Friday, May 27, 2011

Retirement food for thought

Strange how in today's world, everyone wants to "retire".
To me, it seems like everyone want to retire and die.
It's true.
The moment you stop working, the motivation and drive you used to have will be gone.
Because you are retired.
When I joined Public Mutual, one of the main goals for our clients is to "retire early".
For me, I rather term it as "re-tyre", as in putting new wheels on your car (aka life).
One of my business partners, who is the same age as I am, wants to retire 5 years from now.
It's not entirely a bad thing to "want to retire", but I believe it's better to have active retirement.
For those of you who are retired (for real), here are a few tips:

How to make life pleasant after retirement

*1. *Never say ‘I am aged':
There are three ages, chronological, biological, and psychological.
The first is calculated based on our date of birth ; the second is determined by the health conditions and the third is how old you feel you are.
While we don't have control over the first, we can take care of our health with good diet, exercise and a cheerful attitude.
A positive attitude and optimistic thinking can reverse the third age.

*2. *Health is wealth :
If you really love your kith and kin, taking care of your health should be your priority.
Thus, you will not be a burden to them.
Have an annual health check-up and take the prescribed medicines regularly.
Do take health insurance cover. It's a must if you can afford the crazy premiums nowadays.

*3.* Money is important:
Money is essential for meeting the basic necessities of life, keeping good health and earning family respect and security.
Don't spend beyond your means even for your children.
You have lived for them all through and it is time you enjoyed a harmonious life with your spouse.
 If your children are grateful and they take care of you, you are blessed.
But never take it for granted.

*4. *Relaxation and recreation :
The most relaxing and recreating forces are a healthy religious attitude, good sleep, music and laughter.
Have faith in God, learn to sleep well, love good music and see the funny side of life.

*5. *Time is precious :
It is almost like holding a horse's reins.
When they are in your hands, you can control them.
Imagine that everyday you are born again.
Yesterday is a cancelled cheque.
Tomorrow is a promissory note.
Today is ready cash — use it profitably.
Live this moment.

*6. *Change is the only permanent thing :
We should accept change — it is inevitable.
The only way to make sense out of change is to join the dance.
Change has brought about many pleasant things.
We should be happy that our children are blessed.

*7. *Enlightened selfishness :
All of us are basically selfish.
Whatever we do, we expect something in return.
We should definitely be grateful to those who stood by us.
But our focus should be on the internal satisfaction and happiness we derive by doing good to others, without expecting anything in return.

*8. *Forget and Forgive: .
Don't be bothered too much about others' mistakes.
We are not spiritual enough to show our other cheek when we are slapped in one.
But for the sake of our own health and happiness, let us forgive and forget them.
Otherwise, we will be only increasing our BP.

*9. *Everything has a purpose :
Take life as it comes.
Accept yourself as you are and also accept others for what they are.
Everybody is unique and right in his own way.

*10. *Overcome the fear of death :
We all know that one day we have to leave this world.
Still we are afraid of death.
We think that our spouse and children will be unable to withstand our loss.
But the truth is no one is going to die for you ; they may be depressed for some time.
Time heals everything and they will carry on.

Monday, May 23, 2011

7 leadership practices

I was lucky to have worked for great leaders.
Perhaps the luckiest part is that they were willing to pass all their knowledge to me.
Many people think they know what is leadership, but there's a vast difference between being a great manager and a great leader.
These 7 tips will be a good start.

1. Stand up and be seen.

Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.
The same goes for leadership.
This is not the time to lock yourself away in strategy sessions.
It is time to be visible.

2. Embrace brutal optimism.

In the end, the best leaders combine two countervailing messages.
JimCollins, a management thinker and the author of Good to Great, sometimes describes this as the "Churchill paradox."
On the one handwas the Prime Minister's grim promise of "blood, toil, tears, andsweat" in the near term.
On the other was his upbeat certainty that England would prevail "however long and hard the road may be."

3. Stick to the facts.

Nothing is scarier than a leader who offers reassurances that fly in the face of the facts.
Few believed US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill when he cheerfully predicted a quick economic recovery, nor did Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson inspire trust when he speculated that the first anthrax victim got the disease by drinking from a stream.

4. Tell a story in a statement.

Abraham Lincoln's story in 1861: "The Union stands for liberty, secession would destroy the Union, and therefore seccession is a threat to liberty."

Winston Churchill's story in 1942: "This is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end, though it is perhaps the end of the beginning."

George W. Bush's story in 2001: "They may not come to justice, but we will bring justice to them."

5. The bottom line comes second.

We should not have to tell you what comes first.
"The most important thing is to have people know that they're secure and cared about - that they're not just cogs," says Dee Soder, an advisor to top executives and the founder of the CEO Perspective Group in New York City.

6. Link the ordinary to the extraordinary.

In the wake of events, employees are apt to ask themselves searching questions about their careers and priorities.
With national security at stake, the thought goes, how important can my little job
be? Probably not as important as the work of firefighters and Army Rangers, granted. However, creative leaders find ways to connect the humdrum of people's jobs with the larger causes on their minds.

7. Do not overreach.

You have done everything right, you have earned your leadership merit badge, and now your people are giving you a standing ovation.

Next piece of advice: They are NOT really cheering for you.
They are cheering for themselves - and for the group's ability to unite andpersevere under threat.
Lose sight of that, and you violate the delicate compact between leaders and led.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

From tranquility to wisdom

When tranquility is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Passion is abandoned.When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Discernment is developed. And when discernment is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned.

 - Anguttara Nikaya

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Qur'an, Al-Hadid, Surah 57:23-24

Do not be upset at the good things you miss, and do not be overjoyed at the good things you receive.

God does not love those who are arrogant and boastful; he does not love those who are stingy, and encourage others to be stingy also.

Which religion is bad?

The answer is NONE.
There is no such thing as a bad religion, but there are a lot of charlatans in Malaysia who think they know what's best for their own religion, although they have not been chosen by God.
And by doing so, they DISCREDIT their own religion.
They THINK they are God's messengers, but their actions and words merely demonstrate that they know NOTHING.
And by keeping their minds closed, they become even more "unlearned".

We should all learn from this story.

Sakka asked the Buddha: "Do different religious teachers head for the same goal or practice the same disciplines or aspire to the same thing?"

"No, Sakka, they do not. And why?

This world is made up of myriad different states of being, and people adhere to one or another of these states and become tenaciously possessive of them, saying, 'This alone is true, everything else is false.'

It is like a territory that they believe is theirs.

So all religious teachers do not teach the same goal or the same discipline, nor do they aspire to the same thing.

"But if you find truth in any religion or philosophy, then accept that truth without prejudice."

- Digha Nikaya

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The most important you will need in Life

Sacrifice is greater than love,

Character is greater than beauty,

Humanity is greater than wealth

but nothing is greater than good relations .

How the system in Malaysia works

Is the investment in education really worth it ?


* Most 'First Class' students become Doctors and some Engineers

* Those who get a 'Second Class', pass the MBA, become Administrators and control the 'First Class'

* The 'Third Class' passes, enter politics and become Ministers and control both above

* Last, but not the least, The ‘Failures’ join the underworld and control all the above

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thought for the Day

"No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not knock those who work with him. Don't knock your friends. Don't knock your enemies. Don't knock yourself."

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy mother's day to all!

My mother was possibly the greatest mom in the history of mankind.
And that would be a tremendous achievement, considering I only had her around for the first 12 years of my life until she passed away.
A parent would need to be a strong figure as well as a figure of friendship.
My mom was everything in that sense.
I could always talk to her about anything and everything.
No secrets, and she would tell me everything she knew too.

I've seen the light

And it's in you,

In everything you are

And in everything you do.

It's a perfect light

That shines for all to see.

It radiates from you

And has pierced the heart of me.

The light is from you.

It's a light that keeps me warm.

It lets me know how loved I am,

And keeps me safe from harm.

To you I am thankful,

In each and every way.

For you lift my spirits up,

With every passing day.

To know that you are there for me,

It makes me feel alive.

Because it is your light,

Upon which my love thrives.

So thank you isn't good enough,

They are the only words I know.

It is your light of friendship,

That gives my world it's glow.

Thanks for sharing your light with me.

For it is the simple things in life that

Are truly unforgettable.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Best 1980s Music EVER!

Was at this place, The Reef, in Taman Tun.
Never expected what followed.
I mean, I'm just there for drinks, right?
Yeah, and the wild boar curry with Gardenia bread was awesome.
But suddenly, the band starts playing 80s songs.
I'm thinking, ok, so these guys look like my age, they probably grew up in the 80s too.
My buddies and I continue our 2nd jug of ale and a mischievious thought comes into my mind.
What if.........what if I request for songs, not so obscure songs, but still 80s songs?
To my pleasant surprise, they DID them.
Depeche Mode, Human League, EVERYTHING from the 80s!
Can you imagine my happiness?
The band is called The Union.
Fantastic work on the synthesizers, bass and basically, the whole band is awesome!
Check them out. They're at the Reef, every Thursday night.

Are you ready?

My sister was asking what was the job market like since she's looking at a change of career.
I was thinking, she's 8 years older than me.
What will I do if I were in her position?
Well, the only thing, is to get ready for ANYTHING.

I will study and get ready and someday my chance will come.

-- Abraham Lincoln

Friday, May 06, 2011

Reaping what you sow

I like this story, although it's a variation of the king who wanted to see which of his 3 sons he could trust.

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.
Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different.
He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you..

"The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you.

I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed..
He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story.
She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.
Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.
After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.
Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot.
He just knew he had killed his seed.
Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.
Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.
Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot.
But she asked him to be honest about what happened.
Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.
He took his empty pot to the board room.
When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives.
They were beautiful -- in all shapes and sizes.
Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.
Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot.
He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front.
Jim was terrified.
He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story.
The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim.
He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!

His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.
"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.
Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.
All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.
When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you.
Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it.
Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"

* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust

* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends

* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness

* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment

* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective

* If you plant hard work, you will reap success

* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Finding what you love

It's no secret I've changed jobs more than the average person.
Perhaps I was lucky.
Perhaps I was unlucky.
It depends on your perspective.
What has never changed is my belief in doing something I LOVE to do.
If I don't love it anymore, I can't commit to it anymore.
The story of Steve Job's life is something that serves as an inspiration.
Being an Apple fan from 30 years ago, I've always looked up to him.

The world renowned Apple CEO sells dreams not products. He is one of the greatest corporate storytellers on world stage. People love everything about him whether it’s his presentation style, quotes or facts about his personal and professional life.

Born: February 24, 1955 in San Francisco, California

Age: 56

Occupation: Chairman & CEO, Apple Inc.

Education: College Drop-out

Fortune: USD 8.3 billion

In 2005, he delivered a remarkable speech to Stanford Graduates in which he shared 3 stories. The first story was about connecting the dots. He talked about his biological mother who was a young, unwed college student, whom put him up for adoption. She felt that he should be adopted by college graduates. When a lawyer couple turned down the adoption, his mother had no choice but to give him up to a couple who had never graduated from college but with the promise that they will put him through college.

And 17 years later, he did go to college but he did not see the value in it. So, he dropped out. He stopped taking classes that didn't interest him and dropping in on the ones that looked interesting. He didn't have a dorm room, so he slept on the floor in friends' rooms, returned Coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and walked 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple.

At that time Reed College offered perhaps the best calligraphy programme in the country. He decided to take a class where he learned how to make typography great and found it fascinating. He had no idea then, how he was going to use calligraphy for practical applications. 10 years later, Macintosh, the first personal computer designed by Apple had beautiful typography thanks to Jobs.

“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” stated Jobs.

His second story was about love and loss. He found what he loved to do early in life. At age 21 he co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak in his parents' garage back. In 10 years Apple had grown into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. But, a clash of vision left Jobs unemployed at 30. “What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating,” he recalls. For months, he struggled with his fate and began to feel like a public failure. But, slowly, Jobs began to realize that although he was fired, he still had a passion for computers and so he decided to start over.

“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.” says Jobs.

His last story was about death. He was diagnosed with a cancer. The doctors told him that he should expect to live no longer than six months because it was an incurable. Fortunately, after the biopsy, it turned out to be curable with surgery. The near death experience made him realize that remembering death is the most important tool he has ever encountered to help him make the big choices in life.

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” says Jobs.

Nowadays Jobs, at age 56, has become a global cultural guru, shaping what entertainment we watch, how we listen to music, and what sort of objects we use to work and play. He has changed the game for entire industries. His utter dedication to discovery and excellence has created a culture that has made Apple a symbol of innovation.