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The Personal Excellence Podcast
41 minutes | Mar 14, 2019
Nobody Loves Me
Have you ever felt this way before? That nobody loves you? If so, you’re not alone. I’ve felt that nobody loves me before, and in fact felt this way during many of my down moments in the past, such as times when I felt neglected or pushed aside. It was only lately that I learned to break out of this thinking pattern, and today I want to share how you can do so too. In this latest episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I share Why there have been a lack of updates lately (and my apologies about it!) [0:22] Why I would feel that nobody loves me [2:47] How I addressed this negative thinking pattern, and how you can too [4:49] Why it’s not true that nobody loves you [5:26] Where true self-love should come from [10:48] Why celebrities face self-love issues despite having the love of millions of fans [12:23] What happens when you pursue a relationship for the sake of feeling loved [13:27] Getting to the root of why you think “nobody loves me” [15:31] My childhood experiences that led me to this belief [16:18] Times when I was bullied in school [20:29] How I resolved these negative memories [23:41] My gratitude to you guys [29:02] An exercise for you to dig into the belief “nobody loves me” [30:45] How to start building up your self-love [35:01] Why there is no dichotomy between self-love and personal growth [37:24] My reminder to you [38:46] Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Nobody Loves Me Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! Nobody Loves Me [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 17, I’m Celes from PersonalExcellence.co! First off, I want to apologize for the slow updates in the past months, if not year. For those of you who are not on the PE newsletter, do join — it’s at personalexcellence.co/newsletter. Even though there hasn’t been much updates on the blog, I’ve been sending out email updates that are not posted on the blog. So maybe you don’t see as many updates there but there have been emails sent out — sometimes weekly, sometimes fortnightly, sometimes monthly. If you are on the newsletter, you’ll get access to all of that including announcements of live courses that I’m running. All that said, I totally recognize that there has been a lack of updates on PE. A large part is because I’ve been busy working on things in my personal life. Things that I feel are important, that deserve my full attention, as opposed to repeatedly running in a rat wheel and working on things that are urgent but may not be as important. I felt that I needed to take time out to work on these things. But I want to let you know that I have not abandoned PE. Not at all. Those of you who are longtime readers will know that PE is my life. It is what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life, and I’ve just been taking this temporary time out to work on personal things, personal issues, which I look forward to sharing more in time to come. I want you to know that I’m here to stay and I’m not going anywhere. :) Thank you for your positive reviews on Tunes — reading them has really inspired me. In fact, I was thinking what new content to produce — Should write a new article? Create a new podcast? Or create a new video? — and reading all your podcast reviews have inspired me to return to the podcast and talk to you guys again. Today’s Episode: Nobody Loves Me On to today’s episode, about “Nobody loves me.” Have you ever thought that way before? Where you feel that nobody loves you? If so, I can understand. There have been times when I felt this way, particularly during my down moments or times when I felt neglected or disregarded. For me, one of the reasons I would think this way is due to my childhood upbringing. When I was young, my mom was pretty much emotionally unavailable. She cared for me and my brother in terms of how a housekeeper or house carer would — like she did all the functional duties like laundry, cooking, etc., something that a traditional Chinese mom would do. And I’m really grateful to her for that, for raising me and my brother along with my dad. But she was pretty much emotionally unavailable, and I’m not sure if she ever is [emotionally available]. For the record, both my dad and mom are alive today. So whenever I needed something from her, needed to talk to her, or wanted to talk to her in any way, she would be very angry and scold me for no reason, or just be very critical and angry in general. Any contact with her was explosive if caught at the wrong time, and as a daughter I never really got to talk to her much, if at all. This weird dynamic, along with the fact that I grew up in an angry household (something that I mentioned in my anger series where my parents argued every single day in a very volatile manner), cultivated this feeling in me (growing up) that nobody loves me. It was only when I took the time out to address this feeling that I was able to break out of this negative thinking pattern. If you sometimes find yourself thinking “nobody loves me,” I want to let you know that you’re not alone. Here I share the steps that I have taken to work through this belief, and I hope you’ll find them helpful. 1) It’s not true that nobody loves you The first thing I want to say is that it is not true that nobody loves you. When we are too trapped in our problems, it is often easy for us to forget or miss out on the love and the good that are around us. For example, when I was thinking things like “nobody loves me,” right beside me would be my husband who loves me with all his might and has always been there for me. It’s interesting to see that when we are so stuck in our own problems, we miss out on these obvious things — the people around us who love us. Love here doesn’t have to be romantic love. These people can be friends, co-workers, relationship partner (if you are in the relationship), mentors, teachers, an acquaintance (someone you don’t know well, but this person may adore you or admire you or like certain things you do), or even just a stranger — someone who is admiring you from afar. So there can be all these people loving you, admiring you, and adoring you, and it is totally not true that nobody loves you. If you stop and think and look around you, chances are you’ll find at least one person who loves you. Who supports you, and who is there for you or has been there for you, and it’s just that you haven’t been focusing on this love or this person. You have been too wrapped up in your own pain, which then leads to the thought of “Nobody loves me.” It’s important to recognize this first and foremost because when we are too stuck in our own pain, that makes us block out the love that’s around us. When we block out the love that’s around us, that makes it difficult for us to receive love into our life. Exercise: Think of someone who loves you Here, stop and think. Think about the people around you. Think about your friends, your family members, your co-workers or your schoolmates, your mentors/teachers, your acquaintances, or just anybody in general. Think of at least one person who shares positive feelings about you. This can be feelings of love. Of admiration. Of like. Of support. Of encouragement. It doesn’t have to be romantic love because love isn’t just about romantic love, but here it’s love in terms of human universal love. Think of at least one person who loves and supports you. Chances are you’re going to think of one person. This can be someone who has supported you before. Encouraged you before. Been there for you before. It could be an ex-friend, a friend whom you were in contact with before and then somehow lost touch. It could be someone from your past. It could be someone in your present now. When you start recognizing this, it starts to change this dynamic, this thought of “nobody loves me.” Because then you realize, Hey this may not really be true in the way that I think it is true. At the end of it all, I want you to know that I love you. That’s important for me to say to you because the very premise of why I started PE is that I truly, truly believe in your potential for success in life. That’s why I create all these resources at PE, be it the free resources or the paid courses. These are resources that I’ve dedicated my whole life, my whole self into creating because I believe in your own personal ability and personal power. So I just want to put it out there that I love you. But most importantly, there are people in your life who love you. Be aware of these people, beyond what I’m saying here. Be aware of these people and start being open and recognize love around you as and when you see it. 2) True self-love should not come from an external source The second thing I want to share is that love should not come from an external source. Now, even if you truly think that nobody loves you — and like I shared in tip #1, I love you, so there’s me — but even if you truly, fundamentally think that nobody loves you, well that doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter because love (for ourselves) shouldn’t come from an external source. True self-love should fundamentally come from within us. This is important to recognize because we shouldn’t be looking upon the outside world for the feeling of love. So it’s not about whether you have the love of one person or 10 people. It’s not some competition where you try to get as much love as you can from others. True self-love should come from within. And when the love isn’t coming from within, or there’s something stuck inside keeping the love coming from within, then it doesn’t matter how many people are loving you right now. You would still not truly feel the love from around you. You would still feel those moments of self-negativity because it hasn’t clicked on the inside yet, in that you haven’t resolved this inner issue or the inner turmoil, and that’s something I talk about in tip #3. Example: Celebrities dealing with self-love issues An example would be celebrities. It’s not uncommon to see news about celebrities dealing with addiction, overdoses, or deep inner problems. Oftentimes this is because of personal inner issues that they’re working through. Issues of self-love. Depression. These can be people like Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, and even celebrities in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s important to seek help for this. But it is important to recognize that these celebrities have millions, hundreds of millions, and billions of fans adoring them. Even then, despite all the adoration they get from the fans and their huge popularity, they still feel moments of such intense negativity that lead them to their personal issues. This is also why in Soulmate Journey, which is my course on finding love, one of the very basic foundational modules is the importance of self-love. Because if we seek an external relationship on the basis of wanting to feel love, that’s not really going to solve the problem. It’s going to attract fear-based people. Or put you in a codependent relationship where you often seek your partner’s attention to feel loved. And when you don’t [get that], then you feel needy and clingy or you feel unhappy and upset. This brings me to this quote by Ayn Rand, which is “To say I love you, one must first know how to say the ‘I’.” Here, the point is not to focus on how supposedly “nobody loves me.” Because it is not about whether nobody loves you or somebody loves you, but why would it matter whether somebody loves you right now? Why would this matter, if not for the fact that there is a feeling of emptiness within that’s causing you to feel this way? Now this doesn’t negate what we are talking about in tip #1 which is to recognize that there is somebody who loves you. But rather, when we stop to think about the people around us who love us, and that there are people around us who love us (be it love, admiration, adoration, support, or encouragement), and yet we still find ourselves thinking “nobody loves me,” then it suggests that there’s some kind of gap, issue, or blockage within that’s stopping us from receiving the love. 3) Understand and address the source of “nobody loves me” This brings me to my third point, which is to understand and address the source of this feeling. Here is where we really get to the root of it: understanding the source of this belief, “Nobody loves me.” How did it start? When did it start? Why is this thinking there? This may take a while to unravel, and it may even go deep into your childhood. Because this is where most of our foundational beliefs start forming, and this forms the basis of a lot of the work that I do with my participants in my courses. My experience: Growing up with an angry mother For me, when I think about this thought “nobody loves me,” there are probably two key sets of experiences leading of this. One of which I shared at the beginning of the podcast, which would be my childhood upbringing, where my mom was just not really there. Like not there in terms of the spirit, if it makes sense. I felt like she was there in terms of someone who performed the functional duties of a mother — which I am grateful to her for, for raising me and my brother — but it was somewhat damaging to me, I think, the way that she raised me in terms of the other elements of her behavior. Such as her anger outbursts and how she would often shut me off, even in times when I needed her. So there was a time when I had fever and I think I was 13 or 14. I was a young kid and running a somewhat high fever. She was going to take me to the doctor, like I told her about it and the next step would be to take me to the doctor. On the way to the clinic, she started shouting, criticizing, and reprimanding me for walking slowly. And I was already dizzy and walking in the hot sun and trying to keep up with her fast walking speed. So that was one memory. Another experience I shared in my article on childhood stories. When I was young, and I was six or seven at this time, there was soap that went into my eyes and I thought I was going blind. I was smarting in my eyes and I already knew from past experience that my mom would tell me not to disturb her while she went about her household chores. But in reality, she was never free. My mom was just never available regardless of what was happening. So I knew from experience that I shouldn’t talk to my mom, or that I should avoid triggering any negativity by simply not talking to her. So that was a moment when I was really scared. I was scared that I was going blind. So I started to tell her about this, and true to that, she started shouting at me, saying that I was disturbing her. When I pressed on further because I truly was feeling discomfort in my eye(s), she just quickly looked at me and said I was fine, and then brushed me away and continued doing what she was doing which was laundry at that time. All these moments added together, along with the constant arguing in the household between my mom and my dad on a daily basis, all these moments created a feeling of void and emptiness. And this was not something that I was aware of at that point as a child. I think as children, we are just not aware of the feelings going through [our minds]. But that doesn’t mean that these feelings are not happening. We are not aware of these feelings forming, but they do affect us in our life, if not at that point in time. So thinking back, when I thought about why I would have this recurring thought “Nobody loves me,” I realized that a part of the reason is that all these moments, this upbringing, created a feeling of void in the family and made me feel like nobody loved me. Another experience: Bullying in school So there would be one set of experience, family. A different set of experience would be — and this would be to a lesser extent, like the main set of experience is my childhood and my family upbringing — school. Because of all these things happening at the family level and parental level, that make me a very awkward child in school. In the sense that my mom, in addition to what was happening at home, inhibited me from talking when I was a kid. Like literally talking in any way, and this would be a separate topic for a separate post or podcast. But she basically inhibited me from talking, so I never really got to speak or develop my communication skills as a child, except in school. So when it came to school and forming friendships, I was very socially awkward. I couldn’t really express myself or my thoughts in the way I would have if I was given the space to naturally talk as a kid. So that made me socially awkward and made it difficult for me to form proper friendships. So I was bullied in school. You know girl cliques and all these very childish behaviors that would go on in school. And there were guys and guys being nasty to girls and all that too. So there were a lot of these experiences where I would be negatively teased, bullied, put down, or criticized and I never really knew how to handle these situations. These contributed to me feeling worse about myself. So these two sets of experiences hand in hand cultivated this feeling of “nobody loves me.” It was when I was 18 years old when I started having the first moments of liberty because that was when college started and I entered university. I started having the starting reins of independence. Of being given the space to handle my life. I guess it was when I was 18-19 when I also truly started the journey of conscious self-development, which I feel should have and could have happened much earlier. But for me, that was when I really started conscious self-development and learning about myself, my life purpose, figuring out my values, and so on. Debunking these negative memories When I think back to these core moments that caused me to think “nobody loves me,” challenging these thoughts became important. Because it is not true what I had concluded at that point. a) Debunking my negative childhood upbringing and the conclusion “Nobody loves me” For example, with the way my mom treated me, how she was emotionally unavailable and so on, when I thought about it, it’s not true that her behavior meant that nobody loves me. I would say a large part of it had to do with herself. Her and herself, and her stories, and maybe the way my grandma raised her. I have no idea how my grandmother raised her; my grandmother has passed away, and to be honest, I don’t know much about the past because these are simply not things that my parents talk about in any way. But I do believe, thinking back, that my grandmother probably treated my mom in a very similar fashion when she was growing up. And there are obviously a lot of baggage and negative stories that come from being part of a low-consciousness upbringing. My parents came from very low-income households and I was raised in a low-income household, and I think that there are a lot of difficulties and problems that come associated when you’re dealing with [deep financial] struggles in life. So I would say that my mom’s own emotional unavailability, issues, and anger, they had more to do with her and her stories, and the kind of upbringing that my grandparents put her through rather than it being about me. Now as a child growing up, the only conclusion that I could derive at that point, from my own [limited] subset of life experiences then, would be that nobody loves me. Nobody loves me. That I’m alone in this world. That maybe my mom hates me. That people hate me. So thinking back, clearly this is not true. My mom did the best she could. Despite the limited circumstances, she did her best and that’s something that I’m grateful to her for. Similarly, if my mom didn’t love me in the way that she could or my dad didn’t love me in the way that he does, then they wouldn’t have worked so hard in the routines that they were in to raise me. My dad was always busy working in a low-income job, raking in the dough, supporting the family financially. My mom was always busy with the household chores, the laundry, the cooking — just toiling her 30s, 40s, the good parts of her life away to care for the household. These are not easy jobs at all. So clearly this belief is simply not true. b) Debunking my negative school experiences and the conclusion “Nobody loves me” As for my experience with school, basically these were just kids struggling in their own personal growth, their self-identity, discovering who they were on the inside. Just as I was working through my own problems, the other kids were also working through their own problems. Not really being self-aware. The people, the kids who were being critical or nasty, they were just doing their own thing, figuring themselves out. And there was really no need to interpret, even if subconsciously, that any of these experiences had any meaningful meaning because they pretty much didn’t. They were really just a bunch of kids growing and figuring themselves out in life. So thinking back and addressing these stories then helped me break out of this belief of “nobody loves me.” Because it’s simply not true. It was an erroneous belief that was formed from a bunch of random incidences that just happened that way, that really had nothing to do with me. Objectively seeing these incidences as they were and unraveling them then helped me break out of this thought of “Nobody loves me,” and to recognize the love that’s around me, all around me right now, be it the love from my husband, the love from the people around me, the love from people who love me, and the love from you guys. My readers. Gratitude to you, my readers I want to express how grateful I am to you guys for allowing me to do what I do. Thank you for being patient with me in the past one year or more, where I haven’t really been updating the blog much, where I’ve been busy working through things, and I’ve pretty much been silent. I felt that if there’s nothing good to share, then just don’t say anything — and by that I mean in terms of content. I didn’t (and still don’t) believe in writing and churning out stuff for the sake of it. I wanted everything to matter especially if I’m writing out something and many people would be reading that. I wanted to make sure that it counts for something, that I’m treasuring your time spent in reading my material. And I just want to thank you for supporting my work and allowing me to do what I do. So whatever it is, whatever capacity that you support the blog, be it by just listening to my podcast, reading the emails, buying my products, or joining my courses, I’m grateful for that. I just want to let you guys know and put this out there so thank you so much. :) Exercise: Probe into the feeling, “Nobody loves me” Now back to the point which is to understand and address your feelings for thinking this way. If you think that nobody loves you and you have moments when you think nobody loves you, I would like you to start questioning this thought. Start thinking further and probing into this feeling, “nobody loves me.” Because is it really true? Think back to when this feeling started. Chances are it’s going to go back to childhood. Probably from some childhood upbringing. Some experience you had when you were a child. Maybe some comment someone said to you. Maybe a series of experiences that you had. Maybe from how your parents raised you. Could also be to do with school experiences. It could also be from the lack of experiences that you had with your parents, with your mom, your dad. Try to pinpoint and understand where this feeling came from, when it started. As you do that, question this assumption or conclusion of “nobody loves me.” Is it true that because Event A happened that “nobody loves me”? You saw how I shared my breakdown just now. I shared the experiences, or some of them, when I developed this thought, even if unconsciously. At the point when I was a kid, I wasn’t aware that this thought was formed, but as an adult looking back and thinking back, I realized that some of these moments might have led to the conclusion, “nobody loves me.” So then, question the thought: Is it true that because this happened, that Event A happened, that nobody loves me? Chances are you’re going to find that it’s not true. You’re going to find that it was an erroneous conclusion made at that point when you didn’t know better. When you could only conclude things in this way. And then looking back as your adult self today, you’re able to break apart that incident and recognize that this feeling of “nobody loves me” might not really be what you think it was. That it was more of an erroneous conclusion formed at the point in time when you didn’t know better. The above might sound a little bit confusing, and I go into these things much deeper in my courses, but hopefully you understand what I’m trying to say here. There were incidences that happened when we were a child that made us think a certain way, but often time these incidences don’t mean that. And we only concluded that conclusion, that thought, that belief, because we didn’t know better at that point in time. Because there was limited data. And when we truly go back and question that experience, then we find that our belief was formed from a set of poorly formed conclusions, a set of poorly understood experiences. Really take the time out to understand and address your feelings for thinking this way. This tip is super, super important because this forms the foundational basis of how we see ourselves, really addressing this belief of “nobody loves me.” 4) Work on your self-love My fourth and last tip is to start working on your self-love. So we have already addressed and looked into the fundamental basis of how this feeling of “nobody loves me” got formed. The next step is to work on your self-love, because we can never stop working on that. If we ever feel that nobody loves me, remember here it’s about first loving ourselves. When we love ourselves, and we start loving ourselves, then we’ll be able to truly appreciate and see the love that’s coming from around us. So ask yourself: Are there things that you are doing that’s keeping you from self-love? Come up with a list of actions that you can take to start loving yourself. Maybe you are often really hard on yourself — and this may be something I want to do a podcast on, about not being hard on yourself — but maybe you’re just often being hard on yourself. Maybe you’re often pushing yourself. You’re often berating yourself. You’re often being critical of yourself. And these are things that you shouldn’t do to yourself. These are things that shouldn’t be happening. And these are things that you can stop doing to herself. Now instead, start appreciating you. Start loving you. Start loving your body, if you aren’t already doing that. Start loving your beautiful facial features. Start loving your hair, if you aren’t already loving that. Start loving your face. Your whole self. Your work, what you create. Start loving your behavior. Your actions. Start loving your goals. Your attitude. Your beliefs. There is no dichotomy between self-love and self-improvement. We can love ourselves and also be working on our personal growth at the same time. It is from truly loving ourselves that we see this opportunity for personal growth. And personal growth not initiated or rooted in a place of fear or competition or feeling that we are not good enough. But rather, personal growth rooted in seeing all the unlimited potential we have and how we can simply be better. So here, as you work on your self-love, also work on the things that you love to do. The goals that you wish to achieve. The things that you wish to do for yourself. Taking the time out for self-care. Taking the time out to support yourself in your endeavors. Taking the time out for your personal goals. Think about the things you love to do. And the things that you can do to start loving yourself or to love yourself more. And start working on them today. Closing Note We’ve come to the end of the podcast. If you think that nobody loves you, or you have moments when you think that nobody loves you, I just want to remind you that this is not true. There is someone who loves you and most importantly, you love you and you should love you. If ever there’s something blocking you from loving yourself, then it’s simply about understanding what it is. Why this blockage is. Where this blockage is. And then addressing that as I’ve shared in the tips of this podcast. I hope you’ve found this podcast helpful. I’ll be including links to related articles and resources in the show notes, so you can check them out. If you’ll like today’s podcast or you appreciate The Personal Excellence Podcast, I would truly appreciate it if you can take the time out to leave a positive review on iTunes. That would truly mean the world to me and help spread the podcast to more people out there. I look forward to speaking to you guys soon, this time definitely not one year later! Let me know what episodes you guys are interested to see, what kind of topics you guys are interested to see. Or even, you can record a question for me at personalexcellence.co/podcast — there’s a link where you can send a voice question over to me. So until next time, remember you’re beautiful, you’re complete, you’re perfect the way you are. Whatever it is, I love you and most importantly, you love you and you should love yourself. Talk to you guys soon. Bye guys! Endnote: Thanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast! For more tips on how to live your best life, visit www.personalexcellence.co Related Resources: What Childhood Stories Are You Replaying Today? How I Found Peace in My Relationship with My Parents (series) My History with Anger and How I Let Go of It (series) How To Deal With Moments of Negative Self-Worth [Podcast] (Images: Girl with teddy, Lotus bud, Child alone, Girl in classroom, Woman in forest)
35 minutes | Mar 14, 2018
How To Be Productive, Not Busy
It is so easy to be busy rather than productive in today’s world. With so many notifications and things screaming for attention, oftentimes, we could simply spend an entire day being busy without getting anything done. So how can we focus on the impactful and make the most of our days? In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I share 6 tips to be productive, not busy Why you should not start your day with chat [1:25] How to separate communication between inner circle loved ones and others [4:50] Why I turn off alerts and notifications [8:21] How to deal with incoming emails, alerts that you need to respond to [10:59] Starting your day with a priority to-do list [12:44] Why you shouldn’t beat yourself up when you go off task [14:49] Using batching to group similar tasks [17:07] How to create your 80/20 to-do list [20:32] Using a “Will do” list to defer incoming tasks [20:32] The importance of delegating [21:59] Why delegating was my Achilles heel in the past [22:42] 3 factors I used to determine when to delegate [25:05] 5 questions to ask yourself in a weekly/bi-weekly audit [29:16] Asking ourselves WHY, WHAT, and HOW as we live consciously [30:20] Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS How To Be Productive, Not Busy Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! How To Be Productive, Not Busy [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone. That is Celes from PersonalExcellence.co. Welcome back to the podcast! Today I want to talk about productivity — specifically how to be productive, not busy. I feel that in today’s world, it is so easy to be busy rather than to be productive. That’s because we have so many notifications, alerts, to-dos, things screaming for attention. Oftentimes, when we are not aware, when we are not conscious of it, we could simply spend an entire day just doing things, rushing from place to place, clearing item after item. But these things may not be the most impactful things that help us move towards our goals. So today I want to share some simple tips, six tips in fact, on what we can do to focus on being productive rather than being busy. 1) Don’t start your day with chat My first tip is don’t start your day with chat. It is very instinctual to want to open your chat application in the morning and see who messaged you. Thinking, What do I have in my chat inbox? What messages do I have? It feels exciting because you are getting messages from people, people you care about, or new people you just met. Also, it is sometimes like a little gift, like each message is a little gift and someone has a special message for you and you want to see what’s that. So I totally understand that. But unless it is an off day where you are not working, for your work days, I recommend not starting your day with chat because it can easily derail your day into a series of chat exchanges where chat is your main focus, as opposed to what you need to get done. This is especially true if you are an entrepreneur, you control your day, you control your routine, or if you are a freelancer. It is very easy to have your entire day derailed because of chat or even because you are looking at your social media news feed. You know, the social media platforms today. I shared in a previous episode on FOMO, the fear of missing out, about how social media applications and platforms today are designed to get you to come back to the platform. When you start your day with chat and this may be a chat application or a chat tool built into a social media platform, you have already entered their arena where there are all these design elements designed to get you to come back to the website. From the notification button color to the placement to the user interface, and so on. The best way is simply not going into chat at the beginning of the day. But instead focusing on the things you need to do. Another reason is that at the beginning of the day, our energy is at its highest and you want to direct that to the highest purpose activities on your to-do list. As opposed to pumping that into chat because then you’ll be putting your best energy into chat messages and replies which may not be the best use of your energy. There is an exception to this rule, which is if the person is a family member, an important loved one, like your partner or your kid. With these people, you should have a channel where they can easily access you. So this could be chat, this could be some other channel. That’s because there could be some urgent family matter or important issue where they need to notify you. Having this instant access lets you know if there anything that you need to tend to and so on. This is where there is a conundrum. Because then you’ll be wondering, Oh okay, if I need to be easily accessible to these people, the problem is when I check messages from them, I will naturally see messages from others. My answer is to use two different chat applications. This is if you find that it’s worth doing that. Using two different applications: (1) One for your super important, inner circle loved ones. The people who need 24/7 instant access to you; and (2) The second for everyone else. The good thing is there are so many applications today. Line. WeChat. Whatsapp. Facebook. Telegram. And so on. Simply designate one app to everyone else, I guess the default channel that everyone uses like WhatsApp and Facebook. And use a different channel that very few people use. Use that channel and allocate that to just your loved ones, like your parents or siblings or your spouse, your children. This way you have a separate channel that’s just for these people and you can use that without all these non-stop notifications, all these elements trying to pull you in. At the same time, you can still connect with the other people in your circle using the general application for everyone. I do that and I find that super useful in helping me stay focused. Before that, I was just using one application for everyone when the one person I communicate with the most and I need to communicate with frequently would be my husband. I found that a lot of times when I was checking the chat application for his messages, I would naturally see the messages from other people. Some of these messages, in fact, most of the conversations were not essential. It’s like banter, casual banter, which is fine and good for socializing, but not to the extent where I need to see it all the time every day. The problem is when you log back onto these chat applications, you know that many of the social media tools today will show what time you were online and many of these tools don’t have a feature for you to turn it off — which is terrible. Then other people will see, “Oh you’re online, but you’re not replying to me. Why are you not replying to me?” And then that’s all this nonsensical stuff which is totally unnecessary. So I find the best way is to simply use a different app for these inner circle people whom we need to communicate with on a very, very frequent basis throughout the day. And also with them, they understand that each of us has things to do. I have my things to do. You have your things to do. And our priority is to focus on these things. But at the same time, we check back this application throughout the day, just in case there are urgent matters, home matters, household issues, etc. that we need to see and deal with. Another way that one of my ex-professors uses is having two different phone numbers. One number for close family members. Another for everyone else. That can work too if you are okay with using two different numbers or you have a dual SIM card phone. Otherwise, using the two chat applications, that works pretty well. 2) Remove distractions My second tip is to remove distractions. By that I mean the notifications, the alerts, all these different things that are so common and part and parcel of every application, software, website that we use or visit nowadays. I find them very intrusive. I always turn off all these notifications and alerts. Whenever I install something new, if I have to install — So firstly, I rarely install new apps or software, only the essential ones. That’s very important, knowing the key things you need to have and saying no to everything else. Then, with the apps that I do install, I will disable all the alerts, notifications, and so on. On your phone, there is an overriding feature in Android — I’m not sure in iPhone — where you can disable notifications. This is a phone-level setting, not a setting with the individual app. In the “Settings,” I think it’s there on most Android phones, there’s a feature in “Applications” where you can turn off notifications for each individual app. Doing so overrides the notifications for that app, if it doesn’t give you that option to turn off its notifications (which I find quite common in today’s applications). So turning off these alerts. Email alerts as well. I don’t have email alerts. I only check emails at specific moments of the day when I’m taking a break from my core task. Because when I’m doing a task, especially a high-level task, just having this stream of incoming notifications, be in terms of SMSes or email alerts or any app notifications, I find them very disruptive and they often take my mind from a high-level mode to a very low-level reactive mode. When there are all these notifications going on, even if no active notifications right now, I don’t enter into high-level mode because I’m constantly sitting in wait for the next alert, the next message, the next notification. So I’m sitting there, in reactive mode, anticipating, Okay there could be a next alert, so I don’t want to enter into this high-level thinking mode where I’m thinking about ideas or writing an article and so on. Some of you may be in positions where you need to be accessible all the time. For example, maybe you are an account manager at a PR agency and you need to be accessible to your clients. That is totally understandable. For these situations, I recommend designating fixed moments throughout the day where you check your messages, emails, return calls, and so on. This could be once every hour, at the start of the hour or once every 40 minutes. It could also be after you finish a task or a segment of a task. This way you introduce some structure into your days, as opposed to being in reactive mode 100 percent of the time. You want to be clear on the Quadrant 2 priority tasks that you want to get done, while being responsive to the incoming alerts, the firefighting staff you have to handle as part of your job. In our job, it’s common to have a lot of Quadrant 1 tasks, which are the firefighting stuff, the urgent and important tasks. And there are the Quadrant 2 — the very important but never urgent tasks. We want to strike a balance between getting the Quadrant 1 tasks handled, and also having the time to work on the Quadrant 2 tasks that never become urgent but it is important to work on them to make significant headway towards our goals. 3) Have a priority to-do list My third tip is to have a priority to-do list. Get clear on the 2-3 key things you would like to accomplish for the day for it to be rewarding. As part of this priority to-do list, you can have other things that you need to get done too. For example, scheduling this doctor’s appointment or returning this critical email and so on. These are little tasks that may not be in the top 2-3 things you need to get done, but you need to get them done as part of moving things forward. But in this to-do list, you want to be clear of what are the 2-3 key things, the big rock items, that you want to spend a substantial or considerable amount of your time working on and make good progress in them. When we don’t have a priority to-do list, it is really easy to spend our entire day working on 10 to 20 little things. But these 10 to 20 little things often don’t make a significant change or a significant dent in our Quadrant 2 goals in the long run. So we could be spending our entire day doing all these little things every day and constantly busy, thinking, I’m rushing and doing this and that, I’m multitasking, I’m doing all these different things. But that is not a good use of our time. If anything, when we are doing all these things, we are running in our rat wheels, as opposed to taking a good look at the tasks that require our time and energy, the tasks that we should be working on. When trying to transit from this working on 10-to-20-different-things mode, to the work-on-2-to-3-big-items mode, we can often feel a lot of resistance. Because there’ll be all these things trying to pull us away from our priority tasks. All these things screaming for attention, firefighting stuff, seemingly super urgent critical stuff. I would recommend not seeing it as an absolute change that you need to make. Like, Oh, okay, I must just do these 2-3 big things and that’s all. I don’t want to do anything else. Oftentimes it is a transition that we do where, okay, we spend some time on the 2-3 big things. We know what they are. We spend some time on them. But there would still be the little things that come in. Do what you can do. Do your best to hand those little things. Once you’re done, go back and focus on those 2-3 big items. See this priority to-do list as something to anchor you, to remind you of your priority to-dos. But don’t get pressurized or stressed by those things. For example, if you don’t make significant progress on these things, or you don’t even get to spend any time on these things today, don’t beat yourself up, okay? Don’t feel bad about it. Because it’s really normal. It is super normal especially when you are at the intersection of a million to-dos and a million things demanding attention, to sometimes have days where you’re working on these million things as well. That’s fine. Just do what you can to get these things sorted out and then direct your focus back to your 2-3 priority to-dos. That is the most important thing. Constantly making the effort to shift back to your priority to-dos, as opposed to taking it as an absolute standard that you have to follow. Because that can lead to a self-defeating mindset, a self-defeating situation where you feel bad, and you beat yourself up, and that isn’t what we’re going for here. 4) Batch similar tasks My fourth tip is to batch similar tasks. Often times you will probably find a recurring pattern in the tasks that you do. And when you start seeing a similarity in certain tasks, it helps to batch them. Batch them meaning, let’s say you need to return email number 1 and then, later on, you need to return email number 2, and number three, and number four, and so on. So as opposed to logging into your inbox every 5 minutes to return one email, I recommend batching all these tasks together. So you can spend 1-2 hours on a Quadrant 2 task, and then at a specific point in the day, log into your email and reply to all these emails together. Another example is, say, you are a website designer. You are maintaining four different client websites. Say there are several changes that you need to make to website number three. And there are constantly new changes streaming in each day. Maybe it makes sense to batch all these little changes you need to make, and then make them at the end of the day or at a fixed moment of each day. As opposed to making no changes on an ongoing basis throughout the day. Because there is always a set-up cost involved for each task. Where you need to log into a certain interface, you need to key in certain details, you need to set your mind in that mode, and then you need to assess that situation and think about what you need to get done. This setup cost happens each time you work on a task. When you have many little tasks for an overall project, and you keep repeating the same steps even if each time you are doing one small little task… Say you have five little tasks for this big project. This setup time quickly accumulates. Before you know it, you would have spent the entire day on this setup time and this “switching cost” where you’re constantly switching from task one to task two. Even if you are a superb multitasker, which I’m sure many of you guys are, there’s always this cost involved. Again like what I share in Tip #2 on removing distractions, you’re forever spending your time in this reactive mode, this low-level mode, where you are doing all these administrative switching things, as opposed to getting into the high-level mode where you are making significant changes. So as much as possible, batching similar tasks together. This does require you to take a step back to evaluate and assess what are the tasks that keep taking up your time each day. Often times we are not aware that this is happening until we take a step back to write down the tasks that have been taking our time throughout the day, and start to see a similarity or trends in these tasks. This is where having a “Will do” to-do list helps. In Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program, the task for Day 8 is to work on your 80-20 to-do list. For the to-do list, 20% high-impact tasks. I recommend having a column where you write down your 20 percent high-impact tasks, i.e. the tasks that will make the biggest impact, that will be the best use of your time for the day. This would correspond to the priority to-do list in Tip #3. 80% low-impact tasks. Then have another column which consists of your 80 percent low-impact tasks, and these will be the tasks that need to get done, the little tasks that are not the best use of your time but need to get done. Will-do tasks. And then another column which would be the “Will do” to-do list where you write down the tasks that stream in throughout the day and you need to get them done. But you don’t need to do them right away. Oftentimes a lot of the things that we think what we need to do right away, we don’t really need to do them right away. Putting them in the “Will do” column and then assessing them at the end of the day and tending to them, helps us see the similarity in these tasks and batch them so that we can deal with them more effectively. 5) Delegate My fifth tip would be to delegate. Now I know that this tip wouldn’t be applicable to those of you who are not in a position to delegate. But for those of you who are, maybe you are an entrepreneur, or you are at a managerial position, or you’re working in a team where the other co-workers handling different tasks, then it is important to learn to delegate. Even if you are not in the position to delegate right now, there will likely be a time in the future when you move to a different position in your career or you move up the value chain in your career ladder, where you would need to learn to delegate. I have to say that delegating has always been my Achilles heel because firstly, I like to be hands-on. I like to be in the thick of the things that I’m working on. I will say that I’m a creator. I get the satisfaction of creating stuff and you guys can see that. Like with my entire website, Personal Excellence, I’m very hands-on. The entire website is built by me and so on. When I delegate, I stop working on that particular stuff that I’m delegating. That removes one small piece of satisfaction because the creation process is where I get a lot of satisfaction. The second reason is that I don’t like to trouble people. I don’t like to implicate others or burden people with my problems. I just like to handle things myself and internalize and deal with them as much as possible. So for a long time, I just didn’t like to delegate. I would just do everything myself as much as I can to the point where I would feel like bursting. But I have found that delegating is an important skill. It is a crucial skill if you want to do much more than you are able to with your own bare hands. Because we can never accomplish as much if we are always relying on ourselves. We can always do more when we have an extra set of hands helping us. We can always do more when we have two different brains working on a problem. This is something that I took very long to learn. Nowadays I’m learning to do that more. Delegating, identifying which are the parts of my business where I should delegate and let someone else handle and help me in them, while I work on the higher-level stuff that is the best use of my time. With regards to delegating in my business, I have three factors that I use to evaluate whether I should consider outsourcing or hiring. Repetitive. Is this task repetitive? Is it highly recurring? If it is highly recurring, it has a high frequency, that means I should potentially look at hiring someone to handle this. Value of the task vs. my time. Is it the best use of my time? Or can my time be better spent elsewhere? When you are running a business and as your business matures and as your customer base grows, you start to be involved in many, many different tasks of many different functions. So you could start your business and many things are important. But there will be a point where there are just so many tasks and many things are important, but it’s just not possible for you to handle everything. And that will be certain tasks that are more important than others and that are a better use of your time.For example, in my business, there could be marketing, editing, audio editing, video editing, site maintenance, content creation. And all these things individually by themselves are important. But is every task the best use of my time? Or can my time be better spent elsewhere? And it is a very critical question because unless we consciously evaluate the value of our time and whether this time can be better spent on Task A or B or C, we will forever be in this mode where we feel that everything is important and everything deserves our time.But when we stack up all these tasks side by side, it becomes clear that there are certain tasks are a better use of our time than other tasks. And these tasks that the best use of our time, oftentimes they are the critical aspects of our business and our work. And us putting energy into them can create the biggest rewards. Pros vs. Costs of hiring. The last factor, whether the pros of hiring outweigh the costs. Because there will always be a cost involved when you’re looking at hiring or outsourcing. Now if you’re delegating to someone in your team, in the company that you’re working in, then the cost element wouldn’t really be applicable. But if you are a business owner or entrepreneur, then the cost element would be involved. Even if say if you are delegating something in your personal life — so you could be working in a company but you are looking at delegating aspects of your personal life, say household cleaning, grocery shopping, or potentially getting a helper, then the pros need to be weighed against the costs and whether it’s worthwhile. When you’re dealing with something that is highly repetitive, is not the best use of your time, and the pros of hiring outweigh the costs, then you should look at kickstarting the hiring process. It can be pretty difficult to get good talent, good people to help you or good services to help you. In some cases, it may not be hiring someone as much as you are engaging a service to help you in that thing. But once you find someone who can help you or a service that can help you, you will find the rewards tremendous. Because now you can take a load off your shoulders and dedicate your mind space, your time, your energy on the things that truly would be the best use of your time. 6) Do a regular audit My sixth and last tip is to do a regular audit. Audit meaning you look back at how your week has been and you ask yourself: How has this week been? Am I satisfied with how I’ve spent this week? Have I spent this week on the most important things on my task list? Could I have spent this week in a better way? Moving forward what changes would I like to make, if any? Asking yourself these questions can be very helpful because oftentimes we are just heads down in our work, our tasks, trying to complete item after item. We often don’t take this step back to get a macro focus on what we are doing, how we are doing things, whether that’s a better way for us to do something. Without this audit, we can forever be stuck in this micro mode, just rushing from place to place, finishing task off the task. Before we know it is already been weeks and weeks or even months, and we look back and we wonder, Where has all this time gone? Doing this audit helps us take a step back and think about these three points: WHY. Why are we doing this? Is this the best use of all time? WHAT. The things that we are doing. Are these truly the best use of our energy? Are these the things that will be moving us towards our highest goals? HOW. The way that we are doing things, the approach that we’re using right now, is this the best approach? Can there be a better approach? Can there be a better way to do things? So you can do an audit every week, every two weeks, or even every month. But the point here is to do an audit. Use the audit as a chance to evaluate how you have been spending your time, because it is so easy to be stuck in work mode, busy mode, and spend all the time that way without really thinking about whether this time has been spent effectively. An audit is this chance, this opportunity where we can take that step back to really think about how our days have gone, how weeks have been spent, and whether we can do things in a different way. Closing Note Productivity is when we are consciously spending our time. Consciously approaching our days and thinking about how we can make the most out of it. Busy, in a way, can be considered a lazy way of living. In that, you’re not really thinking about the things that you’re doing as much as you are just doing them. While it is very important to have a good work ethic, which is what being busy is about, you want to make sure that your time is being spent in the most impactful way. This is what productivity is about: Working hard, while at the same time making sure that your hard work is creating the highest impact. Making sure that your energy and your efforts are creating the biggest impact in the world. So that’s it for today’s episode. Thank you so much for listening. I have an article that shares more tips on how to be productive versus busy that you can check out in the show notes. I’m going to link that in the show notes, along with links to some other resources related to today’s podcast. If you have found today’s podcast helpful, I would super appreciate it if you can leave a review on iTunes. You can do that at personalexcellence.co/itunes. Every review goes a long way to helping the podcast to grow and towards spreading the message of conscious living further. I want to take this chance to thank all of you guys who have posted such positive reviews and sending such wonderful feedback to me through the contact form. I read everything single one of your messages and I’m so grateful for your support. So thank you so much to you guys. You guys know who you are. So that’s it. Until next time, remember: you are beautiful, you are perfect, you’re perfect the way you are. Talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye guys and have a great week ahead. :) Endnote: Thanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast! For more tips on how to live your best life, visit www.personalexcellence.co Related Resources: Busy vs. Productive: 7 Tips to be Productive, Not Busy How Social Media Creates a Fear of Missing Out (And What To Do About It) Put First Things First How To Achieve More With Less Using The 80/20 Principle Is Your Goal Worth 30 Minutes of Your Time Every Day? Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program
7 minutes | Mar 1, 2018
You’re not alone
Have you ever felt like you’re alone sometimes? That you’re facing life’s struggles but you’re going through so much pain alone? That no one seems to understand what you’re going through? I hear you. Today, I just want to record a quick podcast to let you know that you’re not alone. Listen to the episode below: Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS You’re not alone Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! You’re Not Alone [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone, Celes here from PersonalExcellence.co. Today, I just want to record this podcast to let you know that… you’re not alone. For some of you listening to this, maybe you’re going through some kind of problem right now. Some kind of struggle, issue. Whatever it is that you’re going through, I just want to do a shout-out and let you know that you’re not alone. I know that life can be really sucky sometimes. Sometimes, we can be trying our best but we face obstacle after obstacle. Sometimes we may be dealing with problems that are so difficult that we wonder if there will ever be a way out. Sometimes it can be a tough struggle just getting through life itself. And whenever we are going through times like this, it can feel very isolating and very debilitating. If you’re experiencing any struggle or pain right now, I just want let you know that you’re not alone and I totally understand how you feel. I myself, I have been going through problems myself too. I shared a couple of episodes back on the work and business challenges that I had been facing in the past years. If you haven’t listened to the episode, you can check it out here: Challenges that I’m Facing Today I also face life struggles as well. I find that the world today is a little bit of an alienating one for me. I find myself increasingly distanced from the way the world is today, the mass society I mean. Consumerism, all the mad chase for money as an end goal in itself. The pursuit of certain objectives without interest or care for the society and the universe at large — which I find somewhat depressing. I just feel a general alienation in terms of the person I am today, the kind of values that I want to uphold and follow, from the general values of the society that I’m living in, which is very much about materialism, self-driven pursuits, and blind conformism. So I do feel alone in that respect. I understand if you are going through health struggles or any kind of chronic issue or condition. I was going through a series of chronic, symptomatic health issues — and it’s all okay now — but I was going through some symptomatic health issues in the past years (which I may write about in the future). The process of seeking help, trying to find a solution, trying to uncover what the heck is going wrong — it was a frustrating and a bit of an isolating one. Because I found that certain health care practitioners may not really care about you and what you are looking for, as much as it’s more of a patchwork scenario, where they just want to cover up the symptom or fix the symptom (with unnecessary medication or medication that may cause other problems in the long term) as opposed to really uncovering the root issue. And I find this somewhat common in today’s Western healthcare. So whatever it is that you’re going through… Work. Health. Relationship. Life issues. General struggles. Pain. Frustration. Financial worries. Financial struggles. I just wanna let you know that you are not alone. I have written about quite a number of the issues that I used to face. For example, Emotional eating, binge eating Body image struggles Feeling inferior about my looks, my body, my femininity Going through heartbreaks, moving on Growing up in a dysfunctional family unit Having trouble finding love for a long time Disappointment Work struggles Anger issues If you are facing any of these issues, feel free to check out the series that I’ve linked to above. There, I share detailed tips on what I went through in the past and how I worked through these issues. Hopefully, you’ll find these tips helpful for you. Whatever it is that you’re going through — just keep at it. Keep at it and stay strong. Do what you can. We may not be able to change all the problems that we’re dealt with. We may not be able to change everything around us. But we do what we can. We do what we can to improve and change the situation. We do what we can to solve the problems. Soon, we will find that the good things will start coming our way. That things will start moving up. And things will get better. This I promise you. Things will get better as long as you keep trying and keep going. Just never give up. So that’s it for today’s episode. If you have a question for me, any issue or problem that you’re facing, feel free to post your question via the podcast page at personalexcellence.co. There, you can record your question in the form of an audio clip and I may well answer it in the next episode. Until next time, remember: You’re perfect. You’re beautiful. Sending a HUGE hug to you wherever you are in the world. Remember you’re not alone, okay? Bye guys! Endnote: Thanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast! For more tips on how to live your best life, visit www.personalexcellence.co
38 minutes | Feb 15, 2018
How Social Media Creates a Fear of Missing Out (And What To Do About It)
FOMO — or the fear of missing out — has become a pattern in today’s world. We are constantly on our phones, glued to social media feeds and checking what other people are up to. The more updates we see, the more anxious we feel. We see people living this exciting life, achieving this new milestone, doing that exciting activity. We feel like we are missing out, that we are not living a good enough life, and we have a compulsion to keep up. So we keep up… buying, keeping up, and absorbing as much information and updates as we can. And this addresses our anxiety… or does it? Can you relate? Well, today’s episode is just for you. :) In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I cover What is FOMO [0:29] Signs of FOMO [1:27] 4 reasons why FOMO exists [4:39] 5 strategies to tackle FOMO [15:06] Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS How Social Media Creates a Fear of Missing Out (And What To Do About It) Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! Fear of Missing Out [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everybody, welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast! This is Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co. Today we’re talking about the fear of missing out, otherwise known as FOMO. Have you heard the term FOMO before? I’m sure some of you have. But if you haven’t, FOMO refers to the apprehension that one is not in the know, or one is out of touch with some event, experience, or interaction. This compels the person to constantly want to know what’s going on, what’s happening out there, and whether they’re missing out on something. In today’s world, FOMO exists on some level in many of our social media habits and online behavior — even if you don’t realize it. This is why I want to discuss this topic today because I feel that FOMO has become such a prevalent issue. Some Signs You Have FOMO Some signs of having FOMO include Continually refreshing your social media newsfeed to see what’s going on, what’s the latest update, and the new things that people are discussing right now. Feeling the need to know what so-and-so people are doing. This can include the people in your social network. It can also include the people you don’t know, such as celebrities or famous people. The constant feeling that you’re not satisfied with your life, and because of that you keep looking outward at what others are doing. Feeling that perhaps you are not doing enough. So as opposed to enjoying your time right now with the people you are with and the life you have right now, you are constantly checking and seeing what others are up to, because you feel that otherwise, you may be missing out. Why FOMO is Unique to Our Era I feel that FOMO is a phenomenon that’s unique to our digital era. FOMO as a term was coined in 2003 and it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. That’s just a few years ago. So why is FOMO unique to our era? Imagine in the past, way before the internet was invented. Say it’s a Friday night and you just finished work. What do you do? Perhaps you would read a book. Perhaps you would do some simple activities. Maybe you like to knit so you knit. Maybe you watch a video of your favorite movie. Or you have a quiet conversation with a loved one. So you do that and you sleep. And you could be feeling pretty satisfied with your Friday night, doing something that you like. Nowadays, everybody is connected. You can see what anybody is doing and everyone’s updates. With the Internet today, typically what happens is this: It’s Friday night. You could be browsing your social media newsfeed and your Instagram newsfeed. You see this professional coach or guru going to some event, achieving some new level of success, getting this new interview, living the high life. Or you see this celebrity, this person partying at some gala event, living in some mansion, doing some new photoshoot, or having some brand new product launch. So you could be excited and feeling satisfied with your Friday night, reading a book, knitting, talking to a loved one, whatever it is. But now you are left feeling like you’re boring and lousy because you’re not doing all of these things that these “exciting” people are doing. And that, in essence, is FOMO. 4 Reasons for Fear of Missing Out I see FOMO as the result of a few factors. 1) Prevalence of Fast-Speed Internet First, the wide prevalence of fast-speed Internet. It’s incredibly easy to get information today. In the past, when the internet was new, it was slow and we were on dial-up modem. Some of you guys may still be on dial-up. But in the past, dial-up was the norm. Over the years, as the government, societies build up the infrastructure, high-speed internet became more easily accessible and at a lower cost. Many people around the world have fast internet today. So you can easily get information at the click of a button. With that, you can easily see what people are doing with the click of a mouse. What Brad Pitt is doing right now, what Angelina Jolie is doing right now, what the Kardashians are up to. All this information, just easily accessible at the click of a button. Because of that, you can instantly know what others are doing. This starts this whole comparison cycle and behavior because now you can easily compare and put side-by-side what other people are doing and what you are doing. This starts to create a feeling of lack, a feeling of inferiority, that maybe you’re not good enough. 2) People displaying a perfect version of their lives The second factor would be people using the Internet to exhibit their best selves. Along the way (in the 2000s), the Internet became this platform where people get to share about themselves. But now, instead of people sharing about themselves, people are using the Internet to exhibit a very manicured version of themselves. Sometimes this version may not even be true to reality. So there’s a very heavy level of self-monitoring and self-altering behavior going on. We have magazines out there isn’t it? In the media industry, with the magazine editors heavily photoshopping magazine covers, they create this “picture-perfect” version of beauty and very narrow definitions of beauty. That’s the magazines and it’s enough that media industry is doing that. But now, instead of this being an issue isolated to magazines (and the media), we have people everywhere on Instagram, Facebook, etc. editing the photos that they upload. Instead of it being an authentic moment — which it used to be, where people were genuinely sharing what they were doing as part of connecting with others — now it’s become a situation where people are sharing very edited, manicured, and perfected versions of what’s going on in their lives. So they could be living their day and essentially doing mundane activities — as with most people living their lives. Some of the things they’re doing will be mundane and usual, nothing to shout about. Then they have this one hour when they are doing something exciting, and then they will take some pictures of that and edit that, make them perfect, add filters, and so on. And just highlight those moments. When you have people everywhere doing this online, it creates this impression of, Oh this is what’s happening in everybody’s life all the time. So I’m missing out! My life is not good enough! This creates a really skewed and warped sense of reality. 3) Existing social issues magnified by Internet The third factor contributing to FOMO is there are simply existing (social) issues that the Internet exacerbated. As opposed to the internet creating problems, I would say there were existing problems such as loneliness or low self-esteem. The Internet, with the way it has brought the entire world closer and stripped away many boundaries, exacerbated this issue as we no longer have a strong sense of boundary or space. People who already feel lonely or low in self-esteem may feel more isolated, while people who felt slightly lonely at times may have this feeling magnified in the presence of everyone else’s success and “exciting” life. 4) How today’s websites are designed The fourth factor contributing to FOMO is how companies have designed their websites. To understand how this works, it boils down to this underlying principle. Essentially, most companies operate on profit. Well, the essence of a company is to be profitable because if you’re not profitable, you’re out of the game. When companies focus on profit as their sole objective — without regard for their audience and adding value to their lives — their number one goal becomes to maximize each user’s time spent on their website. This is particularly true for platform companies like Facebook, Snapchat, Netflix, Instagram. The more time you spend on their site, the better it is for them, the more advertisers they can get, the more revenue they can get. What’s the best way to maximize the time spent? By maximizing interaction, maximizing the number of engagements you (as the user) have on their site, be it by making you click from one place to the next within their site. Whatever keeps you within the site and gets you clicking, interacting, commenting, and spending as much time as possible on the platform itself — whether it’s Facebook, Snapchat, or Netflix — even if it’s to the point of detriment of your well-being, your productivity, or the utility value you’re getting from the website. This is particularly so when a company starts to focus on profit and what it gets off its user base rather than having the users’ best interests in mind and designing its services around them. This is where profit supersedes value — where companies focus on profit rather than giving value, as opposed to creating value as the priority and earning profit as a result of that. So platforms are now creating site designs to build addiction. We have Facebook — or any of these large attention companies really — having large teams of growth hackers, where their sole job every day is to get together to discuss, find ways to hack your brain, and figure out how to break down your mental barriers, so that you’re constantly glued to their platform. Getting you to stay on their site, making you feel compelled to come back, and making you feel, Oh I’m missing out if I’m not coming back to the site. I’m missing out if I’m not clicking this notification. So it could be Facebook popping up a message and saying, “You haven’t been here for a while” or “You haven’t posted on your page for a while. Do you want to interact with your followers (if you have a Facebook page)?” Snapchat. They introduced a streak feature in the past couple of years where they encourage you to continue this streak of messaging someone consecutively each day or over a period of days, so that you can maintain the streak. Some of these are questionable. Because, okay, Snapchat has this streak feature to message this number of times or this frequency with someone. But does this help forward your relationship with that person or help you live a better life? These are questions to ask ourselves. So we have these companies coming up with all kinds of strategies. Many of them implicit — you don’t know they are happening unless you take a step back to think. Or unless you run a website yourself, where you become conscious of these issues. Ultimately, they are there to suck you in. To get you addicted. To make you feel like you’re missing out. Hence, the feeling of “missing out.” So you constantly refresh your social media feeds to see what you are missing out. You feel, Okay! When I refresh and the thing is loading in my browser, I’m doing something with my life. Something is happening and I’m seeing all these updates! The page is now loaded, you see this barrage of new updates. Okay! Now I feel marginally fulfilled. Then 30 seconds later, you are back doing the same thing, loading the webpage and seeing the next wave of updates. Social Media Updates — Junk Food for the Brain All these are very much what I call, junk food for the brain. It’s like you eat junk food, and maybe for a few seconds, you feel satisfied. After a while though, you feel, Hey I need more! Like, This is not satisfying me. Why is that? It’s because these little pieces of updates are inherently not satisfying or nourishing. Junk food is not nourishing for our body. Media news sites and the attention companies, or any of these websites using these strategies to maximize attention and it can include content mills with very low-quality articles, designed to make you click from one thing to the next — these are junk food for the brain. When you have all this junk food content and you’re consuming it, the quantity may be huge and there may be many pieces of such content everywhere. But because it’s not nourishing for the brain, you have to keep clicking and refreshing and returning just to keep this “nourishment “going. Because it’s so ungratifying, you’re not being fulfilled, and hence you need to do it so many times. Compared to if you are reading a piece of high-quality content, you can be just reading a short amount and that’s food for thought. There’s something you have gained, that makes you think for the next few days. So these four factors contribute to the phenomenon of FOMO. Even in the online business world, FOMO has created the shiny object syndrome. Where you feel this need to constantly buy that next app, that next plugin, that next web service, hoping that you’ll create that next big breakthrough in your business. I’ve shared before in an article on the magic bullet — there’s no secret sauce or magic thing that’s going to transform or create some huge results. Ultimately, it’s back to the same fundamentals and it boils down to the strategy that you use and how you approach your business. 5 Strategies to Tackle FOMO So how can you tackle FOMO? I have 5 strategies. 1) Stop comparing yourself to others Stop comparing. I know it is difficult because all this information about people’s lives is everywhere, and social media companies have made it so easy for us to access this information. When you come online, you have all these companies hungering to grab your attention, even if it’s to the detriment of your productivity. You have all these companies fighting and eliciting you to, “Come and click, come and click over to my website.” It becomes really difficult because you are fighting all these forces: the macro forces and also the internal force in you, where perhaps there is a sense of dissatisfaction or feeling that, Okay, maybe there’s something out there that I need to know. So I know it’s difficult, but it is important to stop this behavior from within. This can include limiting your social media usage and controlling the way you use social media which I’ll talk about in tip #3. With regards to not comparing, two episodes back I talked about our unique path in life. In that episode, I talked about how everybody is on a unique path. You are on your unique path. I am on my unique path. We are all on our unique paths in life. Don’t feel like you need to compare because perhaps you’re not making the best of your life. Sure, you can benchmark. Benchmark meaning you reference and look at what others are doing as an indication of what you could be doing. But don’t compare in that you keep looking towards what other people are doing as the reference point for where you should be. Because we are all different. We all have our unique paths. We have our individual aspirations, our individual paths to realize. You can be the fastest swimmer on Earth. If you keep looking at the bird in the sky and wondering why you can’t fly, you’re just putting your God-given talents in swimming to waste. This is the same between the bird and the swimmer. The bird can be in the sky flying, with the ability to fly and soar, but instead, it looks at the fish in the sea and wonders why it can’t swim. So the fish gets to explore the wonders of the marine world. The bird gets to explore the wonders of the sky. Everybody is on their individual path to self-actualize and self-realize, and this path may not be comparable in many instances because it’s just unique. Unfortunately, we live in a society right now with the tendency to diminish and condense people to a metric, and try to simplify human worth or value to some number or statistic. But there’s something for you to keep in mind: We are not statistics and we should not be condensed to a number. Even if society or government or media tries to do that to us, we are not that. Each of us is unique and we are unique individuals on our unique path to contribute and create massive value to the world. Always remember that and don’t compare yourself to other people. Don’t try to alter yourself or shape your life so that it looks like other people’s lives, because you have your life and you are your unique individual, and it’s about embracing that. 2) Fill your schedule with meaningful activities My second tip is to fill your schedule with meaningful Quadrant 2 activities. I talk about this in my article Put First Things First. It refers to the activities, tasks, and goals that are the most important in your life, but not necessarily the most urgent. Why aren’t they the most urgent? That’s because the most important things in our life rarely become urgent until it’s too late. They include our health, our relationships, our biggest life aspirations. Fill your schedule with meaningful Quadrant 2 goals or tasks, whatever they may be. This requires you to take a step back to really think, reflect, and ask yourself: What are my Quadrant 2 goals? What are my most important life goals? For those of you with Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program, many of the tasks (especially in Week 1) are about goal setting. Assessing your life right now. Identify what is your ideal life, your ideal goals. Creating a life map and your vision board. And so on. All the 30 tasks in the program are meant to get you to think about the different Quadrant 2 aspects of your life. For those of you with the program, review the tasks inside, and start thinking about your Quadrant 2 goals. When your life is exciting and filled with meaningful Quadrant 2 activities, you will automatically not be interested or very interested to see what other people are doing. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know what others are doing. To do that would be to isolate yourself from the world and that is just swinging from one end to the other. But you won’t have this constant or unhealthy compulsion to keep seeing what other people are doing and filling your life with this filler information. Because you are living your life. These Quadrant 2 activities could be, say, being with your parents. Having a meal with them. Being with your loved ones. Social activities. Volunteering work. One of my recent coaching clients went on a six-week volunteer trip in Taiwan. He’s from Australia. He was in this rural village at a homestay, taught at a rural school, and ran some conferences. From this trip, he gained so many insights about his future goals, what he wants to do for the next 10 years and beyond, and what he wants to do as his life direction. That’s because the work was inherently fulfilling and it was something that he was personally interested and passionate about. Pursuing and doing this gave him insights on what he would want to do in the future. That was a huge Quadrant 2 activity. He could have spent these six weeks in a frivolous way or just doing nothing — which is fine too because sometimes relaxing or taking time out for ourselves is important. But he could have just wasted six weeks away. Instead, he used it in a meaningful way, in his own definition. That helped him gain so much insight on what he wants to do for his long-term goals, his 10-year goals, and his future life direction. Quadrant 2 activities can also include exploring a new place you haven’t been to before. Learning a new skill. Doing something you like, whatever it is. So fill your schedule with these meaningful activities, as opposed to filling the entire day with refreshers of your social media newsfeed or what Kylie Jenner is doing. Ultimately, this won’t fulfill you. But taking action on your personal goals in life? That’s going to fulfill you. 3) Cut down on social media usage My third tip is to cut down on social media usage. I mentioned just now that the Facebook newsfeed is like fast food for the brain. Tickles you and keeps you busy. May taste well in the first bite. May even make you think that you’re satisfied. But there’s nothing much there and it will ultimately kill you in the long run. That’s why people need to keep refreshing and seeing their newsfeed so regularly. Because it’s inherently not fulfilling. That’s why they need to keep seeing it over and over and over again, hoping that it will bring a different result each time — except that it doesn’t. It’s not much different from pulling the slot machine at the casino. In fact, many elements of Facebook and a lot of these leading social media sites today are designed with reference to the addictive elements of a casino or gambling dens. To avoid being in this negative spiral, limit the time you spend on social media. Think about it: when you are in Facebook — and I’m using Facebook as an example, but it can be any website with the agenda to maximize a user’s attention without taking into consideration their personal goals and life. So you could be in Facebook’s “walled garden,” and this is a common term used to describe the way Facebook has designed their site. It’s like a “walled garden,” to keep you inside their universe and away from the outside world. Once you step into Facebook’s “walled garden,” it becomes an uphill battle to gain control of your conscious self and you have lost the game. Because now you’re up against this seemingly innocuous but very meticulously and strategically designed website, designed to suck you in and get you to stay there as long as possible. The best way to avoid this is to limit the time you spend on social media. 30 minutes, 10 minutes, I don’t want to set a specific time limit because it depends on why you are using social media, whether there’s something you need to get out of the site at the moment. It could even be not using social media on some days. So it is subjective. But the underlying principle is to limit the time you spend on social media. Because when you step inside, you’re going up against 100 or 1000 different strategies put in place to suck you deeper and deeper into the site. Because all of us have a limited amount of mental energy per day, it becomes a downward spiral. It very quickly drains you, and soon you find yourself in this loop where you are just refreshing and seeing the next new update and so on. So, limit the time you spend. And remove notifications except for crucial ones or for crucial apps. Most websites and mobile app notifications today, they’re useless. They don’t serve a role in our life except to get you to go back to the app. They don’t tell us about anything important or significantly urgent. You can check these apps once in a while, whenever you remember to. But there’s no real need to have notifications alerting you every single time someone messages you or some update is rolled out. This is a call that you make, but I personally feel that most notifications today don’t have a role and they are not really useful. 4) Stop following people who promote an unhealthy lifestyle My fourth tip is to stop following people who promote an unhealthy lifestyle. Again this requires you to be conscious of how you are using social media and how you’re approaching your Internet usage. Take a step back and evaluate the people you follow and the kind of lifestyle and messages they promote. This includes people on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, websites and so on. As you are doing that, ask yourself: How do you feel when you see the updates? Do you feel inspired or do you feel bad or negative about yourself? Does it make you feel like you’re not doing enough when you see these updates? And not in a good way but in a negative way? Once I was following this guru. At first, it was interesting, seeing his updates. But after a short period of time, it started feeling “off.” I realized that he was constantly talking about his achievements, and not in a once-in-a-while way. It’s fine to talk about what you’re doing and what you’re achieving — it’s fine to share that. But his updates felt sort of like he was… bragging? It was constantly namedropping and talking about how he’s really awesome for having achieved certain things above and beyond other people. After a while of seeing that, it started to become toxic. Because he created this feeling like I wasn’t doing enough, or maybe I wasn’t doing enough to build my business. So instead of it being a positive experience, it became a toxic and negative one where seeing his updates made me feel like somehow I wasn’t good enough or that I wasn’t doing enough. I wasn’t sure if it was just me, so I asked two other people who knew this person and both of them got the same vibe too. The overall sense was an off-putting one. Looking at this person’s updates made me feel a great sense of FOMO. After that, I stopped following this person because it was a negative experience all in all. I wasn’t getting any positive messages from it. For me, as someone who has a platform and shares messages with my audience, I have a certain standard in the kind of messages I send out and the intention of my messages, and I felt like this person’s updates wasn’t congruent with what I expect of my own platform. Or it could be a totally different type of message. For example, you could be following people who promote a materialistic lifestyle or a way of life that is not very healthy or not in line with your values. If so, you want to limit your exposure to these people. Maybe they are constantly getting you to buy things, buy material goods. Or showing off branded stuff or insinuating that somehow having certain branded goods or possessing certain physical possessions validate yourself or a certain part of who you are… which wouldn’t be a message that you want to carry. When you are exposed to and following these people, this would keep creating the FOMO feeling. This fear that you’re missing out. That you are not buying this thing (but you should). That you’re not being good enough. That you’re not living it up. That would naturally perpetuate the feeling of FOMO in you. Another example: with the people you follow, maybe they present a very skewed version of reality. Maybe they constantly photoshop images or present a very cherry-picked aspect of life. And this cherry-picked aspect is a little bit twisted and not accurate to reality. So you’re no longer learning or seeing an authentic side of the world and people’s lives, but a very manufactured version of reality. This will naturally skew your perception of the world. When you are following people and their updates, know that these are things that you are allowing to enter your consciousness. Ask yourself: Are these the kind of people you want in your living room, with you? Are these the people you want right beside you, in your daily life? If no, why do you want to see these updates on such a regular basis? So be conscious of who you follow, the updates you see. If people’s updates keep making you feel negative, fear-based, that somehow you’re not good enough, that you’re missing out, that you should be doing/buying/getting that thing, take a step back and ask yourself: Are these the kind of people you want to follow? Maybe’s it’s good to unfollow them. Limit your exposure to these people. Instead, follow people and content that inspire you to improve, as opposed to making you fearful or feel that you have a lack, because that is not true at all. 5) Consume information in a targeted way My fifth and last tip is to consume information in a targeted way. The Internet today is characterized by an explosion of information. We have all kinds of information around us now. You want to be conscious of how you consume this information. You want to receive and focus on content that’s tailored to you, that helps you in your life. For example, some of you may be in Facebook groups. When you join a Facebook group, Facebook automatically makes you follow that group, that group’s updates, and automatically adds you to the group’s notifications. The way I do it is whenever I join a group, I will immediately unfollow the group’s updates and remove the group’s notifications. So I’m still in the group, but I just don’t see its updates by the second. Instead, I go into the group whenever I want to look at what it is up to. Why do I do that? This helps me to be conscious of the kind of updates I see when I enter Facebook’s main page. So firstly, I limit my usage of Facebook. Next, when I enter Facebook, I want to be conscious of the kind of updates I see on the front page. Facebook has its own algorithm and it cherry picks and selects whichever updates fit that algorithm. Typically these are updates focused on increasing and maximizing engagement, and that’s not necessarily what I want. Sometimes I want to see everything that the group has so far, discussions, etc. so that I can zoom in on the ones that are relevant to me. As opposed to having an algorithm that pre-selects and pre-filters, and the pre-filtered material may not be what I’m looking for. So being conscious in terms of how you consume information. You pick and choose the sites that you want to see, the updates you want to see, the groups that you want to focus on for today or for a week. That’s the same for websites you follow, newsletters, YouTube channels that you subscribe to. You don’t need to be following everything. You don’t need to be subscribed to everything. You want to ask yourself: Which are the [sites/channels/etc.] that give you great value? Where you genuinely feel uplifted by the content? And the content helps you to live a better life, live a conscious life? These are the channels/websites/newsletters that you want to stay subscribed to. Don’t worry about missing out because there’s just so much information out there. Your role today is to pick what works for you. Tuning into the information, the updates, the activities that are relevant to you. Rather than feeling that you need to be in the loop of everything. I feel the websites today — how conglomerates have designed their websites — are created to elicit that feeling that you’re not seeing enough, that there’s more content you need to see. Because of that, we need to learn to draw our boundaries. Deciding that, Okay today I just want to consume this ABC piece of content. And that’s because this channel is something that I like, this website is a high-quality one. Hence I consciously choose to read and follow these things. Beyond that, I’m doing other stuff. Closing Note So that’s it for today’s episode. I have a few articles that are relevant to today’s episode that I’ll be linking to them in the show notes. If you have found today’s podcast helpful, I would really appreciate it if you can leave a review on iTunes, and that’s at personalexcellence.co/itunes/. Doing so really makes a difference. It helps to spread the message of conscious living out there to the world. And I feel that is something that we massively need today. If you are interested in living a better life in just 30 days, check out my 30-day life transformation program, Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program. I’ve packed my 30 best tasks on life transformation and that includes some of my best exercises that I share with my life coaching clients, to help them discover your life direction, discover their life goals, review how you are doing in your life, evaluate your routine, transform your to-do list, expand your comfort zone, discover their values, and many more. So you can check that out at personalexcellence.co/courses/30dlbl/. Thank you so much for listening. I truly appreciate you. If you have a question for me, you can post it to me via the podcast page on personalexcellence.co. Until next time, remember: you are beautiful and you are perfect the way you are. Thanks so much guys. And I see you guys in the next episode. Bye guys! Endnote: Thanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast! For more tips on how to live your best life, visit www.personalexcellence.co Related Resources: How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind 6 Tips to Deal with Digital Burnout Our Unique Path in Life Put First Things First Stop Looking For a Magic Bullet For Your Goals
24 minutes | Feb 8, 2018
Challenges that I’m Facing Today
Hi everyone! Today I thought I’d do something different and share some of the challenges I’ve been facing in my business. I just want to share some of the things that have been weighing me down, and why I haven’t been sharing as much on the blog in the recent years. In this episode, I cover Key challenges that I’ve been facing [1:01] My solutions to tackle them [15:37] Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Challenges that I’m Facing Today Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! Challenges that I’m Facing Today [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everybody! Welcome back to The Personal Excellence Podcast. So today I thought I would do a different type of topic. Usually, I cover a topic on personal growth and I share tips on that. Today I thought I would do some personal sharing, and I’d like to talk about some of the challenges I’ve been facing in my business. I thought it would be good to share some of the things that have been weighing me down. I did feel that I haven’t been able to do deep personal sharing on my site for maybe at least the past couple of years. As you listen, perhaps you may understand why. Challenges I’ve Been Facing #1. Feeling that my work doesn’t matter The first challenge that I’ve been facing, and I think some of you guys may have noticed this, is that the web is so cluttered today. There are just so many, you know, businesses? It’s cluttered in a very commercial way, and I guess this is what happens when the main driving point of a society, the main agent that people need to work towards, is money. I’m not trying to build any negativity around money because I think money is important and it is a good neutral tool for us to objectify value. I’m not of the camp of people who go, “Money is evil,” but I also don’t see money as the “end all and be all” of life, or that it accurately indicates the value that people are giving to the world. Money as a tool definitely has its issues. So when the main agent that people work for in the world is money, naturally when you have a clean starting ground (such as the internet in the 1990s), it will get dominated by very commercialized activities after some time. And oftentimes it reaches a tipping point, and beyond that point, you get diminishing returns. So I started PE in 2008, and way before that I started my first website in 1998. The Web was in its infancy with very very few people online. I’ve seen the internet and how it has evolved in the past two decades. Today, the internet is hugely commercialized — almost everything is linked to paying or buying or money. Advertisements are everywhere. While everything has its role and its place, I do feel that the internet today is extremely cluttered with businesses for every single thing, along with “me-too” businesses. It’s gotten to the point where there are so many life coaches and coaches online now, that sometimes I do wonder, Oh okay. Err. So where do I fit in? And how does my work matter? When I started PE in 2008, the reason I started it in the form of a life coaching business online was because there wasn’t necessarily something like this. At that point, yes, the industry was already competitive. There were many personal development blogs. But I felt there was space for me to add unique value after assessing the landscape. Now it’s 2018. If I were to start everything from scratch with no legacy of my work in the past 10 years, based on how the landscape is today, I would do things differently. Maybe I would start a multi-coach platform, like a platform that gathers coaches from all around the world or that consolidates the best minds to help others grow. This is just something I’m making up; it’s not something I’ve been thinking about. What I’m trying to say is, if I were to start something from scratch, I’d think, What is the most unique value I can give? And the biggest change I make in the world? So for me, over the years what made the most sense is for me to keep building my legacy and make changes in people’s lives through my platform, articles, etc. And I’m very satisfied by that. But right now, I’m seeing like a gazillion of coaching businesses and life coaches. They’re just everywhere and I’m sure everyone is adding their unique value. But it does make me feel like my work doesn’t really matter anymore. Like, Why am I doing this? And can my energy be better used elsewhere instead? So this is just something that comes to my mind every now and then. Because of how cluttered the Internet is today, and because I feel a lot of the “make money online” or “start your online business” businesses negatively encourage mass numbers of people to just jump into the industry without really having the motivation to truly help people at the core, if it makes sense to you. #2. Lack of privacy The second challenge that I’ve been facing would be privacy. I don’t know if you guys know, but I’m actually a very private person. I share all my personal stories on PE because I see that as a necessity. It’s not because I like to talk about these personal things. If there wasn’t this driving force to help others, I wouldn’t even talk about any of those things at all because I value my privacy a lot. So when I started in 2008, obviously nobody knew me. I was just a random person. Over the years, as my blog grew bigger, as I developed clientele, etc., I did feel that I lost quite a lot of my privacy. … And… this sounds depressing but it’s not. It’s not that depressing, okay? But I did definitely feel like I lost a lot of my privacy. And it’s like the world is blending together. Imagine you have different friends, like friend A, friend B, friend C, friend D. So maybe you will say certain things to a friend because that’s your special relationship with friend A. And then you say certain things to friend B that you may not tell friend A. Because that’s your special relationship with friend B. So I have PE, and PE is no longer just a medium that I share stuff with people to help them grow. It’s no longer just that because there are just so many people reading today. And I actually don’t know… I mean I don’t know most people who are reading PE. And that would include people who may know me but I don’t know that they are reading. Or people who know me but I just don’t know them. It also includes my relatives. You get the idea. I think this is a unique position because unless you have a large front-facing public platform where you share a huge, unprecedented part of yourself and your life to the world, typically a person wouldn’t be in this position. For the same reason, I found it hard for me to share about this with anybody (except for Ken). Because nobody could relate to what I was going through. And this is such a unique situation and problem. But it was at the same time very taxing, and very much something that had been weighing me down. Along with this issue, is the lack of privacy in terms of my personal space and my personal life, because as more and more people knew about me, I felt like I needed to create this personal alcove that I could hide in and be safe from the prying eyes of the world or from the attention of people. For a while, this was true in terms of communication channels too, because a lot of the communication channels today are created with the objective of making it easy for people to communicate — to the point of not respecting the individual’s privacy. For example with WhatsApp, people can just add you and message you as long as they have your number. You don’t need to get authorization. Or let’s say for Facebook — anybody can see and search people by their name. You can’t hide your profile from Facebook search. This is just how these conglomerates have decided to design their services. That works, I think, for the majority population. But for myself, it became quite a challenge, especially in the past years, to find a way to use these tools. A way that would benefit me and serve me in my personal life, while not alienating myself from my own inner social circles? So there was this pretty tough balance that I had to find. Another problem, along with the growing presence of my site and just generally people reading it, was that I needed to be significantly careful about the privacy of the people that I’m with, or the people around me. So as opposed to guessing or wondering, Is it okay to write about this or that? I would often err on the side of caution and not write it at all. Because so many of the things that I write, and what really helps me connect and support all of you guys in your growth, is me sharing my personal stories and my personal life, and I felt like I couldn’t write any of that anymore. So I felt like I was reaching a stalemate or this juncture where I couldn’t write anything. With that came a pause in my writing, because if I had so many restrictions on what I could write and couldn’t write, then I might as well not write. This made me focus on the other aspects of my business because this was such a challenging issue to work with. #3. Not drawing boundaries The third challenge that I’ve been facing is… when I started PE, it was in my 20s? I didn’t draw any boundaries. PE was this core goal in my life and it still is. But because I didn’t draw boundaries and because of how the Internet sort of just exploded, with all kinds of people using it and things changing all the time every single year, there were constant changes, new things, new developments, needs, people’s needs. It’s like you’re in this gel or this sea, and there’s nothing separating anything. And when you don’t draw the boundaries or when you start off not drawing the boundaries, it just consumes you and it did that to me for a while. When I started the business it was fine. And I think I’m an organized and a very structured person, with a very high tolerance for punishment as well as stress. So all these were not issues. But when the business became so big and I was dealing with so many different people and everybody has their own unique needs, in the later years, it just consumed me. So I could be dealing with people with all kinds of needs. It could be, say, with Person A who signed up for coaching before and then maybe they thought they would get unlimited (free) followup after the sessions, even when the sessions are over. Or it could be, say, with Person B who bought a product in 2009, and it has already been 10 years and then every year they would keep asking to redownload the materials because they lost the files or they didn’t bother to back up the materials. A lot of this treads on a very thin line, because with each person you obviously want to go the extra mile and help them, because you just want to do that. But when you’re dealing with thousands and thousands of people, that’s when not drawing boundaries becomes really tricky, and it’s something that quickly creates burnout and a lot of pain. Or exhaustion later on, especially when you’re going above and beyond. On top of this, people expect you to go even above what you’re giving. So it became a give-and-give-and-give situation and that quickly drained my fuel tank. I was running on empty in the later years of my business. #4. More sophisticated internet landscape The fourth challenge is that as the Web became more sophisticated, I’m now working with a huge audience with different needs. Maybe I’ll write an article and share it via the newsletter. Maybe 60 percent of the people would resonate with it and 40 percent wouldn’t. And for the 40 percent, because they see that this material doesn’t resonate with them. Some people will stay on because they are long-time readers. Some people will be more impatient and they will leave, and I’ll lose that chance to support and help them. So there’s this constant struggle like, What is the best thing that I can write, that would help me reach out and help as many people as possible? The system that used to work in earlier years of the business doesn’t work as well anymore. Because the internet is so sophisticated now — everybody has different needs and people expect things quickly and to get answers right away. If they don’t, then they become impatient and leave. And also, as the web is now so sophisticated, everything is very specialized. You have all kinds of services for a lot of things and each service now requires a recurring business expense. So expenses have definitely gone up. Which is fine if you are using things that adding value, but you have to iterate really quickly as a business owner. So these are just some of the challenges that I’ve been facing in my business and I think these challenges are partly due to several factors. Firstly, the web landscape changing so much over the years. Another reason would be the maturity of my business. Part of it came from PE as a business/company growing to the size that it is today. Solutions to Tackle the Challenges Now with every challenge in life, there is always a way we can solve them. It’s the same here — finding solutions to solve the challenges or at the very least, mitigate them until we find better long-term solutions. So here are the things I’ve been doing to manage these issues. #1. Draw boundaries The first one is a big thing, which is learning to draw boundaries. I’ve been doing this since late last year. This is so important for me. Drawing boundaries in terms of e-mail — having separate inboxes for my personal mail and my work mail. Believe it or not, when I started (and I think this is true for most entrepreneurs), I used my personal inbox for my work mail as well. Since then, I’ve learned to have separate inboxes for my work mail while my personal mail is purely for my personal stuff and exchanges with my family. Then work mail, to check the mail during work hours, and maybe sometimes a little bit after. But not checking it or feeling like I need a reply every single hour of the day, because then that will quickly bleed into my own personal life and my personal space, and that’s just a recipe for burnout. Drawing boundaries in terms of my communication channels. I feel that Facebook had a big role in my struggles with communication channels — and this requires a totally different podcast episode, on my issues of Facebook. But I feel like with communication channels or social media channels today, they are pretty hard to draw boundaries in terms of your own life and how you want to manage communication. But I feel like I’ve found a good intersection or a good middle way in how to manage my communication channels. #2. Objectify my work The second thing is learning to objectify my work. So this is challenging because PE started out as an extension of my passion, my purpose, and as a deeply personal part my life. It still is and forever will be. But I’ve learned to not take things personally. So be it when there are really oddball situations at work, and you’re wondering, Why do people behave this way, or How can people abuse my goodwill? Learning not to take these things personally and to just to move on and focus on the positive stuff. Because there are all kinds of weird stuff in the world. There are also weird situations and weird people, and it’s really not worth it to focus on these 0.01 percent oddball situations or people who don’t appreciate or value your work. But learn to focus on the rest of the 99 percent or 99.99 percent of people who do. #3. Focus on unique ways for me to add value The third thing that I’m doing would be to focus on the unique ways that I can add value. So as you guys know, I have never believed in writing repetitive material. I think that there’s a place for this and that’s why there are quite a few websites that specialize in rehashing a lot of tips and they do well. They do well, they grow big, and they have a huge audience. But I just don’t think that is the kind of value I want to add to the world? Especially because I feel like even though some of this may add incremental value to someone’s life, it is adding a lot of noise too. And I just want to focus on really sharing things that I feel has the biggest impact, the biggest value, as opposed to churning a lot of content, churning a lot of stuff for the sake of it, which I feel may benefit me marginally but is just adding noise to the whole ecosystem or the community on the Internet. I don’t believe in that. So focusing on high value-content content that really makes a difference. And courses as well. This is something that I’ve been working on and you guys will hear more about that in time to come. #4. Hiring help where needed The next fourth thing that I’m doing is hiring help when needed. Hiring help can be in terms of hiring assistants, outsourcing, and help doesn’t have to be work-related. It can be in terms of personal life. Personal life, like, get a helper or people to help me with personal things so I can focus more of my energy on the bigger areas of my business. Help can also come in terms of getting the products or services that value to a business. Help doesn’t necessarily have to be hiring someone, but about engaging services or getting products that can help to cut down a learning curve or help you to speed ahead or solve this burning problem area. This is something that a lot of my clients do when they engage me for coaching, to discuss with me or have me help them in certain blockages or a problem that they’re facing. And that helps them speed ahead and just cut so much of the learning curve, and the hours and the time that they would have spent running around in circles. #5. Focus on what I can share The fifth and last thing that I’m working on is privacy. Focus on sharing what I can do. The issue of privacy and feeling like there’s a certain filter or that I’m under some kind of censorship, I think it’s part and parcel of having a platform that’s now bigger than what it was when I first started. Also recognizing that everybody has their own privacy and personal space. It’s about learning to manage all of these. Finding that fine line between managing everyone’s personal space and respecting each other’s privacy, and doing it in a way that can add value to people’s lives and help change and forward them. So I think being clear on, okay, there are certain things that I just won’t talk or share because they are just out of bounds. But I can share other things. And these other things that I focus on sharing. I can also share by proxy as well, such as using certain examples or giving case studies by proxy. And these are all different ways that I can help others. So no longer feeling, Oh because I can’t share certain things, I can’t help people in the best possible way. That may not be true, because I can just do things in a different way to achieve that objective which is to help others grow. Connecting with you guys and supporting you guys in your growth. Closing Note That’s it for today’s episode. I hope you guys have found it useful in some way. I definitely am planning to record more podcast episodes. If you like the podcasts and you would like to hear more, I’d really appreciate it if you can post a review on iTunes. Now if you have a question for me, you can send it to the podcast page on PersonalExcellence.co. There’s a link for you to post a question there. So thank you so much for listening and I’ll speak to you guys soon. Bye guys! Endnote: Thanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast! For more tips on how to live your best life, visit www.personalexcellence.co
11 minutes | Sep 7, 2017
Our Unique Path in Life
Do you tend to compare yourself to others? Do you constantly feel pressured to conform to certain standards, to fit yourself in a perfect mold as told by society? Today’s episode is about our unique path in life. Click below to listen! Starting from this episode, I’ll be adding transcripts that you can find below each episode. Today’s transcript can be found below. Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Our Unique Path in Life Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! Our Unique Path in Life [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone! Welcome to the Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 12! I’m Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co. First off, I’d like to apologize for the intermittent uploads for the podcast, and even the YouTube channel. A big reason is that I’ve just been struggling to find a stable and a quiet place to record my audio podcasts and YouTube videos. That’s why you can see that I haven’t been doing any video for the past two years. And the podcast… yeah. I’ve also been really slow in the updates. In the meantime, I’m just trying to find opportunities where I can record new podcasts and speak to you guys. I really hope that in time to come, I’ll be able to record more episodes on a regular basis. So currently I’m experimenting with a new podcast format. If you’re an existing listener, you probably know that The PE Podcast episodes tend to be between 30 to 45 minutes long, with a series of tips on the topic itself. Now, the new podcast format that I am experimenting with consists more of short-form topics, and in each episode I’ll be focusing on sharing one big idea. Let me know what you guys think at personalexcellence.co/contact/! I always love to hear your feedback! Today’s topic is on our unique path in life. For all of us growing up in today’s world, I’m sure you see comparisons abound all the time. There are comparisons with grades when you’re in school… coming from teachers, parents, and even your friends, your schoolmates. Many people are often comparing grades, like who’s got better grades, more achievements, etc. Then in life… you see people comparing things like the age people marry. This is very common in Asia. After you are married, there are comparisons in terms of the house, apartment you live in. After that, comparisons in terms of kids, who just had a kid, how many kids people have. Career-wise, too — like who got what job, how much someone is earning. So there are just these comparisons all the time. And it’s really subtle too. Sometimes, it’s not even obvious when the comparisons are being done. This is a phenomenon known as Keeping up with the Joneses, where there’s this constant comparison with the person next to you. It could be our neighbors. It could be a comparison with your schoolmates, classmates, colleagues, friends, the people who grew up with you, or even people online. Online, everyone feels like they’re just next to us. We have Facebook, Instagram, and all that, and we can see what people are doing in just one click. So it’s increasingly easy to see what people are doing. With just a simple click, a simple message, a simple look, you can glance through people’s timeline and immediately see what they have been up to. And obviously, most people would just put their highlights in life. These days, there are countless apps, software to edit and present this perfect image online. So more and more, we’re faced with this perfect imagery of people’s lives. This increases this pressure to compare and wonder, Okay, why am I not at this level? Or if you are running an online business, it’s so easy to be comparing with someone else’s metrics. Followers, figures — all these are open for everybody to see. Or even number of comments, the feedback people are getting, and so on. Now, what I want to share here is to remember: when you are comparing with other people, when you are feeling bad and thinking, Oh this person has this! This person is walking down this perfect track in life! Oh this person has accomplished all of these things! Just remember at this point that all of us have our unique path in life. You have your unique path in life. I have my unique path in life. So does the random person walking on the street. We have our unique paths in life. All of us have our own individual backgrounds. Our own set of parents. Our own set of upbringing. The places we grew up in. The experiences that we have. These are unique to us and because of that, we are all on a unique track. Now I understand that we have schools and systems that tend to commoditize people. Why do I say that? Because right from enrollment and matriculation in school, you are at a particular age and so are your peers and classmates. Everyone around you is at the same age and you move through the same class, the same curriculum. And because everyone is at the same age, there’s just this readiness for teachers, systems to distill and treat people more like metrics and statistics. That’s where everyone sort of becomes a commodity, because it then boils down to the grades you’re having, the achievements that you have, in order to stand out above and beyond other people. Then after you graduate, this comparison switches to jobs. What pay are you getting? What job did you get into? What company did you get into? And then you become defined by your job, your company, your company’s brand name, and the number on your paycheck. Even though society and systems do such comparisons, and these in a way makes us lose our humanity and sort of forget that we’re individual beings… at the end of the day, remember that schools, systems — they are really there for us to learn skills and to equip ourselves with knowledge, so that we can use these skills and knowledge to improve our life and to get into careers that we like. Or to move forward in the path that we want. So putting this into perspective, remember that no matter what others do or how others try to treat you or how society tries to treat you, know that you are a unique individual with your unique life path. So that means there’s really no need to compare. There’s no need to compare in terms of, “Oh that person got married at age 28! So I should try to get married at age 28.” And when you are not married at age 28, 29, 30, 31, or 32, there’s no need to feel bad about that because we are all on our unique path. Same for when someone reaches a certain level of career or business success at the age of say, 25 or 30 or 35. There’s no need to look at that and feel, “Oh geez this person achieved this level of success! But I’m like five years older! I’m not even there yet.” There’s no need to do that. Or even say, someone chooses to have a kid at age 30, and then has two kids at age 32, and three kids at age 35. There’s no need to look at that and feel, “Oh geez, I’m 32 now. I don’t have a kid. Should I start to have a kid?” What’s most important is what you want for yourself and what you want for your life. Not comparing with other people and what they have done in their lives. I mean, you can look on at other people’s lives as a way to get inspiration, as a way to get some reflection points for yourself, as a way to ponder, Okay, am I on the right track towards what I want for myself? But don’t look towards other people’s paths as this model you should replicate, that you should follow suit. And then feel pressured when you’re not at that same place. That’s because other people are on their own tracks, and you have your own track. For what it’s worth, as you’re looking at the people and what they have “achieved,” you probably have achieved things that people don’t have. That are just unique to you. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to Create your path. Find your path. Know your worth. Not comparing yourself with other people as a way to pressurize yourself, to de-humanize, or to commoditize yourself. But remembering that you are this unique soul here on Earth. On your unique life path and your journey. And it’s about discovering what YOU want. Creating a life that you can be proud of. One that you can look back on and know that it is a life well lived. :) I have a few articles for you: One is on how to stop comparing, and another article on finding your inner self. Both are related to today’s topic, that I have linked in the show notes at personalexcellence.co/podcast/12/. If you have found this podcast helpful, I’d super appreciate it if you can leave a review on iTunes, and you can do that at personalexcellence.co/itunes/. I’ll see you guys in the next episode. In the meantime, remember: You’re beautiful, you’re perfect, you’re complete. Bye guys! Endnote: Thanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast! For more tips on how to live your best life, visit www.personalexcellence.co Related Resources: Why You Should Stop Comparing Yourself With Others (And 3 Steps To Do So) Finding Your Inner Self I’m Depressed about My Lack of Progress. What Should I Do? (Image: Hannah Donze)
36 minutes | Mar 22, 2017
How To Know When You’re Making Progress, Journey of Enlightenment, And More
Hey everyone! Last week, I asked you to send in your questions. Over the weekend, I compiled and answered YOUR awesome questions, including questions on confidence, decision making, enlightenment, and how to be a coach. In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I talk about How to know you’re making progress when you’re not seeing results [00:47] Using success easter eggs to track your progress [01:51] What to do if you’re not getting any results at all [02:57] How to make a decision and avoid disappointing someone [04:30] How to know if you have reached enlightenment [06:57] My feeling of disillusionment in the past year [08:36] Your roadmap for your consciousness growth [09:56] How to be a coach — My tips for you [11:45] Why coaching courses are merely 0.01% of the equation to be a successful coach [13:08] How to be confident [16:06] The ONE thing that’s most important in life – Career? Health? [19:45] How to be organized and the calendar system I use [22:02] Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS How To Know When You’re Making Progress, Journey of Enlightenment, And More Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! How To Know When You’re Making Progress, Journey of Enlightenment, And More [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone! Welcome to the Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 11. This is Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co. A few days ago, I sent out an e-mail via the newsletter asking you guys to send me your questions so I can answer them on the podcast. For those of you who are not on the newsletter, do join — it’s at personalexcellence.co/newsletter/. I send updates and messages that I don’t post on the blog. So, some of you guys have sent in your questions and I’m super excited to answer them. Well, let’s get started! How to know if you are making progress “Greetings to you Celes. I want to ask: Sometimes I think I’m doing everything, more than I’m supposed to do to be successful. But it seems like things are not working well for me. My question is: For the goals that you are working towards, how do you know there’s progress? How do you see progress in everything that you do? Thanks.” – Anonymous This is an excellent question. So how do you know when you are making progress on something you are working on? I wrote a post before on the 21-day incubation period and I’m going to be sharing links to all these articles I’m talking about in the show notes, so you guys can click to read more. So I wrote this post before on the 21-day incubation period and essentially, for many of our goals, especially for large goals that take a long period to achieve, sometimes it can feel like we are putting in all this effort but we don’t see any progress or results. We wonder: Are we on the right track or are we not? Is something happening? My recommendation is to know how to spot what I call “success easter eggs.” That would be indicators telling you, “Hey, you’re on the right track and you are doing things right. As long as you do more of this, you will reach the right place.” What are the kinds of success easter eggs to look out for? It depends on your goal. You should set milestones and little check markers to let you know that you are moving to the right place. Say you want to start a business. Success easter eggs could be: You getting that first customer You getting positive feedback from the customers, the few customers you have served, telling you how great your service or your product was and how they would definitely recommend it to other people So when you start getting this kind of feedback, you know that you’re moving on the right track. And you want to identify the things helping you achieve these results, and to continue these actions and amplify them. If you’re not getting any kind of results at all, like after you set certain success easter eggs and milestones and you are not achieving them after a certain period of work, it’s good to stop and troubleshoot. Understand what is going on, why there are no results at all — basically do an audit to understand what’s working, what’s not working. So take a step back and think about: What’s the situation right now? What is the goal I want to achieve? Where am I right now versus this goal? What have I been doing? What’s working what’s not working? Maybe identify certain people who have achieved the results you want. What can you learn from them? By reviewing and learning from your mistakes or the things that you’re not doing well or that’s not working at all, and experimenting with new things, there will be a point when you see those first signs of success. It has to be. Because let’s say that first batch of actions that you took, they are not working, they’re not bringing you to where you want to be. Then, by elimination and by learning from your role models and success figures in the industry, it will be a matter of time before you get closer to what you want to be and achieve that. How to avoid disappointing someone “Hi Celes. This is Sandra from Israel. I would like to ask a question: How to deal with a situation where you want to make a choice, but you avoid choosing what you want because you don’t want to disappoint somebody else. It’s very important and I’m sure you’ll have a good answer. Thank you.” – Sandra, Israel Hey Sandra, this is an excellent question. So it seems there are two conflicting factors involved here. First, you want to do what you want. Obviously, all of us should always do what we want. Secondly, you wish to avoid disappointment. It seems like you’re talking about a decision here that if you do what you want, you may disappoint someone. On the other hand, if you don’t do what you want, you will avoid the disappointment of that person, but someone’s got to be disappointed, isn’t it? And that person is going to be you. This is where you know my stance — I’m always talking on the blog to follow your heart. Obviously we don’t want to live our lives irresponsibly and not take into consideration people’s feelings. I don’t know the specifics of your situation but I would recommend to talk to this person involved. If you don’t want to disappoint this person, I’m pretty sure this person must be quite important to you, right? So talk to him/her. Let him/her know what’s on your mind, this dilemma that you’re in. Because either path is not ideal. I am not going to be recommending either path. When we are in a conflicting situation where there are opposing forces, my recommendation is always to look for that better path. That path where all key needs can be met. This requires us to break out of the confines we are in, to involve other parties, and to have a discussion so that we can find that better option. So I wish you the best Sandra and let me know how things go, okay? Talk to this person and let him/her know what’s on your mind, this dilemma that you’re in. And just share with him/her, and see what you guys can work out. How to know if you have reached enlightenment “Hi Celes, I’m Luis from Portugal. I wanted to ask you about something that we’ve talked about a long time ago in The Personal Excellence Forums. We were talking about meditation and you told me you had the goal to reach enlightenment in a certain timeframe. At that time I challenged you on your ability to measure that. But over the years, I found that some traditions do present ways to measure enlightenment. So my question is this: Did you ever reach that goal? If yes, how did you know when you were there? And if not, do you have a better idea of what it will look or feel like? Thank you for your time and for the great material over the years. Bye bye.” – Luis, Portugal Hey Luis. That’s an excellent question. To answer you right off the bat, no I’m not at a stage of enlightenment yet. I still face many struggles, many problems, issues, and things that I’m just working through. I see all of that as part of this journey of life, working through these problems. If I could just clarify what I think I was trying to say at that point, I see enlightenment as the end goal for myself and for any human really. That our journey in life is to grow in consciousness and as with any journey, there will be milestone checkers or end destination that we have in mind. Because of that, naturally, that would lead us to a certain end point and this endpoint of consciousness would be enlightenment. So I think that was what I was trying to say. Just to set things straight, I wasn’t trying to be crazy or funny by saying that my goal in life is to reach enlightenment and I’m all wise and monkish and all. It’s interesting that you’re asking this question especially when one of my recent posts is on disillusionment. I was talking about how disillusioned I’ve been feeling in the past couple of years, seeing all these different things around the world, the issues. It also really made me think about how our journey in life doesn’t really end until we elevate everybody around us. Not just in our immediate vicinity but all around us in the world. This is why I don’t think anyone can truly say that they’re enlightened until everybody on earth is enlightened, if it makes sense? Because all of us are interrelated. Just as we are inside this universe, I also think that the universe is inside us and everything in reality is a part of us. So I feel that it is our responsibility to grow and as we grow, to lift everyone around us up. This then brings us to your question which is: How do we know how we are progressing towards the end goal of enlightenment? And that’s an excellent question. I have an article on the map of consciousness [Update: The article is now offline; you can read more about the map in the book Power vs. Force]. It is a scale developed by David Hawkins to measure consciousness. It starts from lower levels of Shame, Guilt, Apathy, Grief, and then moving up to Fear, Desire, Anger. It goes to the midpoint which is Courage. The other half of the scale consists of love-based levels like Willingness, Acceptance, Love, Joy, Peace, and the highest level is Enlightenment. So this entire scale is split into two big categories. The first one consists of fear-based levels, and what David Hawkins referred to as the segment of “Force.” The other one is “Power,” which consists of love-based levels. “Force” because in those levels, people tend to use force to solve problems. For example: Punishment, war, violence, anger, repression, forcing people to do certain things. Whereas the second segment is on “Power” and “Power” meaning rather than using implicit or physical force to get people to act a certain way, you’re using “Power,” say bringing out the best in people. I definitely recommend reading the article. I write in more detail on the difference between each level. A lot of readers have found this scale very helpful and I recommend using this as a personal growth / consciousness roadmap to track where you are right now in your consciousness development, and to give you an idea of what’s ahead and the milestones, the end goal to move towards. How to be a coach “I would like to be a coach like you. Can you be my mentor?” – Adelynn, Singapore Hey Adelynn! That’s fantastic that you want to be a coach. If I may, let me rephrase your question to “How can I be a coach?” And this is a question that I get very often. The first thing that I’d recommend is to go for some coaching courses. This is the assumption that you are starting from scratch, from ground level and you’re looking to be a coach. Make skill development and developing your expertise that first priority. There are certain people who think about coaching as this nice profession and they just jump in and call themselves a coach — which is fine because there’s nothing wrong with calling someone a coach. As long as we are helping people, that itself is coaching. But some people see it as, Okay, I call myself a coach and I start charging people several hundred dollars an hour for coaching. To me that is a wrong way to approach it. Firstly, it is very important that we focus on building our skills. This may or may not be through courses. It can simply helping people, doing pro-bono coaching, seeking out people around us to work with them on their goals. And coaching courses would be one aspect of skill development. At the same time, and this is something that I tell all my clients, don’t get lost in this whole phase of taking coaching courses. Because to be honest, the skill building aspect of being a coach is like 0.1% or 1% of the entire equation of having a successful coaching career. There’s a huge 99% or 99.9% which is on other things altogether. This includes knowing how to position yourself, knowing how to differentiate yourself from the zillions of coaches out there, knowing how to set up a business, manage a business and actually market your business and make it known, and knowing how to develop your skill in that area where you want to help others. For example some people want to be a relationship coach. Some people want to be a health coach. Some people want to be a life coach. Even within life coaching, there are many different segments. Some people focus on spiritual coaching, some focus on productivity coaching, some would be on life purpose and finding your direction and passion. So it is important to get clear on that. In short, set your eyes on the final goal which is helping people and supporting them in their life journey. Identify the steps to do that. So first, skill development. Check out certain courses. Here I want to give a caveat. Do not fall into the trap — there are certain courses out there that present themselves as this, “Join my course and you’ll become a hugely successful coach and learn 5 figures per month.” Don’t fall for those. No matter how good a course is, taking that course is only 0.1% of the entire equation. Next, learning about business basics, marketing basics. This can be from reading books, reading blogs. So much free information online today. Unless someone has actually dug into all this free information online and thoroughly researched and read every single blog, I don’t think people should be pumping in four-figure sums on courses that claim to give you magic bullet results. Next would be setting a plan. What are the first steps of success? Identifying the first group of people you can approach and just coach for free as part of building your credentials, building your testimonials. And then moving forward from there. I’m going to be linking to several articles in the show notes that may help. It includes Are Coaching Courses Necessary To Be a Coach?, my Successful Businesses Interview Series, and my How To Pursue Your Passion series. That is a huge series of articles I’ve written over the years on the various steps that I went through in pursuing my passion and that will be inside the show notes as well. Do check them out. There are many tips to get you started. How to be more confident in yourself “Hi, I’m really glad that I found this website. I found it by coincidence today. I’m 16 years old. I’m from Egypt. My problem is that I’m not really confident. I show that I’m really confident but deep inside I’m not. I feel that I’m not pretty. Everyone tells me that I’m pretty but I don’t feel that at all. Consequently, I don’t feel confident when dealing with the other gender because I don’t feel attractive enough and I can’t open a good conversation. Also, I feel bad that I have not reached anywhere in my life. I know that I’m still 16 years old, I’m still young. But my colleagues have achieved really fantastic things so I feel I’m not sufficient. I’m not really confident. And I feel… I’m fed up because of this personality.” – Anonymous, Egypt Hey thank you so much for sharing your question. It sounds to me that you are very hard on yourself and I can totally understand that. When I was younger, there were definitely moments of insecurity and just this phase of figuring yourself. And with school bullying, societal pressures, all these images on magazine covers, and guys comparing girls by their looks, it’s very hard a teenager to come fully into his/her own when there are all these erroneous, negative, and low-consciousness forces in play. Today with the Internet, it doesn’t help at all because now there’s what, there’s Instagram — which is fine as a tool but it seems to be more commonly used to present ostentatious material goods or to flaunt certain lifestyles today. What I recommend is to recognize yourself as this unique human being on Earth while acknowledging there are seven billion people out there who are all individuals. All of us are individuals in our own path, living and working to be our best self, without comparison to anyone else. And it is very very important to recognize that. Because let’s say you live in a society that’s very much about conforming and being part of a larger group, especially so in Asian countries, it is very easy to lose your identity. And I think most people do not even recognize themselves as this unique person independent of a group. Now it is important to recognize our role in society, our role in communities, all of these are important. But do not lose sight of the fact that you are one human being with your unique individual identity. That is my one biggest advice on confidence. Because oftentimes when we lose confidence is when we start comparing ourselves with other people and wonder, Why am I not like that? Why am I not like this? Here I would recommend to read two posts: One post is on how to be confident and another post is on how to stop comparing. Definitely read both of them. I share more tips inside on how to do that. The one thing that’s the most important in life “What is the only thing which matters most in our life? Is it relationship? Is it job? What is the one thing which is very important in life? The most important thing.” – Hitesh, India This is an interesting question from Hitesh, which is, “What is the one thing that matters the most in life?” My answer is, it really depends on yourself Hitesh. For certain people, relationships matter more. For certain people, career matters more. I would say there is no one thing that is the most important. In my Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program, I have the life wheel. The life wheel is this self-development tool that gives you an overview of the key areas of your life. Some of these areas include Career, Love, Family, Health, Finance. There is no one thing that is the most important because let’s say we do not have our Health, nothing else matters. Even if we have the best Career in the world and all the Money in the world, it doesn’t matter if we don’t have our Health. Relationships itself is also very important. But if one just focuses on Relationships all the time and then neglects their own passions, their Career which should ideally be an extension of that passion, eventually they will also feel a backlash in other areas. So to me, all these areas are very important, and it’s important to recognize them. Using the life wheel is excellent to measure your progress in each of these areas and to move forward in the areas that you feel you are not doing so well in, while pushing yourself in the areas that you’re doing well, so that you do even better. Check out my life wheel article that I will be sharing in the show notes. For those of you who don’t have my 30DLBL program, check it out. It is a 30-day program with 30 different tasks all designed to help you move your life to a better place. How to be organized Last but not least, we have our last question from Melissa. “Hello. I have a tremendous amount of trouble keeping organized. I have a home business and I see a lot of people on a daily basis. It’s quite embarrassing. I can’t find things, I’m just unorganized. My name is Melissa. I’m from Winchester California. Thank you so much.” – Melissa, California Aww I’m really sorry to hear about your situation Melissa. I can understand because we live in an age where there’s just so much information that it can be hard to keep things organized. Simplicity is the key. Come up with a simple, easy-to-follow system to sort your files, to keep track of your to-dos, and to know what you need to do next. Even though I’m a very organized person, last year, I realized I needed to take serious time out to organize my computer. There were just so many things, like different versions of a project, different versions of a file, raw files of podcast, raw files of courses. So I spent quite a few weeks deleting files that I had not looked at in forever. And coming out with an intuitive folder structure that I could easily click and find what I need. It’s very important to have a structured system that you can easily follow and you know where the things are. It’s the same for you. Set aside the time to properly reorganize and sort out your folders, your files. For appointments, I use Google Calendar. It can be synced with your smartphone. You can specify whether you want it to remind you before each appointment. Every day, just making that your go-to page. Create a calendar for different purposes, such as social appointments and another one for work meetings. For example, I have different mini-calendars. One is for Appointments, where I have to go out and meet people. Another one for Courses/Coaching and I have it in a different color. Then another sub-calendar for Family in a different calendar. You can toggle them on and off so when you click each calendar, it disappears from the immediate view. This way you would never miss a deadline because it’s all there. If there’s something that’s important, then put it in the calendar as an appointment. If there’s something that is urgent but you can’t get to right away, put it in your calendar as well. Have your calendar open as a browser tab so that you can refer to it regularly. To know what’s next, what you need to do and so on. Closing Note So that’s it! Thank you so much for sending in the questions. It’s really been a blast for me to hear your voices and answer your questions. I hope you have found my answers useful in some way. If you find The Personal Excellence Podcast helpful, I would truly appreciate if you could just take a few minutes of your time to write a review on iTunes and you can do that at personalexcellence.co/itunes/ Thank you so much guys for listening. Really look forward to connecting with you in the next article and the podcast. Bye guys! Endnote: Thanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast! For more tips on how to live your best life, visit www.personalexcellence.co Related Resources: The 21-Day Incubation Period Are Coaching Courses Necessary To Be a Coach? Skills Development Successful Businesses Interview Series How To Pursue Your Passion (series) How To Be The Most Confident Person In The World Why You Should Stop Comparing Yourself With Others (And 3 Steps To Do So) The Life Wheel Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program, my premium program to live a better life in 30 days (Image: Nantawat Chotsuwan)
66 minutes | Jul 29, 2016
5 Harsh Truths About Blogging (And 6 Tips to Start an Online Business)
Today’s episode is one that you must listen if you have intentions to start your blog, online business, YouTube channel, or any online venture, be it now or in the future. After seeing all the “make money online” and “start your online business” hype, I decided to create this to share some of the realities of running an online business that many of the “gurus” do not talk about today, or at best scantly touch on as they paint a fancy picture of the riches and freedom to be gained online. This episode is longer than usual but that’s because it’s packed full of insider tips. In short, the online marketing / blogging / “start your online business” / “lifestyle design” circuit has become more like a Ponzi scheme, and I share many tips to put you on the right track. If you have no intentions of starting a blog / online business, this episode won’t be relevant to you. But if you know anyone who is planning to enter the online arena, please share this with them. You will save them many months of pain, time wasted, and running around in circles. In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, learn 5 harsh truths about blogging / starting your online business 6 tips for those of you who wish to start a blog / online business (or are already blogging) The saturation of the online space and what that means for you as a blogger / online business owner Why you should be skeptical about fancy claims about the online world, including supposed riches, quick traffic gains, and snazzy pictures of people seemingly earning good money The evolution of the web from 1990s to early 2000s, to mid-2000s and late 2000s, and to present stage 2010s The real nature and setup of many successful internet businesses today that you don’t see as a layman visitor The difference between “barriers to entry” and “barriers to success” online, and why you should be concerned with the latter The invisible “competitive edges” that online businesses today have (i.e. why it’s naive or unrealistic to expect quick results online) The reality and nature of the technical work that will come as a result of running an online business—and how starting a simple blog is totally different from running a full-fledged online business A list of the many technical tasks that I do at PE every month (but aren’t visible/obvious) The reality of online noise—negative comments and spam—and examples of the kind of noise I deal with (and examples of hate mail I receive, here and here) Underappreciation and the problem of being taken for granted as an online content creator Long-term vs. Short-term: my recommendation on the kind of mindset to adopt as you venture online My 3 tips for creating a solid plan for your online success Why you should be cautious about the online marketing / “make money online” / “start your online business” space, and my recommendations for free resources for blogging The importance of experimenting and doing lousy work vs. waiting Possible loneliness from running an online business and my tips for that Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS 5 Harsh Truths About Blogging (And 6 Tips to Start an Online Business) Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! Related Resources: Stop Looking For a Magic Bullet For Your Goals Can Everyone Be Successful in Starting Their Business? How To Discover Your Life Purpose (series) How To Overcome Perfectionism (series) Skills Development The Day I Quit My Job to Pursue My Passion: 6 Things to Do Before You Quit Your Job How To Pursue Your Passion (series) Free, high-quality blogging resources. Check out and immerse in the free stuff first; don’t jump into the paid stuff in this industry unless you’ve done your due research, as most of the paid stuff in this industry is junk and will not give you easy success/ riches unlike what they may claim: Quick Sprout (by Neil Patel) Psycho Tactics (by Sean D’Souza) Problogger (more for beginner bloggers) (Image: Torsten Scholz)
52 minutes | Jul 10, 2016
How To Be Assertive Without Being Aggressive
Have you ever had moments when you wished you spoke up and asserted yourself, but you didn’t? Do you feel difficulty asserting yourself sometimes? I feel this way too sometimes. In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, learn 5 tips to build your courage to be assertive without being aggressive Why being assertive doesn’t mean you stop being nice [02:21] Why being assertive is not the same as being aggressive [03:21] 2 key differences between being assertiveness and aggressiveness [4:08] The value of your voice [04:56] An incident where I got molested and didn’t assert myself, and why I should have [05:54] 3 questions to ask yourself in determining whether to assert yourself [10:49] An alternate approach for people who assert too much [11:38] Why you shouldn’t just “wait” when it comes to high-level career questions like promotion plan and salary rise [12:19] Dealing with a parent who keeps pushing their views on you [13:45] The face-saving culture and being sensitive to people’s feelings when asserting [15:39] What I do when I have disruptive course participants [16:42] Using I-statements vs. You-statements [18:20] 3 differences between I-statements and You-statements, and why I-statements are better when it comes to asserting yourself or in conflicts [19:36] Example of I-statements in a conflict with your partner [22:00] Focus on the positive in conversations [23:52] How to talk to your boss if you’re facing heavy workload [24:59] How to assert to a difficult co-worker [26:09] The importance of win-win and how to involve others [28:18] Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS How To Be Assertive Without Being Aggressive Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! How To Be Assertive Without Being Aggressive [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone, welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 9, this is Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co. Today we have a question from reader Saim, who wants to know, how can you be more assertive and stay humble and polite at the same time? So let’s hear from him first. Hi Celes, this is Saim from Pakistan. For the last 6 years, I’ve been working in Saudi Arabia in a multinational company. Some of my friends recommended me the Personal Excellence website and shared with me some free ebooks from PE. And then I logged on to the website, and I’ve been reading your articles, courses, so much stuff for the last 6 months. It’s really quite interesting and I really appreciate that. It has been helping me excel in my job. The question I want to ask is, ‘How to be assertive?’ As a person, I’m humble and polite. But there are many situations in the workplace where we need to be assertive instead of being aggressive. I want to know and would appreciate if you can answer through the podcast in details on how to be assertive and techniques to do so. Hey Saim, thank you so much for your question. Unfortunately, the question got cut off because there is an audio limit for the clips. The good thing is we got to hear your question: How can you be assertive while still remaining humble and polite at the same time? So firstly, I just want to thank you for reading PE. And I want to thank your friends for recommending PE to you. Your support really means the world to me. Now I want to make two quick points before I jump into the tips. Fact #1: Being assertive doesn’t mean you stop being nice The first thing is you mentioned that you’re humble and polite, which is a great thing. A lot of us are probably worried that when we try to be assertive, we stop being nice. For most of us here, we probably have core values of compassion, being nice to others, being sensitive, and being there for people. And maybe we feel that when we try to articulate our needs, we may come across as pushy. Maybe people don’t like that or they feel that we’re being arrogant. It’s a common misconception. Being assertive doesn’t necessarily mean that you stop being humble, polite, or nice. It’s about how you assert yourself and I want to share some tips later on how we can be assertive and not come across as an ass. Fact #2: Difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness The second point is about assertive vs. aggressive. I love that you are asking how to be assertive without being aggressive. Because there is a distinction between assertiveness and aggressiveness. When you are assertive, you are voicing your opinions and needs in a positive way while working with others to achieve a common goal. On the other hand, aggressiveness is when you make your point and force it across without consideration of other people’s opinions or feelings. Some people may even attack or ignore other peoples opinions, feelings, and needs altogether. Here there are two big differences: Assertiveness is the articulation of your needs in a positive way, whereas aggressiveness is negative. Assertiveness is where you acknowledge that people have needs and you want to work with them to understand their needs and achieve this common goal. Whereas aggressiveness, you don’t really consider that people have their own opinions, boundaries, and needs. You don’t respect that either. You just want to push your point across. In today’s podcast, I want to share several tips on how to be assertive without being aggressive. These tips apply to different contexts be it work or relationships, and it’s about tweaking them to fit your situation. 1) Recognize the value of your voice My first tip is to recognize the value of your voice. I find that a lot of us don’t speak up often because maybe we feel that we have to say isn’t important. Maybe people don’t care, or people don’t want to hear what we have to say, or what we’re gonna say isn’t going to make a difference or add any value. But there is value in your voice, in your opinions, and what you like to share, and it is important to recognize that. No matter the problem you’re facing, if it’s bothering you, then people need to know. Because if you don’t voice it out, nobody’s ever going to know that and you’ll just be suffering in silence, which is not a good thing in the long run. Example: When I got molested An example where I didn’t assert myself would be years ago when I was traveling in the U.S., when I was molested. I shared about this at personalexcellence.co/blog/molestation/. There was this guy brazenly touching my thighs and it was in a train carriage where there were tons of people. Now it was at night and everyone was seated. So it wasn’t visible to other people except me. When I experienced that, I was shocked obviously. How could someone be audaciously doing this in public and behaving as if it was okay? I tried to move away, doing all the indirect actions to convey rejection. But the guy persisted. This was obviously the point when I should have called for help. But what stopped me included the fear of embarrassment, fear of people not believing me, not being able to get help, or even being accused of creating a ruckus or falsely accusing someone. And I was in a foreign setting, and not knowing what the locals are like, whether they would believe me, a foreigner. So I stood up, got out of the carriage, and went to a different place on the train where I slept for the night safely and that guy didn’t follow me. So at the very least, I protected myself. At that time, I was just in my mid-20s. Right after the incident when I blogged about it, I mentioned that if that situation were to repeat, I clearly on hindsight would report him or call for help and let it be known. Now, let’s put this situation into context. On the whole, I got away safely. So that was no “damage” or harm done to me. I also avoided any public embarrassment because my approach was conflict-avoiding. And I think that is the underlying essence of many incidences when we don’t assert ourselves — it’s to avoid conflict. But if we look at it in a different context, regarding the first tip to recognize the value of your voice — there is value in my voice. That was value in me asserting myself there and then. By asserting myself, I would have called out that molester’s actions. There could well be criminals and molesters who perpetuate their crimes simply because they were never called out for what they did. They become more brazen in their crimes and offenses. And it just snowballs and becomes bigger. So there is value in me asserting, in that it would have called out that person’s actions and driven awareness [of the offense]. Maybe the person would be let off, but at least it’s the first step towards ensuring that such issues don’t happen (again). In terms of sending a message to that molester and also sending a message out to the other people in the carriage. Maybe they see this issue being called out and they know that if this happens to them or they see this happening to others, how they should behave. Example: Workplace A different example, let’s say in a workplace context, where you are mistaken for something you didn’t do. Let’s say you choose not to talk about it. And then over time, you start to become resentful. What’s going to happen when you feel resentful? The quality of your work may suffer, even if you don’t try to do that. Some of us may still give our best performance but this underlying resentment will naturally seep in and cause certain negative behaviors or passive-aggressive behaviors. Example: Relationship And then in a relationship setting. Let’s say you’re unhappy with your partner, but you don’t speak up about that. That naturally will cause unhappiness. Because if you are unhappy, that’s going to spill over to your partner and eventually him/her is going to be unhappy, and both of you wouldn’t be able to soar to your greatest heights. The point is that when you don’t assert yourself and you just bottle things in, it drains your lifeforce and emotions, which affects your ability to be there for others. I have some questions for you. If there’s a situation where you are fearful of asserting yourself, ask yourself: Will I be depriving another person or the group at large if I don’t share this input? Will I become resentful if I don’t air this thought? Will I be depriving myself of my needs by keeping quiet? If your answer is yes to any of the above, there is value in asserting your voice and other people can gain something out of this. Now there is the alternate situation where someone is constantly asserting themselves. Like someone who is very very confident and sure of themselves, constantly asserting themselves. Then, a different approach is necessary, where you need to weigh out the pros vs. cons of voicing out in every situation. I share more about this in my article, How to Choose Your Battles, that you can read at personalexcellence.co/blog/choose-your-battles/ 2) Create the right context to speak My second tip is to create the right context to speak. Let’s say you want to talk to your boss about your promotion or salary negotiation. If you’re not assertive, probably you’ll just keep waiting and waiting, hoping your boss will bring it up one day. But it never comes up. Clearly, when you passively wait for the context to appear, it may not work in your favor. Proactively create that context and make it happen. Arrange for a one-to-one meeting, like a 30-minute time with your boss. Arrange it at a time when people aren’t so busy so that your boss has the mindspace and time to hear what you have to say and help you in the best way possible. Let’s say you are in a group setting. You’re at a presentation or in a group meeting and everyone is speaking. Have an opener to share your thoughts. For example: “Excuse me can I share my opinion on this?” or “Is it okay if I share what I think?” Doing this creates an opening for you and people know that you have something to share. You are also being polite by asking this question. Example: How my client asserted herself to her mom I have a recent client who shared with me about how her mom kept nagging about her relationship status. I’m sure those of you who are single and from Asia, you can relate to that. Where your parents start to ask you — when you reach at a certain age — when are you finding a girlfriend or boyfriend, when you’re getting married, blah blah blah and all that stuff. So this happened to my client and she had been going through this for a long time where her mom just kept bringing this up once a month, twice a month. She felt really imposed and maybe even oppressed by this. I asked my client, “Have you ever shared with your mom about how you feel?” And she said, no she hasn’t. My client had never overtly mentioned to her mom about how oppressed she felt whenever she nagged her about her relationship status and told her to get married. So here, applying this tip to create the right context to speak. One way is to simply mention it during a private conversation. When both of them are alone at home and they are not occupied with something. A second way could be the next time her mom talks about this topic, which she does every few weeks, this can be a great context to air her thoughts. Because at this point her mom would be in that zone of talking about this topic, asking her to get married, etc. So her mind is in this space. This would be the perfect time for my client to step in and share how she actually feels, and of course in a non-confrontational way. Face Saving: Being sensitive to others when asserting There are things that we should take note. For example, if there’s a negative or not-so-positive thing that I would like to share with someone, I would say it directly to the person rather than in a group setting. A lot of this comes from the face-saving culture in Asia. Face saving is this concept when you do your best to preserve someone’s integrity. That means not causing embarrassment or making them feel shamed, where they would be “losing face.” It also includes situations where you call someone out on something that makes them look bad or you share negative feedback with them. I do all of these in private as much as possible, so one-to-one via email or in person as opposed to a group. Example: How I deal with negative course participants Sometimes in my courses — and this is really rare — but sometimes I have participants who are being strange or disruptive. Maybe they are giving a lot of strange comments or disrupting the flow of the course. Or perhaps making it difficult for other participants to concentrate or get the best value from the course. I would not call them out in the open because this is not face-saving. The recipient may feel shamed or embarrassed; they may also feel shocked. It prevents them from being able to receive the message in the best way. So what I do is, if there is such a situation happening, I would speak to that individual after the session to understand what’s going on. How is she or she feeling? Is there something troubling him/her? And so on. As opposed to openly calling out on the behavior in front of others because I don’t feel that that really solves anything. This works well for me and it always achieves the best outcome. Because it allows me to better understand that individual on a personal level and to intervene and provide solutions on how this can be resolved. So this is a win-win situation because: It doesn’t waste people’s time. It allows me to tend to the individual specifically. It also allows the individual to openly express him/herself without fear of judgment from others. 3) Use I-statements My third tip is to use I-statements. I-statement refers to the speaker expressing his/her feelings and thoughts in a statement that starts with “I.” You-statement refers to statements that start with “You.” It focuses on the recipient, the person you are speaking to. So, an example of a You-statement versus an I-statement. Let’s say someone is sharing feedback on a report. You-statement: “You wrote the report in such a confusing manner that is hard to understand it.” I-statement: “I found it hard to understand some parts of the report.” Here’s a different example. Let’s say someone is sharing her thoughts with her partner. You-statement: “You have been neglecting me. You are spending too much time with your friends and your work.” I-statement: “I have been feeling neglected of late. I feel like we haven’t been spending much time together.” Notice the difference between an I-statement versus a You-statement? Here there are three differences. An I-statement is where you own the statement and opinion. A You-statement can sound accusatory especially if what you’re talking about isn’t so positive. When you use an I-statement, you are sharing what you think and letting others decide what they want to do. As opposed to a You-statement where you impose your views on other people, such as, “You are doing this. You are doing that. You should do that.” The third difference is really subtle. When you use an I-statement, you acknowledge that the issue may lie with us. It’s not about being submissive or assuming blame. It’s about being humble and open-minded enough to recognize that sometimes the issue can be due to how we see things — as with many things in life I’m sure. So when you use an I-statement, the receiver is less likely to feel attacked or intimidated. Both of you can focus on the problem at hand. Exercise to monitor your communications I have an exercise for you. For this week, Observe how you articulate yourself when you’re communicating with other people, be in e-mails or conversations. Do you tend to use You-statements or I-statements? I want to stress that there’s no problem with You-statements. In fact, You-statements are great for building a personal connection or for positive praise and feedback. But let’s say there’s a conflict or problem. I-statements are more helpful because you are owning this feedback versus attacking the other person. Example: Argument with your partner Here’s another example of a You-statements versus an I-statement. Let’s assume that it’s a couple in conflict. You-statement: “You are so selfish. You are always doing what you want without regard for my needs. Sometimes I wish you can stop making so many demands and start thinking about me for the first time.” Notice how accusatory and attacking it seems, even though you may just be expressing your true unfiltered emotions? Using You-statement in a conflict can seem very attacking even though what you’re really trying to do is to assert your boundaries and needs. On the other hand, using an I-statement where you focus on sharing your emotions and your thoughts — it can sound something like this: I-statement: “I feel that you have been ignoring my needs since you changed to your new job and I feel upset about this. I find very hard to manage things by myself and I really try my best. I love you and I want to be there for you. I hope we can spend some time to talk about this when you’re free and work out some possible solutions.” Here the focus shifts from attacking and accusing to simply expressing your emotions which include neglect, being overloaded, overworked, possibly feeling unloved, also the desire to seek help. So the next time you need to assert yourself, be it in a conflict or workplace setting, how can you use the I-statement as opposed to the You-statement? Starting your statements with “I,” focusing on expressing your thoughts without attacking someone else or pushing blame to another. 4) Focus on the positive My fourth tip is to focus on the positive. The intent of this tip is similar to the feedback sandwich method that I share in my article on constructive criticism. You can read that at personalexcellence.co/blog/constructive-criticism/ You want to focus on the positive aspects of the situation while asserting yourself, as opposed to asserting in a negative way. When you focus on the positive, it opens the conversation on a good note. It’s the same with I-statements. It’s to let the other person know that you are on their side and you’re not trying to attack them. Versus aggressiveness, one of the key differences with assertiveness is that with aggressiveness, you are just making yourself heard at all costs and you don’t necessarily care about that person. You may even end up attacking that person while making yourself heard. Example: Being overloaded at work Let’s say you are going through some heavy workload issues with very tight deadlines. As opposed to talking your boss and saying things like “You’re giving me too much work” or “You’re not being reasonable,” we want to use the I-statement and articulate our views in a positive manner. An example could be: “I’m really enjoying the work. I’ve been learning so much and I’m really grateful for the opportunities. However, I’ve been having difficulty managing some of the tasks given the tight turnaround time. I was wondering if you could advise me on the priority areas in my workplan so I can work on them with priority. I’m really committed to giving my best at work. I appreciate any help and advice you can give and I look forward to your response.” Notice that you’re not trying to sugarcoat. You are being honest. You are outlining the problem and being clear on the help you need. Example: Difficult co-worker Let’s take a look at a different example. Say you’re dealing with a co-worker who is not sending you stuff on time. Have you guys dealt with such people before? A You-statement can sound like this: You-Statement: “You haven’t given me the report that I asked for. This is not the first time. You are always sending in stuff late and it’s disruptive for everyone. When can you send this to me?” Notice here? It focuses on the negative, on the past track record of what the person did wrongly, and also frustration. Here’s how an I-statement that focuses on the positive can look: I-Statement: “I haven’t received the report for project ABC. Are you facing any trouble doing it? Is there any area that I can help you in? Let me know. We are here to support you. We do need to submit this by tomorrow latest. So let me know if there’s anything that we need to do to meet the deadline.” Here, the difference is that you’re focusing on the positive parts. The things that can be done. That you are here to help. Rather than harping on the past, putting blame, or rebuking the person, which doesn’t really help the situation and may turn it into a defensive, accusatory, and angst-filled exchange. Think about the exchanges that you have had with others and also moving forward as you talk to others. Think about how you can apply this and focus on the positive aspects. The positive things in this situation, the solutions, as opposed to focusing on the spilt milk, the irreversible things, or even fingerpointing and the faults of the person — which don’t really solve anything in the long run. 5) Understand and resolve My last tip is to understand and resolve. This is where the second big difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness comes in. If you remember, being assertive is where you voice your opinions and needs in a positive way and you work with the person to achieve a common goal. On the other hand, aggressiveness is when you’re bulldozing, making your point across without consideration of others’ opinions or needs or even attacking other people’s opinions and needs. In this tip, you want to work with the other party to achieve this ideal outcome. To listen to what the other person feels, to work with them hand-in-hand to achieve a win-win as opposed to just saying, “I have this problem, go fix it” or “I have this problem. You are the reason why I have this problem.” Let’s say you are team leader in a project. Actively involve your teammates by asking them for their opinions, getting feedback at regular intervals, listening to their viewpoints, and working with them to incorporate the key feedback into what you’re doing. Let’s say it’s with a partner. You want to be listening to his/her point of view. Here you’ve already shared what you feel and that is your one-sided interpretation and viewpoint (which is important). After making yourself heard, you want to hear what he/she has to say, to understand things from his/her perspective and then you can work from there. Or let’s say it’s with a friend. Maybe you have an issue with him/her. Maybe you feel that there are times when he/she isn’t being reasonable, neglects you, or doesn’t appreciate you. After articulating yourself, you want to hear what he/she has to say. Maybe he/she has certain difficulties or problems that you want to listen to. Or even say it’s with a boss and you’re sharing about your workload issues or salary rise/negotiation or about your promotion. Then understand from your boss on the situation, on the what’s happening in the organization, on the areas he or she needs help in, limitations and so on. So that you can understand the role that you can play to achieve the best outcome for your boss and you. I find questions or statements like, “What do you think?” “I want to know what’s on your mind.” “Your view is important. Let me know what you think.” “Our goal is X. How can we work together to make this happen?” Statements like these open up this channel and conduit for the other party to share their views. Think of it this way: We have been having problems asserting ourselves and through the tips in this podcast, we then learn to assert ourselves and make ourselves heard. But maybe there are other people who haven’t gotten through this mental block of asserting themselves. We can help out by inviting them to share their thoughts so that we can work together to achieve this common goal. So it is important to honor the other person’s boundaries just like you probably feel your boundary has been infringed when people ignore your opinions and your needs. Here you want to respect the other person’s boundaries too. As with all communications and relationships, sometimes the solution may not come up in just one discussion. And that’s normal. This is where you keep discussing and keep the conversation open. You work together over time to find that best solution for both of you. Closing Note So we have come to the end of today’s podcast. I have some articles to supplement what I’ve shared in today’s podcast. The first one is on how to choose your battles and win the big war. It’s about knowing when to speak up and when not to. In this podcast, I’ve shared tips on asserting yourself and speaking up. But there comes a time when it helps to speak up, and there are certain moments it helps to let things go and not pursue the matter. And you can read that at personalexcellence.co/blog/choose-your-battles/ I have another article on how to give constructive criticism. Some of the underlying principles and the tips apply when it comes to be assertive. You can read this article at personalexcellence.co/blog/constructive-criticism/ Being assertive can be quite similar to saying no. So I’d like to direct you to my article on how to say no at personalexcellence.co/blog/say-no/ Each podcast takes a lot of work to create. If you have found this podcast helpful, I would truly appreciate if you can take a moment to leave a review and rating on iTunes at personalexcellence.co/itunes/. I would truly truly appreciate that. So thank you so much for listening and I look forward to speaking to you guys next episode. Bye guys! Endnote: Thanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast! For more tips on how to live your best life, visit www.personalexcellence.co Related Resources: How To Handle Molestation: A Personal Encounter How to Choose Your Battles (and Win the Big War) How To Give Constructive Criticism: 6 Helpful Tips How To Say No [Podcast] How To Say No To Others (And Yes To Yourself) (Image: Highland)
54 minutes | Jun 13, 2016
How To Overcome Writer’s Block
Having been blogging/writing for 8 years, I’ve experienced times when I have a “writer’s block.” You know, when you desperately want to write something, but nothing comes out? When everything you write feels like crap. When you are already behind deadline in your to-dos but your mind isn’t cooperating. I feel you. In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I share 7 tips to break out of a writer’s block and get into the flow of writing. :) These tips apply not just for writing, but any form of work that involves creation: drawing, composing, podcasting, video creation, entrepreneurship, software development, etc. Learn 7 tips to address writer’s block The importance of your environment in writing/creating quality work [2:11] What to do when you have an article/topic that isn’t working out [8:33] What to do when you’re stuck when writing a chapter of a book [11:31] What “filling your tank” is and why you must always do it [14:20] What it means to have energy that is “murky” and how to have peak energy instead [15:55] The one sure way to stifle your creativity… yet everyone does it all the time! [19:00] Difference between (negative) comparison and benchmarking, and why the former is bad [20:44] Why 10-time Grammy Award Winner Adele’s music is so hugely successful [24:50] How I wrote some of the most popular series at PE [27:34] How mega companies like Airbnb and Whatsapp got founded [30:46] The increasing noise online and what to do about it [34:56] Why you need to make creating easy [37:54] One thing that was blocking me from creating in the past year and how I tackled it [37:54] Addressing writer’s block shouldn’t be about “waiting for inspiration to strike” because inspiration may well never strike. By proactively modifying your environment, changing your mindset and changing your writing approach, you will find that prolific writing is something that can happen right away. This podcast will help you do that. :) Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS How To Overcome Writer’s Block Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! How To Overcome Writer’s Block [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone! Welcome to the Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 8. I’m Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co. I hope you are having a fantastic day. I am actually back from Ubud, Bali. For those of you who have been reading PE, I was in Ubud for one month. Fantastic, amazing place. I shared about the whole place, my review, my travel, at PE and you can read my series at personalexcellence.co/blog/ubud/. Today I want to talk about writer’s block. For some of you listening to this, perhaps you’re a writer or you’re a blogger, or you do some writing in your work, or maybe you just deal with creative output or content creation. Maybe you’re a podcaster, or you create videos, you compose music, you draw, any kind of output. I thought it would be great to do a topic on this because I have been writing for eight years. I started my blog in 2008. Through these eight years, I’m by no means an expert, but through these eight years, I have been through times when I feel blocked in my writing. I know that it can be a very painful experience when you just want to create but you can’t, and then you’re stuck there, trying to get things going, to write something, but nothing’s coming out. I want to share several tips today that have worked for me. I hope you’ll find them useful. For these tips, I will largely use the example of writing but they are applicable to any scenario. Simply think of the tips in terms of what you’re creating. 1) Be in your flow environment My first tip is to be in your flow environment. The concept of flow environment is something that I share in my Anti-Procrastination Program. It’s a term that I came up to refer to an environment where you can easily enter your state of flow and that supports you in entering that state of flow. Flow here refers to a highly-energized, highly-inspired state where you’re in that zone of creating. A flow environment can differ from person to person because it depends on what inspires you to create. For me, my flow environment is tranquil, serene, has light, and gives me that personal space to get into this zone of writing. A huge bonus is if this environment is in a place of nature and I can be right in front of a forest or a garden where there is a lot of greenery. Just seeing all these, it helps me in creating very high consciousness content. That’s because being in nature, it helps me connect with the universe. To remember that there are all these different people out there, and to connect with them in terms of spirit and energy. As opposed to, say I’m in a very constricted environment and there are a lot of noises, disruptions. It affects my writing in the sense that when I write, I write with no holds barred. I don’t have any barriers erected. What helps me write my best material is by not having any personal barriers, be it mental or emotional. So if I’m in an environment where there’s a lot of noise or disruptions, this energy and stimulus will seep into my consciousness. This will naturally reflect in my writing. I may feel, okay, I [can] write quite a volume of material even in situations where there is a lot of disruptions. But then when I review it later on, I will feel that this material is not up to par. Maybe there are certain elements that are a bit fear-based, and this fear could be energy that’s derived from the environment that I was in. So what really works for me is being in nature, being in a place where there’s tranquillity, it’s quiet, and it doesn’t feel congested or tight in terms of the aura. This is why I went to Ubud because I needed to get some peace and quiet away from congested Singapore. My month there turned out to be one of my most productive periods ever in the past few years. I was able to get a lot of material written. I was able to come out with new ideas on what I want to do next and think macro, think long term. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you get a flight to a different place. I mean, if you can, that would be awesome, in that it helps you with your work, and [if] there’s going to be a very positive return for the costs incurred, then that’s going to be worth it. For me, it was really important that I can get into that state where I can create content for you guys. So, you guys are my number priority. But let’s say that this is not possible. Then you can look at the area you live. Are there any places that are a fit for your flow environment? Your flow environment can be different from mine. But let’s say if your flow environment is nature as well, you can see if there are parks or quiet places or beaches where you can go to, where there are not so many people? Or let’s say in your own environment, how can you manipulate, tweak, change, your place into one where you can easily get into this state of flow? The point here is to be aware of what induces you and gets you into this state of flow. And then, to make that happen in your reality such that you can easily get into the flow of writing and creating whenever you want to. For example, Maya Angelo. Her flow environment is one where she’s by herself. She would often book a solo visit to a very small hotel room, in the middle of nowhere. Nobody knew where she was going, nobody knew where it was, and then she would stay in that hotel room, like the whole day, just writing, scribbling, on her own notepad. Then she would just get so much work written. This was how she wrote her books, some of which were best sellers. And that’s for her. So different people can have different flow environments. The point here is you want to know what is your own flow environment and then, make it happen. My questions to you: What is your flow environment? What helps you get into this state of flow? What is a place that would inspire you to create? What is a place where you just feel no restraints, no limitations, and you can easily write, create, compose, draw, whatever is the mode of creation that you use? Then, think about how you can make this a part of your reality. Are there certain changes that you can make to where you live? Your lifestyle, anything you can do to make this a constant part of your world so that you can easily create from now on? 2) Move on if the topic isn’t working out My second tip is to move on if the topic isn’t working out. I know that there can be times where you are writing something and it’s not just working out. It’s not working out because no matter how you try, there are no words coming out or at least whatever you’re writing they are just crap. Like they are just nonsense and not what you want. I have experienced that countless times. What I’ve learned is that when you insist on writing something that just isn’t working out, like you have tried days and weeks to complete that material, and it’s not going anywhere, trying to press on becomes a tremendous waste of time. Sometimes I have an article that I have tried to write for several days, if not weeks, and it’s just not going anywhere. I feel like I need to complete this article before I get to my other to-dos. Because I’ve spent days and weeks trying to write this, it makes me more frustrated and determined than ever to complete this piece of work. And I’ve found that it just doesn’t work out in the end. Maybe I can get that piece completed, but maybe that would take up another three weeks of my time. Sometimes, if something is not going anywhere, then maybe it’s not just the right time. Of course, this is assuming that you can change the kind of output that you are creating. It’s not like you’re working for a newspaper column that insists that you must complete that topic by a certain deadline. So this is assuming that you can make that call to change topics. So I have countless drafts in my WordPress dashboard. These drafts are topics that I have tried to cover and it wasn’t really going anywhere. Then, I decided to move on and try a different topic or something else that’s inspiring me or I feel excited to write about. When I do that, I get that vibe and inspiration to write this topic that I have put aside after a few months. When that happens, I will come back and continue that, or sometimes rewrite that entire thing because then I realized, Oh, the direction isn’t where I really wanted to go. That’s why I was stuck with it. When this happens, the completed article is so much better than whatever I had written before. Because there were new experiences that I gained along the way, like from writing some other material or doing some other things. This helped me write that article that I was stuck in. So sometimes if something is not working out, maybe it’s not just the time to write it. Let’s say you are writing a book. If you are writing a book, it’s a little bit different in that you can’t really be jumping from one book topic to the next, especially if you already have an agreement with a publisher. What I found is, when writing a book, if it’s a non-fiction book, you don’t need to write it in a linear manner. A book has many chapters. So you can jump from one chapter to the next if you’re not feeling the vibe for a particular chapter now. This is what I did for my book, 10 Rules of Super Productive People. My first rule is about goal setting. Goal setting, this topic is so overdone in personal development. It was important for me to write it in the way that would resonate with all kinds of people, in all stages of their growth, be it whether they are a beginner or they are seasoned in personal growth. Because of that, I wrote that chapter last in the entire book. I completed other chapters first and this allowed me to get a better overall picture. By the time I moved back to rule number one, which is the first chapter, I was in this position where, Okay, I have a big-picture view of the book. I know how I can write this chapter in the best way that encompasses all the other things that I’ve written. So here it’s about recognizing that creativity comes from setting as few limits as possible, if not no limits at all. When you try to erect barriers like insisting you must do this and you must do that by this deadline etc., you are setting a lot of barriers for your creative energy to flow. You make it very hard to tap into your true spirit, your own inner energy, and to enter your flow zone, when you’re putting all these guidelines on what you should do, what you must do. I recommend allowing yourself to have free reign. Allowing yourself to move from topic to topic, to experiment different things, to recognize that sometimes there can just be ideas that you try for a while and if they don’t fit with you, it’s totally okay to move on to something else. That’s fine. That’s part of creativity. There can be things that you embark on that don’t work out, and this is the part and parcel of the process. Along the way, even if you try something and you don’t continue on with it, you actually learn. It all helps you when you create that next piece of material later on. 3) Recharge yourself My third tip is to recharge yourself. Recharging yourself means honoring yourself. Honoring your needs, making an effort to ensure that your tank is always full. What do I mean by that? Here, “tank” refers to your energy tank. Let’s say you’re driving a car. A car would have a petrol tank. What happens when you try to drive your car with an empty petrol tank? Can the car move? Of course not, right? The car is only going to be stuck there while you try desperately to try to maneuver the car and then press on the pedal and accelerator and so on. That’s because there’s no fuel in the tank, there’s no petrol at all. Here it’s the same thing in that we have an energy tank too. This energy tank is what allows us to get by our daily activities, to create output, to get things done. When we have an energy tank that’s constantly low if not zero, we won’t have that ability to do things. We can still force ourselves to get things done but the output may be really low quality. This is especially important when you’re a creative and creating content. If you are coming from a place where you have lousy, low-level energy, that’s constantly murky — murky because you’re not honoring your needs and you’re doing things that you dislike — that is going to translate into your material. So here it is important that you honor your needs. Know what are your desires, your preferences, your boundaries, the things you like to do, things that motivate you and inspire you so that you can constantly work on these things and fill up your tank and recharge yourself. This means not pushing yourself to work when you feel very drained, not forcing yourself to embark on projects that you don’t like or you hate, not forcing yourself to do things that you absolutely dislike. This is different from knowing there are times when you need to do the hard things that may not feel comfortable but are necessary to help you grow. The point here is to work on honoring yourself and your needs so that you’re not walking around with some empty tank and that is going to affect your ability to get things done. I shared in my How To Say No podcast that I had such a hard time learning to say no and I kept saying yes to every single thing. That just deprived myself of my needs and preferences, like having the space to do the things that I want. In the end, that made me so miserable. This is precisely an example where I failed to recognize my needs and to recharge myself and to fill up my tank. So that was a tremendous learning point. Subsequently, when I learned to say no, and I shared these tips in my How To Say No podcast, that was the start of me learning to recharge myself and to fill up my tank, which allowed me to get into that flow state, and to do what I love which is creating material for you guys, connecting with you guys, and helping you to grow and be your highest and best self. So think about it. What inspires you? What energizes you? What motivates you to keep going? What do you love doing? Work on these things. These are what I call the 1-Ups in my Anti-Procrastination Program. When you surround yourself with these 1-Ups, you’ll find that your energy level becomes higher. On the other hand, you want to get rid of the things that drain you, so that you can preserve your energy and use them in the things that matter. 4) Avoid comparing yourself with other creators My fourth tip is to avoid comparing yourself with other creators. It is so easy and convenient for people to compare themselves with others. It doesn’t matter what field you’re in. Maybe you’re a YouTuber and you create videos. It’s easy to compare with those top YouTubers, and just thinking, Wow, they have so many views per video! Why don’t I have these many views or subscribers? Or, it could be blogging and you’re looking at other bloggers. Or say you’re a coach and you are looking at other coaches with these professionally-looking websites, where they have this huge team helping them and doing all these different things for them, and everything looks so flashy and fancy. Or, maybe you could be an artist and you look at all those professional artists with their professionally produced artwork. They even have accolades and so on. So whatever domain you’re in, there will always be people who are supposedly the top players in the field. They could be getting a lot of recognition and a lot of views, a lot of popularity. When you look at them, maybe you feel discouraged. Discouraged because maybe you see a gap between the quality of what you’re creating and what they are creating. Discouraged maybe you’re seeing they have so many viewers or readers, so much recognition, popularity, and you feel you have none of that. Here, it’s important to stop comparing yourself with these people. There’s a difference between comparison and benchmarking. Benchmarking is seeing what others are doing to get positive ideas to help you create, become better, and to improve. Comparing, specifically negative comparison, is when you are just looking at other people and from these comparisons with others, you feel negative about yourself. That prevents you from being able to create, to be productive, to continue with your work. This is what I call negative comparison. You want to stop doing that because creativity, true creativity, is formless. It doesn’t come in an explicit shape, size, manner, or style. When you compare yourself with other people, you box your own style, energy, ideas, and creativity into this box. This box could be whatever other people have defined for themselves (whoever these other creators are). So when you compare, that is just putting a lid on your own creative energy. Recognize that everybody is different. All of us have our own unique energy, idea, and spirit, that is up to us to express in whatever way we want. By constantly looking outwards at what other people are doing, we are sort of tainting our creative spirit and molding ourselves such that our material becomes more like other people. Now, this (comparing) naturally becomes a discouraging activity because deep down, our own creative spirit, our own inner self, knows there is this thing that we want to do in our unique way. If we are constantly looking, Okay how can we do this in that way that person is doing, more of out of obligation and fear than inspiration, naturally you start to become a copy of what others are doing, and you lose your natural flair and energy. This is where I want to share this quote by Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” We don’t compare a fish with a squirrel and then ask the fish why it’s not climbing, right? Because a fish is born to swim! Its natural talents and abilities are to swim. Maybe there is a unique species of fish out there that can climb a tree that we haven’t discovered yet, but the point is that every organism, every being, is different. It’s the same for you and me, all of us. We have our own unique talents that are just special. It is up to us to harness that and unleash it in the way that is unique to us. So, not compare yourself with others, very important. I think you will find that when you start focusing on yourself, how you want to express your ideas, how you want to deliver your ideas to your audience and the people that you are serving, you will find that you start getting into that flow, and you start becoming excited, again, about what you are doing. I share more about how to stop comparing and you can check out my guide at personalexcellence.co/blog/comparing/ 5) Do what resonates with you now My fifth tip is to write what resonates with you now. Some of you may have read interviews of very famous musicians, singers, songwriters, who talked about how one of their songs or their albums has been inspired by a particular stage in their life. Those songs and albums would be some of the best selling material of that time. Adele, Award-Winning Artist An example would be Adele who is one of the most prominent singers of all time. She has won ten Grammys (as of 2016) and is one of the two singers, besides Beyonce, to win six Grammys in just one night. Adele’s songs and albums have actually been inspired by what she went through at a particular stage in her life. For example, Her first album 19 is based on the experiences she had between when she was 18 and 19 years old, particularly about love when she was with an ex-boyfriend. The songs were being about being cheated on, not getting what you want, and so on. So it was a sad album. But the album went on to become a commercial and critical success. Then, she released her second album 21 which is based on her experiences at that age, and it explored themes of anger, revenge, heartbreak, self-examination, forgiveness. And then, her latest album 25 would be her experiences at that stage of life, and it reflects what she was going through, that frame of mind she was in, including yearning for her old self, nostalgia, melancholia, and so on. These albums were all based on her experiences then. It wasn’t like she trying to pretend to be someone else or she was creating a material because she thinks this is what people would want to see her do. Rather, all these were based on true experiences, true emotions and feelings. That’s what allowed her to be so authentic in those songs. I believe this is why it resonated so strongly with people, and all her three albums have been critical and commercial hits. So when it comes to creative work, know what resonates with you. Because as a creator, you need to know your inner muse. You need to know yourself, first and foremost, to create great material. Instead of forcing yourself to create things of a particular topic or create work that looks a certain way because you think this is what people want to see, start by focusing on what resonates with you first. Some of the Most Popular Articles on PE For example, one of the most popular series on PE would be my fasting series. This series based on my 21-day fast back in 2011 where I didn’t eat anything, I didn’t drink anything, and I just documented my experiences, how I felt, my revelations, and so on. After that, I followed up on that series with my review of my 21-day fast and tips for fasting success. Now, what led me to write about that series or embark on the fasting experience? It wasn’t because I knew or thought that fasting would be popular. The thing is you wouldn’t know what is popular until you have written something and then you see the results for yourself. Rather, I was just randomly reading online and I came to know about fasting and how it is possible for the human body to survive without eating any food at all. I was really amazed by that because I was raised in this society and culture where you’re conditioned to think that you need to eat every single day or you’ll just die. So that was my conditioning when I was young. So I was really amazed by the fact that it’s possible to survive without food. Then, I read up very thoroughly on the subject and realized that there are just so many other benefits to fasting. As someone who is passionate about growth, I just wanted to embark on it as an experiment, just to see how it is for myself. And then I thought, Since I’m doing so much research and since I’m really going in deep and I want to do it for 21 days, why not share the experience with others? As opposed to trying to write on some other topics at that point, it is best to share my experiences live as I’m going through it. And the series turned out to be one of the most popular series. I have another series, which is my soulmate series, and it’s about how I found my soulmate. There I share my experiences of love, of how I met Ken my husband, and just how we got together, and how we eventually got married and everything. Because at that point, I was going to get married. So I thought it would be nice to reflect on my love journey before I walk into the stage of marriage. This turned out to be again, another one of the most popular series on PE. Because I guess, many people like to learn about love stories and how people come to know each other which is something that I’m very passionate about myself. The same for many of my articles. Oftentimes, I write about a particular topic because this is resonating with me now. Because if I’m experiencing this issue or problem, or I’ve found the solution to overcome the situation, I am sure there would be tons of people going through this problem and they would benefit from the solution. So notice here it is about tapping into what’s resonating with you now. When you are working on something that is resonating with you, it could be a problem or an issue that you’re going through now, that becomes so much easier [to create]. How Airbnb and Whatsapp Started It applies even to entrepreneurship. For example, Airbnb. It is a hugely popular site that helps people find lodging, be it a simple one-room apartment or an entire apartment rental, Airbnb can do that for you. So Airbnb is making hotels have a run for their money. How did the idea of Airbnb come about? It came about from the two co-founders who went through this problem of not having rent, to pay for their lodging in San Francisco. They thought, Why don’t we rent out our living room to some guests and provide them with a bed and some breakfast and then earn some money out of that? So they did that. They had three guests and then they earned some money which then helped pay for the rent. That got them thinking, Hey, maybe there is some market for this. If we are in this situation, surely other people are in this situation and they have some spare capacity in their homes that they can rent out for some money. And they did that. Of course, that were trials and tribulations but Airbnb is hugely successful now and it’s pretty much the go-to place when people are going on holidays and they are looking for accommodation of a certain high quality and doesn’t have to be expensive like hotels. Another example would be WhatsApp. Personally, I don’t use WhatsApp and I really dislike it because I think it’s very invasive. But it is one of the top communication apps today besides the Facebook Messenger. It is very useful because you can make calls be it locally or overseas without having to pay for roaming fees because it uses internet for the calls as well as the messages. So how did the idea for WhatsApp come about? Well, the founder, Jan Koum, he was inspired to create WhatsApp after having lived on welfare when he was young. He went through days when he and his Mom, they couldn’t afford to call his dad in Ukraine. This is very simple but real problem which I’m sure many of us experienced years ago before all these communication, technology came about, when we wanted to call someone overseas, but then there would be all those expensive fees and we had to limit our communication. The point here is that when it comes to creativity and creation, it doesn’t have to be complex. It can be just something that you’re going through now like a problem, a situation that you’re experiencing or an insight that you’re having now, and using that as a source of inspiration. It can be very powerful as opposed to trying to crack our brains to think, What is it that would be so powerful, so awesome that would be life changing for everybody? Of course, this thinking is important. But if this thinking is causing you to be in this rut, where you can’t create anything or you’re stuck in your writing or podcasting or video creation or songwriting, that’s not helping you at all. So think about it: What is something that you’re experiencing now? What is a problem that you’re going through? What is an insight that you just gained in the past week or weeks? How can you incorporate this into whatever you’re working on now? How can you create material that resonates with you, that really connects with you? Use this to inspire you to create new things. You’ll find that material that’s created this way is so much easier and intuitive, even effortless, as opposed to trying to force yourself to work towards a particular direction, when it may not connect with you. 6) Focus on the audience you are writing for My sixth tip is to focus on the audience you are writing for. With the internet these days, there’s just so much noise. This noise can be just random chatter that is inconsequential or it can be criticism, negative criticism, everybody having an opinion, a negative opinion, and feeling like they need to make that heard. So this is different from constructive criticism. I have an article on PE about empty vessels. This article is about how the times when we feel very conflicted or bothered by certain comments that people give. And then we change our existence and revolve it around all these critiques we get. It comes to a point where we can feel very bogged down, flustered. We feel like we need to change everything just to make certain people happy. In that article, I share that, sure, there will always be people who have certain loud comments that are critical. It’s important to remember that these comments reflect a very small minority of the population. Just because these comments are articulated, they are loud, and maybe they are even hurtful, it doesn’t mean that they are the most important comments that you need to prioritize. So if you have been receiving critique, negative critique, maybe from your co-workers or friends even, and if you have an audience, from your own audience or maybe from certain clientele or dissatisfied clientele, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their opinions represent everybody’s opinions. Rather, focus on the audience you are creating, writing for. If you don’t have an audience yet, like maybe you are just starting in your path of writing, composing, or business, whatever is the work that you’re doing, imagine: Who do you want to create for? Who is this person? What are the problems that he/she is facing? Focus on these people because these are the people who need you. These are the people you are creating and for, and it doesn’t make sense to clutter yourself with all the other noises when those people are not even who you want to reach out to. Think about who is your audience. Then, when you’re creating that piece of work, have them in your mind and use them as your inspiration as you are creating that material. 7) Make it easy My seventh tip is to make it easy. It shouldn’t be difficult. Especially when this is something that you have to do regularly. If you feel like this is so tremendously difficult and you have to push yourself to do it every day, something is wrong. If you have to push yourself to write a blog article, every day, then something is wrong. Because the writing itself — it’s not like it should be peachy easy like ABC. Of course, there would be certain barriers that you have to go through, like for example perfecting/improving your writing skills, and so on. There should be obstacles. But if it is so incredibly difficult that it is a painful process each day, then something is probably wrong. You need to review your process and see whether there are certain fundamental issues making it difficult for you to create. So for me, in the past period, I’ve been feeling pretty blocked in my writing. After I dug into it, I realized there were two big things. One thing was my environment was off, it wasn’t helping me in terms of creating. That’s when I went to Ubud and I got the inspiration to create. I’m also now evaluating with Ken, if we can make certain changes to help me create prolifically. The second thing was… PE’s articles, every article is sent via newsletter. Because every single piece of content is sent out via newsletter, which is in email format, I realized that I was hesitating publishing content. I became really specific about how often I should send out a newsletter, when I should create new content, and so on, because I’m worried about sending out too many emails and potentially overwhelming my subscribers. That just messed up my whole creative process. What I should be doing is to prioritize the creation process. So it means, if I want to publish a new article on PE every day, go ahead. If I want to publish every other day, go ahead. Now of course, on the other hand, it’s important that I do not flood my subscriber’s emails. Something I’m considering is to only send out specific pieces of content via newsletters. And then maybe send out a summary digest like once a week. That would solve my concern of not flooding users’ emails. Here what I’m doing is simplifying my thought process regarding creation. First and foremost, writing for the blog. For the newsletter, I can set up that separate process. That really helps me because now I can focus on the key thing, which is my audience, the people reading PE. What they are looking for, how I can help them, and so on. So for you, think about your creation process. Do you find it extremely difficult to create? If that’s the case, ask yourself, why? Why is it so difficult? How can you approach content creation such that you are able to easily create quality material on a weekly basis or even a near daily basis? Maybe this requires you to re-work how you’re doing things. The point is to make it easy. Make it as easy as possible such that it’s easy for you to do it and to want to keep doing it. Let’s say you’re creating a video and you are doing so much editing work that it makes you not want to create anything at all. If that’s the case, maybe the solution is to cut down on editing. Record your videos in the way where editing is very minimal. Or, work with someone else in the editing so you can be just recording and then there could be someone who helps you edit and then both of you can work together. So questions to ask yourself: Are you overcomplicating the creation process? And can you make it easy? Complicating processes is something that perfectionists are so good at doing. If you feel like you are a perfectionist, well, I have a perfectionism series, How To Overcome Perfectionism, and it’s a three-part series that you can check out at personalexcellence.co/blog/perfectionism/. There I share signs to tell if you are a perfectionist, the downsides of perfectionism, as well as eight crucial tips to overcome perfectionism. Closing Note So we have come to the end of today’s podcast. I hope you have found it useful. Think about how you can apply these tips to help address your writer’s block. I know it can be really tough when you are going through a writer’s block as I have been there myself too. As long as you work on removing the barriers that are preventing your inspiration from emerging and to tap into what inspires and excites you, it becomes easier and easier to get into the flow of things. And each writer’s block that you experience, it really helps you understand yourself more. It helps you become better at your craft and your work. It helps you in your creative journey as you move ahead. So don’t be discouraged. Know that it’s normal to have writer’s block. I have that myself, too. I hope you can break out of this funk and this rut soon. If you found today’s podcast helpful, I would really appreciate it if you can leave a review and rating on iTunes. Every single review means a lot to me and it really helps others know about the podcast. So thank you so much and I look forward to talking with you guys in the next episode. Bye guys! Endnote: Thanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast! For more tips on how to live your best life, visit www.personalexcellence.co Related Resources: Anti-Procrastination Program [PE Course] How To Say No [Podcast] Why You Should Stop Comparing Yourself With Others (And 3 Steps To Do So) My Fasting Experiment How To Find Your Soulmate (series) How World Icons Got their Ideas and Inspiration [Infographic] Empty Vessels Make the Most Noise How To Overcome Perfectionism (series) Why I Got Depressed Writing My Book: Your Guide Through Development Hell (Image: photosteve101)
49 minutes | May 17, 2016
Top 5 Regrets of the Dying (And What To Do About Them)
A palliative nurse who cared for dying patients in the last weeks of their lives took the liberty to record the most common regrets among them. Among these regrets were revealing statements like wishing they didn't work so hard, wishing they had the courage to express their feelings, and wishing they had stayed in touch with their friends. I believe people can get striking clarity and wisdom in the last moments of their death. In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I share the top 5 regrets of the dying, as identified by former palliative nurse Bronnie Ware, and my thoughts and pointers on how we can use this wisdom to better our lives. Regret #1: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me [02:26] Regret #2: I wish I didn’t work so hard [11:30] Regret #3: I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings [18:43] Regret #4: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends [23:51] Regret #5: I wish that I had let myself be happier [27:56] Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Top 5 Regrets of the Dying (And What To Do About Them) Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! Top 5 Regrets of the Dying [Transcript] Welcome to the Personal Excellence Podcast, the show that's all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone! Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 7. I'm Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co. Today's episode is a different one. I want to talk about the top 5 regrets of the dying, a topic that's based on an article. Some of you may have read this before, because it's an article that went viral several years ago. The article is by Bronnie Ware, and she was a palliative nurse who cared for dying patients in the last weeks of their lives. She penned an article on the top 5 regrets of the dying because after all these years of just caring for patients who were going to past on, she noticed recurring trends in their thoughts, things they wished they did. This could be things like wishing they didn't work so hard, wishing they had the courage to express their feelings, and so on. I thought that this would be an insightful topic to talk about today because I believe people get clarity during the last moments of their lives. It puts things into perspective, like things they wished they did or things they wished they didn't do so much of. It is good to review these to understand what's on their minds, and also to use this as insight and wisdom to reflect on our lives and whether it's heading down the path we want. In today's podcast, I'm going to be reading snippets from Bronnie's article, covering the top five regrets of the dying, and sharing my thoughts and perspective on them. At the end of the podcast, I'll share the link to Bronnie's article so you can take a look for yourself. Regret #1: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself,
37 minutes | May 2, 2016
How To Say No
Do you hate to say no? Do you often find yourself saying yes because you don't like to make others feel bad? Well, I do, and I can relate. I used to be terrible at saying no until I realized that continually saying "yes" was digging myself into a ditch and led me with little time for my personal goals and relationships. In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I share 6 tips to say no that I've been applying, along with personal examples: Tip #1: Know what you want to say yes to [00:57] Tip #2: Know that saying no is okay [04:43] Tip #3: Many little yeses to irrelevant things, or mildly relevant things, even if small, can deviate you from your main goal [08:26] Tip #4: Be honest about it [13:22] Tip #5: Give alternatives (if you like) [19:04] Tip #6: Do a life audit if you're getting a high noise signal [20:04] Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS How To Say No Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! How To Say No [Transcript] Welcome to the Personal Excellence Podcast, the show that's all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone! Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 6. I'm Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co. Today's topic really hits home for me. It's about how to say no. I don't know about you, but I used to be really bad at saying no. In a way I still am. But I've learned to be a lot better at it. If you are someone who has difficulty saying no, today I want to share with you six tips that have worked really well for me and I hope you'll find them helpful. 1) Know what is it you want to say yes to My tip number one is to know what you want to say yes to. For me, when I just focus on learning how to say no as an action in itself, it becomes a hollow quest. Because my default self is to help people. I like to agree to requests as much as I can. And I like to be there for other people. Obviously, this has its own implications. After countless situations where I just kept saying yes, yes, yes to every single person, request, and favor, I just didn't have any time for myself, for my goals. On the other hand, when I focus on the things that I want to say yes to, meaning my biggest goals and dreams, my Quadrant 2 projects, this helps me define this clear vision of the real big priorities in my life. Let's say I don't have this clear vision. Everything can simply be important. Yet, when framed into the context where we all have limited time on Earth, we all have certain ambitions to realize within our lifetime, then it becomes clear that we need to prioritize the things that we say yes to, and hence no to the other things. For me, what I want to say yes to would be PE. All of you guys. Growing it, creating more content for you guys, creating more great courses. Just being there for all of you, through my content. And of course, my loved ones, my family members. And my own personal growth and health.
40 minutes | Apr 17, 2016
How To Deal With Moments of Negative Self-Worth
Do you have times when you feel lousy about yourself? Times when you hate yourself or just feel that you're just worthless? I have these moments, and if you do, I want you to know that you're not alone. More importantly, I want to share with you tips to deal with such debilitating moments of negative self-worth, so that you can gain strength to continue in your journey and not feel like you need to struggle by yourself. In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I share 6 tips to deal with moments of negative self-worth: Tip #1: Forgive yourself [01:42] Tip #2: Everyone is struggling [04:27] Tip #3: Stop subjecting yourself to impossible standards [07:15] Tip #4: Do something that makes you happy [11:21] Tip #5: Identify trends in what's making you feel negative [15:24] Tip #6: Recognize you are complete [22:27] Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS How To Deal With Moments of Negative Self-Worth Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! How To Deal With Moments of Negative Self-Worth [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that's all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone! I'm Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co. Today's podcast is about how to deal with moments of negative self-worth. I don't know about you, but there are times when I deal with debilitating moments of negative self-worth. These moments may not be common, but there are times when they surface. During such moments, I just feel like I'm worthless, I'm doing a lousy, crappy job, or I just hate myself. I've found that such moments can happen when I feel like I'm not doing a good job, or I feel like I can be doing more, or bad incidences happen and I feel beat myself up over them. There are times when we feel down and out. I want to let you know that it's normal. It's okay. There's no need to feel ashamed of feeling this way. In today's episode, I want to share simple tips on how to deal with moments of negative self-worth and to feel better about yourself. 1) Forgive yourself My first tip is to forgive yourself. So, I'm not sure about you, but I have times when I fault myself for not doing things the best way, or not handling situations in a way that is in line with my 100 percent ideal definition. These don't have to be some serious incident but just very small little things that I'm sure nobody remembers or thinks about. But I would just think about them later on and think about how I could have handled something in a better way or dealt with one small thing in a better manner, that could have perhaps improved that overall situation. But I've learned that it's about forgiving myself. Forgiving myself for any shortfall vs. my expectations. Recognizing that whatever I did or didn't do, I've already done the best that I could within that situation, within that context. And it's about learning from the experience and working to be a better me...
25 minutes | Mar 17, 2016
I’m Scared of Losing My Parents. What Should I Do?
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were to lose your parents one day? Do you feel scared at this thought? Reader Sumedha asks this question: "Lately, I'm getting too emotional over my fear of losing my parents. I just get stricken with a strong sense of guilt that I'm not doing anything back to them and I owe them a lot. I'm too attached to them and I can't help myself from feeling this way. I know they're doing a lot for me and I'm grateful for that but this feeling just gets too much. I'd really be thankful to you if you can help me get over this feeling. Thank you so much." How do you overcome the fear of losing your parents or your loved ones? Beyond burying our heads in work and miscellaneous distractions, and ignoring this sinking feeling of something that we don't wish to face, what can we do to tackle this fear? In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I share The nature of death [03:59] 2 key reasons why most people feel (heavy) guilt or fear of losing their loved ones [06:42] Reader Kimberly's loss of her dad and my advice to her [07:19] The eternity of our spirit [08:15] Carrying on your loved one's message after he/she has passed on [08:57] How to address the fear of losing loved ones [12:10] Loving our parents (and loved ones) start today [12:47] Showing love doesn't have to be materialistic [13:45] Lag time when you try to improve your relationship with your parents [14:33] We should not take life for granted [14:58] Create a list of things start loving and appreciating your parents (or loved ones) — starting today [16:21] Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS I’m Scared of Losing My Parents. What Should I Do? Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! I'm Scared of Losing My Parents. What Should I Do? [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that's all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone! Welcome to the Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 4. I'm Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co. So thank you so much for listening today. I hope you are having a wonderful day. It's Wednesday here right now and I'm just looking forward to speaking to you guys. Today we have a question from Sumedha, who wants to know how to deal with the fear of losing our parents. Well, let's hear from her first. Hi Celestine, I'm Sumedha from India. I'm 17 years old. I've been reading articles for the past one year. I really find them genuinely useful as I can relate to most of what you faced in your life to my current scenario. My question today is lately, I'm getting too emotional on my fear of losing my parents one day. I just get stricken by a strong sense of guilt that I'm not doing anything to give back to them and I owe them a lot. I'm too attached to them and I just can't help myself get past this feeling and I end up digging it deep into my mind.
29 minutes | Mar 9, 2016
What is the Message of Your Goal?
Conventional goal-setting wisdom is to set a goal, create an action plan, and then pursue it. If you fail, revise your targets and try again. The problem comes when we face goals that can't be achieved, say due to societal limitations (e.g. you can never repeat senior year of high school with the same batch of classmates) or physical limitations (e.g. age limit to enter competitive swimming). Also, there are times when we don't progress in a goal despite multiple tries. So does that mean we have failed? This is where knowing the message of your goal is important. In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I share: What it means to know the message of your goal 3 reasons why knowing your message can be that difference between struggling and thriving, being miserable and being happy 4 goal scenarios of how to apply this concept — losing weight, building your blog/business, being a professional athlete/performer, and improving your relationship with your family — and how this can relate to you 3 questions to ask yourself in any goal pursuit Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS What is the Message of Your Goal? Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! What is the Message of Your Goal? [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that's all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone, welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 3, I'm Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co. I want to thank you for listening. We have over 4,000 downloads for the podcast so far which is amazing because we only have two episodes so far so including this is the third one. And we've just launched for a few weeks! So I'm so grateful to all of you for tuning in. I'm just looking forward to creating more great episodes for you. Let's get to today's podcast topic and this is a question that I want you to think about, which is: What is the message of your goal? What do I mean by this? I thought of this topic when I was reading a reader question on my Facebook a week ago. This reader was telling me about his aspiration and ambition — which I think is marvelous — to be a professional football player. He has been facing difficulties along the way and he wanted my advice on the situation. My advice to him was to think about the message behind his goal, which is what I want to talk about today. So let's talk about what I mean by "the message behind your goal." The Message of Your Goal Here, message means, for whatever is the goal you want to pursue, what is the reason that you want this goal? What is the intent that you want to make happen? For example, let's say I want to improve my relationship with my parents. I want to take them out on a vacation. The message here could be, "I want to better the relationship with them. I want them to be happy." So why is it important to discover your message? The first reason is,
16 minutes | Feb 17, 2016
How To Deal With Depression When It Comes to Our Goals?
PE reader Jessica wants to know how to deal with depression when it comes to our goals. Have you ever felt depressed when it comes to working to your goals? Perhaps because you're procrastinating, not taking as much action as you wish, and/or not seeing the results that you want? You're not alone. In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I share my experience of how I felt depressed for a good chunk of last year about my goals, and how I've been addressing that. I share 3 simple tips to get out of your funk and stay out of it. Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS How To Deal With Depression When It Comes to Our Goals? Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you! How To Deal With Depression When It Comes to Our Goals? [Transcript] Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that's all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua! Celestine Chua: Hey everyone, welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 2, I'm Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co. So today we have a question from Jessica, who wants to know, how do you deal with depression when it comes to your goals? I think Jessica is recording from her laptop mic so that's quite a level of background noise. But do listen closely because she has some excellent points in her question. So here we have, Jessica. Hello Celes, my name is Jessica and my name is Puerto Rico. I've been reading PE since I was 16 and right now I'm 21, so I'm a faithful PE reader. I want to ask how to deal with depression. In what sense? I'm referring to depression in goal setting. For example, you have these goals and you wake up every morning and you say, 'Wow, today I'm going to do this, today I'm going to do that. You know, I'm really prepared today, I'm really going to do that.' But when it comes down to it, you realize the hours pass, the days pass, the months pass, the years pass, and nothing happens. And that can be very frustrating and eventually lead to depression. I think a lot of people can really relate to this, to this feeling of really, really wanting to do something but not being able to do it, possibly because they're procrastinating or because they feel emotionally not ready. And that's basically my question. Thank you. Thank you so much Jessica for your question. So if I heard you right, I think you mentioned that you started reading PE when you were 16 and you're now 21? So that's been five years! That's amazing! And I love your question. Depression when it comes to your goals. How many of you guys can relate to that? Maybe you are feeling depressed because you feel like you're not taking as much action as you should for your goals. Maybe you are feeling depressed because you have been procrastinating on your goals. Or maybe you feel depressed because you feel like you should be achieving so much more than what you are seeing. For me, I can totally relate to that. I was feeling quite depressed for quite a last chunk of ...
5 minutes | Feb 12, 2016
Introducing The Personal Excellence Podcast!
Hi everyone! :D Today I'm super excited to announce the launch of the Personal Excellence Podcast! So for years, I've been writing articles at PE and creating content for all of you, but I've never created a podcast — until today. After getting requests from some of you and also thinking of my plans ahead for PE, I decided that it's time for me to start a podcast so that I can better serve all of you. Listen to the first episode, where I share why I've created this podcast and what you can expect in the episodes ahead. Thank you! :D Listen to the podcast via my online player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or subscribe directly to my RSS feed. The Personal Excellence Podcast Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Introducing The Personal Excellence Podcast! Listen On Apple Podcast Listen On Google Podcast Listen On Spotify Show Menu Podcast Subscription Menu Listen on Stitcher Listen on TuneIn Listen on Castbox Listen on PocketCasts Listen on Overcast Subscribe via RSS Show Podcast Information If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review makes a difference and will help spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you!
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