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I’m officially starting work today after a restful Chinese New Year. And it was a very gesture from one of my clients who gave me a red packet (ang pow) wishing me good luck for the year ahead.
 
In this predominantly people-oriented business of mine, it’s more than just the results you see. It’s also the quintessence of that personal touch that goes a long, long way. We are who we are because of our different backgrounds, identities and experiences. And that’s what makes life enriching.
 
On the way to coach a teenager, I reflected on my own life journey till date. I cannot find a single adjective to describe it as it’s always changing. Just like the people in our lives. Some come and make a huge difference while others are but mere passer-bys.
 
When I first got the email from the teenager’s mum, she asked if I could spend some time talking to her son (let’s call him Z). As someone who used to be a face in the crowd too, I understood where she was coming from. 
 
If you ask me, it’s not growing up pains. It’s not an identity crisis. Rather, it’s about accepting who you are, what you are good at and showing others you can and do make a difference.
 
Being strangers meeting for the first time, it does take some effort to break the ice and build rapport. If one goes straight for the onslaught, one might not gain total victory. So, it’s really about starting out firm, establishing common ground and getting the conversation going.
 
From the thousands of people I’ve trained, it boils down to just this one simple principle – getting others to talk. People like to talk about themselves. I do. And I believe so do you. 
 
When we talk about ourselves, our eyes naturally light up, our body language becomes more relaxed and our mood brightens. It’s as if the whole world is revolving around us.
 
When we talk about ourselves, you can even sense that beautiful smile on your face, which was in the case of Z.
 
Taking a cue from Rihanna’s latest hit, building self-confidence is therefore all about “talk that talk”.
 
Perhaps as Asians, we have been brought up in a society and culture that advocates humility. Humble as we may be, forget not it is our birth right to also be man or woman enough to extol our own rights. 
 
It’s a very thin line between confidence and arrogance. While the latter harps on being boastful, the former instead focuses on the unique qualities we possess that make us an invaluable asset to friends, family, school and society at large.
 
No one knows you better than yourself. As I’ve often shared, you are your best friend.
 
There is no magical formula for building self-confidence. It all begins with you and whether you are willing to take that first step. The world is your stage and when you step onto that stage, what do you say in that introduction? It could be anything. Anything that gets you smiling, makes you happy and relaxed. Because as long as you share from the heart, what you share will always be valuable to your listeners.
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Having bad farewell to Christmas, I bet all of us (who are Chinese or have Chinese friends) are now in the happy mood of welcoming the coming of Chinese New Year. Yes, as the Chinese proverb goes, “a whole year’s plan starts in spring” (一年之计在于春).

The dawn of spring heralds the start of a fresh beginning, a whole new year of dreams and aspirations. Since the Spring Festival (春节) is widely regarded as one of the most important in the Chinese calendar, let’s talk about colours to wear during the festive season. For those of you who read my earlier blog post dwelling a little on the 
psychology of coloursthis is a further elaboration of some pertinent colours to wear and avoid.

We all know that colours play an important role in our lives. Not only should we wear colours that complement our skintone, certain colours which we wear too have a specific psychological effect on both us the wearer as well as the people around us.

For Chinese New Year, one of the best colours to wear is red. Red is the colour of blood. The blood in our bodies gives us life. In the same vein, red as a colour symbolizes vitality and warmth. 

As the coming of spring also marks the end of the harsh winter cold, it’s the perfect time for us to start planting our crops and making our resolutions. Red is the colour that propels us forward, makes us bold and dynamic and gets us to take action. You certainly do not want to be planning and strategizing in autumn (as that’s when we are harvesting the fruits of our labour). Instead, you do all of it in spring. 

Besides red having all these positive connotations, we also believe red is the colour of prosperity. We want our bank accounts to be healthy, our rice cookers at home to be full, our investments to be smooth and our businesses to propser.

Most ladies will not hesitate to wear red for the Chinese New Year. But if you are a guy and you are a little in awe of the bright red colour, then take a leaf from my example and choose to wear pink instead.

Unknown to many, pink is the colour of universal love. As we know, pink is the combination of red and white. While I’ve already shared the qualities of red, let’s see what the colour white symbolizes.

Besides many who believe white symbolizes purity and cleanliness, to me specifically, white also signifies starting on a fresh slate. It’s as if we have spring-cleaned everything, weeding all the negative energies, leaving us with a pure, pristine white canvas to draw and visualize. Whatever colours you wish to paint, it’s really up to you as you own that canvas and are responsible for the actions…and ultimately results. That was why I chose to wear pink this year as I combined the best of both the colours red and white.

Quite obviously, the colour to avoid at all cost is black. It’s perfectly alright to wear black on other days and come across with a sense of mystery. But during Chinese New Year, wear black and I bet you will get a heavy scolding by your elders. Wearing black during Chinese New Year is akin to partying with gloom, death and all things negative. It’s like a doomsday scenario. And it’s definitely not what we want at the start of a new year. Instead, we want to be reinvigorated, reenergized and revitalized. We want to start the New Year on a positive note.

So remember, wear red or pink this Chinese New Year. Here’s wishing everyone a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year. Gong Xi Gong Xi!

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