What I hope to change in myself in 2017

This post is in collaboration with Pharmaton

I’m supporting the new Pharmaton campaign that is looking for people to share what they achieved in 2016 and their 2017 resolution. . ‘Pharmaton®  Reward Your Achievement” Contest is organised by Pharmaton® with multivitamin and minerals + Ginseng extract. They’ll reward 15 people with prizes of up to RM50,000 worth to help them with their 2017 resolution.

When composing this article, the hardest part for me was thinking about what I achieved in 2016. Sure there were the small wins here and there but I don’t think people generally like to hear a “success” brag (no matter how humble) from me. So I decided to dig deeper. What did I really achieve that is not in material nature… I think completing a 160KM cycling ride would qualify for that but I did that in 2015, not 2016.

Then it hit me what I did last year that mattered the most to me.

After leaving Netccentric in November I spent the last two months of the year with a lot more time on my hands than I was used to. I spent that time with family, I spent that time working out and I threw away quite a significant amount of that time on War Robots. Fortunately though I did spend some of that time on something else… personal development. I read a wide number of books ranging from the Dale Carnegie classic How to Win Friends and Influence People to Elon Musk’s biography.

I also watched a lot of Ted Talks and YouTube videos or different speakers that really talked about self-development. My conclusion at the end of these two months was that I am doing so many things wrong in life. Here’s what I learned and what I’ve resolved to change starting from the first month of 2017. Note that the below are sins that I have been committing all my life.

  1. Never Criticize 

Very little good ever comes from criticism. When we criticize somebody, we automatically put that somebody in a defensive position. That person then in order to protect his/her self esteem or ego would immediately be thinking of a rebuttal to your criticism as opposed to truly considering if your criticism is really warranted.

The end result is that criticism hurts people and while it may occasionally work in drumming in the point you’re trying to make, that benefit is often offset by the resentment that you create.

The first thing I thought about when learning this was “What? Does this mean I can never tell any of my colleagues off for something they did wrong?”.

I learned then it’s a matter of language.

So here’s how the average boss might have told off an employee: “Do you realize that the mistake you made in the purchasing order cost us an additional RM10,000. I already told you to always double check these things before sending it out. Why did you still make this mistake? I don’t care how you settle this but just do it!”.

Here’s how it could be better communicated. Assume that the person’s name is Daisy.

“Daisy I know you work really hard for this company. Your commitment is second to none. This mistake though is really unfortunate. It ended up costing us RM10,000. I’m sure you didn’t mean to make it and I’m confident you’ll learn from your mistake and never make it again but now that it’s done, how do you suggest we rectify it? Do you think you’ll be able to resolve this on your own?”.

Notice how if you absolutely have to criticize, start off first with a praise, then slowly go into it. Never go flat out criticism. This works not just on the basis of work but also at home. When we speak to our brothers and sisters, our parents and our wives or husbands or even friends.

2. Listen. Like REALLY Listen

Many of us aren’t really good at listening. Next time you’re having a conversation with someone, pay attention to whether you’re really listening or whether you’re “listening to respond”.  Most of us listen while our mind processes what we could say next in response to what he just said. Sometimes in our hurry to respond we don’t let the person finish before we give our response.

Really listening means really doing nothing but having direct eye contact with that person and listening to every word that person says until he stops and waits for you to respond. If he doesn’t stop… then you just have more to listen to.

This is important because listening helps you learn things. Helps you understand more about a person but most importantly, listening helps that other person feel important. Making someone feel important makes it more likely that the person would feel more positively towards you.

3. Have a Life Constitution

When we ask ourselves the question of what we want in life, we normally get a really short answer. “To be a billionaire” or “To be happy” or “to be a star”. The thing about these answers is that they tend to be one dimensional. “To be a billionaire” however focuses our life goals at being rich, but then what about family? or personal happiness?

We end up neglecting all that in our pursuit to “be a billionaire” and at the end of it could end up a little depressed. To make things worse life is full of surprises. Good ones and bad ones too. So sometimes life hits, like you fall sick and then you run into disarray. Or you have issues at work and you neglect family and personal happiness.

What I learned from the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to have a clear mission statement or constitution in mind on what and who we want to be. Describe your life 10 years from now, what do you want in terms of business, family and personal.

Then describe what kind of person or values do we want? Maybe you want to be empathetic, someone who doesn’t judge until you hear both sides of the story or someone who finds happiness in the smallest things. This constitution just like the constitution of a country becomes the base in which we live our life.

The base in which we decide what decisions to make when life throws all sorts of crisis at us. I talked to my dear wife Shorty about this and she agreed that was something she needed. A direction and a purpose for everything we do in life. Hence what we’ve decided is to take some time away together. Go to a nearby beach resort in Phuket or something and then just spend a few days without distraction working out our constitution.

Maybe if I’m lucky I might win something like that from Pharmaton but if not… I think it’s something we have to be able to do. So you see towards the end of last year I feel that through books and personal development I have achieved self-awareness of who I am.

My strengths and my weaknesses. 2017 is going to be about fighting my nature to do better in these things. To not criticize people, to listen… and there are a lot more things that I need to do to improve. Share your 2016 achievement and your 2017 resolution here (www.pharmaton.com.my) and maybe Pharmaton might help you keep that resolution.

Hurry and Join as this promo will run until 31 March 2017

Oh and don’t forget to pick up some of these to help you to achieve your resolution.


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