29 December 2018

Building High Performance Teams According to the Bible Ephesians 4:14-16

This blog has been sharing the wisdom of Ancient Chinese and Western Modern Management. But there is another great source of wisdom which is the Bible. This post will share about building a high-performance team according to the Paul from the Bible Ephesians 4:14-16. The key ideas are diversified members with specialized abilities, development of members from infants to maturity, mission, leadership, modelling of maturity, communications and connection to link up all the members with love seeking after the truth.
The Text of Ephesians 4:14-16 NIV

We break the sentences into sub-sentences to show the main concepts(in italics) better:
    • 14 Then we will no longer be
      • infants,
        • tossed back and forth by the waves,(unstable, changing all the time)
        • and blown here and there by every wind of teaching (easily influenced by others)
        • and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.(victims of evil people & wrong teachings)
    • 15 Instead,
      • speaking the truth in love,(Know the Truth through Love)
      • we will grow (from infant to maturity)
      • to become in every respect the mature body of him (Jesus/Leader as the Model)
      • who is the head, that is, Christ. (Jesus as the Leader)

    • 16 From him the whole body, (The Team as One body)
      • joined and held together by every supporting ligament, (connection & communication)
      • grows and builds itself up in love, (Growth for the members & the team)
      • as each part does its work. (Diversities & Specialization of Members)
What can we learn about Team Building?
  • Members:
    • They are in Different Stages of Growth:
      • Infants
        • uncertain, not stable
        • changes often by others
        • can be deceived
      • Maturity
        • stable - not easily influenced
        • helping others to grow-up
        • know his position and abilities and contribute accordinglyjoined up with others, especially the infants-members
        • know the mission of the team
        • Follow and attain the standards of Jesus as the Model/Example
The Glues

  • Mission - By Jesus - The Leadership
    Some questions, seeking the truth, we should ask are:
    • What is the mission of the Team? & Why?
  • Truth
  • Truth, facing the reality, is the key ingredient for teaming and performance
    But the truth could hurt especially for the infant-members, and hence must be done through Love. 
    Infants must be coached with love else they get discouraged and give up or become rebellious and destructive

    • what is the true state of the members - infants?
    • what is the true performance of the whole team?
    • Do the members understand and embrace the mission?
    • Is the team mission being accomplished or each one fighting for his own?
    • What are the reasons for lack of performance?

  • Model Of Maturity JesusThe leader should set the standards for maturity. He himself being the model. Then the standards become the yardstick of measurements for good performance.
    • Are members behaving like Jesus?

  • Connection & Communication
    The team must be bonded together to act as one and differentiated from others. They must maintain a close relationship. This is done through frequent connection and truthful communications.
  • Do they meet often? Do they communicate truthfully with love?
  • Specialized & Diversified
  • Every member uses his abilities to work best in his particular function.
    • Does everyone know its position/function?
    • Are the assignment according to their special abilities?
  • The Growth - Team & Its Members
  • grows and builds itself up in love, Love does not mean without discipline. Any good father will discipline his sons for their good.

    • Do the members grow?
    • Does the team grow?
  • Self-organized & Directed
    • Are the mature members self-directed and self-organized? 
    • Do they need to be supervised constantly?
By providing answers to question raised above, we can learn how to make improvements to our team. May you spend the time to discover the true state and the problems that you are facing with your team and get the improvements that you so desire.

Here is a mind-map:



By: Lim Liat (c) 29 Dec 2019

18 July 2018

Discovering Inner Desires - Gui Gu Zi's Wisdom#10 C8 摩篇 Probe

The last post is about appreciation of the situation and discovery of intentions. This post a follow-up into the discoveries of the inner desires of the people involved. It is based on the principle that what is inside will be revealed in the response to when probed. How that can be done is presented here.
The Principle of Reaction:

The inner intentions will be revealed in the external reaction when probed appropriately.

The Keys to Probing Rightly:
  1.  Probing without Detection:
     If detected, they will hide, distort or even mislead you.
  2.  Probing without leaving any trace.
     If any trace is left, they will be discovered and they can take corrective and preventive actions.
  3. Go by being like them - Familiarity engages.
    GuiGuZi said that dry wood will catch fire first. Damp ground will soak up the water first.
    Be like them, earn the trust, and the rights to be listened to and to ask.
    Go by their types and by their desires. 
Discovering 10 Types of Desires:
  1. Stability - No Change. Keep the status-quo
  2. Righteousness - Make sure it is right and fair to everyone.
  3. Happiness /Hedonism
  4. Anger - Give me revenge. I want to get even.
  5. Fame and Glory.
  6. Success - Make sure it succeeds.
  7. Clean and fugal- No-Corruption. 
  8. Trustworthiness - Fulfill expectation
  9. Benefits - Gains.
  10. Insecurity - Give me assurances and praises. Let me be in control.
The Ideals:
  1. For planning, it must be both complete and detailed.
  2. For persuasion, it must be complete listening 
  3. For execution, it must be completed successfully.
The Best Leadership - Quiet Execution:

The best kind of leadership is to do things as quietly as possible, over a long period of time, and let the result do the talking. It is the accumulation of good works and the winning effortless (win without engaging in any war and consume no resources). Planning must be done in secret and executed stealthily so that the result will surprise the people and yet the people know not how. Drawing attention will just invite interferences and distortions to the execution of the plan. Such a leadership matches well with Lao Zi's teaching on Levels of Leadership - Can We Measure Leadership?

Conclusions:

1. Probe: must know their personalities and desires and probe accordingly and lightly without detection and leaving no trace. Start with observation.
2. Ideals: Strategize(complete, detailed), Persuade(listening), Execution (completion & success)
3. Be like them to get trust and disclosures.
4. Appeal to their desires and get listening, agreement and support
5. Must be done at the right time, not distracted by initial success, and persistence to completion.


09 July 2018

Modern Science is Proving Ancient Chinese Wisdom

In this article, ‘Smarter, Faster, Better’: The New Science of Productivity, we find the following statements:
  • “Productivity begins with motivation; and motivation, according to the research Duhigg cites, begins with control — or more precisely, the location of control. Psychologists have been considering the question of our “locus of control” since the 1950s. Those with an external locus of control have a sense of life happening to them; they believe their lives are primarily influenced by forces outside their control. Those with an internal locus of control, by contrast, feel in charge of their own destiny and attribute success or failure to their own efforts. An internal locus of control yields vastly superior results. ”

Rule Out from Within:
Modern thinking, they even call it New Science, is just finding evidence to support the teaching of Ancient Chinese wisdom。 In fact, the original Chinese wisdom covers more. Ancient Chinese have always taught that people should rule out from within. 

Zhuangzi of Dao School 庄子: 内圣外王 Internal Saint to be External King
Mencius of Confucianism 孟子: 内修外治 Internal development to rule externally.

Confucianism has the following 8 Steps of ruling from self to the world.
See: Understanding The Great Learning DaXue in One Minute

Choose where You have Strength
Further on in the article, we find, "“Find a choice, almost any choice, that allows you to exert control.”

This rings well Sun Zi Art of War's teaching:
Sun Zi: Choose the battle you can win. Never fight for glory or pride or out of anger.
Stretched Smart Goals = 志向 Aspiration 
Aspiration is the teaching of Confucianism. In the Book of I-Ching, the root of Chinese Philosophies, the first hexagram is Qian or Heaven. Heaven represents the creative force with endless innovations.
天行健,君子以自强不息" Confucius commented on it as the Heaven is always creating and hence wisemen should do likewise, always motivating oneself to continue to create without end.

孔子说:“三军可夺帅也,匹夫不可夺志也。
The general can lose his aspiration (he just lose the battle),
but a common man cannot lose his aspiration. (Aspiration is the purpose of living)

一,知耻正志;二,力行酬志;三,好学守志
1. Know shame to have the right ambition/aspiration.
2. Work hard to achieve and fan the aspirations.
3. Learn and progress to keep/extend the aspirations.

“Productive people and companies force themselves to make choices most people are content to ignore.”

Lim Liat (c) 9 Jul 2018

The Integrated Chinese Philosophies - Stoicism

It may surprise you, as it has surprised me, that an Ancient Greek philosophy could integrate the key aspects of 3 Ancient Chinese Philosophies of Dao, Ru, and Art of War. That Western philosophy is Stoicism.

Most common understanding, or rather misunderstanding, of Stoicism, is given in the dictionary as:
"the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint." So we have the idea that Stoicism is about being cold-blooded, emotionless. On the contrary, Stoicism is not emotionless but the right emotional management and is actually emotional maturity. 

From Dictionary.com again, It is "an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded at Athens by Zeno of Citium. The school taught that virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge; the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain."

Relationships with Chinese Philosophies

Sun Zi's Art of War teaches us to go only by evidence, facts, and insider knowledge, and never rely on fortune telling, superficial events, nor even past experience. Every decision must be based on calculations, evaluations, and planning must be done first before action. Never start a war to gain glory nor be instigated and angered to get even. Leaders must always be calm and bold to go by the cold evidence and clear thinking. This agrees with part 1 virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge; of the above definition.

Lao Zi's Dao School of Philosophy teaches us to follow after the Way of Dao - the Way of the Created Order - the Nature and Heaven. We are to live in harmony with Dao and never go against it. This is part 2,  "the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature"

Confucianism teaches us to have aspiration. To grow up to be an independent and contributive person. 己欲立而立人,己欲达而达人。One must be able to stand up(successful) and then help others to stand up and successful too. Mencius, the 2nd to Confucius, in Confucius' Ru School of philosophy defines what is a mature or great man. 富貴不能淫,貧賤不能移,威武不能屈。此之謂 大丈夫。He is the one who is not corrupted by wealth and honor (and the pleasures they bring), not move by poverty nor low standing in society, and not threatened by force. That is part 3 " indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain."

More on Stoicism:
A search on the teaching of Stoicism on the internet will give us more details. A good one is from https://www.njlifehacks.com/what-is-stoicism-overview-definition-10-stoic-principles/ The content is great. It says a true Stoic Person looks like:

1. He is serene and confident no matter what you throw at him.
2. She acts out of reason, not emotion.
3. He focuses on what he controls and does not worry about what he can’t control.
4. She accepts fate graciously and tries to make the best of it.
5. He appreciates what he has and does never complain.
6. She is kind, generous, and forgiving towards others.
7. His actions are prudent and he takes full responsibility.
8. She is calm and not attached to external things.
9. He possesses practical wisdom, justice & benevolence, courage & self-discipline.
10. She lives in harmony with himself, mankind, and nature.

We can see that Stoicism is not without emotion but with managed emotion. He is not easily stirred up by events nor the actions of others. He always maintains his composure and reasoning ability. He is bold and will act on the right course of action from his reasoning. He has true moral standards defined by the Creator and lives in harmony with those standards.

Lim Liat (c) 9 Jul 2018


04 May 2018

Character Development, Modern Science and Mindfulness Practices

Modern Neuroscience and Psychological Researchers provide answers to explain the development of character and the how-to, now commonly known as mindfulness practices. Character development must take place at 3 places, the fast reactive thinking system, the slow thinking systems, and the management and control of our animal-instincts thinking systems. By using mindfulness practices, done daily over time, we can train the 3 systems to adopt the right philosophy and values and achieve better well-being, effectiveness, and success.
Two Thinking Systems:
Nobel Prize winner in Economics in 2002, Daniel Kahneman, in his book "Thinking, Fast and Slow", tells us that we have two thinking systems.
  1. The fast-thinking system is fast, automatic, reactive, frequent, emotional, stereotypic and subconscious. We need it to quickly react to sudden and impending danger for our survival. We perceive the sudden threat and quickly reacted with eight fight, flight or freeze. There is too little time for deliberate analysis and decision making. This fast reactive system is of course bias and error-prone, using associative memory and past experience.
  2. The Slow-Thinking system is effortful, infrequent (comparatively), logical, calculating and conscious. It is deliberate learning from long-term memory and using a system of reasoning. Of course, if our reasoning system and our stored knowledge are not correct, we would be making erroneous decisions leading to bad outcomes.
The Third One - Animalistic Dino Brain
Albert J. Bernstein wrote a very interesting book, "Dinosaur Brains: Dealing with All THOSE Impossible People at Work", that shows us how our natural thinking system is.  Our animal level types of thinking include the following:
  1. Go get it now.
  2. Fight, Flight or Fright
  3. Be Dominant
  4. Defend the Territory
  5. Get the Mate
  6. If it hurts, Hiss
  7. Like Me Good, Not Like Me Bad.
We can understand our self-centered, instant gratification, mine & mine kind of thinking. Maturity and Emotional Intelligence are about controlling our desires with awareness of others, delayed gratification, and even just doing good just for goodness sake without expecting any rewards.

Xun Zi, the number 3 in the Confucianism School, when discussing how man is more valuable than animals says the following: 

《荀子·王制篇》群
水火有气而无生, 草木有生而无知, 禽兽有知而无义;人有气、有生、有知, 亦且有义, 故最为天下贵也. 

Water and fire have Qi(Energy) but no life.
Plants have a life but no knowledge.
Animals have knowledge but no moral (no sense of right and wrong).
Men have Qi(Energy), Life, Knowledge, and Moral. Hence men are most precious under the sky.

The sense of right and wrong causes men to manage and control their animal impulses for the benefits of the community and themselves.

Men must develop a virtuous character and behave accordingly.

The Right Moral Virtues and Behavior

Generally, the values and virtues that men want are quite similar. Consider the Confucianism list and the Christianity list as follow:

The Confucius virtues are usually summarized as 仁义礼智信 as 五常 (5 common values) and also “仁、义、礼、智、信、忠、孝、节、勇、和” as 十德 (10 virtues)。

仁、love, charity.
义、righteousness
礼、proper conduct, good manners
智、wisdom
信、integrity, trustworthiness
忠、faithfulness
孝、filial piety - Elders loves younger, younger respect elders.
节、self-control
勇、boldness, decisiveness
和. Harmony and Peace.

Christianity uses the Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 English Standard Version (ESV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.

How do we develop character?

We need to change the three Thinking-Systems. 
We use the Slow-Thinking Systems to acquire wisdom and knowledge. We use such knowledge to train and obtain control over the Dino-Brain. We practice and practice to get our Fast-Reactive Thinking to conform to the Slow-Thinking System

The Mind-Map:


The Mindfulness Practices

How do we practice and practice? The secret is in being mindful, being aware of our feeling, thinking and reactive behaviors and outcomes daily, if not constantly.

A simple series of steps for mindfulness is as follows:
  1.  Pause. Especially we are triggered by anger or fear (except for dangerous situation - in such a case, the step is run, hide, observe, notify). Pause first before reaction.
  2. Breathing Technique.
    1. Control your breathing.
    2. Be aware of your breathing.
    3. Focus on how your chest, belly move with the breathing.
    4. Slow down breathing and start to be aware of your sensation and feeling.
  3. Naming the feelings
    1. Try to label your feeling, anger, fear, worry, joy, depress, disappointed, sad, etc.
    2. Labeling them calm us further.
    3. Do not be judgmental. There is no right or wrong. The purpose is to be aware of how you are feeling.
  4. Considering your feeling.
    1. Comforting your self with you are OK, you are loved, you are capable, ...
    2. We try to engage the Slow-Deliberate Thinking System into the situation.
    3. Once we are calm and rested, we can start analyzing why we feel and react that way. Then figure out how should we do to gain a better outcome to achieve our purpose and meaning in life.
The best time is not to wait for external triggers. 

It is best to start the day, mid-day, and end the day with mindfulness practices. Always being aware of the events, the feelings, the thinkings, the reactions, the outcomes and then intentional re-examine and make improvements.

Daily and Not Annually

Now we probably can figure out the answer as to why our annual resolutions do not work. It is too long a period to discover and make corrective actions.

All the best to your daily practices for becoming a better person, better well-being and greater success in life.

Lim Liat (c) 4 May 2018

01 May 2018

Mindfulness and The Book of Great Learning

The mindfulness practice can be found in the Confucianism Book of the Great Learning. The steps are discussed here.
How does one develop one's character to be mature? I have always thought that just by learning, memorizing and then practicing over time. Recently, the word, "mindfulness" becomes very popular.  It is being popularized by the positive psychologists and medical doctors. But its actual origin dates back to the ancient world of the Buddhism, Daoism, and Christianity. Some call it meditation. Christians call it Quiet-Time with prayers and worship.

The Book of Great Learning 大学 begins with:



The above translation, using the perspective of mindfulness, is slightly different from the usual translation of the book. That is likely due to the text itself was too brief. But I find the above translation more practical and meaningful, given the present advances of the neuro and brain sciences.

Daily Practices and Not Annual Resolutions

The growth occurs daily and not annually. If we want our annual resolutions to really work, we have to do that every day and not once in a year.

Consider Zeng Zi (a disciple of Confucius) recorded in Analect Chapter 1v4
曾子曰:“吾日三省吾身:为人谋而不忠乎?与朋友交而不信乎?传不习乎?”
Zeng Zi said, "I daily reflect on my life on the following three things: have I been faithful in my work for others? Have I been trustworthy with friends? Have I practiced what I teach others?"

In the Bible, we find Daniel 10:6b Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before

Leading Others begins with Leading Ourselves from Within

The top step of the 8-steps is ruling the world with peace.  But the first step is about observation and the study of things. Chinese philosophies have always been teaching leadership begins with self. If we can't rule ourselves, how can we rule others? Zhuang Zi uses the phrase 内圣外王 ruling outward as a king from the inside as a saint. Mencius uses 内修外治 internal development enables management of the external affairs. 

Ruling ourselves begin with the daily practice of being mindful and aware of what we have done, how we are feeling and thinking now, and our plan for the day. It is becoming an observer of ourselves and be a manager of our behavior following the virtues that we so desire to have.

See also:Character Development, Modern Science and Mindfulness Practices

Lim Liat (c) 1 May 2018

For more see Understanding The Great Learning DaXue in One Minute
and even more, see Confucius and the Ru School

22 April 2018

6 Hidden Truths Of Life of Jeremy Bishop and Sun Zi

Found the 6 Hidden Truths of Life by Jeremy Bishop to be interesting and reminds me of my understanding of Sun Zi's Art of War. So I put them together with some of my rephrasings.

Here is the mind-map:




Comparing with Ancient Chinese Philosophies on Character Development, Happiness and Success.
This is mapped from this video.



Lim Liat (c) 22 Apr 2018 (updated 20-10-18)

For more on Sun Zi's Art of War:  Sun Zi and Other Strategists

See also: 81 Life Lessons for Your Happiness 

Jeff Bezos' 4 Step for High Standards Organization

Bezos' Amazon Annual Report is a highly recommended read by many. They are also many posts on the lessons learned. Here is my learning from his excellent report.
The mind-map of the 4-Steps


Bonus Map: Here is one more:



Lim Liat (c) 22 Apr 2018

For more Bezos' wisdom see:

20 April 2018

81 Life Lessons for Your Happiness

Found a post that gives 81 Life Lessons or principles on a Chinese website. 81 is too many to remember and so I reorganized it, translated them into English and add in a few words of my own. It is a good list to reflect on our life. A lesson on happiness is "The only way to get happiness is to treasure what you have and forget what you don't have." It is a mindset rather than about having more.
The Source Article is here (in Chinese).

The Summary Mindmap:



The Full Mind-map:

 click on the map to see.

The Content:
  • Thinking You are the product of your Thinking
    • 81.養成更好的思考習慣,就可以改變生活。
    • Develop better-thinking habits and you can change your life.
    • 35.覺得自己做的到和不做的到,其實隻在一念之間。
    • Can or cannot is just at the moment of your thought.
  • Acceptance of SelfThe First Step
    • 01.每天告訴自己一次,『我真的很不錯』。
      Every day begins with telling yourself that "I'm not bad at all."
    • Starts with accepting yourself, strengths & weaknesses. Don't condemn yourself. No self-doubt. 
    • 34.世上最累人的事,莫過於虛偽的過日子。
    • The most tiring thing in the world is living in hypocrisy.
    • 50.自己要先看得起自己,別人才會看得起你。
    • We must first look up to ourselves than others will look up to us.
    • 58.所有欺騙中,自欺是最為嚴重的。 
    • Self-deception is the most serious of all deceptions.
  • Adapt to Situation - No matter what
    • 24.抱最大的希望,為最大的努力,做最壞的打算。
    • Embrace the greatest hope, give the very best effort and prepare for the worse outcome.
    • 40.如果你曾歌頌黎明,那麼也請你擁抱黑夜。
    • If you have ever praised the dawn, then also invite you to embrace the night.
    • 68.不如意的時候不要盡往悲傷裡鑽,想想有笑聲的日子吧。
    • When you are not as you wish, then don't indulge in sadness, but think about the days of laughter.
    • 73.你不能左右天氣,但你能轉變你的心情。
    • You can't control the weather, but you can change your mood.
    • 53.樂觀者在災禍中看到機會;悲觀者在機會中看到災禍。
    • Optimists see opportunities in disasters; pessimists see disasters in opportunities.
      See from both points of view and plan accordingly. Overcoming threats first and see the opportunities.
    • 32.上帝從不埋怨人們的愚昧,人們卻埋怨上帝的不公平。
      God never complains about people's ignorance. People complain about God's injustice.
      The world is never fair. So accept it and work from there.
    • 27.每一件事都要用多方面的角度來看它。
      Everything has to be viewed from a variety of perspectives.
  • Self-ControlEmotion Management
    • 11.人的價值,在遭受誘惑的一瞬間被決定。
    • Your worth is decided at the moment of temptation.
    • 72.要克服生活的焦慮和沮喪,得先學會做自己的主人。
    • Overcoming the worry and depression in life begins with becoming your own master.
    • 02.生氣是拿別人做錯的事來懲罰自己。
    • Anger is using others mistakes to punish yourself.
    • 30.所有的勝利,與征服自己的勝利比起來,都是微不足道。
    • All the victories, when compared with winning against oneself, are not worth saying.
    • 31.所有的失敗,與失去自己的失敗比起來,更是微不足道。
    • All the loses, when compared with losing oneself, are not worth mentioning.
  • The direction of Life - Find & Follow it
    • 42.人生重要的不是所站的位置,而是所朝的方向。
    • The important thing in life is not the position you are standing in, but the direction you are facing.
    • 76.漫無目的的生活就像出海航行而沒有指南針。
    • An aimless life is like sailing out of the sea without a compass.
    • 39.人只要不失去方向,就不會失去自己。
    • As long as people do not lose their direction, they will not lose themselves.
    • 77.好好扮演自己的角色,做自己該做的事。
    • Play your own role and do your own job. - There is no need to be envious of others and try to be like them. 
    • 06.發光並非太陽的專利,你也可以發光。
    • Letting the light shine is not the exclusive right of the sun, you can also shine.
  • Hope, Dream, Faith - Embrace them
    • 05.生活若剝去理想、夢想、幻想,那生命便隻是一堆空架子。
    • When life is deprived of aspirations, dreams, imagination, then life is like an empty shelf.
    • 04.明天的希望,讓我們忘了今天的痛苦。
    • The hope for tomorrow enables us to forget today's suffering.
    • 24.抱最大的希望,為最大的努力,做最壞的打算。
    • Embrace the greatest hope, give the very best effort and prepare for the worse outcome.
    • 29.有希望在的地方,痛苦也成歡樂。
    • In the place of hope, even the pains can change to laughter
    • 28.有理想在的地方,地獄就是天堂。
    • When there are dreams and ideal, hell will become heaven
    • 38.思想如鑽子,必須集中在一點鑽下去才有力量。
    • Ideals are like drills, they must be the point of focus of drilling so that there can be the strength.
    • 56.明天是世上增值最快的一塊土地,因它充滿了希望。 
    • Tomorrow is the most value-added piece of land in the world because it is full of hope.
    • 60.把你的臉迎向陽光,那就不會有陰影。
    • Bring your face to the sun, then there will be no shadow.
    • 75.想像力比知識更重要。 
    • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
    • Faith
      • 18.只要有信心,人永遠不會挫敗
      • People will never be frustrated if they have confidence
      • 23.『不可能』隻存在於蠢人的字典裡。
      • "Impossible" exists only in the fool's dictionary.
      • 57.理想的路總是為有信心的人預備著。
      • The ideal road is always prepared for those who have faith.
      • 57.理想的路總是為有信心的人預備著。
      • The ideal road is always prepared for those who have faith.
  • Be Bold - Face your Fear
    • 21.人若軟弱就是自己最大的敵人。
    • Your fear/weakness is your greatest enemy.
    • 22.人若勇敢就是自己最好的朋友。
    • Being brave is your best friend.
    • 54.有勇氣並不表示恐懼不存在,而是敢面對恐懼、克服恐懼。
    • Having courage does not mean that fear does not exist,
       but rather one dares to face fear and overcome fear.
    • 71.因害怕失敗而不敢放手一搏,永遠不會成功。
    • Fear of failure and not dare to give it a go, then one will never succeed.
  • Execution - Step by Step & Don't Give-up
    • Starting - Do It
      • 66.你的選擇是做或不做,但不做就永遠不會有機會。
      • Your choice is to do or not to do, but you will never have a chance to do something.
      • 78.一切偉大的行動和思想,都有一個微不足道的開始。
      • All great actions and ideas have a negligible beginning.
    • Ending
      • 20.不論你在什麼時候結束,重要的是結束之後就不要悔恨。
      • Regardless of when you end, it is important not to regret after the end.
        Hence, before you start, think about how you want to end.
    • Don't Give Up
      • 19.不論你在什麼時候開始,重要的是開始之後就不要停止。
      • No matter when you start, it is important not to stop after starting.
      • 43.當你能飛的時候就不要放棄飛。Don't give up flying when you can fly.
      • 44.當你能夢的時候就不要放棄夢。Don't give up dreams when you can dream.
      • 45.當你能愛的時候就不要放棄愛。Don't give up love when you can love.
    • Make Use of Present
      • 46.生命太過短暫,今天放棄了明天不一定能得到。Life is too short. What gives up today you may be sure you can get it tomorrow.
      • 51.一個今天勝過兩個明天。
      • Today is worth two tomorrow.
      • 52.要銘記在心;每天都是一年中最美好的日子。
      • Keep in mind; every day is the best day of the year.
      • 63.用最少的浪費面對現在。
      • Use the least waste to face today.
      • 64.用最多的夢面對未來。
      • Face the future with the most dreams.
      • Diligence
        • 26.遊手好閑會使人心智生鏽。
        • Leisure time can cause mental rust.
        • 47.天才是百分之一的靈感加上百分之九十九的努力。
        • Genius is 1% inspiration plus 99% effort.
    • Patience
      • 80.學做任何事得按部就班,急不得。
      • Learn to do anything in a step-by-step manner. Don't rush
    • Learning
      • 69.把自己當傻瓜,不懂就問,你會學的更多。
      • Treat yourself as a fool and ask if you don't understand. You will learn more.
      • 61.經驗是由痛苦中粹取出來的。
      • Lessons are distilled from the painful experience.
  • Age
    • Youth
      • 12.年輕是我們唯一擁有權利去編織夢想的時光。
      • Youth is the only right you have to paint your dream.
      • 13.青春一經典當即永不再贖。
      • Youth, when gone, cannot be continued
    • Aging
      • 36.第一個青春是上帝給的;第二個的青春是靠自己努力的。
      • The first youth is given by God; the second youth is by their own efforts.
  • Relationships - Treasure Them
    • Love
      • 10.你可以用愛得到全世界,你也可以用恨失去全世界。
      • You can use love to gain the whole world.
        You can also use hate to lose the whole world.
      • 14.沒有了愛的語言,所有的文字都是乏味的。
      • Without the language of love, all the words are tasteless.
      • 15.真正的愛,應該超越生命的長度、心靈的寬度、靈魂的深度。
      • True love is longer than the lifetime, wider than the heart, and deeper than the spirit-soul.
      • 16.愛的力量大到可以使人忘記一切,卻又小到連一粒嫉妒的沙石也不能容納。
      • The power of love can be so large as to forget about everything;
        but can be so narrow that a little sand of jealousy cannot be tolerated.
      • 37.少一點預設的期待,那份對人的關懷會更自在。
      • Less expectation and your care for others will be more natural.
      • 41.問候不一定要慎重其事,但一定要真誠感人。
      • Greetings need not be overly careful, but they must be sincere & touching.
    • Marriage
      • 62.男人要捧,女人要哄,婚前挑缺點,婚後看優點!
      • Man must be flattered, woman coaxed. Before marriage finds the faults. After marriage find the good points
    • Family
      • 25.家!甜蜜的家!天下最美好的莫過於家。
      • Home, sweet home. There is nothing better than home under the sky.
    • Friends
      • 03.生活中若沒有朋友,就像生活中沒有陽光一樣。
      • Living without friends is like living without sunlight.
      • 67.如你想要擁有完美無暇的友誼,可能一輩子找不到朋友。
      • If you want to have a perfect friendship, you may not find a friend in your lifetime.
      • 70.要糾正別人之前,先反省自己有沒有犯錯。
      • Before correcting others, first, reflect on yourself whether you have made mistakes.
      • 79.得意時應善待他人,因為你失意時會需要他們。
      • Be kind to others when you are doing well because you need them when you are dejected.
      • 74.孤單寂寞與被遺棄感是最可怕的貧窮。
      • Lonely, loneliness, and abandonment are the most terrible poverty.
  • Reflection - Pause & Learn
    • 07.愚者用肉體監視心靈,智者用心靈監視肉體。
    • The foolish uses the fleshly body to monitor the heart-soul;
      the wise use the heart-soul to monitor the flesh.
    • Enlighten
      • 17.當一個人真正覺悟的一刻,他放棄追尋外在世界的財富,而開始追尋他內心世界的真正財富。
      • When a person is truly enlightened, he gives up the pursuit of the wealth of the external world and begins to pursue the true wealth of his inner world.
    • Lying to Self
      • 58.所有欺騙中,自欺是最為嚴重的。 
      • Self-deception is the most serious of all deceptions.
    • Confession
      • 55.肯承認錯誤則錯已改了一半。
      • Admission of mistake is half-way in correction.
    • Mistakes
      • 59.人生最大的錯誤是不斷擔心會犯錯。
      • The biggest mistake in life is constantly worrying about making mistakes (and do nothing).
  • Happiness - It is a mindset rather than possessions
    • 08.獲致幸福的不二法門是珍視你所擁有的、遺忘你所沒有的。
    • The only way to get happiness is to treasure what you have and forget what you don't have.
      • 48.人總是珍惜未得到的,而遺忘了所擁有的。
      • People always cherish what they haven't got and forget what they have.
    • 49.快樂要懂得分享,才能加倍的快樂。
    • Happiness must be shared so that one can be doubly happy.
    • 65.快樂不是因為擁有的多而是計較的少。
    • Happiness is not because of having much but being less picky and calculative.
    • 09.貪婪是最真實的貧窮,滿足是最真實的財富。
    • Greed is the real poverty. Contentment is the real riches.
    • 33.美好的生命應該充滿期待、驚喜和感激。
    • A good life should be full of expectations, surprises, and gratitude.
    • 34.世上最累人的事,莫過於虛偽的過日子。
    • The most tiring thing in the world is living in hypocrisy.
Hope you take away some lessons for improving your life.

Lim Liat (c) 20 Apr 2018

23 February 2018

Billionaire's Wisdom for Life Matches with Bible Proverbs 22

A comparison of Billionaire Terry Guo's sayings on the Wisdom of Life and Proverbs 22 of the Bible reveals great similarities and show that the wisdom of the Bible is still relevant and applicable today.

During this Chinese New Year period, I wrote Wisdom for Your Chinese New Year - Better than All Prosperity Wishes using the sayings of the billionaire Terry Guo, founder of Foxconn. A few days later, on 22 Feb, I studied Proverbs 22 and wrote 22 Principles for A Good & Successful Person from Proverbs 22.

This morning, I felt that I should compare the two mind-maps and to see if I could consolidate them and learn some new things and also for the ease of future reference. I am surprised that the two maps match well. I re-org and re-color the Terry Guo's map so that the similarities can be easily seen.

While the main topics are similar, the sub-branches give us more wisdom.

For example, consider "Prudence"

The Bible teaches us to see and escape danger, watch out and don't into temptations, and don't make promises we can't keep and don't be a security for anyone. Whereas, Terry advised us to think first before we speak, don't decide too quickly and don't prejudge a person. They are the all different aspect of Prudence that we should know and practice.  The same applies to rest of the main topics like relationship, righteousness, humility etc.

So, we can see that the wisdom of the Bible is still relevant and applicable today.

Lim Liat (c) 23 Feb 2018



17 February 2018

Wisdom for Your Chinese New Year - Better than All Prosperity Wishes

May we apply the wisdom to our lives that the New Year Wishes be turned into true blessings.
In this season of Chinese New Year, we would have received all kinds of wishes of prosperity, health, loving relationships, and a long good life. But wishes remain only as wishes until we acquire the wisdom and apply them to our lives. To know how to truly be successful in life, we turn to Terry Guo, the founder of Foxconn. May we apply them to our lives that the wishes be turned into true blessings.

The source of the article is 郭台銘:「如果你一生不想窮,遇事不要急於下結論!要學會大事化小、小事化無!」 | 業務講堂

Since it is in Chinese, I will translate it and re-organize it for easier understanding and application as in the mind-map below:


  • Prudence - Not Hasty
    • Think 1st before you speak. Don't reveal your inner self.
    • Don't be too fast to prejudge and draw a conclusion. Wait and Observe
    • Never Prejudge a Person. Only after his death can you know.
  • Relationship - Respect
    • Simplify. Make Big Issue small and small issue to nothing.
    • Respect Those who love you.
    • Remember those who praise you behind your back.
      Humble yourself more and don't overpraise others.
    • Value good encounters but don't reject bad encounters.
  • Righteousness - Cheat Not
    • Follow Principles of Right & Wrong and Don't do things to the extremes.
      Giving ways to others is actually clearing your obstacles.
    • Don't cheat others and don't be cheated. Get Wisdom
  • Avoidance - Stay Away
    • Distance Oneself from the Petty villain.
      Don't incur their wrath and also don't forgive them
    • Don't let your business problems affect your family and vice versa.
  • Generosity-Give Away
    • Money, only the portion spent belongs to you.
  • ToughnessBoldness
    • Have the boldness to take up and the forgiving heart to let go.
    • Be tough on yourself and often it may be better to leave than to stay on.
  • Humility-Learning
    • Don't take yourself too seriously and overvalue your importance.
    • Use your free time to develop yourself
    • Don't blow your trumpet before you succeed. After you succeed, others will know without your telling.
  • Health & Appearance
    • Men also need to preserve their look and health
    • Keep your external appearance to be tidy and clean
  • Observant
    • Don't let go of any opportunity to succeed
  • Ladies
    • Ladies must also be concern about their careers.
Lim Liat (c) 17 Feb 2018

See how it compares with the Bible Proverbs 22 at Billionaire's Wisdom for Life Matches with Bible Proverbs 22 

01 February 2018

Lessons From Successful Entrepreneurs - A Combined Map

Successful entrepreneurs shared their wisdom freely. We can learn much from them. However, we need to know that their wisdom is but a subset of their own experience. If we accumulate them together using a mind-mapping software, then we can really learn much more and find wider applications. Here is the map that combined the wisdom from four articles.

Lessons From Successful Entrepreneurs:


The above mindmap is drawn using the Freeplane software.

If we carefully compile the advice from the rich, famous and successful over time. We can have a larger map like this one:


Lim Liat (c) 1 Feb 2018

24 January 2018

How to Know a Person Better - Gui Gu Zi's Wisdom#10 C8 8 摩篇 Probe

An important element of the appreciation of situation for planning is to know the personality, the likes, and dislikes of the key people involved. This is done through Probing 摩. Here are the techniques and principles.
To Know a Person is to know His Intentions & Motivations
How can we know a person well? What is there to know about a person? The key is to know his character or personality, his abilities, weaknesses, values, and when wanting to work together, then his intentions for the project. Such intentions can be discovered through observation and probing. Gui Gu Zi tells us that the inside will be revealed eternally when we probe wisely. It is a process of making friends, observing, probing lightly and then deeply. Eventually, the hidden intentions can be known.

The Best Kind of Leaders is Invisible and Traceless
Taking the oppositive viewpoint then, the top class leaders should not draw attention to themselves but be invisible in their leading. Such a concept is taught by Lao Zi in Levels of Leadership - Can We Measure Leadership? The best leaders are not known by the people. The people all taught they have achieved successes by themselves. "The king's army wins daily by not having to fight nor spend any resources and so the people do not know what to obey or what to fear, and the world is like heaven.", said Gui Gu Zi. See How to Win without a Fight? The Wisdom of Sun Zi & Gui Gu Zi. A key ingredient for winning is knowing the intentions and desires of the key players. Here is the method.

Probe According to the Personality Types and Desires

  1.  The Peaceful/Steady will be calm, still, and quiet. They don't like changes.
  2.  The Righteous will be just and doing the right things. Is it wrongful?
  3.  The Happy will be joyful. What pleasures and funs?
  4.  The Angry will be excited with a lot of movements. Why not now?
  5.  The Honorable will want to get more famous.
  6.  The Doer will want to accomplish more things. What needs to be done?
  7.  The Honest will want to stay clean and is against corruption.
  8.  The Trustworthy will be hopeful and optimistic. We can do it.
  9.  The Greedy will demand more benefits. Where is the money?
  10.  The Insecure will use and want flattery. 

Doing the 3 Key Things Well

  1. Planning needs to be complete and details. No small things can be neglected.
  2. Persuasion needs a lot of listening and gaining the hearts to gain the agreement and support.
  3. Execution must be done right to achieve success.
The Principles of Probing
  1. Be like them to gain acceptance and trust so that they are willing to disclose themselves.
  2. Appeal to their desires so that they will listen, agree and support you.
Applications 
  1.  The Chinese have subjects that can tell a person's character and abilities from their face, palm, and general shapes of the body.
  2.  Today, we have the subject of "Body Language". Our inner feelings are expressed unconsciously through our body actions and facial expressions.
  3. A customer complains are actually his desire to want to buy your products or service if only you get through to solve their problems. 
  4. The Traditional Chinese Medicines(TCM) doctors have long been able to diagnose the sicknesses without the aids of modern technologies like X-ray, MRI, Ultrasound devices.
So, by careful observation, and probing at the right time with the right questions, we can engage a person and slowly get to know him better especially his intentions and motivations for your business ventures. Don't be distracted by initial success but persist to complete the full understanding of a person.


Lim Liat (c) 24 Jan 2018

Prev: Actions For Your Planning - Gui Gu Zi's Wisdom#9 C7 揣篇 Appraisal
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23 January 2018

How to Win without a Fight? The Wisdoms of Sun Zi & Gui Gu Zi

"Winning every battle is not the best strategy. Winning without a war is the best strategy.", said Sun Zi in the Art of War. But Sun Zi left it to us to discover the secrets in his book. A subsequent work by Gui Gu Zi who taught strategic alliance and persuasion tells us even more. 
The Sun Zi's Secrets on Winning without a Fight

1.  Build Yourself Up such that Your Enemy perceived that You are stronger.

Sun Zi gives us 5 factors and 7 measures to evaluate our comparative advantages. If we do the needed calculation and evaluation based on the correct intelligence and finds that we are stronger and can win, then we can start a war if needed. But our enemy may have a different view of the comparative strengths and may also think he can win. So, we must, in the eyes of the enemy, to appear to be stronger, so that the enemy will know that if he starts a war, he may lose. Then, he will be willing to give in to our demands to prevent starting a war that he may lose more.

2. Other Means of Winning besides a War

In addition, Sun Zi says that war should be fought as a last resort after we have exhausted all other alternatives. Sun Zi lists them in order, "Strategy", "Alliances", "Negotiation", then "War in the opened fields", and the last and worst is "Attack Castles". We can add a few more ourselves, such as the PESTEL factors of politics, economic, social, technology, environment and legal (eg international laws, UN etc).

3. More than a Conqueror - Converting the Enemy to Friend

An even better strategy is to convert the enemy to become a friend. Then, you become a 'more than a conqueror." Why? A conqueror conquers you by force. You will always look for an opportunity to fight back. But if he wins your heart and become your friend, then they will not strike back. Could this be real? Yes. In the famous story of the Three Kingdoms, 孔明七纵孟获 KongMing Caught and Let Go MengHuo Seven Times. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meng_Huo Kong Ming captured and released the local leader seven times until he finally swore allegiance to Shu Han.

4. Strategic Alliance & Persuasion of Gui Gu Zi

The teaching of Gui Gu Zi on Strategic Alliance and Persuasion influenced many of his students to become prime ministers and commanders of the warrior states then. A famous story is how Su Qin (a student of Gui Gu Zi) persuaded the king of the State of Qi to return 10 cities back to the State of Yan. During the transition of power to a new king of Yan, Qi attacked Yan and took over ten cities. Later, the State of Qin married their princess away to King of Yan for form alliance. Su Qin went to meet the King of Qi. He first congratulated the king for his growth in power but then said he was worried about him. Qi King asked him for the reason. Su Qin said that Yan has a marriage relationship with Qin and they have a strong alliance. It is only by time that Qin and Yan will attack Qi. "Does your majesty think that you can overcome their combined forces?",asked Su Qin. King of Qi agreed and sent Su Qin back to Yan with the return of the ten cities to build a good relationship. So we can see that cities can be captured even without having any war. The power of strategic alliances with persuasion can be seen the many stories recorded in 战国策 "Records on the Warring States period".

Lim Liat (c) 23 Jan 2018

For more on Sun Zi and Gui Gu Zi, please see Sun Zi and Other Strategists



01 January 2018

Actions For Your Planning - Gui Gu Zi's Wisdom#9 C7 揣篇 Appraisal

"Failures come not from lack of planning but from lack of actions before the planning", says Zhai HongSheng, Sinology Master of PRC. The GIGO (Garbage-In Garbage-Out) principle applies not just to computer science but to all activities as well.  All planning must begin with much effort in an appraisal of the situation. Not just the observable and measurable factors but also the intentions of the players. "Who has what" and more importantly "What are they going to do with what they have?". Learn more from Gui Gu Zi Chapter 7 揣篇 Appraisal of Situations & Intentions.
The Importance of Pre-Planning Actions - The Appraisal of Situation & Intentions

Most planning presentation comes with PowerPoint supported by charts and data in Excel Spreadsheet that misled us into wrong thinking that planning is about coming out with such a presentation. We have also taken the easy way of making assumptions and playing with What-ifs rather than going down to the fields to validate our assumptions and doing survey and investigations to collect actual data to feed into our model.

It is important for me to repeat the quote mentioned earlier:
  • "Failures come not from lack of planning but from lack of actions before the planning" ---- Zhai HongSheng, Sinology Master of PRC. 
Gui Gu Zi begins this chapter with such a reminder:
  • Even if we have the virtues of the founding kings, the wisdom of the sages, unless we also know and do the appraisal of the situations, there is no way to predict and plan well.
  • Such is the foundation of any strategy and of persuasions.
  • The most difficult thing is to know before and acts before it happens. In short, a correct prediction is most difficult.
Do BOTH - Appraisal of Situation & Intentions

Most of us will tend to look at the observable things(more on what to look at later) when we appraise a situation. Who has what and how much and how strong they are. But we must add the "intentions" of people. It is the intentions that cause things to change. So Gui Gu Zi tells us:
  • Since the ancient time, those that know how to rule the world well must measure and compare the power in the world and study the intentions of the feudal lords. If one is not careful in examining the relative strengths, then one cannot know the balance of strong and weak. Not studying the intentions and relations of the lords, one cannot know the hidden dynamics of changes.
Static Comparative Analysis of Situations:

To discover the balance of power at a particular time.
  1. Resources Levels?
  2. Population Sizes?
  3. Needs - Excess or Insufficient? 
  4. Terrain Characteristics - Advantages & Harms?
  5. Strategic Plan for Long or Short Term?
  6. The relationships between King and Officers? Who are good & who are bad?
  7. Their Consultants intelligence and numbers.
  8. Seasonal Factors and Trends --- Disaster or Fortune?
  9. The Relationships with the other Feudal Lords, which can be used and which cannot be used?
  10. The morale of the population, secured or panic? What they like? What they hate?
  11. Do Reflections and Discernment.
To apply such wisdom in modern business, we need to do some mapping. Kings and officers can be mapped to the senior management of the major players in your market. Populations can be mapped to your potential customers. We can add in the typical factors PESTEL, which stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technology, Environment and Legal, for the Seasonal trends. Relationships with other Feudal Lords can be the supply chains and partnerships of the major players. Sun Zi's Art of War has a shorter list of five factors and seven measures which concentrate on the fighting force. The five are Dao/Philosophy of Business, Seasonal, Terrains, Leadership, and Organization& Methods. We should use both together to get a better understanding of the forces at play and the balance of power.

Discovery the Hidden Intentions:

To discover the hidden intentions and dynamics that will cause changes, we can begin by careful observation of behavior. In modern terms, we learn to read the body language.
    The internal changes in hidden emotions will be seen in the external. Hence must always observe and discover in depth to know the inner hidden things. We can also test them. Some obvious ones will be:
  1. Happiness reveals Desires
    When they are happy, go to the extreme(by talking, following, encouraging them to do more) to bring out their desire. If there are any desires, they will show up.
  2. Fear leads to Hatreds
    When they are fearful, go to the extreme to find out what they hate. If there are any hatreds, they will show up. 
  3. Bring Change to see their reactions.
    The emotions will show under stress of change.
  4. If No Reaction - Then Ask the people close to them.
    Some people are very good at hiding their emotion. So we can ask the people close to them, and know what they are comfortable and secured with.
Techniques for Persuasion - Just One Principle:
Planning requires the analysis of relative powers. For persuasion, we must discover the intentions. Find out what their worry and desires. Then you can decide to honor or to despise, to emphasize or to lighten, to benefit or to harm, to succeed or to fail all with just one principle - find out his desires and use the right method accordingly to get his agreement and support.

One More Thing: The Process of Discovery Dialogues

Choose the right time for persuasion. Do only if there are benefits? Observe the movement of insects, it is either for gaining benefits or running away from harms, to ensure change for good. Making change is to improve one's position. So, beautify your words, write an organized article, and then have a discussion is the way to discover intention. 

In short, persuasion begins with pre-suasion.

Lim Liat (c) 1 Jan 2018