Monthly Archives: April 2012

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 !!



Motivation | Business problems , values and character


Motivation e1335261691377 Motivation | Business problems , values and character

Watch this interesting video from one of my favourite motivational speaker , Shiv Khera

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