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.

Read 1 Book A Day To Be An Expert

Do you always complain about not having enough time to read books? And you marvel at people who are able to read a lot even though you struggle to finish one? One simple way is to cut down one hour of television each day, just like what Jack Canfield (the Chicken Soup guy)  said, and put the time to good use.

If you are able to read one book a day, you will be able to be an expert in the field within a short period of time. For example, I’m definitely no expert in choosing wedding gowns, but due to necessity, (I’m taking my wedding photos soon), I read up on various books on how to choose a suitable one. I now know the difference between sweetheart and Contessa necklines, and which one is suitable for me.

To take this further, spend one week reading a subject that you are totally not familiar with. Break out of your comfort zone and read something different. There are plenty of Tattoos books available. For example, you can tell a kid why he must learn to colour within the lines, because that is what Tattoo artists are supposed to do. Different colours are absorbed differently by the skin, and you can use that to teach a child about colours in physics lessons.

When you break out of your comfort zone, you can learn to apply the new acquired knowledge in your current field. For example, if a person who loves to cook decides to read and learn about photography, he or she can simply bring the dishes to life through photos. Or if the person reads about architecture, he or she may be able to serve the food in amazing ways.

The first thing to do is to stop watching that extra drama serial which will suck away 20 hours of your life when you get started on it. With these 20 hours, that’s 20 hours of knowledge to be gained.

Pleasure and Pain: Don’t Be An Ostrich

ostrich

There are some people who constantly hide their heads in the sand, like an ostrich, when confronted with problems. They think that by doing nothing, the problems will go away. Tough luck. Usually, the longer we delay, the bigger the problem gets. This has something to do with how we perceive pain and pleasure, which I’ll talk more about.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, why not take some action? It’s just like being stuck in a job you hate. Day in and day out, you lack the drive to succeed at your workplace, and have to drag your feet to work. Instead of punishing yourself, (and your colleagues who have to listen to your grumbles and bear with your lack of enthusiasm in various projects, why not do something about it and follow through with the plan. By the time they decide to do something about the job they hate, they find themselves too old to change to a new field or company.

In another example, one of the worst nightmares for men is premature balding. Loss of hair leads to lack of self-confidence for some of them, and it can even bring about depression in more serious cases. Having a head full of head represents vitality and youth, so losing one’s hair may mean the opposite. Whether the man is 30 or 50, hair loss is something that is dreaded by many.

If the hair loss damages one’s self-esteem, there are ways to solve the problem. Grab the problem by its roots (pardon the pun). There is plenty of medicine available for hair re-growth. However, if the man has dragged his feet in solving the problem, it would be futile as medication works best on thinning hair, not a bald head. By the time they act, they may have to having hair transplant, perhaps in San Francisco hair restoration surgeries are easily available for them to go through. Of course, it is not so painful now compared to last time, but it is still a surgery and risks are involved. For these people to take a step forward to actually go through hair restoration procedures, they are brave enough to face the truth.

Or, it could be like what Anthony Robbins said in his book, that when the pain of something overrides the pleasure of something else, that is when people take action. Hence, perhaps the pain of being laughed for a receding hairline at finally tips over the scale of the pleasure of escaping from actual action of solving the hair issue.

Make Time for Exercise

Do you know why employees at Google get to swim, play basketball, work out at the gym or play any other games while they are still at work? The swimming pool and basketball court is actually inside the Google Complex. Do you know why you are always feeling tired and bored of life? It all boils down to a simple maxim: exercise brings about a radiant life.

If you are already exercising, you are on track to lead a great life. If not, you can always get started. There are ten rituals expounded in The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. These ten rituals, which include reading, meditating, listening to music, speaking and so on, are some simple tasks that promise to transform your life. One of them is to exercise.

Exercise helps to train your body, and when you body is fit, you are able to train your mind too. It helps you to feel refresh and rejuvenated, instead of tired and lousy. At the same time, when people exercise, it helps them to focus better. They can become more creative. Because of exercising and of course other reasons, the Google employees are constantly creating new things and improving on their present products.

While not all of us are in tip top condition now, some form of exercise is definitely necessary. I’m glad to say I have an exercise plan which I am committed to, and this took me quite some time before it really took off. I am certainly very glad that I am now very eager to exercise. In the beginning, I accompanied my mother to yoga classes. As I had learnt ballet when I was young, it was quite easy for me to learn the poses. Unfortunately, I was unable to continue with it due to time and location. Classes were held in town, and I usually could not afford the time to go down.

However, I had a target last year and that was to look good for my ROM, I started working out in the gym at my workplace. With a clear focus in mind, I felt my pants were not as tight as before and I was glad with the results.

After discovering that exercise actually helped me feel refreshed and happier, I decided to search for a proper gym. At the same time, I felt that I wanted to mix yoga and pilates with cardio-exercises. A convenient location was extremely important. I found one that was midway between my workplace and my home, so I could work into my schedule to go to the gym at least 3 times a week.

It has been almost six months since I had started with my gym, and I’m glad to say I have managed to work this into my routine. It has become a habit to go to the gym, and I am glad that I am able to stick with this.

Therefore, if you wish to bring positive change to your life, start with some simple exercises. You do not need to jog if you hate it. Yoga is beneficial and depending on your fitness level, there are many types of yoga that you can consider that caters to your needs. When you have become fitter, you can start to explore other types of exercises, just to make your exercise regime more varied and interesting.

Magic Rule of 21: Kicking A Bad Habit

Boy In Trouble

In The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destinyby Robin S. Sharma, it talks about the Magic Rule of 21. You apply this rule when you want to have a new habit.

It is very tough to get rid of old habits because old habits die hard. However, what we can do is to have a new habit that has so much energy that the old one will go away. This is when you replace your bad habit.

In order for this to work, you need to apply the rule. You need to spend 21 days in a row to permanently have a new habit. You need to make it like a ritual, doing it at the same time, same day and same place.

For example, I have a major problem with tidy desks, so my bad habit of allowing my desk to become messy should be kicked. I want to break this habit by having a new habit, which is to tidy my desk daily, so that things will not pile up and go missing. I will have more space on my table and I will feel happier with a neat table.

However, as I have not applied this Magic Rule of 21, my table is constantly in a mess. Perhaps I have unwittingly applied the Magic Rule of 21 by putting things on my desk everyday, and leaving my things there without putting into drawers or acting on them.

Hence, to get this to work, I shall spend 5 minutes every day, early in the morning when I get to work, to tidy my table. I shall put away all books, and stack the papers properly. Things that need to be filed should be filed. My pens should go back to the same containers I had taken them out from.

By the end of 21 days, it should become a routine for me to start my day, and I will not have to waste huge amount of time on finding papers.

Days of Being Wild (Dogs)


Schnauzers and other dogs are extremely cute when they are young. I used to stand outside pet shops and look at the puppies inside, knowing my mother would never let me bring home one. Besides, my parents grew up in families where dogs cost nothing free and not considered pets, but rather as guard dogs.

I took the video at a friend’s place. The dog did not belong to her, but her friends. This dog was extremely cute, but it had a habit of messing with my shoes. In addition, since they let him roam around the garden and house, I had to be careful not to let the dog escape whenever I leave the house.

The owners were young, and they did not know how to manage the dog. As the dog grew bigger, it became bolder. It would also try to make its way into the house, and even go up the stairs. It destroyed things in the house. It kept licking and disturbing visitors. Without dog training, the dog did not obey their commands and the young owners ended up screaming at it.

After a few months, I realised the dog was gone. I did not ask my friend immediately. One day, I asked her and she told me that it had been very naughty, so they sold it. I was somewhat upset, but I think it was for the better because they did not know how to take great care of it and control it.

Somehow, it makes me think about us human beings. We have many talents, and we start out good. However, without proper guidance, we are left to our own devices and we cannot help the way we behave. By the time people realise that and scream at us, our habits are too ingrained to be changed.

The great thing is we are able to take things into our hands. We should be able to realise we can change and improve ourselves. We can start by reading up on things we could improve on, and if necessary, get others to help remind us. If possible, get mentors or teachers who are willing to help. To paraphrase a line from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This is something I totally agree with. So, change your mindset before you get kicked out of the picture, just like that schnauzer.

How I started in Personal Development

I think my quest to improve and develop myself really started when I was in JC. I had found reading a chore for the past few years, because I did not know what novels to read. This was in stark contrast to my primary school days, where I read so voraciously. Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene were some of my favourite authors. I competed with my friend to see who read the fastest. I could manage to finish a Nancy Drew book in 20 minutes, so I guess my speed reading skills developed from there.

Coming back to self-improvement, I was attracted by Daniel Goldman’s Emotional Quotient. It was just released then, and the ideas really made me start thinking about EQ. I had reasonable good IQ, but I found it difficult to interact with people sometimes. I can’t really recall the content – I definitely need to read it again, but I guess it was the first step. My tyrannical GP tutor, whom I am very appreciative of, asked what we were reading at the moment, and I told her I only read non-fiction, and I was juggling between this book and Hitler. She was extremely surprised as I did not appear to be someone like that.

The few other non-fiction books I read were related to education, happiness (which can be elusive at times) and horoscope (though some may disagree about this). When I started working, I was exposed to many leaders (some are international figures) in the personal development arena. They include Abe Wagner, Tony Buzan, Spencer Kagan, Ron Kaufman, Adam Khoo and Stuart Tan.

Over the years, I have bought a lot of non-fiction books, and at the same time, I’ve picked up novels again. I’m also constantly trying to apply what I’ve learnt to work and my personal life.