“Make the best out of it”

Nov 7, 2008

That’s something that lots of people have told me, with regards to my National Service.

But I’m starting to realize, I don’t agree. Instead of making the best out of the situation that you find yourself in, why not move yourself so you’re not in that situation?

The former is safer, of course, and will bring you good results. The latter is riskier, but provides more opportunities for you to become exceptional, and remarkable.

The Top 5 Most Over-Rated Traits

Sep 18, 2008

The world has changed a lot, from even just a few years ago. And as such, the traits that were important in the past are arguably not as important today. So, here’s a list of what I think to be the most over-rated traits, in no particular order.

Hard Work

Or rather, ‘long’ work. Even today, kids in school are thought to believe that if they’re not doing well, they should study longer and try harder. We are taught to think that working longer would lead to better results. I don’t think that’s true anymore. As Seth Godin has said, “Hard work is about risk“. It’s not the number of hours you put in that matters, it’s not necessarily how hard you try. It’s about what you are trying – how many approaches, etc.

Being Reasonable

To quote George Bernard Shaw, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself. All progress depends upon the unreasonable man.” That says it all, really.


I don’t know about other cultures, but this is one of the biggest problems I find in Singapore. Yes, humility is all well and good, and too much arrogance isn’t a good thing. But on the flip side, you shouldn’t always be playing down your contributions or talents (as too many people, in my opinion, do over here). If you did a good job, take credit for it, you deserve it. Humility isn’t about playing down your strengths, it’s about admitting both your strengths and your weaknesses in balance.


Yes, it can be argued that rules are there for a reason. But sometimes, you have to break the rules. That’s why I love House (the TV show). House, the doctor, often breaks the rules. He goes with what he believes is right, even if it’s against normal procedure. He takes risks, and it’s those risks that saves lives and makes him such a good doctor. To take a quote from the show, “the rules exist because 95% of the time for 95% of the people, they’re the right thing to do.” That doesn’t mean that it’s always the right thing to do. There are times when you have to break the rules – or at the very least, you should be thinking about the rules and willing to break them.


Before you start jumping on my back, let me clarify this. Persistence is good, in some cases. It’s good when you know what you’re doing, when you believe firmly in it, when you know why you’re persisting. But persisting for the sake of it, just because you don’t want to quit, is not a good idea, and it’s something that too many people do. In some cases, it’s better to quit. Sometimes, you hit a dead end, what you’re doing doesn’t work anymore, and the best thing you can do is quit (for more information on this, read The Dip by Seth Godin). The trick is knowing when to quit, and when to persist.

There are probably more that I can think of, but those are 5 of the most over-rated traits, in my opinion, at least. Do you agree? Why (or why not)?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Do You Believe in Your Own Product?

Jul 2, 2008

I remember when I bought my hard guitar case. It was a relatively new/unique design, that’s less common. Even now, I rarely see people use it. But it’s lighter than normal hard cases, with just as much protection.

When I first bought the case, the store owner demonstrated the case to me. How? He used one of his own store guitars, put it in the case and tossed it on the floor. Literally. Practically like how the airline people tend to toss luggages. And the guitar was perfectly fine.

That one demonstration went really far in my decision to buy that case. The fact that the store owner was willing to risk one of his own guitars to demonstrate the case (which was cheaper than the guitar, definitely) showed how much he believed in it. And it made me believe too.

Would you be willing to take that kind of risk for your product? How much do you believe in your product? How much would you risk for it? (For those thinking about your personal brands, substitute “product” with “beliefs”.)

Because if you don’t believe in it enough to take the risk, and believe in your product, your customers are much less likely to either.