Friday, March 30, 2012

Gav's quotes on the Young Endeavour

These are some quotes from my Young Endeavour trip a couple of years ago, from the Captain Gav. Gav, I hope you don't mind me sharing this, I love quotes and I want share it with others who may not have been as lucky as we have to sail the seas.
This was an 11 day sailing voyage (though I have more days worth below...) ;)

You can read about that fun trip here - Young Endeavour post voyage log

Gav's quotes

Day 1
I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze that it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in a magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time - Jack London (but the question is doing what is it that is worth doing?)

Day 2
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do then by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. EXPLORE. DREAM. DISCOVER. - Mark Twain.

Day 3
It is not the critic who counts,
nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, 
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. 
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, 
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, 
who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again;
 because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; 
but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, 
the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, 
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, 
if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. 
So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls 
who know neither victory nor defeat. 
- Theodore Roosevelt

Day 4
Be not content with the commonplace in character any more than with the commonplace in ambition or intellectual attainment. Do not expect that you will make any lasting or very strong impression on the world through intellectual power without the use of an equal amount of conscience and heart. - William Jewett Tucker

Day 5
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. - Martin Luther King, Jr

Day 6
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. - Calvin Coolidge

Day 7
Do not pray for easy times; pray to be stronger. Do not pray for tasks equal to your power; pray for powers equal to your tasks. - John F. Kennedy

Day 8
A leader is best
When people barely knows he exists,
Not so good when people obey and acclaim him.
Worse when they despise him.
"Fail to honour people,
They fail to honour you"
But of a good leader who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will say, "We did this ourselves"
-Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher

Day 9
I went on a search to become a leader.

I searched high and low.

I spoke with authority; people listened.

But alas, there was one who was wiser than I,

And they followed that individual.

I sought to inspire confidence,

But the crowd responded, "Why should I trust you?"

I postured, and I assumed that look of leadership

With a countenance that flowed with confidence and pride,

But many passed me by and never noticed my air of elegance.

I ran ahead of others, pointed the way to new heights.

I demonstrated that I knew the route to greatness.

And then I looked back, and I was alone.

"What shall I do?" I queried.

"I've tried hard and used all that I know."

And I sad down and pondered long.

And then, I listened to the voices around me.

And I heard what the group was trying to accomplish.

I rolled up my sleeves and joined in the work.

As we worked, I asked, "Are we all together in what we want to do

And how to get the job done?"

And we thought together,

And we fought together,

And we struggled towards our goal.

I found myself encouraging the fainthearted.

I sought ideas of those too shy to speak out.I taught those who had little skill.

I praised those who worked hard.

When our task was completed, one of the group turned to me and said,

"This would not have been done but for your leadership."

At first, I said, "I didn't lead. I just worked like the rest."

And then I understood, leadership is not a goal.

It's a way to reaching a goal.

I lead best when I help others to go where we've decided to go.

I lead best when I help others to use themselves creatively.

I lead best when i forget about myself as a leader and focus on my group...

Their needs and their goals.

To lead is to achieve together.


Day 10
Many of our failures sweep us to greater heights of success, than we ever hoped for in our wildest dreams. Life is a successive unfolding of success from failure. - William George Jordan

Day 11
This life is the only one you're given
Look for opportunities to grow, and never be discouraged in your efforts to do so.
Don't measure the future by the past;
Let yesterday be a memory and tomorrow a promise
Begin each day by focusing on all that is good, and you will be able to handle whatever comes along.
Take responsibilities for your actions, and
never make excuses for not being the best that you can be.

Day 12
I here and I forget,
I see and I remember,
I do and I understand.
- Chinese proverb/ YC (Young Endeavour crewmember) Member Robin

Day 13
Flatter me, and I may not believe you,
Criticize me, and I may not like you,
Ignore me, and I may not forgive you,
Encourage me, and I will not forget you.
YC (Young Endeavour crewmember) member Loren 

Day 14
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body,
But rather to skid sideways,
Chocolate in one hand,
Wine in the other,
Body thoroughly used up,
Totally worn out and screaming
"WOO HOO what a ride!" 
- Staffy (Young Endeavour term) Lisa Hickman

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. - Vince Lombardi

On studies and deadlines

Something someone once told me about my studies, though you can apply this to work, life, or anything that seems to have a deadline.

Think of your studies as yogurt or milk and close to the due date it starts to taste more and more dull. Sometimes you are lucky and it might not taste foul, but usually it does... 

Here's also a nice quote to leave you with:
"Deal with it before it is there; check disorder before it is rife. Deal with the hard while it is still easy, the great while it is still small" -Lao Tzu 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Living through the lives of others

You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself. - Sam Levenson 

Very true, that must be why I love reading biographies and autobiographies. While these stories can be sometimes bias and show one perspective of how one has seen situations life, it offers you a new perspective on the world through their eyes as well as the observers eyes.

You learn what's important for them, some of the challenges they've faced and how they've dealt with them, some of the mistakes they've made as well as all their successes. All the things that make each and every one of us human. While many of the people you'll read about are quite famous, renowned, and you'll find your everyday friends, family, and even colleagues have achieved something special in their lives - whether big or small.

I think that's partly why I like hearing other people's stories, as it's always interesting to hear and feel the passion they have when they share their story. Everyone has a story to share, no matter where they are from and how underprivileged or privileged they are, there are challenges that we all face and I think feeling that connection in itself is special.

In a way, we can feel as through we live through others, and in return we can share our mark and hopefully that can inspire and guide each other.

So take the time to listen to the stories from others, not only their mistakes but their successes, and in that way you will find that you have lived not only your own life but also through the lives of your fellow people around you as well - as a person is a person through other persons...

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.   - Indira Gandhi

I like this quote, it's a nice and simple message that you can picture. Very true indeed.

It makes me wonder if I open my palms when if I'm angry or upset about something whether I may feel different a bit like they say you should breath in and out deeply. Right now I'm testing this theory out while thinking about something that would make me angry and it does seem to work. Maybe I'm thinking too much about it right now but I'll be certain to test it out when I'm in a situation where angry emotions arise.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Is it easy to leave the rat race?

That's one question that has been in mind for a while. However with the constant demands that are required of us by our friends, our family, our colleagues, our society. It always seems difficult to do so.

Some say you create your own successful business, become wealthy and retire and that's the answer. But is that really it? Do we reallly always have to follow the money?

I have seen what money does to people and one thing I am eager to ensure is that my decisions are not lead by money, rather, I make my own decisions and whether money follows or not is a latter concern. I feel that as long as I cover my basic human needs I believe I would feel and be happy. But with so many others with a different mindset to my own, it can be challenging to see how that value and priority system can take hold. As it is quite easy to fall into the temptation and needing that next new thing (see wants vs needs post).

I always wonder at some of the experiences that I've been quite privileged to experience. My travels, opportunities, my great friends, family, and the like. Yet through it all, I feel as though there is more to life than meets the eye. I've spoken to many people and thought (i.e., that there is more to life than meets the eye and the way we're living it) perhaps it was the human instinct in most, if not all of us, but we often choose to ignore it because we get lost in the 'pressing matters' of today.

Even those so called 'pressing matters' of today seem as something that we in society have created for ourselves. I like to call it, a world that we have created for ourselves and if you've seen the movie - The Matrix, it's a world that keeps us happy - but in reality we actually are only been given our basic human needs to survive.

Because if you think carefully, in the caveman days, the only thing people worried about was food, family and friends within the tribe. Ensuring that the next meal was coming in, there was shelter and that there was enough for everyone.

Now we're worried about whether we get that report or assignment in in time, that we didn't get a raise, a promotion, that new toy, that new car, etc. Yet in places I've seen around in my travels, there are people that all that they worry about is ensuring that make enough for their next meals. That's it. Yet for us, we have fulfilled that hunger 'need', now we're busy focusing on fulfilling our 'wants'.

'Wants' that only keep a satisfied in lieu of the next 'want', the next 'want' and the next 'want'... And that's often why we all find ourselves in the rat race, yet I feel as though my life was and is not meant to be constrained within this way. So is there a way out?

I'm not too sure at the moment, as beyond this, can we truly find more meaning to our lives? I hope in time we'll all discover that answer...

Here's a nice quote to leave you with:
"Most people spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to realize, when they get to the top, the ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall".- Stephen Covey

The internet as an extension of what you do

The internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect. - Esther Dyson

The internet is an extension of what we do - This seems true, the internet does seem like an extension of what we do. And the way that's it's been so well integrated in our lives these days makes me wonder how much of my life is already in the net (internet).

The internet is another medium for our social networking - When you think about life outside the internet then you'll realise that the social networks we have in real life have only been continued and engaged in a different way in the internet. It is indeed a medium, a form, a method, a tool that we use to connect with others, some of course may not have stayed or reached out to otherwise.

If you watch this youtube clip that someone made, you'll see this in a quite simple explanation - Social Networking in Plain English,

So this continuation of our social networks keeps us connected or not as connected - depending on the extent that we use the tools available to us. As in real life relationships, how much we share, can also mean how much we get back. But at the same time there are risks that one learns and tries to manage as much as possible - in terms of privacy, security, etc.

As people though, our desire is to connect with others our tribal and instinctive desires, and that can make us vulnerable to ourselves and others and our need to feel worthy. However, we do decide to manage ourselves online though, what you'll find is that the internet will always be there as a tool that we can use to extend ourselves with the people around. If that is how we desire to represent ourselves (as some like to stay anonymous online).

So whether you want to stay connected and to what extent, will always be up to you - for it is a tool that can be used as an extension of what we do with others...

Why do we put our hands out when it's raining...

I'm just thinking about why we normally like to put out our hands when it's raining. I always find it bizarre, and I don't know if everyone feels it but I know  I just instinctively feel like I should hold my hand out whenever I see rain.

I guess it's the nice feeling of rain in my hands, as they say water means life - as trees, plants, and crops grow. Perhaps that's why? I like hearing the sound of rain drops so maybe it's because we each just feel and know that water will mean more life in our world. One could say the same with the sun being out.

It just makes me think about all the nice sayings that people have relating to the weather and how our environment plays a big part in our thoughts and how we need elements of it to live. I'll certainly be looking at phrases such as 'It's a nice day today' in a different light - and just thinking about how we each instinctively are relating it to it meaning life in our world...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rejuvernating the brand

Something someone once told me about brands made me think about how much our minds can be somewhat simulated or tricked (for want of a better word).

Essentially when you think about a high profile brand on the market today like Maccas (Mc Donalds), Coke, Nike, what you'd actually find they'll be constanting doing is rolling out new styles, new burgers, new promotions, and what a business coach once told me, things that essentially rejuvenate the brand.

If you look carefully at Coke for instance, they have some many different variations and favours of Coke, but what you'll find is that while they do indeed sell say 5-10% of these variations such as Coke Vanilla, Coke Blueberry or whatever, essentially the main product line they'll predominately sell is the plain old original Coke.

So what does that say? What that says about the mindset of the consumer is that while Coke has all these new and great favours coming out, I like having the choice and knowing that there are other favours available. Sure I might try one one day, but at the end of the day I'm happy with my good old Coke.

As imagine if Coke had only been selling plain old Coke for the last 20-30 old years, would you still feel the same about waiting to drink that? Or would it feel outdated then?

All the youthful marketing, new styles and variations that come out, it's all there to give you that new feeling.

This is the same with all brands. Maccas does the same too, with Big Macs, Mc Chickens being the big sellers, but all these other promotional burgers helping to keep the menu looking fresh and not outdated.

I found this whole marketing concept interesting and true, so something to think about the next time you go to choose that Coke or new favour of Coke - Is Coke the one you really wanted to drink? Or is that too outdated for you now?

Even when nobody's there to appreciate it

The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it.
  - Franklin P. Jones

It seems that so often that seems to be the case, not only relating to being punctual but also just doing things (a bit like that say with mum's housework is never done), when things are done, nobody seems to realise and be able to truly appreciate it.

It's true though that noone truly sees it, but I feel that at the end of the day, at the very least, you know and can appreciate your efforts yourself if you know you have truly worked hard to achieve something - even if indeed nobody has seen and appreciated it. I find that self satisfaction, and essentially doing something not necessarily for the sake of it being seen, but because it needs to be done and/or just gives satisfaction to oneself.

This links to one of my favourite quotes.
"If we only do what is required of us we are slaves, the moment we do more we are free" - Cicero 

So sometimes, whether we are required to do something or not, it's ultimately our free decision to decide if we'd like to. Even if noone else realises how much more we may have put into it, at least we know we did...for we are free!

Getting a visa in Bali - Indonesia

Here's just some brief tips and a general overview on Bali, which is an Indonesian island. When you book an airline ticket, it'll have the city, Denpasar Bali, Indonesia noted on your itinerary. Contrary to what I actually first thought, there seems to be no town in Bali called Bali, rather it is the entire island that is called Bali.

Anyway, I'm going to run you through what the visa process is currently like, and the exit procedures. They are building a new airport which looks set to be completed in the next few years. It'll be a very modern airport compared to the present one, so it'll be exciting to see how that finishes.

I'll also be detailing some of the places around Bali that you can check out and some things you can do.

I won't bore you with the steps taken for me to get on the plane towards Bali, rather I'll focus on what you do when you're in Bali and leaving it. (please click on the tag 'travel tips' to read about departing/ entering Singapore Changi airport).

  1. Enter Denpasar airport from plane
  2. Turn left and buy a Visa on Arrival (VOA)* - After disembarking off the plane, you will need to buy a Visa-On-Arrival (it is currently 25 USD). This gives you 30 days in Indonesia and they will give you a receipt for this.
  3. With receipt wait in line to enter Bali (immigration) - This will be on your right, and you'll see big signs there. Here they will view your receipt, check and stamp your passport. I actually skipped step 2 and ended paying the immigrations officer a little bit more for the visa. But if you're traveling for work and to get a receipt, you go through the right procedure as described in step 2.
  4. Collect baggage from your plane
  5. Go through customs and security - I don't remember taking off my belt here, so you just put your luggage into the conveyer belt and it'll go through the security scanner.
  6. You are in Bali! - Congratulations you are in Bali!
*Visa On Arrival (VOA) varies depending on where your passport is from. Please check website to see if you're eligible for a VOA.

Visitors from some SEA (South East Asian) countries do not need visas are as follows: Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Hong Kong SAR (Special Administration Region), Macao SAR, Malaysia, Maroco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Equador.

In Bali
There are quite a few places to go to in Bali depending on your interests and tastes. Everywhere you go you'll get asked if you'd like a massage and if you need a taxi. You'll see rice fields everywhere and can hire a motorbike (my favourite thing there!). Common tourist places are the beach area (Kuta, Seminyak), mountains (Ubud). But I'd recommend a cycling tour or what they seem to love doing there is whitewater rafting - be mindful of the time of year you go though as the waterfalls can be too easy.

Cravings seen while whitewater rafting near Ubud, Bali
You can pay to jump onto a boat and head off to some not so traveled places as well. You can choose a slow boat or fast boat there where I believe the difference is between 12 hours for the fast boat and 3-5 hours for the slow - basically faster is probably better.  Here you can check out islands like Gili and Lombak which I hear are the places to go!

Prices: Similar to Vietnam, prices are often quoted in local currency (Indonesia Rupiah or USD). So here are some rough prices:
  • 50,000 rupiah (equivalent to $5 USD) a day - hire a motorbike - Tip - bargain so you get insurance included.
  • 4,500 rupiah - for a litre of petrol - gets you very far!
  • 250,000 rupiah (approx.) taxi from Kuta to Ubud/ Ubud to Kuta
  • 50,000 rupiah - shuttle bus from Kuta to Ubud/ Ubud to Kuta (Bus company is called: Peramatour)
Monkey mountain, Ubud, Bali

Leaving Bali
  1. Security check - This is the first airport like this, but before being able to check in. You'll have to go through a security check and you'll need to have your passport and boarding pass to go it. This is a time to say goodbye to friends and family that are not traveling with you.
  2. Check in - Check in as per usual.
  3. Pay departure tax (exit fee) - Again, this is the first airport I've been too that has this. You'll go through these booths where you'll pay 150k Indonesia Rupiah. You'll get a receipt and sticker for this which is attached for your ticket. It's generally advisable to have the right change here, though I do believe they can provide some change.
  4. Immigration - You go through immigrations now providing your passport, boarding pass and the receipt for the exit fee.
  5. Find gate entrance - Walk around and find your boarding gate.
  6. Security check - Go through a security check where you'll need to show your passport and ticket.
  7. Get to the gate waiting area - You'll find yourself in a waiting area which normally more than one gate. For example, gates 1, 2, 3 waiting area.
  8. Go to the gate when calling for boarding
  9. Board flight home or onwards
 I hope you have fun! :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

World Economic Forum - Global Risks 2012

There's an interesting online report available from the World Economic Forum - Global Risks 2012 (Seventh Edition), where you can read about current global risks within these five areas - economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological risks.

This is available to read online at: and is where you'll find that they go into these into these five areas more detail, including what they define as 'risk clusters' such as the water-food-energy nexus and the global illicit economy.

There's also some case examples into what's happening in the world at the moment, these are:

  • Seeds of Dystopia (which is referring to critical fragile states)
  • How Safe are our Safeguards? (which is referring to current regulations)
  • The Dark Side of Connectivity (which is referring to possible cyber attacks, viruses, etc.)

While they do discuss risks, one thing to remember that 'through every challenge there is always an opportunity'. So while they do mention that 'no single country, region, sector or industry is likely to be able to confront or prevent on their own', what it does mean is that there is an opportunity for our global communities to become closer together as work towards reducing the risks that we all share.

The power of vulnerability and feeling worthy

As usual, I've been inspired by another TED talk (I love TED talks!) . This one that really hits the spot with some of my recent thoughts on the meaning of life and how we each live. 

This was presented by Brene Brown on "The power of vulnerability" and how we each need to feel worthy to connect with ourselves and others. It's quite interesting and definitely worth the time to watch.

Here is a summary of key highlights and messages that I found from her speech:
  • We fear being disconnected from others - Connections are part of who we are as humans and we strive to stay connected with others. We often feel shame and fear when we feel that we may become disconnected from others. 
  • We have to allow ourselves to be seen - To be seen lets us build that connection with others and often means that we may find ourselves 'excruciatingly vulnerable’ showing ourselves (you could say the spirit behind the ego).
  • To be worthy is to believe you are worthy (Worthiness) - People who believe they have a sense of worthiness and belonging also believed they were worthy.

  • We often try to:
    • We often try to make the uncertain certain
    • We often try to be perfect – This applies to ourselves and even our children – where we can often hard wire them to struggle. When really we should be telling them that yes that are imperfect, but you are worthy of loving and belonging
    • We often try to pretend – We pretend that what we do doesn’t have an affect on other people. When we should say that we are sorry, and this is what we’ll do to fix it.

  • What we should try do is:
    • We have to let ourselves be seen
    • We have to love with our whole hearts – even if it means that we are seen
    • We have to practice gratitude and joy - particularly in moments of terror and uncertainly, where we should remember that to feel vulnerable is to feel that I’m alive.
    • We need to believe that we are enough (i.e. ‘I am enough’) - Where we can stop screaming and start listening and be kinder to the people around us.

  • What people who felt worthy had in common was that they had:
    • Courage (cour – means heart) – They had the courage to be able to tell their story with their heart.
    • Compassion – They had the compassion with themselves and that allowed them to be compassionate with others.
    • Connection – To have a connection, they needed to be willing to let go of who they thought they should be, in order to be who they truly are.
    • Vulnerability – They believed that ‘what made them vulnerable made them beautiful’, and they felt that this was necessary. Especially as what people can often do is numb feelings of vulnerability through addictions (such as alcohol, drugs), but what that does is numb everything – the good and the bad, not just the bad things. Numbing everything means that the good is lost and that can put one into a bad cycle.

So we have the courage to allow ourselves to be seen even if it means we are vulnerable. To do so allows us to have compassion to connect with ourselves and others.