When you are trying to improve yourself, whether it be personally or in your career, motivation is important. Everyone says this and everyone sort of knows it. But why is having motivation or something external that motivates us so important? There are a few reasons why, and here they are.

It Engenders a Positive Outlook

Thinking positively improves everything else you do. When you are stuck with a negative outlook, it’s pretty much impossible for you to do something positive in life. And when you have that motivation, you start to look at things differently, and, usually, in a much more positive light. The power of this can’t be overstated.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and look at things negatively. For example, you might feel that nothing you do seems to change your fortunes. But when you get stuck in that negative spiral, it’s hard to get out. A most positive outlook could really change things and make your chances of success greater.

It Strengthens Focus

A lack of focus can be disastrous for someone who is trying to achieve something in particular. Without that all-important focus, you are not going to be able to get to where you want to be. You become much more focused on the job at hand when you are fully motivated and ready to go.

What gives you that motivation and focus is up to you. But sometimes, having an external thing to give you that motivation can be the best way to improve your levels of focus. It might be just as simple as the prospect of driving a better car. But that external motivation can be a great way to generate focus. It also allows you to get a hold on how and where you want to redirect your energy, whether it be through getting a higher degree in places like Excelsia College, or pursuing a new hobby that you’ve been wanting to go for.

You Start to Think Outside the Box

When you are motivated, the shackles are loosened, and you start to feel like you can do anything. This is a very positive thing, and it should be wholeheartedly embraced. When you start to think outside the box and come up with new ideas, it helps you get to where you want to be.

You should embrace change and new ideas, and being motivated helps you to this. That’s because motivated people are more open and interested in new things. But when you’re demotivated, you’re more likely to stick to what you know and stay in your shell.

You’ll Have Something Concrete to Aim For

When you are motivated, it tends to mean that you have an aim or ambition to focus on. Sometimes, the end result, whether it be a promotion or a new possession, is enough to provide you with motivation. Having that thing to aim for is a great way to motivate you and improve your overall performance at whatever it is you are doing.

You could even plaster your office wall or a wall at home with images that represent the thing that you’re aiming for. When you have something that reminds you of what you’re working towards, it can help a great deal.

Image source: Staticflickr

time you enjoy wasted is not wasted.

Recently I keep having this terrible feeling that I’m falling out of love. Falling out of love with Sydney, the city I’ve lived in for ages.

What I loved about the city has lost its former glory, one by one.

The beaches. They are still nice but it’s close to impossible to find a parking spot around the beaches within driving distance. If you do find one after driving in circles, it’s going to be $10 -20/per hour to park.

The blue sky. Compared to the sky in Beijing, Sydney’s sky is still blue. But it’s getting dustier and dustier and often decorated with huge crain everywhere. Well, one can say it’s a sign of development.

Clean. No more. Sydney used to be much more peaceful and cleaner mainly due to the smaller population. Now I wonder if enough cleaners are hired to clean up the ever growing litter.

Though getting crowded and dirtier, the city as a whole, remains quite backward compared to other modern cities in the world. It can be… boring.

Yes, sorry, I’m supposed to be positive and always passionate about life. But I can’t shake off the feeling of being uninspired.

So I started to find inspiration in the city and some serious time – wasting activities, like hair throwing in the ocean;

time you enjoy wasted is not wasted.

like spending 3 hours walking around and taking photos of radom flowers.

time you enjoy wasted is not wasted

I felt a bit guilty of spending so much time doing something seems useless. But hey, I was kind of enjoy the time doing nothing “productive” and feeling slightly inspired again.

Someone once said “The time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.” Whoever said that, thank you. You give me a perfect excuse to indulging nothingness.

do small things in a great way

I’ve been sitting here for at least 30 minutes but couldn’t come up with a sentence after the title “Do small things in a great way.” Normally, if I want to write something, it just flows. I’m not saying what I write is readable or good but it’s been easy. Because I mainly wrote for therapeutic purpose. I didn’t worry too much about the errors I made or if other people will understand my point of view. But from time to time I’d get emails from people through my blog. And then I’m like, “Omg, there are actually people reading my ramblings. I’d better put more effort into it.”

Note to self: If you want to do something, you might as well try a little harder and do a good job. No matter how small that thing is. Of course it doesn’t mean being pedantic. I know you are allergic to being pedantic. What I meant was good quality. Good quality is attractive. Time is precious. Make good use of your time; make something that is worth your time & be proud of it.

do small things in a great way

Photo taken on this past long weekend. Small flowers but so perfectly beautiful.

why I want to learn how to cook

I’m a late bloomer. Almost in everything.

Still not blooming yet. But still hopeful. You see, never give up hoping.

From this year, I started those weekly self motivational posts every week. And miraculously, I’ve kept going at it. Every week.

For those of you who don’t know me well, I normally start something and forget about it in 3 weeks’ time.

Reason why I’m still hot on this series? It’s because I’m full of flaws and I’m motivated to motivate myself to be better. Make sense?

In light of self motivation, from this week I’d like to learn how to cook. I mean … proper cooking, like following recipes and stuff. Do you cook often and measure the proportion of your ingredients? I cook from time to time but always free style. And eating out all the time is properly not that good. I need to know what I’m eating!

Here are at least 9 reasons why I want to learn bow to cook properly:

  1. I love eating and food, obviously.
  2. Practice my thinking brain.
  3. Be creative.
  4. Stay organized and disciplined.
  5. Be a better wife/house keeper.
  6. Make healthy eating a habit.
  7. Be patient.
  8. Master the lighting of still life photography.
  9. Keep the recipes on this blog as references.

Attached is a total irrelevant photo that I took at Sydney Cruise Bar. Actually, you can’t say it’s that irrelevant… because I snapped it while eating there. They served really, really nice food.

9 reason why I want to learn bow to cook

Don't play small

Do you feel that you can actually achieve more but you have been “busy” playing small?

It’s so easy to be trapped into a pattern of finishing up the mundane tasks everyday and forget about seeing the bigger picture.

Nelson Mandela’s quote really gave me a wake up call:  “There is no passion to be found paying small, – in setting for a life is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Don't play small

The key is to stay focused and continually reflect through out the year. Ask yourself: Who do you want to be? What do you want to create in your life?

There are only 4 months left for 2015. Did you set your goals for 2015 at the beginning of this year? Do you regularly review your goal and reflect to see how far have you gone so far this year?

With that in mind, here are some questions to help us reflect:

  • What would you like to be your biggest achievement of this year?
  • What are the greatest lessons you have learned so far this year?
  • what was the biggest risk you took so far this year?
  • what is the major effort you have put to improve your financial results so far this year?
  • How have you seen yourself grow so far this year?
  • What are you most happy about yourself so far this year?
  • What is the biggest business you’d like to finish by the end of this year & what is your progress so far?

Don’t settle on playing small. Go on, you deserve better!

“Don't worry about a thing

My Chinese name is 欣 (pronounced sin) which means happy and prosperous. Yep, my parents had all the good intention for me.

But man, I was miserable and a consistent worrier. I worried about every little thing and complained so much.

When J found out about my Chinese name, he said quietly: “Hmmm. You have the wrong name.”

God love him. He is so honest.

Remember the saying? — The truth always hurts but it will set you free. 🙂

Nowadays, I always try to calm down and worry less though it takes a lot effort on my part.
This blog is a good place for me to sit down, collect my thoughts and get it all out.

Worry less, because happiness is really a choice.

I have a bad habit… Recently it got even worse.

I swallow food without chewing properly and I’m often busying doing other things (working on the computer, reading etc) while eating too.

Remember I’m striving to be healthier from this year onwards?

Eat slowly & chew longer for better health.

london thames-001



It has been getting busier, just as I had hoped.
But I forgot to enjoy the beautiful world around me and breathe.

It was a gorgeous and sunny day. I looked up and decided to drop everything and go out for a walk along the Pyrmont Pier.

How I loved everything!
Glorious afternoon sun.
And deep breath.

Always remember to breathe.

Pyrmont, Sydney

Pyrmont, Sydney

Can I say it out loud?
I’m so envious of people who have loads of energy and ability to look after so many areas in life at the same time. There are some successful entrepreneurs operating a few successful businesses all at once and some mums managed to have a high flying career and an organised family life.

I, on the other hand, keep struggling and falling off the track easily.

While I thought I’ve made good progress about forming good habits and stay disciplined so far this year, things started falling apart once one side of my life gets busier.

Then I stopped exercising, abandoning my blog, forgetting about my morning routine and started to consume junk food like there’s no tomorrow.

I’m ready to throw in the tower and let my old, bad habits control over me again.

“Catastrophic thinking”.
This is me. Panicking. Questioning about my ability to be ever disciplined enough because I’ve broken the good routine that I tried so hard to set.

It is ok. Don’t always imagine the worst. You can still get back on trace and beat the bad habits.

Yes you can. Don’t ever give up.

stay on track-001

The above photo was taken at a Sydney suburb – Leichhardt. That plane was so close to the ground, don’t you think?


Once upon a time, I thought speaking fast is a sign of being smart. By the way, I have the habit of speaking fast not because I’m trying to be smart but because I have no patience.

My perception changed until one day, a friend of mine said to me, “Yvonne, I know you and how you speak so I generally understand what you are saying. But if you are speaking so fast, I can’t really follow you because of your accent.”

I’ve been living in Sydney for 18 years now but I’m still feeling embarrassed about my English. By now I realized it doesn’t help being embarrassed but not putting extra effort to improve continuously!

My friend is so right. He is a native English speaker and an excellent public speaker. He speaks clearly, slowly and it is a joy to listen to him. What is the rush?

Then I started to pay attention to newsreaders and politicians on TV. Nobody tries to speak super fast!

So from now onwards, I’m going to speak clearly first. Pronounce every syllables of the English words. My English would have been so much better if I started to pay attention 18 years ago.

But, it’s never too late to be better, right?
Speak clearly and slowly. Make it easier for others:)

speak slowly-001

P.S. totally unrelated topic: sometimes shooting nothing turns out something. I took a snap of these leaves, thinking it’s something totally useless. But I kind of like the colors. What do you think?

Have you ever noticed this in supermarkets ? A few checkouts are open to serve customers. Some checkouts are so busy with lots of people queuing. But there’s one checkout open & empty; the checkout operator stands there alone, looking bored. Whenever people finish shopping, they just join the long queues automatically even though they can be served straight away if they go to THAT checkout which has no customer.

We people like following others – because it is easier.

We follow instructions without needing to think why it should be done this way.

We watch television and believe what we’ve been told.

We don’t want to try something new or give up easily because “It’s too hard.”

The older we get, the less curious we become.

Living can be tiring but I shall keep telling myself: please be alert & think actively.


Another photo taken at Leichhardt. There’s something amazing about sunset.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin

This is a familiar quote that never had much impact on me before. Always thought I’m someone who likes changes, which is true.

But after a period of trying to have a deeper understanding of the real me, I realized that I only like self imposed changes. If it’s some kind of change that happened beyond my control, I actually don’t deal it well naturally. Pretty sure Darwin meant “it is the one that is most adaptable to change that happened beyond your control.” !

So from now on, please don’t complain or keep thinking: if only it is like the good old days. Wake up! The good old days have gone, You can’t change others or the environment but you can change yourself to make the best of what you have now.

adopt to change-001

I look like a bug, but for the record.. it’s a crow pose.


A solid foundation is so important in every endeavor. Without a solid foundation, chances are you’ll fall back at some point no matter how high you’ve climbed.

One step at a time. There’s no short cut really.

What is important? Focus on your long term goal and have patience.

“Rome wasn’t built in one day.”

one step of a time-001

I’m not the most observant person and didn’t know the importance of being observant. If you ask me to clean a room, I’ll miss a spider web on the corner. I always take the face value of what other people say instead of watching more closely about their body language. I have the tendency to sleep walk through my life without noticing anything that is happening around me.

But I’m more interested in people now, and I want to know what they really feel and think; I want to have a better sense of direction; I want to take more control of my life instead of daydreaming all the time.

Below are the steps I’m reminding myself to follow in order to become more observant:

Focus and pay more attention to details.

Become more self-aware. Know yourself and be aware of who you are and how you act.

Pay more attention to your surroundings.

Pay more attention to others than yourself. Listen to other people, don’t worry about what to say or do next the whole time.

Pay more attention to other people’s  body language to see how they feel.

It’s not going to be a overnight makeover but if there’s a will, there is a way!

Cheers to becoming more observant! 🙂


do small things in a great way


do small things in a great way

Photo taken on the long weekend. Yellow makes me happy.

I used to have such a negative attitude for everything including my attitude towards life.

The phrases like “Life is precious”, “You only live life once”, “Live life to the fullest” are such cliches to me.

I focused on picking all the negative aspects of life and thought life is such a chore. “If only I had the birth right, I would choose not to be born.” was my thought. Terrible isn’t it? You are right, I don’t like my old self either:).

Was I born negative? I can’t really remember. But man, being negative sucks. Lucky I’m not prepared to live my entire life in a negative state of mind. Life is too good to be wasted in being negative!!!


  • Face the harsh reality that life is never meant to be easy.
  • Make the best of everything that has come to your way.
  • Strive to reach your full potential.

Love life, love you.