Saturday, December 8, 2007

POINTS TO PONDER: MINDFULNESS vs MINDLESSNESS

I first came across this term when I read the book, 'Mindfulness' by Dr Ellen Langer of Harvard University during the early nineties. Her insightful ideas are still very relevant in today's fast-paced society.

In contrast to 'Mindfulness', mindlessness has been identified as a psychological block to personal change. When we act mindlessly, we behave like robots - we are in auto pilot mode - & personal change becomes difficult.

According to Dr Langer, mindlessness is rooted in mindsets - unquestioning attitudes formed when we first hear certain information.

"Don't pat the dog, he may bite," says Mother, or "Always finish what's in your plate." When we continue to accept such information at face value without thinking critically about it, we grow up afraid of dogs or overweight.

Dr Langer has argued that these inappropriate mindsets sit unobtrusively in our brains until a signal - perhaps a sight, smell or sound - calls them up again. This time the dog may be friendly or the banana split unwanted, yet often we don't reconsider the mindless attitude we accepted earlier.

Because they lock us into one interpretation of a bit of information, mindsets prevent the exercise of choice.

Without choice, change becomes difficult. As a resuit, we can't make the sensible, desirable change in our behaviour - pat the dog &/or reject the ice cream.

Before we can make important changes in our lives, we need to re-examine our old mindsets. That's hard, because in the entrenched routines of daily life, we rarely question what we do, or why, unless it's causing an emergency.

But if we learn to spot mindsets & test them, we gain insight into & control over our behaviours.

Suddenly, change becomes within our reach.

Dr Langer has stressed that changing - or even feeling empowered to stay the same - requires two things:

- learning to think about old situations in new ways;

- opening up & enlarging our frame of reference;

The fresh approach to life that this new style of thinking creates is what she called the mindful attitude or mindfulness.

Here are some of her expert tips:

1) seek out novelty i.e new ways of doing things;

2) be playful, as play is always mindful;

3) take some risks;

4) generate alternatives for as many outcomes as you can;

5) Intentionally ask yourself how the situation could look different from a different perspective;

6) most importantly, notice the power of uncertainty & respect it;


Dr Langer has concluded that, once we overcome the roadblock to mindfulness, our options open up.

We may even question the change we thought we wanted to make & with a new, open attitude, come to enjoy that old relationship, job or our plump selves. Or we may find another path, say turning into a happy walker than a frustrated jogger.

On the other hand, if we still want to make a basic change, it will be easier after we've liberated ourselves, one by one, from our tyrannical mindsets.

By recasting & refiguring our behaviour & others - by becoming mindful - we learn to step back, recategorise & review our assumptions.

Because we're now seeing from many perspectives, we find ourselves more in control of our lives & have more choices - the prerequisites for change.

[What Dr Ellen Langer calls 'mindfulness', Joel Arthur Barker calls it 'paradigm pliancy'. Interestingly, Michael Michalko calls for 'productive thinking', as opposed to 'reproductive thinking'. Recommeded readings, in addition to Dr Langer's book: 'Future Edge' & 'Thinkertoys'.]

NOW, WHERE DID I PUT MY KEYS?

When memory fails, take heart. Our older brain can outperform a younger one. This is provided that we know how to use our brain efficiently as well as effectively.

Here are some tips based on my own personal experience:

1) Carry a note book in your pocket: I have one in my gym bag. I also always carry one in my vest when I go hanging out with my buddies in the evenings. When I go window shopping with my wife, I don't leave home without my pocket note-book.

2) Set priorities: Don't expect to juggle six or more things at the same time. Prioritise. Even with daily T2D or Things to Do, I still prioritise all the various tasks, so that the most important ones for the day can completed first.

3) Practise focusing: Like a camera, our brain gets older as it gets a little out of focus & visual memory declines. For example, to remember where my car is parked in the basement, I always scan the environment & observe the positioning of my car in relationship to notable or colourful wall/column/floor structures for easy recall. As I enter the basement entrance to the shopping mall, or office building, I will always turn back to look in the direction of my car.

4) Think & plan ahead: In a nut shell, this is scenario planning. To get around the tip-of-the tongue syndrome, I always think or plan out my scenario before I speak. If I forget a particular phrase or word, I will use another one. Nobody knows what I am going to say, anyway.

5) Pause often: I always give myself ample time. It takes longer to record & remember information as we get older.

6) Plant visual/audio cues: This is a very powerful technique. To later recall the name of a person, let's say Donald Chan, I will picture him as Donald Duck making a ridiculous Gregorian chant in Chinese.

7) Ponder & articulate over material: Most of us can recall about a fraction of what we read. If we take a minute just to think about what we have read & make a comment or articulate on it, even mentally, recall will soar tremendously. That's why I always enjoy chatting with my gym buddy in the morning at the gym, during which I will often run through interesting stuff I had read in the papers or from books with him.

I have learned these simple strategies from memory expert, Danielle Lapp of Harvard University, whose book, 'Don't Forget: Easy Exercises for a Better Memory at Any Age' has been my constant companion for many years.

AS I UNDERSTAND: KNOWING ISN'T DOING; DOING ISN'T BEING

Reading a non-fiction book or listening to a motivational tape, or even attending a live presentation, are in reality very easy tasks.

I always hold the view that it's not what the author or presenter says or does that is important.

It's what the reader or listener or attendee does with what he or she has understood & what he or she has done with it to produce the intended results.

When one finds the learned material conceptually coherent, then understanding takes place immediately.

Better still, if one finds the learned material personally meaningful or relevant in many ways, deeper understanding then takes place.

I like to call this action the 'Initial Response (IR)'.

Many people like to stop right here. They have understood the material & probably choose to move on to something else, without any further thought about the stuff. At best, the stuff may continue to linger in their minds.

Sometimes, we pause to think or rather reflect on what we have read & understood. We ponder over possibilities (or even difficulties) of using the material in our own lives.

We search for ways or options to use the material in our personal &/or professional world.

I love to do personal reflection, especially after I have read a book or listened to a tape or attended a workshop.

I will often annotate when I read & also jot down quick notes in the margins for immediate application. I call them T2D or Things to Do.

Sometimes, I like to write down my own questions, in the form of Q2P or Questions to Ponder; Q2A or Questions to Ask. These actions allow me to probe further what I had understood.

I like to call all these little things, the 'Reflective Response (RR)'.

I am sure most people will spend some time to reflect on what they have done, especially after they have read a book or attended a workshop. It's a good habit.

Now, comes the real test.

What are you going to do with what you have reflected or pondered about?

If we make the final decision to act upon what we have learned & then put the knowledge to work in our own lives, real learning begins to takes its place as initial insights culminate into workable ideas.

In the process, we will know straightaway whether what we have learned will work or will not work. If they work , good, & if they don't, we probe to find out why.

Of course, a little help from our friends or even mentors if we are lucky, certainly help in priming the endeavour.

Putting ideas to work can be manifested in many physical forms. We can use the ideas in our correspondence e.g. emails; in our report writing; in our daily conversations with people; in training or coaching others, etc.

I like to call all these various activities, the 'Assimilative Response (AR).'

This is where knowledge is applied purposefully & meaningfully. This is where real power takes shape.

Therefore, knowledge is only power, when it is applied consistently to produce results.

This whole exposition now comes back to my thesis statement: Knowing isn't Doing; Doing isn't Being.

I believe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said it well (although it has often being wrongly attributed to Bruce Lee): "Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do!"

Therefore, it is imperative that, whenever we read or learn something, we must always make it our habit to use the learned material as a continuing basis to inform our personal insights, & then put them into practical experimentation & real-world application.

Real learning comes from real doing or application.

Through doing & application, we probably gain more insights about our own path towards success. Success then becomes the journey, not the destination. We often can get a better understanding about failures, too, & as a result, we can get more ready to consider them as stepping stones to success.

I like what Buckminster Fuller or Bucky as he had often been referred affectionately by the world, once said: "There's no failed experiments; only unexpected results."

Anthony Robbins puts it in perspective: "There's no failure; only feedback."

For me, I like to treat failures or set backs as opportunities to make corrections in life's pursuits.

Readers probably have read or heard about this fact: Ocean going vessels have a small trim tab in their navigational systems to make corrections. Planes & even rockets to the moon have the same system in place to make corrections.

As the wise saying goes: "Success is always the function of correction."

Therefore, we should read or listen or pick up a bit, connect it to our prior knowledge & or past experience, reflect on it, experiment with it, monitor the progress, make corrections if necessary & act consistently to produce the results we desire.

If this expressed activity becomes our daily discipline, very soon it will be totally internalised to the point that it becomes the focus of our internal compass. Practice makes permanent, so to speak.

We become more fully aware of our own place in the world: knowing & doing.

As we readily share the gained knowledge with many others, we may begin to change the lives of others, without even realising it. In a way, I like to think of this as our being.

I always like to think about this phenomenon: 'Knowledge Shared is Power Squared'.

To back track a little: IR is our 'word experience', a term coined by Harry Palmer, the brain behind the powerful belief engineering technology, known as 'Avatar'. It simply means we have only textual understanding. Nothing else. [I like to think, having too much information in the head is actually a real burden!]

In the same vein, RR+AR is then our 'world experience', again from Harry Palmer. We have therefore gained true knowledge or power.

There is nothing wrong learning from the masters or experts out there, who often can provide valuable pointers.

The crux is to reflect more on them in our personal context, & to inform our own personal insights, & most importantly, to put them to work in our life in order to produce the outcome we so desire.

Actually, come to think about it, personal leadership is all about determining & following our own path - knowing, doing & being - & then, leaving a trail; not just adopting someone else's thinking - lock, stock & barrel.

TECHNOLOGY REVIEW: BIODOTS

During my heydays when I conduct creativity training, I often gave away packets of Biodots to participants as mementos. Participants were often amazed that, with the visual aid of the Biodots, they could have a quick way to know when they were under stress mode, real or perceived.

In those days, I had to import them into Singapore in bulk from Biodot International in the United States. I then repackaged them into small plastic bags, like those you get your medicine from the local doctor.

Today, Biodots are readily available from local pharmacies & health food stores.

In a nut shell, Biodots are quick acting accurate thermometers used to monitor blood flow & in turn to indicate possible stress.

They are structurally small circles of micro-encapsulated cholesterolic liquid crystals of a thermal range gauged to variance of skin temperature.

For optimal performance, I always recommend that a single biodot should be placed on the hand in the gentle dip between the thumb & the forefinger which affords the viewing & is naturally protected from undo abrasion.

By simple observation, you can immediately tell if your system is reacting adversely to a stressful situation i.e. if the single biodot shows a colour change as shown in the given chart.

You can then take steps to reduce the indicated stress by any of the recognised relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, etc.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty & well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting ‘GERONIMO!’ ”
(Bill McKenna, professional motorcycle racer, as reported in Cycle Magazine, February 1982)

Friday, December 7, 2007

TICKLE YOUR FUNNY BONE & LAUGH TO YOUR HEART'S CONTENT

1) One lady executive who took time off work one day to send her male colleagues a message via the the electronic mail system, ended up regretting thoroughly.

By mistake, she sent a message that said "!".

Her colleague replied: "!!".

She returned with three exclamation marks & got four in return.

After thinking for a while, she sent him another message: "What are you trying to tell me?

His reply: "Don't change the subject!"

2) The newlyweds were undressing together for the first time in their hotel room. The groom saw the bride looking at him approvingly &, with an attempt at manly pride, puffed out his chest & beat on it, saying: "Ninety five kg of solid mainframe."

"Yeah," said the bride, "with a little floppy disk!"

3) A salesman stood before an assembled group in a corporate conference room. They were there to observe a demonstration of his company's state of the art computer. The computer screen blurred & rolled. His attempt at a telecommunication link failed.

The salesman phoned his company for help, but his technician was gone for the day.

That's when he faced the group & said, "This concludes the demonstration of my competitor's product. Next week, I'll come back & show you ours."

4) A fellow was trying to fix a door that didn't hang right.

"Hey, son," he called to his boy, "get me a screw driver, will you please?"

After what seemed like a terribly long time, the youngster came back & said apologetically, "Gee, Dad, I've got the orange juice, but I can't find the vodka."

5) A gambler's seven-year-old son, asked to count in kindergarten, came up with "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King."

6) Salesman from the city: "What's that strange odour?"

Farmer: "Fresh air!"

[Photo Credit: Lucien Binder]

HEY! GOOD LOOKING!

I thought it would be a great idea to showcase my gym buddy in this blog from the standpoint of health & fitness. In fact, I had already introduced him in my earlier posts when I talked about 'The Second Cycle'.

As a gentle reminder, Yeo Chin Yin is his name. He is a practising professional electrical engineer.

He was a school-mate as well as a room-mate of mine, when both of us were studying engineering craft practice at the Technical Institute (Sekolah Menengah Teknik), Kuala Lumper, Malaysia, during the mid-sixties. He was in the electrical stream, while I was in the mechanical stream.

He is now at the beginning of the second cycle i.e. he has already crossed the 60th year mark, but certainly knows how to keep himself real fit & super trim.

For a man of his age, he definitely looks great, as you can see from the two portraits captured on 14th November 2007. Most fellow gym members are amazed at how he could keep himself in such superb shape.

We often meet each other, together with our spouses, at least twice a week for tea at my neighbourhood coffee shop. He lives about ten minutes' driving distance from my residence in Jurong West.

The following are quick snapshots of his disciplined fitness routines:

Exercise:

Before going to work, he practically works out every morning in the neighbourhood gym (under the auspices of the Singapore Sports Council), where he spends 1-2 hours;

His routines in the gym consist of:

- 1,3,5, for cardio, for example running on the treadmill, alternate with riding the stationary bicycle & the elliptical machine;

- 2,4,6, for weight lifting or resistance training;

At night after work, he joins his wife for line & social dancing in the neighbourhood community clubs, about 3-4 times a week;

Diet:

Having the advantage of running his own practice, & staying within 15 minutes driving distance from office, he eats practically all his three meals cooked at home or from special Bento lunch containers prepared from home;

Breakfast is usually half a slice of home-baked whole-meal bread, with self-grind walnut butter & olive oil, & then gulped down with oat bran drink, with a quick mixture of skim milk powder;

Lunch & dinner are usually steamed rainbow coloured vegetables, dried chillied salmon fish, curry skinned chicken breast, & home-made yogurt;

In between meals, he often snacks on raw walnuts, almonds, & fruits;

He occasionally has some controlled indulgences on home made moon cakes, baked with mixed almond nuts, pumpkin seeds, black sesame seeds with reduced sugar & olive oil;

Business lunches if required, are usually salads or baked fish;

He always avoids sugar, simple starches such as white rice, white bread & noodles;

By the way, he is 1.73 m tall & weighs 72.6kg at this moment of writing.

One of his hobbies, as you probably have guessed right, is reading books on health, fitness & longevity.

His other personal interests include experimental cooking with natural foods & social networking, locally as well as globally. He is trilingual - English, Chinese & Malay.

[My gym buddy has earlier been featured by the house magazine, September 2007 issue, of the Singapore Recreation Club, to which he is also a member. You can also read more about him in the article.]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome."

(Samuel Johnson, 1704-1784, English author & lexicographer; often regarded as one of the most outstanding literary figures of 18th century England; famous for his wit, prose & aphorisms;)

SINGING, DANCING & SPORTS: A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

I love to listen to songs & music, especially those oldies but goldies from the 50's, 60's & 70's. I often hang out with my buddies on Wednesday nights ('The Wednesday Club') at the lounge - with its live band - in the NUSS Kent Ridge.

Personally, I don't sing or play any musical instrument. I have been to karaoke sessions a few times with my other buddies, but somehow they don't fancy me (or was it the other way around?).

I remember vividly one rather bad experience with singing - I was kicked out of the school choir during my early secondary school days in Yong Peng, Johor, Malaysia. My music teacher told me that I had always sung out of sync (or tune?) with the group.

Nevertheless, I still had one memorable experience: I won a third prize in a singing contest in the same school. I remember my song was 'Patches'.

Many months ago, with the encouragement of my wife, I took up dancing at the Jurong Green Community Club. We enrolled immediately in ten lessons of cha cha from a middle-aged dancing instructor, who seemingly had a little pouch in front of him. However, he was a good teacher.

The first few lessons went off quite well, even though I had to struggle very hard to keep in step with the tempo of the dance music as well as the fancy footwork on the dance floor.

Every time, I had to make a turn, my mind seemed to go haywire & I simply could not recall which foot I would need to put forward then.

By the seventh lesson, I told my wife that I wanted to quit. I told her that it was easier for me to play with new electronic appliances than dancing.

My wife, who seemed to be reasonably versatile on the dance floor, especially for a total beginner, reluctantly agreed. We therefore didn't turn up for the remaining lessons, although my wife had hinted earlier to the dancing instructor regarding my personal issue.

When I reflected on my medicore dancing experience, I realised that my body just simply could not follow the rhythm of the music.

This unpleasant encounter brings back some not-so-good sport experiences I had during my secondary school days.

When I was a young boy, I took up football, basket ball & even ping pong. To be frank, & to the dismay of my school buddies, I actually spent more time chasing - & picking up - the balls, instead of kicking, throwing or hitting the balls to their required targets.

I even dabbled in badminton for a while. That didn't work well either.

When I started to work professionally in the late sixties & seventies, my sports-loving colleagues encouraged me to play lawn tennis with them. I had a few basic lessons, & soon I discovered that I was spending more time with the errant balls flying off the fenced court. My colleagues were dumbfounded as well as bewildered.

When I was stationed in Bangkok, Thailand, as an expatriate professional, I took up golf, because golf membership in Thailand was relatively cheaper than Singapore. Best of all, my employer was paying for the fees.

During the first encounter with my golf coach, he was very intrigued by my stiff & inflexible body.

For me, this was the end result of a protracted sedentary lifestyle of a high-powered professional, spoilt by chauffeur-driven perks, & a seemingly unending flow - like the Chao Phraya river - of good food & tantalising entertainment in wonderful Bangkok.

After a while on the golf course, I soon discovered, to my utter disappointment, that I had spent more time swinging my golf sticks aimlessly, rather than spinning the golf balls to their defined path.

Not too long later, I was struck by a painful slipped disc while travelling on business. I then had to give up golf completely.

Looking back at all these - should I say - learning experiences, I have come to the conclusion that I don't have what Dr Howard Gardner of Harvard University had often classified as, the rhythmic/kinesthetic intelligence.

Some people have it, but some definitely don't have it. I belong to the latter category.

When I look at my own body, sad to say, it looks more like a stationary bull-dozer.

However, when I work on the tread mill, the elliptical machine or the stationary bike, it somehow can run beautifully, to my great delight. Maybe, I don't need to sync with the rhythm.

My gym buddy, a dance lover, continues to pester me to take up dancing again.

He has recently told me that he found a great dancing place at Rochor Central - the dance teacher as well as the dance participants, based on his initial observations - are professional & yet fun loving. The fees are a bit expensive - $120 for ten lessons, when compared to $80 in Jurong West. He even volunteers to drive me & my wife there for the lessons.

I just shook my head.

In reality, & with all honesty, I just don't have a personal interest in dancing. Richard Saul Wurman was right: "...interest permeates all endeavours & precedes learning...".

FOR LONGEVITY, FIT & FAT BEATS UNFIT & LEAN

According to a 1979-2001 study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association recently, by University of South Carolina researchers, people over 60 who exercise & are fit live longer than their peers who lead sedentary lifestyles.

The study has focused on the relationship between cardiovascular fitness & adipostity & death rates among 2,063 adults aged 60 years & older.

The study also suggests that out of shape older adults start exercising.

This is great news, especially for me.

The study team adds this comment: "The recommended guidelines of 30 minutes a day, five days a week, of light to moderate exercise is a very good exercise...It will make you fit, & it will dramatically improve your health & function. And it does that whether you lose a lot of weight or not."

[Source: The Straits Times, Dec 6th 2007]

Thursday, December 6, 2007

WHY PEOPLE DON'T GET WEALTHY

Anthony Robbins, peak performance & success coach to CEOs, Heads of States, Olympic athletes & high performing professionals, offers 12 reasons why people don't get wealthy. They are covered in an article written by David Cameron, author of 'A Happy Pocket Full of Money'.

You can read the article at this website.

This widely-acknowledged world authority on leadership psychology as well as pioneering life coach certainly makes a tremendous lot of sense when he shares his wisdom.

I like the catchphrase on his corporate website, 'Change is automatic; progress is not!'. I also like his three pillars of progress, as follows:

1) Get focus & clarity;

2) Get the best tools for results;

3) Unlock what's stopping you;

By the way, the same article website has a few more interesting articles about creating wealth.

EYE CANDY III


EYE CANDY II


EYE CANDY I


WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE TO SEE?


TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"A fantastic analogy for the power of focus is racing cars. When your car begins to skid, the natural reflex is to look at the wall in an attempt to avoid it. But if you keep focusing on what you fear that's exactly where you'll end up. Professional racers know that we unconsciously steer in the direction of our focus, so with their lives on the line, they turn their focus away from the wall and toward the open track. In life, most people focus on what they don't want instead of what they do. If you resist your fear, have faith and discipline your focus, your actions will naturally take you in the direction you want. Release your fear and focus now on what you truly desire and deserve."

(Anthony Robbins, peak performance & success coach to CEOs, Heads of State, Olympic athletes, & high performing professionals;)

PRAGMATIC INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS

"Strategy is shaped by strategic action."
(Andrew Grove, the brain behind the phenomenal success of the World's Most Powerful Chip Company, Intel Corporation.

He had coined the famous phrase 'Only the Paranoid Survive', which also happened to be the title of his insightful business book, in which he introduced to the world, the 'Strategic Inflection Point', a crisis point which could throw all the ordinary rules of business out of the window; & yet, when managed right, it could be an opportunity to win in the marketplace & emerge stronger than ever.

According to him, the strategy of a company should not be something different from the day-to-day life of the company: it should be integrally linked with that life.

In fact, he made very clear distinctions & recommended putting any strategy to this test:

• Is it just a statement of intention?
• Does it sound like a political speech?
• Does it have concrete meaning only to management?
• Does it deal with events far in the future?
• Does it have little relevance to today?

To him, any strategy which met the foregoing description would probably be doomed to failure.

Instead, he suggested constructing an action plan with these considerations:

• Are already taken or being taken;
• Imply longer-term intent;
• Consist of concrete steps which will immediately affect people's lives;
• Take place in the present & command immediate attention;
• Aim at 'Least Input for Most Output';
• Provide market-leading 'Value for Money';
• Include heavy, continuous investing in human capital;)


[The original phrase from Andrew Grove ran like this: "Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive." ]

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don't embrace trouble; that's as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you'll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it."
(Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1809-1894, American physician, poet, & humorist notable for his medical research & teaching, & the author of the “Breakfast-Table” series of essays;)

SINGAPOREANS LIVE LONGER BUT LIKELY TO SUFFER 8 YEARS OF POOR HEALTH

A recently released Ministry of Health study revealed that the average Singaporean male should live up to 78 years old, but he would likely spend 8 of those years in poor health. The Singaporean female would also spend 8 of their 81.8 years likewise.

This is rather depressing news.

The study confirmed that a lot of suffering & premature deaths would come from the following diseases that could be prevented:

4% chronic respiratory

5% musculoskeletal

6% injuries

11% neurological & sense disorders

11% diabetes mellitus

11% mental disorders

18% cancer

20% cardiovascular

14% others

It is imperative that each & every one of us must take ownership of our health if we really want to keep such illnesses at bay.

Here are some advice:

- go for regular screening;

- eat more vegetables;

- eat less salt;

- do more exercises;

- start eating more fish & less meat;

[Source: The Straits Times, Dec 3rd 2007]

FROM MY TOOLBOX: 'SPECTACLES' FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCANNING

I have a nifty little tool, which can be used as a quick guide to environmental scanning.

I call it SPECTACLES, as an apt term. You use a pair of spectacles to see more clearly.

Actually, it's an acronym to denote all the important areas to look out for when one is doing environmental scanning.

Here it goes:

S = social demographics of the marketplace;

P = political events & developments, from both global, regional & local perspectives, particularly within the context of long term capital investments in the country;

E = economic & financial developments, including forecasts & projections, from global, regional as well as local perspectives;

C = customer buying behaviours & preferences as well as those of suppliers, importers, wholesalers, retailers, facilitators, etc., in the marketplace;

T = technological developments, current as well as in the near future;

A = attitudes of investors as well as those of the labour force;

C = competitors & their behaviours in the marketplace;

L = legal issues as well as government regulations;

E = environmental as well as ethical issues affecting the business;

S = stakeholders (particularly the share holders, board of directors, partners, employees) & their overall attitudes, aspirations & behaviours, which may impact the business from within;

$TAR WAR$: JET LI vs JACKIE CHAN

A recent report in the Straits Times revealed that Jet Li was being paid US$13 million for his lead role as General Ma Xinyi in the upcoming new movie, 'The Warlords'.

The same report also mentioned that Jackie Chan pocketed US$15 million from reprising his role of a Chinese cop in the 'Rush Hour III' movie.

Looks like these two Chinese actors have finally entered the A-listers in the movie kingdom, comparable to other members of the club, like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks & Brad Pitt.

Both Jet Li & Jackie Chan are also my favourite action movie actors.

Together with the legendary 'fists that shook the world' aka Bruce Lee, their action movies never ceased to bore me, no matter how many times I have watched them.

In fact, I have all the movie collections of all the three stars.

Among the three stars, the late Bruce Lee comes up top for me, followed by Jet Li, with Jackie Chan in third place.

Bruce Lee had often impressed me with his stealthy, hyper-speed Jeet Kune Do moves.

His superb handling of the nanchaku was often spell-binding as well as breath-taking.

Not only I had watched all his Chinese movie productions, starting with 'The Big Boss', I had also seen him in action in the television series of 'The Green Hornet', 'Longstreet' (with James Franciscus), 'Ironside' (with Raymond Burr) , 'Batman' (with Adam West) & 'Marlowe' (with James Gardner)'.

There was this story about an actual incident involving Bruce Lee on the 'Enter the Dragon' movie set. He was challenged to a fight by an extra who knew some kungfu routines. In less than a minute, Bruce Lee smashed the poor guy to a pulp. He then told the guy to get back to work, instead of firing him. What a true gentleman!

When comparing Jet Li & Jackie Chan, Jet Li was always the serious & sombre character in the movies, starting with 'Shaolin Temple'. Jackie Chan's character was always the one entrenched in slapstick comedy routines, starting with 'Snake in the Eagle' Shadow'. It was always fun to watch him wriggling his way out of precarious situations with his predators.

Personally, I prefer to watch Jet Li in contemporary settings e.g. 'Romeo Must Die', 'Kiss of the Dragon', 'Cradle 2 Grave', 'The One' & 'Unleashed' & not forgetting 'Lethal Weapon IV'.

I recall a TV interview during which Mel Gibson, who played the maverick cop, Martin Riggs, in 'Lethal Weapon IV', revealed that he was completely mesmerised by the real-life lightning moves of Jet Li in the action sequences of the movie. He specifically pointed out the movie sequence in which Jet Li dislodged the cocking mechanism out of his hand gun (a Beretta) in one swift move was no fancy fx routine. It was fast & it was real!

In fact, the movie director, Richard Donner, had to ask Jet Li to slow down with the action sequences, because he was moving faster than the camera shutter speed & it was not registering on film.

Age-wise, Jet Li is much younger than Jackie Chan, with a difference of nine years.

Jet Li apparently had started his martial arts training when he was about 8 years old, under the legendary Grandmaster Wu Bin at the Beijing Wushu Academy. The latter coached him to win the Chinese National Wushu Championships five times.

On the other hand, Jackie Chan, as a young boy of about 10 years, went through a tough & disciplined series of drama, acrobatics, martial arts & dance training in the Chinese Opera Research Institute, a boarding school in Hongkong. One of his bosum buddies at that time was Sammo Hung, who played the tough cop from Shanghai but stationed in Los Angeles, in the 'Martial Law' television series.

Incidentally, Jackie Chan was in fact one of the stuntmen in Bruce Lee's 'Fist of Fury' movie.

Jackie Chan is well known for doing all his own stunts in all his movies. He has often very proudly announced to the world that there would not be any CGI stuff in any of his movies. What we would see in his movies would be the real Jackie Chan stuff.

In one particular interview, he mentioned that he had broken practically every bone in his physical body. Even his head had its fair share of damage.

He was once asked by a reporter to share his personal experience about acting in Hongkong & Hollywood movies.

He said, in Hongkong, he & all the other actors or actresses on the set as well as the extras often had their packaged lunches or dinners all together by the road side on site locations. Everybody, actors, actresses & extras, on camera or off camera, would always chip in to get work moving or done on the set.

However, in Hollywood, actors or actresses & the extras would often be segregated, off camera, especially during meal-times. Each actor or actress would be confined to his or her trailer, off camera. He often missed the spontaneous comradeship at work while filming in Hollywood.

Worst of all, he said he could not do a lot of the things he would do in Hongkong because of unionised labour rules in America.

I read that Jackie Chan often took a warm-hearted approach to working with his production team on movie sets. He had often paid, out of his own pocket, the medical bills of his injured stuntmen.

Interestingly, I read that Jackie Chan was originally offered a role in 'Lethal Weapon IV', which he declined to accept as he did not want to play the villain. The role subsequently went to Jet Li.

Judging from live interviews on television, both Jet Li & Jackie Chan are very down-to-earth in their natural dispositions. I reckon these are their endearing values.

BLOGGING & PHYSICAL EXERCISE

I have been blogging for slightly more than six months. I really enjoy blogging. I find that blogging can really stretch my mind. I like to call it 'intellectual stimulation', although the term 'intellectual intercourse' did cross my mind.

I only need to improve my spontaneity to writing blog posts. This is an area I will expand.

I actually have three other blogs. Unfortunately, I have not been able to spend enough time on them. I need to do something about striking a balance.

On the other hand, I have been going to the gym for almost three years now, although I have adopted a more serious approach to my physical exercises in only the last twelve months or so.

So far, I have been able to meet my expected target of burning 800-1000 calories every day, from Mondays to Fridays. My physical weight still hovers around 89-90 kg.

I notice that there is an immediate benefit from my physical exercises.

Besides stretching & toning my body, I always spend all the time on the treadmill, elliptical machine & stationary bicycle - stretching some two hours - thinking through the formation & writing of my blog posts. In this respect, time flies.

That time is often well spent, as I often use it to organise & structure my chain of thoughts.

The thinking exercise reminds me of Nikola Tesla, the great inventor behind the alternating current. He was well-known for using his inventive mind to visualise the design & running of his all mechanical/electrical devices.

I even carry a little note book & a writing instrument in my gym bag. In between short breaks, I will always pause to jot down my fleeting thoughts & half-baked ideas.

My blogging now goes in tandem with my physical exercises. What a potent combination!

GET RICH SCHEMES: A PERSONAL MUSING

I marvel at the proliferation of catchy advertisements purportedly claiming to teach readers how to get rich in no time in the Straits Times.

Many of the ads are tied to playing with the stock market &/or foreign exchange, while others are connected with the latest game in town called Internet marketing. Some of the ads have been repeated more than once.

These are what I have gleaned from many of the ads in just about one week:

"Discover SECRETS how ordinary people with no experience earn $10,000 monthly. MONEY BACK GUARANTEE to make sure you succeed." (Millionaires Club)

"How Chris turns US$13,000 into US$1,205,693 in just 2 years!" (Wealth DNA Training Centre)

"Learn how you can grow your money & create your fortune in the shortest time possible." (Freely Pte Ltd with Success Resources)

"Grow your money in S'pore Stock Market: Smart investors make $$$ in Bull, Bear & Market Correction!" (T3B Training Centre)

"How much money could you make if you could consistently pick winning trades, even if you are a newbie?' (Asia Charts Pte Ltd)

"How to make $100,000+ in your first year of Trading Forex" (Powerup Capital Network Pte Ltd)

"Give yourself a X'mas gift...Discover how you can turn $5,000 into $821,600 in less than 2 years!!!" (Momentum Asia Pte Ltd)

"Don't risk your money! We share the secrets of how you can build wealth with little risk...GUARANTEED!" (I can't figure out the company as all I can see are the three letters FSA)
"How to make Good profits in the stock market? Is this the golden opportunity to grow your wealth?" (http://www.tmtdimension.com/)

"I locked in a Profit of US$1,100.00 in 1 day during the training...Thanks Mariam, the True Guru of Financial Freedom...Shamsheer Ahmed, Singapore." (http://www.wealth-mentors.com/)

"I made my first million online...Fiona Tan" (http://www.eonenet.com/)

Even the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) also jumps on to the bandwagon with a free Business Consulting Diploma course & degree course, for which you can study part time, make $100,000, without having to leave your job.

Interestingly, 'Pulses', the investment magazine will be relaunched next month. The January 2008 issue will hit the streets on Dec 19. It's ad said: "Invest now. And profit Now."

One last ad, in today's Straits Times: "We believe in Money Mastery...Soon Poh Choo & Tan Wee Boon (with a photo snapshot of the couple)." (http://www.masteryasia.com/)

Do these so-called 'Get Rich Schemes' actually work? I really don't know.

I once had a very smart colleague while I was still working in the UMW group. That was about twenty years ago. This guy was a financial whiz-kid. Also, a chartered accountant by training.

He played the stock market like a pro - & lost his luxurious private home. He eventually downgraded into a HDB flat. Today, I heard he dabbled as a remiser.

I have an old friend whom I had met in the late eighties during a tour to Turkey. He was an accountant by profession. Upon his forced retirement from an American firm, he sold his two-storey private home in Sunset Way, bundled the cash with all his CPF savings, easily worth more than a million bucks - but lost everything in the stock market.

Just before he did that, the wife wanted him to buy her a Rolex watch. He promised his wife that he would do it after he had make a killing in the stock market.

Following the monumental loss, he almost committed suicide, but his three grown up sons really knocked some senses out of him. With the close support of his family, he recovered.

Today, he is one happy man, with three beautiful & intelligent grand children, although I understand his wife actually never forgive him for the 'lost' Rolex watch.

I recall a casual conversation with him once, during which I asked him, out of all the stock market trades he had made, how much money he had actually made in the end. He never could give me a forthright answer.

Personally, I don't dabble in the stock market at all. If financial people couldn't even do well, how do you expect an engineer like me to know how to play.

Neither am I crazy about Internet marketing schemes & their so-called gurus.

Actually, & objectively, it is not the stock market or Internet marketing that is at fault.

It's human greed & the obsession with money!

Interestingly, about a month ago, there was a widely publicised event known as the Internet Marketing Summit or Incubator?

I went through some of the blogs put up by participants in the summit or incubator program.

Many of them said something like these: 'picked up some ideas'; 'really nothing new'; 'went there just for the networking' & 'blah blah blah'.

In fact, many of them lamented that the presenters were running circles around them, & were more interested in hawking their advanced programs at exorbitant prices.

Can the real tricks of the trade be taught in a class room? This is certainly an interesting question.

I have one more question: Who has verified the credentials, & more importantly, the networth, of the presenters of the so-called 'Get Rich Schemes' ?

Interestingly, I had read many fascinating reports on the net that many of the so-called gurus never actually made their money through the application of the techniques they had taught to others.

In reality, they made their piles of money from hawking their seminars & programs to newbies.

One classic case is Robert Kiyosaki, who had been openly challenged by reputable financial magazines (one was Smart Money) to reveal his own wealth creation track record. They investigated thoroughly his financial investment background & found no concrete proof that he had actually applied those stuff he had taught many others in his programs. [More information can be found here.]

One wise guy even calculated that Robert Kiyosaki had pocketed almost US$11 milion just from the royalties of his published works, roughly over a ten year period.
Robert Kiyosaki obviously got a lot more visibility & credibility after appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

If Ong Beng Seng or Ng Teng Fong decide to share their financial secrets in a seminar, I would probably sign up without hesitation.

I once learned this simple financial strategy from a wise guy. He taught me that the best way to double my money is to take out my $50 note, fold it nicely in half, & then put it back into my wallet.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A SALUTE TO THE FIVE SENIOR CITIZENS HONOURED FOR LEADING ACTIVE LIVES

I salute the five senior citizens who had received the Active Agers' Award 2007 from Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, in conjunction with the closing of the recent Active Ageing Festival.

We can certainly learn a lot from these seniors:

71-year old Madam Daisy Chee: On Tuesdays, she does aerobics; while on Thursdays she cuts a rug with youngsters at Latin & line-dancing events. Every fortnight, she spends her weekends going deep sea fishing in the South China Sea.

70-year old Madam Sunanda Devi Senan: She picked up computer skills at the age of 58 when her son gave her a PC. She learned basic skills from him & borrowed books from the national Library to further her knowledge. She now teaches other seniors computer skills at the Sree Narayana Mission & reminds her charges to "go to the cyber cafes often".

67-year old Haji Mohammed Hassan Haji Hatib: He spends his time doing exercises such as push ups, playing ping pong with youths & doing his share of the household chores. he provides religious advice & direction as an iman at Hajjah Rahima Bi mosque.

67-year old Harban Singh: To him, work is still a passion. As a senior nursing manager at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, he continues to mentor young nurses.

71-year old Madam Lee Kim Eng: She volunteers her time at the Braddel Heights Community Centre by cooking meals for the needy elderly. She also keeps herself active through singing & dancing lessons.

My own analysis is this:

All these seniors exhibit a sense of purpose in their pursuits.

In fact, I feel Madam Lee's response sums up my sentiments very well: "I realised, I'm still able & I can help others. That's what keeps me going."

Here are some tips for great golden years:

1) Start taking care of yourself early;

2) Practise life-long learning;

3) Think positive;

4) Stay active;

5) Plan your time well;

[Source: Sunday Times, Dec 2nd 2007]

KITARO IS IN TOWN

The pioneer of New Age sounds capes, Kitaro, will play at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Dec 6 in the aptly titled 'Love & Peace' Tour.

Among his many New Age music collections, 'Astral Voyage' & 'Silk Road/Dun Huang' continue to remain my personal favourites since the late eighties or early nineties.

In the early years, during the early nineties when I was experimenting with New Age music as a tool to create brain-friendly environments, I had often come across quite a lot of people who had negative connotations about such music.

Some of the people even connected the music to the hippies. I know Kitaro was once debarred from coming into Singapore to do a concert because he refused to cut his long hair. That happened during the 80's.

Because of its dominant use of electronic synthesisers, in conjunction with ancient &/or classical musical instruments, New Age music has abundant scope for more subtle variations in amplitude, thus giving the music the energy it entails in many listeners.

Today, I am pleasantly delighted that New Age music has been widely accepted by the general public.

I find the use of New Age music very conducive for generating a brain-friendly environment for reading, thinking as well as problem solving.

My other favourite composers of New Age music include Ravi Shankar, Yanni, Steven Halpern & Doc Lew Childre.

KIDS IN SINGAPORE ARE A HAPPY LOT!

I am not surprised at all to read a report released by the Singapore Children's Society in a recent issue of the Straits Times.

According to the report, most Singapore kids are happy!

These are some of the findings from a survey of 1,800 parents & children:

- 83% of children feel happy often or very often;

- over 95% of children like their parents & have good relationships with them;

- 98% of children have enough friends;

I believe kids today should be happy, especially when compared to those of the post-war generation, like myself & my gym buddy.

Kids today can readily entertain themselves with hand phones, podcast devices, digital cameras, digital camcorders, computer games, cable television as well as the Internet.

I certainly could recall my childhood days in Yong Peng, Malaysia: All I had was a handful of granite marbles; sometimes, with a little bit of luck, I could lay my hands on some polished glass marbles.

Additionally, I could only play or rather exercise some precision shooting with my wooden catapult, fashioned from a tree branch & some rubber bands.

Other than that, I could spend time after school catching - in the nearby lallang fields, - & playing with - spiders in matchboxes.

For a short while, I did play with swirling wooden tops. Unfortunately, I had to give up completely after mine always can 'smashed up' by friendly competitors from the neighbourhood.
My gym buddy - in Malacca, Malaysia - was a little bit smarter. He could fashion kites out of paper, cane, glue & cotton strings, & really had a great time with his own devices.

In those years of growing pains, comics was considered a luxury for me. I certainly enjoyed reading my comics, like Beano & Dandy.

There was snail mail, instead of Internet communications. There was a dial-up phone at home, but the use was restricted by my parents. Frankly, as a young teenager, I hardly knew anybody else outside my neighbourhood.

The radio (with tubes & transistors) as well as the gramophone, with all the disposable needles & vinyl records, were, in fact the next best thing in terms of music entertainment, as TV was probably still a prototype in some laboratories in the United States until the early sixties.

In those days, Redifusion often broadcasted great stories about Shao-lin masters as well as the three legendary war generals with their adventurous exploits across the Middle Kingdom. Most people were glued to the radio in the evenings, including my parents. Me, too!

Fortunately, my late third elder brother was a music & song lover. He often brought back new records from Singapore. I could listen to Brothers Four, Elvis Presley Roy Orbison, Paul Anka, Pat Boone, Ricky Nelson, Connie Francis, Doris Day, Neil Sadaka, Johnny Tillotson & Cliff Richard, just to name a few. The only orchestral music I knew then was from Mantovani.

Was I happy then? Of course, I was happy.

My happiness quotient was in top gear. The world didn't bother me at all. I also didn't give two hoots to the world, either.

[The photo above shows Adeline & her grandmother, who are both related to my wife. Adeline is one happy kid!]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Many friends ask me why I dabble in so many things. The truth is we do not have budget so we have to make do & be creative with our resources! Another reason is that having multi-talents is the way to survive in this industry. You must show people that you have other talents & do them well."

(Jack Neo, popular TV host/comedian as well as famous movie director in Singapore, who has been in show busines for more than three decades;)

Monday, December 3, 2007

AS I UNDERSTAND: CHANGE


There a few things I have learned through hard knocks when dealing with change:

1) Change is just an event: how we feel about it gives it power;

2) Change by itself is neither positive nor negative: it's how we respond to it that determines the outcome;

3) Events, people & things around us don't change; we change the way we look at them i.e. to say, we change our mind - more precisely, for events, people & things around us to change, first we must change;

4) Become an agent of change: it's the only one that will remain constant;

5) God grants me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me - more precisely, I am the source of change;

6) Learning is a continuous, life-long process of keeping abreast of change;

7) Flexibility is the key to managing change in a rapidly changing world - more precisely, staying focused on our goals, but remaining flexible in our approach;

FROM MY TOOLBOX: PMI

I have a nifty little tool just for simple decision making.

It's called PMI. It probably came from Edward de bono, even though it may have its origins from an old technique known as 'listing your pros & cons'.

It's very simple as well as fun to use, but it's potent.

On a piece of paper, draw up 3 vertical columns, & label them:

- Plus;
- Minus;
- Interesting;

Let's take a simple case: Should we drive the car or take the MRT to the Singapore Expo?

- List all the positive points in the 'Plus' column;

- List all the negative points in the 'Minus' column;

- List all the interesting, i.e neither positive nor negative, points in the 'Interesting' column.

Let me give an example of an interesting point.

You can dance or practise some fancy footwork on the MRT train. That's an interesting point for taking the MRT.

Now, the scoring for all three columns, for any:

- positive point, +2 points;

- negative point, -2 points;

- interesting point, +1 point;

Just total up the score to see how your final decision will take shape.

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

1) What am I trying to do?

2) How am I trying to do it?

3) What are my assumptions?

4) What if my assumptions were wrong?

5) What would I have to do differently if my key assumptions were wrong?

(Inspired by Brian Tracy's 'Five Questions That Propel You to Superior Performance' in the latest Advantedge Newsletter from Nightingale-Conant)

QUICK NOTES: ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

1) Alzheimer's disease, a brain disorder, is most commonly manifested in forgetfulness & affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities;

2) 6.8% or 22,000 of the elderly in Singapore suffer from dementia - the figures are set to rise with the aging population;

3) There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, although there is medication available that can improve or slow the decline in cognitive function;

4) Productive, physical & social activities for the elderly can stave off the disease, according to Dr Joshua Kua, Institute of Mental Health;

5) Mahjong, board games & word puzzles are useful;

6) Activities like keeping a diary, engaging in music, art & aromatherapy have also been reported to be helpful;

7) There is no strong medical evidence to support the use of traditional Chinese medicine for Alzheimer's disease;

8) There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of gingko biloba, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, folate or statins for prevention of decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer's;

9) High blood pressure or hypertension raises the risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to a presentation to the Radiological Society of North America this week - it is therefore important to detect & aggressively treat it;

[Source: Straits Times, Dec 1st & Sunday Times, Dec 2nd 2007]

THE RECIPE FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE

Yesterday's Sunday Times reported that, Ong Teck Wah, a 73-year old retired insurance agent had spend S$50,000/- to restage his wedding to his 68-year old bride, Tan Bee Choo, after 50 years. They had just celebrated their 50th golden anniversary.

When Mr Ong wed Madam Tan in 1957, he could afford only a catered wedding dinner for close friends & family at his parents' home in Old Tampines Road. The couple then had their honeymoon in Katong Park.

When asked to reveal the recipe for a happy marriage, Mr Ong said:

"When you feel like quarrelling with each other, don't. Walk away, eat, sleep or go for a walk; do anything but argue back."

Well, divorces cases are on the rise in Singapore, especially those involving young couples, as reported in the papers.

I reckon young couples should pick up the cue from Mr & Mrs Ong!

ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

I was intrigued initially, & also very happy at the same time, after reading a full-page report in yesterday's Sunday Times about Mark Lee, one of Singapore's funniest comedians, who would be a museum guide in the two-month 'Explore Singapore!' campaign, under the National Heritage Board.

Mark Lee has certainly come a long way to stardom. I have watched him in TV serials as well as in movies produced or directed by Jack Neo.

He may be an Ah Beng, but to me, he has class.

I recall a personal anecdote from Jack Neo, during which he related his first encounter with Mark Lee, who came for an audition in his studios. He was shocked to find a thuggish-looking, loud-mouthed, dialect-speaking Ah Beng in the audition.

Jack signed up Mark immediately & the rest was history.

On numerous occasions during award ceremonies, live on TV, I have seen Mark Lee never ceased to openly acknowledge - & thank - Jack Neo for being his 'sifu' whenever the opportunity arose.

This is the attitude of gratitude only people with class has.

Mark Lee calls himself a chao Ah Beng. I think, he is too modest.

I recall another incident involving Jet Li, who went to Hollywood to try his luck in movies over there. He was already quite successful in his pursuits, after appearing as an antagonist in the last of the 'Lethal Weapon' series. [His other Hollywood movies include 'Romeo Must Die', 'Kiss of the Dragon', 'The One', 'Cradle 2 Grave', & 'Danny the Dog']

One day, his 'sifu' from China (unfortunately, I can't recall the name - I believe he could be the legendary Grandmaster Wu Bin of the Beijing Wushu Academy, who coached & led Jet Li to win five national wushu championships in China during the latter's late teen years) went to United States to attend a wushu (pugilistic) tournament.

Jet Li went to visit his 'sifu'. You know what? Upon seeing his 'sifu', Jet Li immediately knelt down to pay his respects to his 'sifu'. This public act astounded the audience at the tournament.

This is the attitude of gratitude of a grateful disciple.

In fact, his 'sifu' remarked in Mandarin, as reported in the press, something to this effect: "Lianjie (Jet Li's Chinese name) knows how to be a man!"

I personally know of one particular young man who became a self-made millionaire & best selling author. Up to today, he has not even thanked me for connecting him, through a very good friend of mine, to the publisher, who eventually took up his debut book. I even had to purchase his book. As a matter of fact, there were several other incidents that reflected his extremely poor EQ.

Today, he is ranked as one of the most dynamic & powerful speakers in Asia.

He may have a lot of visibility & money, but he still lacks one vital ingredient in his whole person: ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE!

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Do not be too timid & squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little off course, & you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, & get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Your Dolphin High-Performance Business Brain : An Operator's Manual', by Dudley Lynch

'Your High-Performance Business Brain: An Operator's Manual' by Dudley Lynch

This is my first book from Dudley Lynch, creator of the Dolphin Strategy, as it has come to be known throughout the international business world. I read it during the mid-80's while I was working as an expatriate in Thailand.

I must admit that it was not easy to read the first time & I found it worthwhile to read it a few times. I believe this was the precursor to the author's classic, 'Strategy of the Dolphin', published in the late 80's.

It was during this period of time that I got very interested in self-growth, particularly, in the field of brain-based, future-focused, change-oriented strategies.

In a nutshell, this book documented the author's early explorations into the changing nature of human thinking & technologies, particularly in ways that relate to the business enterprise.

I like the author's disciplined & yet artful blending of cognitive sciences, psychology, physics, sociology, & business strategy in his writings.

As a whole, there were two important things I had picked up or learned from this Business Brain book:

- how brain sciences could apply to management & business practices;
- an introduction to Dr. Clare Graves & his Gravesian conceptual model of how the people work within the worlds of society, culture and technology;

In fact, this book also led me to the author's proprietary navigational tool called the BrainMap. Through self-assessment, the tool gave me a precise reading of how my brain created my world & effective contol over my personal & organisational thinking skills.

In essence, guided by my BrainMap, I could change my results just by changing how I thought!

In some way, this book also facilitated my personal access to & smoother understanding of many of the author's subsequent works, including the 'Strategy of the Dolphin' with thirty over self-discovery principles) & 'Code of the Monarch: An Inside Guide' (a gamut of survival tools to deal with complexity, speed, expanded time & space, & to achieve competency, elegant outcomes, efficient results & an authentic global outlook).

Today, I own the entire collection of the author's 'DolphinThink' resources (incuding the author's latest book, 'Mother of All Minds') & I often return to them to seek out furter insights.

[For the uninitiated: in 'Strategy of the Dolphin', the author specifically divides business strategy into three competing paradigms: that of Sharks, that of Dolphins, and that of the Carp. Wikipedia has a nice summary of the author's analogy.]

On hindsight, I realised that many of the author's provocative ideas were far ahead of the mass market business reading material.

His many books had been deliberately written to cater to serious future-focused managers & professionals, who are seeking sustainable change & thinking upgrade.

Sadly, this Business Brain book is now out-of-print, but good news to readers, the author has revamped this book quite extensively.

What he has done is tightened up some loose ends & focused more sharply on integrating his general system models on business & change with his Dolphin Strategy. That explains the new title: 'Your Dolphin High-Performance Business Brain'.

In this new book, published in the early 90's, the author reinterates the powerful connections between good business thinking & good business results.

Here is the table of contents of the newer book at a glance:

1. More with less: Learning to play an abundant game;
2. Mapping the mind of a whole-brained winner;
3. The 'bundled' brain: Activating your built-in potential;
4. A rewired brain: Advancing beyond Maslow's ceiling;
5. Doing business & enjoying the view from Einstein's office;
6. Practicing abundance: How to engage & use the dolphin mind;
7. Solving the problems at the center of the mind's 'black hole';
8. Influencing & changing the innermost world within you;

Despite passing times, the material in the newer book (as well as in the 'Strategy of the Dolphin') remains timeless & relevant in today's chaotic world.

I strongly recommend reading the author's works, starting with 'Your Dolphin High Performance Business Brain'.

[More information about the author & his brilliant thoughtwares can be found on his corporate website. If you are looking for the world's most productive personality profiles, please also pop in & take a close look.]