Archive for January 2008

7 Steps To Turn Your Challenges Into Your Opportunities

January 15, 2008

Over these 2 days at the training “Life Empowerment Skills”, we explored the various ways to be more geared up and equipped to handle the different challenges in life. This is especially in the face of employment. The participants’ determination and decision to make things work in their life became a source of inspiration, both for themselves and for me.

I also shared how important it is to work their way out of the different challenges of life. To add on to what I’ve covered, here are the steps for tuning those tough challenges into better positive opportunities:

1. Decide when enough is enough.

2. Insist on focusing on the positive side and outcome of the event.

3. Critically evaluate your current resources and assets.

4. Highlight those you can use to improve on the challenge.

5. Know what else you need to acquire in order to improve the situation and acquire them.

6. Work on your plan and refine to act accordingly.

7. Derive greater lessons to prevent future repeat of negative events.

While challenges can be tough, they can be better handled with a lot of heart and will. Keep going to transform events into better outcome.

And make our lives Excel Beyond Excellence!

An Inspirational Poem To Perk Up Your Day

January 14, 2008

The Cloud by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,

From the seas and the streams;

I bear light shade for the leaves when laid

In their noonday dreams.

From my wings are shaken the dews that waken

The sweet buds every one,

When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,

As she dances about the sun.

I wield the flail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under,

And then again I dissolve it in rain,

And laugh as I pass in thunder.


I sift the snow on the mountains below,

And their great pines groan aghast;

And all the night ’tis my pillow white,

While I sleep in the arms of the blast.

Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,

Lightning, my pilot, sits;

In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,

It struggles and howls at fits;


Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,

This pilot is guiding me,

Lured by the love of the genii that move

In the depths of the purple sea;

Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,

Over the lakes and the plains,

Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,

The Spirit he loves remains;

And I all the while bask in Heaven’s blue smile,

Whilst he is dissolving in rains.


The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,

And his burning plumes outspread,

Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,

When the morning star shines dead;

As on the jag of a mountain crag,

Which an earthquake rocks and swings,

An eagle alit one moment may sit

In the light of its golden wings.

And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,

Its ardors of rest and of love,


And the crimson pall of eve may fall

From the depth of Heaven above,

With wings folded I rest, on mine aery nest,

As still as a brooding dove.

That orbed maiden with white fire laden,

Whom mortals call the Moon,

Glides glimmering o’er my fleece-like floor,

By the midnight breezes strewn;

And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,

Which only the angels hear,

May have broken the woof of my tent’s thin roof,

The stars peep behind her and peer;

And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,

Like a swarm of golden bees,

When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,

Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,

Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,

Are each paved with the moon and these.


I bind the Sun’s throne with a burning zone,

And the Moon’s with a girdle of pearl;

The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim

When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.

From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,

Over a torrent sea,

Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,–

The mountains its columns be.

The triumphal arch through which I march

With hurricane, fire, and snow,

When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,

Is the million-colored bow;

The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove,

While the moist Earth was laughing below.


I am the daughter of Earth and Water,

And the nursling of the Sky;

I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;

I change, but I cannot die.

For after the rain when with never a stain

The pavilion of Heaven is bare,

And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams

Build up the blue dome of air,

I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,

And out of the caverns of rain,

Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,

I arise and unbuild it again.

Best Leadership Advice From Famous Leaders And Thinkers

January 13, 2008

Leadership is both a science and art that involves the mobilization of people towards certain goals. In the midst of working and pursuing them, it will be to our advantage when we are well advised.

Let’s hear what some of the most famous leaders and leadership thinkers have to advice us regarding being effective leaders:

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

— George S. Patton, World War II General 

I don`t want any “yes-men” around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their jobs.

— Samuel Goldwyn 1882-1974, movie producer 

We shape our environments, then our environments shape us.

— Winston Churchill 1874-1965, former British Prime Minister

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.

— Andrew Carnegie 1835-1919, Scottish industrialist 

The skilful leader subdues the enemy`s troups without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overtrows their kingdom without lenghty operations in the field. With his forces intact he wil dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without loosing a man, his triumph wil be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.

— Sun Tzu c. 490 BC, Chinese military strategist 

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.

— Peter F. Drucker, American management guru 

The responsibility of the executive is (1) to create and maintain a sense of purpose and moral code for the organization; (2) to establish systems of formal and informal communication; and (3) to ensure the willingness of people to cooperate.

— Chester Barnard in The Functions of the Executive (1938)

Great minds have purposes; others have wishes.

— Washington Irving, 1783-1859, American author 

Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them.

— Stephen Covey, American leadership author

Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.

— Jesse Jackson, Civil rights leader

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 7)

January 12, 2008

It’s always a wonderful privilege to guide up and coming public speakers. And here are more tips that had been presented tonight.

Avoid rushing through your conclusion. The conclusion represents the peak of your speech, the high of the emotional uplift. Keep it sure and steady to build it to the best climax.

Remember the topic, avoid getting distracted by a sub-element. Sometimes speakers drift off tangent to dwell too in-depth into another related topic. You’ve got to keep the key theme in mind.

There is no need to reintroduce your topic. Coordinate with the Master of Ceremony before, have him do this instead of you. Go straight to the point instead of another introduction of your title. Avoid this redundancy to save you time and create instant impact.

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 6)

January 11, 2008

Guess what? We had a joint meeting with another Toastmasters Club tonight. It’s been sometime the NUS Toastmasters and NUS Alumni Toastmasters Clubs come together for a Chapter meeting. Another intensive session filled with in-depth thoughts and perspectives, ranging from a call to conserve the environment to taking reflection of our lives to branding process. Speeches are always so educational and often inspirational.

Just like last night, I was the Language Evaluator. And this time there are some more recommendations I can share to better improve your speech prowess:

Take the time to call for action. Avoid rushing through your conclusion.

Don’t list out ways after ways without elaborating. Audience learns better by your depth. Speech making is not a running ticker tape.

If it’s controversial, it’s not instantly inspirational. You need to justify your opinions before people will agree with you. If you don’t have much time to speak in detail, don’t even bring it up.

Advanced Ways To Excel In Your Advanced Public Speeches And Presentations

January 10, 2008

Tonight was another hilarious and enjoyable session at the AIA Changi Toastmasters Club. This particular club is a super club in Singapore, having large membership numbers and achieving their President’s Distinguished Club goals year after year at super speed. And it’s so much fun, not to mention the wacky personalities you will encounter. It’s learning in the name of fun.

Of course it has serious moments too. When solemn topics and subjects are presented, the audience will listen and take notes. Quite an experience I must say. (By the way, go with an empty stomach, you’ll be well fed with different menu sets at dinner time and during tea break.)

As the Language Evaluator for the meeting, I have been kept busy throughout the session. It’s always an intriguing and fascinating experience as the LE. Since all the speeches tonight were based on Advanced Projects, I’ve also multi-tasked to take note of some of the application skills. During the break, as the speakers asked for my comments, I shared with them some tips to further help their speaking skills:

1. When it comes to oratorical reading, interpret the emotions of the original speaker. Let the audience feel what they are meant to feel. Avoid mere reading of the words. Words don’t fully convey without you putting yourself into the mood of the speaker. You must fully immerse yourself into his life and, hopefully, experience the times and challenges he faced.

2. If your presentation is done through the monodrama, remember, a stage act requires you to create the sense of space, depth and dimension for your audience. It’s not enough to merely act, you must take the design of the stage relative to your dramatic act. Remember, the key is produce a 3-dimensional show in front of your audience.

3. If you create a key yet uncommon terminology as a theme, do make sure you define it in layman’s term. Otherwise, the theme becomes diluted throughout the speech. You must also bring out the theme fairly early in your speech and allow the term to unfold itself gradually.

4. Keep in mind the story elements of plot, setting, character, conflict and action. Bind these elements cohesively to form a meaningful speech. Decide how much of these elements to use then rebalancing them during your practice. You must aim to let the audience have a sense of fulfillment and completion at the end of your speech. Strive to make these elements significant in your speech planning process.

I’ve personally tested these pointers out in other speeches and during my own speeches. They can work wonders when you put in conscious effort. Make a point to attempt advanced applications of speeches, you’ll find your speaking skills grow exceedingly well over time.

Let’s Excel Beyond Excellence!

How To Make Your Speeches Inspirational? The Key Lessons From The Art Of Inspirational Speaking

January 9, 2008

It has been years since I visited Cheng San Toastmasters Club. This is one of the first few Toastmasters Clubs that I visited when I became a Toastmaster more than a decade ago. The meeting venue has changed; the conference room has been shifted and it now holds a much larger meeting table. But the people’s warmth and friendliness has remained.

Coincidentally, a few senior Toastmasters from the Club have also returned tonight to actively attend the meeting after months and years of absence. They are the friends I’ve made during my very first visit to the Club. What a wonderful rendezvous!

As an invited Evaluator, I got to listen and evaluate the speech projects, especially the inspirational speech. In addition, I’ve also managed to share some of my recommendations with the speakers personally during the chit-chatting after the meeting regarding “The Art of Inspirational Speaking”.

Here are some of the key lessons:

1. If you have to refer to the audience, always leave a better after-taste. At the beginning of your speech, avoid putting the audience down as a strategy, especially if your speaking time is short. It will only serve as an uphill battle to uplift their spirit later on.

2. Critically understand the differences between an informative talk and an inspirational speech. A speech that is intended to inspire usually does not center on mere technical details or a series of steps or bullet points. It has to focus on tugging at the heartstrings of the audience and establish an emotional appeal towards greater goals. Study the differences, this will critically affect the way you design your speeches.

3. Focus a lot on your rapport and connection with the audience more than anything. Rapport makes the audience trust you and connection leads the audience to want more of you. You must have rapport and connection (R and C) always if you truly want to be an inspirational speaker.

4. Ensure that your speech has a simple structure and is easy to follow. The simplicity criteria holds true here. You must be able to let your audience make sense of what you are saying, instead of confusing them. If they can follow your speech, then they can get your message.

It’s always a joy and pride to share. It’s even grander and gracious to inspire. Go ahead to make that difference.

Go forth to Excel Beyond Excellence!

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 5)

January 8, 2008

At The National University of Singapore Toastmasters Club (NUSTMC) meeting tonight, we’ve had the wonderful showcase of 6 Prepared Speeches in addition to the Table Topics session. Each of the speakers displayed different skills and speaking potential. Of course, you can easily notice that everyone is in the midst of taking the enthusiastic steps towards becoming better speakers, presenters and even leaders.

As the Club’s Mentor, I am pleased that there are so many people who want to present their speech projects and their ardent display of speech competency. I also applaud their efforts and eagerness for their dedication, consistency and commitment. Keep it up, guys!

Hence, I have also made some recommendations to the various speakers to further boost their public speaking skills:

1. Avoid using examples for the sake of having examples. Some speakers decided to put in examples just because they feel there must be examples. The main point is this: you must focus and elaborate on the example’s meaning in conjunction to your message. Speeches do not simply consist of a series of examples; they must be made to come alive as a result of the appropriate examples.

(The artful use of examples is a component under “The Set Pieces of Crafting Your Speech”.)

2. Cut out the socially and culturally inappropriate words when speaking to public. It happens, yeah, words like, “damn, darn, Oh, God, screw up, blah blah blah, shit, etc”(You get the idea.) UNLESS it’s your PLANNED INTENTION to provoke the audience or make them uncomfortable, tease these words out of your speech and eliminate them.

I know it’s also an unconscious act sometimes, but that is still not an excuse for using such words. While they might serve a certain purpose, most people are not comfortable when they hear these utterances, especially from a credible speaker. I’m sure you can find better words and phrases to convey similar meanings.

Remember, you are speaking to the public. Leave such words for your private conversations, if you wish.

(Watch out for the words and phrases you use in “The Social and Cultural  Language of Public Speaking”)

3. Keep cynicism and skepticism to a minimum if your topic is solutions-based. If you want to provide solutions and advice to the audience, avoid being skeptical of what you say. The tone and appropriateness is shown most obviously through your mannerisms and attitudes. Avoid second-guessing your own “How to”s. If you are not even convinced by your own solutions, why should the audience?

(Learn to tie your speech themes and content together with the aim of “Speech Unity and Unconscious Congruence”. In this way, your audience will be much more receptive of your ideas and you will become a credible source of information.)

4. Have all parts of the speech structures well connected beforehand. There are speakers who know how to begin their speeches but do not know how to move on to the main points. On the other hand, there are those who do not know how to proceed from the main body towards concluding their speech. I’ve seen speakers jammed up on stage, at a loss of what to do when attempting to advance to the next structure.

You need “Linguistic Transitions”. You need to prepare them before you speak, unless you can think fast on your feet. Have transitional words and phrases ready in mind, so that you can easily connect the Introduction, Body and Conclusion with a smooth flow. Some of these starting transitions can be “let me first talk about…”, “as I share with you the first…”. Closing transitions include, “an overall picture of what I’ve shared looks like this..”, “Therefore, let me recap” or simply, “in conclusion”.

From the feedback of the speakers I’ve met, it’s heartening to know that many of you are finding these tips useful and practical. I’ve also noted marked improvement in your speaking abilities. I encourage you to continuously use these tips to power up your speeches.

Let’s Excel Beyond Excellence!

Still Waiting For The Next Rising Reward?

January 7, 2008

An extremely wealthy man was walking his cuddly Maltese dog one day. He was briefly distracted for a moment by the enchanting scenery. However, that second of carelessness led to the loss of his adorable dog. It simply scurry away, not to be found.

Ever worried and sorrowful, that wealthy man immediately alerted the various media in an attempt to search for his lost pet. The newspapers also published the search article in hope to help find the dog. This concerned owner also bought advertising hours on the broadcast network, both on the television and on the radio channels. After all, money wasn’t an issue to him.

During the advertisements, the same information flashed every few hours on the television program:
“Lost Maltese dog. White fur. If found, please return to owner immediately. Reward: $10,000!”

The next day and at some distance away, a beggar was yawning lazily and stretching himself on the park bench. It was time for his afternoon nap. Just when he was about to doze off on his siesta, a series of soft whining bark disturbed his supposing dream of riches.

The beggar lifted an eyelid, took a quick glance around for his sleep intruder. Just a few meters from him, was a little canine, whitish and furry. The lost Maltese dog was looking at him doe-eyed, obviously hungry and worn out.

Delighted, he picked up the tiny one and stroked its fluffy hair with his left hand. “I’ll go claim my reward now!” he smiled to himself with glee.

With the doggie in his arms, he walked past a coffee shop that was showing a broadcast. Curiously he looked up and saw a re-run of the advertisement.

It was almost the same search information… except for the numbers:
“Lost Maltese dog. White fur. If found, please return to owner immediately. Reward: $20,000!”

“$20,000!” he exclaimed. “That’s double the original reward! Hmm… I wonder what will they offer for tomorrow’s reward?”

As he was gloating over his nearing new found fortune, he took a U-turn and headed home instead. Assured that the reward will rise even higher tomorrow, he left the dog to play on its own in his tattered house.

True enough, the reward did increase the second day. And the day after, and the next…

When the reward has risen to a sky-high figure that astonished everyone, the beggar decided that it was time to return the dog to its rightful owner. He went home to get the pet, eagerly reminding himself to bring a bag for the heaps of cash he was about to collect.

As he stepped into his house, there was no barking, and no whining either. But there was a foul stench, a smell that came from a lifeless little body from a dark corner of the room. The Maltese dog had died.

You see, when it was living lavishing in its wealthy master’s home, it had top graded meat, fresh milk and supplements as nourishment for every single meal. While staying with the beggar, it had only leftovers from the rubbish chutes.

The beggar had been waiting too long for the next rising reward before he will do anything.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1. You must develop an eye for grabbing opportunities. They do come and go.

2. To act at the right time requires you to develop far-sightedness and appropriate planning.

3. Some things can wait, and some things can’t. The ability to know the difference is wisdom.

4. Take caution against analysis paralysis. (Analyze until one gets paralyzed.) 🙂

5. Acting now is sometimes better than losing it tomorrow.

Act now, Excel always!

What You Must Know About Cancer And What Can You Do About It

January 5, 2008

Health is what we need to keep life go and glowing. Meanwhile, cancer happens to be the number one (or major) cause of death in many societies. My good friend, Au Yeong, had passed me this health information. He also encouraged me to share with the people I care about…and that’s YOU!

(Besides, Au Yeong, more thanks and credits must go to Professor John Leong for his valuable advice.)

Read on, discover the facts you must know about cancer, then consider some of the things you can do:

1.      Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.

2.      Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person’s lifetime.

3.      When the person’s immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumours.

4.      When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors.

5.      To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.

6.      Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastro-intestinal tract etc, and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.

7.      Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.

8.      Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction.

9.      When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.

10.    Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.

11.    An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply.

a.     Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Sugar substitutes are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color. Better alternative is amino or sea salt.

b.    Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soya milk, cancer cells are being starved.

c.    Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment.  A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.

d.     A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells.

To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).

e.     Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine.Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer-fighting properties.
Water- it is best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.

12.    Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines become putrefied and leads to more toxic build-up.

13.   Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.

14.    Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Florssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body’s own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body’s normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.

15.    Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor.
Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.

16.    Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level.  Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.

Hope this will provide you with useful understanding and advice about cancer. May you remain healthy to Excel Beyond Excellence in life!