The “Inner” You


The captain of a sailing vessel must know where he is heading and have both the confidence and knowledge to know how to get there. There cannot be any doubt or fear of the unknown. He must have the determination to carry on towards his destination.

We all have an inner ‘captain’ that guides our lives. Many times we lose touch with him or her and get lost in the sea of life. However, when we discover or reconnect with the part of us that is confident and knowledgeable on how to get where we want to go, then all fear and doubt will fall away.

Are you willing to find your inner self and let that be your true guide in life?

-The Universal Asian

On Being Asian in the UAE

2677865396It’s not just the fact that the woman is sentenced to death by stoning for having an extra-marital affair that is disturbing about this story. It’s the fact that she is described as “Asian”. Do we read articles that say “white man” is accused of having an affair, or a “white woman” was caught speeding? I have yet to read such an article. If the journalist (can we call ‘Staff’ that?) doesn’t know the nationality of the accused, then why couldn’t they have simply written “housemaid”; and does it really add to the story knowing she is Asian? Anyone living in the UAE could deduce the nationality of said person…. Shocking, really.

-The Universal Asian

Altering Our Reactions


Have you ever stared at someone or been stared at with such intensity that you felt incredibly uncomfortable to the point of anger?

When you reach that boiling point, have you ever considered what it is that causes that anger?

The other day, I was standing in the mall across from a cafe waiting for someone to arrive for our lunch date. I was simply playing Candy Crush and occasionally looking up to see if I could see my friend arrive. My dress was moderate (something to consider in a Muslim country). Each time I looked up a middle-aged white woman, dressed in a suit with an unhappy aura about her was staring at me. Initially, I ignored her, but as I continued to look up, she was continuing to stare at me without shame or seeming purpose. Her glare was hostile, but I could not understand why. Finally, I smiled at her and said “Hi”. To which she responded by shaking her head and continuing to stare whilst stirring her yet to be eaten soup. Now, there was nothing to prove that she had a negative feeling towards me nor did she open her mouth to give evidence that she was unhappy towards me. However, the shake of her head and refusal to look away was definitely an aggressive move. So, I politely asked, “Do I know you? Or should I?” Again, the woman did not respond. Rather, she rolled her eyes at me, shook her head again, continued to stare and stir her soup. This became rather comical to me, so I just laughed at her – not with her, AT her. By this time, my friend had texted and I went into the cafe to get a seat. As I passed, the woman merely went back to her soup and began to eat.

Sure, I could have gone up to speak with the woman to find out her thoughts and feelings, but I was annoyed by this point and not in the correct frame of mind to be open and compassionate. So, instead, I sat down wondering what was her deal?!

As I pondered, I shifted to wondering what made me so annoyed by her behavior? Did I feel threatened somehow and if so, by what or for what reason?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the behavior of other people that we do not stop to reflect upon our responses to the behavior. We do not have control over how others behave towards us. Therefore, we can only change and understand our side of any interaction. Perhaps I should have spoken to her first with an open mind and asked her if she was alright or simply moved to another waiting place so that we did not have to face each other at all.

In any case, it was a good reminder for me to think about my reactions and to consider what I can do to alleviate tension in a situation in which I have some control.

Have you been in a situation where you could have responded differently and had a totally different outcome?

-The Universal Asian



Overcoming Fear

Overcoming-FearMany people who know me, know that I have a great dislike for water and a worry of drowning that stems from childhood trauma.

Swimming causes a mental challenge, but I do it. Snorkeling freaks me out, though I will do it. However, going fast on a jet ski is questionable for fear of falling off and scuba diving is still out of the question.

That said, this weekend, I challenged myself to be brave and try jet skiing (driving myself) with the attitude of speed does not matter. As I became more and more comfortable with the ski and found that a little more speed each time did no harm nor cause me to fall off, I became braver. Also, I reminded myself that I can always release the gas, go slower and the worse case is that I fall off and have to swim a bit. Once my mind got a handle on how much control I had over the situation, I was ready to push the ski to the max. And, I did. :D

Afterwards, a young lady who had also been there commented on how she didn’t understand how there were people in the world who wouldn’t go jet skiing and how boring their lives must be (paraphrased). It was then that I realized fully that it is fear that keeps us from living a full life. We convince ourselves that we are content to stay in and read a book or that it takes a certain kind of person to do activities that are seen as ‘risky’. However, if we were to just try these seemingly risky activities with a totally open mind, we would probably find that we are more than capable of enjoying anything.

What in your life – whether big or small – are you afraid of doing? Could you challenge your mind a bit just to let yourself give that thing a try in the least scary way and open yourself to the possibility of something more in your life?

Let’s try to let go of our fears each day together!!

-The Universal Asian

Listening Well

images“Accustom thyself to attend carefully to what is said by another, and as much as it is possible, be in the speaker’s mind.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

One of the first aspects of coaching that gets focused on is the art of listening. According to the CTI co-active model, there are three levels of listening. 1) Inside your own head; 2) The words and body language of the speaker; 3) The environment in which the listening is being done.

Most of the time, people tend to be in level 1), struggle to focus on 2) and are rarely ever in level 3).

As a person who observes and listens more than speaks, I have often noticed how people wait for me to pause so that they can interject their own opinion or story. Along with their body language, I become quite aware of the fact that what I am saying is not being heard. Over the years, I developed an aversion to speaking to people due to this realization that what I am saying does not seem to be interesting enough to others to bother with listening to me.

More recently, I have learned to pick and choose my friends or the people with whom I do speak in an effort to surround myself with those who do listen and want to hear what I have to say. It’s not an easy task to be a good listener, let alone one who is in the speaker’s mind. However, when you are truly listening to another person, it is amazing what you can learn about the other person or the world.

Why not give listening at levels 2 & 3 a try?

-The Universal Asian

Patterns that Define Us

20140422-180340.jpgAre you a creature of habit? Do you take pride in having a set routine thinking it means you are stable and healthy?

What if these routines and habits were actually holding you back from reaching your full potential in life? Would you then be more willing to make a change or do you feel as if these patterns of life are part of who you are as a person?

One of the benefits of living abroad and changing your country of residence periodically is that each time you move you have the opportunity to recreate yourself. The breaking of your regular patterns by uprooting your entire life gives one the freedom to reflect and change who you are and who you want to become.

Is the person you are now, the person you really want to be? If not and you don’t have the luxury of moving from country to country, then what is one habit or routine that you could feasibly change to allow yourself the opportunity to challenge where you are now and develop more towards your full potential?

Post Holiday Rebalance


Today I intend to seek the positive in everything.

There is sometimes a low that settles after the high of being refreshed from a long vacation that can cause a sense of negativity towards the return to ‘reality’. However, it is this reality that affords the opportunity for such a long vacation in the first place. Rebalancing perspective and attitude is very important at this time.

If I train my mind to focus on the positives always, then perhaps I can more quickly recover from the emotional roller coaster post-holiday.

How do you resettle yourself when you need to return to the normal routine of daily life after being on holiday?

- The Universal Asian