Rationalising why I did not get my IPPT gold

3 weeks ago our group was told we could take our individual physical proficiency test (IPPT) when we headed back to camp for a briefing. I and most of the officers gladly chose to sign up for it, for some obvious reasons haha. I decided that despite a short timeline I would try out to aim to get a Gold. Something I had not have since my active days 10 years ago.

Long story short, we found out days before that it was canned. I definitely was disappointed because I didn’t want all that training to go to naught. Quickly I chose to book a test at one of the more challenging locations, where I had not managed to get a gold in the last 5 attempts.

So I had created a training programme with little or no experience in following one, and tried to get the shortest route to meet my targets to get gold, which I now felt was more achievable.

Race day.

First I did not have breakfast.

Push ups were a disappointment. On my first attempt I only had 30 counted pushups . My average was 50-55 when I did it regularly.

Sit-ups, I did 33. My average maxed out at 40.

2.4 run

From my training, the fastest I have reached was 9:08.

I clocked a 10:14.

In totally I had of 82 points, just missing gold by 3 points.

From my training I thought that had prepared myself mentally. Here’s why I think I did not get my Gold.

1. Lack of sticking through the training programme religiously.

– as much as I can give excuses on how busy I was and how many things got in the way. The fact remains that I was only about 50% close to the schedule. The last few days before the IPPT I let it slip.

2. Lack of preparation for race day.

A few things I could have done better. Slept a little earlier. Had breakfast earlier. Then I wouldn’t have run out of energy. I could have reached camp earlier. The wait was dreadful and it was energy sapping too.

3. Lack of a winners mentality

I did not PUSH hard enough. No other way to put it or excuse to give. Mentally I had relaxed.

So what am I going to do to redeem myself?

1. Try again

I plan to book the next test next week.

2. Train hard

Need to nail the key activities like push ups and sit-ups. Then the run requirements will be less intensive

3. Be prepared for race day

Sleep earlier, wake up earlier, have breakfast early.

4. Push an additional 10% on race day

If I work for it, I will get my gold, I believe I will. Hoo yah.

Create clarity through the spring cleaning of one’s mind

Anxiety is caused by thinking about a future that has not happened. Will we get hired in our future job? How will we do in our exams? Chances are we always tend to play the negative outcomes in our mind. Having a tense moment, worrying about the multiple things happening at once ie moving abroad, and not being able to get a job, jumping into an unfamiliar new industry, not doing anything with the projects I have had wanted to do, brought a surge of anxiety over me.

I looked at the book rack I had and thought, well well, aren’t there these 15 books that I’ve been wanting to read but never got down to touching them ever. It seems many of the projects which I have been keen to work on or explore have ended up this way. Becoming white elephants.

I don’t want to continue producing white elements. I want to start producing real world results. In order to start, I need to empty my list and start building it up.

At that very moment, I decided to remove all my books at keep them in my cabinet. This is what I felt- taking on many things on my plate cosnstantly gets me distracted. In the ends all the bits and pieces tend not to have a solid end result/deliverable. What if I chose to focus on completing one activity at a time. To have depth instead of breadth? Would this habit change the way I operate?

At that very moment when I played the audio book on zen za meditation, the words below was spoken.

It basically said, chris. Stop trying to understand and learn everything about anything. Start by understanding yourself.

However in order to do that, you need to do something quite counterintuitive. You need to remove all thoughts about the future. Your dreams, goals, etc. You need to completely empty your mind.

And when you do, practise sitting, (ie medication) and slowly, you may allow whatever necessary thoughts into your mind.

This was a moment that spoke to me. The universe had given me my answer.

This is what I needed to do next. To empty my mind, my thoughts and my expectations.

On a practical sense, of course there are things that were still needed to be done and projects needed to be completed. Ie job research etc. What I would need to do is list them out and work on them as projects. Not putting any expectation about the future of these projects but focusing on doing each of them well. Only then will I not dwell too much about the future, but be able to focus on good work in the present moment.

A check-in with myself

In Jan 19 – I had the following items listed on my wall

  1. Create a Personal Brand
  2. Write a book by 31 Nov 2019
  3. Create a Framework
  4. Start Focusing on Adult-Learning

In April 19, (4 Months ago) I had a coaching session with Danny to gain mental clarity. Here was what I had put down

What I want to achieve ****

  • Having mental clarity. Which is to know what my goals are.
  • Ideal life is one of being involved in nature. Surfing, water etc.
  • Farm to table – being able to eat naturally good food

Next Steps

– The Plan

  1. Research – Do an indepth study of the topic (April-June)
  2. Create a proof of concept (July – Nov) – This includes writing a book and publishing it in Dec.
  3. Monitor plan – Be accountable to someone. Check in on that plan weekly.

That did not go as planned. And here’s the new plan.

New plan

  1. Focus on Creating a Sustainability consultant’s package by End of August

– Utilizing current skillsets and experience to create a viable product – Engagement & Projects

– Writing a book about being a Farmer (1 month – August). Complete End August.


2. Focus on Job Search for 2020.

– Create CV, Portfolio

– Job Search

– Gain skillset required


I’m not sure if i’m getting better clarity or getting more confused. Plan after plan, idea after idea, my focus keeps changing. With the constantly shifting goalpost, I think its time to calm myself down and focus on the long term plan. 

When I shared with Bryan what a ‘Good Job’ Meant for me, he asked me to list down what good meant to me. It was a great exercise because it helped me to define what I am truly looking for.

– Income: $42000 ~ $66000/year
– location: Singapore (by 1 Feb 2020), then Vancouver on (Dec 2020?).

Definition of a Good Job
1. Company culture of respect, trust, growth mindset like a lab.
(What question would you ask the people working there to test for this?)
2. Being able to create new ideas/innovations to exercise my design thinking/Creative/problem solving muscles, being able to Work on new projects every 6 – 12 months.
3. Agriculture / Food/ Environment/ psychology/ related field
4. Being able to work independently- ie not in a regimented style, being micromanaged, Given time and trust to execute plans.
5. No office cubicle. Outdoor element preferred.
6. Flexible working hours preferred.

So just putting it out there. Im gonna need to stick to my plan…!! Gahhh!

Raising Emotional Awareness – Forest School by Darren

” There has ever been a session where the entire session was spent right at this carpark. The children did not make it out of here.” – Darren

“What? 2 hours just discussing what to do? How did this affect them?” – Me

“They learnt about negotiation. They learnt about give and take. It was so painful for them, and they learnt quickly, so the sessions that followed after that were much speedier, as they did not want to struggle again”. – Darren

This was my first time hearing about a Child-Led activity through Forest School Singapore’s Darren Quek.

“Have we decided where to go?”  – Coach asked

“To the Playground! …No! I don’t want to go to the playground!”- One child disagreed. After much banter an compromise, the group decided on one direction.

Enroute to the playground,  just about 5 minutes into the walk. Lay some concrete sacks stacked onto wooden palettes. Likely building material for future development in the park. The children naturally ventured in. They started picking up small pebbles and rocks and play-fighting with them. Using branches they did sword fighting. A brave kid tried to scale the mountain of sacks, which was taller than he was.

This was Children’s imagination in its natural form – unhinged and free. Organic and dynamic.

Darren, a humble, young and when speaking, seemingly rough on the edges shared why he wanted to start Forest School. Coming from an Early childhood background, he felt that outdoor education was lacking. He then enrolled himself into Forest School training and trained in Japan under a sinseh, who taught him more than the Forest School Pedagogy.

Darren had struggled running the business. He had experienced a steep growth once, and in his blog post “Becoming small” he talks about how, at the peak of growth he gained wisdom and took a bold move not to let growth for the sake of growth take over.

“We saw the amount of strain on the team and the environment had Forest School expanded so haphazardly, following the same business economic model that have driven our world into the unequal and selfish state that we are, on a corporate level. The decision was made to keep Forest School Singapore small and mobile, without any further full-time staff. “

Darren shared that it is important to be accountable to one’s direction. We spoke about the social enterprise community. He mentioned to respect whichever decision one should make – if one chooses to go commercial as Edible Gardens had done, it is absolutely fine. Sitting on the fence and holding on to a fantasy whilst reality bites on the other hand isn’t going to work out.

As I draw to the end of the session, they end off with a get together. Coach asks

“What did you like about today?”

Some kids gave answers which could not be rationalised, like ‘blah blah’, I thought was interesting that they were not pressured to answer what they did not want to.

Others, shared more heartfelt moment, like how they loved the session and did not want it to end. The coaches chipped in, and used the opportune moment to explain how certain previous actions could have been unkind to their friends, using them as teachable lessons.

A Excerpt from The Forest School blog summarizes my experience with the School.

“In Forest School, we let the children voice their displeasure directly to each other, as kids are naturally impulsive and they should not suppress their emotions. Usually, when they are given the space to communicate to one another in their own way, they start to recognise that the context of their emotions are sometimes unwarranted, or that things are not always black and white and they learn to see things from their friends’ point of view instead. “

First and foremost, I would like to thank Darren for taking time off on a Sunday morning to bring me along, and to have patiently and thoughtfully share with me his journey of setting up, running Forest School. I would no doubt highly recommend any child to attend Forest School for all the benefits it brings to a child’s awareness and development!


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