by Christian Chua
© 2008 Christian Chua
Published by Renosis Industries Pte Ltd
Blk 5002, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5
Tech Place 2, #03-11/12,
Singapore 569871
Author’s email: [email protected]
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise,
without prior permission from the author.
ISBN: 978-981-08-0295-0
Cover Design: Francesca Salim
Editor: Laurie Hughes and Audrey Low
“Success is just an attitude away”
- Christian Chua
Foreword by Adam Khoo
Chapter 1 Introduction 9
Chapter 2 The Approachability Factor
Chapter 3 The Likeability Factor
Chapter 4 The Recommendability Factor
Chapter 5 The Reliability Factor
Chapter 6 Building a Strong Impression that Lasts
Chapter 7 One Level Up – Stand Out From the Crowd
Chapter 8 Be Nice to Everyone
Chapter 9 How to Have Nice Encounters with Nasty People
Chapter 10 Building Relationships Through Complimenting
Chapter 11 Be an ACE Employee in Your Workplace
Chapter 12 Be a Great Listener
Chapter 13 How to Be An Interesting Person to Talk To
Chapter 14 Treat Everyone Special
Chapter 15 Encouragement and Motivation
Chapter 16 Success is Just an Attitude Away
Chapter 17 Accept That Others Are Different From You
Chapter 18 Anger is a Reaction
Chapter 19 “That’s Alright”
Chapter 20 Get Rid of PRIDE
Chapter 21 Self Reflection
Chapter 22 More Tips on How To Have an Attractive Personality
Chapter 23 Turning Adversities into Possibilities
Chapter 24 What Is In It For Me
Chapter 25 Influencing Skills / How to Make People Do What You Want Them To
Chapter 26 Feel Like a People Magnet and You Will Behave Like One
Chapter 27 Gratitude
Chapter 28 In the Pursuit of Happiness
Chapter 29 Life is About Choices
By Adam Khoo
It is a great pleasure for me to be given the opportunity to write
the foreword to Christian’s new book, ‘How to be a Success
As a success coach, I have had the privilege of helping hundreds
of thousands of students, working professionals, parents and
entrepreneurs to achieve the success they desire. In my work, I
have discovered that within any industry, there are always the top
10% individuals who are able to produce exceptional results. These
successful people are the ones who serve as role models for others
to follow, not only earn the highest incomes, but also experience
the highest level of fulfillment in their work. The most common
question I am asked is, “What sets these individuals apart? What
are the distinctions that make them highly successful?” Though
experience and education are important, we know that they are
not the defining factors. At the same time, it is also no longer age
of gender that determines a person’s ability to succeed.
I have found that people who succeed have two main qualities,
personal mastery and people mastery. ‘Personal Mastery’ is a
person’s ability to consistently bring out the best within themselves.
People with a high level of personal mastery are very focused on
what they want, are able to consistently motivate themselves to
take action and have the fortitude to thrive under adversity and
The second quality is ‘People Mastery’. I know of so many
individuals who have the highly prestigious degrees, the best ideas,
the most ambitious goals and the highest level of confidence and
yet…success eludes them. The reason is because they lack the
ability to get along with others, to be liked, to communicate and
to be persuasive. I believe that a person’s ability to achieve success
in anything depends on their ability to build rapport and influence
another person.
You can be the most brilliant teacher in the world, but if your
students dislike you or you are unable to sell your ideas to them,
then you will not make a good teacher. You may be a brilliant,
confident and visionary CEO but if you cannot get people to like
you and buy in to your vision and fight for you, you will ultimately
It is this crucial quality of ‘People Mastery’ that Christian will help
you develop within the pages of this book. You will learn how
to become a success magnet by developing the likeability factor
and the rapport and communication skills to achieve the career,
personal and life goals you desire. I salute his tremendous efforts
and contributions to all those who seek success.
Adam Khoo Executive Chairman & Chief Master Trainer
Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group Pte Ltd
Chapter 1
While most motivational speakers say that success is a journey, I
say that success is actually a destination. Success is achieving
the goals that you set for yourself. The journey itself is called life.
Success can be worked towards. It is a destination that can be
reached. There are, of course, many destinations in your life. Once
you reach a particular goal, you can be considered successful in
achieving that goal. Therefore, you can be successful in some areas
and not successful in others. If you’re successful in a particular
area and have achieved a defined goal, this achievement does not
signify the end of your journey in that area. You’re likely to form
new goals and new “destinations.” Thus, you have a fresh journey
towards future successes.
Many are inclined to equate success to mean financial success.
However, you should be aware that there are different areas in
your life in which you can be successful. The notion of success
shouldn’t be limited to your financial achievements; it can also
be achieved in areas like spirituality, family, career, leisure, selfactualisation, and health. Success is about achieving the goals that
you set for yourself.
Success depends largely upon a person’s attitude. This book will
introduce simple changes in attitude, and techniques that can
transform you into a better and more successful person. These
techniques will help you revisit your world and approach life from
a different perspective. I hope that you will be able to apply these
techniques into your life and you will thus thrive in this seemingly
dysfunctional society.
Before I begin with the chapters proper, let’s do a short exercise.
Think about your goals right now. These could be financial goals,
career success, family unity, etc. Now imagine that you’re standing
at the starting line of a hundred-meter track and your goal is the
finish line. There are no obstacles in your path; the way ahead
of you seems clear. As you begin your dash, fifty people appear
from nowhere and start running towards you. You recognize
some of them, while others are complete strangers. These people
have no interest in your success. Some are in competition with
you and perhaps hope you don’t succeed. Some are enemies who
deliberately create obstacles for you. Some are those who drain
your energy and put your time to unproductive use. These fifty
people become real obstacles to your journey towards success,
and many of them constantly push you back to your starting line.
This illustration depicts the way most people’s journeys to success
are. They want to succeed, but many people in their lives hinder
them. The people who run in the opposing direction towards you
could intentionally or unintentionally cause you to stumble on
your journey to success.
Your road to success could be filled with obstacles and could be
difficult. As you go on the journey, you will meet with many people
that will hinder your progress. The journey will be tough if you are
unable to deal with obstacles that come your way.
Therefore, this book will equip you with powerful techniques and
methods to help you reach your destination effectively and with
greater ease.
So, say you have a raging horde of people heading towards you.
They will be hindrances to you. What if you could make a significant
number of these people running against you, instead, begin to run
with you in the same direction and propel you towards your finish
line? They will push you forward should you slow down. Wouldn’t
that make a big difference? If you could convert these obstacles
into advantages, you improve your chances of success.
I took my first job as a shipping executive in a large local shipping
firm. I worked hard, did my best in this position, and was
commended as one of the top recruits of that year. I was quickly
spotted by another corporation and was offered a position with a
50% pay raise. Driven by money at that age, I took the new job. I
worked hard, as I wanted to be financially successful as quickly as
possible. But still, I found that the progress in corporate life was
a little too slow for me, so I set up my own business at the age
of 24. I went into printing and worked hard to make it successful.
Within a few short years, I was making more money than most of
my friends who had graduated with me. As I reached 30, I looked
back and realized how ridiculously hard I had worked to make my
At that time, I began to refocus from my ability to my likeability.
My ability is the competency and professionalism in my work. It
makes the people who want my product or services readily trust
my work when awarding a contract to me.
When I focused on my likeability, it resulted in a significant increase
in terms of sales and profits. When you are liked, customers
become friends, and the businesses they transact goes beyond the
usual dollars and cents bottom line. Our customers wanted to
deal with us because they enjoyed dealing with us. Competitors
became friends, and we worked together. We were willing to
go out of the way to help each other. The business world I was
in wasn’t as vicious as what many other business people were
experiencing. I was truly enjoying what I was doing.
When I began to enjoy what I was doing, I realised that the work
didn’t seem like work anymore.
I define work as doing something you don’t want to do
but have to because of the money it provides.
Since I didn’t ‘have to do it,’ but I ‘wanted to do it,’ it no longer
felt like work.
It was passion.
After it became apparent to me that it was very productive to
attract opportunities instead of looking for them, I began to further
work on my likeability factor and that of the staff I hired.
The results were amazing. I was offered plethora of opportunities.
Offers came in because people were happy to deal with us. I am
sure this can happen to you too.
The emphasis of this book is to help you to acquire good
people skills so that you will learn how to open more doors of
opportunities. These skills will help you to win the favours and
support of the people you meet.
Have a great time with this book.
Chapter 2
The Approachability Factor
The First Impression
As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a
good first impression. When looking at a stranger, all it takes is
several seconds before you start forming an impression of that
person. It could be the way that person dresses, the expression
on the person’s face and the body language that make you form an
impression of that person. Guess what? People are doing exactly
the same to you too. Consciously or subconsciously, people judge us by our outward
presentation. The clothes we wear express who we are and
perhaps how much we care about how we look. The expression
on our face shows whether we are having a good day or bad day.
Our body language tells others if we are in a rush, tired, or simply
not in the mood to interact with anyone.
These signals that we send out allow others to know if we are
ready to engage them or not.
If you were at a social gathering of a hundred people and knew
that you could only meet a handful of new people, you would
have to decide with whom to spend your time with. You probably
base your selection on the impression that people leave on you.
In the same way, you are one of the hundred people in that room,
and people are making those same decisions about whether
to make your acquaintance. People will look at your face, your
overall presentation, body language, and other non-verbal signals
to decide if you are on their get-to-know-you list.
In short, life is a constant interview.
We are continuously being noticed and judged.
We open or shut doors to opportunities simply by how people
perceive us.
Always Dress Presentably
Many unscheduled meetings could turn into opportunities. For
example, it could be your day off and you dress casually, which is
fine. Many people, however, dress loathsomely on their off days,
not expecting to meet anyone. Quite unexpectedly, you meet
someone who could have changed your life’s journey significantly,
but due to the poor image projected to this person; this person
decides not to engage you. What could have been a big event
became uneventful because of the impression you left on them.
Dressing well, looking current, having a good haircut, and having
good body posture are much more important than most people
care to think. Many would think that what’s inside a person is all
that counts. Unfortunately, strangers have no idea what’s inside
you, and they will not get to know you if your first impression
doesn’t fit their get-to-know-this-person list.
A well groomed individual sends a message that this individual is
conscious about himself/herself and is conscious about the people
around them. They tend to be more refine in their mannerism and
their consideration towards others.
The Power of the Smile
The smile is one of the most powerful first impressions a person
can leave on others. It is the number one feature that makes a
person attractive. Most people have a natural great smile. It is far
reaching and penetrating. It turns unhappiness into good cheer,
and it invites friendship and kindly feelings. People feel comfortable
when they are welcomed with a smile.
A smile may have many meanings: pleasure, friendliness, welcome,
amusement, and many more. It is part of a universal body language
that doesn’t need any further interpretation.
Unfortunately, many are not generous nor ready to give something
that costs them nothing. I suppose many may have sold their smiles
on ebay.
When we visit a country, the friendliness of the people affects our
decision whether we like the country or not.
When we are served at a retail outlet or at a restaurant, we prefer
a service with a smile. In any industry, customers would like to be
served with a ready smile.
Your ready smile can be the deciding factor on whether
people like you or not.
Salespeople are encouraged to smile when they are speaking
with their clients over the phone. It has been proven that clients
can sense the difference in the tone of the conversation when a
person is smiling and when that the same person isn’t smiling.
Some people have the tendency to smile less when they speak
over the phone because they may feel that their smile cannot be
detected over the telephone. However, this isn’t true, and the
absence of that extra friendliness makes a difference.
When we are introduced to a new acquaintance, the trick to making
a warm connection lies within initial seconds of introduction.
Give a smile that is broader than usual.
It is unexpected that a stranger deserves such a warm smile from
you. Because they don’t expect it, it really comes across as a warm
and pleasant surprise.
This connection will allow you to gain the other person’s interest
much more quickly than a lukewarm introduction.
Your approachability factor lies largely on the signal you continuously
send out. Whether you are at the food centre, in school, or at the
train station, people will decide if you are a person they want to
If you have a permanent frown or a down turn smile, you are
projecting that you are in a bad mood and want to be left alone.
If you are alone and you are pondering over happy thoughts,
chances are your facial expression will tell it all. It need not be a
full-blown smile, but just a hint of a smile is all that is required for
strangers to pick this signal up. Instantly you become approachable.
You have just opened the floodgates for opportunities.
The larger the community you know, the more opportunities
will be opened to you. A person will thrive when there are many
people who are with them and supporting them. On the other
hand, a lonely person will have limited human resources to help
them achieve their goals. Therefore, they lack the first element to
success, human support. Be conscious of the approachability factor. It’s the first step towards
being a people magnet.
Chapter 3
The Likeability Factor
Networking is one of today’s buzzwords. Experts know that you
cannot succeed alone, and you need help from people to succeed.
The more people you know, the greater your chances to succeed.
In sales, I often hear sales managers tell their sales executive, “It’s
a number game. The more cold calls you make, the higher your
chances are that you would close a sale.” Well, I would like to add
a bit more to that. It is not just about how many people you call,
but really, how many people end up liking you after you have made
the call to them.
In this chapter, we talk about the second impression, the likeability
factor. After achieving the ability to form a good first impression,
the approachability factor, we now focus on what happens after a
person meets you.
Whether a new acquaintance decides to stay in contact with you
depends largely on whether the person likes you.
Though it is impossible to define every aspect of what makes a
person likeable, in general we can safely focus on the following
Having Good Social Skills
- Greet others warmly and with respect.
- Offer a generous smile.
- Avoid high-risk questions and being too nosy
- Be a good conversationalist. Able to adapt to any topic of
- Have good humour and being interesting.
- Avoid being obnoxious.
- Be polite and non-judgmental.
- Treat everyone special.
- Be positive, encouraging and motivating towards others.
- Be less opinionated and allow others to have their say.
In fact, a large part of this book is dedicated to showing how to be
a likeable person.
When people like you, they will help you and go out of the way to
do things for you, assist you in your perils, support you emotionally
and possibly help you during your financial crisis.
Likeability factor in career and business
Many people focus on their ability and less on their likeability.
Ability is the competency in a job or when providing a professional
service. So people spend a large amount of their time developing
their ability, graduating from one reputable school after another.
People in business focus largely on their products, but many neglect
the vital part of the business, having likable sales people that bring
in massive sales.
There is no point in having a good product when people don’t like
dealing with you, particularly when you are working in the service
industry. When you patronize a restaurant, visit the hair stylist,
or do retail shopping, you expect people to treat you nicely. One
rude remark is all it takes to make someone think, “I am never
going back to that place again.” No matter how good the food is
at the restaurant or how great the hair stylist is, you will never
return to that place again.
In a job interview, your credentials simply make you qualified for
the position, but credentials itself does not guarantee the job. The
other factor that is considered is whether you fit the profile that
the employer has in mind. Ultimately, to get employed requires
the interviewer to like you.
People Magnet
Visualize yourself as a popular person. People readily like you, they
love what you do, they enjoy listening to you when you speak,
and they like being around you because they feel invigorated after
speaking with you.
When you are at a party, people seem to be attracted to your
presence; you always muster a small crowd around you wherever
you go. You get invited to many social outings and are presented
with many business opportunities. You have lots of friends, and you
are well liked in the workplace. Strangers seem to feel comfortable
breaking into a conversation with you wherever you go.
If the above scenario describes you, you sound like you are already
a people magnet. You have the qualities that make it much easier
to succeed in life.
If the above statements don’t describe you, don’t fret. There are
many more pages left in this book.
The likeability factor is the backbone of being a people magnet.
‘Ability’ coupled with ‘likeability’ greatly increases your
chances of success!
Chapter 4
The Recommendability Factor
One of the best ways to open the doors to new opportunities is
through a recommendation.
If a product you are selling is good and is recommended by your
customers to their friends, they have practically sold the product
for you. If you provide a service, a good word from a reference
makes selling a lot easier. If you were looking for employment
and you were highly recommended to the employer, you have
a greater chance of getting an interview than if you were not
The question is: How can you get yourself at the top of others’
recommendable list?
The fact is that people may have a wide list of people that they
can recommend to others; you are in competition with all these
people for that recommendation.
The recommendability factor is the quality you possess that
makes a person willing to risk their reputation to promote
you to others.
Do you have the recommendability factor? Are you on the top of
people’s recommendable list when opportunities arise?
Regardless of the industry that you are working in, i.e. sales or
service, regardless of the types of opportunities you are seeking,
there will be people you know who can introduce you to others
who can help fulfil your objectives.
The trick is to get yourself on the ‘recommendable’ list of the
people you know. Let me explain a little further. Let’s say you
are working in the financial services industry. It is very likely that
a person knows an average of two to four people having careers
in the financial services industry. If someone wishes to purchase
some financial products and asks one of your close friends to
recommend a financial advisor, are you the first person he would
recommend to that person? After all, he does know quite a few
other financial planners.
In order to be on the top of a person’s ‘recommendable’ list, you
need to understand that the worst fear of recommending you to
others is that the person’s reputation is at risk of being damage.
If you do a bad job or eventually fall out of favour with the customer,
the customer will return to that person and say, “Why did you
recommend this person to me?” Not only does the person now
think poorly of that sales person, but may also have a change of
impression of the one that did the recommendation.
To be on the top of others’ recommendability list, here are some
great attributes to have.
Top qualities to make you recommendable for business are
- Reliability (deliver what you promise and deliver it on
- Competency and Quality (being professional and meeting
the quality standards expected of you)
- Likeability (adaptable / flexible / well mannered)
Top qualities to make you recommendable for regular social
- Sincerity
- Reliability
- Likeability (Charisma)
Top qualities to make you recommendable for more sophisticated
social opportunities
- Good dress sense
- Great social skills
- Intelligence
- Sincerity
These qualities here do not exclude the other necessary qualities
you may have in mind. However, without these qualities stated
above, you may wonder why some opportunities did not come
your way.
As you would expect, different opportunities will require
different qualities. So sometimes we wonder why we were not
recommended for a certain job or invited for a social outing even
by a very close friend. The fact is that they risk their reputation
when they recommend you or even bring you to a social function.
It takes more than being a good friend to be recommended to
If you find that your peers are more recommendable than you, I
suggest you reflect on the reasons why you are less recommendable.
Note your flaws and correct them. You could sometimes be
offensive, insensitive, boring, or irritating. You may have poor
grooming habits, or you might just be obnoxious. Being aware of
these factors is a great starting point for making improvements in
these areas.
Work on your weaknesses and apply the other People Magnet skills
that are suggested in this book. If people do not feel comfortable
recommending you, take it as a strong feedback. Reflect as to why
this has happened and be aware of the changes that need to be
Chapter 5
The Reliability Factor
If I had an important task and had a choice to work with three
people with three of the following different strengths,
A) a person with vision and farsightedness
B) an intelligent and competent person
C) a reliable person
Can you guess which candidate I would be most inclined to
It would definitely be Candidate C, the person high on reliability.
Candidates A and B would excel in areas like planning a task and
problem solving, but Candidate C is the only reliant person.
Reliability is the ability of a person or system to perform and
maintain its functions in routine or unexpected circumstances.
Therefore, a reliable person is also competent and has initiative to
solve challenges in unexpected circumstances.
The reason why ‘reliability’ is preferred over most other personal
strengths is because one knows for sure that he can depend on
and trust a reliable person with any task or favour. He does not
need to worry about or be burdened with the responsibilities that
have been assigned to the person. In other words, the task is safe
in the hands of a reliable person. Needless to say, a reliable person
is also a tremendous asset in any organization.
It is natural, therefore, that people with high the reliability factor are
entrusted with greater responsibilities, information, assignments,
secrets, etc. Holding the keys to all these responsibilities and tasks
also mean that you are more valuable to your corporation and this
could lead to career advancement.
The wage game
People who do menial production work receive a salary that is
solely based on their output. For example, a person who is working
in a factory cannot be paid more than his output. Therefore, in
order to increase his income, he must increase his output, which
entails working faster, harder, or more efficiently.
In contrast, managers receive a higher salary than the production
workers because managers have the responsibility to be in charge
of subordinates and are entrusted with many other responsibilities.
In other words, they are paid for their ability, reliability and
responsibility and not so much on physical work output.
Top executives receive an even higher salary because of their
experience, which enables them to make good decisions and their
ability to shoulder greater responsibilities. The whole corporation
relies on their decisions and leadership.
Reliability is a huge building block to progress.
You may have heard of the saying, “There is no such thing as a
failure. If you fail, it just means that you have found a new way not
to do certain things.” This saying is often heard when optimistic
people fail in completing a task.
Wait a minute because I beg to differ. How can it be that there is no
such thing as failure? What if you were a chief security officer who
is designated to protect the President during his time in office? If
the President is assassinated, could you say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I have
learnt from my mistake, and I will know how to tighten security
the next time.” Unfortunately, you will not have a second chance
to do that.
If you are the chief engineer who is entrusted with the responsibility
of being in charge of launching a space shuttle, you cannot afford
to be negligent. The lives of many astronauts, the number of years
put into research and the great amount of money spent in making
the experiment a success are in your hands.
If the launch fails, you can’t give an excuse as to why it failed and
hope to be given a second chance. If you fail, then you have simply
failed. You were not hired to find excuses for the failures; you
were hired to succeed.
I believe that some readers may disagree with the hard and definitive
stand I take. But think about it. Do you want to be successful and
earn top dollar? Well, top dollar requires top responsibility and
top reliability.
In the 2008 Olympic Games, it took a lot of coordination and
responsibility to ensure that the games went on without a hitch.
One of the courier companies that took on the task was selected
precisely because it had a proven record of reliability. It wasn’t
because they charged a lower fee for their services as compared
to other delivery companies that they won the contracts. This
example shows how much value is placed on reliability. People
value the assurance that an important task does not fail.
When given a task, tell yourself that there are only two possible
outcomes: failure or success. This mindset helps you to bring
about a greater chance at succeeding. Think about a man walking
on a tight rope mid-way in the air without a safety net below him.
There is no room for failure. If he doesn’t succeed, he will die.
Those are the two choices he has: succeed or die.
If you have a mindset that tells you that failure is not an option, this
motivation will increase your chances of success.
Reliability is a huge asset. Are you known for your reliability?
Does your corporation have a good reputation for reliable
products, services and delivery dates?
Socially reliable
It is not only important to be reliable at your workplace, but also
in social situations. Allow me to give you a few examples.
(1) When you agree to meet with a friend on a specific day, it is
important to keep to your word. It can be quite disappointing
for the person you made the appointment with to have the
meeting cancelled by you at the eleventh hour. You might
have a great excuse and you might be let off once or twice.
However, your friend might have made a big sacrifice in order
to meet you but was stood up. You may leave him feeling
disappointed. After a few occasions of being stood up, you will
be on your friend’s list of ‘unreliable’ people.
(2) Be punctual always. Waiting is never fun and such a waste of
(3) When you promise to send someone a gift, ensure that it is
delivered. Empty promises tarnish your reputation. Should
you fail to deliver the gift due to unforeseen circumstances,
apologize to the person and do all you can to make up to it.
Do not make empty promises; they are meaningless.
If you fail to deliver a promise at the appointed time, you failed.
Excuses do not mean much. The fact of the matter is that you
simply failed.
Be reliable
When you can be relied upon for small tasks, you will be trusted
with greater things. Your reliability usually opens up a lot of
Life is a constant interview. People judge you all the time. Therefore,
it is crucial to be reliable and responsible. Your reputation is worth
Chapter 6
Building a Strong Impression
that Lasts
If people do not know who you are, what you do, or what you can
offer, they cannot give you meaningful opportunities.
If you have the best product in town but no one knows about it,
it doesn’t mean much. I know of many great food stalls and small
restaurants that have excellent food. However, lack of advertising
was the cause of their dismal performance in their business.
Eventually, many of them close because they cannot sustain the
In the same way, if people do not know what you do, they simply
can’t offer you much. In many of my Entrepreneurship workshops,
I ask the participants to introduce themselves and the business
they are in. Almost, in every case, these people have received
immediate business from the fellow participants simply by letting
others know what business they are in.
If you start a business, make sure that your family, friends, and
your social network know what you are doing. You do not need
a full-blown marketing campaign for this purpose, but do ensure
that these people have some idea of what you do. These are the
people that would probably support you in your business should
they need your services simply because they are the ones that
would probably want you to succeed.
For a start, I recommend everyone to have a contact card.
Contact Cards
You should always have your contact cards with you at all times.
You just don’t know when opportunities will knock. It is the
number one mortal sin when a person seeking opportunities does
not have his or her contact cards with them. Your contact card
is the initial step in letting those you meet know about what you
do, what you can do for them and what they can do for you.
Business cards are much more important to an organization than
many believe it to be. A first class business card delivers a top-class
image for an organization.
People develop the skill of networking because they want to attract
clients and create more opportunities with the people they meet.
It is quite unfortunate that after a session of networking, no one
remembers them well. These people who network frequently fail
to give others a lasting impression that is strong enough to reap
I once visited to a corporation with the intention of having lunch
with a friend working there. The receptionist who was seated at
the front desk, said, “Hi, you are Christian Chua.” I was surprised
that she knew my name because I did not make any prior
appointment. So I asked her whether we have met, and she said,
“Yes, we met about two and a half years ago.” I was astonished that
she remembered my name after such a long period of time. Before
I could commend her on her remarkable memory, she continued
by saying, “I have your name card on my desk, and your card is one
of the very few with a photograph on it. That’s how I remembered
you after all this time.”
That experience was proof of what I’ve believed for a long time:
that something visual like a photograph on your business card helps
people remember you.
If you are a businessperson who is seeking business opportunities,
it is very important to create a powerful business card. If people
remember you, they can open doors of opportunities for you. A
photograph of yourself on your card helps others to remember
you more easily and connect you with your personal information
without much difficulty.
Have clearly defined business cards
Business cards should be self-explanatory.
You shouldn’t need to explain your
product or services because your card
should have served that purpose. If you
need to explain your business every time
you hand out a card, it is not clearly
defined enough. What happens when
you need to hand out fifty cards a day?
It would be impossible for you to explain
yourself fifty times a day. Therefore, state
clearly on the cards, the products or
services that you provide.
Choosing a business name
Choosing a business name is a strategy in itself. Many people
like to use their own name or abbreviations as the name of their
Say you come across a name A.Z.A Pte Ltd. This name does not
tell what the company does. What about a Johnny Wang Pte Ltd?
It sounds flattering to Johnny, but it still requires an explanation of
what Johnny Wang Pte Ltd. does. On the other hand, compare names like Speedsent Courier
Services Pte Ltd. You would know instantly what type of business
it is.
Take another example, Chloe’s Nails and Hair Salon. Does it tell
you what this business does?
Choose business names that could describe the nature of your
business quickly.
Inherited business names
If you inherited a business name from a family and cannot change
its name, add a tag line to ensure the nature of business is stated
e.g. Louis and Clark Pte Ltd
Preschool for expatriate children
John Dole Pte Ltd
Private Investigation services, specialising in missing persons.
Personal name cards
At the same time, you should have a separate set of name cards
for your social acquaintances. These cards are different from your
corporate business card. Unless you own the business, you should
consider having separate personal name cards. These name cards
are suitable for anyone in any age group. Even students, housewives,
and retirees should have them. These name cards allow you to
give out a professional calling card and open potential doors for
personal opportunities.
When you meet an old friend at a supermarket, it is unlikely
you might have a pen and paper to scribble down their contact
information. Even if you did find some paper, it is probably an
unwanted receipt scavenged from the floor. Chances are the
receipt with the contact information will be gone in no time. So
instead, create a professional personal calling card.
Here’s how it works.
Describe yourself on your name card in a way that people can
form an impression of who you are and what you do. You can
state all your passions and personal interests on the card.
A name card should state:
(1) Your name
(2) Your contact number
(3) Your email address
(4) Your website/ blog
(5) Passion and hobbies
Most importantly, it is important to include a photo of yourself.
In this way, people can remember you long after they have met
When you create a name card, it is important to include your
interests and hobbies in addition to all the essential information.
Let others know that you have an interest in skydiving, horticulture,
astronomy, etc. If you meet with a friend who shares a similar
interest, you can find common ground and forge an instant and
closer connection. When you find common ground, you can
exchange experiences and stories relating to these similar interests,
and you will strengthen the friendship through this new bond.
(Disclaimer: Do not hand out personal name cards during official
business transactions. You owe it to your employer to put his interest
Chapter 7
One Level Up –
Stand Out From the Crowd
One day, you walk into a pet shop with the intention of buying a
puppy. You have a choice to choose from five identical puppies.
They are equally cute and adorable. Four out of five of the puppies
are resting and sound asleep. The last one, unlike the other four,
is energetic and active, and it looks at you with alluring eyes. You
immediately fall in love with it. Because that particular puppy
stood out from the rest of the pack, you have no qualms about
buying it. You are no longer in a dilemma. Making your decision
has become easy. The puppy that stood out from the rest is the
obvious choice.
The above analogy is applicable to life’s similar circumstances.
Let’s take a person who wants to apply for a position in a company
and has written an impressive Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) and cover
letter. He states his many unique qualities, which he believes
will differentiate him from the rest. His credentials and aptitude
exceed all requirements for the post. The company invites him for
an interview.
At the designated place of interview, he then realizes that most
of the candidates applying for the similar post also have similar
achievements and equally outstanding resumes. He knows the
competition ahead is tough. In such situations, the ability to win
over the interviewer with his personality is key to getting the job.
This trait is what has been termed the ‘likeability factor.’ When all
else seems equal, you need to stand out from the crowd.
Here is another scenario. You are networking in a social setting.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to create an
impression in order for people to remember you. What you have
to do is to carry yourself smartly and confidently and allow your
personal charm to sparkle. Such actions will help people to take
notice of you.
Standing out from the crowd does not mean that you are required
to do a song and dance to create an impression.
People who do not have a strong impression of you or know what
you love to do cannot offer you opportunities because you are quickly
One of the most popular dogs is the Golden Retriever. It is
handsome, confident, alert and tame. One of the most despised
pests is the rat. The rat is sneaky, squeaky and darting. It loves
hiding in dark places and has a low profile. Which animal do you
prefer? I am sure most of you would prefer the characteristics of a
Golden Retriever. It has qualities that are so much more attractive
than that of the rat.
So, always be appropriately sociable. Among the people you meet,
lie many opportunities.
Do not introduce yourself using merely your family name.
This is especially so if the environment has numerous people with
the same family name. For example, in Korea, many people have
the family name Kim or Pak. Similarly, if you are a Smith or a
Tan, you do not leave any significant impression with family names
that are fairly common. Instead, introduce yourself with your first
name whenever possible.
Dress sense: don’t overlook the power of a good first impression.
People make quick assumptions about your professional credibility
and potential performance based upon your appearance during
the first meeting. It’s very difficult to overcome a poor first
impression. You will never get a second chance to make a good
first impression.
You should always take the time to look your best whenever you
go out. Dress yourself a level above the crowd. Dress smartly
and slightly noticeable, not necessarily loud and provocative,
but smart and stylish. People always appreciate a good personal
“Clothes don’t make a man, but it helps present him.”
The way you dress actually will affect how you feel and behave.
Think about it. If you wore a red nose and a fake moustache all
day, you would feel silly and goofy. So if you want to feel sexy, wear
something that makes you feel sexy. If you want to feel important,
wear something that reflects it.
People say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, people do
say a lot of things, but these days image is more important than
people think they are. If you write a great book, do have a great
cover. The reason why you pull a book off a bookshelf is because
the cover attracts you.
Chapter 8
Be Nice to Everyone
I was a junior executive when one of my good friends became an
established lawyer. We were both at a party when I asked him
for some simple legal advice. He looked at me and in a solemn
way he said, “Call me and make an appointment with me on a
working day.” He was not willing to help me out with some simple
legal advice and wanted me to pay for his services and time. I was
astounded. I never thought an old friend would react in such a
manner. He was much friendlier before becoming a lawyer. From
that day on, I viewed him in a different way.
Very often, people of a lower status in society tend to be treated
differently from people from a higher status. I once witnessed a
receptionist treated a man who was dressed in a nice suit, with
much respect and courtesy. Moments later, another person dressed
in a more humble manner approached her for information and
direction. She answered him with little patience. She patronized
this humble looking chap and made some uppity remarks. I was
appalled by such condescending attitude.
Every person is special, and there is some uniqueness in everyone.
There is always much to learn, even from humble and modest
people. You can derive great lessons when you listen to their
stories. They will have experiences that are different from ours.
They might even give us new perspective on life.
For every person who thinks he is intelligent and talented, there
is always someone else who is more intelligent and talented.
Avoid being judgmental. Being judgmental has a direct effect on
the number of opportunities you receive. By doing so, you have
decided for yourself to whom you want to open the doors of
opportunities to. Everyone can offer you opportunities and chances
to progress. So don’t restrict yourself to a small number of people
you have already judged to be worthy of your acquaintances.
This next story took place in a luxury car showroom. The senior
salespeople claimed to know who the real buyers are. They
told the rookie salespeople that they were able to distinguish a
serious buyer from a causal one. One weekday afternoon, when
the showroom was quiet and there was little activity, a poorly
dressed man walked in. He wore a worn-out pair of shorts and a
shirt that didn’t match. He looked as if he had just finished work
from a food centre. He walked around a few luxury cars in the
showroom and seemed indifferent about the various models and
their capabilities.
The senior salespeople refused to entertain him or hand him a
After a while a senior salesperson told the rookie salesperson
to attend to the man’s inquiry. The rookie salesperson politely
approached the customer and asked if he could be of service.
Pointing at a car, the customer spoke in a local dialect, “How much
is this car?” The salesperson replied, “$150,000.”
Sniggers and laughter were heard as some of the senior salespeople
whispered to each other, “Surely he can’t afford it.”
They looked at the shabbily dressed man who nodded his head
calmly and said, “Ok… I will take two.” The senior salespeople
were speechless as the man drew out $300,000 in cash from his
pocket to purchase two vehicles. That day, the rookie salesperson
was rewarded with a fat commission from the sale of the cars
while the senior salespeople paid the price of judging and being
Remember that even the poorest and lowliest looking people can
surprise you. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, on any
day of the week, and at any place and time.
Once again, I am not saying that you should be nice to everybody
because of the benefits you might stand to gain from them. That would
be hypocritical. Instead, treat everybody well because you are a nice
person. Don’t harbour ulterior motives. Sometimes, a smile of
gratitude from an ignoble person can warm your heart. You will
be rewarded for your kind actions. So, let the goodness in you
explode to others around you so that everybody can spread this
gracious spirit around.
Be nice to everyone and have a Big Heart.
Chapter 9
How to Have Nice Encounters
with Nasty People
Some people are just plain unpleasant. They are nasty not just
to you, but to everyone in general. Most of the time, you will
find them in a nasty mood complaining about anything or ready
to lock horns with anyone. I am not talking about the hard-core
psychopathic killer type of nasty person; I am talking about your
regular everyday Joe, the unfriendly neighbour sort of person.
This person could be nice on a rare occasion and you might catch
him smiling at times, but on most days, this person is nasty and
Then there are some people who are nasty only on certain days.
They may feel unwell or perhaps have had a stroke of unpleasant
encounters which makes them unpleasant. But most of the time,
these are the people you would call ‘nice’ people.
Sometimes we can shrug our shoulders and walk away from nasty
people. Sometimes we can’t. We just have to deal with them.
Sometimes we don’t really have to deal with them. But I guess it
would be fun if we could try to change nasty moments and turn
them into pleasant ones, wouldn’t it?
Let me introduce to you the concept of the Green buttons and
Red buttons.
Diagram 1
The first diagram denotes a person who is known as the nice guy.
This person is generally courteous, friendly, and approachable, and
he has a cheerful disposition. The green buttons denote that when
these areas are activated, the person’s response is a friendly one.
In other words, the chances of having a pleasant encounter with
the person who has more green buttons are higher. If you spend
some time engaging with this person, it is highly probable that you
will activate this person’s green buttons. When a green button is
activated, the person’s response is amiable. However, do note that
there are also several red buttons on this person. When activated,
these red buttons cause the person to respond negatively. This
person and all people, for that matter, have sensitive areas which
trigger them to be nasty. What is behind these red buttons? It could
be a sensitive topic in a conversation. It could be a controversial
subject. It could be a rude or disrespectful remark that activates
one of these red buttons. Diagram 2
The second diagram denotes a person who is generally nasty. Note
that the number of red buttons outnumbers the green buttons. It
is more probable that a person who has many red buttons will be
considered a nasty person. The more red buttons a person has,
the nastier the person is. So, it is not necessarily true that a nasty person has a short fuse.
It merely means that more red buttons could be activated in such
a person.
The difference between a nasty person and a nice person is that
a nasty person may take offence more easily and that they react
and display their unhappiness more outwardly. Their reaction could
be mild or extreme. To the general public, they have overreacted
by giving a reaction that is uncalled for in that particular situation.
Therefore they are deemed “nasty.”
Dealing with nasty people
To manoeuvre your way through any engagement without
activating any red buttons takes experience and awareness.
It is not possible to define every person’s red buttons, as different
people are touchy about different issues. Some people get offended
over crude jokes and bad language, while others are sensitive to
taboo cultural traditions. People fight over an exchange of stares.
Road rage stems from differing driving techniques. Some people
get irritated over moderate noise, while others are more tolerant.
Some dislike others who talk too much. Others consider quiet
people antisocial.
The fact of the matter is that people can get offended over anything,
and these are examples of some red button trigger points.
Since we do not know exactly where these red buttons are on
each individual, let’s try to discover where the green buttons are
and keep the conversation within that area.
When trying to engage in a social conversation, it would be wise
to lure the right topic of conversation out of the one you are
speaking to. Choosing a right topic of conversation is a skill in
As a general rule of thumb, people like talking about
- Their hobbies (i.e. sports, arts) - Their passion (i.e. learning, improving the environment,
goals, vision, beliefs)
- Recreation (i.e. movies, music, food, humour, their kids,
- Their work (Note: some people don’t like or can’t talk
about their work)
Unfortunately, people also love engaging in unhealthy conversations,
such as
- Complaining (about taxes, policies, bosses, etc.)
- Gossiping (about friends, neighbours, or someone in the
- Criticizing (everything under the sun)
In fact, you do see a lot of people doing this more passionately
instead of having a healthy conversation. So let’s focus on having a good green button conversation.
Get people to talk about topics they enjoy talking about, such as
their hobbies, passion, things they enjoy, their work, their business,
or even about themselves.
Some initial conversation openers could be:
“What have you been up to these days?”
“Done anything new recently?”
“Have you watched any good movies lately?”
“How is work?”
“What do you do in your free time?”
“What is your opinion on…?”
These questions put the attention on your conversation partner.
The person takes centre stage, and it is all about this person and
his opinions. These questions will narrow the field of conversation to the topics
that interest your conversation partner.
Listen to the replies to your questions and identify the key words
that you can continue to build your conversation on.
Ask questions about these key words, and you will be able to
converse in greater depth.
For example:
When you talk to a person about their interest, let’s say they
respond, “I love travelling.” The key topic here is travelling. You
now have a variety of possible additional questions. You can ask,
“Where have you travelled?” or “Which is the nicest place you
have been?” or “Do you like travelling by a standard tour package,
or do you like to be free to travel on your own?”
As long as the conversation continues to centre on the topics he
is passionate about, he will be excited to talk to you because you
are activating his green buttons.
Do not give conflicting opinions, such as why you personally hate
travelling. By doing this, you would immediately go against the flow
of the conversation that he is enjoying.
More Tips
In any conversation, if you can find common ground and have
topics to agree on, that would be ideal. People love other people
who agree with them. People love to have similar associations,
such as ethnic group, hometown, alma mater, ideas, beliefs, vision,
interests, etc.
If you find common ground in any of these areas, you can continue
to activate the green buttons.
To activate green buttons also includes praising and complimenting
others, which is the topic of the next chapter. One of the strategies
for being a people magnet is the ability to constantly activate the
green buttons in the people you meet.
This technique can be used in sales to improve relationships between
salespeople and customers.
Chapter 10
Building Relationships
Through Complimenting
Do you remember the last time you received a compliment? It felt
great, didn’t it? A compliment can really make your day.
Everyone loves compliments. People never get tired of receiving
them. Many people thrive on them. You often find people coming
back to you for more commendation and praise when you
compliment them. Just as bees are attracted to honey, people are
attracted to compliments. Yet, most of us have yet to discover that
complimenting others is a great way to build relationships.
Paying someone a sincere compliment is a great way to build a
relationship or to begin a conversation. It makes the other person
feel important, and it acknowledges their uniqueness. Everyone
has a desire to feel loved and appreciated. All of us like to hear
comments that reinforce our positive self-image.
Paying compliments has never been more important than it is
today. It is not because people expect to hear them; it is because
they don’t hear them often that compliments have a remarkable
Is complimenting others a form of false flattery? Well, it is false
when it is done insincerely and it is not when it is done with
It is quite common for people with a low self-esteem and much
insecurity to criticize others. Perhaps, it is difficult to speak well
of others when they don’t feel good about themselves. Some
people criticize and put others down just to feel “stronger” and
“worthier”. The consequence of criticizing others actually takes up
energy, and it can take a toll on your emotional well-being.
Complimenting people, on the other hand, benefits you. It helps
you to be more positive towards others. When you compliment
others, you are, in essence, looking at the person’s good attributes.
A compliment is a verbalization and appraisal of someone else’s
wonderful character and personality. So, I urge you to try to note
the strengths of others and to compliment them as often as you
can. When you develop the habit of seeing the good in others, you
become less scornful in life.
Now, imagine you are attending a dinner function. Although the
situation does not call for any necessary praise or compliment,
you can choose to focus on some favourable aspects of the dinner,
such as the decorations, the food, the service, etc., and compliment
them accordingly. Because you exemplify such a positive and
encouraging attitude, your pleasing and lively attitude rubs off on
your guests and they will enjoy your company.
On the other hand, if you constantly express disapproval and go
on a fault finding rampage, they will craft a poor image of you.
Nobody wants to hold a conversation with a grouch, and nobody
wants to be a victim of your scorn. They will avoid you if they feel
that they might be within your firing zone.
What is the difference between a constructive comment and
a complaint? I would define a complaint as an expression of
discontent which includes an emotional involvement. A person
with a constructive comment is more emotionally detached from
the issue.
One of the best places you can practice your complimenting
skills is in a restaurant. Here’s an example to show the power of
When I enjoy my meal at a restaurant, I usually compliment both
the waiters and the chef. Very often I commend the chef through
a waiter. I remember a particular incident when the chef stopped
his work in the kitchen in order to meet me in person. Why did he
do that? Firstly, it is to thank me for taking the time to compliment
his food. Secondly, he likes being around people who appreciate
his work and perhaps, to receive more compliments.
Compliments are like magnets. People stop their work and go
out of their way in order to hear good and kind words that boost
their confidence and morale. It is satisfying and motivating to hear
such words. Returning to the restaurant example, the chef then
whipped up a “chef’s recommendation” dish for me after realizing
that I truly appreciated his food. He was happy and motivated to
serve me yet another dish. He wanted me to continue to enjoy and
appreciate his food and perhaps to receive more compliments.
On a separate occasion, I was having dinner in another restaurant
that was overbooked. The waiters placed two tables outside the
restaurant and offered me two seats at one of the tables. To be
honest, I felt a little uncomfortable and found it strange to be
sitting at a table outside the restaurant. Nevertheless, I thanked
the service staff for being so accommodating. Instead of making
a big fuss about my seats, I complimented him for his efficient
service and pleasant attitude. To my surprise, I was served a
complimentary round of drinks for being a ‘nice’ customer. That is
the power of a compliment. At the end, it was a very pleasurable
dining experience.
Of course, restaurants aren’t the only place that you can practice
your complimenting skills. You may also try complimenting the
service staff over the counter at any retail outlet or say something
nice during a social function. You may also compliment a taxi driver
as he gets you to your destination. It is great to compliment your
family members regularly. Thank them and show appreciation. Tell
your wife how much you love and appreciate her cooking. Praise
her looks and her new dress. Compliment your children because
it will encourage them to reach greater heights. Speak well of their
abilities, such as their ability to play a certain sport well, for doing
well in school, their shrewdness, or their integrity.
Remember that everyone loves being praised. Your praises will lift
spirits and put a smile on everyone’s face.
I do not promote false praise. It is very easy to spot a superficial
praise or an insincere compliment. When people feel that you
are complimenting in an insincere manner, they will know it. Find
something to compliment with sincerity. It isn’t difficult.
Chapter 11
Be an ACE Employee
in Your Workplace
There is a saying, “When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” This
saying refers to the amount of money that employers are willing
to pay relative to the quality of work they get in return; the higher
the investment, the higher the chances of hiring better quality
If you are an employee who adopts a similar attitude, because
you think you are underpaid, you won’t give your best. Then your
approach towards work will never be positive. If you work like
a monkey because you are paid peanuts, your employers and
colleagues will see the monkey in you. Therefore, if you work like
a monkey, then you the deserve peanuts that are thrown at you.
It is a cycle.
If your attitude is dependent on whether you are satisfied with
your salary, then being dissatisfied with your salary will cause your
attitude to be indifferent. With that attitude, it is difficult for you
to progress in your career. Perform as if you were paid an attractive salary even though you
may be paid peanuts. When your employer sees you working
with professionalism, he will soon have to pay you a professional’s
salary to ensure that you continue providing your services to his
company. Otherwise, someone else will pay you what you are
truly worth and you will be hired elsewhere.
Ronald was an enthusiastic young man who wasn’t highly educated.
He held a job as a security guard and received a humble monthly
salary. All his colleagues, who held the same position as Ronald,
received the same salary and were disgruntled with it. They
showed their dissatisfaction at work. They grumbled all day and
their attitude towards work was extremely poor.
Ronald, on the other hand, enjoyed his worked and was willing to
learn and improve. He was so passionate about his work, and he
displayed outstanding responsibility in his job. This alert security
watchman always made his rounds with care and effort. Before he
left for the day, he never failed to check that the premises were
fully secured. Ronald was always known to be punctual. He was
the first to arrive and the last to leave. He is what employers
would describe as a diligent worker.
It wasn’t long after he joined the company as a security guard
that his shift supervisor left the company. The supervisor had
cited irreconcilable differences with the boss. The post of a shift
supervisor was now vacant. Although there were nine other
security guards to choose from, Ronald was the only plausible
choice because his performance stood out from the rest.
Ronald’s new responsibilities made his work more challenging and
fulfilling. Every day, he found joy in going to work. Once again,
his enthusiasm was obvious. Barely a year later, was he again
promoted, this time to district manager. His new post earned him
a salary four times more than his initial one. As a district manager,
he was in charged of several groups of security personnel. He
gained much experience from this post and drew attention to
Soon, Ronald was offered a partnership in a new security firm. An
investor had his eye on Ronald and felt that Ronald would be a
great investment. The investor made him a partner in his company.
Indeed, Ronald successfully climbed the corporate ladder in a span
of four years.
This example is telling, isn’t it? If you are diligent in your job,
success will be yours eventually.
Be an Ace in your corporation. Go about your job to the best of
your ability regardless of your salary. After all, you agreed to work
for that amount. Have the right attitude towards it. Surprise your
employers with your good performance. If you do, you will be high
on the recommendability factor when the doors of opportunity
In whatever task you undertake, be the best that you can be.
Have a positive attitude, and you will increase your chances of
progressing quickly.
Chapter 12
Be a Great Listener
One morning, as I was entering a corporate building, a security
manager approached me and wanted me to identify myself.
He seemed to be in a good mood, so I decided to strike up a
conversation with him. The conversation eventually lasted for
thirty minutes. It was longer than I had intended it to be. The
security manager dominated the conversation for twenty-nine of
those thirty minutes. I had very few opportunities to speak. All I
could say was, “Hmmm. Yup. Yes. No.” After the conversation,
he shook my hand warmly and said, “Christian, it was very nice
talking to you.”
Ironically, I barely uttered a complete sentence during the chat.
I merely made a few short remarks. He enjoyed speaking to me,
and what he actually found enjoyable was that I listened to him
intently. He felt great because someone was listening to him with
that much attention, which was something he didn’t get much in
the course of his work.
I visited the premises again few months after this event, not
surprisingly, he remembered my name and the conversation we
had. It was simply because I left a strong impression on him as I
was a good listener!
If you give people unwavering attention, you will increase the
chances of them liking you. People who love speaking invariably
love people who love hearing them speak. Give them the attention,
and they feel like a star.
Lend a ear to a friend in misery
Although you might not be capable of finding a solution to the
problems, your listening ear can greatly comfort the friend in
need. You might be surprised to know that lending a listening ear
to troubled people has great therapeutic effects on them. Support groups like Alcoholic Anonymous (A.A.) allow alcoholics
to share their problems, hardship and support with each other
during A.A. meetings. The members in A.A. do not solve each
other’s problems. Instead, they find strength and provide a sense
of solidarity that will help each other achieve their common goal
of recovering from alcoholism.
People gain strength and confidence sharing joys and sorrows with
others around them.
How to be a good listener
- Allow others to share their story
So often when a person is talking and creating momentum
in his story, the listener suddenly interrupts and is much too
eager to share his story too. It’s as if the listener is saying that
he has a better story to tell, which robs the moment from
the speaker. When a person is speaking, he is the star for a
moment. Don’t take it away from him.
- Give your full attention
Give 100% of your attention when listening to someone.
Maintain eye contact throughout and be careful that your body
language does not show disinterest.
The signs of disinterest include:
- Turning your body away from the person even if your head is facing the person speaking
- Packing your things and getting ready to leave, in the midst
of the conversation
- Sitting at the edge of your seat with the intention of ending
the conversation
- Looking elsewhere or losing eye contact
- Respond and ask meaningful questions
Nod your head and acknowledge that you are listening. Lean
forward and tilt your head sideways slightly. This body language
sends the signal that you are interested in the conversation.
Ask questions about the topic of conversation to fuel the
speaker’s passion to continue talking.
- Have a good closure
Suggestions for a good closure:
- If a person shared his thoughts with you, thank him for the
information, sharing, or advice. Thank him for the pleasure
of listening to him.
- If you are counselling someone, reassure the person that
they have your support.
- If it is a presentation, affirm to the presenter that you have
benefited from his presentation. Be specific on how you
have benefited and give a sincere compliment.
Be a great listener.
Chapter 13
How to Be An Interesting
Person to Talk To
Here is a scenario. You signed up for a premium seminar two
months ago and you are almost certain that the speaker will deliver
a dynamic and captivating talk. You are now dressed up and you are
seated in a large seminar room with a hundred and fifty participants.
The speaker goes on stage after a long flattering introduction. He
speaks fluent English with an American accent. Unfortunately, part
of his speech is difficult to comprehend because of the strong
accent. The atmosphere is sombre and almost stately.
Not surprisingly, your attention soon begins to wane. Like many
participants, you become listless and fidgety. You are relieved when
break time finally arrives. The seminar that will last for another six
hours is gruelling.
Many find it difficult to sit through long seminars. Some may
attribute it to their short attention span. While this reason may be
true to a certain extent, Jerry Seinfeld once said, “There is no such
thing as an attention span; if you entertain them, they will listen
to you for a long time.” Think about it, why do we find it easy to
watch an entertaining movie that last for 90mins? Gamblers who
are engrossed in a game can sit at the craps table for hours without
eating, resting or drinking. Shoppers can queue for a day before
the shop opens in order to participate in the annual year-end
mega-sale. Adventurers, who are propelled by great excitement
and enthusiasm, can trek through the rainforest for days.
If people are excited and find value in what they are offered, they
give their attention readily.
How then can we learn to captivate the people whom we engage
in conversation?
You might be a teacher, a public speaker, a presenter, or an
opinionated person who loves airing your views to people. As
long as you require the attention of your audience, the following
elements are important in your talk:
(1) Motivation
(2) Adventure
(3) Creativity
(4) Competency
(5) Humour
You must possess the motivational factor if you want the attention
of your audience or listener. Motivation has its roots in the word
“motive,” which means “a reason for doing something.” If you
instill in the listener a need or a reason to listen to you, you will
definitely find him giving you his full, undivided attention for a
lengthy period of time.
Here are some examples of people who would be excited to listen
to subjects in different categories (according to their needs and
wants). If we know exactly what topic of conversation to bring up,
we will increase our chances of engaging our listeners.
- Most mothers like to talk about matters concerning their
children. They want to know how to raise smart, confident
children, how to tackle teenage problems, etc. Parents
who have delinquent youths would probably be attentive
if you discuss with them the ways to relate better to their
- A retired person would be interested in knowing how to stretch his pension funds, and he would probably like to
hear about discounts and sales on everyday items. They
might like to talk about aging problems and should engage
well in more philosophical topics.
- A military officer would probably express great fascination
in the latest technological weapons. Military history could
be a good topic to bring up to a military officer.
- A person who is ill may want to know more about
alternative medicine, ranging from Western medicine to
Traditional Chinese Medicine.
- A computer gamer would be interested in hearing about
a newly released PC game. They would be interested
to exchange information on the latest technological
If they find a reason to listen to you, they will.
I engage my live audience in a financial seminar by opening with a
question, “How many of you would like to learn how not to work
for the rest of your lives?” The answer is obvious. Of course, the
majority of the people do not want to work for the rest of their
lives. They want to learn how they can rest yet earn money at the
same time. Therefore, they are very interested to listen to what I
have to say. I give them a reason to listen to me. In the same way,
if you can find a topic that interests your listener, they will love to
hear you speak.
I captivate my teenage audience every time I speak to them much
to the delight of their teachers. One of the common comments
that I often get from the teachers is, “The students barely know
you, but they seem to connect quickly with you.” Students, as it is
with adults, need a reason to want to hear your presentation. One
of the reasons is having a gripping presentation.
Story telling is one of the most popular methods to captivate an
audience. When you begin your speech or talk with a story, you
capture the attention of your audience with a sense of adventure.
You are already inducing a sense of excitement in them whether or
not they are aware of it. A sentence like, “There was an interesting
incident that happened to me when I was…” is a great way to get
the attention of your audience because you can be sure that most
of them will be curious to know what the incident was.
You should always make an interesting point at the end of every
story. The psychology of story telling affirms that it is essential to
conclude with a punch line. As long as you have not reached the
punch line, you will still be able to captivate your audience. So, try
to whip up a good story or two to captivate your audience during
your daily conversations with them.
Perhaps, more interesting questions like, “Have you done anything
interesting lately?” Questions like this, challenges your recipient to
think of something interesting to say.
Creativity can be manifested in your conversation, the dynamics
during the conversation and even in the form of personal image.
Conversation: If your social conversation is always centred on
predictable conversations about the weather or if the other
person has had lunch yet, you probably lack creativity. Asking a
person if he has had his meal is part of a traditional Asian custom.
Such topics are always “safe,” but I term them boring “textbook
Creativity dynamics
In a social gathering, you might realize that some people do not
engage much with the group even though they may be familiar with
the people present. You might be one of those people who stays
away from the main conversation and prefers very much to listen
and not speak much in that conversation. In the long run, you
might be forgotten quickly. When a social gathering is organized
among your social circle and only a limited number of people can
be invited, you might find yourself pretty much forgotten.
Here is a tip which could help.
Joe is usually reserved, and his presence is often unnoticed at
parties or group gatherings. One day, we attended a party hosted
by a mutual friend. Joe brought a bottle of wine with a pear in it. It
was certainly an interesting object because many were fascinated
on how the pear got into the bottle. There were many attempts to
figure out the various means it took to put the pear into the bottle.
It was not an easy puzzle, and it definitely caught the attention of
many at the table. People began to take a greater interest in the
object and wanted to know where Joe bought the object. Joe soon
became the centre of attention.
Similarly, for those who have trouble getting into the inner circle
of a conversation, little accessories can help you to gain attention
at big gatherings or important events. Look out for any interesting
items that could help you socialize in a crowd.
By the way, are you curious to know how they got that pear in the
bottle? Think creatively. You might solve the puzzle.
A doctor friend once told me that it could get quite unpleasant
when he has to deal with patients who love instructing him in his
profession. Instead of describing to him the symptoms of their
illness, the patients request a specific medication because they
claim to know what exactly they are suffering from. Although the
doctor appreciates the patients’ information, he believes that the
patients should leave the responsibility of prescribing the medicine
to the doctor because patients have limited knowledge of the
different kinds of medicine and their effects.
Often, you hear someone speak as if he or she knows a lot about
an issue or subject. It is good if the person can ensure that the facts
are correct before stating them. If proven otherwise, the person
instantly loses all credibility. His or her argument will be deemed
flawed, and no one will take him or her seriously. The person not
only loses the attention of others but also his credibility, possibly
Note: Don’t pretend to be an expert in subjects that you are not.
It is better to admit that you do not know much rather than to
lose credibility by misstating facts. Instead, ask questions to those
who have more expertise than you. I am quite sure that person
would be happy to share his expertise with you.
However, when you speak on a subject that you are passionate
about and are an expert in, you have the required competence to
create a credible and interesting conversation. As you speak as
an expert, your competency will surely give depth to the subject
matter. This will make the presentation enticing and insightful.
I always try to make learning fun. I try as much as possible to
include learning with laughter. ‘Laugh and learn’ is one of my
teaching motto. I believe it is a good approach to get the attention
of your audience. They will better remember what you have to say
when there are some elements of humour.
Good humour is always appreciated in a social conversation.
People with a good sense of humour are usually popular. They
bring fun and good cheer to the people around them.
Don’t be excessive with your jokes, as they may be funny only to
you. Get feedback from the people around if you have the knack
to be funny. Humour can go both ways. You can be an instant hit,
or people may want to hit you instantly.
Be Well Read
You have probably heard the phrase, “The more you learn, the
more you earn.”
Similarly, the more you read, the more knowledgeable you will
be, and potentially you could become a more interesting person
to talk to.
If you are well read, you will be able to strike a conversation
with people on a wide variety of topics. You do not need to be
an expert in every topic. All you need is the ability to hold an
interesting conversation on any given topic. To hold an interesting
conversation, you need to know the right questions to ask and the
appropriate additions to inject into the conversation.
One of the best ways to start a conversation is to ask the people
what they do for a living or what their hobbies are. Most people
love to talk about their work, especially if they are excited about
it. However, most people are happy to talk about their hobbies.
These questions will open up more areas of conversation.
Once you find familiar ground, you can start participating in the
conversation. If the person has visited similar places you have been
or have read about, you can then start exchanging experiences
about that place, etc.
This same technique can be used for all kinds of topics. If you
are well read, the chances of finding the ‘common ground’ are
You can also use these techniques to build rapport with your
Chapter 14
Treat Everyone Special
I once read a newspaper article about a Chinese couple, Mr. and
Mrs. Man Kim Seng, who inherited more than £10 million from
their English friend, Mrs. Golda Bechal. Mrs. Bechal was not kin
to Mr. and Mrs. Man and shared no blood relationship, yet Mrs.
Bechal left Mr. and Mrs. Man Kim Seng a fortune.
Mrs. Bechal’s ex-husband, Mr. Bechal, met Mr. Man when they
were both thirteen years old, and very interestingly, they used
to converse in Cantonese. Throughout the years, they built a
solid and lasting friendship, and maintained constant contact with
each other. After Mr. Bechal passed on, Mrs. Bechal continued to
maintain a good relationship with the Mans. In 1994, Mrs. Bechal, who had no children, changed her will. When
Mrs. Bechal passed away, instead of leaving her savings for her
nieces and nephews, she had decided to give the money to Mr.
and Mrs. Man. This change, of course, angered her relatives. They
argued and insisted that their aunt suffered from serious dementia,
and even took the matter to court. Ultimately, the judge disagreed
with the nephews and nieces, and the Mans inherited £10 million. 71
I am sure that the Mans did not befriend Mr. and Mrs. Bechal for
the inheritance or for money. When Mr. Man forged the friendship
with Mr. Bechal at age thirteen, he wasn’t intent on inheriting Mr.
Bechal’s possessions and money. I don’t think that ever crossed
his mind at thirteen years old. All Mr. Man merely wanted was
a sincere friendship with Mr. Bechal, one that was built on love,
trust and fun.
It is possible that people treasure friends over family members.
This is not a question about ethics; it is about preference.
The lesson here is to treat everyone special. Make every moment
with them magical. Be sincere in your friendships. It is hypocritical
if you befriend people just because of an ulterior motive like
financial gains and seeking other personal gratification.
Think about the Mans. Even if they did not inherit £10 million,
they would have still benefited from and treasured a lifetime of
friendship and love with Mr. and Mrs. Bechal. Isn’t that satisfying
My Best friend
Take a moment to do this exercise.
Think about your best friend, who is not related to you. This best
friend should not be a family member, your spouse, or a sibling.
Now think of all the times you both have been through together.
Think of all the fun and tears you both shared and how both of you
have learnt about life from each other. Recap how the milestones
in your lives were created because of the opportunities this person
created for you. Can you imagine life without this best friend?
Now, think back to the time that you first met this person. During
that first meeting, did you know that you were both going to be
best friends? You probably didn’t. The friendship grew, and you
both became buddies naturally.
Now, imagine your life is filled with many, many ‘best friends’.
Wouldn’t your quality of life be fabulously enhanced?
So the question I put to you is, how would you know if the next
person you meet might not be your future buddy? The fact is you
wouldn’t know. The next person you meet could very well be your
next buddy and have a significant impact in your life. If we cast our
nets wide and allow people to get to know us better, we might
actually find many gems of friendship from the many acquaintances
we meet.
I can’t stress enough that every person is potentially a possible
person that could provide you with another piece of the puzzle to
complete your quest for your success.
People Connection
Think about three other very significant and important milestones
in your life. It could be how you met your spouse, how you
managed to secure your job, some significant insights you have
gained, a major business deal, or a windfall. Often these changes
are attributed to one or more significant or perhaps insignificant
people in your life. One or more people played a major role in
making a moment in your life significant. Trace back and see how
you got to know this person. This connection will lead you from
one person to another. A network of people you know shaped
your life to what it is today.
What I am saying is that every person is connected to a multitude
of different people.
It is just one huge friendship web. This fact is now more apparent
with the advent of the website Friendster and Facebook. Everyone
potentially can be connected to everyone else if they are signed
Some readers may feel that the more people you get acquainted
with, the more problems you will face. That’s true in a narrow
way of looking at things. Knowing people means opening up many
more new doors while you expand your friendship.
As for the problematic people who may oppress you… well, just
manage them. I reply to you with this. You can’t say that since
people die on road accidents every day that you will not walk on
the roads anymore. You should be careful and still use the roads.
In the same way, make good choices when choosing friends.
By applying these techniques, you will have many wonderful
Chapter 15
and Motivation
This act manifests itself most clearly when a person is encouraging
a dispirited friend. An encouraging person is a provider of hope
and offers a reason to the dishearten friend to feel high-spirited
again. People who are in a state of hopelessness and helplessness
appreciate others who can encourage them and lift their spirits up.
It is like given a new list of life.
Motivation comes from the root word “motive,” which means
“finding a reason to.”
If we can find reasons to do whatever we do, we will always
be motivated.
Motivation is giving others reasons that would add zest and energy
to accomplish greater achievements.
Here is a quick story on encouragement:
There was once an employer who was asked why he did not
fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the employer
ten thousand dollars. The employer replied, “Why should I do
that? I just spent ten thousand dollars on his training. He is more
experienced now than he was.” The employee became very
encouraged and motivated by the kindness of his boss and had
a new level of positive attitude towards his work. People make
mistakes. The issue does not lie with the mistakes but how we
approach and deal with the people who make them. This employee
was greatly encouraged after this incident.
Here is another quick story to show how motivation can make
people move, or in this case, to make crocodiles move.
At a reptile farm, many crocodiles are motionlessly basking in the
afternoon sun. Tourists standing near their enclosure try their
best to get the crocodiles’ attention. Some playful boys throw tiny
stones at them hoping the crocodiles would just move a little.
However the crocodiles continue to enjoy the warmth and heat
on the stony ground and are uninspired to move a muscle.
The keeper then enters their enclosure with food for the crocodiles.
At the sound of the familiar footsteps and voice of the keeper, the
crocodiles move toward him with life and vitality. What was it that
motivated the crocodiles to move? It was definitely their food. The
food gave the crocodiles reason to move.
Likewise, if you give a person a reason to accomplish a task, you
are giving him a motivation to do it.
If someone wants to end his life, give him a reason to
If someone loses interest in studying or his career, give
him reasons to be excited about it again. Reignite their
If your relationship with your spouse is failing, reinvent
your relationship to give your spouse new reasons to stay
on and continue the marriage.
Motivation will bring out the best in a person.
Motivational words can and will make a difference in people’s lives.
Avoid demoralising phrases like, “See I told you so,” “I knew it,”
or “You are such a disappointment.” Instead, always remember
to encourage and motivate the people around you whenever
Give people a sense of vision and mission. People love others who
are a source of encouragement and inspiration to them.
Chapter 16
Success is Just
an Attitude Away
On one September afternoon, I boarded a taxi from the outskirts
of town and was on my way to a hotel where I was to speak
at a seminar. I chatted with the taxi driver for quite some time,
and I was amazed at his language skills. Most taxi drivers in
Singapore do not speak English as fluently as he did. I asked for
the reasons why he chose to be taxi driver, and he replied that he
was once employed as a manager who was in charge of a chain of
restaurants. Unfortunately, the business did not turn out well, and
the restaurants had to wind up. He then decided to become a taxi
driver. I asked for the reasons why he did not look for another job
in the similar industry given his experience and capabilities.
Immediately, he began to show signs of frustration in his voice.
He said that it was a difficult industry to work in, and it was even
more difficult to find a good employer there. He then blamed
the economy and the infrastructure of society, which, in his
opinion, does not support the industry. Sensing his anger and his
frustration, I changed the subject and proceeded to talk about
more light hearted matters. However, he clung to the initial topic
and continued to unload his unhappy thoughts about his previous
job onto me.
He did not know that I had intentions of introducing him a job
opening in my counterpart’s food and beverage outlet. Given his
experience and language skills, he made a good candidate. However,
he was hindered by his negative attitude towards work and towards
life. Witnessing how negative he could be, I decided that I would
not introduce him to the people I knew in this industry.
The taxi driver initially opened the doors of opportunities for
himself, but he closed them with the attitude he displayed. He
never realized that I (or anyone else for that matter) seated in his
back seat could make a significant change in his life. It was a daily
routine for the driver to pick passengers up. Passengers board and
alight from the taxi. Little did he realise that the people going in
and out of his taxi were all potentially able to present him with
opportunities. Tip:
Everyone you meet each day could open new
opportunities for you.These people can make a significant
impact in your life. We place many of these people at the
back seat of our lives. However, opportunities can come
from the back seat too.
Another story …
I put up an advertisement in the Classified Ads for a position in my
company. It was a new position that I had created, and I needed
someone to fill it. I had more than fifty applicants to select from,
so I decided to shortlist ten candidates for the interview. There
was a particular female interviewee that both my business partner
and I found very pleasant. I was pleased with her positive attitude,
her kind nature and her charismatic ways of relating to people.
Unfortunately, after much discussion, we realized that she was
unsuitable for the position that my organization was offering. We
informed her of our decision, but surprisingly, she did not act in a
dismissive manner. She smiled and continued to speak very politely
and positively. She thanked my partner and me for granting the
interview to her and expressed much understanding as to why she
was not a suitable candidate. My business partner and I continued
to have a good impression of her. We felt that we wanted to do a
little extra for her, so we offered to submit her resume to another
business associate, who also had a job opening in his company. She
consented, took kindly to our suggestion, and fully appreciated our
actions. After just one interview, she got the job at my business
associate’s firm.
We went out of our way to help her because we liked her. Her
positive attitude opened the doors of opportunities for herself. She
scored high on the likeability factor. She did not rebuke us for our
decision when we rejected her as a candidate for our organisation.
Instead, she took our decision in her stride and was well mannered
even after knowing that her interview wasn’t successful.
Opportunities are around you all the time. This point is an important
focus of this book. Although you might not see the opportunities
when you meet people, they are present and may be hidden from
you at that moment. The ability to keep the doors of opportunity
open depends very much on your attitude and approaches in life.
Success is just an attitude away.
Chapter 17
Accept That Others
Are Different From You
There are numerous tools in the market that profile people. These
tools categorize individuals into the strength type, character type,
talents types, and others. Even criminal profiling is fast becoming a
science. Profiling suggests that human behavioural pattern repeats
in a consistent manner over centuries. Therefore, it is possible to
define and predict a person’s behavioural pattern.
Again, profiling tools classify people into personality types,
strengths and talents, character, emotional, behavioural patterns
etc. By combining all these profiling tools, people can be classified
into a large matrix of different profile types.
There is only one conclusion to draw. People are just different
from each other.
Conflict happens when we expect others to see things the
way we see it.
Based on the fact that there are many people with different
opinions, values, characteristics, it is no wonder that conflicts arise
so easily and commonly.
E.g. A person who places high importance on punctuality likes to
be on time at every meeting, even if it is an unimportant meeting.
Punctuality is a high priority for this person, and others who do
not place equal emphasis on punctuality can offend this person.
A person with an opposite profile type who has little regard for
punctuality and is perpetually late for appointments will be in
conflict with punctual people.
This simple example shows a typical breeding ground for conflict.
These two different character types may not be able to work with
each other simply because of a simple punctuality problem.
Some organizations, such as schools or courts, require discipline
with regards to punctuality issues, while others are more flexible.
A person with the wrong job fit may also face conflict with the
corporate values.
The lessons to take away from this exercise are:
- People are different.
- We like different things, and we hate different things.
- We have different opinions.
- We view the world differently.
- We have different moral standards.
- We have different levels of concern for our health.
- We have different levels of empathy for others.
- We have different levels of generosity.
- We have different hobbies, and we like different food.
We have different favourite music and like different genre
of movies.
We have different ideas on how a country should be run.
We have different ideas on how our office should be
We have different preferences for our choice of spouse.
We have different priorities in life.
We have different preferences for travel destinations.
Men and women are different.
- They have different emotional levels and triggering
- They are physically built differently.
- They have different strengths and talents.
Basically, there will be differences in opinion with everyone you
What is the point to all these?
Conflicts will be reduced when:
1) You accept that people are going to be different
and will have differing opinions. Agree that there
will be disagreements and not everyone is going to see
everything eye to eye.
2) Be aware of a person’s profile type and avoid
speaking about topics which will cause a
disagreement. Otherwise, the outcome would be
3) Manage expectations. If we expect too much from
others, we will be disappointed. Disappointment is a
form of negative surprise when a certain expectation is
not met. Unless we manage our expectations, we will be
susceptible to rude shocks and possible conflicts.
Must You Really Disagree?
People have different likes and dislikes. Therefore, no two people
share similar perspectives all the time. Let us examine the
reasons that cause a breakdown of relationships and the notion
of disagreeing. Is it important to disagree? When do we disagree?
Let’s see.
An obvious cause for an argument is a conflict of opinions. All
arguments arise from conflicting points of view. You squabble and
quarrel with members of your family and friends because they do
not agree with your angle on things. You get irritated, especially
when they impose their views on you.
Let’s acknowledge that it is impossible to have a world where
everyone holds the same opinions. People have different takes on
different matters because each person’s character, personality and
way of thinking are different. They come from different generations
or culture, different social environment and different beliefs. It is
irrefutable that every individual has different perspectives.
Therefore, with every human being we encounter, there is the
possibility of conflict. No wonder marriages don’t seem to last.
Who can live with a partner for a lifetime without disagreement?
Conflicts in themselves do not cause marriages to break down;
rather, it is the couple’s inability to resolve or prevent the conflict
that leads to the failure of a marriage.
The answer is simple. If you do not disagree for the sake of
disagreeing, conflicts will be reduced.
If we can accept that there are areas where we need to
compromise, conflicts can be averted.
This idea does not imply that you have to agree with everything
your peers and colleagues say. Instead, it is about exercising
restraint, as opposed to expressing a conflicting opinion just for
the sake of it.
If there is a need to disagree in the workplace, share your differing
perspectives if you must, but do it in a tactful manner. There is
always a nice way of saying something and preventing a nasty
Imagine yourself in a social context. You are having a jug of beer
and some food with your friends. Someone at the table brings up
a controversial topic, such as abortion, terrorism, contraception
or cloning. These topics are the subjects of endless debate for
philosophers and scientists. No one point of view can be considered
absolutely right or ethical. Therefore, when such topics are put on
the table, avoid being overtly opinionated. Ultimately, you may put
yourself in a difficult situation.
Why not let others have their day, rather than insist on your
point of view? After all, your opinion does not contribute much
to change the social environment. It only puts you in a “lose-lose”
situation when all parties get angry. Do not disagree for the sake
of disagreeing. Do not assert opinions just for the sake of asserting
them. When you assert and impose your opinions on others, you
are the only one who feels good about it, while others may be
offended by your opinion. Instead, you should state that you accept
their entitlement to a different opinion and leave it at that. You
allow others to have their points of view, even though you might
not agree with all of them. Your attitude will very probably lead to
a positive, civilized and harmonious outcome.
Manage expectations and exercise restraint.
Chapter 18
Anger is a Reaction
When I see two kids having an argument in the playground, the
heated exchange merely last for a few minutes. Suddenly, as if
nothing had happened, all is well again and they are back playing
together without holding any grudge or animosity. Usually, when two adults engage in a heated argument, their
friendship is severely affected. In many cases, the anger and the
unwillingness to forgive carries on for decades. In some cases, the
grudge is even brought to the grave.
When adults engage in a bitter confrontation and a solution cannot
be found, the end result is usually a complete breakdown in the
relationship. Some confrontations may even end up deadly in the
case where the mafia and street thugs are involved. Wars can
even erupt when national pride is insulted.
These outcomes are totally unnecessary.
The trick in avoiding such circumstances lies in the way we
choose our response to a nasty situation.
The stimulus ignites anger. This situation can be in the form of
a conflict, a difference of opinion, an exchange of stares, or a
snide remark. The encounter with “a stimulus” usually produces a
reaction. The reaction is anger.
Anger is a reaction. Staying angry is a choice.
Staying angry is a state that we choose to remain in. We have the
choice to remain in the state of anger or work our way out of it.
Here are profound words from an Austrian neurologist, Viktor E.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space
is our power to choose our response. In our response lie our
growth and our freedom.”
- Viktor E. Frankl
Let me explain this quotation. The diagram illustrates the space
between the stimulus and the reaction. The space is time. If we
extend the space, i.e. time between the encounter of a stimulus
and the reaction, we invariably increase our chances of reacting
in an appropriate manner. When we lengthen the time before we
react, our reaction could be better conceived.
It is not wrong to be angry because anger is a reaction. It is in fact
very normal to express feelings of annoyance and displeasure when
we encounter certain “stimuli.” However, even though being angry
is an instantaneous and involuntary reaction, we could choose to
remain calm and react with a response that is more appropriate.
Anger is a reaction. Remaining in a state of anger is a choice.
We choose whether we want to remain angry and miserable. We
choose whether we want to forgive or not. We choose whether
we want hostility to persist or not.
A very important point to note is that we have the power within
ourselves to make choices and differences in our very lives. The
level of our happiness in life correlates very much with our choice
to remain in a state of perpetual anger. If we make a conscious
effort to move on, it is likely that we will lead a life with fewer
grudges and less negativity. We are a step closer to becoming
more positive and cheerful. Let me present you with an example of how anger is largely
predicated on choices:
Imagine yourself dining in a posh restaurant with your family. While
enjoying your meal, you find a fly in your bowl of soup. You could
react in two ways:
(1) You are annoyed and perturbed. You show your exasperation by raising your voice at the manager. You hurl insults at him.
You tarnish the restaurant’s reputation and the quality of its
service. You demand a new bowl of soup immediately.
Your hostile attitude has caused much tension among your
family members, the waiters and the manager. Your agitation
has upset the people around you. The manager has been
implicated in this ugly situation, even though it might not be
the manager’s fault that a fly should be found in your soup.
Feeling the effects of your callous remarks, the manager may
take his irritation out on the chef. This in turn affects the
chef and perhaps his relationship with the manager.
The manager then apologetically returns to your table with
a new bowl of soup. However, it does not eradicate the
fact that you have made his day bad. He might take it out on
his subordinates and perhaps his family members when he
returns home. This pattern is similar to what is known as the
‘butterfly’ effect. Your displeasure has been passed on from
a person to another and yet to another. At the same time,
you are also not spared from this negativity. You have caused
unhappiness to yourself, similar to what you have caused the
(2) Alternatively, you can choose to adopt a more peaceful and
calm approach in handling the situation. I present you with
a dialogue, which leads to a more beneficial and amicable
outcome at the restaurant:
In a gracious tone you say, “Excuse me. I know how this
establishment appreciates feedback, so I thought you might
like to know that I found a fly in my soup.”
The manager replies, “I am sorry about that. It must have
happened due to an oversight. I will immediately see to this
matter. Can I get you a new bowl of soup, madam?” The
manager returns with a new bowl of soup and makes up for
the incident in an appropriate manner, perhaps a waiver of
the bill for the meal.
Compare this situation with the first. The manager in the
second instance is able to work with greater efficiency
because he is not affected at a personal level. He is not
affected by any negative reactions from you. The atmosphere
is lighter. In such situations, the manager may even offer you
a complimentary dessert over in addition to the new bowl of
soup to “sweeten” the situation.
To eliminate anger is not as difficult as choosing to do it.
Chapter 19
“That’s Alright”
I recalled an incident that took place in Australia many years ago.
I was seated at a computerized roulette console playing roulette
with a live dealer. I held in my hand a paper containing a formula
that I had previously worked out. I believed I could beat the dealer
with this self-devised formula. I remember feeling extremely
excited and enthusiastic about wanting to prove its validity.
Part way through my evening, I placed an order for a glass of orange
juice to quench my very much-neglected thirst. It was almost two
hours into the uneventful evening.
The formula works in a way like a surfer who is waiting all his life
for the big wave to come. When the wave comes, he is ready to
surf the ride of his life. When the ‘big wave’ eventually came for me
that night, I was ready to reap the rewards of my night’s work.
As the dealer spun the metal ball around the roulette, I placed a
large bet on a particular number on the table.
“No more bets,” he said loudly. It was a familiar announcement
signalling that further betting was not allowed.
I was certain this was the big one for me as I stood up and leaned
over to have a clearer view of the outcome. My heart was beating
fast, and it felt like it was going to explode through my chest.
When the ball stopped, it landed beside the number that I had bet
“Damn!” I screamed as I elbowed the cup of orange juice. Before
I had time to react, the glass toppled onto the computer console.
It created a huge mess!
The dealer witnessed the accident. Promptly, he rushed over and
pulled out a white towel and started cleaning the console with it.
I was deeply embarrassed.
I expected the dealer to express his frustration and annoyance.
I looked at him apologetically and said, “Sir, I am really sorry
about it.” He gave me a smile and replied in a calm manner, “Why,
that’s alright!” The power of those three words eased my mind
immediately. “I am sorry,” I repeated. He smiled and repeated,
“No worries, that’s alright.” Again, the dealer expressed no signs
of irritation or disconcertion. He spared my feelings, and he put
me at ease. I was really impressed!
I learned an invaluable lesson from this incident. From that day, I
was quicker in overlooking the idiosyncrasies and faults of others.
I let nasty moments pass me by, and I became happier.
You can benefit from my lesson as well. Do not hold grudges. If
you constantly look for the flaws and weaknesses of others, you
will definitely find them. Everyone has his or her failings. Instead,
look at the strengths of each individual. Be prepared to say, “That’s
alright,” when someone makes a blunder.
Do not make disparaging remarks. You will bruise a person’s pride.
On the other hand, if you allow him to feel forgiven when he has
done something wrong, you leave him room to recover from his
mistakes. The connection between you and the individual will not
be disrupted.
I no longer visit the casinos and have given up gambling for some
time now. The stupid formula didn’t work at all.
But, “That’s alright!”
Chapter 20
Get Rid of PRIDE
I like Wikipedia’s definition of the word, “pride.” “Pride is defined
as an emotion which refers to a strong sense of self-respect, a refusal
to be humiliated as well as joy in the accomplishments of oneself or
a person, group, nation or object that one identifies with, or to
think of one’s self as being better than anyone else.”
Although, some sense of self-respect is important and the joy
of accomplishments is very healthy, the refusal to be humiliated is
the part that creates a lot of hang-ups in our quest for having a
pleasant personality. The part of the definition that describes pride
as “thought of one’s self as being better than anyone else” is the deadly
part of pride.
Pride is about being infuriated when being treated as an inferior.
Pride is the inability to walk away from an insult or a challenge. It’s
what causes someone to confront the situation even if the results
were costly.
It is inevitable that we sometimes act according to what we
believe. So, when we believe we are superior to others, we could
instinctively act as if we were superior to them. People can identify
both the subtle and obvious gestures, which are reflected by the
body language of someone who has a condescending attitude.
Some telling signs that one has a superiority complex:
Shaking hands with others by offering your palms
facing downwards. This is one of the most common signs,
which inform others that you have a superiority complex.
A handshake with palms facing downwards requires the
recipient to receive it with his palms facing up. This puts
the recipient in a “begging position” or makes him feel
Some individuals enjoy offering a handshake with their
palms facing downwards. They inevitably neglect the
recipient’s feelings in response to their desire to feel
superior. Therefore, avoid offering a handshake with your
palms facing down. It is somewhat offensive to receive a
palms-down handshake. There is simply no occasion that
warrants this act. -
Inability to be corrected. People in this category
usually have a short fuse when their policies or opinions
are challenged. When a new and younger management
takes over, some of the older employees refuse to accept
change. It could be due to a variety of reasons, such as
their pride, an inability to leave their comfort zone, or their
unwillingness to accept changes from younger people. To
accept changes and new implementations from a younger
person can be quite a challenge to some. Many people,
especially those in superior positions, face this problem.
They don’t want to be corrected nor admit that their
opinions might not be the best. Such people could include
politicians, managers, spiritual leaders, professionals and
even parents.
Some doctors might not like to know that you have gone for a
second medical opinion, especially if he is already an established
expert in that particular field of knowledge. A building contractor
does not take well to some advice given by his less experienced
client. A teacher can be upset when a student corrects him. A
senior military officer may find it difficult to admit his mistakes
to his men and appear fallible. He could turn aggressive when
Now, stop for a moment and think about the last time you were
involved in a road rage confrontation. What was the outcome of
it? It doesn’t matter who started the confrontation. It usually ends
with two angry parties leaving the scene. Both are furious and have
unintentionally made their day bad. Both continue to be irritable
for days as the incident has a high emotional impact on them. They
are angry and harbour ill thoughts on each other, and they might
even contemplate revenge or sabotage. They can’t be at their best
because of this indignation. People will stay away from these two
ticking time bombs.
An obvious conclusion is that it doesn’t pay to entertain your
ego. Wouldn’t it be better if everyone remains calm and gracious?
Apologize if a mistake has been made. Forgive the other party
when you have been wronged. Wouldn’t the scenario be better if
both parties could shake hands, exchange smiles and perhaps even
exchange name cards?
Here is a true story that happened to me some years back. I was
driving alone in my car and was looking at some real estate. I drove
into a residential area with light traffic. My eyes were enjoying the
magnificent view of some very beautiful houses on both sides of
the road. I was travelling at less than twenty-five kilometres per
hour. I took occasional glances to watch the road as my car was
still moving forward, but those weren’t enough to prevent me
from getting into a silly accident. Before I could even realize there
was a stationary car in front of me, I heard a loud crash. My car
rammed into it. The impact was so great it caused the front tyre
of the other car to be dislodged.
The lady owner rushed out of the house and started screaming
at me. Obviously I felt sorry for my stupid act and apologized
profusely, but that didn’t help much. She continued screaming
and made a huge scene. Her husband walked out from the house,
wanting to know what had happened. I remained silent. I was utterly
embarrassed that I did not keep my eyes on the road when I clearly
knew I should have. He proceeded to ask yet another question,
“Were you looking at the houses here?” I reluctantly nodded my
head and admitted. Much to my surprise, he said, “Don’t worry
about this accident. I know what it is like. It happened to me once
too! I am into property development. Would you be interested in
developing a couple of houses with me on a vacant plot of land? I
am looking for a partner.”
I was stunned. Nothing could have prepared me for what I had
just heard.
This really surprised me. I rammed into his car, yet he was so
forgiving. He even invited me to join him in a business venture. It
was unthinkable!
There was much to be learned from the gentleman that day. Yelling
at people will not make a situation better. He knew that he wasn’t
going to make his or my life better if he yelled at me. He knew
that I had to pay for the damages anyway. What the man saw was
a possible collaboration. Very intelligently, he seized the moment
and responded in a way that could result in a win-win situation. He
certainly didn’t entertain his instinctual response when he saw the
damage. He had chosen not to be angry or disappointed. The inability to forgive
Pride causes disharmony and discontentment. In a heated argument,
a person is very likely to hurt the feelings of his friends with biting
and nasty remarks. In turn, his friends might retaliate. In more
dreadful and serious situations, friendships are severed forever.
Many long-term friendships end in a moment of rage. You hurl
insults at each other, and the kinship is lost forever. Ponder for a
moment on the many great times you had with a particular friend
when you shared happy times watching a ball game over drinks.
You traded secrets and attended school together. You shared
many moments together. Now, imagine if this was all over because
of a moment of rage. It doesn’t pay to succumb to a moment of
anger, does it?
Do not react when you are in a moment of rage. Keep your cool
and plan your responses carefully. Generate responses that are
seriously thought about and well-considered such that it will lead
you to your desired outcome. Put pride aside for a moment and
ask yourself how you could make the situation turn out well.
Be prepared to forgive others. Forgiveness benefits you more
than the person being forgiven. Forgiveness liberates you from the
prison of anger.
Therefore, when you allow pride to cloud your otherwise good
judgment, you are unknowingly nurturing your unhealthy “high
regard of yourself.” Many people pay a high price for having too much
pride. They lose their connections with a close friend, relative or
even a sibling. As a result, they close the doors to people who
could enrich their lives. They also destroy relationships and make
themselves miserable. Prideful people diminish their chances of
forging good and meaningful relationships with people around
them. Instead, they gain enemies and reap rotten fruits that pride
Instead of letting pride hinder your progress in life, it is better
to let gentleness, graciousness and a forgiving nature dominate
your life. The cost of being arrogant and prideful is very high;
the consequences of proud and haughty actions are aplenty.
Friendships and relationships take time to nurture and grow; do
not let pride destroy them in a moment of rage. Once there is
a scar in a relationship, you may never be able to return to the
glory days of it. People with much pride will never be successful in
becoming a People Magnet. Never!
Graciousness outperforms aggression any day.
Chapter 21
Self Reflection
This chapter is a guide to assist you in a personal reflection in
order to help you be a peak performer each day of your life.
You ask me, “Is it possible to be in a good mood every day? I am
bound to meet with challenges that can drain my energy. I cannot
be enthusiastic every minute of my life.”
Incidences that take you aback do happen from time to time. All of
us will meet with difficulties and we will have our off days. Problems
are inevitable in life. However, we can reduce the number of our
off days.
When you are having a bad day, ask yourself, “What exactly is
bothering me? What is preventing me from being at my peak
today?” A small blister on your toe or an ulcer in your mouth is
enough to irritate you and cause you to have a bad day. All it takes
is a small irritation and the whole bodily system is disrupted.
There may be greater problems in your life that could have been
the result of many off days in your life. Problems with finances,
relationships, career, spirituality, or a lack of rest and recreation
could have a direct effect on your attitude. Facing difficulties in
these areas affect your ability to be at your peak each day.
I have divided life successes into different categories. I will pose
a few questions to aid in a personal reflection. Before you begin,
have a pen with you. See the two axis, x and y. On the y-axis, it is
labelled from 1 to 10. The x-axis is divided into 9 sections.
(1) Marriage and Family Life
(2) Social
(3) Career
(4) Workplace
(5) Finance
(6) Spirituality
(7) Rest and Recreation
(8) Health
(9) Self Esteem
Rate each section according to your level of your happiness. 0 is
the lowest and 10 is the highest.
Now connect all the points on the vertical axis and you will see
points indicating mountains and valleys on your personal chart.
The points at the lower part of your chart are the “valleys.” In
these areas, you are not doing as well as the other areas of your
life. The peaks of this chart are areas where you are doing better.
Let’s see if the following brief can add more light to this exercise.
Marriage and Family Life
How is your relationship with your spouse? Many people have
a splendid and respectable career but a failing relationship with
their spouses. Their constant quarrels affect them and take a huge
toll on their happiness when they are at home. Worrying about
relationships and marriage can be extremely frustrating and tiring.
All relationships take effort to work out.
Are you experiencing relationship problem in your marriage, with
your children or even your in-laws? Approach any crisis with a
gracious and forgiving attitude. Be ready to forgive when conflict
arises. Seek help if required.
Forgiveness benefits the forgiver more than the forgiven.
The person that has been forgiven doesn’t even need to know
it. Forgiveness is the liberation of your hurtful feelings that you
harbour. You only stand to gain by releasing them. In fact, suffering
in your anger is probably what your aggressor wants you to feel.
The best response is to let it go and not to entertain the hurtful
Do not follow the path of scornfulness, hatred and revenge. Do
not judge too harshly the faults and failings of others. You have the
choice to be happy and forgiving and the choice to harbour anger
and hatred. Forgiving does not make you weak. In fact, it takes
great strength and power to forgive.
If you have marital problems or communication problems with
your children, do not hesitate to engage the help of a counsellor if
you want to make your family life more pleasant and harmonious.
Even professional coaches employ the help of other coaches to
assist them in various aspects of their lives. Some people seek
advice from marriage counsellors even though they have no major
problems in their marriage. They simply want to make a good
marriage great!
Do you have a healthy social life, or do you spend most of your
time at home alone? Is your low self-esteem or weak social skills
causing you to have a poor social life? Having a full online social
network, i.e. Facebook and Friendster doesn’t mean that you have
a healthy social life. It is important to meet up with friends and
have a decent amount of time interacting with them.
Being lonely can cause you to be insecure and also a lack of mental
Carrer and Workplace
Do you look forward going to work on Mondays? If going to work
on Monday is a drag for you, examine what the cause of it is. It
could be that you are unhappy with your job or perhaps it is the
wrong job for you. Is it because you have unresolved conflicts with
your colleagues? Are you happy with the progress of your career?
You might be unsatisfied because your friends are progressing
more successfully than you are. Seek help and consult a career
advisor if you are frustrated with your career progress.
Are you managing your expenditures well, or are you going deeper
into debt? If your debt is increasing, seek help from someone who
can give you sound financial advice. The advice you receive may
help you to manage your finances more effectively. It is better to
mollify your worrying mind than to live in constant anxiety. Some
people may not be good at managing personal finances. Therefore,
getting financial help is a logical step towards a more comfortable
life. Seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes great
courage to admit we need help in certain areas.
A restless heart could be eating you up. Are you leading a life filled
with guilt, anger, dishonour or hatred? Your conscience could be
tugging at you. Examine your principles, values and consciousness.
It is always best to have a restful spiritual life.
You may or may not have religious beliefs, and that’s fine. It is
most important to have a clear conscience if you do have spiritual
beliefs. For those who do believe in a God, do you feel that you
have an unsettling relationship with your God? Take action to
resolve this issue.
Rest and Recreation
In order to be at your peak each day, you need to recharge yourself.
Rest well. Leave your work in the office. There may be times when
you feel an urge to bring unfinished work home to complete, but
it is also important to have ample rest to recharge your body.
To avoid being mentally pressured by work, leave the pressures
of work in the office whenever possible. Simply make important
notes and place them on your desk before leaving the office. These
notes serve as a reminder for all the important tasks that require
your attention the next day. This allows you to leave your work
in the office without mentally carrying it home. It is a wonderful
feeling to forget all work related matters when you are at home.
Your mind is relieved of the immense mental pressure that your
work puts on you. When you arrive at work the next day, you will
feel recharged and refreshed. You can pick up where you left off
the day before.
Have fun with your friends. Spend time with your family. Indulge
in your favourite hobbies. Play your favourite sport. Occasionally,
reward yourself and take a long vacation out of your country. You
need it.
Being physically healthy is of prime importance in life. Being unwell
can drastically affect your work and recreation.
Exercise can provide many benefits, such as keeping your body
system working properly. Keeping your weight at a healthy level
will give you more energy and endurance. Being fit allows you to
bounce back more quickly from injury or disease.
A healthy diet also helps improve your overall health and wellbeing. A healthy diet can help you feel better, provide you with
more energy, and help you stay fit and active.
Do yourself a favour and plan a healthy diet and a good exercise
regime. A healthy diet is more about what you eat rather than
how much you eat.
“Maintaining a healthy diet is the practice of making choices
about what to eat with the intent of improving or maintaining
good health. Usually this involves consuming necessary nutrients
by eating the appropriate amounts from all of the food groups,
including an adequate amount of water. Since human nutrition is
complex, a healthy diet may vary widely, subject to an individual’s
genetic makeup, environment, and health.” – Wikipedia
What does your inner voice say about you? For people with low
self-esteem, their inner voice is a harsh inner critic, constantly
criticizing, punishing, and belittling.
Having low self-esteem may have the following consequences.
It can create anxiety, stress, loneliness and increased likelihood
for depression. People with low self-esteem face problems
with friendships and relationships. Their academic or job
performance is likely to be affected. This trend could finally lead
to underachievement and increased vulnerability to drugs and
alcohol abuse.
A negative self-image can take a person into a downward spiral
of lower and lower self-esteem, leading to self-destructive
You can improve your self-esteem if you believe that you can
change it. Change can happen. It might not happen quickly or
easily, but it can happen.
Step 1: Confront Your Inner Critic
Step 2: Practice Self-Nurturing
Step 3: Get Help
Stop entertaining past negative experiences or negative thoughts.
Instead, start caring for yourself in ways that show your worthiness,
adequacy and lovability. Getting help is often the most difficult but
the most important step a person can take to improve his or her
self-esteem. People with low self-esteem often don't ask for help
because they feel ashamed of doing it. Since low self-esteem is
often caused by how you were treated in the past, you may need
the help of people in the present to challenge the critical messages
that come from your negative past experiences.
Once you know the areas in your life that require attention, do
not be ashamed to admit that you might need help in those areas.
Your life will improve if you are willing to improve it. Get help in
the areas that require you to do so and you are on your way to a
successful life.
Chapter 22
More Tips on How To
Have an Attractive Personality
In this chapter, we will discuss the qualities that make a person’s
personality attractive.
These are some of the points that you can work on.
Having positive energy.
Nothing is more repelling than a person who continually displays
negative behaviour. How would you like to have a friend who is
constantly negative about everything in life? He is discouraging,
always complaining and blames the world for everything bad that
happens to him.
Wouldn’t you prefer a person who is enthusiastic and positive
about life than one who is always lamenting about his misfortune?
Positive people know how to look on the bright side of life when
unforeseen negative circumstances occur.
My ex-colleague, Melvin, was the perfect example of a negative
person. Each day, he would complain about how he dreaded to
be at work. He complained about the bosses, the colleagues, the
customers, and about the coffee lady. When served a donut, Melvin
will complain about the hole in the donut. At the end of the work
day, he would complain about how he has to return home to his
noisy children and had to help out in the household chores.
He had an unattractive personality and no one wanted to be with
him unless they were as negative as he was and wanted to wallow
in their sorrows together with him.
Day after day, Melvin would repeat his complaints. His negativity
was rubbing on to everyone. People felt frustrated when they
were with him. Finally, someone told Melvin that he would stop his
acquaintances with him unless Melvin puts a stop to his negativity.
After a heart to heart talk with Melvin, Melvin made effort in
improving his attitude and became more positive in life.
When Melvin became more positive, he started to attract many
new friends. People actually began to like him. It is a natural
tendency for people to want to be around positive
Positive people who rejuvenate, motivate and encourage
others put others in a physiological state of hope, refresh
them, and renew their zest for work and play. They will always
be attractive to the people they influence.
Being negative:
Being negative is being unhappy with your looks, your height, your
race, etc.
Being negative is complaining when it is raining and complaining
when it is not.
Being negative is about hating everything and everyone.
Being negative is about criticizing everything including the good
that people do.
Being negative is being worried that every disaster will hit you.
Being positive:
Being positive is about looking at the bright side when setbacks
happen to you.
Being positive is about making the best of whatever you have, no
matter how little resources you might have.
Being positive is about seizing opportunities when changes take
place. For example, when rules change, when you relocate, when
there is a change in management, or when there’s a break-up in a
relationship, you know how to make the best of it.
The lesson here is to avoid being negative. This would entail that
you stop using negative words and thinking negatively. Constant
usage of negative words inevitably transforms you into a full time
negative person.
Be motivational and encouraging to others.
Be the bearer of good news
Some people thrive by making other people miserable. They love
to break bad news to others. They love to tell you when war has
broken out in a certain country. They love to tell you when there is
an increase in taxes or that the transport fare is going up. They are
only too eager to tell you that a bomb has gone off and innocent
lives were lost. They get a kick watching your reaction when they
break bad news to you.
Although it is not wrong to break bad news to people, if you are
the one that is constantly breaking bad news to people, soon you
will be known as the bearer of bad news. In the medieval era, the
messenger was afraid to bring bad news to the King, for if the King
was unhappy with the news, the messenger could be executed.
The messengers preferred to bring good news to the King because
when the King was pleased, the messenger could be rewarded.
In the same way, we are rewarded or punished because of our
attitude. If we constantly bring good news to the people around
us, people will look forward to meeting us each day. Everybody
loves good news. Once they associate you with good news, you
will be well liked and people could actually look forward in seeing
If we are constantly bringing bad news to people, we are going to
become a strong people repellent.
Be enthusiastic
Picture this: You plan an amazing outing for your friends. It is an
exciting golf game on a private island. You have planned it for
months and you are covering all costs for your friends. You send
out the invitation to three of your friends, and their response is
far from what you had expected. The friends that you have invited
responded coldly with, “Well, I will let you know,” or “Sorry, no,
you go ahead.” You had expected them to be as excited as you
were, only to be surprised that your enthusiasm was met with
utter indifference. There is no excitement in their voices, and
there are no words of encouragement.
How do you feel? You feel like someone has just poured cold
water over your plans. That person has been discouraging. It’s an
awful feeling. You had planned so well for this outing, and now
you face a brick wall. To prevent yourself from feeling that way
again, it is natural to stay away from such people. Although it may
be subconscious, you will begin to develop an attitude towards
such people who bring you to this level of low morale. In such a
case, you would probably not invite these people to future outings
People need to be reaffirmed.
In this instance, the right way to decline is to first affirm the person
for taking the initiative in organizing something so wonderful.
Thank the person for taking the time to plan an interesting outing
and for the generous offer. Show your enthusiasm by suggesting
ideas that could further enhance the outing.
People who show enthusiasm towards their friends’ ideas will
automatically be a favourite to them. People simply love support.
So how do you respond if you are not up to going on that
Remember the rule of the thumb. People need affirmation.
If you have to give a negative response, say something like this,
“I think that’s a great idea. You are a unique person who has the
ability to come up with such creative ideas. Thank you so much for
your invitation and generosity. I can’t join you guys for this trip, but
I hope you guys really have great fun.”
You ensure that there are words of encouragment and affirmation
when you deliver a rejection.
Extravagant Compliment
When you compliment a person, the person will be attracted
to you because you make the person feel great. To relive the
experience of feeling great again, that person will undoubtedly
come back to you in hopes that you will shower them with more
kind words.
What if your compliments were a little more extravagant?
By this I mean: rather than saying to your spouse, “The dinner is
nice,” try saying, “I love the dinner you made. Your dinner is the
highlight of my day. It is something I look forward to after a long
day’s work.”
The compliment is more elaborate and specific.
This technique is especially intended for your loved ones and
close friends.We might be a little conservative in our compliments
because of the fear that people might misconstrue it as false
praise. Never praise insincerely then. Find ways in which you are
genuinely able to compliment others.
Take some risk and be more expressive. Many people have
difficulty expressing their gratitude towards others. It is something
that can be nurtured with practice. There is nothing hypocritical
or insincere about it if it is done with a genuine heart.
Some people question if it were considered hypocritical for them
to do something that is unnatural to them, i.e. praising someone’s
good qualities. I usually reply them with a question. Is it in their
nature to be rude and offensive?
Their reply would be as such: They weren’t originally rude and
offensive as a child, but they were influenced by their peers and
moulded by the harshness of society.
These bad mannerisms were learned should be un-learned. Good
manners should be taught and nurtured. Parents have no reason not
to teach their children good manners and teaching their children
to be polite and courteous. Giving extravagant compliments is
another extension of good social manners.
Honesty and Integrity
Have the highest level of honesty and integrity when dealing with
people. A good clean character is a rare gem. Such a person will
be treasured by friends and colleagues. Business people can’t help
but want to deal with associates with a high level of honesty and
integrity. Exceptional honesty and integrity is a natural People
This portion is in fact, too much of a common sense even to be included
in this chapter.
Chapter 23
Turning Adversities into
Have you ever been angry with yourself for doing something
stupid? The act is so stupid you feel like kicking yourself in the butt,
but only to discover that you are unable even to do that.
Take this common example that happens to many people. You
are driving on the highway, and your radio is playing your favourite
song. You are happily humming and totally engrossed in the song.
Before you realize it, you miss the exit you were supposed to take.
Consequently, you drive an extra five kilometres just to get back
en route. A situation like this can be frustrating. You have no one
else to put the blame on but yourself.
However, since that mistake can’t be undone, take a moment (if
you have to) to be mad at yourself but subsequently, jump right
back and make the best of the situation.
There is no need to go into depression because of this occurrence
or any other major setback in life.
Depression does not come from an unfortunate incident that
happens to you. The unfortunate incident is a lethal element that
causes grief, but it is not the cause of the depression in itself.
Depression comes from the inability to come out of your grief.
(I am excluding the discussion that depression can also be caused by a
neurochemical or hormonal imbalance)
People do not commit suicide because something bad happens
to them. People commit suicide because they are unable to
overcome their grief. Losing all your money alone does not make
a person commit suicide. Donald Trump is a good example of a
man who made millions; lost it all, mounted millions in debts, and
did not contemplate suicide. He bounced right back, and he is
again amongst the richest people in the world today.
People who have lost their entire family in a war or in a natural
disaster do feel a great sense of loss and have the right to grieve,
but eventually they need to get back to life and move on.
People with physical abnormalities or handicaps may wallow in
self-pity for the rest of their lives. However, my friend W. Mitchell
would tell you in his book, “It is not what happens to you. It is
what you do about it.”
About W. Mitchell
From co-founding a metal casting company that gave work to thousands,
from his election as mayor and congressional nominee, from a fiery
motorcycle accident that left him burned over 65% of his body, and
from the airplane crash that took away his ability to walk, Mitchell now
soars above the rest with grace, good humour and gumption.
Mitchell speaks with passion about the human spirit. He focuses on
the positives of change--taking responsibility--and the proven result...
“Before I was paralysed there were 10,000 things I could do;
now there are 9,000. I can either dwell on the 1,000 I’ve lost
or focus on the 9,000 I have left.”
Please also read the story about Nick Vujicic, who is born without
arms or legs! Can you imagine that? He still lives a life of passion. Check out
After reading their stories, you wonder why you even bothered to
get uptight over a little wrong turn while driving.
I ponder a lot while driving. Sometimes I get deep into thought. It
was no wonder that I would occasionally turn into a wrong lane or
road, which causes me to be a little frustrated with myself.
However, through the years, I have learned to control my reaction
and know that we could always make the best of adversities.
Mistakes can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. The wrong turn
or the unplanned journey that you make may open you to new
adventures, interesting avenues and opportunities. Be positive
in life, and many mistakes may just end up with an unexpectedly
pleasant finish to it.
I once drove on a busy road and took a wrong turn into a smaller
road. To my dismay, there was a traffic jam. Stuck in the traffic
jam and with nothing better to do, I looked around and noticed
that there were many interesting shops on both sides of the road.
While the car was inching along, I had the opportunity to see what
each shop offered. It was something I would never have noticed.
Because of this traffic jam, I discovered a great restaurant. I decided
to patronise that restaurant and I have been a regular diner there
ever since. What a find!
Such a situation is applicable to you as well. The wrong turn or the
unplanned journey in life can still turn out some great surprises. A
small delay in a planned journey can change the situation a great
deal. It may change the course of your life simply by the people you
met and the experiences you go through.
Turning Adversities into Possibilities is about staying focused and
positive. Once you start losing your head, you no longer see the
opportunities in front of you.
Chapter 24
What Is In It For Me?
You might cringe when you hear someone say, “What is in it for
me?” or “How can I benefit from this?” Some consider these
statements as very self-centred and selfish. While it does sound
selfish to some extent, here is a wider perspective.
We do almost everything in life because we are driven by the
benefits they bring us. For example, a baby cries and catches his
first breath the moment he is born. The act of breathing in itself
sustains his survival. He breathes because he has much to gain
from doing it. Breathing sustains his life. When he cries for milk,
he is hungry and wants to be fed. There is much to gain from crying
and having his milk. Likewise, a child goes to school because there
is something in it for him. A good education could mean a more
secure future. An adult goes to work because there is something
in it for him. It provides the income for his family. In virtually all
circumstances, we always do things because there is something in
store for us and some form of benefit awaits us.
So you ask, “What about a person who donates money to charity?
What’s in it for him? Is there anything that he gains from it?” My
answer is “yes,” of course. He gains a sense of satisfaction knowing
that he is able to help someone and that his money is used for a
good cause. He feels good and satisfied donating money to charity.
The gratification is what he is seeking. Similarly, a person who
serves as a volunteer in a non-profit organisation knows that he
is gaining much from his act of service. It might not be a financial
gain, but he could be volunteering because he wants to attain a
sense of self-fulfilment and self-actualisation.
When a person decides to take a particular action, there is always
a benefit that the person seeks.
When a person commits suicide, the person chooses to die over
living because death may end a certain misery that this person
cannot endure. In such cases, death is more attractive than to live.
In other cases, a person commits suicide because there could be a
large insurance claim for the family. Either way, there is a motivation
to commit suicide because there is something to gain from it.
So, you ask “Do we make friends or keep in contact with old friends
because there is ‘something in it’ for us?” The straight answer is
“yes.” But before anyone passes judgement, my added response is
that you should not make friends with people solely because you
want to gain something from your friend without the intention of
fostering a sincere friendship. That would be insincere. We will
discuss true friendship in a moment.
As earlier stated, all our intended actions result in us gaining
something from it. So by meeting up with people, there probably is
something in for us. It could be a financial opportunity for us, or it
could be us simply wanting to belong in a new social environment.
It could even be because that we are pursuing a certain person
for a life partner. Any way you look at it, it makes us look kind of
selfish, doesn’t it?
It isn’t merely financial gains that make you look hypocritical, but
any of your actions can be misconstrued as selfish, more so if a
financial element is involved.
Now, what makes a friendship a sincere one, and what makes it
an insincere one?
A friendship is defined as the state of being friends and affection
arising from mutual esteem and good will.
The keyword here is “mutual.”
Gaining something from a friend does not make the relationship
insincere. It is the unwillingness to reciprocate that makes a friendship
A lopsided gain from one half of a friendship compared to the
other half does make the friendship imbalance. However, it isn’t
really about who gains more, but it is the willingness to reciprocate
when required to, that defines whether a friendship is sincere.
In the course of these true friendships, it is natural that your friends
will present you opportunities and vice versa. That’s perfectly fine
and it is part of the benefits of the friendship.
“People offer help, friends deliver it.”
Chapter 25
Influencing Skills /
How to Make People Do
What You Want Them To
One of the most powerful childhood stories I remember is about
a conversation between the wind and the sun. The lesson from
this story continues to have a strong influence on me. This is how
the story goes.
One day, the wind had a conversation with the sun. They saw a
man with a coat walking alone in the street, and the wind said,
“I am so powerful that I am certain I can blow the coat off the
back of that man.” The sun agreed to the challenge and stood by
as the wind mustered up a brutal force. As the wind increased
its strength, the man began to hold on to his coat. The wind saw
how he was not succeeding in blowing off his coat increased the
strength of his gust. By now the man had crouched to the ground
and pulls his coat tightly to himself. Finally, the wind gave up and
said he was not able to blow the coat off the man.
The sun then turned to the wind and said, “Let me try.” The
wind agreed and the sun began to shine brightly on the city. The
area became bright and warm. Eventually, the man felt warm and
decided to take off his coat. The sun had succeeded at what the
wind had tried so hard to do.
The attitude that the wind undertook to get the task done is
similar to those managers in offices or parents at home who have
only one method of getting things done, i.e. using brute force, loud
shouting and an authoritative style to manage people.
The analogy above brings forth a salient point : people begin to
resist when they are faced with opposing forces. If you pull a donkey
towards you, the chances are it will resist violently. However, offer
it a carrot, and you will see it walking towards you willingly.
The presence of a motive does hold much power in making people
do what you want willingly. The question, “What is in it for me?” is
constantly asked at the back of everybody’s mind.
The man in the story was willing to take off his coat because he
felt warm, and he knows that if he takes it off, he will feel more
comfortable. He doesn’t care if there is an argument going on
between the wind and the sun. What is more important to him is
that he is doing something for his own benefit.
To get people to do what you want, you need to identify the thing
that makes the people tick. It is like finding the sweet spot that
makes the person go with you.
Sometimes, the sweet spot is a logical argument, but most of the
time the deeper motive is always emotionally driven. Some people
need to be satisfied in terms of knowledge, facts, and logical
argument. These people are usually analytical. However, most
people, including the analytical ones, also have an emotional sweet
spot. When they are approached in a precise way, they will go
along with your ideas.
Let’s take as an example the current crisis that is confronting
everyone in the world: Global warming. Should the Earth’s ozone
layer continue to deplete at its current rate, the Earth will be in
serious trouble within twenty years time, and the full cataclysmic
effects would be felt in forty years time. Water levels would rise by
at least three feet and many parts of the Earth will be underwater.
There would be food shortage and other crisis.
To many who do not understand the severity of this crisis, they
may just brush it off and say it doesn’t matter much to them. Many
of the older folks may not be concerned because they believe
that they will not be around in twenty years. Therefore, they have
nothing to worry about there.
However, in such cases, in order to influence these older folks,
we must show them that they have a stake in this. Inform them
that their children and grandchildren will face definite (and not just
possible) consequences due to this crisis, unless they play their
part and do something about it. Faced with the thought that their
lovely children and grandchildren may suffer and perish, they are
now emotionally involved and have a stake in the issue. This is
meant by the emotional sweet spot when influencing.
Let’s map out the steps for an effective influencing strategy.
The psychology behind influencing is as follows:
- Have a valid argument
Make sure your objectives make sense and the idea is put across
clearly to people.
- Have facts and data to support your argument
Support with validated facts and figures. Facts can’t be wrong,
- Have a compelling delivery
If you are passionate about what you are saying, people tend to
be drawn in more easily.
- Appeal to their emotions
This is the most important part. While logical argument influences
the logic, emotional elements influences the heart. Identify how
the person can benefit from the issue or the displeasure he will
suffer from not agreeing to the proposal. Once they can see that
they are directly affected by the choices they make, you will win
them over. As a direct result from the choices they make, they
will experience emotional pain or emotional pleasure.
- Apply peer pressure when appropriate
By stating that a large majority of people have agreed to a certain
proposal, it leaves the minority somewhat pressured to agree
to the proposal. It is like saying, “You are the only one not
agreeing to this idea. The majority are usually perceived to be
the “normal” people. Perhaps you are different or special? Or
perhaps you are just plain abnormal.” This technique does not
usually go overly well with me because it is like arm-twisting, but
in some circumstances it can prove to be useful.
Now let’s take one example and see how these steps can be
applied to the example.
Say you are trying to convince your managers to change the office
travel incentive destination from a particular country to a city
you propose. In this case, let’s take Paris as the city you want to
persuade them to choose.
Let’s begin:
- Have a valid argument
“I have chosen Paris instead of the other European cities. The
reasons include: Paris has convenient public transport system for
tourists, it has more places to visit within a given location, which
means less travelling time, and it has world famous places like the
Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre Museum.”
This information addresses the logical argument. You have given
good reasons as to why Paris is a better city to visit than the
other destination.
- Have facts and data to support your argument
“I have spoken to many friends who have visited Paris, and
everyone loves Paris. People say it is one of the best places they
have visited. In fact, Paris is the most visited city in the world.
Surely, it must be a great city to visit then!”
Facts are facts. They are indisputable. People are compelled to
believe facts. Data, survey results and testimonials are useful in
any circumstances where you need to influence someone.
- Appeal to their emotions
“Paris is also called the City of Love. It is probably the most
romantic city in the world. It is an experience that cannot be
described by words and you need to experience it first hand.
Paris-by-night is simply magical. It is perhaps the most beautiful
city in the world. The shopping is world class, and you will have
a splendid time shopping. You will find many established brands
of clothes retailing at a much cheaper price there. It is the home
of the famous Galleries Lafayette, the most famous shopping
centre in Paris.” This information creates a desire to experience the city for
themselves. Appealing to the emotions is a critical factor when
influencing. Often, decisions are made over emotional grounds
rather than logical reasoning.
- Applying peer pressure when appropriate
“From what I gathered from the people in the office, the
staff prefers Paris to the current suggested location. Only a
small handful of people are in favour of the current planned
In this case, we try to leverage on the majority vote to exert
peer pressure on the minority to agree with the majority.
By using these steps and applying them in any situation, you should
be successful in influencing others and winning them over. Take
note of the emotional factors. Once you identify a person’s sweet
spot, you will probably succeed in winning them over.
Many people in authority question the need to influence: why is there
a need to influence when one can simply pass on order and it will
be obeyed? These people do not see a need to seek approval from
their subordinates; after all, they are not in a popularity contests.
However, the difference lies in the fact that those subordinates,
who do a job, after being influenced and motivated, will
produce a much better result than a person who does
it under an obligation. The “buy in” is very important in
ensuring that the subordinate is doing the work willingly.
Having the ability to influence others is a powerful social tool that
can reap effective results when used correctly.
However, be warned that it can be manipulative if you misuse this
ability. So, please handle this skill with integrity.
Chapter 26
Feel Like a People Magnet
and You Will Behave Like One
As the saying goes, “You are what you feel.” Believing that you
are a People Magnet is a vital step to being a Success Magnet. This
chapter talks about why this self-belief is important.
I was at a local pet adoption centre, and I saw the person in charge
attending to a cute white rabbit. There was a little girl beside her
who was a keen adopter. The person in charge caught hold of the
rabbit and wanted to place it in the young girl’s hands. Nervous and
slightly afraid, the girl showed signs of hesitation. It was then that
the rabbit became nervous and hopped back into the cage. The
person in charge proceeded to inform the little girl that rabbits
are sensitive animals. They can sense when a person is nervous and
afraid to handle them. In such situations, the rabbits will become
nervous too.
Likewise, people can sense if you are tense or edgy when you
communicate with them. Put it another way, emotions are
contagious. When you see a stranger behaving nervously, the
stranger makes you nervous too. All kinds of questions will flash in
your mind, like, “What is he up to?” or “Is he a potential danger
to me or my family?”
Security officers who work in the airport too are able to identify
suspicious characters amidst thousands of tourists and locals quite
easily. The way the criminals behave reveals much to the security
officers. Our body language communicates to others the way we
think and feel.
Therefore, your enthusiasm level and behaviour certainly can
affect others around you. If you feel like a People Magnet, your
deportment will be one of a People Magnet, communicating in
many ways that you are an attractive person to be with. Your body
language informs the people around you that you are a charming
and friendly person.
If you have a strong mindset and are convinced that you are
an attractive person, you will very naturally behave in a more
confident manner. Feeling attractive does not equate to feeling
arrogant. Feeling arrogant is to feel that other people are beneath
you. Arrogance is a People Repellent.
Feel like a People Magnet and believe that you are one. Apply the
techniques from this book. You will magnetize the people around
you. This self-belief is important.
When you meet someone who is attractive to you, ask yourself
what qualities draw you to that person. Besides the person’s good
looks, a great personality is the main propelling factor for being a
People Magnet. Examine closely a charming person’s personality
and see what the attributes are that make that person attractive
to you. These are the same qualities that will make you attractive
to others.
Chapter 27
It feels like sunshine when someone comes to you with a grateful
heart. Gratitude is one of the strong motivating factors for us to
go out and help someone. Often we know that we have nothing
much to gain from helping a certain person and all we are looking
for is a word of appreciation.
On the flip side, it feels quite revolting not to receive a word of
gratitude from someone you have helped. It is as if the person has
taken your help for granted. Quite often you would shout silently
in your heart, “Not even a word of thanks from that person! That’s
the last time I am going to help that person.”
Are we agreeing on this so far?
Good. I think I heard you say “yes.”
Once again, gratitude is one very strong motivational force that
makes people want to help you again and again. As long as people
know that their efforts are appreciated, they probably have a
strong tendency to keep doing the favours for you.
Now let us discuss how we can and should show gratitude to
those who have helped us, especially to those who have given us
business opportunities or to the customers who have supported
our business.
The most basic form of showing gratitude is to say, “thank you.”
It’s very basic and very simple.
Children can also show gratitude to their parents by being obedient,
hardworking in their studies and being a responsible individual.
Employers can show gratitude to their workforce by recognising
their efforts either publicly or in private. They reward employees
with incentives in cash or kind.
Employees should show their bosses gratitude by being diligent in
their work and going beyond the call of duty to help the business.
They can also show appreciation to their bosses on special
occasions by offering little gifts.
Businesses show gratitude to their customers by acknowledging
that it is their support that has made the business successful. Sales
personnel and people in the customer service department may
send them personal gifts or buy their customers a good meal.
These people may also help the customer with some personal
favours when appropriate. Customers show gratitude to their suppliers by being loyal and
giving them priority when selecting business partners.
From observation, you will notice that many corporations already
have a ‘reward the loyal customer’ program. The purpose of this
system is to build a relationship with the customer, and in return
they would like more business from the customer.
Now comes the important part. What can we do to show gratitude
to our friends?
Do we have a ‘reward our friends for being loyal friends’ program
in place?
Often we send gifts to clients because they have given us business,
and we want to thank them for it. However, the real reason we
thank them is because we want to have repeat business from
Perhaps we overlooked the importance of keeping our friends at
heart. Send them something nice to strengthen the friendship even
though there are no significant material returns on the horizon.
Give an occasional phone call just to say that I still think of you.
If we equate saying “thank you” only as a productive action to keep
our customers’ loyalty and friendship, then deep down we are
only interested in financial returns from this relationship.
If we treasure the friendship of the people around us, we will begin
to have a more complete experience of what real success is all
Just a moment, that’s not all.
Gratitude is about being thankful, and there are certainly many
things we can be thankful for. We can be thankful for who we are
and where we live. We can be thankful for the clean water that
comes out from the tap. We can be thankful that we have a decent
standard of living and are much better off than many of the poorer
people in our country.
Looking at our earth, it is indeed true that life is delicate and
that earth has overcame unimaginable odds to sustain life. A little
closer or farther from the sun and life on Earth vanish instantly. I
am grateful for having the life to enjoy spending time with my family
and friends and to appreciate the environment and its beauty.
An incredible, courageous, dying professor, who only had months
to live, appeared on the Oprah show and shared with the world
how he would live the remaining months of his life. He said that
though he knew how the movie of his life would end, he wanted to
make sure he lived a full life and had no regrets about it.
Dr. Randy Pausch said, “If you live your life correctly, your dreams
will come to you.”
As we come close to the end of the book, I’d like to say that I
have shared as many tips to success with you as I possibly could.
By now you know that success isn’t just about financial gain. It also
encompasses the growth of the other aspects in your life. I would like you to try something different to increase quality to
your life.
Each month as you receive your pay cheque, set aside a token
sum of money. This money should not be in a form of automatic
deduction from your bank account. Rather, withdraw your money
from your account and GO OUT OF YOUR WAY to visit
someone and bless a person with a gift or cash. It could be a less
fortunate person; it could be a person you’re well acquainted with;
or even a friend whom you have not contacted for a while. Turn
it into an event that you will enjoy doing every month. I trust you
will find it meaningful, and you should see greater holistic success
in your life.
Chapter 28
In the Pursuit of Happiness
I can’t recall a time when I was all dressed up and didn’t have
an idea where I was going to. Usually, I do plan where I want to
go and dress appropriately for the occasion. It would be quite
disastrous to dress up formally only to find out that you are going
for a leisure activity like fishing.
Unfortunately, this example seems analogous to our pursuit in our
career goals. We strive hard to achieve good academic results
without having any career goals.
Many people don’t know where they are headed for in their
careers and simply don’t end up far. Very often, students strive
hard to achieve success academically, but do not having an idea of
the choice of their future career. Eventually, upon graduation, they
flip through the newspapers to see what jobs are available to them.
They discover that they have a wide selection of job opportunities.
However, the salary range between each company offering similar
positions does not vary much. Meaning to say, a diploma holder in
Engineering is likely to receive his salary that is within the salary
range stipulated by the labour market. Similarly, the salary of a
degree holder in Accountancy is also likely to fall within the salary
range given by the labour market. With this mentality, people
perceive that their “worth” is the amount of salary the jobs in the
newspapers are offering.
Occasionally, these people wonder how the top earners in their
industries are able to earn such a high salaries, given that these top
earners may hold similar qualifications. They realize that there are
also a good number of people who earn a great deal of money are
in occupations that they never even knew existed!
My point is this: in order to aim and get what you want, you first
need an aim!
The champions of the Olympics game do not enter the competition
with the mindset of indifference. All of them have the will to
succeed. The gold medal is always on their minds. They know
why they train hard and they understand it takes hard work and
determination to rise to the top. They channel all their time and
energy because they want to be the champions.
This is what you should do to achieve similiar success.
Ask yourself what would be your ideal job.
What level of income do you wish to earn?
Next, ask yourself: How do I get there?
Now, think about what it takes to achieve that status and those
financial goals that you have set for yourself. This means that
you trace on the path that would lead you to this destination.
Identify all that is required; the necessary skills and experience and
dedicate your time to acquiring them. If you are sure of what you
wish to achieve in your career and if you know the path that leads
to your aim, you will reach your destination at a much quicker
pace. Having an aimless and wandering mindset does not lead you
to your goal.
Here is an example to demonstrate what it means.
Your aspiration is to be an English-Spanish interpreter. You
therefore channel all your effort into being proficient in these two
languages. Your main priority is to be proficient in both English
and Spanish quickly.
Next, it would be beneficial to acquaint yourself with both the
English and Spanish culture too. Furthermore, you will also need
to invest your time in finding out what it takes to be an interpreter.
You will need to read up on all aspect of this career, meet people
who are already in this line of work who can give you insights and
advice. Hanging around the right people almost certainly ensures
that you will be propelled towards your desired goal. It is like
packing up your arsenal getting ready for the opportunity. When
the opportunity arrives, you will be more ready than anyone else.
While it may be good to acquire other skills that are unrelated
to this career goal, they should not rank high on your list of
This technique is useful in virtually all career choices and goals in
life. Know what you want to achieve in life. Chart the path; follow
it; and you will find that you are there before you know it.
Chapter 29
Life is About Choices
True Success is achieving the goals that you set out for yourself,
goals that you find pleasure in achieving and not the goals that
society determines that you must achieve.
False success is succumbing to the pressures of this world and
trying to achieve goals that society defines as ‘success’ goals. You
may achieve these goals, and society will give you a pat on the
back for doing so. But will these goals make life more meaningful
for you?
False success includes chasing careers that give you prestige and
financial stability, but you hate your work and dread to go to
False success is taking up sports and hobbies that put you into the
‘right’ social circles, even though you don’t particularly enjoy these
sports and hobbies.
Achieving your goals at the expense of other areas of your life, like
your health and family unity, is not admirable success.
True success is having a meaningful purpose in life and achieving
goals that make life meaningful for you.
In January 2008, I received an invitation from a talent scout
from NBC, a TV station from the U.S.A. They had invited me to
represent Singapore and compete in the hit Reality TV series, Last
Comic Standing. I was elated to be given such an opportunity, and
I agreed readily.
After several days, I began to have a change of heart. I returned the
air ticket and decided not to go.
I knew this wasn’t something I wanted in the long run.
In society’s eyes, I may have “missed the chance of a lifetime.”
But life is about choices, and we need to choose how we want to
live our lives.
Success isn’t about how far you can go. It is whether you are happy
with the decisions that you make and the directions that you take
in life.
Life is about choices, and we need to choose how we live
Right now, I would like to spend some parts of my life making the
world a more gracious place to live in.
I also want to spend time telling people about global warming
issues. These issues are more serious than what people perceive
them to be.
As I end this book, here are some final pointers for you.
To achieve all the goals you set for yourself, you need to take
action. Reading books alone doesn’t help you to achieve success.
Attending seminars cannot guarantee your achievements in life.
Positive thinking only sets the grounds ready for you to succeed,
but it is you who need to make it happen. Take action.
Your road to success might seem difficult initially, as some changes
are required of you to make success happen. However, the
journey can be a pleasant and enjoyable one. Put into practice the
knowledge you have acquired. Take small steps each day to finetune your attitude by following all the tips in this book.
If you want to be a Success Magnet, you must be willing to have
a realignment of attitudes. Make simple but effective attitude
changes in your life. Work on giving others a good, lasting first
impression. Show them that you have an attractive personality.
Love the people around you and treat them well.
Constantly improve. Benefit from books and other self-help
materials from other experts. Be willing to be corrected and be
willing to make changes. Do something every day to get you closer
to your goals.
It will take effort to change the patterns of your behaviours and
attitudes. It takes practise and it takes time to make it a part of
your lifestyle. An iron rod does not become a magnet simply from
one stroke from an existing magnet. It takes many strokes to align
the polarities inside the iron rod before it turns into a strong
magnet. Likewise, constantly practise the techniques in this book
and very soon you will be a fully magnetised Success Magnet.
Hang around successful people and cultivate their good habits. Try
to master as many life strategies from them as you possibly can
and apply those strategies to your life.
Meet people. People are great resources in your life’s journey
toward success. Be with people who will cheer you on and support
You will benefit much when you are with motivated and enthusiastic
individuals. Find people that would support you. In turn, support
your peers.
Now that I’ve come to the end of the book, I look forward to
hearing from you. Send me your testimonials, especially if this
book has benefited you. I would love to share your testimonials
during my upcoming seminars. So, please do not hesitate to send
your success stories to me.
Take care and I wish you the very best in your endeavours to be
a Success Magnet.
Yours truly,
Christian Chua