Look Through the Eyes of Understanding

Good Morning Dear readers 🙂

Thank you for joining on this Monday morning. I wish you the best of luck for the work week. Todays blog title is something I picked up from Robin Sharma.

So last week I had a great conversation with a few of my friends, put that together with what
I’ve been observing about people and the books I’ve been reading, and you know what I realised?

So few of us truly listen to the person that is talking to us. We are more interested in Advising, correcting and giving our own opinion than actually listening to what the person on the opposite side of the table is telling us. Communication between people is not only restricted to what the person is saying through his/her words but also via their body language, their intonation and eyes. So many of us ‘word hear’ and not truly listen to the depth of what’s being spoken.

Last week during the great conversation with my friends, I looked into their eyes and was taken in by the depth of emotion that I saw, the meaning and the pain, the joy and the happiness. The eyes are just so expressive as someone is talking. So the next time you are talking to someone, look them in the eyes, yes you can still hear them and know what their words mean even as you look at your phone but you won’t realise the depth and meaning that lies behind the words… That you not only hear through the words but they way the words are put together, the intonation of the words and most importantly, the body language as the person speaks and the emotions of the eyes.

They eyes are truly the mirror to the soul.

So many of us want to talk, we want to be heard, but when everyone acts like this, you know what happens? No one listens which means that no one is heard, and that means that all we’re essentially doing is adding to the noise. When someone is talking to you, listen to them, don’t think about your reply, don’t judge. I’m not saying that I’m guilt free, but I’ve making an effort, for sometime now, not consistent yes, but definitely a solid effort, and over the years I’ve been told by some friends that I’m a good listener, and you know what, it makes me feel happy, I’m proud of that, I’m happy that my friends feel comfortable talking to me. And when I need someone to vent to or talk to, they just sit and listen as I rant. Thank you guys. Thank you so much.

Now about venting, when someone is venting, please don’t interrupt, they’re not in the mood to be advised, they just want to get some stuff of their chest. By advising you are indirectly telling them to shut up, that they are wrong, and maybe what they did was wrong, but as my dad says, “time and place.” wait for them to calm down, so that they are in a less defensive stance before you ask them to think about what they just said. Let them vent, let them cool off, you just listen, really listen. Try to identify the real problem behind the venting, but wait until after they are really done before you talk to them, not advise them or critique them or correct them, talk to them. Heart to heart, and if they get defensive and reactive and fight back, don’t do the same, keep calm… Because the minute you react to the reaction, it’s game over. Don’t be like a can of coke when shaken, be like water…. No matter how shaken, it doesn’t fizz over.

Be a bottle of water, not a can of coke. – Sean Covey

Time and Place.

People are sensitive, we don’t like being judged, criticised or being told that we’re wrong, especially in a harsh manner, there is a way to help someone, and it doesn’t start with being judgemental and reactive, always stay calm. When someone reacts badly to something you have said, take a step back, (i know this doesn’t sounds easy, trust me I know, but please try as practice will help you establish this as a habit) and think about why he/she reacted that way, don’t get angry, don’t get frustrated…be calm, be patient and ask, why are they reacting in such a manner, maybe they’re tired or stressed, give them some time, they’ll appreciate it. I mean, that is what I would appreciate, and I think this applies to many other people out there. When someone gets angry, take a step back, push pause and try to get to the real problem, don’t pry, don’t pressure, just be there for the person, they’ll eventually open up. It’s my personal policy never to pressure anyone to tell me something, they’ll tell me when they are ready and until then, I’ll be there for them in whatever capacity they want, as much as I can.

When I ask you to listen to me And you start giving me advice, You have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me
And you begin to tell me ‘why’ I shouldn’t feel that way, You are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me
And you feel you have to do something to solve my problems,
You have failed me, strange as that may seem.
Listen! All I ask is that you listen; Not talk, nor do – just hear me.
And I can do for myself – I’m not helpless
Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
When you do something for me, that I can and need to do for myself,
You contribute to my fear and weakness.
But when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, No matter how irrational
Then I quit trying to convince you
And can get about the business of understanding
What’s behind this irrational feeling.
When that’s clear,
The answers are obvious and I don’t need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense when we Understand what’s behind them.
Perhaps that’s why prayer works sometimes for some people;
because God is mute, and doesn’t give
advice to try to ‘fix’ things,
He/She just listens, and lets you work it out for yourself.
So please listen, and just hear me, and if you want to talk,
Wait a minute for your turn,
And I’ll listen to you.

So remember guys, listen, really listen to the people in you life. It won’t be easy, but it’ll get easier each day and eventfully we’ll achieve amazing communication. There’s more to listening than just hearing. A lot of problems could be solved and avoided, especially those between men and women in relationships 🙂

Seek First to understand, then to be understood. – Stephen Covey

Have a great day guys,

I hope that I didn’t step on anyone’s toes with this piece, if I did, I’m really sorry.

Straight From The Heart,


Keep Moving Foward



Decisions, decisions.

Good Morning dear readers! 🙂 how are you guys doing today? The last day of the work week for most. I’m feeling a lot better after my Day Off, and today I’ve got work! So I’m chilling at Starbucks now with my good friend Café Mocha, and today we’re going to address the dilemma that is making a decision. This pot is dedicated to one of my friends, he/she spurred this idea in my head a couple days back.

Decisions, decisions… There are so many choices in life now, which means there are so many more decisions to make. Some are vital, others not so. But every decision you make in your life should be yours. Not what someone else has told you to do.

As Bon Jovi said, “it’s my life.”

Asking others to make a decision for you is to excuse yourself from taking accountability and responsibility for the decision. You are putting your life in someone else’s hands. Does that sound right to you?

Act on life, don’t let life act on you.

But so many don’t want to make decision because they actually don’t know what they want from life. They haven’t really thought about it. And this is where I come to a very important point, Make the time to think. It will help you get clear on what you want and as Robin Sharma says, “Clarity Breeds Success.” Go and set up A Room of One’s Own

By getting clear on what you want out of life, you’ll heighten awareness around what’s most important. With better awareness comes better choices. And with better choices you’ll see better results. Robin Sharma

Take out your journal and write, just pour out your thoughts. Dump your worries so that you can unclutter your mind, make some room to think and make decisions. Enact Ghost Protocol, take some time on Saturday morning to do some reflecting on your life (Saturday Morning Reflections) (Saturday should have been morning reflections), face the fears you’ve been running from (Facing Fears = Power), and whatever happens, Keep Moving Forward and remember that Small Daily Improvements will Lead to a stunning Results

And don’t say you don’t have time to think, cut out some tv time, because too many of us watch too much tv.

We want someone else to make the decision so that if things go wrong, you can say, “It’s not my fault, I didn’t even want to do this, it wasn’t my idea.” but you know what, blaming others is only excusing yourself. Take responsibility for your own life, make YOUR own decisions, and whether your fail or fly, to will be because of no one but you. I’m not saying don’t ask for advise, by all means consult others, I do it all the time, but the final decision should be yours.

And if all else fails, then ask the Steve Jobs question. I know it’s not completely practical, but I can definitely help in some situations. It help Steve , meet his wife.

If today were your last day, would you do what you are about to do today? Steve Jobs

And remember,

“Success doesn’t just occur, it’s a project that is worked on each day.” Robin Sharma

You’re going to make mistakes in your life, so why not make sure their actually YOUR mistakes, so that at the end of your life you can say, ” I lived MY life, not his or hers or yours or their, I lived my life.” be responsible for your life. Take accountability for your life.

And you know what, not only will Jon Bon Jovi be proud, you’ll be proud of yourself.

Straight From The Heart,


Why is Materialism a dirty word?

Good Morning all!
Feeling really good this morning, managed to achieve a few small goals of mine this morning and that has pumped me up. Woke up at 6, had my holy hour, swam for a bit, and was in Monash by 8. Grabbed a Café Mocha from a barista who has just more back from a break, really friendly guy, made a mistake with my billing and took accountability and responsibility for it, how many of us do that nowadays? Anyway, that’s a topic for another day.

So I was thinking this morning, while using the Bose QC15, and thought, what’s wrong with materialism?

So yea, today I’m going to write about Materialism.

Now I know there are many definitions of materialism, so for the sake of clarity, this is what I’m referring to: the love and pursuit for material possessions.

Now I have absolutely nothing against materialism, he’ll I’m majorly guilty of it. I love my toys, my gadgets, my things, but not as much as I love my family and that’s the most important thing when it comes to materialism. Go ahead, get the car you love, buy that gadget you want, treasure them, but never, in any circumstance let an object come between you and your family and team.

I think this passage by Robin Sharma will best illustrate what I’m trying to say:

“Contrary to popular belief, The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari isn’t a manifesto against making money and enjoying the good life. My main message there was simply “remember what’s most important to leading a great life.” drive a BMW, wear Prada, stay at the Four Seasons and make a ton of money if these are the things that make you happy. Life is certainly full of material pleasures that really do make the journey more delightful. No need to feel guilty about enjoying them. But please don’t forget about those basic but beautiful treasures to be loved along the way. Like deep human connections, realising your best through fulfilling work, exploring the arts and experiencing the glory of nature.”

I love my Apple products, my Ray Bans, my Starbucks Café Mocha, my (not really mine yet) Giselle, my beautiful posters, my shoes, my Polo Tees, my suit and etc. And I will not feel guilty for having them.

One day I want to have a beautiful house, a Mercedes SLS AMG and a Rolls Royce Phantom. I want to either have my own firm/company, run my own media empire or be a World Class Success Coach like Robin Sharma, or all of the above. I want to go on great vacations and stay at beautiful hotels. I want to be able to send my kids to whatever schools that will give them the best education and I want my wife to have the option of not working yet being able to live the her dream life as well. I want to have nice suits, a wardrobe of Ralph Lauren Polos, a membership at KLGCC, and an Eco friendly private jet. I want to play golf with top business people and top politicians on a regular basis. I want to be able to deck my house in whatever gadgets I want, to host glamorous parties yet be able to support my community, raise the standard of living and help those who need help to get to a level where they can help themselves. And no, I do not feel guilty for having these dreams.

I want a a lot of things, but nothing will ever be more important than my family and my team, than my future wife, than my future kids. I will do my best to achieve my material dreams, but my top priorities will always be the same, be the best son I can be, the best husband and most importantly, be the best god damn dad in the whole damn world, because nothing, and I repeat nothing, is more important than being a parent. And along the way, I’ll do the best I can at work and my career to realise my material dreams.

Yes this may sound may sound naive to some of you, it may sound farfetched to others, some may think that I’m being arrogant, and others may think that I’m not being a realist. But hey, this is what I’m going to aim for, and if I do not achieve it, I’ll deal with it. One of my heroes, John F. Kennedy once said, “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”. And if I’ve learned anything over the past 3 years, is that the biggest obstacle between me and my dreams, is me.

I want to live the good life, which to me means having a great family first, being the person i wish to be and being able to afford and sustain having lots of toys.

“only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” JFK

But I digress, remember that it is you who owns the object and not the object that owns you and your pursuit of material objects will be balanced and healthy.
Be wise, be smart, dream big and prepare for the worst.

Have a great day,

Straight From The Heart,

Arkay 620120523-094547.jpg20120523-094552.jpg20120523-094610.jpg




Of Conversations & Story Telling


Good Morning 🙂

I hope everyone is doing ok after the weekend. Yes it’s Monday and the start of another work week, but remember, you are in charge of how you feel. It’s hard, but try to be positive this manic Monday.

I’m not working today, worked the past three days at Machines. I’m loving the job but my legs might not feel the same way, feeling pretty tired today, woke up at 8 and didn’t go for a swim. Yea, but I’ll do it tomorrow! Well, now my good friend Cafe Mocha is keeping me company here at Starbucks as I think of something to write about today 😉

I got it, today I’m going to write about reading.

I know a lot of you are going to be, “but I got no time to read” or “I don’t like reading” or whatever other excuses there are. Whether your want to read is up to you (unless you’re my little brother) but the benefits are very much underrated. I would like you to check out the quote below please,

“a mind once stretched by a new idea can never return to its original dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

Think about it for a second. I love watching tv but really, after a while I start thinking to myself, ” how does this benefit me?”. Sure a little tv a day helps me unwind, but really, do we stop at an hour? Reading a good book, or a good magazine exposes us to ideas and stimulates our minds. Reading a good biography is like having a conversation with the author. And we all need such conversations to keep out minds sharp.

“Drink Coffee with Gandhi.” Robin Sharma

“Reading a book by someone you respect allows some of their brilliance to rub off on you.” Robin Sharma

One of the main factors in my tremendous recovery over the past few weeks has been reading. My in depth conversation David Schwartz about The Magic of Thinking Big revitalised my spirit and further conversations with Robin Sharma and Richard Branson further fuelled my spirit. They have exposed me to so many new concepts and ideas that have opened my mind up. They have been the main inspiration behind a lot of my articles.

My Top List of books to read
1. 7 habits of highly effective teens – Seaon Covey
2. Screw it Let’s do it Expanded – Richard Branson
3. Tuesday with Morrie
4. the Greatness Guide 1 & 2 – Robin Sharma
5. The Magic of Thinking Big – David Schawrtz
6. Your Money Ratios- Charles Farrell

And when it comes to reading, I have nothing against story books, but try to mix it up with good books that will help you grow. Autobiographies. Personal development books. Etc. of course there are story books that help you grow as well, by all means go for it, but don’t forget to make time to have a conversation with someone like Gandhi or Martin Luther King or Richard Branson. And by all means mix it up with having JK Rowling or Rick Riordan tell you a story, because having conversations with only certain people will add a certain monotony after a while.

So anyway, go and start that book you’ve been procrastinating about. Don’t start any new tv shows! And hey, if you’ve got nothing on your book shelf, take a look at my list above.

Have a great day,

Straight From The Heart





Heart Appeal & Brands


As much as some companies would love customers to use their heads, most use their hearts

What do the biggest brands have in common?

A customer-fan base. Loyalist. Supporters.

The brand appeals to their emotion, their hearts and then their heads. Whether it’s environmentally friendly products, cool products, a great environment, or top-notch staff. Brands like Apple, Virgin, Body Shop & Starbucks have learnt that most people buy with their hearts first before their heads. Hence the Apple Fanboys & Starbucks loyalists. I’ve talked about Apple products before, so let me talk about Starbucks… Why do I come here almost everyday and pay a little more than 10 bucks for a drink?

1. The Cafe Mocha is awesome
2. The staff is so damn friendly and are great talk to. They remember your name, they make an effort to make you feel appreciated.
3. The have a great environment here. The slight feel of humanity through the buzz of conversations slightly drowned out by the delightful and great music they play. It just has such a nice feel; a comfy setting, plug points every where. They make you feel at home.
4. The pride themselves on being socially conscious, more specifically environmentally conscious. They practice Earth Hour and I just saw this sign on their counter about a waterfall clean-up tomorrow organised by them. They encourage you to use reusable tumblers, yes you need to buy theirs, but you get a 2 buck discount if you bring it and use it. So over time, if you are a regular, you’ll cover your “expenditure”. Amazing.

Starbucks doesn’t just appeal to me, it appeals to million in the country and many more across the globe.

Anyway, this isn’t about Starbucks but about how to become a great brand. Like Apple, Body Shop, Starbucks & Virgin.

As much as people say we should shop with our heads, we really love the brands that appeal to our hearts.

“business is in so many ways is about love. Think about it. Success comes by treating your customers with love. Acclaim comes by doing your job with love. Market leadership comes with selling your wares with love. If your customers only like you, you are vulnerable to losing them when a competitor with a cheaper product or a more economical service comes along. Why? Because you’ve failed emotionally. Connect with them. because when customers love you- because you’ve touched their hearts but the way you occur in their lives – you become a part of their extended family. You’re now part of their community. They become loyal. They tell the rest of the family about you. And they’ll take good care of you should times get tough.” Robin Sharma, the Greatness Guide

Straight From The Heart








Green Ways


Good morning readers, unlike the few days before this, I am not being accompanied by a Cafe Mocha, but my a cuppa green tea.

Speaking of green tea, today’s post will be green related.

I finished a chapter in Branson‘s book yesterday, the chapter in question is titled, Gaia Capitalism. It basically iterates his point on going green but still being able to make money, responsible capitalism if you will. He raises some very valid and interesting points. All of us can make a difference, if we all take small actions, over time it will mean something. So here are some suggestions, simple. Some I already practice, others I am adopting now.

1. BYOB. Bring you own bags when you go shopping.
2. Plan your travel/driving plans for the day so that you don’t waste time and fuel.
3. When driving try not to accelerate much,need a constant pace.
4. Car pool
5. Use less paper. Go digital, reuse paper, practice double sided printing.
6. Keep your tyres properly inflated, it helps your fuel economy.
7. Start using your own water bottles and/or containers when buying drinks (Starbucks, don’t buy bottled water unnecessarily)
8. When buying vehicles, try to look at the more fuel efficient ones.
9. Unplug unused chargers and appliances
10. Don’t leave computers on overnights
11. Collect rainwater
12. Watch Food Inc

Really try and watch Food Inc, it really opened my eyes.

Anyway, I hope that this post helps you guys. It may not seem like much, but if more people starting doing it, over time it will make a difference.

Oh, and I had a another idea. I love this Earth Hour thing, but I think it doesn’t happen enough. So I’m looking at making it a regular thing at my house and hopefully spread it from there. Wish me luck 🙂

Have a great day,

Put more living in your days

Straight From The Heart

Arkay 6






Do we watch too much TV?


Good morning dear readers, thank you for tuning in this fine cool morning, so cool that my mother was wearing a shawl in the hall. Lovely 🙂 I actually rolled down the windows on the way to Monash. I’m chillaxing at Starbucks listening to some nice music (the play some really good music) but instead of green tea, I’m indulging in a Cafe Mocha today. 🙂

I was thinking about how A couple weeks back I would’ve either still been in bed or watching tv at this time, and this thought got me thinking about the amount of time we spend watching tv and then I thought:

are we too distracted by mindless TV shows?

I understand that people like to watch tv for entertainment and to unwind but I think society has become too distracted by some really ridiculous shows. I am in no way innocent of these claims, and this is why I’m writing about it.

There were entire days I used to spend watching tv shows and for what? A story line? To appease my curiosity? To distract myself? To escape reality? Fill the time?

The answer: all of the above.

I would watch tv for the storyline and really can’t stop until the serial dies as I need to satisfy my curiosity. I also watched it to distance myself from life, I was feeling down and out and tv would help ease that hurt but it wasn’t really helping me, but distracting me from dealing with the issues plaguing me, it helped me escape reality. And most sinful of all, it just filled up my days, it helped the time pass in a time when I felt like I was in a coma, life was just passing me by… I wasn’t acting on life.

But what I’ve come to realise is that even though tv is a part of modern daily life we shouldn’t spend too much time with it… Because honestly, it’s such a waste of time. I am currently following about 13 tv shows, and I will not be following anymore! Thank god some of these shows are coming to the end and I will not replace them. I have started limiting myself to an hour of tv a day (especially weekdays), so that I don’t distract myself from more worth while endeavours such as spending time with my family, socialising, reading and writing.

The TV shows i follow include: Castle, Fringe, Gossip Girl, Hawaii Five-0, House, How I Met Your Mother, Leverage, Modern Family, New Girl, Sherlock, Suits, The Big Bang Theory, the Good Wife & The Mentalist.

I actually think tv is the worst way to spend your time because there is no stimulation, at least when I’m playing a console game I have to think and my mind is at work, when I watch tv is feels like my mind is in a coma, please remember I’m talking about TV shows and not movies or documentaries.

It’s an industry dedicated to distracting us from real life. Movies aren’t as bad because they don’t comprise of 20 or so weekly episodes and there are a lot of good movies that stimulate one emotional and mentally.

I love watching comedies, but I guess the issue is not about watching tv, but excess amount of tv people consume nowadays. I mean im not going to stop watching my serials, but I certainly will be making an effort to watch a max of 60 minutes of tv daily.
wish me luck 🙂

9 Alternatives to Mindless Television

Straight from the Heart,

Arkay 6