Why is a thorny rose bush known as rose bush?

rose garden

In The Next Internet Millionaire episode 5, I was struck by a point that was made. Let me paraphrase it: Why is a bush with so many thorns and just a few roses known as a rose bush and not a thorn bush? I am amazed by this simple question about positive thinking. People should look at the beauty of things and apply that technique to their lives instead of constantly dwelling on the hurt and ugliness of things around us.

There are many events that may make us feel demoralised, but our response to that should be to see the beauty that event brings. There may be new opportunities that spring up when we think something bad has happened. There is a saying that misery loves company, but I think that the opposite is true too. People may bond over setbacks, but after a certain point, it gets too much to bear. Conversely, happy people become happier when they are together and the self-confidence they have will just rub off other people.

We can choose to see what we want: a half-filled glass of water, or a half-empty glass of water. I have never really understood the power of positive thinking, until in recent years when I started to spend more time reading about motivation and positive thinking.

Visualising where you live and how you look

Visualisation is a very successful tool that helps us to be successful. Think of how big your light-blue three-storey semi-detached future house with full length windows on the second and third storeys is. The garden has a small pond with koi swimming inside and it is surrounded by many pink flowers. Butterflies are flying and your pet puppy is running around the garden chasing its tail.

As you remove your shoes and walk into the house, the floor is made of marble and abstract art paintings are hanging on the wall. The 42-inch plasma TV is nicely placed on the sideboard and you have cable TV connected. As you go to your room, up the stairs with timber covering, you see the light shining in from the small window.

When you enter your bedroom, you see a king-sized bed waiting for you. The luscious 500-thread count purple bed sheets are extremely soft on your skin as you relax on the huge bed. From your bed, you switch on the music using a remote control and your favourite tune comes on through the Bose speakers at the corner of your bedroom.

If your idea of success is to own a big house, don’t just think of a big house. The words will mean nothing. To successfully use the method of visualisation, put in detailed information. If you can pictures from magazines, cut them out and paste them onto a big piece of paper and put it up your wall. It will serve to remind you. When this is done, you will be more inclined to work towards your goals.

If your idea of success is to look good, think of how you can look good. Do you need to learn how to put makeup? Do you want to wear clothes from certain brands? Picture yourself wearing a black-coloured pantsuit with red fine lines. Think of how actresses smile and cut out beautiful pictures of them. If you want to look as good as them and are thinking of nose surgery, you could try Photoshop to make your nose sharper, just like Jennifer Anniston, and see whether you like the results. Perhaps varying the way you put makeup would suffice. This is much better than constantly whining about how ugly you look and not taking any action.

Whatever your picture of success is, take time out to think through it by using the power of visualisation to help you reach your goals.

In Her Shoes

Would you walk down the same small stretch of road for the entire day until the movie directors get a good shot? A group of active senior citizens from either a retirement village in Florida or some nursing homes in New York City became actors for the first time in the entire life, and they are enjoying every moment.

I caught In Her Shoes, starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette recently. Cameron Diaz acted as someone who could not hold down a proper job and had problems scouring a job due to her dyslexia. After upsetting her sister and being kicked out of her home by her stepmother, she ran to find her longlost grandmother.

What amazed me was that the grandmother was living with many active senior citizens, and they led active lifestyles. They did not stop learning, or exercising, and it was something very different from the nursing homes in Singapore. I was very impressed with the interviews with the senior citizens, and some of them wanted to hire agents so that they could continue with their Hollywood career.

It is never too late to have a dream or even a career change. It is important to find out the passion in your life. Diaz finally found what she was looking for when she had to look after people at the hospital. A retired professor forced her to read to him, and when he discovered she had a reading problem, he taught her skills. That realisation that she was not stupid made her increase her self confidence tremendously.

Many of us spend a lot of time on work, but we do not take time off to improve ourselves, relax or even do exercises. Sometimes, we only regret when it is too late, when our bodies protest from the years of abuse.

Personal Appearance Boosts Confidence

Silvio Berlusconi is a former Prime Minister of Itatly, and I chanced upon a photo of him wearing a bandana while having a stroll with the former Prime Minister of Britian, Tony Blair. We certainly will not catch our local politicians dressed so flamboyantly. It turned out that Berlusconi had just had hair restoration and he was protecting his skin.

Hair on politicians is quite a big issue with politicians, since voters like to see well-groomed politicians. When one magazine did a poll with voters, they said that having grey hair made a politician looked more distinguished, and hence, they were more likely to vote for him. Unfortunately, this opinion is different outside of politics.

There’s a saying that people depend on what they wear to look good, and it is important. One local actress said that she went for interviews with our national carrier 10 times, and they did not accept her application because she did not put makeup. When she finally did on the tenth occasion, she was accepted. It goes to show how people view appearances.

While I am not saying that we should spend lots of money on looking good, we should take an effort to look presentable. If spending some money to look good in order to boost our confidence, it is worth considering, though having hair restoration can be a somewhat drastic move.

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.

Meeting Successful People through Dining

There are many people who wish to be rich, but they surround themselves with the wrong type of people, who think that only a select few can ever be really rich. One simple way I found was to go to a fine dining restaurant, though this is an expensive method. On my birthday, just one week ago, my husband brought me to a lovely French restaurant by the Singapore River. We were the first to arrive, so we had full attention. We had champagne and the sun was setting. It was a really romantic sight.

After some time, more people came in, and they were mostly people in the corporate world. They were all smartly dressed, and they talked about their companies and other things in the financial world. They could have been from the Forbes meeting held at Sentosa, or they could be other highfliers. What struck me was that they acted rich and confident. They certainly did not appear to be boastful, unlike some of the people you hear over coffeeshop talk. They certainly were having fun chatting, and definitely not complaining about how everyone in the world owed them a living.

Granted, since a dinner at that restaurant I was at cost at least $200 per person, these people must have been very successful to eat there on a normal working day. Of course, at their level, they would be able to charge the dinners on their company expenses. By being there, it spurred me on to be even more successful in whatever I do in order to be on par with them.

This reminded of the movie I watched last night. While watching Maid in Manhattan starring Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes, one scene that struck me was Jennifer’s mum only wanted to find her daughter a cleaning job after she was fired for wearing the client’s clothes. The daughter had dreams of being a manager in the hotel industry, but her mother did not seem to think she would matter much. Jennifer told her mother to stop thinking that she was incapable of bigger things. True enough, one year later, she worked her way up to be a manager, and she launched her own newsletter in the hospitality field. You might say it is a movie, but it shows us that nothing is impossible.

The people we choose to surround ourselves are very important, so if we need any reminders that we can excel and choose to lead the life we really want, we could go out and meet successful people. Even if you do not know enough successful people, being in their presence should not deter you, but they should inspire and motivate you. This does not mean we could become snobbish and only hang out with people of means. It so happens that people of means tend to have winner’s mindsets. Whether they can be found in Singapore restaurants or San Diego restaurants, do go and eat at fine dining restaurants once in a while. The law of attraction will help us reach our goals in a shorter time.

How Thoughts Affect Our Success

Have you ever tried to arm wrestle and found it difficult to win? If you change your the way you think, you may be able to win. 

What we say and what we think affect our body. According to Jack Canfield in The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, he mentioned a technique known as kinesiology which tested people’s muscle strength when they say different phrases.

I had personally tried out this technique before. When you push someone’s left arm down, get them to say ‘I can’t do something’ and try to resist your push. You will be able to succeed pushing the arm down.

If you say, ‘I will try to pass my driving’, you will get pushed down too.

However, if you say, ‘I can pass my driving’, or ‘I will pass my driving’ you will be able to resist that push.

You should not worry about what other people think of you. Are they the ones who are leading your life? Or are you the one leading your life?

Believing in yourself takes a lot of work, especially if you have been brought up to think that you amount to nothing much. It is not too late to change your mindset, because once you are able to overcome the difficulty in thinking about what you could do, it can become something really great!

Go ahead, get someone similar in built to try this out.

The Pursuit of Happyness

I was watching The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith last night and I was very impressed by the determination his character, Chris Gardner, showed as he made decisions that changed his life. He was extremely broke, and depended on selling expensive medical scanners. His wife left him, and he demanded the custody of his son, due to his childhood experience of growing up without a father.

His wife mocked him for being unrealistic in getting an unpaid internship at a prestigious stockbrokerage, and was extremely upset when he persisted in that as he was not bringing home money. Though it was not shown, I think from the wife’s perspective, it was important that the husband bring home money, and she was pushed to the limit for she had been working two shifts for a few months to keep the family going.

However, what made me sit up was the continual effort put in by Gardner to follow his dream. He had clear visions of what he wanted. He saw a stockbroker getting out of a sports car, and when he found out that a college degree was not necessary to this job, he was inspired to join. He kept persisting in getting through the door to get his internship, and an arrest due to parking violations did not stop him from getting what he wanted.

With lots of obstacles, including being booted out of his home, and lack of money, he still persisted. Many people would have given up long ago. Many would blame everyone else for the problems instead of themselves. He believed he could do it. There was only one position at the end of the internship, and he really had no choice but to get it.

I really admire his tenacity.

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.

Hi everyone

Hi everyone! I’m Sarah and I’ll be talking about things that I’ve read or watched, and some of my comments about them. There are always some positive messages or learning points to be glimpsed from movies and various books.

I just like to observe people and see how they react in various situations. Do take a look at what this blog has in store for you.

Remember, we have a choice in whether to be happy or upset or angry. The event is still the same. Our response will determine our state of mind and ultimately, our health.