Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 - Reflections

It is the last day of 2007. What a year it has been! It's only like yesterday when I was studying my best for the A levels and now that chapter is all over. Lets just take a little look back...

From the depths of my diary, the goals I set for myself this year:

1. To sleep earlier - sleeping late was a major problem for me. was awake till the wee hours of the morning during school days and that was affecting my ability to concentrate during classes
2. To run and exercise regularly - ever since we got over napfa and with the a levels to contend with, physical exercise hit an all time low. gotta work to get those packs I always wanted
3. To study consistently for my a levels - the A's are important, nuff said.
4. Remember the birthdays of my friends and family - birthdays are important to me so I guess i should show it more to others too.

Somehow I just didn't have the persistence I required to achieve all those goals. I believe that one of the reasons I failed to achieve them is that I failed to have a consistent, unwavering focus on my goals. It was like I could manage to keep to sleeping early to a few days but when something came in and interrupted my schedule, like a heavier load of homework or something, it just came all crashing down.

Tynan also wrote a post on his blog about his goals for 2007 and how he believes he can better achieve it in 2008 and I believe that its really helpful.

Here's an excerpt from his blog:

So I see THREE major problems with these goals and with my whole life. These issues surface over and over again.

First, I need to hold myself to a higher standard than anyone could ever imagine.

This is something that ALL champions do. Shaq has a quote I read many months ago which still sticks out in my mind. I can’t find it, so I paraphrase:

“No one can imagine the high standards that I have for myself in my head.”

Will Smith had a similar quote where he talked about how he set all of his goals astronomically high and then worked non stop to achieve them. That’s the only way he felt that he could overcome ANY adversity that came his way.

Tyler from Real Social Dynamics has a great post where he says that when he decides to dedicate himself to something he assumes he’ll have to work harder than everyone else. BUT… he assumes that he can be better than everyone else eventually if he puts in that effort.

My grandfather, who is also wealthy, has this quote taped to his desk at his office:

”Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” –Calvin Coolidge

This makes a lot of sense to me. It resonates with me. When I think of my goals I think in terms of OTHER PEOPLE’S success. What level are they at and how can I get close? This needs to change. I need to DISREGARD other people and think of the level of success that I WANT. Then I will decide what it will take to get there and accept nothing less of myself.

My natural inclination is to get to the level where people consider me to be “good”. Not the BEST of the best… just amongst the best. That’s where I got with gambling, pick up, rap, even writing this blog (the rap one might be a bit of a stretch, since I’m obviously not amongst the best).

So from now on… I will hold myself to the highest possible standard imaginable for my effort.

I’ve already started doing this, but haven’t fully developed my plan. I’ve stopped accepting excuses from myself, which is step one.

It was Christmas Eve at midnight and I hadn’t worked out yet. I was in Boston, far away from my Crossfit class, and class wasn’t even meeting that day anyway.

“Eh. It’s Christmas Eve. I don’t have to work out,” I thought.

WHAT?

What does ANY of that have to do with ME or my fitness goals? NOTHING AT ALL.

So what do I do? I go to the basement and do a hard core workout.

I used to visit digg and reddit a lot. Then I thought, “These sites are NOT moving me closer to my goals.”

“But they’re interesting…”

EXCUSE!

I have now blocked them from my computer and will not visit them anymore. You have to understand that I tend to go overboard on stupid computer things… I didn’t just visit once a day, I would spend hours reading stupid articles. So for me it’s best to just totally block the site and remove the temptation.

And you know what? It’s not the SITE that I’m addicted to. It’s the HABIT. We’re NOTHING but a collection of habits, so it’s important to systematically remove all bad habits. Luckily I’m very good at sticking to these sorts of things when I make rules.

I’m also not putting enough effort into things

I already went into this earlier, so I won’t go nuts on it.

It is TOTALLY unacceptable in every way for me to not be working as hard as I can. I’m beginning to understand that in this area I cannot except anything less than 100%.

Think about it… I know for a fact that hard work is what it will take to become rich. I MUST become rich. How can I possibly think it’s ok for me not to work hard?

“But it’s hard to work all the time…”

WHO CARES? I have spent most of my life as a total slacker. I would say that I’m easily more prone to slacking than anyone who reads this site. That means that I have TONS to gain in this area.

Bottom line - if I am not willing to accept the importance of hard work and immediately implement it, then I am not worthy of being a millionaire and will not become one. Period.

I’m focusing on SYMPTOMS, not PROBLEMS

Since becoming rich is obviously my most important goal, I’ve written a lot about it here already.

But… I’m not a millionaire because I don’t have the right habits to be one, NOT because I don’t happen to have a million dollars.

In other words, I need to be setting goals for HABITS or for things I want to become. Not for end results.

“How I become a millionaire?”

Well.. there are a million different paths to get there. That’s not a goal against which I can measure my results on a daily basis.

However, if I determine the HABITS and ACTIONS necessary to become a millionaire, and I make those my goals, I will have to succeed.

A couple more things

Tim Ferriss has a fantastic concept in his book. I read the whole book and have read most entries in his blog, and I think this is THE KEY thing he talks about.

“Focus on output.”

Learning is great. Reading is great. But at the end of the day what MATTERS is what we output.

Did I build more of my program? Did I write sales copy? Did I get myself out into the field to meet new people? Did I make phone calls I had to make?

Input is easier to focus on. It’s easy to read about something. It’s easy to do a tutorial to learn a skill.

However, when you focus on output, you automatically seek out the input you need.

For example, when I was programming conversion doubler, I had NO IDEA how to program. I’d never used PHP, never used AJAX, and never used Javascript.

BUT… I knew what I wanted to accomplish, so I’d read little bits here and there as I went. If I needed to do some database queries, I’d look up the information on them and learn it on the fly.

Now I’m a pretty good programmer.

What would have happened if I learned all these things in school and then tried to make a program a year later? Chances are I’d STILL have to look a bunch of stuff up online, just like I had to do without learning it first.

Which is a more efficient use of time?

So from now on I’m going to think of each day in terms of “what was my output?”.

Those few things sound pretty familiar to me and helped me realise some things. Hope it helps you readers too!

On a brighter note, the things I'm proud to have achieved in 2007:

1. I managed to regularly write in my diary and practice daily reflection on my life. I believe that in a way, we are all artists, and our lives are our great works of art which we paint stroke by stroke, day by day. Wouldn't it be a great waste if we didn't take time to just stop and appreciate the work we've done even if its just a little time every day? Reflecting daily and keeping a diary is on of the best ways for you to understand yourself and understand what is going on with your life. Only when you understand your life can you work on them to make it all better. Diaries are also great tools to help one keep track of all your dreams and goals.

My diary!

2.I found someone just like me and am in a wonderful, trusting, mature relationship with her. People usually say that opposites attract, but when we're discussing long term relationships, experts agree that such couples should also possess many traits and qualities in common as differences can add up and cause additional friction in the long term. Its amazing that how love just found me when I wasn't even looking for it. Just know what you want in your partner and don't settle for anything less cause anything less just won't work out and that would only cause further heartache for both parties. Glad I found exactly what I wanted and we're both willing to put in the effort to make this work.

What I've always wanted - found.

3. Started hamletshero.blogspot.com! I just started blogging recently and I must say that I love it! I have a lot to say about the world and I am really happy that I started. Will do my best to continually update hamletshero.blogspot.com as regularly as I can with all my views and insights about the world.

4. Finally stopped procrastinating about procrastinating. Procrastinating is one of my biggest vices and thanks to my muse, I can say that I'm really doing something about it. Now whenever the thought to delay something for later comes into mind I tell myself that whatever I can do now, I must do now. Life is short, gotta do the things that matter now, not later.

5. Read quite a bit and learnt quite a lot of new things. Almost all the solutions to all of mankind's problems are already solved and stored in print! I'm glad that I took the time to learn from others on how to make my life a better one for I have really learnt a lot.

some of the really good books I've read this year

Now, my goals for year 2008:

1. Manage to stick to an excercise schedule - running must be a part of that schedudle.

2. Make time for myself each day to meditate, reflect on life and gain mastery over my thoughts. The quality of one's life is dependent on the quality of one's thoughts. Think of negative things, and negativity will fill your life; think of heavenly and positive things and only the best things will ensue. To do so, I plan to work on cultivating the 7 timeless virtues of enlightened living, as espoused by Robin Sharma in "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" each day.

3. Overcome procrastination completely - I will hold myself to such high standards which will leave no room for procrastination.

4. Do my best to be the best person I can be for all the people around me. I want to be someone who can enrich the lives of everyone around me and hopefully make this world a better place in all things I do, be they big or small.

Mother Teresa once said "Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: Kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."

I would also never forget the words of Brandon, my debate senior "...how can I, with the many gifts that I enjoy and may have come to take for granted, bless those around me?" If everyone thought that way, the world would be a much better place.

5. Equip myself with more skills that will allow me to reach greatness in every aspect of my life and have the determination to achieve mastery in such skills. I see the need to learn things like yoga, qigong, photoshop, investing and many other skills like these as these are things that will genuinely make life easier and better for me. I always believe that learning is one of the great joys in life you don't have to pay a cent for.

Registered to do my driving theory course today as well too. The course is pretty slack and is mostly on during the weekend, so I most probably have time to visit my muse during weekdays. Hope everything goes well.

Hope to see my muse soon.

Till then, happy new year everyone! Hope that 2008 brings us even closer to achieving all the goals we need to achieve!

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