Brene Brown’s work never fails to blow my mind. It’s so authentic, common sensical but vital that we never forget.


Strengths Finder

I never thought that the StrengthsFinder test that I took as part of my committee development by a wonderful boss would have such an impact in helping me discover my key traits, in a reality where my weaknesses are so starkly apparent to me.

I took this one a number of years ago but I find that most of them remain true and help me understand why I think and behave in a certain way (especially with regard to my intolerance towards certain things, which I usually dismiss as weaknesses, stubbornness and lack of resilience)


1. Empathy

I constantly look out for this trait in people and get especially frustrated when I don’t see it. Turns out, it is my key trait and no wonder I find myself understanding people a little too much – that disciplining or disagreeing with them becomes a problem for me.

“Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective.” – May I be kinder to people who aren’t intuitively empathetic. Just like how it’s not intuitive to me to be firm and strong.

I’ve always admired people who can empathise yet disagree reasonably at the same time. So many seek to be understood – and not everyone needs to be affirmed that they’re right.


2. Maximiser

I love how this strength makes me feel good about myself and see the strengths in others. It would have been a wonderful trait for me to take advantage of had I stayed on in teaching. I really do believe that each person has his own strength and we don’t have to be good at everything. Strengths and talents are what’s going to make us stand out in the future – not sameness.

It’s wonderfully put here:

“You tend to avoid those who want to fix you and make you well rounded. You don’t want to spend your life bemoaning what you lack. Rather, you want to capitalize on the gifts with which you are blessed. It’s more fun. It’s more productive. And, counterintuitively, it is more demanding.”

I’ve spent so much of my days running from those who expect of me, things that I don’t expect of myself since there’s no inkling to those strengths. I blamed and shamed myself for not wanting more – but what a nice thought to discover, that it’s in fact because I know what strengths I have and those just aren’t part of my repertoire.


3. Futuristic

“Wouldn’t it be great if . . .” – this line is repeated in my head ALL THE TIME!

“When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you.” – Too many times I’ve seen myself do this – fantacising, I call it.

Dreaming about an ideal lifestyle, an ideal curriculum, the perfect homeschool timetable for my children who don’t yet exist, the ideal values to instill in my family. It’s amazing to see the hope I have for these and I must be careful to not let them turn into frustrations and nothing else.

4. Connectedness

“And we are all connected to each other / In a circle, in a hoop that never ends” – this isn’t from the test, but from Colours of the Wind. Doesn’t it make sense in light of life? I read recently about the idea of believing that life is about ‘you and me’ rather than ‘you or me’. Of believing that there’s sufficient ______. Instead of that ______ isn’t enough. To lay aside competition and thrive through collaboration where we can pull our resources together to live the dreams that we want.

This, is from the strengths write up:

“Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession
of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger.”

And I’ve always thought that it would be hubris to think that we are not – that the earth, sky and sea which can engulf us, just existed out of nowhere. From the impact (albeit negative) that we as a human race, have made on the world, it’s obvious to see that we are connected beings – meant to connect and effect change.

5. Belief

My core values are really personal to me and I don’t usually articulate them. I guess I’ve been using them to quietly judge others – which is so bad – because I can’t even live up to them. That’s why grace is so important – it accepts me and loves the very areas where I can’t even deal with.

I love how this trait is described:

“Your Belief makes you easy to trust. It also demands that you find work that meshes with your values. Your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you. And guided by your Belief theme it will matter only if it gives you a chance to live out your values.”

This makes so much sense as to why I’m struggling so much in the career aspect. I didn’t hate the job – I hated the lack of time and meaning to do the things that I deemed important. To others, that was the very thing that gave them meaning, and it sure is important, educating the youths of today and pointing them in the right direction. As noble as it was, it became work to me – just task after task, event after event, script after script, and I slowly but surely lost meaning in what I was doing. That’s why, after 2 years being so convicted and inspired, the subsequent 4 years, though peppered with meaningful moments, leaked meaning out of me, and, I couldn’t live with it anymore.


This strengths test is by far the one that I like the most. It legitimately focuses on one’s strengths and identifies it for future use and understanding of past behaviours. The tests that I am uncomfortable with are those that identify certain types or traits and I don’t quite know what to do with them. This particular one makes me feel at peace with my strengths.

PaperBloomsSG Workshop 1

Today I taught a friend and her 2 friends how to make the basic ranunculus and a pompom. It went pretty well!

Time management was always my issue in teaching but I didn’t expect my workshop of the planned 2 hours to go beyond the buffer of an extra hour and stretch to 5! We were all in need of major stretching by the end but the joy of seeing a pretty handmade product is priceless.

I really enjoyed setting up and prepping the materials and equipment. My sweet spot, perhaps?

Maybe my years in teaching was meant to culminate in this. I still love preparing English resources too though.


Why don’t phone makers create a theme in the OS where everything is presented in this wonderful font called Dyslexie?

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to read when the letters jump or don’t make sense – where it’s hard to locate the next line or recall what the last word you read is.

Having taught for a couple of years, I’ve seen how Dyslexia in students causes them very real stakes – a boy capable of intellectual rigour, being streamed to a stream that doesn’t challenge him enough in his mind, but challenges him thoroughly in his processing of information that comes on worksheet after worksheet.

What a wonderful thing is ‘reading’ was not just ‘reading’ – but more focused on what one does with the information presented – whichever way it is in. Maybe one day, P2 Comprehension will be in audio form – not as an ‘access arrangement’ but as an alternative – it could be a choice before taking the national examinations. And students all get to read on the screens and answer them there – and the student with Dyslexia can just click on the audio button and seamlessly listen to the text.

Read has been transformed and I am one who has benefitted greatly from audiobooks (thank you Libby). I go through a book in 2-5 days – as opposed to how little I read when I was younger (the pivotal years where stakes were high). But it’s not too late.

Oh what audio books could do for those who struggle with reading, one way or another.


I’ve been reading ebooks and listening to audiobooks intensively in the past few weeks, all thanks to Libby. I’ve gotten through many titles, including:

  • Designing Your life
  • In Order to Live
  • The Kinfolk Home
  • Grit
  • A Pale View of Hills
  • 1Q84
  • Quiet
  • Good Morning, Midnight
  • Northanger Abbey
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People in a Digital Age

Creating insta stories of noteworthy ideas and quotes has become quite a habit and I’ve gotten so much good stuff I just need to share.

Good Morning, Midnight (I totally thought it was good morning good night for the longest time.)
Designing Your Life
How to Win Friends and Influence People in a Digital Age
In Order to Live


The Power of Introverts

As I write this, I’m listening to Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. It’s an insightful read (or listen) on how introverts can and should be valued. It strokes my ego in ways that could be totally factual. I’ve always wondered why I prefer to ‘shy away’ from crowds and prefer not to make small talk, even though I have learnt to do so.

I love people, yet hate them. I don’t like isolation but like being alone sometimes. Doing my own business at home hasn’t been entirely easy. I look forward to my scheduled social gatherings with my close friends, like never before. I make sure I don’t go overboard and yak non-stop when Immanuel comes home from work.

I’m still listening and it’s still good but does get dry at times. Introverts or extroverts – everyone is woven intricately and differently.

But one fun fact that I got was that Pixar’s campus is really cool and seems to satisfy both personality types.

Rainbow colours everywhere

I went down to a centre for a volunteer interview today. After how the previous interview panned out, this went very smooth. While I know it’s for a volunteer position, I don’t take it lightly.

I’m looking forward to have some mornings occupied with meaningful activities – the way I designed my life to be.

Though I told the coordinator that I’d want to commit for 3 months for now, if this suits my new rhythm for the year, I’d gladly extend the stint.

Side note: a little walk in the market near the centre landed me a suitable toolbox for the flowers.