Author Archives: Will Yang


Discipline Without Damage by Dr. Vanessa Lapointe

I finished reading the Discipline Without Damage – How to Get Your Kids to Behave Without Messing Them Up book by Dr. Vanessa Lapointe.  It was a good read.  Coming from a very strict and disciplinary family and background, I needed new strategies to discipline my kids.  I do not want to apply what I went through on them, but the whole Western culture is just too “loose” in my opinion.  I needed a balance.  This book was perfect.  I want to share the nine key stepping stones to discipline without damage in the moment:

  1. Respond with connection: Have children feel your intention to understand them and do right by them.
  2. Stay low: Respond with calmness and control in an intensely caring way.
  3. Drop a flag: Provide a very quick and simple direction of what needs to happen (aim for 5 words).
  4. Maintain firmness with kindness: Hold your line and have compassion.
  5. Give no explanation: Avoid explaining your position to children.
  6. Choose your moments: Be mindful of your children’s zone of need and set boundaries intuitively.
  7. Exit gracefully if needed: Maintain control if you need to abandon the boundary.
  8. Keep relationship as the bottom line: Do nothing that will interfere with the relationship you are cultivating with your children.
  9. Debrief the incident once calm prevails: Start at the beginning and move through to the safety of the ending.  Avoid blame or shame.

How to Win Friends and Start a Conversation

I presented a speech today at my Belmont Babblers Toastmasters Club.  It was Project #1 – Conversing with Ease from the Interpersonal Communication manual under the Advanced Communication Series.  I borrowed Dale Carnegie’s fame and titled my talk, How to Win Friends and Start a Conversation.

Below are the feedback I got from my club members on little note papers that I got to take home:


  • Really interesting topic, very relevant and very well presented.
  • Really good intro. to the presentation, nice job setting up how the presentation will be structured.
  • Very well prepared!
  • I noticed a couple of “um”s as you were conversing with Willow – I think all of us do that in conversation.
  • Great job!

Congratulations Will! Ambitious topic & good information. Could have shown more of your usual enthusiasm & energy.

Well rehearsed. I didn’t quite catch the distinction between art + science. Perhaps could have been summarized at the end.

  • Great structure
  • Great eye contact + body language + use of space
  • Maybe for next time, give the handouts before the speech.
  • Loved it! Well done!

Will was very comfortable and he asked the guest good questions.

Will, very interesting and informative. Very well presented and organized. Tough presentation to give. Only comment is I felt the conversation section 2 could be shorter – you also said “ya ya”, which may cutoff the other person. Loved your set up for timing! Well done. Thank you.

Will, covered requirements for converse with ease. Presentation was monotone – not very engaging. Picking a topic other than TM for interview may have been more interesting.

Great presentation full of useful information & practical examples! I would suggest enunciating a bit more, esp. when improvising as you tend to speed up/mumble when nervous. Overall wonderful!


  • You mentioned 3 sections to the speech, but only elaborated/listed the first two – the science (4 levels), and the interaction portion. I think the third piece simply got forgotten.
  • The conversation flowed easier after the first few questions, which always seems to happen.
  • Might’ve been worthwhile to mention techniques for having a conversation with someone who isn’t responding well.

Great job!


  • Good presentation overall
  • Liked moving/presenting the stage the way you wanted
  • A couple similar questions
  • Could have been more back-and-forth conversation/small talk
  • Well prepared, interesting topic
  • Good eye contact with group

Wonderful job Will. I really liked how you weaved in both art + science + even showcases through real examples. Very informative. Thanks.

I think they liked my presentation, but I’ve got lots to improve.


I returned to my Toastmasters club in April.  My goal was to complete the four remaining speeches in my Competent Communicator manual.  I don’t like unfinished projects.  My plan was to stop attending Toastmasters when that manual is done.

My club, the Belmont Babblers, is facing a low membership problem.  Every year, the first week of May is election week to elect a team of executives to run the club.  We barely have enough members to meet the minimum, which is having three executive positions filled.  Instead of having an election this year, we opted to have members volunteer for positions.

In Year 2010/2011, Leo and I shared the President role.  It was a bit challenging, but I enjoyed it.  Since I’ve been on and off from the club and I did benefit from attending, I decided that this was a calling for me to pay back and contribute to the club.  I volunteered to be the next President, pending club members’ approval.  This afternoon I received an email saying that it has been approved that I’ll be the next President from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.  Below are the members of the executive team:

  • President: Will
  • Vice President of Education: Carol and Amir
  • VP of Membership: Amanda
  • VP of Public Relations: Bart
  • Treasurer: Lyn
  • Secretary: Dalia
  • Sergeant at Arms: Jay

It will be a good year to improve our communication and leadership skills.


There are 1440 minutes in a day.  How do you arrange your minutes throughout the day to accomplish your goals?


I have been reading The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley.  Just have to share a paragraph from the book here.

“Math is a language of logic.  It is a disciplined, organized way of thinking.  There is a right answer; there are rules that must be followed.  More than any other subject, math is rigor distilled.  Mastering the language of logic helps to embed higher-order habits in kids’ minds: the ability to reason, for example, to detect patterns and to make informed guesses.  Those kinds of skills had rising value in a world in which information was cheap and messy.”

Well said!

February Summary

February went by very quickly.  It felt like it was faster than January.  Chinese New Year.  Mt. Washington trip.  Family house drama.  It was just a busy month.

Here is February’s stats:

  • Reading: 20/29
  • Writing: 8/29
  • Exercising: 24/29
  • Meditating: 5/29

I really fell off the Meditation bandwagon in February.  I think it largely has to do with me being tired every night.  I remember at the end of most nights all I wanted to do was just to lay down and close my eyes.  Anyhow, no excuses!  I hope to pick it up in March.

I didn’t write much last month.  I admit that I was trying harder in January to write.  I think writing often is a good habit to have, so I hope to write more this month.

Since finishing Think and Grow Rich, I’ve picked up The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.  It was recommended by my colleague, David Crow.  The book is very easy to read, so I didn’t have any problem reading in February.

Exercising was fun this month.  Brian and I really made some progress in the gym.  I worked out every day when I was at work last month, and it felt great.  Exercising keeps me sane.

February 29th

Four years ago, today, February 29, 2012, we took possession of Crownwood.  Anya and I moved in this big, empty house, had takeouts for dinner and champagne after, and slept on our mattress in the kitchen.  It was a tiring and exciting day.  Four years ago seems like forever ago.

Today is the first 29th of February since the last one.  Another leap year.  Boy, how things have changed within this gap of four years between the two 29ths!  I wonder how things will be when the next February 29th comes in 2020.

Four years prior to that, we were new graduates, engaged, and planning for our wedding.  Isn’t time a tricky thing?  We don’t feel it, but life just keeps on rolling.



Serena is in this “why” phase.  She just can’t stop asking, “why?”

“Serena, please stop moving around.”


“Because I’m trying to put your shoes on.”


“Because we are going to the park.”


“Because you wanted to go to the park.”


“Okay, stop asking why?”


The following conversation happened after bath today.  I finally broke the unending whys.

“Serena, I need to dry your hair.”


“Because it doesn’t feel good going to bed with wet hair.”


“Because you asked why.”



Mt. Washington Family Trip

We spent the past three days at Mt. Washington with my mom, Anya’s parents, and Aunt Corrie’s family.  It was a lot of fun.  I like going on family trips.  The weather was a bit too cold for my mom’s bones, but she was glad she went.  She was admiring how beautiful the mountains and trees were when they were covered in snow.  We were lucky that the backyard of the chalet was right next to this hill that was perfect for tobogganing.  Mike, Jackson, Ryan, Matt, Aunt Corrie, Anya and I had a lot of fun sliding down the hills overs and over again.  Back in the chalet, Jungle Speed was definitely the game of our stay!

We took Serena to her first skiing lesson, but she refused to continue after two rounds.  S was really looking forward to it before the lesson.  I think the instability of being on the skis shocked her.  She looked pretty darn cute in her skiing gear.  I thought she did well, considering she’s only two.  To be honest, I was secretly hoping she would love it and had a ton of fun and didn’t wanna leave and we would take lots of selfies at her first ever skiing lesson.  Despite the early finish, I was really proud that Serena put on them skis and went down the hill with her teacher, Kailey, twice.  I love it when she’s brave, curious, and willing to try new things.  I was a bit upset when she wouldn’t walk back to the rental office on her own.  I forced her to walk for a bit, but she forced me to carry her, with her loud and innocent cry.  I looked like a child abuser dragging this two-year-old in the snow.  There were some tears shed and feelings hurt.  That night when I tucked her in, she whispered in my ears, “I’m sorry Daddy. I’ll try skiing again next year.”  Tears were filling up.  This time, they were in my eyes.

Here is a clip I posted on Instagram of Serena going down the hill with Kailey’s help:

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

I finished reading Napoleon Hill’s 1937 inspirational classic, Think and Grow Rich, on Chinese New Year’s Eve.  The book offered 13 steps toward riches.  Even though Hill emphasized riches in terms of money, he also talked about riches in other areas such as success, love and happiness.  Here are the 13 steps and some of my favourite quotes from the book:

  1. The starting point of all achievement: Desire
    • “Every human being who reaches the age of understanding of the purpose of money wishes for it.  Wishing will not bring riches.  But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.”
  2. Visualization of, and belief in attainment of desire: Faith
    • “Faith is the head chemist of the mind.  When faith is blended with thought, the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, translates it into its spiritual equivalent, and transmits it to Infinite Intelligence, as in the case of prayer.”
    • “A mind dominated by positive emotions, becomes a favorable abode for the state of mind known as faith.  A mind so dominated may, at will, give the subconscious mind instructions, which it will accept and act upon immediately.”
  3. The medium for influencing the subconscious mind: Autosuggestion
    • “Your subconscious mind recognizes and acts only upon thoughts which have been well-mixed with emotion or feeling.  This is a fact of such importance as to warrant repetition in practically every chapter, because the lack of understanding of this is the main reason the majority of people who try to apply the principle of autosuggestion get no desirable results.”
  4. Personal experiences or observations: Specialized knowledge
    • “Knowledge will not attract money, unless it is organized, and intelligently directed, through practical plans of action, to the definite end of accumulation of money.  Lack of understanding of this fact has been the source of confusion to millions of people who falsely believe that ‘knowledge is power’.”
    • “I am also trying to emphasize another point, namely, that both success and failure are largely the results of habit!”
  5. The workshop of the mind: Imagination
    • “Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes.  Ideas are products of the imagination.”
    • “Gradually, the idea became a giant under its own power, and it coaxed, nursed, and drove me.  Ideas are like that.  First you give life and action and guidance to ideas, then they take on power of their own and sweep aside all opposition.”
    • “Ideas are intangible forces, but they have more power than the physical brains that give birth to them.  They have the power to live on, after the brain that creates them has returned to dust.”
  6. The crystallization of desire into action: Organized planning
    • “You have learned that everything man creates or acquires begins in the form of desire, that desire is taken on the first lap of its journey, from the abstract to the concrete, into the workshop of the imagination, where plans for its transition are created and organized.”
    • “It is one thing to want money – everyone wants more – but it is something entirely different to be worth more!”
  7. The mastery of procrastination: Decision
    • “Procrastination, the opposite of decision, is a common enemy which practically every man must conquer.”
    • “Financial independence, riches, desirable business and professional positions are not within reach of the person who neglects or refuses to expect, plan, and demand these things.”
  8. The sustained effort necessary to induce faith: Persistence
    • “Persistence is a state of mind, therefore it can be cultivated.”
    • “As one makes an impartial study of the prophets, philosophers, miracle men, and religious leaders of the past, one is drawn to the inevitable conclusion that persistence, concentration of effort, and definiteness of purpose, were the major sources of their achievements.”
  9. The driving force: Power of the master mind
    • “Power is essential for success in the accumulation of money.”
    • “Power is necessary for the retention of money after it has been accumulated!”
    • “The Master Mind may be defined as: ‘Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.'”
    • “Two characteristics of the Master Mind principle: one of which is economic in nature, and the other psychic.”
    • “Happiness is found in doing, not merely in possessing.”
  10. The mystery of sex transmutation
    • “Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires.  When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, will-power, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times.”
    • “When the emotion of love is mixed with the emotion of sex, that same man will guide his actions with more sanity, balance, and reason.”
    • “One who has loved truly, can never lose entirely.”
    • “Love is spiritual, while sex is biological.”
    • “Love, alone, will not bring happiness in marriage, nor will sex alone.  When these two beautiful emotions are blended, marriage may bring about a state of mind closest to the spiritual that one may ever know on this earthly plane.”
  11. The connection link: The subconscious mind
    • “You cannot entirely control your subconscious mind, but you can voluntarily hand over to it any plan, desire, or purpose which you wish transformed into concrete form.”
    • “Everything which man creates begins in the form of a thought impulse.”
    • “The subconscious mind is the intermediary, which translates one’s prayers into terms which Infinite Intelligence can recognize, presents the message, and brings back the answer in the form of a definite plan or idea for procuring the object of the prayer.”
    • “Anybody can wish for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan, plus a burning desire for wealth, are the only dependable means of accumulating wealth.”
  12. A broadcasting and receiving station for thought: The brain
    • “Every human brain is both a broadcasting and receiving station for the vibration of thought.”
    • “We are now entering the most marvelous of all ages – an age which will teach us something of the intangible forces of the world about us.  Perhaps we shall learn, as we pass through this age, that the ‘other self’ is more power than the physical self we see when we look into a mirror.
    • Sometimes men speak lightly of the intangibles – the things which they cannot perceive through any of their five senses, and when we hear them, it should remind us that all of us are controlled by forces which are unseen and intangible.”
  13. The door to the temple of wisdom: The sixth sense
    • “This principle is the apex of the philosophy.  It can be assimilated, understood, and applied only by first mastering the other twelve principles.”
    • “Understanding of the sixth sense comes only by meditation through mind development from within.”
    • “Repeat this experience from time to time, giving no concern as to how much or how little you learn at the time, and eventually you will find yourself in possession of a power that will enable you to throw off discouragement, master fear, overcome procrastination, and draw freely upon your imagination.  Then you will have felt the touch of that unknown “something” which has been the moving spirit of every truly great thinker, leader, artist, musician, writer, statesman.  Then you will be in position to transmute your desires into their physical or financial counterpart as easily as you may lie down and quit at the first sign of opposition.”


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