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The Three Choices That Helps Shape My Destiny After Stroke

As stroke survivors, life may seem painfully unfair. For some of us, we may be at the height of our career when the brain attack occurred. For others, we may be celebrating some of life’s treasured blessings like the birth of a new-born or having the keys to a new house. Or perhaps, we are just looking forward to enjoy the fruits of our labour with our partner after retirement.

Regardless the backdrop, stroke is a life-defining moment. For most of us, it will have affected our lives significantly.

But while our life story may define us as stroke survivors, our life destiny can only be determined by the choices that we make. And much of these choices deal primarily with the belief and mind-set we have as stroke survivors. It was the leader of the Indian independence movement during British-rule, Ghandi, who uttered these words:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
 – Mahatma Ghandi (1869 – 1948)

There are three decisions I choose to make daily which reminds me that as stroke survivors, our lives can still be meaningful and impactful.


I choose today to believe that disability is ONLY in the mind.

Our state of ability is the degree of how empowered we are. Henry Ford (1863 – 1947), who founded Ford Motor Company, was absolutely spot-on when he said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right”.

We are as disabled as we think we are. In other words, we are also as abled as we think we are.

My stroke left me with a certain amount of dysphasia – an impairment of the ability to communication resulting from brain injury. I remembered during my acute stay in the hospital, I was unable to talk and I could only recognize the first 13 numbers. This was a huge blow to me as I was always a ferocious reader and I love communicating with the people around me. Hence, regaining my language ability was topmost in my priority.

As a doctor, I understand that our brain in plastic. Neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity, refers to the brain’s ability to change throughout life. The human brain has the amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections between brain cells. And I know that despite the brain attack, I am still able to relearn back what I lost.

As a prisoner of hope, I started relearning English and since my stroke, I have under my belt a MSc degree, a few other certificates, run and manage a learning centre for youth (Potter’s Clay Education), and I am a professional inspiration speaker and a mindset transformation coach.


I choose today to focus on having a winning mindset and not on excuses.

Events occur in life that is not our choosing. After all, I believe none of us desired to have a brain attack. But after an event such as stroke, we are responsible for the thought which we choose to dwell upon.

While I am the first to admit that there are many things that I no longer am able to do. I can no longer swim as freely as I used to. Neither am I able to do a 2.4 km run under 10 minutes. But that has never limited me from aiming at goals and reaching them.

As survivors, our dreams can still be realized and we need only to focus on these four keys:
1. Vision that aspires
2. Inspiration that fuels our love for life
3. Passion that anchors devotion
4. Purpose drives meaningful exploits


I choose today to develop the art of determination.

Determination is our strength of pursuit. I have always termed determination as an “art”. Art is referred to as the expression or application of human exploits. Living a meaningful life is therefore an art form as we decide how to best express and apply ourselves in this world while we are in it.

As a stroke survivor, our art becomes even more delicate yet it can still be worthwhile. It all depends on what we are determined to will forth.

Therefore, today, I choose #DisabilityIsOnlyInTheMind. Today, I choose #WinningMindset. Today, I choose #TheArtOfDetermination.

What do you choose?




Pursuing Purpose

Recently I had the pleasure to meet a new friend who is also a stroke survivor. Both of us had our brain attack due to an AVM (arteria-venous malformation). Over coffee in the afternoon, we shared how our lives were affected because of the bleed.

Over the course of our conversation, one theme cropped out often and that was about our life’s purpose. Maybe it is because stroke at our relatively young age makes us realise just how fragile life can be. Or maybe it is because we both appreciate and acknowledge how grateful we are for God’s unmerited favour over our lives. As I relaxed and enjoyed the time with my new acquaintance, it reminded me why it is so important for us to seek out passionately what our purpose in life is.

It was Dr Myles Munroe (1954 – 2014) who was a pastor, inspirational speaker and international author of numerous books that wrote, “The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important because of how long you live, you are important because of how effective you live.

And so I shared over our afternoon coffee why it is so important that we have a duty to live out our life. Paul (5 – 67 AD), the apostle who taught the gospel of Jesus Christ in the first century, had the privilege to complete his life’s destiny when he wrote these words, “My life is being poured out as a part of the sacrifice and service… Yet, I am filled with joy, and I share that joy with all of you.” – (Phil 2:17)

How absolutely wonderful it must feel to know that we have impacted others through the lives we have touched!
As we go into the final few days of the year and we look forward to 2017, let us ponder as consider the purpose of our lives and how we pursue. it.

One of the best ways to develop a healthy and positive approach towards life is to be intentional about our mindset and the thoughts that we dwell upon.

Again, it was Paul the apostle that reminds us that “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – (Phil 4:8)

To live a life that is meaningful and rewarding, we need to be real and authentic about who we are, what we have done, where we want to go and how are we going to reach there.

One of the most important thing we can do to develop our purpose to be be self-aware of our talents, abilities, gifts and inclinations. And this is what I routinely do for my workshops and talks.

When we are determined to live a life where we are continually giving, we act with respect, care, and mindfulness for the well-being of everyone and not just for our self-serving interests. When we serve others first and be a leader second, we help individuals achieve worthwhile results while keeping the best interest of those we serve before our own.




How to Develop a Successful Mindset for 2017

What is Mindset? The dictionary defines it as “the established set of attitude held by a person”. In other words, our mindset refers to our mental inclination, tendency and habits. It is our way of thinking and opinions. Through our mindset our attitudes, moods and disposition is established. Moreover, this mental frame of mind; which we term mindset; drives our ideas whenever we approach a situation. Mindset is important because it refers to our thought, actions, results and beliefs.

It was perhaps the Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu who first wrote about mindset and its significance more than 2 500 years ago with these words:

“Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

Stephen Covey (1932 – 2012) was an American educator, author and businessman who wrote The Habits Of Highly Effective People; and it was he that coined the idea of abundance mindset contrasting it with scarcity mindset. For Covey, he believes that the emergence of an abundance mindset creates a mentality that gravitates towards enough resources and successes to share with others.

In 2006, Carol Dwerk (1946 – present) published her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success in which she postulates that individuals can be placed on a continuum according to their implicit views of where ability comes from. According to her book, there are those that believes their success is based on innate ability and she termed them as “fixed mindset” vs those who believes that success is based on hard work, learning, training and doggedness whom she termed as “growth mindset”.

I believe that mindset is the key that unlocks the treasure that is stored within us. As we move into 2017, let us remember together some keys that will open up our possibilities as we position ourselves for a great year ahead!

Why are we doing what we are doing?
One of the most important thing we can know in 2017 for ourselves is what is important to us? As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) so profoundly said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Our purpose drives our reasons and reasoning.

We can accomplish almost anything when what we are trying to accomplish is what we are passionate about. Let us be focused and disciplined to a cause and purpose that connects with who we truly are. All of us bear a unique voice that is longing to be expressed so let us start living sincerely though this expression.

What can we do to achieve transformational results?
All of us have the responsibility to deliver to the world the potential that is trapped in each and every one of us.

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister of Great Britain ran the first sub-four minute mile. In fact, he ran it in 3 minute and 59.4 seconds. Before this feat, it was thought to be impossible to run a mile in under four minutes. Interestingly, two months later, he raced his great rival John Landy of Australia and won that race, with both men going under four minutes, and within three years 16 runners had gone under the barrier.

What can we learn from this? The moral of the story, of course, is that so often our limitations exist only in our minds, and when someone erases the mental limits, performance takes off.

What are we believing today about our performance?

Where are we going as we move into 2017?
How do we reach our destiny? After we discover our purpose and recognized our potential, we have to realize our destiny can only be reached through determination, dedication, persistence and perseverance. In other words, the fulfillment of our destiny is decided by us.

There is currently 7.4 billion people here on planet earth and it is my belief we are all born to do something valuable and be an impact to the environment around. Our existence is proof that there is something important for us to deliver that made our presence necessary.

Fishes are meant to swim. Birds are meant to fly. Seeds are meant to grown. Our destiny is hard-wired into us. Yet, fear and false identity too often robs from us our success and the full expression of what we are capable of.

As we enjoy the last few days of 2016, let us all be committed to a mental frame of mind that will reap the results we are aiming for in 2017!




Setting Up The Right Environment For Success in 2017

Everything in life is meant to function in a certain environment. When we purchase a new hand-phone, the first thing we see is very often NOT the hand-phone itself. In fact, the very first thing we find after opening the box is not the new phone, but an operating manual which tells us how best to use the phone; letting us know what is the environment under which the phone best operates.

Even in nature, as knowledge and understanding of our atmosphere grows, we are starting to realise that there is an environment that nature operates best, and ignoring or violating these natural laws are causing many of the drastic weather changes we are experiencing currently.

From what is evident in the news, we see that if we do not take care of the oceans, fishes die. If we do not take care of our soil, plants die. In fact, ff we take a plant out of the soil or we take fish out of water, they naturally perish. We all needs a certain environment in which we flourish. Outside of that optimal environment, we malfunction.

Therefore, I think we can appreciate that environment is the key to success and I believe it is the same for our mindset as well. For us to be all that we are meant to be, we need the right “environment” – the right mindset.
There are three things we need to consider when we think about the right environment for our mind to take hold of and grow. They are 1) positive mindset2) progressive mindset, and 3) protecting our mindset.

Positive Mindset
Research studies tell us that regularly practicing gratitude can have great positive effects on our mind and body, creating greater health effects than what regular exercise can bring. What these studies show is that energy flows where attention goes, and our mood is often determined by what we recognize and think about in our life.

Our mood not only affects our performance, but it also has significant implications on our health and overall daily effectiveness throughout our lives. Hence it is a good reminder to take time each day to practice gratitude. By doing this, we create opportunities to notice the things that are going right. Such actions is much more than simply saying, “thank you”; it is about truly feeling grateful and appreciative. Being thankful for what you currently have immediately releases any negativity that you might be holding onto. Gratitude instantly puts you in touch with the feeling of love. Where love resides, fear and all other negative emotions cannot.

Progressive Mindset 
Carol Dweck (1946 – present), in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, tells us that people have a growth mindset. People with such mindset or frame of mind tend to be more successful and productive. They know their abilities, talents, and intelligence can be nurtured with diligence and effort.

The internal dialogue we have with ourselves greatly impacts how we think about the world around us. If we constantly tell ourselves that we should not be afraid of failure and that it is through failure that we grow and learn, that is actually our “growth” or progressive mindset speaking to us and we need to be able to recoganise and encourage such thoughts.

Ultimately we need to acknowledge that we all have a choice. While we can read about the benefits of “growth” mindset, litmus test is us being actively engage with and participate in actions that is the result of such mindset. Hence it is more than just talking the walk, but it requires us to walk the talk as well.

Protect Your Mindset
All of us have a destiny. If we believe that God did not make a mistake at Creation, than we must believe and hold on fast to the truth that we are not an accident, and that we are here for a reason.
Indeed, you have a destiny.

One of the dilemmas of modern society is a deep lack of meaningfulness and purpose in everyday life. If we are to ask people, “Why do you exist?” most may not be able to answer. They cannot articulate their purpose in the world. Many people are also struggling with job, life satisfaction and in this period of economic downturn, financial issues.

Yet, hidden within us is the key to living a more fulfilling life than the one we are currently experiencing. Very often, I find that we are bogged down from pursuing our purpose and destiny because of the many other responsibilities that we have. And while these responsibilities are all valid, we must not lose sight of the purpose that we were born. All of us have been given various assignments.

This year, let us be bold, perceptive and mindful in pursuing what has been already laid out for us.




In The Pursuit Of Purpose

Mankind is facing a tipping point. In almost every culture and social systems, we are struggling to find our place in a fast-changing world. In many societies, dramatic changes at the workplace has left a significant number of people discontented, disconnected and disillusioned. Indeed, in our current world which is internet-driven, our postmodern world can be so easily caught in a worldwide web of confusion.

Change is often the cause of uncertainty. And this uncertainty can very often lead to fear and anxiety. The 21st century has brought upon us an unparalleled acceleration in knowledge and information; and has led us into a maze of new paradigms and uncharted waters of social and cultural convergences.

I find that the key to stabilising our lives is in finding our purpose. Purpose is the key to life. Without purpose, life has no meaning. We find that it is so easy to be busy making a living even though we may be experiencing very little in life. Without knowledge of purpose, life becomes an endless string of activities with little or no significance.

Everything in life has a purpose. Everyone who is reading this blog post is born with and for a purpose. Finding this purpose creates our source of meaning. Purpose, therefore, is the original intent in the mind of the creator, in the mind of God. And it is this reason why I believe we are all hard-wired and we have an in-built system that tells us that we are born on purpose and with a purpose.

I have come to realize that nothing is truly ours until we understand it. In other words, we will never be fulfilled until we find out what is the reason for our existence. Vague goals such as “I want to be rich,” “I want to make the world a better place,” or even “I want to be happy” are not helpful and nearly useless. In the final analysis, our life purpose must be answered with the question, “What is the reason for my existence?” and the answer always invariably is linked to our talents, ability, gifting and inclinations.

Recognize that we are unique, special and that God did not make a mistake in creating us. This ought to give us confidence and assurance in living out our lives. Be determined to pursue our aspirations, dreams and goals deliberately and consistently.

Once we have found our purpose, remember to cherish it. In life, there will be many people, including well-meaning friends who may try and remake us according to THEIR plans, purpose and intention. Let us remind ourselves, today, not to let anyone prevent us from becoming, being and doing all that we are born to be and do.




Time is Life

How we manage time plays a vital role in our success and effectiveness in self-leadership. How we use time, therefore, is of the essence. In fact, time is the only commodity given equally (in terms of its quantity) to each and every one of us. Every human is given the same amount of time every day. From the toddler to the elderly, from the healthy to the unwell, from the rich to the poor, all of us are given the same 24 hours. However, although we are all given the same amount of time, how we use our time varies from individual to individual. What we become in life is determined by how we use our 24 hours. Our success is determined by how well we are able to use, invest and manage our time.

The passing of time is the passing of life. After all, our time for existence stops when our life stops. In other words, time is a measure of life. Time wasted is life wasted; time saved is life saved.

As we march into the Year of the Rooster, let us intentionally lead a more meaningful life as we invest our time in more meaningful pursuit by initiating, creating, building, developing and adding value to the life that we want to live.

Here are three keys that we can use to make our time more meaningful and effective.

Take ownership over our Time
Time like most commodities need to be managed wisely. Dr. Mike Murdock, who is a televangelist, once said “Yesterday is in the tomb, tomorrow is in the womb, today is all you have got, so trade wisely with it.” If you have no value for time you will have no value in life. The hard work of today will create our success we see tomorrow. As long as we manage our time, our life will be successfully managed.

Use Time to fulfill our purpose
One of the best ways I have found that quickly sharpens and bring to focus how I am spending my time is to think about my life purpose. One of the most important thing we can do to develop our purpose to be self-aware of our talents, abilities, gifts and inclinations. Once we are aware of what we are meant to establish in our lives, it makes it easier for us to gravitate towards doing the right thing at the right time.

Learn from the past, live in the present & design the future
The third key to make our time more meaningful and effective is to continually learn from our past as we design our future while living in the present.

We need to be mindful in design our day and the best way to do that is to plan for it. As we start a new Lunar New Year, let us spend this week document a plan of what we want to accomplish this year. This is important because based on this plan, we can then start to establish our priorities.

Here is wishing everyone a prosperous Lunar New Year!




On Purpose

We are all meant to lead in an area of gifting. After all, if God did not make a mistake at Creation; it implies that we are destined and designed to fulfil a purpose in life. Whether or not we are aware of that purpose does not negate what has been bestowed upon us.

Very often I get asked this question, “Where and how do I find my purpose?” I have come to realise that the purpose that we have been called to fulfil and the assignment that we have been tasked to carry out is very closely linked with the talents, abilities, giftings and inclinations that we all possess.

Just this week, I had the privilege to be part of a forum with a group of final year students from the Nanyang Polytechnic, School of Chemistry and Life Sciences. Over the course of the 2.5 hour sharing, I had the opportunity to remind the students that we are not defined by the courses we study or the jobs we do. Rather, we are defined by the impact that we have on the lives of those we touch. Chasing after job titles and positions will not give us the satisfaction, joy and accomplishment that we all desire compared to a life that is intentional in using our talents and giftings to the best of our ability for the betterment of those around us.

Fishes perform best under water. Birds perform best during flight. Big cats perform best in the wild. We also thrive, and not just strive, when we are allowed to express our talents, abilities, giftings and inclinations in a manner that is not apologetic in anyway.

Because of our culture and formal education, many of us may not be aware of our talents and giftings even though we are very good at our job. When I realised I could no longer continue as a doctor, I too had to do a certain amount of soul searching before it dawned on we that talents and giftings that I was blessed with was bigger that the job of doctoring, noble as it may be.

Many times when I share with stroke survivors and people who may have met with a physical impairment, and as a result who have also lost their job placement, many feel that they have lost their life as well, figuratively. I have to remind them that even though the job and the position may be lost, their intrinsic abilities and inclinations are still present, waiting to be exploited.

Ultimately, disability is only in the mind! As long as our mind can perceive it, we will be able to conceive it.




Declaring our Breakthroughs

Everybody desires to change something about their life. I believe all of us want something better for our lives. This is not to say that we are greedy or discontented in nature. It is just that we all know we have vast potential that is still trapped within us, yet to be unleashed.

Our breakthroughs occur when we unlock our potential and deliver it to the world to enjoy. How do we go about uncapping our potential? The answer to this question lies in planning. It is good to dream about our breakthrough and success, but unless we make the determined effort to plan for our success, our dreams will just remain unmaterialized.

You see, planning is the most important principle of success. The secret to our breakthroughs lies in effective planning. We are created to live life with purpose and passion and not let life live us with frustration and dismay.

A good plan is like a clear road map. It shows us the best way to get to our desired destination. It shows us the best route and all possible detours we can take to reach our purpose. Whether we succeed or fail depends on our planning. Success is, therefore, waiting for our plans

There are several elements of successful planning. One of these elements include prioritizing with wisdom.

Dale Carnegie once told a story of two men who were out chopping wood. One man worked hard all day without taking any breaks and only stopped briefly for lunch. The other chopper took several breaks during the day and he even took a short nap at lunch. At the end of the day, the woodsman who had taken no breaks was quite disturbed to see that the other chopper had cut more wood than he had. He asked, “I don’t understand. Every time I looked around, you were sitting down, yet you cut more wood than I did.” His companion replied, “Did you happen to notice that while I was sitting down, I was sharpening my axe?”

Let our focus this year NOT just lie in doing more. Instead, our success and breakthroughs will lie in us doing our work more effectively and efficiently.




Our Life is built upon our Thoughts and Ideas

Everything in life built upon our ideas we have about it. Ideas produce everything. After all, the handphone that we are using was once an idea. The laptop that we work on was also once an idea. Even the thought of starting a business or pursuing a course of study began with an idea in our mind. Hence, it would not be wrong to say that everything begins with an idea and is the product of something that first took root in our mind. In fact, ideas control the world.

An idea, once it is birthed, is also hard to eliminate. That is why we are having such a huge problem combatting terrorism because international terrorism is, at the root of it all, an idea and it cannot simply be shot down by a bullet.

Our life is the accumulation of all the ideas and thoughts that we have accepted as a matter of fact. Therefore if we want to change our life, we have to first start with changing the thoughts and ideas that we have accepted as our “truth”.

The way that we expose an idea or a thought is through the words we speak, say and ask. Hence the self-talk we say to ourselves is so vital to our success this year in 2017.

What are our thoughts, ideas and words that will bring us to our breakthrough today?




Living Life with a Passion

All of us desire to be ALL that we are destined to be. All of us aspire to maximize all that we could be. No one, other than ourselves, has the passion to fulfill the dreams lingering in our hearts.

I strongly believe the key in fulfilling this desire is in living out our future. Yet many find it difficult and even inconceivable as to how to live our future. However if you ponder just for a minute, we realize that our future is not only found next year, it is the next hour. In fact our future is our next minute. Yes, even our next second is our future.

In other words, to live our future is to live our present, intentionally focusing on what else we can do rather than focusing on what we have already done. Because we can, in error, focus on what we have done and live a life that we have already lived rather than questioning what else we can still accomplish

Our past can be a threat to our future if we continually focus and dwell on our failures and mistakes. Yet our past is also an opportunity for us to learn from our mistakes. What is crucial is how we view our past. The way to move from our past into the future is to perceive all of our past and view them as learning points and growth opportunities.

In fact, when we view failure as an opportunity to start again, then we see it as a temporary experience gearing towards our eventual success. In other words, we cannot stop a man who has decided he is going to win. We have to live life according to our terms if we want to be effective and successful. Life has everything we desire in it but we need to live it with our passion and intentions.

Our past can also be a threat to our future if we continually focus and dwell on our past accomplishments and remain too comfortable in that space. While we should celebrate our triumphs, we must also continue to reach for brighter stars and bigger goals.

What makes life interesting is that there will always be challenges awaiting us. For us to live our destiny, we need to confront these challenges, subdue and overcome them.