Proud of Your Decisions?

We make decisions everyday.

Sometimes, we find ourselves at a cross-road in this process, especially when the decision is a particularly hard one – do we do what we think is right (according to our personal values/logic)? But what if that option’s fraught with challenges and hence, so much more difficult to execute? Or do we do what’s the easiest or most efficient (which may not be necessarily wrong – depending on perspective)? Or do we do what will benefit us the most?

Very often, there’s no clear-cut, ten-year-series answers to such difficult questions and it’s really more of a judgment call. How then do you make the decision?

I came across this two-part YouTube video about a boy, Ben Breedlove, who died on Christmas Day after fighting a serious heart condition for most of his life. Shortly before his death, he posted a two-part video on YouTube, in which he silently describes his life and several near-death experiences through cue cards.

After watching the video, one thing stayed with me. When he was near the verge of death, he thought about the way he led his life and he was proud of how he did it.

Sometimes, some of us tend to over-analyse our problems, but ultimately, perhaps the litmus test should be… would this be a decision that we would be proud of when we look back five, ten or even twenty years down the road.

I thought this video was worth sharing and I hope you’ll gain some perspective from it as well.

Minimise regrets, before it’s too late.

Came across this article on the top five regrets that people have on their deathbeds, based on a palliative care nurse’s personal experience.

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed | Arise India Forum

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.
I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life.

Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end.
That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one.¬†Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had¬†stayed¬†stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‚Äėcomfort‚Äô of¬†familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical¬†lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their¬†selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh¬†properly and have silliness in their life again.¬†When you are on your deathbed, what ¬†others think of you is a long¬†way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile¬†again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Source: Arise India Forum

Reading the article, it seems like I can already identify with a few. As a reminder to myself to try to live life to the fullest on my terms instead of getting all caught up in the humdrum and rat-race, I’m posting this here and sharing it with you.

It isn’t easy to have no regrets, but we can try to minimise them as much as possible.

Easy Money

easy money

easy money

Photos courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock, www.freerangestock.com and Chance Agrella

Flipping through the papers, it’s common to see ads offering low interest loans which promise that borrowers will get the cash in hand easily and quickly. It seems like all interested parties need to do, according to the copy in the ad, is to call the number stated.

Not just that, I realised that I’ve been getting telemarketing calls from banks quite frequently. Instead of pushing yet-another-damn-awesome-credit-card-with-unbelievable benefits, their focus seemed to have diverted to promoting easy money loans at “extremely favourable interest rates”. Even when turned down, they continue to persist and suggest that their audience can take up this “irresistible offer” to repay some other loans that he/she may be currently servicing.

Honestly, I’m quite appalled at this. For the wiser crowd, this may just prove to be merely abit of a nuisance to have to constantly refuse and turn down these “great deals”.

But what kind of message are we sending to the younger, more impressionable people?

That money’s easy to come by?

That it’s acceptable to enjoy and spend frivolously now by using borrowed money?

That all they need to do is to just dial that number in the ad and, viola, cash in hand!

This is a worrying trend.

Already more kids are now growing up in increasingly privileged environments, even becoming dubbed as the strawberry generation. Would they be able to withstand the pressure and stress, should we face turbulent economic times?

I’m not all that old, and sometimes, I do question myself – for me and my generation, are we really much better as compared to this “strawberry generation”? It’s really time to do a little soul-searching and reflection.

Going back to the easy money topic, it would be easy to try and address this problem by culling such open money loan ads or cold calls. This, however, would be a really superficial solution. Getting to the root of the problem, it may just be worthwhile to try to educate kids about the value of money right from the start – maybe in school or at home, and impart relevant knowledge and skills in helping them learn to manage their money wisely. Sometimes, I really wished that we had that incorporated into our education early on. It’s an essential skill, ain’t it?

 

Pictures from Formula Drift 2011

I’m not an expert on cars, but the whole car racing sport thing sounds terribly exciting with sleek, gorgeous machines, sexy looking (note: i said sexy, not beautiful) car booth babes and fumes-filled air.

Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to be at the Formula Drift 2011 – pictures from the event for today’s Wordless Wednesday.

Drifting in action

Drifting in action

Top 3 @ Formula Drift

Top 3 @ Formula Drift 2011

At Formula Drift

Racing track by Singapore Flyer

Skyline

Skyline from Formula Drift 2011

Where I’ll really like to be….right now.

phuket_beach

With the sun, the sea and that gentle breeze.

This is Phuket several years ago.

Although many say it’s over commercialized with endless tourist traps, but I still think it’s a beautiful place that’s worth visiting. After spending almost a month immersed in the many charming but cold cities of Europe, something in my soul is yearning to spend some time with the big ocean, cheery sunshine and inviting pool.

Dream dream dream.

Wordless Wednesdays

Wanted to create a semi-regular column where I could share pictures that I like.

These are by no means professionally taken and they’re more like memory triggers, reminding me of a particular moment in time or event.

Here’s the first of the series:

Pretty night scene

Pretty night scene at China Square.

Sometimes, all we need to do is to stop in our tracks, take a moment and look around us to discover beautiful sights surrounding us.

This used to be my playground

This used to be my playground…..

Playground0-A

Now, it’s being demolished, taking away the possibility of creating anymore future memories here.

A few nights back, I was on the way home from work where I stopped and stared in horror at the sight before my eyes. Amber construction-site tape and hazard barriers surrounded the playground below my block…and half of the playground structure has already been demolished by the evil-looking excavator.

Shocked. Horrified. Sad.

That playground held many memories for me.

Not so much for my childhood as compared to my teenage years.

I’ve sat there at night with friends, catching up, talking through problems or just chatting about anything under the stars.

I’ve sat there with dates to steal that last conversation before saying goodbye for the night.

I’ve sat there by myself, thinking through issues or just to get away from things to have a little time alone.

I’ve sat there trying to catch my breath and not cramp up in agony after evening runs.

The playground has seen me through happy times, heart-throbbing times, the sad or even emo/depressing times when I were alot younger and thought that the world was coming to an end because of some adolescent problem that I had.

And now, with nary a warning, the place has been torn down. Just like that.

It’s really quite upsetting.

Right now, there’s a song that keeps running through my head. It has always been a old favourite of mine, especially with the sentimental, haunting way that she sang it. And the things that the lyrics taught me.

But now, it more than strikes a cord with how I feel…

Adieu

I’ve never been good at saying goodbye gracefully.

Every time I’ve had someone I cared about leave, be it a friend relocating overseas, myself going away on a holiday – away from family/partner –¬† or a colleague departing to explore a new opportunity, the stir of emotions that swells up within is frequently difficult to overcome and tears threaten.

Not too long ago, I’ve had someone who was a great manager and an even better mentor leave. Hand to heart, it was a change that wasn’t easy to get used to. I was happy that he’s chasing his dream, yet feeling a great sense of loss. He was an awesome mentor who guided me across challenging, or sometimes even sticky, situations and listened when I needed to talk through issues. But most importantly, what I valued most was how he unselfishly shares his personal experiences, values or life lessons as we all journey towards becoming better consultants, managers and people.

I’m not the most vocal person when it comes to expressing personal emotions, and it’s a shame that I’ve never said this in-person to him.

Thank you.

Thank you for being such a great mentor and manager.

Great managers don’t grow on trees, and I’m thankful that our paths crossed.

For j.