Personal Journey #15 – Celebrating Success as a Certified Professional Trainer

A full 6-month journey from March to September 2019 – where many a times, I was “really lost with no lights in sight at the end of a long tunnel”. Chose to reach out to numerous seniors and mentors who are already very successful and illustrious Trainers/Speakers. Through them, bit by bit, managed to gain invaluable insights in crafting my professional niche and to position myself to become an HR Authority & Thought Leader. Many thanks to everyone!

Finally, receiving the formal CPT certificate from IPMA UK from the Master Sifu himself, Mr. KC See. And many thanks to my untiring sifu/Coach, Dr Steven Khaw, who is always ready to help / throw ideas / show me the right way. 

Personal Journey #14 – My Fourth Toastmasters Meeting

Personal Journey #13 – Attended Toastmasters Club Officer Training (COT)

Being In Control – Who Really Call The Shots?

 

In my previous post “To Always Be In Control”, I shared about the need to be in control over things which we have control over, and also what might happen if we do not, i.e. leaving things to chance. However, if we ponder deeper, have we thought about this – “who” really call the shots in controlling? Is it our HEADS (rational and logical, with reasoning and analysis) or is it our HEARTS (emotional and might be irrational at times).  

I reckon (but stand to be corrected) that most of the times, we choose to believe we are rational folks and think with our heads. Simple example. If we are driving down the highway, we would choose to control our vehicle in a certain logical, sensical and safe way, in one lane at a presumably right speed and to overtake safely. A no-brainer there…

Time management – same thing. We would be controlling and managing our time based on the required things that need to be completed and by when, and in the priority we accorded to them based on logical reasoning. I am sure that here, some levels of emotional nudges do try to sneak in at times, in the form of maybe you trying to coax yourself it is alright to catch up on dramas you are following; but by and large, I believe that we are all driven by the logical sensical heads here. It would be quite bad if otherwise, that’s call procrastination! 🙂

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And here’s a gray area, let me share a fictitious example. Final graduating exam is looming in 2 months – full schedule has just been shared by the professor and we should start preparing for it. Here, there are probably 2 camps of folks in this respect.

 

The first: better-off scholastic folks who confidently know they can do well, but still tell themselves that they should plan meticulously, which they did. They would put in every single thing they deem as important. Studying (of course!), eating, sleeping, exercising, some TV and entertainment downtime, etc. They would also probably go down to the level of details on which chunk of activities will get how much time and when. Or even which subject should get more time slot i.e. they should pay more attention to this round. So we can probably say that this camp is using a more rational and logical mind to methodically control their schedules such that they will get the desired results post-exams –> driven by the positive outcomes; that “I want to get good results”

Now for the other camp, the second: they probably approach this preparation period in the opposite fashion. Why and how? They are worried that they won’t do well, because their previous results were not as good as they expected. Hence, they may lack the confidence in themselves this time around, but deep down they still want to do well. What’s in their mind as they prepare – “Oh! I am scare that I may not do well again, and hence, I will push myself to plan my schedule better this time. Previously I was playing more than studying, I will not this time!” So, are they now using their heads more or their hearts? They are in fact actually planning and preparing based on their emotional worries and scare feeling that they might not do well. End results might be the same as the first group (that they get good results), but the core motivations for both the groups came from two very different sources, isn’t it? –> driven by the negative outcomes; that “I don’t want to get bad results”

 

Same exam, same results desired, but two very different motivations driving two different groups of people.

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Next, let’s look at a situation where I thought people used their hearts more than their heads.

In the recent first MCO announcement on 16th March 2020 which was to commence 18th Mar to 31st Mar, what happened? After the announcement was made, two major things happened and we see a lot of people choosing to use their HEARTS to control their actions:

1) They immediately rushed out to buy and stock up on things that they deem as important, regardless of whether these items REALLY are important and must-have items. For example: people chose to stock up on toilet rolls, which when we analyse and rationalize deeper, we really do not see any usage of toilet rolls in our daily lives as we live out this MCO period, do we? Are there anyone who wants to convince us otherwise, especially for those who did stock up on this item?! VERDICT: Hearts over Heads.

2) They immediately decided to “balik kampung” (going back to their homtowns) late that night itself; very oblivious of what this action would be bringing. Eleven days later, take a look at the pictorial representations below.

This was the number of cases on 16th Mar itself, and note the “ranking” at that point.

Credit: The Star

Look at the explosion of cases in the other states 11 days later, because of the “balik kampung” decisions they made.

Credit: The Star

With the exception of Putrajaya (not being a kampung that is), the highlighted ones were states that were nowhere close to the top on 16th Mar. 

The sharp spike is really telling of how their “heart-driven” actions have actually spread this virus far-and-wide to other areas in less than 2 weeks!

Why would they do that? Your guess is as good as mine, but I am guessing perhaps they thought this was a never-to-happen-again good time for a long holiday break (2 weeks of paid leave is quite unheard of in Malaysia) and it also coincided with school holidays then. They also wanted to be filial sons and daughters to visit their aged parents on a holiday and hence, they did what they did. VERDICT: Hearts over Heads. 

They were not rationalizing with their HEADS on these counts:

1) The possibility of an extension of MCO after 31st Mar – do they have enough clothing packed, do they have good connectivity and bandwidth in their hometowns to be working-from-home (unless they decided not to work during that 2 weeks to begin with).

2) There is a heightened possibility of them bringing this dreaded virus to their aged folks at home who, many reports have now stated and statistics showed, are most susceptible to COVID-19. What more with their pre-existing conditions for most of them!

3) If anything untoward really happened, were they able to get required and sufficient healthcare facilities and care in their kampungs?

I can go further also to describe how during the MCO period so far, there are defiant folks who still go out in droves to wet markets and not maintaining social distancing at all. Again this begs the question, why are they doing this??? Their hearts are probably telling them that they need to continue their normal way-of-lives, what MCO? What virus? It won’t get to me la!

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In conclusion, do we have an answer as to who really call the shots? I am struggling to decide on an answer myself, but I feel that we use both at different times, perhaps depending on such criteria as criticality of a situation, who are involved, cost factors, and others

I do not think there is really a right or wrong answer to it, but end day, let’s pray that whatever we decide to do, hopefully, we would not look back later and regret our actions. And that we are at peace with ourselves……..

As usual, stay home and stay safe. May God bless us all!

Personal Journey #12 – Speaking @ FutureHR Event organized by BMI

Personal Journey #11 – Building More Collaborations in APSS Singapore @ Raise Your Game 2019 Event

Spent 2 days in Singapore, attending an APSS event, named Raise Your Game 2019 – Ideas in Action. Was literally “blown away” being up close and personal with so many world renowned Speakers, and made many new connections and friends in the process. 

To Always Be In Control

In situations like this, when we are surfing, full control and full focus is needed in order for us to complete the surf safely and successfully. If not, the result may be quite hazardous otherwise.


Many moons ago, I had a “tough question” from my kids on the topic of “passing on”, in the form of whether I would be scare of it. I thought deeply on this for a while and surmised this “Yes, I think I would be but actually not so much of that fact per se, but more so on the circumstances through which it happened,” I said. 

They looked confused and so I explained further. If it was something that happened beyond our control, beyond what we have already done to ensure our safety and well-being, then it is an accident and no one could have prevented it. However, if it happened because of my own lackadaisical attitude towards safety and “no worries, it won’t happen to me!”, then I would not be able to forgive myself afterwards (not that I can do that anymore anyway, right?!). 

I shared an example with them – if I tried to catch the best selfie sunset photo, standing precariously at the edge of a cliff, and really “pushing the boundaries” in spite knowing the immense danger, that would be one good example of blatant ignorance even to the point of stupidity! And I had the chance of reminding them on such situation again recently, when a new wave of stupidity came about in the form of the “tripping jump challenge” on social media. Something that really serve no purpose other than making the perpetrators giggle and laugh happily? Think about it – it is your dad’s birthday soon and you wish to record and upload to social media on how he made a fool of himself tripping and falling. Something you thought your family can view, giggle and have some light-hearted moments over a piece of birthday cake? Innocent enough…but what if it culminated into something that you are not prepared for? Are you able to handle the guilt of this for the rest of your lives? 

Now this, I said, is what I would be scare of. For myself, and for each of my family member. I shared further with them: for whatever that we are able to control in our daily and life journey, we need to take full control of them and not let ourselves regret of our actions (or perhaps inactions). Or do not relinquish that control to someone else too.

The whole world is now on its edge, getting really up close and personal with COVID-19. What began with something initially like “no worries, it is too far away from us, we will be safe”, has turned into something that changes our very ways-of-work (many companies are trudging into the unfamiliar norms of working from home, activating certain Business Continuity Plans, etc) and ways-of-life (previously unheard and alien word of social distancing, online grocery shopping, etc).

Mar 16, 2020 – Malaysia has just announced further measures to curb COVID-19 in the form of restricted movements for its populations. But yet, I am wondering aloud, would the entire population of Malaysians (at least the 24 million individuals who can independently think and rationalize for themselves) really have the same understanding of this situation and of this nationwide restricted movement measures? How many would still think it is alright to go out for a teh-tarik just because it has been a long time since his last cuppa, with friends?! Or with the “extended school holidays”, let’s go for a picnic?!

But really, this following simple picture illustrate this measure, and the need for some self restrictions, very well.

This is really apt – everyone of us has the control within us to make a difference now, to control and to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Credit: Unknown

It is the time now, where we need to be exercising full control for ourselves, for our families and loved ones and for the community and our countries at large. It is not the time to surrender that control foolishly, ignoring the repercussions for the quick and short-term perceived happiness. Whatever planned can, and should, wait until we weather through this critical moment safely. It would be no use at all to regret our actions (or inactions) later, right?

I pray that when everyone in every country exercise full control, COVID-19 will quickly pass us by, and we will get back to our normal ways of life safely and without any regrets. Cheers and stay safe!

Maturity and Taking Responsibility

Once upon a time, when we were young, our parents were the ones whom we were dependent on – for all things from our survival & safety (food, protection from the sun, cold, and diseases, and all), to our learning & development (to talk, to walk, to recognize things and the world at large) and to basically, take care of our basic needs (recognition of wanting to eat, sleep, rest, play, s***, etc.) This was the typical and basic cycle when we grew up.

Now, fast forward to many years later, when we already knew all of the above and more, and have already formed opinions and have our own stands in life – where and how we want to live our lives. At this stage, there are two “best friends” that should tag along in our life journey too. What do I mean by that? Let me elaborate…

Maturity is the “first best friend” that we need to identify early and really be good friends with. Gone are the days when someone else would be thinking for you, what you should be doing and when, but now, you should in turn show that you are capable of thinking hopefully not just for yourselves, but also more importantly, for the people around us. I still remember a rather funny situation many years ago when I was trying to get bread for my 2nd daughter’s breakfast the next day. I knew she loved chocolate-flavoured bread, but I needed to ask her just in case, “What if chocolate bread is no longer available, what would you want? She really thought about it, but for a short while only and said “I want chocolate bread woh”. Tried and tried again, her answer remained the same. Fixated on her favourite!

When she was older, we had the opportunity of being in the same situation, but this time to the same question, she thought for a wee bit longer and told us, “It is OK if no chocolate bread, then I shall have the sweet corn flavour please”. Now, that is being able to think, analyze, rationalize and come up with alternatives, and not be fixated on one thing that might not be available. Won’t you agree that it represent a level of maturity, albeit on a smaller scheme of things in life! 🙂

Next friend up is taking responsibility, a very close second best friend really – why? If you know how to think and rationalize and all of the above, BUT decide NOT to take the actions required, everything is really back to square one! Think about it…you are feeling unwell, you know the signs, the prolonged lethargic feeling and the joint pains that you know all so well. However, you chose to ignore these signs or too lazy to even go and seek medical attention. One thing led to another and it developed into something more serious? Now that is lack of taking responsibility, as well as not being too matured, isn’t it? You are really doing disjustice for yourselves.

At times, I felt that perhaps some folks may have a sense of respect for elders and hence want to seek for their second opinions, thoughts and comments before doing anything. Even if this might be true, let me twist things around and say this, when do you think you should start thinking and deciding for yourselves. Would they be around forever, for you to bounce off ideas and thoughts?

Likewise, if you are parents yourselves, until when should you continue thinking and acting for them? Why don’t you try “to let it go” at a point in time when you are still not senile and can see for yourselves that whatever decisions and thinking that they moot out are results of your parenting and upbringing? That, my friends, is much more fulfilling than seeing them following your instructions to the Ts. As long as they are not in life-threatening situations, let them be, and they will slowly but surely begin to figure things out for themselves.

Lastly, maturity and taking responsibility for ourselves on our own behalf. 

Let me explain: for those of us (like yours truly) who are no longer young but still have the energy, the best thing we can for ourselves is this – get ourselves into a fitter and better physique as much as our body conditions allow so that when we are older and less energetic, we are still capable of taking care of ourselves, body, mind and soul. Personally, I believe that growing into old age with the independence and capability of doing things for and by ourselves is the way to go; no longer needing to be dependent on our children. They have their own ups-and-downs in lives, frustrations, jubilations, and all. If we manage their upbringing well, they should be a near replica of how we handle things and situations anyway – with maturity and taking responsibility of course.

Happy Sunday, y’all, and stay safe amid COVID-19!

P/S Don’t get me wrong – I am all for being a closely-knitted and family camaraderie, but not at the expense of us being a regular in HOW THEY RUN their lives. We should be a feature in the REST of their live activities instead…trials and jubilations and all…

Personal Journey #10 – My Third Toastmasters Meeting

Time Management: Stretch Your Day (S-Y-D)

As a follow-up to my thoughts on the SUCCESS Formula last week (which was Success = T+T+P and where the first T was in fact Time Management), I would like to share a simple but difficult to adhere-to recipe for “better” time management. Whether it is really better, I guess it is rather subjective. I shall let you be decide on this, but let me explain.

Do you know who was the highest-paid Hollywood actor for 2019? He is none other than the indefatigable, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I read somewhere online that back in early 2019, he had something like 12 movies that were upcoming back then, in 2019 alone! That worked out to be 1 movie in-the-making per month! And apparently, the minimal length of actual principal photography (i.e. main shoot with actors/actresses) of a typical Hollywood movie is slightly above 80 days (there are way longer ones of course, but we shall not go there). Even at 80 days, you don’t seem to be able to work out the maths correctly on how this one person can manage his time to such an extent, isn’t it?!

That’s only on the movie front peeps, but wait, he needs time to workout too, and to stay the way he is, doesn’t he? Yes, and his recipe: he is one of many successful Hollywood artistes who believes in waking up before the sun is up. His strict regimented morning routine would involve him waking up like 4.30am for at least 2 hours of me-time where he does a few things – planning for his day, meditating and working out – now that’s really stretching your day! And not only that, because of his regimented workout routine, he is able to give his mind, body and soul the vitamins he needs to sustain himself. Of course, on top of that, he has the heartiest, but healthiest, of meals each day after each workout…

Now, you may say, yeah, it is OK for him to do it; he is NOT on a 9-to-5 routine like most of us who are working. Nah, you might not be quite right on that either. There are many corporate 9-to-5 successful senior executives who also stretch their days in pretty much the same way – hitting bed early, and waking up equally early as well for their own morning regimented routine before they then leave for the office 7 or 8ish. And again because they start their days “fresh and filled” (with exercises and healthy breakfasts) they tend not to have sluggish starts to their days like the rest of us (yes, yours truly included here too – “work-in-progress” now)! And it is no surprise that these morning-inclined executives tend to be most productive in the morning! And of course more successful than most.

So peeps, something to ponder and to try out, especially, if you are one of those who perpetually complain that you wish there are more hours to your day to complete your many tasks and work on hand. You might just give yourself a pleasant surprise perhaps in a month or two? Happy Testing! 

Have a great and productive week ahead, y’all!