Being fun and focused…is the key for me.

A couple of days ago I went through a mini presentation about Landmark Education conducted by my flat mate (Michael). It was quite a useful presentation and surprisingly there was some value to be obtained when I expected none. As Michael would explain it, Landmark Education shows you how our attachment to our past experiences is limiting, perhaps hindering our potential in the future. Once one recognizes this fact they can then go about creating the future they have always wanted but never able to achieve, presumably by using the tools and education material Landmark provides. While I wasn’t quite prepared to fork out the $695 for a 4 day Landmark workshop in Sydney, the take away for me was that after doing the short mini exercises in the presentation it made me realize what was missing in my life that was stopping me from reaching ever greater heights. What it came down to was simply this – being more fun and focused.

In retrospect (hindsight is great ain’t it) I was not allowing myself to immerse in the moment, the here and now, as they would say, or as my German friend Uli would say “You can’t enjoy yourself if you have something stuck up your arse!” lol… In many respects perhaps I was being over analytical about what I wanted to achieve and putting too much pressure on myself. Perhaps I am comparing myself too much with what my peers have achieved successfully in business, family and life. Perhaps I am <drum roll> flinching too much. Acknowledgement is always the first step to positive change. With that off my chest, I am definitely going to enjoy the moment more and just be more “fun”.

Fun’s boundary will sit right next to “focus’s”. The other take away for me is that even though I feel the pressure to succeed in life I am often simply let down by not staying focused enough on the things I should be doing. Enough of that I say. Today I found myself constantly asking this question in my mind –

“Is this going to help me get closer to my goals or not?”

Invariable I found myself often saying no and this has basically forced me to remain focused on what I should be doing, and I think it’s working, and I’ll tell you why. I woke up early this morning and ran 3.5 kms to work. Once I was at work I did not check for personal emails or surf the web to kill time, I was there at work doing work the whole time and I managed to finish off a mini project which has dragged on and on for months. Today I finally made the executive decisions necessary to finish the project. My manager may not like it, but fuck it I need to ship. At work I managed to keep my hands out of the cookie and candy jar. After work I ran 1km in pouring rain to the Parap swimming pool and unexpectedly did 400 metres of swimming. In a word – AMAZING. One of my goals has been to just swim 50 metres non-stop, well… I managed to do that today 8 times in a 50 metre pool. After my swimming session, I ran another 4.5kms along the scenic route to go back home. Once at home I cooked, ate, cleaned up, washed some clothes and I have been tweaking previous blog posts up until writing this one. I’m actually quite beside myself. For the first time I think I understand what “focus” actually feels like. The other amazing thing that has happened is that my phone has finally decided to cark it and that I don’t seem to miss it. What it has done, and this is a blessing in disguise is distract me less. This can only be good.

I am going to maintain this for as long as possible.

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Wise Strangers

So I was finishing my shopping at the Darwin CBD woolies and just as I stepped outside the skies opened and Darwin’s synonymous wet came thundering down. I was then relegated to wait it out, sitting inside on one of the benches on offer. After a few minutes of twiddling my thumb, I glanced around and see this fairly old but jolly Asian man next to me. At that moment for some reason or another I felt this compulsion to chat with him. Now normally I don’t do this, but considering this is Darwin after all, (everybody likes a yarn – old Asian men included) I decided against flinching and initiated a conversation.

5 minutes into our chat, I realized that thunderous rain was a blessing in disguise.

His name is Arif, but he is of Korean/Chinese decent. I didn’t ask his age, but I would guess 65. Our conversation started off mildly and then before you knew it he was sending out nuggets of wisdom. I carefully put each nugget into my pocket. He told me his life was full of hardships, and before he settled in Sydney for 30 years he was constantly moving around the world, basically where ever his job took him as an Architect. His Korean name is Jin, but he took on the name Arif because back in the day he was not allowed to work in Indonesia without an Arabic name. It’s stuck since.

Our conversation reminded me of the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” in the sense that just like the book our conversation was punctuated with philosophical insights. I can’t recall how each of the nuggets of wisdom came about, but I’ll enumerated them here simply –

  1. “If you don’t plant the seed, it will not grow” – His metaphor was to recognize that we must “do” in order to achieve but that doing must start somewhere.
  2. “People bury the seed rather than planting it” – I think this was an allegory to making sure that whatever we set out to do we must try to do it right the first time.
  3. “Growing old is compulsory, growing up is voluntary” – Know that you must always make a conscious decision to better yourself, otherwise it will not happen.
  4. “Look after your mind first” – He told me he tries never to sleep with a heavy mind because purposeful action stems from a state of mind first.
  5. “Bees are the ultimate project managers, yet they possess no PHDs or MBAs” – We can learn from nature by observing.
  6. “No matter how much you think you are yourself, you will always end up being like those around you, why not use this insight and surround yourself with the people you what to become” – Self-explanatory.
  7. “The word crisis in Chinese is literally the combination of two characters, “Danger” & “Opportunity”” – There is a lot to be learned about the evolution of Chinese characters.
  8. “Never be afraid to fail, the moment you do, you have lost” – The ability to fail and learn is what makes us stronger
  9. “Life is full of risks, only learn to take the ones that will allow you to take more” – Risk Management 101 right there.

I wish he gave me one more to make the list an even 10, but I shouldn’t complain. For many the above seems rather clichéd, and it does to a certain extent, what isn’t, is the serendipity of it all. Sometimes we need the conviction, sincerity and coincidence of another to validate what we know already to full effect. For that I would like to give thanks to Arif for such a wonderful chance meeting.

Of those nuggets he gave me, I immediately put 3 and 6 to good use. I had originally gone to buy a six pack for what I knew would be quite a debauched party later on in the night. After talking to Arif, I decided against going. I wasn’t even resisting, I simply understood.

Our conversation ended when the rain stopped, we thanked each other and headed our separate ways.

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Darwin’s Best Restaurant/Foodie Review Website I have seen so far.

Over at Discovering Darwin, you can find a plethora of Darwin’s little known, but well-loved local food haunts, however it appears the posts are not as frequent as they use to be which is a little sad because I would always look forward to reading them. Perhaps there is other more significant going ons in the blogger’s life? I’ll digress… if you miss the local food/restaurant reviews you are in luck. On a recent trip to the Rapid Creek Monsoon Markets (occurs every Thursday night), stuck on the window of the Japanese restaurant was a review done by

The Darwin Foodies seem to be an eclectic group of fun loving grub devouring happy little vegemite’s… I’m only guessing of course since I have never met them before, but judging by the professional look of their site and the awesome reviews they do, not the mention the amazing pictures they take, I can’t help but give them the award for Darwin’s Best Restaurant/Foodie Review Website. Check it out yourself.



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My Groomsmen Speech (not best man speech)

Spent last week in Melbourne, to help prepare for my mates wedding, the reception was held in Carousel near the lake in Albert Park. In a word – beautiful. Being part of the bridal party, I was eventually asked to do a speech. Rather than balk at the prospect of speaking to an audience, I was very excited by the opportunity given to me. Unlike most people I revel in the moment to speak to an audience. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still get nervous, however call me vain or conceited even naïve, but I quite enjoy receiving compliments from people about my speech performance. So the benefit of receiving compliments far outweighs any nervousness or apprehension I might feel towards making the speech.

I spent a good 4 days drafting the speech, right up till the night before the wedding, in fact I was wide awake at 3am in the morning trying to make the last final edits to the speech. When I write my speech, I write the whole thing out, and I mean everything. I find that as I am reading the words in my head, it reinforces it into my memory that little bit more each time and I find that helps me immensely. However when I am making the speech I don’t simply look down at what I wrote and read it out, instead I act it out. That shift in perspective makes the world of difference, because it allows you to still ad lib and improvise on the spot if need be but you are not tied to simply what you wrote on paper.

Rehearsing the speech is a must. Reading the speech in my head is a form of rehearsing. As such I basically was rehearsing the speech from the very moment I started writing the speech to the very moment I finished it. Hence I basically rehearsed it for a good 4 days as well.

My speech was not intended to be funny, but I did get a few laughs. The main aim of my speech was simply to pay tribute to my good mate.

So here is a transcript of my speech, I hope this may be of use to someone looking for ideas in writing a groomsman tribute speech –

<Previous speaker finishes>

Thanks _____, unfortunately I’m not going to be able to match the same emotional outpouring as given to you by _____ , but I’ll do my best

For those whom I haven’t met, my name is ______, it is an honor to be part of this beautiful bridal party. The maids look gorgeous, _____ is stunning, and _____ well, lets just say that someone has definitely picked up tonight.

Ok, so I’m here to talk about the man/spiritual brother I’ve known since high school, 15 years in fact and as a side note we share the same birthday. For most people their first impression of _____ probably falls in this sequence.

<Pause> Did I just meet the hairiest Asian ever? Followed by…

<Pause> I think he works as a comedian …

As you are all aware _____ has the gift of the gab and is quite the serial joker. The irony for me however, is that our friendship was galvanized through a series of hardships and mishaps. Most notably in our early entrepreneurial pursuits during our younger years. Stabs at the roulette table included. I won’t go into details but needless to say we weren’t the smartest men in the room back then, but over the many things we tried and failed it would be quite tragic if it wasn’t so funny and this is why I love the guy. Even in trying times and setbacks, he has the ability and the courage plus the gumption to take a step back, look at the bigger picture and have a good laugh about it and believe me it makes a world of difference. Yes he likes to joke around, but behind that funny demeanor is always an ounce of seriousness. This is what I have come to recognize and respect. So I guess what I am saying is if you scratch a little deeper, you will find a man who is very level headed, confident, deeply committed to family (and this is most obvious with the way he engages with children), and very generous to those around him. He may be a little irreverent sometimes, but believe you me, he does not take fools lightly. Therefore I suspect this audience I am speaking to must be of a very high caliber and from what I’ve seen I don’t doubt it one bit.

Most nights you can’t fault his comical genius. When he is on target, all pistons are firing and I mean all pistons ____, but tonight ain’t every night. If you pay attention to the man himself right now you will catch that rare glimpse of him in serious contemplation yet behind that, his comical mini me is half-cocked, ready to launch into one of his many polished and funny one liners . He’s probably a little confused right now, but that’s understandable, it was an epic day today, 37 degrees and we all had to suit up for the whole day. That’s right _____, marriage is no joke. Thankfully _____ is your perfect saving grace.

How do I now you are both right for each other. Over the many years I have known him, many have availed themselves to him, but none have ever captured his attention and imagination like you _____have. The only time I have ever seen _____ anxious was when he told me about his courtship with _____. This says a lot already not to mention the courtship itself which ____ has already talked about was like watching the final episode of the Amazing Race.

My friendship with ____ is really one for the ages, very low maintenance, I can honestly say we contact each other perhaps 3 or 4 times throughout the year, not much but rather than being a negative, this stands as a testament to the fact that our friendship is firmly established and cemented for life. We share similar values and beliefs and for that I want to thank you for being not just a good mate but a great mate. I could not have asked for more.

Finally to conclude, my allocated 2 minutes is well past, so far it has been full of praise for ____. This has been deliberate, as I have decided to leave the character assassination to the other boys. On that note I ask _____ to step up to the plate.

Thank you.

All in all I think it went for about three and a half minutes.

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New Darwin Meetup Group for movie Goers

Getting bored in Darwin, easy to make friends but also easy to lose friends. Its a very fleeting and transient city Darwin. Anyway in the drive to expand my social circle, I’ve recently created a new meetup group for movie goers.

Here’s the site –

Basically the movie nights are scheduled on a Tuesday night to take advantage of the cheaper tickets and will occur every fortnight.

Interested? Join in!

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Top 5 regrets of the dying…


First read this –

If reading the above article doesn’t get your gumption juices flowing, I don’t know what will. Reading it is akin to imagining the feeling you would get if you could witness your own funeral.

These regrets can be easily reduced if not avoided.

The top 5 regrets being –

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Start to live like this right now. It takes practice, it’s about honoring your feelings and letting them fully express themselves – whether happy or sad. It makes it easier if you tell yourself I am going to do it anyway even if I make a full out of myself or even if I don’t succeed. It’s also about having a plan. When you know what you want to do in life, start with a plan and plan how you are going to get there, one baby step at a time and remember – Don’t Flinch!

  1. I wish I didn’t work so hard. 

Live your life, don’t just earn a living. Focusing on just earning a living will make you lose focus on the rest of your life. When you are working on your job you are earning a living, when you are working towards your career you are living the life you always wanted. Be conscious of your life’s priorities.  In particularly where you place friends and family in your list of life priorities.

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Again this is about honoring your feelings and letting them run free. You will not live to regret it if you do. Tell your family and friends how much you appreciated their presence and being. Do not be afraid to send small gifts to those you care around you. Practice the act of giving i.e. giving that is unconditional – you do not expect anything in return.

  1. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Even well-established close friends need contact every now and then. Absence may make the heart grow fonder but it also causes people to drift apart. Contact those you cherish, whether it be by facebook, email, phone, in person or whatever. Whatever you do don’t became strangers.

  1.  I wish that I had let myself be happier. 

Most people believe that by having things will make them happier, so their thought process begins with wanting to have, therefore I must do in order to have thing that will make me be happy. You should listen to Buddhists instead – they prefer it the other way round. That is, they start off by being happy, when they are in a happy state they naturally do things that will maintain their happiness, and by doing the things because they are happy they will begin to have the all the things they could ever need. Happiness is state of being. Just be.




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Improving myself by the end of the year

I’ve created a list of things I am going to try to achieve by the end of the year. Here it is –

  1. Eat Well. Put on some weight
  2. Pay off all Credit Card Debt
  3. Achieve Saving Goal of 50K (back on track now)
  4. Achieve Saving goal of 4K for Round the World ticket to South America (or Asia? – I need this to help find my feet again).
  5. Complete my Diploma of Building Surveying (toughie but on track and will give me a fall back if it doesn’t work well in Asia)
  6. Launch Frugal Website on SBI (this will require discipline) .
  7. Learn how to swim (this will require commitment).
  8. Improve my appearance – New Haircut (easily done).
  9. Improve my appearance – Teeth (always was a bit self conscious of my enamel, this will be a self esteem booster for me).
  10. Learn Spanish (because spanish speaking girls are pretty).
  11. Learn how to play Fastcar on Guitar (Just because).
  12. Learn how to dance one routine of Salsa (Its to stop me from flinching on the dance floor)

So how does this compare with the very first set of goals I had started with on this website? I’ll let you be the judge –

Goals –

  1. To consistently and perpetually maintain my first personal blog.
  2. By the start of April I should have sold all my unwanted personal belongings on ebay, if items cannot be sold I will give them away to charity. I need to limit the items I keep to 200 to lead a minimalist lifestyle.
  3. By June 23 2011, start new job in private construction company.
  4. Make my first dollar online by 1st of May.
  5. By June 23 2011, have finish Tesol Course and on my way to China to teach english and learn Mandarin.
  6. By June 23 2011, have set up cook island trust.
  7. By December 2011, set up import/export business, selling products on ebay.

I hadn’t reviewed my first set of goals before I wrote this post, so I am just as surprised to see the difference. I was never able to stick to them. Goals can be evolving, but its a good idea to have ones that stick. I’ll need to do a post review on my goals in a future post.

Adious Amigos!

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