My 2020 Blog

Here is my 2020 Reflection and thoughts as move into 2021 — Upon looking back at the year it has been a very difficult year.

“Where your focus goes energy flows.” What are you focusing more on the solutions or problems in life? Happiness is directly linked with our thoughts — Our thoughts and our perception of reality is the only thing we can control and work on. For 2021 focus more on your perspective, gratitude and remain positive to focus on finding the solutions rather than problems and you will achieve far more in life.

To people who are struggling right now with loneliness and with no support, remember no matter how awesome your support network is; you are always going to bed with yourself; your own thoughts, aspirations and whatever it is that muddles the way. You are your greatest strength and to remember that no matter how hard it gets. I don’t write many blogs but this one is for everyone out there who needs it. You are not, and never will be alone. Yourself is all you need and believe that you can overcome any situation or problem in life.

Life is really a journey and we got to learn to enjoy the process somehow, and ride through the highs and the lows.

As I am reflecting, I would love to share a message about gratitude and perspective. This year has made me think throughout the day about being alone and learning to build on my pain. What if, just what if we could increase our level of gratitude to increase our perceptive. This is such a powerful message inspired by Steven Bartlett, and I want to share this concept with my network. Level of happiness = level of perception vs level of expectations; this formula can be applied to pretty much how we pursue happiness. The only way we can truly be happy is by having PERSPECTIVE. How do we increase our perspective? That is a great question and one that is difficult to do.

  1. Gratitude can completely change our perception of our reality. For example, do we really appreciate the everyday life blessings we have? Do we understand how lucky we are to be here when others are struggling with health or in hospital fighting for their lives. I have known countless people who has passed away this year, some whom I have known personally and whom has shown kindness towards me by giving me an opportunity to sing in his studio in the past. We also started the year with idols like Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed away before the pandemic hit us suddenly. What this really shows us is how grateful are we to live each day? Do we live it as if every moment, every second mattered? If not, why not? Should we not make the most of every opportunity if life was finite and limited?

Time is our most important asset. Being the master of your time means getting more done, staying energized, and doing more things you enjoy. While we cannot influence the flow of time, we still can get the most out of it. Lost time is never found again. — Benjamin Franklin. You can’t keep today’s hour for tomorrow — we all know that, but still tend to procrastinate. Benjamin Franklin warns that if your limited time is wasted, it cannot be recovered later.

One way we can manage our time more effectively is through the power of habits. Habits form when the brain takes a shortcut and stops actively deliberating on what to do next. We base most of our daily decisions on the way we have found resolution in the past. So how do you develop habits that will help you save time? By constant and persistent repetition. What are some of the most important time-managing habits to work on? This depends on our individual schedules, responsibilities, and priorities. Planning ahead and preparing will allow you to eliminate a lot of decision making the next morning. We often put too much in our to do list, we do not time block our activities to fit out schedule, and we allow an infinite amount of time to be spent on the tasks and we end up procrastinating — who has been there?

Time-blocking can help you change that. Think of your calendar as a time budget and manage it, just as you’d manage your money. Your schedule will act as your time budget. This is based on the Pomodoro Technique– an idea that when working on a large, involved task, breaking it down into short, timed intervals. There are a lot of habits that will help you save time, but one of the most important ones is to actually value your time and other people’s time.

2. The second way is to live life with positivity and optimism. How do you approach and solve a problem? Are you the kind of person to panic? Do you focus on the problem, think of a solution and focus your energy on solving a problem?

We have got to believe in ourselves with sheer convinction. If we change our belief, our belief increases our level of positivity and optimism and therefore can change our perspective. Its so important to work on your mindset, to constantly to live outside of your comfort zone.

The problem is do you have the motivation daily to resist the ‘discomfort’? Like a great quote from Marcus Aurelius “we live a life avoiding discomfort’ — “pain is neither unbearable nor unending, as long as you keep. … in mind its limits and don’t magnify them in your imagination. And keep in mind too that pain often comes in disguise” — Therefore if we change our perception we can change our personal attitude to a problem and we are more likely to find a solution.

How do we perceive or react to a problem determines the outcome. We want to live a life free of regret — so we need to change our Perpsective. What can I learn from this? Embracing “stability” in the midst of change is so important. Our situations and problems is constantly changing but this is where we are actually pursuing our happiness in this process of change.

3. Lowering expectations — you could this but do you want to settle? life is full of compromises but do we want to live our lives with no regrets? When you ask yourself what you want, do you know what you really want in life?

We often have expectations of ourselves that we need to fulfill in order to be happy. Further we often have expectations of others to make us happy and if that doesn’t happen you start to blame others for it. Is that fair on others or on yourself? Is it not better to let go of expectations so that you are pleasantly surprised when you get an unexpected gift? Do we not appreciate more when we have little expectation of what we want from others? Do we feel more in control when our expectations of ourselves are more realistic? Optimism and goals should push us further however to live life with ambition and purpose.

There are expectations of Society, family & friends, yet you cannot change the things you cannot control, despite the overwhelming peer pressure to meet others expectations of you. Our brains are adapted to seek rewards that make us feel accepted, attractive, relevant, and included. Tweets, likes, upvotes, re-pins, comments, emails, they all fuel our needs for social validation. How can we deal with the lack of social fulfilment when we are so ‘disconnected’ physically and so dependent on social recognition on social media? Satisfying our basic survival instincts by helping us acquire things we consider important, like cash and information. Working hard for a bonus at work or scrolling through our endless Twitter feed for valuable information are included in this category. Without infinite variability or novelty in the rewards, we tend to lose interest and excitement quickly. The intrinsic rewards of self can make people continue taking action, even on tasks they don’t appear to enjoy for a more personal form of gratification. Removing us from the need to please others and meet society’s expectations or the social norm can allow us to break free of expectations and live our own life with our perspective.

Break free from expectations

Key Takeaways

The process is the pursuit — always chasing the next goal and the next. But how can we move forward? For the new year, I want to progress through a concept called Kaizen (inspired by Jason Capital), meaning “change for the better” or “continuous improvement." Kaizen sees improvement in productivity as a gradual and methodical process.

For me improving daily is through learning and incrementally improving every single day. It involves making the work environment more efficient and effective. The overall goal of kaizen is to make small changes over a period of time to create improvements. The kaizen concept posits that there is no perfect end and that everything can be improved upon. People must strive to evolve and innovate constantly. The basic principle of kaizen is that people who perform certain tasks and activities are the most knowledgeable about that task or activity; including them to effect change is the best strategy for improvement.

Sands of time

You are not always going to be happy all the time but its about understanding that the Journey is aprocess, and that the process includes hardship full of challenging problems. Life is up and down and following your heart allows us to find the path to self-learning —and ultimately finding your purpose. We all have different purpose and passions but its a myth that there is only one purpose in life. We as human beings evolve and change, we adapt to our situations and we try to overcome the barriers that come our way. Passions and purpose is no different, it can change anytime within our journey it takes courage to reflect every year and actually ask yourself what your goals are, what do you really want to do with the finite time you have every day.

I am super grateful for your time to read my blog today — lets start 2021 with positivity and optimism. Lets take the opportunity of everyday to live a life with purpose, to grow everyday with constant improvement and inspire others together on our journey of finding the pursuit of happiness. My goals for 2021 is to connect and help more people in my social circle, create happy memories, and live with a heart of spontaneity and positivity.

Wishing you a great new year 2021 — let’s grow!


Stephen Ao