Saturday, March 28, 2009


"The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but Creating yourself anew. Seek therefore, not to find out Who You Are, but seek to determine Who You Want to Be."
— Neale Donald Walsch, 'Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue';

Friday, March 27, 2009


“Successful aging requires that people continue – across their lifetime – to express a curiosity about their changing world, an ability to adapt to shifts in their developmental and physical capacities, and an eagerness to engage new perspectives, skills, and appetites. This requires the willingness to take risks, experience vulnerability and uncertainty, learn from experimentation and failure, seek guidance and counsel from younger generations, and develop new relationships of support and intimacy.”

~ Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Harvard sociologist & author of 'The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50';

[Source: The Christian Science Monitor]


"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they've had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people."

~ Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computers;


I understand that the Creative Education Foundation (CEF) & the International Center for Studies in Creativity are organising a celebratory event to honour one of its founders, Sidney J Parnes on May 8th to 9th 2009. [More information is available here.]

Since I am unable to participate in the scheduled event, I have sent him a message. [You can do it through this link.]

Together with brainstorming pioneer Alex Osborn, he originated the Osborn/Parnes Creative Problem-Solving method in 1955.

Today, it's still in use or practice, & is more commonly known as the CPS methodology. Many creativity consultants/authors have attempted to create variations or spinoffs, but the basic process has always remained intact since the 50's.

A case in point is 'Think Better: An Innovator's Guide to Productive Thinking' (2007), by Tim Hurson.

My early influences in creativity, innovation & creative problem solving during the 80's/90's came from Sidney J Parnes through his published thoughtwares, as follows:

- 'Creativity: Unlocking Human Potential' (1972);

- 'The Magic of Your Mind' (1981);

- 'Visionising: State of the Art Processes for Encouraging Innovative Excellence' (1988);

- 'A Sourcebook for Creative Problem Solving: A 50 Year Digest of Proven Innvative Processes' (1992);

For me, the last publication is a superb & wonderful resource as it is basically an anthology. I have used it as my personal springboard to chart out my creative journey.

With the wisdom of hindsight, I must say that the author has been my personal field guide during my early foray.

During those early years, as part of my own deliberate search for personal mastery, I have also picked up a lot of interesting & useful resources e.g. newsletters, journals, publications, from the CEF as well as its associated Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI).

In summing up, from the standpoint of personal creativity, I have always been impressed & influenced by the guiding philosophy of Sidney J Parnes:

"first, creativity is a result of a balance between divergent & convergent thinking, & second, everyone can be taught to apply creative behavior in their personal & professional lives."


"Remember what's essential may be invisible. Take time to explore beneath the surface - yourself & others."

~ Judy Suiter, founder & CEO of Competitive Edge, Inc.; also author of 'The Ripple Effect: How the Global Model of Endorsement Opens Doors to Success', among other books;


What is my current image of the future, say ten years down the road?

What do I think is probable? possible? preferred?


"An opportunity is as real an ingredient in business as raw material, labour or finance - but it only exists when you can see it . . .

Everybody assumes that he or she is opportunity conscious - but is frequently only conscious of the need to be opportunity conscious. For often what looks like an opportunity isn't one after all . . .

Remember: Just before it comes into existence every business is an opportunity that someone has seen . . ."

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

Thursday, March 26, 2009


If you are an entrepreneur wannabe, here's a great link to '60+ Resources For Entrepreneurs To Step Up and Take Charge'.


“I do not fear failure. I only fear the ’slowing up’ of the engine inside of me which is pounding, saying, ‘Keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?”

­~ General George Patton;

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


As homework, a grade school teacher gave her class a list of incomplete proverbs, and made them complete the sentences. Here are the results:

Strike While The... Bug Is Close.

Don't Bite The Hand That... Looks Dirty.

A Miss Is As Good As A... Mister.

You Can't Teach An Old Dog New... Math.

A Penny Saved Is... Not Much.

If You Lie Down With The Dogs, You'll... Stink In The Morning.

Where There's Smoke, There's... Pollution.

Children Should Be Seen And Not... Spanked Or Grounded.

When The Blind Leadeth The Blind... Get Out Of The Way.

An Idle Mind Is... The Best Way To Relax.

Happy The Bride Who... Gets All The Presents!

Don't Put Off Tomorrow What... You Put On To Go To Bed.

Laugh And The Whole World Laughs With You, Cry And... You Have To Blow Your Nose.

None Are So Blind As... Helen Keller.

Two's Company, Three's... The Musketeers.

You Can Lead A Horse To Water But.. How?

If At First You Don't Succeed... Get New Batteries.

Never Under Estimate The Power Of... Termites.

Better Be Safe Than... Punch A 5th Grader.

The Pen Is Mightier Than The... Pigs.


“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing.”

- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, 'Letter To A Young Activist During Troubled Times';

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SUCCESSFUL LIVING, from Dr Shigeaki Hinohara

The following relevant stuff came from Jeffrey Tan, one of my older social buddies in 'The Wednesday Club' via email today:

"Energy comes from feeling good, not from eating well or sleeping a lot.

We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. I believe that we can keep that attitude as adults, too. It's best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime.

All people who live long regardless of nationality, race or gender share one thing in common: None are overweight.

For breakfast, I drink coffee, a glass of milk and some orange juice with a tablespoon of olive oil in it.

Olive oil is great for the arteries and keeps my skin healthy.

Lunch is milk and a few cookies, or nothing when I am too busy to eat. I never get hungry because I focus on my work.

Dinner is veggies, a bit of fish and rice, and, twice a week, 100 grams of lean meat..

Always plan ahead. My schedule book is already full until 2014, with lectures and my usual hospital work. In 2016 I'll have some fun, though: I plan to attend the Tokyo Olympics!

There is no need to ever retire, but if one must, it should be a lot later than 65. The current retirement age was set at 65 half a century ago, when the average life-expectancy in Japan was 68 years and only 125 Japanese were over 100 years old.

Today, Japanese women live to be around 86 and men 80, and we have 36,000 centenarians in our country. In 20 years we will have about 50,000 people over the age of 100.

Share what you know. I give 150 lectures a year, some for 100 elementary-school children, others for 4,500 business people. I usually speak for 60 to 90 minutes, standing, to stay strong.

When a doctor recommends you take a test or have some surgery, ask whether the doctor would suggest that his or her spouse or children go through such a procedure.

Contrary to popular belief, doctors can't cure everyone. So why cause unnecessary pain with surgery I think music and animal therapy can help more than most doctors imagine.

To stay healthy, always take the stairs and carry your own stuff. I take two stairs at a time, to get my muscles moving.

My inspiration is Robert Browning's poem "Abt Vogler." My father used to read it to me. It encourages us to make big art, not small scribbles. It says to try to draw a circle so huge that there is no way we can finish it while we are alive. All we see is an arch; the rest is beyond our vision but it is there in the distance.

Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it. If a child has a toothache, and you start playing a game together, he or she immediately forgets the pain.

Hospitals must cater to the basic need of patients: We all want to have fun. At St. Luke's we have music and animal therapies, and art classes.

Don't be crazy about amassing material things.

Remember: You don't know when your number is up, and you can't take it with you to the next place.

Hospitals must be designed and prepared for major disasters, and they must accept every patient who appears at their doors.

We designed St.Luke's so we can operate anywhere: in the basement, in the corridors, in the chapel.

Most people thought I was crazy to prepare for a catastrophe, but on March 20, 1995, I was unfortunately proven right when members of the Aum Shinrikyu religious cult launched a terrorist attack in the Tokyo subway.

We accepted 740 victims and in two hours figured out that it was sarin gas that had hit them. Sadly we lost one person, but we saved 739 lives.

Science alone can't cure or help people. Science lumps us all together, but illness is individual. Each person is unique, and diseases are connected to their hearts. To know the illness and help people, we need liberal and visual arts, not just medical ones.

Life is filled with incidents.

On March 31, 1970, when I was 59 years old, I boarded the Yodogo, a flight from Tokyo to Fukuoka. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and as Mount Fuji came into sight, the plane was hijacked by the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction.

I spent the next four days handcuffed to my seat in 40-degree heat. As a doctor, I looked at it all as an experiment and was amazed at how the body slowed down in a crisis.

Find a role model and aim to achieve even more than they could ever do. My father went to the United States in 1900 to study at Duke University in North Carolina. He was a pioneer and one of my heroes. Later I found a few more life guides, and when I am stuck, I ask myself how they would deal with the problem.

It's wonderful to live long. Until one is 60 years old, it is easy to work for one's family and to achieve one's goals. But in our later years, we should strive to contribute to society.

Since the age of 65, I have worked as a volunteer. I still put in 18 hours seven days a week and love every minute of it."

[At the age of 97 years, Dr Shigeaki Hinohara is one of the world's longest-serving physicians and educators.

Hinohara's magic touch is legendary: Since 1941 he has been healing patients at St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo and teaching at St. Luke's College of Nursing.

After World War II, he envisioned a world-class hospital and college springing from the ruins of Tokyo; thanks to his pioneering spirit and business savvy, the doctor turned these institutions into the nation's top medical facility and nursing school.

Today he serves as chairman of the board of trustees at both organizations.

Always willing to try new things, he has published around 150 books since his 75th birthday, including one "Living Long, Living Good" that has sold more than 1.2 million copies.

As the founder of the New Elderly Movement, Hinohara encourages others to live a long and happy life, a quest in which no role model is better than the doctor himself.]


“If we do not rise to the challenge of our unique capacity to shape our lives, to seek the kinds of growth that we find individually fulfilling, then we can have no security: We will live in a world of sham, in which our selves are determined by the will of others, in which we will be constantly buffeted and increasingly isolated by the changes round us.”
- Nena O’Neil, American Anthropologist Author;

Monday, March 23, 2009


"The closure (of a new fish burger eatery 'What a Fish' at Parkway Parade in 2004) taught us that success is never a sure thing. There will be that one thing you have not thought of . . .

When you are pushed into a corner, the instinct to survive takes over. You go all out to make sure you succeed (in response to teething problems on the first day of operations.)"

~ Fish & Co Group boss, Ricky Chew, who co-owns 16 restaurants in Singapore;

[Source: 'Monday Interview' of today's issue of the 'Straits Times'.]


“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep, loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, 1926 – 2004, Swiss-born psychiatrist; also, author of the ground-breaking book, 'On Death & Dying', in which she first discussed what is now known as the Kübler-Ross model;

Sunday, March 22, 2009

MY NEXT LIFE, by Woody Allen

I have received this fascinating piece of work by email from an old buddy of mine.


"Creativity is a consequence of sheer productivity. If a creator wants to increase the production of hits, he or she must do it by risking a parallel increase in the production of misses . . . The
most successful creators tend to be those with the most failures."

~ Dean Keith Simonton, 61, American psychologist, with more than 300 books, book chapters & research articles to his credit, exploring genius, creativity, leadership, talent & aesthetics; specifically, the "cognitive, personal, developmental, social, & cultural factors behind eminence, giftedness, & talent in science, art, politics & war", as well as the psychology of science & distinguished scientists;