be helpful be happy find your why happiness hope purpose self help

How to be Happy in 2020


People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. The first thing about being happy is really, being helpful.

Let me share with you the MOP framework on being helpful:


Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment.

Mindfulness is about being non-judgmental.

Living in our fast paced fast food world, we tend to lose focus on being in the present. We love to cast our judgment  and criticize.

The first step to being helpful is to be mindful.

If we cannot be mindful, there is no way we can even think about helping others.


Focus on others over self.

It is natural to think about ourselves. We are born that way, through the fight or flight instinct.

However, if we first focus on others, of seeing to give or add value, we realize that which ever station of life’s stage we are at, there is always someone that we can help.

Have you ever encountered “salesy” people? Those who are only interested in making a sale and not at all in you?

How do you feel?

If you are in the sales line, remember this: Always seek to build a rapport and add value first, before asking for a sale.

Positive Influence.

There is just too much negative news nowadays.

Violence, dispute, corruption and death…

If each and everyone of us can be deliberate in being a positive influence, we can really be helpful!

The reason why I don’t post negative things is not that I do not have my complaints (our national hobby!) or challenges , but that I want to create a positive experience.

Even when I share about my challenges, I will always end off on a positive note. It is not about what we are going through, but where we are going to.


The GIVE framework to cultivating an abundant mindset.


Make giving a lifestyle.

If you do not have the habit of giving, you can start small.

Give of your time, energy or finances to help a good cause.

It can be as simple as giving thanks and showing appreciation to people.

Imagine abundance!

We have to be aware of the “scarcity mindset”.

The scarcity mindset tells us that resources are finite, and if we give to people, we will put ourselves at a disadvantage. The scarcity mindset is actually a very dis-empowering belief that holds many people back from pursuing their goals and dreams. This is because instead of focusing on possibilities, they are focusing on what they do not have at the moment. Instead of asking,”What are my options?”, they say, “I am not ________ ” or “I cannot __________”.

This is absolutely not true!

God created abundance in this world, we just need to learn how to be resourceful.

Value adding

See to always add value to others, before taking.

We are born to take resources from others as a young, defenseless baby.

However, as we grow up and mature, we can then start to add value to others before taking.

This leads to the last point.

Everybody wins!

Always seek to create win-win situations, or even win-win-win situations.

Gaining an advantage doesn’t mean that somebody else has to lose something.

It is not a zero sum game.

In the 1976 Special Olympics in Seattle, Washington, one of the child fell down at the start of the race. He began to cry bitterly. Two of his fellow competitors, upon hearing his cries, stopped, turned around and helped him up. To loud applause, the trio finished the race together.


According to the “ikigai” definition, passion is what you love and what you are good at.

Your ikigai

If you can’t imagine not doing something, it’s a passion. It doesn’t have to be a moneymaker. Make your money some way that will give you the time for what you really love to do.

Finding your passion could be easier than you think. By answering these questions honestly, you could work out what to do with the rest of your life.

3 guiding questions to ask ourselves:

“What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?”

“What could I do for five years straight without getting paid?”

“What would I spend my time doing if I had complete financial abundance to do anything?”

Spend 20 minutes each day thinking about the things that have interested you recently, or any opportunities that you have spotted.

Imagine yourself waking up early, jumping out of bed in enthusiasm the moment you open your eyes!

Imagine yourself pumped up and ready to make a positive impact on someone else’s life in your area of expertise!

That is your passion.


Purpose is about your “why”. (Read Simon Sinek’s book, “Start with Why”)

It is about why you exist, and what you are created for.

Many people are not clear about why they do what they do. As a result, many people will just “cruise” through life, living up to the expectations of others and never really discovering their true calling and fulfill their true potential.

There is an exercise that I like to do on a regular basis. It is called the “re calibration“.

While goal setting at the beginning of the year is good (SMART goals come to mind), it is important to constantly re calibrate and make sure that we are staying on the right track.

Take a blank piece of paper, and write down what we believe about ourselves.

For example, “I believe that I can overcome the fear of heights.”

“I believe that I can be more caring and kind.”

So on and so forth…

Examine the beliefs that we have written, and take note of any dis empowering beliefs that we hold on to, for example, “I believe that I cannot be promoted this year.”

Rephrase it, and make it positive and empowering.

Pin this paper where you can see it everyday, to remind yourself that you have a clear purpose in your life.


Your identity. Yourself. Your esteem.

At the core of happiness, is a ready acceptance of yourself.

Accept who you are, and work towards a better version of yourself.

There are 2 groups of people that you need to learn how to forgive:

1. Yourself

2. People who have hurt you.

Many people cannot forgive themselves for having made mistakes in the past, that resulted in consequences that they have to bear even today.

Know this: each and everyone of us is uniquely created, and treasured by our Creator. Each and everyone of us is precious in God’s sight, no matter which God you worship.

If you have learnt to forgive yourself, the next step is to forgive people who have hurt you.

This may not be an easy process, and you may need to seek help for this. It will also take time, but that’s OK. Reach out to someone if you need help, and give yourself time to forgive.

Forgiveness definitely helps tremendously with our mental well-being. 

Un-forgiveness is like carrying a baggage from the past around. It is smelly, heavy and prevents you from chasing your goals in the future.

If you need some clarity, feel free to text me. 

Ask Yuantai


What Jack Ma’s commencement speech at NYU Shanghai has taught me

Jack Ma’s speech at NYU (Shanghai) contained a vital message for students who are graduating this year, and for the rest of us. 
There are 2 things that struck me:
Being resilient and resourceful in difficult times, as well as having the right values. 
There are always opportunities amidst danger, and those who know how to find opportunities, adapt and adjust will have an edge over those who don’t. 
Having graduated more than 10 years ago, and transiting from full time employment to being an entrepreneur 3 years ago, I realize that no university education can guarantee you success in life. 
I used to think that all you needed to succeed is a good university education.
I have learnt many things from my time at university, as well as made many good friends. However, I realized that learning doesn’t stop there. In fact, the real learning hasn’t even begun!
When I took a leap of faith into entrepreneurship, I realized that I was under equipped to deal with having to run a business. It was a really steep learning curve for me, as the path that I chose has little overlap with where I used to come from.
I had little network, little relevant knowledge. That is why Jack Ma’s speech deeply resonated with me.
Jack Ma mentioned IQ, EQ and LQ. I want to add another LQ (learning quotient). As long as you remain passionate about learning, you will survive, and perhaps even thrive. The moment we stop learning and growing, we die. 
What I have learnt since, through trial and error, has helped me to grow as a person and my business to grow. Today, I am extremely proud to be able to help many others on the same journey, transiting out of employment into the world of entrepreneurship.
Please take 10 minutes to watch this video, and I would absolutely love to hear your takeaway on it.
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No Fear! Fear Vs Faith

I stood at the edge of the slopes. The wind brought a fresh chill to my face.

The instructor said in a gruff voice, “Ready?”

“Yup, I guess…”, I replied with a tinge of apprehension.

“Let’s go!”, he barked, and we ran off the slope, towards the yawning valley in front of us. The parachute caught the wind, and we took off. This is my first tandem diving experience!

3 years ago, when I leapt off the comfort of my pharmaceutical job, there was the same apprehension. And perhaps that F word: Fear.

And today, that very same F word is evident all around. People are fearing for their jobs, their health, their livelihood. There is apprehension, there is worry, there is despair and resignation.

Fear Vs Faith

Fear comes through knowing, while faith comes through believing. 

Fear is about knowing what you have tried and not succeeded, and being hesitant and uncertain about making the next move. Faith is about believing that the next time you try will bring you one more step closer to success, and is about not giving up in spite of.

Fear focuses on lack, while faith focuses on abundance.

Fear is about what we do not have or what we are not. Faith is about what we have on our hands, and what we can give to bless or help other people. You remember the biblical story of David and Goliath? If David was a fearful man, he would cower in fear like the rest of the Israelites and back off from Goliath and his giant brothers. But David was a man full of faith. He knew that he had certain useful abilities and armed with the 5 stones and slingshot, he marched off with confidence into the battlefield. He firmly believed that he had more than enough to defeat the giants.

Fear pushes you away, while faith drives you on.

Fear will cause people to run away from their problems and their pain, or seek temporary solutions to long lasting problems. This is how addiction comes about, when people indulge in the sensory pleasure to avoid tackling deeper, longer term issues. However, faith will drive you on to tackle problems at its roots, and summon up the courage to do so. During the Covid crisis, you can see how faith and fear operate to drive different outcomes. Those people who had faith would  bite the bullet, take the loss and re-organize their businesses and strategies. They would seek out opportunities to learn and upgrade, and come up with creative solutions to earn an income. Those who acted out of fear will always blame their circumstances, or do the same things expecting different results.

How can we overcome fear?

3 steps to overcoming fear: JAR!

Right focus

If we focus on the right things, we will get the right results.

Focus on what you can do, rather than what you cannot do.

Focus on the future possibilities, rather than your current limitations.

Ask yourself,”What if I succeed?”


The glass is half full? Or half empty? 

I would say the glass is half full, but there is another half to fill!

There is potential and possibilities! 

Most people believe in a zero-sum game, that you win at the expense of somebody else.

Or vice-versa.

But that need not be true!

You can collaborate with people and tap on each other’s expertise and network!

Also, it is such a joy and delight to be able to help someone freely…

Just do it!

Sometimes we overthink and we suffer from “analysis paralysis”.

Or we don’t feel confident, or good enough to attempt something.

Like my maiden tandem dive, sometimes it pays just to take a daring leap off the slopes!

David's 5 stones and slingshot


Chow Yun Fatt takes the MRT

If Chow Yun Fatt takes the Mrt with you, you will probably not notice him.
Many of you may be familiar with Chow Yun Fatt. He is a huge Hong Kong star, and has also appeared in several Hollywood movies. I myself am a huge fan of his.
What many don’t know is that he started from humble beginnings, at the age of 17 doing odd jobs like bellboy, postman and taxi driver. This humility has carried on till today, and he frequently uses public transport and dresses simply.
Guess how much he reportedly spends every month?
$140. Yup. That’s right.
And he is donating his entire fortune of HK $5.6billion away to charity.
Please share this, if you find it helpful!
coaching find your why happiness purpose

Find your why

Most people ask “What can I do to become better?”, but they forget about the “why”.
If you do not have a clear picture on your “why”, you will constantly end up going around in circles, without making concrete progress towards your life’s goals.
This was exactly what happened to me, until 3 years ago, when I finally figured out my “why”. I realized that what I really wanted was to help people discover true joy and passion for their “why”, and in turn pursue happiness.
Hence, I gave up a comfortable job as a pharmacist and pursued a career as a coach. The happy coach!
Of course, there were numerous challenges along the way. There were times I felt extremely discouraged when coachees do not respond in the desired manner. But I never lost focus on the “why”. It is really easy to give up if you do not have a strong sense of purpose. 
One of the most common issues in my line of work is helping people to find clarity and purpose. And this involves digging deep and helping people figure out their “why”.
Recently, I finished 2 runs of “circuit breaker”. Would you like to guess the part that most people struggle in? No prizes for guessing! 😅
Now, write down your why, paste it on your mirror, or somewhere you will always see the first thing you wake up in the morning. 
If you haven’t figured it out… 
What are you waiting for? 😁
If you find this helpful, please share it! 
Top 20 Simon Sinek Quotes That Reveal the Hard Truths ...

The greatest act of forgiving

For many years, I was not able to forgive myself for the breakup of my relationship.
That happened many many years ago, when I was together with a lady.
We were together for 3 years, and I had proposed to her. We are supposed to get married in 2010.
However, just a few months before our wedding, she decided that it was time to part ways.
I was absolutely shattered.
I went through different phases of the break-up. At first, denial.
I tried all ways and means to salvage the relationship. But like a fish out of water, flopping helplessly around, the relationship was dead.
Then, I blamed myself.
I blamed myself for being too insensitive to her needs.
I blamed myself for being sarcastic and using hurtful words whenever we had disagreements and fights.
For the first time in my life, I sank into depression.
I only managed to slowly get out of it as I realized there were people around me who genuinely cared and reached out to me. My parents, my close friends and buddies.
I realized that to forgive someone is hard.
But the hardest person to forgive is yourself. It is never easy to forgive yourself and blame yourself for something which you have done/have not done. 
I have made mistakes, I have done wrong. But it is OK to make mistakes. 
If you are reading this, I want you to realize this, that we are all imperfect people.
There may be things that you have done or could have done in the past, to prevent something bad from happening. However, that is all in the past now. We can’t turn back time and change anything.
We can only live in the present and look to the future.
I have learnt to forgive myself. That is the first step of a very important healing process. I have learnt to be more mindful of my words, and I have made effort to spend more time with my partner and best friend. 
Is there something that you cannot seem to let go? 
Something that you cannot forgive yourself for? 
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Make a difference

Let me share a short story. 
There was a young girl who lived in a remote village. Every morning, she has to walk half an hour to the nearest well to fetch water on two buckets, across a stick carried on her shoulders. 
It was really hard work, with a load of close to 30 kilos!
One of the buckets has a crack on it, and on the way back, water would leak out. When she reached her hut, less than half of the water would remain in the bucket. 
The cracked bucket said dejectedly, “I am broken. Why don’t you repair or even replace me, so that I don’t waste your effort?“
The girl smiled, and replied,”You are perfectly fine!“
This went on for several weeks. Each time, the girl returned with a full bucket, and a half empty bucket. 
But then, the cracked bucket begin to notice something amazing! On one side of the path, it was barren. On the other side of the path, where he came back on, there were the most beautiful and amazing flowers.
If you can make a difference in someone’s life today, no matter how big or small, what would you do? 
The cracked bucket made a difference in the lives of the plants, as well as people who passed by and were able to admire the beautiful flowers. And he did it, one drop of water at a time.
If this message deeply resonates with you, join me in this #behelpfulbehappy movement! 
Simply drop me a text here.

Donate blood, save lives!

Donating blood, saving lives…

My blood donating journey began more than 10 years ago, when I was doing my national service.

The inspiration came from my father, who was a regular blood donor. Even though he was away most of the time due to work, whenever he is back in Singapore, he would always make a donation at the blood bank.

Like most people, I was initially afraid of needles. 

How I overcome the fear was to think of my late grandfather, who had to endure even more pain as he had to go on dialysis in the remaining few years of his life. What is a 20 minute blood donation process compared to his dialysis? The scars on his arms and the unspoken pain were a stark reminder that this blood donation process is just a small thing compared to what many patients have had to go through.

So here I am, doing my regular donation once again…

There are some folks who are unable to donate blood, for one reason or another.

As a perfectly healthy person, I am truly blessed to be able to donate blood. Donating blood actually has quite a few health benefits too! It aids in the process of red blood and white blood cell replacement; helping your body to regenerate and rejuvenate.

There was one minor issue for me though: due to my small veins, I sometimes have bruising after the blood donation. However, this is really really a small inconvenience. The pain wears off after some time.

If you are able to donate, I highly encourage you to drop by your nearest place to donate.
There are locations at dhoby ghaut, outram, woodlands and jurong East.

If you are unable to, please encourage your friends or family members, who are able to do so, to donate.

This is a part of #behelpfulbehappy in a very practical way.

mission purpose self help time management twenties

What are some of the lessons one should definitely learn in their late teens/twenties?

I have encountered this question in various forms, so here are my thoughts on it:
1) Money management
Learning how to manage your finances is one of the most important things that we should learn.
In my opinion, our financial education should start as soon as we learn basic arithmetic!
The younger we start, the more time we will have to make mistakes.
The one thing that I am thankful to my parents is that they taught me how to be thrifty.
My dad was a marine engineer, and my mum has been a home maker since my brother and I were in primary school.
We often lived below our means, and that meant that my parents became financially free when my dad retired.
Most people nowadays prefer to live on debt, and today’s “consumer” economy encourages taking on debt.
However, one of the most important lessons that my parents taught me were to live simply and live humbly.
We still traveled overseas every year.
Spending time with loved ones is so important, which leads me to the second point.

2) Priorities
Getting your priorities right is important for growth.
While we were younger, we tend to have more time and energy.
Hence, it is important that you invest the time and energy wisely, in the right things.
Another area which I felt that I would have done better would be in terms of getting my priorities absolutely right.
My priorities are: God, family, job, ministry and all others.
There was a period of time when I was not sure what I wanted to do, after failing to get into medicine.
You see, it was my dream to get into medicine in university.
During that period of time, I was serving the nation in army, when I was called up to serve the nation for 2 years. (All Singaporean males have to serve the army for 2 years)
Hence, I was under prepared for the interview, and flunked the interview.
That was also a period of time when I was searching for a purpose, and I felt that life can’t be just about getting a good grade, getting married and settling down.
This leads me to my next point!

3) Purpose (Your “why”)
Why do you do what you do?
When you are in your twenties, you may or may not have figured out your purpose in life.
If you have already figured out what is your purpose, congratulations!
I didn’t figure out my purpose until I was in my thirties, when I got out of employment to start on my own entrepreneurship journey.
Now, my purpose is to help people discover their purpose!
This is why I founded the Happy Man Club!
The Happy Man Club is a community of people happily helping one another, and it is a growing online/offline community.

4) Mastery
Once you have figured out your purpose, it is important to spend enough time to gain mastery of the skills that are needed to help you fulfill your life mission.
It will also be really helpful if you can identify someone more experienced to mentor or coach you along the way, as it will help you to shorten your learning curve and identify the blind spots that you have.
It is important that you remain disciplined and spend your 10,000 hours to hone your skills.
It is easy to let time slip away, but if we are not careful, we will find that we have reached the end of our twenties, and youth is no longer on our side.

Do you agree with the above?
What do you find helpful/not helpful?

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Yuantai the Happy Coach

The beginning
Let me share with you my story, and hope that it will encourage you in your own journey.
I was born in a middle income family. My father was a sailor (no, not Popeye! but close, haha!) and my mother quit her job as a bank clerk to take care of my brother and I when we were in primary school.
(Yes, I have a clone of myself, and I am the Evil clone… haha!)
My mother was a strict disciplinarian, and she made sure that we behaved ourselves. She made sure we studied hard, and she kept telling us that success in life is through getting good grades, getting into good schools and graduating with a good degree.
And so I did exactly as I was told.
I went to Montfort Primary, did well in my PSLE, got into Raffles Institution, did well for my O levels, got into Hwa Chong, did well for my A levels, got into Pharmacy in National University of Singapore.
I finally graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Pharmacy) and practiced as a community pharmacist in retail chain.
Yuantai NUS graduation
Yuantai as a community pharmacist
Graduation, and…arriving?
I seemed to have everything that people would have wanted. Good grades, a cushy job.
But yet, deep down, I was not happy. And I did not know why.
(I felt like Neo when he was plugged into the Matrix.)
And hence, I started to embark on a journey of self discovery in the pursuit of happiness.
I decided to quit my job, and start a business. But what business can I start?
The first business I started was a venues portal. It was in an area that I am totally unfamiliar with.
I did not have the experience, the knowledge nor the network to do the business.
And I was struggling to bring in the income to feed myself and my family.
To make myself feel better, I told my wife that I will look after the house. Mop the floor, scrub the toilet, do the laundry, groceries etc (Yes, Caleb Low, I can fully empathize with you!)
Even though I believed that I had something of value, but nobody valued what I had.
Nobody knew. Nobody cared.
I was broke and unsure of my direction.
Doubts begin to creep into my mind. Was I too hasty and too foolhardy?
I’ve been going the wrong direction!
But then, something was happening to me.
I was slowly discovering happiness.
Why was I happy?
This is because when I was on the seemingly lonely journey, I realized that I was not alone.
I had support from around me.
My favourite super hero, my spouse and partner, my wife.
My parents and my close friends.
And even people whom I have met along the way, strangers like yourself, who have generously extended a helping hand to me.
And I begin to look around and see that there are also people who are on this journey, trying their best to start a business or keep their business going.
Even though I don’t have much, but I was able to help some people along the way.
And then it occurred to me…
that this is indeed the happiness that I have been looking for:
The secret of happiness lies in helping others to succeed.
The secret of happiness lies in the generosity of the heart.
And I believe that if I can inspire 1,000 people to do likewise, I can create a positive impact in the community.
This is why I decided to start the Happy Man Club.
My mission for the Happy Man Club is to create a community of men and women who help each other and spread happiness.
On top of that, I have been involved in Grassroots work for 8 years, organizing house visits and health screening events for the lower income families in the community. I believe that it is indeed truly blessed to be able to give, rather than just receiving.
And here I am now, as the Happy coach, helping jaded professionals rediscover passion and joy for what they do, and find clarity moving forward in their career and their lives.
This journey has taken me to places and faces that I would not otherwise have known and met, and I truly consider it to be my honour and privilege to create a positive impact on the lives of people, helping them to achieve their goals. What other job allows you to create such a meaningful impact on a daily basis?