Archive for the ‘Idea / Mind Hack’ Category

The 3 Words That Will Solve 99% Of Your Problems

Summary – BTB

Problems as many of you may have realized, are always complicated. There will usually be a lot of factors to solve it and this can be very overwhelming sometimes. Believe it or not, most problems can really be solved by just going Back To Basic (BTB).

Example of a Problem

Let me give you a complex problem as an example. Let say David had just been promoted to a managerial level. With the promotion, the company (like what most companies do) had squeeze everything from the poor guy. He was put in charge of hundreds of project. And he was pushed for result almost hourly. In short, he was under tremendous pressure and stress and it is starting to affect his health and his relationship with his family.

The Solution

There are many ways to approach a problem. This had been discussed a lot of time and if you are interested, I list here a few articles previously written on the subject.

However, to solve the problem using the “Back To Basic” approach, you must really sit down and analyze the basic elements of your problem. In our example, the problem is definitely the stress. David’s health condition and the relationship will not be affected if there is no stress to begin with.

Then David will see that the stress actually originate from his superior. Both the hundreds of projects and the company are not causing him stress. It is really the superior that giving him pressure.

Bear with me as I elaborate the steps of the “Back To Basic” method.

Now that we know the superior is the one causing him stress, the next step that David should do is to know what the superior actually want from him. What was it that if given, the superior will stop all the pressure. The answer is simple – Result.

Of course, the next logical step is really to determine how to get the result but let’s just stop right here.

Why Do We Need BTB

The second time I read this article, I’ve had that Duh feeling. Of course good result will eliminate the stress. Anyone can identify this immediately.

But believe me, there are so many people out there actually solve the problem wrongly. They start by solving the relationship problem first. While the stress is still accumulating, they are pinpointing the problem to the company, and may approach the problem by quitting the company. This is also the wrong solution to the problem as David will continue to receive stress from other company he will be employed.

Is BTB Just A Fancy Name For Problem Definition?

“Redefining problem” step identifies problem. “Back to Basic” step is actually providing the answer. Let me list down 5 of the most common problems to elaborate the difference.

1) How a company can make more profit?
BTB solution – More sales and less expenditure.

2) How to have an effective time management?
BTB solution – stop wasting time.

3) How to be loved by everyone?
BTB solution – Be nice.

4) How to lose 20kg?
BTB solution – Exercise and eat right.

5) How to wake up early?
BTB solution – sleep early and alarm clock.

– I wonder –
Any other question and the BTB solution that comes to your mind? Please share.

——– Personal Note ———
Actually I have quite the same problem with David. For those who may notice, it has been awhile since my last update. For your information, I was promoted and transfered to Sabah one year ago. For the past one year, I had to put more focus on my career to catch up and deliver result. As a result, the blog had taken the damage. I have no intention of quitting that I can assure you.

To all my friends still visiting, thank you. You are really the reason I’m still here.

p.s. For friends subscribing via email, you might not be able to view the video in my last post “Beautifully Imperfect”. I’m still working on it but you are invited to watch it here

Photo Credit – Jam1978

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Pay Yourself First Without The Money

If you are into financial management, I bet all my money that you have heard of the concept “Pay Yourself First”. Rest assured this post is not about finance.

Basically, the idea is to allocate a portion of your paycheck to be saved elsewhere before you even settle your pay-or-die bills. The concept is created simply because saving if not forced, is an impossible thing to do. I know it is kind of harsh, but it is the truth. You can see the proof from my bank account (which of course I will not disclose here).

Forget about my bank account. Just look at yours. Did you manage to save money if you didn’t save it immediately after you get your paycheck?

Amazingly the concept is just as useful to be applied to other things in life.

1) Peace of mind.
Everytime you have a moment of peace from work, or crying children etc, just take some time to finish off your book. Do not fill up that moment with anything else. Do what you want to do first.

2) Achievement.
Everytime you do a great job, give yourself a pat and say “Nicely done [insert name here]”. Do this before you start congratulating others.

3) Career.
Everytime you are overwhelmed with mountains of work, some yours and some are others’, you should always finish up your work first before helping out others. There’s no point in being a jobless angel.

4) Student life
If you are given the responsibility to be the president of your student council, but your grade are heavily affected by it, you should resign from the post and start focusing on your study. That is paying yourself first too.

/end list

It is always a noble thing to be selfless and to always think of others before yourself. But a line must be drawn simply because if you are taking care of others your entire life, who is actually taking care of you.

Remember the safety briefing given by the flight attendant everytime you board an aeroplane. You must first use the gas mask before you help your child. The reason is because nobody else will take care of your child if you had already fainted.

– I Wonder –
Do you pay yourself first?

——- Personal Note ——–
When it comes to loved ones, all rules go out the window. People no longer care for themselves when their loved ones are at risk. Would you agree?

Photo Credit – Allner_s

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Why Positive Thinking Is So Difficult - A Personal Theory

Summary – Picture a black dot in your mind. Nobody notices the white background.

How many of you would have agreed with me that positive thinking is just one of the most difficult thing to do?

There are tons of books on positive thinking. Each and every one of them is describing the benefits of positive thinking with great details. Some even come with real life examples. No worries, I’m not going to relist the benefits here. If you are interested, feel free though to read about my other thoughts on positive thinking here.

Despite the wonderful benefits of thinking positively, why are we still find it hard to apply it in our life? If for example, you are retrenched from your job, and your girlfriend broke up with you, all at the same time. Will you be able to smile and still think positively? You can do it but it will require your strongest willpower just to create that glimpse of smile.

My Theory On Why It’s That Difficult

I personally believe that we have been trained to make positive thinking difficult since we were children.

Remember when we first learnt the ABCs? We were first taught the 26 alphabets and when we were able to read, we were asked to focus on the 26 alphabets on the books and nothing else. We were never encouraged to describe the white color of the page, and we were usually scolded if we use the book for things other than reading. Do you know that books can be used as cartoon animator? or an emergency fan?

For the record, I have no objection with the methodology of teaching. Children at that age can easily be distracted and allowing them to play with books without any serious attempt to make them read can lead to a sudden jump in illiteracy worldwide.

Unfortunately, the methodoly had indirectly make us more close minded. A book will always be a book to us.

An Accident Is NOT Just An Accident

This is how it affect us now. Take a car accident for example. For most of us, a car accident is just a car accident. While in fact it is so much more than that.

  • It is a reminder for you to be more careful next time.
  • It is a chance for you to finally learn how to claim for insurance.
  • It is a boost in confidence in driving if you manage to avoid the accident.
  • It is an experience that you can boast to your grandchildren.
  • It’s your chance to practice your emergency response skills like evasive driving.
  • You may have saved someone’s life.
  • You can finally learn the true value of life.

In short, we just need to learn how to see a book as something else besides for reading. Isn’t that what positive thinking really is? Looking at things from a different and positive view.

– I Wonder –
What else can you do with your books?

———— Summary ———–
It was night time and I was at a boarding school. My friend and I was beginning to get bored with our studying. There he was, another friend who was actually sleeping on the table. Being bored, my friend and I started to stack up books on his chest. It must be around 10 books altogether when he woke up and started mumbling at us.

He must be very sleepy since he believed that we were doing an experiment to determine the maximum force needed to be applied on the chest before a sleeping man wakes up. At least that’s what we told him. Good times. 🙂

Photo Credit – JustReenie

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Summary – The 3 Elements of Personal Development

I’ve actually known someone who doesn’t believe in personal development. According to him, we should just live and enjoy our life as it is. I obviously don’t agree with him. If not, this blog will not even exist.

Personal development for me is one of the most important thing in life. If not, we might as well spend our days lying naked and crying all day long to be fed. However, I must admit that the word “personal development” itself is a heavy word. It is considered one of the many serious and difficult topics throughout literature.

Personal Development Is Actually Simple

The truth is, we are practising personal development almost every second of our life without even knowing it. Yes, it’s true. Take being thirsty for an example. We will immediately know that we need water. The whole process of recognizing the need of water, the walk to the fridge and the drinking is personal development. We are now no longer thirsty and that is the goal.

Just look around you. Everything you do will consist of the 3 elements of personal development. You identify what you want, you figure out how to get it and you go get it. Don’t you think the word “personal development” now feels a lot lighter a topic?

Just like a man lost in the jungle. He will be just fine if he has a destination in mind, a map to guide him and the will to walk. These are the 3 basic elements of personal development:

1) Goals – Know what you want to achieve.
2) Methodology – Know exactly how to achieve it.
3) Do it – The action without which everything else is just daydreaming.

Just memorize these 3 elements and nothing will be impossible to you. Listed below are the top 4 of my favorite techniques to help your personal development quest. Good luck!

1) Goals

  • Die next year – This is one of my favorite techniques when it comes to sorting out priorities. Just imagine that you will die next year. List down all the things you want to achieve. Now look over your list, and decide which items if achieved will make your life complete.
  • Other people’s success – Some will argue that this is a bad advice, but I truly think that other’s success in life can be a very good goal in our life. If you define success as having a million dollars, research your local millionaire and find out how exactly he succeeded.
  • 5 years plan – Just answer the following question as detailed as possible. What will you achieve in 5 years time? This is actually a cool tool since you will know whether you are on the right track towards your goals.
  • SMART Goals – SMART is an abbreviation of the key characteristics of a goal. A goal should always be:

    • “I want to be successful” – No
    • “I want to become a doctor” – Yes


    • “I want to be rich” – No
    • “I want to have a million dollars” – Yes


    • “I want to be forever young” – No
    • “I want to be healthy” – Yes


    • “I want to be a superman” – No
    • “I want to run a marathon” – Yes


    • “I want to save $10000” – No
    • “I want to save $10000 by the end of this year” – Yes

2) Methodology

  • Know your current status – Before you even start anything, you should really know where you are now in term of your goals. For example, if you want to run for marathon, you should check your current health first. You might not be healthy enough to pursue this goal.
  • Detail your steps – If you want to become a doctor, you must first enroll yourself in a medical school. It will be a step further from your goals if you enroll in an engineering school.
  • One habit at a time – This idea is made popular by a friend of mine, Leo Babauta of Just by sticking to one habit at a time, Leo had managed to quit smoking, ran for marathon, wrote a book, become a problogger etc. Truly inspirational.
  • Read – Unfortunately, there’s no other way to achieving your goals if not via knowledge. You will need to read a lot of books or personal development blogs to learn from the best. As a start, you can go through these 80 How-To Sites enlisted by Lifehack.

3) Do It

  • Motivation – Yes, my friend. This is where it need to start and usually where it will end. You will need motivation for you to do anything. You can read all the internet’s article on motivation but to tell you the truth, it really boils down to you. Find your own way to motivate yourself. That’s it.
  • X Mark – Create your own special calendar. It should be as big as possible. Everytime you miss working on your goals, mark the calendar with a big red X. Convince yourself that a big red X is something you don’t want to see on your beautiful calendar. Simple but it really works.
  • Report to a person – If you are a blogger, make the announcement in your blog. Tell your visitors what your next goal is. If you want to learn a new language, make a special post everyday about what you have learnt that day. When you feel obligated to report to someone, you will usually get the job done.
  • Carrot & Stick – This term is used to describe the process of rewarding and punishing yourself if you succeed or fail respectively. If you succeed, give yourself a mini rewards like buying a new camera. But if you fail your task, you should punish yourself like avoiding television for a week. It may sound harsh, but it will help you push through your quest.


These 3 elements are the basis of all personal development. As long as you incorporate this in your life, you will achieve anything you wish for. It’s just that easy.

– I Wonder –
Any other advices for a beginner in personal development?

————- Personal Note ————
There’s nothing wrong with waking up to a better you. It should be the only reason to wake up in the morning.

Photo Credit – Fdecomite

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