Tag Archives: focus

How to avoid overwhelm

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. – Aristotle Onassis

Do you feel overwhelmed?

There is so much for you to learn. You have a diverse range of interest.

For me, I want to write, draw, play the piano, learn to play guitar, play badminton, learn wushu, weight-lifting. running, learn programming, learn Photoshop, learn video editing, public speaking, reading, singing.

Well, you get the picture.

There is so much to do, and yet so little time available.

You feel overwhelmed. You feel stressed. And you end up doing nothing.

Or doing everything without the feeling of fulfillment.

Does this happen to you?

The key is to understand this, We can do anything, but not everything at the same time!

Once we know this simple, key concept, life will be easier.

The key to success lies not in the things you do, but in the things that you do not do.

Decide what is it that you want to focus on doing.

What are the things that you must do now?
What are the things that are essential for your long-term goals?
What are the things that are essential and not good-to-have?

Focus on the essentials and remove all the fluff.

You still can pursue other interests, but not in the same intensity, focus, attention, time, and effort poured into it.

For me, essential things to do are writing and running. Public speaking is a good to have skill. But it is not critical for me to learn now. Playing badminton is relaxing, but I have an upcoming marathon to participate.

Prioritize well and you will live a life without unnecessary stress.



Flow State

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. – Ayn Rand

Some people call it the flow state. Some call it the genius state. Some declare it as creative state.

What is a flow state? It’s that feeling where you can achieve things, effortlessly. Where you are your best. Where things just move according to what you have wanted.

It feels like time is standing still, allowing you to produce chunks and chunks of work.

It feels like time is flying past, you didn’t even need to keep track of time.

Time is irrelevant.

It feels like you are Michaelangelo. You have just created David.

It feels like you are Mozart. You have just composed Symphony No 40.

It feels like you are David Beckham. You have just done a wonderful free kick.

Flow state is like a love-hate relationship. It is so near, yet so far.

Some people can only dream of achieving it once or twice in their lifetime. It is those one or two miracles that would bring breakthrough in their lives.

For others, it comes naturally. It is like, they are in deep flow state every single day.

How then, do we, the rest of the human beings, achieve flow state?

Focus. We have to keep our focus. Don’t be distracted with social media and gossips. Our human mind is a marvelous creation. It works best when it is on single-laser beam focus.

Be single-minded. Do not chase after so many things. Pick your topic of interest. It serves you no purpose, if you are aiming for mastery, when you are distracted in tens or hundreds of field of interests. Choose one and commit to it.

Be committed. You have to put in the effort. From the effort you put in, things would come second nature. You have to put in deliberate practice. There is no overnight success, regardless how the media wants to tell you otherwise.

Flow state is not impossible. It takes effort, just like anything worth pursuing for. But realize this, it worth every single effort that you have put in.



Volleyball rally

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. – Calvin Coolidge

A friend shared this wonderful video, a volleyball rally between two great teams.

Just as in life, you need to keep pushing. You have to keep fighting.

You can’t afford to let slip, not even for a second.

When the going gets tough, you have to be tougher.

Stay focused. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Just keep persisting.

Between the two, who would win? The one who doesn’t quit.

When two are of the same skills, who would win? The one who keeps on pushing.

Life offers you many challenges and obstacles.

It is your rights and your duty to face it, chin up, and with a smile.

Be bigger than the problem. Be larger than life. Have an ideal worth fighting for.

Just keep on pushing and you will see your rewards at the horizon.


When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. – Walt Disney

What do you think is the biggest skill one must have? One skill to succeed in life? One skill to gain happiness in life?

That one skill, you may have known by now, is curiosity. A sense of exploration. To skim through and to deep dive on anything that may interest you. You can have just a brief knowledge of a broad range of subjects by skimming through. Or you could go all out in a particular topics, making you an expert in the process.

If you would show interest, people would be willing to teach you. They feel appreciated. They feel valued.

If you would be curious, you would put in effort. You are focused. And your learning will be a more enjoyable journey.

If you are curious, you would learn more than other people. You will know much more things than you would be settling for. You could be a walking encyclopedia.

Curiosity is a skill. A skill that can be learnt. If only you would pay more attention to your surrounding. If you would just ask one more question. If you would just smile and look at it objectively. Nothing would stop you from being curious.

Curiosity kills the cat. That’s one popular sayings. All it meant is that we don’t delve into matters that  are dangerous, like taking drugs. But we should be curious on other things that are wonderful, that would promote our growth, that is essential in our journey to become a useful person.

Stay curious and let your learning journey begins.




Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. – Willie Nelson

As usual, a wonderful drawings by Andrew Matthews.

Happiness comes from being contented.

To be grateful of what we have.

What we focus upon, expands.

That’s the main teachings of the Law of Attractions.

Focus on what you want, focus on what you have, and it will expand.

Focus on what is lacking, the lacking gets worse.

Have you ever stopped and realized that, whatever the “little” things that you have are actually a lot? And a lot of people out there would wish to be in your position, to have the things that you have?

You may not have the largest bungalow. Nor the most expensive sports car or yacht.

But you have a shelter, sufficient food, and a comfortable lifestyle.

And you are healthy, and alive.

And it is a reason to be happy.

Happy TGIF, and have a great weekend ahead!



Get Busy

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. – Bruce Lee

Isn’t it strange?

The same documentation gets done in a morning on Monday when the same can be done in 30 minutes on Friday evening.

The same installation can be done in two days on the beginning of the month when the same can be done in a day at the end of the month.

Time and again, we see the same phenomenon. Did we stop and ask why?

It’s about deadline. Our task will fill up according to the time allocated for the task, regardless of how reasonable or possible it is.

So, what is the hack/tips to getting things done faster, more meaningful and less stress?

Set an earlier deadline. If the work is due this Friday, set a stretch goal (as my boss would said it) this Thursday. If writing a blog post would normally take an hour, set 30 minutes instead. The perceived deadline put stress on your brain and make it more focused on the tasks.

Perceived deadlines work as well as the actual deadline.

We do things when they are a must, rarely when they are a should.

Stress is good when they are manageable. Stress is bad when they are overwhelming.

Take up more things. This has the same effect as an earlier deadline. It keeps the mind occupied. The brain will think, “So many things to do, have to keep working.” No time to waste.

You may say, “What? Extra work to do?!” More things do not necessarily mean more work. It could mean you schedule in some reading, some physical exercise, some discussion.

Just to keep your mind occupied.

To-do list. Get all your tasks written down in writing. There is some magic in writing down your goals. It makes you focus. This is an ingredient you cannot miss.

Without focus, you would just be drifting through time, aimless with where you are heading to. With a clear goal, you would direct your energy to getting things done.

With focus comes time management. Or rather, task management. Do you need to attend another meeting instead of finishing your installation? Do you need another 15 minute coffee break before finishing your documentation due later?

What would be your strategies to being more efficient today? Make everyday a Friday at work and get things rolling.



Swimming and Michael Phelps

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. – Napoleon Hill

Just back from a swimming lesson. It was tiring, doing drills on breast-stroke style.

My friends have started learning freestyles while I am still stuck at breast-stroke.

Although I still couldn’t swim properly, I was making progress as compared to a few weeks ago, when I first started. I just needed more practice.

And guidance.

Which is why I have deep respect to those who can swim well.

And amazing athlete in the swimming arena. Like Michael Phelps.

Which is why, the news of him being caught driving under influence came as a shock.

I condemn drink driving.

But I still have full respect to Michael.

He did what a celebrated athlete, what a gentleman should be doing – admit his weakness, admit his mistakes and resolves to overcome it.

Admitting mistakes is not a sign of weakness.

It is a show of strength. And courage.

Only then, would one has the power to change his circumstances.

As dedicated a person is, he may still be swayed by influences and bad judgments. Therefore, one should always be vigilant. Stay true to one’s values.

Despite all the societal pressure and the limelight on him on this recent episode, he remains focused on improving himself. That’s what separates successful persons from the average people.

With this, I would sincerely wish him all the best.

And hope to see him in competitive swimming arena soon.

What would you do if you were in his shoes?



The Skill of Confidence – a TEDx Talk by Dr Ivan Joseph

I am the captain of my ship and the master of my fate. – Ivan Joseph

In his speech, Dr Ivan Joseph shared with us on the ways to improve one’s confidence.

His definition of self-confidence: the ability or the belief, to believe in yourself, to accomplish any task, no matter the odds, no matter the difficulty, no matter the adversity. The belief that you can accomplish it.

He believes it is trainable, hence the emphasis on the word “skill”.

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Competence increase self confidence. And competence comes from practice, practice, practice. Day in, day out. Rain or shine. Without fail.

Or you could also call it: repetition, repetition, repetition.

Do not accept failure. When you repeat and repeat and repeat, you will encounter adversity.



How many of you give up after the first failure? What should you do?

Persistence. Get out there, do what you want to do. And do not accept “no”.

Positive self-talk. Instead of focusing of the negative self-talks or on the things that are wrong, we should focus on the things that are done correctly.

Thoughts influence actions. Get your own self affirmations.

Remind yourself of the great things you do.

Or meant to be.

Get away from people who will tear you down.

Write a self-confidence letter. A letter to you, from you. When you are feeling good. Reminding yourself of all the good things you have. That you do.

That you are proud of.

And read it in times of need. When you are low in confidence. Or when you face a tremendous challenge.

Don’t be critical. Don’t fix mistakes. Instead, focus on the things done correctly. Things that move towards the goal.

Praise the positive behavior that you want to reinforce. Catch them when they are good.

Interpret feedback the way you choose to. Choose to decipher the situation that will shed light on how you could move forward

There is no reality, only perceived reality. And perceived reality depends on how you view it.

No one will believe in you, unless you believe in yourself, first.

What’s your take-aways from his TEDx talk? Go and watch it again.

Internalize his advice and implement it.

To a future of a more confident you.



Incredible Mr Goodwin

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I want to give 100 percent to everything. – Sarah McLachlan

Watched the program on National Geographic the other day. In case you want to watch it, here is an example of his act.


What fascinates me is his perfection in carrying out his extraordinary acts. There is no room for error. No margin to compromise.

His life is at stake.

Other people’s life is at stake.

Unlike other escape artists, Jonathan Goodwin always emphasizes on the amount of training and practice done to perfect his crafts.

Countless of hours doing the same action – just to  build up the muscle memory so that he can execute his actions flawlessly.




It is one thing to practice enough when his life is at stake. It is another when another person’s life is on the line. And he won’t compromise it on any reasons.

It goes to show that – perfection really exists, if you would just practice long enough.

And with focus. Laser-like focus.

And a word of caution, please don’t try his acts at home. He is, after all, a trained professional with years of experience.



World Cup Lessons

Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts. – Dan Gable.

Watched the shocking semi final match on Okto. The clash between Brazil and Germany – who could ever forget about it?

I  may not know football a lot – I don’t really follow the progress and ups-and-downs in this crazy world of football – there’s lessons I learnt from that 90-minute match.

Focus. You have to stay focus. Focus at all time. As the world, and the host were recovering from the shocking third goal at 23′, Germany went ahead with its fourth – barely one minute later. I didn’t even manage to catch it. And I thought it was a replay. R.E.P.L.A.Y.

Competitive advantage. Psychological advantage. Nothing beats a first goal in the match. That’s what Germany aimed for. And to do that in the very beginning of the match. Once the first goal is scored, the winning team will have a morale boost but the the lagging team will be pressured to play catch up.

Consistency. You need to stay in form.  You have to follow strategy. Not just any strategy, but a winning strategy. A proven strategy that works. That brings results that you want.

Uncertainty. Nothing is certain. Not in life. And not in the football. You would expect a tight match between the two giants. And not a one-sided match. That’s just unbelievable.

Sportsmanship. Regardless of the end results, teams from both sides congratulated one another. That’s what competitive sports is all about. You give your very best, and you play with integrity. And to take winning (and losing) with a big heart.

In the end, there is no one winner and one loser. All are winners. And I walked away wiser – learning things from a simple game called football.

P/S: I even bought an away Germany jersey from qoo10 the other day.  I like its design. And most important of all, to remind me that I learn a few lessons from the mind-blowing football match of all time.