15 September 2014

The Top Dragon(Top Dog) has regrets. Why and How to prevent it?

The very first hexagram of I-Ching is Heaven. Its sixth and last stage line has the description of  "Top dragon has regrets". Why the very top dragon, or may be should be the 'top-dog' in English, should have any regrets. He has reached the highest position already, then why the regrets? Furthermore, in my of my presentation on I-Ching, a person asked, "then how do I prevent the regret?". The intention of the author of I-Ching is to warn us first so that we can prevent the predicted disaster from happening. Since the warning is given, the how-to prevent must be elsewhere in the I-Ching book or else the author has just given useless warning.
Why the regrets?

I think there could be a few reasons. First regrets is about good time is coming to an end. A Chinese has a saying, “夕阳无限好,只是近黄昏”, The setting sun is extremely beautiful but it is near dusk and the night is coming. I may be now the chairman of the board, but very soon, they will have a retirement party for me. My good and glorious time is coming to end soon. There is no way to prevent or escape it. We really don't want to go into a stage where we only want to talk of the good old days. The second type of regret is even worse. Of all the achievements and wealth that we spent our time and effort to gain and accumulate, we now find that they are of not much use. They may not worth the costs (the health, the broken relationships, the rebellious children etc) we paid to get them! We may not live long enough to enjoy them. Someone else, who is unrelated and even did not put any effort to get them, get to inherit them. This is one of the reason cited in Ecclesiastes, "Vanity, vanity, everything is vanity and meaningless". (See The Meaning of Life from the Wisest, Richest and Most Powerful King) All our effort and life working to gain things that are meaningless! What regrets will that be?

How to regret not?

The two reasons for regrets are 'ending soon' and 'meaningless waste of life'. The answers will be finding the meaning of life and create a lasting legacy. These answers are found in I-Ching.

The Meaning of Life According to I-Ching

The teaching of I-Ching can be summed up as creating a better world of abundance and flow by having a harmony with heaven, earth and men. The purpose of life is not just about self and self alone. It is about having harmony with men, mother nature and creator God. How? By creating value like #1 Creator Heaven and caring for others like #2 Mother Earth. By giving and sharing our best with others who also give of their best to us as in #11 Greatness from Interactions. Then, #32 Lasting teaches us how to create legacies that last.

What does the top dragon have?

When we have grown to be the top dragon, we must have mature and accumulate a lot. What does growth mean in I-Ching? By going through the hexagrams that contains the word 大 great, we can find the following hexagrams (taking from my book "I-Ching for Success in a VUCAD World"):
  • #16 Enjoy and Passion: Have passion that cause you to start and sustained the achievements of your life.
  • #59 Dispersion: Have great ability to expand your business through out and influencing many people and their lives.
  • #26 Large Accumulation not just of wealth but really of character strength.
  • #34 Great Strength of character, wisdom, power and resources to do great things.
  • #14 Great Possession and hence don't hoard it but to use them wisely to benefit the world as per the purpose and meaning of life.
  • #28 Excessive of boldness and strength to bring forth great transformation.
  • #64 Uncompleted - knowing that there are more you can do and learn despite what you already can and own.
What to do with the Abundance of Wealth, Ability and Power?

Looking up my I-Ching book on "Entrepeurship III Success", we have a key phrase for it. It is the 'Joy of Sharing". By using the great possession and ability that we, the top dragons have, we do #14 worthy projects, #42 benefiting others from our overflowing increase , #48 preserve and share the valuable assets, #55 Abundance is for sharing with others. Wealth is not measured by how much you hoard but by how much you give and use for benefiting others. It is therefore not surprising that such wealthy people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Li Ka Shing and many others give away much of their wealth and spend time in running many charitable organizations.

The purpose and meaning of life is about building oneself and then helping and sharing with others to make this world a better place for all and to leave behind a lasting legacy that continue the contribution while we are not longer around.

Lao Zi has a great saying on this, in Dao De Jing chapter 33,
(see The Principles for Greatness)
  • Not losing oneself will last.不失其所者久,
  • Died and yet one’s legacy continues is long life.死而不亡者寿。
Here is a mind map that summarizes the Purpose and How-to of Life from the wisdom of I-Ching:

Lim Liat (c) 15 Sep 2014

31 July 2014

Durians, Singaporeans, Li Ka Shing and Sun Zi's Art of War

Durians, Singaporeans, Li Ka Shing and Sun Zi's Art of War, what have they in common? This common element brings out the secret of the success of the super-rich Li Ka Shing and the essence of the Art of War of Sun Zi. It is also a characteristic of Singaporeans that will ensure their success in the competitive world. Find out this key word and apply it well in your life.
Durian is a very pungent and tasty fruit well liked by many in South East Asia. Here is a picture of durians:

The Durian Business Model
The problem is, the tasty part of the fruit in inside and you can see. Though you want the flesh to be creamy, sweet, slightly bitter, and very small seed, you can't really tell (unless you are an expert) from the outside. You may run the risk of paying a lot for the fruit only to discover that the 'flesh' inside is no good (not ripe or too watery, with big seeds). So, the Durian Sellers come out with a good business model for you, the customer. The model is "Guaranteed Good to Eat" (Bao Jia 包吃. You can pick and they will open up for you to eat. If it is no good, you don't pay for it. They replace another one for you. You only pay for those you eat. If part of the opened durian is good and part is bad. The bad part will be replaced from another durian. That is a sure win and safe model for the customers even thought the price may be higher than you pick yourself.  It is also a sure win model for the suppliers too as the costs are covered in their supplier chain and the not good durians can be used in making durian cakes and other products.

The Secret of Li Ka Shing's Success.

李嘉诚说: 做生意要记住:手头上永远要有一样产品是天塌下来你也能赚钱的
Li Ka Shing: Must have some business such that even when the sky falls down there is still profits to make. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, also quoted this particular Li's statement in his talk too. Successful serial entrepreneur are NOT merely risks taker. They are the minimizing risks takers. They identify the key risks and find out the likelihood and take measures to protect themselves for such risks. If they can't, they just go into such unmanaged risky business. If common people take such approach, the con men will have a much harder time trying to cheat people.

The Singaporeans Key Attributes
Singaporeans are recognized for their KiaX's - The most famous one is KiaSu, translated as Afraid to Loose. For details see The Kia-Su Kia-X's Uniquely Singaporeans - Mindset... The inverse of afraid to loose will be 'guarantee to win' 包赢 Bao Yea. This is exactly what Li Ka Shing said above ... make sure you can still a profit no matter what happens, even if the sky falls down. 

The Objective Function of Sun Zi's Art of War
If we don't study Sun Zi's Art of War well, we will think that the key principle of war will be maximizing destruction, especially of the enemy.  However, a careful study of Sun Zi's Art of War will reveal that Sun Zi has an objective function, like in Operation Research Optimization, for war and it is Maximizing Benefits using Minimum Costs. You can see it clearly in the following quotes from his book:
  • Chapter 3v3.4 必以全争于天下, 故兵不顿, 利可全,
    An all out win by absorbing the enemy's resources and so looses no soldiers & gain all benefits 
  • Chapter 3v1.3 是故百战百胜, 非善之善者也;不战而屈人之兵, 善之善者也。
    Winning every battle is not the best. Win without a battle is the best.
    (i.e. there is no need to go for war that consumes resources. The enemy just surrender without a fight.)
  • Chapter 11v2 合于利而动, 不合于利而止
    Move only when there is gains. Stop when there is no gains. 
  • Chapter 12v2 非利不动, 非得不用, 非危不战
    Fight only on gaining advantages, benefits, or in danger
  • Chapter 2v4  4 故智将务食于敌, 食敌一锺, 当吾二十锺, 萁秆一石, 当我廿石。
    The Wise take over the Enemy's resources (rather than destroy it).
    It is worth 20 times more!
  • Chapter 3v1.2 凡用兵之法, 全国为上, 破国次之; 全旅为上, 破旅次之; 全卒为上, 破卒次之; 全伍为上, 破伍次之。
    The methods to use the force are: best to take the enemy' city in tact rather than destroy it. Better to capture the battalion than to destroy it ...
Sun Zi Art of War is actually the Economics of War with an objective function of maximizing benefits with minimizing costs. Sun Zi is actually the great great grand father of Operations Research!

The secret of Apple's success was descibed by Philip Yeo as "it was designed for dummies“. See The Message behind “Philip Yeo’s Apple Aps’ gullible dummies.

The Golden Rule for Designed for Dummies is
  • Minimum effort with Maximum Returns” or “MaxValue@ZeroCost”

So, here is the question for your consideration.
If you have to pick an opponent, which of the following would you choose?
  1. An weak opponent that you can easily defeat and no one think much of you.
  2. A strong opponent so that when you beat him everyone sing your praises.
Your answer reveals your understanding of Sun Zi's Art of War.

Lim Liat (C) 31 July 2014