Monday, June 27, 2011

Think "Better, Not "Bitter"

Failure is an absolute pre-requisite for success.
You learn to succeed by failing. (Brian Tracy)

Life is full of potholes and we trip every now and then.

No one can tell you he lives a life with uninterrupted victories. We all experience failures, setbacks and losses and we have been wired to respond negatively towards such experiences.

The difference between winners and losers is not that the former experience less failure. The difference lies in their ability to respond to it.

If you are not failing,
you are not pushing yourself enough.

It is all in your mind

Your ability to take failure depends on your mindset. I call this the "Bitter" or "Better" mindset. Check out which is yours.

"Bitter" Mindset

This mindset needs no introduction. Typically, people faced with failure feel lousy and will do anything to avoid having the same feeling again. In doing so, they shy away from any similar attempts. In short, they quit easily.

Are these some of the things you would do when you fail? If so, you have a "Bitter" mindset.
  • Blame someone or something?
  • Feel embarrassed?
  • Give up and concede that you are not good enough?
  • Find excuses to avoid being in the the same situation again?
  • Belittle yourself and focus on your inadequacies?
  • Condemn others who persevere and soldier on?
  • Feel like it is the end of the world?

Successful people turn every failure
into a learning experience
. [pic]

"Better" Mindset

On the contrary, if this is what you tend to do, you have a "Better" mindset.
  • Keep trying the same thing again and again
  • Review past experience to discover failure points
  • Focus on the outcome and not the process of re-attempting
  • Say "I fail because I didn't try hard enough"
  • Review and change strategy
  • Get feedback for improvement and take criticism constructively
  • See failure as part of being successful
  • Remind yourself that successful people failed before they succeed
  • Accept imperfection and believe in the continuum of growth
  • Understand that failure is a discovery of a wrong strategy, not a bad person
  • Accept that it's OK to feel down but will not wallow in misery for too long

In short, a loser takes a failure as a failure. A winner, on the other hand, takes it as feedback.

You really don't have you beat yourself up for failing. [pic]

"Bitter" or "Better"? It's a matter of choice

Thomas Edison took almost 10,000 attempts before inventing the light bulb. He said he found 9,999 strategies which did not work. He then used this feedback to refine his strategy until he succeeded.

The famous story of Thomas Edison is a classic illustration of the difference between a "Bitter" and a "Better" mindset. What kept him from quitting was his amazing "Better" mindset.

Do not curse at your fate

When you fail at something, remember that millions others have experienced the same failure and millions more are going through the very same thing at that moment.

You may think that you have a raw deal. Just picture those who are going through greater challenges in life. Compare your 'raw deal' with their unimaginable experience of being deprived of basic needs: food, love, security, shelter, education and health.

So, don't curse at fate as it is not aiming at you

Your ability to succeed is determined
by your attitude to failing.

Essential Life Skill

While it is important to strive for success, it is even more important to learn how to deal with defeats. Like it or not, there are going to be more failures in life before some successes arrive.

Talk yourself out of "Bitter" mindset. See "Self Dialog: Look Who's Talking?" and 'persuade' yourself to take on a more positive mindset. Learn to take criticism in the good light and benefit from it. See "Go Ahead, Criticize Me" and learn to accept criticism with grace and appreciation.

So remember, if you have not succeeded, it is because you have not failed enough.

Finally, if you are currently going through a rough patch, try and "Get Yourself a "'Cheer Up' First Aid Kit" and do something to "Up Your 'Feel Good Factor'".

"Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent." ~Marilyn Vos Savant~

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Please Free The Dolphins

Source: Acres

Controversies at the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) do not just stop at their casino.

When RWS was opened in Jan 2010, it promised a slew of attractions to be rolled out in stages. Later this year, the Marine Life Park will add another major attraction to RWS. However, before anyone gets to peep into what it has to offer, the upcoming attraction has sparked much controversy, especially amongst the wildlife conservationists.

Source: Acres

In 2008, RWS bought 27 Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands and they were kept in a holding area in Langkawi, Malaysia. In Oct 2010, two of them had died after they were infected by the melioidosis bacteria. RWS later moved the remaining animals to the Ocean Adventure park in Subic Bay, Philippines.

The death of the two dolphins has again roused much controversy over RWS' plan. Ironically, one of the opposing voices came from the dolphin trader, Mr Chris Porter, who sold these mammals to RWS. Mr Porter has stepped out to urge RWS to rethink their intention to use the dolphins as a tourist attraction. (see article)

In May this year, the animal welfare group, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) launched a campaign named "Save the World’s Saddest Dolphins". ACRES hopes to raise public awareness on the matter and urges RWS to free the mammals.

ACRES has said in the campaign website...
"25 bottlenose dolphins that once roamed free and wild in the vast Pacific Ocean, are now facing a life of captivity, boredom, stress, claustrophobia, frustration and slow death, thanks to Resorts World, which plans to keep them in its spa at Sentosa, Singapore. Two of their family have already died during the ordeal. Please help save these remaining animals."

Source: Wikipedia: The Cove

Mr Ric O'Barry, the maker of the Academy Award winning movie, The Cove, wrote to RWS and the Singapore Tourism Board, calling RWS to do the same. (see letter)

Many concerned individuals also wrote to RWS on the controversy. In its response, RWS maintained their stand that the dolphins "have a special role in the area of conservation" and will proceed with its plan to have a dolphin exhibition in its oceanarium. (See reply from RWS and response from ACRES)

Source: SPCA

At the onset of its development, RWS has been under constant pressure from animal activists to reconsider its marine life exhibition. After drawing flak from animal welfare groups, it scrapped plans to exhibit whale sharks in 2009. Will RWS do the same this time with the dolphins?

The line between commercialization and conservation has always been fine. On the surface, it is hard to say if zoos, aquariums and oceanarium are really after tourism dollars or are truly committed to animal conservation.

The controversy over RWS Marine Life Park is not new and it is unlikely to end here. While I am certainly not sitting on the fence, I can see the needs for RWS to answer to its shareholders. However, RWS has to do more to convince me that it is keen in conservation.

Which side of the fence can I find you?

You might also want to read

The Cove: The Killing Must Stop

A Tank As Big As The Ocean? (RWS: Whale Shark)

Sharks: Prey or Predator?

An Unnatural Fate (White Tiger)

Don't Buy Rabbits in the Year of the Rabbit

Picture Blog #13 : Extinction is Forever (Singapore Zoo)

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Monday, June 13, 2011

The Power of Doodling

Doodling is often frown upon. Is it really that bad? [Pic]

At one time or another, we doodle. I doodle quite a bit and have been doing so with a tinge of guilt.

Doodling is often seen as a time-wasting habit, especially at formal meetings or lectures. When you idly scribble on your notepad, you are in a way telling people around you that you are bored. Such perceived lack of respect often put doodlers in a bad light. After all, the word 'doodle' has its origin to mean 'a simpleton or fool', so how good can doodling be?

Compared to those who appear to be listening attentively, doodlers are the visibly distracted lot. They are expected to be daydreaming and therefore not paying sufficient attention to what goes on around them.

That was what I thought, until I came across a research paper, "What Does Doodling do?" written by psychologist Jackie Andrade.

Your mind naturally wanders in boring meetings. [Pic]

The research

In her study, she asked 40 people listen to a piece of somewhat boring voice recording. The participants were later told to write down names of people and places they heard in the voice clip.

While listening, half of the participants were required to shade in shapes on a piece of paper to help them relieve their boredom. The other 20 just sat there and listen. On average, the doodlers could recall 29% more names.

It's not so much that doodling is good for
your concentration, but that
daydreaming is bad. 

This is what happens to your brain...

When performing dull tasks, your mind tends to wander off. In other words, you daydream. As innocent as it may sound, daydreaming is demanding on brain processing power. When you daydream about a vacation, your brain will execute a series of activities such as planning and evaluation. You begin to think of possible destinations and draw up traveling itinerary.

Andrade explains that when you doodle, you minimize daydream. In that way, doodling can in fact aid concentration.

Compared to daydreaming, doodling does not tax your brain power as much. It keeps your brain occupied enough so that your mind does not wander off. However, it does not take away so much energy and you would still have enough to perform your main task.

In fact, it is believed that doodling can help to release a powerful creative force when handling complicated ideas. And so the saying goes, "Creative minds are rarely tidy." Doodling can also be used to relieve stress as it helps to direct your mind away from unhelpful thoughts.

People who doodle are in great company.
Da Vinci is one of the well-known doodlers.

Famous doodlers include Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Vidal Sassoon and Bill Gates. Perhaps, the most famous of them all is Leonardo da Vinci.

There you go, doodling is not as bad as you think. The next time you doodle in meetings or lectures, you can confidently say that you are paying attention.

"Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind.” (Zen Proverb)

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Public Apology - The New Media Way

Traditionally, public apologies are done through
advertisements in newspapers
. [Pic]

Just how should you say sorry?

Last week, an active Malaysian blogger, Fahmi Fadzil was ordered to apologize not once but 100 times. Besides having to say sorry numerous times, Fahmi had to do it in a rather unusual way.

It all started in January this year when Fahmi tweeted about a pregnant female friend whom he said had been treated badly by her employers at Female Magazine.

Today, public apologies can be made via the new media. [Pic]

The magazine publisher Blu Inc Media was not amused and threatened to take legal action. Somehow, the defamation row reached a settlement in March and Fahmi agreed to make a public apology.

However, Fahmi was unable to pay for an advertisement in the newspapers but Blu Inc Media, a subsidiary of SPH Magazines, was not relenting. So the parties agreed to move on to the new media.

Fahmi was ordered to apologize 100 times in Twitter over three days at regular intervals. That means his apology updates had to come on every 35 minutes. He said in one of his tweets 'No sleep till 100!'.

Fahmi reached an unusual settlement for a defamation row
with publisher Blu Inc Media.

He started his 1/100 tweet on 2 Jun at 9.00 A.M., saying "I've DEFAMED Blu Inc Media and Female Magazine. My tweets on their HR Policies are untrue. I retract those words and hereby apologize".

At the end of day one (2 Jun), he managed 26 tweets and continued into day two (3 Jun). He was mid way at 50/100 on 3 Jun at 1.35 P.M and started his day three (4 Jun) with his 68/100 tweet. He finally completed his 100/100 tweet on 4 Jun at 6.45 P.M.

Fahmi apologized 100 times over three days.

Out of court settlements are usually seen as a win-win outcome. In this case, Blu Inc Media received the apology they felt they deserve. As for Fahmi, besides avoiding a court proceeding and possibly some legal punishments, he also gained some unintended prominence from his 100 tweets. Over the three days, he earned at least 1,000 followers. As a social activist, Fahmi has certainly 'benefited' from the amicable settlement as well.

While I am somewhat amused by this bizarre and yet innovative settlement, I am reminded that we are in an era, transiting from the old to the new media. Many old school thinking and teaching are now being challenged and some are already in trash bins.

Is it appropriate to make a public apology
over Facebook or Twitter?

The art of public apology has to be unlearned and relearned. It is no longer good enough to fall back on issuing a media release and hoping that the public would pick up the message fast enough before further damage is caused. 

Company public relation experts know well that public apology is important especially in crisis situations. However, not everyone has learned to handle it well, especially over the new media. Many organizations are still seeing social media as a less formal platform to interact with their customers. They are still deliberating if it would be appropriate to make a public apology via popular social media such as Facebook or Twitter.

Personally, how an apology is delivered is not as important as how effectively it is received. If saying sorry over Facebook or Twitter helps to pacify upset customers better and faster, why hesitate? One thing we cannot ignore about social media is its viral effect. We either make it work for us or let it destroy us.

Most things are designed to work for us. We just have to learn how to use them the right way.

"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory." ~W Edwards Deming~

Fahmi's Twitter feed is at

News reports:

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