Alan Soh

I am my own columnist, sharing my own thoughts and experiences!

An email interview

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Recently, an undergraduate friend has requested to do an email interview with me on his project on motivation.

This is how I made my response.

Preliminary questions

Question: How would you describe your own aspirations?

Reply: Aspirations, in my own words at this current life stage, would be more of what I hope to achieve and who I want to be in future.

Question: What are some of your interests?

Reply: Hobbies, you mean? Things that interest me presently are: reading, swimming, jogging, karaoke, movies, volunteering, photography, listening to songs or instrumental music.

Areas of topic would be: public relations, public speaking, communications management.

Question: What current causes do you feel the most?

Reply: Disability, social mobility, and youth volunteerism.

Drive – Individual

Question: What are you most motivated by? Why?

Reply: Happiness and making a difference in other people’s lives. Nothing to do with money.

I personally think that it is important to be happy always. Remember the good stuff, forget the bad ones. When you are happy, you feel good about yourself, in which it translates further into a positive motivational force. Thus, you would have a clear purposeful direction on where you want to head towards in life.

Once my basic needs are covered, I think it is for me to start looking into the needs of other people – making a meaningful difference in their lives. Help people as and when necessary. Extend a helping hand to someone. Every now and then, you and I need some form of help from someone else from time to time. Being kind requires no reason. Just help a fellow human being without expecting anything in return.

Question: If you could pick a mentor/or someone whom you would like to meet the most, living or dead, who would you pick? Why?

Reply: As I studied mass communications, I always hope to enter the media industry. If I have the opportunity to pick a mentor from any Singaporean personality, I would like to learn from Ms Diana Ser. She is a veteran presenter, and was a former broadcast journalist with 20 over years of experience in the media industry. It is her journalistic background that makes her the choice of emcee at many high-profile corporate events today.

Like her, I am also effectively bilingual in English and Mandarin but I would like to learn from her the finer skills of presentation at executive level. I think she is a very competent public speaker aka presenter, and could think fast on her feet. I am still honing my skills of being an effective communicator, despite being hearing-impaired. Does anyone know her? 😀

Perhaps for a start, I can apply to join a Toastmasters Club. 🙂

Question: Steve Jobs: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” How would you respond to this quote?

Reply: Everyone perceives time in different ways. To me, it is about having full control of the available time I have on my hand. But first, there must have a purpose in whatever I do. Next, with the time amount I have, I strive to place priority on doing the important things first. Having said that, there must be a time for relaxation too. I will slow down at intervals to do things which I always wanted to do. This include spending time with my loved ones and close friends.

I tell myself, go do all the things I want to do while I am still young and healthy now.

Being older, I feel more at ease with myself. I start to tell myself to “be daring enough to stand out among the crowd” than to blend in with the mass.

Question: How do you define success?

Reply: Success is about getting across those trials and tribulations, to be able to become the kind of person whom you want to be in this lifetime. You only live once.

Question: What achievements are you most proud of making in your family/school/community?

Reply: Being chosen to represent Singapore in the Korea-ASEAN Youth Exchange Programme 2007 in Busan, South Korea. With another 4 young Singaporeans.

And being one of 37 awesome youths in the PA Youth Movement contingent for National Day Parade 2014 parade & ceremony segment. And was made “Singaporean of The Day” for 2 weeks.

Hearing-impairment does not deter me from such given opportunities.

Drive – Institutional

Question: In what decisions do you let your authority figures intervene in?

Reply: Thankfully, my parents do not impose their will on me. It is more of me taking the first move to seek advice from my teachers and elders on the impact of the choice I make, for example: my educational path.

My parents are more concerned about me being disciplined and mingling with any bad company. Haha.

Question: Do you feel encouraged/neutral/limited by any form of institution, in the pursuit of your goals?

Reply: I am blessed to have the freedom to pursue my interests. However given my humble family background, I do feel limited in terms of financial resources. That is where I have to work hard to go for what I want to get.

Dare – Individual

Question: Have you ever started or led something new in any area of your life?

Reply: Joining a newly established social enterprise which helps people with special needs. Yes I am now a partial social entrepreneur, in whatever way how you wish to see it.

This is something which I have not done before.

I want to gain a good understanding of social entrepreneurship, and given my current background and skills, to see how I can help my boss to stabilise the business and bring it to the next level in the next 2 to 5 years. I call it a challenge for myself.

Question: Do you volunteer? What motivates you to volunteer?

Reply: Yes, I do voluntary work since 2005. Outside work, I volunteer to learn and expand my skillsets such as effective communication, and events liaison. Through the community events which I volunteered for, I feel happy knowing that I have made someone happy today.

More importantly, in recent years, I learnt to appreciate and look at my problems in perspective, realising my problems faced may not be as worst as some others. I learn to deal with my own problems in a more positive manner.

It is about serving the needs of the people around me. I am happy to do it.

Final thought – Do you think our youths today lack drive and dare?

Reply: I may not be able to answer this question well, as I mingle more with young adults in their twenties these days.

My own personal observation is, they have the knowledge. They have the drive. Many of them are well-travelled too. I am just more concerned about them having an elitist outlook on the things around them, which includes the way how they interact with people especially those from the lower strata of our society.

On the issue of our youths lacking the drive and dare, I think it could be more prevalent among the schooling youths especially those in secondary schools today. Despite having the knowledge, some of them could be risk-averse, not willing to venture beyond their comfort zones.

I hope they can prove me wrong. 😉


Author: alansoh79

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