Why Do We Stop Chasing Our Dreams?

I remembered when I was young; I was captivated by the adventures of Indiana Jones, the wise-cracking and heroic archaeologist character portrayed by the equally charismatic Harrison Ford. To date, I’m not exactly sure how many times I’ve watched the Indiana Jones movies, I probably lost count! I honestly had no clue what a real archaeologist did but everything in the movie made it look like it was the most exciting and adrenaline-pumped job in the world. As a result, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I started saying I wanted to become an archaeologist! After realizing that my interest in archaeology was strictly limited to the Indiana Jones movie franchise, it was safe to say that this ambition died a natural death. 

However, I’m not talking about frivolous dreams that we stop chasing for in our lives. I’m referring to real goals or dreams that sparked a fire which made you lose track of time because you were completely engrossed in it. Goals that you actually believed in and thought they were possible when you were younger before you became completely jaded with life. Why exactly did we stop chasing them? I spoke to several people and here is just a sample of what they said.

“I can’t chase my dream, I don’t have the time! I’m too old and I have too many commitments.”


(It’s not entirely a black or white situation. You don’t need to quit your job in order to pursue your dream. You can still set aside time to decide if this is a dream worth pursuing be it on a full or part-time basis. There is still a chance that it can happen, it’s just a matter of whether you want it badly enough.)


“I’m too afraid of failure; I don’t want to waste my time.”


(Here is a short transcript from Jim Carrey’s inspiring commencement speech for the Maharishi University of Management.


My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t’ believe that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive.


I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”


Basically, there is no guarantee that what you consider as “safe” is foolproof, anything can happen in life.)


“I don’t know how to do it. I feel so overwhelmed that I don’t even know where to start.”


(We live in an era where information is readily accessible which becomes a double-edged sword. Sometimes because there is too much information, we feel paralyzed. The question is, do you know how to eat an elephant? You do it chunk by chunk and not by swallowing it whole. If you are willing to take the first step and stay focused on your roadmap, you will eventually get to your destination.)


“I don’t have enough resources such as money, time or the right connections.”


(Tony Robbins, a motivational speaker once asked his audience, “What caused you to fail in the past? The answers are usually due to lack of time, the right people, money or whatever. What is common here is that we’re saying we don’t have the resources to succeed. Money is a resource, technology is a resource, experience is a resource. However when you look at the most powerful people in history, resources was never a problem. They didn’t have the resources but they got them. How do people get resources when they don’t have them? The answer is they were resourceful. The ultimate resource is resourcefulness. That’s what makes someone so successful. The great news is that every human being has it in them. It’s just a matter of whether you access it or not.” This is also one of the reasons why the same people who go to a learning seminar, only some will succeed and the others will fail. The thing that sets them apart is their resourcefulness.)


“I don’t even know what my dream is.”


(This is perhaps one of the most common answers. If you don’t even know what you want, how are you supposed to get it? The first step is to find out what exactly you want in life. Here are lyrics from the jazz song Happy Talk which are lyrically simple yet insightful… )


You gotta have a dream, if you don’t have a dream

How you gonna have a dream come true?


These answers resonated with me because I used to say those same words myself. I would like to share an excerpt from a Tedx talk that had a profound impact on me. It was a talk by stand-up comedian Steve Mazan. At age 35 he was diagnosed with cancer which immediately led him to chase his dream. His dream was to perform comedy on The Late Show with David Letterman. Dying to do Letterman is now an award-winning documentary which has one simple message, if you’re not dying to do something, you’re already dead.


Steve Mazan was asked “Why do people stop chasing their dreams? Everyone wants to achieve them, so why do they leave them behind?” It was a tough question which he did not have an immediate answer and he didn’t want to give a cliché answer or a simple motivational line so he decided to think about it.


When the answer came to him, he said it was hard to swallow, let alone to spit it out and say aloud. He says, “We’re all taught that life is tough. Life is hard. But it’s not, it’s pretty easy to skate by and go through life.” He adds that most of us wake up with roofs above our heads and a fridge full of food. We don’t have to face starvation or homelessness because we are fortunate enough to have friends and family who will help us out.


He adds, “So in actual fact, life is easy. It’s so easy to skate through life. It’s too easy to grow up, put your passions aside and take a job that you don’t necessarily love doing. There is nothing wrong with that but there is nothing inspiring about it. The awful truth is that life is easy. But living, truly living and chasing a dream is hard. So what is it that puts the fire in your heart? So what is it that you are dying to do?”


He goes on to mention that you must constantly remind yourself that you are dying every day and if you’re not chasing your dreams, you’re already dead inside. Steve Mazan’s dream was to appear on the Letterman show and it took him 5 years before he achieved it. However, in those 5 years, he had an amazing time because he woke up everyday with a purpose to chase after his dream.


So don’t stop trying to chase your dream or achieve your life purpose because you’re too afraid to fully live. I would like to end with a speech excerpt from Randy Pausch who is known for his talk titled, “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University. Pausch had learnt that he had pancreatic cancer and could not be cured. These were his messages that he wanted to share from what he had learnt.


I think the only advice I can give you on how to live your life well is first off remember, it’s a cliché but I love clichés, it is not the things we do in live that we regret on our deathbed. It is the things we do not. I assure you I’ve done a lot of really stupid things and none of them bother me. All of the mistakes and all of the dopey things and all of the times I was embarrassed, they don’t matter. What matters is that I can look back and say pretty much anytime I got a chance to do something cool I tried to grab for it. That’s where my solace comes from.


The second thing that I would add to that and I didn’t coordinate on the subject of this word, but I think it’s the right word that comes up, is passion. You will need to find your passion. Many of you have already done it. Many of you will later. Many of you may take until your 30’s or 40’s but don’t give up on finding it because then all you’re doing is waiting on the Reaper. Find your passion and follow it. If there is anything I have learned in my life is that you will not find that passion in things and you will not find that passion in money because the more things and the more money you have the more you will just look around and use that as the metric and there will always be someone with more.


Your passion must come from the things that fill you from the inside. Honors and awards are nice things but only to the extent that they regard the real respect from your peers. To be thought well of by other people that you think even more highly of is a tremendous honor that I’ve been granted.


Find your passion, and in my experience, no matter what you do at work or what you do in official settings that passion will be grounded in people. It will be grounded in the relationships you have with people and what they think of you when your time comes. If you can gain the respect of those around you and the passion and the true love, and I’ve said this before, I waited until 39 to get married because I had to wait that long to find someone whose happiness was more important than mine. If nothing else I hope that all of you can find that kind of passion and that kind of love in your life. Thank you.


In essence, each day that we wake up is a gift to live another day. Nobody can predict when our time on earth will be up. As such, we need to ensure that we do not live a life that is filled with fear and regret, but one that is filled with hope and faith that we dared to chase our dreams.



Moments & Milestones

What is a moment?


A moment represents a very brief period of time...


What is a milestone?


An action or event marking a significant change or stage in development...


I used to only celebrate milestones instead of moments in my life because I thought only milestones mattered. 


But I finally realized it is the collection of moments that create the milestones that each of us are seeking for. 







"where words fail, music speaks........"


Music has kept me company in different phases of my life as I sought refuge from the mayhem and mysteries of the world around me. It required nothing in return, but only my undivided attention to get lost in it. I would listen to music from most genres because I felt that every genre had its own unique sound and story behind it. 


As I was building this website, I thought I'd share the songs that almost always puts me in a good mood. Admittedly, there are probably more luscious and melancholic songs that exists but I figured it would be nice to have a simple playlist of songs that could bring a smile to people's faces, or at least evoke a goofy grin (or even make you want to get up and dance). 


The first video I'd like to share is Jamiroquai's "Cosmic Girl." The music video features a black Ferrari F355 Berlinetta, a purple Lamborghini Diablo SE30 and a red Ferrari F40 racing each other through several highways and mountain roads across a desert landscape from clear day-light to dawn at Cabo de Gata in Spain. (In case you're wondering, I'm clueless about cars, I got this info from Wikipedia!)


I've always liked Jamiroquai because his songs are incredibly upbeat and the melodies are insanely addictive, from "Love Foolosophy", "Little L", "You Give me Something" and "Canned Heat". The song opens with, "I must've died and gone to heaven, cos it was a quarter past eleven, on a Saturday in 1999....." Who wouldn't wanna be a cosmic girl from another galaxy?


If you're ever having a bad day, just play a Jamiroquai playlist and blast it loudly. And yes, dance like nobody's watching, even if it means making awkward moves and potentially spraining your back! 


I've watched him perform live years ago and I guess you can't help but groove along to a guy who wears funky outfits and crazy headgear! 

The next video is Michael Jackson's "Love Never Felt so Good." I am definitely a massive MJ fan and his talent and genius is clearly irrefutable. I honestly can't remember the number of times I have played this song in my room. While I adore most of his songs, this song can transform my mood instantly. I first listened to the original version of the song without Justin Timberlake but I really liked this collaboration as it made the song even better. There's even a video of Usher dancing to this song at a tribute concert and it was super! Dennis Lau, the Malaysian violinist did a brilliant cover with Michael Leaner on vocals which was also pretty good. In short, I loveeeee this song!


I was also fortunate enough to have seen MJ perform when he was in Malaysia. The most unforgettable moment of the concert was when he performed "Billie Jean" as he wore his trademark sparkly gloves and did the moonwalk which gave me goosebumps. All hail the King of Pop......I probably won't see another artist like him in my lifetime. 

Of course, how could I not include a song from Queen Bey? Throughout her fantabulous career, she has sung many amazing tunes but this tune just makes you want to get up and dance! When I first saw the video, I was super envious of her slick dance moves! (she's almost too perfect with her flawless vocals) I can't dance for nuts basically so I did wish I had the ability to dance just like her! (don't ever ask me to do ballroom dancing or dance salsa if you don't want your legs to be trampled on).

I missed the chance to watch Buble in concert and I've been telling myself ever since that I must catch him live the next time. Although it's not a fast song, it is a classic and if you've watched "My Best Friend's Wedding" starring Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz (it's one of my all-time favourite romcoms), you'll love the ending scene. Also, if I ever want to relax and unwind, all I need to do is listen to jazz music, it's just sublime. 

Madonna!! I was thrilled that I saw her in Singapore for her "Rebel Heart" concert tour. Being a retro maniac, I like most songs from the 80s and this is definitely a song you'd hear on a mambo jambo dance floor. And also, my humble opinion is that her best love song is "Crazy for You". 

"Everybody's dancing in the moonlight....." Enough said, just listen to the song and enjoy it. All we need now is someone to throw a fabulous house party with a rooftop moonlight view. Don't forget, we'll need a live band too (and food = tonnes of pizzas and potato chips).

I love everything about this "Suit & Tie" music being black and white, the dancing, the music....This music video was directed by David Fincher, the same director who brought us Fight Club, Seven, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and many other great films. This video also won the 2014 Grammy Best Music Video Award. Random fact, I would really love to direct a music video and it is on my bucket list. Is there anybody out there who has a song that needs a video? 

The first song I heard from Coldplay was "Yellow", and who could forget the music video of Chris Martin walking along the beach in one continuous shot with no cuts? This was followed by their other introspective songs such as the beautifully written "Trouble" and "In My Place." This song "A Sky Full of Stars" reminds me of reckless abandon, where Chris Martin sings as if he doesn't give a damn anymore with the lyric, "Cause you're a sky , 'cause you're a sky full of stars. 'Cause you light up the path, I don't care, go on and tear me apart...." And with him jumping around on stage singing his heart out, that puts me in a good mood already. 

I definitely have a bias towards this song because I'm born in the month of September! What can I say? Disco timeeeee....

Every single time I hear this song, I can envision myself in a little club in Havana, Cuba with the Buena Vista Social Club performing right in front of me. There'd be dancers and I would just lose myself in the music amidst the hustle and bustle. 

Simply Red......Mick Hucknall who is the lead vocalist probably has one of the best voices I've ever heard. He has really powerful vocals and can probably out-sing anybody easily. I like almost every other Simply Red song and this is a favourite because it has a reggae vibe, thanks to guest vocals from The Fugees

Britpop - Yes, i remember listening to bands like Oasis and Blur. Suede was definitely one of the other bands. I wouldn't exactly call this the happiest song with its lyrics but it's catchy enough with the electric guitar intro!

I always get an easy, breezy vibe whenever I listen to "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5. I also stumbled upon a cover by Najah Lewis as she sang an acoustic version of the song in the middle of a subway station. If I had seen her singing in the station, I would definitely stop and allow myself to be mesmerized by her vocals as she strums her guitar effortlessly. 

Jess Glynne has a very distinctive voice and you can spot it whenever you hear her sing. I first heard about her when I listened to the song "Rather Be"  which is equally as infectious, a successful collaboration with Clean Bandit. She once auditioned for X Factor but dropped out after a disagreement with the producers. So even if you didn't make the cut or win the "grand prize", your career can still take off in a stellar manner! You just need to keep pushing forward. 

I really had to include this video by Supergrass! This could possibly be the cheesiest and corniest song but you can't help but smile when you see the 3 goofballs in the video singing unabashedly with lyrics that go, "We are young, we run green, keep our teeth, nice and clean, see our friends, see the sights, feel alright...." Yes, I guess you're never too old to keep this mantra in your head. Life is that simple, really. 

So there you have it, a simple playlist of songs that I listen to occasionally, I can't recall all the other songs at this point in time but this is what I can think of for now! Maybe I'll whip up another playlist the next round. 

Hope you'll enjoy it.....



Steve Jobs - If Today Was Your Last Day

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination that we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. 


Steve Jobs


As Apple launches its new iphone this week, one of the key things that I remember about the brand is not its staggering list of products or the features behind them. However, I would like to write about the commencement speech that its founder, Steve Jobs had given at Stanford University on a sunny June afternoon in 2005. 


Writing a good speech is truly an art form and while I have heard a number of speeches, no other speech has left an impact on me more than his. He did not need to use elaborate words or complicated theories, all he did was share his heartfelt take on his life and life itself. 


Split into three simple stories, the first tells of "Connecting the Dots", the second on "Love and Loss" while the third is about "Death". Each story reveals a little bit about the enigma and events that have helped defined the man who leaves behind a conflicted legacy. As a result, he has inspired a slew of biographies, articles and movies on him with different perspectives on his work and life. 


But I'm also not here to write about his life. Instead, I would like to share his third story on "Death" because he has spoken so eloquently on a subject matter that we fear the most. As I listened to his speech,  I couldn't help but wonder if today was my last day, what would I do? Or more importantly, if I could live as if everyday were my last, how would it dramatically change my life? While it may seem like an overstated question in today's fast paced lifestyle, it is a question that is worth asking ourselves. 


Now, of course this does not mean we should immediately stuff ourselves with Krispy Kreme sugar glazed donuts until we pass out (or go on a shopping spree that would put Kim Kardashian to shame!), but it is stripping down to the bare fact that life is short, and it is fragile. Nobody knows if we will wake up tomorrow nor will we know if we can live to our fullest potential. 


I guess the main reason why I would ask myself if today was my last day is because I would like to know if I have any regrets. What scares me most is not the fear of failure but the fear of regret. Most of you might have already read and heard this speech many times but I hope that by sharing this again, it will be a simple reminder that we should not take our life for granted. For as long as we are still breathing, there is still a chance for us to do what we really want. 


So thank you Steve Jobs, for a speech which puts it simply that in the end, we will all eventually fade away and die. Hopefully by knowing this, it will be a small step in shedding any of the fears that we have. 


Below is the video which highlights his third story on "Death", with scenes from the movie "Jobs", played by Ashton Kutcher. 

The speech with the third story on "Death". 


My third story is about death.


When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.


Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.


About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.


I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.


This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:


No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.


When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: It was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.


Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.


Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.


Thank you all very much.


Steve Jobs


To watch the actual video and read the full speech, please click here




The Art of Feeling

I felt it was important to mention that being happy is not about blindly ignoring our pain, anger, grief or whatever emotions we are feeling. Also, it does not mean that we need to be happy all the time.

In fact, it is in times of pain that we experience a newfound awareness and strength that we never knew existed within us.

In every seed of pain lies a hidden opportunity for a life-changing breakthrough that will change us for the better. For it is only in times of pain that we realize that something needs to change in order for us to elevate ourselves to another level of growth.

In short, pain is our greatest teacher. When we look back at our past, we will realize that it was in painful moments that we grew the most.

This is a paragraph which i found insightful…

There is always light after the dark. You have to go through that dark place to get to it, but it is there, waiting for you. It’s like riding on a train through a dark tunnel. If you get so scared you jump off in the middle of the ride, then you’re there, in the tunnel, stuck in the dark. You have to ride the train all the way to the end of the ride.

Han Nolan, author of Dancing on the Edge

Here is also an interesting article on "The Art of Feeling". Embrace every emotions that we have because that is what makes us who we are.

Click here to read the full article




Why does Happiness Matter?

Does happiness matter? People react to this question in surprisingly different ways. Some suggest that there are far more significant things to worry about; others see happiness as vitally important and something that every human being ultimately wants in life. To explore this conundrum, we need to start by looking at what happiness actually means. 

Click here to read the full article



5 Ways to become Happier Today

Tal Ben-Shahar is an American and Israeli teacher at Harvard University and writer in the areas of positive psychology and leadership. In this video, he shares simple steps that we can take to become happier today. 



The Happiness Advantage

Based on his Goodthink website, after spending 12 at Harvard University, Shawn Achor has become one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. His research on mindset made the cover of Harvard Business Review, his TED talk is one of the most popular of all time with over 13 million views, and his lecture airing on PBS has been seen by millions. Shawn has lectured or worked with over a third of the Fortune 100 companies, as well as the NFL, the NBA, the Pentagon and the White House.