How teenager Malala Yousafzai changed the world

November 5th, 2015   •   no comments   

Malala Quote 2

Courtesy of The Legacy Project

“Let us pick up our books and our pens,” I said. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is not your typical teenager.

While others her age were taking selfies of themselves on Instagram, or posted about the food they ate or outfits of the day they wore, Malala worked feverishly to change the destiny of millions of girls in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Winner of the Noble Prize for Peace in 2014, Malala used her impressive skills in written and oratorical skills to stand up for children’s education. A member of the Pashtun tribe in the picturesque Swat Valley of Pakistan, her life story was truly remarkable.
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How being vulnerable can transform our lives

October 6th, 2015   •   1 comment   

How being vulnerable transforms our lives Brene Brown

Courtesy of TED Talks

What do courage and joy have in common? How do we live fuller and more wholehearted lives by daring greatly?

The answers to these questions and more were answered in Daring Greatly by storytelling researcher and psychologist Dr Brené Brown. Exploring the width and depth of how we live, love and engage with one another, Daring Greatly challenges us to defy the prevailing social climate of scarcity in order to live and love more wholeheartedly.
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The $100 Startup [Book Review]

August 24th, 2015   •   no comments   

The $100 Start Up

How do we escape the 9-5 shackles of corporate drudgery to build a life of adventure, meaning and purpose? Can we do this with $100 (or less) in our pocket?

The answer to both questions is yes. At least according to Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup.
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This book brought tears of sweet nostalgia to my eyes

July 28th, 2015   •   1 comment   

Singapore in the 60s

Do you know that Dhoby Ghaut, which means “washing place”, got its name from dhobis or laundry men who plied their trade there?

Or that dead pigs could sometimes be seen floating along the river near Queenstown back in the 60s?
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How LEGO rewrote the rules of innovation

July 26th, 2015   •   no comments   

LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon

LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon – the most highly sought after toy for geeks! (source of image)

Everybody loves LEGO. Boys, girls, mums, dads, and construction toy geeks of all ages.

However, do you know that the world’s favourite toy building blocks is also a powerhouse of innovation?
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10 Steps to Reinventing You

July 12th, 2015   •   no comments   

10 Steps to Reinventing You by Dorie Clark
Dorie Clark wants to reinvent you (image via HBR Facebook)

You’ve slogged hard for years. Maybe even decades. Somewhere along the way, you lost your mojo.

Maybe work isn’t as fulfilling or meaningful as before. Or you realise that you haven’t made any progress in years.

What should you do under these circumstances?
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QR Codes and Other Epic Marketing Fails

June 15th, 2015   •   2 comments   

QR Codes Kill Kittens

QR Codes. They are the greatest thing since sliced bread. After all, they allow you to “gamify” your business in clever and inventive ways right?

Wrong! Well, at least according to “UnMarketer” Scott Stratten.
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The Motivation Manifesto [Book Review]

June 1st, 2015   •   no comments   

Brendon Burchard Motivation Manifesto

New York Times bestselling author Brendon Burchard should know a thing or two about motivation.

Touted as a leading personal development expert, Brendon has a huge following on social media. His previous books such as The Charge (see my book review here) literally flew off the shelves.

Centred on nine “declarations of personal power”, Brendon’s latest offering The Motivation Manifesto isn’t a step-by-step guide to wealth, power and fame. Instead, it is about how we can gain greater personal freedom so that we can lead motivated and meaningful lives, unencumbered by fear and oppression.

On Freedom, Fear and Motivation

The first section of the book defines three key attributes of human nature: personal freedom, fear, and motivation. It urges readers to gain liberty from the chains of social oppressions and fear, so that we can have a “heightened sense of genuineness and joy in our being”. By achieving personal freedom, we can live freely and spontaneously, pursue abundance in health, wealth and happiness, love freely, and serve our desired life mission.

To achieve personal growth, we ought to recognise how fear has socially conditioned us, and to be wary of fear mongers. By choosing to live courageously, we can defeat the fear propagated by “worriers, weaklings and the wicked”.

Beyond overcoming fear, the book also teaches us how we can spark, sustain and amplify motivation. This involves making and committing to clear choices, contemplating and focusing our minds on the end goal, and surrounding ourselves with the right people and environment.

The 9 Declarations of Power

How then do we attain personal freedom? The Motivation Manifesto describes nine personal declarations which we can practice.

1) We Shall Meet Life with Full Presence and Power

To experience life in all its glory and power, we need to bring our full consciousness to the present. This requires us to release the past (both hurts and joys), forget about the future, and face the reality of the moment full-on. Here, we are told to play four key roles:

  • Observer: Be able to hover above our lives through greater self-awareness and consciousness;
  • Director: Be proactive in intentionally creating and shaping our lives;
  • Guardian: Protect our mind, body and soul from “unwanted contaminants” like negative information, people and habits;
  • Warrior: Be bold in working relentlessly hard to pursue our dreams;
  • Lover: Be interested in and caring for others; and
  • Leader: Provide leadership and direction to unite and lift those around us.

2) We Shall Reclaim Our Agenda

This declaration implores us to restore our life’s agenda by overcoming the chains of conformity and webs of distraction. To do so, we should seek clarity, direction and progress in what we do. A good way to do so involves creating a written manifesto outlining what our lives are truly about. After charting our own course, we should pursue it with “real force, will, and consistency” and not cave in to the expectations of others.

3) We Shall Defeat Our Demons

The greatest enemy is often within us. This “demon”, also known as defiance, has three ugly heads: doubt; delay and division. To overcome these negative traits, we can do the following:

  • Transform the negative language of doubt (“What if…”), with faith (“I believe I can…”);
  • Transform delay (“Wait! Please! Stop!”) with action; and
  • Transform division (negative perception of others) with loving actions.

4) We Shall Advance with Abandon

Embracing the view that reality can be bended (Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field” anyone?), we are encouraged to pursue sustained and determined action. Along the way, we will experience both progress and struggles.

Whatever comes our way, we should fight for our dreams, and advance forward without needing to “wait for permission, proper timing, or ease”.

5) We Shall Practice Joy and Gratitude

To be a joyous master of life, the book propels us to maintain our joy and gratitude even in the midst of hardship, pain or injustice. Doing so requires us to embrace a sense of wonder and to “be curious, release expectation and take pleasure in small things”.

To make this a daily habit, we should measure our joy and gratitude with each task we undertake, asking ourselves, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much joy and gratitude am I bringing to this moment?”

6) We Shall Not Break Integrity

Integrity is about keeping our character, connections and contributions aligned and congruent to our true selves. To do so, we should practice the six practices of integrity:

  • Think before we act;
  • Never commit to anything we lack passion in;
  • Keep our word;
  • Always treat others with respect;
  • Tell the truth; and
  • Always favour action.

Beyond these practices, we should also beware of what Brendon term the seven temptations: impatience, disappointment, desperation, aggression, hurt, loyalty, and power.

7) We Shall Amplify Love

By proclaiming that nothing is “more awe-inspiring, more human and transfixing than unfiltered, unashamed love”, the book urges us to give and live in love.

Linking love to life’s animating energy and true divinity, we are taught how we can open our hearts, achieve breakthroughs in life, and elevate ourselves to a higher spiritual plane. Finally, we are reminded that love isn’t just intent but action.

8) We Shall Inspire Greatness

Greatness can only be achieved as our life’s destiny if we dare to rise above the mediocre standards of the world. Once again, Brendon provides a checklist – this comes in the form of nine rather self-explanatory virtues of greatness:

  • Honesty
  • Responsibility
  • Intelligence
  • Excellence
  • Courage
  • Respect for others
  • Vigilance
  • Service
  • Unity

9) We Shall Slow Time

Last but not least, we are encouraged to embrace practices which deepen our engagement with the moment rather than be “numb and unaware of our senses and surroundings”.

To slow time, we should first take deeper and longer breaths, allow our five senses (sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing) to absorb the moment, and attune our awareness to receive sensations.

A Motivational Call To Arms

Written in a passionate prose, The Motivation Manifesto seeks to blend philosophy, psychology and neuroscience into its pages. The book works as a clarion call, seeking to ignite the hearts of world weary corporate warriors and lead them to a more enlightened path.

Personally, I found the book a motivating and inspirational read. I couldn’t avoid nodding my head in agreement as I devoured its pages, seeking sustenance and guidance during a time of self-reflection and renewal.

Let me end with a quote from none other than Paulo Coelho (of The Alchemist fame):

The Motivation Manifesto is a poetic and powerful call to reclaim our lives and find our own personal freedom. It’s a triumphant work that transcends the title, lifting the reader from mere motivation into a soaringly purposeful and meaningful life. I love this book. – Paulo Coelho

Three Ways to Gamify Your Business

May 7th, 2015   •   1 comment   

Gamification Revolution Book

Do you know that in 1795, French despot Napoleon Bonaparte offered 12,000 francs as a reward for a grand challenge to preserve food?

Or that Nike’s gamified platform Nike+ helped it to capture nearly 50% of the running shoe market?
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10 Human Drives That Make You Alive

April 26th, 2015   •   no comments   

Brendon Burchard

Brendon Burchard (source of image)

What makes us truly alive in whatever we do? How can we lead lives brimming with energy, engagement and enthusiasm?

Enter The Charge. Subtitled “Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive”, this easily read tome provides lots of fodder for anybody seeking to achieve more with life.
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