Wednesday, July 11, 2007

On Being Notable...

Late at night, sleepless, I decided to do something for a couple of my friends. Googling them previously, I found that they were mentioned in the media but didn't have any entries in Wikipedia.

So I put my research and writing skills to work and wrote up an article respectively for Donna Ong and Namiko Chan.

The thing I learnt about writing these articles was that there are REALLY things about them that you didn't know. And that perhaps you don't really know your friends at all. And that they're actually more notable than you think.

Like Namiko. I knew that she was an artist, but I didn't know she had just won the UOB Painting of the Year Award. Holy Canoly! And to think I still remember her as that law undergraduate staying just one level below me in University. She was a great artist even then, designing our block t-shirt. And to think, that I threw away a "Namiko original". Wonder what it would be worth now?

Donna was introduced to me as an artist, but little did I know she was awarded the maximum amount for a scholarship to study art. And had won numerous art competitions. But then again, perhaps people are merely modest.

I learnt quite a bit. I knew that they were both notable artists in their own right, I learnt about the awards that they had won. I learnt their hobbies, their experiences, the schools they attended, what their fears, hopes and joys are represented in their works.

If you had to write an article on Wikipedia about your spouse, family or friends, what would you write? Would you even know enough to write an article about them? Do you know what their achievements have been in life?

But what else could I take from this experience? That the people you meet will be the famous people of tomorrow. That 10 year old nephew of yours playing with the toy soldiers? He could be the next minister of defence. That the girl next door who likes drawing could be a famous artist. "Do not despise the day of small beginnings."

Finally, not just other people, ALL OF US. Including you. Believe in yourself. Do you like drawing? Or telling stories? Or entertaining your parents with your antics? Or planning, or assembling things together? These are the seeds of greatness waiting to be nurtured.

Most Decisions Must Be Made Beforehand

Most decisions must be made beforehand. You cannot wait till that situation comes and then you think about it.

For example, if you haven't decided what time you want to wake up in the morning...


You are fast asleep on your bed when the alarm clock starts
blaring its wake up call.

Hmm... 7am... I wonder whether I can sleep in?
I do have to do get my laundry from the washing machine.
But this bed feels so nice...

That is just an innocent example. What would happen if you get in a compromising position of being tempted? A hot beautiful sexy woman appears in your bedroom? You'll probably only have 2 clear seconds to think before other parts of your body start doing your thinking for you.

What happens when you are being stressed? Someone begins to say something that is sure to push your buttons? Again, you may only have a second or two before your emotions start to rush in and take over.

That's one of the reasons why quiet time is important, it prepares you for the decisions both large and small that will come about during the coming days, weeks, months and years ahead. When you read the Bible about Joshua or about Joseph, learn about the principles on which they made their decisions and practice in your mind the same things.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Be Bold

"...enable your servants to speak your word with boldness." (Acts 4:29)

"...but the righteous are as bold as a lion." (Proverbs 28:1)

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged. For the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

Why is it that there are definitely much better singers than Madonna, yet she is the one who is more successful?

I realize that a lot of good, able and competent people don't get ahead, not because they are less skillful but because they aren't bold enough.

We must be bold enough to market ourselves, to sell ourselves, to spread the word about the message of us.

80-90% of adults live with negative self-talk in their minds. Voices that say "you aren't good enough", "you'll screw up again", "you're just lucky that time", etc.

We must be bold in life. The apostles didn't pray that things around them would automagically turn out "happily ever after" rather they prayed for boldness in facing the challenges ahead of them.

Boldness is a mark of the righteous.

But how do we get boldness? Is it a matter of just repeating "I am bold" to myself and hoping you'll believe it enough that your behaviour will change? Maybe that is part of the transformation process.

The Idiot's Guide To Assertiveness doesn't give all the answers to it, but it does give a few pointers:

Know Your Priorities: Know what is important to you. Think through what is really important to your mission in life. Just 3-5 things. Not a laundry list of 19 things.

Respect the position and feelings of the other parties involved. Will your speaking up improve the situation of make it worse?

Remain in balance. You don't have to overreact and cause other people to be knocked off balance.

How? Proceed with malice towards none. Act with concern towards other people not out of hatred or impatience.

When? Make a time check. Ask yourself, "How will I feel about the situation tomorrow, in one hour, or in even five minutes?" If it is something that will pass quickly, you can let it go. Else, then it is good reason for you to speak up.

Use positive self-talk to yourself and on others.

Know who you are. Know your limits. Be optimistic.

Exercises on being self-confident in social situations:
1. Smile at someone you don't know.
2. Focus intently on what another person is saying.
3. Volunteer for something away from work. That way you'll learn that people do appreciate you.
4. Make a minor request from someone you barely know. The more easily you're able to make minor requests of strangers. The more naturally you'll begin to make more significant requests of anyone.
5. Put yourself in a situation where you're likely to be rejected. Ask a friend to attend something which you know there is a low chance of them agreeing to. If so, wonderful. Else, learn to accept the response graciously.
6. When appropriate, tell a person "I'm not sure". Legitimately pleading ignorance helps free you from any potential feelings of always needing to have informative responses.