With education and entrepreneurship at the core of everything I do, this blog serves to provide you with information from my perspective, based on my knowledge, skills and experience on various issues close to my heart namely, general education, peacebuilding, public speaking, civil society and theatre/ drama.
We all have our own unique ways of trying to get the best out of what we do, some of us do it better than others, some of us just never seem to be able to do it at all but there are always times when we’ve managed to get it done.
So, here are some simple ways on trying to be great at what you do and feeling great about it, day in, day out. Not to mention, having more time for yourself and your loved ones to do other things!
- List of Things To Do
Having this list, helps you prepare yourself in more ways that one. You prep yourself up mentally which is the most important thing and then you physically prep yourself up as well at the same time.I have found this to be extremely useful and I use it a lot, especially when I have too many thoughts in my head. I pen it all down and get right down to business once I’ve straightened things out.
- Prioritizing Things To Do First
Having the list is great but without prioritizing which should get done first, you’d end up never finishing your tasks.The urgent items may not be the first items that you want to get done first because it may be the items that will take the longest time. You really need to have a good feel of the time required for each task to be completed.Personally, I like to mix it up both because as a task oriented person, I don’t like to move until I get things done and this includes meals and toilet breaks. So, I’ll plan for some quick tasks between the long ones.
- Finding Your Point of Focus
There’s really no point of having the first two things done if you never get into focus. Shutting yourself off from the distractions will help and ensuring that you are just comfortable enough to do work is just as important. Too comfortable and you’d be too relaxed and you don’t get any work done.Here’s what I like to do when I’m at home, I sit under the fan, close the door to my room, keep my mobile phone away from me or I’ll just ignore calls/msgs from it and I’ll just ensure it’s just me and my work, nothing else. No music, no tv, although at times I do tune in when I need to get momentum going. (Only news channels because they are serious and I feel the seriousness)
- Celebrate With Each Task Completed
I celebrate small successes. I really do. When I complete a task, I reward myself with a drink or a chocolate or a toilet break or I just take a short break to stretch – nothing more than 5 minutes or I will lose focus and interest.At times, I might do a victory dance or give words of encouragement to myself.YES, I talk to myself. Self-psychosis helps me a lot. Some people think it’s dumb. I think they never heard of the phrase, “What you believe you can conceive, you can achieve”.
- Share Your Achievements
You’ll realize that when you start to do this, whatever work you were working on seems to be achievable and when you do manage to complete it, don’t forget to share your achievements with others!You share because sharing is caring. You share because you are proud of what you have achieved and could possibly inspire others to do the same.But most importantly, you share because when you start sharing and people believe and start looking up to you, there’s a standard that you have set on yourself and a standard that others have on you. This standard will ensure that you will keep up with this discipline each and every single time, every single day!
By sharing, you place your reputation on the line and when people have high hopes on you, you wouldn’t want to disappoint them would you?
By sharing this to you, it is a commitment on myself to continuously keep up with this discipline that I have set for myself since I was young. I was taught to have this discipline from my parents and now, I’m sharing it with you.
So, if you believe this has been helpful for you, share it with others as well because YOU CAN DO IT!
“Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. Your words are the greatest power you have. The words you choose and their use establish the life you experience.” ~ Sonia Croquette
In the past week, Singapore has seen itself divided by a FB posting from an NUS Professor, Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied, of which his FB postings had ran afoul of the LGBTQ community because of some words that were considered ‘hate speech’.
For those of you who have watched the speech on ‘Exercising Importance of Interfaith-Intercultural Understanding (for work & personal)’, some key points which were highlighted, are reflective of the situation that the Prof and others before him who have been made famous through the internet, have found themselves in.
While the two examples shared in the speech were regarding the cultural relationship between Foreigners and Singaporeans, it also mentioned Singaporeans albeit a lesser emphasis on it and the other social issues grappling Singaporeans as much as the rest of the world.
But one thing for sure, the takeaway from this case, is as mentioned in the speech,
(With regards to the use of the internet) “When used incorrectly and negatively, we stir misunderstandings, misconceptions and an inevitable feeling of resentment and hate, which spreads faster than anything good. Rarely do we see good and positive things go viral. Most things that spread like wildfire are stories of negativity, hate and resentment.”
“Living in a small country like Singapore, we need to be extra conscious of our actions all the time. The words we speak, the photos and captions we choose to upload online will affect the country.”
Moving forward, I hope we can see a more compassionate community, regardless of who that person is.
Sharing with you a bit of what I learnt from Restorative Justice during my fellowship at University of California, Irvine, we need to separate the sin from the sinner because while the sin is bad, the person is good.
It was simply a case of the good person who committed a sin (and this is for you to decide on who the person is and what the sin is).
As part of my Community Solutions Program Fellowship follow-on project, a speech highlighting importance of Interfaith-Intercultural Understanding at Singapore Polytechnic to graduating students of Diploma in International Business.
If you are interested to have an Interfaith-Intercultural Understanding Program workshop for your school/organizations, email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Other workshops available:
- Positive Bystander Intervention
- Successful Events Management
- Personal Leadership Planning
- and many more!
Follow me on twitter @AbdillahZamzuri
Business schools would traditionally teach you The Marketing Mix comprising of the 4Ps: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. However, in this new world of business, it encompasses of 3 more Ps for a complete Marketing Mix but before we get into that, lets go through the first 4Ps that we have all learnt.
Essentially what you are selling. The item or service. It doesn’t have to be the best in the market, it just needs to be better than what is already available in the market currently.
Price & Place
To put the right price to your product. You need a bit of economics (this is why you learn the crazy econs in business school) as well as the next P, Place.
In a place where your product is not in demand, it may not even sell or even if it sells, it has to be sold at a really low price to attract people to buy.
In a place where your product is high in demand, you can price the product a bit better by controlling your supply. Like in Singapore, housing prices are high because it is high in demand but low in supply. But in bigger countries with more land and the proportion of people to space is larger, housing prices are low because demand is low but it has a huge surplus of land/houses.
Last but not least, the last P.
Working on this last P is where the 3 new Ps also come into place and here’s what they are: Psychology, People and Passion.
To develop a good Promotion, the company needs to understand the Psychology of the consumers. This is where the research team comes in to perform a Quantitative and Qualitative data research and analysis, to find out what are the needs of the people, what do they watch, what do they read, where do they get their information from and what are their motivations to make a purchase.
Then, to promote, the company needs to hire the right People with the Passion to connect with other people and sell using Psychology. This can come in two key forms; Advertising and Sales Team.
In Advertising, the team would need to establish the best outreach method to get the product out to as many people as possible. Having an awesome product in the right country with a major need for it still won’t sell because no one knows. So, the job of the advertising team is to develop content strategy based on the needs of the people, their habits of receiving information and motivations to buy and eventually come up with a Newspaper Advert, Radio Advert, TV Advert or Billboard or whatever that fits best into the Place.
In Sales, the team needs to bring in people who are good at interpersonal relationships to do the same thing as what the advertisers and research team has done – to assess the needs, motivations of the potential buyers and to suggest/recommend the product and to position the product in the capacity that would best meet those needs shared earlier.
And of course, Passion is important because without it, how is it to sustain?
So, there you have it, the New Marketing Mix:
Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Psychology, People and Passion
Life hands us different cards when we were born, one which we have no control over and if you are a Muslim like me, you’d also believe that your entire life has already been chartered – Qada’ and ‘Qadar, but this does not mean that we are limited by what we can pursue in life because we still have the freedom to choose and this is where the challenge lies for each and every single one of us given the circumstances that we begin with.
Some of us were born with the best of cards and some of us were born with the least of the good cards and these are the cards that we can never change and will remain with us throughout our entire life. It forms part of who we are, our history and are the building blocks of our foundation and life story.
Through the choices that our family make for us when we were younger, we were handed some tools in life. These are the tools that would essentially be one of the many guiding tools that we would use throughout our life – our beliefs and values.
For some of us, our beliefs and values are guided by religion and for some of us, by the cultures that we were born into, but for most of us, our beliefs and values are a combination of religion and our cultural heritage. These tools, they continue to grow as we learn more about our religion, culture as well as information that we read and experience through different sources that we come across either by our own choice or coincidence (though if you are Muslim, nothing is ever coincidental since it’s already been pre-determined).
With such growing tools that we have in our repertoire, we begin to use them in our decision making skills, each and every single time we are dealt with options. We begin to dig deep into our repertoire of knowledge and understanding, analyze the options, weigh the emotions and then we make our choice.
At times, the options or decisions or choices that we have to make in life questions or goes against our beliefs and values that we have learnt from our religion and the cultures that we were raised in but the information and additional knowledge that we come across over the years provides us with an alternative option that would perhaps seem to be something new that we could carve out, a new path that we could take as opposed to the traditional paths and for those courageous enough, they take this new path.
And whilst there is no study on understanding of the psychology of how people make their decisions on, it could be due to how strong the individual feels grounded by it’s religious and cultural beliefs and values. Religion as we know it, not only provide guidance on beliefs and values, but also on the type of decisions or choices to take. Culture on the other hand, is decided by a group of people living together.
With each decision or choice to be taken, there is always a consequence that comes with it – a sin or a good deed and frowned or liked upon. Some sins are considered small sins, which could be easily forgiven and some are big sins, whose consequence is so huge, the type of punishment meted out could even mean death. That said, even some small sins though easily forgiven, may never be forgiven because when it is a sin committed on a person, forgiveness can only come from the one who had been sinned.
Regardless of the degree of the sin, all sins can be forgiven, provided there is repentance and sincere effort made to never again repeat those sins – making a different choice when faced with the same decision making process.
Of course, some choices made as a result of our strong religious and cultural beliefs and values, leaves us feeling dissatisfied and unhappy, and that is perhaps the challenge for every human being – to be able to resist making choices that makes us happy all the time for the ‘greater good’ of the larger society and for some of us, for the afterlife.
Surely, the struggles we face in our decision making process because of how strongly we feel or are grounded by our beliefs and values is not one that is easy for anyone to make but the choices made must be respected, because it is the choice of the individual making it, not the onlooker.
Most of us have heard of Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) or Network Marketing or Pyramid Marketing. It’s very commonly heard and it’s been around for quite some time. Even ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ author, Robert Kiyosaki speaks about it in his book and says that MLM will be business in the future or so it seems.
So, this post is dedicated to all those who are wondering how to spot if your friend(s) is involved in one!
- It starts with a pitch by the ‘agent’ on the possibility or opportunity to make more money without revealing what or how it’s done OR asking you if you wanted to be their business partner. (No one becomes a business partner easier than MLM)
- To learn or know more about it, you’d have to attend a specific function.
- At the event, you will see highly enthusiastic people with so much positive energy. Not that it’s bad, it creates the ‘culture shock’ effect for the new faces. For those unfamiliar with such environments, it is a fresh one for them since most of the time in their life, they would have been pretty miserable.
- The products, in the past 10 – 15 years have remained fairly consistent, health and wellness products. In the past, they said it’s to serve the baby boom who have since grown old. Now, it’s about you wanting to give a better life to your family.
- Once you’ve attended the ‘seminar’, your friend will pull you to the side, sit you down and ask you a few questions…..
- “What do you think about it?”
- “Do you think it’s something that will benefit you/your family?”
If you answered ‘POSITIVELY’ to both, you’re an easy kill.
If you didn’t, a bit more probing will be done through some careful leading questioning techniques which you will eventually find yourself convincing yourself that it’s good, regardless how sceptical you are about it.
Once that’s done, depending on prior information that your friend has supplied to his ‘upline’, seating positions takes place. If you’re right handed, the upline will seat on your right and your friend will take his place on your left. It’s actually a really good sales strategy, ‘cornering’.
Then the closing techniques will take place.
It’s throwing the curve ball back at you basically if your response initially was positive but turned negative since you decided that you needed a bit more time to think about signing up. (Good to keep your wallet elsewhere when you attend their events or to request time to do more research on it. These days, with a smart phone, just Google ‘Company XYZ Scam’. You should get a few hits if it’s not legitimate)
But here’s THE BEST PART ABOUT KNOWING that your friend is in an MLM company.
Your friend will take photo of him/herself with a stack of money and pose with it with some very positive and energetic words! Now, who doesn’t love and want more money right?
So, how does MLM work?
The sales and recruitment strategies have remained the same, get a few downlines to form your own pyramid and receive overriding commission based on sales by your downline. It’s a multiplier effect and to such point whereby you no longer have to recruit or sell, because it then becomes passive income and that’s the keyword that every single person wants to hear.
Some companies require a ‘membership’ fee and if they’ve got products, some will require that you buy these products as your inventory to sell. Whether or not you can move your products will depend on how desperate you are to recover your ‘invested’ money and to make a commission. For those that don’t require product sales, it’s all purely based on recruitment fees. So, once the recruitment stops, that’s when the whole thing fails.
Product training is provided but for what I’ve seen and observed before, the products/services are never registered or legally approved by the local government and therefore, it is often sold as a revolutionary product that is currently seeking its credentials in the market and you don’t want to miss out on it or miss out on benefitting your loved ones. Or they’ll tell you that it’s a really popular brand in some XYZ country and trying to open a new market here but doesn’t want to go over the counter, prefers personal sales touch.
I’m not doubting on the products but if the company really has confidence in the product, shouldn’t it be registered and checked by the governing bodies to certify it safe for use.
I’ve always enjoyed attending to such MLM seminars or attend the trainings provided because they do provide pretty good sales training strategies and you will get the energy boost you are looking for!
In some cases, you might get a cult-like feeling with some cool and fancy handshakes or cheers!
For the past 30 years since 1984, Singapore has been celebrating Total Defence Day. A day where we attempt outline the importance of maintaining peace and harmony that we have enjoyed in Singapore, having overcome what was considered the most tumulous period of Singapore’s history in the early 60′s through to the early 80′s.
Over the course of the time that I’ve been a student, I’ve watched, listened and even participated in Total Defence Day proudly, pledging my allegiance to defend Singapore.
But alas, in recent years, I’ve come to noticed that Total Defence Day is all but a mere celebration of peace and harmony. The structures and policies that we have been accustomed to, have not been adjusted to manage the changing times. Singaporeans have continued to be told over the years to toe the line and not to fall over onto the other side, but the truth is, many have and many want to.
The sudden boom of the internet in the late 90′s and the way people have been able to connect to one another since 2006 with the advent of Facebook has seen the world take to the internet, and to people differently.
- Human to Human connection is at best, defined through social media connections – however best you define it.
- Individuals are the best source and worst source of news – but they still provide better insight and perspective than mainstream media.
- Individuals are creating news through their own social media outlets – some good, some bad.
And all these connections on the internet play a big role in Social Defence.
If the Singapore government considers manpower our biggest asset in nation building, Social Defence is no doubt the biggest and most important from the rest (Military, Civil, Economic and Psychological) in this current day and age.
Our Social Defence is weak and here are my reasons why:
- Quite a number of Singaporeans are a bunch of racists, when it comes to foreigners. Have you read the online chatter every single time a news about a foreigner committing a crime? One of the few things you can expect to read is “Send them back home” or “Must be from (country)”.
- Singaporeans lack an understanding of the different cultures and faiths. We are no longer just a majority Chinese, Malay and Indian nation with a very small minority of Others. Singapore has a diverse population of Others and this needs to be acknowledged and accepted by all Singaporeans.
- Singaporeans lack in compassion. No need to talk much, just look at the kind of things people post up on STOMP.
- Community Programmes are focused on how to react, rather than how to prevent. Think about all the community programmes that you have attended? How many actually teach us how to prevent things from happening. Most are a reaction to something that happens. It’s what I’d describe as a Preventive-Reactive Measure, the act of prevention in response to something that might happen again.
On point 4, I really don’t know if it’s fair or not to pin the blame on the government. Probably our government just doesn’t have the social foresight or simply refuses to listen to its people who share or practice selective listening, because most of the recent issues we see today could have been predicted years ago.
From the recent Little India riots to Anton Casey to Amy Cheong to our ‘Liltte Terrorists’, these were all incidents that could have been avoided but our sights were set on Military, Civil and Economic Defence. Little attention had been paid to Psychological and Social Defence, not until the recent General Elections.
As how most of us know, we are a nanny state and in a nanny state like Singapore, Peace & Harmony is determined by a set of rules and guidelines, one of the best being ‘no speaking or discussion on topics related to race or religion publicly’. Not unless it is done with full government support and under government purview, which would likely only end up in something surface value and celebratory, like how your mother would ‘hush’ you when you tried to say something she prefers not to hear but is extremely important to you, and if word does get out, she pinches you to silence you.
She hopes that the pinch will give you enough pain to remind you not to speak of it again, ever. If you slip it out, you’re getting a slap next until the pain is delayed to when you get home and receive a good caning. Throughout all that pain and suffering you go through, your mother still loves you and you still remain dependent on your mom.
And that’s exactly how I see the Singaporeans relationship with the Singapore government.
Singaporeans are over-reliant on the government to do the things for them and when the government does something wrong, Singaporeans whine and then the government corrects it and hands over goodies for us to suck on. When Singaporeans do wrong, the authorities acting on behalf of the government punishes us, with hopes that we learn to correct our mistake and never commit them again.
“Spare the rod, spoil the child”
But things have changed, when I was in the States, I was introduced to the concept of Restorative Justice and I loved it. It defines what peacebuiling is all about, separating the sin from the sinner, and giving the sinner an opportunity to contribute meaningfully back to society.
Unfortunately, this is probably something both the Singaporean government and its people will have trouble adjusting to because it would mean that for every person sentenced to prison, we are putting them back into society to perform ‘community service’ as part of their prison rehabilitation. They are given the opportunity to learn how to rebuild the trust that has been lost not just to the victim, but also to the community and society they have hurt, vice-versa.
I found this to be extremely empowering and serves to be a very humane tool of rehabilitation, opposed to our current jail time and caning system and this is what I would consider as a pretty good form of Social Defence since it works on Singapore’s favourite preventive-reactive measure.
Economically, it’s also been proven to reduce cost. USD$150,000/year to put someone in jail as opposed to USD$10,000/year for such a programme.
I SAY IT’S DAMN GOOD!