Dr. DARREN CHUA

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3February

2017

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.

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20February

2017

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.

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28February

2017

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?

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6March

2017

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.

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20March

2017

Vision is more important than sight

It is what we think and perceive that holds us back. Conversely, it is also what we think that propels us to our future success and destiny. While it is true that in life we cannot control circumstances, but we can always control our thoughts regarding any problem or situation. After all, nothing in life changes until there is a renewal of mind and consequently, a mindset transformation. It is good to remember that information per se does not bring transformation to our lives; intentional living does.

The renewal of our mind and transformation of our mindset is not an easy task. We are the product of the sum total of our thought processes which we have conditioned into our beliefs.

But just because we believe a fact does not necessary mean we will act on it. When I was younger, I thought our beliefs defines who we are as individuals. Well, not anymore. I realised there are many things which I know it is a fact, yet I do not act on it. Change does not happen simply because we believe and know it is fact. Change happens only when we are convicted to the point of action.

Recently I read about this story of a man who came upon a construction site where three people were working. He asked the first, “What are you doing?” and the man replied: “I am laying bricks.” He asked the second, “What are you doing?” and the man replied: “I am building a wall.” As he approached the third, he heard him humming a tune as he worked, and asked, “What are you doing?” The man stood, looked up at the sky, and smiled, “I am building a cathedral!”

Out of these three workers, who would have the preferred attitude? It is interesting to note that in this story we have the same job yet with three differing working attitudes only because of their mindsets.

This little story tell us that while we all see the same world and how we envision the world are two very different realities.

What is the Vision for your success today?

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3May

2017

Stuck in a Rut? 5 Tips to Propel your Life forward

Are you at a place in life where nothing appears to be moving? Worse still, does the situation appear to be getting darker with every passing moment? Or perhaps, you are at a crossroad where every possible option appears to be simply just a choice between a step towards the devil or the deep blue sea?

The great poet Robert Frost penned the beautiful poem “The Road Not Taken”. In the final few stanzas he wrote:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Many times, all it takes is a change in mindset that will propel us to sweet success. Below are some perspectives in which a change, in any of the 5, may lead you to better outcomes.

  1. COURAGE

We all recognize acts of courage when we see them. Our spirit cheers in acknowledgement. While we can recognize it, performing it may be a different matter altogether. You see, acts of courage require us to dig deep and, very often, do something which we may not be comfortable with. Acts of valor require us not only to hold on to the cup that is entrusted to us, but to also run with it until we reach the finishing line.

Many try to find courage by introspection and often deemed themselves as not valiant enough and unworthy of being a champion in life. But maybe it is because the answer is not from looking inward; but rather to look at what you have at the very present moment, and consider how you can change the situation for the better; day by day, bit by bit.

  1. RESPONSIBILITY

To propel our lives forward requires us to accept a daunting truth. And that is no one is responsible for our life except us. The term “responsibility” can be broken up into 2 words “response” and “ability”. With any given situation, we all have the responsibility to “respond” with the very best “ability that we have.

In other words, in order to propel our lives forward, you have to live in the here and now. Past mistakes are regrettable but they are over! Move on! Future fears are nothing more than figments of imagination until they come to pass… which may not even happen! Just because you made a mistake in the past does not mean you will do it again. You have the ability to prepare and respond in a better manner… and therefore expect a much better outcome!

  1. APPRECIATION

“What you appreciate, appreciates – Anon”. Similarly, what you depreciate, depreciates. What do you hold dear? What do you constantly think about? Is it your family, or your business, or your job or other relationships? More importantly, in what manner are you thinking of such things?

Paul, who taught the gospel of the Christ in the first century, says clearly, “…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.”

  1. TEACHABILITY

Sometimes, downtime may be an excellent time to reflect, re-strategize and to plan in expectation for a bigger and better harvest. In these circumstances, often the key factor in turning these downtimes into opportunities for us to emerge stronger is to have a teachable spirit.

Ask yourself these questions. Am I open to other people’s ideas? Am I able to accept my error when pointed out? Am I willing to show a temporary period of ignorance to gain a deeper understanding?

  1. HOPE

Think big and reach out for your star! Draw, aim and shoot at a goal which, while it should not be impossible, should be within stretch targets. Push yourself! You will be surprised with the hidden potential you have!

Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude”. Your attitude in any situation or problem will directly determine how well you fare in it. Hold on to that positivity and hope! At the end of the day, that may be all it takes to turn that flickering flame from afar into your flaming glory in the not so distant future!

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8June

2017

Renew Your Mindset Through Plasticity

Our mindset is the sum total of our knowledge, beliefs and thoughts about the world we live in. Our mindset is the filter and lens which we use to view, receive and react to information. Therefore, developing an appropriate mindset is crucial to our eventual success.

Increasingly, there is great interest in connecting these thoughts with brain research. Over the last few years, we have come to understand that the brain is not merely a fixed organ or entity. Our brain is constantly changing based on our actions and thoughts. The concept of our brain being able to change constantly is called neuroplasticity. Plasticity refers to how our brain learns new information and how we cope with new activities.

For example, we learn new motor task by repeating the motor task and thereby increasing the blood flow to this area of the brain which leads to increase brain connectivity. We know when you are creating dendrites, you are learning. I remember how I learned how to play table tennis in a wheelchair. When I began, the “brain connection” was weak but with repetitive practice, the skill of playing the game becomes more fluent and quick.

At its core, plasticity is about building a habit that becomes more automatic and therefore longer lasting. In turn, this will sustainably boost our sustainability and creativity. In other words, plasticity may allow us to retrain the brain to scan for the good things in life—to help us see more possibility, to feel more energy, and to succeed at higher levels

With that in mind, here are some ways which we can rewire our brain for positivity and enhancement in life.

1) Recognize the situation for what it is and now how it feels
We need to identify and relabel the false brain messages we send to ourselves. More importantly, we should also be mindful as to how we can rephrase the message that is able to empower us rather than restrain us.

2) Reframe to rewire our perception
After recognizing the situation for what it really is (rather than how we feel), we need to change (reframe to rewire) our perception of the situation. This allows us to search for new and better alternatives and possibilities.

3) Re-orientate and act on new perspective
After reframing, we next have to direct our attention toward an activity or mental process that is wholesome and productive – even while the false and deceptive thoughts and impulse are still present and bothering us. Yet we need to clearly see the thoughts, urges, and impulses for what they are: sensations caused by deceptive brain messages that are not true and that have little to no value and focus our thoughts and activities that are worth the while.

The key is practice. We literally need to be mindful and be more aware of what is happening and learning how to Recognize, Reframe and Re-orientate our attention in healthier and productive ways you teach your brain new, beneficial responses. With time, we will learn how to place our attention to where we want it to go.

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14June

2017

5 Keys of Transformation

Successful people have transformational mindset and such mindsets gear us up for success. Our transformational mindsets are rooted upon positive attitudes, healthy disposition, great habits and empowering thought life. After all, our mindset is the open secret to our success – the thoughts we carry, the beliefs we hold, the actions we take and the results that is geberated.
There are 5 keys to our transformational mindset. Let us take a look at each of them briefly.
The first key is that of Purpose. Purpose is the original reason for the creation of a thing. We are born to do something very special. Success therefore is measured by what do are born to do and deliver to the world.
Once we discover our purpose, passion naturally grows. Someone with passion will not be bored with life for he has found a life that is worth the living.
The second key of transformational mindset is that of Principle. We live by principles because we know we are successful and therefore we need to intentionally protect our purpose. By living a principled life, we painfully decide to do things or not to do certain things that may ruin our purpose.
The third key is that of Attitude. If we are going to be successful, we need to be intentional in asking this question continually, “What can I do for others, today?”.
The next key is that of Determination. True determination has three components – persistence, perseverance and patience. Persistence is about running the race and not giving up until the race is completed. Perseverance, on the other hand, is about picking ourselves up after we fall. Most, if not all, successful people is a result of getting back up despite of a fall. As for patience, it is an understanding that no one is successful in a day; Rome wasn’t built in a single day. It is about not complaining but diligently working while we are waiting.
The final key is that of Encouragement. We need to encourage those around us to be better. I win only if we win. Therefore, start to be that voice that lifts others up and rise together!

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29June

2017

Strokes of Love

As an international speaker, I have the opportunity and the privilege to share with various groups, companies and organisations about what I have learnt and garnered through the experience I have had as a stroke survivor (17 years) using the keynotes and workshops that I deliver. Very so often, during the Q & A’s or the breaks, people will come up and ask about my family and till date, many people still give me the amazing look when they find out that I am able to start a family considering I had my stroke relatively young at the age of 24.


In many of my talks I spread the message that our disability is only in the mind and that we are never defined by what happens to us but rather, how we respond to the situations that happen in our lives. When it comes to love, I view it as a word. In fact the English language terms it as a verb. In other words, it is an action word. Which means we have to actively respond in order to express love in a meaningful manner to those that matter to us.


Even as a youth growing up even before I suffered the stroke, I knew I wanted to have a family with a wife to love and children to cherish. And in order to do that, I knew that the most important pursuit towards that goal is to be completely whole and uniquely wholesome. In fact wholesomeness is the foundation of all relationships and that includes the relationship we have with our spouse. In fact, how we get along with different members of the family is totally dependent on how wholesome we are as individuals. After all, our wholeness determines the quality of our relationships; be it personal, social or professional.


I have found that any difficulties we may have in our relationships with our spouse or other members of the family, very often, is NOT due to the stroke or any other disability we may have; rather it can be traced a wholeness issue, or rather a lack of wholeness.


I have realised throughout the conversations I have had that the most important relationship is not inter-relationship but intra-relationship. The most important relationship we should aim to cultivate is that which is within ourselves. This is because the better the knowledge we have of ourselves, the better we understand who we are.


Hence, the most important person to love is you!


Yet as stroke survivors, many of us may have a feeling of inadequacy due to the brain attack which may have left us physically disabled and cognitively not as sharp as before. I had to grapple with my sense of inadequacy as well until I discover the truth and that is, disability is only in the mind. We are not defined by what we cannot do; we are defined by what we can do with what we have. Whatever we perceive, we conceive; and whatever we conceive ultimately becomes our reality.


Our self-perception and self-conception is vital to how we relate to those dear to us. To the degree we are able to love ourselves is that degree we are able to love others. For everyone, including stroke survivors, the key question is never about “Do you still love me?” but that of “Do I still love myself?” After all, it is important that we are able to love ourselves before we can love anyone else.


I believe one of the best way to generate and garner that sense self-worth is to know that we are all positioned to be person of influence to those that is around us. Using words and deliberate actions, we all can still be an impact to those around us and as long we are intentionally creating positive value, we can always make the day a better and brighter day to our loved ones.

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