Sarah’s 30 Notes Of Happiness

Saw Jeanette’s blog about Top Ten Great Pleasures on things that make you happy, and I came up with a list. I did my own list when I gave a writing assignment some time ago, but I’ll type them out here. I got greedy and came up with 30 things.

1. Seeing a beautiful rainbow in the urban area. (just saw one recently and everyone was crowding to see it)

2. Buying new books. (my job allows me to buy hundreds of books, so I also love the process of choosing them!)

3. Receiving magazines I like in the mail. (love 8 Days for the latest TV show synopsis and gossips, Time and Economist for their current affairs, and Fortune for money)

4. Reaching home on time to catch my favourite drama serials. (I’m a TV addict.)

5. Chatting on the phone with my husband. (Sometimes we chat for an hour before I go to bed)

6. Finishing an entire drama series within 3 days. (TV junkie alert – Desperate Housewives, Jumong, The Legend, and this year alone)

7. Surfing the net. (Especially excited when I check out the deals, and the tips and everything else)

8. Reading a book lying down. (Bad for eyesight, but I love reading)

9. Getting the resident stray cat’s attention. (I’m a closet Cat Lady. Only I don’t feed them. I like to tease the cats by making some sounds, and it’s cute when they turn their heads to look at me.)

10. Getting great response from the people I work with. (Sometimes I have great ideas, and I try them out at work, and they enjoy the sessions.)

11. Laughing at jokes. (Some of my friends are very interesting people.)

12. Helping my friends analyse and visualize their dates. (I get so excited doing this.)

13. Eating cheesecake, warm chocolate cake or chocolate soufflé. (Yum, yum.)

14. Seeing my face or my article in the newspapers. (twice this year already. The next I want to see is my own book published. And lots more!)

15. Seeing my favourite car – Daihatsu Copen. (even if it’s not a good idea to own it)

16. Working out at the gym. (get to exercise)

17. Chatting with my brother and coming up with funny and cool suggestions. (too bad we seldom see each other even though we live in the same house)

18. Watching people’s pets on the Internet. (I used to sit in front of the computer and watch people’s pets on webcam. I don’t own any pets, so I compensate by looking at others’. Plus I even made a video about a friend’s Schnauzer playing.)

19. Reading my favourite blogs. (Quite a lot of favourite blogs such as Beverly, Karen Cheng, Valska, Jeanette among many others)

20. Listening, playing or doing something with music. (I want to write music. Maybe when I get my own work studio when my new house is ready. I’m a lazy singer who only sings once a week at my teacher’s place)

21. Travelling to beautiful places by aeroplane. (I like taking the plane, since I was a kid.)

22. Listening to waves lazing at the beach. (been to Bintan, Redang, Tioman, Hua Hin and Sibu, resorts in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand)

23. Having a massage. (lots of money spent on these.)

24. Discovering something interesting or new. (From internet, or my books. Love self-improvement books)

25. Getting room service at the hotel. (Coz I don’t have to tidy up. And I like eating in the room, plus I like having food delivered to my doorstep. I like staying at good hotels)

26. Checking my bank accounts, investments and other streams of income. (I love money! And having money to spend!)

27. Chasing celebrities from different fields from Asia. (My favourite is Ryu Si Won, Korean actor, I even appeared in some Korean entertainment show because I went to his fan club gathering. And another thou shalt not be named Asian Champion in some sports.)

28. Getting flowers from my husband! (When he has time, he will get them for me from the nursery.)

29. Getting a parking lot in a crowded place. (How can I forget this? 95% of the time I get the lots I want quickly and near to the place I’m heading.)

30. Working on my blogs. (I love blogging. Check out my main blogs at Singapore Profit, Wedding-Breeze and a few others.)

Tell me about your great pleasures, and leave a trackback to your blog! What makes you happy? What are the little things in life that cheer you up?

Eat That Frog

My husband told me about a book ‘Eat That Frog!’ and I was wondering what kind of weird book it was. Apparently, someone in his course mentioned this book about combating procrastination. I absolutely need it. I had already managed to psyche myself about work, so I’m quite happy for the past six weeks. However, I have not done that for one critical part of my work, and I’m simply procrastinating. It’s Sunday and I brought my work home, but I had been doing other things.

So what does ‘Eat That Frog’ try to say? Well, there are always things we dislike doing everyday. Think of the frog as that thing we dislike. So, we should start our day by eating that frog. Get to the dirty task right in the beginning of the day. You need to know what is vital and at the same time it may be tedious. So once you get it out of the way, the rest of your day is lovely.

Although, I think the title isn’t really apt for Chinese, because frogs are delicious! I think I might have eaten frog legs before, and they are soft, and a little chewy. However, if I see the frogs that are still alive, I think I’ll avoid eating them. I don’t need to see how my food used to look like.

I guess I’m going to get to work since I have another 4 or 5 hours to go before the start of tomorrow, and more work that is going to pour in.

Scrambling Negative Experiences

For the past few months, I had been seriously contemplating a career switch, or at the worst case scenario, I’ll just stay at home and do my own stuff. I had been feeling very stressed at work, and I did not look forward to going to work. I would cry when I drive to work, but after reading Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins, I decided to do something about it.

To get rid of negative thoughts, play the scenes where you feel really lousy about yourself. See those experiences like a movie. It could be that of a bad breakup, or your boss scolding you, or any experiences that you have extremely negative vibes about.

After that, replay the scenes backwards at extra fast speed. Distort the scenes and make one person’s head big, or if someone had said something nasty, watch how they swallow their words and imagine the words rushing out from the years like steam. If someone had been nasty, imagine their faces being distorted, or their ears growing till Dumbo’s size. Make the faces green or purple. Then, fast forward the movie, and then backwards many times, until the entire negative experiences become cartoonish and laughable. Add your favourite cartoon’s funny sounds or soundtrack with as much exaggeration and humour.

If you can do this effectively, whatever that has been affecting you for years will no longer affect you. You have broken the pattern of associating such images to pain. Instead, you will see such situations differently.

I tried that, and while I cannot say whether it is hundred percent successful, I already feel so much better about going to work, and even though the workload is still very heavy, I’m actually enjoying myself. I still have some way to go before I resolve my issues about my career path, but for now, I am feeling way better than I did a few months back.

By doing this, you get to break the negative thought pattern. You scramble the sensations. Try it and let me know in your comments. It could be about your phobia towards creatures such as cockroaches and lizards, or an unhappy relationship, or fears about public speaking.

Shopaholics And Other Holics

I wondered why it took me so long to discover Shopaholics the book series. When I read the first few pages, I totally couldn’t stand Becky. She was such a weakling who kept buying clothes and useless stuff. It was later then I realised there were other things we had in common.

My weakness is books. I’m always buying books and borrowing them. I borrow my husband’s library card, and I borrow 20 books at one go. Sometimes, I borrow from the public library at the same time, and borrow a lot more. Then I end up not having enough time to read them, and I just have to return them. I have bought a number of books which had not been unwrapped. My book shelves are full and I tried to bring them to my workplace and put them in the shelves, but even then, when my companies hold condemned library book giveaways, I bring back so many more and they are left unread.

Sometimes, people lack the discipline to know what they need and what they want. They think that everything is important. When I borrow books, I go for the cover, the feel of the book, the font of the book, the author, and sometimes I read a few pages to see whether I liked them. However, when I buy and borrow so many at a time, they lack the attention.

Whether it is an addiction to shopping or books, many of us have such momentary lapses of judgement. I am a bookaholic. I have a lot of work piling up and I still spend so much time on them. Other people are workaholics. It is a disguised legitimate way of caving in to our addictions. People who spend a lot of time at work say that they are doing their best to move up the ladder, to bring home the bacon and because it gives them satisfaction when they are doing well.

Look at it this way. When a student is addicted to computer games, the parents will scold the child and threaten to take away the modem, or the computer. However, this does not help much. It only spoils the relationship because the child refuses to comply with the instructions. Each time they spend on the computer, they want to move up just one more level, buy one more weapon, kill one more soldier or monster or just earn more points to buy food for the pet. Isn’t this similar to workaholics who just want to get one more promotion, one more month of bonus, one more hour to touch up the presentation?

You may say that by touching up the presentation, you will gain the clients’ confidence. By spending that one more hour or two or more at work, you prove to the boss that you can move up. This is just similar to the computer addiction, and yet, have you thought of the detrimental effects? Your relationship with your family gets affected. Your eyesight deteriorates because of that long hours of not blinking in front of the computer. You pile on fats around the waist. You keep falling sick because you refuse to rest. You are stuck in a rut because you failed to upgrade yourself or relax properly. 

Think through what you can do to cut the addictions out of your life and get a balanced life. It’s time to smell the roses.

How To Get Emotionally Charged People To Listen To You

My mother had always been a superstitious person. She always thought that whenever she made fun of something, it would happen to us. For example, when she was younger, she laughed at a person who was pimply-faced. My brother and I grew up with bad acne, and we were on medication for years. She felt it was her fault and kept blaming herself.

There was another occasion, when pop rings were introduced. One of her students licked a lollipop that was placed on a plastic ring, and she was quite irritated with her. When she came home that very day, she saw my brother and I doing the same thing. She was always puzzled why such things would happen even though she really hated them. Well, she might be on to something. That was the Law of Attraction.

When you have either positive thoughts or negative thoughts, the brain waves will transmit them to the other party. When there are enough of them, they will influence the other parties. If you are extremely close to someone, you can know what they are thinking. That’s because they will be sending out some kind of signals, and your brain waves are in sync with each other.

I have mentioned this before, about how I dealt with the difficult clients. I was in the middle of my work when the clerk came running to me, saying one client had come unannounced and he was being very insistent that he had to see me. He claimed that he had been working a few days without much sleep and he had no other time to meet me. This was the same person I spoke to the other time over the phone, and it was not a pleasant experience. So, I decided to use what I preach, and tried to think positive thoughts, that the meeting would go on smoothly. I would get the other party to see my point. I also decided to smile and block out other thoughts that could make the meeting unsuccessful.

To my expectations, the client was not as bad as I thought. I had heard horror stories of how he had lost his temper badly before, but he was alright. We talked, and he was able to open up. In fact, he asked whether I would continue to be on his case next year. I felt bad at saying something that might change, since I was considering a career change, but since nothing was confirmed, I told him that I would continue to be if there were no other changes. It was not a real answer, but he was satisfied. When he left, he even said that I was caring and helpful. Coming from someone who had felt the organisation was against him, the words carried weight.

Unfortunately, when I met with two other clients later, tears became the norm. We were sitting outside at the reception area. I met with the first group of clients there. One of them broke down and cried. She was sitting at this particular seat that was facing the greenery. After the longest time, the two left.

I had two other groups of clients waiting, and they could see what was going on. I made a mistake of getting the next client to sit at the same place, and all the negativity was still in the air. Everything went on smoothly, when suddenly, the lady sitting in the same seat as the former client opened up to me about her personal situation, and started crying. Within half an hour, I had at least two people crying.

I decided that the negativity was enough for the day, and I had to make some switches. The last party who had seen everything was sitting beside us, so I switched over when the lady left, and I changed position. The stuff we had to talk about was similar, as they had their emotional baggage and pain, but at least I tried to inject more positive thinking.

My mother knows something about how thinking affects situations, but she pinned it down to superstition. It is actually more of the Law of Attraction.

Procrastination – A Deadly Disease

What separates the great and the normal can be procrastination. It is one of the deadly diseases that prevent success. I overheard this in the staff lounge a few days ago. My colleague has a paper to submit, and no matter how much time she has, she can never finish it early. She has a friend who can get As on a constant basis, even though she will usually submit the work half an hour just before the deadline.

I’m facing the same problem now, so even though I’m given a head start to do my work, I’m still feeling the pain of completing it. I went to a café on a Saturday to do my work, but after 3 hours of staring at the paper, I got sleepy and went home. Unfortunately, the moment I got home, I simply could not get started.

I’ve also been trying to survive my work by waking up at 3 or 4 am in the morning to complete whatever work I have. I sleep rather early, because the day is exhausting, and sleeping late is really bad for the complexion. Our skin repairs itself the best between 11pm and 1am, confirmed by Chinese physicians and also Western scientists. That’s why people get dark circles if they sleep late.

Unfortunately this is not a long-term solution, hence I need to learn to avoid procrastination. I need to step out of my comfort zone and do things that I dislike. Perhaps what Tim Ferris said in his book was right. We should not have long deadlines, because we will never stick to it. Instead, do things when they are required, because we work best under tight conditions.

If we submit our work late, we hold up other’s deadlines and their work. It’s really unfair when you have such co-workers. It’s probably because of this that I feel I face a lot of stress at work. It’s a bad habit I need to kick. One way to overcome it is to start on things when we get them, so that if there are any things that demand our time, they will not hold up our progress.

I really have no idea how my colleague manages to finish his work way before deadlines are set. He is really coping well with work, and he is getting promotions faster than others. That goes to show that when you overcome a deadly disease like procrastination, you can succeed.

One thing you can do to complete task on time is to shorten the time length required. Meeting deadlines is part and parcel of academic life and working life, so do preserve and do the work that is a pain in the ass before you enjoy yourself. It is only then you can enjoy yourself without any worries.

2-Hour Preparation Every Morning

Wake up early and prepare for 2 solid hours before you start the day’s work. I heard this from two different people, John Di Lemme (a motivational speaker) and Marc Yu’s mother (Marc is a child prodigy in piano) this week, and I think it’s a great idea. I wake up early, but I spent my time on reading newspapers, eating breakfast and showering, so by the time I get to work, I arrive on the dot, and head straight into work without preparation.

John said that he would not speak to people or answer questions if he did not have the time to prepare. Each presentation or coaching session that he does comes from time spent on researching, rehearsal and preparation. He also uses the time to put himself mentally into the right frame of mind. Hence, he has pushed away engagements that require him to speak at 8am, because he cannot wake up early enough to prepare. In addition, he does not like to speak on the spot to somebody, because he feels that the time spent on preparation is very important, so that the people can fully learn from what he has to say.

Marc Yu is a child prodigy who receives homeschooling. He learns about history of music and other topics that children his age have no interest in. Science, mathematics are some other subjects he learns, so his mother needs to spend time to go through the topics for the day, and to fully prepare in anticipation of the inquisitive questions that he will ask. If she doesn’t spend the two hours to read up, then it will be wasted time for the boy. She will also use the time to plan how the lessons for the day develop.

From these two people’s experience, I realise that I have been jumping right into the day’s work without sufficient preparation. Sometimes, I meet with my clients right at the start of the work day. On other occasions, I have one or two hours to prepare before I see them. There is a difference. When I do not have time to prepare, I am able to produce a presentation on the spot, but the standard is not good enough. When I have time to prepare, I have time to read more in-depth, ask more thought-provoking questions, and engage them better. I am also in the mental mood to go through the day. This is especially important as I tend to wake up with low energy and enthusiasm. Regarding this, I’m taking steps to overcome that. Before I can do that, I must make sure that my standards do not suffer.

Some people think that they can just rely on what they have been doing for the past few years to take them through. However, there is new information in the world everyday, and it takes time to digest. If we do not set aside time to reflect, to think through the day’s events, then ultimately, our work suffers.

Since not everyone is a morning person, perhaps you can find a time that suits you. If you are able to plan your time in the office, perhaps you can schedule meetings with people later in the morning, or in the afternoon, so that you have enough time in the morning to go through your ideas, your pitches and other important things before you meet your co-workers or clients.

Getting People To Say Yes – Overcoming Rejection

The young kids know this very well. Whenever they want a toy or something, they will keep pestering the parents till they succeed. When I read the One Minute Millionaire, by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen, there was a story about a woman who overcame rejection to get what she wants.

Usually, there are three rejections that a person will face before succeeding. However, too many people give up after the first rejection. When the topic is breeched for the first time, the decision-maker will not be receptive yet, because it takes time for the thought to be in the mind. The second time the request is made, the decision-maker will say no again, but this time round, the thought has taken root in the person’s mind. However, even more people give up after the second rejection. If the person dares to try again, and faces the third rejection, the decision-maker will start to waver. As long as the person asks the person what it will take for a yes, half a battle is won. Usually, there is a way to meet the demands.

Actually, this idea corresponds with the Chinese way of demanding their way. This dramatic way has three steps too. The first step is to cry. The second step is to create a scene. The third step is to pretend to hang herself, or to use death as a threat. Of course, this is a little over the top, but the philosophy is the same. Usually, a person will cave in after saying no for three times. If you look at this on the flip side, getting teenagers to stay out of trouble, such as smoking, drinking, drugs or sex, is quite tough when they surround themselves with people who constantly badgers them to try something new.

If we use this to our advantage in getting our way without bringing harm to others, then this psychology will be useful. It is just like fire. We can let fire engulf us, or we can control fire to cook food. Anyone who uses psychology to do bad things will not be able to stay successful for long. 


Singapore’s happiest person will be introduced soon at a conference, New Science of Happiness And Well-being. It would be held at Singapore Expo on 16-17 April. They offer tips and tools to build lasting happiness in work and life. Each seat costs $1388. When the search for the Singapore’s Happiest Person was announced recently, I thought that not many people would enter, but apparently, according to the Sunday Times, there were quite a lot of applications.

It’s not easy being happy but it is certainly achievable. We have a choice in being happy or angry or sad, so instead of choosing a negative state of mind, why not choose one that is better for the body. We may have events that make us unhappy, but dwelling on them do not make us feel better.

In another article in The Sunday Times, according to two Wharton economists, money might not buy you love, but it might be able to buy you happiness. When we have money, we have the freedom to do many things. At the very least, the day to day existence need not be on people’s topmost priority. This is also due to more statistics that measured happiness and covered more countries.

Some limiting beliefs people have about money is that having money may take away happiness, but it all boils down to the person’s attitude, and not the money itself.

Using Positive Vibes To Leave Clients Satisfied

I put in 14 hours for two days running at work, and I was really tired out by the end of it. We had to meet people and relay the performances of their charges to them. Some of them were quite friendly, while others were quite demanding, by saying the fault lay with us when they should be the ones who take responsibilities.

On yesterday’s afternoon, I had to make calls to a few people to check whether they were turning up for the session at night. One of them was rather antagonistic and I started to feel all the negative vibes. I forced myself to keep smiling so that the person would calm down. Towards the end, it ended on an ok note, though he did not turn up at night.

After receiving so much negative vibes, I continued to make another call. This was a mistake I made. By bringing all the negative feelings from the other caller, I had inadvertently caused the next caller to pick up all the negative vibes and it simply triggered off from her an outpouring of frustrations and complaints on our side. She only had a few points to talk about, and each point she repeated at least 10 times using the same phrases. The accusations were mainly directed at other staff, but she still heaped all those things on me. I should have learnt better managing skills in such as telling her that it was not right make such accusations on everyone, or learning the 80/20 rule where the worst customers should be dropped.

What I did was to continue to let her pour out her grievances, and just show her that I was listening. However, I decided I had to take charge of the conversation. I decided to change my negative vibes and try to think positive thoughts that the conversation will end well. I also remembered my friend and ex-colleague telling me that when people complain, they want something to be done. So as the person in authority, we should come up with a plan to help them resolve their issues. I also came up with a strategy for better monitoring and she accepted it.

Finally, after 40 minutes of her mainly making 4 points, I could put the phone down. It was much later my colleague came to me and told me that the same lady had bombarded her for one and half hours on the same issues and she even revealed something more shocking. I totally agree with Jeanette of Good Vibe Blog, that when we persist, they resist. It’s really the Law Of Attraction.

When I checked the list of people I wanted to see, one of my supervisors came to tell me that one particular lady would talk for extremely long and could be quite difficult to handle as she wanted step-by-step explanations on every single thing. Immediately, I channelled the negative thoughts again, and when I asked my colleague who used to handle her, he told me the same thing and how careful I had to be.

I was a little affected by the two negative calls, and what my colleagues told me but I decided not to concentrate on such negativity. I decided to think how easy and quickly the meeting with her and others will go. I started thinking about how smooth the process will be, and how on time we will finish the discussions.

Hence, I used my secret weapon and just smiled and smiled. I also kept those waiting to see us happy by showing pictures of their charges and other activities. The difficult person did not turn up, and the lady I thought would take extremely long was actually quite reasonable and we finished on a good note. I had also brought up something good about her charge and she was so happy about it. So I guess focussing on positive things worked.

My supervisor who said something about “We will Survive” instead of “We will Excel”, our usual slogan, and she really channelled the negative vibes was still talking to clients when I left. The other colleague who told me how to handle that “difficult” client ended up spending more time there than anticipated. And I was actually the first one to leave. When I looked at the other meeting rooms, there were still many clients inside there milling around, and when I finally left my workroom, these people were not back yet. Positive thinking really works!