How I got tricked to join the Oil Field ! Thing’s your kids would be experiencing while working offshore!

Recently someone shared a tag on Facebook of a very old post of one of those drunk party nights (which I ‘honestly’ do not remember). Looking back to the day I started my first hostel, I was amazed it has already been 7 years now, converting a residential building to a double story commercial building, crafting hostel concepts, going on the streets of Georgetown shouting and banging drums to attract customers, all the way to being listed as the top 3 hostels in Penang. What a journey it has been.

Looking back now, I realised the big jump I made, defying the advice of my parents and my closest friends. You see, I graduated as a Chemical Engineer in a local university and my friends somehow managed to convince me that there were lines and lines of beautiful girls working in factories ( Very Innocent Back then), so I joined BOSCH as a Quality Engineer. (totally unrelated to my profession). But I managed to somehow convince the German General Manager then to hire me. I was earning RM 2XXX which was pretty good for a starting salary back in 2004. If I am not mistaken, the highest salary for engineers was RM 3XXX working in a SemiConductor company. After 6 months, of learning how to piss people off by finding fault in every single power tool, and realising that my friends taste in women were TOTALLY different from mine. (Apparently they must love older women, because I swear the women in the production line was double my age). I saw an advertisement for a position as a MUD ENGINEER. I didnt have a clue what the job was about, but I assumed it would be fun because I saw online of HOW MUCH FUN it was at Boryeong Mud Festival ! You know, I was already closing my eyes and imagining I was the lucky guy in the middle of this picture below.

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But when I opened my eyes to reality, this was what I saw…..

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Don’t get me wrong, I mean I still get to play and be covered with mud.

I rubbed my eyes and blinked for the longest time ever, then opened my eyes again …..

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Imagine being stuck with 150 of these hunky men on a boat in the middle of the ocean thats about 4 football fields big, having to WORK, SHOWER, SLEEP, REPEAT for 1 month.

So ladies? Any of you would like to join the oil field now?

Looking back, I have no regrets joining the oil field. In fact, it has thought me so many things that has helped me become a better person I am today. One of my closest friends from the oil field once told me that the Oil Rig is designed to have the most efficient systems around due to the Drilling Rig’s high operating costs and that it runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year Non-Stop.

While working on the Drilling Rigs, I have learned to be

  1. Independent and highly adaptable. Depending on the position and nature of your job, there are times when you will be working as a group and there are times when you are working alone for many hours (we call them Lone Workers). Each of us will have a designated task that we have to complete on time. While working in a team, majority of times your teammates will be come from various countries. Working as a team and overcoming the cultural differences is always a challenge. To ensure good communication, meetings and job debriefs are regularly inserted into our tasks (multilingual). We are trained to use a question and answer when confirming if they understand instructions. Instead of saying “Do you understand?”, we use “Could you please explain to me, what did I just say”. This way of repeating answers will solidify the persons understanding of the question.
  2. Most of the time, I am travelling alone. In most cases, you will have to arrange your own travel itinerary and also trouble shoot any problems along the way. This includes things like, what if you are late to the airport and miss your flight? (worse if it is international and has a connecting flight). Do you buy another ticket? Do you tell your boss? I remember spending so much extra time with my girlfriend one time that I missed my flight. I ended up taking a cramped mini van for 6 hours, sleeping in a whorehouse full of mirrors because all hotels were full, just to get to work. But ill leave that for another story.
  3. You are responsible for getting your ‘Drunk Ass’ to the helibase on time and in good ‘functioning’ condition. Normally the company will require you to fly to the city/port where the crew change will happen a day before the exchange. This is to ensure that you are ‘FULLY RESTED” and are not rushing to the helibase. Crew changes are when you come off the rig for your off days and your relief will take your place. Usually your relief will head to the rig first before you get on the return chopper. This is to avoid cases when your relief doesn’t turn up for work. In most cases if this happens, you will then have to stay back till the office sends you another relief.drunk people
    Drinking like its the last day on earth
    Nine out of ten times, the helicopter flight times are extremely early in the mornings (you will have to wake up at 3am for a 6am flight) and most Oil Rig Workers tend to go all out at the bars because they see it as their last night of freedom before being locked up dry on the rig. Rule of thumb for a green pass on the breathalyzers would be to allow yourself to rest 7 hours before flight time. Most drilling rigs nowadays have breathalyzers and urine tests for alcohol and drug abuse. I have seen cases where people turn up to the helibase either drunk or slightly tipsy, only to be barred completely from the drilling rig for good. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
  4. Packing your own bags for 1 month. Easy as it may sound, but there is actually a INTENSE technique to it. As each site is isolated, you will have to make sure you have all the essentials like spare contact lens, contact lens liquids, facial care items, tooth brush and any medication that you need, all packed into a carry size suit case.
  5. Planning and lookahead. As operations are constantly running so fast, the one thing you need to learn fast here is to always have “Backups, of Backups for the Backup”. What this means is that, for every piece of equipment or any plans that you have, you need to make sure that there is a PLAN B and PLAN C if PLAN A fails. By systematically planning this far ahead, it serves as perfect training for your mind to be alert and constantly aware of activities and “What Ifs” that can happen.  Examples of ‘What Ifs” that we constantly ask ourselves is “What if, the job doesn’t go as planned?” or “What happens if the supply boat is delayed due to weather, will we have sufficient food for the rig, and if so, how long can the food last?”.
  6. Not to be fussy about food. On offshore installations, the company provides 5 meals a day. So to all the mothers out there, do not worry about your son being skinny and underfed. Most likely if he doesn’t work out, he would end up obese!.  There are usually a healthy selection of vegetables, cereal, meat and carbohydrates. Some rigs have such good food, that it is almost like a restaurant.
  7. Sleep on a helicopter. Firstly, after being forced to wake up at 3am. I am then being cramped into a van for 1 hour then have to wait at the waiting room for another 2 hours before taking a gruelling 1-2 hour flight. On top of that all, if I am on the day shift, chances are I have to put slap my face hard to keep awake as I drag through the 12 hour shift. So I have trained myself to fall asleep in even the most awkward situations. sleep

After writing the list above, I do not regret about joining the oilfield at all.

In the next posting I was planning to give out the dirty secrets of Oil field workers. Things that we do not want our girlfriends or wives to know. Like this page and let me know if I should write the article.

How do you effectively listen!

Active listening is a skill that can be acquired and developed with practice. However, active listening can be difficult to master and will, therefore, take time and patience to develop.

Active listening‘ means, as its name suggests, actively listening. That is fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker.

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Active listening involves listening with all senses.  As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening – otherwise the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.

Interest can be conveyed to the speaker by using both verbal and non-verbal messages such as maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and smiling, agreeing by saying ‘Yes’ or simply ‘Mmm hmm’ to encourage them to continue.  By providing this ‘feedback’ the person speaking will usually feel more at ease and therefore communicate more easily, openly and honestly.

Listening is the most fundamental component of interpersonal communication skills.

Listening is not something that just happens (that is hearing), listening is an active process in which a conscious decision is made to listen to and understand the messages of the speaker.

Listeners should remain neutral and non-judgmental, this means trying not to take sides or form opinions, especially early in the conversation.  Active listening is also about patience – pauses and short periods of silence should be accepted.

Listeners should not be tempted to jump in with questions or comments every time there are a few seconds of silence. Active listening involves giving the other person time to explore their thoughts and feelings, they should, therefore, be given adequate time for that.

Active listening not only means focusing fully on the speaker but also actively showing verbal and non-verbal signs of listening.

Generally speakers want listeners to demonstrate ‘active listening’ by responding appropriately to what they are saying. Appropriate responses to listening can be both verbal and non-verbal, examples of which are listed below:


Signs of Active Listening

Non-Verbal Signs of Attentive or Active Listening

This is a generic list of non-verbal signs of listening, in other words people who are listening are more likely to display at least some of these signs.  However these signs may not be appropriate in all situations and across all cultures.

Smile

Small smiles can be used to show that the listener is paying attention to what is being said or as a way of agreeing or being happy about the messages being received.  Combined with nods of the head, smiles can be powerful in affirming that messages are being listened to and understood.

Eye Contact

It is normal and usually encouraging for the listener to look at the speaker. Eye contact can however be intimidating, especially for more shy speakers – gauge how much eye contact is appropriate for any given situation.  Combine eye contact with smiles and other non-verbal messages to encourage the speaker.

Posture

Posture can tell a lot about the sender and receiver in interpersonal interactions.  The attentive listener tends to lean slightly forward or sideways whilst sitting.  Other signs of active listening may include a slight slant of the head or resting the head on one hand.

Mirroring

Automatic reflection/mirroring of any facial expressions used by the speaker can be a sign of attentive listening.  These reflective expressions can help to show sympathy and empathy in more emotional situations.  Attempting to consciously mimic facial expressions (i.e. not automatic reflection of expressions) can be a sign of inattention.

Distraction

The active listener will not be distracted and therefore will refrain from fidgeting, looking at a clock or watch, doodling, playing with their hair or picking their fingernails.

Verbal Signs of Attentive or Active Listening

Positive Reinforcement

Although a strong signal of attentiveness, caution should be used when using positive verbal reinforcement.

Although some positive words of encouragement may be beneficial to the speaker the listener should use them sparingly so as not to distract from what is being said or place unnecessary emphasis on parts of the message.

Casual and frequent use of words and phrases, such as: ‘very good’, ‘yes’ or ‘indeed’ can become irritating to the speaker.   It is usually better to elaborate and explain why you are agreeing with a certain point.

Remembering

The human mind is notoriously bad at remembering details, especially for any length of time.

However, remembering a few key points, or even the name of the speaker, can help to reinforce that the messages sent have been received and understood – i.e. listening has been successful.  Remembering details, ideas and concepts from previous conversations proves that attention was kept and is likely to encourage the speaker to continue.  During longer exchanges it may be appropriate to make very brief notes to act as a memory jog when questioning or clarifying later.

Questioning

The listener can demonstrate that they have been paying attention by asking relevant questions and/or making statements that build or help to clarify what the speaker has said.  By asking relevant questions the listener also helps to reinforce that they have an interest in what the speaker has been saying.

Reflection

Reflecting is closely repeating or paraphrasing what the speaker has said in order to show comprehension.  Reflection is a powerful skill that can reinforce the message of the speaker and demonstrate understanding.

Clarification

Clarifying involves asking questions of the speaker to ensure that the correct message has been received.  Clarification usually involves the use of open questions which enables the speaker to expand on certain points as necessary.

Summarisation

Repeating a summary of what has been said back to the speaker is a technique used by the listener to repeat what has been said in their own words. Summarising involves taking the main points of the received message and reiterating them in a logical and clear way, giving the speaker chance to correct if necessary.

EPIC HOMES, Building a better world through collaborations

More than 12,000 Orang Asli families are in need of housing aid in Peninsular Malaysia. That’s a lot of people who don’t have a safe place to live in, to grow in and to learn in. But we believe that we can change this with your help.

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MERSING: A group of orang asli women were about to start cooking when a group of 100-odd enforcement officers moved in to tear down eight wooden homes in the Gunung Arong forest reserve in Kampung Batu 10 on Tuesday, leaving 50 Jakun homeless.
The seven families are now living in makeshift tents by the roadside after their homes were torn down.
“Here, I can do some farming and the forest is accessible. The government gave part of the forest reserve to loggers and miners, but why can’t they let us stay?” Awang, who used to live in Kota Tinggi in Johor and Rompin, asked.
(Article from the Star)

EPIC ( Extraordinary People Impacting Community)

Is a social enterprise that aims to inspire, mobilize and empower people to make positive impact in their communities. EPIC designs and creates collaborative platforms that allow you to do this in a fun and easy way.

It’s flagship project, EPIC Homes is an initiative that aims to build relationships through the act of building homes for underprivileged Malaysian communities. An EPIC Home can be built within 3 days with a team of ordinary people. Under the Builder Training Program, participants are equipped with the skills and knowledge to lead, manage and build homes.

To date they have built over 18 homes with over 400 people from around the world, and have grown into a community with over 4400 people. They have also built with corporations such as PEMANDU, Media Prime Berhad, GE Malaysia, AirAsia Berhad, Taylors Education Group & Sinclair Knight-Merz. This year EPIC intends to build 100 homes whilst transforming this initiative into a nationwide movement.

How it all started
EPIC started as a conversation over the dinner table in 2010, where four friends were discussing the possibility of solving local issues through community work. When the conversation ended, we realized they had done a whole lot of talking, but no work.

And so, we began to search through friends and families for small projects that could bring like minded people together with the intention to bring about positive impact and to drive change in their community. A man from a nearby village in Batang Kali told us of a potential house-painting project and took us to recce the site.

When we arrived, a little boy in the group asked, “Where is the toilet?” It turns out that the village toilets weren’t completed, and thus the settlement didn’t have any. And that “toilet-building and painting project” (that really was the title of the project) was the first ever EPIC event.

We thought that we’d only be able to gather a tiny group of people for the project, but after blasting our call for volunteers through social media we were hit with 64 committed individuals who were ready for action. These guys ranged from ages 13-60 and they hailed from different countries around the world. When these strangers met for the first time at the project, we immediately knew that we had something special. We had never experienced such authenticity before. Each person that was present had one goal in mind: they were there to do whatever they could to help another person. This inspired us and showed us that by doing little with many, we could produce impact of epic proportions.

What EPIC Homes does
EPIC Homes aims to build relationships between the urban and rural divide through the activity of building homes for underprivileged Malaysian communities, currently focusing on the indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia, the Orang Asli.

We believe that the presence of relationships is what truly differentiates a ‘Home’ from a House’. When an EPIC Home is built, a family does not just get a new house, they become connected to a larger community who genuinely cares for them, a community that seeks to understand their challenges, and who seeks to solve it together with them.

Without people and relationships a house is nothing but a shell. This shell may protect a family from physical elements, but it is through people that they will be inspired and motivated to improve and move forward.

Since encountering our first dilapidated house in 2010, we have built 17 homes mostly in Selangor and Perak, connecting Orang Asli families with over 300 people from around the world. We have built alongside Malaysians and have also had builders from Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, Japan, Holland, New Zealand, India, Sweden, Korea, Turkey, UK, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Africa, USA, Iraq and Venezuela.

EPICS 5 YEAR GOAL
-To connect all 834 villages to the city through relationships built between urban and rural people.
-To have active participation from government, corporations and the general public who will be driving the initiative

According to the Pelan Strategik Kemajuan Orang Asli 2011, 82% of Orang Asli are in need of housing aid; that’s approximately 12,322 families who live in unsafe housing in Peninsular Malaysia.

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BUILDING HOMES,
NOT JUST HOUSES.

We believe that building homes is an effective and powerful activity that opens the door to relationship building. We also believe that homes are of utmost importance – a home leads to much more than four walls and a roof. It can affect livelihood, physical and personal health and the educational development of an individual.

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For more information
Contact Person: John-son Oei
Email Address: info@www.epichome.org
Website: https://www.epichome.org
Facebook: fb.com/epicarmy
Twitter: 
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Phone Number: +603 5613 5683
Founded: 2010
Address: No 15, Jalan PJS 11/18 Bandar Sunway, 46150, Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Unleashing the Power of a Positive Mind with these 5 habits!

I was 35 and at the lowest point in my life. Adopting these positive habits helped to turn my life around

Positive thoughts build a strong positive mind. Your mind is powerful, when it is positive, it is able to generate good vibrations to your entire body, and thus creating positive actions. Positive actions will then create positive results!

It Pays to Be Positive! Always remember this.
It was about a year ago, I was at the lowest point in my life. I was 35 years then. I was working on an offshore rig, which i have been working for the past 10 years. It was the year 2016, when oil industry was hit with mass retrenchment. I knew within the next few months, it would be my turn. I was desperately trying to get my future plans in order. The stress level was mounting on me.

On my supposedly last hitch to work (July 2016), i was at the peak of my life. I  had all the business plans in place and i wasnt too worried if i got retrenched as i knew i was going to take the jump. I readied my self for what was to happen. Then when i got back from work, (I work 1 month away from home and get 1 month time off at home). I found that my wife had left me for another person.

My life took a drastic dip. I felt like killing my self. In 2 days time, it would be my 35th birthday. I was convincing my self, that she would turn up that very morning on my birthday to give me a surprise to say that this was a joke. It would have been the best birthday present ever!

On the day of my birthday, no such surprise came. I was struggling with life.
I was distancing my self from my friends and family and i felt so alone. I was listening to self help talks and motivation online.
I wanted to destroy all my businesses as i felt that i didnt have any purpose in life anymore. I felt bad for most of my staff, because i couldnt think of how to carry on some of the business. Then somehow, i was shown kindness and positivity. This was the time, when i knew who were my best friends. I am grateful i have them.  I prayed hard everyday and thanked god for helping me.
At my lowest point, i was convinced this had to be mid life crisis every one was talking about. I told my self, as this is the lowest point, it can only get better!
I decided to turn things around.

Here are five habits that I’ve used that will attract more positivity into your life.

There’s a direct correlation between a positive attitude and better relationships, superior health, and greater success.

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A positive attitude can boost your energy, heighten your inner strength, inspire others, and garner the fortitude to meet difficult challenges. According to research from the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking can increase your life span, decrease depression, reduce levels of distress, provide greater resistance to the common cold, offer better psychological and physical well-being, reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and enable you to cope better during hardships and times of stress.

Here are the 5 habits that can help alleviate your positivity

  1. All things will pass. Nothing is permanent

    Keep reminding yourself, that nothing is permanent. When you are sad or no matter how bad things may have gone, always reflect that nothing is ever permanent. These sad or bad feelings, thoughts and situations will eventually be over. Look into the mirror and tell yourself “Everything is going to be alright” and “Things are going to be better”.
    It is the same with happy thoughts, conditions. We need to remind our self that these happy situations will also end, and that we need to take the time to stop and appreciate it. Appreciate the positive and happy moments. Appreciate the people we have that are with us now.
    Be kind to your self. Try to overlook the negative things and amplify all the positive actions or thoughts that you have done in the past. You are a good person!

  2. Surround yourself with positive people.

    Spend time with people who are positive, supportive, and who energize you. You will notice that after hanging out with positive people, your perception of life will also be slowly influenced by them to become positive as well.
    Imagine hanging out with a sad person when you are feeling depressed. I wouldn’t want to be in that situation.

  3. Thoughts become flesh

    Your mind is powerful. What you think and believe, you will achieve. If you don’t want to be surrounded by negative people, what makes you think others do? Learn to master your own thoughts.

    For example: When you visualize a goal, it makes you more likely to take the actions necessary to reach it. Visualize yourself winning the race, getting the promotion, accepting the award, or landing the new account.

    Control your negative thinking. This can be accomplished in the following ways:

    • See the glass as half full rather than half empty.

    • Anticipate the best outcome.

    • Stay the middle ground. Don’t view everything in extremes — as either fantastic or a catastrophe. This will help you reduce your highs and lows.

    • Mistakes happen. Negative people blame themselves for every bad occurrence whether it was their fault or not. Don’t let this be you.

  4. See failures as opportunities.

    Successful people are not afraid of failures. They anticipate failures in life and plan their best for it. They learn to see it as a opportunity to learn and improve. Instead of letting challenges overwhelm you, turn them into opportunities. (Rather than hitting the wall, climb over it or go around.)
    These times when you are feeling down and out. Don’t let negativity take over. I keep telling myself, if you have reached the very bottom of the pit. You can no longer go down and the only direction is UP!

  5. Count your blessings.

    Be grateful and give thanks for what you have in your life rather than taking them for granted. If you want to achieve happiness, better health, stronger relationships, and continued success, you may not have to look any further than the mirror. “The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.”* Do you see the glass half full or half empty? True happiness may depend on how you view the world and who you look to for inspiration.

    Credit picture to miraclesarebrewing.com

    We hope that with these positive habits, you are able to change your perception of life and everything will be better with time.

    We would love to hear your stories in life. Please write to us below.

Does life really begin at 40? Thing’s i realized when i was 39 years old..

Does life really begin at 40? What do i have to do, to get what i want?

There’s a famous saying “Life begins at 40”. Some people believe that this is the middle point in life where you really should have explored life to the maximum. Others will tell you that the last 39 years before was just “research”. I am sure plenty of people have their own bucket lists to fulfill before turning 40.

I googled out the items to do online and this is what i found

  1. Shower naked in a water fall – Im pretty sure i have done it at somepoint when i was still a little boy.
  2. Backpack around the world with my partner – Immerse in the unspeakable intimacy that forms from traveling with just one person you love. Embrace it, and seize the adventure, uncertainty, and excitement of everything to come.
  3. Starting something that lasts – Weather its a business, nonprofit, community or product. It should be something that could hold your legacy even after you leave. Something people would remember you when you are not around.
  4. Finding someone to mentor – Having someone look up to is an incredible feeling. Someone you can pass your wisdom to.
  5. Visit a different religious culture – We are blessed to be in a multicultural country. But probably this statement means to explore other different religious around the world. Probably visiting the tribes of South America ?
  6. Write a letter to your future self – Give it some thought of what you would want to tell your future self?

These are all great things that one should experience, and i am sure there are many more. We only have one life, hence go out and live it to the fullest.

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(Photo Credit : DialAflight)|

Sitting down on a wooden swing surrounded by strawberry bushes in the quiet mountains of Chiang Mai, Thailand. I begin to contemplate on my own life.

I discovered that trying to pause in life is much harder than trying to be busy.

  1. What i thought was important , was not that important
  2. Life is happening now. If opportunity doesn’t knock on your door, build your own door! “Life happens when you are busy making plans for it”. You should embrace what life has to offer in the present and not wait for the future before we start to ‘LIVE’
  3. Expanding and exploring our talent
    Ignoring or under utilizing your talent is a waste. I learnt learnt many lessons during my time of unemployment and one of the greatest one is to never limit my talent to the job description or other people say you can do or can’t do. There are limitless opportunities waiting for you, so take a bold step and venture out of your comfort zone.
  4. You always have a choice
    How many times have you heard people giving the excuse ” I didn’t have a choice” ?
    “I am already married with children. I have a responsibility and cannot afford to take the risks”. The question is not whether we have a choice, but whether we are willing to grab the opportunities that life has presented to us. We need to train our minds to distinguish between positive and negative information, and hopefully the right choice will get the better of us.
    One of the key factors for me personally, that contribute to the choices i make is finances. When i changed my perception that money was a tool and not my end goal in life, my eyes opened to many more opportunities in life.
  5. Going out of your comfort zone
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    Credit: Alphacoders

    This was an extremely difficult decision for me as I value comfort. I don’t think I’m alone in this. People like to be comfortable. They enjoy the familiar. Even when the familiar is far from optimal (even horrible), people still resist change.
    Seeking comfort, however natural it is, will never enable growth. How would you feel if you were able to merge what you love with your work and make it your lifestyle? Just think of how great and fulfilling that would be.

  6. Doing what you are passionate about
    “If you have an idea that might work in an area that you’re not passionate about, instead think about ways that you could apply it to a sector that does excite you,” he says “Look at your idea from a different perspective, and you might be surprised by the results.” Richard Branson.
  7. Remember nothing is permanent
    Everything is impermanent. “Bad times will come but they are not here to stay. Things will get better”. Always remember that no matter what you do, you are not stuck. Keep things in perspective. Mistakes are only learning experiences. Everything serves to teach you something. Whatever choice you make will be the right choice for that moment.
  8. Opportunities are waiting

Stephen C Hogan advised “most people miss great opportunities because of the misperception of time. Don’t wait! The time will never be just right.”  We think we have all the time in the world to do the things we would love to do, so we put them off until the perfect time.  Opportunities are waiting right now, and if you package your passion, you will be able to embrace them sooner rather than later. You may think you do not have the time or resources to embrace these new opportunities – not true. The problem is a lack of priorities – not focusing on the things we want the most in life and making them part of our daily goals and tasks.

“Decide what you want, and then act as if it were impossible to fail.” – Brian Tracy

Now that I have crossed the great threshold of forty, my perception on life begins at forty has changed.  I realize there is no perfect age to accomplish any goal. If I had the chance to advise my younger self, I would tell her to discover and explore the potency of her passion on a daily basis.

I will encourage her to maximise every opportunity that comes her way.  I will also teach her how to be aware of the dominant components of her passion, so she matches them to the right opportunities when they appear. Life is right now, right here – make the most of it.