Saturday, August 16, 2008

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"It is no longer enough to be smart . . . all the technological tools in the world add meaning & value only if they enhance our core values, the deepest part of our heart. Acquiring knowledge is no guarantee of practical, useful application. Wisdom implies a mature integration of appropriate knowledge, a seasoned ability to filter the inessential from the essential."

~ Doc Lew Childre & Deborah Rozman, members of the scientific advisory board to the Institute of HeartMath;

7 STEPS TO BECOMING WISE

I have stumbled upon this interesting article on the web. Here's the link.

SPOTLIGHT: YOUR MOVE

While window shopping at Ngee Ann City this afternoon with my wife, I happen to stumble upon this shop ad with the apt caption.

I have captured it with my Nokia N93 handphone.

SPOTLIGHT: EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL

While window shopping at Ngee Ann City this afternoon with my wife, I happen to stumble upon this shop ad with the apt caption.

I have captured it on my Nokia N93 handphone.

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

Would I rather be lucky, timely or good?

Friday, August 15, 2008

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"In business, words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises, but only performance is reality."

~ attributed to Harold Geneen, former president & CEO of ITT;

BOOK REVIEW: 'MAXIMISING YOUR POTENTIAL WITH POWERFUL TOOLS', by Dan Low

First of all, & before I proceed any further, I would like to say upfront that what follows is not my usual book review.

Frankly, it is more an open record of my disappointing reaction of trying to read the book.

I have found the book by chance while surfing the net one day, & have ordered my copy from Amazon, in spite of its hefty price (US$37.95) for a paperpack.

I was nonetheless attracted to the catchy title, 'Maximize your potential with powerful tools . . . & no stress'. Also, it was written by an Asian author, as I am always interested in books by non-American authors.

What has intrigued me also was the fact that it was based on more than 25 years' observation by the author in consulting & training, which occurred mostly in Europe. The author has reportedly secured reputable credentials.

Upon my reading, I realised that the book has been written more as a transcription of the basics from the author's live seminars. Active dialogues between instructors & participants in the seminars have been overwhelmingly captured throughout the book to drive home key points.

Also, apparently content-rich seminar handouts have been inserted here & there, but to my disappointment, the flow of thoughts from the reading standpoint seemed rather disjointed & incoherent as a whole. I would even say that the overall writing of the book is horrendous, to put it bluntly.

I reckon, all these may be partly attributed to the lack of poor elaboration on the part of the author, notwithstanding also his weak command of the English Language.

To sum up, I can sense quickly that the book was very badly edited, since it was also self-published. It was in fact re-edited from the original French edition.

There are a lot of cartoons in the book, but to be honest, they don't seem to be able to add value to the reading, as far as I am concerned.

I know there are good stuff inside the book, but I have to give up eventually after making several futile attempts to make sense of the continuous flow of topics as I peruse the book.

I can see that there are valuable stuff taken or rather interpreted by the author from the works of Dr Wilder Penfield, Dr Maxwell Maltz, Eric Berne, Dr Albert Ellis, Chris Argyris, Leonard Sayles & Norman Vincent Peale, interspersed with a smattering of martial arts philosophies.

The various animal metaphors &/or imageries (monkey, tiger, bull, bee, snake, pig, eagle) concocted by the author seemed very refreshing & interesting.

I reckon maybe the book has been written for all those who have already gone through the author's seminars, & is intended to serve as memento for graduates. I really don't know.

All I can draw as my conclusion is that the book is about winning the battle of one's mind, especially in the subconscious, as a prelude to maximising one's potential. The authors calls it the art of self combat.

No wonder, an apt quote from Plato, "Victory over oneself is the greatest of victories", continues to reverberates in my mind.

Regrettably, I have to resign to the fact that there are experts who can teach, but can't write; & likewise, there are others who can write, but can't teach.

In fairness to the author, I should try to read the book again at some other time, maybe under more tranquil conditions.

[To my utter amazement, readers can now visit this link to download the book in four parts, as .pdf documents, for free. Don't hesitate to let me know what you think about the book.]

Thursday, August 14, 2008

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore, a warrior must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if he feels that he should not follow it, he must not stay with it under any conditions. His decision to keep on that path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. He must look at every path closely & deliberately. There is a question that a warrior has to ask, mandatorily: 'Does this path have a heart?'"

~ Carlos Castaneda, 20th century mystic & Toltec warrior from 'The Teachings of Don Juan';

BOOK REVIEW: 'THE ENCORE EFFECT: HOW TO ACHIEVE REMARKABLE PERFORMANCE IN ANYTHING YOU DO', by Mark Sanborn

Three earlier books in my personal library, which I hold with high regard, immediately come to my mind as I open Mark Sanborn's latest book, 'The Encore Effect', to read.

They are:

1) 'Top Performance: How to Develop Excellence in Yourself & Others', by Zig Ziglar (read during the eighties);

2) 'True Professionalism: The Courage to Care about Your People, Your Clients & Your Career', by David Maister (read during the late nineties);

3) 'Success Built to Last: Creating a Life That Matters', by Jerry Porras & others (read many months ago);

All three wonderful books had talked about attaining performance par excellence, especially from the individual perspective in an organisational setting.

After perusing Mark Sanborn's book, I realised that he has very artfully amalgamated, built on, extended & refined many important success attributes in the three earlier works. He has defined the end result as the Encore Effect, which also makes up the title of his book.

More remarkably unique is that he has very skillfully inter-weaved the three key elements of 'Remarkable Performance', or more specifically, the 'Performance Development Agenda (PDA)' as he calls it: comprising 'Passion', 'Discipline' & 'Action', into a series of five powerful steps.

Incidentally, the five steps to achieving the Encore Effect correspond to the principal traits that extraordinary performers have in common.

Each of the steps has been systematically crafted by the author for brilliant execution of the Encore Effect in any setting, be it the office, sales floor, boardroom or own home, so to speak.

Also, each concrete step is beautifully illustrated with engaging tales by the author - to me, the author is a remarkable tale blazer - in a full chapter, with the 5 steps from Chapter 5 to 9, plus a separate chapter 10 on pitfalls to avoid.

Naturally, an encore performance always entails commitment (the author's breakdown of it into 6 elements is remarkable!), professionalism, skills, values & integrity. Interestingly, the author equate these attributes as a critical part of personal branding, which I fully concur.

In the same vein, the burning fuel for encore performance is passion. ["I simply set myself on fire & people come to watch me burn." That's passion! (from John Wesley, a controversial maverick church founder)].

Remarkably, the author has offered his sound & inspiring advice covering these areas of concern.

In reality, besides the pragmatic strategies with concrete steps to achieving the Encore Effect, what I like most from the book are the author's lucid distinctions:

- all the world's a stage & life is a performance that we are always in charge of;

- start with everything extraordinarily well, but then adding our own imprint;

- isn't what we do, but how we do it, why we do it & who we do it for;

- when we focus on things we really like to do, we are likely to do them with passion - & do them remarkably well;

- when we work with people, every day is game day - an opportunity to wow them;

- we can choose our performance to be remarkable;

- remarkable performers exercise persistence - suggesting 'purposeful action' to "make the impossible possible, the possible likely & the likely definite";

- the point of every remarkable performance is to move people to act, to make them feel good, cause them to laugh & to stimulate them to think;

Best of all, to my delight, he even throws in an end chapter on how to help others perform remarkably.

In other words, we should always help others around us achieve remarkable performance through mentoring & empowering to enhance our own extraordinary performance. The world will certainly be a much better place.

Last but not least, I like the author's inverted 'The Pyramid of Possibility', as the foundation & expression of remarkability, in the last chapter, which I reckon is a very fitting conclusion of the book.

To conclude my review, I like to say this:

My first encounter with the author's work was during the nineties, when I had watched his 3-volume, high-content, almost four hours running, video program, 'High Impact Leadership: How to be More than a Manager'.

Frankly, I could gleaned more than twenty leadership traits from it to serve as my practising model. At that time, I thought it was a remarkable piece of work from the author.

I have only read the author's 'You Don't Need a Title to be a Leader' some months ago, but I wasn't very excited about it. I have in fact already reviewed it in an earlier post.

For me, I am very glad to emphasise that the author's latest work is equally extraordinary as his earlier video presentation.

MAKING DISTINCTIONS

In yesterday's Straits Times, a reader Bruno Serrien (Belgium-born, lived in four European countries, spent last ten years in Singapore, with Singapore wife + 2 Singapore kids) in the Forum Page, under the caption, "The World Doesn't Dislike Singapore", wrote in to debunk last Saturday's commentary by Ms Chua Lee Hoong, "Why They Hate Singapore".

First, I like his distinctions:

"The meaning of the word, "hate" should be carefully weighed before using it. There are two meanings to hate: intense hostility & aversion usually derived from fear, anger or sense of injury; or extreme dislike or antipathy."

I also like his argument:

"Trying to describe why Western democracies may "not like" Singapore is absurd & naive & is probably based on a lack of general understanding & knowledge of how most of the Western world perceives Singapore today . . .

. . . I have travelled the world for the past 32 years. I have never encountered or heard a single person or group who hates Singapore - or even dislikes the Republic. At most, Singapore is criticised for banning chewing gum & for its lack of freedom of speech.

Mostly, however, & especially among Westerners, Singapore i s praised for being clean, affordable & secure, & for its wonderful food.

. . . The world has other problems & people elsewhere simply do not care about having Singapore on their radar screen of dislike."

Good point.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

What wisdom would I impart to the world if I knew it was my last chance?

If I had to disappear tomorrow, what would I want as my legacy?

~ inspired by 'The Last Lecture' of Randy Pausch (1960-2008), computer science-human computer interface & design professor at Carnegie Mellon University;

READING ON THE RUN

In recent months, I have been toying - in fact, still toying - with Shelfari, a web-based social network that revolves around books. With it, I can put all the books in my personal library on to a virtual bookshelf, which I can share with the world at large.

At the same time, I am also playing - in fact, still playing - around with LibraryThing, considered to be the world's largest book club on the web.

Interestingly, I just realise that I can classify all my books, or more specifically, my reading pursuits, along these lines with Shelfari:


I) Books I Plan to Read:

I have a shipment of new books coming in from Amazon, & it should hit my doorsteps any moment.

Here is my acquisition list:

1) 'Building Personal Leadership: Inspirational Tools & Techniques for Work & Life', by Joe Farcht;

2) 'A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts & Deceives', by Cordelia Fine;

3) 'Building the Future: A Workbook to Accompany Futuring: The Exploration of the Future', by: Jill Loukides;

4) 'Good Question! The Art of Asking Questions To Bring About Positive Change', by Judy Barber;

5) 'Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges, by C. Otto Scharmer;

6) '8 Keys to Self Leadership: From Awareness to Action', by Dario Nardi;

7) 'Mapping & Anticipating the Competitive Landscape', by Alessandro Comai;

8) 'The Art of Original Thinking: The Making of a Thought Leader', by Jan Phillips;

9) 'Strategy Espresso: Triple Shots of Strategic Thinking to Energize Your Business, by Rich Horwath;

10) 'Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving & Thriving at Work, Home, & School', by John Medina;

11) 'How to Think Like a CEO & Act Like a Leader: Practical Insights for Performance & Results', by Michael Andrew;

12) 'No Problem', by Alex Lowy;

13) 'Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life', by Stewart Friedman;


II) Books I'm Reading:

At the moment, I am reading a few new books on agility, namely:

1) 'Fast Strategy: How Strategic Agility Will Help You Stay Ahead of the Game', by Yves Doz & Mikko Kosonen;

2) 'Corporate Agility: A Revolutionary New Model for Competing in a Flat World', by Charles Grantham;

3) 'Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating & Initiating Change', by Bill Joiner;


III) Books I've Read:

Some of the books I've read have already been captured in my book reviews, on the Amazon website as well as in my weblog.

Somehow, my reviews cannot catch up with my acquisitions & readings. I attribute this partly to my laziness.

For the moment, some books I've recently finished reading include:

1) 'Ready, Set, Done', by Jim Carroll;

2) 'What I Learned from Frogs in Texas', by Jim Carroll;

3) 'The Imagination Challenge: Strategic Foresight & Innovation in the Global Economy', by Alexander Manu;

4) 'TaleBlazers: Imagination to Imprint', by Dilip Mukerjea;

5) 'You Don't Have to Learn Everything the Hard Way', by Aunt Laya Saul [My review can be found here.];

6) 'Turn Your Imagination into Money', by Ron Klein;

7) 'Maximise Your Potential with Powerful Tools & No Stress', by Dan Low;

I plan to write my reviews shortly.


IV) My Favourites:

I certainly have a lot of favourites.

Edward de bono, Joel Arthur Barker, Michel Robert, Peter Drucker & Richard Leider are some of my most favourite authors.


V) Books I Currently Own:

I have yet to determine how much books I currently own in my personal library.


VI) Books on My Wish List:

Most of the books on this list are those out-of-print classics. The list has nonetheless dwindled over the years.

Others are those that are currently too expensive to be purchased, & I am waiting for their prices to drop. Oftentimes, my waiting in this way has been amply rewarded.


VII) Books to Add:

These new books are now in my shopping basket with Amazon, where I can keep for 90 days. Actually, longer as long as I keep updating.

Frankly, the shopping cart is evolving all the time.

Sometimes, I just delete as I browse through it [Amazon has the obnoxious habit of increasing prices once the books are captured in their cart] or when I have found some better titles.

Sometimes, I use my above shopping cart to explore other sources for better pricing, e.g. Barnes & Noble, including used bookstores on the web, like Alibri & Abebooks.

I have all the time in the world to decide.

As you can see, I just love to read. I find reading - & also reviewing books - often keep my mind intellectually alive. For me, it's a mental workout, just like my physical workout in the gym every morning.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

“The two most powerful things in existence: a kind word & a thoughtful gesture.”

~ Ken Langone, CEO, Invemed Associates [from Ronna Lichtenberg, It’s Not Business, It’s Personal];

BOOK REVIEW: 'YOU DON'T HAVE TO LEARN EVERYTHING THE HARD WAY', by Aunt Laya Saul

I love to read - & also learn from - books on life skills, especially those that have come from the 'University of Hard Knocks'.

This particular book is one great example, & I must say that it certainly lives up to its secondary title, "What I Wish Someone Had Told Me".

Although it is intended for young adults, the book is definitely relevant to anyone who wants to make his or her life a grand project.

I would even say that this book is a distilled version of Napoleon Hill's 'Law of Success', since it covers a very broad spectrum of proven success principles, from A (accountability, action, assertiveness, etc.) all the way to Z (zestful living [take time to enjoy; connecting with loved ones], zen [be quiet, just listen], etc.).

What I like most about the book as a reader/reviewer is the author's deliberate prefacing of key sections or passages of each chapter of the book with pointed questions for introspection.

From the way I see it, especially for a young adult venturing into a fast-paced, rapidly-changing turbulent world, this intended pause as envisaged by the author certainly serves as a strategic reminder of one's constant need to probe, reflect & ponder before making the next move.

Also, the author's writing style is succinct, with warmth & candour, especially when she touches on sensitive topics like BGR (boy-girl relationship), sex, alcohol/drug abuse & even suicide.

From the standpoint of reader friendliness, the book is spiced with many inspiring stories ['The Butterfly Story' is great!] & interesting anecdotes [I like "Be Nice"], as well as jam-packed with wise & witty quotations [e.g. "Anyone who thinks they can't make a difference hasn't been alone in a room with a mosquito"] to drive home the author's overall message that life is what you make of it.

In other words, life is a life-long do-it-yourself project.

Also, success is a function of 'The One Per Cent Adjustment', to paraphrase the author.

This book will readily serve as your appropriate field guide. As the author puts it, "this book is about mapping some of the terrain of life & showing you a few hot spots."

Her choice of 'Attitude' as the beginning segment, 'Gaining Attitude' towards the end, plus A Final Word with 'The World is Your Oyster', is refreshingly apt for a book on life skills.

I always hold the view that attitude is the #1 success attribute for anyone who wants to survive & thrive in the 21st century.

Overall, I have really enjoyed perusing this wonderful book, & I reckon this is partly fueled by the author's oft use of short staccato bursts of sentence crafting, which makes reading a breeze.

For companion reading, I would recommend Sean Covey's '7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens' & 'The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens'.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

“Anyone can imagine & anyone can dream. But it's the "do" part that scares away most dreamers.”

~ The Disney Imagineers, who are responsible for the master planning, creative development, design, engineering, production, project management, research & development at The Walt Disney Company;

PRAGMATIC INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS

"Make it OK for people to challenge an idea or two, the good ideas can withstand it & the weaker ideas fall away & make room for something [better]."

~ Brad Bird, writer/director of the great animation movie, 'The Incredibles', about a family of super cool heroes; he is sometimes referred to as the modern-day Walt Disney; his other great movies include 'Ratatoiulle', about the adventure of a young rat in Paris;

To me, he obviously talking about one of the most important tenets of nurturing creativity & innovation in the workplace.

Monday, August 11, 2008

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

“Good times will come & go, but one thing is certain. The person who knows how to create good, new ideas & turn them into realities is the one who will prosper no matter what the future brings.”

~ from one of my old creativity books, 'Imagineering: How to Profit from Your Creative Powers', by Michael LeBoeuf;

EXPERIENTIAL AXIOMS ON PERSONAL MASTERY: AN EVOLVING FIELD GUIDE

The idea of writing this post came about while I was walking briskly on the treadmill at the gym with a panoramic view of the bulb-shaped swimming pool below the third floor of the Jurong East Sports Centre this morning.

Over the years, & for at least the last four decades, I have observed, read, listened to & learned a lot from great minds in my relentless search for personal mastery.

Besides the intellectual acquisition, I have put all the stuff I have learned about to work in my own life as a peak performer, professionally as well as personally. Most worked, but some didn't.

In other words, I have taken charge of my own learning. & more importantly, I have lived through what I have learned. Along the way, I have also shared with others, through my consulting & training projects.

So, in this post, & subsequent posts, I am going to share with readers what I call my "experiential axioms".

First, let me start with some simple definitions:

axiom = an established principle;

experience = a practical acquisition with as well as the wisdom derived from any principle gained by trials & changes of life;

In other words, I can safely say that my personal trials & experiences in the real-world have been axiomatic.

The number of "experiential axioms" I am going to write about is not exhaustive, but representative of what I have personally experienced.

They are not arranged in any other particular order. I just write what comes quickly to my mind, although I will endeavour to present them in a seemingly logical order.

The first one:

What my mind can conceive, I can achieve.

That is to say, whatever I can think of or conceptualise in my head, I can bring it to fruition.

Everything starts with an idea or thought.

From the standpoint of strategy, I have learned that the idea or thought generally goes through three or more distinct stages:

- firstly, as a raw idea or preliminary insight to take shape inside my head [psychologists like to use the term, 'mental construct'] - most people may associate this with some sort of an Aha experience; however, I have learned from Edward de bono that I can provoke it so that it comes as a deliberate thought;

One way to do it is to allow the idea or thought to incubate, with eyes wide open, & keep asking questions as well as making random notes - what's going on? what's possible to do, or have, or change, or improve? where does this lead to? what's the next step? what's else to look for?;

It is here that I must also express it, for the purpose of clarity, as a goal or objective to be attained - a preferred outcome, so to speak or neurolinguistically speaking;

- secondly, as a formulated plan of action, crystallised gradually & then written down in the form of sequential steps in my notebook;

- finally, as an execution in my physical world, in the form of executed tasks to meet my expected objectives;

I must add that the second stage is a critical stage. Our self-talk mechanism, if not managed appropriately, can often sabotage this stage.

From my personal experience, positive affirmations expressed in the present tense generally help.

Oftetimes, from the second stage to the final stage, I would even add in an interim stage where I will proceed to play with the imagined scenarios or mentally rehearse the formulated sequence of execution.

I do it quite often to test the perceived viability of my ideas. [In reality, I have learned this imagineering technique from the life story of Nikola Tesla, the famed inventor of the AC power generator.]

As a process, it looks linear, but it's not - it's more iterative & recursive. A lot of fine-tuning, so to speak.

Come to think of it, I reckon mental rehearsal is the only place where I can plan a perfect sequence of action.

Dr Deepak Chopra has once said that a person, during waking hours, often think about 60,000 thoughts on a daily basis. I really don't know how he has derived this finding, but he has specifically added that more than 95% of these thoughts are the same as previous days.

Correspondingly, Dr David Ingvar of the Lund University in Stockholm, Sweden, has postulated that a normal person always & constantly play with imagined scenarios in the head, with the favourable to unfavourable ratio of 60:40.

As a matter of fact, Dr William Calvin, of the University of Washington in Seattle, has often argued that man has the ability to think strategically since the days as a hunter/gatherer, especially by using the tools he had learned to make.

He describes that ability by using the term "ballistic prowess". Throwing a stone or a wooden spear or shooting running animals with bow & arrows is a physical manifestation of that ability.

I have interpreted these research findings as expert confirmations that thoughtform building or scenario playing are our innate abilities.

Since each & every one of us is already hardwired with this natural propensity, I might as well make constructive use of my mind. That's my approach to life.

These seemingly random observations explain why I am often obsessed with learning & practising thinking skills, from all perspectives, creative, critical & strategic.

From my personal experience, the acquired skill sets often extend & enhance our natural abilities.

Just think about this: All the modern technological conveniences we enjoy today have started their lives as metaphysical ideas in some body's head.

Come to think of it:

My own happy life today is the sum of all the ideas &/or thoughts that have taken form in my head - & all put to work purposefully, productively & meaningfully - from day 1 as a young boy with dreams & aspirations.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

REMEMBERING ISAAC HAYES

I received breaking news via email today from the New York Times that the award-winning singer, songwriter & musician Isaac Hayes, 65, has passed away on Sunday.

I certainly remember this bald-headed flamboyant African-American musician who wrote the theme song for the cult action movie, 'Shaft', starring Richard Roundtree, during the seventies.

The actor played the cool, suave, street-smart black private detective, John Shaft, who often got himself entangled with the mafia, both black & white, so to speak.

In those days, it was very rare to see African-American actors playing leading roles in the movies. I later went on to watch 'Shaft's Big Score' & 'Shaft in Africa', as well as the TV series bearing the same name, all starring Richard Roundtree.

I had also watched Samuel Jackson's version of 'Shaft' a few years ago, with Richard Roundtree playing the uncle, but I still like the original version.

With regard to the theme song in 'Shaft', how can one forget such crazy & yet memorable lyrics like:

"Who's a black private dick / who's a sex machine to all the chicks"

"He's a complicated man / But no one understands him but his woman"

In fact, I last saw - a couple of weeks ago on StarHub cable television - Isaac Hayes as the Duke, the renegade warlord of Manhattan, known as the most dangerous place on earth in another cult action thriller [from John Carpenter], 'Escape from New York', opposite the character, Snake Plissken, played by Kurt Russell, as a lone wolf warrior, during the eighties.

[In the above movie, Manhattan was featured as a maximum security prison colony - "breaking out is impossible; breaking in is insane".]

I recall three other movies, where Isaac Hayes played minor roles, namely, 'It Could Happen to You' [a comedy] with Nicolas Cages; 'Ninth Street' with Martin Sheen; & 'Reindeer Games' with Ben Affleck.

Well, that's all I can remember about Isaac Hayes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

PRAGMATIC INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS

"Actually, there is a future full of brightness & darkness. Human beings have the capacity to increase the brightness & decrease the darkness, but we have got to get serious about it."

~ Joel Arthur Barker, during an interview, as part of the 'Thought Leader Project' of Marshall Goldsmith School of Management at Alliant International University;

[Joel Arthur Barker is a process futurist. He is known around the world as the 'Paradigm Man' because of his videos on paradigms. He also was one of the first corporate educators, starting in the early eighties, to emphasize the power of vision for organizations as well as individuals.

He coaches leaders to add a layer of thinking before they start their planning & execution. He calls this process 'strategic exploration'. Strategic exploration requires understanding the paradigms within which the organization must compete.]

RAPID RECAP: PATTERNS OF EXCELLENCE

I am always fascinated by patterns of excellence.

Hence, I have extracted & adapted the following disciplined routines from the book, 'Six Disciplines for Excellence: Building Small Businesses That Learn, Lead & Last', by Gary Harpst, for personal application:

[In the book, the author's 'Six Disciplines Methodology' is a systematic way of working on the business. It's made up of 31 steps, organized into 6 fundamental disciplines based on proven best practices.]

1) focusing on what's important to you (i.e. renewing your personal mission, clarifying your personal values, strengthening your strategic position, personally & professionally, etc.);

2) setting meaningful goals (especially, those that keep you focused on doing what must be done to achieve your fondest dreams);

3) getting all your personal strategies, processes as well as systems in proper alignment;

4) "working the plan" (i.e. investing in each & every moment to help build your most preferred future & also, making your life & work more fulfilling;

5) innovating purposefully (e.g. exploring new ideas regularly);

6) stepping back (i.e. taking a close look at what's working, both internally & externally, & making whatever mid-course corrections may be needed to ensure you are headed in the right direction);

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

What kind of Creator am I? Am I a Creator of results or a Creator of reasons?

BOOK REVIEW: 'LIFE-LAUNCH', by Frederic Hudson & Pamela McLean

In my personal library, this wonderful book is among my most treasured.

Way back in the early nineties, when I had started to make a grand plan for leaving the corporate world at the age of around my early 40's (in reality, that was my mid-life transition), I stumbled on to this wonderful book (together with several Richard Leider's books e.g. 'The Power of Purpose: Creating Meaning in Your Life & Work', 'The Inventurers: Excursions in Life & Career Renewal', etc.). I have in fact already reviewed the latter in earlier posts.

Since then, this book has always been my inspiration to do what I love & love what I do.

The most profound learning experience from this book came from my understanding - & eventual application - of the 'Cycle of Renewal', which the author has very artfully crafted in the form of visual concept models, systematically organised into five transitional steps.

I own and have also read the author's other book, 'The Adult Years: Mastering the Art of Self-Renewal', which also contains some great stuff. I have also already reviewed it in an earlier post.

I strongly recommend both books to anyone who is going through a mid-life transition.

WHAT IS A MACROPODIDA? THE ANSWER

[continue from the Last Post]

You got it!

Standing in front of the animals at the Singapore Zoo in Mandai is my wife's niece, Giang, who is currently doing a PhD (civil engineering) in Paris under a French Government scholarship.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"It seldom happens that a man changes his life through his habitual reasoning. No matter how fully he may sense the new plans & aims revealed to him by reason, he continues to plod along in old paths until his life becomes frustrating & unbearable—he finally makes the change only when his usual life can no longer be tolerated."

~ Leo Tolstoy, 1828 – 1910; a Russian writer & philosopher, widely regarded as one of the greatest of all novelists; best known for his masterpieces, 'War & Peace' & 'Anna Karenina';