NAC 2011 (3)

Final day of NAC 2011. A powerful start for such a beautiful Sunday, by none other than…(drum roll)…Ron Kaufman! He’s an author of “Uplifting Service!” and 14 other titles.

Slide from Ron Kaufman - "A world where people are educated and inspired to excel in service".

In business, we are always faced with :

¤ competitive necessity

¤ rising expectation

¤ people performance

¤ increasing profit

¤ customer loyalty

How do we build an uplifting service?

(1) Service Leadership from Apple, Wal Mart, Walt Disney; People queue up and return with more people, to have a piece of their products and services.

(2) Service Culture Building Block – 6 levels of steps to higher level of service. Starting from Basic, Expected, Desired, Surprising and Unbelievable! services. Excellent service is a moving target. Great service is an action which create value to your customers.

(3) Actionable Service Education. There is a difference between education vs training. Education teaches one to think creatively to make a good decision whilst training teaches you what to do automatically at a situation, where creative thinking is not required. Ron also advised us to be service role model.

Marcus De Maria then took us through the income earning potentials during all 3 market movements, up, down and sideways. To invest, like doing everything else, we need to be committeddoing the things that you said you’re going to do, long after the feelings in which you said it at that time, are gone. We must take control of our financial future! He said it is alright to work and earn a salary. By working, you will have the income to invest. All one needs is 10 minutes a day, out of your private time.

Try this exercise : on a piece of paper, draw a line down the centre. On the left column, list down “I must be Wealthy because I want…” and on the right column, list down “I must be wealthy because I’m sick and tired of…“. Our action is either Pleasure or Pain motivated.

After lunch break, we were introduced to Ewen Chia‘s internet marketing experience. Ewen is the #1 Affiliate Marketing guru. He started Internet Marketing since 1997, with failures after another for 5 years. In year 2002, he finally broke through and it was only one way he moved on, that is, UP! His strings of failure resulted in a system he discovered, to make it work for him and his students. Who says one has to set up an office, employ staff and stock products to start a business?! In internet, there is limitless potential. All we need is, dare to reach out and grab it.

The Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno shared his life experience and lessons before the closing of NAC 2011. Don’t be a slave to your fear. He said, “Fear is powerful… Exercising replaces the fear hormone“. Embrace Fear! Fear leads to Anger, leads to Hate and leads to Suffering.

To have a strong body, we need to have proper and right training, proper rest and proper nutrition. Lou takes his eggs, vegetables and fish. He take vitamins too. Has a good balance of carbohidrate and fat. Every morning he would ask himself, “What can I do today to better myself?“.

His valuable advice was
#1 Do not be a slave to your FEAR
#2 PASSION – stay hungry about everything you do. Get out of denial; do not procrastinate; believe in yourself; take a chance on life; exercise consistently.
#3 DETERMINATION – work twice as hard to get what you want; block negative thoughts; dare to take risk
#4 PERSISTENT – Never, ever quit; get up to do it again.
#5 PERSONAL POWER – recognise your own power; have strong desire to succeed; trust yourself; think positive side of things; nothing is more important in life than having great relationship, kids and friends. Do not be jealous of people’s success.

Lou is a great guy. He lost 85% of his hearing to an ear infection when he was young. He was so determined to live his dreams that he’d do anything to make it, despite his impaired hearing and speech issues. He embraced fear, and achieved success. He did what many would have given up before the starting line. I could feel the power of his energy from where I was seating. He is indeed a superhero!

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The Incredible Hulk

NAC 2011 (2)

Saturday morning started with Deborah Torres Patel on stage. We had fun singing with the right expression, under her coaching. She said, “It’s not about the money. It’s about connecting with other people and having relationship with others. Money, is the result of how well we’re doing“. Most importantly, listen to songs which inspire us, those with good messages and values. It’s time to stop listening to the ones which are negative and will uninspire us! Simply because, we are what we feed our mind with.

Kevin Green shared about real estate investment. To calculate yield of your investment, take the annual gross rent divide by the property price and multiply by 100%. If the yield is equal to or more than 2%+mortgage interest, it’s a good yield.

Adam Ginsberg got everyone excited with eBay marketing. We must not ask why people buy, just start selling! There are two choices we have to make, i.e. Make Money or Make Excuses! You see, “Success is the result of Good Judgement; Good Judgement is the result of Experience; Experience is the result of Bad Judgement” so said Adam.

Ron White, the #1 Memory Expert in USA was next. He said that we are the best computer in the world but, not running efficiently. In order to exercise our memory and increase its power, we could do it via Focus, File, Picture, Glue and Review. He took us through and exercise to remember 10 things – many of us did it, effortlessly!!! In short, put pictures to a name/something then apply action to the pictures. This exercise our brains to remember better.

Lastly, Andy Harrington shared on his signature coaching on the Power to Achieve. He made a good point when he asked, “Why do we try so hard to fit in when we’re born to stand out?“. Opportunities occur outside and around us all the time. The first thing our mind does, when opportunity appears, is to delete/distort/generalise it due to our beliefs.

Another session by Andy is about “Leading from the Platform“. All of us are leaders – someone, somewhere is actually following us. In order to make a great presenter or speaker, we must (1) Program for Success (2) Learn how to Present (3) Learn how to Promote – self and business.

When we speak to an audience, we must have voice qualities – be aware of the different tone used – able to take people through an emotional journey and make it memorable. Many people believe that when you ask, you shall receive. I agree totally with Andy that, When you give, you shall Receive.

I truly believe that when you give, you are making space, for you to receive some more, from the universe. If you keep receiving and not giving, there comes a time when it is too full to receive anymore. Then is when one gets stuck where he/she is, not making progress and change with time. Sad, isn’t it?

I hope you get to learn a thing or two from my sharing on NAC2011. Tomorrow will be the last day. Shall write again then.

Before I leave, for all MU fans out there, all the best for your team!!! Glory, Glory, Man United…

~ Alice N.

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National Achievers Congress 2011 (1)

Today (27th May) is the first day of NAC 2011. All of us braved the rain and heavy traffic in the morning to arrive at seminar venue (Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre).

Adam Ginsberg started by generously giving away his book entitled, “The Legacy Effect“. He said, “We all come to a moment when we ask ourselves – what will others remember of me? What will remain?“.

I would like to expand on, “what will remain?“. That makes me think of the many people around us, who do plan, when they are living, but forget to plan for the family they are going to leave behind, when they pass on. I’m sure everyone wishes to leave some kind of legacy for their loves ones, especially their next generations. The only way to do it is, to plan well for it NOW, while we are still alive and kicking, don’t you think? By doing so, you are able to be in control of your own wealth, even when you are no longer around. This is part of our expertise, Asset Protection and Preservation via Generational Wealth Strategy. Helping our clients to come up with a blueprint to work on, gives them peace of mind. They can free their mind to focus on other important matters like, generating income, growing your wealth and spending time with loved ones.

Next, we received quite a depressing overview on the global economy, from Richard Duncan. He is the Chief Economist to Blackhorse Asset Management, Singapore. Don’t panic, my friend. If we manage our risks well, by diversifying our investments, we can ride the waves of market volatility, with perhaps, lesser/minor casualties. Nothing is guaranteed in life, right? Everything around us has a risk tag (comes with the price tag). I can’t find one thing that is zero risk, can you? Safest savings come with the risk of not generating enough interest to hedge against inflation. This means, your money is not growing as you wish it to be! When I did investment planning for my clients, I help them manage their risks, so that, their plan to reach that financial goal would not be compromised. It is always helpful to have a “financial road map“. You won’t be too far off the path if you ever got lost and you are always aware of where you are now and know exactly where you are heading.

Then, Kerwin Rae appeared to share with us, on the magic of Joint Venture. Brilliant way to work together with other service/product providers. This is an art of leverage.
I always enjoy working with other professionals who can value-add services to my clients. As a professional consultant, I know my area of expertise. But, when there is a need, from a client, for something out of my expertise, I shall refer a reliable professional to him/her. The professional concerned (civil and syariah lawyers, tax consultant, etc) has to be someone I trust and able to deliver great (good is not enough) jobs, before I can admit him/her, as an extension of my service to my clients.

I always believe in continuous learning from other professionals, worldwide. One of it is through seminars. Another belief is, if I can bring home an idea/thought that can change my life, be it personal or business, I’ve gained from it. The 3-day I spent away from my family is way worth it! Each day I return home, I’d share with my husband and children what I learnt, where applicable, of course. I see myself grow with each seminar I attended. It opens up my mind to learn. This exposure makes me think and act differently to achieve positive change and results.

Success Resources has successfully brought this seminar to our doorsteps for the last 19 years! Bravo SR!

For those who are unable to attend NAC this year, you can learn about it, through me here, for 3 consecutive days. I only write on what I learnt, by the way, and not about the entire seminar. My other passion is sharing what I learnt, as you have already known.

Penning off now. May you have a great weekend. Happy Holidays to all school-going children and teachers. Parents – have a good break too from waking up too early 🙂

~ Alice N.

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What I Learnt From My Husband

As I read my fave mag (Simply Her), I came upon this page about three ladies sharing what their hubbies taught them to do better, from living in the present, thinking positive to showing affection.

Being married for the last 16 years, I have made a lot of adjustments to my life and it is still W.I.P (work in progress). First adjustment came when I had to live with my husband (capital H.I.M.), when it was no longer about “just me and only me“. I knew then that I had to make room for “you and I” or “just the two of us” in my heart and mind. A lot of compromises were made during the learning curve. It’s like a couple not knowing how to dance, trying to learn Tango for the first time! Coordination is important, right? We can actually learn a lot from this dance….if you know what I mean.

When there was “Just US“, I learnt that I had been taking my life and family for granted! My husband taught me that life is not served on silver platter. One has to work hard for it. He did! You can’t choose your family but you can definitely choose your friends and change your fate. He taught me about determination, making choices, working for what you want,  be proactive, patience and family values.

From our status of “Just the Two of Us“, we upgraded it to “Kids and Us” or “The Fabulous Four“. Here, I learnt some more from dearest hubby. He taught me about, like it or not, disciplining children. Well, we agreed to meet halfway and learnt from each other, kinda “East meets West“. I am more for consultative approach.

He also taught me about setting higher goals. All my life, I set good goals. Like what people said, “when you aim for the sky, if you can’t reach it, you’ll usually end up on top of the tree; but when you aim for as high as the tree, if you can’t reach it, you’ll end up flat on the ground“. Or another good friend said that, “If you want 100%, you must aim for 150%! If you aim for 100%, and you can’t get it, you’ll end up below 100%. But, if you aim for mere pass, you’ll usually end up below passing mark“. Take the challenge to aim higher!

I truly admire and have high respect for my husband. He is one person who is super optimistic and mentally strong. He is smart too, not only academically, but when dealing with obstacles in life. His brain can automatically tune in, real-time, in search of the best solutions that he could come up with!  He is also very knowledgeable on current issues that he’s like my walking news bulletin! You don’t learn all these in schools/uni, but from years of experience. By watching him going through life’s challenges, it makes mine looks so small in comparison, therefore, making every one of it seems more manageable for me! He’s my Tough Guy!

I was once a perfectionist; it was him who pointed out to me that being a perfectionist would only do more harm than good, to myself and people around me. He let me make my own adjustments, not a word afterwards. That makes me love him more.

Throughout our lives together, he gives me space to grow at my own pace – academically as well as my business and I’m glad for that. He also respects any decisions I made for our children, knowing very well that I would have carefully weighed all probabilities and angles before coming to any conclusion. That happens only when he is unable to make the decision with me, but I would still notify him afterwards. Otherwise, we’d make it a point to discuss family issues. We both have to agree to it before any implementation can take place. So far, that works well for our cosy little family.

My husband also knows when to push me further, knowing my full potential. Remember, I mentioned earlier that I made good goals whilst he nudge me to set higher goals?  Just like this blog. Who has ever thought of Alice writing a blog! And, within such short 2 months, she receives more than 2000 views! Thanks to all for that 🙂

Additionally, I have friends who wondered how I managed to juggle my business, family, blog and education? Understanding, motivation and moral support from my other half is one of the main ingredients.  Whenever I asked him if I could handle another period of attending classes, all he said was and always will be, the 2-worded sentence “go ahead!“. I asked again, “Are you sure?”, and again he said “go ahead!”. Ahhh…man of few words (LOL!). When I felt unsure about my exams, he’d always announce loudly to my children that I was born to sit for exams and passed effortlessly (that’s an exaggeration, of course!). Now you understand the tagline for my exams “Failure is not an Option!“? I see myself as my children’s role model.

If you ask me, I would say one thing : My husband is someone who never gives up, no matter what. He never does things halfway. He’ll meet challenges head on. In short, he is one of the Few Good Men on earth. Cheers to him!

Enough said about my husband, what about you? Sit back and ponder, “what have you learnt from your husband”? If you are a man, “what have you learnt from your wife”? When you see your spouse in the next moment, give him/her another kiss and a bear hug.

~ Alice

About Justin Bieber…

Picture taken from the DVD

My daughter is a great fan of Justin Bieber (as any regular tween would) and this is the 4th time we watch Justin Bieber’s DVD! What I want to say is that, we can learn a lot from this amazing teenager. I admire his determinationNEVER SAY NEVER! His extraordinary story moved me to tears (of joy) and filled my heart with such strong desire to share my thoughts here.

I am not a fan particularly but I am a great fan of  great songs, especially meaningful ones. As I watched, I could see that he knew what he wanted, even at a very young age. His passion for singing shone through. I could feel the strong love and support showered upon him by his family members and the whole team!

In one of  his songs, he sang that he’s going to be somebody one day and nobody is going to stop him. Shouldn’t we adopt this mentality too? Whatever that you aim for, you’ve got to believe in it. Do not let anyone or anything come in between you and your dreams. Always think positive; and believe that you can do it!

It wasn’t easy for Bieber but he kept going forward. He knew how to use the right tools to his advantage, to get noticed. Even though he is so popular and wealthy now, he still continues with his studies. He even studied in his coach, in between concerts! He knows very well that having fame and money without education is a weakness no one wants to keep. Knowledge is a very important asset one can own, which lives and grows in us, forever. Heard of Knowledge is Power? It’s true.

So my friend, let’s learn from Bieber and his family. When we know what we really want in life, we must think, plan and find the right tools to get there. Be it knowledge, methods, whatever…we need to be pro-active. It is alright to fail as long as we learn the lessons. But, do not ever let failures stop you from reaching your goals. Remember, failure makes you stronger each time you overcome it. Do something good for yourself. If we sit and wait, nothing will come to us. We’ll just waste our lives away.

Every parent loves his/her children. I’m sure we all want our children to do well in life. I also believe that, we could help them to get to their dreams by offering some encouragement and guidance; shower them with love and continuously support their ideas as they grow up.  By doing this, we give them the confidence to explore their true potentials and that goes a long way.

Cheers to Justin Bieber!

~ Alice

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RON95 Fuel Subsidy Flushed?!

As we have read in the papers and heard the news recently, the next review concerning the price of RON95 fuel is in June. Will the Government pull the plug of subsidy?

I wonder, how can the Government lighten the burden of the people and make it as painlessly as possible for us, by reducing the subsidy of RON95?! I seriously can’t see my burden being lightened no matter how hard I try; and it’s definitely going to hurt my pocket. Looks like I will have to tighten my belt as well as that of my children’s, if it takes place (sigh). Let’s keep our hopes high that we don’t have to be in that situation.

By increasing the price of fuel, it will inevitably cause rippling effect on everything – starting from cost of transportation of goods, to fixing prices of goods, and finally higher prices of goods and services, transferred to end users i.e. the consumers – YOU AND I. You can’t increase the price of fuel and then, try to control the retailers from increasing prices. If so, you are asking the retailers to absorb the losses? Nobody, with the right frame of mind, wants to go into any business to make losses?

The Government must understand, household income remains unchanged, every litre of petrol is costing more which results in everything costing more. Having a car in this country, especially in our city, is not a luxury item anymore. It is a basic necessity to take us from point A to point B. Having a car means we have to fill petrol to make it move. When we have to spend more on our travelling expenses, may I ask, what is going to be left of our measly  take-home pay to live on?

When the price of RON97 was increased, it was implied that those who can afford big cars (luxurious car) can also afford to pay higher fuel charges. People who buy big cars are usually people who work hard for the money to at least get to enjoy the comfort and safety of the big car. Are you punishing people who work hard for their money?

Now RON95, if the fuel price is increased, are you telling me that you are now punishing the car owners, big and small? Are we supposed to resort to motorbikes or better still, bicycle now? I can’t imagine our expressways filled with motorbikes and bicycles.

Next argument is, the government mentioned that by reducing the subsidy, they can use the savings, amounting to billions of Ringgit, to build new schools and infrastructure for the people. People, do you really need more schools and roads in the expense of higher petrol costs? Isn’t there a shortage of teachers now? What is the point of having schools but not enough teachers in it?

Roads? Whereabout? The current roads are filled with pot holes almost everywhere. There is always ongoing public complaints reported in the newspapers about it. We paid road-tax but our roads are in bad condition. Hmmm….Yes, there are some patch works carried out in blocks, but soon, you’ll find holes  again and this time they become bigger than before. I wonder why? Would constructing new roads bring convenience to the public or another added burden of maybe, toll charges? I tremble just thinking about it. 

To the Decision Maker or those influencing the Decision Maker, please don’t compare our country with that of non-fuel producing countries. Don’t start to say that these countries’ fuel costs more than ours. Why don’t we compare with those fuel producers? How much are they charging their people for fuel? Are we actually on the higher side or lower?

Please consider all angles before you make the final decision. Think about what you can do to benefit your people at large. Reason being, every little decision you make, has big impact on us. Public service is not lip service and this does not happen only prior to a GE (General Election). Action speaks louder than words. So, please do something to keep that promise you made to the rakyat.

Do you think the price of RON95  should increase – let’s take a vote here :

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Money Isn’t Everything But…

Everything is Money! Yes? I do agree that Money can’t buy everything, especially true love (love you for who you are, not what you are), everlasting happiness, peace, family, time, good health…

For those who have the “privilege” to experience penniless situation, you will agree that Money plays an important part of our lives simply because everything we need to mobilise our lives involves money. You see, humans are like this. You don’t know what you’re missing until you lost it. If you have been financially comfortable all this while, you’ll laugh all the way till the end of my post. But, for those who had dropped to rock bottom once upon a time, you can relate to this.

Most marriages fall apart because of financial issue; This is not what Alice says but it’s been researched and mentioned many times in the media. Without enough money, we can’t put good food on the table, no holiday trips (hey, balik kampung also needs money – to pay for toll charges and petrol, at the least), we can’t send our children to better school/tutorials/college/uni, we can’t even walk out of our house without paying for something! No one can deny that this is a material world. When money is not enough, couples would be worried and this causes strain to the marriage. This stress of keeping up with the Joneses, brings on dissatisfaction, unhappiness, resentment, affairs…..(I’m not a psychologist, mind you, but I quote what I heard).

I was once a romantic, believe in fairy tales, oh yes! I thought love is everything and money is side dish, one can do with the minimal. That’s the size of your side dish, right? Should there be times when I have to eat plain bread or roti canai or even white plain porridge with pickles, so be it, so long my partner is with me. Love prevails!!! I bet the bread tastes sweeter when one is in love. Oh yes! Life was so uncomplicated then – just the two of us…well, what do you expect, we were love-struck! =D

Then, we expand our family to include a little angel of our own. Now, this is when the complication starts. We can eat bread with plain water but not the little one? Aren’t we supposed to give him the best that we can afford? His presence puts our lives into different perspective. We have to work hard for the money to give him  a better life. Everything he touches and uses, involves money. It is either more expensive or cheap, but it’s money still!!!

The cost of living in the big city is high. Everything is so pricey. If you don’t earn enough, how are you going to support yourself and family? With school going children, you need money for his recess, books, tutorials, self-development activities, uniforms (+ extra-curricular), donations, etc. Hmm….how much is enough then?

So, tell me what is the average monthly household income for a family should be? RM8K, RM10K or RM15K? Mortgage usually takes up a big chunk of the income already. Next, would be the Hire Purchase repayments and costs of maintaining that car(s). A lady friend of mine, who is single, told me that she can’t live within her RM4K monthly salary in this big city. You work hard and you need to reward yourself too, right? Life is too short, you said? Okay…who am I to argue 🙂

While I strongly agree that money is very important, it is not the only thing that matters in our lives.  Yes, we have to work hard to earn that income to give us the lifestyle that we want. We want it so we have to work it.

On the hindsight, while chasing after the $$$, please keep your values and principles in sight. Do not sell you soul to the devil, just to be wealthy. Keep family intact by keep the communication lines open and expressing your love to them; go home to your family and eat as often as you can with them, for you can discover a lot, especially about the kids, at the dining table. Play or spend time with your children as much as you possibly can, as they are growing up fast. If you miss this once, you’ll never get it back. Take care of your health too, along the way. You know yourself best. You know your threshold. If you need to let go, do so. Take that break and come back recharged with new energy to pick up from where you left off. Believe me, you’ll function better this way.

Many people when they reached their financial goals, their health deteriorated. That’s when you realised that, what you have earned thus far, a big part is used to seek treatments, hoping to fix that “broken” body. For those who had lost the function of limbs would tell you that they are more than willing to exchange their fortune for the ability to walk again. To feel the ground under their feet, to walk unaided and run, feeling the wind caressing their cheeks and heart beating faster with each step.

All I want to say is we must have balance. By all means, go chase after that dream. Big dreams are fantastic! That puts you out of mediocrity. It makes you want to be better and fill your live with a sense of purpose. While you keep your eyes set on your financial goals, have your heart and mind set on your anchor. Your family is your anchor. They are the ones who would not give up on you when others already have; they are the ones who believe in your dreams when others can’t see it; they are the ones who tirelessly cheer you on after each pit stop; they give you that sense of purpose. Keep them close to your heart and mind always. When you have finally reached the peak, bring them with you to savor the taste of victory. What is success when you can’t share it with your loved ones?

If you like what I have written here, share with your life partner. I always believe that to be successful in marriage, you must have common objective and be enthusiastic, respectful and supportive of each other’s dreams. If we are not like this, we can learn to be somewhat like this, can we? To plant something, it needs a lot of TLC, why not give the same, if not more, to our precious life partner and our angelic children?

Life is great; Love is even greater; Money, makes the world go round….

~ Alice

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Happy Teacher’s Day!

To all teachers in the world, who are reading this post, Happy Teacher’s Day! To my teachers at SRK Father Barres Convent, SMK Convent, teachers at BUBS Dhamma School and all teachers/tutors/coaches to my children Cheers to you, for your dedication, patience, love and guidance.

This is my second post dedicated to Teachers (the first being “Dear Teacher“). We all know that being a teacher is more of labour of love than the money. People who choose to teach are usually the ones who are generous in sharing their knowledge, patient enough to deal with all sorts of behaviour/actions and want to make a difference in the lives of young growing children. They deserve to be acknowledged and recognised for their commitment in carrying out such challenging duties.

Teachers, besides being the educator, you are also the ones whom children look up to. You are their role models. Reason being, you are so smart and able to communicate with them more effectively. You also show your love, care and understanding towards them. Of course, there are times when you need to be firm. You stand firm because you want to teach the children that there are limits to freedom. They cannot do as they like (especially when it is wrong) and discipline is to be observed – just like every house has house rules. You also help to prepare them to face the real world. For that, I am grateful that you care.

I know of teachers, who feel so helpless beyond words, when they poured their hearts out, helping their students cope with their studies and discipline, but were condemned by parents instead. I also know of some parents who actually expect teachers to discipline their children as they cannot do so at home! Unbelievable, isn’t it?! (sigh)

I’d like to see teachers and parents as partners in this company called “My Child Pte Ltd“. Each partner has to carry out his/her responsibilities and does it well. It’s like a company with departments like Finance, Human Resource, Marketing and Technical. Parents are heads of Finance and HR whilst teachers are heads of Marketing and Technical. Human capital is the child, of course. Core values should come from parents and, teachers take it from there to brush up the skills involving technicalities (subjects taught in school) and self-presentation (ideas, public speaking, problem solving, etc). 

Well, I’m not surprised if some of you disagree with me. This is my personal view and it does not represent the general public’s. Everybody has different perception on everything and has the right to his/her views.This is how I see it….the positive side of things, focusing only on the good rather than ugly.

Teachers, my toast to you for all you have done for the children today, in shaping them to be leaders of tomorrow. Thank you, Teachers.

~ Alice

Awakened Heart, Peaceful Mind

TQ1

TQ1

Today, my class (Teen Quest 1) in Dhamma School, finally put together pieces of our creative “artwork”. We built that masterpiece in 3 short meetings. I could see team work here as we put the pieces together, right from the beginning, then up on the exhibition board, at the end! TQ1, am I so very proud of you! I had fun and I hope everyone did too. Bravo!!!

Having said that, I would like to expand this topic further, Awakened Heart, Peaceful Mind. To me, it’s common sense and logic, actually. It’s a general topic on human kind and the way we choose to live, act and think.

Awakened Heart : to my simple understanding, it’s about enlightenment, awareness, inner voice (from the heart), conscience, emotion, knowledge…. you can add on to this list, if you like.

We need to always be aware of our surroundings and people we are with, simply because what’s happening around us would, one way or another affect us, good and bad. By being aware, we’ll come to understand, why things happen the way they do, and that helps us identify the source of the issue and treat it accordingly. In short, be in the present, watch and listen attentively.

Additionally, our conscience tells us what’s right and wrong. Everyone has conscience. If we lose that, we’ll easily get tangled with some bad stuffs. Let’s hope we don’t go to the dark side. Conscience is that tiny inner voice in our heads. I always trust my inner voice – it’s like my guardian angel. It never fails to help me face life’s uncertainties.

Peaceful mind : peace in thoughts and action, maintain healthy mind, be kind to myself and others, ability to forgive, ability to wish people well and mean it, be grateful, love myself and spread it around. Smile! It’s free and contagious… something which we welcome, don’t we?

We must always feed the right “food” to our mind. If you think you are lousy, you are. But, if you think you are good, you are, too! So, feed your mind with boosters like positive, kind, and loving thoughts. Exercise not only maintains a good body physics but a healthy and strong mind. Whatever information you receive through your “antennas”, make sure you sieve it through. I would encourage you to keep what is good and throw away what is damaging.

Only when you are able to forgive, then you’ll be able to close that sad chapter to move on to something new and better. This is important. You can, if you want to. But, if you won’t do that, the anger and sadness would eat into you, inch by inch and cast shadows in your life for as long as you allow it. If you care to note, I didn’t say “forget”. It is easier to forgive but to ask you to forget, it’s a tall order. You have to come to terms with many things and have a huge heart, in order to forget. For now, forgive is good enough to move you forward. I can accept that, and hope that you can too.

When we wish people well, sincerely, we’ll feel happy and walk away with spring in our steps. The receiver will feel happy too. It doesn’t even cost you a dime! I am a true believer of giving compliments and praises, when deserving. If a person did something well and good, why not praise him/her. It didn’t make you a notch worse; it didn’t make him/her becomes more superior than you. In fact, you make his/her day, and have motivated him/her to do better. Isn’t that fabulous?! I like the idea of keeping the chain of goodness going around…

This coming week, let’s say something positive to ourselves and people who cross our paths, regardless who they are. See how it affects them and you. Try it to believe it, my friends. I bet you’re going to like it!

May everyone be well, healthy and happy. Again, TQ1, you’re the BEST!!!

~ Alice

Posted with WordPress for AN’s BlackBerry.

Help Children dealing with their Feelings

During pre-children years, I was a fantastic parent. I was an expert on parenting issues, always had something to add or say – no sweat! Till one day, I had one then two of my own. It turns my world upside down. Comments are just not enough. Like people said, “saying is one thing; doing is another”. How true…how true!

First, the baby cries to communicate his wants – you are like playing “win, draw or lose” always looking for clues to his blues. Soon, you’ll find him learning to walk and talk. How adorable! He starts to discover many uses of his limbs. Every word and action deserves the blue ribbon! He also adopts the “monkeys see, monkeys do” behaviour – oh yes, so be careful of what you say and do in front of that little bundle of  your joy. Don’t be surprised when they repeat your sentences perfectly to someone else.

To some, as this firstborn grows, the second baby comes along. Boy, how they wear you down. Armed with parenting books, parent groups, internet, we make sure we are ready for each casualty. Haa…haa..no matter how ready you feel, kids somehow have a way to spring surprises at you. Parenthood is fun and challenging, yeah?

Have we ever realised that most often than not, we have been denying their feelings without realising it? Take for instance, your elder child told you that he doesn’t like the new baby. What do you say next? Would you say something like “I don’t think so. I’m sure deep in your heart, you really love the baby“. Do you find yourself smiling now? Ah-ha!

Another example : Your young chap came to you and said that he doesn’t like the new football boots, the one he insisted on buying in the first place. Are you going to say something like, “I’m sure it takes time for your feet to get used to the new boots. After all the money we spent on it, you’ll have to wear them whether you like it or not.” Ooops!

When we deny their feelings, we are actually telling them that they have no reason to be upset, they are just being petty and it’s foolish to feel that way. Then, we’ll “force” them to smile, hoping that this smile would distract their mind from the issue at hand. Do you think they’ll feel better instantly? Try to force that smile out when you are feeling lousy….hard huh?

When our little ones come running to us, they are actually seeking validation to their feelings. Usually, with so many things spinning in our heads, we unintentionally dismiss their feelings and try our best to make it look better for them. We would be quick to explain that the world is like that and there’s nothing much we can do about it; we offer advice, we question them, there are instances where we even defend the other party, or we start to analyse the whole thing which makes them feel worse and even more confused.

The young ones are like us. When we feel hurt, the last thing they want is an advice. When we pity them, they feel more sorry for themselves. When we question them, they become more defensive. When we defend the other party, they would just give up and would try not to tell you anything anymore. They’d feel that whatever they say or do, it’ll always be wrong in your eyes.

What we need most when we are stuck in this situation is what they need also. That is, they want to feel that someone really listens to them, acknowledges their feelings of pain and disappointment, lets them have the chance to express themselves, to finish their sentences without interruption. Usually after they pour out their heart’s content, with a little lead, they could find answers to their questions, they could find solutions to their issues, on their own. All they need is  a listening ear and emphatic response.  

You notice that in all my posts, I prefer not to mention “Problems“. I refer to them as “Issues“. Problems seem big and heavy in the head, but Issues are more manageable – like a phase you have to pass through before you could move on to the next thing on your mind. Psychologically, the right choice of words can help you and your children have more meaningful conversation. It also allows them to feel that they can safely come to you, without being judged.

I find that this is one of the right ways to build a child’s confidence to express their feelings and to help themselves to solving their own issues. We grow up having our feelings denied. Yes, we survived but do we want to duplicate this method on our kids, knowing very well how it feels like being in their shoes?

It’s certainly not easy to adopt this new language of acceptance but it is also not impossible. I trust that with the right practice, we’ll be able to make a difference. I always believe in small differences at a time. As a result, it does make a huge impact in our children’s lives. Our influence is like a ripple on the water.

So, if we have not already done that, let’s do something differently this time. See if you can detect a sign of hope in your children’s eyes, a sigh of relief when you just listen, with occasional responses like “Mmm”, “Oh”, “really”, “I see”, etc. Encourage them to express their feelings….they need to. Besides being a good parent, we must also be their trusted friend.

~Alice