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Ramasamy Chockalingam Jnr – October 8th, 2012
2nd year medical student at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS
In Singapore, each year Prime Minister Book Prize is awarded to Primary, Secondary and Pre-University students. The Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident, who has displayed a high level of proficiency bilingually with consistent performance, is eligible for the selection of Prime Minister Book Prize.
In 2008, Ramasamy Chockalingam Jnr won the Prime Minister Book Prize in the Secondary Level category. He shares his tips to success with the readers:
10 lessons I have learnt in life
Let me be straight to the point:
this article is an attempt to share with you ten important lessons of my life. But before I go any further, I must make a disclaimer – this is NOT a recipe for success, or guide to making achievements or whatsoever. I’m only 20 years old and in all honesty, I am too young to even attempt to teach or preach about life and how one should live. This is merely a simple sharing of a few key life lessons of my life. So, as I type this article this very moment, I set out with just one hope, or perhaps, humble request that you, as the reader, consider my words and try to apply my life lessons in your life. And I will consider myself successful if just one of you incorporates just one of the lessons I share in your life, because I believe that if I can just touch the life of one the many readers in some small way, this article is more than worthwhile.
So, with that in mind, I now humbly share with you 10 simple lessons life has taught me.
1) Be a man of principles
We face challenges every day. Some challenges may question who we are, what we believe in or what we stand for. There will be times when we are shaken apart, brought to the ground and reduced to tears. But we always have a choice: we can always choose to take the easy way out or choose to take the right way. If the easy way is the right way, then that’s great! But more often than not, that’s not true, and in those times, the importance of making the right decision, the decision we can be proud of, cannot be underplayed. And to make that right decision, it is quintessential for us to be a man of principles, for these are the principles that will define us and serve as our moral compass at all times.
2) NEVER work hard; ALWAYS work smart
I admit this might be a controversial point, given the fact that the ethos of our classrooms, workplaces, offices and homes always seem to resonate with the advice to be hard-working. But in my experience, I personally found that it was always better to work smart rather than work hard. Working hard means to work for 10 hours a day and hardly have time for anything else. Working smart means to work for just 2 or 3 hours a day and yet have the amazing the efficiency to conquer 10 hours worth of work and have spare time to spend on other lovely aspects of life. Efficiency, planning and strategizing – that’s the key to working smart.
3) Positive mindset
Many of you might have heard of this – ‘The Law of Attraction’. What you think of with all your heart is what you will attract into your life. So quite simply, just THINK POSTIVELY! Learn to love yourself and be grateful, because from my experiences, the greatest source of positive energy is from loving yourself for who you are and being thankful for the blessings life has showered you with. Once you cultivate this confident, positive thinking mindset, the next step is to visualize yourself achieving what you want. The power of visualization is immense. By actively visualizing what you want to achieve, you are attracting it into your life. But there is one little trick in this: you must really believe in what you visualize without the faintest hint of doubt in yourself. Simply put, be positive and visualize what you want without any doubt in yourself, and that is exactly what you will attract into your life.
4) The success master-plan
You most definitely would have heard of this – ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. True indeed, planning is great, but it’s only great for the 20th century. This is the 21st century! Everyone is planning! So if you want to be ahead of the game, stop planning and start master-planning!
To plan means to think how of you want to do a particular project and get it done on time. To master-plan means to think of why and how this project should be done to suit your long term strategies and how this project can be done in a way to enrich your path to reach where you want to be in 20 years time. To master-plan means to think of a far bigger picture and then zoom in and plan out all the tiny details to achieve that bigger picture. This is the key to be one step ahead of the rest of the world.
5) Balanced Lifestyle
Having a balanced lifestyle makes life a lot more fun and interesting. It would be really horrible if one day, we turn around and realize all that we have done for the past couple of years is just study or work all day long, all week long, all year long. Life has a lot more to offer than just books and projects, so learn to just go out and try different things, engage yourself in different activities, go out with loved ones, do the things you like. Having a balanced lifestyle not only enriches your life but makes you a happier person, and anything that makes you happier is worth it!
This might seem a little trivial to be on a list of 10 important life lessons, but trust me, this is incredibly more important than what we would normally think. Being punctual makes a huge impact on how people perceive you. Being punctual makes you a lot more credible, lovable, and pleasant to be with generally. One might think –‘What’s the big deal in being 5 minutes late? I mean it’s just 5 minutes!’ But learn to tell yourself – ‘If 5 minutes isn’t such a big deal, then why can’t I just jolly well be there 5 minutes early and earn a good name for being punctual?’ Punctuality – trust me, one of the hardest but most important things to follow!
7) Always give 110% of what people expect
When you are tasked to do something or give something, the difference between producing a result of 100% and a result of 110% is very small. But for the person on the receiving end, that little difference means a lot. It means that you could have given 50%; you could have given 90%; you could have given 100%. But no, you chose to give 110%. And that shows that you are willing to commit to excellence; it shows that you believe that the person on the receiving end is worth much more to you that you are prepared to put in extra effort for them. May it be in studies, work, projects, buying a gift, or just simply spending time with your loved one, always give 110% of what people would expect. Trust me, it works wonders.
8) Never give up
Our very birth begins as the birth of a champion. Before each and every one of us was conceived, there were a billion sperms competing and fighting to get to that one single egg, but in the end, only one survived; only one succeeded. And testament to that victory is our birth. And even after being conceived, there could have been a thousand developmental problems that could have led to our death when we were growing in our mother’s uterus. And yet, we managed to overcome all obstacles, and we were born. Our very birth is the mark of a champion; one who has defied all odds and entered this world as a winner.
When we are born as such great champions, we can never justify giving up for those little problems that life throws in our path. So the next time you feel like giving up, just remember the champion you were born as – nothing is unconquerable to you.
9) You want something? Fight for it.
If you really want something, if you really need something, you can’t wait for life to hand you those things. It just simply doesn’t work that way! Anything worth having is definitely worth fighting for. If you really want something badly, then you have got to fight for it. There will be other things or people who try to stop you, defeat you, and eliminate you. But if you want it badly, you better have the guts to pick yourself up and keep fighting for it. Remember: anything worth having is definitely worth fighting for.
10) Enjoy life and be happy!
At the end of the day, I believe that all we need to do is just be happy and enjoy the marvelous gift that is life. Life is really short, so anything that makes you sad, miserable or upset just isn’t worth your time. Devote your life to being happy. If you don’t get the job you wanted, learn to forget it and be happy because it just means life has something better in store for you. If you don’t do well academically, learn to forget it and just laugh, because it just means you are going to have more motivation and reasons to study harder and fight for what you want. Whatever it is, always remember that the only people and things worth your time are the people and things that make you happy. With that in mind, just be happy and enjoy the miraculous gift that is life! Enjoy!