Dear fear

For my whole life I have intense phobia for snakes. Just seeing photos of snakes will give me a panic attack, let alone seeing a real snake.

One evening my boyfriend and I were casually walking in a beautiful garden. He said there was a snake on the sidewalk.

I immediately started screaming and running away but hme kept encouraging me to go near and look at it. He said it’s just a baby and non-poisonous. He kept persuading and I kept running.

I know he wanted to push me to face my fear and overcome it, but at that moment I just wanted to punch him. Why didn’t he hug me tightly and protect me like a romantic Korean boyfriend?

Afterwards when I thought about this incident, I realise that I always react the same way whenever I face fear and discomfort. I run away.

I hate difficult conversations, so I avoid having them altogether. Whenever I have an argument with people, instead of talking it through honestly and resolving the conflict, I keep resentment and anger in my heart. When I need to do something I’m not confident about, I either procrastinate or say something like, “This sounds like a good idea, but from the practical point of view, I think….” I make up ten thousand excuses why I shouldn’t try. I thought I am being rational but mostly I’m in delusional denial.

Fear comes in many forms. Sometimes it sounds like we are concerned and worrying, like a mother protecting her child from falling. Sometimes it sounds like logical thinking.

I have a friend who is known for being critical and analytical. We used to admire his strengths, but after seeing him doing nothing for a long time, we realise that he’s just fearful. He is just too afraid to fail. All the big plans he has? He doesn’t even need to try, he just analyze and he knows the plans won’t work. He even analyzes for his friends and tell them why their plans will not work. Does this sound familiar? I bet you have a friend who always says he wants to do something but doesn’t.

The key is to find the sweet spot between fear and courage.

The next time “what-ifs” pop up in your mind, ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen? What are the probable scenarios?

And the last question, what are the costs – financially, emotionally and physically – if you do not act upon it?

I thought about all these questions after listening to Tim Ferriss’ TED talk about fear-setting. What I found out is the cost of inaction was far greater than the cost of action. I will regret if I don’t try, so I have no choice but to take the risk of trying though there is a slim chance of success.  This gives me the courage to take a small step forward.

How ever uncomfortable and difficult it is, you can take small actions and face the fear. Fear is paralysing, but if you can acknowledge and tame it, it becomes your fuel.

“Measure the cost of inaction, realize the unlikelihood and repairability of most missteps, and develop the most important habit of those who excel and enjoy doing so: action.”

By the way, back to the story, I didn’t go near that snake. I walked another route with my legs shaking and palms sweating. Maybe next time I will try to be slightly more courageous. Maybe.

Good link:

Fear-setting by Tim Ferriss (Full questions)

Cook your signature dish at Signature Loft

A muscle man is hot, but a man who cooks is even hotter.

My old friend Kenneth and his brother-in-law Jason invited us to have brunch with them. The dishes and desserts they cooked were delicious – maybe anything cooked in this kitchen will be delicious. This is one of the best kitchens I’ve seen.

I like to cook and bake, but my mum doesn’t like me messing with her kitchen. I like to have potluck at home too, but not everyone’s house is big enough to host parties and gatherings. Dining out is convenient, but with a large group of people it can be expensive and uncomfortable.

Jason understands this struggle, so they came up with a great idea – the Signature Loft. This is a kitchen space that you can rent for a potluck session, private gathering, cooking classes or even, videography session! The idea is new, the space is wonderful.

Meeting people with interesting idea (who also cook for you) is always a good experience.

Signature Loft

Address: No.148-1, Jalan Dataran Cheras 9, Dataran Perniagaan Cheras, Batu 9
Cheras, Selangor 43200

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/signatureloft/

 

Starting over in a new website (Hi WordPress!)

I abandoned my old blog and decided to start from zero. In the past ten years, I wrote 441 blog posts and had over 3000 photos there. That’s a whopping lot.

I made this decision based on one technical and one personal reasons. Technical wise, I use Blogger which is an outdated platform. Google decided to slowly give up on Blogger by not giving it any attention or update that it deserves. Writing posts and redesigning the website has become very inconvenient. I cannot write a blog post without being frustrated every 5 minutes. I will miss the good old times writing in the bright orange frame. I will also remember all the late nights I stayed awake learning how to build a website. When something doesn’t serve you well anymore, you have to make the decision to quit, however painful and nostalgic it makes you feel.

The personal reason why I decided to start afresh is because I cannot read back my old posts without feeling cringy. In the first few years I wrote about anything and everything. You can’t read those posts anymore because I consciously hid them. That time I was barely 20 years old, so you can imagine what I was thinking at that time, probably shoes, bags and some boys.

Although physically I am still that same person, mentally I am not. Time has changed how I think and see things. I could keep posting tonnes of pretty travel photos, but I have something more important to say.

Hence I moved my website to a new place, WordPress. You might notice that this blog is very simple and minimal. I just want a place where I can write easily and quickly.

In the past years, people had always told me that they wanted to write, paint, or learn something new and creative. Until this day they still think that they might do it one day. A friend told me that he wants to publish his own book one day. However I don’t see any conscious effort of him writing prolifically. Another friend told me that she likes to paint when she was a child, but gives up years ago. She’s considered taking art classes one day but keeps worrying that she might be a bad painter and it will be a waste of time and money.

If you really like to paint, why not just go ahead? You don’t have to be the next Picasso, just paint.

Why people don’t write, or create

Based on my observation, there are a few reasons why people said they want to write (or create) but they won’t.

  1. They think they write (or do anything) badly.
  2. Nobody is going to appreciate their work.
  3. They don’t know where to start. They think they need a proper training, the right tools, the right timing, or in the case of writing, a blog to start.

If you share the same thoughts, let me tell you what I think.

  1. It’s totally fine to write badly. The most important part of any creation is the story. Techniques can be improved later. You can’t improve if you haven’t started. It might take years, but it’s okay. Forget about perfectionism. It kills creativity and the gut to do anything. Don’t expect to write like your favorite writers in the beginning.
  2. It’s absolutely fine to create for your own pleasure. Do not expect any return first.
  3. It is also okay to not have the best tools when you are starting. Just use anything that you have. You don’t need the perfect timing, or the permission from anyone to start. You don’t need bombastic tools to start too. You can start by writing a post on Facebook about your day.

What would you gain?

  1. Satisfaction. What’s more important than doing something that you enjoy?
  2. New perspectives, new discoveries and possibly new friends.
  3. Self-improvement. I feel writing has helped me to think clearer and speak better.

How about money? Should I do it if it doesn’t benefit me financially? It’s true that some people create content as a potential income stream, but unless you are a popular 20-year-old girl who posts selfie regularly (sarcasm: this does not apply to every successful blogger), it is not very viable to earn big bucks from writing these days. The content creators that have a huge following on social media are rare. Fact: 3% of the YouTubers earned 90% of the total revenue. Most of them didn’t make significant amount of money but they probably enjoy the process of creating content. So take the pressure of earning money off your shoulder. Just indulge and have fun.

What you can do

Start small. Start shitty.

  1. Start small.
    For example, if you want to write, leave that emoji alone. 😂 🤣 😱 😳 🤪
    When you share a post on Facebook, instead of putting a smiley face “XD” or an emoji, try to write a word instead, like “amazing”, “awesome”, “heart-breaking”. In the next post, write two words. In the next post, write three. In the next post, write a full sentence. Step by step. Build your momentum slowly. This helps you to express your emotions in words, and eventually you will be able to articulate better how you feel and what you think.
  2. Start shitty.
    Give yourself permission to start shitty. Don’t show your work to anyone first. Don’t worry about the quality before you start. Slowly refine it. Trust me it will end up being better.
My draft.

This does not only apply to writing, it applies to all other creative endeavors you are trying to do, be it photography, painting, song-writing, scrap-booking.

Let go of perfectionism and take baby steps.

Here’s me, writing my first post on WordPress. My website is not perfect yet, but it’s totally okay. I hope this shows you that you can also start anytime and anywhere. Just have fun.