What should you do if you want to be top-notch in your industry?

I received a WhatsApp message from a buddy of mine and he asked this oh so important question, “what should I do to be top-notch in my industry in 5 years time.” Seriously, it should be the exact question that I have to ask myself. Heck, it should be THE question that all of us must never fail to ask.

I am going to attempt to answer and demistify it for you right here:

1. As Robin Sharma has been repeating, if you want to be in the top 5% of the population, you gotta do the things that the top 5% of the population do. He also said that he who sweats the most in training, bleed the least in the battlefield. Something like that. The truth is that, we should be training our mind, body and spirit when everyone else is sleeping. Get the right word and message into your mind, and build the right values of perseverance, resourcefulness, discipline and establish the right foundation, in which to build your life on.

2. As you take action to work on Step 1, the next step would be to look for opportunities to get yourself challenged. To just get out of that comfort zone and be willing to take on new obstacles. If you are talking about work life, then ask your manager for new projects that you have never done before. Only when there is a slight tinge of fear, we would then push ourselves further to break through our mold. Or, observe how your peers do their stuff. Lock in on them and be razor-focus in observing and learning what you see. The way to do it is to always carry a notepad and a pen with you. Jot down all your observations within the day and turn to google to do even more research on a certain topic that baffles you. Remember that it is not a single instance of learning that will propel you to be the best, but it is the collection and amalgamation of the knowledge that you have internalized that will bring you to the next level of self-actualization.

3. Optional: Yes I am a Christian and I don’t know about you, but being anchored and rooted and building strong relationship with Jesus is something that is not immediately tangible but the result is beyond expectations. Doing my best and yet, trusting that Jesus knows what is best for me. It is only by walking closely along with Him, can our best be aligned to His best. No question about that.

Remember that worldly success is good. It is also good to be financial rich and capable. We just have to be doing our best, providing for our family and loved ones. There is no escaping that unless we just want to live for ourselves. But do not lose sight of Jesus (at least that is what I have been reminding myself). Bring spiritually rich is even more important than bring financially rich.

I just want to tie back to what Robin Sharma said, all of us can be a leader even if we do not have any titles. It all boils down to the strength of your character, your attention to your well-being, your overall outlook in life, and I think, finding your anchor. For me, I want to make Jesus my anchor and my rock. What about you?

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A Message out of nowhere

Wow. I gave a dollar to a homeless and what appeared to be a “lazy” and “crazy” man and he talked so much about Jesus. He said there are just three things that we have to do. Be obedient, thankful and fear God in reverence. When you wake up in the morning, say good morning Jesus and before u go to sleep, say thank you Jesus. He is a great and impossible God. If you go to Him, you will become great. Like a King. Don’t build man’s Kingdom but build His Kingdom. Don’t choose the road that is wide but walk the narrow road in us. And it is all about His timing. Be strong in these three things, mind, body and soul. He was previously from a mental hospital and he said that God won’t dislike him even now when he goes around begging because his spirit is strong. I asked him, “so what do you do to seek God?” He said, “I just lay on my bed, don’t think about anything and be still… Let Him come to you. God bless you. I may not see you again but see you in Heaven.” And then the uncles two tables next to me called out, Jesus Christ, come let me give you some biscuits and he walked over to collect. Wow… Its like a 5 minute power sermon. And he didn’t even wear any shirt!

Writing a song about how good and personal Jesus can be

It was with a heavy and contemplative heart that I reflect on the goodness of Jesus. I am sure some of us, myself included, always face an uphill battle of all sorts. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. I couldn’t help but to imagine that there has got to be just a way out of all these mess. And yes, I have messed up. At some point in our lives, we just need to admit that we have messed up.

However, it is pretty amazing that no matter how many times that I have messed up, I could still spend an afternoon typing this post; reflecting and contemplating of the goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes, the ringing voice in my brain, shouting “You have messed up again! You have failed Him, again!” is so strong that it just drowns away everything. Suddenly, I let this self-defeating voice block out the light. It is all self-created and self-imposed. And yet, had there been any instances where I did not survive all the drama, the valleys, the obstacles? And the answer is NO. He has always been good. So good.

Something in me just prompted me that one of my first real songwriting experiments has got to be writing about His goodness; writing that no matter how badly hit we are by the storms of life, or even pain and regrets that are self-inflicted, trusting in Him is all that we need. Trusting and believing Him that He is willing, He is able, and He is always there for us without fail. How good is He. So good.

Goals vs No Goals

Yet another contemplative post before heading to work later today. As I’m on the verge to be on a new path of self-discovery and a chance to explore and experiment, one of the minimalist concept of having “goals” or “no goals” creep up to me once again.

In today’s bottom-line based society, the idea of setting goals has been one of the way of life that is now ingrained in the minds of most of us. We have been trained to set goals since we are a kid. What do you want to score for your next math test? If it is at work, what is your individual work goals that you want to achieve? For example, achieving a new pinnacle of $1 million sales target perhaps?

All in all, I think having the right goals are really important to bring the best out of us. Waking up in the morning, having something worth striving for is kind of exciting and liberating. This is perhaps something that I have to work on myself.

However, the concept or philosophy of having “no goals” does entice me a little bit as of late. Reading a couple of resources online, one of them being zenhabits, opens this new concept up to my somewhat enclosed mind, particularly with regard to having “no goals”.

Having no goals doesn’t mean that we stop achieving or working hard, but I see it as letting your passion be the driving force behind achieving those goals. At the same time, throwing in a couple of serendipity into the mix.

When I first started my youtube channel as an amateur guitarist, posting my seemingly cool guitar covers only to find out that I am at the bottom of the pack, I did not for once set any goals to achieve my first 100 subscribers, or having any videos with more than 10 views. I did what my passion told me to do, play joyfully and most importantly, have fun in the entire production process.

Today, I am still a nobody but by a stroke of serendipity, one of my random videos hit more than 70,000 views and I could eventually convert my channel to a youtube partner account, hence the ability to monetize some of my videos.

I have close to 300 subscribers today (I guess most are passive) as I have not been too creative and my skills probably plateau after a certain point, apart from failing to interact with my subscribers and provide value to them. Because of this, I could now seriously relate to the concept of having “no goals”, yet being able to have results that is unimaginable when we first embark on a certain passion of ours.

Tech and Minimalism

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I knew I want to do a post like this but I don’t quite know how and where I should start.

Recently, I am pretty intrigued with the launch of the new super-budget phone, the Moto E. I have been following the development of the innovative Moto X, the minimal Moto G and now, shall I say the bare-minimal Moto E.

As a minimalist, I strongly feel the need to be a good steward of our resources and when it comes to tech, sometimes, I have to weigh between style and substance.

Tenet #1 – Go for the substance, regardless of style

I think the Moto E embraces all that we want on a minimalist smart phone. In all the tech reviews that I have read to date, an android smart phone doesn’t really need the latest and greatest of computing power to give users a smooth experience. In fact, I think it outperforms the Samsung S5 on the usual day-to-day app opening and the overall responsiveness of the user interface (UI). So, I truly believe that the Moto E epitomizes a phone for a Minimalist who embraces Tenet #1.

Tenet #2 – Go for the best

On the other end of the spectrum, we have come across Minimalists who would go for the best, which in itself is a really viable perspective. When we go for one of those flagship phones, it guarantees us the smoothest experience, and the most powerful performance in doing our daily tasks, be it facebook-ing, watching HD movies, storing massive libraries of songs and apps. And above all, it should satiate and quench our desire to chase after the next best tech.

All in all, the two tenets described above are valid and very real in the mind of a minimalist. Surely, they are very real in my mind. Should I embrace tenet #1 or #2? Well I guess the answer could vary and both are relevant. I still couldn’t quite make up my mind although I do own the iPhone 5S.

What about you?

Decluttering, the continuation

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As I continue with my decluterring process, I rescued an old harddisk with about 160gb of available space, which is a plenty by today’s standard as people start to move to solid state disk in ultrabooks. It is interesting to note that as I start to embrace the concept of minimalism, the amount of things that I need seems to become less and less and the same goes with the amount of harddisk space. We used to clamour for bigger disks to store all our video and music collection, including all our memorable photos and apps that we had since forgotten the day we installed them.

But when we start to pare them down to the needful, which is something that I have been trying to consciously do, I realized that we don’t really need that big of a space anyway. Bigger is not always better. The only exception to the above is perhaps those photos and even then, 160gb is a plenty.

Anyway, although it was probably a mini DIY works with the toolkit (seen in the picture above), it was pretty liberating to dimantle the harddrive enclosure, cleaning up the bits and bytes that were long forgotten.

Now, I have a functional harddisk that I could just whip out when the occasion calls for additional digital space.