Saturday, September 6, 2008

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

What's my pressing new agenda for the rest of the year?

GENIUS, INTELLIGENCE & ALL THAT JAZZ III

[continue from the Last Post]

In recent months, I have been following the television series, 'The Pretender', on StarHub cable television quite earnestly.

It is about a boy genius, Jarod, who was kidnapped by a mysterious private research organisation, known as the Centre.

Escaping from the centre more than thirty years later, Jarod (played by Michael Weiss) now searches for his true identity as well as his family.

The series trace his adventurous exploits, as he has the curiosity streak & remarkable ability to morph himself into any roles he chooses.

In other words, he can adopt the personality & expertise of any professional at will. He uses his extraordinary skills to right the wrongs of the innocent & exact revenge on the bad guys.

Of course, he has also to keep a look out for those ruthless pursuers from the centre.

Every episode sees him in a different role - a doctor, police officer, sports coach, etc. He chooses his targets from mainly newspaper reports.

Although it's "make believe", I enjoy watching Jarod spending time to study his targets, to improvise & adapt his positioning, to anticipate their moves, to plot strategies to apprehend the bad guys, especially when he toys with them - I can always see the mischievous grin on his face - in order to catch them in their nefarious acts.

Transposing into the real-world, I can imagine we all have a little bit of Jarod in us.

Don't forget we also have our real roles in life, in disparate degrees - citizen, pro, boss or employee, colleague, father, filial son, spouse, lover, neighbour, community leader or worker, all roll into one.

Interestingly, each & every one of us have to play each of the roles earnestly so as to generate happiness for ourselves as well as to keep others happy too.

I am sure all of us work very hard at it, the role playing I mean, often stretching our own ingenuity, working within constraints (external as well as internal), balancing commitments, & using whatever resources available at our immediate disposal.

Isn't that genius?

So, genius is indeed hard work.

No wonder, British psychologist Michael Howe said:

"Nobody is born a genius. Genius is a badge you must earn."

In the same vein, Albert Einstein said this:

"It's not that I'm so smart; it's just that I stay with problems longer."

"Genius is 1% inspiration & 99% perspiration. As a result, a genius is often a talented person who has simply done all of his homework."

The foregoing quotation is attributed to Thomas Edison, whose work ethic is legendary.

Here are some expert findings I have found:

"It's complicated explaining how genius or expertise is created & why it's so rare.

But it isn't magic, & it isn't born. It happens because some critical things line up so that person of good intelligence can put in the sustained, focused effort it takes to achieve extraordinary mastery. These people don't necessarily have an especially high IQ, but they almost always have very supporting environments, & they almost always have important mentors. And the one thing they always have is this incredible investment of effort."

~ Prof. Anders Ericsson, Editor, 'Cambridge Handbook of Expertise & Expert Performance';

Dr Hans Eysenck, one of the world's leading experts on IQ testing, wrote in his classic, 'Genius: The Natural History of Creativity':

". . . Intelligence is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for genius."

He added that the following traits play decisive roles:

- focused hard work;
- persistence;
- originality;
- luck (I like that!);
- opportunity;

British psychologist Michael Howe, continued as he wrote in his book, 'Genius Explained':

"Genius is the product of a combination of environment, personality & sheer hard work . . .

The exceptional talents of those we call genius are the result of a unique set of circumstances & opportunities, but in every case they are pursued & exploited with characteristic drive, determination & focus, which the rest of us rarely show . . .

He asserted the significance of additional attributes like:

- doggedness;
- persistence;
- the capacity for fierce & sustained concentration;
- intense curiosity;

In the book, 'Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas Are Born', which I had read during the early nineties, author Denise Shekerjian interviewed 40 MacArthur Foundation Prize winners.

Here are his findings about traits with regard to the genius impulse:

- risk-taking;
- openness;
- concentration;
- resiliency;
- great love of the work;
- importance of inspiration;
- drive & discipline;
- learning through doing (I like that!);
- taking advantage of luck (interesting!);
- staying loose (wow!);

To end this post, I will endeavour to put all the foregoing attributes & some of my own ideas together into a easily digestible form, say in the form of a checklist, so to speak, for easy implementation:

- first & foremost, think of yourself as a genius;

- develop an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, say, learn everything of something & something of everything, that piques your interest, & more importantly, don't forget to ask dumb questions;

- emulate the strategies & tactics of geniuses, & modeling their patterns of excellence is a fast way; making notes is another good way;

- take an organised, orderly approach to your decision making & problem solving;

- embrace an attitude of wonder - be curious - about the world around you;

- get into the habit of looking at the world with fresh, open perspectives;

- build extensive networks for increasing intelligence e.g. spend more time with people as smart or smarter than you;

- concentrate a little bit harder & longer on whatever that interests you;

- continually expand the scope, source, intensity of all your reading & learning pursuits, e.g. 'Auomobile University', 'Invisible University', which I have talked about in earlier posts, & even 'Street University' - learning through hard knocks - are viable options, etc.;

- last but not least, be playful - you can be child-like, but don't be childish!

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"The things we fear most in organizations - fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances - are the primary sources of creativity. "
~ Margaret J. Wheatley

DESIRE DEFINED

According to Roger Bannister, the first runner to break the four-minute record during the sixties, desire is defined as “the ability to take more out of yourself than you’ve got.”

I also like what he added further:

"After all is said & done, nothing is successful unless we work."

THE LAW OF REQUISITE VARIETY REVISITED

I have stumbled upon an interesting website on mental models.


As human beings, we tend to make snappy judgements from incoming sensory  information, not by searching selectively, but through simply recognising relevant cues in the information, which are similar to those we have experienced before.

According to the website, this is called 'solution by recognition'.

In reality, it is basically one simple 'mental model' we often use to look at the world around us.

However, in contrast, smart people, e.g. Warren Buffet, do it differently. 

They have at their disposal a vast repertoire of mental models to make descisions & consider possible actions. That is to say, they have some sort of systematic checklist to go through before making their decision to act.

This certainly reminds me of the 'Law of Requisite Variety', which I have talked about in earlier posts.

In a nut shell, what the law implies, at least from my understanding, is this: when we have learned a broad variety of possible options in our head, then it becomes relatively easy for us to deal with a world that is constantly changing.

Putting it in another way, when we have a rate of learning which is faster that the rate of change in the environment, we certainly have built up a competitive advantage. 

As a result, our chances of survival become greater, so to speak.

Interestingly, the website, which is definitely worth exploring, introduces more than a hundred of the so-called checklists that one can use to bring observed situations for  closer thinking & deep deliberation.

It is pertinent for me to point out that you got to read, thoroughly understand, explore further & then slowly digest & adapt the stuff. To be frank, they are not just simple checklists.  They are 'mental models'.

Here's the link to the website.

Friday, September 5, 2008

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"It's not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you."
~ from 'The Last Lecture'of Randy Pausch (1960-2008), computer science-human computer interface & design professor at Carnegie Mellon University;

Thursday, September 4, 2008

ACTION CREATES CLARITY

I have stumbled upon the book entitled, 'Flip: How to Turn Everything You Know on Its Head & Succeed Beyond Your Wildest Dreams', by Peter Sheahan, a leading expert in workforce trends & generational change from Down Under, while browsing through the 'Education Innovation' weblog today.

The book piques my attention immediately,  especially when the author talks about the four forces of change, as follows:

1) increasing expectations;

2) increasing compressions;

3) increasing transparency & accountability;

4) increasing complexity;

Next, he reveals how the world's most effective organizations (& individuals) distinguish themselves from the competition by using the ability to 'flip': thinking counter-intuitively & then acting boldly:

He explores six major 'flips', as outlined on the Amazon catalog:

- Action Creates Clarity — to move forward you must act in spite of ambiguity. Your action will create the clarity you're looking for;

- To keep pace with rising expectations, you can't just be fast, good, or cheap. Instead you must recognize that Fast, Good, Cheap: Pick Three – Then Add Something Extra has become the new standard in every industry;

- To develop competitive advantage, you must Absolutely, Positively Sweat the Small Stuff;

- To satisfy customers' needs for engagement &  contact — spiritual, emotional, physical —remember that it's not just business, Business Is Personal;

- To win mass-market success, Find It on the Fringe. The way to separate yourself from the competitive herd is to be courageous & create new market space;

- To Get Control, Give It Up. You cannot command & control customers or the talented staff needed to reach them. Instead you must empower others to create, dream, & believe for you;

I am certainly intrigued by the first flip,'Action Creates Clarity'.  That's very interesting!

Most of us, when forced outside our comfort zone, especially in confrontation with ambiguity & uncertainly, we are often left with two choices:

- Fold: fall apart & panic;

- Freeze: become immobile;

Looks like the author is offering us a third choice, an intelligent one:

- Focus: move forward into the zone, with deliberate thought & concerted action;

I definitely want to read more about it. Naturally, the book is now in my shopping basket with Amazon.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Man is but a fraction,
The numerator is what he is,
The denominator is what he thinks he is,
Greater the denominator,
Smaller the fraction."

~ from Sultan Ahmed Ismail of Chennai, India, writing as a reader in the 'Frozen Thoughts . . . An Awakening' weblog;

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

THE SECRET OF BEING LUCKY

After perusing a brief article, entitled 'The Secret of Being Lucky' by Jeff Keller, which I had stumbled on the net, I like to recap a quick roundup of his key ideas, not ground-breaking but worth knowing, as follows:

1. Be proactive;

2. Have a dynamic, positive attitude;

3. Possess a burning desire;

4. Be prepared;

5. Display incredible persistence & a long-term perspective;

6. Pay your dues;

7. Create crystal clear objectives i.e. Clarity is power;

8. Demonstrate flexibility;

9. Be a risk-taker;

I particularly like his idea #6: Pay Your Dues. That is to say, you got to run the heats, put in the effort, because there isn't any free lunch!

By the way, here's the link to the original article.

ARE YOU READY TO LIVE A PASSIONATE, TURNED ON LIFE?

Just for the fun of it, go to this link to participate in a simple 7-Question Passion Test Profile, where you will at least get a good sense of where you are standing, with regard to the foregoing challenge.

SPOTLIGHT: I'M IN, ARE YOU?

I have spotted this ad with the apt question on the front glass panel of the Jurong West Post Office located on Jurong West Aveue I.

One can look at the question differently.

For example, I'm in the Zone. Are you?

In this way, at least for my purpose, the Zone refers to the 'stretch' zone, but not the 'comfort' zone.

Of course, one can also view it as the 'flow' zone, from a peak performance perspective.

DEFINING A GOOD DECISION

Further to my earlier post entitled 'Understanding Clarity is Power', I just thought that I should talk about what constitutes a good decision, at least from the personal standpoint.

More specifically, how to define a good decision?

From what I have learned over the years, I reckon a good decision should have the following decision elements:

Firstly, an open-minded frame.

For me, one needs to be clear in the mind about the problem to be solved.

In other words, one needs to define one's purpose.

I would even go further: define the purpose of your purpose.

Additionally, I would suggest to approach the problem not as a "problem to be resolved", but as an "opportunity to be discovered".

One wise guy even coined a term, 'Probortunity', to illustrate my point.

With an open-minded frame, you are free to explore outside the box, instead of working within the box, so to speak.

The mind is then free from any mental constraints, self-imposed or otherwise.

As an example, you can start to look at the "opportunity" from several perspectives:

- analytically & rationally, a bottom-line approach;
- conservatively, a detailed procedural view;
- emotionally, a people-oriented view;
- intuitively, conceptually, a big picture view;


Secondly, set out what's important to you. To be more precise, what really matters to you the most.

Here, I am talking about your personal values.

That is to say, the end result must eventually be congruent to your personal values.

I reckon your personal values will more or less determine the scope & perspective of your approach to the situation.

Thirdly, a quick roundup of all the useful information.

I reckon, from my personal experience, the useful information available to you should readily answer all the common journalists' questions:

what? who? when? where? why & how?

I would like to add a few more: which? how often? how frequent?

Also, remember what I have once mentioned earlier: ask opposing questions.

For example, besides asking "what's happening?", "who's involved?"; ask "what's NOT happening?" "who's NOT involved?" etc.

With useful information in hand, you can easily paint & build a portfolio of scenarios to view the "opportunity".

Fourthly, a bunch of creative alternatives.

Most of us tend just to look at the pros & cons.

We should go further by looking at what's interesting, in addition to what's positive (or plus) & what's negative (or minus) in the situation. This comes from Edward de bono, who calls it the PMI method.

In this way, we have more creative alternatives to deliberate.

Fifthly, apply sound reasoning.

Once we have an open-minded frame, clear values in mind, useful information in hand, & creative alternatives, it is quite safe to say that evaluation & comparison of alternatives & selection of the best alternative become a piece of cake.

There are many evaluation tools one can apply here. Your selection will probably be dependent on your personal value system.

For simplicity, you can also use the foregoing PMI method, by giving a scoring of +2 for "plus"; -2 for "minus" & +1 for "interesting".

Also, once the best alternative is selected, one needs to develop doable tasks to move the decision quickly to fruition.

Last, but not least, a commitment to follow through.

That's to say, getting the will to execute your intended decision. This is very important.

UNDERSTANDING CLARITY IS POWER

I have come across this meaningful phrase, 'Clarity is Power', for the first time during the early nineties when I was attending a 3-1/2 day week-end seminar in Adelaide, Australia.

At that time, I was a 43 years old pro - a hard-working corporate rat, working in quiet desperation. I was pondering about what I wanted to do with the second half of my life.

The more enlightened psychologists often like to call the phenomenon, the 'mid-life transition'.

At the seminar, I went through the so-called mandatory 'Blocks Game', which then woke me up, besides clearing up some yak-berries (the seminar terminology for "emotional baggage") inside my system.

To gain further insights - plus tools & strategies, I then went on to attend a related 16-day residential boot-camp in Kona, Hawaii, a couple of months later.

I then realised that the moment I had decided who I was, what I wanted to do with my life, & where I wanted to go, I knew instantly what would really excite me the most in my life.

As a result, I knew exactly where to focus my personal attention, & more importantly, how to marshall my energetic efforts & financial resources to pursue what I had wanted to experience so badly.

Clarity is Power!

Putting it more simply, it means that, the clearer we know about our own self [our personal strengths & problems, in relation to the context of opportunities & threats out there] & about our preferred outcomes, the clearer is our thought processing, & of course, the greater are our chances for success achievement.

Henceforth, our intellectual processes of decision making & action planning become crystal sharp the moment we have decided what we want out of life.

Anthony Robbins is absolutely right:

"It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped."

Why is clarity so powerful?

The answer is very simple:

- our mind becomes laser-focused;

- our intent becomes purpose-driven;

- our will becomes inner-directed;

Best of all, they energise & motivate us to take action!

When we know who we are & what we want out of life, they spark us to take action in the direction of our fondest dreams.

Action always creates motivation.

Once we take action, motivation is soon to follow.

The more action we take, the more motivated we become.

Once we have decided exactly who we are, what we want out of life, & what we want to do with our life, it is actually quite easy to figure out how to organise our own self to get it.

Most people tend to lack the clarity of mind & may have very foggy goals or even wander their way through life, daydreaming all day long. They lack the real direction, so to speak.

This is why we are often encouraged by peak performance experts to develop S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals in all areas of our life.

To recap, S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound, enjoyable [also read: "motivating"] & rewarding.

With the S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals in place, life becomes so much more fun & exciting, as we have something attractive & worthwhile to aim for.

Once we have crystal clarity in our mind, & with very specific targets to aim for, it becomes natural for us to do everything possible to keep them in the forefront of our daily focus.

As I have said before, our mind follows only one direction: the direction of our current dominant thoughts.

One way to enhance this natural facility is to write all our goals down on paper.

Writing on paper actually helps to crystalise our thoughts further. This also explains why journaling is such a powerful tool.

Clarity is Power!

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Brickwalls are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out. The brickwalls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brickwalls are there to stop people who don't want it badly enough."

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

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

SEEING THE FUTURE & THINKING STRATEGICALLY

The following research finding, though seemingly technical & already published in the May/June 2008 issue of Cognitive Science Journal, from Mark Changizi, Asst Prof of Cognitive Science at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is really fascinating:

Our brains - more precisely, the visual system - are already hard-wired to see the future.

For me, it adds on to my repertoire of understanding of our brains' natural propensities in seeing the future & thinking strategically, based on the earlier research work of two brilliant scientists:

- Dr William Calvin, University of Washington in Seattle [pertaining to 'ballistic prowess'], &

- Dr David Ingvar, University of Lund in Stockholm, Sweden [pertaining to 'memories of the future'];

which I have mentioned in my earlier posts.

I have always been fascinated by & have played with optical illusions [as well as random-dot stereograms] for more than two decades. I have a vast collection of them in my personal library. I have often used them as brain games in my creativity training workshops.

Instinctively, I have always used optical illusions to explain how our brains actually work, but I have never realised its implications on our innate abilities to see the future.

What a timely discovery!

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"To focus on what you don’t have is a terrible mistake. With the gifts all of us have, if you are unhappy, it’s
your own fault."

- Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway; arguably the greatest investor of all time; his wealth fluctuates with the performance of the market, but as of 2008 his net worth has been estimated at US$62 billion, making him the richest man in the world;

9 HABITS OF INNOVATIVE PEOPLE

I have stumbled upon the following interesting weblog, 'Confessions of an Innovative Mind', belonging to Ankur Sharma, a software technologist with IBM India Software Labs in Bangalore.

Since he works at the forefront of technology, what he has written, particularly, the '9 habits of innovative people', has caught my immediate attention.

They are not just fancy theories or perfunctory desk research findings, but real-world stuff, as he insists.

Here they are:

1) Innovative people believe in 'Everything is an Opportunity' [I like this refreshing one the most!];

2) They believe in 'Collaboration';

3) They take full "ownership of the work they do & the results they get";

4) They are 'Calculated Risk Takers';

5) They believe in 'Mentoring';

6) They have strong 'Self-belief' [His analogy of Po & Master Shifu from the 'Kung Fu Panda' movie as an illustration was apt.];

7) They "persevere & persist";

8) They possess the 'Passion to Succeed';

9) They are the 'Agents of Change' i.e. they create change & chaos!;

SHARING A STORY: THE STRESS OF LIFE

The following short story - with a meaningful message - came via email from my younger brother, a science & techno geek, who often scouts the Internet for interesting snippets of ideas & insights:

A lecturer, while explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water & asked:

"How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers from the class varied from 20g to 500g.

The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.

If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem.

If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.

If I hold it for a day, you"ll have to call an ambulance.

In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued, "and that's the way it is with stress management.

If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won"t be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while & rest before holding it again.

When we"re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."

"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow.

Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them go for a moment if you can."

"So, my friend put down anything that may be a burden to you right now. Don't pick it up again until after you've rested a while."

Here are some great ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

- Accept that some days you're the pigeon, & some days you're the statue;

- Always keep your words soft & sweet, just in case you have to eat them;

- Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it;

- Drive carefully. It"s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker;

- If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague;

- If you lend someone $20 & never see that person again, it was probably worth it;

- It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others;

- Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on;

- Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up & dance;

- Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late;

- The second mouse gets the cheese;

- When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane;

- Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live;

- You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person;

- Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once;

- We could learn a lot from crayons . . . some are sharp, some are pretty & some are dull; Some have weird names, & all are different colours, but they all have to live in the same box;

- A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour;

SHARING A STORY: JUST DO IT

The following short story - with a meaningful message - came via email from my younger brother, a science & techno geek, who often scouts the Internet for interesting snippets of ideas & insights:

There was once a group of tiny frogs who had arranged a running competition.

The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower.

A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race & cheer on the contestants.

The race began . . . No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower.

One could hear mutterings from the crowd, such as: "Oh, WAY too difficult!!"

"They will NEVER make it to the top."

The tiny frogs began collapsing.

The crowd continued to yell, "It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!"

More tiny frogs got tired & gave up . . .

But ONE continued higher & higher & higher. This one wouldn't give up! It was the only one who had finally reached the top!

All of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it.

They asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed & reach the goal.

It turned out that the winner was DEAF!!!!

The wisdom of this story:

- Never listen to other people's tendencies to be negative or pessimistic. They take your most wonderful dreams & wishes away from you - the ones you have in your heart!

- Always be aware of the power of words. Everything you hear & read will affect your thoughts & actions!

- BE POSITIVE!

- And above all, be DEAF when people tell you that you cannot fulfill your dreams!

- Always believe: I can do this! Just Do It (from NIKE - The Goddess of Victory)

SPOTLIGHT: SMILEY OR LAUGHING BUDDHA?

I had spotted this attraction while visiting the Kwan Im Thong Temple at Queen Street with my wife over the weekend.

Actually, it was a bronze statute of the 'Laughing Buddha'. It was located right in front of a retail shop - a very short distance away from the temple.

Hence, I could see throngs of curious people rubbing the stomach of the statute furiously as they walked past it, hoping to draw some good luck, according to legend.

The smiling face had captured my attention, & that's why I took a snapshot of it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

What would I do if I had to start everything over from scratch?

HOW TO BECOME A CEO OF OUR OWN LIFE

In her book, 'How to Think Like a CEO', the author & international executive development expert D A Benton, has identified "22 vital traits you need to be the person at the top", which I have recapitulated as follows:

1) be secure in ourself;

2) be in control of our attention;

3) be tenacious;

4) continuously improving;

5) be honest;

6) think before we talk;

7) be original;

8) be publicly modest;

9) be aware of our style;

10) be gutsy;

11) be humourous;

12) be theatrical;

13) be detail oriented;

14) be willing to lead others;

15) be prepared to fight for our people;

16) be ready to admit mistakes;

17) be straightforward;

18) be nice;

19) be inquisitive;

20) be competitive;

21) be flexible;

22) be a story teller;

Come to think of it, the "22 traits" seem commonsensical, but on the other hand, most of us may tend to take them for granted.

Frankly speaking, I think it is fair to say that not everybody can become a CEO.

However, each & every one of us can choose to think like a CEO. In that respect, we can become first a CEO of our own life, before we can really embark on becoming a CEO of other peoples' lives.

We can therefore use the "22 traits" to take stock of our personal as well as professional strengths in co-relation to the characteristic traits of the world's 100 most successful CEOs.

That is to say, to follow what Stephen Covey has taught us earlier, we must learn to attain personal victory first, before we can even start to think of public victory.

I reckon, from the standpoint of self-leadership, the "22 traits" are still valuable & applicable as they stand, except that a few of them, e.g. #14, #15 & #22, may need to be adapted to a personal setting.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"One very important aspect of motivation is the willingness to stop & to look at things that no one else has bothered to look at. This simple process of focusing on things that are normally taken for granted is a powerful source of creativity."

~ Edward de Bono, the father of 'Lateral Thinking';

TIME OUT WITH MY OLD BUDDIES

As usual, I drove down to the city centre today, just about 12pm, to meet up with old buddies from my Singapore Polytechnic days.

The first black & white photo captured three of us, while visiting another buddy by the name of Ho Hock Tin (he was the photographer) in the ancient town of Malacca, located in the south-western part of Malaysia. That was 1966 - forty two years ago.

Yours truly was standing on the left, with John Tan in the centre, & Michael Chia on the right.

The second colour photo captured four of us, just after our appetising tim sum lunch at the Riverview Restaurant in the Excelsior Shopping Centre, 4th Floor, on Coleman Street.

The old buddy on the right is Robert Tang.

Our hairs have gone silver with age, but our friendship remains intact after more than four decades.

In spite of our adult years, well past the 'Third Launch', so to speak, we are still very young at heart, judging from our individual fun pursuits.

We meet up together in recent years -a few times a year - sometimes in a larger group with other buddies from the same class, but oftentimes with only four of us.

For the four of us, it was always nostalgic & fun to catch up & touch base with each other - to talk about good old times, to share useful ideas, as well as to deliberate on current events.

Naturally, entertainment, especially good food, health issues, aging matters, & travelling also fall under our purview.

Today, in order to keep up with an active physical lifestyle following retirement, John dabbles in properties; Michael runs around the region to smell out business opportunities, while Robert chases small balls on the green.

For me, time out with my old buddies is designed as an integral part of my disciplined social interaction, one of five key factors pertaining to brain fitness as well as successful aging.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"The difference between golf & most other sports is that anyone of average intelligence & coordination can learn to play it well. It requires a commitment to being the best that you can be. That has always been my approach to the game . . . Pop gave me many great lessons, not only about golf, but also about life. His greatest advice to me was always be myself."

~ Tiger Woods, writing in his book, 'How I Play Golf'; as a pro, he continues to dominate the world of golf, recently becoming the only man in the history of the game to hold four major championship trophies at one time: the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, & PGA;

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

How did I get to where I am right now?

What can I do about it?