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)
As we head into mom's week, I'm reminded of the hard work and love
that my mother puts into our family, like the late nights of caring for us
when we're sick, or making our meals - both for dinner and for lunch the next day.
Not to mention the super knowledge that my mom has in knowing where everything I misplaced is.
Then you've got the awareness of knowing when the deadlines for my dentist appointments are,
the attention and loving ability to listen when we need it most, when we're at our lowest,
contrasted by the proud acknowledgement when we excitedly tell her about our personal bests.
Then I think about all the patience my mom has in putting up with my random ventures or my quirky pet peeves,
and the trust and faith she has when I tell her I'm going to do something new.
For all the moms in my sales area,
I want you to know that I appreciate the fact that being a mom is the hardest job in the world,
because I've experienced first hand seeing my mom work her BUTT off EVERYDAY
for me and my brother and never expecting a thing in return.
I want to thank you for doing an amazing job,
because even though you may not be acknowledged every day for it, we love and appreciate you.
You are the reason we are the people we are, because it's either good genes or good parenting, and both ways, that's a role you've played!
This week, I will treat every mom I meet as my very own, because I know my mom will be proud that I did.
To all the moms, thank you for doing what you do.
To my mom, this week is for you.
from me and SWCalgary
Have you ever run into one of those people who are constantly complaining about their life? Granted, getting a parking ticket may suck, or getting a lower grade on a paper may not be what you expected, and sometimes we complain about this, but I've noticed a distinct difference between how happy each person based on how they look at their past.
Some look at their past with anger, frustration and regret; they lament why it could have been so much better. Others look at their past with respect, humility, acceptance and appreciation.
However, in both cases, they have the same yearning: to make things better.
The latter individual pursues the future by focusing on the present and positively appreciating the experience of the past. The former harbours negative feelings about the past and a lack of contentment for the present.
You have a simple choice about how to see things, with self amusement or self pity.
Which one will you pick, circumstance-to-circumstance?
Chronic Dissatisfaction - displeasure with how life is
Contentment and growth - an eager desire to make things better combined w/ being at peace with how things are
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?
I used to love A&W's Root Beer Floats. So much so that as a kid, we would pick up root beer and ice-cream from the grocery store and make it ourselves. You'd start with the simple, but delicious vanilla ice-cream at the bottom and follow through with filling up the rest of the glass with root beer to make the perfect combination.
There were those times, though, when a friend would be pouring it out instead of me, and they would pour the root beer so fast that my glass would end up full of foam and very little actual root-beer goodness. >.<
Life is the same way.
Let's say your end goal is the root-beer float. But not just that. Your optimal goal is to have the vanilla ice-cream floating at the very top of the glass. I see the vanilla ice-cream as the basic ingredient/foundation that will make you happy. The higher you get the vanilla ice-cream scoop, the more progress you have made. The root beer that is filling the glass therefore represents both action and time. Any foam in the glass is action wasted, because the more foam you have, the lower the vanilla ice-cream will be able to float up. (That is to say, Inhibited progress)
If you carefully pour out your actions in life and calibrate it as you're doing so, you can often end up reducing the amount of foam you end up with, maximizing the quantity of root-beer, or effective action.
Scene switch: When I ask somebody how they've been, I normally get one of the two generic answers.
"Oh, I've been good." or "Man, I've been busy"
In regards to this post, I'm going to address the latter statement with a simple observation: Everybody seems busy! But busy doing what?!
Foam action, that's what.
What is Foam Action (FA) and how does this apply to real life situations?
I'll explain FA through an example we can all relate to: the Internet.
We have access to as much information as we like, via our 24/7 access to the internet with our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, so as a result: we get an overload of things to prioritize.
The following tasks I classify as Foam Action.
- writing/organizing/responding to Email
- monitoring and reading Facebook msgs, posts, comments, pictures
- Twitter mentions/LinkedIn Connections
- random links your friends send you
- matters of business
That being said, Foam Action is action that you partake in that takes up your time but has little substance/effect on your life/root beer float. Who wants to have a float that is just ice-cream and foam? Not you.
We should have learnt our lesson when we invested time and energy into MySpace, Friendster, Bebo, and so on 5-7 years ago. For the past 5 years, the paradigm shifted to Facebook. What happened to all that time spent? Gone, and nothing accomplished. Is Facebook going to meet the same end? Eventually.
But this is nothing new to you. ;)
Get that root-beer back in your float, you know you want to.
The first step to do so is to GET RID OF THE FOAM!
What I'm proposing that is new is to manage your life with a bit of self-discipline, but enable yourself to still indulge in FA (on a smaller scale). Why you would do this is because you know you could be way more effective in your daily activities. If you feel overwhelmed with work/school, this is probably a good start.
1. Check your Facebook once in the morning and once at night. Take up to 20 minutes each time to check/respond to updates and posts.
2. Check your email twice a day as well: 11:00am and 4:00pm.
Here's how my Gmail is organized:
A. I label everything in terms of the organizations I'm with, then sub-organized under main roles I have. Ex. ABC Company would be the main label, followed by Sales/Recruiting/HR/Investments, etc.
B. I use Gmail's Priority Inbox, meaning I can quickly give priority to the senders who I know I will have to respond to, and decreasing priority with companies sending me advertisements, promotions, etc.
C. Apply the 2-Minute Rule to your mail.
If the required response to any given task will take less than 2 minutes, DO IT NOW or defer it to a specific time that you will definitely do it.
D. Archive the following:
- email that you may need to refer back to at a future date
- email that you have responded to
E. Delete the rest.
You should have no more than 20 emails in your inbox at any one time. Don't tell me you can't manage it, I've been in a leadership role in three different organizations, on top of my job and my role as a student, all at the same time. You just have to be organized.
3. Delete all the apps that waste your time/have you addicted.
I had to do this with WordFeud, Angry Birds, and many other silly games. That is definitely Foam Action to the highest degree.
4. Youtube should be once a day, at night. This should be after your productive time. I don't even watch YouTube videos anymore, it was a degenerative habit that killed my brain cells. However, I do turn to YouTube occasionally for stand-up comedy to help me improve my presentation delivery/timing.
Generally I try to watch one TedTalk every night now. The thoughts and ideas that have sprung out of this habit have improved my creativity and passion IMMENSELY.
5. START NOW! What are you waiting for?
Foam action is no action!
Declutter your life, one step at a time.
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.