I am Daniel Richard. I write on sustainable personal development, passive income & profits, and faith. Welcome to my blog.

Focus on the Habits

By Daniel Richard. Viewed 8,712 times. 5 mins read time.

For almost half a decade, it was as though I had lived a life that was destined to fail.

I had to fail.

I was explosive, impulsive, and very self-centered. My goals were all about becoming the best, fast, without going through the tough times that many of the best had been in.

It was all about me wanting the answers now.

Thankfully, I eventually failed. It was only until 3 months ago when I decided to give up.

I gave up my pride.

I gave up my ego.

I gave up trying to “be” me.

I gave up focusing on myself

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

This verse had stuck in my mind for the longest time during these 5 years. I never knew what it meant. Maybe, if I pushed myself harder, I could turn things around.

Wait. that doesn’t sound like “trusting the Lord”.

I’ve always shared with my friends that one of my longest time weakness was that I had full confidence in my own abilities. That I tend to go ahead before prayers. I would then get sub-par results. I thought they were good. Isn’t progression in its infant steps good?

At the start of the year, I was encouraged to set goals. Some of my goals were:

  • Lose weight, drop 2 pant sizes down
  • Make $60,000 a month
  • Read the bible consistently at least 3 times a week
  • Start writing a popular blog
  • Create another business for my own

For most of the 9 months, I couldn’t even get near any of the goals mentioned.

I joined a running group, couldn’t shed any weight for most of the time. I joined a friend for morning training sessions, I eventually grew fatter at the end of the second month. I eventually gone to a stage where I was making over $1,000 a day, only to blow up my money by the end of that 2 weeks. I tried writing, but all my drafts didn’t go beyond 100 words. I tried starting a few businesses, or bought many different domain names, only to have them expired or sold off at a discount this year.

What happened then?

9 months later, I told God that I give up.

I was tired.

I threw away that goal setting list that I made at the start of the year.

I decided that enough was enough.

That even though it felt like there’s a noose already hung over my head, it’s either I give up on my own life now, or wholly follow Him even if I do not know how it would be like.

After countless of failures, I was already beyond the point of hope.

Then things changed. Perspectives changed.

It was also when I started to call or approach the few friends that I know who I could call as mentors, to learn from them. Christians or not, I wasn’t in the position to judge. I have my own errs to remind me that I am in no better position to judge anyone.

It was in these 3 months, where I made some progresses that surpassed 5 years of effort combined altogether.

3 things that I’ve learned during this change of events.

1. Build your routine

It is no longer about setting goals and trying to achieve them immediately. Habits are the only thing that could allow you to sustain whatever you are going to achieve in the long run. Habits are what that allows you to go beyond your current goals and achieving more.

I was debating with my friend a few weeks ago.

“How could I aim for six packs while I still haven’t seen a flat tummy yet? Should I just aim for a slimmed down look first before aiming for six packs?” I asked.

“Then you’ll only end up being skinny. Do you want to only be skinny and not ripped? It’s up to you.” he answered.

“So, I should be better off aiming for six packs from the start, rather than aiming for lean then six packs?” I countered.

“Yes. I already am maintaining for over 10 years.” he replied.

In the beginning, I was caught up with many newbie worries like body fat percentage, to the cost of eating clean. It was only until yesterday night when I was discussing with another friend on body fat percentage, when I said something which was a gem on its own.

“I think, aiming for six packs would be the best gauge on one’s progress beyond trying to figure out one’s own body fat percentage. We’ll be better off getting our routines and meals correct to see results on its own in time.”

Building one’s routine could be anything from eating clean, to consciously taking time to think and plan out the steps to take to grow your body or your business to the next level.

While I had already lost 2 pant sizes and went from 70/72 kg to 67kg in 4 months, I only recently started to consciously put time into thinking of my new businesses.

I deleted about 20 domains from my site analytic that I had retired and deem irrelevant in the past 5 years. Only 2 of 10 of my current domains were considered fully functioning, and was making any form of income. It made about 20% of the income when I started to put further attention on them in the past couple of weeks.

I started writing in the last 3 months. I am thankful that new content is still being added to the site as a habit.

Maybe it is impossible to create a routine even if you have a full time job that’s taking the best 12 hours of your daily life. With God, all things are possible.

2. Have faith

I started out with fitness. It’s actually a strategic move to focus on one’s fitness first. You’ll need the energy and health that you can only get when your body is in better condition. Beyond energy and health, your mindset will change. You’ll go from focusing on the short-term results, to going all in for the long game.

Your thinking starts to change. You’ll learn to understand what is the downside of consuming certain types of food for a certain number of days that will ruin your routine. You’ll learn the upside of certain activities and mindset shifts that you’ve to make swiftly to get an edge over your present self.

Recently, I’ve been getting feedback from friends, who I haven’t met for months, that I have lost weight. I was very thankful of that.

It takes faith to get you doing a certain routine, while being uncertain if you were going to reach an ideal goal that requires a whole lot of effort, intensity, and time.

Especially time. It is the only commodity that one can’t “win” or “make” back.

It takes faith to build a business, as it takes time to think, plan, write, create, build, connect, engage, reply, deliver, on the things that you’ve set out to fulfill—a business on autopilot is as much as we can humanly manage.

It takes faith to write a blog, as it requires time and effort to think of the topic to write, and actually write them out.

It takes faith to work on your fitness, as you’ll have to trust that you can continue working out without stopping after seeing small progresses, or breaking through even when you feel drained in the week.

After seeing visible and tangible results, you’ll be thankful that your faith has brought you thus far. Never think that you’ve arrived.

You’ll need to have faith that you can go all in for the long run.

3. Let your results be determined by your actions

Actions speak a thousand words. More than that. Your actions would determine the results that you’ll get. Maybe you had wanted to be the best in this or that, but felt like you’ve failed and had given up. Ask yourself, have you tried harder?

I was recently told by a couple of my friends that I tend to shift my focus onto something else pretty quickly lately. I was surprised. I thought I was one of the more persistent type. I ended up not.

Learning fast and failing fast doesn’t mean a change in focus to elsewhere.

Maybe a change in mindset and action is the right answer.

It is often the hardest to learn.

Some may pick up quickly, while I may be a late-bloomer to come to this realization.

Nevertheless, your actions will determine the results that you’ll get.

Start focusing on your habits

How fast can you make a comeback?

How fast can you go from broke to breaking past your income ceiling?

How fast can you go from fat to flat?

Build your routine.

Have faith.

Let your results be determined by your actions.

Whether you are a fast learner or a late-bloomer.

Start focusing on your habits today.

Never Think That You Have Arrived

By Daniel Richard. Viewed 9,884 times. 10 mins read time.

“No! You haven’t seen your errors yet. You have always been presuming that you are in the right!” I could hear my friend’s voice repeating this on auto pilot as I was starting to type this entry.

It was one of the weekly “mind re-tuning” sessions that I had with a close friend of mine. I had stop trading in the markets for a while.

“I am going back to building web marketplaces online. It’s the only way to limit my losses, while aiming to replicate my successes over and over again.” I told my friend.

“You do know it is harder to sell things online than to trade in the market right? You still have to go through the process of keyword research, search engine optimization, outsourcing for article writings, outsourcing for backlinks building, getting your site to climb up the search engine ranking positions, getting traffic, getting users to opt-in to follow up, and then converting users into buyers. It’s harder to convert a user than to trade in the markets! What do you think?” was his response, paraphrased.

He was right. There’s definitely more to it than just “building websites”.

Never think that I have arrived

After replaying these words in my mind over the week, my mind lit up.

“Never think that I have arrived.”

It was apparent that I had been operating with the mindset that thinks that my way is and has to be the right way. That just simply leads one to being complacent fast.

“If you noticed, you kept trying to do the same things that you were trying to do when you sort of ‘made it’ in that 2000% week. That’s not correct!” This phrase rang in my head again.

I wasn’t taught how to trade. My first lesson was about “protecting my capital”, while my second was “survival”.

Then I told my friend, “I stop trying to beat the market.”

“Good. You may still have hope to survive.” was the reply.

5 life-changing lessons you’ll learn when you stop thinking that you’ve arrived

If I were to point out some lessons that I have took away from in the past one year since I’ve started to trade the markets, to attempting to change my life, these 5 lessons will be it.

1. You’ll start covering all grounds before making a decision.

I used to read up all the news that I could get my hands on, checking the price graphs to get an overview on the daily, weekly, then down to the hourly, to have a feel of what the markets was up to. I have to admit that I’ve skipped most of the steps in the past few months. It was a lot of hard work.

Covering all grounds requires intensive work. Most of the time, I had to think through and asked myself “what else have I yet to cover” before executing.

You will have to through the cycle of “checklists” just to prove your own theory wrong.

Even after execution, do you have the conviction to stay through it till the goal is reached?

Then can you repeat and sustain this same level and capacity in the long run?

2. You’ll start to value your time.

Valuing your time goes beyond just telling others that your time is worth “$500 an hour”.

No. It goes deeper.

I believe that we are the average of the sum total of the 5 people that we choose to spend our time with. That means, you’ll probably do the average of the same actions that they have been doing.

It’s amazing how this works.

When I used to write about half a decade ago, I surrounded myself with bloggers around the world. Then, I slowly leaned towards a handful. Our writings started going towards the similar few topics on minimalism, debt-free living, decluttering your life, writing, and location independence.

Then, almost by coincidence, all of us started to write our own manifestos, whitepapers, and then creating our ebooks and launching them on sale.

See the pattern now?

Fast forward today.

I knew I had to increase my strength and energies everyday. I wanted to see myself as the lean, fit, and healthy looking person if I were to go up on stage again in the future. I then spend more time with people who are of the similar built that I wanted to become in myself.

I wanted to create and build websites at a faster pace, and having them all get highly ranked in the search engines. I then picked people who had done the same in the past 5 years.

I always loved writing and wanted to build a platform that matters to others, so I kept track of a few who had reached that level of successes.

We only have that much time to work with in a day. How we spend it will determine the course and trajectory of one’s journey ahead.

3. You’ll have a different concept of what’s “normal”.

“Everyone thinks they are normal, but they are not.” said my friend.

I have always been doing things a certain way that works, but often get shot down by others around me. I developed tourettes when I was 9, with facial tics that I couldn’t figure out how to stop. I was posted as a payroll administrative officer during my national service. I “worked” only for an hour by batching everything up to be processed during lunch and 4pm, while everyone were out of the office.

I rejected a promotion and got myself kicked out of the office to do “grunt” work as a lock-up custody officer. Within the first month, seen the first of its kind where a person came back to the police complex to offer me a series of paintings valued no little than $10,000 — I rejected that too.

Then I wrote about minimalism, where part of my writings talks about having a complete life makeover, which may include topics on quitting your job to make a living doing the things you love. I got criticized by people who I loved. “How can you, a Christian, tell others to quit their jobs!”

“Can you be normal!” were the last words before I went into a period of depression.

I started to give normal a shot.

I learned that and started to understand how being “loss” was like. I gained weight, grew fat. Started to overspend. I grew lethargic very quickly. I was hot tempered. I was easily fatigued. Woke up late. I became that Christian who goes to church doing all the motion without the traction.

“Firstly, I need you to understand that pain is normal.” my friend reminded me during the first 3 weeks when I decided to train with him.

It took me 5 years to learn that it is abnormal, to live a “normal” life.

What is normal to me now?

  • Adversity is normal.
  • Pain is normal.

Once you’ve understood these 2, you can proceed on to create your own definition of normal.

Going another level higher, here’s what being abnormal is like.

  • Giving up is abnormal — that’s what is called as a loser’s mindset.
  • Being poor is abnormal.
  • Giving excuses and pushing blame to others is abnormal — that’s why it is easier than admitting one’s own faults.
  • Getting fat through non genetic reasons is abnormal.
  • Getting in debt (unless it is an instrument for profit) is abnormal.

In short, I’m sure you have a mental image of how a “loser” is like. Doing anything that a “loser” does, is abnormal.

4. You’ll know your threshold, and it has to be broken consistently.

“Aren’t you even affected by everything I say? It’s like rebutting every thing that you are telling me right now. I need to know how much you can take until the last straw that breaks.” my friend asked.

It has been awhile since I’ve talked back or even bothered to respond to anyone. Maybe, 5 years ago. I had always wanted to “keep the peace”, take the “softer approach”, stop “rocking the boats”. I tried to be “normal”, to “fit in”.

I used to say things that would offend others.

No. Not because I was right.

Some things that I had spoken, I do not know any tactful way of saying them:

When I was asked to sell 2 portable washing machines in a day, I replied to the CEO, “Don’t set targets for me to push products at others. I will only sell things that people are happy to buy.”

When I was asked to sell the laundry balls at the original price to get a higher commission, I replied to the same CEO, “why on earth would I sell things at a higher price when the sale price is right over here?” I sold 30, had my commissions marked down -10 sets, because it was “impossible” for me to sell that amount.

When I realized that a pastor had delegated an entire ministry work to a proxy, I said, “You need the founder to lead this ministry with a vision. You can’t simply proxy this to others right from the start.”

When a HR director called for help during a festive season when I was working as a support staff, it was past closing hours, and I went back to the office to help. “Don’t privy into confidential information.” said the HR director, who was running for a HR presidency in an association.

“It is the festive season and it’s past closing hours, I’m here to help you. I’ll still need to verify who you are, as with everyone else. Please do not use pompous language to someone who is supposed to help you see things through. You claim to be a HR director in the previous phone calls to my colleague. I believe someone in your position should look to connect and engage in employees in lesser roles such as a support staff. I want to help you, but you have to allow me to do so. Using unnecessary language isn’t helping.” I replied in one of the email messages.

The HR director did a reply all, which had the entire elections committee involved, and was promptly removed from the elections roster that year, blaming “outside interactions” as why it didn’t work out for him.

“How can I reply you anything when I do not have the results to show? I could say I know this this this and this, but I do not have the results to back them up!” I replied to my friend.

“Then you have to show the results!” my friend retorted.

“HOW DO I SHOW RESULTS WHEN I FEEL LIKE I’M EXPECTED TO SHOW THEM OVERNIGHT? I KNOW IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO DO THEM IN 3 DAYS, 1 WEEK, OR EVEN IN A MONTH!” the last straw broke the camel’s back.

I remembered the day when I sold a website to a TIME’s Top 10 blogger whom I idolized in the beginning of my writing career. A family member said that it was a fluke, that he won’t pay up, and tried to discredit everything I was trying to do online.

Sometimes, your biggest adversary is the words from the ones you love the most.

I went on to build a company for my family online in the next 6 years since that incident — go figure.

“I don’t believe that I am meant to build one company and live on allowances. Which son likes to tell others that he is taking money from his parents?!” I finally started to speak out on my fears.

“I’ve counted the days. It took me 3 days to build another website using a different model, and got a friend to be a partner for that site 3 years ago. I needed to know that it wasn’t a fluke.” I continued, adding in the total profit for one of such site that I did using 3 days.

“Let’s talk about pure passive. I only had one that I managed to complete in the past 5 years. It is taking in about $10 a month, and it was one site with a landing page. Took me about 3 days to get it up.” I added on.

“Could you replicate the results as with your second site to reach a milestone of $2,000 in profits a month?” my friend asked.

“Yes.” was my reply summarized.

“You may need to either lose your social life, or lose sleep. There’s no other way.” my friend added.

There will be many obstacles, naysayers, conflicts that will come your way.

Never give up.

Break the thresholds. Continue breaking them.

Reach one goal, and then do the same for your next.

Never think that you’ve arrived.

5. You’ll have to be focused.

“Won’t you get sick eating the same food everyday?” asked another friend. I had recently posted a few photos on my personal Facebook profile showing what I had for lunch. It had been practically the same thing for 2 weeks in a row. Baby romaine lettuces, lemon juice, oats and honey loaf bread, eggs, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, spread with butter and organic strawberry jam. I’ve only included whey protein and multi-vitamins recently, at two thirds of the recommended dosage.

1 month ago, I threw away a drawer full of clothes. Primarily, because I lost a few inches of fats. Besides the 5 colored sleeved shirts, 3 sets of blazers, and the remaining 1 pair of jeans that I have, the rest of my wardrobe is filled with physical training attire. Black shorts and t-shirts. 8 sets each — I usually buy 4 sets at a go every year from the army market.

I wear the same thing almost every day right now. A set of training attire when I’m working from home. A merino wool sweater and a new pair of jeans, that I got because it’s the only one that fits right now, when I’m outside.

My routine is almost identical throughout the week. I wake up around 9am, shower, get brunch, and try to get things done by 10.30am. I then start working on my laptop from the bedroom until 11.30am, go for a workout till 12.30pm, shower, lunch, 1.30pm, continue working till 10pm. Ideally, I get to work till 10pm.

In reality, I still batch deliveries around 3pm to 5pm, completing them and getting dinner by 8pm.

If I get home by 10pm, I will then work till 2am.

“I really need to get myself to live a life that is likened to be in an academy for me to see my life changed this year.” I messaged my friend, turned pastor, in the middle of the year.

I have an odd habit of waking up super early at 6am, when I’m overseas. I am a totally different person at home.

I too recalled that I used to be the first few risers in my squad during national service.

You see, I always desired having a disciplined life — by society standards, I’m not.

I love working — I’m seen otherwise.

3 days ago, I asked another friend of mine through Facebook messenger, “You own an office. Do u feel easily distracted with walk in customers, radio, and people talking to you at the same time?”

His answer, “If I have any important work that I need to do, I lock my room and do the work. That’s my style!”

“You can’t do any hardcore work that needs your total attention in the office.” he added.

My eyes were almost in tears. I recalled building 2 new websites in 5 years. All 2 of them were done when I locked myself up in my bedroom for 3 days at a time.

I did a stock check this week. I’ve built 3 new websites, wrote 5 sales write ups, tested and deployed a couple of web systems, then completed 1 new e-tailer website in a day, and this blog entry today.

What did I learn about having focus these 5 years then?

  • Clear all audible distractions. Lyric musics on the radio included. I listen to dubstep with no vocals on YouTube instead.
  • Clear all visible distractions. Eyes glued to the screen. Nothing on the desk is better.
  • Clear all unnecessary decisions. I wear and eat almost the same thing everyday.
  • Clear all instant messaging distractions. I block out all messages from 11am to 3pm. I try to leave my phone out of sight until 3pm.
  • Clear all important work in batches. I do my best work from 11am to 3pm. I should be fresh for a run and deliveries from 3pm to 5pm.

Don’t assume that you have arrived

Life is a progression where you go from a season to another. There will be thinking traps to overcome, conditions to adapt and adjust to. Maybe, it’s the way the universe works. There are certain things that just works — it’s up to you to discover the things that does work for you in your field.

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.”
- Philippians 3:12, NLT

Yes, you may come up with your own game plan. How sure are you that your game plan works? If it worked today, how sure are you that you can keep up with the intensity for tomorrow? Could you sustain doing the same things that works for a lifetime?

One’s successes today doesn’t determine your tomorrow.

Think you’ve made it? Think again with alternative scenarios.

Is it based on pure luck, or can you replicate consistent results?

Never think that you’ve arrived.

Welcome to the journey of sustainable personal development. :)

Start Your Daily Journal

By Daniel Richard. Viewed 9,142 times. 3 mins read time.

Suddenly, it dawned onto me. That I needed to start keeping record of the things I’ve learned, accomplished, set out to do. Beyond writing pieces of notes that aren’t bound to any chronological or class order, I need to start writing a journal.

I wouldn’t call myself smart — the more so the need to retain bits and pieces of information through writing them down.

Sometimes, I write lengthy notes, especially when I am attending church services. I tried writing notes while reading books too. It’s about time to take things up to another level to keep this sustainable personal development thing going this lifetime.

3 reason why writing a journal helps

For starters, I did have the habit of writing down notes. Those who’ve seen my notes know that the handwriting I have adopted through these years is almost completely illegible.

I had the idea that most of my notes were not meant to be referenced again, citing the theory that we retain more things from the day as we write down notes (so I took down a lot of notes).

True, I often never referenced back to any of my notes.

Maybe, things have got to change.

Here’s 3 newer reasons why I need to go from writing notes to writing a journal.

1. Measure, so that you can improve further.

I have been in the gym for almost 3 months now. There were only 2 people out of the sea of faces that carried a thick exercise book (no pun intended), writing down stuff after ever set they did. I observed that they jotted down repetitions and weights after completing each exercise.

My friend, who trades the financial markets, also emphasized greatly on keeping a journal. Pick out the characteristics and observations, until you can come with a conclusion prior to making a executive decision before every trade.

What gets measured, gets to be improved.

2. Reference, so that you can complete a picture with the puzzles that you’ve solved.

I’ve made a mistake by throwing out notes that I’ve written over the course of the last decade when I started taking notes down. That’s approximately 7,280 pages of notes in 10 years.

Instead of relying on fragments of memories to keep you going, use your journal as the foundation blocks to give you a better overview on your progress. The gems and discoveries of tomorrow, may very well have taken roots from the rough notes of yesterday.

3. Habit, so that you can keep your mental health in check.

I believe that writing can help solve many obstacles, fears, and worries that’s taking place in the mind. It’s faster to resolve than spilling it out to your closest friends after months of keeping them in heart.

Writing a journal is a habit, like a daily practice, on its own.

Same for one’s mental health, where we have to consistently operate at our peak level to be able to sustain the level of results we have today, while adapting and improving to newer circumstances that’s changing in the world today.

Start writing

Yes, writing a journal takes time. It takes a lot of time to figure out a way to articulate your thoughts into paper that you would want to refer back in the future, or to bring your thoughts across to others who you may want to leave this behind to.

Your lists of 10 ideas per day, could even be part of the volume of journals that you are already compiling for your own.

As of writing, there’s an archive of 80,000 documents that Albert Einstein had left behind as a legacy that just surfaced and made for public.

Regardless the medium that you choose to put your thoughts into, or phase in life that you are at right now, whatever it takes, let’s start writing our own journals today.

Becoming a Beginner Once Again

By Daniel Richard. Viewed 9,516 times. 10 mins read time.

I suddenly found myself in a position where I am right back at the start — like a beginner in life — again. It all started less than 3 months ago, when a friend decided to train me. “You need to wake up your mind … get your health in check, aim for six packs abs, like me, and cross your first $10,000 a month … your life will be changed forever”, he said.

We known each other for 7 years. I was then fresh out of my 2 year stint in the national service. It was during a “mini-mastermind” group session that my friends had with him where I was invited along. I knew nothing they were talking about. From Internet marketing to stocks and forex. These topics were extremely alien to me. It was at a time when I wanted to be a writer, and was fumbling around with programming in languages from a different realm.

I had a different path that I knew I wanted to take.

A very different path.

I joined an insurance organization that I had grew up with since my internship days in poly. I remembered that my initial reaction was that the CEO’s office was huge. It was much larger than my living room space (then), with an interior design that was fit for a king. After my internship, I stayed on as a freelancer, trying out new skills in graphic design. It was then which I was thankful for the accessibility as a freelancer, as I got to interact with some of the organization’s agencies’ directors. One of them turned out to be a mega star in the local and her home country’s entrepreneurship scene. I was blessed to be able to learn through observation from all of them.

I had been in contact with the organization for about 3 years before joining them full time. I had wanted to learn the sales skills and experience the daily activities of how insurance salespeople are like. I lasted for about a month before I quit. I figured that I wasn’t the type who would go through all 70 over clients to follow up, and wanted to go into product sales. At that time, I had already been working on a project for my parents. I had wanted them to be rich business owners. After building it in its seed form, I went on to work on other things. As I wanted to do something along the lines of physical products, I went on to work in retail.

Fast forward, I went on to focus on one of their core products, the laundry ball, and went from a mediocre sales result of 1 sale for every 5 people I spent 10 minutes talking to, to closing 1 sale for every 1 person that I talk to in 5 minutes and less. In 3 months, I had my sights on blending in both retail and the online space and multiplying my sales effort, and becoming a better writer. I left.

Since then, I found myself at a web development firm, where I lasted 2 months — I realized that I couldn’t work well with others — followed by working on my blog. It was the best time of my life, when I wrote 1 ebook, followed by another after 7 months. My personal income, though was very small then, the amount was halfway towards my goal. I was paid $80 per article without editing, I was paid $5,000 for a website, I was paid $3,000 for a logo design, and within 2 weeks I had 50 over ebook sales … and suddenly entered into a phase of deep depression.

I closed everything, went to work for a web hosting company, quit, got called back again to work for them, quit, and got me to work for them again as night shift, I agreed as I took up some bible study course and needed the money. Found myself being offered $100,000 to start an SEO company. As time dragged along, and my finances were depleting very quickly, I decided to blow off the deal. I too had other work offers coming in, but all I really wanted to do was to write.

I couldn’t write anything that I was proud to publish then. I stop writing.

At that time, my family business was growing pretty rapidly. That time, my dad was already battling with cancer, and was recovering for over 5 years. My parents started calling me in.

I agreed. I closed every other small niche websites that I had back then, save for the ones I had built for the family business, and one that I was working on with one of my friends.

4 years later.

Almost half a decade passed. As the family business grew, I felt more and more stagnant. I grew weary. I lost every single will to live. I lost all desire to progress. It was like “winter” never seem to end. Then, on 13 September 2013, I lost my dad. My only hope that I had hung on to throughout the 4 years was that my late-dad would survive, and live on, full of health and life. It didn’t come to pass.

He had been battling cancer and was in remission for over 9 years. It was also that year when I decided to give my life to Christ, and found my first “calling” or “love” for writing. It was also at the same time when I got started in entrepreneurship and having a desire to change my parents’ lives from being unknown, to people who others can find inspiration from.

It felt like everything that I had hoped for and desired for came to an end on his passing. However, I remembered my late-dad said during a visit to the hospital that he knew Jesus was with him. Before his passing, I asked him if he had anything else to say to me, he said “that is all”. I knew in my heart that he had lived a life with no regrets.

He left when I was there with him. I believed that even at his very last breath, he wanted us to live on.

Life goes on.

It was December when I decided to give my long lost friend a call out of the blue. It was that same friend who decided to train me. We lost contact for a brief 3 years. I was the first to leave the group, as I had no idea what they were talking about to begin with. However, that group of 4, slowly went down to zero, as two of my other friends started to lose contact with him as they blew up their lives in self-destructive ways.

I had no other way to further progress my life and time where most of my efforts and energy was devoted to the family business, my income was also at a depressing low for someone at my age. Knowing that I needed to do something to change my life and get it back on track, I did a quick mental review on what was one of the fastest way to make a living using the limited time that I felt that I had left everyday, I learned about the financial markets, and called up the one friend who I believed was able to sustain the longest in this game.

Unlike how I thought being taught was like, I wasn’t taught how to trade. The first thing I was told was to “protect my capital”. I didn’t know what it meant for the longest time.

I fumbled from one failure, to another failure. Until March, where I started to make $800 to $2,000 a day for over a week, before blowing my account up.

For months I kept focusing on making the fast returns, trying to reach the euphoria where I was a star of my own escapism, going from accounts that reaches 9000% returns in a week, to getting 1500% returns in a single day trading session, before blowing them up. I became that trader who can go from zero to 1000 pips in a day, only to blow up within 70 pips of drawn down. Ridiculous.

September was that fateful meetup where my friend told me the truth.

“You can’t even sustain 3 months of results to show me! You are trading the same way as you did when you first started in December. You may think that you have changed your trading strategy, but it is still the same.”

Then this.

“Bro, you are fat. You haven’t changed a bit since we last met in December! You have tummy all over. Your mindset needs to change. Join me in gym this Sunday. We need to fine tune your mindset.”

After the first 3 sessions, I felt something lifted from my life.

At that same time, I started picking up books to read again. I started to read the bible again. A verse jumped out at me. I learned and interpreted that that beyond having willpower, that one should have humility, and that both while function at the same level, aren’t meant to function in parallel to one another. It’s either humility, or willpower. If you can function at the level of intensity that requires willpower, you should function at the same level and capacity with humility.

I started having the desire to write.

I felt like I am at the stage of becoming a beginner once again.

5 things you’ll need to do as a beginner.

From working out, to trading, to creating an online empire, to writing, we all need to have a game plan to get us closer to our goals. No one’s game plan is an one-size fits all solution. However, these are 5 things that you need to do and have if you were to do life all over again.

1. Be open to opportunities and possibilities.

I was looking for a quote along the lines of “stay humble, stay foolish”, and found a gem.

“Stay hungry, stay young, stay foolish, stay curious, and above all, stay humble because just when you think you got all the answers, is the moment when some bitter twist of fate in the universe will remind you that you very much don’t.” ― Tom Hiddleston

In the last 4 years, I had turned down every single opportunity to meet up. I came up with the excuse that I wanted to focus on work with the limited time available after work. It wasn’t always the case. I felt that I had nothing to offer, so it seemed pointless to meet up.

Today, knowing that I am starting at the point where I am definitely no where near the greats, with no portfolio to show, or no actual certifications to show — I’ve lost my bible college’s certification upon receiving it, I only had a diploma, no resume, no folder of awards or recognition left to showcase anywhere. My only way up is down. As in, to be open to opportunities and possibilities.

For instance, I am open to appointments if I am ever going to work on my newly incorporated company. I am open for opportunities to join a select writing mastermind group. I am open to working out. I am open to getting my cash exposed in the financial markets again. I am open to sitting in front of the computer to write away. I am open to devoting time to build an empire of websites one site at a time.

We may have years of experience over many areas, but let us not come to a place where we feel like we “know-it-all”. Times, places, and people will change. We have to be open to how the world is changing in front of us. Let’s start by being open to people, opportunities, and possibilities.

Be available.

I believe that as you avail yourself to others, others will give you your break beyond your wildest dreams.

2. Have a conviction.

Having a conviction will often come at the heaviest price. You will find yourself becoming the bad guy. You will become the black sheep of the family. Others will hate you. Those closest to you will be your strongest critics. Friends will leave you. Everything you say will come under scrutiny. There is zero guarantee that people’s perspective about you will ever change.

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” ― Winston S. Churchill

“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

My friend was at my age today when I first got to know him 7 years ago. It was also when he was working on his own online empire, and entering into the financial markets. He too, had a similar family background as me. I asked him recently on how did he overcome the drama in the family when he too started working on his own.

“I was the hated child in the family. Until I succeeded.” was his answer, paraphrased.

“However, I knew what I am strong in. I knew that when I put my heart and soul into something, I will have it.” my friend continued.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” — Hebrews 11:1

Conviction is something irrefutable. Where others may accuse you, hate you, scorn you, and scrutinize your every move, only your conviction shall see you through.

3. Find and work on your passions.

I believe that all of us are called to work on a few things. The path we take to find our passions will often be very different. For example, mine. While I felt that my first love was to write, I didn’t start off as a writer. I started as a programmer, retailer, insurance salesman, retailer, to founding a family business, to founding a web food business, to developing websites, then started writing a blog, wrote my first ebook, then wrote my second, then became a web engineer, then coming back into the family business.

Maybe you will too find your one or two companies. You will eventually find your few passions.

Go work on them. It’s your one way to live a life without regrets.

4. Be obsessed with the things you truly love.

Finding and working on your passions can only bring you so far. Bringing them up to the level of obsession is the only way to make you set yourself apart from the rest.

By being obsessed, you will find your unique perspective to learning, thinking, and creating results with the things that you truly love.

You will find different ways to getting things done.

It is in this single-minded madness where you can craft something that was once good, to something astonishingly better.

It is true such heavy fixation where you can instead of working on the now, you can see the end goal in mind, and making it real.

5. Start serving.

Ironically, I am no where to be seen in any ministries or missions work. All my life I had one desire to serve. However I felt that the path I had to take would be far different. Maybe not too different. Unlike friends who I know are happily serving from within, I had always been happier when I started serving from the outside.

There were about 3 times when I thought that I had finally got my break and could start serving from within. Those didn’t work out. Even on the third try when I thought it was finally the break that I was looking forward to, it wasn’t supposed to be my time yet.

Regardless the number of failures I had faced, never stop serving in ways you are meant to serve in.

For me, I feel that one of my best strengths is to write. One of the ways I could contribute back is to share my thoughts and ideas into words.

Maybe, I could find myself serving in a capacity where I could write to build others up, while connecting people to doing the things that you are all truly meant to be doing.

What are some of the things that you can see yourself serving others with? Start serving.

Your break will come.

Found yourself in a position where you feel like a beginner all over again? Maybe you’ve lost someone, lost a job, or felt like you needed a change of direction in life to get you towards your goals.

Let us:

  • Be open to opportunities and possibilities
  • Have a conviction
  • Find and work on your passions
  • Be obsessed with the things you truly love
  • Start serving

You will do far greater than you ever thought of or imagine.

Start living a great life ahead. :)

When is the Best Time to Create Your Daily To-Do Lists?

By Daniel Richard. Viewed 9,581 times. 1 mins read time.

I’ve recently published 2 posts with the concept of how writing down lists changed my life, “10 Ideas a Day: Be An Idea Generating Machine“, and “Get Out of the Rut. Start Writing Lists. Get Things Done“. I had placed high emphasis on the why creating lists is important, and what sort of lists you should be creating.

What about the “when” is the best time of the day to put this daily practice into action?

In short, mornings — regardless if you’re a day or night person.

Here’s why.

There’s an article that I’ve found that says that willpower is highest in the morning, so start strong. Fatigue happens. Dedicate the best time of the day to visualise, schedule and plan out how your day will be like.

I start my day at home where distractions are always down to zero at the start of the day. How? I kick off the day would be to immediately give thanks, and decide on the agenda for the day, then write it on paper before worries, sales calls, walk-in customers, noise, and the impossible amount of distractions from an office and retail environment start flooding in.

In closing, do you have a goal that you’re looking to achieve at the end of the week? How about at the end of the month? If you know the activities that are necessary to get you closer, would it be better to have them scheduled into your day from the get-go, and proceed on to get things done?

Let’s have a productive day ahead.

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© Daniel Richard.