Notes to myself

The morning after YOUTH’09

Bright Lights From Giant Wheels by Solabug.

I leapt out of bed at 7am this morning, wondering what had just happened.

My body, surprisingly, is fine. Blistered, marathoned feet, aching trapezius muscles aside, my mutant healing powers must have took care of the rest.

My mind, on the other hand, was suspicious.

For the past 10 days I’ve survived on 4 to 6 hours of sleep a day, 1 to 2 very irregular meals a day, and called upon more mental and emotional energy than I knew I had.

Felt like I returned from scout camp. Or nazi camp. Ok maybe not nazi camp. I’m guessing people don’t actually return from nazi camp to blog. So yes, a really long and multi-tasking kind of scout camp.

But It wasn’t scout camp, either. It was delivering Malaysia’s Largest Youth Lifestyle Festival, YOUTH’09.

And my mind is still suspicious.

After all the punishing I put myself through, instead of ‘crashing’, I leapt out of bed at 7am, lay around thinking for an hour, did a bunch of chin-ups, and here I am, the only one in the office, blogging like you’re listening.

I know there’s a huge mess to clean up. And loads of post event work with clients, press, partners, volunteers, youths etc to follow up with. The road ahead is long.

Yet, I feel fine.

YOUTH’09 has re-affirmed that everything can be resolved if you’re looking for solutions. It has also re-affirmed to me that the practice of patience, kindness, and compassion always wins.

There’s also so much good stuff to reflect upon, soak in, and tie up in my head. And of course, the business direction for 2009 will be a real adventure.

So why is my mind is suspicious?

I admit, there is a part of me which wonders when I will give up, burn out, or get really beaten. Because really, the journey has just begun.

But I also know that it is this self-doubt, suspicious inner skeptic, which is the real challenge, not anything else. I know it’s this suspicion which prevents people from pushing through to achieve what they intend to. And I know, if I keep moving forward in spite of suspicion, nothing can stop me.

Thank you, friends, youths, volunteers, partners, and team for believing. Couldn’t have done it without you. Will write a proper thank you soon. Will clean up the office now.

Photo by Solabug

Keeping our promises, and changing the world

How many promises have you made in your lifetime?

Promises to yourself. Promises to your boss. Your mother. Your friends.


What if you have kept them all? How would your world be today?

How many promises do we make, both knowingly, and unknowingly. Because when you think about it… you’re not the one making promises… promises are made when people believe you.

A promise becomes a genuine promise if there is genuine BELIEF in it… for example:

A promise to yourself

You say to yourself, “I’ll go to the gym 3 times a week”. Do you believe yourself? If you don’t fully believe yourself, it’s not w very good promise is it. No belief, no promise.

It’s probably like a goal. And it’s like OK if you didn’t hit a goal, but its NOT OK to break a promise.

Promises are very different from ‘setting goals’, voicing out your intent, and ‘trying your best’. Promises have a different weight and effect on those who make them, and those who believe them.

A promise to others

As a brand owner / marketer, let’s say your product says “Gives you radiant skin”. If the customer believes you, your product had better damn well live up to it, or you’ll be breaking a promise, and losing repeat customers, and failing in business.

When you look at a brand, what do you expect from it, what do you believe about a brand? The moment your product is out there, people may buy into it, and suddenly, you’re making a promise whether you like it or not.

Marketers talk about a BRAND PROMISE – and they should keep it.

Khailee’s Promise

I previously “mentioned” that I would show you my latest Halloween costume, right? And if you believe me, that’s as good as a promise.

And I will stay true to it:

So here you go. I was dressed as SERENA WILLIAMS.


World number #1 baby!

Here I am trying to be a tennis player, hitting on girls:


It was fun at first, then it got uncomfortable (for onlookers, too), as my wallet, handphone, carkeys and such was in this waist pouch underneath the front of my skirt. So I had to like, play pennis whenever I answered the phone.

Anyways, where was I. Oh, promises.

Big Promises

Just a closing thought.

There’s a lot of power in keeping our promises. Shared promises can unite nations. And shared promises kept, will be completely worth the effort put into keeping them. (Hint hint Anwar or Obama)

The last 6 months of my life has been the most intense, mostly because I’ve been focusing every working hour on keeping my promises, to my clients, to my team, and to myself. And because so many young Malaysians and brand owners believe in YOUTH’09 and YouthSays, it creates very big, shared promises, which once kept, I know will completely be worth the effort put into keeping them.


Promises VS Goals idea, thanks to MindValley and Bill Bartmann

“Hitting on girls” joke and the adventure thus far, thanks to Joel Neoh

The tennis skirt and racket thanks to Xinch

The Importance of Sleep VS Rest


How much time do you need to finish this?

How much attention do you need to finish this?

How much sleep do you need to feel fresh?

How much rest do you need to feel fresh?

Just like how time is so different from attention, I feel rest and sleep have a related, important distinction, too.

Time, like sleep, suggests quantity. Attention, and rest suggests quality.

And if you think about it, we go through life swapping time to get sleep, sleep to get rest, and rest to gain attention to do what we do best, before we head back to sleep again.

There may be some math behind the semantics, but I just woke up from an 8 hour slumber, and screw the math, I think I could use a bit more sleep rest ;p

How to get some action ;)

I was alone one night, in deep thought…

I was wondering what I would learn by going through a selection of 213 quotes on “action”.

The one thing I personally took away?

The need for consistency and continuous effort.

Not revolutionary, I know.

But it hints at me quite accurately, as I’ve spent the most part of life on “think smart” to the extent I’m relying less on “work hard”.

Looking ahead, for the ambitions I’ve chosen, I might have to do both.

How One Small Tweak Can Change Your Life Completely

What are the top 3 activities you enjoy?

I realize I have been spending most of my life chasing the activities I enjoy. And this really paved the path I have followed thus far.

If only I enjoyed different activities, I would be a completely different person today.

So here’s my hypothesis:

If you want to completely change your life, one way is to change what you enjoy most.

To test this hypothesis, I will conduct this experiment.

Follow me for a moment to see what I mean.

At the end of the post, I will invite you to conduct this experiment… well see if it completely changes your life.

STEP ONE: List the top 3 activities you enjoy most.

Here are my top 3, as of 2 months ago.

  1. I enjoy being absorbed in purposeful creation.

    Heck it doesn’t have to be too purposeful sometimes. I get so happy when I’m drawn into writing a new song, designing a new website, or developing a new idea, even though the purpose may not be initially apparent to me.

  2. I enjoy chasing my curiosity.

    Mostly, this means, flipping through the bookstore, or spending hours online reading and surfing and clicking, researching a topic, or looking for answers.

  3. I enjoy laughing.

    I love puns, random jokes in real situations, and laughing with people. My favorite set of jokers are Jeff, the MindValley guys, and myself. You have no idea how often I make myself laugh.

Okay, those are the top 3 activities I enjoy most. I know this because I spend 90% of my waking hours doing creating things, learning things, and laughing at my own jokes.

3 simple things make me a happy camper 🙂

But it looks like some changes will be made…

STEP TWO: Change your top 3 list

Now, my life would be quite different if I told you the top 3 things I enjoy is

  1. Watching TV
  2. Sleeping
  3. Eating junk food

I might be speaking to you now as a napping godzilla. Hence, I will not enjoy any of those.

Picture this instead….

openWhat if I enjoyed making money more than chasing curiosity, creating new things, and laughing?

For the most part of my life, making money has never been a top priority. ‘Enough’ money always came to me, through the stuff I did.

And I never really saw a pressing need for loads of money, anyway. I’m not a big spender, and I end up with plenty of savings.

However, in December 2007… Continue reading

Are you living someone else's dream?

The author of my favorite online comic, Wondermark!, shares some reflections on his life’s focus…

Nearly a year on, I’m finding myself turning down work-for-hire gigs more and more often so I can have time to focus on the comic and other personal projects. Like Tuesday’s comic expressed (in a fashion), I don’t want to waste or give away any more of my own personal calendar-squares than I have to. Often that means that I walk away from decent paychecks or even potential career opportunities — but in doing so, I’ve realized with growing clarity how important it is to spend my finite energy in pursuit of my own goals, rather than those of an advertising agency, movie studio, or corporate client.

As for me… I’ve been very fortunate to have worked on exciting things with exciting people since day 1. I owe it to my ability to have big dreams in the first place, and doing whatever it takes to realize them.

2008But I’ve got HUGE dreams, and I’ve got to work a whole lot harder (and smarter). I only have a couple years more before my metabolic rate slows, and I realize how mortal I am.

Hence, for 2008, I’m kicking it into high gear.

For starters, I spent a whole day today kick starting a new venture with Joel. More to come. Keep track of my plans and progress here, and remember to update the group about your progress.

P/S – Check out my friend Amir’s new blog.

Irrationality as a strategy

In day-to-day contexts, I notice negotiation, persuasion, and strategy has so much more to do with emotions, and not as much to do with logic and reason.

And I thought humans were “rational”.

I had to learn this the hard way, losing badly in board games like Risk, Imperial, Monopoly, and mafia 🙁

In the future, I will “act irrationally” as a strategy!

Let experimental psychologist Stephen Pinker explain to you how this could be beneficial to you, in his video, “Do hotheads always win?”

The Big Think site reminds me of TED btw, but snappier.

Confessions I have to make

Lately, a few write-ups and incidents have left me feeling somewhat ahead of myself. Pretentious. I’m not suggesting that the recent publicity/ newspaper write-ups etc have been misleading. Not at all…

You see, I am a small fry gunning for big dreams.

IMG_m1363Not some big shot.

However, due to the unconventional fashion of “my work”, it is pretty easy for anyone to reach a conclusion far off from the truth. Either I’m doing a lot of great things, or just a lot of crap ;P

Do I care about what people think?

Confession #1

Yes, of course I do. And I should.

This year, the Malaysian media will play a big part in my projects, and it would make me even more uncomfortable if my story gets exaggerated, or misrepresented in any way.

Along these lines, I’ve observed, first-hand, how “putting your best foot forward” can sometimes lead to “crossing the line”.

Hence, I want to do my part to come clean with myself, and what I do.

Continue reading