Dr. DARREN CHUA

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24September

2016

Winning Mindset

Mindset will determine the way we behave, our outlook on life and our attitude towards everything that is happening around us. Our mindset is our ideas and attitudes that shape the way we thinks about ourselves and the world around us. Simply put, our mindset is our way of thinking and our frame of mind.

Our mindset not only determines our collection of thoughts and beliefs, it also shape our habits. And our habits affect how we think, what we feel, and what we do

The mindset we have shifts the way we approach our everyday life. And the good news is, our mindset is not set in stone; there are things that we can do that shift your mindset so that we can get the most out of it.

As the 2016 Rio Olympics and Para-Olympics come to an end and we look forward to 2020 Tokyo Games, we celebrate the success of Schooling, Yip Pinxiu and Theresa Goh as a nation. It is also apt that we remind ourselves what led these elite athletes to shine. I call this the 3 P’s.

Perseverance
Theresa Goh first competed in the Para-Olympics way back in 2004 at the Athens Games where she finished fifth in the 100m breaststroke which is her pet event. Back then she was the first female swimmer to fly the flag for Singapore at the Para-Olympics. And although she will continue to make Singapore proud, including bagging 27 gold medals at the ASEAN Para Games, the Para-Olympic medal remained elusive.

Until 2 September 2016 where she was the bronze medal for this nation and her determination finally bore fruit.

Progress
Before even before Schooling’s gold medal win in 2016 at Rio, back in 2008, there Yip Pin Xiu who attained a gold medal at the highest level of sporting competition in Beijing as a para athlete swimmer.

She added two more gold medals at this Rio Para-Olympics in the 100m and 50m backstroke S2.
What is more fascinating is that she did all these even though her physical condition is causing her to loose muscle strength and control.

Pin Xiu’s story reminds us that continued growth and progress can always happen if we keep the right mindset despite less than ideal conditions.

Pillars of support
During the 2016 Rio Olympics, the side story besides Schooling’s outstanding swim and gold medal, was the story about his parents and how supportive they were. Both parents have been widely credited as the main driving forces behind Joseph’s success as a swimmer. The two have reportedly spent more than S$1 million on Joseph’s swimming career over the past seven years to send him to the Bolles School in Florida, United States to train and study, and now the University of Texas. And Joseph’s success today is clear validation that all their sacrifices throughout the years have paid off.

For champions to be born, both in life and in sports, I firmly believe that mindset of Perseverance, desire for Progress and a keen interest in building Pillars of support is need.

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6December

2016

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.

#DisabilityIsOnlyInTheMind

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.

#WinningMindset

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

#TheArtOfDetermination

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?

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15December

2016

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.

Perspective
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)

Authenticity
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.

Service
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.

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29December

2016

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!

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16January

2017

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.

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