Thursday, December 17, 2009

TAKING A BREAK: TAMAN SAFARI INDONESIA

Shortly, my wife & I will depart from our home in Jurong West for Changi International Airport to take our Singapore Airlines' morning flight to Jakarta.

We are scheduled to spend three days with our Indonesian friends, Alex K Taslim & his wife, Santi, at Taman Safari Indonesia, a wild-life conservation centre/zoological gardens/amusement park, which is located in Cibeureum village, Cisarua, South of Jakarta in the Bogor-Puncak area.

The park is considered as one of the most productive breeding centre of some species from all over the world, including rare species like Anoas, Rhinos, Giraffes, White Tigers, European, American and Asian Bears.

Covering an area of over 168 hectares, 75 km south of Jakarta, Taman Safari Indonesia allows visitors to gawk at wild animals roaming around in their natural habitats within the park.

Another three days of our visit to Indonesia will be spent in the capital, Jakarta.

In order that I can have a completely relaxing time-out - on the highlands in the Puncak area, 1500m above sea level, with fresh air & cold mountain breeze - to attain the objective of recharging my batteries, so to speak, my weblog will be shut down from 17th to 22nd December 2009. It will resume upon my return to Singapore.


[During the early nineties, & for two years, I was alternately stationed in Singapore & Jakarta, as General Manager in charge of project development, involving the setting up of manufacturing facilities for zinc industrial chemical derivatives in Jakarta, Medan & Surabaya. I was then working under the Premium Metals subsidiary of the Indonesian Citramas Group, led by Pak Kris Wiluan.]

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Life imitates art, more than art imitates life." (Oscar Wilde)


While waiting for my wife just outside a lady fashion boutique in the Jurong Point shopping mall, I have captured the foregoing digital snapshot at the window display of 'The Wallet Shop'.

The curious notion of life imitating art as expressed by Oscar Wilde struck my mind at that very moment.

But what happens when art is life?

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

If the sky was the limit, how might I address my vision?

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"There is no use whatever trying to help people who do not help themselves. You cannot push everyone up a ladder unless they are willing to climb themselves."

~ Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919); Scottish industrialist, businessman, entrepreneur, & philanthropist; one of the most famous captains of industry of the late 19th & early 20th centuries; the primary driving force behind Napoleon Hill's best sellers, 'Laws of Success' & 'Think & Grow Rich';

7 STEPS TO A BETTER 2010

I often get mailshots via email from Gary Ryan Blair, popularly recognised as 'The GoalsGuy' on the Internet.

His lastest posting on the 'Seven Steps That Can Change Your Life' is worth exploring.

Here they are:

Step 1 Identify Your Three Greatest Accomplishments In 2009?

Step 2 Analyze What You Learned from Each Accomplishment?

Step 3 Identify Your Biggest Disappointments Of 2009?

Step 4 Analyze What You Learned from Each Failure or Disappointment?

Step 5 Identify How You Limited Yourself and How Can You Stop It?

Step 6 Pragmatically Review the Information You Have Gathered?

Step 7: Use This Information to Astonish Yourself in 2010?

OK, now that you've uncovered a lot of useful information, the final step is to incorporate it into your personal strategic plan for 2010.

More information is available at his corporate website.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

If I have the choice, a chance to make a difference, what would it be?

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash & experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later."

~ Harold Green (1892-1951); founder & Chairman of the H L Green Company store chain (with 200 branches in USA & Canada);

Monday, December 14, 2009

SOFT SKILLS FOR AN INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER

I have stumbled upon a vacancy ad for an international account manager in the telecommunications industry.

In my mind, I reckon most industry professionals can easily meet the specified academic & professional qualifications, which I like to call "hard skills"

However, what intrigues me most is the broad description of "soft skills" required to fulfill such a position, as follows:

Customer Focus:
Is dedicated to meeting the expectations and requirements of internal and external customers; gets first-hand customer information and uses it for improvements in products and services; acts with customers in mind; establishes and maintains effective relationships with customers and gains their trust and respect.

Drive for Results:
Can be counted on to exceed goals successfully; is constantly and consistently one of the top performers; very bottom-line oriented; steadfastly pushes self and others for results.

Strategic Agility:
Sees ahead clearly; can anticipate future consequences and trends accurately; has broad knowledge and perspective; is future oriented; can articulately paint credible pictures and visions of possibilities and likelihoods; can create competitive and breakthrough strategies and plans.

Organizing:
Can marshal resources (people, funding, material, and support) to get things done; can orchestrate multiple activities at once to accomplish a goal; uses resources effectively and efficiently; arranges information and files in a useful manner.

Listening:
Practices attentive and active listening; has the patience to hear people out; can accurately restate the opinions of other even when he/she disagrees.

Perseverance:
Pursues everything with energy, drive, and a need to finish; seldom gives up before finishing, especially in the face of resistance or setbacks.

Political Savvy:
Can maneuver through complex political situations effectively and quietly; is sensitive to how people and organizations function; anticipates where the land mines are and plans his/her approach accordingly; views corporate politics as a necessary part of organizational life and works to adjust to that reality; is a maze-bright person.

This is the first time I have seen such lucid elaboration of "soft skills" required in a vacancy ad.

Just in case you are job hunting, here's the original weblink to the vacancy ad.

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"From time to time, everyone benefits from being "re-potted," from applying their talents to new challenges. Re-potting & self-renewal go hand in hand, whether the pot is a new position, a new firm or an entirely new career..."

~ Jay Lorsch & Thomas Tierney, authors of 'Aligning the Stars: How to Succeed When Professionals Drive Results';

[To paraphrase the authors, "Personal life goals naturally evolve as circumstances change.

A promotion, a new child, a divorce or a death in the family can be an opportunity to seriously rethink your point of arrival.

Fundamental changes - some anticipated & some unanticipated - shape every one's destiny. The challenge is to turn them to your advantage, to use them as opportunities for self-renewal.

Re-potting always feels risky at first, since you're trading the comfort of familiar experience for uncertainty. But the greater risk is to remain imprisoned i an old pot you have long since outgrown.

In a new environment, you can grow to meet new challenges with new energy; in the old pot, you run the risk of atrophy..."
]

WHAT SKILLS DOES A CEO NEED MOST?

Here's the link to a great article on leadership from McArdle Ramerman Inc., a leadership coaching consultancy.

I like their penetrating prognosis:

Their answer to the question begins with one word: Clarity.

However, they add further: For the leader who wants clarity, there are five foundational skills that help along the way:

1) learning agility;

2) coachability;

3) a willingness to be change-able;

4) ability to manage anxiety;

5) capability to develop direct reports with talented people;


[McArdle Ramerman Inc., is owned by co-authors & leadership development experts Sherri McArdle & Jim Ramerman, who wrote 'Why Dogs Wag Their Tails: Lessons Leaders Can learn about Work, Joy & Life'.

I have yet to acquire & read their book, but I am already attracted to the tagline “Every man is wise when attacked by a mad dog; fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion,” attributed to Robertson Davies.

I must say that their corporate website is a gold-mine!]

[I recommend reading C K Prahalad's article in the BusinessWeek online, entitled 'In Volatile Times, Agility Rules: Flexible Capacity & Worker Skills are essential, but in a context of Strategic Clarity'. Here's the link.]

Sunday, December 13, 2009

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in-between that we fear... it's like being between trapezes. There's nothing to hold on to."

~ Marilyn Fergusson, author of the best-sellers, 'Aquarius Now: Radical Common Sense And Reclaiming Our Personal Sovereignty' (2005) & 'The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time' (1987); her works actually sparked my early interests in exploring the human potential movement;

RAPID RECAP: THE EFFECTIVE EXECUTIVE

My most profound take-aways from Peter Drucker's 'The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done', among the first few management books which I had read during the late seventies. I was then promoted from Engineering Excutive to Deputy Divisional Manager of an engineering division in a German trading firm (Behn, Meyer & Co.,):

1. The effective executive knows his priorities in terms of time & tasks;

2. The effective executive focuses on productive contributions;

3. The effective executive builds, amplifies & leverages on strengths — of everybody around him, including himself;

4. The effective executive concentrates on key results areas;

5. The effective executive makes decisions, boldly, effectively, timely & strategically;

PRAGMATIC INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS

"Happiness is a matter of attention. If we get into the habit of focusing attention on negative aspects, we are likely to be unhappy. If we learn to focus on more positive aspects, we can be happier."

~ creativity guru Edward de bono, writing in his 'H+ (plus): A New Religion? How to Live Your Life Positively through Happiness, Humour, Help, Hope & Health';

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: PROLOGUE


Have you visited the new kid in town?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

SHIFTING PERSPECTIVES

If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following:

There would be:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-white
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth
1 would have a college education
1 would own a computer

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.

The following is also something to ponder...

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness... you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death... you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep... you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still married ... you are very rare, even in the United States, UK and Canada.

If you can read this message you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Someone once said: What goes around comes around.

Work like you don’t need the money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching.
Sing like nobody’s listening.
Live like it’s Heaven on Earth.

[Source: 'Reflections for PEOPLE with POWER to CHANGE their world']

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

Where do I have the edge?

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: COUNTERPOISE


It didn't actually strike me when I took this digital picture at the Bugis Junction shopping mall. I was initially attracted by the large vertical column fully plastered with many movie poster replicas as shown below.

I only realised the counterpoise of a weird guy in the poster assuming the same poise as I had originally taken to shoot his picture, so to speak, after I had zeroed in to take a close-up shot.

Well, I can only say 'what a coincidence!'

21 KEYS TO BOOSTING YOUR L (LIKEABILITY) FACTOR

I have stumbled upon this fascinating blogpost entitled '21 Keys to Magnetic Likeability', which offers a valuable look at the characteristic traits that contribute to a person's likeability:

1. Be Attentive to Others and Never Stop Listening;

2. Compliment People Who Deserve It;

3. Make Yourself Available and Approachable;

4. Speak Clearly so People Can Understand You;

5. Never Try to Be Someone You’re Not;

6. Address People by Their Name;

7. Mirror the Person You’re Conversing With;

8. Always Ask to Help… and Help When Asked;

9. Never Get Caught Lying;

10. Say “Please” and “Thank You”;

11. Use Positive Language (Body and Verbal);

12. Smile;

13. Keep Unqualified Opinions to Yourself;

14. Provide Tangible Value;

15. Respect Elders, Respect Minors, Respect Everyone;

16. Make Frequent Eye Contact… but Don’t Stare;

17. Don’t Over-Promise… Instead, Over-Deliver;

18. Stand Up for Your Beliefs Without Promoting Them;

19. Make a Firm Handshake;

20. Keep Your Hands Away from Your Face;

21. Dress Clean;

Readers can go to this weblink ('Marc & Angel Hack Life: Practical Tips for Productive Living') to read the original blogpost in its entirety.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Everyone thinks that the principal thing to the tree is the fruit, but in point of fact the principal thing to it, is the seed."

~ Friedrich Nietzsche, (1844-1900); German philosopher & poet;

10 TRUTHS ABOUT THE FUTURE

The following are my take-aways from an expert advisory by futurist, trends & innovation strategist Jim Carroll, whose two wonderful books have been reviewed in my weblog as well as on Amazon.com:

1) It’s incredibly fast, with collapsing product life cycles;

2) It involves a huge adaptability gap, due to accelerating change;

3) It has a huge instantaneity, as we live in a rapid idea cycle era;

4) It hits you most when you don’t expect it - understand hype cycles;

5) It's being defined by renegades & insurgents;

6) It involves partnership with customers, suppliers, facilitators & other stakeholders;

7) It involves intensity, like playing video-games;

8) It’s bigger than you think - there's danger in the comfort zone;

9) It involves innovation intensity from everyone in the organisation;

10) It comes from experiential capital - learning, unlearning & relearning;


[Jim Carroll wrote 'What I Learned from Frogs in Texas: Saving Your Skin with Forward-Thinking Innovation' & 'Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast'.]

Friday, December 11, 2009

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present, & you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent agg. We must be hatched or go bad."

~ C S Lewis (1898–1963); Irish-born British novelist; famous works include 'The Chronicles of Narnia';

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

Is the quality of my life I lead a reflection of my deeds?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

THE SECRET TO SUCCESSFUL AGING

I have my Google Alert on 'Successful Aging' with feedforward on a weekly basis. I just got one good one from them.

Dr. Bill Thomas, author of 'What Are Old People For?', has recently delivered his presentation, entitled “Beyond the Gero-sphere”, at a conference on positive aging in St Petersberg in Florida.

A quick snapshot on his presentation has been captured at this weblink.

What fascinates most is this revelation:

According to Dr. Thomas, the secret to successful aging is to walk, act, talk, & behave like a young person.

How about that?

I fully concur with Dr Thomas' exhortation, because I know that the brain can't tell the difference between a 'real' experience from an 'imagined' experience. This is based on the pioneering work in 'image of achievement' by Dr Karl Pribram.

Also, it works because of the powerful concept of 'modeling', as in neurolinguistic programming.

POWER VOCABULARY: ACTIVE INERTIA

I have picked up the fascinating new term "active inertia" from Prof Donald Sull of the London Business School.

I have just started to read his latest book, 'The Upside of Turbulence: Seizing Opportunity in an Uncertain World'. The book has this great tag line on the inside front flap:

"A provocative user's guide to a world where the only thing that doesn't change is change itself."

In the book, he describes "active inertia" as the current preoccupation of today's executives when dealing with turbulence in the marketplace.

They respond to turbulence by accelerating activities that worked in the past.

According to him, drawing on relevant historical examples from the business world, executive saw changes in the market & responded, but hardened commitments channeled their actions into familiar grooves.

In the book, among others, he brings up the classic examples of US Steel & General Motors as well as dinosaurs like Digital, Wang & Data General.

Actually, come to think of it, the term "active inertia" is an oxymoron.

It somehow reminds me of the term "temporary insanity", often attributed to the iconic physicist Albert Einstein, who once commented as follows:

"... doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

As a matter of fact, Dilip Mukerkea has an interesting corollary:

Are you busy living or busy dying?

[In his book, Prof Donald Sull dedicates one whole chapter, Chapter IV, to the subject of "active inertia". Readers can go to this weblink of the author's weblog in Financial Times to read some excerpts from the book.]

人生是什麼? WHAT'S LIFE ALL ABOUT?

Again, a good buddy of mine has recently sent me this multi-lingual sort of expert advisory:

1 歲時出場亮相
At one, YOU are the top priority

10 歲時功課至上
At ten, academic excellence is the top priority

20 歲時春心盪漾
At twenty, getting laid is the top priority

30 歲時職場對抗
At thirty, a good career is top priority

40 歲時身材發胖
At forty, keeping your body in shape is top priority

50 歲時打打麻將
At fifty, beating others at mahjong is top priority

60 歲時老當益壯
At sixty, keeping IT up is top priority

70 歲 時 常常 健忘
At seventy, remembering something is top priority

80 歲時搖搖晃晃
At eighty, moving around is top priority

90 歲時迷失方向
At ninety, knowing directions is top priority

100 歲時掛在牆上
At 100, having your portrait on the wall is top priority!

[Source: Unknown]

A PRAYER FOR DADDY

A good buddy of mine has sent me the following imaginal "story" not too long ago. It's just too cute & beautiful not to share with readers.


"Dear God, please send lots of clothes for all those poor ladies on my daddy's computer! Amen."

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"You only have to do a very few things right in your life, so long as you don't do too many things wrong."

~ billionaire investor Warren Buffet;

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: 300 OF THE WORLD'S HOTTEST POSTER DESIGNS

Here's the link to 'Eye Candy of the Day: 300 of the World's Hottest Poster Designs' on Fast Company.

Enjoy your exploration!

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"If there is nothing very special about your work, no matter how hard you apply yourself, you won’t get noticed and that increasingly means you won’t get paid much, either."

~ Michael Goldhaber, author & scholar, writing in the 'Wired Magazine';

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A STORY ABOUT IMPERTURBABILITY

What follows is a fascinating story about 'imperturbability', which I have found while surfing the wild wild web.

According to dictionary.com, 'imperturbability' means "incapable of being upset or agitated". Synonyms include: "composed", "collected", "impassive", "cool", "unmoved".

Here's the great story to exemplify 'imperturbability':

I think Charles Allen said it first. "When faced with problems which threaten to steal your peace of mind, learn the meaning of the word 'imperturbability.'"

I heard of two artists who were asked to illustrate peace. Each was assigned the task of depicting a peaceful scene on canvas.

The first artist drew a beautiful picture of a countryside on a warm, spring day. A soft sun illumines green grass. A picturesque farm house and grazing cattle are bathed in its warmth. A farmer walks contentedly behind strong plow horses making his field ready for spring planting. The picture is one of beauty and quiet tranquility.

The other artist took a different approach. He drew a majestic, rugged cliff. Gnarled trees, twisted by years of violent winds, jut from the craggy mountainside. Dark clouds hang low and fierce while jagged streaks of lightening slash across an angry sky. The picture is one of violence, chaos and rage.

But as one looks closely, something else becomes visible. There in one of the crevices of the rocky mountain, tucked back just out of reach of the wind and rain - a nest with two small birds. Apparently unconcerned about the impending storm, they appear calm, cozy and peaceful as they patiently wait for the turbulence to pass.

And isn't that the way it so often is? We may want to be surrounded by peace, but storms rage. Problems and pressures without threaten to steal peace of mind within.

The answer is imperturbability: inner peace which doesn't leave when circumstances change. It's a peace which is greater than the problems of life, built on assurance that the tempest will finally pass, we will survive the storm, we may grow stronger because of it and, in the meantime, we will not endure it alone.

Imperturbability - it's the result of a peace which passes understanding. For serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.

[Source: Inspirational Gifts by Steve Goodier]

THE STORY YOU TELL YOURSELF

Two nights ago, I had reluctantly sat down to watch a sci-fi thriller movie, entitled 'Alien Raiders', on StarHub cable television.

The movie director (Ben Rock?) & all the actors/actresses (Carlos Bernard? Mathew St Patrick? Rockmond Dunbar? to name just a few) were unknown, at least to me. Hence, the movie somehow triggered my initial lukewarm response, even though I was intrigued by the catchy title.

However, as the story progressed, I began to be drawn into the taut & gripping movie plot.

In a nut shell, the movie had centred on a bunch of masked gunmen who raided a small town supermarket, killing some employees &/or customers along the way. They then herded all the remaining clueless people who happened to be around - wrong place, wrong time, as they say - into one part of the supermarket, while the masked raiders seemed to be determined in hunting for something.

Police soon came, but couldn't really help the hostages as the lights in the supermarket were shut down, & also the masked gunmen didn't demand anything, except for scrawling two big words on the front glass panels, 'STAY BACK'.

Gradually, it was revealed that the masked gunmen were actually a group of scientists who had turned vigilantes, hunting for some mysterious alien bugs that had apparently infested humans, using the warm bodies as some sort of gestation process, & the supermarket was identified as a "hot spot".

Interestingly & amusingly, the rogue scientists seemed to have found an ingenious way to isolate humans who were infested. That gruesome process, coupled with the fast-paced action sequences, really made the movie thrilling to watch till the end.

Frankly, I didn't quite like the movie ending, where the evolved alien bug in human form eventually managed to escape the siege. I reckon that's how Hollywood producers often leave room to plan their sequels.

Nonetheless, I had really enjoyed watching the seemingly low-budget thriller movie till the end.

To me, the story plot was awesome, & also original in many ways, when compared to most other movies in the same genre.

Transposed the movie experience - analogically - to a personal life application: What is your story?

More precisely, what is the story you tell yourself?

In other words, if you keep telling that story - your internal dialog, your self-talk - you will keep living that life.

You are the one in charge of your internal dialog, your self talk, & you are the one that can change it by making it exciting to talk in ways that encourage you & inspire you.

Are you loving your old story too much?

People don't just have ideas & self-images about themselves; they have stories.

The stories come up repeatedly in your internal dialog, your self-talk,

That's to say, the story you tell yourself is what determines your future outcome.

We are what we tell ourselves. This is the harsh reality.

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: LOSING YOUR FOCUS?

Nowadays, it is very easy to lose your focus, especially with the ready availability of rapid technologies like Facbook & instant messaging, besides the prevalence of other distractions.

So, how does one get focused & stay focused?

Here are some quick suggestions:

- focus with the end in mind, & use the important goals or objectives in your life as guideposts in whatever you do;

- remove all physical distractions as much as possible from your immediate work area;

- alternatively, & if possible, change your physical environment to one that is more conducive to maintaining a resourceful mindstate;

- clean up your workplace clutter, if any, as a clean desk begets a clear mind, which in turn drives appropriate & efficient action;

- block out a fixed amount of time from your daily routines to do your most important work;

- use daily 'Things-to-do" Lists, with ABC prioritisation, as guideposts;

- prioritising your important tasks constantly to keep you on the ball;

- breaking down big tasks into small, bite-sized chunks, where possible;

- tracking your progress rigorously, by using say a simplified PERT Chart;

- detaching yourself from negative self-talk through declarative statements;

- use scratchpads on your work desk to capture any random thoughts that distract you by jotting them down;

- practise journaling to regulate your daily thought processes & goal planning;


- play soothing, relaxing music in the background e.g. Pachelbel Canon, while you work;

- using motivating posters as visual peripherals on the wall to help you stay focused;

- if feasible, use full spectrum lighting in your work area; if not, work in a physical area where there is natural light coming in;

[Note: flourescent lighting is bad, especially for the eyes, due to its pulsating strobe effects. In fact, adding a work or reading lamp that uses the old-fashioned tungsten bulb next to you is highly recommended.]

18 MOST POWERFUL THINGS YOU CAN SAY TO YOURSELF

Here's the link to a fascinating article on '18 Most Powerful Things You Can Say to Yourself' by Tom Russell, author of 'SuperWisdom: Seven Vital Secrets for a Rich & Purpose-Filled Life'.

[More information about the author & his work can be found at this link.

I have yet to read his book, but using the Amazon online reading device, with which one can search inside the book, I have discovered that his 'The SuperWisdom Dictionary', containing 40 selected keywords for contemplation & transformation, is equally fascinating.]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy, but not peace or happiness."

~ Henrik Ibsen, (1828-1906); a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, & poet; often referred to as "the god father" of modern drama, & ranked as one of the truly great playwrights in the European tradition, alongside Shakespeare;

MY FAVOURITE FAST-FOOD

Monday, December 7, 2009

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast… a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic.

Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there.

So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space.

Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators.

I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.

~ Edward Abbey;

[Source: 'Favourite Mountaineering Quotes', Sierra Nevada Mountain News, Reports & Information]

Sunday, December 6, 2009

TOUCHING BASE & CELEBRATING THE THIRD AGE

Singapore is one of the fastest ageing populations in the world.

Our population is still relatively young today, but this will change significantly over the next 20 to 30 years. Today, 7.6 percent of the population is 65 years old and above. This will increase almost three-fold to about 18.9% by 2030.

That's to say, one in five Singaporeans will be at least 65 years old then.

Asia's four biggest economies - Australia, China, Japan, & South Korea - are all affected by the greying phenomenon.

According to the United Nations estimates, 30% of the populations of China & Australia will be older than 60 by 2050, while South Korea's figure is 36.9%.

Japan's aging phenomenon is the most serious, where 42.4% of its population is expected to be aged 60 or older by 2050.

By comparison, only 25.5% of the U.S. population will be over 60 years old by 2050.

Globally, the average of the elderly population ratio is estimated to rise from 7.3% to 11.8% in 2030 % 15.9% in 2050. That's to say, 1 in 5 of the world's population will be over 60. For the first time in history, there will be more of us over 60 than there will be children under 15.

No wonder, the 21st century has been termed the 'Century of Ageing'.

Nonetheless, my Polytechnic buddies from the mid-sixties & I, especially with all of us already into the early sixties, are not going "bananas" over these relatively shocking ageing statistics, whether globally or nationally.

To us, we just want to hang out together, once every two months. In some ways, besides touching base with each other, we also like to celebrate our ascent into the Third Age.

In fact, six of us -David, Mike, John, Hock Tin & King & yours truly; only David, King, & yours truly brought along our wives - met recently for lunch at the Crystal Jade Restaurant in the IMM Jurong East shopping mall on Wednesday.

After lunch, we even adjourned to the Kopitiam (coffee-shop) on the 2nd floor to continue our talk shop. Everything under the sun was fair game.

The last time, we - David, Mike, John, Hock Tin, & yours truly; only David & yours truly brought along our wives - had met in October, also over lunch.

It was Mike's earlier idea for each of us to serve on rotation as paymaster for the occasion. So, he paid for the last gathering in October. I was the paymaster for Wednesday. I reckon he wanted us to show personal commitment to the bi-monthly get-together initiative. In earlier years, we had met only once in a blue moon.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for the first week of March 2010. David has volunteered to be the next paymaster.

To me, keeping the socialisation process alive & active - or sustaining the fire of the Old Boys Network burning, so to speak - is imperative, as we continue to journey through the Third Age & all the way - gracefully - to the Fourth Age.




RAPID RECAP: LEARNING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Students should master the following four interconnected knowledge, skills & expertise in order to "succeed in work & life in the 21st century:"

Core Subjects & 21st Century Themes:

- English, reading, foreign language, math, economics, science, geography, history & government & global awareness, civic literacy, health literacy, and financial, economic, business & entrepreneurial literacy.

Learning & Innovation Skills:

- Creativity & innovation, critical thinking & problem solving, & communication & collaboration.

Information, Media & Technology Skills:

- Information literacy, media literacy, & information, communications & technology literacy.

Life & Career Skills:

- Flexibility & adaptability, initiative & self-direction, social & cross-cultural skills, productivity and accountability, & leadership & responsibility

[Source: Partnership for 21st Century Skills]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, "What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?" and my answer must at once be, "It is no use."

There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behavior of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it.

We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It's no use.

So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy.

And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.

~ George Leigh Mallory, 1922;

[Source: 'Favourite Mountaineering Quotes', Sierra Nevada Mountain News, Reports & Information]

Saturday, December 5, 2009

PRAGMATIC INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS

"Life is largely a process of adaptation to the circumstances in which we exist. A perennial give and take has been going on
between living matter and its inanimate surroundings, between one living being and another, ever since the dawn of life in the prehistoric oceans. The secret of health and happiness lies in successful adjustment to the ever-changing conditions on this globe; the penalties for failure in this great process of adaptation are disease and unhappiness."

~ Hans Selye, the father of stress research, who wrote in his seminal work, 'The Stress of Life', in 1956;

ENTERTAINING A THOUGHT... OR TWO OPPOSED THOUGHTS

I have stumbled upon the following illumination while surfing the net:

"When you do philosophy, you’ve got to have two different mindsets in your toolbox because true philosophers have to bring both out at different times...

Curious Mindset

This is the mindset you must have when you begin thinking about a topic area. It’s the open, trusting, mindset where you don’t judge ideas, but you explore and consider them...


... the curious mindset is about entertaining an idea...

Critical Mindset

This is the mindset you have when you are analyze and deciding where you fall on an issue or topic. This is where you poke and prode an idea, looking at the assumptions behind it, the implications of it, and the logic that holds it together...


... As you strengthen both these mindsets, you’ll become a stronger philosopher - one who is able to accept somewhat strange conclusions if they come from sound reasoning, and is able to tear apart our most basic beliefs about the world and show them to be false..."

I reckon, embracing the curious and critical mindsets appropriately, one can now readily & truly appreciate the lessons from these two great quotes:

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

~ Aristotle;

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

~ F Scott Fitzgerald;

[Source: 'The Success-Driven Philosophy' weblog]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he
cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live. Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom. Only a person who risks is free."


~ William Arthur Ward, (1921-1994); one of America's most quoted writers of inspirational maxims;

[Source: 'Favourite Mountaineering Quotes', Sierra Nevada Mountain News, Reports & Information]

Friday, December 4, 2009

10 MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES TO PREVAIL IN THE RECESSION & THRIVE IN THE AFTERMATH

A quick one:

1) Reset your priorities,

2) Protect your people because they are a vital asset to your business,

3) Relationships are changing, so take charge of the change,

4) Take a fresh look at your business model - it might need to adapt to seize fresh opportunities,

5) Manage for Value,

6) Your customers have new problems so create new solutions to help them,

7) Don't panic & cut prices; have some courage,

8) Increase your operational discipline & get healthier faster,

9) Take a deeper look at all the risks your company faces,

10) Spend time on growing yourself.


[Source: 'The Upside of the Downturn: Ten Management Strategies to Prevail in the Recession & Thrive in the Aftermath', by Fortune Magazine's senior editor at large, Geoff Colvin. I have yet to read the book, but I thought that the key ideas in headline format as presented by the author are apparently grounded solidly.]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)


"You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again... so why bother in the first place?
Just this: what is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one see no longer, but one has seen. There is an art to conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can still at least know."

~ Rene Daumel, Mont Analogue;

TOOLS & STRATEGIES FOR BECOMING A STRATEGIC LEADER

While surfing the net, I have found a new book, entitled 'The Strategic Leader: New Tactics for a Globalizing World', by Dr John Pilipia of Florida Atlantic University.

What has attracted me is the fact that the book is framed around six key habits gleaned from leaders who have successfully answered the following questions:

- Do I need to think differently?
- What is the environment telling me?
- Where are we going and where do we need to go?
- How do I position myself and/or my organization, team and individuals to take advantage of opportunities presented by the environment?
- How do I multiply myself though other people?
- How do I find and turn talent into performance?
- How do I ignite the soul of followers to achieve greatness beyond what anyone imagined possible?
- How do I know if we are succeeding?
- How do we continually adapt to change and maintain profitability and our competitive advantage?


& also, the author's 'turn the wheel' metholodogy of using the following six key habits, actions & tactics in acquiring a strategic leadership mindset, aided by two original self assessment tools: The Strategic Thinking Questionnaire (STQ) & the Strategic Leadership Questionnaire (SLQ):

- artistry;
- agility;
- anticipating the future;
- articulating strategic intent;
- aligning resources;
- assuring results;

I have ordered a paperback copy from the publisher.

Please stay tuned for my book review. Readers can check out some excerpts from the book at Google.

Readers can also visit the authors' weblog at this link.

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

When faced with a new task, ponder over these questions as part of thinking strategically:

1) what am I actually expected to do here?

2) how does this task resemble or differ from others I have dealt with before?

3) what different ways are there of interpreting this task?

4) what is the significance of the particular aspects of this task?

5) what do I actually know?

6) what are the facts as distinct from the opinions?

7) what information would I need to have in order to deal with this task?

CONGRATULATIONS, PAK KRIS!


Congratulations & Best Wishes to my former boss, Kris Wiluan, during the last leg of my eventful journey through the corporate world during the very early nineties, for being awarded Ernst & Young 2009 Indonesian's Entrepreneur of the Year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"There are only two possible ways for creative tension to resolve itself: pull current reality toward the vision or pull the vision toward reality. Which occurs will depend on whether we hold steady to the vision."
~ Peter Senge, 'The Fifth Discipline';

PRAGMATIC INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS

"... Rowe & Kahn, who popularized the term "successful aging," placed cognitive functioning front & center in the equation for achieving a fulfilled & satisfying later life. Being able to use your mind & keeping it active will help you feel more mentally competent & so contribute to your overall well-being. You can't use your mind to maximum advantage if you are convinced that it is decaying because once you believe it is gone, it will be gone."

~ Dr Susan Whitbourne, writing in her weblog, 'Fulfillment at Any Age: How to remain Productive & Healthy into your Later Years';

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

What will give me competitive advantage as a strategic leader in my sphere of activity?

How do I develop the requisite skills in order to gain & sustain competitive advantage in whatever I do?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogance, or the scared. It's an excuse for inaction, a call to no-arms."

~ Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-1993);

A POEM ENTITLED 'WISDOM' by Barnabe Googe

What is this thing we WISDOM call?
An act it is, no thing at all:
To choose to do that which will bring
The happiest of everything
To everyone is WISDOM’s aim;
That we do not, is our shame.


~ extracted from the transcript of an address at the University Unitarian Universalist Society in Orlando, Florida on April 2 2006, by Copthorne Macdonald of 'The Wisdom Page';

DRAWING LESSONS FROM THE PAST: WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

I love spending time working out in the gym during the mornings. As I do my exercise routines, I often use the quiet time to think & reflect.

So, I now have a new & interesting idea to share with readers.

I reckon, based on my own self-directed learning pursuits over the years, in order to plan effectively forward, one must first understand one's position as to where one has already been, as well as appreciate one's current position in the scheme of things.

For me, the primary objective is to draw valuable lessons from the past - hindsights, as some people prefer to call them.

Of course, I do realise that the past doesn't equal to or guarantee the future, but my point in the retrospection exercise is finding out more about what had worked in the past & what didn't work, & more importantly, how can we draw useful hind-sights from our own past learning experiences, coupled with in-sights of our present, to prepare for the future.

In other words, to ultimately generate fore-sights to deal with future challenges & problems.

Personally, I believe in "everything is connected to everything else". Nothing in the world actually happens in isolation. I also believe in synchronicity.

More explicitly, at least from my own personal perspective, past history can be an interesting platform for intellectual deliberation of one's personal strategic planning endeavour.

Going back to the early nineties, when I was contemplating to quit the corporate world, where I had spent almost a quarter of a century, & to design the second half of my life, I had embarked on my retrospection exercise with the aid of two powerful self-evaluation tools.

I can't recall exactly from whom I had learned the tools, but I believe it was the brilliant work of Anthony Robbins, which I must admit I had studied at great length during that crucial period, among other "mid-life transition" stuff from Richard Leider, Frederic Hudson, & Richard Bolles.

In sharing with readers, I will outline the first one of the tools in this blogpost, & the second one in a subsequent blogpost.

Take a very large sheet of blank paper, In my case, I recall, I had use a flip-chart paper.

Draw a matrix grid as follows.

Working across the page, horizontally from the top, draw ten (10) vertical columns & mark out, say, ten years into the past, e.g. '2009', '2008', '2007', '2006, 2005' & so on. That's how I had started when I did mine, & later on I had expanded it to cover my earlier 25 years on two separate sheets.

Now, working vertically downward from the left edge of the page, draw twelve (12) horizontal columns across the page, denoting the monthly periods from 'January' to 'December'.

The completed matrix grid will look exactly like a very large spread-sheet, with "cells" for you to fill in.

Start from the current year, say, '2009', & ponder about your personal as well as professional achievements, e.g. "got married to a rich & beautiful lady", "vacation in the Sahara Desert", "secured a salary increment of S$1,000", "got a promotion to GM", etc.

As you recall, & using a black colour marker, jot down each of the positive events into the "cell", corresponding to the period of occurrence.

When you have completed for the year 2009, pause for a moment, & this time, ponder about your personal as well as professional setbacks, disappointments & obstacles you have overcome, e.g. "my laptop was stolen", "got into a big row with my mother-in-law", "lost a S$1 million contract", etc.

As you recall, & using this time a red colour marker, jot down each of the negative events inside the "cell", corresponding to the period of occurrence.

As soon as you have completed '2009', go to '2008' & repeat the process till the ten years profile is completed.

For the current year, & possibly the first few preceding years, memory recall is not so much a problem, but it gets increasingly difficult when you start looking back, say 10, 20 years ago.

In my case, I was fortunate to have had kept pretty good records, as far back of my days at the Technical Institute, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, around the mid-sixties.

To my pleasant delight, I generally have a comparatively good working memory when it comes to my own personal life pursuits.

In fact, my good friend Dilip Mukerjea once asked me how much I could remember of my childhood, & I told him that I could remember as far back as when I was a 7-year old young boy.

I actually have relatively vivid memories of my childhood, starting in the Bukit Timah area where I was born, & then, the early years of growing up in Yong Peng, Johor, Malaysia. I had already written quite a lot about my childhood experiences in this weblog of mine.

Coming back to the matrix grid, I do not expect you to complete the exercise in one go. You probably will have to do that over several days or maybe weeks.

I did mine over several weeks. In fact, I recall going back to my matrix grid from time to time to add &/or embellish as necessary, to ensure that I had thoroughly captured all the important events of my life.

Frankly, as I recall, it was a tedious & painstaking process, but it was worth it, since I was contemplating the second half of my life.

In retrospect, that was truly the first step of my personal strategic planning.

After completing the matrix grid, in my case it was 25 years back from 1991 - that's was actually the year I quit the corporate world - stand back & look at your own "profile", so to speak.

In my case, somewhat to my chargin, there were many "blank cells". In other words, I didn't have any notable events to record in those particular periods of my life.

I recall, the feeling became scary & unsettling the moment I had started to think about & project myself into the next ten years.

The troubling question that crossed my mind at that time was: Is this exactly what I wanted to have replicated in the next 10 years, or more specifically, for the rest of my life?

At this juncture, I like to add that the foregoing exercise is just the beginning of a personal self-evaluation of where one has already been.

In the next blogpost, I will share with readers the second self-evaluation tool, with the view of completing the first one.

Please stay tuned.

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

RAPID RECAP: WEIRD IDEAS THAT WORK

These are some of the "weird" ideas [out of 110] suggested by innovation consultant Robert Sutton in his interesting book, “Weird Ideas that Work: How to Build a Creative Company”.

1. Hire slow learners. Hire people who make you uncomfortable, even those you dislike.

2. Hire people you don’t need.

3. Use job interviews to get ideas, not to screen candidates

4. Encourage people to ignore and defy superiors and peers.

5. Find some happy people and get them to fight.

6. Reward success and failure, punish inaction.

7. Decide to do something that will probably fail, then convince yourself and everyone else that success is certain.

8. Think of some ridiculous or impractical things to do, then plan to do them.

9. Avoid, distract and bore customers, critics and everyone who just wants to talk about money.

10. Don’t try to learn anything from people who say they have solved the problems you face.

11. Forget the past, especially your company’s success.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.
Everything we see is a perspective, not a truth."

~ Marcus Aurelius (121-180), the great Roman emperor & philosopher, who wrote Meditations, a classic text of philosophy & history);

Monday, November 30, 2009

101 STRESS RELIEVERS: Things You Can Do or Start Today to Relieve, Eliminate, or Better Manage Stress in Your Life

1. Build select periods of refuge into your schedule. (It's called a 'vacation' — remember?)

2. Learn how to take breaks during the day.

3. Live within your budget — pay your bills.

4. Anything that you can control in your lifestyle, do so. (disorganization = maximum stressors!)

5. Keep your number of role responsibilities in line. ("No!" is the word, if you have forgotten.)

6. Be ready to streamline your schedule.

7. If possible avoid people who stress you.

8. Plan — avoid overextending yourself.

9. Learn to compromise: Cooperation = Growth but Competition = Stress

10. Accept what you cannot change (including other people).

11. Frequently ask yourself, "How do I feel?" and listen to the answer!

12. Nurture relationships worth developing (Fertilize your friendships!)

13. Try a new perspective, i.e., flexibility.

14. Ask for feedback from a reliable source.

15. Always be prepared to wait.

16. Leave time for delays in traveling and appointments.

17. Develop TO-DO lists that are accomplishable — only write down what you will complete in one day!

18. Explore your spirituality in some way.

19. Breathe consciously and connectedly for 5 minutes or more.

20. Do something creative.

21. Go to an aquarium.

22. Start an aquarium.

23. Write a poem about your feelings.

24. Forgive someone you thought you never would.

25. Make peace with your parents (whether alive or dead).

26. Make peace with your children.

27. Relax, learn to relax, practice relaxing, relax about not relaxing.

28. Do yoga.

29. Get massaged.

30. Get Rolfed.

31. See a chiropractor.

32. Practice a martial art.

33. Practice a marital art.

34. Run, jog, walk — Move!

35. Go swimming.

36. Improve your diet.

37. Improve your wardrobe.

38. Improve your image and self-image.

39. Learn to love your job/work/career.

40. Improve your relationship with your boss.

41. Spend money.

42. Save money — start a new account.

43. Earn money.

44. Give away money.

45. Keep a journal of your feelings.

46. Enjoy your successes. (Roll around in 'em like a hound dog!).

47. Learn from, and let go of, your failures.

48. Read books.

49. Sit in a sauna.

50. Sit in a whirlpool.

51. Shower with a friend.

52. Sun bathe.

53. Sit in total silence while staying alert.

54. Go on a hike, explore.

55. Go camping.

56. Tell the whole truth as fast as possible.

57. Communicate better and more often with your loved ones.

58. Write yourself a letter.

59. Make some positive long-range goals.

60. Visualize success.

61. Do guided imagery of peaceful scenes.

62. Take a weekend trip.

63. Meditate.

64. See a movie.

65. Do some stretching exercises.

66. Learn to do affirmations.

67. Learn and apply self-hypnosis.

68. Make peace with your childhood.

69. Resolve destructive dualisms. (Either-Ors)

70. Get the right amount of sleep.

71. Make peace with money.

72. Invent something.

73. Learn to delegate.

74. Listen to easy music with headphones.

75. Get in touch with your body.

76. Make peace with death.

77. Make peace with God.

78. Make a retreat.

79. Try to enjoy everything for five minutes at a time.

80. Contact a long, lost friend.

81. Play with a pet.

82. Remember that a clock is a tool, not an enemy.

83. Learn Vivation (see Jim Leonard in Bibliography.)

84. Clean up and get organized.

85. Treat yourself to maid service.

86. Go out to a good restaurant.

87. Go to the beach, the mountains, the lake.

88. Uncover your healthy self-esteem.

89. Skip a meal.

90. Go on a fast.

91. Eat your dessert first.

92. Resurrect an old hobby.

93. Buy yourself a present.

94. Smile.

95. Tell a joke.

96. Travel.

97. Go to bed two hours earlier than usual once a week.

98. Take a wellness day off.

99. Eat a bowl of cereal; hold the spoon with your fist.

100. Pray.

101. Do something with one of the above.

[Source: 'Living A Stress Free Life', by Dr Anthony Dallmann-Jones. For more information about the author, his many books & other good stuff, please visit his corporate website.]

WISDOM DEFINED

“Wisdom is a state of the human mind characterized by profound understanding and deep insight. It is often, but not necessarily, accompanied by extensive formal knowledge. Unschooled people can acquire wisdom, and wise people can be found among carpenters, fishermen, or housewives. Wherever it exists, wisdom shows itself as a perception of the relativity and relationships among things. It is an awareness of wholeness that does not lose sight of particularity or concreteness, or of the intricacies of interrelationships. It is where left and right brain come together in a union of logic and poetry and sensation, and where self-awareness is no longer at odds with awareness of the otherness of the world. Wisdom cannot be confined to a specialized field, nor is it an academic discipline; it is the consciousness of wholeness and integrity that transcends both. Wisdom is complexity understood and relationships accepted.”

~ Joseph W. Meeker [from LANDSCAPE, Vol. 25, No. 1, Jan 1981];

[Source: 'Playing the Wisdom Game', by Copthorne Macdonald. Since 1995, he has tended 'The Wisdom Page' — a website devoted to wisdom resources. In addition to this article, here's the weblink to another interesting article entitled 'Developing Personal Wisdom' by the same author.]

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

Where am I going?

Why am I going there?

Why is this important to me? What are the harsh realities? What is the business imperative? What happens if I don't?

Who is going with me?

How will I get there?

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: ICE CREAM, ENTERTAINMENT, WET TOWELS... & NOSTALGIA


It's always a welcome sight whenever the ice cream peddler is around on a hot sunny day.

In this case, it was a Friday afternoon last week when my wife & I were hanging out along the pedestrian walkway, running parallel with Orchard Road, just in front of the foyer of the newly-opened ION Orchard shopping mall.

After purchasing the ice-cream, durian-flavoured, we sat on the conveniently-located nearby bench to gawk at the world of passers-by.

To our pleasant delight, we were leter entertained by a bunch of young zestful girls doing their sales promotional routines on behalf of the Holiday Inns hotel group.

On top of that, we got a complimentary package of wet paper towels from the performing troupe to refresh our faces. Wow! That was really great!


Interestingly, the ice cream brought back sweet memories of my teenaged years during the fifties & sixties, before the advent of ice-cream in its current form.

I had what I liked to call "ice ball" - crushed ice, moulded by the hands of the peddler into a ball, plus a spoonful scoop of mashed red beans in the centre, & then splashed with multi-coloured sweetened syrup.

One then juggled the completed "ice ball" from one hand to the other - because it was very cold to hold - while sipping the sweetened syrup in between juggling throws.

It was really "messy", especially with the melting ice & dripping syrup through one's fingers [come to think of it, "finger-licking good" was definitely an understatement], but you can imagine my exhilarating feeling on a hot sunny day with the fancy stuff & together with my school buddies!

SHARING A STORY: THE ABNORMALCY ADVANTAGE

Here's the weblink to a fascinating story, somewhat long-winded but still worth reading, about the concept of 'abnormalcy advantage' as related by Dr Paul Pearsall, clinical neuropsychologist, in the AdvantEdge Newsletter from Nightingale Conant, a 'World Leader in Personal Development' self-paced, self-study programs.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."

~ popular TV Oprah Winfrey;

RAPID RECAP: THE SPERMATOZOA ANALOGY

In writing this post, I am drawing upon what I have already written in an earlier post entitled 'Born to Win, but Conditioned to Fail', with particular reference to the spermatozoa analogy.

While running through my scratchpad notes, it just happens that I now suddenly recall the romantic comedy, 'Look Who's Talking', starring John Travolta & Kristie Alley, plus the voice of Bruce Willis.

The movie had centred on a single mum-to-be, Mollie (played by Kristie), who was on the lookout for a new boy-friend to be the father to her unborn child. She was earlier played out by her married boy-friend, Albert (played by George Segal).

Her yet-to-be-born son, Mikey (unbeknownst to her, & with the voice from Bruce), somehow seemed to have a better idea of which of the men she dated would make a good father figure!

Eventually, a smooth-talking cab driver, James (played by John), turned out to be the better choice.

Although I had enjoyed watching the entertaining movie, but what had struck me most from the movie was actually the opening sequence with the credit titles.

It showed an animated journey of millions of sperms, looking more like tadpoles, & swimming like hell towards the uterus, & from there into the tubes, & up to the point of fertilisation, where only one - repeat, only one - of them, against all insurmountable odds, eventually succeeded in breaking into the egg.

That's the champion.

We are all born champions. Each & every one of us!

Think about it!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun
Or fester like a sore—

And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—

Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

~ 'Harlem: A Dream Deferred' by Langston Hughes;

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: OBESITY


While walking pass a shoe retail boutique at the newly-opened swanky ION Orchard sHopping mall on Orchard Road yesterday, I just couldn't resist the temptation of taking this digital shot.

The name of the boutique, 'Pretty Fit', was located right on the wall space facing all walk-in shoppers.

Then, I noticed this extremely over-sized young teenager, a lady, walking in to gawk at the shoes on display. Her back was then facing me.

Somehow, as I glanced at the entire "scenario", it suddenly elicited a sort of "oxymoronic response" in my brain & I just went ahead to take the digital shot.

I had no intention to be mean or insensitive, but I thought I should highlight a pertinent point about Singaporeans, especially with regard to the prevalence of obesity among our kids & teenagers.

Is abundance of fast junk food to be blamed? What about an affluential society like Singapore, where "eating out" is a commonly preferred option in dual-income families?

STRATEGY DEFINED, by FRED NICKOLS

I have found the following interesting perspectives about 'Strategy'.

Strategy is many things: plan, pattern, position, ploy and perspective.

As plan, strategy relates how one intend realizing the goals.

As pattern, strategy is the "rhyme and reason" that emerges in the course of making the endless decisions that reconcile the reality.

As position, strategy is the stance : take the high ground, be the low-cost provider, compete on the basis of value, price to what the market will bear, match or beat the price offered by any competitor, let no threat go unmet.

As ploy, strategy is a ruse, it relies on secrecy and deception: "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth."

As perspective, strategy is part vantage point and part the view from that vantage point, particularly the way this view shapes and guides decisions and actions.

Read the orginal article at this weblink to get more details on strategy execution.

By the way, here's the weblink to the author's corporate website, where readers can access more interesting articles about strategy.

GUY KAWASAKI’S 10 TIPS FOR SUCCESS: THE ART OF INNOVATION

The first is to “make meaning” by providing a personal connection of the product to its market.

“If you make meaning, you’ll make money,” Kawasaki notes.

As an example, he cites Nike’s move to market to women, especially the company’s messages focused on empowering female consumers as individuals who should be measured based upon who they are rather than things they cannot control.

The charge to “make mantra” was second, challenging entrepreneurs to reduce their message to its essence.

Kawasaki’s examples include “healthy fast food” (Wendy’s), “authentic athletic performance” (Nike), “peace of mind” (FedEx), and “democratize commerce” (eBay). Kawasaki urges business owners to summarize the meaning you are going to make.

Third is to “jump to the next curve” by realizing that true innovation is more than mere improvement but is instead a breakthrough to a whole new way of looking at or moving beyond the challenges and products of today.

“Don’t just do things 10 percent better on the same curve,” he said.

“You need to do things 10 times better on the next curve.”

In making that jump, Kawasaki challenges entrepreneurs to be DICEE: deep, intelligent, complete, elegant and emotive.

“Don’t wait for this perfect world where chips are cheap enough and things are fast enough and everything’s perfect, because you’ll never ship,” he said. “You need to get it out.”

A willingness to take risks illustrates his fifth point: “Don’t worry, be crappy.”

Instead, Kawasaki says to “churn, baby, churn.” Take version 1.0 to 2.0 and so on.

Along with that risk is the acknowledgement that the entrepreneur must be willing to “polarize people” by recognizing that moving beyond the way things have always been is a necessary part of the innovative process. At those times, you must be able to part ways with those who cannot let go of the present.

The need to keep a broad vision and an open mind is at the heart of another point: “Let a hundred flowers bloom.”

The innovator must be open to other influences and let the customer lead the product in the direction the market wants it to go.

His example was Apple’s adoption of PageMaker, which changed the future of the brand by putting it at the forefront of desktop publishing.

Next, entrepreneurs must find a niche where they have a strong ability to provide a unique product or service that is of high value to the customer.

Finally, Kawasaki encourages entrepreneurs to stick with it.

“Don’t let the bozos grind you down. Because they’re going to tell you it can’t be done, it shouldn’t be done, it isn’t necessary,” he said.

The bozos are not always easy to spot. “It’s the smart bozo that’s the dangerous bozo.”

The bozos won’t always be wrong, but: “If you listen to that bozo and never try, you’ll never know and for sure; you’ll never succeed.”

[Source: An article, bearing the same title, by Jeff Heinzmann, Director, Indiana Small Business Development Centers, in the INBiz Magazine, Spring 2008, Vol 3. Here's the weblink to the magazine.

Guy Kawasaki is the managing director of Garage Technology Ventures – an early-stage venture capital firm – and a columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine. Prior to this position, Kawasaki was the chief evangelist of Apple Computer, Inc., and an Apple Fellow.

I read had his first great book, 'Selling the dream: How to Promote your Product, Company, or Ideas - and Make a Difference - using Everyday Evangelism', way back in the early nineties, when I had embarked on my own.]

Saturday, November 28, 2009

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

Am I living the life of my dreams?

Am I doing the things I always wanted to do?

Do I wake up every morning with passion in my heart, or do I hit the 'snooze' button?

Am I grateful for every second I spend on this planet, or do I take life for granted?

If my response is in the negative, what am I willing to do to change it?

A CONSTANT REMINDER FROM ANTHONY ROBBINS

If you're going to change your life, you have to:

1. Decide what you will no longer stand for and what you'?re committed to. Clarity is power.

2. Take massive action. You have to be willing to do the things you don't want to do. You have to build a momentum that consistent action produces.

3. Notice what's working and what's not working. And when it's not working, change your approach. And keep changing until you finally achieve what it is you're committed to.

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"... Climb every mountain,
ford every stream
Follow every rainbow,

till you find your dream
A dream that will need,

all the love you can give
Everyday of your life,

for as long as you live..."

~ lyrics from the 'Sound of Music';

THE POWER OF LETTING GO

A Zen tale tells of two pious monks who were on their yearly pilgrimage through the mountains when they caught sight of a young woman by the edge of a brook.

She had fallen from her horse and injured her foot. In the meantime her animal had wandered off, crossed the brook by itself and stood grazing indifferently on the far bank.

Spying the two monks, the young woman hastily signalled to them and begged them to carry her across the stream, which she could not cross alone because of her injury. She was anxious to remount her horse and ride to safety before dark.

Despite the young woman’s pleas the younger of the two monks declined to assist her because of his vow of chastity, which forbade him ever touching a woman. The elder monk reacted differently.

Realizing how few travellers ever went that way and aware of the dangers that might beset the young woman at nightfall, he swiftly carried her across the brook, placed her on her horse and made sure that she started safely on her journey home.

The two monks then resumed their pilgrimage. When they had travelled down the road a short way, the younger one, becoming more upset each moment by what he had seen, was finally unable to contain himself any longer and cried out to his companion, ‘I cannot believe what I saw! You broke your vow of chastity by carrying a woman in your arms!’

The elder monk turned to him and with a quiet smile replied, ‘But, little brother, I let go of her 10 miles back!’

[Source: 'The Power of Letting Go: A Practical Approach to Releasing the Pressures in Your Life', by Dr Patricia Carrington.]

Friday, November 27, 2009

10 WAYS LEADERS CAN MAXIMISE TALENT

I have found the following interesting points, on maximising talent in an organsation, in the book, entitled 'The Driving Force: Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People', by Peter Schutz, former CEO of German automobile manufacturer Porsche AG.

1) Remove the glass panels between people;

2) Four of the most powerful words in the world are: "I need your help!"

3) Company icons are powerful;

4) Don't give your customers what they want - instead redefine customer expectations;

5) Pursue excellence, not success;

6) Build credibility;

7) Decide like a democracy, implement like a dictatorship;

8) Implement fundamentals like Vince Lombardi (legendary football coach): Make sure everybody understands;

9) Make sure your people are building a temple for customers, not busting rocks for a living;

10) Make sure your business culture is defined in large measures by what people must not do;