30 November 2011

Map Your Way to Greater Success from the Keys of the Super-Rich

A friend shared on FaceBook on the article "Who Wants to be a Billionaire? 20 Keys to Success from the Superrich". It is a good list of wisdom with a few problems:
  1. 20 is a long list of things to remember and recall.
  2. Some of the items mentioned are very similar and are better to be grouped together to shorten the list.
This is a good example for mind-mapping. It explains why some playful students can out perform the hardworking students in examinations. Those playful but really smart students do one thing that the other so called 'hardworking' students do not do. The smart ones spend some effort in re-organizing the information obtained. This extra time and effort of reflection helps in truly understanding a subject matter. With such a map of organized concepts, we can easily add on new concepts and can even be used to predict and innovate new concepts.

The two key steps to do are:
  1. Group the facts/concepts.
  2. Give your own title, a few key words, to capture the meaning of the long sentences.
Here is a first draft of the Success Map: 

I leave the original 20 keys in the map so that you can see how the map is developed. It can be much smaller by replacing the original text with taglines.

As a final exercise of real learning, try to integrate the map above to this one, The Integrated Success Principles Version 6, compiled from similar sayings of the great and successful men like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Stephen Covey etc.

Lim Liat (c) Nov 2011

See also: 

25 November 2011

Two Types of Progressing in Life - I-Ching #46 Rise and #35 Progress

There are two types of progressing in life according to i-Ching. The two types are described with hexagram 46 升 Rising – Faithfulness brings Promotion (registration needed) and 35 晋 Progress – Promotion (registration needed).u

With #46 Rising, you pick a good leader whom you then follow faithfully. With #35 Progress you do it on your own with integrity and righteousness. Progressing on your own is lot more difficult but may be more rewarding and there the limit of growth is up to you. Chinese has a phrase for such people, 白手起家, building an house by bare hands, signifying by own effort.

Here is a Summary of the teachings from i-Ching for the two hexagrams:

Of course, you can pick the path that suit you. You can also be a faithful follower first, acquire the experience, network, and skills before venturing out on your own. This seems to be a safer way, though may be longer, to success. Many successful entrepreneurs begin life by working for others, be the 3rd or 2nd tier sub-contracted suppliers in a value chain, before growing up to be in the 1st tier.

All good things come to an end, as in the stage 6 of the table above. The good boss that you faithfully serve may join another company or retire from the service. The successful business started by you may eventually reach a plateau and need a transformation to rise the next growth curve. But the foundational principles for success remains the same - integrity, righteousness, employing the right people and putting them in the right jobs. Server others rather than be selfish. Enriching others enrich yourself.

You are free to live out the potential that you have. But i-Ching teaching is a good guide for you. For more, see Ancient Chinese Wisdom.

Lim Liat copyrighted 25 Nov 2011.

22 November 2011

Check Your Assumptions - Success Secrets from I-Ching #25 无妄 Not Bizarre – Be Realistic

Most people have the common misunderstanding that entrepreneurs are big risks taker. That is completely false except for unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs are realistic people that try to minimize their risks. They check and test their assumptions for validity against the real world happening. They ask people. They conduct experiment and trials. Only when there are reasonable grounds for the assumptions, do they then go in fast and with strength.

A famous Chinese Classic Master says that it is not the lack of planning but the lack of activities before the planning that causes failures.

To be successful, we must be very down to earth and to keep track of the what is happening at the ground. This is the teaching of i-Ching Hexagram #25 无妄 Not Bizarre – Be Realistic and Follow the Principles. The details of the teaching is at #25 Not Bizarre (registration is needed). Here is the summary:

Summary of #25 无妄 Not Bizarre – Be Realistic and Follow the Principles:
  • We must follow the principles and seasons of working of Heaven and earth in our relationship with others and with nature. 
  • We must be watchful, practical and realistic. 
  • Breaking the principles will bring forth calamity. Don’t be fooled by short-term success. We will eventually have to pay back and in much greater amount. 
  • Even if misfortune happens, we should not move away from sticking to the basic principles.
The stage lines teach us additional wisdom:
  1. Get started by being realistic and practical. 
    Don’t be bizarre and be not building castle in the air.
    Follow the principles of life.
    • It does not mean that we can’t have high aspirations. It is just that we need to achieve our high aspirations with practical steps and in due time.
    • Stephen Covey wrote a book about "Principle Centered Leadership".  It shows how advance, practical and lasting are the teachings of i-Ching.
  2. No short cut. Consistent ‘Step by Step’ to success.
      Don't be discouraged by little progress. A journey of thousand mile is accumulation of many steps beside the initial step.  See Seven Easy Steps to Great Success According to LaoZi.
  3. Misfortunes beyond our control happen. Don’t be to quick to judge and blame. Stick to the foundational principles.
    There are many factors beyond your control. When bad things happen that you have no control over, don't be upset. They happen to everyone as well. In fact, it was worse for them. You may need not do anything at all but to just stay the course and stick to your principles. They will go away. Keep your attitude up and don't blame.
  4. Continue the good work. Don’t quit.
    The danger has passed, we just continue the course. We can see some success.
  5. Misfortune not caused by us will pass. Don’t over react. The strong foundation will bring you through.
    The bad thing happens again. But it goes away without any of your action. In fact, taking any action to correct it may create a bigger problem. Always stay observant, objective and be realistic in assessing and understanding the issue. Follow the statistical control system. E W Deming teaches us not to meddle with statistical events within the control limits. Any meddling will make the error greater! If you are unhappy with the large variance, then look into improving the system to reduces the variance, otherwise, stay put.
  6. Reach the plateau and don’t know what’s next. Don’t take bizarre action. Stick to the foundation that bring you the success and act wisely.

    Success is the greatest danger to watch out for. We may have forgotten what bring us here and venture into things that we know not just because we can afford now. Success should not make us blind to being realistic and down to earth to monitor the happening at the front line and the customers and markets.
Lim Liat copyrighted 22 Nov 2011

19 November 2011

The Codes of Conduct for Young People

The Good Conduct and How to Live Well.
Someone in my class reminded me of such a primary teaching book on Good Conduct. 5 Key Points. Know how to behave well first and learn about science and others when there is time left!

弟子规 圣人训
1 首孝弟 2 次谨信
3 泛爱众 4 而亲仁
5 有余力 则学文

The Conduct for the Young Ones - Teachings of the Saints

1. First is love the younger and respect the older starting from family and extending to the friends and people we meet.
2. Second is doing things with carefulness and integrity.
3. Third is to love all people.
4. Fourth is to befriend those people with kindness and compassion.
5. After the above and still have energy, then study other skills.

For the full text and English translation, see http://www.tsoidug.org/dizigui_trans_comp.php.

Just read the above is enough. The remaining texts are just exposition on the above 5 points.

03 November 2011

Focus - The Key to Productivity and Excellence

Not feeling accomplished? Very busy and yet not happy? No time for anything else? Not sure where you are going? These are but symptoms of lack of focus. Know the meaning of focus well and learn the how to be productive.
Pick up any management or leadership book, you shall find "Focus" as one of the key factors for success.

To many, focus means doing one thing at a time. But this is a very narrow definition since a person, especially the higher level people, can manage multiple projects at the same time. I told people that you can be very focused on multiple things. It is only when you fail to accomplish some things that you know you are loosing focus. Otherwise, you are doing well and very focused.

We have the famous people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates that talk about focus. Here are some of the sayings:

The above map is a subset of The Integrated Success Principles Version 6.

It is good to give a definition of focus.
To me, focus is about concentrating resources on doing the tasks to achieve our goals
The components are concentration, resources, tasks/activities and goals. We can loose focus when we fail in any one of the above components. The mind-map below give further details and recommendations:

A recommended book to read is "The Accidental Creative - How to be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice" by Todd Henry which cover FRESH (Focus, Relationship, Energy, Stimuli and Hours), the practices for making you a Creative Person. 

Hope the above clarify the meaning of focus and tell you what to do about focusing to achieve success.

Lim Liat (c) 3 Nov 2011