When People Around You Keep On Killing Your Passion And Dream

Peter is twelve years old. He enjoys playing basketball. In fact, he is pretty good at it. A star no less. Peter loves the sport partly due to his passion, partly due to a wonderful coach he has that recognizes his talent, knows his weaknesses, and has a good gauge of his potential. Peter likes his teammates too. When all the positive ingredients come together, Peter has a dream. To play leagues and who knows, one day Peter may represent his country in an international arena doing what he loves to do the most, with people whom he enjoys hanging out with, and with people who believe in him.

All these set to change when a new coach comes on board together with new teammates. The chemistry is not quite there. Instead of being guided to where he excels, Peter’s weaknesses get amplified. It is suffocating. Everywhere he goes, Peter meets with obstacles. Every challenge unconquered dims his passion a little bit. Soon, Peter has become a liability to his basketball team. There is only that much Peter can do to keep himself motivated, to practice day after day. But basketball is a team sport. Ultimately, the entire ordeal kills his dream. It is time to move on.

Does this sound familiar to you? In life, be blessed when you are surrounded by people who are willing to groom you to be better. People who are supportive of your passion and dream. People who believe in you. We can’t change the world. And when we fail to influence the people around us to work with our passion and dream – no fault of either party – moving on could be a good option. In fact, in life, it could well be the only option.

Watching F1 – A Survival Guide (That Gets You Thinking)

F1 Singapore (from official wallpaper)

Formula One is coming to Singapore.  Are you someone who thinks that it is boring to watch cars going around in circle?  Excitement comes only when some cars crash?  You are not alone.  Many of my friends think that way too.

As an avid viewer of the sport, I have put together a small survivor guide in layman terms aiming to enhance your viewing experience.  It is not everyday you get to see cars racing in the streets of Singapore in neck breaking speed.  Trust me, with some basic understanding, you too can enjoy watching the sport, from the first lap to the checker flag.  And if you too are an avid F1 viewer, feel free to drop in some comments for sharing.

To continue reading, please click here.

Creating Your Own Digital Jukebox From You CD Collection

My beloved digital jukebox

I have promised some of my friends to write a little guide on my journey of digitizing my CD collection and here you are.  Some tips on which format to use and how to go about performing the task.  Now, why should you care?

  1. The condition of your CD deteriorates over time.  You know that, don’t you?
  2. Ripping your entire collection could be a huge time investment.  It took me 6 months on and off to rip 12,500 songs (900 hours of play time!).
  3. And hence, you may wish to choose the right audio format and be done with it.
  4. Of course, lossless encoding doesn’t mean that you will have the highest possible quality.  It is a digital copy as good as the way music is read by your machine.  The good news is, you can do better than what the common tools offer.

Today, my digital jukebox plays CD quality music directly into my hi-fi system.  I am loving it.  And if you too wish to do that some time in the future.  You are at the right place.  Click here to continue reading.

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PS. Some ask if they could bring along their portable hard disks and copy the entire collection over.  I would not have bought all my CDs had I had no respect to Intellectual Property (IP).  And since I do respect IP, my response of decline I hope is understandable.  Having said that, how one views IP is no business of mine.  It is a personal choice like not eating pork, beef, or meat.  I thank you for your understanding.

So I Conduct Global Training Over The Internet And I Look Inside My Stomach Hard for The Butterflies

WebEx Screenshot

I am not trained as a trainer but the training opportunities find their ways to me, over the years, since I have started my humble career.  It’s always a full circle, from one end to another, from another end to the same one I have started from.  You strategize, you design a new business process, you put in place a piece of technology, you create a communication and marketing pack, and then you train.  It is because ultimately it is human who is going to be trained on how to use that shinny new piece of technology to enable a new business process that is aligned to a strategy.  That pretty much summarize what I do for a living.

Over the years, I have learned much on the art of training, from my peers, the people below and above me, and my audience.  Over the years, I have trained a small classroom of people to a crowd that filled a hotel ballroom.  I love to train.  Especially those that have a dose of uncertainties like the breakout groups.  Time and time again, people pull me aside and ask if I find talking about the same topic boring.

Not at all.

Each group is different.  The rapport and the effort put in to build the rapport is different.  Each group has its own challenge.  And in as much as my objective is to impart knowledge, my personal goal is to learn from my audience, through group sharing, through the questions they ask, and through the observation on what works for them.  I love the accumulation of war stories and confidence and success as I maneuver from one group to another.

One good friend of mine used to tell me that if we can feel the butterflies on our stomachs, it is a good sign.  It shows that success matters.  It keeps us on our toes.  She told me that each of us has a personal ritual to go through prior to the conduct of the training.  I have not shared mine with her.  I used to pray in the toilet prior to showtime.  Yes, I too used to feel the butterflies.  It’s a feeling that can be unsettling.  What if I couldn’t deliver the speech that has been written and rewritten a thousand times?  What if I couldn’t connect to the audience?  What if they see what I don’t know instead of what I do know?  What if …

Though I dreaded the butterflies, thank God most of the sessions I came out OK (some with good recognition).  These days, I am at that one end of the cycle again: It’s training time.  What is different today from the past is that due to the duration and depth of this global initiative that I have been working on, I am very comfortable in conducting the training.  And after all the local classroom training I helped to conduct, the next step is to reach out to the rest of the world.

Since I am not that keen to travel – love Singapore too much! – I am happy to conduct training over the Internet (we use WebEx just in case some of you may be able to relate).  It is a whole new experience.  At my laptop, I can see who have dialed in, I can punch in a telephone number inside the software and it will make the necessary call to the participants who can’t get connected, I can mute individual phone lines (you’ll be amazed at how many people accidentally put their phones on hold and all of a sudden, everyone logged in hear some music played), I can present a document, share an application, see the Q&A window gets populated, chat room that keeps the private and public messages popping.  Wow … very funky!

Initial excitement aside, it can be hard.  At times I feel like I was a DJ talking to myself.  Imagine this: you are in a meeting room, alone, in front of you a laptop and a speaker phone.  Everyone is on mute.  And you keep talking, no faces to be seen, no responses to be heard, just you and your voice hoping that someone is awake on the other side of the telephone line.  Do they like the pace?  Can they understand me?  Do they get my lighthearted comments?  Are there VIPs in the call?  No idea.  Silence.  Just me and my voice and the speaker phone.  All the way from “Welcome to our today’s training session” to “Thank you for your time and you may disconnect now”, do people get fired for delivering a lousy training over the Internet?

No idea.

At times I wish there were a few butterflies in my stomach, to get me in the mood with heightened alert.  Sessions after sessions, I look forward to the online Q&A the most.  Because that is the only variation I encounter.  Oh gosh, wouldn’t that become really … boring?

Well, you know me, I can’t stand boredom.  So, each web training I conduct, I always tried to crack a totally different set of jokes (like instead of meeting Bill Gate for lunch, for the same scenario, I golf with Steve Jobs … and then, I drop this scenario altogether and crack another joke on a different situation), share a different set of stories, deliver the same message in a slightly different way, rearrange things just a little bit – do something that keep my sanity.

I am not trained as a trainer but I love to train.  And no, I am not a full time trainer.  I just step into a role available while having another role to play.

Recession and You Think You See the Axe Coming … So What? Practical Ways to Stay Happy

Lovely picture isn’t it?  When I retire, I want to live somewhere that I can see this view every end of day.  But between then and now, I reckon I still need to make just enough money to get there.  And I reckon I will probably see a few rounds of bull and bear runs between now and then.

These days, increasingly I have friends at my workplace, outside of my workplace who share with me their concerns about losing their jobs during this downturn.  I know that feeling of anxiety.  I have been there, seen that, during my more than a decade hanging onto the corporate ladder, like many of you.  This blog entry is my wish to share my humble thoughts on how to stay happy based on my very own experience.  And I am happy to hear yours too!

My strategy here is simple.  It is not about how to survive not being axed.  That is hard because of so many moving parts that are beyond your control and influence.  But rather how to excel in your workplace amidst all the uncertainties that affect everyone around you, but you.  And it comes down to one word: Preparation.  A happier you makes you perform better at work.

1. Your Mentality Towards Work

Look around you and you can easily see those who are so committed to work and you wonder: do they have a life at all?  To some, work is more than an entity.  Take the job away from them and they will collapse, don’t know what to do.

Sure, most of us need to earn a living.  I love one quote from my ex-colleague: Day job is to pay my bills, what I do at night feeds my ego.  So true.  When I started my career, I worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week.  One day, I read somewhere that I shall begin with an end in mind (back to that image) and I asked myself: Do I want to leave this world being remembered as a good employee who has contributed this much top line sales or bottom line savings to this organization?  Or do I want to be remembered as …

And it struck me there and then: work is just an entity.  That memo I wrote today at work, or that conference call I participated, sure they are important.  But are they that important to me?

At work, I have a role to play, to be responsible for a certain set of items that are important to the organization.  To me, there are more important things in life.  I want to excel while I am at work.  And I want to excel after I step out of my office at sane hours as well.

Take a moment to reflect what is important to you.  Are you sacrificing too much for your career?  What if you let go of your job today?

2. Build Your (Genuine) Network (Early)

Genuine network takes time to build.  You can’t build one right now when you suddenly realize that how nice if you have one.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not here to ask you to befriend only those who are of value to you.  Quite the opposite.  I believe in give and take, give before take, give without thinking of what to take in the future.  That is genuine network.  I enjoy reaching out to friends because I genuinely want to get in touch with them.  If they need my help, I am more than happy to lend a pair of helping hands if I can.  And I don’t hesitate to ask for help if I need one.  Most people prefer not to bother others.  To me, it is give and take.  You give others the opportunity to help you hoping that one day, others will ask the same from you.

Unless you don’t want the latter case to happen.  

When you step out of your job for good, it is good to know that you have support out there and you are not alone.  Don’t you think?

3. How Long Can You Hold?

When time is good, it is easy not to think about affordability on your spendings.  Different people have different philosophy in life when it comes to managing personal finance.  I respect that.  I am a simple person.  My main objective in terms of personal finance is to keep the loan commitment low.  In fact, I often joke with Cynthia that she manages assets while I manage liabilities.  I enjoy reducing the principle sum of my mortgage whenever I have a lump sum of money.  When I bought my first car, I took minimum amount of loan.  When I bought my second car, I paid by cash.  I reckon if I save hard enough, I shall be able to repay the entire mortgage in 3 to 5 years’ time.  By then, I will be debt free.

The question remains: how long can you hold when you stop working right now?  Hence to me – since I am a simple guy – I love to hold cash (and let Cynthia manage investments).  I am not saying that mine is the best strategy for you.  Quite the opposite, I think my friends who are into investment have been doing really well.  But since I suck at that, I prefer to save hard and know that if I am, touch wood, to live without my monthly pay check, I can vegetate for a couple of years while looking for something else to earn a living.

Do you know your average monthly expenses?  Good.  Now, do you know your average monthly expenses should you trim down your lifestyle if the worst is to come?  Divide your total cash savings with that and that is the number of months you can last without the constant flow of pay checks.  Every dollar you now save will lengthen that period that you can afford to take a career break.  Think about that.  Once you build a comfortable buffer, taking a long career break is no longer such a scary concept, is it?

Axe?  So what?  What’s there to be fear of?

4. What’s the Worst That Can Happen?  (What’s Next?)

At times I don’t know which is a better situation.  Struggle to survive in an environment that is collapsing with people around you losing their jobs or to head out and look for better opportunities out there.  Imagine you are one of the penguins out there trying so hard to hunt for fish that is diminishing by day due to overfishing, global warming.  Should you starve with your mates and hope that you will outlast them?  Or shall you go somewhere else like a Singapore Zoo and get fed every day?

I saw the axe coming before and looking back, I agree with the butcher.  That was the best day of my life.  What’s next turns out to be way better than where I was.  In fact, it is good to give ourselves time to self-reflect, to re-evaluate our key strengths, and to look for an environment that we can perform well.  Both external and internal environments change all the time.  That is an universal rule.  Go ride with that.

5. The Ingredients for Longevity

Thank you for reading such a long post and I hope your career is as wonderful as it can be within the boundary of work life balance that you define.  If I could leave you with one last thing to ponder, you can only work well and live well with a health body, mind, and soul.  I have a glass of orange juice each morning, stay out of excess stress, and I rarely visit the doctor or take medical leave for quite a number of years.  I am blessed to have great friends and lovely family.  And I believe in doing the right things in work and life will get me far.

In Summary

You too can stay happy during recession by getting prepared.  You may not become instantly happy today after reading this post but I am confident that in time to come, you will.  Life is really not only about work, is it?  A lovely quote to share.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

PS. Picture taken at East Coast Park using my Nokia N95 phone.

The Cycle of Learning and Sharing: Why Be a Caterpillar When You Can be a Butterfly? – My First V-blog (Prelude) Episode 3

I love to learn; I love finding something new to learn; more so, I love to share what I’ve learned.

In my upcoming video blog, I talk about one memorable childhood moment I had with my dad.  I thought I only had one.  But I was wrong.  There are more.

We bred butterflies, inside a glass container.  A container of a pair of Japanese dolls – one of my parents’ wedding gifts.  Once in a while, my dad would bring home a caterpillar found at the rooftop of the cinema he worked at.  And we would see how a caterpillar turned into a pupa, and finally a beautiful butterfly.  My sister and I would take turn to carry this divine being and see how its wings grew, dried and hardened, and it would attempt to fly away.  Initially reluctant to leave our hands, we would see this pretty butterfly that not too long ago was a tiny caterpillar took one brave leap of faith, carried by the wind, out from our 7th storey apartment, and disappeared right in front of our eyes.  Where did it go?  My sister and I would ask our dad, ask each other, ask ourselves.

Where did it go?

If I could travel back in time, I would have imagined our little baby butterfly grows up, turns into eggs that hatch into millions of fresh green plump caterpillars, and time stops.  All of a sudden, when time resumes, these beings magically transform into millions of butterflies.  And the cycle continues.

Articles say that caterpillars are like eating machines.  They eat and eat and that hunger, that relentless primal hunger reminds me of how our brains work when we are small.  Our brains like sponges that soak up everything around us.  We absorb knowledge, stimulated by all that is new.  We read, we listen, we watch.

We learn as the caterpillars eat.

How many of you stop right there?  You read a book, you return it to the bookshelf.  You take an exam, you move on.  How much do you get out of this reading, listening, and watching?

I cannot recall when I have started to obsess about internalizing what I learned and to find someone to share the newly acquired knowledge or idea with.  It is exhilarating.  In sharing I force myself to question what I’ve absorbed.  While sharing opens my eyes to how other may apply the knowledge.  And I think, the learning process is as simple as step one, two, three: absorb, internalize, and share.  For that two extra steps, just a little bit of extra effort, I get much more than what I used to.

That vision of a flying butterfly turning into eggs that in turn transform into millions of butterfly prompts me to imagine that learning is a cycle on its own.  We learn (i.e. absorb, internalize, and share), we experience, and we re-learn.  One wise man once told me that experience is the opposite of examination; we take the test before the lesson.

So true.

As I write this blog entry, using my wireless phone, I can’t help but to be taken back to the days when I was with my family in Hong Kong, looking at the butterfly took flight.  So brave it was; so happy we were; so beautiful the nature.

Next time when you learn something new, stop for a moment and ask yourself one question: why be a caterpillar when you can be a butterfly?

Notes: (1) Some of you were curious if I created or drew the recent black-and-white pictures by myself.  Yes I did and I enjoy doing that.  (2) This entry was written entirely using my wireless phone while waiting for Cynthia to finish her work.  Hence the different writing style.  (3) Happy Father’s Day.

My 1st v-Blog Mini-Series:

Audio Effect: Compressor!

My friends at Facebook know that I have been working on this rather mammoth article on “Audio Compression for Beginners” for days.  The reasons why I am always so passionate towards sharing what I’ve learned are simply twofold – one is rather selfish and one is not.

  1. Nearly all of us who use the Internet regularly use it to search for some information, opinions, or knowledge.  Most of the stuffs in the Internet are written by ordinary folks who do it as a hobby.  Since I’ve been at the beneficiary end for so long, it is only right to contribute whenever, whatever I can.  Besides, someone has to populate, right?
  2. I believe that if I have already spent X number of hours to learn a new skill, spending an extra Y number of hours writing what I’ve learned and share with others forces me to internalize what I’ve absorbed and challenges me to question myself what I’ve learned.  Besides, I sincerely hope that my this website lasts longer than any paper notes and electronic files I have at hands so I can always refer to what I’ve learned.

So, why would anyone care about audio compression besides ooo’ing and aah’ing on my article that is equivalent to my 5 days worth of blog materials packed with over 30 diagrams including a hand drawn illustration that looks like a blueprint of some NASA secret weapons?

Well, it is a skill that helps to make your audio recording sounds professional.  Very much like what the airbrush does to all those photos of the models in the magazines, the gravy and garnish on your main course, and the make-up you wear before your big date.  You’ll need that for your Podcast, video editing, and music recording.  Why?  Because without audio compression, the sound appears to be thin and soft; because you want your home video to not only look but also sound like a Hollywood blockbuster; and because with a touch of technology, your band sounds much better than when you play live – pretty much like most of the bands in the world.

And perhaps you are just curious and wondering what I have been obsessing with these days.  Go on.  Just click it.

Continue to read: Audio Compression for Beginners: Setting Compressor Threshold, Ratio, Knee, Attack, Release, and More.

Bee Hoon – Cynthia’s Version

Cyn Cyn Bee Hoon

I literally have to wrest the recipe of this simple healthy tasting home cooked bee hoon (i.e. rice vermicelli) from Cynthia in order to have it published in my site.  She is just not comfortable with the limelight, which I reassured her that not many people visit my site anyway.  Perhaps I should re-brand my site as: where I’ll go all the way to get things that you want to read.  Except, I don’t really know what you want to read.

To be fair, this bee hoon recipe does belong to my family’s treasure box, a well-kept secret of the Wong’s family.  One fine year, my mother visited my home and like how the kung fu master finds his disciples, my mother taught Cynthia how to make some of my favorite dishes that I don’t seem to have the talent to learn.  What is amazing is that my mother speaks in Cantonese (that Cynthia doesn’t understand) and Cynthia transcripts in Bahasa Indonesia (that I don’t understand).  Maybe cooking recipes transcend languages.  Maybe all one needs is the patience to record.

Armed with my camera, here is my attempt to record how this dish is made.  From left to right, top to bottom …

  1. Cynthia’s secret cookbook with my mother’s well-kept recipes written in Bahasa Indonesia that I can’t comprehend.
  2. Chop the pork into bite size.  For the Muslim readers, feel free to use chicken instead.  For the vegetarian readers, I wonder if replacing fried bean curd yields the same result.
  3. Marinate the meat with the usual ingredients (soy source, sugar, salt, and corn flour).  There is no scientific rule in how much ingredients to add to the meat.  Marination is an art and I usually go with the feel.  If the meat turns out to be too salty, add less soy source and salt next time and vice versa. Pay attention to the distinct taste of each ingredient and adjust accordingly.
  4. Smash the dry scallop into pieces using a chopper.
  5. Boil the dry scallop with the right amount of water as that will be your soup base.
  6. Wash the vegetable of your choice.
  7. When your soup base is boiling, throw in the marinated meat.  There is no need to add salt or whatsoever at this stage.
  8. Meanwhile, prepare another pan of hot water to cook the bee hoon (or rice vermicelli).  Upon my request, Cynthia used the Japanese thin flat noodle instead.  Somehow I prefer that to bee hoon.
  9. When the been hoon is cooked, run it under cold water to rinse away the extra starch that may cloud your soup.
  10. Throw in the vegetable after the dry scallop becomes soft to the mouth (usually about half an hour or more).
  11. Divide the bee hoon.
  12. Pour the soup onto the bee hoon!

I like the way this dish is cooked because it tastes healthy – subtle and not too overwhelming.  The soup base has a distinct taste of meat, dry scallop, and vegetable.  You can always add a few drops of Maggi (Chinese seasoning source) if the taste is too healthy for you.  Alternatively, add a few pieces of abalone will definitely enhance the dish in a big way.

Note: The 1-800 number advertised is invalid.  Please don’t waste your money.

Ripping DVD Tracks For Your iPod, MP3 Player, And Wireless Phone

Playing Ayumi Hamasaki’s video on my new N95 8GB

Am I the only one who is obsessed with importing my favorite music video clips into a portable device while keeping each track separate? I have been asking my circles of friends, from techno-geeks to don’t-ask-me-I-am-just-a-user, but no one can give me a satisfactory answer. So I have decided to try to find an answer myself, an answer that is safe and free-of-charge. Click here for a dedicated article on how I do it.

Now, with more and more portable devices that are capable to play video clips in an acceptable size and quality, watching your favorite video clips on the go is indeed a God sent reality. Imagine, you are squeezed into a train and your destination is just a few stops away. You don’t have your book or magazine with you and you are bored staring at a train full of bored people. Listening to music is just not good enough. What shall you do? Yes, take out your iPod, or MP3 Player, or wireless phone and watch your favorite video clips. Your boyfriend or girlfriend is late again and you have absolutely nothing better to do, what shall you do? That’s right, take out your portable device, watch a clip or two of your favorite homemade video, and be reminded why you still love that person despite the fact that he or she is yet again late. Or when you are stuck in a jam at CTE, cars are not moving and you car is on handbrake, what shall you do?

Okay, probably not for the last scenario but you get the drift.

I am surprised that none of the mainstream software application allows ripping of DVD tracks into a portable format with a click of a button. We can rip audio track into MP3 format. Why can’t we do the same for the DVD that comes with the CD that I own? There are software applications out there that may do the job with just a click. Most of them are on trial version and not free-of-charge. I also have had bad experience installing and un-installing these third party software (even for that famous video converter for iPod) ended up with system corruption here and there. Finally, not many out there have the feature of allowing you to rip your DVD track-by-track much like the audio CD. Usually the end result is one huge video file that takes up too much space in your precious portable device.

So, are you ready to read more?

Disclaimer: My criteria may be different from yours.  If you are happy with installing trial or full versions of third party software, please continue to do so. I also prefer the total flexibility of extracting any part of the video that I want.

A New Theme For Year 2008

One mountain at Lantau Island, Hong Kong

I am still learning this process of self-reflecting of the past and goal setting for the new year. Here, I am going to share with you what seems to work over the years, what doesn’t, and what my plan for 2008 is going to be. Let me tell you upfront what does not work: not planning for the new year at all. To borrow a Chinese idiom “一年之計在於春,一日之計在於晨” (loosely translates to “a year’s plan lies in spring [i.e. the beginning of the year], a day’s plan lies in the morning”), now is a good time to plan ahead. For those years that I did not plan, I have no recollection of what I have achieved.

I remember when I was in my twenties, I used to have this one-worded theme for each year. Such a theme is easy to remember, relevant, and if chosen right, it seems to stick into my mind throughout the year, in everything I do. Let me give you an example. One year, I reflected upon my 16 to 20 working hours a day, 7 days a year and I said to myself: enough is enough. I could earn all those overtime paid and achieve all the career progression I wanted but I was missing all that life has to offer. So, I picked a theme “Balance”. Mind you, it was not easy to seek a work life balance back then. When I did come home while the sun was still up, I became uneasy not knowing what to do or where to do. I ended up having the feeling that I have wasted an evening not working. Miraculously, with that theme “Balance”, I seemed to have every single and small decision made based upon that word “Balance”. It worked way too well. I rejected overtime requests or did all that I could to prevent myself and my team going down that path of long hours and no life. It went so well that it me took a couple of years to find the balance. These days, I work and do my best to make sure that the people in my network work the most effective way during the office hours and in most cases, we all go home on time. Picking the right theme can be powerful. And this can work for you too!

Last year was interesting not just because I only worked for the later half of the year, I did my planning in a scorecard style. As you may notice, I stop posting the monthly result after the first three months. You may wish to know that I did track my progress till the middle of the year but I found it quite boring to publish the results in my site every beginning of the month. I thought I did pretty badly over the year on this rather ambitious scorecard but it is not quite the case. OK, I think I only achieve a 40% which to be fair, under my “wonderful” color coding system, it is a yellow that means “a mix of ups and downs”. And it is because of this scorecard, I did climb the Mount Kinabalu and started my oil painting hobby that count as two extraordinary projects. Also, I did take the initiative to plan the visit to Melbourne, my surprise visit to Jakarta, and my visit to Hong Kong/Macau. By now, I think I have hit the travel budget target over and above. I seriously have cut down my computer gaming hours a lot (my big, big problem in year 2005/6). The target set somehow worked as the “Balance” theme to me. I have this cautious warning in my head of not hitting the said target every time I played. Lastly, hitting the career fulfillment index is a bit of a luck factor. But then again, I did put effort in finding what I want.  Based on just these four tiny achievements, I can say 2007 has been fruitful to me.

So, what’s my plan for year 2008? I want to go back to my theme driven way of life. After much consideration with candidates such as “Take Risk, Be Bold” or “Be Bold, Take Risk” (both are different by the way) or others, I have decided on …

“Do It”.

Yes, parking ideas of things that I want to do at the back my my head or at the bottom of my to-do list is not good. I need to … “do it”. If I need to be bold, so be it. If I need to take calculated risk, so be it too. The most important thing is, I have to action on what I have set to do, or rather what my heart has set to do. I shall count the number of achievements – however small or big – over the year as an indication of success. Hopefully, this theme will do wonders to me, the same way as “Balance” did to me years ago.

As for the personal scorecard way of life, I am not ready to ditch it completely as yet. Over this few days I am going to revisit the measurements and targets and to rethink how it can be aligned to my new theme. I have learned that this way of monitoring progress has two main challenges: the constant stress to meet target and the day-to-day chore of taking down the actual measurements. I have to find ways to make this monitoring progress a fun process (perhaps tie the increment progress to small rewards) and I have to find ways to record the measurements in the most convenient way (such as a calendar by the rice cooker to tick off days that I have home cooked meals). Scorecard way of life, I believe, is still a good way to discipline my rather undisciplined life. Stay tuned.

So, what are your thoughts? Do you think this is going to work for me? And what is your plan going ahead?