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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How to Stay Positive? Just Stop Those Negative Thoughts!

There are many articles, newsletters and sites that tell us how to be positive and stay happy. They all give more or less the same “how-to’s”. These are all good and usually comprise a long list of tips such as looking inside yourself and appreciate who you are, think happy memories, get motivated, develop a gratitude journal, determine why your life sucks, etc, etc. Some tips are good instant ‘fixers’; some ‘fixers’ take some time to develop and put to practice, while others do not do much, to say the least.

I prefer tips that give immediate results but with permanent good effects. In this particular situation, I especially avoid those that tell me to analyze myself and to determine why my life sucks. Really, I don't have the time for that especially when I am already on this train of devilish thoughts that’s rapidly heading me straight to derailment. I want instant fixers which can be developed into good habits and give me a happy perspective on life.

How to Feel Good

So when you feel your day is about to go terribly bad with a negative thought lodged in your head, just shrug off that bad thought and replace it instantly with a positive thought. How can you do that? I have come up with a list of 5 good fixers to make my day chirpy. They have worked wonders for me.

  1. Feel Grateful
  2. Start your Day with Laughter
  3. Smile a Lot
  4. Read Inspirational Quotes/Articles
  5. Be Hopeful – Look Forward to Tomorrow

Beware the Law of Attraction

Take caution, though. It really is true about the law of attraction. Positive thoughts attract an abundance of positive thoughts. By internalizing these wondrous feelings – gratitude, happiness, cheerfulness, inspiration, and hope – that come with practicing the 5 habits I mentioned, you will attract an abundance of happy feelings. Be cautious, therefore, on the flip side. For, if you start on a negative thought, you will attract more bad feelings and situations. Been there, done that. Just one bad thought, like bitching about the boss or that dumb-dumb colleague who got promoted, will attract bad events and situations - you may be bypassed in office promotion, or relocated or transferred.

I have gone through bad patches in life where I took some things badly, and nurtured the anger and hate inside. I even took it further, and send out smses to spread bad stories about the target of my anger. Long story short, I suffered the consequences for more than a year, things just went from bad to worse. I then realize that the only way I can make good is to stop those bad thoughts, replace them with good ones, look at the target of my hate in a positive light, and be happy for them. And then, things started to change for the better. So really, I am learning and re-learning every time.

The 5 Tips to Stay Positive

I will briefly share the 5 things I do to stay positive and to hold on to that happy feeling inside.

1. Feel Grateful

The quickest way to get rid of that bad thought that keeps bugging you is to shake it off literally, and instantly replace it with a grateful thought. No matter, how trivial that good thought is, just feel grateful about anything good that’s going on in your life. For instance, be grateful that you can afford a car and can drive to work in comfort. Glance at the bus station if you drive past one, and be grateful that you don’t have to stand in the rain, cold or heat to catch a bus to work. Be grateful that you even have a salary, for you are more fortunate than a jobless person or that homeless person out on the street. Hold on to that warm feeling of gratitude and continue to feel it, for it will make your day get better and better.

2. Start your Day with Laughter

I love to sit down for morning break with my buddies at work and just laugh at some old jokes, or at the recent antics of our 5 or 6 year-olds, or just laugh at our stupid selves sometimes. It is true about laughter being the best medicine. When you laugh till you cry at some good jokes, the rest of the day will just be dandy, and need I say that the rest of the year will just be filled with laughter.

3. Smile a Lot

There is something about a smile that gives people that warm, cozy feeling. When a person’s face lights up with a smile at you, it is hard to resist giving back a smile and you can even feel your stress evaporating. A smile will launch a thousand smiles,no doubt, and remember, a smile can lift that droop on your face, making you look years younger!

4. Read Inspirational Quotes/Articles

There are some days when I don’t seem to have much to look forward to. So I will deliberately look up some inspirational books to read. And these days, it is made so much easier with the internet. I just go to any of the sites that can make you feel good about life, and read some inspirational stories. These are easy to find, you just google for sites on how to be happy, on being healthy, or on getting rich. One of my favorites is the science of getting rich site, where the articles, forum and related activities have helped make good my day every time. In addition, I maintain a link to a quotations page that provides a daily update on motivational quotes (see bottom of this page) which keeps me having that 'feel good' feeling everyday.

5. Be Hopeful – Look Forward to Tomorrow

Hope has made its share of numerous miracles in life. Having hope has kept many alive, literally – spiritually, emotionally, physically. We’ve heard tragic stories of people giving up hope and just curling up and die. And many more stories about people who have been cured and brought back from the brink of death because they never gave up hope. To believe in hope is one of the secrets to creating miracles in our lives.

So, there, the five simple tricks to keep you staying positive day after day. Try them, and better still, make a habit out of them. They cost nothing. In fact, you will have nothing to lose but everything to gain. They will bring many, many small miracles every day into your life!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year is round the corner. Like most people, I come up with a list of my resolutions for the New Year. And probably like most people, I start the New Year enthusiastically with my New Year’s resolutions but come my birthday in February’s end, most of my New Year’s resolutions may have turned into New Year delusions.

I have made some progress in the past with goals I listed as my New Year’s resolutions, like getting a higher education, traveling to other countries, see more of the world, and spend more time with the family, my mum and siblings. These get dropped off my list, but not necessarily making my list shorter as I always add new goals as I progress along. I do notice, however, that I seem to be making some of the same New Year’s resolutions year after year. But I figured if I don’t give up year after year, I could successfully achieve everything on my list, no matter how many years it would take; the very least, I develop the habit of planning for a better and more enriched life.

So, here I go again, listing out my New Year’s Resolutions according to my priority for the New Year this time around:

  • Pay off Debt
  • Save Money
  • Exercise More
  • Lose the Bulge
  • Learn Something New - learn a new skill, travel more
  • Help Others – Volunteer more


Why even bother having a list of New Year’s resolutions if one can never keep them anyways, you may ask. I keep asking myself that, too, year in, year out. I have partly answered that already.

Essentially, it is all about planning ahead, and keeping check of your life. When you plan ahead, you basically have a plan of actions or strategies or steps to reach your goals. Having thought out and written down your action plans gives you the advantage of checking your progress, and if your resolutions remain unresolved, this allows you to revisit and review your action plans for any shortcomings or even refine any of your resolutions which may be unrealistic.

Here are some tips I have gathered to help keep your New Year’s resolutions.

1. Be Realistic

To avoid falling short of your goals, your New Year’s resolutions must be attainable. Ensure that they are all reasonable and not ‘all or nothing’ resolutions. The goals you set should be achievable in steps or phases so that you will have better chance in realizing them.

2. Plan Ahead – Create Your Plan

To achieve your resolutions, put in some thoughts on your goals and plan ahead. Create an outline for your plans. You will be more successful if the resolutions can be translated into clear steps that can be put into action.

3. Remind Yourself Everyday

One has to think ‘year round’, not just the New Year. Nobody can accomplish anything big in one day. Although the resolutions are set in one day, but you can only accomplished them by taking many, many tiny steps throughout the year. Your list of New Year's resolutions should be nothing more than a starting point. Stick to the plan of action that you have laid out, and create reminders for yourself when it's time to work on a given task or start onto the next step.

4. Talk About It or Get a Resolution Partner

You will need to create a support group among friends and family members who can support your resolve to change for the better. Your best bet would be your best buddy or a sibling or daughter/son so that you can motivate each other.

5. Seek out Resources

You can do some research by looking up resources on the Internet if you are lazy like me to go to the library. Your local dailies and magazines could be other sources of information. Or you can always inquire and discuss with friends or family members to explore resources to educate yourself on approaches that can assist you in reaching your goals.

6. Monitor your Progress

Monitoring your progress can keep you focus on your goals. Keep track of each small success you make when following the steps you have laid down. It is the small accomplishments that will help keep you motivated.

7. Reward Yourself

Make a decision to reward yourself for the small accomplishments you have made; make it something personal and special. It does not need to be luxurious or expensive; maybe something simple like a one-hour massage, or a weekend getaway. Pamper yourself; treat yourself with little rewards every time for sticking to your resolutions.

8. Never Give up

If you run out of steam couple of months in the New Year, don’t despair. Refresh yourself on your resolutions. Recap why you even bother to list those goals as your resolutions; your earlier enthusiasm could motivate you on. The resolutions are for the whole year long; you can always pick up where you left off on your steps of action. Stay positive and, more importantly, remain grateful that you still have the resources and capability to pursue your goals towards your own success in life.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Blogging Ethics: Of Bad Blogging Practices, Blog Libel and Cyber Bullying

I started to blog when I saw that blogs can enrich humans – both the mind and the pocket. The attractive part was how you can monetize your blog; blogging to riches, everyone says. But as in everything else in life there are two sides to everything: the Good and the Bad. Guess blogging is no exception. There in blogosphere, slowly but surely, things negative began unfolding, from mild but irresponsible paid reviews, blog libels to cyber bullying and its tragic consequence.

It is good to be kept informed of these matters so that one would not stumble into dangerous territory.

Cyber bullying

It is observed that although online bullying especially involving teenagers may be mild but some say it is on the rise. It is raising concerns especially on the heels of a widely publicised case in Missouri that led to the suicide death of a 13-year-old girl, Megan Meier, in October 2006. What’s troubling is that it is a story of an internet hoax, a blog impersonation it seems, that ended in a tragic teen suicide.

According to a 3rd December 2007 report on eSchool News.com:

“Last month, officials in the Missouri town of Dardenne Prairie made internet harassment a misdemeanor, in the wake of public outrage over the suicide of a 13-year-old resident there last year.

The parents of Megan Meier claim their daughter, who had been treated for depression, committed suicide after a teenage boy who flirted with her on MySpace abruptly ended their friendship, telling her he heard she was mean. The story gained national prominence when it was revealed the boy never existed—it was a prank allegedly started by a mother in the girl’s neighborhood.”

The twist to the story was that the teenage boy, Josh, never existed; he was created by the mother of one of Megan’s former friends who live down the street. The hoax was created by the 47 year mother, Lori Drew, who by now has earned every vilest label a mom can ever have. The even bizarre twist to this is that this most hated mom in the world has allegedly set up a blog meganhaditcoming recently to explain her actions, causing another outpouring of rage and venom.

Problem is, people are not sure if this blog is a fake. Looks like another blog impersonation because I would like to believe that no mother in her right mind would go publish a blog after the fact and remain remorseless. It just baffles the mind. But then again, we don’t know what a human mind, worse an insane mind at that, is capable of doing.

A scary thought now crosses my mind: Blogs can actually become powerful, it can kill.

Blog Libel

In Malaysia, blogsites owned by Malaysians are being investigated by the authorities. The Dewan Rakyat (literally "People's Hall") or House of Representatives which is the lower House of the Parliament of Malaysia in its 5th December 2007 sitting discussed the issue of blog libel. The House was informed that the “Malaysian Government takes a serious view of blogs which twist facts and pose a threat to public order” (as reported widely in local dailies the following day). House members were also updated of an arrest made in connection with the investigation by local police of five cases of alleged libel involving blogs. As reported, Malaysian “bloggers who abused their blogsites to disseminate libel or twist facts can be subjected to action under the Sedition Act 1948, Penal Code and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998”.

‘Twist facts’? What if the bloggers were merely untwisting twisted facts? Okay, enough of that one. I’d like to say more …but suffice to say, as long as one doesn’t ‘disseminate libel and twist facts’, I guess one is safe.

Paid Review Dilemma, Blogging Ethics, Blog Etiquette

Doing paid reviews has become a tricky area for bloggers. Who doesn’t want to get paid and get freebies? But it’s hard after that to remain totally objective and be critical of the hand that feeds you. In the travel industry, with so many offers of freebies or free travel junkets, it is easy to see why many said that the judgment of travel bloggers who accept freebies are compromised. Problogger posts an a good article blogging-ethics-and-sponsored-reviews by Melissa Petri who talked about staying ethical despite the dilemma.

On blog etiquette, sueblimely wrote quite a bit on what she call ‘Betiquette’ about the relevant behaviour in attracting and maintaining readers, which is worth reading. But I particularly like the excellent and sharp pointers Chris from Blog-Op gave on blog etiquette posted on destyonline :

  • Never, ever steal content, period.
  • Don’t be afraid to give credit - Even if another blogger only gave you the basic idea for your 4000 word original post, it doesn’t hurt to link back.
  • Link often, but only when relevant. Don’t feel you have to get hitched onto a link train if you don’t want to.
  • Don’t write for Google, write for humans.
  • Don’t hotlink images.
  • Never write in a comment, what you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
  • Don’t accuse another blogger of anything without rock hard evidence.
  • Don’t use the email address you gather for comments, for spam purposes - A personal message is fine, but when I get a ‘Dear friend - please Digg my blog’ generic type email it gets marked as spam and deleted.
  • Treat others as you like to be treated.

I listed Chris’ pointers in total as I intend to keep them here as refresher for me to visit every now and then, to keep on the straight and narrow, in blogging at least.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Parent's Wish - A Tribute to Parents Everywhere

With our busy schedules, we very often lose touch, forget or simply ignore our parents. At times, we just hate them. I'd like to take time out here from talking about what I normally talk about here and make a gentle reminder to us all to remember and pay tribute to our parents, be they both parents (in which case, you are among the luckiest), single dad or single mom. There no special event, really. We do not need any special occasion or special day to pay tribute to our parents. Pay tribute to parents everyday, if we can, for their time with us is short.

I am actually prompted to post this after reading an email a dear friend send with a beautiful powerpoint presentation about Parent's Wish. It touches so deep that I had to post a link to the site:

http://parentswish.com/index.html

Please take time to visit the site, listen to the presentation so you will not easily feel irritated or angry with your parents. I know, we are all guilty, at some point or another, of feeling irritated, angry, and even ashamed of our parents. I know I did, many times that I won't talked to my mom for months. But every single time, I am drawn back to her, we make peace, and it's back to the parent-child 'love-hate' thing again. But , it's good, at least we talk and listen to each other as much as we can.

It is very relevant to everyone, yes just about everyone, irrespective whether you have (both) parents or just a single dad or single mom. So do find the time to visit the site and send an email to anyone you know. I can be sure that the presentation will bring tears to your eyes, unless or course your heart is made of stone. And parents please forward to your kids, too, just as a gentle reminder for them to respect not only their own parents but parents everywhere. My fervent hope is that, after reading it and living it, this world will be a much better place to live.

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