Aiman Azlan

Motivator

Vlogger

Author

Freelancer

I'm Aiman Azlan,
Motivator, Vlogger, and Author
from Perlis, Malaysia.

I have rich experience in youth engagement, both online and offline. I am passionate about social issues involving the local youth community. In 2015, I founded Aiman Azlan Academy to empower the youth with sustainable self-confidence through effective communication skill.

What I Do
Motivational Speaking

Engaging the youth, locally and internationally, through motivational speaking programs of various format, such as talks, forums, and seminars.

Training

Teaching communication skills, like vlogging, English speaking, and public speaking, through one-to-one or small group workshops.

Vlogging

Sharing thoughts and answering questions in video form on Youtube and Facebook, touching upon relevant youth topics of today.

Writing

Writing motivational and self-help books about various youth topics, such as self-confidence, identity, love, education, career, and community.

Social Media Advertising

Producing advertisements for products or services through social media copywriting and videomaking. Managed by Gushcloud.

Proofreading

Reading and making grammar corrections for final year project papers, theses, resumes, CVs, and other student-related writings.

This is the Worst Day of My Life

If there is one thing that you can do today to be more happy is to mind your language.

Bad things happen to everybody. No exceptions. But that is not the issue, the issue is when bad things happen, what language do we use to describe the situation to ourselves?

Why does it matter how we describe it? Well, it matters because your description will affect how intensely you feel about it. Problem is, we are usually emotional when bad things happen and our emotions have a tendency to exaggerate things.

For example, you received a bad mark in your exam. You might say, “This is the worst day of my life!” Or, maybe you don’t say it, but you are thinking in that direction. The description you just made will affect your feelings about it. You will feel as if it is the worst day of your life.

But then, you might be thinking, “Well, I know that. I don’t mean it literally. Duh!” I know you know, and I know you know I know. But we are talking about emotions.

Our emotions don’t care about literal or figurative, reality or fantasy. When you watched a horror movie, you feel scared and threatened, even though nothing bad is happening. You feel that way not because the horror is real, but because it feels real. For our emotions, what feels real becomes real.

In the heat of the moment, when bad things happen, usually our emotion is taking the wheel while our mind is in the back seat. Our emotion is reactive; it tends to act immediately. Our mind is reflective; it tends to process things beforehand.

That is not inherently a bad thing, because there are situations where we need to react immediately. For example, there is a speeding car coming your way, what do you do? Do you stand there and think about it, or do you just scream and run away?

But in this blog post, I am not talking about those kinds of situation. On top of that, I am not talking about clinical depression either because that is a separate serious issue.

What I am talking about are "normal" bad situations that could happen on a regular day to regular people like getting a bad mark in an exam, being rejected in an interview, getting yelled at by your boss, arguing with a spouse, getting stuck in a traffic jam, and other things that could destroy your mood for the day.

We are not denying the bad thing that happened. We are simply cautious of how we describe it to ourselves because our emotions tend to exaggerate the actual reality of the situation. That exaggeration could translate into an unrealistic, over-the-top emotion and that emotion could translate into an inappropriate action.

Whether we are conscious about it or not, what we say to ourselves does affect our feelings. It is better that we are conscious about our mental chatter considering how powerful the mental chatter can be. It can influence our emotional state, which in turn will influence our actions.

Negative emotions tend to lead to negative actions.

So, how do we make sure that doesn’t happen?

Well one thing we can do is to avoid superlatives when we describe the situation to ourselves (or to others). When bad things happen, avoid using words like worst, always, never, most, least, ever, and other words that are superlative. When you assign a superlative value to something, it becomes super intense and that might not reflect the actual reality of the situation at hand.

For example, when you say this day is the worst day of your life, it means that there is no other days in your life which is worse than this one. This is the absolute lowest point of your life and you will feel like it is, even though in reality, it is not.

Relax. This is not the worst day of your life, even though it might feel like it. Remember, feelings are reactive. It is not reflective. So take a step back and allow your mind to reflect and re-evaluate the situation.

In reality, you are just having a bad day. Just one bad day, out of many, many days. You have had good days before and the possibility of good days to happen in the future still exist. That one bad day doesn’t determine how tomorrow will be, unless you allow it to.

Is today the worst day of your life? It is, only if you say so.

---

Do you want to master your confidence?

Speak Up! Project focuses on creating a strong foundation of inner confidence. We apply the confidence in practicing essential soft skills: English speaking, public speaking, and debating.

Click here to get updates about our next confidence-upgrading programs.

Do I Need to Know Grammar?

Yes and no.

Like any Malaysian students undergoing English education in school, I learnt grammar in class. But I didn't quite get it. Perhaps it's my fault. Perhaps it's the system's fault. I don't know. But even after learning grammar in class, I can't fully explain grammar when people ask me to explain.

So at that age, I learnt grammar mainly by recognizing patterns. I was exposed to a lot of English growing up (e.g. songs, movies, TV shows, etc) and all the exposure enabled me to catch the patterns of the language.

Just by listening and recognizing, I know grammar without knowing what grammar is. Because if you ask me why a sentence is the way it is, I can't answer that. But I do know that the sentence is either correct or not.

So without formally learning grammar, you can still know grammar - like a child. A child who is just beginning to learn how to speak can speak with correct grammar (most of the time) without sitting in a grammar class.

Is the child a genius? Not necessarily. We all have done it before. When we were just beginning to speak, at first our grammar was all over the place. But somehow, with time, we got it right. No grammar class needed.

Why is that so? Because grammar is patterns in a language, and those patterns can be recognized if you are exposed to them enough and if you paid attention. A child absorbs the language by listening to how the language is used from the people around him.

So just like a child, you can know grammar without learning grammar.

However, I would still encourage people to formally learn grammar because it does answer the question "why" and it gives you a deeper appreciation of the language. Plus, at some point the primitive grammar that you know in your childhood years may not be enough to elevate you to a higher level.

In conclusion...

Do you need grammar to speak English well? No.

Do you need grammar to speak English better? Yes.

---

Do you want to master your confidence?

Speak Up! Project focuses on creating a strong foundation of inner confidence. We apply the confidence in practicing essential soft skills: English speaking, public speaking, and debating.

Click here to get updates about our next confidence-upgrading programs.

Top 5 English Youtube Channels You Should Subscribe To



If you are like me, a non-native English speaker, you might want to improve your English speaking skill. I am still improving mine. In that effort, you might want to know what good English speaking sources are good enough to refer to.

Let be honest: not all sources are created equal - there are good ones, and there are not-so-good ones.

This is not just for English, but for virtually anything. As wise consumers, we owe it to ourselves to filter all the resources available and only take in the good ones. Just like how we choose food for our body, that is exactly how we should choose food for our mind.

Hopefully, we don't eat junk food too much - for the body or for the mind.

To improve English speaking, we want to listen to good English speakers speak so that we can copy them in their pronunciation, diction, and grammar. Listening and copying are my two secrets into how to improve English speaking.

In this blog post, I want to share my top 5 English Youtube channel I find to be good resources for English speaking. They are not only good for English speaking, because you will learn a lot of other things too.

Two birds with one stone.

1. vlogbrothers

I think you've heard of the famous movie The Fault in Our Stars, right? You know that the movie was based on a novel by John Green, right? Well, what you might not know is that John Green is a vlogger, along with his brother Hank Green, on their channel called the vlogbrothers.

In this channel, they normally talk about things surrounding their daily lives. The basic concept of the channel is two brothers communicating and updating each other about what's new. But at the same time, they do make videos about current issues and well thought out pieces about important topics of the day.

2. Olan Rogers

If you like to laugh out loud, then this guy is probably your guy. I love his sense of humour not only because it is my kind of funny, but also because it's clean. You won't hear him swearing or making offensive remarks in order to get a laugh out of you. His personality does it all just fine.

3. Bayyinah Institute

For deep spiritual refreshments, this is the place to go to. Bayyinah Institute is one of the many Islamic organizations that I follow. But a unique thing about this organization in particular is how active they are on Youtube.

They actually dedicate their time to update their channel regularly so you always have new content to watch and listen to. Other organizations may have other areas of focus in mind, so they might not update their Youtube channel as regularly.

4. CGP Grey

I love the simplicity of his videos. He doesn't show his face in any of his videos, but he can somehow make them interesting. He uses cliparts of himself, diagrams, and pictures to get his message across. His videos touch upon a range of topics such as politics, pop culture, science, and religion.

His videos are fast paced which make them an attention grabber because you really have to pay attention in order to understand. So you can't have more than one tab open on your browser if you are watching his videos. Trust me. I've tried.

5. AsapSCIENCE

A creative and interesting way to explain science in a short amount of time.

They use simple drawings on a whiteboard, with some animations and clippings, to get their messages across. Their focus seems to be on popular topics of the day, but they put a scientific spin on them by citing relevant scientific facts.

6. Aiman Azlan

Wait...how did this one get here?

----------

To learn how to improve your English speaking and self-confidence, come join us for SPEAK UP! English Speaking Seminar.

Details can be found here.

3 Things to Know About My 4th Book

So far, I have written three books and I am now in the process of writing my fourth. Unlike the previous three, I wanted the fourth one to be special and personal. So I intend on sharing my writing process with you.

As a start, allow me to share with you three key things you need to know about my upcoming book:

1. What is it about?

This past Ramadan, I have been slowly compiling my writings about my experience as a new father. It is a collection of a handful of my experiences being a parent for the first year of my son's life.

There are two main reasons why I wanted to write this book:
  • These are the things I wish I knew when I was single 
  • I don't want to forget them now that I am a parent 

There are many valuable lessons during my experience that are essential to remember. Many of these lessons are ones we can't learn in our single life; we have to experience it first hand to know what it is like. Having said that, it doesn't take away from the importance of writing it down and sharing it with people.

This book isn't a golden standard of parental advice. In fact, I offer no advice in this book. I offer only experiences, so that people can get a glimpse of what parenting is like. I am trying my best to extract universal lessons from my unique experiences in the hopes that the book will be relevant to as many people as possible.

I intend to make the book an easy read while maintaining a level of intellectual respect. Meaning, it won't be an entertainment book. It will be a serious book, with some entertainment here and there.

2. Who am I writing it for?

When writing a book, I am conflicted as to who am I writing it for. Our deep desires is to be able to reach everybody without exception, but being mindful of reality leads us to a bitter realisation that it won't happen.

I can't reach everybody, but I can surely reach somebody. When writing this book, I have one person in mind. One day, I decided to give a book to a fellow father as a gift. I honestly believe that the book will benefit him. He took the book, flipped through the pages, and said, "Wow, too many words!"

Though a bit disappointed, I can empathise with him. I have to admit that not all people are avid readers. Ideally, that should be the case but we all know that we don't live in an ideal world. So I decided to dedicated this book to him and to others like him.

They deserve the message too, packaged in a way that suits their style. So, the book will be a simple one-page-image-one-page-text format so that it will be an easy read. It won't be too heavy on the texts, but hopefully the message will get across just as effective with fewer texts.

My goal is to trigger much needed reflection in the minds of single people, would-be parents, and parents.

3. When will it be out?

If all goes well, I think the book will be out by October of this year. But I don't want to make any hasty promises because I really, really want this book to be properly written. I am being as annoyingly perfectionistic as I can with this book because that is how much I care about it.

But of course, no human writer can write a perfect book. Still, that is not enough of a reason not to try. Sincere effort is success!

As of this writing, I am in the process of polishing my rough draft to make a complete first draft. Then, I will do a sweep of my first draft for clarity, continuity, and connection - that will become my second draft.

I will offer snippets of my second draft to a group of lucky 10 readers, who will get an exclusive sneak preview of the book before anyone else. My goal is to ask these readers to "taste" the book and provide feedback if the book needs more or less "seasoning".

Hopefully after all that, I will have a well groomed manuscript - ready for printing. So yeah, October of this year would be my best guess.

Much to do!

Hashtags Are Not Enough

Our last days of Ramadan is bittersweet, more bitter than sweet, as the news of our brothers and sisters (in faith and in humanity) are attacked by a group claiming to represent Islam, but couldn't be further from its teachings.

Just because you have the word "Islam" in the group name, it doesn't necessarily mean that you represent it. Call it whatever you want. Use whatever label you want, be it an Arabic one. At the end of the day, it is not Islam.

But when you say that, a question arises, "If that's not Islam, then what is?" It is a fair question that needs answering, not with words but with actions. People need to see Islam because so far, they haven't seen enough of it to drown out the hate.

It is on the shoulder of every Muslim men and women to show Islam. Hiding away in our comfort zones is not an option. Complaining is a luxury we can no longer afford. Pointing fingers is a pointless act we shouldn't engage in anymore.

Either we are a part of the solution or a part of the problem - there is no in between. We cannot speak of peace without being a source of peace for people. We cannot speak of peace but at the same time, chasing people away with our presence. We should not be a walking and talking contradiction.

There are many difficult questions we need to ask ourselves. Among them:

  • How are we on social media? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we on the road? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we in our workplace? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we in our business dealings? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we in our studies? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with our families? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with our friends? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with the animals? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with the environment? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with Muslims? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with non-Muslims? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with people? Do they see Islam?

Do they see Islam, or something else with Islam's clothing on?

Hashtags are good, but they are not enough. We cannot simply respond to tragedies in the Muslim world with temporary emotional outburst, temporary profile picture change, and temporary trends. It is a good start, but it should not be the end.

If these incidents don't provoke self-reflection and self-transformation, then what's the point? If we don't wake up and become better representations of Islam, then Islam will continue to be (mis)represented by others.

Obviously, it would be ideal for people to learn about Islam from the original sources: Quran and Sunnah. But to expect that of people would be unrealistic, because not everybody will pick up a Quran and read it. The source of Islamic education, in their mind, is the Muslims.

So, we have to be their walking and talking Quran. If not us, who else?

No exceptions. No excuses.

How My Family Spent Our Ramadan 2016

Throughout the month of ‪Ramadan‬, Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan has dedicated his time to explain in detail Surah al-Baqarah. He dives into the Surah with such depth and makes the Surah come to life with his relevant examples in today's life.

You can watch all the free recordings of Surah al-Baqarah's explanations here: bayyinah.org

In the beginning, he mentioned that Surah al-Baqarah is like a summary of the entire religion of Islam; that if you were to understand Surah al-Baqarah, then insha Allah you would understand the core messages of Islam.

Our Ramadan Focus This Year

My wife and I have been passively listening to all the livestreamings, while doing housework and taking care of our son. It is pretty hard to focus 100% with a baby around, but Alhamdulillah we still manage to benefit immensely from it.

Our entire Ramadan has been revolving around these livestreamings. It is a blessing that we have so many different initiatives in the month of Ramadan, but too many can be overwhelming. You want to do them all, but you know you can't.

So this year's Ramadan, we only focus on Bayyinah's Ramadan Exclusive, the study of Surah al-Baqarah. After all, the very purpose of Ramadan is for us to get closer to the Quran, no matter how small our steps are.

After about 26 days into the month, with each explanation of Surah al-Baqarah, I realize how true the statement of Ustadh Nouman; Surah al-Baqarah has pretty much everything to sum up the religion.

A Few Points from Surah al-Baqarah

  • The Surah explains who the believers are, who the disbelievers are, who the hypocrites are, and many in between
  • It explains how we are to treat each other, despite our differences. 
  • It explains the nuances of human life and the very purpose of our existence.
  • It has the original story of the first human on earth, Adam and his wife, Hawa (Eve) peace be upon them both and how relevant that story is to our lives at this very moment.
  • It also clears up misconceptions we have about the Jews and the Christians. It is amazing how unfairly we are perceiving them. Most importantly, how casually we like to use the term "kafir" when it fact the term is not to be used that way. It is a heavy term to throw around so we have to truly understand what it means.
  • It clears up historical inaccuracies in other scriptures like the Bible and the Torah. Interestingly, the Quran, in many instances, shows more respect to the Children of Israel than the Torah or the Bible (you have to watch the livestreams in order to understand that part...oh the suspense!)
  • Above all, Surah al-Baqarah is about us. Not about anybody else. If you read with understanding, you won't feel compeled to point fingers at anyone. The depth of the Arabic language has made it possible for this Surah to be relevant to all...and I mean literally, all people. It is amazing how close you feel to the Surah, as if Allah is revealing it to you and to you only.

May Allah bless Bayyinah Institute, Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, and his team for making it possible for us to understand the Quran better.

Ameen.

3 Unrealistic Expectations That Fuel Your Fear of Mistakes

Fear of making mistakes, fear of being laughed at, fear of rejection, fear of judgment, fear of not being good enough, or any other fears are all real and should be acknowledged, but many of them, if not all of them, are unreasonable.

One of the many possible reasons why those fears are unreasonable is because they stem from having a unrealistic expectations of themselves, of others, and/or of life in general.

They expect themselves to be perfect, which is impossible. This expectation leads us to be ungrateful for being good enough because their perfectionism form the thought that they will never be good enough.

They expect to be able to please others, which is highly unlikely. This expectation leads us to think that we can somehow control people's reactions to us and as a result, we always end up in the same spot - discontent.

They expect life to be easy, which is delusional. This expectation leads us to be heedless of the possibility of hardship and as a result, we don't prepare ourselves physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually to build a strong root that can withstand the storm.

So what to do? We need to manage our expectation well and we will save ourselves a lot of unnecessary heartaches. We need to periodically review the basics and our priority because we tend to gravitate towards the less important.

This is not to say that with the right expectation, suddenly everything will be candies and rainbows. Still, the right expectation helps us to focus on what matters more and on what matters most, and to ignore what is essentially a waste of time and energy.

----------

To learn more about how to reorient our expectations, do join us for the SPEAK UP! English Speaking Seminar happening in July 2016.

We'll be in Pahang and Johor. All are invited!

Details can be found here.

Recent Vlogs

Contact Me

Location

Arau, Perlis MY

Phone number

+6 013 416 4652

Website

www.aimanazlan.com