30 December 2009

Switching off the light of 2009

And here we are. A couple of days away from the end of 2009. What a lovely year it has been, I'm looking through my calendar and just seeing all the appointments I had already blows me away. I mean, did you know that 2009 was the first time I ever went to the US? And to top things off I went twice! Once on my own with my manager, the other sponsored by the US Consulate!

2009 was also the year I went to Singapore and performed comedy there, went to Shanghai for some business, given lectures at universities and secondary schools about how I coped with being a local foreigner, the same year I screwed up my knee by dislocating my knee cap and also hit the lowest body fat % I've ever reached in my life. It's also been the year where I met many new and interesting people as well as the year I realized that when I look back at some of my older blog entries, I understand the importance of the process of success.

There was a video I made on 23 April 2007 (see this entry) in which it was pouring with rain and I hiked my way up the Morning Trail near home. I remember constantly mumbling to myself "greatness awaits" as I tried my very best to psych some self confidence back into myself. Till today that day lingers in my memory because it truly was a low point in my life. Things didn't seem to be working out at all for me and I just felt lost as a person, with no direction nor hope. The only thing I had was myself and that was the turning point of my life. In a couple of years look where I've gotten to!

This year has also been the year I've learned to realize that life is much more than what meets the eye. I'm not talking about God or anything like that, but things like the human touch, how body language can make or break a person, how just smiling can affect a person's day and how the environment you surround yourself in can energize you or tear you apart. For a long time I used to wake up and feel mentally bored with my work environment. It just didn't have that vibe I was looking for. I'd flip through tonnes of interior design books at bookstores and libraries and get inspired by other people's offices, yet once I got into my room it felt dead. I tried re-organizing my stuff, playing with placement and adjusting everything but somehow it just felt dead. I used to spend a long time at different stores and wonder why it was that somehow anything in a particular store just felt so cool while perhaps the same item in another store felt so bland. I started subscribing to a lot of photography websites before it finally hit me. Lighting. It's all about lighting. Great photography must be assisted with great lighting, great restaurants don't just server nice food, they serve nice atmospheres. Why is it that everytime you see photos of geniuses at work they only have a table lamp and surround themselves in darkness? It's about lighting and how it can help you focus.

Much like how make up is nothing more than creating the illusion of perfection, lighting helps me create the illusion that I'm in a different room. If I can't see something, it seems like it doesn't exist. So what I did was re-think the way I lit my room up. For a long time I used to have a flat white light shining over my desk which would basically move my focus to this area while keeping the rest of the room dark. That worked great, it got my mind into work-mode, however, the light made my desk very... flat. Lit up, but flat. While working, I'd be focused but uninspired... which caused me to rethink how I wanted to work on the lighting while I was at my desk. So check it out while it's boring and flat.

Booorrriinnngg! Sure things are organized but do you feel creative sitting here?
So after some adjustments, this is what I look at while working:

For those of you wondering what that purple light at the back is, it's the uber lovely Philips Living Colors LED lamp. When I added it to my room, it totally blew my mind at how it has got me inspired.. alongside the lively lava lamp, I finally don't feel like I'm alone and rotting to die in my room anymore, it feelsl like I'm in a hip lounge and I've got the company of bouncing goo in my lamp :)

I also adjusted my bedside reading area so now it has a lamp from Leitmotiv and my plant. This is what it really is:
This is what it is like with the lights off and just the lamp on:
Yummy eh? Would you want to sit there and read for a bit? I know I would, and I've been doing so before sleeping. A great way to end my day.

Which really brings me to what I want to say, the one thing I learnt from this whole experience is that it's not so much just about shifting your focus, it's creating the environment to suit what you're trying to accomplish. I've always been a big stresser about satisfying your 5 senses and I'm currently doing so with these lights, my scented candle, great lounge beats, a comfortable Microsoft ergonomic keyboard and comfy Logitech mouse and my Aeron chair. I've given up the idea of having tasty snacks nearby because I honestly don't have the need to snack while working, just my trusted bottle of water will suffice.

The 6th sense that no one can identify, in my opinion is that overall feeling when you've touched upon all 5 senses. Right now, I feel at ease. I'm in no way stress free because I still have a pile of to do's to take care of, but I think I've finally reached a point where I don't feel like I need to keep making adjustments to get comfortable...I'm finally working in harmony where the only stressful factor is work and that should be how it is really.

So this is why I say I'm ready to switch off the lights of 2009 and step into the dark world of 2010 and enjoy it as my path gets illuminated by my surroundings. I've already got a lot lined up for the coming year and I've got a bunch of personal goals to achieve. I'm fairly confident this is the year where these dreams of mine are going to be realized. I've built and worked with enough systems to keep my personal growth on track. All these logs I use to keep track of everything has finally paid off allowing me to better understand my life and accordingly make adjustments to better suit it.

And now, I can begin starting up all the things I've planned for 2010, so I'm one step ahead of my expectations... and so should you! Enjoy the last few days of 2009 and I wish you all the success, laughter and happiness that is in store for 2010. Write down how you feel today and compare it after 365 days. You'll be amazed at how far you've gotten from this moment. I know I have :)

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20 December 2009

The big GTD leftover sweep up

Woah, I have so much stuff leftover in my GTD I don't know where to start! I've been so busy with projects and gigs that I have literally neglected almost a week's worth of to do's.
And to add insult to injury, I got hit with some stomach flu a couple of days ago which kind of wasted one of my off days with me lying in bed recovering and gulping down a marathon of comedy shows that have been waiting for my attention. If you haven't watched it, check out The Cleveland Show. If you're a Family Guy fan, you should enjoy this as well.

So this is is, my annual last few weeks of the year clean up of all the leftover dreams I had for the year. Oddly, I've accomplished quite a lot of what I had set out to achieve in 2009! Although with my newly recognized OCD issue that RottenDoubt says I have, somehow my to do list never ends and it feels like 31 Dec is approaching too quickly. So instead of focusing on all the 57395739753 things I have yet to do, here's what I've accomplished so far that I can recall:
  • Down to my last comedy show of the year :) The big TakeOut Comedy Jam at Hitec! If you're interested, please call 6220 4436 to get your tickets! :D Wahoo! After that, I'm temporarily shutting down my comedy cells and letting them run loose in the most boring way of...well... doing nothing :P
  • Re-decorated my room/workspace and adjusted all my lighting so now I have work mode, relax mode, read mode, sleep mode and the good ol' super-bright so I can see everything and clean appropriately mode.
  • Um. And a whole lot more :P
The point is, this year has kept me busy in a good way where I've constantly been challenged and pushed to my limit. I have to admit, it has caused me quite a lot of stress as well, with nights where I'm dreaming about how I'm going to present myself the next day, or what technical solution I need to solve a client's problem. However, it has also been a damn good process that has forced me to better gel all my strengths together. For example, my work outs have become more intense than ever because I realize I can no longer dedicate more than 3 days a week to the gym and so I squeeze the crap out of myself within that 1 hour. Sometimes I do end up overdoing it though because the next morning when I wake up I can feel a new found soreness run through me. However, once I get passed that I'm stronger and fitter the next time I go through the same routine :)

Speaking of going through the same routine, I started off this year with hopes that I'd hit 200bpm at double peddles on drums. Sadly that is kinda not happening. I can hit that speed but not 100% stable though. But 160bpm is no problemo :). So hopefully 2010 will be the year 200bpm gets added to my list of DONE things :). Oh, my band is going to perform on 15 Jan 2010 as an opening act for First Blood alongside some of HK's top metal/hardcore bands so woohooo to that! Actually January 2010 is going to be a heck of a wild ride for me! I'm the official bi-lingual announcer for Legend Fighting Championship! I've been watching a bunch of UFC and K1 videos to catch up on the atmosphere as well as study how the announcers do their things. A lot of people will have noticed people like Bruce Buffer with his fantastic and unique take on fight announcements. The energy he brings to the show is great and I hope to do that on 11 January 2010! As he says, leeeeeeeeeeet's get ready to ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuumble!!!!!!!!!!

I've also got a gig with New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association at the end of January which just had its press conference today. I was at a small little cafe in Tsim Sha Tsui East and boy they make one of the best bitter chocolate mousses! I had it and was pleasantly surprised that a humble little restaurant like this could make something this fascinating! I mean, I'd have expected this quality from fancy hotels or something. Perhaps I'm just biased towards bitter chocolate puddings and mousses :P Oh well the bottom line it was yummy! I really enjoy working with the team there because everyone is extra friendly and they really think things through so there is minimum stress on people like myself, after all, performing is its own stress and relief in its own way :P

Then comes February, the lovely Chinese New Year which coincides with Valentine's day which really leaves a big question mark for many store owners....do they stay open for the business of v-day or close to spend quality time with family? Hmm.... let's see how things turn out.

And much the same for 2010. I've realized resolutions are useless and only goals are achievable. I've got a list of goals already for the new year, I'm positive I'll get there! As long as I don't get bombarded with no silly stomach flu :P

Have a merry christmas and enjoy the new year!

PS. For some reason, the past few 1 January's have all been beautiful blue skies :) I hope it stays that way this year too :)


05 December 2009

The shut down

Here I am, lying on my bed, sick.

Well not sick like oh-my-God-I-can't-stop-puking, but sick like I-don't-seem-to-have-the-energy-to-move-because-my-brain-has-shut-down sick. I'm officially burned out today :). Why smile you ask? Because I finally feel guilt-free at doing nothing. Well not really nothing. I've been playing Tales of Monkey Island and boy was that refreshing and catching up a lot on my reading. I've come to realize that everytime I speed myself up productivity-wise, I find myself stuck in the same depths of "oh I don't have enough time". For example, I've recently adjusted the way I organize my to-do list so that I receive SMS messages reminding me at certain time to do something, that way, I don't have to care about constantly checking my to-do list while I'm out just to make sure I don't forget one item in my outdoor list. However, with this new found "relief", I've found myself filling up that "relief" space with some other thing I want to get done. OCD? Aaha maybe.

So for today's Day 10 entry, I'm going to give myself a vacation and lie here and watch some comedy instead. So, see you in 10 days! Get some rest if you need it (you probably do :P)