29 March 2010

The truth about the better ones

“It's not that I'm so smart; it's just that I stay with problems longer.”

This is one of Albert Einstein's famous quotes. As many of you know, I'm a big fan of his and this one quote always sticks in my head every time I'm edging on failure and hopelessness. The more I read about great people the more I realize the reason their quotes are so...inspiring is because they themselves were very inspiring people. The more I enhance myself, the more I appreciate what they do. A true leader is one who makes his/her followers find a better part of themselves they would have never discovered on their own. Isaac Newton's confession that the reason he could see further was because he was standing on the shoulder of giants is a perfect example for this.

The more I study comedians, drummers, fitness trainers, designers and just people in general, the more I realize it's not so much the set of cards you were dealt with, it's what you do with it. How many possible combinations or strategies did you really think of before you decided to fold and let destiny decide your future? I have yet to find a successful person I admire who said the only reason they achieved what they did was because they had a head start with good fortune growing up. At the end of the day, it's your effort that really counts. Even if Michael Phelps was gifted with the perfect body for swimming, he still had to put in that time and effort of training to get the gold medals he got. The more I play drums, the more I realize it's not a matter of physical fitness but personal technique that counts. As my technique improves, I realize the reason I couldn't get to where I wanted was simply bad technique. It's like using a blunt saw to cut logs. You could be super strong but you're wasting your time and effort nonetheless. As Abe Lincoln said in his productivity tip about sharpening your saw before trying to cut a tree.

It's quite a shame to be honest because the more people I meet, the more I realize that people are giving up too easily because they classify themselves as "not great" and have accepted the reality of that. When I hear people say "I'm not good at computers!" and get frustrated, I used to sit and explain to them that just like getting fit, getting good at the computer requires constant effort which will pay you back in time saved from using better technique. To be honest, sometimes it even frustrates me to the point I walk away when I see people wasting their own time whining about something in their life. The world has honestly fallen into the pits of quick fixes and faster results. The issue is that people have forgotten the joys of a journey.

Hiking isn't about the destination, it's the path of getting there that is fun. No one would watch sports if all they cared about was the final score. If you took a pill that could make you go from flabby to fit in 24 hours, you're missing out on that great feeling you have after a month when you find out your body fat went down 2%. You're losing that great "It took a lot of work, but I did it" confidence booster because now you can't thank yourself for getting you there. I mean, it's like getting on a bus, waiting for the bus to get you to your destination and getting off. Yay... or something. But had you walked all the way, you'd be impressed "woah, I can't believe I walked all this way!"

Anyway, on a more positive note, I recently did another comedy gig for the promotion of mental health and happiness and after the gig, this kid who's nickname was "bus" came up to me while I was leaving the venue and told me he was a biiiggg fan of mine, to the point he'd watched the shows I hosted on TV and even noticed that the TakeOut Comedy website was done by me! :P He had a stutter but was so passionate about wanting to meet me :) It felt great to know that I had in some way touched someone's life that way, but it also felt good because he was brave enough to pursue his goal of meeting me :) I told him to add me on facebook and we could be email/pen pals :) I really hope he adds me, it'd be great to share stories with him.

This really makes me stop and wonder, as much as we know the end product of people like Albert Einstein, how many people did they interact with throughout their lives who just knew Einstein as a normal person? I'm really curious to know.... maybe I'll find out within the next 10 days? :)


17 March 2010

What? 10 days already?!

Ahaha to be honest, it felt like 10 days today and when I woke up to see my GTD say it was time for an entry, it felt so...right :P
I guess this has finally become a part of me, kind of like how you feel like it's time for a smoke or even a break... the interesting thing is that I'm currently going through what is technically the calm after the storm. Last week was stress stress stress! But this week has been a bit more positive for me... except for one little incident.

I suddenly got an email from the lovely inland revenue department that I had overdue taxes! Overdue!!! First of all, I had paid my taxes already and then submitted some adjustments later, which were given the green light of not having to pay anything more (in black and white) and then out of nowhere, I get an email today saying I got a 5% penalty slapped on to some taxes I never paid....WTF?! You know what the oddest thing is, it's not the fact that I have to now slap down some money to the government or that they are charging me extra, but the fact that they accused me for being late on my payment.

Anyway, so I actually wrote the above 2 paragraphs yesterday and here I am here a day later.. so technically I'm on time and late for my entry :P Oh well, the joy of self-discipline, you get to slack off by trying and not completing ;P and considering incompletion as progress :P

It's been a crazy last 10 days giving me a very stressful time in my life to a very relaxed time in my life. In the last 10 days I have literally stressed, starved, sweated my ass off, rested, smiled, enjoyed and experienced everything. Oh and let's not forget the number of interruptions I've had to deal with as well. Heck, just writing these last 2 paragraphs has taken me over an hour because of all the phone calls from clients being thrown at me. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to get calls from clients, I'd be worried if the phone never rang for days...

Speaking of phones, my trusty HP iPaq 912 is starting to give me problems... it's really strange, it's like how Windows gets after a while of using it, it just.. slows down.. for some reason it's getting unstable and slower and slower... I'm probably going to give it a hard reset soon and restore everything on it, but darn it!
And for some odd reason I've started growing interested in the iPhone, I've come across a lot of nifty gadgets that I think would be useful to me, but I guess I'm just a kid at a candy store holding a lollipop but distracted by all the other sweets around him.

Going back to my original topic. March has truly been a month of madness so far. The main issue is also because I've realized I'm literally 1/4 through 2010! 1/4!!! WTF!? I remember the post where I mentioned we had past the 21 days mark so we should be all new-years-resolutions-turned-into-habits...today is day 77 of 2010...week #11... woah. 41 more weeks left to live up to everything I expected from 2010... :P

The cool thing though is I have a set of goals I'd written down before the end of 2009 and every month on the 10th I re-read them to remind myself and see my progress. I've come to realize this is an absolutely fantastic thing to do to make sure I stay on track so when Dec 2010 comes I don't feel like I've accomplished a lot (which is what I felt for 2009) but I feel like I've achieved my goals (what I did lack a bit in 2009). I strongly recommend this.

Another thing I've come to realize is to learn to trust your gut instinct. Sometimes, there's a reason things don't feel right. I mean I'm not saying that if it doesn't feel right, don't do it. Heck, having to be polite to an annoying client doesn't feel right but I have to do that, there's no point in starting a war with someone not on your level (kind of like stooping down to a heckler and fighting with him/her while on stage). Recently, with my comedy writing I've grown closer to realizing what "works" and what doesn't. I'm still sometimes off (I guess my sense of humor is still a bit.... weird) but watching my tapes at shows and open mics are extremely useful and re-enforces some of the bits I thought were good while making me realize things sound so different on stage or in my head than when heard by the audience.

Finally, I'll keep this entry short because I've actually planned out my day and right now I'm on the verge of going behind schedule (hard to plan client phone calls really) but the cool thing I can say is the last 10 days have been continual progress for me and I'm starting to reap the benefits of some seeds I'd sown before... mmmm let's see if I can nurture them into healthy flowers rather than wees :P


07 March 2010

10 days after reflecting

Ah, Sunday, finally it's Sunday. Unlike most people TGI Friday isn't a good thing for me, it's TGI Sunday and more like "please Time, stop, stop for a moment, I need a day off but don't let that day be Sunday, make it like a Sub-Sunday?" :P
So here I am, 10 days after my big self-reflection after 3 years of blogging. The coolest thing is seeing that Rain workout video again and then realizing that my new workout (thanks to the Power Training book) is awesome! My goal was to reduce my workout times from 1 hour to 45 minutes, but the workouts in this book take me 1:20 minutes to complete! Yikes! But in it's own way they're good and at least I'm not completely burnt out at the end of them like before. I have a bad feeling my old workouts I created were over-training me somehow.

Anyways, on with the next love of my life, comedy! I did 2 gigs on the last 2 weekends where I tried out some new material and so far things are looking good. I was a big upset last night after my short set because I had this new bit I forgot to do while on stage!!! I just realized that is in fact more frustrating than having a bad set because a bad set allows me to watch my tapes and review where things went wrong! When I forgot a bit, there's only potential, potential I wish I could turn into actual footage I could review! ARGH!!! I was thinking about this my whole trip over to the Radio Station for my midnight guest appearance on a show called 我得你都得 (if you can, so can I) where I shared some life stories and ways I faced challenges in life, etc. It was really fun to talk about this and I've come to realize I really do enjoy sharing this stuff with people, I guess also because many times I enjoy hearing about other people's journeys.

For example, I was at the MaD Reunion and we were reviewing the whole MaD conference that happened in Hong Kong. It was great to share views on the whole event with everyone and hope to improve it even more. The cool thing is when we were asked to give our idea of what MaD would be like in 5 years and I felt it was definitely going to be a necessity! I mean, stuff like this helps people broaden their mind and hopefully inspire them for the rest of their lives. I'm a firm believer of how little things today can have a great impact in the future for you without you realizing at that moment. Things some teachers told me 10 - 15 years ago back at secondary school, are having their greatest impact on me now!

I guess I've also come to realize that the term "get the ball rolling" is very true. I'm not talking about stuff like "oh, if you will yourself into success, you will succeed", I'm talking about just getting things started. Often times in any productivity book, it'll say the hardest part of anything are the first 5 minutes of the task. Once you get your flow going, you're not going to want to stop. The same happens with me and writing comedy, drumming, designing and also procrastinating. Once I sit back and say "later, after I watch some comedy" it'll be another hour before I guilt myself back to work mode. Heck it's even worse when the end of a 20 minute episode says "to be continued..." yikes! :P

So here's to keeping your ball rolling and if not, get it rolling damnit! :D Time to make things happen for the next 10 days! :D

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