Archive for December 2007

Take Stock Of Our Time To Take Control Of Our Life

December 31, 2007

Today is the last day of year 2007. Very soon, we will see people strolling on the streets in a joyous mood. We will also witness the arrival of the next 365 days. And we will all bide farewell to a very eventful year with the chorus of ‘auld lang syne’

In the style of memory, reflection and growth for the future, it’s always wise to take stock of how we have been spending the past 12 months. When we take stock to learn about our past, we can adjust our lifestyles and thoughts to gear ourselves towards a better direction for our future. In short, take control of our life.

Key questions to help us take stock will be:

1. What have you done over the year?

2. What would you consider as your accomplishments and misses?

3. What are some of the most important lessons?

4. What could have been better?

5. What did you discover that is useful for you?

6. How could you use all these to advance yourself for the New Year?

7. What are those you wish to change for the coming year?

8. How do you intend to improve them?

9. What is it you can do that will make the New Year a more fruitful one than the previous year?

I believe we are the fruits of our past and the farmers of our own future. Taking stock and being accountable for our harvests make us want to grow better crops and fruits. If you want to grow and excel, take stock first.

Here’s a Happy New Year to you. 🙂

See you next year.


Insights Through The Artists’ Sights

December 29, 2007

Before I started schooling in nursery, I’ve always been drawing, sketching and doodling. Through the Art Elective Program in my secondary school, I studied about the life and works of various artists. And since then, I am even more interested in their works and their thoughts.

They apparently had an unique way of looking at life. They may not always agree with each other or with the world and times they live in. But there’s always value in exploring their thoughts, which in turn gives us insights into other perspectives.

I invite you to read through what they said and enter their world. Then we can begin to contemplate a whole new universe of sensational discovery and wonder.

Michelangelo (1475- 1564) Italian Sculptor and painter

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.

If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) Spanish Artist

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.

Roy Lichtenstein (1923 – 1997) American pop artist

I think we’re much smarter than we were. Everybody knows that abstract art can be art, and most people know that they may not like it, even if they understand there’s another purpose to it.

Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) Dutch expressionist painter

My opinion is that the best thing would be to work on till art lovers feel drawn toward it of their own accord, instead of having to praise or to explain it.

It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures.

I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech.

I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly.’

Paul Gauguin 1848-1903 French Post-impressionist painter

I have tried to make everything breathe in this painting: belief, passive suffering, religious and primitive style, and the great nature with its scream.

In order to do something new we must go back to the source, to humanity in its infancy.

The flat sound of my wooden clogs on the cobblestones, deep, hollow and powerful, is the note I seek in my painting.

We never really know what stupidity is until we have experimented on ourselves.

Life is hardly more than a fraction of a second. Such a little time to prepare oneself for eternity!

The Real Pursuit of Happyness

December 26, 2007

It’s Boxing Day and it’s back to training! In the early morning, the street was set abuzz with people going to work. A number of them had a slight wearily look on their faces while some showed signs of Christmas partying. Occasional quietness of the traveling train would be pierced by the sounds of giggling toddlers. It’s the beginning of the day after the yuletide season.

The session today was on “Work-Life Skills for Individual and Organizational Benefits”. It’s a workshop I enjoy conducting regularly and there are quite a few more runs in the coming year. It’s about work-life balance. It’s about the quality of your life, and most of all, it’s really about your happiness.

For today’s article, I take the title from the hit movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness” starring Will Smith and his real-life son, Jaden . (The misspelling in ‘happiness’ was intended by the movie)It’s a biographical story based on the true encounters of Chris Gardner, whose relentless pursuit to overcome the various life challenges to eventually rise from poverty and eventually becoming a multi-millionaire. Chris literally created his own happiness.

Similarly, in a competitive society like ours, we have to understand the underlying dynamics in order to effectively be happy.

Hence, these are the principles and guidelines for your happiness:

1. Happiness can be CREATED.

2. You’ve got to WANT IT to GET IT.

3. Realize that you have a CHOICE.

4. You’ve got to RESIST the temptation to fall back into the negativity.

5. It must be constantly MAINTAINED.


7. Happiness EXPANDS and GROWS when you SHARE it.

Let us share the happiness so that it inspires us to Excel Beyond Excellence!

My Birthday Thoughts And My Thanks To You, My Friend

December 25, 2007

Today’s my Birthday. I’ve always enjoyed this day of mine. Not only is it a public holiday, a Christmas day, but more so because it’s a time for me to reflect and ponder on my personal life for the year.

A birthday is not a birthday if you don’t remember the people who have walked with you. From my point of view, a birthday makes me think of those whom I’ve gotten to know over the years. It is through them that I can walk this far and make the year meaningful.

Here I’ll like to give thanks to everyone who have contacted me and send their birthday wishes and gifts, be it via mail, email, phonecall, sms or even in person.

To all my participants of my seminars and talks, I appreciate knowing you and glad to be of service to you.

To my friends, I appreciate your friendship and encouragement all these years. Let’s get together again.

To my various training partners and associates, glad to be working with you and on to greater heights for the new year.

And to you, who are reading this, I thank you for dropping by Excel Beyond Excellence! blog as well as for writing to me with your support and comments. It is with your continued presence and contribution that I found the readership rate of this blog to be growing beyond my expectation. I thank you with all my heart. (and with a deep bow too.)

For this year, the trainings and public speaking engagements have been nothing short of phenomenal. Throughout the year, I have been getting to know new friends and participants in the regular workshops. Quite a number of the engagements are from the current clients who either want additional courses or more runs of the past courses for the rest of the staff.

I’ve also have the good fortune of working and consulting with even more multi-national corporations (MNC), small and medium enterprises (SME), civil service organizations and schools.

When people take charge of their own learning, they are in control of their own life. They want to make things work, better than ever. And this year, I have the honor of working with an increased number of these determined “Excellers”. So to those I have personally coached and to those whom I am currently coaching and mentoring, I am glad you have joined me in the journey to Excel Beyond Excellence.

And although it’s supposed to be the holiday season now, I’ve also received even more requests for public speeches and trainings, often day to day and back to back, including Sundays. I’m very glad people are, more than ever, committed to learning and growing throughout the whole year, instead of learning at mere convenience.

On this special day of mine, I have some personal reflections for the year:

** A birthday is a time to take stock of my own life.

** I reflect on all the friends and relationships I have made, formed and renewed for the past year.

** I remember the events, happenings and people that have influenced me to help me become who I am.

** It’s also a time to literally and figuratively “smell the roses”.

** I reflect and reviewed on all the trainings I have done and public speeches I have given.

** I re-dedicate myself to give my best to my seminar participants and to those I am coaching.

** I become totally inspired and fully committed to help them achieve more and excel beyond.

** Now is also the time to set directions of the New Year.

** It’s a renewed decision and commitment to Excel Beyond Excellence.

** I learn and relearn.

** And I give thanks.

Like to also share a cute little birthday poem with you:

Happy Birthday To You
(by anonymous)

A little birdie told me
today’s your special day
hope that it is perfect
in each and every way

May the day bring sunshine
put gladness in your heart
with lots of love and laughter
from the very start

Have a joyous celebration
with loved ones ever near
and tender hugs and kisses
to last you through the year

My wish for you is happiness
and all your dreams come true
there is no other person
who deserves it more than you
Have a wonderful Birthday!

It’s often with simple words that the meaning rings the loudest.

I wrap up this article with a simple yet sincere wish to you:

Have a Marvelous Christmas!

Walk with me, my friend, let’s Excel Beyond Excellence!

Your Essential Steps To Successful Job Seeking

December 24, 2007

My weekend was extremely fulfilling. I was conducting the 2-day workshop on “Life Empowerment Skills” for the Jobseekers. Although it was Saturday and Sunday, I must say that we brought the excitement level to an all new high. It definitely made the training very purposeful and meaningful. Best wishes to all the participants!

As I reflect back on the sessions, I recall why I am a public speaker and trainer in the first place (years ago). The satisfaction and sense of fulfillment were beyond mere words. It had to be experienced by you. The lives you touch and you change can leave a lasting impact. In a simple yet unique manner, people are influenced for the better, inspired to dream dreams bigger and excel to reach the higher.

Here’s a quick summary of what you can do to get the job:

1. Run through the essential steps of the job seeking process. Keep the different purposes of each step in mind.

2. Review through your documents to improve them. Remember you have to write them in the unique ways in order to get results.

3. Remember what type of people employers look for. Keep them in mind when you prepare your documents and attend the interview. Be the one they want.

4. Stay on the positive. Overcome any negative inner voice.

5. Get a mentor or consultant to regularly guide you. Meet up with him or her to go through the steps, refine them and update on your progress.

6. Form the net work and work the network. Those that keep you motivated.

7. Plan your life plan. And exercise it!

It’s Christmas Eve as I write this. Thank you very much for your birthday wishes and gifts over these few days. I certainly am looking forward to celebrating my birthday tomorrow. I heard that more surprises are in store. Haha!~

Merry Christmas to you!

Let’s Excel Beyond Excellence together!  

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 3)

December 20, 2007

I love the feeling of homecoming. This was exactly what I felt when I was invited to visit The Neptune Orient Lines Toastmasters Club (NOL TMC) last night as an Evaluator. They welcomed the guests and me with open arms, friendly smiles and warm handshakes. Unmistakably sincere, I must admit.

I have gotten to know NOL TMC quite a number of years ago. It was (and still is) one of the most exciting Toastmasters Clubs with a cozy atmosphere during the meeting.

During then, I was serving as the Area Governor of Division B and NOL TMC was one of the Clubs in my Area. During my Area Council meetings, the Club’s President and representatives participated actively and shared their success. As I continued on as the first Division Z Governor the following year, NOL TMC was also realigned to my new Division. I visited them often then. And I simply loved how they made you feel at home.

Yesterday night was no exception. It’s still the feeling as if it’s my own Club. Everybody sang a birthday song for me and I was truly touched.  (Thanks,guys and gals!) While it’s not my birthday yet (not till 25th of December), I felt as if my birthday and Christmas Day had arrived last night. Their sincerity was and IS REAL. I truly appreciate the friendship.  J

At the meeting and in my role as a speech evaluator, I shared the following public speaking tips:

1. Harness the anticipation. Whenever you step up to the stage at the beginning, the audience will have a sense of anticipation. They expect to be impressed and impacted instantly. Therefore, avoid losing out the effect by rushing to utter your first word.

(Never disregard this tip or else your efforts in creating a worthwhile speech will be undermined. An essential part of “The Art of Reading Your Audience’s Energy” and “Impactful Introduction”)

2. Shift the focus of your conclusion to your original purpose. It’s sometimes easy to get carried away by your own speech. Remember why you selected the topic in the first place, then ensure you draw the audience back to the original reason behind your speech.

(This technique is based on my researches and applications of “The Psychology Behind Effective Conclusion” and “Looping”)

3. Cater your content to the audience. While we can relate our own encounters, your audience must also be able to establish the link too. Hence always strive towards helping your audience to better apply what you share to their own situations.

(Always take your audience through the processes of what I call “Bridging”, “Demystifying” and “Inner Connecting”. Highly recommended.)

I have personally worked through all these tips and the other additional advanced techniques with my participants and those I coached. The results are amazing and they become more skilled as speakers. I hope you will achieve the same results too.

Let me know of your progress so that together, we can Excel Beyond Excellence!

Practical Steps To Excel In Speechcraft Trainings

December 16, 2007

This is another packed week of training and speaking events. It’s wonderful and fulfilling. This is the satisfaction I get from being a trainer and public speaker. The people I get to know are amazing. These exceptional friends make my life meaningful and purposeful. My salute to them.

And just yesterday was the NUS Speechcraft. This round was even better organized and the results improved. Thanks to the committed Toastmasters who turned up to assist!

Here are some practical steps that will help you to excel in Speechcraft sessions:

1. Volunteer for Table Topics. It’s a great way to improve your impromptu speaking skills.

2. Take notes from the Educational Sessions. Instead of just listening, take down the key pointers from the trainers.

3. Ask questions if you have doubts. Better be a fool for 5 minutes than be a fool forever.

4. Interact with your facilitator.

Thoughts From A Gathering

December 12, 2007

I was invited as a guest to attend a gathering held today by the Deanery of The National University of Singapore, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS). It’s always a welcoming sight to meet up with the deanery, the professors and get to know new distinguished alumni of the faculty.

At the FASS Festive Tea, the staffs from the Office of the Dean put in great effort to make the place conducive and attended to our needs (especially the gastronomic ones). I liked the cozy set up, comfy cushion seats with a relaxing atmosphere for networking. The familiar Christmas carols and musicals in the background helped add to the yuletide festive mood. The gingerbread man was also one of my favorite cookies.

One by one, the various invited guests strolled in after signing in. The smiles on their faces said it all. The tea gathering was a success. Food and drinks made for a topic and chance to converse. The guests, being distinguished members of society ever since they graduated from the university, were pleased with meeting everyone in the lounge. They wanted to catch up with each other. I couldn’t wait to know how they’ve been all these while too.

As we sipped our warm tea and took a full bite at the crispy fried prawns, we shared with each other the ‘good old days’ of our tertiary years. I have my fair deal of stories too, having been active in the student societies and in the running of various events such as camps and bazaars.

Some of the quick thoughts flashed through my mind as I reflected on my return to my alma mater.

** Friends are truly important as they give meaning to our living days.

** Every one of us possesses different talents within and it is our destiny to manifest them. To fulfill our potential to the best we can.

** We ought to show true appreciation and gratitude to those who have helped us and accompanied us through our walk in our lives.

** Remember our past. Remember the days of our youths. And remember the learning we gain.

For it is in remembering our past that we have meaning in pursuing our future.

For it is our past that gives us the purpose to Excel Beyond Excellence!

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 2)

December 12, 2007

As Evaluator at The National University of Singapore Toastmasters Meeting, I’ve enjoyed the various speeches presented last night. I applaud the NUSTMC speakers for taking the time and effort to craft their speeches. I could also see their eagerness to improve themselves, striving towards better speaking skills. Well done!

Here are some of the proven tips I have shared last night with the audience and some participants personally:

1. Keep the speech generally positive if your purpose is to uplift the spirit. Having too much negativity of topic selection will only serve to add obstacles in your attempt to inspire us.

(However, for much longer speeches, adding negativity in the right places of the speech will actually inspire the audience to even higher grounds. When allocated properly with the positives, its effect is amazing. It is a process which I call “Fractionation”.)

2. Let us know what happened to the characters in your story. A half told story will only serve to make audience wonder and bewilder rather than to follow your speech.

(Unless you are using it for the purpose of “Looping” or “Double Looping”)

3. Expand your body language with a purpose rather than to distract. You must be able to identify which part of the speech to utilize the body language. This is followed by selecting which part of your body you want to use for emphasis.

(Psychologically and linguistically, it can be taken further with the study of the  right “Trigger Points” for greater impact on the audience.)

I will love and look forward to hear you speak as you add these tips to add impact to your speech.

May you inspire us to Excel Beyond Excellence!

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills

December 9, 2007

Yesterday was another educational session of The National University of Singapore Toastmasters Club’s Speechcraft: Speak Your Way To The Top! Once again, the overwhelming intake of participants warms my heart and I’m sure everyone can feel that their efforts in organizing the event have paid off. Thanks to everyone in NUS TMC!

As the Trainer and Evaluator of the Speechcraft program, I shared with the participants the following tips to improve their speeches:

1. Give life and characters to the people in your speeches. We want to know who they are and how they behave.

2. Explore depth rather than breath. There is always a tendency to cover too much grounds, losing the message in the process. Attempt to go deeper into one topic or a sub-topic than to spread yourself too thin.

3. Trust yourself, no matter how unprepared you are. At the end of the day, when it comes to making speeches and presentation, you are on your own. Draw on your inner strengths and know-how rather than trying too hard to remember your scripts.

4. Speak with your audience, than merely to your audience. When your audience can feel you are truly with them, they will reciprocate by standing by you. Make your speeches not just a one sided affair, but rather “a Waltz with a Groove”, I usually say. It’s a dance with them, back and forth. Then your speech will start to have real impact with your audience.

Work on these tips conscientiously. You’ll soon discover how much the art and science of public speaking can improve your life and work success.

Let us Excel Beyond Excellence!