Some of Suicide reasons.....are......

2019 Literature show that some of the causes of suicide are:

One in Four Pre-teen Suicides May Be LGBT Youth - Teenager suicides - 25%  are because of their Sexuality   

- teens- LGBT - stress of coming out or living as a sexual minority, and how the world reacts to their identity,   LGBT youth -  comorbidly treated for other mental illness (Bisexual females have suicidal thoughts,  six times more than heterosexual males.; Bisexual females were also almost 24 times more likely to have a diagnosed mental illness); LGBT- Home family problems, ; Transgender - transgender teenager males were almost four times as likely to have suicide attempts history;



Opioids Playing Key Role in Rising Suicide, Overdose Rates


People With Cancer Four Times More Likely to Die by Suicide



Psychotic Experiences a Marker for Future Suicidal Behavior



Friendly Texts Tied to Fewer Suicide Attempts in the Military








I’m Scared of Losing My Parents. What Should I Do?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were to lose your parents one day? Do you feel scared at this thought? Reader Sumedha asks this question:

How do you overcome the fear of losing your parents or your loved ones? Beyond burying our heads in work and miscellaneous distractions, and ignoring this sinking feeling of something that we don’t wish to face, what can we do to tackle this fear?

In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I share

  • The nature of death [03:59]
  • 2 key reasons why most people feel (heavy) guilt or fear of losing their loved ones [06:42]
  • Reader Kimberly’s loss of her dad and my advice to her [07:19]
  • The eternity of our spirit [08:15]
  • Carrying on your loved one’s message after he/she has passed on [08:57]
  • How to address the fear of losing loved ones [12:10]
  • Loving our parents (and loved ones) start today [12:47]
  • Showing love doesn’t have to be materialistic [13:45]
  • Lag time when you try to improve your relationship with your parents [14:33]
  • We should not take life for granted [14:58]
  • Create a list of things start loving and appreciating your parents (or loved ones) — starting today [16:21]

Listen here:


Celestine Chua         
PEP 004: How Do I Overcome Fear of Losing My Parents?           PEP 004: How Do I Overcome Fear of Losing My Parents?          


If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave a good rating and review on iTunes. Your review does make a difference and it will help the podcast to grow and spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you!

I’m Scared of Losing My Parents. What Should I Do? [Transcript]

Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua.

Celestine Chua: Hey everyone! Welcome to the Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 4. I’m Celestine Chua from

So thank you so much for listening today. I hope you are having a wonderful day. It’s Wednesday here right now and I’m just looking forward to speaking to you guys.

Today we have a question from Sumedha, who wants to know how to deal with the fear of losing our parents. Well, let’s hear from her first.

Hey Sumedha, thank you so much for your question. A very very heartfelt question and I really appreciate how open you are.

Well, I want to say first that your question just speaks volumes about how much you love your parents and how filial you really are. Because I can hear this strong sense of emotions coming through as you were speaking just now.

I totally understand the fear of losing your parents because for most of us, our parents raised us. They are and have been a big part of our lives. For some of us, it’s the first 18 years of our lives; for the others, it could well be the whole of our lives especially those of us in living in Asian cultures.

So losing our parents is definitely a very real fear. And I personally can understand, in that losing my parents as a real possibility that I need to prepare for. Something to realize especially in the past one year. Besides the fact that all of us will die one day, it’s also that my parents are now older. I’m now 31 turning 32 (as of 2016), so my parents are in the 60s, they are not getting any younger.

With old age comes the fact that they are not as fit or healthy as before. Especially my mom — I’ve not mentioned this anywhere, but my mom was diagnosed with cancer last year. Everything’s fine now, like she’s going through treatment and so on. So everything is going great. It really helps that she’s optimistic. She’s incredibly independent and she just brushes off the whole issue as if it’s no big deal. It really makes things easier for us.

But it also brought home this message that maybe there isn’t going to be a lot of time left with my parents and it’s really important that I make the best out of the time that I have with them now.

Death is a Reality

So, the first thing is to know that death is a reality. In that one day, you are going to die. So am I, I’m gonna die as well.

This is the same for our parents if your parents are still around. For those of you whose parents aren’t, I’m really sorry to hear about your loss. And you probably can empathize more than anyone else the things that we’re talking about right now.

For some of us, our grandparents aren’t even around anymore. For me, all my grandparents have already passed on except for one of my grandmothers.

So the fact is we are all going to die. And I don’t this as a sad thing as much as it is simply part and parcel of life, if it makes sense?

Because for there to be life, there has to be death. For an organism, in order for it to live, it will have to experience death. That is part of the beauty and the nature of living.

So I don’t really think that’s a need to resist the idea or the notion of death as much as understanding it’s part of our being, like just being here on Earth.

And it’s the same for our loved ones as well. If our loved one is to pass on, it’s not really about resisting this idea as much as understanding that this is part of the entire package when we were brought to this Earth. As opposed to feeling negative about it, I think it’s about how can we make the best of it.

This brings to my second point which the key point here isn’t about how can we get rid of the fear, even though that’s not really why you’re asking Sumedha. I don’t really think the key point here is about how we get rid of the fear that surrounds death or death of our parents or how can we detach ourselves from this fear.

Because our parents will die one day as will us. When you love someone, that will naturally be the fear of losing them. I don’t really think it’s about detaching yourself from this fear as much as you asking yourself, “How can I make the best out of my time with them while we are alive?”

Two key reasons for fear/guilt of losing our loved ones

I see the majority of this fear surrounding the death of our loved ones, it comes down to two things:

  1. Regretting not loving them or not expressing our love for them, our appreciation for them while they were alive.
  2. Being at a loss, not knowing what we are going to do or what’s going to become of us when our parents pass on. That we’ll be alone in this world without the very people who raised us, who brought us to this Earth.

Let me tackle the second factor first, then the first factor.

Reader Kimberly’s Loss

There was this course participant and longtime reader Kimberly who sent in this Ask Celes letter a couple of years back. Some of you might have read that post before. It’s at 

So Kim’s father passed away unexpectedly and she was at a loss. This was when she sent in the Ask Celes letter. She wanted to ask me what she should do because she felt that her dad had been this great supporter and inspiration to her, and one of the closest persons in her life up until his passing. She just didn’t know what to do.

In that post, I talked to her about several things and you can read the post in detail for that. But mainly what I mentioned was that just because your dad has passed away doesn’t mean that he isn’t around. This depends on your own spiritual or religious beliefs, but I personally believe that we are souls and we live on forever. Physical death is merely the ending of one part of our existence. Our souls live beyond that. So depending on what you believe, I personally believe that her dad is still around and is well possibly still with her in spirit.

The second thing is, say you don’t believe in spiritual existence or you focus on the fact that your loved one isn’t around anymore. Just because someone dear to you has passed on doesn’t mean that the person’s existence shouldn’t be a part of your life, if it makes any sense. You can still cherish that person’s existence and the impact he/she has made in your life before, by carrying on the messages that you remember from him or her.

For example, in Kim’s case, I told her that she can still uphold her dad’s spirit. Continuing to be inspired by him. And that just because your loved one, parent, or parents have passed on does not mean that they should stop being a motivator in your life. They can still be. You can carry on your values, their teachings, whatever they told you before, their love for you. Carrying that on in your own way and spreading that to the people you meet, the people who are in your lives. So in essence, your parents still live on in you, in spirit.

The other thing I told Kim is that beyond being inspired and motivated by her dad — which is a fantastic thing — it’s important that she learns to live on for herself.

Her dad might have ignited in her about her goals, her dreams, but ultimately that is the catalyst to her finding herself and learning how to live for herself. Creating the life that she loves for herself and for the people around her (at that point she just had a baby). 

So that was the cliff notes of the article and you can read more at that link. Kim read it and after about one year three months, she replied to me. She told me how things have been really good for her. She is now an editor of a monthly “Good News” newspaper in her town. She has doubled her income. She’s spending all the time pursuing her passion, doing what she loves in photography and in writing. Meeting people who truly inspire her and being excited about her work. Also, her daughter is already two, and she is continually inspired by her every single day. Basically, she is living life on her terms and living her true path. Reading that I was so excited and happy for her.

The key thing that I want to say here is that sometimes we may be fearful of losing our loved ones or our parents. It can be because we do not know how life would be after they are gone. The most important thing is to know that you can continue to carry on their existence in spirit and to honor who they are, as well as to know that you will be fine at the end of the day.

Because your parents brought you to Earth for a reason. Because they know that you are going to make it. That you are going to be this fighter. And you’re going to be spreading light to this entire world. And that’s why your parents had you. That’s why they brought you into this world.

Loving our parents start today

Getting to the first point that I was mentioning just now, about regretting not loving our parents, regretting not appreciating them while they are alive. This is a very real concern. Sometimes we can be so inundated with all the different concerns, the objectives, the pressures of daily living that we can forget about the things that are most precious to us. In this case, it would be our parents or our loved ones.

I feel here it’s about realizing that showing love for our parents and being there for our parents, it doesn’t have to and shouldn’t wait till they are gone, if you know what I mean? We do not need to wait until our parents have died and for us to be crying and regretting what we should’ve done or shouldn’t have done. Loving our parents and showing love and appreciating them, it can happen today.

To Sumedha and all of you out there who may be feeling fearful of losing your parents or loved ones, I feel that a chunk of this fear may simply come down to you feeling that you are not doing as much as you wish for them. My point to you is that it can all start now. It doesn’t have to wait until a few months or a few years later. Or when you feel that you’re ready.

It also doesn’t have to come in the form of gifts, monetary goods, giving them a big house, or buying them a car. It doesn’t have to be something materialistic. It can just simply be you being there, you spending more time with them. And I can tell you for sure that they are going to appreciate that. They are going to appreciate the fact that you are being there for them.

Sometimes it may not come through right away, especially let’s say you’ve had a period of baggage with your parents. Maybe years of conflict and I know some of you have that.

So let’s say you suddenly turn things around and start contacting them out of the blue or start interacting with them more openly after a period of not doing so. Sometimes there’s a lag time. Maybe they will respond negatively or they will respond nonchalantly or wonder, What the heck are you trying to do? This was what I experienced in the past when I was trying to improve my relationship with my parents.

But in a matter of time, they will start to see what you’re doing, as well as appreciate what you are trying to do here, even if it may not be spoken.

So to you Sumedha, you are 17. You’re so young. I do not know how old your parents are and it doesn’t even matter how old your parents are, to be honest. Because we should not take life for granted. Because any one of us can just disappear and die tomorrow.

The key point I want to mention here is that your parents have not passed away yet. Every moment you feel fearful of them passing on or them not being around anymore, it’s not being in the moment because your parents have not passed away yet!

As long as you are worrying and fearful that they are not around, you’re just putting yourself in this future potential state which is not even here! As opposed to focusing on the fact that your parents are alive, well, with you and asking yourself, “What can I do with them?” and “What can I do for them out of my love for them?”

I would recommend to focus on loving them right now today, every day, in your best own capacity. Not loving them because you have to. But loving them because you want to. As opposed to worrying about what to do, when/if they die because they are not dead yet. The point is that they are still around, they are still with you.

1) Things you want to tell your parents

So I’d recommend, to all of you listening right now, brainstorm and come up with a list. This list should comprise two things:

The first thing is, think about what are the things that you have always wanted to tell your parents but you haven’t. This can be something like I love you. I know can sound insane especially for those of us living in the Asian culture. I know if I say “I love you” to my parents they’ll think I’m nuts and I’ve gone wonky.

So what I do instead when I try to say I love you to them, is that I present it in the way that they will understand. This can be in terms of the common lingo that’s used in my family is, “Have you eaten? Have you eaten dinner? Have you had lunch?” This is the common lingo in my family that expresses concern. Now obviously, it can be different from family to family.

Of course, just simply spending time. Let’s say my dad is in the living room and watching TV. For me just sitting there and I can be doing my own work but just having this time together. We might not be talking because my dad isn’t someone who talks a lot. So just spending time with him is my way of expressing love to him which I feel he understands as well.

For my mom, my mom is more articulate. So I make a point to try to call her once a week or once every few days to check on things, how she is doing. I try to go back home as much as possible. But I’m now married and living my own place which is quite far away from where I used to live with my parents. So calling her and this is something I did not do in the past. But over the years it just came naturally. In the past, I would think this is bizarre and strange to just be talking to my mom on the phone. But now we can even be talking for several minutes, 10 minutes, which is long considering we used to not talk. Whereas in the past, it would be like me screaming and shouting and all of us just shouting at each other and that.

2) Things you want to do with them, for them

So that’s the first thing. Think about things you want to tell your parents. The second thing is to think about the things you want to do with your parents and for them.

The best way to imagine this is to think about the day when your parents pass on. When that happens, what you wish to have done with them, for them? For me, it is my wish to bring my parents on a vacation. Well, it has not materialized at all because my parents simply do not believe in traveling overseas. They simply think that it is a waste of money. And I totally understand and respect that. So my parents are extremely frugal. We come from a low-income family and these views helped shape me and make me someone who is prudent about her expenditures and careful with money and I totally appreciate that. But I also hope that one day,  I’ll be able to bring them on a vacation, when they are ready to, when they wish to. And of course when my mom is better and she finishes her cancer treatment and so on.

So that is something that I have in mind when that time comes. But in the meantime before that happens, nowadays I would every few months suggest that all of us, like the whole family — my brother and his girlfriend, and me and Ken and my parents — that we just go out and have a meal. This is something that my parents value. They regard going out for a meal as a celebratory event. So that is something that is in line with their language of love.

So that’s for me. How about for you? What are the things that you want to do with your parents and for them?

Now is the time

For these two particular things, (a) things you want to tell your parents and (b) things you want to do with your parents or for them, think about how you can start working on that right now. Not like a few years down the road or whatever unless there are certain circumstances that you need to put this thing off.

For the things that you are able to act on right now, how can you make that happen right now? Think of this as a natural expression of your love to your parents and then working it as part of your regular routine and your regular self in terms of your interactions with them.

I believe that as you do that more and more, expressing your love — through actions, through words, through the time that you spend with them — you may well find that the fear of losing our parents starts to reduce. That’s because you are now truly embracing and bringing your relationship with your parents higher and higher, to the level it can be.Whereas previously, the fear might have been from a pent-up regret that you may well not get to do/say the things that you want to your parents when they pass on. Now you are actually taking action on this.

Instead of fearing when they pass on, you are appreciating and finding joy and love in the time that you spend with them. And this is the key point here. Not to immerse yourself in guilt, regret or fear, but to immerse yourself in the love you have for parents. Because I believe that part of that fear is stemming from how much you really love them. And then to let this love flourish. Let them know how much you love them. Don’t wait for a later time because sometimes this later time may well not come. And I truly hope that your relationship with your parents will flourish to its highest level. 🙂

End Note

So keep me posted on how things go Sumedha. To all of you listening to this, whether your parents are with you or not, I truly believe that our loved ones are with us in spirit, even if they might have left the Earth. So I hope this message gets out to anyone when needs to hear this today.

If you find the podcast helpful in any way, I would really appreciate it if you could give us a great rating on iTunes. That would really support the show and help us reach more people.

So thank you so much for listening. And I look forward to speaking to you guys in the next episode. Bye guys! 

End Note: Thanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast. For more tips on how to live your best life, visit

Related Resources:






Top 5 Regrets of the Dying (and What To Do About Them)

A palliative nurse who cared for dying patients in the last weeks of their lives took the liberty to record the most common regrets among them. Among these regrets were revealing statements like wishing they didn’t work so hard, wishing they had the courage to express their feelings, and wishing they had stayed in touch with their friends.

I believe people can get striking clarity and wisdom in the last moments of their death. In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I share the top 5 regrets of the dying, as identified by former palliative nurse Bronnie Ware, and my thoughts and pointers on how we can use this wisdom to better our lives.

  • Regret #1: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me [02:26]
  • Regret #2: I wish I didn’t work so hard [11:30]
  • Regret #3: I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings [18:43]
  • Regret #4: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends [23:51]
  • Regret #5: I wish that I had let myself be happier [27:56]

Listen here:


Celestine Chua         
PEP 007: Top 5 Regrets of the Dying (and What To Do About Them)           PEP 007: Top 5 Regrets of the Dying (and What To Do About Them)          


If you've found The Personal Excellence Podcast useful, I'd really appreciate it if you can leave a good rating and review on iTunes. Your review does make a difference and it will help the podcast to grow and spread the message of conscious living to the world. Thank you!

Top 5 Regrets of the Dying [Transcript]

Welcome to the Personal Excellence Podcast, the show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua.

Celestine Chua: Hey everyone! Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 7. I’m Celestine Chua from

Today’s episode is a different one. I want to talk about the top 5 regrets of the dying, a topic that’s based on an article. Some of you may have read this before, because it’s an article that went viral several years ago. The article is by Bronnie Ware, and she was a palliative nurse who cared for dying patients in the last weeks of their lives.

She penned an article on the top 5 regrets of the dying because after all these years of just caring for patients who were going to past on, she noticed recurring trends in their thoughts, things they wished they did. This could be things like wishing they didn’t work so hard, wishing they had the courage to express their feelings, and so on.

I thought that this would be an insightful topic to talk about today because I believe people get clarity during the last moments of their lives. It puts things into perspective, like things they wished they did or things they wished they didn’t do so much of. It is good to review these to understand what’s on their minds, and also to use this as insight and wisdom to reflect on our lives and whether it’s heading down the path we want.

In today’s podcast, I’m going to be reading snippets from Bronnie’s article, covering the top five regrets of the dying, and sharing my thoughts and perspective on them. At the end of the podcast, I’ll share the link to Bronnie’s article so you can take a look for yourself.

Regret #1: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me

The first regret, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Bronnie says, “This was the most common regret of all when people realized that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it. It is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to the choices they had made or not made.”

I feel that this is probably something that — fortunately — is starting to fade, the whole notion of feeling that we need to live a life based on other’s expectations. I do feel that it isn’t so dominant in today’s world compared to, say, 20 or 30 years ago. The people whom Bronnie worked with, they were obviously born before most of us here listening to this. They probably grew up with a set of very strong social norms that you need to behave in a certain way or you need to follow certain norms [to be accepted].

That said, there are still many societal expectations that weigh on us today. It can be tricky breaking out of these.

  • A very simple example would be the obligation to be attached or get married by a certain age. This is especially so for people in Asia, people in China or of the Chinese culture, and people from India or of the Indian culture. There’s this strong pressure to be married by a certain age, otherwise, you’re considered a “leftover woman” or “leftover man.” This pressure is stronger for the females than the males. 
  • Another example is being expected to be in a certain job or to reach a certain pay grade by the time you are of a certain age. You should achieve a certain level of career success by X age. If you don’t, something must be wrong with you or you’re just not that good. This is especially so in countries where there’s a lot emphasis on work, countries like Singapore. I’m assuming Hong Kong as well. Of course, I’m sure in corporate America too.

There can also be expectations from our parents, who feel that you need to do certain things or who expect that you take over their business (though, I don’t think it’s very typical now). There could be all these expectations on us that we need to act in a certain way.

Of course, I don’t think it’s about casting these expectations aside and vehemently making a stand and saying, “This is my life. This is what I want. If you don’t agree, if you have other kinds of expectations, then too bad, I’m not going to care about them.” I don’t think it’s like this, though it may well work in certain cases. In some cases, it may well be the only way out. I think it is important to understand the expectations that have been placed on us as well as our responsibilities, especially responsibilities that we want to uphold and integrate them into our decision making.

At the end of the day, it is very important that we understand our needs and wants, and to honor them as we live our best life and not let other people’s expectations cloud over our inner needs and desires. Or even suffocate, conceal, and cover them. For example, maybe you happen to live in a society where there is a very heavy emphasis on money and you’re expected to be in a certain career or reach a certain income to pay for your basic needs. But your real passion is in the arts, and that may not have as good of an income or income potential. Then, maybe it is about finding the path to pursue your passion while still generate a healthy income. This answer may not be before you right now. If it is, it will be clear. It may be a path that you need to craft out yourself and you need to devise. But it all starts by first planning and envisioning.

An example would be when I was in my corporate job. My passion is in personal development and helping others grow. At that time, I was looking around at the possible jobs that I could take on, including NGOs, humanitarian work, etc. Ultimately, I realized that that was no option out there that would fit my needs and passion in the way I was thinking of. It was then about creating my own path that would best fit my passion and needs, and allow me to pursue it and bring it to the highest level. Then I started thinking, Okay, this means that I need to start a business. What would this business look like? I started asking all these questions to myself and planning them. I share more in the article, “Passion or Money.”

Of course, the result was not immediate. I had to take time to plan. Then I had to think, Okay, when do I want to quit? Then starting my business, and doing it full time and putting all my energy into making it work.

All these took years. But it started from first taking the step to craft out my ideal life, to understand and honor that I have my own needs and direction in life. Just because society prizes a certain status or symbol, a certain thing like money, it doesn’t mean that we need to bark up this tree. We need to first understand what our needs are, to respect them, while understanding our other options. Then, work on building this bridge to bring us from where we are now to that ideal path, while not heavily compromising our loved ones’ needs and our responsibilities.

If you have been living a life mainly based on other’s expectations and needs, is it time to just start thinking about yourself? Like for once, to start thinking about your own needs, your wishes, your priorities, your wants? How can you start integrating them into your life now, even with a small baby step or in a small fashion?

The more you do that, the more energy you have, the stronger your spirit, the more you’re able to take on. In the end, following your path is not something that drains you. The more you do that, the more you’re capable of taking on more. It’s just incredible. It’s counter-intuitive, but at the same time, it’s not.

Regret #2: I wish I didn’t work so hard

Let’s look at regret number two, “I wish I didn’t work so hard.” How many of you guys can relate to that?

I live in Singapore. In Singapore, there is an immense work culture. I don’t just mean being committed to your work. There is just an obsession with work here. Singapore employees, they have been shown to be some of the most stressed-out workers in the entire world. We are one of the countries that work the most hours in the world. One in five Singapore workers works more than 11 hours a day. Singapore as a country is the most sleep-deprived, if not one of the most sleep-deprived countries in the world.

This comes down to this strong national focus on working just to live, that work is our life. There is little to no concept of self. I don’t think that it’s the fault of the citizens here as much as everyone is trying their best to keep up in this society where the costs of living keep rising. I feel that this whole situation has a lot to do with the policies that are being passed, as well as the unrelenting focus on economic growth by the leaders of the country. Though, that’s a separate thing altogether.

But my point here is that this whole regret of, “I wish I didn’t work so hard,” this is something that rings truer now than ever, especially if you live in an urban city. In urban cities, generally, there is a very heavy work culture, especially in places like New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. To that, it’s important to recognize your priorities in life.

I can understand if, say, you’re single. Naturally, if you are single, most of the time people who are single and living in urban cities, they tend to invest a lot of their energy and self into work because work forms a big part of their identity. But you want to also think about whether this is what you want in your life, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now.

When I was in my 20’s, work was the core of my being. Because like I said, in Singapore, here, work is associated with you, like work equals the person. That is how it goes. Conversations usually go, “Oh, what do you do? What’s your work?” People associate you, your status, and your worth with your occupation, as well as your salary or without knowledge of that, your material possessions.

Growing in such a culture in my 20’s, naturally, work was a core part of myself. Later on, there was my business PE. But PE was different because it was a conscious choice, and PE is based on my life purpose. It is something I am passionate about. I don’t see it as work. It is just something I naturally want to do no matter what happens.

Then I got married several years ago. After that, it helped me see things differently, especially after I started hiring a staff, As “an employer,” I started to really think about how to protect and safeguard my staff’s needs, working hours, and workload, and ensuring that she doesn’t get overloaded or that things are well planned out. That she has a day’s off when she can rest and focus on other priorities, and so on.

It got me thinking as to how I didn’t really get that when I was an employee. Nothing to do with my previous company at all, it was just the whole work culture in my country, and it was or still is, if I may say so, really toxic. The funny thing is that, over here in Singapore, working overtime is totally expected. Immersing yourself in work is a given and you’re looked upon negatively if you don’t do that.

Then being married, I also have to dedicate a part of my time, like spending time with my husband on the weekday nights and then on the weekends. I want to do that. I love him. I want to spend the rest of my life with him. All these things put together make me realize that there’s this implicit assumption here where you devote your whole self to work. There’s just something wrong. Because if say you do that, how are you supposed to have time for your loved ones, your family, your parents, if your parents are around? If your parents are around, they probably don’t have much time left on Earth, in the sense that they are older than us by several decades. Why should we be spending the next few decades devoting the whole time to work when we should be proportioning and managing our time properly so that we have ample time for the people we love and not regret this when they pass on? It doesn’t make sense at all.

How about, say, childbearing. For those of you at the stage where you’re thinking of having a family, it’s very easy to devote yourself to work and then not think about having a child. By the time you are in the space to think about that, maybe it’s already too late because your childbearing years are over.

These are things to give due consideration as opposed to immersing and devoting ourselves to work for whatever reason, whether work defines who you are or whether money is just really important to you. I think that everything in life can be important, but ultimately, we need to decide what the most important things to ourselves. Because you can keep earning money and you can keep getting better and better and work on expanding your portfolio, and all that. If you’re running a business, the sky is the limit. You can do whatever you want. You can keep growing it endlessly.

But we have to bear in mind our biggest priorities at the end of the day. Because we can’t just go in an endless loop where we’re earning money and more money and more money. But does this actually give us the kind of satisfaction that we are looking for in life? Is there an end that we’re working towards? Is there a possibility that in our mad chase for a certain objective that we may be missing out on certain things or we may be neglecting certain things?  Something for us to think about.

Regret #3: I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings

Regret number three, “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.” This is what Bronnie says, “Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

I’m actually going to be recording a new episode on how to be more assertive in response to a PE reader question. It’ll probably be coming up after this. That will be relevant to this. (Update: The episode is up! How to Be Assertive Without Being Aggressive)

A lot of us were probably scared about expressing ourselves. Maybe because we fear rejection, we fear judgment, and we fear what people would think about us. Maybe we fear that we’ll say something that people, they’ll think that we’re stupid or we say something that they will just toss away or put down.

To that, I think it is important to recognize that ultimately, we cannot control how people will behave. We cannot control how they would react. Because of that, if we are continuously censoring or filtering ourselves because we are fearful of how they would act or react, doing so will only cause us to dim our light. Because there are basically all kinds of people in this world and everyone have different opinions and thoughts. I mean, we have people who are in support of gay marriage. We have people who are not in support of gay marriage. We have people who feel that Trump will be a better president and we have people who feel that Clinton will be a better president. We have people who just think both of them suck. Basically, there are all these different people with different opinions.

If you are constantly fearful of what people will say or respond, and you filter yourself accordingly, you can never win. Because everyone is different. Everyone will have a different response. There will always be people who are going to have a negative response to a particular opinion that you have, which means that you basically can never arrive at a point where people are happy. This is something that I learned for myself after continuously trying to censor myself and feeling that I need to oppress my voice. I just realized that it was just the most important for me to convey what needs to be conveyed through my articles, through my blog. If some people don’t like it, then that’s just too bad.

It’s the same for you. Think about the most important things that matter to you. Allow yourself to have a voice in these things and to express yourself in them. 

For example, let’s say if there is someone whom you’re interested in. You don’t necessarily have to go up and say “I love you” because that will be probably crazy, especially if you haven’t really been dating. But you can take little steps, like asking that person out or arranging for some kind of group gathering where both of you can be in it and then go out together and just get to know each other more and interact more. This can be a step towards expressing your feelings, not necessarily in the sense of saying, “Oh, I love you. Do you want to be with me?” but expressing your feelings through all these little actions that can then finally build up to the final point where you convey your feelings directly.

It could be, say, in a relationship if you have certain opinions, and maybe they are not pleasant and you’re worried about expressing them. But if these are things that are important to you, then you need to speak up and talk about them. Looking for the right moment and just sharing them with your partner or with your loved ones or your close friends. If these are important things and if these are people who matter, then they will want to hear what you have to say. Then it will be important for you to express those thoughts and feelings.

I would like to you to apply this from now on. If there’s ever any situation that you feel strongly about, allow yourself to express that, to let your opinions be heard. You can start off on a one-to-one basis. That makes it easy for you to then start expressing your opinions, your feelings to other people.

Regret #4: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends

Regret number four, “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”

This regret is interesting because in the previous generation where there wasn’t any social media, Facebook, and so on, it probably was more challenging for people to stay in touch. Then now, we have Facebook and social media, it is so easy to keep in touch, like just being a friend to each other and you can easily see people’s updates through your newsfeed and by clicking over to their profile or just sending over a text message or just adding someone to WhatsApp, and then starting a conversation that way.

The funny thing is that I think this regret can still be relevant in our time.

  1. Because while there all these social media networks and all these different things that make it easy to stay in touch, I feel that these connections, to some degree, are more superficial than how they could be. That’s one thing.
  2. The second thing is that as we are connected to these people, I feel it’s easy to just take for granted, that, “Oh, yeah, all these friends are just in my social networks. They are just a click away, so there’s just simply no need for me to especially keep in touch because I know they are one click away. If at any point, I want to message them, I can always do that. ” This can make us take for granted the connection, just by the sheer feeling that “Okay, we are linked up,” then there’s really nothing much that we need to do.”
  3. And then there is a third factor, which is linked to the second regret we were talking about just now. All these different things that they are taking our attention away,  maybe it is work or maybe it is your family, if you are a full-time homemaker, things like that. They can take our time, energy, and attention away from our dear friends.

Now, to this, I think it is important to think about your friends, your friends who are dear to you, the people who have touched you in your life. Just think about them. It could be when you were a teenager, someone who really touched you and played a special role in your life. It could be when you were a young adult or if you are still a young adult, or if you’re not adult yet, then your teenage years, in the adolescence years probably will be more relevant.            

But whatever it is, someone who played a special role in your life, who was there for you, and are still there for you when you needed them. People who have been with you through thick and thin. People who lent you a shoulder when you needed that. Or people who just did very small acts for you. It may not mean anything to other people or to them, but it really meant the world to you.

To these people, just start to make a special effort in keeping in touch with them. Maybe just send an SMS to them like right now. You can pause this podcast and just send a text message to them just to check with them like how they are doing, just to send some good wishes and so on. Or you can send an email to them or even Facebook message them and just start a connection. Make this a habit. Make this an ongoing thing.

I always make a point to message my friends every once in a while just to check on them and see how they are doing. Remember never to let the circumstances, like whether you are in a different country or whether you’re busy with life’s agendas and work agendas because we are always busy with something, whisk you away from keeping in touch with your dearest friends.

Regret #5: I wish that I had let myself be happier

We move to the last regret, regret number five, “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

Does this ring true with any of you? “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” The funny thing is that even though we are in a world today where we are relatively more affluent as a civilization, as a population, even though there are more shiny objects now than ever, more material things, more flashy things, I feel that in a way some of us are not necessarily happier.

I see a lot of these coming up in terms of social ills. It can be, say, cyberbullyingpeople bullying other people. So you have the victims. For the bullies, I always feel that if someone is releasing or enacting anger or violence, and it can be emotional violence towards someone else, then that person probably isn’t happy at all.

We have gun violence. We have shootings, mass shootings. Even in countries where it’s supposed to be safe, you don’t necessarily see people being happy. Again, in Singapore, I think if you just take the public transport, you can actually see that many people are very, very stressed out. Most people, if not all, actually have eye bags reflecting — I mean, of course, for some people, they just genetically have eye bags. It’s not like I’m saying that eye bags are bad. I’m just saying that it also depicts that people are sleep deprived, or they are trying to sleep but they are having insomnia or not able to have quality sleep. Where people are just being bogged down with all these stresses of life and expectations, societal expectations, people’s expectations of us who we should be, what we should do, and all these endless responsibilities.

I feel that a lot of these are just self-created. When I mean self-created, I’m not saying that it’s your fault. I’m saying self-created like human-created. Because maybe you have sudden stresses, and these stresses could be created by the people who create the policies or made the society this way, which could be people from several generations ago or it could be the policymakers today.

And it’s just sad. It’s sad because why does life have to be this way? Why do we have to put ourselves in these vicious cycles putting the pressure on people to do certain things, putting the pressure on ourselves to be a certain way? And at the end of the day, just mad chasing certain goals? At the end of the day, just not being as happy as we can be?

I feel it all starts with us and making shifts within. Recognizing that happiness is literally a choice. You may have the worst of circumstances right now. I’m not saying that all of us can just automatically be happy if we want to because some of us may well be in dire states or we may be in terrible circumstances. If you happen to be in such a situation right now, my heart goes out to you. I truly hope that you can recover and get well soon from whatever is the circumstance you’re currently facing. But I’m saying that happiness is a choice, should we be in a luxury where we can potentially contemplate and consider the viability of happiness in our state.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about Viktor Frankl. He has already passed on. But he was a psychiatrist, as well as a Holocaust survivor. Pardon my language, but he was through a lot of crazy shit. He spent years of his life in concentration camps. He spent a part of his life working as a slave laborer. It was in the concentration camps where his father, his mother, his brother, and his wife died. He had really been through basically some of the worst things that a man could ever experience in today’s world.

He had a very interesting insight, which is that after all these suffering in the concentration camps, he arrived at the conclusion that even in the most absurd, painful, and dehumanized situation, life has potential meaning. Therefore, even suffering is meaningful. This conclusion serves as a strong basis in his own teachings.

Here, I want to share an excerpt from his Wikipedia page, which shares an account of his experience he had while working in the harsh conditions of the Nazi concentration camps and how he was able to find meaning despite the extreme suffering.

Here, Viktor is sharing this very harsh condition and suffering he was experiencing in one of the many moments in the concentration camps. Still, he was able to find bliss in that moment. In this example, he was talking about how it was through thinking about his wife, and through his love and his bond with his wife that actually helped him to find bliss amidst that physical torture and suffering.

But the essence here isn’t so much as saying, “Oh, you need to find a partner, a relationship, and be in a relationship before you can find bliss,” I hope that’s not what you’re getting from this. It certainly isn’t that key message.

The point here is that as Viktor says in this quote, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lie our growth and our freedom.” I think this is basically what Viktor was trying to say. We may have the worst circumstances with us right now. But the point is that our physical or external suffering at this moment, it doesn’t have to be linked with our emotional state. Because between this external experience and our internal emotions, there is actually a space. This space is basically our choice and our internal processing on how we wish to interpret this set of external circumstances and what we choose to make out of it. From that, then deciding, emoting, and feeling those emotional responses.

Here, I’m not talking about situations involving grief. I think if you’re coping with grief at this moment, then it is important to feel that grief, to process it, and not let it be stuck in you. But, say, in a general circumstance, and you’re experiencing problems, very pressing problems and difficult problems. There is a space between these problems and our own emotions and our own thoughts. It is about how we choose to interpret these circumstances and make the best out of them as supposed to continuing to suffer in these situations.

Does it mean that we should just be happy for the sake of being happy and just keep smiling and laughing regardless of the problems and then just continue living our life? No, that is not what I’m trying to say. I’m saying that even in the most difficult of circumstances, we can choose happiness, and most important of all that we take action to resolve these situations to elevate and move ourselves to a higher place rather than letting these problems perpetuate.

Whatever is the issue you’re facing right now, maybe it’s a job-related issue. See whether you can talk to your boss, or your coworkers and see how you can resolve that. Or let’s say you’re in a job that you hate. Start looking for a new job. You don’t have to quit right away and understand that we need our jobs to survive. But you can start looking for new opportunities, new options, just talking to people, understanding what are the options out there. Or maybe it is a relationship or friendship issue. It is something that you want to talk to your partner and your friend. Is it a family issue? Then do you want to involve your family members and sort of like work through this together?

Just remember that this regret, “I wish that I had let myself be happier,” this shouldn’t be a regret that you take with you to your grave. It’s the same for all the other 4 regrets: “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.” “I wish I had had the courage to express my feelings.” “I wish I didn’t work so hard.” “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

These are all things that we can start working on now. We can start to choose happiness. If you’re facing certain issues, we can start working on them now.

  • We can start keeping in touch with our closest friends.
  • We can start to learn to assert ourselves and express our own emotions and feelings.
  • We can start to prioritize our relationships, our health, alongside work.
  • We can start to live a life true to ourselves, our needs, as we live through our personal responsibilities and obligations.

All these things start from now. I don’t want you to live the next 10 years, 20 years, and 30 years of your life and then look back and wonder, “Where did that time go?” I want you to start living this life truest to you, and that at the end of your life, when you are on your deathbed, that you can look back and know that you have lived this life true to yourself, that you have lived a life well lived, you have really done your best, and you can look back with pride.

This is the life I want you to live. If you think now when you are on your deathbed, breathing your last breath, what is the kind of life you would want to have lived? What would you want to have done by then? What would you want your life to be like looking back?

Think about all these things. Then start making these happen at this very moment. Whatever it is, happiness, being close with friends, having a great social life, prioritizing your health, having a job that you love, etc. These are things that we shouldn’t be contingent upon circumstances or things that you only need do or work on 5, 10, 20 years from now. These are things that you can start doing now.    

It may well not be something that happened overnight. It doesn’t have to be something that is effected overnight. But it can be something that you start, just taking a tiny step towards it right now. You’ll find that as you do that that your life becomes richer, more emotionally fulfilling, that you start really appreciating and loving life. And you start seeing things in a different spectrum that you have never really seen. Because what it means to live life to the fullest isn’t really the end state you’re at or which point you’re at, as much as you are constantly progressing and moving forward. That is what it means to live every day to its fullest. Because you’re actively making your life today the best day you can ever live.

End Note

If you like to read Bronnie’s article, you can check it out here. I would also like you to check out my article, 7 Limiting Beliefs Keeping You from Living Your Best Life. There, I share seven major limiting beliefs I observed amongst people. These beliefs may be beliefs that you’re aware are there or you know you’re not aware that they are subconscious and they certainly prevent us from living to our fullest potential. I outlined how to bust these beliefs.

I have another article, 10 Timeless Principles for Lasting Happiness. These are 10 timeless tips on being happy. These are principles that I apply myself to keep a positive state. If you tend to deal with little setbacks each day or each week, I have some tips for you to deal with them. You can read my article, 10 Tips to Deal with Daily Setbacks.

If you have found today’s podcast helpful, I would truly appreciate it if you could leave a positive review and rating on iTunes. Every review truly means a lot to me. I want to thank all of you who have been leaving reviews. All of these help in letting new listeners, like people who have not listened or downloaded the PE Podcast before, or even check out PE before, help them know whether this podcast is worth downloading, whether it’s something that they should check out. The reviews really go a long way in helping us reach out to more people and help them in their lives.

Thank you so much for listening. Truly an honor and privilege to be here speaking to you. I look forward speaking to you guys in the next episode. Bye guys!

End Note: Thanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast. For more tips on how to live your best life, visit

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Meet the Man Who Saved 160 People From Suicide

Today I want to share someone inspiring with you. 🙂 His name is Don Ritchie and he had saved 160 lives in his lifetime — that’s just the official estimate. The real number is said to be 400 according to his family.

Don Ritchie

How did he do that?

Don happened to live near The Gap, an ocean cliff at Sydney. It is a popular visitor destination which has gained infamy as a suicide spot over the years. It is estimated that about 50 people end their lives here each year.[1]

The Gap, an ocean cliff in Sydney. It’s located at the entrance to Sydney Harbor. It is a well-known place for suicides in Australia.

As individuals walked up to the cliff, looking at the crashing waves below and wondering whether to jump, Don would approach them with a smile asking, “Why don’t you come and have a cup of tea?

Accepting his offer, these people would be invited into his home where they would have a chat over tea. No counseling, no advising, no prying. Just one human being lending a listening ear to another. Some of these people had mental problems, some had medical illnesses, some are just people going through a rough patch in life. For many, a listening ear was apparently what they needed as they changed their minds about jumping after the chat, and turned back home.

As Don put it in this video,

This was what Don did for almost 50 years. Talking to the people who walked up the cliff and were contemplating suicide. Extending a helping hand. Giving them a listening ear. And saving countless from suicide in the process. One woman whom Don and his wife saved would write back or visit about once a year, letting them know that she is happy and well.

In 2006, Don was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for “service to the community through programs to prevent suicide.” Him and his wife Moya were named “Citizens of the Year” for 2010 by Woollahra Council, the local government authority responsible for The Gap. He also received Local Hero Award for Australia in 2011.[3] Don died in 2012 at the ripe old age of 86.

Don didn’t manage to save everyone in his time, naturally. Some were already gone by the time he rushed to the cliff. Some rejected his invitation and jumped. Sometimes he would climb over the fence and forcibly hold them while Moya called the police. Once it almost cost his life as the woman tried to launch herself over the side, with Don being the only thing between her and the abyss![4] 

Yet, Don didn’t weigh himself down with those who were lost. He said that he could not remember the first suicide he witnessed, and none had plagued his dreams. He did his best with each person, and if he lost one, he accepted that there was nothing more he could have done.[4]

What can we learn from Don’s story?

Sometimes, in our very busy life, we tend to forget about people.

The people who need help, who are just trying to do their best to get by, who are facing their own stresses and worries.

The people who are next to us, or are behind the computer screens at the receiving end of our email/message, or are donning official roles and titles but are people nonetheless.

We may sometimes forget that they are people. Sometimes, we may think of them as objects to help us get things done. Or we may think of them as people who have it altogether, and it doesn’t matter what we say to them or how we treat them — they can deal with their own issues and emotions as we have our own problems to deal with.

But that ain’t true. Every human being is a person. A person with feelings, thoughts, aspirations, fears, responsibilities, and commitments. Just as we’re struggling with our problems, the person next to us, opposite us, or at the other side of the world using the internet to communicate with us also has their own problems that they are struggling with. Just because people aren’t screaming about their issues or aren’t walking around with a tag saying that they are stressed or frustrated doesn’t mean they don’t have their problems.

So how about stopping to show some kindness to a fellow person? 🙂

  • Send a simple text to check how a friend is doing
  • Start a conversation with someone
  • Give a smile to a stranger or service staff
  • Give a hug
  • Give a genuine compliment to someone who did good work
  • Give someone a call to say hi
  • Lend a helping hand to someone who has a problem. For example, if you have a friend who is trying to find a job, see if they need help with their resume, or if they need pointers on job search. Or if you know someone who just went through a breakup, see if they need a listening ear or want to hang out.
  • Send a thank-you note to someone who made a difference in your life
  • Give a tip to someone who gave great service

So the funny thing about today’s world is that when you try to be friendly and kind, some people may think you are crazy. Some may react adversely and push you aside. Some may be busy and not be able to take you up on your offer (though that doesn’t mean they won’t do a rain check).

But there will be some people who will need this care and love, right now, right when you show it. Perhaps they don’t even know that they need it. Perhaps they may push away your offer of kindness, only to take it up soon after. Perhaps they will react with shock as they never thought someone would care, and then gratefully reciprocate.

For these people, your small little act will make a world of a difference. You may think it doesn’t matter, but it does make a big difference to them. Just as Don’s little invitation for tea and a chat may seem inconsequential to practical people of the material world, such human touch and empathy is exactly what is missing in our world today.

You never know whose life you may change in the process. And perhaps in doing so, you may end up changing your life too. 🙂

Check out my kindness challenge, which consists of 14 tasks of kindness over 14 days: Kindness Challenge Overview

Other articles I’ve written on inspiring individuals 🙂






Bucket List Ideas: 101 Things To Do Before You Die



A few days ago, I was surfing online when I came across someone’s bucket list. It inspired me to create my own list and write an article about it at the same time.

What’s a Bucket List?

If you haven’t heard about the term “bucket list”, it is a list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill and life experiences you desire to experience before you die.

Why Create a Bucket List?

If you don’t live your days by personal goals and plans, chances are you spend most of your time caught up in a flurry of day-to-day activities. Ever felt that your days are passing you by without any tangible output to speak of? What did you accomplish in the past 3 months? What are your upcoming goals for the next 3 months? Look at the things you did and the things you’re planning to do next — Do they mean anything to you if you are to die today? Having a bucket list reminds you of what’s really important so you can act on them.

Even if you frequently live by goals or to-do lists, they are probably framed within a certain social context e.g. performance, career, health. A bucket list opens up the context. It’s a forum to set anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to do, whether it’s big, small or random.

It’s just like planning ahead all the highlights you want for YOUR whole life. 😀 Even though goal setting is already my staple activity, I still found many new things to do while I was writing on my own list. It was an incredibly insightful exercise. What’s more, coming up with my list gave me a whole new layer of enthusiasm knowing what’s in store ahead!

The objective of creating this list isn’t to instill some kind of a race against time or to create aversion toward death. I don’t see our existence to be limited to just our physical years on earth — I don’t see our existence to be limited to just our physical years on earth — our physical lifespan is but a short speck of our existence in the universe.

The whole point of creating your list is to maximize every moment of our existence and live our life to the fullest. It’s a reminder of all the things we want to achieve in our time here, so that instead of pandering our time in pointless activities, we are directing it fully toward what matters to us.

Create Your Bucket List

If you don’t have a bucket list, I highly recommend you to create one. How much will it cost? Zero. How long will it take? Probably 30 minutes to an hour, or more if you get really caught up in the writing. 🙂 What do you stand to gain? Significant clarity and focus on what you want from your life. It’s an invaluable exchange. 🙂

If you already have your list, take this opportunity to review it. See if there are new items you want to add-on. If so, add them in. Check if all the items listed are still relevant. If not, remove them.

Now, take out your pen and paper or open up a text document. Start writing down what comes to mind as you read these questions:

  • What if you were to die tomorrow? What would you wish you could do before you die?
  • What would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources?
  • What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
  • Any countries, places or locations you want to visit?
  • What are your biggest goals and dreams?
  • What do you want to see in person?
  • What achievements do you want to have?
  • What experiences do you want to have / feel?
  • Are there any special moments you want to witness?
  • What activities or skills do you want to learn or try out?
  • What are the most important things you can ever do?
  • What would you like to say/do together with other people? People you love? Family? Friends?
  • Are there any specific people you want to meet in person?
  • What do you want to achieve in the different areas: Social, Love, Family, Career, Finance, Health (Your weight, Fitness level), Spiritual?
  • What do you need to do to lead a life of the greatest meaning?

Come up with as many items as you can. The items should be things you have not done yet. Don’t stop until you finish listing at least 101 things! If you find yourself stuck, chances are you are mentally limiting/constraining yourself. Release those shackles — Your bucket list is meant to be a list of everything you want to achieve, do, see, feel and experience in your life. Check out the next section for added inspiration.

101 Things To Do Before You Die

Here are 101 items to consider for your bucket list. 🙂 Look through the list — any item that resonates with you? Note that the list below is a sample list of things you can put for your own list — not all of them will work for you, and you shouldn’t do them for the sake of it. Take the items that resonate with you and use them for your own list! For your convenience, I’ve included useful resources (hand-picked by myself) to aid you in your bucket list quest.

1. Travel all around the world

Traveling — it’s the single best activity that exposes you to new cultures, broaden your mind, move out of your comfort zone, allow you to meet new people, and experience the wonders of the world. 

I’m a strong advocate of traveling and have in fact traveled widely around the world in the past years. In 2011, I went on a 7-month non-stop trip around Europe and U.S. where I met PE readers from around the world and held PE readers meetup in LondonLondon againNew York, and Los Angeles. I’ve subsequently been to Kuala Lumpur, India, South AfricaHong KongScotland, and Hong Kong where I held PE reader meetups in all of them (except India).

All in all, I’ve spent about 50% of my time between 2011 to 2013 traveling! I look forward to visiting new places such as South America, Canada, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand moving forward.

How about you? What new countries would you like to visit? Here are some traveling resources:

2. Learn a new language

Learning a new language is never easy but it’s so satisfying when you are able to converse with someone in a foreign language! I admire people who are multi-lingual — I’m personally fluent in only English and Mandarin while having functional knowledge of Hokkien, Japanese, and Bahasa Indonesia. I hope to learn a few foreign languages — Spanish being one of them — in the future. 

Some language resources:

3. Try a profession in a different field

What profession are you in now and how long have you been doing this? Is it time for a change in profession? It’s nice to do something different from what you have been doing, and it doesn’t have to involve quitting your current job — you can always experiment with volunteer work in a field you enjoy or start up a part-time business on the side. It’s all about expanding your horizon and trying something new.

4. Achieve your ideal weight

I used to be a severe binge eater (a story which I’ve shared in My Journey with Emotional Eating series) and making the commitment to overcome my emotional eating, live healthily, and lose my excess weight has been one of the single best decisions I’ve made in my life.

Make the commitment to be healthy. What is your ideal weight? Are you at your ideal weight today? What can you do to start being healthy? Some weight loss resources:

5. Run a marathon

A marathon is a long-distance race of 42.2 km (26.2 miles) long — definitely not an easy feat that requires training and hard work! Training and completing a marathon will not only develop you in your physical strength and endurance, but also your mental persistence, will, and attitude. Read:

6. Take part in a triathlon

triathlon is a “multiple-stage competition involving the completion of 3 continuous and sequential endurance disciplines.” Modern-day triathlons are swim/bike/run events that are done in that order. If you think that a marathon is tough, wait till you try a triathlon — the ironman triathlon consists of 3.86 km (2.4 mi) swim, a 180.25 km (112-mi) bicycle ride and a 42.2 km (26.2-mi) run (that’s a marathon-length race!), raced in that order and without a break!

But don’t run in the opposite direction just yet — there are many triathlons of varying distances that are completely manageable. For example, a sprint triathlon is 750 m / (0.47 mi) / 20 km (12.4 mi) / 5 km while an Olympic triathlon is 1.5 km (0.93 mi) / 40 km (24.8 mi) / 10 km (6.2 mi). One of my readers decided to train for a triathlon as a personal milestone — despite never having done a marathon in her life! She eventually completed the triathlon after a year of training, and was so proud of herself!

Ready to take up the triathlon challenge? 🙂 Read:

7. Take up a new sport

Sports are a great way to keep fit! Whether you’re an indoor or outdoor person, there is a sport for everyone. Here are some sports to try out:

  • Technique sports: Archery, Golf, Bowling, Billiard, Skateboarding, Skating, Roller-blading, Ice skating
  • Racket sports: Squash, Badminton, Tennis, Table tennis
  • Water sports: Water rafting, Kayaking, Wakeboarding, Sailing, Swimming, Scuba diving, Snorkeling
  • Group sports: Soccer, Rugby, Baseball, Basketball, Ultimate frisbee

8. Go scuba diving / snorkeling and experience marine life up close

As humans, we spend all of our lives on land. Yet there is a whole world under the sea that we’re not privy to! Do you know that 71% of the Earth’s surface is actually the ocean? And do you know that because of the ocean’s depth, it contains about 300 times the habitable volume of the terrestrial habitats on Earth — and many ocean species are still to be discovered?

With scuba diving and snorkeling, you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the marine life — and see, feel, and experience the vast ocean in person. Scuba diving is one of my bucket list items!


9. Go skiing

There’s something about being able to glide on snow while controlling your motor movements that just makes skiing such a  fun sport. It’s by no means easy or safe — one should take lessons before attempting to ski alone — but it’s worth trying out, especially for people who don’t live in winter countries. I personally haven’t skied before and would love to give it a shot next time. Read:

10. Trek the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is the most famous trek in South America and is rated by many to be in the top 5 treks in the world. It starts from Chillca and follows a route to Machu Picchu, The Lost City of the Incas. Read:

11. Go horseback riding

Horseback riding in Chennai, India, completing an item from my bucket list! 😉

Since as early as 4000-3500 BCE, horses have been domesticated and living alongside men. While horses used to be kept as meat animals, and subsequently as working animals to transport materials and people, today, horse riding has transformed into both a hobby and a competitive sport. Horseback riding in itself can be a good sport to relax and unwind from the busy life. Unlike typical sports where you are alone or with other people, in horseback riding, you work together with an animal — the horse — and often times build an emotional bond with it, sometimes one even stronger, more unspeakable, than what you have with fellow peers.

More on horseback riding:

12. Do an extreme sport

I don’t consider myself an extreme sports person, but I like to experiment in life. When I was in Cape Town in April 2013, my host and reader Lizette invited me to go paragliding as she has friends who are licensed tandem paragliding pilots. I took up the offer, and went paragliding not once, but twice!!!

Me paragliding in Cape Town on April 18, 2013. Check out THAT view!!! We were literally floating in the air for a good minute or two. One of the MOST surreal moments in my life!!

The experience was immense and one that I’ll never forget. I do recommend everyone to try at least one extreme sport in our lifetimes! (Of course, make sure *all* safety precautions are in place and you are with professional and licensed instructors.) While the experience may only last a couple of minutes, those few minutes will be some of the most memorable ones in your life.

More on my paragliding experience here: The Day I Flew (My Paragliding Experience in Cape Town!)

Get started:

13. Climb a mountain

Why risk your life to climb a mountain when the journey is fraught with rocky terrains and with ever-changing weather conditions? For some, mountain climbing is an external conquest; some find enjoyment in the sport; others see it as a step in their personal growth journey. Whatever it is, mountain climbing is a feat that takes physical endurance and mental tenacity to accomplish, and is definitely a bucket list worthy item. I haven’t climbed a mountain yet but I plan to do that sometime in the future!

14. Learn a strategy game

Strategy games like chesscheckerschinese chessReversi (also known as Otello), Mindsweeper (part of Windows bundle) are great ways to train your mind. As a child, my brother and I played chinese chess together very often; I also enjoy playing  mind sports like chess and Reversi a lot and would do so with my friends and against the computer). I don’t know if playing such games helped me to be smarter, but I know it certainly taught me to think quickly, to develop plan of actions in anticipation of future issues, and to think before I act!

Get started:

15. Connect with past teachers

Some of us may think of teachers in a bad light. After all, teachers are often remembered for giving us endless assignments and tests and generally making our lives miserable while in school!

Yet, our teachers are also crucial educators who impart importanted knowledge — and life skills — to us during our early ages when we were the most impressionable. They ensured that we would be on the right path as we entered preadolescence, adolescence, and subsequently adulthood. While teachers don’t always get everything right, their intentions come from a good place and they want to see us win.

Think about your past teachers in junior school, high school, and tertiary education. Find ways to get back in touch with them. (Calling your alma mater is always a good start.) Let them know how they have touched your life.

16. Let someone know how much he/she means to you

In our life’s journey, we are constantly touched and supported by people around us, be it friends, family, or acquaintances. Can you identify someone who has made a difference in your life? Write a letter to the person today and let him/her know how much he/she means to you. You can do this as many times as you want, for as many people as you like.  Read:

17. Give a heartfelt surprise to someone

When’s the last time you gave someone a surprise? 🙂 It’s always heartwarming to come home to a nicely cooked dinner, to have a bouquet of flowers sent to you at work, or to even receive a simple text message from a loved one. Who is someone you would like to touch today? What surprise can you give to him/her?

Read: #KindnessChallenge Day 14: Do Something Unexpectedly Nice For Someone

18. Perform a kind deed without expecting anything in return

Many of us are often waiting to receive rather than to give. Yet for any relationship to work, there has to be both giving and receiving. If you often find yourself wondering why no one is giving you what you want, how about practicing giving to others first? 🙂 The rest will follow.

Can you think of someone in your life who is in need of help or can benefit from your help? How can you extend your support to him/her? Read: 

19. Make a difference in someone’s life

Making a difference is more than doing a kind deed, though it can come as a result of a kind deed. When you make a difference in someone’s life, you change the person’s life for the better… permanently. What is the difference YOU want to make in others’ lives? How can you make that happen?

Read: #KindnessChallenge Day 7: Make a Donation

20. Be a mentor to someone

Teaching is one of the most rewarding things we can do. No matter how old you are, even if you are in your teens, you are always in the position to mentor someone else — perhaps someone who is more junior than you or someone who is older but can benefit from a particular expertise you have. Mentoring others is also a great way for you to develop yourself too.

Many communities are always looking for volunteer mentors, so check with your local community programs for such opportunities. At the same time, is there anyone you know who can benefit from being mentored by you? Extend your hand to help — who knows, it may well be what he/she needs at this moment!

21. Pursue your passion

Honestly, life is too short to be spent doing something you don’t love. This was why I quit my day job in September 2008 (right start at the start of the financial crisis no less) to pursue my passion to help others grow. I have never looked back ever since — for the past 5 years, I’ve been writing at Personal Excellence and helping people to grow. It has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done and I plan to do this for the rest of my life.

What is your passion? Is it to be an artist? To sing and perform? To be a life coach? To travel? To help other people to grow (same as my passion)? To be the best that you can be? How can you start pursuing it?

If you don’t know what your passion is, this exercise will help you to discover it: Discover Your Life Purpose in the Next 30 Minutes

Some people pursue their passion part time while some make it their careers (or even turn their passion into a business). I personally think that if something is your passion, then you should turn it into your life’s work, because that’s the most synergistic and rewarding path you can pursue. Contrary to common belief that pursuing your passion is at odds with being rich, you can pursue your passion and be financially abundant. I’m an example of this. 

These articles document the early stages of my passion journey and will help you in yours:

22. Start your business

Entrepreneurship is fraught with uncertainty but it certainly is fun and rewarding! I started my personal development business in 2008 without knowledge of professional blogging or coaching and started earning more than my last corporate pay within my third year. By being smart, diligent, and persistent in your endeavor, there’s no reason why anyone shouldn’t succeed. Read:

23. Fly in a hot-air balloon

The view of the world as you float away in a hot-air balloon… spectacular. Once, I got to fly in a hot-air balloon while I was in Orange County in 2012… though that was just a stationary balloon ride that went up for a minute before coming back down. My next goal is to have a real hot-air balloon ride.

 Read: World’s 10 Best Hot-Air Balloon Adventures

24. Sing to an audience

If you love singing, don’t keep your passion to yourself! The next time there is an event, offer to sing as one of the performance items. Singing shouldn’t be limited to when you are showering in the bathroom. 🙂

25. Do volunteer work

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to the world. As I mentioned in Day 4: Sign Up for Volunteer Work of the Kindness Challenge,

Read more: #KindnessChallenge Day 4: Sign Up for Volunteer Work

Some places to get started:

Proceed to page 2 for bucket list ideas #26 to #50…


Bucket List Ideas: 101 Things To Do Before You Die


*Visit Bucket List Ideas, Part 1 for bucket list ideas #1 to #25.

26. Befriend a stranger

Who says that there needs to be a reason to start a friendship? A connection can start anytime, anywhere, in any way. I have many great friendships that started off from the most random of situations.

Perhaps the most random one is with a near-stranger, whom I met once in college and did not speak to him for the next 9 years (except once when we bumped into each other on the streets). One day, he was sorting through his phone contacts list, saw my name, and decided to message me. Fast forward today, and he is now my husband. 🙂

Not saying that the next stranger you contact is going to be your romantic partner, but rather, that a great friendship can start in any way. 🙂 Articles to get you started:

27. Get a drink for a stranger

The next time you’re in Starbucks or a coffee place, don’t just get a drink for yourself — buy one for someone else. Once I was in Starbucks working on my laptop, and a stranger bought me an iced latte just to thank me for sharing a power point with him (which isn’t even my property to begin with). He left the cafe right after giving me the drink and left me with a very good feeling in my heart.

28. Walk/Dance barefoot in the rain

We are all used to following a “proper” conduct: to be clothed when we are out, to always wear shoes when we are outside the house, and to always use an umbrella when it’s raining (with good reason of course, so that we don’t catch a cold).

While all these make sense, how about breaking the “rules” for a change… and just walk… or even dance barefoot the next time it rains? Feel the pavement, feel the earth, and feel the wet surface against your feet. Better yet, find someone to do this with you. Perhaps it will make you feel like a child again. 🙂

29. Run barefoot

It’s funny putting this as a bucket list item, because I see barefoot running as a lifestyle activity — I’ve been running barefoot since 2010! Do you know that barefoot running improves your landing, gives you better posture, and creates less stress on your knees/feet/joints as compared to running with shoes? Don’t just take my word for it — try it for yourself.

Read: 10 Reasons You Should Start Running Barefoot

30. Experience a sunrise/sunset

Sunset at Holland, Holland, Noordwijk. I was there on 21 June 2011 for a speech, and incidentally it was the Summer Solstice, the longest day in the year, then. The sunset lasted for a good few hours!

Sunrises and sunsets are some of the most beautiful gifts from mother nature. And the best thing? We get them free every day.

While I think a sunrise/sunset is beautiful in most places around the world, here are some of the best places to catch a sunrise/sunset:

If you don’t wake up early, here’s why you should: Why I Wake Up Early (And 9 Reasons You Should Too). Tips to start waking early: 21 Tips To Wake Up Early.

31. See the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, is a “natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetically charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere” (Wikipedia). A natural phenomenon, the northern lights is a magnificent sight to behold, which is why people from all around the world travel great distances just for a chance to witness this phenomenon.

The most popular places to see them are in Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, and Scotland, though it should be noted that sightings are never guaranteed due to the unpredictability of weather.

32. Witness a solar eclipse

A solar eclipse is an eclipse that happens when the moon passes between the sun and earth, and the moon fully or partially blocks the Sun from our view.

As you may have learned during science class, the moon orbits around the earth while the earth orbits around the sun. Technically, if the Moon were in a perfectly circular orbit and in the same orbital plane, there would be total solar eclipses every single month. However, this isn’t so as the Moon’s orbit is tilted at more than 5 degrees to Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The orbital planes of the earth’s and moon’s cross each year resulting in anywhere from 2 to 5 solar eclipses occurring each year. That means 2 to 5 opportunities for us to catch this natural phenomenon!!

According to Wiki, the phases of an eclipse can span over 2 hours while the total phase can only last up to 7.5 minutes for any one location. Please note that looking directly at the sun can lead to permanent eye damage, so please get a pair of CE Certified Safe Solar Eclipse Glasses before viewing a solar eclipse!!


33. Go stargazing

Isn’t it beautiful to gaze into a sky that’s filled with beautiful stars? I was once traveling in Cape Town, South Africa, where I lived beside the sea (with penguins and all, no less!!). I would get SO MESMERIZED by the beauty of the night sky every night. Unfortunately, this was only then as I live in Singapore. The light pollution here — or any major city for that matter — makes it difficult to admire these natural masses of burning gas that are trillions of miles away!

Here are some of the world’s best stargazing spots for you:

Fancy some astronomy lessons about stars?

34. Plant a tree and watch it grow

Do you know that some trees can grow up to several thousands of years old? Trees are one of the most important living beings on the planet. Not only do they clean our air by removing it of carbon dioxide — a major greenhouse gas — and provide us with oxygen (a gas we can’t live without), they cool the earth, prevent soil erosion, provide shelter from sun’s rays, and provide food. (Read: 22 Benefits of Trees.)

A tree takes about 10 to 20 years to grow depending on what it is, so plant a tree now, care for it, and watch it grow together with you!

Read: How to Grow A Tree or Shrub From Seed

35. Get a pet

Playing with Rocky, my British friend’s cat. He’s adorable, often jumping on your laptop keypad to grab your attention (and maybe because it’s warm)!

Aren’t pets the most adorable creatures in the world? I love animals but never saw the point of having a pet… after all, they take time, cost money, and are overall just a huge commitment!

However, when I was traveling in Europe and U.S. and staying with different hosts, I realized almost all of them have pets… and hanging out with their pets subsequently made me realize the beauty of having a pet. I still don’t have a pet because I don’t want to get a pet until I’m ready to commit to caring for a life for the next 15 years — and that’s something every aspiring pet owner should think about too before getting one!

Read: Considerations Before Getting a Pet

36. Publish a book

Being a writer isn’t about having tip-top grammar and literary skills, though it’s important to write with good english. Being a writer is about having a message to share with the world. Prior to their hit series, J.K. Rowling (author of Harry Potter series) and Stephenie Meyers (author of Twilight series) were not professional writers — in fact, Meyer’s only professional work was as a receptionist in a property company!

What is a message that you are passionate about? What do you want to say to the world? When can you start writing your book?

Some resources to guide you through writer’s rut:

37. Do public speaking in front of 1,000 people (or more)

Public speaking is often said to be the greatest fear of people, ranked even higher than dying (!!), and it’s understandable why. Before I became a professional public speaker, I remember shivering the few times I was made to speak to a crowd — my mind was occupied with fears of being judged, saying the wrong things, and making a fool of myself!

Yet, having been professionally speaking for 5 years, I can tell you that public speaking is one of the most exciting things to do in a lifetime. Not only does addressing a large crowd help to train you in your communication and body language, you also get the opportunity to share a message you care about to a large crowd of people, hence getting the opportunity to impact their lives. While I’ve spoken to countless audiences — ranging from dozens, to hundreds, to almost a thousand — each experience is always exciting and never dull.

What are you passionate about? Find opportunities to public speak on that!

Here are some public speaking resources to get you started:

38. Throw a mega party

Get to know your friends’ friends and introduce your friends to others by throwing a mega party! Throwing a mega party is not just about the drinks, it should be about having the right company — people whom you enjoy hanging around and who are great to converse with. Plan ahead, identify a venue (someone’s home will suffice; or you can always rent a space), set aside a little budget (having a party doesn’t have to cost a bomb!), and start sending out the invites! Who knows, you may well meet your future friends here!

For party tips and ideas

39. Get a complete makeover

If you’ve been donning your current look for years (if not decades), and if you feel a little stagnant in your life right now, consider a makeover. Permanent change in life needs to happen from inside out, but sometimes change on the outside can help us to boost our self-confidence and give us a renewed sense of self.

A makeover can consist of changing your hair style, hair color, physique, and wardrobe. You can start by getting a haircut (and even hair color), refreshing your wardrobe, applying a new makeup look (if you’re a girl), and then working out for a better physique. If you haven’t done a makeover before, consult the right people to know if your new look will work on you! Speak to an image consultant to get ideas on what will work best for you; consult a hairstylist before getting your haircut (and new hair color).

For makeover tips, check out these links:

40. Learn wine appreciation

Even if you don’t drink (I don’t), that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate wine! An alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits, wine’s history dates back thousands of years, with the earliest discovered production being in 6000 BC in Georgia. If you think drinking wine is just about holding the glass up to your lips and drinking it, then you’ll find in your wine appreciation class that wine drinking is a more elaborate process than that! A wine appreciation class will give you the opportunity to try different types of wine, learn the right way to drink wine, and identify your favorite kind of wine. 


41. Join a social etiquette class

In today’s world where first impressions are increasingly important, be it in professional settings (think job interviews and networking events) or social settings (think first dates, eeps!), it’s more important than ever to be socially adept and to know how to present ourselves. This is where joining a social etiquette class will help! You don’t have to be a celebrity, be of the royal family, or be a member of the high society to join a social etiquette class; anyone can join and benefit from it. Be it learning about fine dining, gender-specific mannerisms, work etiquette, or social mannerisms, there’s something to learn for all of us. 🙂


42. Be a matchmaker: Introduce your single friends to each other (the rest is up to them!)

Let’s face it — it’s very hard to meet compatible people these days. I’d know, having been single for a good part of my life before I met my husband! So, why not give your single friends a nudge in the right direction by introducing them with other single friends who share the same values? It’s not about taking over your single friends’ dating life, but simply about connecting good people with other good people. Whether sparks fly is entirely up to them after their first meeting, but at least you can be the catalyst to help start the reaction! 🙂

43. Go on a blind date! (for the singles!)

“Arranged dating is only for desperate people.” Such is one of the many limiting beliefs that people have towards dating today.

Yet, that’s not true at all. Arranged dating, or going on blind dates, is simply a fun way to meet new people. If you feel a connection brewing during the date, then that’s awesome and you should follow up with a second date; if not, then that’s cool and you can always stay friends! I tried an arranged dating service before, and while I didn’t experience any luck with their service (I would meet my soulmate later on through other means), it was a fun and enriching experience.

So, go on a blind date! Allow yourself to be set up on such dates by your friends! Open yourself to meeting people online. If money isn’t a concern, try matchmaking services and see who you get matched with in their databases! The date can be adventurous since you don’t know who you’re meeting, and who knows, perhaps it’ll lead into a friendship — or something more. 🙂


44. Further your education

No matter how long ago you’ve graduated, learning never ends. If you already have a diploma/degree, consider getting a second diploma/degree in a different field. Not only will it expand your knowledge and give you the competitive edge in the workplace, it’ll also be the perfect tool if you wish to transition to a different career. If you are eyeing for a promotion within the same career field, then a Master’s degree may be more relevant for you!

If you are not sure on what further education to pursue, map out your ideal life first, then identify your ideal career. Pick the educational path that will assist you in your ideal career the most!

For more on discovering your ideal career, read:

45. Play a (new) musical instrument

Have you always wanted to learn how to play the guitar/violin/piano/etc. but never had a chance to? It’s never too late even if you’re an adult because science says it’s still possible! Learning to play a new instrument not only teaches you discipline but also makes you smarter — did you know that musicians use both sides of their brains more frequentlythan average people? And that among Nobel Prize-winners, there are a disproportionately high number of musicians? (But whether it’s their music lessons that made them smarter or vice versa is a different question altogether!)

Here are some resources to get you started:

46. Win a lucky draw

Let’s face it — the probability of winning a lottery is very small. The chances of winning the jackpot in a 3-reel slot machine is one in 262,144, and one in 13,983,816 (or about 14 million) for the UK National Lottery. However, you can’t deny that there’s always a little joy in winning a draw, even if it’s a small lucky dip that gives you a $5 dining voucher or a scratch-and-win card that gives you $1 off your next ice cream.

So, try your luck! Open yourself to lucky draws, and who knows — maybe you’d get lucky like 67-year-old James Bozeman Jr. who has won the lottery twice (amounting to a total of $13 million in lottery winnings)!

47. Take up dancing

Dancing is not only fun, but it’s also a great form of exercise! Do you know that dancing Salsa burns approximately 200 calories in just 30 minutes?? This is about the same as what you would burn in a jog — and it’s definitely more fun than monotonous forms of exercise like running on the treadmill or using a stationary cycling bike! Here are some dances that you can try:

48. Learn a martial art

Not only does martial arts help you to defend yourself, it also improves your physical fitness, perseverance, honor, self-discipline, and self-development — all of which help to better our daily life. There are many styles of martial arts, from weapon-based (archery, shooting, swordsmanship), to grappling (brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, judo, jujutsu, sumo), to striking (boxing, karate, kickboxing, taekwondo), to internal (aikido, baguazhang, t’ai chi ch’uan), to full contact (professional boxing, mixed martial arts). Check out the full list of martial arts on Wikipedia, and here are some popular martial arts to start off with:

49. Go on a road trip

A road trip is a journey taken on roads, typically by automobile. While some would consider a road trip as tiring, a road trip can actually be fun, especially when accompanied by the right people — and perhaps, great music! Not only is it relaxing to go on a long, non-stop ride, it also provides a great view of the country/city (depends on where you are driving) and creates an opportunity for you and your companions to bond with each other.


50. Backpack across at least 10 locations

Backpacking is a great way to enjoy international destinations at a low cost and with a fair degree of freedom. With the boom in budget airline and hostel businesses in the past decade, backpacking has evolved into somewhat of a lifestyle, with free spirits taking 6-month to year-long sabbaticals just to backpack across the world. While some backpack because it’s a cheap way to travel, others backpack for the experience and the adventure. Whatever it is, backpacking is definitely something to try at least once in a lifetime! Even if you are backpacking alone, you can always meet new people along the way — I’ve found that there are many friendly travelers abound every country, and it’s a matter of opening yourself and taking the first step to know them!


Bucket List Ideas: 101 Things To Do Before You Die


*Visit Bucket List Ideas, Part 1 for bucket list ideas #1 to #25 and Bucket List Ideas, Part 2for bucket list ideas #26 to #50.

51. Pack your bags and set off for a random location with no itinerary

If you have seen the movie Yes Man, you may remember the scene where Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel took a spontaneous trip to nowhere. Traveling on a spontaneous trip, with no itinerary planned, is not only exciting with friends, but also very romantic when done with a significant other / romantic prospect. Rather than going on a tour package where everything is already pre-planned, why not create your itinerary on the fly and explore places without anyone directing you? Like backpacking (see bucket list idea #50), you will find this a highly memorable experience. 🙂

52. Protect dolphins and marine life

In the recent years, dolphinariums have sprung all over the world, in part to enable humans to get in touch with the marine life, in part to profit from this seeming fun-loving activity. And I kid you not — as simple as they seem, dolphinariums are actually a multi-billion-dollar industry today.

However, unlike their kind facade, many of such dolphin programs do not promote conservation; neither do they give the dolphins (or whales, or the marine life for that matter) a good life. Today, many dolphins are stressed in captivity thanks to these dolphinariums, with many dolphins being treated in an inhumane manner unknown to the public. Some die pre-maturely, only to have the dolphin hunters hunt for more dolphins in the wild and replace the dead dolphins like they would their material goods.

While the idea of swimming with dolphins may seem fun (and I’d admit that it used to be on my bucket list until I discovered the dark sides of dolphinariums), wouldn’t it be better to let these dolphins be in the vast sea where they belong, as opposed to being kept in little pools their whole lives, forced to learn tricks and what not just to please us?

Patronizing dolphinariums will only encourage such inhumane activities and perpetuate the captivity of dolphins. So, make a stance! As opposed to swimming with dolphins, protect them by not patronizing dolphinariums and supporting animal wildlife groups. I’ve chosen to make this stance—how about you? Read more about the ill-treatment of dolphins (and marine life) below and why they activity do not promote conservation:

53. Live in a different country for at least 6 months

It’s great to holiday in countries around the world; it’s a different thing to live in a different country for an extended period of time. With the former, what you get is a taste of how different countries and cultures are like; with the latter, you get a full immersion of local culture and an inside view of it’s like to be a resident.

Realize that every country is richer than what you see from its tourist attractions — for example, while tourists in London will remember it for its Big Ben, London Eye, London cabs, and castles, what I remember London for (having stayed there for 3 months) is the amazing friendships I made that have stood the test of geographical boundaries of time, how its a melting pot of different cultures, the cosmopolitan outlook of its residents, and the forward-thinking culture.

How does one make this bucket list item happen though? One way is through an overseas job assignment; another way is an overseas internship/attachment; yet another way is going on a student-exchange program. The world is increasingly global today, and I believe as long as there’s a will, there will be a way.

54. Act in a film (self-production or otherwise)

We watch movies and dramas growing up, but have you ever considered being IN a movie/drama yourself? Not only is acting fun, it’s also a great way to discover yourself and pick up new skills, from self-expression, to communication, to personal grooming. It can just be a recreational activity, without turning into a full-fledged career.

Consider auditioning for the role of an extra or get together with a group of friends and act in a self-production. With the wide availability of video recording equipment today, anyone can be a director and producer. Immerse in your role and have fun in the process!

55. Get featured in the media for something you are proud of

Me being interviewed on a local documentary on inspiring women, Soul Sisters

Perhaps one of the highest forms of endorsements one can have for his/her work is when the media interviews him/her about what he/she has done. I’m a low-key individual and I don’t care for being in the spotlight, but I always get very excited when I’m approach by the media for a media coverage for Personal Excellence, as (1) it represents that I’m doing something right in my work, and (2) it’s an opportunity to reach out to more people with a message I care about.

I’m proud (and lucky) to have been featured over 80 times in the media on my personal development work (of which over 80 are unsolicited), including the feature on me in Soul Sisters, a documentary about inspiring women in Singapore. Each time, I’m excited to share my knowledge and experience, and I always ensure that the viewers/audience gets something in return for reading/watching/listening.

What is a message that you believe in? What is your mission that you want to accomplish in this world? What are your highest goals and dreams? Realize them, and you’ll find that you’ll slowly get 

56. Knit a scarf

Why knit a scarf when you can easily buy one in the market? Well, for sentimental value, that’s why! Perhaps knitting a scarf for yourself seems redundant, but doing so for a loved one makes it totally worthwhile. Not only can you customize the color, length, or design, your scarf will be a personalized gift that can’t be bought anywhere.

Get started with knitting:

57. Create your dream home

We live in our home for nearly half our life — make it two-third for those of us who work from home — so why not make it a beautiful and inspirational place that nourishes our soul? You don’t need to be a millionaire to create your dream home, for there are lots of cheap yet creative furnishing options these days (IKEA comes to mind). What you need is an expressive mind, a good eye for colors, and a well-planned budget.

Read: How to Create Your Inspirational Room

58. Whip a home-made meal for your loved ones

When it comes to food, nothing beats a home-cooked meal. While restaurants can offer you top-of-the-world ambiance and gourmet foods, a home-cooked meal is where you can feel the love and effort that went into the meal preparation, by a loved one no less. My husband cooks for me every day, and it’s the reason why I look forward to dinner daily.

Who are the most precious people to you? What do they love to eat? How about whipping these foods for them, over lunch/dinner? It doesn’t matter if you’re not an award-winning chef — it’s about cooking a meal by yourself for the people you love. Watch some cooking tutorials, research on recipes, and get down to cooking! Not only will they get to enjoy their favorite foods, your efforts will also express your love to them in a way words can’t.

59. Bake a cake for someone special

It’s easy to just buy a cake for a special event, but how about baking a cake yourself? Like whipping up a meal (see bucket list idea #58 above), a cake is more personal and close to heart when prepared by a love one. Even if you don’t know how to bake (I don’t either!), you can start by reading cake recipes and experimenting before doing the actual cake. Here are some cake recipes:

60. Go deep into the heart of Mother Nature

Most of us live in a world that’s far removed from Mother Nature. In Singapore where I live, I’m surrounded by high-rise buildings, shopping malls, material goods, automobiles, and digital goods. While I’m very grateful for the advancement of the human civilization and the modern society, the world we live in (for those of us who live in modern cities) is very much different from the natural state of Mother Nature.

For your next vacation, consider a trip to get close with mother nature. Go trekking in a rainforest; camp out in the wilds; walk in a valley; visit a waterfall; or even, swim in an ocean. Feel the heartbeat of the planet that you live in. You may walk away with a renewed experience on life.


61. See snow (if you haven’t before)

If you have lived most of your life in the tropics and haven’t been overseas before, then chances are you have never seen snow in person! I was born in Singapore and lived here my whole life, so it was only when I was in 24 and vacationing in Chengdu (in China)  that I saw snow for the first time. And it was truly a surreal and majestic moment to see these little white balls floating down from the sky. 😀

There are plenty of activities you can do in the snow such as:

But before you fly to the nearest winter wonderland, make sure you have appropriate clothing. Winter happens between December and February in the northern hemisphere and between June and August in the southern hemisphere. For some temperate countries, snow does not happen every year, so check the local weather forecast and plan your trip accordingly.

62. Live through 4 seasons of the year: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter

If you live in a tropical country like I do, then you likely only experience 2 seasons every year — rain or shine. 🙂 (Or in some countries, a third season — haze. 🙂 ) Living through 4 seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter is a fun experience and something everyone should at least experience once in their life. I got to live through the 4 seasons while I was traveling abroad, and while I prefer living in a tropic country (too afraid of the cold!), experiencing the 4 seasons has helped me to see the other sides of mother nature, experience the pleasure of dressing up for different seasons, and appreciate the warm climate in my home country.

To fulfill this bucket list goal, it doesn’t mean that you need to migrate! Getting a work assignment in a country with a temperate climate or planning your travels around the 4 seasons will work just fine.

63. Read a book on a subject you had never thought of reading

Reading books is the perfect way to gain quick knowledge about a subject. However, many of us tend to read only topics that we have an interest in. How about reading a book on a subject that you had never thought of reading? According to The Medici Effect, the most groundbreaking ideas are found at the intersections of diverse fields, industries, disciplines, and cultures — meaning, the most powerful ideas tend to come from reapplying ideas from a totally different field.

So, open your mind and read a new book, a book in a domain you’d never think of reading! As you read this book, think about how you can apply its concepts to the field you are in now. Who knows, it may create paradigm shifts in how you approach your work/life.

64. Volunteer at a hospice

Loving elderly couple at hospice

A hospice is a place of care for the terminally ill, in their final months/week. While we can’t do anything about the patients’ condition, what we can do is to provide emotional and spiritual support to them in their last days. Consider volunteering at a hospice — not only will you change the lives of the patients and their loved ones, you may well change your life in the process too.

65. Fly a kite

Did you know that in the ancient times, kites were used to send messages? Kites were invented in China in the 5th-century BC., and it was recorded in AD 549 that a paper kite was used as a message for a rescue mission. It was also reported that kites was used for measuring distances, testing the wind, lifting men, signaling, and communication for military operation.

Nowadays kite flying has turned into a fun recreational activity, with kites coming in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors! If you have not made a kite before, consider making one with your loved one(s) — not only is it fun, it’s also something you can use over and over again! You can get kite kits at Amazon at an affordable price. Check out HQ Kites Creative Line: Eddy Kid’s Creation and X-Kites MicroKite Mini Mylar Kite — Tropical Fish.


66. Fall asleep on grassy plains

Not only is sleeping outdoors a great way to get close to nature, it also helps you to relax and rest your mind, body, and soul. Here are some tips to follow to get the best of this experience:

  • Bring a pillow as a head rest
  • Bring a mat so that you can rest comfortably on the ground without abrasion
  • Make sure you’re in an area where it’s safe, e.g., there’s no snakes or wild animals
  • Bring a mosquito repellent and sunscreen to protect your skin

67. Contact a company you like just to thank them for their great product/service

Many of us are often ready to complain when we get bad service. But how about when we receive good service ? Do we take that for granted or do we go the extra mile to thank the company for a job well done?

Just like how companies need to know when they’re not performing to standards, they also deserve to be credited when they are doing a good job. Not only does it help them to know what they are doing right, your compliment will inspire them to create more great products and deliver superb service to you. Be it writing a quick email or calling their customer service, this is a quick 5-minute thing that you can do right away now.


68. Eat a healthier diet

(Image: epsos)


The whole point of creating a bucket list is to do what we love before we die. The easiest way to have more time for what we love is to live healthily. Barring genetics, the best way to manage our health is through our diet.

What is your diet like? Do you have unhealthy habits that you want to stop? How can you improve your diet? As our bodies are different, the best way to figure out what’s healthy for you is to research, learn more about the nutritional value of the food you consume, and experiment. Try different food items and assess the effects on your body. Constantly read up on health studies to learn about food and health. To quote Jim Rohn, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” We only have one body, so start caring for it today.

Read: 45 Tips To Live a Healthier Life

69. Explore a cave

(Image: Aziz Acharki)

Have you explored a cave before? A cave is a natural chamber in the earth or in the side of a hill or cliff. Caves form naturally by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground. While caves are found throughout the world, only a small portion of them have been explored and documented.[1] Some popular caves are Mammoth Cave (US), Sistema Sac Actun (Mexico), Jewel Cave (US), Sistema Ox Bel Ha (Mexico), and Optymistychna Cave (Ukraine).

When I was in South Africa, I went to the Sterkfontein Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was humbling being in such a towering structure of nature, where fossils of more than 4 million years old, dating to the birth of humanity, have been found.


70. Go bamboo rafting

(Image: YuvalH)

We are surrounded by high-tech modes of transport from airplanes to automobiles, so it’s nice to kick back and return to nature with bamboo rafting. Here, you stand on a bamboo raft and navigate your way through the river, while enjoying splendid nature views. Many places offer bamboo rafting as a tourist activity, such as Chiang MaiIndiasome China provinces, and Jamaica.

71. Fold 1,000 origami cranes and give them to someone special

We all know that the crane is the classic shape in origami. However, did you know that crane is a symbol of happiness and eternal youth in Asia? In Japanese, Chinese, and Korean tradition in particular, cranes stand for good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of a thousand years. In fact, an ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, which is why there is the practice of folding 1,000 cranes today, be it among school students or ministries.

If there’s someone whom you’d like to bring hope to, perhaps folding 1,000 cranes (with some help if needed) and giving them to a person will brighten up his/her day. Whether or not his/her wish is granted, he/she will definitely be touched by your kind gesture.


72. Conquer your biggest fear

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

We all have fears. Fear of heights, fear of spiders, fear of public speaking, fear of failure, and fear of rejection are among them. While physical fears are legit for safety reasons (e.g., fear of lions, fear of falling off a ledge, etc.), in most cases, our fears are irrational and don’t protect us from any real danger. Such are mental fears, as I have shared in 4 Reasons We Should Overcome Fear.

The good news is that fears can be overcome. Some fears (such as intense fear of dogs) can be a result of traumatic events in the past, while other fears (such as fear of failure and fear of rejection) can be simply a desire to protect ourselves from “danger” when the danger is merely self-perceived.

73. Tell at least 10 people about your bucket list and encourage them to join you!

Bucket list manifesto — download it at [Manifesto] 101 Things To Do Before You Die

Rather than work on your bucket list alone, how about inviting your loved ones to create their own bucket list too? 😀 Not only will it be super fun to do so, you may also learn something new about them during this process, such as dreams they have which you never knew! Not only that, after creating your lists, you can also be accountability buddies, holding each other accountable to the items on your lists!

Simply point them to this very article you are reading, 101 Things To Do Before You Die, and invite them to create a draft version of their bucket list. You can share your list with them as an example. Then, schedule a session to discuss your lists together and build on them!

74. Go on a meditation retreat

With the urban, work-driven and material-driven culture that most of us live in today, it’s easy to get lost in the thick of things and neglect our well-being. When that happens, it helps to go on a meditation retreat to reconnect with our inner selves. I’ve been on a meditation retreat before, Vipassana Meditation, which is a 10-day free meditation retreat (it’s donation-based). During the course, I did a deep dive into meditation — think continuous, nearly non-stop meditation from 4:30am to 9pm every day for 10 consecutive days!! I got to sit still and listen to my deepest inner thoughts, which apparently had been inside me all this while, just that I didn’t know about them.

I definitely recommend everyone to go on a meditation retreat at least once in their lives, if not for meditation, then for the experience. Learn more about meditation in my 3-part meditation series:

75. Experience an OBE (out-of-body experience)

If you think an out-of-body experience is woo-woo and only possible when you die, think again. Astral projection is an out-of-body experience where your astral body separates from your physical body without you physically dying. If it sounds impossible, you actually do it every day — when you sleep. The only difference is that you’re not conscious of it when you sleep, whereas you’re conscious of it when you astral project. I’ve experienced astral projection twice in my life, during my teens. I wouldn’t say they were life-changing experiences as I already knew that astral projection is possible, but they did affirm my belief in this area.

Skeptics will always be skeptics, so I’m not going to talk about my experiences or justify that they did happen. Rather, I will point you to some resources and let you decide whether astral projection is real, and whether to try it out. 🙂

Proceed to page 4 for bucket list ideas #76 to #101…

Bucket List Ideas: 101 Things To Do Before You Die


*Visit Bucket List Ideas, Part 1 for bucket list ideas #1 to #25, Bucket List Ideas, Part 2 for bucket list ideas #26 to #50, and Bucket List Ideas, Part 3 for bucket list ideas #51 to #75.

76. Start a movement for a cause you believe in

Is there a message that you believe in? Female empowerment perhaps? Creating a life on your terms? Healthy living?

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If there’s a message that you’re passionate about, don’t just think about it — spread the word, educate others about it, and inspire them to join you! With tools like WordPress, Facebook and Linkedin, it’s now easier than ever to start a page/group, spread a message and rally people behind a cause — all for free. In the next minute, you can create your page/group about your cause and build a community behind it!

77. See cherry blossoms in Japan

In Japan, there is a tradition of flower viewing (known as “hanami” in Japanese), where people enjoy the transient beauty of flowers, usually cherry blossoms (known as “sakura” in Japanese). The custom is said to have started during the Nara Period (710—794); at that time it was plum blossoms that people admired. By the Heian Period (794—1185), sakura became the flora of interest and hanami became synonymous with sakura. (Source: Hanami)

The popular practice for flower viewing today is to gather with friends and family under the trees, have picnics, and enjoy the beauty of cherry blossoms. For non-Japanese, many people specially plan trips to Japan just to catch the blooming of sakuras which happens once a year! I plan to visit Japan in the future, and when I do, this is one event I’m not going to miss out!


78. Bury the hatchet with people whom you had conflicts with in the past

Unless you live in utopia or you have a generally shielded life, chances are you’ve had conflicts with people before. Conflicts are never pleasant, sometimes resulting in soured or even broken friendships.

In my 30 years of life, I’ve had conflicts with people — some silent conflicts (where there’s unhappiness at the other person but it’s not aired out) and some direct ones. There was a point when I was 24 and starting Personal Excellence when I reached out to these people to re-establish our connections and “bury the hatchet,” so to speak. I felt this was necessary because I needed to practise what I preach first in order to do my work without reservations.

While a tough task, I felt a release — much to my surprise — each time the person I contacted responded, with a friendly message to boot. There was one that didn’t work out (which I shared in Day 24’s review in Be a Better Me in 30 Days Program), but this was okay as I had done all that I could and it was not within my control if the person refused to let go of her issues.

As Lewis Smedes rightly said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Is there anyone whom you had conflicts with before? Is it time to let go and forgive him/her? While it may be difficult to let go of incidents where the person hurt you very deeply, remember that when you bear a grudge against someone, the person who gets hurt the most is you and not the other person, because you are the one bearing the “hate” and carrying its weight. Be the better man/woman: reach out, speak to the person, and bury the hatchet. You may be surprised at what comes out of it.

79. Get closure on any past unhappiness

Is there anything that’s making you unhappy? Any childhood incident that still rings loudly in your mind every now and then? Any bad breakup that’s still hanging in your head? Any grievance that you’ve yet to let go?

While we cannot change the past, hanging on to it sure doesn’t make our life better. Have you ever watched a bad movie, and decided to watch it again and again after that? No? Well, then why replay bad incidents that happened before? Doing so only makes you more miserable, and prevents you from moving on to better things.

There are plenty of resources on PE to help you let go:

80. Organize a picnic outing

Having a picnic is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with loved ones! From the park, to a garden, to beside a lake, to anywhere in nature, these are great places to have a picnic. Even if you live in an urban city like I do, there are always public parks or private corners of nature that you can go to for picnics. Rather than go to shopping malls or eat at restaurants, how about organizing a picnic this weekend with your loved ones for a change? Enjoy the home-prepared meals in the comfort of nature, and most importantly, enjoy the company and conversation! 🙂

Other fun activities to consider during a picnic are kite flying, playing board games or card games, playing the guitar, and playing frisbee.

81. Do something completely crazy and out of character

Our daily lives can get repetitive and boring. You wake up at the same time, take the same route to work, get the same cup of coffee, and get disturbed by the same things over and over again. It’s easy to get lost in such daily routines.

So, do something crazy and out of character for a change, just to spice up your day! After all, we only have one life, so why live it one way?

  • Rather than keep to yourself in your commute, strike a conversation with the stranger sitting beside you on the bus!
  • Rather than work the whole time at the office, draw smileys and write “Hellos!” on post-its and stick it on your colleagues’ desks!
  • Book a weekend getaway and go skydiving at a neighboring island (with a certified, reputable vendor of course)! (See Bucket List Idea #12: Do an extreme sport.)
  • Go to the busiest part of your city and give free hugs to every stranger you meet! (If you think this is crazy, I’ve done it before and it was indeed crazy but fun! Read about my experience: The Day I Went Around Giving Free Hugs to Strangers.)
  • The next time in rains, don’t use an umbrella — dance barefoot in the rain! (See Bucket List Idea #28: Walk/Dance barefoot in the rain.)

Remember, if you’re worried about what people think, “crazy” is merely a perception. There’s nothing too crazy in the crazy world we live in! 🙂

82. Fly first class

It’s expensive to fly first class. Like, ridiculously expensive. For reference, a one-way flight from Singapore to San Francisco by Singapore Airlines costs USD $1584 by economy class, $5082  by business class, and $7974 by first class! This makes a first class ticket 5 times the price of an economy ticket, for exactly the same flight, time taken, distance traveled! The price difference is purely for the added amenities, the extra leg room, and a service fit for a king/queen.

But hey, this is precisely why flying first class is something to put on our bucket list, isn’t it? Don’t use all your life savings just to make this happen though. Rather, pursue your dreams, achieve financial abundance, then enjoy first class as one of the perks of your success. Then you can truly sit back, relax, and soak in the first class experience. 🙂

83. Hit bull’s-eye on a dartboard

Whether you have experience throwing darts or not, hitting a bull’s-eye requires a steady hand, precision, and most of all, practice. While being able to hit the bull’s-eye isn’t going to change your life, it’s nonetheless a fun milestone to achieve, and a great way to wow everyone at a party!

84. Visit a volcano

Do you know there are an estimated 6,000 volcanoes in the world? About 3 quarters of them are underwater volcanoes, which means they are inaccessible to humans. About 1,500 volcanoes are on land, and about 50 of them erupt every year, spewing steam, ash, toxic gases, and lava into our ecosystem.

While volcanoes are dangerous, there are some volcanoes which are worth visiting such as the Mount Sakurajima in Japan, Mount Mayon in Philippines, and Mount Pelee in Martinique (more in the second link below) — just be sure to keep a distance, as there have been volcanoes that erupted while hikers were climbing the summit!

85. Fly in a helicopter

Unlike a plane that sends you about 30,000 feet above ground and brings you right to the clouds and into the skies, a helicopter hovers at about 1,000 feet above ground, hence giving you the opportunity to enjoy some really fantastic views on earth. Thanks to Grouponyou can get a helicopter adventure ride at relatively affordable prices. If you have a special occasion coming up such as a wedding anniversary or a loved one’s birthday, or you are simply looking for a way to spice up your weekend, this will be a great activity to try out!

86. Meet someone you can only dream of meeting

If you can meet someone, anyone, living in this world, who will you choose? There are many inspirational people whom I want to meet, but tops on my list will be Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. They are an embodiment of what it means to be a strong, successful, authentic, and inspirational female in our modern world today, all values that I strive to achieve myself.

Rather than just dream about meeting someone, how about making it happen? Perhaps it may be difficult if that person is inaccessible like Barack Obama (president of U.S.) or Richard Branson (billionaire business magnate), but you can start off with other people who inspire you and are more accessible. Identify the events where they will be — conferences, public functions, and networking events will be a great start — and meet them in person. Talk to them, ask questions, and learn from them. It’ll undoubtedly be a consciousness-raising event.

87. Tell your parents and siblings that you love them

None of us choose the families we were born into, but that doesn’t change the fact that we love each other unconditionally. From being there with us when we took our first step as a baby, to our first day at school, to going through puberty, to our graduation day, to our wedding day, our families have always been silently working behind the scenes to help us get through our lives in one piece.

Given that our families have always been there for us, it’s always easy to take their presence for granted. How many of us have neglected our family for work before? I know I have — and that’s because my thinking is, Work is urgent, but family will always be there tomorrow. After all, they’ve always been there — what’s to say that I can’t just spend time with them this weekend rather than today?

But that is precisely the wrong kind of thinking — a thinking that takes things for granted. Life is short — you will never know when things disappear, for the most unexpected reasons. No matter how busy you are, always make sure to set time for family every day. Drop your family a call just to say you love them (you’ll really surprise them). Give your mom and dad a peck on the cheek before you leave for work. Let them know that no matter how busy you are, family will always comes first to you.


88. Ride a roller coaster

They say life is like a roller coaster: it has its ups and downs, and loop-de-loops. Some of us may be fearful of roller coaster rides (I personally love them but my husband doesn’t!) because of the way it twists and turns oh-so dangerously!

But don’t be, because a roller coaster ride can be very fun and exhilarating — it’s the one time when you’re defying earth’s gravity and “coasting” through the air! Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride — who knows, after the ride, you may find yourself at the end of the queue, waiting to get on the roller coaster again. 🙂 (Of course, make sure the ride you’re taking is by a reputable vendor that does rigorous testing to make sure that it’s safe. You don’t need to put yourself in danger just to experience exhilaration.)


89. Go on a cruise

Going on a cruise is an experience unlike any other. If you think you may get bored on board, then throw those thoughts off the deck because cruise companies offer various entertainment choices on board nowadays! From karaoke, to mini-concerts, to movie screenings, to arcades, to talks, to buffets, these are some of the many activities I’ve seen on cruises I’ve been to before.

Read: Top 100 Cruise Ships in the World

90. Try frontline jobs for the experience

We live in a service-oriented world today, with waitresses, waiters, cashiers, call center staff, and retail assistants at our beckoning. While service staff is everywhere, it’s certainly not an easy job. From unreasonable customers to weird customers, there are all kind of people in this world!

Yet, customer service can be fun and rewarding. I’m listing this down as a bucket list idea to consider because not only is it a tremendous personal growth experience, it puts you right at the intersection of people contact — where you interact with people face-to-face (or voice-to-voice if you’re in a call center) and have the power to impact them and change their lives. Consider doing this, even if for a short duration — and you may find yourself a changed person after that.


91. Fall in love 🙂

To get things straight — you don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. Are You Looking For A Relationship To Complete Yourself? is an article I wrote in 2009 — when I was still single — talking about how we are complete beings who don’t need relationships to complete ourselves or to be happy. Media often hypes up the notion of “finding your soulmate,” “being in love,” and “happily ever after,” like being in a relationship with someone is the answer to all life’s problems.

However, to meet the right person who shares similar values as you, supports you in your life endeavors, and loves you unconditionally — this is one of probably one of the best things that can ever happen to anyone. I was a complete individual before I met my husband Ken; I thought that I was the happiest I could ever be and this was as good as life gets. After I met him and we got together, my life became several layers richer — layers which I never knew were there before. I have finally experienced for myself the true meaning and value of being in a conscious relationship with someone who is the perfect match for you, and I believe this is something that all of you out there can have for yourself too.

So get out there and date freely! Open your heart and mind and allow yourself to fall in love. Who knows, “the one” for you may well be around the corner. Some articles to get you started:

92. Be in a conscious, fulfilling relationship 🙂

Me with my then-fiance and now-husband, Ken Soh, in our Scotland engagement shoot. Check out our top photos: My Engagement Shoot in Scotland

The path of true love never does run smooth. Before you meet “your one,” it’s normal to experience a few bumps on the road, where you are in bad relationships that drain your energy, on-again and off-again relationships that don’t go anywhere, or worse case, abusive relationships. (Read: Top 12 Signs It’s Time To Move On From A Relationship.)

Before I met my husband Ken, I went on many dates and became close to a few guys (at different time periods), all of which didn’t work out. From ambiguous relationships that seem to be heading nowhere, to toxic connections that leave you feeling like a piece of sh*t, to relationships that may have worked out had it been a different time, I experienced them all. 

If you’ve been in bad relationships before, don’t lose hope. Love is everywhere around us, and love is certainly in your cards too, as long as you believe it. These 2 series I’ve written before will be particularly useful for you:

93. Go on a romantic getaway

With all our tight schedules, it’s very difficult to set up quality time with our significant other. Bring back the spark in the relationship by going on a romantic getaway! Be it a dreamy Caribbean cruise or a simple staycation, anywhere is romantic as long as you’re spending quality time with the person you love.

Having a getaway every once in a while is also beneficial for the relationship as it allows both of you to spend quality time with each other, as opposed to being weighed down by day-to-day responsibilities.

Some ideas

94. Do a somersault

Have you ever seen stunts in an action movie and stared at the actor (or rather, the stunt person) in awe?

Well, most death-defying stunts (think Jackie Chan movies) shouldn’t be attempted by anyone at all, but with some training and practice, it’s possible for the average person to do a somersault! Doesn’t matter whether you are a kid or adult, fat or thin, ripped with a six pack or terribly unfit, nothing is impossible with perseverance and determination.

While you don’t get any prize for doing a flip, it sure as heck is fun and satisfying to be train and accomplish a seemingly impossible physical feat to many!

If you normally don’t exercise, please consult a professional trainer and get supervision before attempting to practice for any “stunt.” I also recommend phasing in your training: you can start off by training for a forward roll, progressing to a cartwheel, then finally progressing to a somersault.


95. Visit a castle

Castles are an innovation of Europe and originated in the 9th and 10th centuries. The noble people built castles as offensive and defensive military structures, and used them to control the area around them. For the urban castles, they were used to control the local populace and travel routes; as for the rural castles, they were used to control integral areas like mills and fertile land.

Today, many castles have become tourist sites, with the more popular ones being Windsor castle in England (oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the Official Residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II), Edinburgh castle (Edinburgh), The Tower of London (London), and Château de Chambord (France). I’ve been to at least 3 castles — Windsor, Edinburgh, and Tantallon) — and it’s always fun to take a walk through these medieval structures and marvel at their beauty.

My husband and I at Tantallon castle in Scotland for our engagement shoot in 2013. It was truly a beautiful place — I only wish we got to spend more time there!

I definitely recommend visiting at least a few castles — with hundreds of castles in the world, you’ll be spoiled for choice!

Further reading:

96. Change the world

Regardless of race, nationality, religion, or social status, we all live in the same place — Planet Earth. The world that we live in is not perfect. Poverty, pollution, conflict plague our society. Solving these problems by changing the world is no easy task but you shouldn’t be discouraged. Everything starts from simple ideas. You can also find other people that will support your causes and ideas. Who knows? You might be the person who can revolutionize the world and make a mark in history.


97. Help someone in need

Do you know that 50% of the world’s population — that’s over 3 billion people — lives on less than $2.50 a day? That 80% of the world’s population live on less than $10 a day? That 22,000 children die each day due to poverty? And that a quarter of humanity — that’s 1.6 billion people — live with electricity each day? (Sources: Statistic BrainGlobal Issues.)

The purpose of sharing these statistics isn’t to guilt trip you, but to help you realize how blessed and lucky we are. By virtue of being able to read this article, I assume that you have a computer and internet access like I do, which will already put us in a better position than billions around the world. Most of us are often engrossed in our own issues every day, but how about lifting our heads every once in a while to lend a helping hand? 

Here are organizations dedicated at helping the less fortunate. How can you contribute, be it in terms of monetary or in-kind donations? Every little bit helps:

Don’t forget to people around you: these are people who need your help too, even if they don’t call out for it. Check out my 14-day Kindness Challenge, with 14 tasks of kindness: 14-Day Kindness Challenge.

98. Learn sign language

Sign language is a language that uses body language (as opposed to verbal communication) to convey messages. Did you know there is actually no one universal sign language? One of the greatest misconceptions about the sign language is that there is one common sign language across the world, which isn’t true. While sign languages may share similarities to each other, every country generally has its own native sign language, with some having more than one! In fact, Ethnologue lists 137 sign languages as of 2013!

If you’re not deaf or mute, you’d probably never need to learn the sign language. However, this I ask, “Why not?” Just like learning a new language can be fun and adventurous (bucket list idea #2 is to learn a new language), so is learning a sign language. In fact, I dare say that learning a sign language will be an mind-opening experience as it’ll utilize a totally different facet of your body — non-verbal, body cues — to communicate with others. Pick it up and practice it on people you know. Are you up for the challenge?


99. See the Mona Lisa (in Louvre, in Paris)

The Mona Lisa (Monna Lisa or La Gioconda in Italian; La Joconde in French) is a female portrait byItalian artist Leonardo da Vinci, which has been acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.” The Mona Lisa is as famous as it is famous for its popularity, and many people flock to the Louvre in Paris each year just to get a glimpse and a chance to photograph with the enigmatic lady.

And that’s me in the photograph below, with the Mona Lisa, when I was touring in Paris in 2011. 🙂

Sadly, the hall with the Mona Lisa was so crowded and there were so many people egging to see it that I barely got a chance to study the painting, beyond snapping the quick shot above. I did spend many hours in the Louvre though, which I’d say that the amazing artifacts and sculptures makes this one of the most enchanting museums I’ve been to. They alone are worth the visit to the Louvre.

100. Go to a costume party and dress up as your favorite character

Cosplay, short for “costume play,” is a very popular Japanese art where participants dress as their favorite movie, comic book, or video game character, mimicking everything from their clothes, to accessories, to hairstyles, to makeup, right down to their mannerisms and personalities! While the cosplay culture started in Japan, it has since gained popularity around the world, with many joining cosplay events to dress up and pay homage to their favorite characters, as well as to meet like-minded fans.

One of the items in my bucket list was to participate in a cosplay event. So, when I got the chance to formally play dress up at my then-company’s dinner and dance event in 2008, I was more than delighted to masquerade as Danielle, the beautiful modern Cinderella in Ever After (portrayed by Drew Barrymore).

That’s me on the left cosplaying as Danielle, with one of my then-colleagues!

If you have a character you love, why not pay homage to him/her by cosplaying as him/her? Find out what is the next cosplay event in your country and join it! Who knows, you may even meet new friends there! Get started here:

  • Cosplay Calendar — A calendar listing of all major cosplay events around the world
  • Kotaku — Cosplay news, videos, reviews, and gossip
  • Hello Cosplay | Cosplay Magic | Cosplay House — No time to make your costumes? Well, these are online stores to fulfill your cosplay needs — from Chun Li boots to Iron Man masks to Resident Evil jackets to Sailormoon Wigs, these sites have a wide selection!
  • Homemade Costume Ideas — General costume ideas that can work for any party!

101. Gain enlightenment

If the purpose of living is to become a conscious human, then the ultimate aim of life is to achieve enlightenment. Enlightenment can seem like an abstract concept for those who are new to the idea of “consciousness,” but essentially enlightenment is the highest state of human consciousness.

That said, I don’t think enlightenment is an end goal per se, but rather a state to strive for in our everyday life. For example, say you just argued with your partner, and both of you are having a “cold war.” What is a more enlightened way to handle this situation: to ignore he/she gives in to you, or to be the better man/woman and break the ice first? It’s by undertaking these little actions that may seem to betray our ego but are in line with our highest selves that we evolve as humans and truly live the enlightened way.

Read: Map of Consciousness — Crucial article for anyone serious about personal growth. Here, I share the 17 levels of human consciousness, from the lowest being “Shame” and the highest being “Enlightenment.”

More Bucket List Inspiration

Here are some sites you might want to check out for inspiration as you create your list:

Take Action! 🙂

After you finish your list, here’s what to do next:

  • Start acting on them! Plan out the successful path toward these goals.
  • Be reminded of the list all the time. Use environmental reinforcement — put them up in a prominent spot where you will see them every day / very regularly. Put it in your life handbook, set it as your wallpaper, pin it on your noticeboard, print it out, stick it on your wardrobe/locker.
  • Share them with your family and friends. Inspire them to create their own bucket lists too! This way, you also create accountability for yourself as you complete the items on your list.
  • Don’t limit your list items to a certain definition. Sometimes opportunity present itself in a totally different manner. Keep your eyes peeled! The universe will start throwing things your way. 🙂
  • Review your list regularly. Cross out the things after you do them. See if some of the items become irrelevant and if there are new things you want to add. Just as you finish the items, you’ll add new ones as they come along. There is absolutely no reason why your list should ever be empty. There is such an incredible wealth of things, events, activities, experiences to witness/go through in life that it’s impossible that you will ever be done with living. Likewise for me, I’m continuously completing and adding on new items that will help me live my life to the fullest, so my bucket list always has new items to accomplish.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] Bucket List: 101 Things To Do Before You Die

My Bucket List Interviews

Since 2010, I’ve been interviewed many times on the topic of bucket list, including CNN, Channel News Asia, Kiss92, 938 LIVE, and BFM 89.9. Below are some of my notable bucket list interviews which I recommend watching/listening — I share important tips to note as you create your list!

  1. My radio interview on BFM 89.9 (Jan 3, 2013) — Listen to recording in Media section
  2. My radio interview on KISS92 FM (Oct 22, 2012) — Listen to recording in Media section
  3. My radio interview on 938LIVE (Aug 27, 2012)  — Listen to recording in Media section
  4. My interview on Channel News Asia again (Dec 21, 2012)
  5. My interview on Channel News Asia (Dec 28, 2010)

This is part of the Inspiration & Motivation series. Check out all the articles in the series:

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