How to lead a happier life – Milestone #1: Listen, and take what you hear seriously


Why, you may ask, would anyone actually write a ‘how to’ on living a life? Or even a happier life? In the past, I would have brushed this off as something fluffy and commonsensical. Today, however, I’ve decided to join a league of many other writers in exploring this topic.

The trigger came when I was contacted by an old friend with whom I’ve not been in contact with over the last ten years, and she wanted to know how I got to where I am today. She was not the first, and if my guess is right, there are many others out there who have the same questions. Maybe you don’t feel fulfilled with where you currently are; maybe you are looking for something more; or maybe you just think that it might be a good idea to keep a curious and open mind to what you do not know yet. I would be foolish to say that I have a perfectly happy life and that I know it all, but after being asked the same questions by countless people – old friends, new friends – over the past year, I am starting to realize that I do have some good stuff to share after all. I do know some things which might turn out to be a valuable stepping stone for you.

And so, I shall share with you what I have learnt. I will call them Milestones, simply because they have the potential to be. Many of these Milestones will sound very simple, commonsensical or even cliché – I assure you. The tough part lies in actually incorporating them into your life and practising them. That is when you will start to see your life change, slowly but surely. I, too, am still on the way to mastering them, and I am on this journey with you, sharing these lessons and Milestones along the way.

Milestone #1: Listen, and take what you hear seriously

One of the most common questions I get asked is, ‘what made you decide to do what you do, to give up a comfortable job and go halfway round the world to pursue your dreams?’

In deciding what will be a useful first Milestone to share with you, it was a clear choice to begin with Listening. With all the noise and distractions around us, many of us have forgotten how to tune in to our gut feelings, and to recognize that that inner voice is much more powerful and important than what you hear from your external environment.

The fact that you are even asking me that question is revealing to you that a part of you wants that too, believe it or not.

Before you can take the first step toward a happier life, you first need to recognize that a deeper part of you do want to change. We are all guided by an inner compass which, if ignored, is expressed as a deep hunger that will continue to come up until we move in the right direction. Many people hear this inner compass all the time, but they start to take it seriously only when something happens with their health and they realize that they do not have much time to live. Sadly, I have some friends for whom this is true. How, then, can you know what to listen to? These questions might give you some clues.

  • Have there been moments when you get an intense feeling about something, and at that moment, you are filled with absolute clarity, conviction and inspiration screaming to you that this is it?
  • Have those moments been brief and, as quickly as they came, they are soon replaced with doubts, fears or counter-arguments which are just as strong?
  • Have those moments returned at some point, and there is a slight sense of longing or regret attached to them?
  • What are the questions that come to you in the still of the night, when you are alone and the world is silent?
  • If tomorrow the world will end, what will you regret not doing?

I have no answers for you; you will need to find your own. I am quite certain that you will not find these questions unfamiliar. Whatever answers that come up from these questions are worth taking seriously, and I urge you to pull a notebook and write them down before they fly away again or get sucked into a bottomless pit of ‘yes, but’s.

A note to you

This article, and the following ones, is written for you. I hope for them to add value to your personal and professional life. Do subscribe to the blog by entering your email in the right-hand column of this page (either top or bottom) so you will not miss out on the following posts and Milestones. Till then, we’ll be talking more.

All the best 🙂

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One thought on “How to lead a happier life – Milestone #1: Listen, and take what you hear seriously

  1. Thanks Hui Min for the sharing and congrats on the life you are creating.
    Cheers to savouring those questions which arrive in the middle of the night 🙂

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