Attitudes | Happiness is a choice

2012 06 22 182422 e1340365971785 Attitudes | Happiness is a choice

When we change our attitudes ,  happiness is actually a choice … your choice . It is entirely up to you .

Sometimes we meet people who say good things about you .

“You did a great job .”

“you were fantastic in handling the difficult situation with the customer”

How does such praise impact you ? Naturally one would feel great !

What if on the same day later , you met someone  and this is what this someone says about you

“You little bi??? . That was a terrible stunt you did yesterday”

We would feel angry . We feel terrible .

Attitudes | External Influence

We feel great when someone says good things about us but we feel angry and terrible when someone says otherwise . So why are we affected by what people say about us especially the not-so-good words ? Why should we allow such words to hurt us and affect us for the rest of the day ? We are still the same person but such external situation affects how we feel . So why do we allow this external influence control our life ? This is our  mind and our body . It is as if there is someone with a remote control that controls our  mind and body  .

So what do we need to do to change this ? We change our mind set , our attitudes and we change our actions . Once we are able to convince ourselves and true to ourselves that we have done good things , our positive attitudes and self esteem would be able to ward off a lot of these negative external stimulus that we are receiving . Like it or not , there will always be people who say good things and bad things about us . So once we change our attitudes towards what we belief is right and knows who we really are , the negative remarks will not affect how we see things . We are no longer affected by negative remarks because we choose to see things positive .

Attitudes | Our choices

With a positive attitude , mind set and with good self esteem , we choose to see things in a better perspective . We choose not to be upset , angry and depressed . We have total control over who we are , what we want to feed to our minds and what we want our minds to feel . There is no remote control that will affect us and bring us down anymore . We know that positive self esteem and positive thinking and attitudes are important and now we have this ability to convince ourselves that our  mind and body is within our control . We have ways to overcome this and therefore choose to be happy . We have now developed a mindset to keep ourselves happy all the time .

So remember

” No one can make you feel inferior without your permission”

- Eleneanor Roosevelt -


Money is the root of all evil

Do you agree that money is the root of all evil ? Some agree ,  some don’t . Some says that you can find it in the Bible (“the love of money is the root of all evil) and also  in  ancient Greek philosophers . What about you ?

2012 06 06 111422 e1338952501733 Money is the root of all evil

 Money is the root of all evil | What is money ?

In the olden days , we barter trade , meaning that we have to find someone who is willing to exchange that we want with us . If we wanted to sell away our cattle for a house , we literally have to find someone who wants to exchange  his house  with our cattle .  It is extremely difficult to find that exact opposite to do the exchange . That’s why money comes in extremely handy .

Money acts as a medium of exchange in a transaction . Money or currency is the grease of  the engines of commerce . Money act as a unit of account , a store value and also as a medium of exchange . As a store of value , perhaps there are others goods (such as gold) that offers better “value” than money as money tend to erode over time due to inflation .

With money as a medium of exchange , it solves the problem of having to  barter trade , makes our lives easier and an economy that is more efficient . In this instance , do we agree that  money is the root of all evil ?

 Money is the root of all evil | Does everything has a value ?

In the past , money was in the form of coins made of either gold or silver . The value of the coins therefore is roughly equivalent to the value of the metal it contains then . A few decades ago , we replace these metal coins with paper currencies and the  government around the world would  need to “deposit” equivalent Gold or silver base on the exchange rate set by the various government . However in 1971 , President Nixon of the United States declare that the United States will no longer exchange gold for paper currencies , which effectively ended the Bretton Woods system  . Today the system is based on fiat money which is not tied to any commodity . They are simply pieces of paper whose value is based on the supply and demand of such paper currencies .

Everything has a value but the value varies according to the law of supply and demand . If there is a lot of demand , then the value goes up . If there is no demand , then the value goes down . Values can be a set of beliefs or mere perception . For example , the paintings by Edvard  Munch titled “The Scream” fetched US$119.9M at Sotheby’s auction last May . Would an ordinary person pay this  much for a piece of painting ?

So the value of an item is sometimes subjective and yet relative , and changes according to supply and demand .

Money is the root of all evil | Morality

There is  also a close association about money and morality . Money can cause corruption  which is true ,  but if we take away money ,  what are  we going to replace it with ? [see report here] . Should we ask the person who bought the Edvard Munch’s painting for USD$119.9M , to give up his painting and use the proceeds to feed the hungry and poor in Africa ?  Should we challenge his moral values ?

 Money is the root of all evil | My personal opinion

Money is nothing but a piece of paper . Its value is what we believe it to be . The value of an item can be relative , subjective and base on the law of supply and demand , i would like to mention a few words from a motivation guru who said something like this

  •  ”you can buy a house , but not a home”
  • “you can buy sex , but not love”
  • “you can buy medicine , but not health”

I think there is nothing wrong with money per se . It is a tool just like nuclear energy ,  a  knife or a gun . Nuclear energy can be used to light up your homes but it can also be used to destroy a country . A knife can be used to cut vegetables and meat but it can also be used to kill someone . The same thing goes to a  gun . It can be used to hunt for food or to kill and rob someone . So is “money is the root of all evil” then ?

I think money is good as it  makes the economy more efficient , else we have to resort to barter trading . I don’t think it is a bad tool but the means to achieve it can be bad or good . What tool can we replace money with if it is bad ? Certainly not barter trade . Even if we can find a replacement , that replacement itself , will it be evil ? This still depends on the people who uses it … it can be good , it can be bad .

Now if someone out there still thinks that money is the root of all evil and wants to get rid of their  money , let me know . I am sure i can find a good use for them .





Children learn what they live

I came across this picture in a school that train adults to become better teachers (for children) .

This is a tribute to Dr Dorothy Law Nolte (1924~2005) , an American Writer and a Family Counselor .


IMG 0127 e1338337401491 Children learn what they live

Here is a video about her work “Children Learn what they live”

Motivation | How to lose 2000 calories ?

Are you motivated to lose 2000 calories quickly ? Here’s how …. the fun way .

2012 05 16 185047 e1337165755420 Motivation | How to lose 2000 calories ?

Here’s the full video to lose that 2000 calories … Enjoy !!!

Purpose of education | Motivation

2012 05 06 112657 e1336275934236 Purpose of education  | Motivation

What is the purpose of education ? What did we tell our children about going to school ?

 Purpose of education | What my dad told me

I was born in a poor family . You see , my dad was a taxi driver and his daily income varies . If he doesn’t drive , he doesn’t get paid . Whatever he earns is just enough for the family . There is simply too much uncertainty . There is only so many hours in a day and there is only that much you can earn in a day . Its  not scalable !!

The purpose of education is of course get to learn and apply what you learned . Industry pay you for what you know and there is a demand for the application of this knowledge . So education  in the end provides a better earnings , better living standards and more opportunities . So what happen if you can have all these without having to go to school ?

Purpose of education | In Doha , Qatar

I bump across this article and left me thinking [see report here] about the purpose of education in Qatar  . Now if the government guarantees everyone an annual salary , property and everything else without having to go to school or work , then what can motivate the children to go to school , or parents sending their children to school ?

Our education system is such that you go to school to seek knowledge . In schools we get to know so much things , how things work and so forth so that we know how to solve them . Imagine not knowing how electricity works and how a bulb lights up ? Because we know , we are able to fix and solve these problems when it arises . The best part is , the industry pay us to fix these issues since we know how to fix them . So the better you are at it compare to someone else , the more you get paid . The reason why we are better is because we love doing it more than someone else probably . We probably can come to this conclusion because we are “mature enough” to understand the whole mechanism . We may not realize or understand  this as a young student , except that there is a “reward” at the end . As the student focus on the “reward” ,  we setup a system to encourage them to try so that hopefully they find passion or interest in the areas that they will eventually excel in , which seem to appear to support the reward system .

If one can get all this “reward” without having to attend school like in Qatar , then it is extremely difficult to encourage the young students to find this interest or passion in the process of learning , unless he or she is mature enough to see all this . Not many young students would understand this and therefore when compared to other countries , the mass majority would not be able to compete successfully , globally , eventually , because of this safety net .

Purpose of education | What did we tell our children about going to school again ?

If you have a caged pet bird , do you ever wonder what will happen if you let it loose in the open ? The pet bird having food brought to it daily , and without having to hunt for food , perhaps may not be able to survive in the wild . The same thing goes to our children . So I personally think it is still valid to tell our children that we attend schools to seek knowledge so that we can understand and apply them eventually . The system we design must encourage this effort of wanting to seek knowledge , and eventually finding their own passion and  interest ,  and its reward that come eventually . The reward may be  secondary . This is what i think is the purpose of education

Nursery Rhymes | Attitudes & Behaviour

nursery rhymes Nursery Rhymes | Attitudes & Behaviour


Do you remember the nursery rhymes of your childhood?  Do you have  your favorites ? Many nursery rhymes have  negative connotations . I did some research . Read on to find out more about our much loved nursery rhymes ..

Nursery Rhymes | Negative connotations

These are some nursery rhymes that we used to grow up with that has negative connotations . Here are some of them .

  • Humpty , dumpty had a great fall
  • London bridge is falling down , falling down , falling down
  • Jack and Jill went up the hill ( eventually Jack broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after ..)
  • Rock-a-bye baby (when the bow breaks , the cradle will fall)
  • Three blind mice … (she cut off their tails with a butcher’s knife)

Well everything here seems to be pretty negative , with things falling down and getting hurt . Kind of scary isn’t it if we have to teach our young toddlers about such negative things and wonder how this will impact them when they  grow up .

Personally , I don’t think I remember these nursery rhymes as being negative then , because no one told me , including my teacher . I just like the words , the sound and the rhythm that comes with it .

Nursery Rhymes | History and events

Many of the origin of nursery rhymes are associated with historical event , and some of them has lost its meaning over the passage of time . Some of these rhymes may appear innocent but they are used to spread  subversive messages . In those days , commoners are not allowed to make direct criticism as this is punishable by death ,  but the rhymes allow the element of free speech . Some examples here

  • Adam and Eve rhyme (When Adam delved and Eve span Who was then a gentleman) refers to the revolution in 1381 in England due to inequalities . At that time the bubonic plaque (also known as Black Death)  killed many people caused by infested fleas carried by rodents (rats and mice) . Prices and wages rose . People no longer believe the church and the church influence declined substantially then . [see report] . The children’s song , “Ring around the rosy”  is also about the plaque
  • London bridge is falling down . This wooden bridge has it’s history  traced to the Roman occupation of England in the first century. The first London Bridge was made of wood and clay .  . Many disasters struck the bridge . Viking invaders destroyed the bridge in the 1000′s .  It was then fortified and  re-built with the various materials . The bridge was later relocated
  • What about humpty , dumpty ? The mysterious Humpty dumpty is actually a large cannon used during the English civil war (1642~1649) . In the town of Colchester , they placed this huge cannon called Humpty Dumpty on the wall next to St Mary’s Church . Humpty Dumpty was blown to pieces and the Royalist opened the gates of Colchester and surrendered to the Parliamentarians .

Nursery Rhymes | Direct reference

Earlier we mention that certain nursery rhymes has hidden meaning with a direct reference to someone or something . Here are some very examples

  • Jack and Jill (Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after) . Here jack is King Louis XVI who lost his crown (beheaded)  and Jill refers to his wife , Queen Marie Antoinette who followed him shortly after . [see story here]
  • Mary , Mary quite Contrary is a hidden reference  to English Queen Mary Tudor (daughter of King Henry Viii , who tend to go against her father and brother )  who tortured and executed Protestants   . The Queen is also known as Bloody Mary !!
  • In the case of the “Mother Goose” nursery rhymes , who is actually mother goose ? The mysterious mother goose is actually a witch . [see report here]

 Nursery Rhymes | Impact on our children

Now that we know the stories surrounding  these nursery rhymes which seem to have negative connotations , do they have any impact on pour children ? As an adult we certainly can understand the negativity but does our children understand at such young age . It certainly did not cause any negative impact on me then , eventhough I was blasted with all these rhymes unknowingly .   Simple reason for I didn’t know of such negativity for no one told me . Even if someone told me , as a young child , I probably could not comprehend either for I may not even fear , or be able to relate the severity of what happens when the bow breaks in rock-a-bye baby then . Perhaps I am  too young to even understand these adult hidden agenda and its negative elements in the story . They are simply too complex for me as a young child . That’s my opinion of course . Others may differ .

I think the whole intention of  nursery rhymes  is to get the child into proper syllabic pronunciation and therefore easy pronunciation . Rhymes are interesting and fun  , and  they need not have to have  any logical meaning. They are just merely  words arranged in a rhythmic manner to ease remembering and perhaps , with a simple story. In a  nutshell i think nursery rhymes help our children to remember (citations) and learn better , and adds a lot more fun .

Here are some studies done on this subject matter [read this]  . I guess we can always pick other nursery rhymes that does not have negative connotations at all for our children , just to be sure . By the way , please switch off that TV for it has too much violence !!






Positive thinking | The garden of weeds

Garden of weeds e1335433966840 Positive thinking | The garden of weeds

What is common between positive thinking  and the “garden of weeds” ? A lot actually .

Positive thinking | Our brain

The most important part about motivation and positive thinking is that it starts with our brain . Let us look at what happens when we leave things as is . For example

  • what if you  don’t shower ? you stink
  • what if your husband don’t shave or cut his hair ? Every soon he becomes untidy
  • what if you leave your garden as is and do nothing about it ? Weeds starts to grow

So in its natural state , without effort , things gets a little untidy and later starts to fall apart . The same goes to our bodies . If we don’t exercise we get fat   . If we don’t use those muscles , very soon it will deteriorate and lose its functions . Guess what happens to our brain  if we leave it idle ? Without positive thinking , we will start to accumulate negative thoughts .

Positive thinking | Our brain is like our Garden

Our brain is exactly the same as our garden . If we don’t take care of our garden , very soon weeds will grow . So how do we take care of our garden ? We ensure that our garden  has enough sunlight , water and  fertilizer . We need to put in effort to do all this and the same goes to our brain too . So what does our brain need ? It needs to be fed with positive thoughts every time so that we don’t let weeds to grow at all in our most important organic , biological asset . Once weeds starts to grow , it is very difficult to have them removed . Once negative thoughts start to sink in , it is also difficult o have them removed . You see , very soon , the weeds that stays in the brain is like “bad” habits which are hard to get rid off because over time , they become character … So feed it with positive thoughts , positive thinking so that we leave no room for negative thoughts to fill in

Positive thinking | Life is like a garden

Life is like a garden . You are responsible for it . You decide what  you want to grow , how it will look like , what you want to feed it with and eventually see the results of your effort . There will be times where weeds will start to sneak in and you won’t know till they start showing up . You will have to decide how  long these weeds stay and how long they get . You will definitely need to take action when you see these weeds , because if you leave there for too long , it may have taken over the entire garden !! So if you don’t like your garden , change it . It is your garden so don’t let them take root !!

Positive thinking | Reap what you sow

Our thoughts are causes

You sow a thought , you reap an action .

You sow an action , you reap a habit .

You sow a habit , you reap a character .

You sow a character , you reap a destiny .

It all starts with a thought , positive thought , positive thinking !!





Positive thinking | Our minds are wired to remember negative events

Best Excuse Award e1335409298562 Positive thinking | Our minds are wired to remember negative events



Everyone knows that positive thinking is good . But do we know that our brains are wired in such a way that it tend to remember negative events better than good ones ?

Sometimes we wonder why we can remember events that happen 10 years ago but we can’t seem to recall what we ate just last week  ?  When was the last time when someone criticize you harshly ? I think a lot of us can remember that event and not only this , its details too. Get my point ?

Positive thinking | What do we remember ?

So why do we remember certain things but forget others ? If you have teenager children , ask them and see if they remember  the good events or the bad events better ? How about trying to recall what  you were doing on the dreadful day of  9/11 . Well I can remember very clearly what I was doing then and I am sure most of you do too . Research has shown that that we tend to remember bad times more than good .  Its important to realize this before we discuss positive thinking

Positive thinking | Impact of negative events and emotions

In the work place ,  if  you have a  supervisor who tend to recall the bad times more , there is a logical reason for being so . So let’s try to understand more about this . Research shows that we tend to remember such negative events in greater detail than positive ones . Negative emotions actually enhances memory accuracies . Why ?

One researcher argues that by recognizing such negative emotions so vividly will actually help us at some point in time , to survive ,  if the very same life threatening situation arises again   . It helps to guide us and plan in case of a recurrence .  This seems to make sense from a survival and evolutionary stand point . [see full report here] . But this has serious implications . While we sometimes want to forget the “bad” stuff so that we don’t carry such emotional baggage , now we have our brains wired in such a way that prevent us from “forgetting” these bad incidents that we simply want to get by and past us . We just sometimes want to forget these painful recollections , but how ? That’s where positive thinking steps in

Positive thinking |  How do we try to “forget” bad times ?

Another study was done and it indicates that what we do with our emotional memories and how it  affect us has a lot to do with  gender , personality traits and the methods we use to control our emotions . While majority of these affects women more  as women tend to suffer more from emotional disorders and their increased focus on negative emotions   . Being extroversion (assertiveness ) helps a lot as  it tends to focus on positive than negative life events . 2 strategies were adopted  in this study as to how we manage our recollected memories whether good or bad . First is reappraisal , which is trying to look at a different perspective on negative events , while the other is suppression , hiding the negative emotions .

The study indicated that suppression in men has no significant difference in bad or good memories but it has a pronounce impact on women . Suppression in women ended up with lower mood shortly after . [see full report here]. To conclude , the study suggest that being more outgoing and using reappraisal works best for both men and women when dealing with negative memories .

So having a positive mental image and being a free-er outgoing character and personality will help to counter the effect of bad times recollections

Positive thinking | In Summary

Now that we know why we tend to remember bad events better (and why) , and suppression of these negative events does no good but cause more harm .  The only better option would be reappraisal , so that with  positive thinking , it helps to put us in a better situation

Motivation | Why Money isn’t everything

WHY money not everything e1335262836638 Motivation | Why Money isnt everything

Motivation | CEO 1st 100 days problem

In todays’ reward and punish system , a new CEO of a company has about 100 days to show results , else when the earnings are out , all eyes will be on him . The problem is everybody wants results , and as quickly as possible . Sometimes these quick fixes are really very poor band aids and good in the short term , and harm the company in the longer term .

This is like a normal car  salesman . He gets his commission the moment sales is done . He does not care about after sales , car maintenance and customer complaints because he has already received his incentives . These are short term and may not do well in the long term . If the salesman’s commission and incentives are tied to longer term  goals , such as after sales on  customer feedback on maintenance and everything about the car , the salesman will do activities that is more balanced in both the short and longer term  which truly benefits both customers and the organizations

Motivation | Money and the creative right brain

We know that money isn’t everything when it comes to motivation . Here are 2 very interesting articles from Daniel Pink , author of the book “A whole new mind”  about motivation .  In his book , Dan talks about the right side of the brain dominating today’s global economy . Our left brain hemisphere which controls logical thinking , sequential , linear and  analytical are essential ,  but not enough . We need to develop our creative right brain capabilities  (empathy , artistry , vision , big picture ) . In Dan’s book “Drive” , he believes that to motivate  right brain creativity , it can be done with more human and less material incentives . In this video , he has CEO of System Source talking about scrapping sales commission in 1994 ,  because it disrupts customers’ effort . The reality seems to be that money de-focus the original intent or purpose of the act or task  itself  .

See the video below .


Motivation | Monetary incentives led to poorer performance

What is the normal typical motivation scheme in many organizations ?  We rewards the top performers and non-performers don’t get anything. Basically , if you reward something , you get more of the behavior that you want . If you punish something , you get less of the behavior that you want.  .

Conclusion : If the task involve routine task or purely mechanical type of skills  , bonuses work as expected . The higher the payout the better the performance . This is the traditional carrot and stick approach that we used to know

However , according to Dan , some study has shown that ,  once the task involve some rudimentary cognitive skills , the results is reversed , which is larger rewards led to poorer performance . This is surely unexpected . How can this possibly be ?

Watch this video from RSA (Daniel Pink)

Let’s examine some of Daniel Pink’s findings

1. Monetary incentives led to poorer performance . Traditional “stick and carrot”  motivation is only good for routine , mechanical task oriented activities and not for task that require even rudimentary cognitive skills . Breakthrough requiring creativity , visionary , conceptual thinking that requires the right brain , the type of motivation or  incentives are not necessary  monetary , but more on human incentives such as recognition , purpose and self direction .

2. People needs to be paid enough , so that they don’t have to worry about about them .

3. To motivate the right brain type of activities , we need human incentives or motivation , and according to Dan , they are autonomy , mastery and purpose

There is another report with similar results and findings . [For full report]

Motivation | Summary

In summary , there are 3 things we need to work on other than money . Allow some degree of autonomy in doing what they like to do and how they want to do it , doing things that they care very , very much and start treating everyone as humans who needs a sense of purpose and meaning in what they do . So who says motivation cost a lot money ?


Motivation | 10 Ways to reward and inspire employees

2012 04 04 154005 e1335262269653 Motivation | 10 Ways to reward and inspire employees

In motivation , sometimes it does not cost you an arm and legs to reward and inspire employees . But it has to be done in a genuine manner , with true sincerity , right from the hearts .

Motivation | Small things matters

Some of us belief that small little things really matters to our fellow employees . If we cannot do these simple small act of good will then it is very difficult to do the big things in life . It is strange but true that these small little things adds up and not only that , if we constantly does them , it becomes part of us (part of our character over time) and it  becomes very natural to us .

If you are a manager of a company , there are many things  that you can do to reward and inspire fellow employees . Most of  them does not cost a lot of money but does require some personal attention or systems to be defined to ensure that there is proper procedures and control in place by Human Resources (HR) . We will examine some of them .

 Motivation | Money isn’t everything

In motivation , we all know that money isn’t the only motivating factor . Here are a list of things we can do in the work place that we can reward and inspire our employees

1. Get the employee to your office , so that you can thank the employee  personally . Try to remember his/her face and his/her name and this has to be done genuinely and  wholeheartedly . So next time when  you meet the same employee , remember to greet him/her by his/her name

2. Put a “thank-you” note on the employee’s desk or office . It will be great if we can make personal “bravo” cards for any occasions Have them pre-prepared for use when the situation warrants it . A personally self  made card  is better than those that everyone can buy at the local store

3. Have a Vice-President or  Senior Manager to call the employee or visit the employee’s work area to personally thank him/her for the job well done .

 2012 04 04 155212 e1335262445900 Motivation | 10 Ways to reward and inspire employees

It is very important to praise employees and tell them what they have done right , and how his/her act helps the organization and fellow colleagues . Encourage others to do likewise . Such show of gratitude and genuine appreciation will go a long way in enforcing the  type of culture for the organization as well . It does not harm or cost to praise more .

4. Buy lunch for a group of employees and eat together , say every quarterly . Share conversations with fellow employees

5. During festive occasions , buy food for all employees (Such as mooncakes , dumplings during chinese festive seasons , etc

6. Look to give out special awards (such as no sick leave in the last 6 months , special mention by customer , etc)

2012 04 04 160155 e1335262519530 Motivation | 10 Ways to reward and inspire employees

 When management shows through actions rather than words that you are a valuable employee , it does no matter what level of employee he/she is , those actions are simply very motivating .

Motivation | A system for recognition and appreciation

Setup a system for recognition and appreciation of employees . Generate as many ideas and  reasons for doing this . Following are some examples

7. Mentoring of new employees . Identify and use mentors as role models . Mentors who knows the particular  process well and anyone can look up to them for anything

8. Best employee’s award for the month

9. Set up a board of fame with photographs of outstanding employees on the company’s notice board . Take  photographs of the employee being congratulated by his/her manager

10. Make special  small pin tagged onto the employees badges as a form of  recognition and identification of such employees

Motivation | Recognition and appreciation

There you have it . We have 10 ways that does not cost much money  . In motivation theory , we already knew all this but we need to put this practice in place in our work place . Individual recognition is sometimes more important than salaries , bonuses and promotions . Employees want to be identified with the success not only of their profession but that of the organization as well . And the best way is to receive acknowledgement that they did contribute to making something meaningful happen . That’s a motivation !!



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