Friday, April 2, 2010


"On our track to success, we have to fight the tendency to look at others & see how far they've come. The only thing that counts is how to use the potential we possess & that we run our race to the best of our abilities."

~ Denis Waitley & Reni Witt;

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Do I ever think about how my eulogy will read?

Or, will it be one that is talked about & remembered for years - just as my life's contributions will be?


I find it intriguing as well as amusing to read that the Buzan Organisation has claimed that

"... 250 million people already 'mindmap'..."

on their newly created ThinkBuzan website.

Is this a fact or pure hyperbole? Or, did they just pluck the figure from the sky or is it an audited figure?

Likewise, in the corporate website of the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), which offers professional programs to the corporate world as well as to the general public, I have noted that Tony Buzan has claimed that he is

"the owner of the world's highest Creativity IQ".

I like to know who is the ranking or rating authority.

Interestingly & also amusingly, Tony Buzan also claimed

"he has been consistently ranked as one of the top international speakers at all levels & to groups from 1-15,000..."

"... rated as the top international lecturer in 15 national & international management associations."

In the first instance, any young kid can tell you that 1 is definitely not a group.

More importantly, I like to know the respective ranking or rating authority in the two instances.

Did the relevant people in SIM bothered to conduct due diligence on the "accolades"?

Hopefully, the relevant people at SIM, being a premier management training institution, are not entrenched in colonial mentality. Layman calls it the 'Ang Moh Factor'.

['Ang Moh' is a widely accepted & used as a simple term to describe a Causasian. You will hear the term in local TV & movie productions, radio shows, & also read it in the magazines or books.

By the way, readers can pop into this AngryAngMo website for elaboration on the term. The website is run by a German expatriate.]


"All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience."

~ Henry Miller, (1891–1980); American novelist & also painter; well-known for breaking with existing literary forms; as such, his most characteristic works are 'Tropic of Cancer', 'Tropic of Capricorn' & 'Black Spring';

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I have found this awesome book entitled 'Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth - Open the Door to Self-Understanding by Writing, Reading, & Creating a Journal of Your Life', by Kathleen Adams, in a second-hand bookstore.

After reading it, it reminds me of another awesome book, which has nothing to do with journaling.

That book was 'Summarisation in any Subject: 50 techniques to Improve Student Learning', by Rick Wormeli.

I already know how to summarize, & am proud to say that I am pretty good at it, too, but I didn't know there are 50 great ways to do it.

Likewise, I already know how to write a journal [in actuality, I call mine an 'ideas scratchpad', which also doubles up as my daily journal], & am proud to say that I am pretty good at it, too, but I didn't know there are thirteen great ways to do it.

So, in a nut shell, & for me, the most awesome part of the book is the 'Journaling Toolbox', comprising thirteen tools:

1) Springboards;
2) Character Sketches;
3) Clustering;
4) Captured Moments;
5) Dialog;
6) Lists;
7) Streams of Consciousness (or Meditative Writing);
8) Stepping Stones;
9) Time Capsule;
10) Topics du jour;
11) Unsent Letters;
12) Perspectives;
13) Dreams & Imagery;

I still haven't yet figured out why the book has listed twenty-two pathways. Nonetheless, I am really happy with the "turnout".

For me, I approach journaling [or 'ideas scratchpadding', in my lingo] more from the standpoint of exploring possibilities.

That's to say, journaling keeps me awake & alert to all kinds of possibilities, so to speak, to paraphrase idea guru Doug Hall, who once said:

"I like thinking of possibilities. At any time, an entirely new possibility is liable to come along & spin you off in an entirely new direction. The trick, I've learned, is to be awake to the moment."


Is it possible that the choices I make in every moment of everyday have a direct effect on the world around me?


"Until you can apply the information that you've learned, then & only then will you be rewarded."

~ Andy Fuehl, founder, Wealth Builders of America;

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


1) What am I willing to fight for?

2) What values do I hold dearest to my heart?

3) What values would I be willing to die for?

4) If I could achieve a single thing, what would make all my hard work worth the struggle?

5) If I had thirty seconds left to live, what would I tell my spouse &/or children?

6) What are the three most important things I have learned about how to live a happy life?


"If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.

If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.

When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you."

~ Lao Tzu

Monday, March 29, 2010


Just received the latest issue of Nightingale-Conant Corp's AdvantEdge Newsletter with the following '7 Cs of Success' by Tom Morris:

(1) A clear CONCEPTION of what we want, a vivid vision, a goal clearly imagined.

(2) A strong CONFIDENCE that we can attain that goal.

(3) A focused CONCENTRATION on what it takes to reach the goal.

(4) A stubborn CONSISTENCY in pursuing our vision.

(5) An emotional COMMITMENT to the importance of what we're doing.

(6) A good CHARACTER to guide us and keep us on a proper course.

(7) A CAPACITY TO ENJOY the process along the way.

Readers can go to this link to read the entire article.


I am intrigued by the foregoing question. I have learned that it had often been posed by quality guru Dr Edwards Deming to the audience during his many presentations.

According to Dr Deming, the person with the most control over the ship is the person that designed the ship.

That's to say, the ship will never perform better than it was designed to perform.

Dr Deming's contention is that when things go wrong, almost always the problem is the system.

He had once estimated that problem was the system from 94% to 97% of the time.

In other words, & correspondingly, 94% to 97% of the problems of all organisations are caused by the system, & the remaining problems by people making errors.

All CEOs out there: WAKE UP!

[Photo of Ship from]


"Anything can be improved if you know how to look."

~ Taiicho Ohno, founder of the Toyota Production System;

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I have just finished reading an entertaining book.

It's 'Imagination First' by Eric Liu & Scott Noppe-Brandon, both ardent campaigners for arts & imagination in education.

With the book, the authors introduce a set of universal practices - 28 (and a half) to be exact - to help the reader to get unstuck, & to reframe everyday challenges.

I like the authors' principal premise:

"... The reality is that imagination comes first. It must. Until & unless we have the emotional & intellectual capacity to conceive of what does not yet exist, there is nothing toward which we are to direct our will & our resources... Routinising imagination is... the work belongs to everyone of us... We can all use imagination across every part of our lives - & we can all learn to do it better... "

It is fair to say that the authors have been influenced to some extent by Benjamin & Rosamund Zander, who wrote 'The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life', which has also been quoted in the book.

The book has been written in three parts:

- the premise, as I have already captured above;

- the practices, which form sort of field manual - I must add that some of them are quite provocative & inspirational;

- the purposes, which form the thematic distillation;

According the the book, one can readily as well as easily think of & express new possibilities by practising the following playful "capacities" (the authors' term for "habits of mind"):

1) Noticing Deeply: identifying & articulating layers of detail through continuous interaction with an object of study;

2) Embodying: experiencing a work through your five senses & emotions, & physically representing that experience;

3) Questioning: asking "why?" & "what if?" throughout your explorations;

4) Identifying Patterns: finding relationships among the details you notice, & grouping them into patterns;

5) Making Connections: linking the patterns you notice to prior knowledge & experience (both your own & others);

6) Exhibiting Empathy: understanding & respecting the experiences of others;

7) Creating Meaning: creating interpretations of what you encounter, & synthesising them with the perspective of others;

8) Taking Action: acting on the synthesis through a project or an action that expresses your learning;

9) Reflecting & Assessing: looking back on your learning to identify what challenges remain & to begin learning anew;

From my personal perspective, the foregoing "habits of mind", even though they are not ground-breaking, serves as my quick takeaways, especially habit #1 & habit #9.

In the end analysis, I like to say that this is still a wonderful book about opening one's minds to a myriad of possibilities, & choreographing the possibilities to work.

For "ideas to cash" (paraphrasing my good friend, Dilip), I would recommend reading this book with 'Turn Your Imagination Into Money: Every Great Business and Innovation Can Be Attributed to One Thing - Imagination', by advertising consultant Ron Klein. In the book, the one chapter about the '22 Springboards to Imagination' alone will kick your imagination into overdrive.

If you are a strategic planner, 'Corporate Imagination Plus: Five Steps to Translating Innovative Strategies into Action', by strategy consultant Jim Bandrowski is worth pursuing.

[My personal fascination with "imagination" actually goes back to the late 70's, when I had first read Alex Osborn's 'Applied Imagination', followed by Michael LeBouef's 'Imagineering' in the early 80's.

I like to consider them real "classics" on the subject, even though both authors had a different slant from Eric Liu & Scott Noppe-Brandon.

The last book I have read not too long ago is Alexander Manu's 'The Imagination Challenge', which is somewhat scholarly, but worth pursuing too, if you have a deep interest like I do.]


"Don't wish for what you want.
Don't wait for what you want.
Command what you want."

~ an email ad from Nightingale-Conant, World Leader in Personal Development since 1960;


1) what is my unique purpose... ?

2) how am I releasing the magic of the moment... ?

3) how am I venturing into uncertainty... ?

4) how am I focusing the power of my intent... ?

5) how am I supporting growth... ?

6) how am I learning to see the invisible... ?

7) how am I returning my gift... ?

8) how am I keeping my energy clear & bright... ?

~ inspired by the book of 8 breakthrough questions to inspire innovation, 'The Way of nowhere', by Nic Turner & Nick Udall;