We have come to the final week of 2011 and I have 10 things to share about life:
1) I have everything I need
Looking at the things I have, I can conclude that I have everything that I need. Humans do not need a lot of things to survive. To survive is not difficult for most of us. We can eat simply, live simply and use what we have. Do we really need the latest iPhone? Do we really need a big house? These are wants. We have got what we needed but we are not satisfied and we want to progress in the social ladder to fulfill our wants. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that we should not have wants. But we cannot focus on the lack – what I want but I have not get it yet. Instead, we should focus on what we have – I have everything I need. The latter mentality will let you live life with more courage because you have eradicated the fear of loss. When we focus on what we don’t have, we feel small and unaccomplished. When you know you have everything, you are more willing to give and the funny thing is, you will actually get more in return…
2) Focus on creating value
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Most of us started out doing things for the benefit of ourselves. Many of us still are. This is mainly because we have fear of loss. We tend to think in a zero-sum world whereby we will lose if we give. The fact is there is always a ‘return’ when you give. The spirit of Christmas is to give and share the joy of love. When you pass a gift to another person, even if the party do not reciprocate, you are likely to end up with another gift from someone else. Besides the tangible presents, the relationship between the giver and receiver intangibly improves. Hence, the action of giving has a multiplying effect. We should treat every day as christmas and focus on others instead of ourselves. Focus on delivering good service and products to clients; show love and concern to your family and friends; go the extra mile for people; donate to the less fortunate; etc. The society will only be a better place when we think for others.
3) Provide an opportunity for others to give by accepting
Besides giving, we need to accept the kind gestures from others. Maybe it is peculiar to Chinese, I always see my parents and grandparents refuse to accept gifts because they do not want to appear greedy or feel indebted to the giver. They would spend minutes pushing the gifts to and fro. We are actually denying the chance for the person to give when we refuse to accept the gift or help. The process of giving stops. Put yourself in the shoes of the giver and the person rejected your gift. How would you feel?
4) Not about getting rich
As mentioned above, you will actually get more in return as you give more value to others. As such, you would probably end up with great wealth. This is the beauty of nature. Because you have exhibit the ability to care for others and now you are entrusted with the responsibility to command the wealth and do good for society. Wealth must be held by ethical and socially responsible people if not a lot of harm will be created. It is not about getting rich for the sake of yourself and your future generation. But when you believe that you are a good person and can do good for society, you should take up the responsibility to control wealth.
5) Investing is to help society allocate resources to the right areas
After trading and investing for the past few years, I have been asking myself what is the fundamental meaning of investing? If we can only be rewarded for the value we create, what value does investing provide? The closest I can think of is that investing is about channeling money to the right areas that needs development. Think of a blank piece of land – Money has to be paid for construction to develop the land. Think of a mining company – if there is a supply shortage in certain mineral, money will be channeled to the mining companies to expand the production and feed the society with sufficient supply. And if you have expected this shortage and invested in the mining companies, you would have been rewarded by the rising share price because you have helped the society identify the need and have already put in resources to develop it.
6) Focus on becoming a better person
Only when you become a better person, your actions will change and the world around you will change. If you want to increase your income, you cannot remain the same you. What kind of person do you need to be to take up a higher appointment? – Do you need to be more responsible? Do you need to be a confident speaker? What kind of person do you need to be as an entrepreneur? – Do you need to be decisive? Do you need to be driven? Answering these questions will help you understand what it takes to be where you want to be. But knowing is the first step, exercising the new behaviour would be the challenging part. You will only be given the job when you are able to exhibit the required behaviour.
7) Help people get rewarded through their efforts
As the saying goes, “give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he can eat for a lifetime.” Have you ever encountered yourself refusing to delegate the work because your staff is not experienced enough to complete an important piece of work? The path of least resistance would be to do it yourself but not delegating is not being good to your staff. The greatest thing a leader can do is to help your staff accomplish the task and get them the necessary reward and recognition. This is much tougher than doing it yourself as more time and effort have to be put into it. But by doing so, you have already brought up the ability of your staff and this is a higher form of giving – teaching them how to fish.
8 ) Be present
I am a culprit for not being present most of the time. I find that in general, Singaporeans are very occupied and always have things in their minds. Just observe people walking briskly along the street and look at their faces when they are boarding trains. Majority seemed to be having their own bubbles and oblivious to the surroundings. I find myself drifting into this mode even when I am with family and friends. This is unhealthy as you cannot devote attention to building close relationships with people, especially those that you care about. Learning to focus on the present will definitely improve your life by reducing the stress (brooding over unfinished work), allowing you to enjoy the company and build strong relationships.
9) Cherish while they are here
This year, the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station was shut down and relocated to Woodlands. The news stirred the emotions of Singaporeans. Many people went to visit the station and took pictures. Some even took the train to Malaysia to experience the ride from the old station for the very last time. Why do we only cherish people or things when they are about to go? I would think this is the emotion of fear of loss. Have we spent enough time with our elder parents while they are still alive? Or do we always put more emphasis on work?
10) Go ahead to do things
More often than not, we regret for things that we have not done and not things that we have done wrongly. This links back to the previous point that we cherish people when they are about to go. Simply because we know that we have not spent enough time with the people that we care about, we dedicate all the remaining time to them in their dying days. And when we do not even have this opportunity, we will feel remorseful for our lack of actions. This applies in other areas of our life. There are many things we want to do in life. But we often put them off because of work or other excuses. These activities that you did not do will come back and haunt you someday. So go ahead and do them while you can!
Some of the points are rather heavy but the purpose of this post is to encourage us to think about our lives. I do not proclaim as an expert as I am still learning about life as much as others. I just want to share my experience and my thoughts about it. I wish you a joyful Christmas where you enjoy the company of family and friends, and great food!