Use Visualization to Set Goals

Find a quiet time and a place where you can sit down comfortably at a table. Prepare a stack of papers and your favourite pen. If you prefer a computer, that would work too.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath, imagine how your life will look like into the distance future. It could be six months, one year, five years or ten years into the future. This is the moment where you can time travel. Spend as much time as you want in the future. Talk to your future self. Ask your future self, what kind of advice you should receive.

Open your eyes and start writing down the future. Put down as many details as possible. The sight. The smell. Where were you? What were you wearing? What food did you eat? How does the environment look like? Don’t think! Let your finger do the talking.

When you are done, read what you have written. Those are your goals. That is what you want for yourself.

Schedule time to re-read your writing on a regular basis. Ask yourself, whether your action, your lifestyle is leading you to that future. If not, why not? What can you do to achieve your goal sooner? What action can you take?

Visualise and take action.

Being Mature

“Stop acting like a child!”

“Grow up!”

“That person is so immature.”

When we reach adulthood, there are expectations that we have to be mature. Exactly what does it mean by “mature”? Does maturity come with age? Having childlike behaviour means immature?

I enjoy playing and I enjoy hanging out with my children. I supposed this makes me immature. If enjoy playing and acting like a child is a sign of immature. Then, I am proud to be immature.

To me, being mature means taking responsibility for everything that happens to you. A child can be mature by picking up their own toys after playing. Saying sorry by admitting to a mistake.

How mature is our society?

Lost a game and it is the referee’s fault. A toddler learning how to walk, she fumbled and started to cry. The parents slap the floor and blame the floor. The toddler quickly stops crying and start smiling. It is the floor’s fault. Employee engagement is low. It is the employee’s fault. It is the economy’s fault. It is the line manager’s fault.

We are the best. I am the best. We can do no wrong. It is everyone else’s fault. This is our society. Is this a society of maturity?

Received a customer complaint. The leadership demand a root cause analysis. Can the whole team stand up and take ownership of the problem?

The society, the business, the family, needs to change. Change to be willing to accept mistakes. By willing to accept mistakes, people are then willing to stand up and take responsibility. This is how we become mature. Only then, we all can improve.

Taking responsibility does not mean you have to shoulder everything. Taking responsibility means taking lead, taking and come to the desired conclusion. To work as a team and drive everyone towards the common goal.

Take responsibility is not going to be easy. You will not be finger pointing. It may be someone else’s fault. But, it will be up to you to take action and lead to a conclusion that you want.

Have to shut a business due to the bad economy? That’s the reality and accept it as a lesson. Better luck next time. There should be no blame. A lesson learned and get ready to take action.

Some people may even try to take advantage of you. It is all your fault! You are taking responsibility for yourself but you will not be a doormat. Does not mean you are doing the work on their behalf. You will stand up against bully because you are taking responsibility for your own well-being. If someone in your team is not pulling their own weight. We are responsible for leading the person to do what is right. A person may even have to leave, for the benefit of the team.

You will not let people sticking their fingers in your face telling you what can and cannot achieve in your life. You will take ownership of your own life’s path. You will own your mistakes.

Take the responsibility of your life and your surroundings. You will make the hard decision to say, I will take this up and I will rectify it. You will stand and face the onslaught of blame when everyone else is busy finding cover and finger pointing. You will bleed and you will cry. That’s how you become mature.

What is Success? It All Depends on You

Success

People asked me how can they become successful? I do not know. What is a success? Success changes as your life progress. It all depends on your age and perception.

When I am 8, success to me is being able to finish my homework and go out to play with my friends.

When I am 18, success to me is having a girlfriend, a car and the opportunity to study in university.

When I am 28, success to me is to have a high salary job. Satisfying job. Respect from people around me.

When I am 38, success to me is being able to see my love ones and seeing my children growing up.

I am 40 this year. My definition of success is still the same as when I am 38. I would add one more to my definition of success. It is to have good health, and remain fit.

The definition of success varies from person to person. A homeless person would see someone who has a simple home as successful. The person who has a simple home would see another person who has a larger home to be successful.

A beggar in a rich country may eat better than an ordinary person from a poor country.

The want to be successful brings energy and passion to life. That’s how many get up in the morning and seize the day. That’s how many live their life with purpose and passion.

Success also brings un-happiness and discontent. Not getting your success? It is a disappointment. Struggling to get your success? It is suffering.

Maybe true success is being able to enjoy and appreciate what we all have now. So what is your success? Share a comment.

Lessons from old Shark Tank Episodes

One of my favourite family time is watching old episodes of Shark Tank. We do not have the privilege of watching new episodes. We do not get the latest show in my country. Nonetheless, my kids love watching the show with me.

Shark Tank is a show where a business owner needed to raise cash. They have to give up a certain percentage of their business ownership for the cash. They will present their case in front of five successful entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs will ask questions about the deal and decide whether to invest.

Whenever I watch the show with my kids, I try to make it into an interactive session with the kids.

Know your numbers. When the contestants ask for a certain amount of money. I would pause the show and ask the kids how much exactly the business worth. For example, a 10,000 USD for 5% equipment would be 200,000 USD. The kids would struggle with the calculation. Soon, they got pretty good with the math.

In the show, the sharks would ask quantifying question to understand the justification of the asking price. If the contestant could not answer questions such as annual sales, annual turnover or profit. The presentation would go downhill and leave the show with an empty hand. The same applies to work, we have to know our numbers. The basic numbers. Before going into any meeting or presentation, always expect this kind of questions.

Sometimes people can be jerks. In the show, some of the sharks would say something hurtful or put-down. My kids have to learn the hard lesson that not everyone is nice. If we need or want something from someone. We have surrendered part of ourselves to them. That’s why that certain person feels that they can put us down.

There is a difference between being candid and a jerk. The line sometimes can be blurry. A candid feedback tells us how to do better. It is up to the listener to differentiate. A candid feedback is always welcomed. It is like taking bitter medicine. We need the medicine to be better.

Not all decisions are good decisions. One of our favourite activity is to Google the businesses or the deals that were featured. The is the great thing about watching old episodes of Shark Tank. We can quickly find out what happened to the deal. Sometimes, the business did well without any investment from the sharks. Sometimes, the business fumbled even though there was a deal with the sharks.

We do our best to make a decision based on what we know. We have to accept that not all decisions will have a positive outcome.

Only invest in the industry that you know. The sharks have a variety of background. My kid’s favourite is Mark Cuban. In their eyes, Mark Cuban is the more successful shark amongst the sharks. During the show, the sharks have many times said that they will not invest because they are not familiar with the industry. My simple observation is that Mark is generally interested in IT business.

This is a life lesson here. We will have many opportunities. Not all opportunities are equal. We have to be selective. Only pick up opportunities that excite you and have a low learning curve. If you are going for a moon shot, make sure there is a good learning lesson regardless of the outcome.

Hard work and more hard work. Many of the business owners have worked hard on their business before coming up to the show. Securing a deal from the sharks does not mean the business owners can take a back seat. As a matter of fact, there is more hard work. The sharks will no doubt drive the business owners harder and be more successful. The shark’s money is at stake.

You can always walk away. This is probably the most important lesson. If the deal is not what you want. You can always walk away from the deal. There is nothing to lose. Sharks would always bully contestant and pressure them into a deal.

It is also true that:

“50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.”

If an offer does not align with your vision or your principles, it is better to walk away.

There is always a side that you never see. I always remind the kids that Shark Tank is a show. In reality, the conversation between contestant and the sharks is always longer. The purpose is to entertain the audiences and keep their interest glue to the television. Do not take everything on face value.

When we read or listen, take everything with a pinch of scepticism. Are we listening to things that we just want to listen to? That’s confirmation bias. Is the news feed reporting the whole truth, or it is just telling us what agency wants us to know?

If we look hard enough, there are many lessons that we can draw from life. Not necessary by watching a TV show.

What do I know? I am not an entrepreneur nor a shark.

Video: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink is a retired US Navy Seal. I learned about Jocko through Tim Ferriss’s podcast. If there is such thing as a real life terminator – Jocko is it.

He is a proponent in waking up early and start the day. He gets up a 4:30 am. I have tried doing that. Certain days I can do it. Certain days I failed to get up at the designated time. Having failed, but I would still get up earlier than usual and still get more things done than my regular schedule.

His idea in Extreme Ownership is by far the simplest and straight forward in life management. Check out his podcast and enjoy the video below.