6 Things They Said & I Followed in 2012

I came across this article from zenhabits a few days ago and thought, hmm, I’m sure there are a couple of pretty good life tips my loved ones have shared with me that are worth sharing with everyone, too.

And then I stumbled upon the Weekly Writing Challenge last night, and it was as though God him/herself summoned me to write this post.

Or maybe it was just the WordPress team.

The point is – lists, we gotta love ’em.

I’ve received many advices in my life. Some have been forgotten, and a very selected few are treasured. This 2012, I found myself doing a lot of reflecting and through those moments, I’ve noticed that I’ve been following these words of encouragement pretty diligently.


Here are 6 everlasting advices I made full use of in 2012:

#1 – Make Your Bed

I can’t recall the moment he said it to me, but the look on my father’s face was probably the sternest I’d ever seen him. I had just freshened up on a lazy weekend morning and sat next to him for a cuppa when he asked if I had made my bed. I said yes, as I usually dusted and folded my blanket (my idea of making my bed) before stepping out of my room since my sister had no domestic helper.

He then decided to go on and tell me how important it is for one to make their bed in the morning. “It’s the first duty of the day,” he said. According to him, it’s a good sign to how the rest of your day is going to go, because if you can’t even fulfill the first duty – making your bed – how do you expect yourself to go on and accomplish other things in the remaining hours of the day?

Talk about setting standards, ei?

In 2012: I made my bed! I’ve been slacking off on this ever since shifting to the new house (our domestic helper likes to spoil me, I don’t know why!), but I still make it a point to make sure my bedroom is kept neat at all times.

#2 – Know Your Worth

This one goes back to the year 2007. I couldn’t make up my mind regarding a full-time position offered to me even before graduation. I called my mother to ask for her advice, half expecting that she would say something like “up to you”, because my parents allow me to be independent like that.

To my surprise, she told me that the offer didn’t seem like it was going to be worth my time. She told me that I had to know my worth and if, and only if, I thought that it was reasonable enough – considering that it was my first job – I should take it. She somehow hinted that I wasn’t very deserving of such a menial role in said company.

I thanked her, hung up and rejected the job offer. I’ve never looked back at my decision with any sort of regret. Mums do know best.

In 2012: I shifted professions. I had two job offers that came in before I left Waves, but I decided to go with this one because I knew it was challenging – a new field but with supervisors who allowed me the flexibility of time and understood my want to go home to my family without carrying work back. I’m blessed.

#3 – Wash The Dishes NOW!

This tip is also mentioned in the zenhabits article (link above). I was bestowed with this wisdom from a dear friend, and although I must point out that it’s a very Asian-centric philosophy, it made total sense to me (oh wait, I am Asian – haha!).

Basically (yes, I used this word), we all live and work to fill our rice bowl, i.e. put food on the table, to fill our tummies. If a person refuses to wash their rice bowl after devouring their meals, leaving the rice bowl sticky and icky, how will more rice get filled in an already dirty bowl?

I know, I know, it sounds rather far-fetched, but like I said, it made sense to me. And besides, I like washing dishes. True story.

In 2012: I still make it a point to wash my dishes immediately after every meal. Again, our helper in the new house just loves snatching my plate from my hand even before I get up from the table but I think she, being trained by my mother, lives by the same principle in life.

#4 – Slow Down

cute-confucius-quotes-sayings-wisdom-motivational-bestTo say that I’ve slowed down altogether would be telling a lie, because I’m just punctual and rushy (don’t forget paranoid!) by nature. Thing is, my need for speed (heh) has started to show its effects on my health, so I’m doing my best with taking things slow.

I do however, believe that there is no need to slow down my speed of thinking. In fact, I think that as I age, I start to realise how many things I’m missing out in life. I aim to catch up with the stuff I’ve always wanted to do but never got a chance to – it’s just that instead of rushing and then falling off track halfway, I’m going to work on them steadily and complete the journey eventually. Confucius said it best.

In 2012: I’ve stopped multitasking too much. I enjoy walking home from the train station instead of taking the bus because I feel like there’s no hurry to get home anymore. I will spend that extra hour watching aimless Indian melodramas on TV so I can spend time with my mother instead of surfing Facebook. And I’ve stopped expecting people to deliver things as fast as I do, too.

#5 – Take Responsibility

I learnt about the theory of “diffused responsibility” during my time spent as a Psychology student. It is, in simple words, the passing on of responsibilities without actually knowing if someone else is going to do the action or not.

In 2012: I’ve started to be more responsible for my own actions. I pick out my own mistakes, make my own decisions, and as much as possible, stick to them. I carry out my daily responsibilities and although I’ve started making little efforts to help others, I still have a long way to go. I suppose I assume less, now.

#6 – Shoo Away Negative Energy

Credit for this one goes to my late cousin. He always had a carefree nature, telling his family members to stay away from negative people and detach yourself from bad emotions. He constantly reminded us to live by the day and always taught us that laughter was the best medicine.

negative thoughts meme

In 2012: I’m still a pessimist at times, however, I believe that my outlook on life is lightening up, so to speak. Now that I’m assuming less, I find myself being less of a victim of other people’s whiny rants and baseless arguments. The feeling is a breathe of fresh air, I tell you.

And because it’s the season of giving, here’s a bonus word from my favourite cartoon character (please excuse the vulgarities).

What words from the wise do you cherish?

Image Source: mrtplus.wordpress.com, myquoteshome.com, Google Images


  1. I love that squirrel. Not seen that before,,,, wise words.

    Your 6 things are all good value, but #4 has to be the best.

    I slowed down 12 years ago, and have already lived 5 years longer than I should have (if that makes sense).

    Apart from the big slow down, I chucked a heap of humor into the mix (became a freelance cartoonist) which I think will add another 20 years to my life.

    Now all I have to do is save up the extra money for all the beer I’m going to enjoy.




    1. Hi Mick,

      First of all, thank you for dropping by and taking the time to comment. It means a lot to know that someone else has gone through what I’ve just started learning and survived it (talk about motivation!).

      I wish you all the best with your art and may you live the rest of the years in the best of health!

      1. Hi Manisha,
        I just re-read my comment, and it sounds like I’m suffering from some terminal thing, which is not the case.
        12 years ago I made a career change and moved out of the stressful arena of Aircraft maintenance and became a freelance cartoonist. A hell of a lot less money, but a much greater anticipated life span (or so I’m told).
        At times, the stress was horrendous as more and more pressure was put on us to do jobs quicker (not good in aviation), and so eventually I picked #4 (slow down) and went freelance cartooning.
        Now the only pressure is getting jobs and meeting deadlines, and I don’t really feel any pressure or stress from that.
        And I do like the final words in your post, “lighten up”. Yep, stay cool, try and be laid back, and don’t create dramas for yourself which aren’t really there in the first place.




  2. Some great advice :) Especially slowing down. We miss so much when we rush from one thing to another without taking time to breath it all it!

    Thanks for sharing :)


  3. What an excellent post – it made me feel guilty and inspired at the same time! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, and thank you (from the bottom of my non-bed-making heart) for sharing this.

  4. It sounds like you have things pretty well figured out. My only word of wisdom is – since you already have household help, you want to be more responsible and be around positive people, why don’t you come over to do my dishes, make my bed, and clean my apartment. I promise to cheer you on in a very positive manner.

    1. In all honesty, no, it wasn’t that difficult to decide on these 6. But of course, I’m sure I missed some good ones out – they might hit me later on. Haha.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  5. That little cartoon at the end was fantastic! Thank you for sharing this enlightening blog post. It was a pleasure to read. I think I can take away the idea of “Slowing Down” most from these bits of advice. What I’ve noticed lately is that as I have the free time to think and create, my mind turns into a runaway train with all different kinds of thoughts bouncing around and exploding into other ideas. It’s so manic that I often find after hours and hours, I’ve completed nothing. I’ve just thought of things. I think I need to slow ideas down and start completing more things one at a time.

    Great post! Best wishes in 2013!

    1. Firstly. thank you for commenting and liking this post!

      Foamy, my favourite cartoon is wise indeed. Haha. And you’re right, slow and steady wins the race, plus it’s really best to start learning how to do things one at a time – I still have my habits of juggling a few ideas, but a good friend gave me a tip to write down the ideas and “let them go” – you can see what I did with the 12 Business Ideas post. I stopped thinking about them immediately and started focusing on what I was actually good at (I hope).

      Happy 2013 to you too!

  6. MAN!!! Thats a rough list. I am currently considering my new years resolution and you have two real hard ones for me. Make your bed and do the dishes Now. I may try one of these but both would be like setting myself up for failure. Youve got to be one tough cookie.

    1. I’ve been known to be quite strict with myself with things like these, but it’s okay to let go once in a while. A good tip to make your bed is to start by folding your blanket (if you use one) as soon as you wake up – i.e. when you’re still sitting on it! Try it, eventually get up and start fluffing up your pillows and dusting your sheets too.

      Thank you!

      1. OK, I know I dont know you so this might come as a shock, but you and I may be enemys by the end of the year. I have starting making my bed every day. So far I am 100% and I already hate it, a little.

  7. I love the list!

    My husband got me into making the bed every morning when we first got together, so I am happy to say I am 4 years strong on that one. If I don’t make it correctly it bugs me and I go back to redo it.

    He is now getting me into the washing the dishes one, I am a hit or miss on that one. Most of the time I will wash the dishes while I wait for everything to cook, but sometimes it’s just a no go.

    My favorite is slowing down, I just started to do this end of October when I knew that I would be quitting my job soon and moving half way across the country. Since then I have enjoyed EVERYTHING more and treasure my time with my friends and family so much. * I use to never see them due to working 60-80hr weeks*

    Thank you so this post!

    1. You’re an inspiration to continue doing the things I do, and I thank you for sharing!

      When I cook for myself I usually slack off and wash all the dishes after I’m done eating. I try not to be too hard on myself sometimes – and sometimes I’m just too hungry! Hehe.

      Have an awesome festive season with your family!

  8. LOL at #1 – I was always told to make my bed for the same reason! I made every excuse to avoid it; I even structured a radical argument that my messy bed was a form of expressionism. The result; I return home to find my duvet missing and replaced with a post it reading ‘express this’ :-( Lesson Learned.

  9. Making the bed,ahhhh lovely when you get in it at night and don’t have to rumble around in your covers.I loved your list.Reminded me of the things I was taught by my grandma!

  10. Very sound advice!!! Number 1….your father is a wise man!!!
    Making your bed, Doing the dishes and Taking responsibility are three things we should pass on to our children. The meaning behind the advice is character builder….pretty lacking in our society today.
    Well done!

  11. “Wash the dishes NOW” might not be the most important but it is something that I am constantly demanding my fellow housemates to do, which of course they never do. So I get to do them yay! “Take responsibility” is an important one, can;t say I’m all the way there yet though ;) All-round good advice!

  12. I like it! especially what you have about negative thoughts. I have a friend similar to your cousin…his response to negativity is always “who cares?” ugh. wish I was more like that.

  13. Two main pieces of advice I learned from this year were both from my mom:
    1. “Don’t talk about it, BE about it.” A lot of times I talk about my grand dreams but there’s something that derails me from accomplishing some of them. But not now. I learned to take it slow and never faulter. I’ll never give up my dreams.
    2. “Do not engage the ignorance”. There’s too many people and ideas we come across in our lives that do not add to the type of life we are trying to lead, to better ourselves, or to start living happier. Engaging in ignorance not only sucks the energy out of you but you feel dumber, fearful and miserable after you are done. Nothing constructive comes out of letting ignorance get the better of you. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

    1. OMG, I love #2. Those are really some great advices your mum has given you – you’re so lucky! And I feel even luckier that you shared them here, so thank you!

  14. I loved your post! :) For me, definitely No. 1! Also, I decided in 2012 to spoil myself once in a while. Oh, the marvel it does to the soul! Happy Holidays! :D

  15. Love all of this, but especially the part about making the bed. I think my whole room looks awful if I don’t make my bed!

  16. Love those words of advice, I probably follow most things here…except for the first one. I hate making my bed :( Really, something I should do every morning, but get so caught up in every other domestic stuff that this just goes by the wayside.

    1. Thanks for the commenting. We all have different priorities in life – if you have other duties to fulfill, go ahead, don’t let the messy bed stop you.

      Happy 2013!

  17. dear manisha,
    mum’s do know it all…especially the fact that i chose not to listen to her about my job when she tried to reason it out saying its not worth it!!!
    and speed thrills but kills…as much as i know this…i cannot seem to practice that…
    seems simple things are difficult to execute:)
    thanks for sharing!!!

    1. Hi!

      Don’t worry too much about it, as much as I appreciate these advices .. I tend to forget them sometimes when I need to rush things. We gotta do what we gotta do!

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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