Saturday, May 15, 2010


"In order to deal with the chaos that exists in the world today, you need some grounding. That grounding comes from knowing who you are in a rich sense, so that as things change, you know what your resources are, what you can bring to a situation."

~ Prof Michael Ray, Stanford School of Business;

Friday, May 14, 2010


"The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement."

~ Source Unknown;


According to Tony Galliano, known as the '60 second strategist', the following areas are critical in determining what exactly is needed to create long term value to both yourself and the organization around you:

1. Eliminate distractions:

Eliminate unnecessary distractions and be able to focus on long term objectives without letting daily activities interfere with the “Big Picture”

2. Lock in on target:

Set specific goals for each area of business and life. Without direction, you are
relying on dumb luck to drive your success.

3. Get smart:

Educate yourself about your business your goals and your projects. Ignorance is the
cause of many failures. All the intelligence and motivation in the world is useless
without the proper facts.

4. Analyze and Forecast:

Analyze the situation around you, and consistently forecast the future of your external and internal environment.

5. Set your Plan:

Set your plan by detailing specific action steps that clearly lead to your objectives.

And most importantly…

6. Get it done!

Getting is done is the hardest part of all… some of the biggest plans are never
successful because they are never implemented.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


A young boy traveled across the country to the school of a famous Sensei teaching martial arts.

When he arrived at the Dojo, he was greeted by the Sensei "What do you wish from me?"

"I wish to be your student and become the finest martial artist in the land" said the boy.

"How long must I study?"

"Ten years at least." The Sensei replied.

"Ten years is a long time." The boy said.

"What if I study twice as hard as all the other students?"

"Twenty years," replied the Sensei.

"Twenty years!" "But what if I practice day and night with all my effort?"

"Thirty years," the Sensei replied.

"Thirty years!"

"Why is it that each time I say I will practice harder, you say it will take longer"?

"The answer is clear," said the Sensei.

"When one eye is fixed on only the final destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the way."

[Source: The Martial Arts Institute of Sifu Erick Fallon, California, USA]


"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent... more fairy tales."

~ Albert Einstein;


How many days do I have to live?

Why am I doing this?

What are the 2 critical things I am working on at any given time?


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


What do I need to do to be more competitive in today's & tomorrow's marketspace?


"There are three things which are real: God, human folly, and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension. So we must do what we can with the third."

~ former US president (during the sixties), John F. Kennedy;

"Never mistake motion for action!": LESSONS FROM ERNEST HEMINGWAY

I have found some interesting lessons from Ernest Hemingway.

I have always regarded him as a great & prolific writer, but never would have expected him to be a productivity guru, so to speak, until I have "strayed" into the Bacharach leadership weblog.

In a nut shell, here are the seven productivity tips from the Nobel laureate:

1. Don’t Waste Words and Be Clear;

2. Make a Schedule;

3. Quit While You’re Ahead;

4. Keep Your Mouth Shut;

5. Don’t Give Up;

6. Work Standing Up;

7. Lastly, my favourite “Never mistake motion for action”;

The crux: Leaders have to remember that productivity is about action & getting things done i.e. making movements into achievements – & not running around in circles.

You can go to this link for the entire blogpost.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The purpose of communication is to get your message cross...



Recently, I rewatched two sci-fi fantasy movies, namely, 'Westworld', starring Yul Brynner, & 'Terminator', starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, on StarHub cable television.

'Westworld' dated back to the early seventies, while 'Terminator' dated back to the early eighties or so - approx. ten years apart.

A quick one:

'Westworld': Two good buddies (played by Richard Benjamin & James Brolin) went to visit a futuristic amusement park called 'Delos'.

The park was divided into 3 zones: 'WesternWorld', 'MedievelWorld' & 'RomanWorld', with live entertainment to allow guests to fulfill their wildest dreams of going back to history, while interacting with humanised robots, which were programmed to serve for... romance... sex... violence... & in fact, anything.

The two buddies went for 'WesternWorld', where one of the main attractions was the 'Gunslinger' (played by Yul Brynner - quite refreshing to watch him playing a bad guy), a humanised robot specially programmed to go for gun duels. Amusingly, humans could always outdraw the 'Gunslinger' & kill it.

However, one particular day, something went wrong with the programming of all the humanised robots. The 'Gunslinger' went berserk, & became the menacing predator on the hunt for the two.

The rest of the movie centred on the survival run of the two buddies, as well as others, in the park.

'Terminator': A cyborg from the future - 2029 - was sent by machine masters known as Skynet to earth to kill the young unsuspecting mother, Sarah (played by Linda Hamilton) of the resistance leader of the last remaining humans, John Connor.

By doing so, Skynet thought that it could reshape the future by changing the past.

To their dismay, the resistance group also sent one of their best soldiers, Kyle (played by Michael Biehn), to earth to intercept the machine.

The rest of the movie centred on the ferocious battle between man & machine, with the young mother caught unwittingly (or drawn by fate?) in between.

After rewatching them, it suddenly dawned on me that the humanised robot in the form of the 'Gunslinger' character in 'Westworld' was actually the precursor to the intelligent cyborg in 'Terminator'.

Both had the same singular obsessive determination: to kill... with No Pity, No Pain, & No Fear!

Well, I am not too sure whether James Cameron was indeed influenced by 'Westworld', while creating the almost indestructible character in 'Terminator'.

But, one thing I am very sure of is that 'Ideas Build on Ideas'.

Nonetheless, I have thoroughly enjoyed rewatching the two sci-fi movies.


"Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer injury to our self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their self-importance, learn so easily; and why older people, especially if vain or arrogant, cannot learn at all."

~ Thomas Szasz, 90, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York; well-known social critic of the moral & scientific foundations of psychiatry, & of the social control aims of medicine in modern society;


What do I 'know' about myself that might not be true?

What do I 'not know' about myself that might be true?

Monday, May 10, 2010


If you are searching for that particular word that you've been thinking about all day long, but just can't seem to recall the whole word, except for some fragments of the word, here's a great search tool for it.


"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside - a desire, a dream, a vision."

~ Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, epitomised in the popular song with the beautiful lyrics "...float like a butterfly, sting like a bee...";

[Please read my earlier post, 'Lessons from the Rumble in the Jungle';]


I have found the following interesting exposition on the net, which I often like to refer to as the 'Invisible University'.

Kids & teens of today are actually very lucky as they are born in the Internet Age, where access to information is abundant. More importantly, it's free or at best, low-cost!

Unfortunately, & sad to say, they prefer to play computer games on the net.

With a little bit of creativity & ingenuity, one can easily collate, synthesise & reconfigure - as I had done for myself over the years - a pragmatic curriculum covering a very vast - also deep - range of subjects - from mainstream to fringes - to unitiate self-directed, life-long learning at home or at work.

Learning can take place in the form of Word or Adobe pdf documents, YouTube videos, audio podcasts, & all forms of multimedia webpages.

Nonetheless, the following exposition offers many valuable insights about peak performance as wel as personal mastery.

1. Focus

"One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”

Nothing is more critical than focus. If you fail to reach your goal, it is because somewhere along the way your focus was "broken."

Focus is power; a focused person can accomplish more than 100 individuals who are merely interested.

2. Realize That Decisions Decide Destinies

"It's not what's happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it's your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you're going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.”

More than anything else, your decisions decide your future. Its how you play the cards that you’ve been dealt that matters most. Decisions decide destinies!

The decision to further pursue your education, the decision on who you marry, the decision to start your own business, the decision to just sit around and make excuses; your life is a result of the decisions that you’ve made.

3. Recognize the Path to Success

"The truth of the matter is that there's nothing you can't accomplish if:

(1) You clearly decide what it is that you're absolutely committed to achieving,

(2) You're willing to take massive action,

(3) You notice what's working or not, and

(4) You continue to change your approach until you achieve what you want, using whatever life gives you along the way.”

Wow, what a quote! This is the path to success.

Anybody can make excuses and say “you have to be lucky to succeed,” but the truth is, we all have the power to succeed, however we're all not willing to do what it takes to succeed (that’s the difference).

Most prefer to sit on the side-line, or play Monday morning quarterback.

4. Raise Your Standard

“Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards. When people ask me what really changed my life eight years ago, I tell them that absolutely the most important thing was changing what I demanded of myself.

I wrote down all the things I would no longer accept in my life, all the things I would no longer tolerate, and all the things that I aspired to becoming.

If you don't set a baseline standard for what you'll accept in life, you'll find it's easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that's far below what you deserve.”

In life you get what you accept and what you expect. What do you expect from yourself? Do you expect to be average; do you expect to live an average life or to have an average job? What are you accepting? Are you accepting living paycheck to paycheck? Are you accepting barely getting along?

To succeed you must raise your standard, you must begin to see yourself differently.

5. Major in Major Things

"Most people fail in life because they major in minor things.”

Give your time and attention to what matters most. Dedicate your life to doing big things; leave the little things to someone else. Learn to think big, to act big, and your life will take on a new direction.

Major in major things!

6. Do What You Know To Do

“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.”

Chances are you already have enough information to dramatically transform your life from the inside-out; you’re just not putting that information into action. It’s not enough to possess knowledge, you must act on what you know in-order to change your destiny.

7. Learn to Follow the Leader

"If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you'll achieve the same results.”

There’s no sense in re-creating the wheel. Find someone who’s succeeding and do what they did. If it worked for them, it will work for you.

Follow the leader, think like the leader, act like the leader, and you will become the leader.



"Critical thinking, without creative and intuitive insights, without the search for new patterns, is sterile and doomed. To solve complex problems requires the activity of both cerebral hemispheres; the path to the future lies through the corpus callosum."

~ Carl Sagan,(1934-1996), American astronomer, astrochemist & astrophysicist;

Hip, Hip, Hurray!

As my good friend Dilip Mukerjea has so eloquently put it in his book, 'Unleashing Genius, with the World Most Powerful Learning Systems', "Genius is unleashed when both the 'left' and the 'right' attributes of the brain are working in harmony with one another."


Yesterday morning, a group of eager parents spent a beautiful Sunday - about an hour - at the Arts House with my good friend Dilip Mukerjea. He gave a presentation on 'Brainchildren', under the auspices of the Asian Parents Forum 2010.

The focus of his presentation was "The First Wonder of the World is the Mind of a Child".

He started off the presentation with an interesting & useful idea. Every participant was given a blank A4-sized paper. Each piece of paper needed to be folded four times. When opened, each side consisted of sixteen "noteboards", plus the flip side, that made 32 "noteboards".

The surprised participants were asked to fill in the "noteboards" with the multiplicity of insights captured during his presentation. What a great idea!

Naturally, besides talking about VUCA perspectives of the rapidly-changing landscape of the world, & the important role of parents (as well as teachers) in forming learning communities, also, inculcating self-efficacy & future-savvy skills, with the elements of learning through play & joy quotient, in the education of our younger generation, he played some brain-teasing games with the participants.

The games really tested the limits of the participants' mental boundaries, so to speak. Dilip's point: Expand your consciousness! Don't restrict yourself!

He ended the fun-paced presentation with some fascinating insights:

1) What is the opposite of 'OUTSTANDING'?

Participants threw up a good number of responses, but the most appropriate answer should be 'VERY GOOD', according to Dilip, who explained that in today's context, 'VERY GOOD' was not good enough.

We have to be OUTSTANDING in whatever we do. In other words, BE DISTINCT or Be EXTINCT!

2) An antidote for handling FAILURE in a child, posed by a participant. Dilip's response: Note the 'ILU' or 'I LOVE YOU'.

According to him, "Love is the only operating system".

What a beautiful Sunday!

[VUCA stands for VOLATILITY, UNCERTAINTY, COMPLEXITY & AMBIGUITY. To deal with these dilemmatic perspectives, we need VISION, UNDERSTANDING, CLARITY & AGILITY.

These come from the brilliant work of futurist Bob Johansen, who wrote 'Leaders Make the Future'. I have already reviewed it in an earlier post. Dilip has also done a beautiful splashmap on the book's key ideas.]


What have I done lately to supercharge my brain?

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Am I prepared to live my life fully engaged? Strategically prepared. Physically fit. Mentally focused. Emotionally balanced. Spiritually aligned.


“Mediocrity is self-inflicted. Genius is self-bestowed. The choice is yours.”

~ Walter Russell, 1871-1963, 'The Man who tapped theSecrets of the Universe';