Saturday, June 14, 2008


I came across the following quirky stories about two celebrity goal setters in the movie kingdom while surfing the net:

Inside the Planet Hollywood premises in New York, there seemed to be a framed-up letter dated 9th January 1970 from the legendary martial artist & action star Bruce Lee to himself, & marked 'Secret'.

The contents of the letter ran as follows:

"By 1980, I will be the best known oriental movie star in the United States & will have secured US$10 million. In return, I will give the very best acting I could possibly give every single time I am in front of the camera, & I will live in peace & harmony."

Due to his untimely death, he may not have hit the jackpot as envisioned, but his stealthy jeet-kune-do moves & lightning-fast nunchaku routines in the few action movies he had made certainly enthralled the world. Today, he is often considered the greatest martial artist of the 20th century.

The second story is about Jim Carrey, the comedian & actor with the rubber face.

The year was 1987. Jim Carrey was then a struggling comic.

One day, while taking a ride through Mulholland Drive in Hollywood Hills, overlooking the city of Angels, he wrote on a piece of file card, an imaginary cheque, made out to himself with the amount of US$20 million, & postdated for Thanksgiving in 1995. He then kept it in his pocket all the time wherever he went.

Fast forward to 1995 or 1996.

He was paid - the first Hollywood actor to reach - US$20 million for his lead role in 'The Cable Guy', released in 1996.

In fact, his earlier movies, 'Ace Ventura', 'The Mask' & 'Dumb & Dumbler' were reportedly successful movie ventures, grossing some US$550 million in revenues.

Unbelievable, but apparently true stories.

Here's a quick roundup of all the pertinent steps towards powerful goal setting & dynamic goal getting:

1) Set a target;

2) Visualise desired outcome;

3) Set milestones;

4) Use visual indicators;


Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that, to be a peak performer in life begins with one simple step - beating procrastination.

I reckon everyone procrastinates at least some of the time as well as for a variety of different reasons.

After years of real-life experimentation & fine-tuning, with varied inputs from time management experts, I can more or less pinned down a simple strategy for dealing with procrastination:

Firstly, be really clear on exactly what you want from every area of your life, as the clarity will keep you focused & motivated;

Secondly, analyze why you are procrastinating in a particular situation, as the understanding will lead you to break the procrastination pattern & move on to embrace the power of immediacy by asking "what can I do immediately?";

Thirdly, choose a get-your-butt-moving strategy from the following workable options, to match your personal style & your particular situation:

1) Identify what is necessary to accomplish a task in a given amount of time; also get a sense of the entire project & what is required to complete it;

2) Set goals for what task is to be accomplished;

3) Start simple, by doing a task that requires little effort;

4) Plan to work on a dread task, say for just 10 to 20 minutes or so. This may help you to generate some momentum!

5) Break down a task into smaller chunks to reduce its difficulty; also make a list of these small tasks, & check them off as you complete them;

6) Complete a high-priority task quickly to give you a sense of accomplishment;

7) Arrange dreaded or difficult tasks in between more pleasurable activities;

8) Set up a disciplined routine to help you get started on tasks which you must do regularly;

9) Set up a reward or incentive system for finishing something;

10) Make it a fun game to complete a task within a set time limit;

11) Remove distractions &/or eliminate temptations: switch off your hand-phone, shut your room door, move away from the TV;

12) Reduce your personal expectations & just do the best you can with a task, within the time limit;

13) Suspend your self-talk &/or self-criticism to get through the task - just get it done!

14) Substitute the mental message "I should . . ." with "I love to . . .";

15) Imagine the worst possible scenarios if you don't do what you are supposed to do;

16) Collaborate with a friend or buddy in working on tasks, or to help keep you on track with the task at hand;

17) Make a public announcement: Tell people what you plan to do a task at a certain time so you will feel guilty if you don't;

18) Believe in yourself & trust your instincts - just like anybody else, you can do it!

19) Start! No matter what, just get started! Even the smallest action will break the procrastination pattern;

20) Follow the adage from Nike: Just do it!


1) A clear CONCEPTION of what we want, a vivid vision, with goals clearly imagined;

2) A strong CONFIDENCE that you can attain our goal;

3) A focused CONCENTRATION on what it takes to reach that goal;

4) A stubborn CONSISTENCY in pursuing our vision;

5) An emotional COMMITMENT to the importance of what we are doing;

6) A good CHARACTER to guide us & keep us on a proper course;

7) A CAPACITY to enjoy the process along the way;

[Source: 'Art of Achievement: Mastering the 7 C's of Success in Business & Life' by Tom Morris]


"If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things."
(Albert Einstein)


I am quite sure that many readers are already familiar with the following relevant quote often attributed to the great scientist Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882):

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

With this note, readers can proceed to this link to read an excellent article on 'Adaptation: Mastering the Art of Change' by Tom Morris in the Well Read Life weblog, owned by Steve Leveen, the brain behind Levenger.

According to the author, "one of the primary sources of power in life is the skill of adaptation. It’s also one of the most important contributors to long-term success.

Our ability to flex appropriately with changing circumstances, and our knack for transforming our circumstances in accordance with our own highest aspirations, are two distinct sides of adaptation.

And they are both absolutely necessary for attaining business and personal excellence in times of change".

The art of change consists of three component arts:

1) The art of self-control;

2) The art of positive action;

3) The art of achievement;

& each of these component arts has a few simple rules that can be derived from the deepest practical wisdom of the great thinkers.

My parting shot is this: Change is inevitable; growth is optional. Change is a fact; growth is a choice. Understanding what Tom Morris talks about so eloquently, helps you make empowered choices in times of turbulent change!

Enjoy your reading & assimilation!

[Tom Morris has become one of the most active business speakers in America. He has published 12 books, including 'Art of Achievement', 'If Aristotle Ran General Motors', 'True Success', & 'Philosophy for Dummies'. A former professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, he is now Chairman of the Morris Institute for Human Values in Wilmington, N.C.]


This is a photo of my pocket notebook, which is always in my vest pocket whenever I am out of the home/office on business & social functions.

I have another bigger one in my waist pouch whenever I go to the gym. I have already talked about it in an earlier post.

I have bought this one many years ago from the Levenger online store, but have since replaced the original note pages & writing pencil with locally available stationary.

Friday, June 13, 2008


"Create each day anew, by clothing yourself with heaven & earth, bathing yourself with wisdom & love, & placing yourself in the heart of Mother Nature."

(O'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, 1883-1969, founder of Aikido, a martial art that emphasises harmony & the peaceful resolution of conflict; also author of 'The Art of Peace', translated by John Stevens; Aikido practice was often popularised by Steven Seagal, 7th Dan Aikidoka, in his series of action movies, starting with 'Above the Law' during the late eighties, in which he often played a covert operative, with martial arts background;)


I have taken the above inspiring quote - as the title for this post - from the latest wire-bound, 32-page in single-half-page sized promotional booklet, aptly entitled 'The Brainaissance Program of iCapitalism Seminars', from my good friend, Dilip Mukerjea, who runs his own business consultancy outfit, Brain Dancing International.

His quote certainly resonates with the adage, "Use more of it or lose it!"

Once, I have read a blog in which the blogger had noted down several remarks from a motivational speaker, who said that "your knowledge increases as you grow older".

I reckon what the speaker had probably meant was that, as we grew older, we probably had more learning experiences from our mistakes.

Drawing on my own learning model, this collection of learning experiences will form the basis of our cumulative knowledge over time.

In turn, this cumulative knowledge is likely to, through further application as well as evolution, become our expertise over time.

As time goes by, the discerning use of expertise will generate wisdom.

I recall this great quotation from Anthony Robbins:

"Success in life is the result of good judgment. Good judgment is usually the result of experience. Experience is usually the result of bad judgement."

which helps to throw some additional light on this discussion.

Come to think about it, at least for me, it all boils down to making a concerted effort on our part to use our amazing brainpower in our daily lives.

Reading actively, by probing the author & applying what we have read or learned, is one good application. Better still, summarising all the ideas for further action & execution, pushes all our brain cells to work better & faster.

Constantly thinking about new ways to do things. Or searching for new & better perspectives.

For example, taking a different route to work. Or trying out a new method for solving a work problem.

Applying creative thinking not only to problem solving, but also to opportunity finding. You can literally feel your brain cells firing on all six cylinders!

Robert Heller, who works closely with Edward de bono, on the 'Letter to Thinking Manager' subscription newsletter, apparently likes to call the former aspect, as having the 'purpose focus' towards a predefined need, & the latter aspect, as the 'area focus', whereby one gets to choose to define an area for focused activity.

I like that fine distinction.

Teaching others what we know. Enthusiastically share with others what we have learned. That's also a form of application of knowledge. In fact, a powerful one, as one is likely to learn more from teaching as well as sharing with others.

Does 'knowledge shared is power squared' makes any sense to you? Personally, I am a very strong believer.

Attending lectures, seminars & workshops - through active participation in group dynamics & asking a lot of questions - help to keep your brainpower tuned up as well as updated on the latest stuff.

Publishing a book or many books. That what Dilip Mukerjea does.

In fact, upon my urging, he has just written a wonderful 168 page book, tentatively entitled 'Taleblazers', in less than 4 weeks, to be printed in four colours on glossy paper. It's a guide book for beginners, who have dreams to publish their stories. It will be released in August/September 2008.

Interestingly, he is also working on a whole gamut of bookazines, as he calls them, for kids as well as professional adults. Please stay tuned.

Otherwise, reviewing books &/or writing blogs are equally engaging activities for the brain.

Learning & periodically involving oneself in learning & playing with new stuff: computer programs, games & puzzles, musical instruments, foreign languages, internet tools, social networking tools, etc.

Meeting & making new friends. Widening one's social circles deliberately. Continually engaging in active conversations with people. All these seemingly mundane endeavours actually help to widen one's perspectives about life or about what goes on around the world. That's helps the brain, too, in growing & developing.

Making your physical environment interesting & stimulating is another good activity for the brain, at least from the perspective of novelty.

For example, playing soft music in the background enhances focus & concentration. Baroque, Classical or New Age are great, from my personal experience.

Putting inspiring posters on the walls, or other colourful visual peripherals to liven up the living space. My own home/office is full of such stuff, as I find them very useful for stimulating my thought processing.

Writing journals & doing a lot of reflections on a daily basis. This is likely to build up your intra-personal intelligence, according to Dr Howard Gardner, who brought the world's attention to our multiple intelligences.

Even regular indulgence in some relaxation sequences or meditative routines is helpful for the brain. More alpha waves, so to speak. A relaxed mind is definitely a resourceful mind.

Last but not least, engaging in regular physical workouts is not only good for the body, but also great for the brain.

Once the mind is expanded, it is unlikely that it will return to its original dimensions.


I was quite intrigued to read a brief report on the Life page of today's Straits Times:

The Dalai Lama has distanced himself from Hollywood actress Sharon Stone's controversial remark that China's earthquake was bad "karma" for its recent handling of Tibetan dissidents.

She cited the Tibetan spiritual leader as her "good friend" when she made the remark at the Cannes film festival last month.

Confirming "Yes, I have met that lady", the Dalai Lama said he did not share her viewpoint on the earthquake that killed nearly 70,000 people.

"Of course from a Buddhist viewpoint, every event is karma. Tragedy in Tibet, tragedy in Burma, tragedy in China, all this is karmic . . . but her particular sort of comment - that I don't know."

I have no vested interest in matters pertaining to China or Tibet, but the double speak certainly intrigues me.

Sometimes, I just wonder why people just like to run circles about what they want to say.


I have just noticed this interesting as well as innovative tag line this morning, on the Sales Machine weblog (part of the BNET Business Network), amidst a daily bombardment of emails - subscribed as well as spam - from hyperspace:

A, Always. B, Be. C, Closing.

By the way, there is an interesting article by Geoffrey James, too, that follows: "Raise Prices . . . & Keep Your Customers!"

There are also lots of other useful articles for readers, especially sales professionals, to browse.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


"Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort."

(Paul J Meyer, founder of 'Success Motivation Inc.,)


Wednesday, June 11, 2008


"If A is success in life, then A equals X plus Y plus Z. Work is X; Y is play; & Z is keeping your mouth shut."
(Albert Einstein)


While watching an exciting episode of 'CSI: New York' on the AXN Channel of Star Hub Cable television, just a short while ago today, an ad for Panadol Extra, illustrating an emergency ambulance staff member & his quick relief from a sudden headache, caught my personal attention.

The ad ended with his closing remarks, as he was about to rush off with the ambulance, "It's My Choice!".

This inadvertent interruption just gave me an idea spark to write a post about making choices.

I believe it was Stephen Covey who had talked about the stimulus-response gap in his book, '7 Habits of Highly Effective People', many years ago.

Between the stimulus, as something hits our eye, & the possible response we may react favourably or unfavourably, there is always a space or gap in-between.

Inside that space or gap lies all of our knowledge & experience in life, including our goals, expectations, prejudices, biases, hopes & fears. Frustrations, too.

Interestingly, as Stephen Covey put it, when we realise this space or gap exists, we can use it to our advantage by exercising our personal power.

In other words, in that space or gap, we possess the power to choose our response.

More precisely, in our response, lies our path to growth.

Come to think of it, that brings me to another interesting learning point from Abraham Maslow, the father of gestalt psychology.

According to him, in any given moment, we have two options:

- to step forward (moving into the stretch zone - that's my way of putting it);

- to step back into safety (staying back in the comfort zone);

Undoubtedly, whether you like it or not, life is all about making choices!

Therefore, I like to end this post by saying: Choose wisely!


[continued from the Last Post]

The next thing I have learned about the brain/mind paradigm is the three levels of consciousness.

To me, "consciousness" is just a waking state of the mind, during which I am fully aware or have knowledge of what's going on.

In psychology, the three levels of mind form the topographic model, based on the work of Sigmund Freud.

It is pertinent for me to point out that this model is often disputed & not exactly provable. In other words, our brain/mind is not configured to operate in exactly at or across the three levels.

For me, it's just a explanatory model for a quick & easy understanding of how the brain/mind works.

I would like to think that all the three levels of mind are interlinked, interactive, & interdependent. I also believe that they often process & respond to information simultaneously, each in its own unique fashion.

From my personal experience, the best way to understand the topographic model is imagine yourself looking at a floating iceberg in the seas.

On a quick note, what we can see floating on & above the surface is the tip of the iceberg. That is, our "conscious mind".

Beneath this "conscious mind" are the preconscious layers, under which is the "subconscious mind", the part of the iceberg more or less hidden just below the sea water surface.

Below the "subconscious mind" is the vast "unconscious mind", represented by the remaining say 90% - a gargantuan chunk of ice - of the floating iceberg under the water.

Operationally, the "conscious mind" is the part of our mind where we spend most of our waking hours, through which we discover our sense of self.

In a nut shell, it does basically four things:

- observes & analyses current events i.e. derives much of the information from the physical environment through our five physical senses; creates logical order & solutions to problems; & makes decisions to act;

[it is pertinent for me to point out that the "conscious mind" also perceives the world by deriving information already stored in the "subconscious mind" below on top of from the physical world around it.]

- rationalises, always needs to know why events happen, why we behave in particular ways;

- exercises our will power;

- serves as our the place of our learning; hence it remembers events in the short term;

Ultimately, the "conscious mind" writes everything into the memory of our "subconscious mind".

According to scientists, out of 2 million bits of information which approach us every second, our "conscious mind" can only register +/- 7 bits. In other words, it can handle from 5 to 9 bits or chunks of information.

In this respect, the "conscious mind" is sometimes referred to as the "objective mind".

The "subconscious mind" is the part of our mind that stores everything that we have experienced, learned or done respectively.

I am aware of the fact that a lot of people, including me initially, very often misunderstand & get confused with the terms , "subconscious" as well as "unconscious".

"Subconscious" means "beneath the threshold of consciousness or that part of the mind that lies just below the level of conscious thinking", which is easily accessible if attention is paid to it.

Our "subconscious mind" acts as a personal secretary who records conscious data & who also retrieves relevant memories from the "unconscious mind".

On that note, & surprisingly, our "subconscious mind" is actually directing or driving a lot of our thoughts, actions, reactions & feelings about who we are, what we are capable of, & what we deserve in life.

In fact, the "subconscious mind" is also responsible for all the physiological functions of our body.

Scientists believe our "subconscious mind" can compute +/- 140 bits per second.

They also believe that more than 75% of our daily activities are regulated by our "subconscious mind".

In reality, it always processes the subliminal & symbolic meanings of words & imagery in all our physical encounters; thus it is the "subconscious mind" that retains feelings & images from our dreams.

In this respect, our "subconscious mind" is sometimes referred to as the "subjective mind".

By comparison, our "unconscious mind" is the largest part of the our mind.

It contains all the data of our individual experiences in life from the day we enter the world to the day we exit.

It also contains all of our physical operational data & our autonomic memory.

It is pertinent to point out that unconscious information is also derived from from our conscious processing & impressions.

In fact, our "unconscious mind" contains everything that is & that is not present in our conscious awareness.

All of our knowledge & wisdom that we have gained throughout our life is stored like reference books in our personal library embodied in our "unconscious mind", all within the deepest depths & at the widest base of the iceberg of our mind.

Many people believe it is here, at the very base, that all of our minds are connected. Each individual unconsciousness is stored like a blueprint in the "collective unconsciousness".

Like a giant matrix, which contains all of the thoughts, memories, ideas & experiences of every individual who has ever lived, the "collective unconsciousness" is our planetary library that is generally accessible to us during our conscious states via certain methods.

Accordingly, this is the part of our mind which is often referred to as our "universal mind".

In terms of learning points for me, & for all practical purposes, I have learned that my "conscious mind" can exercise free will to impress upon my "subconscious mind" that which it desires to experience through my thoughts.

Whatever my "conscious mind" assumes & believes to be true, my "subconscious mind" will accept or bring to pass.

In other words, my "conscious mind" acts as a gatekeeper, so to speak, for my "subconscious mind" which reacts effortlessly & articulately to my preferred outcomes & ardent desires.

It seems that my "subconscious mind" can produce the effect of my thoughts without hesitation or error.

So, in essence, my "conscious mind" can generate the cause, whereas my "subconscious mind" can produce the effect.

Here lies my personal power.

[to be continued in the Next Post]


I have read the following inspiring quotes during the late eighties, firstly from:

John Naisbitt, author of the classic, 'MegaTrends':

"We drowning in information. How much information are you absorbing?

Without a structure, a frame of reference, the vast amount of data that comes your way each day will probably whiz right by you."

Secondly, from:

Denis Waitley & Robert Tucker, who wrote the classic, 'Winning the Innovation Game':

"The world currency today is information. To survive & succeed in the 21st century, we must refine our ability to learn new things, to gather information quickly, to synthesise it, & then make a choice to respond."

& thirdly from:

Jimmy Calano & Jeff Saltzman, founders of the CareerTrack International outfit & authors of the classic, 'CareerTracking':

"Surviving - & thriving - as a professional today demands two new approaches to managing information:

First, it requires a new approach to orchestrating information, by skilfully choosing what to read & what to ignore.

Second, it requires a new approach to integrating information, by reading faster & with greater comprehension."

What all five of them had said so eloquently at that time is still very relevant today - as we are now in the Knowledge Economy.

In mining their quotations, I have extracted the two key phrases:

- orchestrating information;
- integrating information;

For me, orchestrating information is:

- developing vision;
- establishing goals;
- setting priorities;

& integrating information:

- mastering active reading;
- applying visual tools;
- asking questions;

That's how I got inspired to design, develop & initiate one of my first series of consultancy projects with small businesses, which subequently evolved into my own proprietary workshops for entrepreneurs, professionals & managers.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


"Every moment of our lives we are either growing or dying — & it’s largely a choice, not fate.

Throughout its life cycle, every one of the body’s trillions of cells is driven to grow & improve its ability to use more of its innate yet untapped capacity.

Research biologist Albert Szent-Gyoergyi, who was twice awarded the Nobel Prize, called this syntropy, which he defined as the “innate drive in living matter to perfect itself.”

It turns conventional thinking upside down.

As living cells — or as people — there is no staying the same. If we aim for some middle ground or status quo, it’s an illusion — beneath the surface what’s actually happening is we’re dying, not growing. And the goal of a lifetime is continued growth, not adulthood.

As Rene Dubos put it, “Genius is childhood recaptured.”

For this to happen, studies show that we must recapture — or prevent the loss of — such child-like traits as the ability to learn, to love, to laugh about small things, to leap, to wonder, & to explore. It’s time to rescue ourselves from our grown-up ways before it’s too late."

~ Robert Cooper, an expert on "the neuroscience of trust, initiative, leadership & commitment", & author of 'The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership & Life';


What’s the most exceptional thing I have done this week?

What’s the most exceptional thing I will do next week?

~ inspired by Robert Cooper, an expert on "the neuroscience of trust, initiative, leadership & commitment" & author of 'The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership & Life';

Monday, June 9, 2008


Here's are 7 powerful questions to help you find your true passion:

1) What puts a smile on your face?

2) What do you find easy?

3) What sparks your creativity?

4) What would you do for free?

5) What do you like to talk about?

6) What makes you unafraid of failure?

7) What would you regret not having tried?

These questions have been extracted from an article written by Frederic Premji, the brain behind the iNeedMotivation: Excellence in Life Enrichment weblog, in the 6th Edition of the Carnival of Improved Life.

Here's the link to the original article.


"You are surrounded by simple, obvious solutions that can dramatically increase your income, power, influence & success. The problem is, you just don't see them."

Jay Abraham, author of 'Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got';

"Successful opportunities for innovation & growth are right here, in front of us, & we often can't see them or don't act on them."

Erich Joachimsthaler, author of 'Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Find & Execute Your Company's Next Big Growth Strategy';

"Everyone is surrounded by opportunities. But they only exist once they have been seen. And they will only be seen if they are looked for."

Edward de bono, author of 'Opportunities: A Handbook for Business Opportunity Search';


"I am convinced that if the rate of change inside the institution [or individual] is less than the rate of change outside, the end is in sight. The only question is timing of the end."

(Jack Welch, former Chairman & CEO of General Electric)

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Is there more I can do to keep my brain in the best possible condition?


According to Dr Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist, adjunct associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, & international consultant on brain health, there are 5 factors, which are critical for optimizing brain health:

These include:

1) Social Connectedness:

- stay active in the workplace;

- stay connected to family members, as well as get involved with friends & others within the community in personal & meaningful ways;

2) Physical Health:

- participate in daily walking, aerobic exercise, dance & other physical activities;

3) Mental Health & Cognitive Exercises:

- stay curious & involved - commit to lifelong learning;

- learn foreign languages, read, write blogs, play cross-word or other puzzles, board-games or computer-based cognitive exercises; also travel;

- attend lectures & plays or enroll in courses;

- sitting & watching TV 24/7 is inviting cognitive decline;

- even video games provide mental stimulation;

4) Diet & Nutrition:

- consume foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as deep-sea fish, walnuts, & also antioxidants (vitamins A, C & E);

- fruits & vegetables continue to be some of the best brain-health foods;

- reduce the intake of processed foods, saturated fats & eliminate trans-fatty acids;

- reduce daily calories by eating 80 percent of one's usual portions at each meal;

5) Spirituality:

- indulge in daily prayer, regular participation at a formalized place of worship, meditation & relaxation routines represent examples of spiritual activities that promote general brain health & help us to slow down in the fast lane;

[Dr Paul Nussbaum is also the author of 'Brain Health & Wellness' & 'Your Brain Health Lifestyle'. More information about the author & his work is available at this link.]

[Readers can also go to this link to download a 70-page .pdf document from the Alzheimer's Association, entitled 'The Healthy Brain Initiative', which is an interesting roadmap to brain health.

Additionally, if interested, readers can also go to this link to download a 76-page .pdf document from the American Society on Aging (ASA), in collaboration with the MedLife Foundation, which contains valuable commentaries on brain health from 7 experts, including Dr Nussbaum.

Personally, I have enjoyed reading both documents, & have learned quite a lot from them.]


I am still particularly intrigued by the way Guy Kawasaki has tagged his copy of the book, 'Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days', with sticky notes, as he talked about it in his blog.

According to him, it has broken his record for the “book with most stickies.”

His system, as he has described, as shown in the photo from his blog, is that "the stickies on the top edge are ideas for my next book, & the ones on the side are ideas for this blog".

I have in recent months started to use a slightly different system for tagging the pages of my book with colour coded stickers.

- Red coloured stickers for any new concepts or novel ideas introduced in the book;

- Blue colour stickers for interesting or inspiring quotes, which I can make use of in my blog;

- Green coloured stickers for useful illustrations or anecdotes, which I can make use of in my workshops;

- Yellow coloured stickers for new games or exercises or experiments, which I can replicate or adapt for use in my workshops;

The foregoing tagging complements my marginal annotations in the book, which I have already described in an earlier post.

For me, marginal annotations & tagging often help a reader to derive quick take-aways from his reading pursuits.


I have found this interesting one-stop collection of management methods, models & theories on the net.

To be precise, I saw it on the website of digitalmediawire: 'Connecting People & Knowledge', which said the source came from Guy Kawasaki's blog, 'How to Change the World'.

Anyway, here's the link.

For each method, model & theory, you get a quick snapshot - ranging from the 3C's (Ohmae), 7S's (McKinsey) to the Theory of Constraints (Goldratt), Value Chain (Porter) - on one single page, but sufficient for you to understand how it works.

Interestingly, according to Guy Kawasaki, you can use the page as a test, but he has added that "anyone who knows all these theories is someone you shouldn’t hire".


"Entrepreneurship is all about tactics, hootspah, not knowing that things are not "done this way", & making do with not enough money."

(Guy Kawasaki, as he reviewed the book, 'Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days', in his blog; he is one of the original Apple Computer employees, & the maverick evangelist behind the MacIntosh Computer during the mid-eighties; currently CEO of Garage Technology Ventures, a venture capital firm which specializes in high-technology start-up firms located in Silicon Valley;)


'Self-motivation' is a fascinating subject.

I always hold the view that 'self-motivation' is a very significant ingredient in the pursuit of personal excellence & peak performance.

I like to define 'self-motivation' as the intrinsic quality in a person who pursues his interest or engages in an activity, primarily on his own accord, & generally without external support or inducement or rewards of any kind. He does it out of sheer enjoyment for himself.

You can say that he probably derives the satisfaction from the pursuit of the interest or engagement in the activity.

To me, I strongly believe that each & every one of us is self-motivated, as we are all goal-seeking animals; that is to say, we have the innate propensity to engage one's interests & exercise one's capabilities in the pursuit of dreams or a better future.

The spermatozoa analogy best explains the basis of my personal beliefs; that is to say, we are all born champions, nine months before we enter this world.

In doing so, we choose to enjoy in seeking out & mastering optimal challenges in our own lives.

I reckon the only difference between most people, from the standpoint of motivation, is probably the sustenance of the interest or activity & maybe the degree of satisfaction.

Looking back at my own life, personally & professionally, I have been a very highly self-motivated person.

I recall when I was a young teenager, around twelve years or so, I became fascinated by geography & history in school.

One of the things that fascinated me the most was all those exotic places I read about in school books, newspapers & magazines, & also I saw in the movies.

So, with the aid of an old Remington typewriter I found at home, I wrote to many travel agents in Singapore to ask for & gather travel brochures about exotic places. I remember I had a huge collection in my cupboard.

That teen activity of mine eventually paved the way for me to visit more than 60 interesting & exotic places - some of them more than once or twice - around the world during my professional years.

When I had completed From III in my hometown, Yong Peng, I did all the paperwork on my own to get a place in Sekolah Menengah Teknik (Technical Institute) in Kuala Lumpur, in pursuit of my dreams to be an engineer.

Upon completion, I chose Singapore Polytechnic, again on my own accord after a quick survey, to continue my engineering education in Singapore, despite persuasive arguments from one of my uncles in Singapore, whose three children went to medical school.

Hungry for industrial experience, & upon completion of my first year at the Polytechnic, I decided to get a part-time job that could supplement my engineering education.

I found one company - the Design & Drafting Office of Buhler Brothers Engineering Works, Switzerland - which was prepared to take me as a mechanical draftsman, even though I lacked the adequate working experience. They had even graciously agreed to release me one working day a week to attend classes at the Polytechnic.

All these self-motivated endeavours eventually empowered me to pursue my professional careers through the seventies, eighties & up to the early nineties, during which I continued to exercise my self-motivation in getting what I wanted, including leaving the corporate world eventually after having spent twenty four years of my prime life.

It was also the power of self-motivation that sustained me during the crucial but difficult first three years, when I morphed from a high-powered executive into a small entrepreneur.

Without the power of self motivation, I would not have been able to do what I love & love what I do today.

On that note, how can one improve &/or strengthen one's self motivation?

I reckon I have narrowed down a few useful things to share with readers, drawing on my own chequered experiences.

Firstly, focus on what you really enjoy doing;

Take your time to make out a list of things you want to do, to have, to improve &/or to change.

Also, to figure out how you are going to do them - in neurolinguistics, we call these "desired outcomes", but in lay person terms, simply "goals";

Spend some time to reflect & review all the accomplishments, achievements &/or successes you have enjoyed in every area of your life. They can certainly be very uplifting to your moods, which in turn helps in your planning.

It is important to watch out your self-talk or daily vocabulary as you talk. One way to counter the potential negativity is to read inspiring books &/or mix around with like-minded people, if possible.

One good thing you can do to pep yourself up regularly is to have visual peripherals around you, to constantly remind you of the pursuit of your desired outcomes.

For me, I had a lot of inspiration posters on the wall of my office during my most trying years.

In fact, one whole wall in my office - which I also doubled up as a training room - was dedicated to them. They had often helped me to sustain a positive mental attitude at all times.

Another thing you can do is listen to your favourite music in the background.

My favourites were, - & still are -, music of the Baroque & Classical eras.

Oftentimes, I also listen to New Age music, especially from Yanni, van Gelis, Kitaro & Stephen Halpern.

To pre-empt friends or others from throwing spanners at me, I had this apt quotation from Albert Einstein, in the form of a large framed-up poster, facing the main door of my office:

"Great Spirits Have Always Encountered Violent Opposition from Mediocre Minds."

One more thing: get ready to believe in & practise 'delayed gratification', by getting used to a tough life at the beginning of any venture.

This is what I always like to call an exercise in 'self-discipline'.

Accordingly, for the first 3 or 4 years of my startup ventures, I even gave up globe-trotting, going to the movies & eating in fancy restaurants, with the unwavering support of my Catherine.

Last, but not least, start doing, in small steps, but before you do that, set out some milestones so that you can monitor your own progress;

In summing up this post, I want to reiterate that 'self-motivation' comes from within you. You already have it inside you. So . . . Follow your bliss & Just do it.