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50 Things I Wish I Knew Growing Up In Singapore


Making resolutions is like getting back together with an ex. It never works but people still do it anyway. So forget the resolutions. Instead, aim to make this a part of your everyday life.

Here are 50 things about life that I wish I knew earlier. May 2015 turn out to be the most incredible year for you yet. 


#1 Don’t take those who love you unconditionally for granted



Because at the end of the day, no matter what happens, they will always be there to shelter you from the rain.


#2 Understand that nobody has it all figured out


Some people appear to have it all together. The keyword being appear. You see what people want you to see. Those who think they actually do are either deluded or ignorant.


#3 Have your own opinion


Stand for something. Don’t join the mindless herd and hate/love something just because everyone else is doing it. Do you really hate Justin Beiber? Is Miley Cyrus really that annoying? Okay maybe she is.

With that said..


#4 Keep your opinion to yourself


“Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one and

everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks”

The only time you should force your opinion down someone else’s throat is when it infringes on your values and principles.

For any other case:



#5 Stop seeking social proof on social media


Sure social media bridges gaps and brings people together. But don’t posture yourself on social media so your life appears as cool/interesting/amazing as possible. That’s just allowing your life to be dictated by the tyranny of social media.


#6 Stop announcing everything you do on social media


I’m talking to the ones with 288 tweets a day – that’s one every 5 minutes. Because out of all your “friends”. 95% of them don’t really give a damn.



#7 Read more


Read what you like, it’s the best way to ensure you continue doing it.

Lang Leav doesn’t count.


#8 Get a nice suit


You never know when you may need it.


#9 Stop procrastinating



I always tell people that if I put all the ideas in my head down somewhere I could have a movie script. But what do I have written? Jack ***ing shit.

Stop saying if I did this… DO IT.

Good things happen to those who  wait  go out and get it.


#10 Exercise



 If health isn’t important to you, looking sexy should be. 

#11 Don’t define norms from others


“I don’t have a stable career. Am I normal??”

“I’m 25 and don’t have girlfriend. Am I normal??”

This is probably one of the things that took me the longest to understand. Don’t be insecure about not living up to society’s standards. There is no “normal”. You create your own “normal”.



#12 TV & movies are not real


Reality will never be the same as in TV & movies. Stop trying to live up to unrealistic expectations because it isn’t real. WAKE UP!!


 Every time I see a someone trying to model their life to Gossip Girl by creating pointless drama..


#13 Never break the Bro Code


If a girl falls into the following criteria, she is off limits forever until the end of time: 

  • A Bros ex-girlfriend
  • Your Bro specifically told you he wanted her
  • Is your Bros sister

and what some people forget..

  • Your Bros girlfriend

#14 Stop bragging


I read somewhere once that the only people you should brag to are those who love you. Couldn’t agree more. Spare everyone else cause we really don’t give a damn.


#15 Assert yourself


When the time calls for it, assert yourself in that situation right then and there instead of letting it go and whining like a little bitch afterwords. I can think of dozens of time I’ve been guilty of this in the past but now it only makes me sick.


#16 Let people help you


Don’t be this guy

Although he is kinda awesome..


#17 Rating people is superficial


Frat guy A: Damn, she’s a 10/10!

Frat guy B: No way! 8.5 at best, you have no standards brah

I do an internal facepalm whenever I hear guys gossiping about and rating girls . I mean Comon’ are you twelve? The worst thing is that these frat guys bragging about their “high-standards” and saying they will never “settle” have no balls to actually approach the girl in question.


#18 Stop playing hard to get


We are no longer secondary school kids. Playing hard to get is immature. Screw the “Something that is hard to obtain is more desirable” bullshit. Know what you want and be clear about it.


#19 Have zero-tolerance for Emotional Manipulation 


3 things I learnt from being in a relationship with an emotional manipulator:

  1. It’s impossible to be honest with them – Don’t even try, you are just bending over and letting them do something to your ass which is too graphic for me to describe here.
  2. They are excellent guilt mongers – They won’t express their needs and desires openly, instead they use guilt to manipulate you into what they want you to do.
  3. They love crazy making – Experts at turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. Even if the situation is painfully obvious, they argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your own judgement.

Having a zero-tolerance approach to these behaviours is the only way to free yourself from the shackles of an emotional manipulator.


#20 Sex is not everything


Because there is this other thing called emotional connection.

Lust and Love. The two big L’s. There’s a reason why the former has such negative connotations associated with it while the latter is elusive and esoteric in nature. Knowing the difference can prevent yourself or others from getting hurt. 


#21 Don’t say “I Love You” unless you mean it


Saying it just to get what you want in the relationship (power,control,sex) is despicable.


#22 Travel


The above picture was taking from our trip to Krabi.

Travel is the most fulfilling way to broaden your perspective. It teaches you about possibilities, culture and people; and most of all to live adventurously. This is exactly why we advocate living & traveling at TheSmartLocal. 

Have you seen what the world has to offer? Start with your very own Singapore here.


#23 You can’t please everyone



We always get the trite saying from elders never to burn bridges in our youth. But they didn’t mention the part that it’s a pain in the ass to keep everyone happy.

You have two choices:

  1. Everyone is happy, Your ass hurts
  2. Not everyone is happy, Your ass doesn’t hurt 

I don’t know about you but the welfare of my butt is of utmost importance.


#24 Don’t be a keyboard warrior


Complaining online ain’t doing shit. Take a pragmatic approach that will yield tangible results. Keyboard-warriors are as as welcomed as a fart in a spacesuit.



#25 Kill your fears


It’s a good idea to start with the deepest fears that most people share

  • Fear of Public Speaking
  • Fear of Failure
  • Fear of Rejection

I share these fears as well. You can continue to be afraid all of your life or you could do something about it by…


#26 Pushing yourself



We are surrounded by choices in our everyday life and they reflect where we will end up in future – be it at the end of the day or a decade later. Most of us tend to live life comfortably, taking the easy way out with minimal effort. 

Playing video games over Reading a book 

Lazing in bed over Working out at the gym

Surfing the net aimlessly over Studying for finals

Pushing yourself to the choice that is difficult will be more rewarding in the long term. I’m not only talking about taking action to do something, I mean pushing yourself physically, mentally and even emotionally. If you don’t test your limits how would you know how much you can grow?..


#27 Get out of the comfort zone


…And the best way to grow as a person is to get out of the comfort zone. It can be as simple as pushing yourself to make small talk with a random stranger. Or leaving a comment and on article you enjoyed reading (HINT HINT!) when you normally just would lurk for fear of being judged.

The key is to do things that makes YOU uncomfortable. Everybody has different fears, by identifying your own fears and taking it by the horns, you are forcing yourself out of your shell of constraints.

Kill your fears, challenge yourself and get out of the comfort zone.

The world has such wide spectrum of possibilities and your comfort zone only limits you to a small fraction of it. By expanding your comfort zone a little at a time, you are introducing new possibilities into your life.

How do you do it?


#28 Start Cold Shower Therapy



The thought of cold showers suck. Actually doing it sucks. After you’re done with it, you realize it still sucks but not nearly as bad as you thought it would.

Welcome to L I F E.

In order to achieve anything, discomfort is going to play a huge role. Be it studying insanely hard for exams or asking that beautiful girl (who would probably reject you) out on a date. Conditioning your brain to accept, survive, and embrace discomfort is one of the practices that can greatly impact the rest of your life.

If you can’t do something uncomfortable and difficult for 5 minutes in the shower – how the hell are you going to do something uncomfortable or difficult in real life?

The cold shower is a metaphor for everything in this world that is scary and difficult. It isn’t about the cold water, It’s about the discomfort associated with it which you can condition yourself to overcome.

Oh did I forget to mention it comes with numerous health benefits too?


#29 Relax in Public


In the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, he specifies some comfort challenges which are basically tasks to be more comfortable with yourself. One of them is to “Relax in Public”. 

You simply lie down in the middle of a crowded public place and remain silent on the ground for 10 seconds, SOBER. Then get up and walk away. Don’t explain it at all. If someone asks you about it, just say that you felt like laying down for a little bit.

It’s about getting over that initial gut feeling of pure irrational fear and lowering your inhibitions.

But what it really boils down to is..


#30 Don’t give a ****



Stop caring about what people think. Patterning your life around other’s perception of you is nothing more than slavery. Not giving a **** will bring liberation and you find yourself able to do things you never thought you could.


#31 Don’t say things you can’t take back


There is no point in clashing it out when you are emotionally charged up, the chance of saying something really stupid? Like 100%. Walk away and deal with the issue after you clear your head.



#32 Trust your instincts


This innate ability is inside all of us. Going with your gut is sometimes better than using your head. Malcolm Gladwell explains it beautifully in Blink.


#33 It’s okay to hate to someone


Just don’t be two faced about it. If you want to be a bitch to someone, do it in their face. Don’t simile in front of them only to curse when they turn their backs.


#34 Listen more


The best conversationalists are the best listeners, not speakers.


#35 Don’t Cheat


I know, I know, way to stick it to the platitudes right? But I think it means something coming from someone that got cheated on.


#36 Don’t fight the system


b2ap3_thumbnail_Exam.jpgThis picture summarizes my experience of our education system as a Singaporean from neighborhood schools. Rigid. Structured. Draconian. Our education system is heralded as one of the best in the world, but educators fail to see that there are monkeys, elephants and fishes.

I am the fish in the bowl rebelling against the system. But I later learnt that there is no point in fighting it, you will only end up tired and defeated. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

On that note, book smarts isn’t everything. Without creativity, wit, spontaneity and imagination. We are only raising a generation of zombies.


#37 Conflict isn’t always a bad thing


It’s in my personality to avoid conflict and I’m pretty damn good at it. But conflict isn’t really that bad, a lot of good things can come out of it!

This used to be me..


#38 It takes effort to have friends



Woah. Mind-blowing. I have to put in.. effort? 


#39 Stop comparing achievements



It’s like bragging about dick sizes, everyone adds two-inches.(or five)


#40 Don’t rationalize situations where you are incompetent


Accept and do something about it.

This is one of the harsh truths that I hate to admit because it damages my highly invested ego. I realize once there is a situation where I am inferior to someone else, I will try to rationalize it to defend my incompetency.

One example is where someone is better than me at something, my first thoughts are; X has been doing it longer, X has more experience, X tries too hard.. the list goes on.. what I’m getting at is this process of rationalizing is missing the bigger picture. It just defends the assault on the ego and nothing changes.

Internalizing and accepting this fact is the first step to progress. Protecting the ego only serves to delude oneself. 

Starve the Ego, Feed the Soul.


#41 Stop proving yourself to others 


There is no point in proving to others that you are better/capable/interesting/smart/etc. because the only person you ever need to prove to is yourself.


#42 Permanently delete pretentious pricks


Don’t send them to the recycle bin. Perma-delete these pricks. 

They posture themselves to how they want others to perceive them. I use this as a litmus test that tells me if someone is the type of person I want to be around – there is nothing I can’t stand more than pretentiousness – It is the greatest form of deception.


#43 Get rid of toxic people


Some people are toxic vampires that suck the life outta you. There is only one thing to do to these kind of people.


#44 Gender roles are not a valid excuse


We are living in a post-feminist world. Continuing to use gender roles as an excuse is backward at best.


#45 Some people have no morals


I never-ever-ever loan money but when I did, a “friend” and $300 disappeared off the face of this earth. Taking into account the little respect I have for naive and gullible people, this was a hard slap to the face AND the fact that I worked to earn it while he’s some rich brat that takes from his parents was a double slap.

Some people have no morals but It doesn’t mean you should betray yours, don’t sink to their level.


#46 Stop seeking External validation


Don’t depend on external validation to quell your insecurity or fuel your ego, where is that self-confidence!


#47 Stop watching porn


I got the bird and the bees talk when my dad caught me watching porn for the first time. His point, albeit awkwardly, was that porn corrupts your mind with unrealistic expectations of sex – it’s not real. I would only get his point years later.


#48 Join the NO FAP movement


Channeling all that sexual energy into something productive can do wonders when you consider the alternative – jacking off in front of the computer.

You’re devoting yourself completely to your significant other instead of random pixilated girls on the internet who you’ve never met. It’s about enhancing your meaningful relationship, instead of establishing five-minute relationships with virtual girls online.

Alexander Rhodes – NoFap Creator


#49 Embrace rejection


There is something about the word that screams unworthiness, a state of being unwanted, not enough. Least to say a huge blow to self-confidence and esteem which makes most uncomfortable with the situation and themselves.

It is instinctual for us to avoid uncomfortable feelings and those who are unable to handle rejection never allow themselves to be in a position to fail.

Learning to be comfortable with the vulnerability of possible rejection is key to embracing it.


#50 Fall in love 

I don’t usually fall in love, but when i do, I fall hard.

Have something to add?

What do you want to start doing differently in your life? Are you ready to make 2015 an incredible year for yourself? Why not start doing one right now? If you’ve never left a comment on the internet before, do try stepping out of your comfort zone to leave one below.

If you have commented before, why not push yourself to share something more personal than you have before. And if you’re a keyboard warrior who just complains, try saying something positive this time! 🙂

We look forward to reading what you have to say!

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