When one is not a veggie

I know that some of you are attending school which is being paid by your parents and that you receive pocket money from time to time – this is fine as its only natural for parents wanting to lend a helping hand to their kids.

Just as long as you know where the boundaries are and not to take liberties – your parents didn’t create you so that you can live off them for the rest of your life

Once upon a time, I wrote that one of the immediate goals that I had was to earn enough money so that I could buy what I wanted, eat what I wanted and travel to where I wanted.

These days, I’m neither loaded nor strapped for cash but have come to a stage to realize that what I want from life right now are things which money can’t buy which is to achieve goals that I set and improve myself through gaining experience from learnings and failures.

What Motivates Me

My latest project is developing 60cm tall doll robots – a challenge because I have not done it before and don’t exactly have a large amount of cash in the company to enable me to move faster than I would prefer – but these are just examples of the challenges that I get to work with which are helping me to grow and I’m learning so much while I join my comrades as a hobby maker.You can read the latest on this project in the How To Mass Produce Your Own Products post.

Projects like these that I initiate ultimately have a goal that I need to reach. Goals that I set for myself is just one of my sources of motivation and I think I tend to perform better when the odds are bleak and there are a bunch of naysayers for me to prove wrong.

My readers are my motivation

During my early years as a child, times were tough for my parents who both worked hard day n night. As they were both busy trying to make ends meet, they decided to put me in various foster homes which I lived in for most of my childhood. In some of the homes, I wasn’t treated incredibly well but didn’t say anything to my parents as I knew they were having their own financial and other problems. I ended up living with a white, black and then with an Indian family for what seemed like an eternity.

As luck would have it, one of the foster homes had guardians who would take my clothes and consider it theirs while their kids would constantly bully me – was easy to pick on the boy who had no parents. I was made to feel as unwelcome as possible in their house.
I remember a particular evening where we came back to the house to discover the front door open. We walked in to discover that the place was a mess – burglars had got in. I was scared and started to cry. The eldest child of my foster family shouted at me:-
“What are you crying for?! This isn’t even your house!”

I didn’t have much fun in school either. Was constantly bullied and most of my memories were of being dragged through gravel, gang beaten up, having my possessions burned, football constantly aimed at my face, and having the big guy in the school playground say to me “If I smash your head with this bat and kill you then I would go to jail. But it would be worth it.” I remember having to ask the same person to punch me so that I could be part of his posse.

Back then my only comrade was my imaginary friend Buck Rogers coming to visit me with his trusty robot Twiggy.

The contrast is incredible when I compare today and back then. Today, I have supportive comrades from all over the world who I have connected with through sharing my life and interests on this website and on my TV shows.

This photo taken in Tokyo during a meetup recently where I got to meet readers from all over the world – they were complete strangers at the beginning of the evening and are now comrades.

When I travel abroad for conventions, I get to hook up with comrades in that locale and its great to be able to spend time with them.

While I dont get to reply to all of your comments on my posts – I do read pretty much most of it and seeing your feedback is also another driving factor.

The friendship that I bond with my readers is something that I value and is true motivation for me.

Retaliation as a motivator

It’s going to sound very childish of me but I’m going to be very open and honest with you. Another one of my motivating drives is to retaliate against my trolls. But rather than spend time to launch a counterattack, I use that energy to aggressively continue to do my best and accomplish goals. This is the most effective form of retaliation as your trolls just *hate* to see you doing well.

I’ll give you an example of how I was motivated to retaliate without launching a direct counterattack.

At London university, I studied Japanese and Korean language. In my Korean class, there was a half Korean/Japanese classmate who was native-ish Japanese but didn’t learn Korean as a child.
During class I spoke to him as a friend but learned from others how he would suddenly bring up the subject of “Hey you know that Danny? He’s such an idiot. Why does he need to learn Korean?” I was surprised to learn how much he hated me!

One day in class, while I was struggling reading some Korean text, he suddenly stood up in class and shouted (in Japanese) “Look! Why don’t you just study more! You are keeping the whole class behind!”

The experience left me embarrassed and shaking with anger. It’s an experience that I don’t purposely choose to remember but can recall it like it was yesterday. I read somewhere that emotional experiences can be easily recalled because when one is emotional, some sort of hormone is released which makes it easier to remember experiences and fixes that time and space in memory – this is the reason why most of your emotional memories (sorrow, happiness, anger) can be replayed clearly. I’m not an expert on the subject or terminology though.

I was depressed about the experience but the sadness and anger wasn’t doing me any good. I decided to use that energy instead to focus on improving my Korean just as the guy suggested.

I spent every ounce of my time learning new grammar patterns and absorbing myself in the language just like I did when learning Japanese. A few weeks after the experience, my effort was beginning to pay off.

The teacher would basically be going over grammar patterns from the textbook that we done homework from but I made sure that I studied a few chapters ahead and also made the use of other textbooks.
I would be asked to complete a sentence using some new grammar pattern but I would always use new stuff which I studied on my own.

“Very good Danny! Chal Haesumnida! Everybody, repeat after Danny…” I felt like a kid back in primary school being praised by the teacher for being able to spell “d-o-l-p-h-i-n.”

That guys face would stiffen up and turn bright red as he clenched his pen which dug deep into his notebook and I made sure that he didn’t have the pleasure of me not looking at him. I guess those who laugh last really do laugh the longest.

As for this photo – because I learned Japanese first and Korean is like 95% the same in terms of grammar, I actually used Korean books that taught Japanese to reverse learn Korean.

These days, I get trolled for anything and everything – does not really matter until the trolls start to tell malicious lies to gather recognition from their peers.
But as I mentioned earlier – spending my time on a troll means that they have a double win as not only does the troll gain a sense of achievement, they also have taken away my precious time.

One of the reasons why trolls do what they do is because they do not have the ability to accomplish much in real life but gaining your attention gives them a sense of achievement.

Never ever react against a troll – instead of using your anger to counterattack with small clumsy uncalculated blows that will leave you feeling embarrassed afterwards, use your energy to aggressively continue to achieve your goals and live well.

Your trolls just can’t get enough of you and are always watching your every step so they will eventually see your success and when they do – well you have just dealt them a calculated fatal blow as your trolls *just hate* to see you do well – it makes them sick and gutted to watch you advance onwards.

I want my trolls to know that whenever I achieve my goals – this is what my face looks like when thinking of you. Please keep up the trolling – it really does me wonders.
Love Danny.

What motivated me in the Past?

In the How Discovering Japan Changed My Life post I extensively talked about all the techniques that I used to learn Japanese.

Self study can be difficult unless there is a motivation to do so – below are some of the factors why I was motivated to be disciplined and spend every ounce of my time studying Japanese.


I loved anime, manga, Japanese dramas and music but couldn’t understand the actual content. I didn’t have any Chinese education so didn’t have a head start with Kanji either.
The more Japanese I studied, the more satisfaction I gained as I realized that I could read and understand stuff that once sounded alien to me.


London was my home for many years – but I lived in the worst place in London called Hackney and it was such a dump with muggings and stabbings happening all the time. Hackney was also voted the worst place to live in the whole of the UK.
I wanted out and wanted it badly. While I didn’t know exactly where my Japanese learning was taking me – I knew that the key was to continue to study as much Japanese as possible – and I think I was right.


While learning Japanese, I made a load of Japanese friends in London who I would converse with. They were learning English and while I tried to help them as much as I could, they always tended to default back to Japanese ^^;
For me to convey my feelings and thoughts effectively, I had to learn as much Japanese as possible.


I confess – the Idol Nishida Hikaru who I fell in love with was another motivation of study for me – I wanted to know as much about her as possible from the magazines, CD’s and VHS tapes so just had to learn more Japanese!

So how do I rate my level of Japanese now? If I studied for all these years and spoke poor Japanese then that would not have been a good use of time ^^;
Currently my Japanese is good enough to be the only foreigner working for the Japanese government on the Creative Industries Internationalization Committee.
You can also hear be babbling away in Japanese on my TV show Culture Japan.


After a few visits to Japan on holiday, I knew that Japan was where I belonged. During those times in Japan, I would record the sounds of Shibuya and capture all the hustle and bustle of the crossing which included conversations of folks standing nearby waiting for friends.

Back in the UK, I set up speakers around my room and played the recordings of Shibuya and closed my eyes – I was transported back to Shibuya instantly.
I knew I could not be in Japan for another year until I saved up enough money at Benihana but listening to the sounds of Shibuya motivated me so much and I would always play it in the background while I continued to self study Japanese.

I would say to myself daily:-

“I must make it to Japan”
“I must make it to Japan”
“I will make it to Japan”

Default Life Template – fine for some but fine for you too?

From various surveys I’ve seen, most people seem to hate mondays and most would quit their job if they won the lottery. From this, I gather that these folks work purely for money and not for anything else.

But lets face it – money is a necessity in this day and age to cover our basic human needs of food and shelter. Family members also need to be looked after and its the money thats going to help do that.

The DNA of living beings is programmed to give us instincts that help us stay alive and to do so for as long as possible through reflex actions and our will to stay alive. In todays society for the case of humans – we need money to do that so it’s natural that money becomes a major factor that influences the decisions that shape our lives.

But what happens is that most of us start to only live a life which is based on the concept of money – we start to live the Default Life Template.

The Default Life Template says that we should go to a good school so that we can go to a good university so that we can get a well paying job so that we can pay the bills – this then allows us to go back to work the next day to earn money to pay for the bills. This cycle is repeated until we retire and die.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the Default Life Template – I’m sure it’s perfectly fine for some – but is it a template that you want to shape the rest of your life?

As for this photo – its some lottery tickets that we buy from time to time just for the heck of it. But my wife and I always say – even if we won – nothing much would change in terms of the work that we do. Probably buy that Nissan Fairlady Z though ^^;

If I don’t do it for money, why don’t I do everything for free?

Interesting question! But unfortunately maybe not such an intelligent question that I often get asked.

There are 3 construction workers who are building a playground. We ask them what they are doing.

Construction worker 1 says “I’m working for money.”
Construction worker 2 says “I’m building a playground.”
Construction worker 3 says “I’m making a place where children can gather together and play.”
Construction worker 3 is being paid for his work but his perception on what he is doing is more holistic.

Yes money is important to help us not only cover our basic human needs but also to help us cover some of the other stuff that we want that helps compliment our lives.

As mentioned above, money is not a motivating factor for me because if it was I’d be continuing my corporate life printing money and not caring about what goes on in the world – meaning that you would not be reading this post and there would be no website.

Being focused on money would prevent me from having a holistic view to achieve the big world changing goals that I have in mind – changes which would hopefully stand the sands of time.
Money on the other hand only lasts until one dies – no matter how much of it one has.

Have you thought about what motivates and drives you?

I know that achievement, challenge and growth are my main drives but I want to know more about what drives us so am currently doing research on motivation studies. I’ll share what I come up with in the future but I thought of something that can help us start to understand what drives us.

Think back to times in your life where you were working hard towards something – it could have been completion of a goal or a goal to get somewhere or a goal to acquire something. Think what was driving you at that moment in time.

Why did you try to complete that goal?
Why did you try to go to that place?
Why did you try to acquire that object?

How about those of you to participate in competitive sports? Do you do it because you enjoy it and does not matter if you win? Do you do it because you want to better your best? Or do you do it because you want to be better than the other man?
Would it still be interesting if your competition performed badly and it was always easy for you to win?

Since I started my study on motivation, I’ve been consciously thinking about what motivates me to do every single action throughout my daily life – why do I wake up? Why do I eat? Why do I get on the train to head to a meeting?

Some of these motivating factors can be linked to our human instincts which keep us alive and avoid destruction – and then there is the other intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors that I’ll talk about when I learn enough about the subject to share with you in the future.

Hopefully, by spending time to think about what motivates us, we can learn how to better achieve our goals and start to make decisions sooner than later which will shape the rest of our lives.

Danny Choo is now officially my life mentor No 3.  I’ve discovered this cool guy since 2007 but didn’t pay much attention to him and his work until recently when I actually made the effort to visit his blog dannychoo.com go check it out there’s lots of cool stuff in there 😀