Design Your Life By Making Better Choices: Evangelist for Success

Success is not how much you know but what you do with what you know. Evangelist for Success features inspirational tips to help you design your life to achieve what you want. It calls for creativity and passion for life to achieve your dreams and goals.


Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 by Patrick YC Lim
IMPATIENCE and PROCRASTINATIION are like two opposite poles to each other.

IMPATEINCE means unable or unwilling to wait, i.e. want to see action immediately. On the other end PROSCRATINATION is the unwillingness to take action. By that description it seems logical to me that they should be at the opposite ends of each other. Then to think of it the actual opposite of impatience is PATIENCE while the opposite of procrastimation is ACTION.

By that simple deduction one would conclude that PATIENCE is ACTION. True or false?

I am going to reflect on these words. I would like to hear your comments.

To be continued....

Design Your Life

Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 by Patrick YC Lim
There’s an old German saying that goes, “You have to take life as it happens, but you should try to make it happen the way you want to take it.” Are you planning to just let life “happen” to you or do you plan to play an active part in designing the life you want?

Some of you may say, yes, I would like to do that, but trouble is, I don’t know how to get started. So you just go with the crowd, or take the path that’s most hassle-free. Unfortunately, more often than not, the crowd may not know where it is going, and if so, then everyone ends up like everyone else, wondering what has happened to their life many years down the road!

A lot of people tend to take life for granted. They think that by the time they are in their 40s or 50s everything will fall into place by itself.

Are you willing to take that chance? Remember, you only have one life, and you can’t turn back the clock. Life is not a full dress rehearsal; it’s only going to happen once. You can’t say, “Cut, let’s start it all over again.”

The truth is, for most people, after 20 or 30 years of working, they only discover what they do not want, without a clue as to what they really want in life.

We all know we want something. Words like financial freedom, wealth, lifestyle, are catch words everyone is using. But do they know what it actually means? Do they know what it takes to achieve that? Do they know how or where to get it?

So my advice is: take the time right now to work out a design for your life. If life was a movie, and you are the producer and actor, what role would you want to play and how would the plot unfold? Designing your life is like making a movie. You have to be able to see the end at the beginning. It may start off a little hazy, but as you continue working on it, it would become clearer and clearer. You’ve got to write the script, put in the characters. Use your imagination, let your creative juices flow.

Does it mean that what you have designed is going to be set in concrete? Certainly not. You are the producer of your life. You can change, delete, or add in anything you want in your project. But at least by doing this exercise of designing your life, you are in control of your circumstances, rather than become a victim of them.

Here are some simple steps to help you get started:
  1. Find a nice quiet spot where you will be undisturbed for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Equip yourself with a pencil and a new note pad that will become your “Life Book”.
  3. Draw a time line across a page, from now to say five years on.
  4. At the left end of the time line, write “Present State”; at the right end, write “Desired State”.
  5. On the left end, describe as accurately as you can your Present State. Ask questions like:
    • What am I doing now?
    • What is my income, if any?
    • Do I like what I do?
  6. On the right side, under Desired State, describe as clearly as you can what you would like to see five years from now. Ask yourself, if I can’t fail…
    • What do I really want to be?
    • What do I want to have?
    • What will my life be like?
  7. Between the Present State and Desired State mark on the time line
    • What must I do to get what I want?
    • Who can help me?
    • What skills do I need?
    • What resources do I need?
The first time you may not get all the answers you want. If you do this exercise daily for some time, I can guarantee you that you will end up with a pretty good design for your life. You will know where to get what you want, what to do, who can help you and so on.

You don’t stop working on your project to design your life. I recommend you to keep going back to the “Life Book” you have created; it’s a “project in progress”.

Take charge of your life now. If not now, when?

Making Choices

Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 by Patrick YC Lim
Life is simply a sum total of the choices we have made. As Zig Ziglar said, “You are free to choose, but the choices you make today will determine what you will have, be and do in the tomorrow of your life.

That may seem a little daunting, when we do pause in our journey through life’s many twists and turns, to consider how we actually make choices. Choice of career, choice of spouse, choice of investment, the list goes on. Is it by instinct or “gut feeling” or do we actually analyse the important decisions we make in life? Or do we get so paralysed by fear of making the wrong decision, that we simply abdicate from any responsibility and just leave it to “fate”?

A case in point was a young man I was coaching recently. He has been working in a financial institution for several years now. Armed with a Bachelor of Science degree from NUS, he had several options when he first graduated. So how did he make his choice, I asked him. Was it what he really loved to do? I’m afraid not, as he did not have a clue what he would really like to do with the rest of his life! No, instead he looked at which job paid better, he also asked his parents and a few friends for their opinion, and of course, the answer came from their beliefs as to which job was more “stable”, has better prospect, and so on.

Certainly not a wise way to make decisions. Yet, who can take him to task for how he embarked on choosing what direction to take for his life then? Were any of us taught how to make choices in school?

Or are we taught to go the safe route, to live with compromise, as we would have plenty of that?

For those looking for a job, or perhaps are at a crossroad as to what direction to take for the rest of your life, here are some thoughts on what not to do when making choices:

Don’t attempt to weigh all options

This is what I used to do – make a “pro’s and con’s” list for each option and then set about analyzing what’s the best thing to do. All that happens at the end of the process is: we simply end up more confused that when we first started off!

Don’t think of all the things you don’t want

When thinking about what career to go into for example, don’t waste time thinking what you don’t want to be doing. Instead, focus on what you do want to do and what job is ideal for you. As the saying goes, what you focus on expands. Similarly, don’t focus on solving problems. If you keep focusing on your problems, and what you don’t want in life, that is exactly what would expand!

Instead use a creative approach – think about what you want in life and focus on how to create that for your self.

I remember an incident when I was still young and struggling with my business. One day I was sitting in my office, shuffling all the bills and cracking my head which one should I pay first with my limited resources. Then, a friend – much older and wiser than me came in, asked what I was doing, and when I shared my dilemma with him, he opened my desk drawer, pushed all the bills in and said to me, “Now go out and make the money you need!”

There are three types of choices that can help take you forward – primary, secondary and fundamental choices.

Primary choices are choices you make with regards to major results e.g. “I choose to be financially free in five years’ time.” Meanwhile, secondary choices that can help you take a step toward your primary results. In the above example, a secondary choice to support the choice to be financially free may be to build a second source of income, or perhaps to set aside money for investment.

What about fundamental choices? This is something not many people are aware of, but it is indeed crucial if you want to be really successful in life. Whereas a primary choice concerns itself with specific results and a secondary choice supports those results, a fundamental choice has to do with a state of being, or basic life orientation.

A fundamental choice is the foundation upon which primary and secondary choices rest. It is not subject to changes in internal or external circumstances. An example could be the choice to be true to oneself.

The schools do not teach us how to make choices in life, but it is a skill that can be learnt and once mastered, can help us live a life of our dreams.

A Perfect Storm: A Lesson to Learn

Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 by Patrick YC Lim
Have you ever had that day when events came up not the way you’d expected? When things were not going the way you’ve wanted them to. When people whom you thought were on your side are now in an opposite camp. When everything seems to be going wrong. People whom you love and respect irritate the heck out of you! When everything that cannot go wrong, went wrong and everything else sucks. Whoa, I am in one right now.

I liken it to a perfect storm. It’s like a bright sunny calm day, when the ocean looks so inviting to take the boat out. After sailing for a while, black clouds suddenly appear from the horizon and are rushing fast towards you and your 100-footer boat. You have gone miles out in the ocean. The ocean turns choppy and starts to boil and waves are rising up from 10 to 50 meters high. You try to turn around to head back to land. The engine starts to splutter, choke and die. You jump to your radio to give the distress call to the coast guard. No response. Meanwhile you are tossing around in your boat with a dead silent engine. Imagine a matchbox being tossed around in water. You have run into a perfect storm. You wish it was a bad dream. But it is not.

At that point of time you are helpless. You can only wish that all these are not happening, but they are. Now what would you do?

I am experiencing a ‘perfect storm’ situation today. Fortunately, it’s not at the ocean. But right now, everything is not going as expected. The natural tendency is to blame someone and look for causes that create this unpleasantness. I am disappointed. I feel disgusted at the attitude of some people and appalled by the way they are thinking. I feel I have done so much for them and are not the least appreciated. Anger, yes anger swells within me. I want to lash out back at them.... But no, I am better than this, to allow a ‘perfect storm’ situation to overcome me.

I sat and reflected for a while what I should do. Calm came. When calm is in control it does not matter if there is a storm outside. After a while I began to forgive them and to love them. They are what they are, perfectly normal and behaving just the way they are. I have to rise above the situation. I must not be sucked in. Just like the ocean, the water, the wind, the waves, the clouds, they are what they are. At normal times they are beautiful. But on a day like this, they can cause havoc and create perfect storm. If I allow it to suck me in, I’m a ‘goner’. It’s part of life experience. And as long as I am sailing in the ocean, this is what I have to expect. What matters is to survive when each storm jumps up on me. I’ll survive when I remain calm, take corrective actions, and respect the elements.

There is always a perfect storm. It’s not just up to the mercy of the elements - the ocean, the wind, the waves, rain, and the current but it has to be the captain of the boat, i.e. me who has to read the signs and steer the boat so as not to sail into a perfect storm. I am responsible. No other person can be blamed. It’s I who chose what I did. The others are just the elements, like the elements in the ocean that create a perfect day or a perfect storm.

That’s the lesson I learn.

Courage and Regrets

Posted on Saturday, September 30, 2006 by Patrick YC Lim

I was sitting in a café of a bookshop enjoying the quietness of a late afternoon and reading a newspaper. After a while, I realized someone was standing next to my elbow. Without a word she placed a laminated typewritten letter across my table. Apparently she was deaf and dumb. I reacted spontaneously, shaking my head making a No gesture without looking up. She left (of course without a word).

In less than 10 minutes she returned to my table (I don’t know whether she remembered or not that she had shown me her card before) and put in front of me the same piece of laminated letter. Again, I shook my head - No. She left. This time I looked up following her with my eyes as she made her way out of the café. I watched her for a while. She was a young girl of about 18 years of age. As she was walking away, I noticed she was nonchalant about her lack of success. She was swinging both her arms like a small playful girl going out of a candy shop. She disappeared from my sight.

After I had finished my drink, I walked to the bookshelves. I bought some books and went back to the same place I was sitting. As I was browsing through the books which I had bought, I didn’t realize someone was in front of me. I looked up and saw the same girl with her laminated typed written letter in front of me! Again with the same response, I shook my head gesturing NO. As quickly as she appeared, she disappeared among the shoppers.

As she went off, I felt bad about my attitude. I felt lousy. I could have helped her or at least read what’s on that letter. But I had allowed my irritation at being disturbed from my peaceful reverie to get the better of me.. I stood up and turned around but she was no longer in sight.

I waited for a while thinking that she will come back and perhaps I could see where I can help her. She didn’t. I waited a little longer, still she did not appear.

What haunted me a little was her clear innocent face. She was asking for help and I regretted that I had not responded. All of a sudden, it dawned on my awareness that I could have been that girl, asking for help and being ignored. How often has that happened in my life and how bad I had felt each time! And now, I had it in my power to make someone else’s day by a simple gesture that would have cost me nothing significant, yet I let it slip away. It would probably have made my day too! I also recall that a lot of people had made my day in the past – I truly regret that I did not do the same for that girl.

Very often so many opportunities are lost in our life just because we are so engrossed in our own world. We tend to forget that other people’s world is just as important to them, and inevitably we are intertwined as our paths cross. We tend to have this attitude of “what’s in for me”. ‘Nothing for me – Buzz off! I have made a decision to change that around so the first question I ask people I meet will be, “How can I help?”

Success is a contribution. It's a shared responsibility.

Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 by Patrick YC Lim
The key to success is not to do everything yourself. It is a shared responsibility.

The real measure of success is how well you are able to sell the dream of success to others so they can aspire for greater heghts. The ability to give hope that they can be better than what they are today. The ability to help them to go way pass mediocrity.

To me this will be my greatest contribution in life. It is not just about making money. It's about building a society that is able to generate prosperity, friendship and knowledge.

When I pass on, it is not the money or wealth that I have made in this lifetime.
But it is the friendship that I've come to value and the knowledge and experience that I have gone through in this journey (the ups and the downs).

It's about the impact - large and small - that I have helped in one way or another in the life of someone, that he or she is better than what they were before they met me. They don't even need to remember me. (But it would be nice if they did!)

Success to me is not what I have achieved but it is what I can contribute with what I've achieved.

I sincerely hope you can do your part to make this world a better place, and enjoy prosperity, friendship and knowledge.

H for Hope

Posted on Monday, July 17, 2006 by Patrick YC Lim
Hope is surely a good word. You have hope - Isn’t that encouraging? But I find that hope is just a prospect of waiting for the bright side of things to happen. I am sure Hope gives us the confidence that things can be better and it is just in a matter of time that it will. Hope is the holding onto the faith of what we believe in will come about.

When it comes to coaching, I cannot rely on hope. In this context, hope is only 50 % good. When my coach-ee hopes, I become suspicious about his commitment to his or her goal. Obviously, I too, hope that he or she might achieve the goal. But then again he/she might not. That’s the 50 % which is not good.

I hope to become successful.
I hope the government can give us more subsidies.
I hope you will pass the exam.
I hope to make so money.
I hope….etc.

Hope seem so passive. When a person hopes, although he may be doing something about it, his level of believe tells me not to expect too much, because it may not happen. It is not a conclusive yes. It’s just a hope. It’s kind of a comme se comme sa feeling. And you can’t exactly put a finger to which way it might go; going to happen or not? Hope. (I hope you've caught my drift).

In summary, let’s go back to the table.

Belief Levels

Level: HOPE
Doubt: 50 % doubtful. Not sure.
Faith: Not so much.
Passion: Not much
Commitment: On and off. Better than TRY.

Obviously, Hope is better than Try. But they are not good enough to get you to achieve your goals. I want you to move on to a higher level, to the B level. What’s the B level?

(To be continued)

(Mission: To enhance people’s lives so that they might improve their world. To help people Create Wealth).