Rely on Your Own Intelligence

An alternative title would be Make Your Own Decisions or Make up Your Own Mind

When Life throw you a challenge, the first step to face it is to learn everything that you can about it. Conduct the necessary research so that you can make an informed decision. That would also help you evaluate whether other people’s advices and opinions are wise. Never assume that others would know more than you do and blindly attribute a lot of significance to and reliance on them. You were born with the ability to decide to decide what is and what is not in your best interest. Most of the time, you will make the right decision and the appropriate actions, By thinking for yourself, you will become more successful than if you have gone against your own judgement.

(An adaption from “Chapter 1: Swim Your Own Races: Do Not Let Others Do Your Thinking for You” from the book “A Gift to My Children” written by Jim Rogers)

The extent of the importance of not only doing your desk research but more of primary research can be underlined by Jim Roger’s travels to countries where he considered making his investments. He wrote the book “Investment Biker”.


Accommodating Your Job

This is a lesson in accommodating your job.

Few people are lucky to find a job that they love and which at the same time pays them well. There are 2 options that we have. One is to forever look for the green pastures and quit. The other is to stick to what you have but to adopt a spinning-plates philosophy.

Changing jobs entail risks. Here are the reasons:

  • You could be sending out hundreds of applications without getting an interview.
  • You could be getting interviews without landing a job.
  • You could be getting a better paying job but few months down the road, the job could have parted without you.
  • If things are going well for you in your present job, even though it is not fantastic, why quit?

Three Starting Principles

Pisani and Pisani in their book How to be a Successful Developer, gave 3 principles in buying land. They are:

  • Buy in an (geographical) area that is familiar to you.
  • Always buy in the area of growth.
  • Start small (try building 1, 2 or 3 single family homes).

By going through the process; you would have learnt invaluable lessons with lower risks and the opportunity to learn from mistakes.

We can use these 3 principles in other areas of our lives.

  • Start in an area that you are familiar.
  • Start in the direction that offers the best potential
  • Start small.

Being Yourself

Being yourself is simply doing what you are attracted to and because doing it draws something out of you even though you do not know what that is.

Being yourself is not about:

  • Finding happiness.
  • Finding life’s purpose.
  • Finding your purpose in life.
  • Finding yourself.
  • Finding a means to feed yourself or your loved ones.
  • Being at peace with yourself.
  • Making a difference to the world.
  • Doing what other people are doing.
  • Your personal values.
  • Pursuing a goal or a dream.
  • Thinking what you should do to have a more fulfilling life.
  • Responding to external stimuli.
  • Trying to live a purposeful life.
  • Trying to figure out what are your passions.
  • Trying to figure who you really are.
  • Trying to learn something that would be of any use.

Simply do it.

Not for the Money

A Form of Exchange

Money is a form of exchange. Receiving money is the result of meeting someone else’s needs. Providing value will invite an exchange if there is a need in the first place. The stronger the need the greater the exchange. In business, the answer is not to find the money. The answer is to reach out to those with the needs and better meet the needs. An unmet or poorly met need is an opportunity gap. Gap exists when means do not meet expectations.

Lay Up in Store

The first truth is nobody knows when he is going to die. The second truth is you can take nothing with you when you die and you would not know what would happen to all you had when you are gone.


We Can Only Eat So Much

Singapore’s billionaire Peter Lim pointed out that there comes a point when extra wealth is meaningless.

He said “It’s no different from what it was before I had the money. It makes no difference after a point. Like what they say, you can only talk louder. You can only eat so much and fly so many trips.

Money lets you enjoy a lot of things, but I don’t think I’ll die without money.

I don’t think I’m eating a lot better than when I was a lot poorer than now. I don’t really go for very special kinds of food. I’m still very local. I like my mee siam, mee rebus and lontong.”

A Billionaire Said That He Didn’t Do It for the Money

Steve Job: He Never Thought About the Money

Ask Yourself What You Have Become

Jim Rohn said “Success is not to be pursued: It is to be attracted by the person you become.”

Success comes from you growing bigger than the problems and obstacles that surround you. Success comes from self-development.

Ben Benson, author of the book 7 Laws of Wealth: An Individual Stimulus said it like this: “What surprised me most about my own journey was that the money was the least important part of what I achieved! Learning to adapt yourself to the 7 Laws of Wealth does not just make you rich in monetary terms; it also makes you a better person. I was amazed to discover that in bending myself to the 7 Laws, I also gained what I called the 7 Attributes of Wealth. These are the late presents that you did not know you are you would get. And they all came as a by-product of aligning with the 7 Laws methodology.”

The growth mindset comes from being able to take risks and not being afraid of failures (see “Letter to Olivia: Lessons from Lee Kuan Yew’s Life” at  winifredling website).

Your Longest Employee

If you have not realized it, you are your longest employer, At the same time you are your longest employee. Hence, whenever you generate an income, you should pay a portion to yourself first.

Since you are your longest employee, you should take good care of yourself. Make sure you eat properly and have enough rest.

If you are working at a job, you are having one customer. If you are running a business, you would be having more than one customer. If you think of it that way, it seems better to work for your own business. It seems less risky.

Find Your Life Work Outside of Your Job

Albert Einstein

After graduating from Zürich Polytechnic with a teaching diploma, Albert Einstein spent 2 years hunting for a teaching post. Later, with the help from his friend and classmate’s father, he obtained a job as an assistant patent examiner at the Federal Office for Intellectual Property in Bern, the capital of Switzerland. Although this job became permanent 1903, he was passed over for promotion. It was later in 1906 that he was promoted to Technical Examiner Second Class.

Outside of his job, with his friends he formed a weekly discussion club on science and philosophy.

In 1905,he wrote and published 4 papers in the Annalen Der Physik, the leading German physics journal. Today these papers are known as the Annus Mirabilis. One of his well known expressions, E=MC2 was discussed in 1 of these papers.These were done outside his job.


I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas A. Edison

At work, your boss may frown on mistakes, but that does not mean that in your personal life you should hold yourself back.

Human Beings are what the author and plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz called servo mechanisms and what physician and educator Maria Montessori described as learning by constructivist or discovery model. We learn through experiential learning.

So if you wanted to develop a second income or take up a hobby, you must allow yourself to learn by trial and error. Just ask yourself what you plan to try and be prudent about it. The more you do it, the more confident you would be in yourself.

The Poor Messenger

The Chong Ching Massacre

Lying is a deception tool. It is not a form of evil or mischief, like it was told in the story of Pinocchio. Sometimes it may save our life. During the Japanese occupation of Singapore from 1942 and 1945, the Japanese carried out Sook Ching from 18 February to 4 March 1942, which was the deliberate massacre of Chinese men aged 18 to 50 in Singapore. Unofficial figures put it at 50,000 dead.

One of the survivors of this atrocity was Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore. As a young man, he was singled out to be taken to one of the killing sites. Sensing that he was in trouble, he asked if he could return to the collection center to retrieve his “other important things”. Luckily, he was allowed to and he never came back.

Out of his various experiences and observations, he realized that although the Japanese were hated by everyone but everyone knew their power to do harm and so everyone adjusted. People who accepted the Japanese as their new masters prospered, whereas those who did not lost money and status.

Shooting the Messenger

Shooting the messenger” or “killing the messenger” is a metaphoric phrase we sometimes hear in corporations, used to describe the act of lashing out at the (blameless) bearer of bad news.

Showing Up for Life

Introductory Quote

“Eighty percent of success is showing up” Woody Allen

Working on What We Want

“Showing Up” means that to succeed you have to show up and start working on your idea or project, and not merely and think or worry.

Whatever your current life situation brings, the most fundamental aspect to showing up in the world is to do it for yourself. Make the appointment with yourself. Show up for you, not anyone else.

Scott H. Young said this

“…How often do you forget step one? Wanting to be a successful blogger, but failing to write regularly. Wanting to get in shape, but not showing up at the gym. Wanting to learn a language, but never having conversations with people who speak it.Step one is interesting because it only requires effort. Writing a bestselling novel requires some luck and skill. Writing a novel requires only that you show up to write every morning.”

Example: Showing Up for Acting Audition

In the book The Student Actor Prepares: Acting for Life written by Gai Jone, there is a passage that said “One truism about success in (acting) auditions is that if you do not show up to audition, chances are that you will not be cast (in the show).Showing up is the usual requirement for casting.

Example: Staying Invested in the Stock Markets

This is an excerpt from a write-up by Putnam  Investments

“For long-term investors, staying invested makes more sense than moving in and out of the market at the first sign of bad news. Over the past 66 years, bull markets have lasted longer (45 months on average) than bear markets (14 months on average) and have more than made up for the periodic market declines. Bull markets begun during economic recessions and expansions and at all levels of rates. And while it is impossible to predict when a bull market will begin, it is possible to miss one by waiting on the sidelines.”

Example: Martin Yan

Yan began teaching Chinese cooking for a college extension program and appearing on a Canadian talk show from Calgary in 1978 (on CFAC-TV, now CICT-DT). He has hosted over 1,500 episodes of the PBS cooking shows Yan Can Cook since 1982. (Source: Wikipedia)