the life consultant

One of the benefits of social media is that you’re able to track your own evolution over time. One of my friends said it perfectly the past day over a Skype conversation when he said “You post so much, but I’m never bored because it’s always something different. ”  I think when it comes to creating stories and content , it has to be about building on your past and bashing forward.

Avoid mistakes that you’ve previously made, make bold decisions and charge forward. Keep your head strong, and your soul on fire . There’s a reason to live, a reason to more than exist.

I’ve used social media additionally as a way of keeping people in my life involved in what I do. If there’s any a time I needed to push an activation or following, people aren’t taken aback but instead have already been so passively involved that they’re more inclined to provide a response. A spin off of this that was rather interesting was the accidental portrayal of me as a life consultant. One of my goals in life is to eventually become a coach in leadership and passion living. I’m nowhere near there ; instead I’m spending time putting myself in situations where I can learn as much as possible. But I’m glad people are talking to me about things personal to them because I get to learn so much from their stories, and if I may say so, their struggles.

I’ve given advice on anything from how to  plan  kickass travel itinerary, to how to survive the military, to how to start a business succesfully. I don’t think I ever did any of those things in the “best way possible” but I realise it didn’t matter because through the process of reflection I was able to identify the principles that would have made it better. My favorite session was when I was talking to a friend about how he wanted to help a village in Cambodia fight the local government for more sustainable development and had a friendly debate on topics such as governance, personal courage and political warfare.

I’ve missed having such cerebral topics and as much you would think you’d find those in college, the honest truth is that most conversations are clouded so much by emotion, personal biases and prejudices that you never get to the point of having a valuable discussion.

That’s why I’m an engineer by education. Everyone I’ve talked to says I much better fit an Arts degree, and I’ve always replied saying that I can still learn about the Arts without taking a degree but you can’t really the same about being an Engineer. I’d rather have discussions and write articles directed at people who’d be willing to have a discussion than those immediately wanting to judge.

Having given advice, I also reflected on the fact that a huge reason I am where I am now is because I was always asking others for their advice too. I’m blessed with mentors and friends who I can pull a whole bunch of information and wisdom from and use them adaptively. That ability to recognise resources and how to utilise them is something I hope more people gain and take advantage of, because only then can they see more progress in their lives.

I love the idea of being a consultant on life. Again, I’m nowhere near there right now, but when I’m 50 and ready to retire, I want to tell some of the best stories ever.



i eat giants for breakfast

be absolutely ludicrous.

Somewhere in my life, a fire erupted …. no, an explosion occurred inside of me causing me to be always craving adventure. Nothing was ever going to be enough but I was not going to sit down and eat brunch every Sunday. I was not going to waste my breath on a life mediocre.

So I wrote, I built my adventures in my head. I explored made up worlds, with lives of characters that represented  ideals of mine. I was a mercenary, and then a old sage on the brink of death. I was death, and then I was life. I built the Last Saloon and recreated the Moment of Revelation.

And then I couldn’t just write. I had to see, I had to touch, I had to be. No one was going to tell me what I could or could  not do. I had enough of that in school, especially in an education system designed to “assign” people to the lives they are supposedly fulfilled to live. So I began eating giants for breakfast.

I began by saying yes to more things. I was kayaking on the Saturday, and training for a marathon on the Sunday. Is that for me? Yes? I’ll do it. No? Who says so? I’m still doing it.

And then I started dreaming. I started seeing friends explore lands I had only seen on the television. I saw friends championing causes; making the world better. I also saw people complaining about their lives, how they wonder how they got stuck where they were.

So I ate another giant and asked What If? I asked What If I made this a priority. What would I need to do? I put it on a piece of paper, stuck it behind my door and saw it every morning I woke up. I’d do push-ups while looking at it – I was getting mentally synced to achieve my goals. This was happening – this was not a wish, this was a desire and that’s something that’s derived deeper. A desire lives in the depths of your soul, it claws at you from the inside till it can be realised.

I broke away from the  people that said “Let’s stick to what we know” and started hanging out with the dreamers and believers. These were the people who said “We can build something”. I valued the people who kept me grounded, but I was not going to around the people who kept me floundered.

And one day, I started “winning” the game. Fruits of the seeds were starting to show. I was able to open doors to meetings with people of influence and convince them to support me. I was able to learn how to play the game of life; how to navigate some of the pitfalls that open themselves up to the wayfarers. I was able to build teams, share my vision and bring them on the journey with me. I was building on past successes to achieve more.

I failed many times too, but every fail was a fail forward. I stood up, dusted my knees and ran on (I imagine my marathon taught me a lot about that) .

My lifestyle changed. I was high-octane. Testosterone and adrenaline are concentrated in my blood stream. From the music I listen to, to the sports I participate in, I’m living a life of energy.

I stand here, a veteran of stories. I’m only 21. Let me say that again. I’m 21. In the past 3-4 years I’ve probably seen more than some people can afford.

I’m more privileged than most, and I recognise that privilege. But the money I spent was all money I earned. I used my stories to make money by adapting them. I made my life a story – a manuscript of a journey tirelessly threaded.

Having said that,  I have a lot of people to thank , my family especially, but I also want to recognise that a lot of this process was started from that explosion. That was something internal. One morning, I woke up and just decided to eat a giant.

Giants still roam this earth. Giants still intimidate people. But I want others to start waging battles against these giants. I want to ignite that explosion in others. I want people to travel, to start organisations and companies, to go on YouTube , to convince world leaders to take on a policy stance, to live extraordinarily.

Find your giant, look it straight in the eye and then begin to chew at it. It’ll wriggle, it’ll try to run away from you, but you know you’re stronger than it. Why?

Because now you’re larger than life.


why you should do #77breaths

So for those who have been following the #77breaths challenge I’ve been doing, you would notice i’ve modified certain aspects of the challenge.

For one, I’ve involved a break-day every 11 breaths, to give myself a chance to actually breathe (punny ain’t it) . It’s absolutely phenomenal to be able to have an extraordinary experience every day consecutively, but it is also both mentally and physically exhausting, and so breaks are necessary.

I feel like i’m a much better version of the person i was. Granted , the challenge cannot cover a lot more events that happened in the sidelines, whether they be personal or external events, but the challenges have honestly played the primary role in my decision making the past few weeks.  I know a lot more about the world, I know new skills and also have made so many more friends.

Is it worth  it? Yes, without a doubt. Everyone should embark on some variation of this challenge, whether it be a 7 day streak or even a weekly variation. Force yourself to see the world for what it is.

I’ve had a handful of friends who have picked up the concept and are now excited to do the breaths in their own way. Doors have opened for me simply because I said yes a lot more than I used to, and now I’m seeing things I never dreamed I would ever see as a freshman.

If you recall my mantra on creating instead of consuming, this is a great way to get involved. Life doesn’t start after school, life is already  ongoing and you have to get into it. Because when you do, you realise how small your world used to be.


why Singapore needs more stories

it’s finally here. 2nd of August. The day I fly to Germany, and then take an additional two weeks to backpack around Europe for a bit. I’ve been waiting for this long holiday for a long time. In order to get here though, there was a lot of closure that had to be done. I had to find a strong core team to take over The Hidden Good, I had to settle all my college and scholarship administrative matters , and I had to meet up with all my friends again before I fly off.

So yes, I managed to find a lovely partnership with Gushcloud that allows The Hidden Good to run and an amazing team to make sure things run smoothly after. I managed to close all my outstanding administrative matters. I managed to meet up with most of my friends. And the thing that came reiterating itself through these processes was the memory of things past. The stories that caused the present; the adventures and the decisions.

It was when I was at Gushcloud’s Office Opening , when Willie and Vincent , two entrepreneurs I deeply admire and now have the pleasure of being partners with, and they were sharing core stories that brought them to the establishment that was the office at 625 Toa Payoh Lor 4,  that i realised I too would share my own stories someday and would hope that they inspire a new layer of initiative and empowerment. And what if were able to bring these stories together in a good way – in a way that Singaporeans could be proud of.

We remember the Singapore of old because of the multitude of stories and the materials captured in the history books. Struggles, battles, deaths and sacrifices. But if anyone was to write a story on Singaporeans in the past 30-40 years, what would we write about? We need to keep creating history, to keep creating national memories. Right now, we’re nostalgic and remembering things from the 50s-60s. But are we are caring about profiling the memories we make now?

There are some that are capturing these stories, but I still think the missing ingredient is a good taste. No one has captured the heart of the Singaporean through his/her prose just yet , but more should try to. In their own way. A Singapore rich in its stories, find its people sharing these stories in times of doubt or conflict. These are what make a society.

I’ll continue making my own stories. I don’t really like the idea of YOLO – i think the concept of living once both liberates and constricts in so many way. But I do believe in Carpe Diem – in seizing the day . In living. And with those stories, I hope to continue to add to my wealth – of knowledge and application. And make the world a better place


the lessons i’ve learnt

21 years isn’t a lot of time. it’s probably slightly less than a third of most people’s lifetimes. and I’ve realised there’s a lot more to this world than i can ever imagine. there’s lands to be discovered, ideas to be progressed and most importantly, people to meet.

but i’d like to think i’ve done a few stuff and those are probably worth reflecting on. i mean there’s a wealth of knowledge in each moment if we simply decide to ponder a bit more on what they represent. this is me, at 21, realising a few things about life. some of them are disappointing, most of them are hugely affirmatory , but i’m inclined to believe all of them are intermediary – merely steps to a bigger realisation. and these possibilities excite me.

so here goes , the lessons i have humbly learnt.

Realisation #1 :The Journey is a good as the People you take it with

I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to meet a lot of people over the past year. Some of them have been really close friends and buddies, some of them I’ve had to bite my tongue to avoid antagonism. But at the end of the day, these people have made the journey I was on what it was.

The fantastic projects and ideas that I embarked on were nothing without the team of people and partners I had. It’s a tribal saying – the journeys are always hard, so choose the right people for them.

In this day and age, there’s a disgusting sense of admiration for individualism and freewill as compared to loyalty and camraderie. As if everyone is granted a free-pass as long as you use the words “I want to focus on something new” .

I still hold on to the belief that commitments stand for something, and that means that you go the mile to make sure you back each other up. Those who must take up their own journeys, must do it with a sense of loyalty and responsibility. And I’ve respected the friends who have done that all the more.

Choose the friends who care about you as much as you care about them , who don’t see you as an afterthought or a convenience. These friends , you can emotionally invest in and expect the warmth of friendship over time. It’s a tough and busy world out there, I’ve realised, and the people you choose to spend time messaging and hanging out with starts becoming more selective. Not because you’re “too busy for others” but really because every person has a limited capacity , and it can get exhausting otherwise.

Mentors that are invested in you, Teams that will run with you, these are the people aspect of things that matter.

People matter in any industry or conquest. Stay close to the ones that you know have your back.

Realisation #2 : Love is key, Passion is furious

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I am three things – I am an Innovator, Strategist and Advocate. But the one word that would sum up all three of those is the word “Ideator” . I ideate every day, and have a notebook full of crazy ideas that I want to execute in my lifetime. The more feasible ones are being worked on now.

Some of them are really tough to execute. We face resistance to our ideas on a daily basis – convincing and selling them is an uphill battle we fight. But one of the strongest arguments I’ve found that really sell is the honest truth that you care about what you do.

When people see the fire, when people see you bleeding what you present – they realise the conviction you have in your cause and can get infected by it. By loving what you do, you seal the most important argument of all – “I am willing to stand by this with my life.”

It’s not so much about being foolhardy and putting all your resources into it, but rather about increasing the gear. Some of my mentors have told me about the 100 Hour Rule – as someone who’s embarking on whatever you’re doing, expect to put 100 Hours a week into your  job because you’re fighting the good fight. You won’t necessarily earn much immediately, but keep fighting and you’ll hit the flip where the passion that you’ve been running on rewards you with financial freedom, time and comfort. Keep the fire.

Realisation #3 : Think Sustainable

I’ve cut down the lessons to 3 because I realise I don’t want to overdo these posts. So I’ve chosen this as my last realisation, at least for this post.

Sustainability is a very valid buzzword of our time. We realise that any idea has to be executed with anticipation of the future.  Things may change, and you may need to expand capacity for bigger productions and projects. These are concepts that only someone who deliberately executes strategic decisions can appreciate .

Anything as simple as a school project to something as complex as a career life-plan has to allow for dynamic interference.  Where are you positioning yourself to head and what do you need to get there? I’ve met too many people and organisations that have focussed so much on the next day that they’ve forgotten to see how the next 5 steps are looking like. They end up overusing their resources and exhausting themselves.  A sustainable mindset is paramount.

My dearest hope is for the next generation of youths in Singapore to take on the mantle of being dream-chasers. And they have to do it right, they have to do it with an appreciation of the complexities that lie within the sphere of dream-chasing. But therein is the excitement – things are never simple in this realm. We are all warriors.

And that’s exciting


rovik. writes about The Hidden Good – Singapore Unveiled.

first things first- by the end of this article I hope you share this post or our FB page. why? read on.

so most of you should know that I’m working on another crazy idea. and i’m really excited about this one.

it started off as a conversation between Leon, a great buddy of mine, Qin En and me in the MRT. We were all standing near the “Reserved Seat” in the MRT with a train packed to the rims, yet nobody was sitting on it. There was this sense of fear that if someone who did not belong to the required category of elderly, handicapped and pregnant sat there, they would be immediately shunned and cast to the dark hallways of STOMP.

there was a sense of fear in our society to live in peace and pleasantness with one another.

and we realised that as much as the shaming of bad acts in Singapore is done in STOMP and forms a part of our social consciousness, there’s a lack of the celebrating of the good in our society to counter that. where’s the other side of the story? does it not exist?

we all know it does. we’ve encountered amazing people who would go a step out from their comfort zone to help someone else in their society – who would do simple acts of goodwill simply because they can and will. yet it’s hidden in our community – hiding in the shadows of the critics who only like to point fingers and yell targets at people.

we aim to uncover that hidden good. we aim to show Singapore what it is, and has the potential to be.

through our videos, we expose the real side of Singapore by instigating responses, breaking down barriers and creating avenues for interaction. we’re ruthless – this is not a school project nor is it an attempt at getting short term KPIs. we’re here to prove a point, and we’re ready to put Singaporeans in the position to show what they’ve got.

there may be disappointments in how they react, but based on our filming experience and our encounters – the vast majority of Singaporeans will do and have done good in our videos. we’ll show both sides – but the point is the same – would you now take up the mindset that you too can be that guy?

once the hidden good is unveiled , our society can grow. we can look past our disappointments and struggles, and seek to build a common future. because we know we can trust the guy next to us to have our back.

we’ll be posting up updates and launching in April but keep up with our teasers and sneak peeks.

our FB is

our twitter is @thehiddengood.

SHARE! yes , please share because we want to reach as many people as we can with this message and get them involved.

if you can act, take professional videos, handle online tools or just want to be a part of our team just contact us .

the rest, share our message. we’re a mishmash of people from all over Singapore with very little in common other than the fact that we’re from the same country. we’re not necessarily nationalists – we just believe in the human ability .

and that’s the whole point.

p.s. remember to SHARE!