Start With a $10 Idea By Steve Harvey


This video was published on 27 April 2015 on You Tube by Steve Harvey. I was unable to find the transcript anywhere and had to do it myself. I have posted the transcript here for the public’s learning purposes.

Start With a $10 Idea By Steve Harvey

When people tries to figure out how to make a million dollars, they have no idea how darning that is. If you know to make a million dollars, you go make it tomorrow; but since you can’t figure out how to make a million dollars, you go somewhere and sit down. That is the wrong approach.

If you apply your gift, your God given gift that He gave you, you have millions already at your disposal. If you break down, inch by inch of anything said of the ten by ten theory, which is very simple, you don’t need a million idea; you need a $10 idea. You need something that your gifted God give you to make $10. That is all you got to be able. I don’t care if it is cutting hair, cutting somebody’s grass, washing somebody’s car, I don’t care if it is mowing somebody’s lawn. I don’t care if it driving people to a certain destination.I don’t care if it is baby sitting. I don’t care if it is baking cookies or pies.

You have something braiding somebody’s hair. You have something that you can do so well that someone will give you $10 for it. Write my paper for me.Do this for me. Somebody gives you $10 for it.

Once they give you $10, all you got to do is whatever you did to that $10, do ten more times. You now, my friend, have $100. You have $100 simply because you took a $10 idea and you did it ten times. Well, guess what, if take that $100 that you made since you done it ten times and you do it ten more times, I got news for you, my friend, you now have $1,000.

$1,000. Guess what you got to do? You got to multiply the effort again. Do whatever you did to get $1,000 do it ten more times. My friend, you now have $10,000. He got $10,000 now. Imagine that you were making an extra $10,000 a month. Just imagine that you were making an etra $10,000 a month; that is a $120,000 a year.

But I got news for you, my friend, whatever you did; whatever it took to make yourself $10,000, all you got to do is you got to do it 10 more times. 10 more times, my friend. You now have $100,000. I got news for you now. If you can make $100,000; you are just a step away from being a millionaire, man, because now you hire a few more people to help you out, to do portions of what you do, so that you can duplicate efforts. And one more time, just one more time, do it ten times. Man, that sounds hard. It is hard, but what else you got to do? You going to stop it at $100,000? All you got to do is to duplicate your efforts by 10.

You duplicate your efforts by 10. 10 times $100,000. Welcome to the club, my friend, you are now a millionaire. Congratulations. You became a millionaire with a $10 idea.

Stop bargaining yourself down, trying to make a million. Do what you can do to make $10; and then do the ten by ten theory; inch by inch. It is a sinch. Here is the joyful part. Along the way, when you were down here making $20,000, then all of a sudden you are making $30,000; now you are making $100,000 but on the way to duplicating that times ten, you may stop along here at $250,000. You can make a quarter of a million dollars a year. That is way better than the $20,000 that you have when you started. So there is joy in the process. Your life is a little richer at $250,000.

You will become more richer at half a million.It becomes richer than that at three quarter of a million; $750,000.

If you don’t make it to the million because you tripped because you made $900,000 a year, no, you are going to be happy. If you don’t the million, you only make $750,000 a year, you can’t find happiness in $750,000? Something is wrong with you, man. There is joy in the process. That’s how you make a million dollars.


Don’t Fear Failure, Unlock Your Inner Creativity, and Say Yes By Don Dodge

Don’t Fear Failure, Unlock Your Inner Creativity, and Say Yes By Don Dodge


This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences.This video was published on 3 Dec 2014 on You Tube. I was unable to find the transcript anywhere and had to do it myself. I have posted the transcript here for the public’s learning purposes.

What would you try to do if failure had no negative consequence? Fear of failure suppresses our creativity. See how overcoming early failure lead to creative breakthrough success. Say Yes to every request and opportunity.

Don’t Fear Failure, Unlock Your Inner Creativity, and Say Yes By Don Dodge

Hello, my name is Don Dodge. I worked at Google. If you want to contact me, it’s dondodge@google or if you are a Twitter user, you can find me @DonDodge. So, Google is this amazing company, amazing people, creativity, where there are no limits. Anything is possible. I’ll talk more about how we do this kind of things a little later.

At Google, we call them moon shots, shooting for the moon. Alright. We want things that are 10 times better, not 10 percent better, 10 times better.And it takes a different way of thinking and a different way of approaching problems when you’re trying to do things that are 10 times better. The number one thing that gets in the way of doing great things is the fear of failure. Fear prevents us from doing the things we want to do, that we know that we should do, but we are afraid of failing. So I am going to talk a little bit about failure and how to handle that, and how to break through that fear of failure. How to unlock your inner creativity. We are all creative, but it is suppressed by fear of failure.So I want to talk about how to get around that.And lastly how to say yes to life.

So, before working at Google, I worked at Microsoft with some amazing people.And before that, let me go back in time, I worked at Altavista.That was 18 years ago, it’s hard to imagine now. Did any of you use Altavista? The first search engine. God bless you, thank you. At that time, we were the best search search engine in the world.We were number one. It was not without risk though. We took amazing risks to make that happen.

My group, the group that that I led, invented multimedia search. So to be able to search for photos and images, to be able to search for music or to be able to search for video. Nineteen years later, that seems very obvious. Of course, you can do that. BBut let me tell you, 19 years ago, it was impossible. You just couldn’t do it. There were a few failures along the way. It was a very difficult job to do.One of the things we found was….well, two things. Number one was pornography and number two was spam. And we were innoncent, we didn’t know that people would use this search engine to find porn. Or that they would create all of these pages that were spam.

Spam means that you put pages in there that say that they about something and they are not. They are about something completely different. So we had to invent algorithms and technology to beat them. To find the porn and filter it out.And to find spam and filter it out. This is very very difficult to do. We created these algorithms to try and find the porn,but they weren’t always always successful. We were always missing some. It was very very difficult to do. So we had to have human intervention. Technology couldn’t do it at that time. So we had interns who would come into Altavista, and they would spend all day looking at pages of porn. Interesting job. But we needed to identify if it was porn or not, and our algorithms could only go so far.

So we had these interns come in and they’re looking at porn everyday and they’re saying “Yep, that’s porn, that’s porn, that’s porn.” Okay, great! After a week or two, we started to get a little concerned about what would happen if they are going to look at porn all day everyday. This could be a problem. So we took the people who were looking at porn, and we put them over to the group that was looking at spam, and identifying spam, and we took the spam people and put them on the porn. And we kept moving them back and forth.

There probably would have been some excellent sociological experiments that we could have done, but we were too busy trying to create this technology, so we didn’t really do it. But it was an interesting time. It was one of the most creative and amazing times of my life. I’ve the good fortune to work with lots of interesting people and creative people.

Napster was another one. Immediately after Altavista, I went to Napster.An we changed the world. Literally changed the world. How people find music.How they appreciate music. How they appreciate music and they move on.We thought that we were going to be what iTunes is today. But we failed. We managed to change the world but we failed in our objective. iTunes could not have existed without Napster coming first. We paved the way so that iTunes could exist. And for that, I think, okay, it wasn’t a failure. It was fun.So how many of you used Napster back in the day. Just about everybody. Excellent, it was fun, wasn’t it? Too bad, it doesn’t exist anymore.

Winston Churchill is one of my favourite people and he has some amazing quotes, but this one I love: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It’s moving forward that counts.”

Having the courage to move forward that counts most. So in the case of the Altavista and Napster, and even of Google, we had tremendous success. But success is not final, it’s not guaranteed. You have to work hard every single day to maintain that success.No one is going to give you anything. So today, there are thousands of people all over the world, trying to do a better search, trying to do a better YouTube, trying to do a better Google maps. And everyday, there are thousands of people at Google, who are trying to do it better and running as fast as we can. That creates an amazing environment.

When I moved to Silicon Valley, one of the first thing that I realized was there is a force field of enery around Silicon Valley. It’s the highest concentration of type A personalities, creative people, brilliant scientists that I have ever seen in my life. And what it does, it drives you to more than what you ever thought possible. It pushes you that sense of competition, and that collaborative work environment, working with other people, pushes to excel and do things that you didn’t think you could do. It’s an amazing place.

Afte I was at Google for about six months, my friends at Microsoft and many other friends said, “Don, tell me about Google. It’s such a stunning company. How was it different, how do they do it?” And I coined this phrase, “At Google, achieving 60 percent of the impossible is better than 100 percent of the ordinary.”

And what we mean by that is those moon shots, that I talked about earlier, we want to do things ten times better, not ten percent better. And in the pursuit of doing something ten times better, a moon shot that seems impossible. If you only get 60 percent of the way there, that’s okay. That’s great. Because we would rather have that than have tiny incremental improvements of ten percent. So that’s the way we think about it. And I is fairly uncommon, most companies don’t think that way. So I’ll tell a little bit, oh… Let’s go back in time even further.

So, if you were to walk into any first grade class, and you ask them “Can you paint?”, every hand goes up. “Yes, yes. I can paint.” If you ask them, “ Can you sing?” Every hand goes up. “Yes, I can sing.” It’s amazing, they are creative and they are confident. Ten years later, this is what happens. Ten years later, you go ask the same students “Can you paint?” Not a single hand goes up. “Can you sing?” Maybe one or two. What happened, what happened, to these kids? Well, the problem is that we teach conformity. We don’t teach creativity. We teach our kids to conform, to paint within the lines, to do only what we tell them to do. And after a while, it takes a toll and that creativity get back smaller and smaller, and recessed back into your mind,back into your brain. We create these filters that don’t allow us to be creative. But it goes back even further.

This poor baby is totally overstimulated and overwhelmed. And the problem is babies don’t know. They don’t know how to filter. They react to everything. Everything is equally important. All all of these senses, after a while, it just overstimulates them and they can’t take it anymore and they cry. So if have a baby, you know, this happens. Babies’ first word that they learn, other than mom and dada, the first word they learn is “no.” “No, no I don’t want that.” That’s the first word they learn. That becomes a problem later on. It becomes a problem for parents, when you are trying to do things and they always say “no”. But I’ll show you later why that’s a big problem.

But adults do that too. Adults get into sensory overload. If you have ever been to Disney World. I’ll never forget the first time that  went to Disney World with my two sons. They were very small, and you are in a seas of thousands and thousands of people. And there’s music blaring. And there’s beautiful signts, and there’s kids yelling and screaming. And every kid is yelling “ Dad, dad, mom” and all ten thousand kids that are yelling dad, I think it’s mine. So, I am overstimulated. At the end of thd day, I was exhausted.I couldn’t take it anymore. I was overstimulated.So even adults, we create these filters. So we filter things out. Remember Julian’s presentation earlier today about sound and sensory and how we create filters to filter things out. Yeah, we do that. Aldults do that. Babies do that. And overtime, we get really good at it. So remember the baby that say no all the time, as adults, we do that too.

We sit home with our remote control in front of the TV and say “No, no, no, next, next, next.”We can say “no” 50 times in one minute. Fifty times. We are very good at saying “no.” But, we’re not very good at saying “yes.” So, I want to talk about how we overcome failure to do amazing things. How we unlock our creative inner self and how we say “yes” rather than “no.”

So the pattern matching, whenever you meet someone on the street, the first thing you do before they even approach you, you’re starting to do pattern matching. You’re looking up at their eyes, at the way they walk, you’re looking at if they are smiling or not. And you are deciding right away, within the first second, whether you’re going to interact with this person or not. On the breaks outside, when saw people, now we’re all friends here, right? We know each other, but when someone approaches you, immediately in your brain, you are doing pattern matching. And you are trying to figure out, should I interact with this person or not. We are very good at it. So, oh, I am behind, OK, here we go.

Failure is not an option. The first time that I heard this word is from NASA. The Apollo Space Misssion. And when they say that “failure is not an option,” what they meant was we will try everything, we’ll try a hundred times, until we get it right. Failure is not an option. That’s the way that we think at Google. We will not fail. We’ll keep trying until we got it right. I wrote a story about this, failure is not an option. An  I will never forget an executive of a very large European bank came up to me after a conference and said “Don, I read your story about failure is not an option, it was terrific!

But my CEO at my bank also says “failure is not an option.” I said, “That’s great. I love that.” He says “No Don, it’s not good. When he say that failure is not an option, what he means is if you failed, you are fired, you’re gone.” In that kind of environment, how do you think we’re going to get 10x improvements, and moon shots and amazing things? You’re not, because if you are afraid of failing, and you are going to be fired, what kinds of goals are you going to set? Achieveable ones, very small ones. And that’s just not to get you there. So that’s the big difference. So what I want to do is to help you think diffferently about failures.

So, anyone who know who this is? I’m from Boston. This is American Baseball. His name is Ted Williams. He was the greatest hitter of all time, the greatest. In one season, he achieves something that no one else ever did. He hit 406. It was stunning and no one has done it since. In case you don’t know baseball 406 means 40.6 percent. So he was able to successfully get a hit 40.6 percent of the time. But what that also means is he failed 59.4 percent of the time to get a hit. So even though he failed about 60 percent of the time, he was the greatest hitter of all time. So you need to accept a little failure along the way.

This is Thomas Edison, the greatest inventor of our time.He invented the light bulb, he invented the phonograph, he invented motion pictures. And he said “ I haven’t failed 100 times. I have successfully found 100 approaches that didn’t work and I am that much closer to my goal.”

Do you know what this product is? WD40 Do you what it means? WD means “water dispersant.” The 40 means, it was the 40th time, the 40th formulation. It took them 40 time to get it right. Angry Birds, everyone has played Angry Birds right? What you probably don’t know is that this was the 52nd game that the built. Rovio build 51 games before this, and you have never heard of them. But they had the courage to keep on doing something better.

Now this poor guy, he failed one too many times. And if you end up like this guy, you are going to bang your head against the wall, and bang you head against the wall, and eventually, you are going to die. So in order not to do that, what you need to do is don’t make the same mistake twice. Make a different mistake. So when you’re facing a fork on a road, don’t go the one you’ve already been. Go a different path.

I want to talk about dreams. Do you all dream at night, when you sleep? I think you do. Some dreams you remember because they’re so vivid and bizarre, but others you don’t. And what’s happening is all the people in those dreams and the dialogue  that happens between the characters and the places that they happen and all these amazing things, that was you. You created that in your brain. But you did it what you are sleeping. So what I want you to do is to take that creativity when you’re dreaming and dream during the day, dream when you are awake, dream big. You can do it, you have it inside of you, but you’ve suppressed it for so long that you don’t remember. Say “yes.”

“Yes” is the most amazing word. Remember “no” is the word that we learn first and we say the most, but “yes” is the most powerful word. So say “yes” to life, say “yes” to opportunity, say “yes” when someone ask you for help. Because by saying yes, you are going to open the door to other things, other creativity and other opportunities. So I hope that you can feel differently about the fear of failure and unlocking  your creativity and saying “yes”. Thank you very much.

Background Information About Speaker

The following information is provided by TEDx Talks. Don Dodge is a Developer Advocate at Google helping developers build new applications on Google platforms and technologies. Don is also an advisor to Google Ventures providing advice on venture capital investments. Prior to joining Google Don was a startup evangelist at Microsoft. Don is also a veteran of five start-ups including Forte Software, AltaVista, Napster, Bowstreet, and Groove Networks.
Don has been in the software business for more than 25 years. He started his software career with Digital Equipment, aka DEC, in the database group. He was part of the leadership team of five software start-ups. Forte Software was the first multiplatform object oriented development environment. AltaVista was the first search engine on the web. Napster was the first P2P file sharing network. Bowstreet was the first web services development environment. Groove Networks was the first secure P2P collaboration platform.

How to Make Money By Not Losing Money By Andrew Tan

How To Make Money On Qoo10, Lazada and Online Marketplaces… by Not Losing Money By Andrew Tan


This video is published by Andrew Tan, who run a paid course in Singapore on how to make money on Qoo10. The video was published on YouTube on 20 August 2015.I was unable to find the transcript anywhere and had to do it myself. I have posted the transcript here for the public’s learning purposes.

Hi, This is Andrew Tan. I am the online retail expert. This is the first video in a series of videos. In this first video, I want to set something right, right from the beginning.
The title of this video is how do you make money by not losing money. Nowadays, the business sentiments out there; a lot has changed already, from traditional retail, you see that it is not really working that well in traditional retail now because rental is high, staff salary is high. So we talk about doing business, a lot of times, people think that when we start business we need to think of a hot product and after that they will spend money on getting products, opening shop lots, or even renting office spaces and all that.

A lot of time, these people don’t really know how to make money and the question why I asked you is that when you start businesses nowadays, is there a way that you can guarantee you will not lose money or guarantee that you will make money. See, the thing is that a lot of people don’t know. Now, as far as online retail is concerned, my take is do not guess. Do not try to follow feelings where you feel like this product can sell well; you that this product is something the whole world would need; the whole world would want and then you start a business based on that product. Big mistake!

So here the thing, now in what I do is I do very much a calculation based business to ensure that you will not lose money. That is why the main thing I want to talk about  today is to ensure that you don’t lose money and therefore you confirm that you will make money.

First thing that you need to do is to research. Do in-depth research of what kinds of products you are looking at and the product got how much demand; how much does it sell in the marketplace and what is the market price out there; what would ensure that you are pricing correctly. If you overprice your product, you don’t get any customer base at all.

Now, also in terms of demand, we also need to look at different categories and we need to look at what platforms sell well. First and foremost, let me be just be clear with you – the platforms that we sell does not really matter. What really important is a system on how not to lose money. And in my 5 steps system, which is called the freedom maker system.

First and foremost, ensure that you do your research on what sells well, what does not sell well, what customers want to buy, what customers do not want to buy.Be clear with that. How much demand there is.

Then step number two would be to source for the products. Sourcing means to find the supplier that can give you that product at the lowest possible price. And you can negotiate to get the lowest price. You can go online to source. You can go offline sourcing. But the main thing is that you need to be able to find a supplier that can give you prices at wholesale. Ok, that is step number two.

In step number three which is to confirm that you can make money.See, the thing in the online world, you can calculate firsthand before you even spend any money to buy stocks at all, you can calculate your expenses, like what is your import tax, how much you need to pay for the costs of the products and so on. You can find out what are all your costs and what are all your income. You take your money in and minus your money out and confirm that you got a net profit and make sure that in every single transaction you definitely get that profit, then you spend the money to buy the product. Because when you take the product in, you know definitely that his product can sell, than you spend the money to buy the product.

Step number four would be to sell on the platform. What is good about selling on online platform, especially places like lazada, Qoo10, ebay. All these platforms already come with traffic, that means there are a lot of customers on these platforms waiting to look for products to buy; so it is a target market place, so you don’t have to spend a lot money to set up your websites. You don’t have to spend money to do hosting; autoresponders and all that. All you need is to sell on the market places. They already spent a lot of money every month just to bring people to their website. What you need to do is to able to sell to those people, to make things a lot, a lot easier.

When you reach to stage number four, and you are selling at market price, you will already see sales coming in because that is market price. People will buy at that price. You see, the thing is that as your sales increase, you may want to ask yourself a question “How do you make more money by spending lesser time?” and the main thing you must make sure is that you are able to outsource  operations because between business developments and operations, which is the one that makes you money? Business development! Operations are the things that you spend a lot of time on but it does not really increase sales. So, in terms of all these operations, I rather you outsource. You outsource to somebody to take care of your operations so that you can focus on business development. In that waay, you ensure that your business sustains for the long term.

So, in summary, how do you make money by not losing money:

First and foremost, do your research to know what products are in demand.

Second, getting a supplier that can you that product.

Third, confirm that you can make money first, then you spend the money to buy stocks.

Fourth, list on platforms. You can list on one platform; you can list on multiple platforms.

Fifth, ensure that you outsource your operations. When you do that, you ensure that you got a business that you can grow into a big money maker and yet you keep your operations small; you keep your ownership small and you are still able to work from home and yet have a freedom lifestyle.


The Secret of Life By David Tang


This talk was given at a TEDxHKUST using the TED conference format. It was published on 14 Sep 2015 by TEDx Talk. I was unable to find the transcript anywhere and had to do it myself. I have posted the transcript here for the public’s learning purposes.

The Secret of Life

By David Tang

I like the snake as it reminded me of the question of why Adam and Eve could not have been chinese and the answer is that we would have eaten the snake.I am going to tell you in 18 minutes because I had been told 15 times that I have only 18 minutes the secret of life. I will try to tell you the secret of life in 15 minutes, but before that I want to tell you my journey of life and because I by far the oldest of the speakers. I am 58. I really need more than 18 minutes. When 18 minutes come, I will have to stop, and you will have to invite me back to here to hear the other half.

My life in Hong Kong started really when my great grandfather as a refugee from Canton and he became very successful and he built a house on Golf Road which I went pass very regularly, of 7 storeys. And he was very smart. He had a wife and 5 concubines, so he placed them from first floor, second floor, third floor, fourth floor, fifth floor, sixth floor and on the penthouse, he lived on his own. He worked his way, Monday to Saturday, like Raise the Red Laterns, and he rested.

On the fourth floor was my great grandmother, who produced my grandfather, who was a great philanthropist here, because he donated most of my money to you, through Tang Shiu Kin Hospital, what have you. He was like 4,000 years of chinese husbands, wanting an heir. Although he wasn’t exactly Henry the Eighth, he married the first wife who didn’t produce an heir, a girl, so he dumped her; so he went from the second concubine, who turned out to be barren, so he dumped her, and then he met my beautiful grandmother, who produced an heir. And he was very happy, until my father got ill, about 2 months in, and the doctor came and told him that he was going to die.

And my grandfather was very very sad because for having waited so long for an heir, he couldn’t believed that father was going to die. And, my great grandmother, who wanted to comfort him, told him a lie. She said “Look, I had the Feng Shui man in the other day,and he told me that this son is no good for you anyway, and so we can try again. But my father recovered; but because my grandfather was so superstitious, he actually decided that the son was going to be bad for him. And he said to my grandmother, “ You are off. I don’t want you anymore. I don’t want our child anymore.” She was then pushed out and never saw him again for eighty years. And he gave her so little money that we hardly survived.

And eventually, my father was rather awkward because my grandfather was growing rather famous and didn’t want marrying this fourth concubine; to have somebody with slightly murky past. So he said to my father “ You better go off to England, with your wife and stay there. So my father and my mother were packed off; and I was left with my grandmother. We didn’t have any money. We rented a room in Junction Road, in Kowloon Tong. My brother and me, sleeping on the top, bunk bed; and my grandmother below. I remembered distinctively that there was no air-conditioning, whereas there was air-conditioning in our landlady’s bed-room. We only had a fan, and I would wake up and I would noticed that my grandmother would angled poised the fan towards my brother and me, so that we will be cooler.

And I remembered Christmas time, we got out for dinner and she will take us to Tai Ping Koon. And we loved prawns. The prawns were the most exxpensive; ten dollars each.My brother and I would have prawns, and I would noticed that she would only have pork, which was three dollars, because we did not have enough money for three prawns. So I became very conscious that there are extraordinary strong people in the world; my grandmother, who really sacrificed everything to bring us up.And I loved her, to the end of her life. And she never complained, not withstanding how my grandfather treated her.She never moaned about him.And I think there is a secret of life along the line which I am going to alert you afterwards.

But I was packed off to England, to join my parents, who has bonded there for two years and prepared ourselves. I remembered getting on a boat. We sailed to Athens and we went to Belgrade, Vienna and Paris by train. I remembered in Vienna, I saw a statue called Beethoven. I didn’t know who that was. I saw Mozart. I didn’t know who he was. I went to Paris. I went to the Louvre. I didn’t know what that was. But it was all going to come back. It is another aspect to the secret of life that I am going to tell you about.

When I got to England, my parents had prepared me for interview at a very famous school and I although went to La Salle, couldn’t  really speak English. My mother said “Look, let me do all the talking at the interview. All you have to say is ‘ My name is David Tang’.” So we arrived and the headmaster came in. He said “Right, had you had a good journey from Hong Kong?” So I said “My name is David Tang.” I didn’t get in, so that was that.

Eventually, we found a school and because I was about alright in mathematics. Thank God, your president would be pleased to hear that. The school took me on. I failed my English O level 6 times before I passed, although I got Latin, French and Russian because we all started on Form 3, I was able to start at the same time. But in English, I was not able to pass the written exam. I practically failed to get into university because in England, you have to get English to university. And I remembered that my English teacher, saying to me “Tang, you will never speak English fluently.” And so, that is another aspect to the secret of life that I am going to tell you about because I met that man about thirty years later. I told him that he was wrong and I used a word which I really can’t use in front of the president here, followed by the word “You”. I said that I am very good in Anglo-Saxon tongue.

Then I went to university, and I read initially mathematics and physics. That got every hard and I switched over to philosophy.And I loved philosophy because there is a formal logic part, which I enjoyed. And, I went on and tried to do a PHD. By this time, my grandfather realized that perhaps I wasn’t  too bad. And he said “You should become a lawyer.” Typical of Hong Kong parents. And I said “ What is in it for me?” because by that time, I got very commercial. He said “ If you went to law school, I will get you a flat in London.” I said “ If you give me a flat, I will do anything.”

So I stopped doing my PhD. I went over to the law college, bought a flat and then I cultivated a great sense of gambling. And I went….one day, I saw this amazing horse called Nijinsky won the (Kiplingcotes) Derby and it was last. I watched that film about 28 times and I saw him coming up the last three furlongs and then winning, like an arrow; est  typique de ce. I said I am going to put everything that I had on the next race that this horse is going to race. And it went to France, which was another huge race, which was called  Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. And I mortgaged my house, which was forty thousand pounds and I put it on the nose 11 to 8, and it lost by a nose.

So I lost the flat, and unfortunately, my grandfather, the following month, said “My lawyer, Mr Kwan Cho-Yiu is going to come to London to inspect the flat that I bought for you.” I was in a slight panic so I rang up a friend of mine, who has a slightly better flat, about sixty thousand pounds. And I said “Can you lend it to me for a day?” So I put all my photographs out. Mr Kwan came and said that he is very satisfied. And he said “Did you really buy this for forty thousand pounds?” I said “Yes.” He said “Listen, can you give me the name of the agent?” I sort of fugued a bit and told him that he died.

What happened is that I went to casino one night and I won back all the money. I bbought the flat. This is another aspect of the secret of life that I am going to come back to. Even more extraordinary, having won back the flat, I had a friend who lived in northern England. I went up and I went to the casino there, and I lost everything again for the second time in my life. And I met a chinese man who ran a chinese restaurant there. I went up and said “Look, listen, My grandfather is Tang Shiu Kin. Can you lend me five thousand pounds? I will pay you back over the week-end.” Stupidly, he did. I got the flat. Then I went to see him in Leeds, with a rather nice detached house and I said “ Tony, I can’t pay you back but what I will promise you is that when I become successful, which I shall, I am going to let you ask me a favor.”

To cut a long story short, I pay him back five thousand pounds in about a year and sixteen years later, I got a phone call from him. I said “Hello”. He said “ It’s Tony Kwan” I said “ My God, you are calling in for your favor” He said “Yes” I said “ Do you want to borrow some money?” He said “No, no, no” He said “ Do you remembered when you came and see me at my home, I had a child and she is now 21 and all she wants to do is to get a job from you at Shanghai Tang.” So I said, “ Is that all?” He said “That’s all” I took her on. She was fantastic. She worked for me for 7 years and it was fantastic. 5 years later, he rang me again. I said “ Look, Tony, you used up your one favor.” And he said “ Do you remember, there was a cot. There was a child baby? That was my son. He now wants to work for you.” I say “Well, God… Bring him along.” So, he started working for me. He was stupid.Can’t get him to do anything. That is another aspect of the secret of life that I want to tell you about.

After all these, I had decided that I had to do some work.At that time, energy was a big thing and I wanted to drill some oil wells; and go to work at a gold mine, because I was fascinated by that world. And at that time, China just opened up its off shore oil and I worked for an oil entrepreneur. I drilled ten wells. I went to Africa, South America, looking at gold mines. We didn’t find any oil. We didn’t find any gold. Absolutely nothing. But it gave me tremendous experience, afterwhich, I said to myself, I better go back to law, which is what my grandfather expected me to do. And I started as a lawyer in Hong Kong. I wanted to tell you another extraordinary story, which is another illustrations of what the secret of life is all about.

I was in a firm of solicitors, being instructed by a construction company who had placed an electric fence around a building site in Hong Kong. And a child got electrocuted and died. Now, usually you can’t, for those of you who do law, really prosecute a company for murder or manslaughter. But they actually prosecuted the foreman, and so we had to defend the foreman.And they was doing really badly. On the last day, after two weeks, I said to my barristor, “ Friend, it has been a really difficult week. Why don’t we go and have a proper lunch?” In those days, it was just up Hollywood Road.The only restaurant opened was an Indian restaurant, so we went in and started pulling up those Indian food, ten chapati and ten papadongs. At two o’clock sharp, I felt a real urge in the directions of the lavatory. So I dived in there, asking the judge to defer for fifteen minutes.I was in the loo when I heard 2 people come in. And they were having a pee. One of them said to the other “Look, you are the engineer, you tell us whether that system was safe or not and he said “ Well, I don’t think that it was safe.” I then realized that there were two jurors who was talking to each other, and one of the basic tenets of jury service is that you mustn’t consult with another. So, I got very excited. I held my breath. I held everything until they left. After due exertion, I went straight out to the barristor. I told him and we got a retrial. And thank God, the judge said that he would send them to jail. On the retrial, he got off. Again, this is an aspect of the secret of life which I am coming very near to to telling you.

And I think after that, I wanted to go and start something that had some cultural value, because I saw Hong Kong was going towards the west, like the way China is going with its rich ghettos of stupid western brand shops of Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and what have you. And nobody is doing anything about cultivating and improving and innovating our chinese heritage.

And I have become very interested in art.I remembered 1971 when I went to see Chan Kai Chin’s first exhibition at the City Hall.I fascinated by how this man transcended the traditional way of painting with black ink but using this turquoise green and wonderful colors and I passed by gallery at Hollywood Road, which is now owned by my great friend, Johnson Chan. I saw this fantastic painting by the man. I wanted it and I asked “How much?” and he said “Half a million dollars.” I couldn’t possibly afford that but then I remembered a film I saw of Glenn Miller, the great trumpeter. He did the same. He saw a great trumpet and he said “Look, I will pay by bits, so I am going to give you five dollars each month, and you are going to give me the instrument at the end.” I started, paying ten thousand dollars a month, twenty thousand a week, and I eventually I got that painting and from that painting, I started my collection and they were all bundled into the China Club.

Now, I am sure that 18 minutes is coming up, so halfway through my life, I want to tell you that the secret of life is you cannot start setting goals so far away and a lot of the time, it is providence and about whether you are at the right place at the right time, and how things worked out in your life. Without the Feng Shui man who told my grandfather that my father was bad for him, I would have never gone to England.If I gone to England, and I was told that I spoke good english and not having to show my english teacher that I was able and that I prove him wrong, I might not do as well as I am today.

Gambling losses and so forth meant also that we take huge risks in life and experienced huge failures. I don’t know whether any of you is a secret addicted gambler. That feeling and I am sure none of you would tell me as we used to be liars and that feeling of gambling beyond your means, you see, that is tremendous adrenaline.But you have to do it, and lose everything before you could feel it. And there, is another way of saying that you lose everything, but you make it back.And it doesn’t matter. That is another secret of life. Whatever happens to you, you have to decide for yourself to keep going.

I got so many young people, like you, coming to see me, asking me what they should do in life and they say that they want to be a doctor, they want to be a vet, or they want to build a zoo or whatever. There is a film about a family building a zoo. But the point is that you cannot set yourselves goals so far away and be so determined. The problem is that we have a lot of biographies.We heard so many stories about men who are succesful.

We said Richard Branson already have an acumen for business he started selling second hand bicycles when he was young, but imagine the hundreds and thousands of other students who did more or less the same or even more successful but did not become nearly as successful as Richard Branson. So we have the benefit of hindsight. A lot of time, we fit our facts into biographies. There is no other way of going about it. But I am just warning you that a lot of the times when we reflect back of how we ever came to a particular situation or success or failure, it is never something that we ever expect. I can tell you that.Life never, never happens that way you think it does.I used to be asked how do you make God laugh. Well, tell him your plans.Now, 18 minutes is up. I can tell you the rest of my life’s story which is not entirely uninteresting but it is all because of providence, fortune, luck and I don’t set myself huge goals. I take the day as it comes, but when you see something, you have to seize it and when you are presented with a risk, take it. Take it. It doesn’t matter. Don’t think of the consequences because if you do, you will never be a great man.

No human progress has ever happen because of what everybody does and what everybody thinks. The world goes round, spins around entirely on crazy ideas and unnecessities. And it is like people saying to you “Why do you want to do that? You don’t have to.” You don’t have to? That’s precisely why you do it. That’s what makes the difference.Boys and girls, I am going to say this, because I am so old. Thank you for having me. I am sorry that I am rambling on a little bit. I was asked to come to tell you about my life. I had a very varied life. I had experienced quite a lot. I hope all of you will have the same kind of varied life you have because what is the point for being just insular. I come from middle class. I had middle class values of just worrying about what your neighbours have or whatever it is; you got to do this, you got to do that.Break out. Come on. Do something, not deliberately crazy but let life come on to you and you can just occasionally take the risk and try something different because sometimes you might actually like it.Try to avoid happy valley.Thank you very much.

Stop Searching for Your Passion By Terri Trespicio


This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. It was published on 14 Sep 2015 by TEDx Talk. I was unable to find the transcript anywhere and had to do it myself. I have posted the transcript here for the public’s learning purposes.

Stop Searching for Your Passion

By Terri Trespicio

The day that I got laid off from my job at Martha Stewart, I was relieved. I loved the job, I really did. But the relationship was over and I didn’t know how to end it and then it broke up with me. Don’t you love it when that happens?

At the time, I have been also hosting a radio show for the Martha Stewart brand on Sirius XM. And then not long after that got cancelled,too. On the day of my last show, I got into the elevator at the 36th floor and as it started to drop, I started to cry. Every floor took me further and further from where I had been: a magazine editor, a radio host, the person with the cool job to talk about at parties, you know.

And honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do. And quite frankly, no one was looking for me. So, I did what anyone would do in that situation.I was making some phone calls: “Hey, what are you up to?  Did I mention that I am available?” I needed to get paid to do something, right. I lived in New York City. If you are not paid to do something,you are not going to be there very long.

But this idea that I had to know that what I suppose to do now, right. I am supposed to pursue this passion. It’s just bugged me. It always had. And that’s because it’s a dangerously limiting idea at the heart of everything that we believe about success and life in general. And it’s that you have one singular passion and your job is to find it and to pursue it to the exclusion of all else. And if you do that everything will fall into place and if you don’t you failed.

The pressure starts really young and it goes your whole life, but it’s perhaps most pronounced when you’re graduating from school, right. After this, “Wow, the world’s at your feet! What are you going to do now?” And it’s so intimidating, it’s like picking a major for life. You know, I had a hard enough time picking major for four years and I changed that once, if not twice. I mean it was like just intimidating, right? And this compelling. I mean this really, you know,forceful cultural imperative to choose your passion,it’s stressful to me, but it’s not just me, it’s everyone I talk to agrees with me.The woman who sold me this dress. I told her what I needed the dress for, what I was talking about and she said, “Oh, my gosh, I really need to hear this talk, because I just graduate from school. My friends and I; we don’t know what we’re passionate about, we don’t know what we supposed to do.”

I’m leery of passion for a few reasons. But one of them is that passion is not a plan, it’s a feeling. And feelings change.They do. You can be passionate about a person one day, a job, and not passionate the next. We know this and yet we continue to use passion as the yardstick to judge everything by,instead of seeing passion for what it really is: the fire that ignites when you start rubbing sticks together.

Anyway, I was such a mess when I was in my twenties, such a mess. I was anxious and depressed, and had no life to speak of, I was tempting to keep my options open, and I was sitting around at night in my underwear watching Seinfeld reruns. Actually I still do that, that’s not the worst thing in the world to do.It’s fine. But I called my mother every night crying and I was turning away perfectly good full-time jobs.

Why? Because I was afraid. I was sure that I would pick the wrong one and get on the wrong train and headed to the wrong future. My mother begged me, she said,” Please, take a job, any job. You’re not going to be stuck, you’re stuck now!You don’t create you live first, then live it. You create it by living it, not agonizing about it.” She’s right, she’s always right. And so I took a full-time job as an assistant at a management consulting firm, where I knew nothing about nothing. Okay. Zero. Except I knew I had a reason to get up in the morning to shower, get showered, leave the house, people who were waiting for me when I got there and I got a paycheck every two weeks. And that is as good a reason to take a job as any.

Did I know that I want to be an office administrator for the rest of my life? No! I have no idea! Truly! But this idea that everything you’re supposed to do should fit into this passion vertical is unrealistic. And I will say it – elitist. You show me someone who washes windows for a living and I will bet you a million dollars it is not because he has a passion for clean glass. On of my favourite columns is a piece by Dilbert creator Scott Adams. He wrote a piece in the Wall Streets Journal a few years ago, about how he failed his way to success. And one of his jobs was a commercial loan officer. And he was taught specifically: “Do not loan money to someone following their passion.” No, loan it to someone who wants to start a business, the more boring, the better. Adam says that in his life success fueled passion more than passion fueled success.

When I got my first job as a magazine editor, in publishing, I was thrilled. But I had to take a pretty big paycut, because at the time, I had been a catalogue copywriter at a wig company.Laugh, if you will, clearly you are and many, many people did. But wigs paid. So I had to figure out a way to make some money. A firnd of mine invited me to a jewellery party. I asked “What is a jewellery party?” She said, “It’s like Tupperware, but with bracelets.” I said “Okay, got it, got it” I went and I had the best time. I was there hanging out, trying jewellery, the salesperson having a great time and I was like “That’s a job. I could do that.” I meant, really, she is having a good time. Now, I have no background in sales, unless you count Girl Scouts,  and I was terrible.And I had no passion for jewellery. I mean, honestly, my earrings cost /////420, all of them combined. And yet I was like “I think I can sling silvery jewellery to suburban moms drinking daiquiris. Yes, I could do that.” And so I did, I signed up. I became a Silpada Designs rep.Listen to me, I was not setting a world on fire straightaway.Really. I was awkward and afraid of selling.And then, I got better, I got better. I started making some money. I started getting really passionate about it. Not just because of the money, but because what I realized was people wanted the stuff. People wanted the stuff. They were happy to pay for it. I sold so much jewellery that year. I won a free trip to Saint Thomas.It’s true. I eventually let my jewellery go, because my career path shifted. But I was so glad that I did that.Because it planted an entrepreneurial seed I did not know was there.And that bears fruit to this day.

Now as you know an entire cottage industry has sprung up around helping people find their passions, right.Books,coaching, webinars,whatever.And their hearts is in the right place, it’s great, I am all about self-discovery.Okay.But when you asked someone,or you are asked like, “What is your passion?” It’s triggering. It’s like “Oh my God, I have to come up with a good answer for this.” One of my friends in her mid forties and she is looking what is her life going to be now. And she is like “ I don’t know what I am passionate about.” And she is legitimately concerned about this. She is ready to hire a team of people. It is like, why are worrying about this? You know why, because she thinks something wrong with her.That when someone asks you at a party, on a date, at a job interview,” What are passionate about?”That you are not going to have this wow compelling answer.


I thought something was wrong with me in the seventh grade and everyone was really into like the rock-bands and their actors and they would carve the names of those bands in tables in a library.And I never carved anything, because I could not think of anything to carve.I mean I likes Bon Jovi as much as the next girl, but not enough to deface school property, you know. It is probably why I do not have any tattoos either. I am assuming that is why. I was really boring, I thought something was wrong with me. But that is the fear, isn’t it? And that means that you are not interesting, or ambitious, or that you have a singular obsession or scarly talent that you are hiding.And your life is not worth living.And it is not true.

Passion is not a job, a sport or a hobby.It is the full force of your attention and energy that you give to whatever is right in front of you.And if you are so busy looking for this passion, you could miss opportunities that change your life.You could also miss out on a great love.Because that is what happens when you have tunnel vision,trying to find the One.

We all think we know the person we are and the kind of person we could love.But sometimes, we are wrong.Blissfully wrong.And sometimes, you don’t know what you are going to do next, right? I mean, I don’t. I love not knowing what I am going to be doing five years from now or I will be into.

And that is okay, okay not to know. You know why? Because the most fulfilling relationships, the most fulfilling careers are those that still have the power to surprise you. And as for the things you know you want to do. You want to write a book, you want to start a business, you want to change careers.

Great! But if you are sitting around waiting for passion to show up and take it, you are going to be waiting a long time. So don’t wait. Instead, spend your time and attention solving your favourite problems. Look for problems that need solving. Be useful, generous. People will thank you, and hug you and pay you for it and that is where passion is. Where your energy and effort meets someone’s else need. That is when you realize that passion lives, and realizing wht you have to contribute. Why do you think when we are asking people what they are passionate about, they say “Helping other people”? So, don’t wait. Listen to my mother. Just start doing. Because to live a life full of meaning and value, you don’t follow your passion, your passion follows you.