Does your environment limit your potential?

I have this worry for some time, that my potential will be diminished due to outside forces such as families, political situation, economic situation, loss of passion.

In my mind, all outside forces have to be perfect for my potential to grow. But this is wrong.

In The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Anything, the author noted that geniuses and talents exist no matter the economic or political situation, be it war, famine, death, church control, etc, talents are still there. Why?

Because we are blaming on the wrong things. These are all non factors, what matters the most is what you do, do you deep practice everyday? That is, fire your neurons to form the network. The network is what talent is about, myelinated neurons. If you do, your talent will rise, no matter where you are. Most of the talents the author found belongs to “chicken feed Harvard”, not an impressive place where big expensive building and facilities are available, but produces great talents.

I would say, stop complaining, and focus on honing your skills, those are the things that matter more.

Places I have been


CNY 2016 Singapore Trip 3 days 2 nights (6/2/2016 – 8/2/2016)


  • Mum, Dad, Uncle, Second Aunt, Brother, and I

Singapore CNY Trip 2016


Hong Kong 4 days 3 nights (28/8/2015 – 31/8/2015) – All About Hong Kong V4, A place to share things about Hong Kong (Travel)

Souvenir for wymond – potato chips that are not sold in Malaysia (DONE)

Extra things to bring

  • Lonely planet book
  • Xiaoyi cam recorder


  • Mum, Second Aunt, I

Photos and videos


Genting 3 days 2 nights (18/8/2015 – 20/8/2015)


  • I (Alone)

Extra things to bring

  • Sweater


  • Buy bus ticket and skyway at One Utama, buy return ticket too


Hong Kong 7 days 6 nights (Dec/2010)


  • Uncle, Second Aunt, Big Aunt and families, Brother, and I.

Good things to do to yourself

Shaun, treat yourself better. In case you forgot to treat yourself, remind yourself of ways:

  • Listen to soothing music
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Get a massage.
  • Buy yourself a rose.
  • Go to a pet store and play with the animals.
  • Walk on a scenic path in a park.
  • Visit a zoo.
  • Stop and smell some flowers.
  • Wake up early and watch the sunrise.
  • Watch the sunset.
  • Relax with a good book and/or soothing music.
  • Go rent a funny video. (e.g. YouTube)
  • Watch a movie
  • Play your favorite music and dance to it by yourself.
  • Go to bed early.
  • Sleep outside under the stars.
  • Take a “mental health day” off from work.
  • Fix a special dinner just for yourself and eat by candlelight.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Call a good friend—or several good friends.
  • Go out to a fine restaurant just with yourself.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Browse in a book or record store for as long as you want.
  • Ask a special person to nurture you (feed, cuddle, and/or read to you).
  • Buy yourself something special that you can afford.
  • Visit a museum or another interesting place.
  • Work on your favorite puzzle or puzzlebook.
  • Make a recording of affirmations.
  • Read an inspirational book.
  • Bake or cook something special.
  • Go window shopping.
  • Listen to a positive, motivational recording.
  • Write in a special diary about your accomplishments.
  • Programming challenges

Source: Anxiety and Phobia workbook
Source: Ling Gen Sheng Shaun

You can find out infinitely many ways yourself. Sometimes, its the ones that suit you that are the best for you.

Coral Sea – Jay Chou


Cinta di antara burung camar dan ikan hanyalah kebetulan

The love between a seabird and a fish is only an accidental occurrence

I have wondered why does the lyric use seabird and fish to describe a love accident. Then I realized, that seabird eats fish, and the only time seabird will meet fish is when seabird flies down from the sky to the sea surface to catch and eats fish. And to have love happens between seabird and fish is purely an accident.

When you say two person accidentally fall in love but are not supposed to be. This metaphor is quite apt.

Things I am grateful for

  • Hear jokes and sketches from top comedian in the world: Conan O Brien
  • Watch live stream from White House (I like to catch up with world events), BBC, CNN, etc
  • Watch top movies in the world at the time it was released: Captain America, Marvel, DC movies, Ironman (quarter billion dollar movie at the price of RM15!)
  • Read books by top people in the field e.g. computer networking, artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning
  • Eat from a selection of Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Malay, Indian, English, every country you can think of foods.

What do you think about mental illness?

There are news lately about a 20 years old Cuban guy who went into a lion den in the zoo to be mauled by the lion (suicide). The zoo authorities had to shoot two lions dead to save him. Of course, condemnations poured in about the guy’s selfish act. Mental illness will suffer a blow.

When we think about the bad sides of mental illness, we think that the guy must be lonely, have no friend, no girlfriend, no job, no money, and wished for an easy way out. We seems to forget that celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, comedian Robin Williams, and others decided to take the easy way out despite having fame and money. Why? Why does the celebrities which had enormous amount of money, attention decided to make the same pathetic decision as the 20 years old, unemployed, unappreciated guy? This is because money, attention are no defense against mental illness.

But you say, no, no, no, celebrities that commit suicide are still more “worthy” than the suicidal 20 years old guy with no job and money! The celebrities had luxury hotels, big pools, and cash! They surely enjoy those while contemplating to jump off the building!

Or, put it another way, they had so much money and attention, but still chose to die, doesn’t it mean that their suffering is so much greater? My point is, when we think about mental illness, we think about the poor, about the quiet ones, about the unpopular ones.

Let me give you a tip, even when in Nazi camps, people does not loose worth and contemplate suicide. It has to do with how people view themselves, do they keep criticize their own self, over and over? Is the reality inside their mind distorted?

Growth mindset

Bill Gates believes in the growth mindset, growth mindset is opposite of fixed mindset. Growth mindset means you can learn what you want and fixed mindset means you are only good at what you are “talented” in, preferably what you are born with.

I want to add something to the concept of growth mindset. In The Talent Code book, the author argues that myelin growth in the brain is the cause of “talent”. No one is born with talent, it is not something you have or don’t have. It is a result of first, having failure, firing suboptimally your brain circuit, then continually firing it through deep learning, and your circuit soon becomes a “broadband”, and this is what people see as talent.

This complements with the idea of growth mindset, because it dispels the myth that you can never do something because you are not born with it (fixed mindset). Often times, when we see someone first try something, and fail, repeatedly, we said that person is doomed for failure. That is not true, that person has become a better version of his/ her previous self by trying, who knows, one day he/ she will surpass the rest of us.

Exponential growth of technology – Three body problem novel

I have heard of the exponential growth of technology, whereby the technology advancement for the next 100 years, is not the same as the previous 100 years, but 20,000 years of progress in 100 years.

I haven’t truly realized this potential until the novelist, Liu Cixin put it the following way in the novel. In the novel, The Three-Body Problem, a technologically advanced alien race (trisolarist, named so because their sun system consists of three suns) aims for the earth for colonization, they will reach earth in 450 years time. However, they made the following reasoning:

“I do,” said the science consul. “We’ve all studied the first messages from Earth carefully. The section most worthy of attention is their history. Let’s observe the facts: Humans took more than a hundred thousand Earth years to progress from the Hunter-Gatherer Age to the Agricultural Age. To get from the Agricultural Age to the Industrial Age took a few thousand Earth years. But to go from the Industrial Age to the Atomic Age took only two hundred Earth years. Thereafter, in only a few Earth decades, they entered the Information Age. This civilization possesses the terrifying ability to accelerate their progress.

“On Trisolaris, of the more than two hundred civilizations, including our own, none has ever experienced such accelerating development. The progress of science and technology in all Trisolaran civilizations has been at a constant or decelerating pace. In our world, each technology age requires approximately the same amount of time for steady, slow development.”

The princeps nodded. “The fact is that four million and five hundred thousand hours from now, when the Trisolaran Fleet has reached the Earth, that civilization’s technology level will have long surpassed ours, due to their accelerating development. The journey of the Trisolaran Fleet is long and arduous, and the fleet must pass through two interstellar dust belts. It’s very likely that only half of the ships will reach the Earth’s solar system, while the rest perish along the way. And then, the Trisolaran Fleet will be at the mercy of a much more powerful Earth civilization. This is not an expedition, but a funeral procession!”

Things that I once thought was the end of me

I guess everyone has stories of their life, their ups and downs. These are the extremes of my life, which is not so extreme after the event and I thought about it.

Not having “appropriate” clothes to wear. E.g. wearing a sweater that is 3 years old.

Fail to drive on first day of form 6.

Fail my Bahasa Malaysia for the first time in Form 4.

Quit my internship.

This lets me see how insignificant my “catastrophic” worries are. Make no mistake, these worries are very real at the moment, this is because reality is shaped by our thoughts, even though it is not accurate to the world, it is reality to our brains. But, think another way, happiness is as real too.

Loss aversion – grades

Let’s say you earn a monthly salary of $2000. You will get this salary banked into your account at the end of the month. In addition to the salary, you will get overtime salary, which amounts to a maximum of $1000.

Let’s say your management propose to instead, bank in $3000 to your account at the start of the month, and slowly chip away the bonus, until you are left with what you are entitled. What will be your feeling?

In the first case, we are working hard for what we want, in the second case, we feel like the $3000 is already ours, and chipping away gives us bad feelings. This is loss aversion, even though the amount lost, say $600 may be equal, the second case feels more bad.

Another example, say you have hired an employee, your satisfaction goes up. But, your employee suddenly resigned, you will feel bad loosing the employee more than the satisfaction of hiring the employee, because he once was “yours”. We just hate losing what was ours.

Now, I want to talk about loss aversion in regards to school performance. If you are a low performer, you be happy that you get a B. If you are a high performer, I will say that the misery you felt if you get a mere B is more than the satisfaction the low performer felt if he get a B. This is because for the high performer, high performance is the norm, the A is already the norm, the A felt like its already his, not having A is like stealing something from him that belongs to him.

Say, you are given a task to write an essay, you can potentially be paid $2500, in one case, you get the money that you deserve after writing the essay. I read it and give what you deserve. In the second case, I give you $2500 at the beginning, and take back what is not deserved. The second case feels much worse.