Change The Environment To Suit Yourself

Many donkey years ago, George Lam, a famous moustached singer, appeared in an advertisement for Guinness Stout. He said, ‘Some people tell you to change yourself to suit the environment’, then followed by, ‘Why not change the environment to suit yourself’ and he went on to turn the picture upside down to display a glass of stout.

I never gave much thought about that. Many people feel upset with their job and they keep on complaining, but they do not take any action to make things better. While we cannot expect to keep our bad habits and still survive in the working environment, sometimes it may be just easier to change the environment. There is only so much you can change about yourself within a short period of time. It’s just like being a square peg in a round hole. It is really hard to fit in.

Before changing to a new company, I was rather miserable in my previous workplace last year, and I became very negative and demoralised. I thought I was in the wrong vocation totally. However, after making a change to a new workplace, not exactly by choice, I realised that I had been the square peg for the longest time. Despite having to put in longer hours, not that the hours were short at my previous company, I had a greater sense of achievement.

True, it may be too early to tell, but at least I’m happier. That was the same I felt when I went to my previous workplace for the first time. I was utterly miserable at my first workplace, and I had even thought of breaking my bond. It turned out that the environments had simply been not suitable for me.

I made this realisation when I realised that the people in my company were more artistic and cultured. Every time I went for lunch at the cafeteria, there were always people playing the piano. Some were young, but they played the piano extremely well. That’s the type of environment I want to be in. With the Law of Attraction, I’m able to find people who are more like me, and I also start to focus more on the positive side. I do not like to be in a place where basic discipline in the people was lacking.

Because of the new environment, I found myself returning to the piano. I had spent twenty years on the piano, but unfortunately, I have little achievement to boast of. Those talented people simply played extremely demanding pieces on the piano by heart. I dug out my old music books, and started playing over the weekend.

That simply reminded me of my days in my secondary school, where I could play on one of the many pianos that were available for students to play. I liked this type of environment, and I strongly feel that with culture, the world will be a better place.

So, why not change your environment instead of constantly complaining about the current place? Sometimes, it’s not the vocation that’s wrong; it’s simply the environment. It’s also no wonder why Menscius’ mother moved his house three times just to let her son grow up in the best environment.

Reaching Out To Passion

Many of us live in a world where we don’t have much time to think and we stand to lose our own identity. While companies talk about profits and value, people don’t get passionate or fired about that. What they are passionate about are their family, children and perhaps their own community.

Patrick Dixon asked the audience whether they have done something for free in the last 2 years. Perhaps it was to help out in a small charity or community doing their accounts, or help out at their children’s school in a puppet play or something. Many of them put their hands up.

Why is it they are able to do it without being paid to do it? It is the passion inside them that drives them to do something to help others. Sometimes, we may be so bogged down by work. Work alone does not define us. Without motivation in our own lives, we cannot give much to others. By helping others, this sense of fulfilment can propels us to achieve better things in the world.

By understanding what drives people, then we can cater better to their needs. If you are a teacher, you need to understand your students need to feel accepted by their peers and yet they want to be unique. If, as a teacher, you are able to make their lives better, and connect people, they will respond better.

If you are in sales, you need to know how your product can make your customers’ lives better. Does it save them time? Does it improve their quality of life? Or does it feels a particular need? How does this product help them connect to the rest of the world. For example, if you are selling a car, then obviously the car will help them go to work easily, comfortably and quickly. They can bring their children to places that would be very difficult by public transport. You can make the world come alive for their children. Or it could bring you a certain kind of prestige, which makes you have something in common with someone else in another part of the world.

By being able to meet the needs and wants of people, you are able to succeed better.

Princess In The Vineyard

The actress who acted in The Princess Hours has acted in a new Korean drama serial, The Man in the Vineyard, is quite cute in her new role as a city girl who goes to learn how to grow and harvest grapes. I cannot remember her name.

When she first goes to the vineyard to work, it is because of a possible inheritance given by a distant relative. However, she cannot adapt to the village because it is extremely backwards and it is a back-breaking job trying to grow the grapes. Her extrinsic motivation is to get the vineyard, which is worth a lot of money, so she forced herself to stay on. Unfortunately, she soon gives up as the hours are punishing, and packs her bags to go home.

When we have an aim to work towards, we cannot simply want something that comes from our hearts. True, many of us want to be rich, but if the process is something that we hate, we will soon give up. Perseverance could only last that long without first finding out about our beliefs. If we strongly believe in caring for the grapes, achieving the goal of getting the vineyard should not be a problem.

For the poor city girl, her goal is not supported by the belief that she can survive in a vineyard. What is interesting is on the day she runs away to the train station, she meets the guy whom she had a major crush on. Trained in cosmetic plastic surgery, he is performing his National Service in the same village. He wants to set up his clinic in Seoul, but it will be extremely expensive to do so. Now that she is fuelled by the belief that to obtain the love of her life, and become a doctor’s wife, she would do everything to support him in whatever he did, her goal is now supported by the new belief that love conquers all.

In the process, she grows in love with the grapes, and the man in the vineyard, and her belief system is further strengthened by the central belief that with her own sweat, she is able to produce delicious organic grapes that would be enjoyed by others, and thus, she goes to great length to ensure the survival of the grapes. The outcome would still be the same, but she is definitely much happier because she has found a purpose in life.

For anyone to succeed in life, we must find something that really motivates us, and what our central beliefs are, before we can determine what our goals are.

Observations In An Examination

I had the opportunity to observe an examination and since I had plenty of time to kill while waiting for the rain to stop, I thought of some lessons learnt.

1. Stop Being Trapped In Similar Situations
The ones who broke something while doing the examination did not learn from their mistakes. They broke the same thing again, within a short space of time. They are trapped in a vicious cycle where they continuously repeat the same mistakes. Telling people to learn from mistakes do not work.

They have to do the right steps the first time round, because habits are formed from learned behaviour. It is just like playing the piano. Once you make a mistake at a particular part, you would have forgotten how the right tune should sound. Your fingers would have developed the muscle memory of playing the wrong note each time round.

When you have to concentrate on avoiding that mistake, since it is already learnt, you take time away from other parts which you have already done well. That is because there is only so much we can concentrate at a given time. Things that are repeated will become a habit.

2. See Things From A Different Angle
In the same task, people approach it differently. Some squat down to look at it at the same level, while others bend down to look from top down. Do they get the same results? Perhaps. However, there are occasions when results are really different due to parallax errors. When is the last time you approach a problem from a different angle?

It also means that when you work in a team, people see things differently. They view the same issue from different angles, and you can check whether you are on the right track.  

3. Be Well-prepared
During an examination, some of them forgot to bring certain stationery. Just like a swordsman should have his sword during a duel, a person having an examination should have his or her complete set of stationery. If not, such people are just short-changing themselves. While an artist can simply use what’s available on hand, there are still certain things that are absolutely vital.

Did they make a checklist of the necessary equipment beforehand? Did they carry out a check before going for the examination? In business, if you have a presentation to make to a client, you jolly well have to make sure you have everything with you. If you tell them something is forgotten, or another thing is spoilt, they will have very bad impression of you. They can just give the deal to another party, since they are afraid you will be ill-prepared for their work.

I wonder what is stopping them from being well-prepared. Is it disinterest? Poor attitude?

Why is a thorny rose bush known as rose bush?

rose garden

In The Next Internet Millionaire episode 5, I was struck by a point that was made. Let me paraphrase it: Why is a bush with so many thorns and just a few roses known as a rose bush and not a thorn bush? I am amazed by this simple question about positive thinking. People should look at the beauty of things and apply that technique to their lives instead of constantly dwelling on the hurt and ugliness of things around us.

There are many events that may make us feel demoralised, but our response to that should be to see the beauty that event brings. There may be new opportunities that spring up when we think something bad has happened. There is a saying that misery loves company, but I think that the opposite is true too. People may bond over setbacks, but after a certain point, it gets too much to bear. Conversely, happy people become happier when they are together and the self-confidence they have will just rub off other people.

We can choose to see what we want: a half-filled glass of water, or a half-empty glass of water. I have never really understood the power of positive thinking, until in recent years when I started to spend more time reading about motivation and positive thinking.

How Thoughts Affect Our Success

Have you ever tried to arm wrestle and found it difficult to win? If you change your the way you think, you may be able to win. 

What we say and what we think affect our body. According to Jack Canfield in The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, he mentioned a technique known as kinesiology which tested people’s muscle strength when they say different phrases.

I had personally tried out this technique before. When you push someone’s left arm down, get them to say ‘I can’t do something’ and try to resist your push. You will be able to succeed pushing the arm down.

If you say, ‘I will try to pass my driving’, you will get pushed down too.

However, if you say, ‘I can pass my driving’, or ‘I will pass my driving’ you will be able to resist that push.

You should not worry about what other people think of you. Are they the ones who are leading your life? Or are you the one leading your life?

Believing in yourself takes a lot of work, especially if you have been brought up to think that you amount to nothing much. It is not too late to change your mindset, because once you are able to overcome the difficulty in thinking about what you could do, it can become something really great!

Go ahead, get someone similar in built to try this out.

The Pursuit of Happyness

I was watching The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith last night and I was very impressed by the determination his character, Chris Gardner, showed as he made decisions that changed his life. He was extremely broke, and depended on selling expensive medical scanners. His wife left him, and he demanded the custody of his son, due to his childhood experience of growing up without a father.

His wife mocked him for being unrealistic in getting an unpaid internship at a prestigious stockbrokerage, and was extremely upset when he persisted in that as he was not bringing home money. Though it was not shown, I think from the wife’s perspective, it was important that the husband bring home money, and she was pushed to the limit for she had been working two shifts for a few months to keep the family going.

However, what made me sit up was the continual effort put in by Gardner to follow his dream. He had clear visions of what he wanted. He saw a stockbroker getting out of a sports car, and when he found out that a college degree was not necessary to this job, he was inspired to join. He kept persisting in getting through the door to get his internship, and an arrest due to parking violations did not stop him from getting what he wanted.

With lots of obstacles, including being booted out of his home, and lack of money, he still persisted. Many people would have given up long ago. Many would blame everyone else for the problems instead of themselves. He believed he could do it. There was only one position at the end of the internship, and he really had no choice but to get it.

I really admire his tenacity.