good thing to have...right?
Perhaps. After all, we both respect and look up to those who have a strong sense of who they are, because not many people do.
Recently, it has been brought to my attention that there is a significant difference between two types of self-confidence/assurance: self-esteem and self-ego.
Consider these two individuals: Bill and Josh.
Bill and Josh are both charismatic, easy-going, and secure about themselves. In social settings, they can hold conversation and make friends easily. Both have a multitude of life experiences that they regularly draw upon and can relate to others with, including traveling, relationships, work and school. For people discussing their first impression of Bill or Josh afterwards, they would always mention that both were really cool, chill guys who seemed sure of themselves. Description words used to describe the two guys would include charismatic, outstanding, memorable, and positive. While not necessarily always the center of attention in a group, Bill and Josh are able to hold their weight, contributing when they want to, uninhibited of social pressure.
Bill was raised in an upper-middle class family, and has never worried about food, housing, or paying the bills. He is on the executive board of a student organization and holds a spot on the Dean's List. He keeps healthy by exercising often and maintaining a balanced diet. His lifestyle is one of comfort, but not of excess. He travels regularly on holidays with his family, goes shopping whenever he feels like it, and always snags a daily Starbucks to help him stay awake in class. He works hard, having finished a co-op internship from a family friend overseas, and although his parents pay for his rooming and tuition, he pays for the rest of his expenses by himself.
Josh is exactly the same.
The only difference is how the two guys see themselves and the world.
Bill's self-confidence and level of comfort comes from what he has accomplished (Dean's List, travel, family ties) and what he has (money, car, exec role) in constant comparison of himself to others. He feels a sense of entitlement because he has worked hard to get where he is, and is unapologetic for his levels of success. He views himself as an outstanding individual, considering that this is what he has been told the past few years from others.
Josh, on the other hand, has a self-confidence that stems from himself, what he values and what his personality traits are. His self-worth is intrinsic as opposed to extrinsic; he does not feel better or worse about himself when looking at others. He views the world and humanity with an openness. He embraces change and is indifferent to social conditioning. He knows who he is and his actions do not change in different social environments/settings.
Are you more like Bill or Josh? Are you defining your identity in comparison with other people? I posit that it is far better to work towards having a sense of self-esteem that is stronger than a sense of your self-ego. Don't mistake me, I am not saying to not develop your self-ego, but instead to watch out for how prominent it becomes in your attitude towards society. A overinflated self-ego can cause arrogance, entitlement, and bitterness toward society.
Self-esteem: having a strong sense of identity, based on what you value, who you are, regardless of social conditioning and materialistic ownership.
Self-ego: having a strong sense of identity, based on who you are/what you have (status, power, money, cars, materialistic, friends)/what you've accomplished (winning, results/past performance).
I had finally come to that point. A university student's nightmare. I had conquered college through gaining exponential experiences, leader titles, and personal exploration, and now it had all come down to this.
It hit me in the portrait studio.
I was graduating.
I was actually here, getting my graduation pictures. Oh. My. God. What will I do? Where will I go? Where will I work? I thought I had a plan, a career, everything set out, but is that what I really wanted?
Over the past two weeks, I've been messing a lot with notions of 'growing up and getting a job.' To be completely honest, it scared me immensely. There were so many unknowns. Looking back on my decision in September to make my motto for the next 12 months 'pursue excellence', I wanted to make sure I hit everything I had worked so hard for throughout my 5 years of university. After all, I had beefed my resume up to get a über-awesome starting salary. And pursue excellence I did, and will continue to do, as today marks the 1st of the New Year.
But then that quote hit me - "growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.'
I only live once, so why focus on conquering a career so immensely that I miss everything else?
I came up with a secondary motto that works beside the one of 'pursue excellence'
The secondary motto is... *drum roll*....."GO BANANAS!!!"
I want this year to be CRAZAYYYYYY, full of fun and completely nuts. I want to do things I've never done, learn more from everybody I encounter, EMBRACE everything and keep on growing as a person, while HAVING THE MOST FUN OF MY LIFE.
The last idea to cement this phantasmagorical year together is to go for picture perfect.
We all have ideal pictures in our head of the way things should be, how we want things to happen, from first kisses to precise live performances to perfect ski & snowboard runs. We dream, and man, do we dream big.
For me, I just came to the reasonable conclusion, that if I'm picturing something, I should make things happen the way I see it, without self-doubt or fear. I should be EXCITEEEDDDDDDDDDDD =D
It is what it is, but it is what we make it too.
I have a strong feeling that my year is going to be picture perfect, what's your 2012 looking like?
It was a Sunday, and i was on my way to church. The weather was nice out, sunny rays of light splitting through the car windshield. December was here, marking a -2 degrees Celsius on the thermometer. I parked my car and rushed in, 1minute before we started, and looked for my preferred spot on the left hand side of the auditorium.
There it was, empty.
The seat by the air vent. Oh, so sweet. =P
It was a seat of comfort and warmth, gently blasting a gust of hot air at my body. This was welcomed, especially with the winter wonderland outside. I sat back, pulled out my Bible, and relaxed, listening to the pastor preach. The heat was so nice...
20 minutes later, I dozed off.
If you asked me, I wouldn't be able to tell you what the preacher spoke about. I glanced at my Bible, it lay on my lap open at Deuteronomy, the first chapter we looked at that day.
All the value that I would have received by staying awake was lost because I chose to be comfortable. Multiply that over time and that's a lot of lost messages.
I find we do that a lot in class, in work, in life. We go with the best intentions, but often fail to follow up being present. Take, for instance, a university class. You go to university, choose classes that you think you'll like, and then go to those classes. All for the purpose of higher education. Yet at the same time, we pull out our laptops and lack the discipline to stay on topic in class. We surf the web, go on Facebook, check our email, and so on. Sitting by the vent could mean the difference between being physically present and mentally present.
I find that the best days I have are the days that I am learning something new, adding to my knowledge about the world/life. Other days pass by with nothing gained, but time lost.
Are you sitting by the vent?
I figure there are two ways your actions play out in life. With the first way, you have a bucket of water. You push your fist in, and take it out. This represents your actions in life. The bucket of water represents the world that we live in. When you fist-punch the water in the bucket, it creates ripples. The ripples can spread, depending on how hard or fast you punch it. The ripples represent the impact that you've had on the water, or the impact your actions have on the world.
The second way your actions can play out are with a lump of moldable plaster or clay. If you push your hand into the clay, you're left with a handprint. Duh. Likewise, if clay was the world, and your hand is your actions in life, you'd leave an impact on the world.
Both scenarios contain the same analogy, with one difference. In the first case with the water bucket, when you remove your hand, ripples spread, but then they disappear. Your efforts can be doubled, tripled, and even last a lifetime, but you won't leave a lasting impression in the bucket of water after you're done punching the water. There won't be any impact. With the moldable clay, you leave an impression even after you're gone.
With your current daily actions in life, are you spending time In the bucket of water or with clay?
Kick your bucket habits, and go with Playdoh instead ;)
If you were to live to 80 years old, that's how many months you have. It's approximately 27,000 days.
If I have a choice everyday to write out what that day will be, and a limited number of days, you bet that I will live everyday as if it's my last.
My blind father passed away at the age of 58 from cancer, but before he died, he told me this: 'Jay, there are only two things you can't do as a blind person. You can't drive and you can't become a surgeon.'
He was the most humble down-to-earth person I've had in my life, and he vigorously pursued each day with the intent to discover more about himself and the world.
I can only hope I do the same.
What will you do with your 960?
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.