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It doesn’t take a genius to know what an idiot is. To make it sounds simple, an idiot is someone who made a fool of himself in front of many people or someone who irritates you so much that his/her presence annoys or even angers you.

Sometimes, we do behave like an idiot. Maybe it’s for pure fun, trying to cheer someone up, being sarcastic or maybe our behavior seems normal to ourselves (but looks like an idiot to other people). One thing for sure, it’s better to avoid being an idiot in front of other people, especially strangers.

There are few things one could do to avoid that. Here are some of them.

  1. Don’t be sarcastic.
    • Some people love to be sarcastic. They think it might make them feel “cool” or “smart” or “funny”. Well, if you do it once in a while, it’s ok. If you do it all the time, people will hate you. Respect is the word. Nobody wants to talk to a sarcastic person all the time. Try to show respect to the people around you.
    • However, if you are faced with an annoying and sarcastic friend, feel free to return the favor. Be sarcastic to him, but not in public places.
  2. Keep comments to yourself.
    • Some of us love to complain about things. Some even go to the extend of commenting every single thing (living or not) in this world. If you have a friend who comments soooo much in front of everyone (just to show he’s very disappointed with the world), what will you think of him? He’s either an idiot, a pessimist or just an annoying fellow.
    • I understand that sometimes, we just got so disappointed in things that we need to talk to someone. Pick 1 or 2 good friends, the people you can trust and rely on…then voice out your comments to them.
    • Again, respect is the word. Don’t comment on things you shouldn’t comment. For example, physical appearance is something sensitive. Avoid commenting on that.
  3. Don’t argue with someone in public places.
    • I am sure some of us have came across annoying and irritating people in public places before. These people just get to our nerves and make us so furious that sometimes, we are willing to lose our face/status in the public just to vent our anger or frustration on them.
    • Ok, don’t do that. Why? Because you won’t know who are listening at your argument at that time.
    • For example, there’s an annoying waiter in the restaurant who ignored you everytime you requested his assistance (in getting extra plates, etc). You got frustrated by his attitude and went to confront him. He said “Can’t you see i’m busy?” And you said “Well, it’s your job to serve us with the right attitude. What kind of attitude is this?” He replied “I do what I like. You are not the only customer here.” Then, you exploded “%$^#^&*&, what kind of #@%$% waiter are you?!”
    • If someone in the restaurant was following your conversation with this waiter, he/she will know you are not wrong. You are just clarifying with this waiter about his attitude and stating you are not very happy with it. HOWEVER, if someone nearby who didn’t pay attention to you 2 until the moment you exploded……you are just an arrogant idiot to that person.
    • If you are irritated with that waiter, find a quiet place and confront him. Do not try to have a confrontation in front of other people. That will make you look bad.
  4. Don’t act smart if you’re not smart.
    • Ever notice that the real smart people won’t act smart? If they don’t know, they will admit they don’t know. Only the “fools” will pretend they’re smart and they know every thing.
    • If they’re lucky, they might be able to pull this “trickery” or “act” off when nobody there knows what they claimed they know.
    • What if someone there knows whatever they claimed were wrong? That will just make them look like an idiot who knows nothing, but claimed to know everything. And believe me, words travel very fast. You won’t want your entire group of friends to know you’re an idiot pretending to be smart.

There are other methods of how to avoid being an idiot in public places. I’m running short of time. Thus, the short post. Will continue few days later on the second part of the post (if i can manage to find enough points).

Going off for New Year. Happy Year 2007 to everyone of you !

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In my previous post, I’ve asked the question “What are your passions?”. Let’s assume you’ve found your passions…and you’ve planned how to fully utilize your passions. Do you think, by having all these little plans of yours, will make you achieve lasting success?

It’s possible, but not easy.

I’m currently reading a very good book “Success built to last : Creating a life that matters” by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery and Mark Thompson. In this book, the authors mentioned something which I personally feel is very true – being passionate in your job, can make you successful but being passionate and having a reason to do so will enable you to build a lasting success.

Do you want a success which is only short term, or a success which can last long..perhaps outlast even yourself?

If yes, I believe you need more than passions. It’s good to do what we like…..for myself, I love to play games, read, cook, etc. Can I really be successful or start a business based on these passions? Yes, there’s a high possibility. However, I do not have a proper reason to be successful….I just love to do my work, that’s all.

What if I add a reason to do what I like to do? It’ll start an inner fire….a very strong will to make it big and successful. When you find the reason to work hard (such as to contribute to those who needs your help), you are no longer doing something you like for yourselves. You are doing something because of certain beliefs.

The classic example will be the story of Mahatma Gandhi who found out that his passions were not that applicable after he graduated. However, he found a different reason to work hard after he travelled to South Africa. In the end, the thing he was fighting for, became aligned with his initial passions.

It’s important to have passions in whatever you do….but if you want to achieve something big and lasting, you need a reason for it. A reason which will lit the inner fire within you.

Hope you’ll find this post useful.

p/s…. Do refer to the link for futher information. I might not have provided a good description on this legendary figure. My apologies for that. 🙂

In our lives, we meet all sorts of individuals – be it nice, or not-so-nice. There will be people who touched our hearts, but somehow, there will also be a group of people who want to ruin our lives. We call them, “bullies”.

Bullies exist everywhere – in schools, companies, families, or friends. How do you define “bully”? Based on the definition from The Free Dictionary, a bully is a person who is habitually cruel or overbearing especially to smaller or weaker people. For example, I used to be bullied around by a classmate of mine while I was in primary school. I was a very quiet boy then. This “big bully” often picked quiet boys like me. I was being pushed around, laughed at, teased, taunted…etc.

I’m sure most of us have been bullied before in our lives. Some of us encountered such bullies during our school time, among our colleagues, or maybe the bully is one of our relatives.

Just remember, we’re not in this world to be bullied around. We live for ourselves. Nobody wants other people to start having fun by making an idiot out of us. If there’s a bully in your life, and if you can’t tolerate anymore…put a full stop to this.

As for my real life example above, I’d put a stop to the bully’s behavior. I became good friends with BIGGER-sized boys, and also I’d lodged a complaint to one of the most influential teachers.

Do what you must (in a legal way of course). Approach the people higher (in terms of position and authority) than this bully, seek confrontation with this person and talk some sense out of him and if nothing goes well…….break any relationship you might have with this person (if he’s your boss, go seek for new job in another company).

Bear in mind, you don’t deserve to be bullied around.

p/s…. if you are a bully yourself, just keep in mind that we are here in this world, to make ourselves feel good and also to make the people around us feel good. Help each others, contribute to the society, etc. None of us should try to make other people’s life miserable.  

p/s…. if you are being bullied for a short period of time due to your own mistakes, then it’s a different story. Admit your mistakes, correct them and hopefully they will stop bullying you around.

Being innovative and creative are not easy. You’ll need ample of space to let your imagination runs wild, to think of the impossible, the new, the strange…and make all these things work and materialize !
That’s not a problem, IF (a big if) you’re working for yourself. Working for yourself, you have no attachments…no restrictions….no rules and no boundaries. You are like living in your own world (provided you have enough financial support to survive), thinking and developing your ideas.

Let’s have a scenario here….let’s say you’re working in a big company as the division head for the company’s main Research & Development division. Your company has all the usual stuff a big company should have – processes, procedures, policies, forms, paperworks…etc. In order for you to test out an idea, you need to go through process A, by filling up form B, and prepare paperworks consisting of > 100 pages……and after all these things have finished, you need to wait for your department’s director to approve…and finally, you need to present to your CIO, CTO, CEO (all the big shots).

Do you seriously think that you (as a creative thinker who promotes creativity and innovation in your work) can handle all these processes, procedures, policies? If yes, congratulations…you’re a genius. The late management guru, Peter F. Drucker mentioned that it was quite impossible to do so (in his book “Innovation and Entrepreneurship).

The solution? Separate the innovation part of the business into smaller groups or divisions. If your company is a large corporation, start a subsidary. Separate your core business processes from this small team. Leave them be. Let them do whatever they want…as long as it is within a predefined scope. Never pester your creative thinkers with all these fussy stuff. You’ll just slow down their research.

Hope this helps 😀

Recently, I came across a posting regarding innovation. My question is, does work-related innovation still exist in this era or it has become a fairytale which nobody knows whether it has ever existed.

As all of us know, the competition in the major industries (science/technology in particular) is getting tougher and tougher each day. Companies need to get as many business opportunities as possible, in order to maximize revenue and to survive. By doing this…some of the companies might have overlooked the need to innovate.

How many of you are currently working (or have worked before) in a company where innovation is a fairytale…or worse, there’s no innovation at all. I’ve worked in few companies before, and to be honest, none of them treat Research & Development (the source of innovation) seriously. To the directors, R & D is a waste of time.

Is that true? Is innovation really a waste of time? The answer is YES, if you try to innovate for the sake of having innovation (in the IT industry, the best example of this is to spend resources in developing a tool which has no particular use).

Let’s look at companies from 3 different sizes…small, medium and large corporations…

  • Small companies are more likely to promote innovation, because they need it to market themselves….to have the spotlights turned on them. Some of these companies started due to innovation – a new consumer product or a new business application.
  • On the other hand, medium sized companies are normally the companies which don’t promote innovation because they fear that innovation will waste too much of their resources (which are needed for their survival). Perhaps, they should think long term?
  • Almost all successful and big corporations promote innovation. It is a way for them to step up a gear or two in order to remain, or to become more superior than their respective competitors. Without it, they will start to lag behind and eventually forced out of their industry by their competitors who innovate.

Innovation is vital (quite obvious), if the company wants to be the best (or second best) in its industry.  Without it, the company will eventually lose its foothold in the rat race….

p/s….. this post was written based on my personal opinions. If there’s any mistakes, or conflict of ideas/opinions, please feel free to drop some comments in the comment box.

What will you answer if someone asked you “How are you feeling today?”. I can tell you straight….your answer would most probably be one of these – “Not bad”, “Ok lor” or “So so” for Asians, “Bad”, “Still alive”.

How many of you actually answers “Fine!”? Maybe 10% of you? Before I finished the 2 books “Drop the pink elephant” by Bill McFarlan and Anthony Robbins’ book “Awaken The Giant Within“, I must admit that I’ll answer “Still surviving..”, “Still alive”, “Ok lor”, “So so” or the best I could come out with …”Fine”. What will you feel if someone replies you with that? Boring right? It will certainly make the person looks a bit negative….or not-in-the-mood.

Give it a try…go ask someone “how are you?” and you will immediately know whether you are talking to a positive, negative or boring person. If the person says “Still alive”….it’ll make him/her feels down….and at the same time, making you feel uneasy.

Replace it with “Great, “Awesome” or at the very least…”Fine”. It’ll not only lift you up and make you feel great…you will also make the other person feels better.

Try this, and I’m sure you will find the difference soon enough. 🙂

Together, we’ll try to make this world a better place.

p/s….please don’t overuse the question and start pestering people with “how are you?”s. 😀

In this post, I’ll talk about how we can avoid being a boring person during a conversation.

 

Conversation is an important activity for everyone. You need to have a constructive conversation with your employees, employers, clients, family, friends, etc. There are few things that you need to remember every time you have a conversation with someone.

 

  • Not to use the wrong word.

Never use the words or sarcastic remarks which will hurt the feelings of your conversation partner. Be polite, be courteous. Remember, you are talking to get your points across, get feedbacks, or to make people’s life better….not taunting or trying to ruin people’s day. You won’t get that many opportunities to talk to the person again if you mess this up. Remember, a single word can ruin a relationship which used thousands of words to build.

  • Talk about things which are related to the person you’re talking to.

When you’re talking to someone, make sure you are talking about something which is related to the person especially if the person is not very close to you. You won’t want to bore someone you barely know with your personal problems. Once in a while is okay…but if you continuously talk about stuff which is only related to YOU…sooner or later, the person will be frustrated and avoid you.

  • Maintain eye contact.

This is to avoid your conversation partner from wandering too far away during the conversation. It is also to show you are sincere in your conversation.

  • Make it a 2-ways communication.

Being courteous and polite are very important. Never interrupt a person’s conversation unless it’s something urgent or very important. Give people the opportunity to voice out their opinions. Make the conversation 2-ways.

  • It’s nice to be a good listener.

Sometimes, it’s important for us to play the role of a listener. Just pay attention to what your conversation partner is talking at that time (it could be your family, spouse, clients, colleagues, etc). If you’re paying attention and give some constructive and useful feedbacks….people will learn to appreciate you more. 🙂 Yeah, I know, some people complain way too much to you….well, the only thing you could do is to make the person feel more positive. 😉

You can easily find these ‘best practices’ from the book “Drop the pink elephant” by Bill McFarlan. It’s a good book. Highly recommended. 🙂

p/s…I’m not very good in a conversation. Need to work hard in this field as well. 😉

If you’re a manager, will you find the right people first or will you get the project first? If you just started a company all by yourself…will you find the right people or start looking for new project?

This is like the chicken & egg story. Which one comes first? or which one SHOULD come first? To be honest, it’s quite subjective.

Based on the book “Good to great” by Jim Collins, he mentioned that it is important to find the right people first, before everything else. I do believe in his wise words. You might think that without a project, why even bother to hire more people? I once think like you do, and I am sure most of the people in the corporate world will think that way. However, after reading this book, I somehow feel that..perhaps, it IS very important to get the right people on the bus, before deciding where to head to.

Let’s have an example….

You just started your company, alone. You have a business plan but no project. However, you seriously need someone to help out…so you started to look for people….. Only 2 situations might occur :

  1. You got the right people on the bus, revised the business plan, decided which direction to head to and together as a team, started to drive your company to that direction.
  2. You prefer to get the projects first. You tried and tried…finally, you got a project. You scurried around looking for people….and you found them. Off they went, for the project.

In (1), it’s the classic example of getting the right people first. This way, you can have all the brain juice you need from the “smart” people you hired. Of course, to some companies, this will prove to be very costly….but think about it, perhaps it IS worthwhile to do so?

In (2), you hired “followers” who only had the chance of coming to the company and implementing whatever you’ve instructed them to do so. You are the “boss”, the sole decision maker. If you managed to screw it up….your company is screwed as well.

This theory, applies to all sort of companies – from startups to big corporations. It just depends on how much they believe in it. If I were to start a company, I would definitely follow the “people first, direction later” theory since I can be more assured my company is heading the right way with all the expert co-drivers and navigators in my bus. 🙂

Again, it’s your call.

p/s…I might not be able to express myself well enough in this topic. For further information, do refer to the book by Jim Collins which I’ve mentioned above.

Recently, I’ve watched a movie called Click by Adam Sandler. It’s a very good movie…very touching indeed.

In the movie, it talked about a guy who always wanted to work hard to support his family (thus giving them a better life). I am sure most of us have this same feeling (including myself). There’s nothing wrong with this mindset….the problem occurs when the workacholic architect overlooked his family while concentrating on his work. Time flies and he became very old. He did managed to become a very successful architect…..well-known and admired by many. However, he lost his wife, his father, and his family.

Do you want to be someone like this? I assume the answer is NO (that’s for me anyway).

Work-related things can always be rearranged. If the customers are concerned, the rearrangement might make them a bit unhappy but you can always work harder to repair that relationship. You can’t postpone your son’s graduation day….or your in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary. These are the stuff you cannot afford to miss…because there might not be a second 50th wedding anniversary.

Life is unpredictable. Family should always come first. Work and passions are equally important but there are things which you can afford to put on hold a little longer.

To my family, I might be a bit hot-tempered at times, but having you all by my side is one of the greatest things in my life. Cars, houses, money….. they can never replace the place my family has in my heart. 😉

p/s…. I was touched by the movie, and thus I decided to write this post.  

I didn’t realize how negative I was until I’ve read Anthony Robbins’ book “Awaken The Giant Within“. The book is quite old but it is indeed a very good book.

In this book, Tony talked about how important it is to have a positive mindset. Having negative mindset doesn’t mean it is bad…but thinking negatively all the time is bad.

By thinking positively, you look at alternatives or focus on the solutions and not the problems. You will think about the things or lessons you can gain from a particular problem or mishap. If you think negatively, you will just be wasting your own energy focusing on the wrong thing – the problem. What is the use if you just think and worried about a problem when you can actually focus on the solution?

For example, if your business proposal (which you’ve spent weeks or months on it) got rejected by the board of directors, what would you do? Sulk? Angry? Furious? Well, to be honest, I would feel disappointed but I will try not to be stuck on that feeling for too long. It’s better for me to gather whatever lessons or feedbacks I can get and move on from there. Learn from mistakes and focus on how you can improve the situation the next time you try. Why? So that you can come back stronger.

If you don’t, you will not move forward. You’ll be stuck in that failure and sooner or later, it’ll drain your energy and your life. You will lose all motivation to try again.

How you live your life, will depend on how you see the world…. and what is your focus. The problem or the solution?

This post might not be as helpful as I would’ve hoped. I do recommend Tony’s book for everyone. He provides a much better explanation than me (I’m still learning how to focus on the right things at the right time).