Saturday, April 4, 2009


I have spotted this moving bus ad at the bus stop just outside the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station this afternoon.


I have spotted this moving bus ad at the bus stop outside the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station on Orchard Road this afternoon.


I have spotted this hanging poster from the Page One bookstore while window-shopping with my wife at Vivo City today. I like the message, probably because it reflects my personal lifestyle:

"Even if you read books every day, you'll still never finish reading all the books in the world. But do make it a ritual."


"Go where tomorrow is. Let the rest of the world catch up!"

~ Donnie Deutsch, advertising executive & host of the CNBC Talk Show, 'The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsch';


If I climbed to the top of the mountain in order to ask a wise guru just one question: what would I want to know?

Friday, April 3, 2009


According to the authors of 'Juicing the Orange: How to Turn Creativity into a Powerful Business Advantage', Pat Fallon & Fred Senn, founding partners of the ad agency Fallon Worldwide, "creativity can be not just harnessed, but also leveraged".

They offer seven steps for doing so:

• Always start from scratch.

• "Demand a ruthlessly simple definition of the business problem."

• Find a "proprietary emotion" you can appeal to. "Marketers who favor reason over emotion," they write, "will find themselves quite literally forgotten."

• Think big. Don't be limited by the budget or the initial challenge.

• Take calculated risks.

• Collaborate with others both inside and outside your company to solve the problem.

• "Listen hard to your customers. (Then listen some more.)"


"I don't have to invent anything . . . It's out there somewhere if I can just find it & integrate it . . . Inventing is frustrating, it's dangerous, it's expensive, & inventors should avoid it whenever possible. Be a systems integrator."

~ Dean Karmen, inventor of the Segway;


According to Steve Tobak, writing in the BNET Insight weblog, here are 10 gold nuggets of wisdom on "Innovation in a Disruptive Environment" from Steve Jurvetson - the highly acclaimed, fast-talking managing director of leading global venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson:

1) For innovative cultures to thrive there must be a willingness to fail and an understanding that it’s okay to be wrong most of the time. In other words, not an environment of fear.

2) Great companies are formed in down markets, including Adobe, Broadcom, Chevron, Digital Equipment, HP, Microsoft, Rambus, Skype, Texas Instruments, Westinghouse.

3) Today, many entrepreneurs and companies look at the China and India markets first, not the U.S.

4) These days, businesses should tilt toward risk-taking behavior.

5) Most great, disruptive businesses were considered dumb ideas by most VCs; expect a lot of rejection and certainly not unanimous acceptance.

6) According to Ray Kurzweil, “The next 20 years of technological change will be equivalent to the past 100 years.” That means shorter forecast horizons and perpetual “future shock.”

7) What DFJ looks for in investment opportunities: Passionate entrepreneurs with unique ideas that can change the world.

8) Startup success depends on disruption: financial turmoil, new channels, or disruptive technology.

9) Entrepreneurs are becoming more globally distributed all the time.

10) Technology adoption rates are skyrocketing: hot new services like Hotmail, Skype (DFJ invested in both) and ICQ all achieved 8 - 14 million users in their first 12 - 18 months.


According to Geoffrey James, writing in the BNET Insight weblog, under the caption 'How To Motivate Yourself in 60 Seconds', & drawing inspiration from Jeff Keller, author of the bestselling book 'Attitude is Everything':

If you’re not at the top of your game, you can re-motivate and re-energize by asking yourself the following five questions:

QUESTION #1: Do I have an unrealistic timetable?

Explanation: Success is usually achieved one step at a time and big successes usually take longer than small successes.

Fix: Be patient with yourself and resist the temptation to compare your progress to that of others.

QUESTION #2: Am I truly committed?

Explanation: if you’re going to be successful, you need to be willing to do whatever it takes (within legal and ethical bounds, of course!).

Fix: Banish any thought of giving up before you accomplish your objective. Just do it.

QUESTION #3: Do I have too many discouraging influences?

Explanation: If you hang around with people who are highly critical or who are doing very little in their own lives, your energy and enthusiasm will be drained.

Fix: Decide to surround yourself with people who support and believe in you. Then do it.

QUESTION #4: Am I preparing to succeed?

Explanation: If you’re not improving your sales skills and business acumen, you’re gradually losing your edge.

Fix: Take a step to learn something that will help you accomplish your goal. Buy a book or a tape, or set yourself up to network with highly successful people in your field.

QUESTION #5: Am I truly willing to fail?

Explanation: In most cases, you will encounter setbacks before you finally succeed.

Fix: Decide that failure is an unavoidable yet vital component in your quest for success.


“Without AMBITION one starts nothing. Without WORK one finishes nothing. The prize will NOT be sent to you. You have to WIN it. The man who knows HOW will always have a job. The man who also knows WHY will always be his boss. As to methods there may be a million and then some, but PRINCIPLES are few. The man who grasps PRINCIPLES can successfully select his own METHODS. The man who tries METHODS, ignoring PRINCIPLES, is sure to have trouble.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson;

Thursday, April 2, 2009


What is invisible that is invisible?

How many of these patterns are around me today that cannot be seen & are unknown, but right under my nose?

How do I identify them before they reach the center of the bell curve?

How can I bring early attention to weak signals – weak signals that are about to double in frequency & amplitude, before someone else in my industry does?

What is known now that was previously unknown?

~ inspired by the work of innovation strategist Jatin Desai, Strategy-Driven Innovation weblog;


“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
~ Anatole France (1844—1924), born François-Anatole Thibault; French poet, journalist, & novelist; he was a member of the Académie Française, & won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921;

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


What is my life all about?

How involved must I become in the world in order to strive - & thrive - in it?


“Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions:

- Why am I doing it?
- What might be the results? &
- Will I be successful?

Only when you think deeply & find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.”

~ Chanakya (350 BC-275 BC), Indian politician, strategist & writer;


“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. “

~ Barbara Kingsolver, 54, journalist, novelist & storyteller; when not writing or spending time with her family, Barbara gardens, cooks, hikes, & works as an environmental activist & human-rights advocate;

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Today, while surfing the net, I have somehow stumbled upon an old but interesting article by Dr Layne Longfellow, scientist & musician by training, in 'Professional Speaker'.

[Dr Layne Longfellow was one of my instructors via a video presentation at the 16-day boot-camp of the Excellerated Business Schools during the early nineties, which I had talked about in an earlier post. His presentation threw several interesting insights about how to be an author of the last half of our lives, especially when "someone wrote the script for the first half of our lives".

According to him, the best predictor of our later years was how we would handle mid-life.]

Naturally, when I had spotted his esteemed name on the article, my eyes were wide open.

In the article, he had offered a refreshing perspective on the issue of limits, which certainly intrigued me, as I would not have thought about it that way at all.

Here's the extract:

"Once I realised, . . . that I now would always have limits, I had the thundering realisation that I had always had limits! We all do. To know life is to know what life is limited. To embrace those limitations is to accept humaneness and to "know thyself". Your limitations and your strengths give you your identity.

A river without its shoreline is not a river; it's a flood. What defines the Atlantic Ocean is not the water. What defines the Atlantic Ocean is North America and Europe and South America and Africa. Without those boundaries, it is not the Atlantic Ocean; it's the Earth; it's everything.

Limitation is self-knowledge; it is self-mastery. Who I am is what I can do and what I cannot. Once those boundaries got clearer, life gets simpler - not easier, just simpler."

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


1) Jobs today are temporary. You don't know how long your job is going to last;

2) Jobs today are really seminars. Change is happening so rapidly that you've got to pay close attention and learn;

3) Today's jobs are essentially adventures. You never know what's going to happen next;

4) You must find job satisfaction in the work itself. Your self-esteem must come from doing the work rather than from some hoped-for promotion, pay raise, or other reward - which may never materialize;

~ Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the perennial best-seller, 'What Colour is Your Parachute' (the first copy was released in 1970), when interviewed by Fast Company;

[You can reach Richard Nelson Bolles via the Web (]


Here's a link to a nice, but rather belated, article which has been specifically written to clarify some of the salient issues surrounding the concept of strategic thinking.

It answers the following pertinent questions:

- what is strategic thinking?
- how do we recognize it?
- is it different from strategic planning?
- if so, is it a replacement for strategic planning?
- can strategic thinking and strategic planning be accommodated within the same strategic management regime?


"(Thomas) Kuhn shows how almost every significant breakthrough in the field of scientific endeavor is first to break with tradition, with the old way of thinking, with old paradigms.

Paradigms are powerful because they create the lens through which we see the world.

You don’t have much confidence in someone who doesn’t diagnose before he or she prescribes.

It is extremely valuable to train the mind to stand apart and examine its own program. That, to me, is the definition of a liberal education—the ability to examine the programs of life against larger questions and purposes and other paradigms.

Training, without such education, narrows and closes the mind so that the assumptions underlying the training are never examined. That’s why it is so valuable to read broadly and to expose yourself to great minds.

The person who doesn’t read is no better off than the person who can’t read.

My contemplation of life and human nature in that secluded place had taught me that he who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress.

Change—real change—comes from the inside out.

It comes from striking at the root—the fabric of our thought, the fundamental, essential paradigms, which give definition to our character and create the lens through which we see the world."

~ Stephen Covey, 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' (1989);


It’s the time to choose what you want now
It’s the time to declare who you are now
It’s the time to reach for the stars now
It’s the time to believe in yourself now

~ 'Because You’re Beautiful', by Toni Childs, 52, American singer-songwriter;

Monday, March 30, 2009


The following story which I have found on the net ['Two Peas in a Bucket' weblog] is originally attributed to Bill O'Hanlon, a success coach & also author of 'Do One Thing Different: Ten Simple Ways to Change Your Life', among other great works.

"It seems that one year, there was a class of students who were so unruly that they burned out two different teachers. One teacher took early retirement and the other decided to get out of teaching altogether.

This class was so bad that substitute teachers began to refuse to take it. So the district called a teacher who had applied for a job but hadn't made the cut that year. They asked her if she would be willing to come in and finish out the year in return for the promise of a full-time position the next year.

She eagerly accepted. The principal decided not to warn the teacher about the class, afraid that she would be scared off if she heard what she was up against. After the new teacher had been on the job for a month, the principal sat in on a class to see how things were going.

To his amazement, the students were well-behaved and enthusiastic. After the students had filed out of the classroom, the principal stayed behind to congratulate the teacher on a job well done. She thanked him but insisted that he deserved thanks for giving her such a special class, such a great class, for her first assignment.

The principal hemmed and hawed and told her that he really didn't deserve any thanks. She laughed and told him, "You see, I discovered your little secret on my first day here. I looked in the desk drawer and found the list of the students' IQ scores. I knew I had a challenging group of kids here, so bright and rambunctious that I would really have to work to make school interesting for them because they are so intelligent."

She slid the drawer open and the principal saw the list with the students' names and the numbers 136, 145, 127, 128, and so on written next to the names.

He exclaimed, "Those aren't their IQ scores--those are their locker numbers!"

Too late. The teacher had already expected the students to be bright and gifted - and they had responded positively to her positive view and her positive handling of them."

I recall the following apt quote from Peter Siegel, a success motivation speaker, which more or less sums up the foregoing story:

"What is expected tends to be realised. When you learn to expect the best, your life begins to blossom."


“There are countless ways of attaining greatness, but any road to reaching one’s maximum potential must be built on a bedrock of respect for the individual, a commitment to excellence, & a rejection of mediocrity.”
~ Philip Guedella, (1889-1944), British barrister & biographer;

Sunday, March 29, 2009


According to ACT, an independent, nonprofit organization that provides assessment, research, information & program management services in education, & workforce development, you need the following "personal" skills to succeed on the job:

1) Carefulness: Do you have a tendency to think and plan carefully before acting? This helps with reducing the chance for costly errors, as well as keeping a steady workflow going.

2) Cooperation: Willingness to engage in interpersonal work situations is very important in the workplace.

3) Creativity: You've heard of "thinking outside the box"? Employers want innovative people who bring a fresh perspective.

4) Discipline: This includes the ability to keep on task and complete projects without becoming distracted or bored.

5) Drive: Businesses want employees who have high aspiration levels and work hard to achieve goals.

6) Good attitude: This has been shown to predict counterproductive work behaviors, job performance and theft.

7) Goodwill: This is a tendency to believe others are well-intentioned.

8) Influence: Groups need strong leaders to guide the way. Influence includes a tendency to positively impact social situations by speaking your mind and becoming a group leader.

9) Optimism: A positive attitude goes a long way toward productivity.

10) Order: "Where did I put that?" A tendency to be well organized helps employees to work without major distractions or "roadblocks."

11) Safe work behaviors: Employers want people who avoid work-related accidents and unnecessary risk-taking in a work environment.

12) Savvy: This isn't just about job knowledge, but knowledge of coworkers and the working environment. It includes a tendency to read other people's motives from observed behavior and use this information to guide one's thinking and action.

13) Sociability: How much you enjoy interacting with coworkers affects how well you work with them.

14) Stability: This means a tendency to maintain composure and rationality in stressful work situations.

15) Vigor: This is a tendency to keep a rapid tempo and keep busy.


What will help me stay afloat in today's volatile times?

What will keep me engaged intellectually, emotionally, spiritually & physically?

What will give me a chance to reach a higher performing state?


To those who choose to start their own business, chef Ms Ann Yik, who runs her own two home-made ice-cream parlours, under 'The Ice Cream Gallery', at Valley Point & Eastwood Centre, has this to say:

"Be positive. Make decisions with a long-term view. Things will not go your way all the time so just use it as a chance to change things . . . And if you can help it, try not to do it while you are starting a family."

[For enquiries, visit]


Just for the fun of it, proceed to the following links to evaluate your personal skills:

Are you a Peak Performer?

Are you Emotionally Intelligent?

How strong are your Leadership Skills?

[Source: Vortex Newsletter: News & Updates for Peak Performers]


"I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, & despite the ancient & worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love & moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye & to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life
~ Carl Sagan, (1934-1996), American astronomer, astrochemist & astrophysicist;


“Remember that your influence begins with you & ripples outward.
So be sure that your influence is both potent & wholesome. How do I know that this works?
All growth spreads outward from a fertile & potent nucleus. You are a nucleus.”

~ John Heider, 'The Tao of Leadership: Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching Adapted for a New Age';