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Posts from the ‘execution’ Category

Big Fish in Small Pond vs Small Fish in The Ocean

 You can argue for both sides and there will be no concrete conclusion even after all the dust settled from the battle of these two sides.

In his “David vs Goliath” book, Malcolm Gladwell argues that we’d better off with choosing to be in the small pond. My simple take from his argument, it only creates undue stress to be competing in the vast ocean. Even if you are actually a top performer.

Personally, I can attest to this idea of choosing to be in the small pond.

This inclination comes from a long experience:  more than a decade of working experience (and also from more than a decade of academic experience).

And yes, I have been in both ‘habitat’ — small pond and big ocean. A period of being in the small pond during my formative years, a long period of being in the big ocean during my ‘rebellious’ teenage years to my early years of working in the corporate world; and recently  I have been settling in a rather relatively small (to medium) working environment.

Your viewpoint of the world is shaped through your experience as well as through the input from others. These significant others and most influential thoughts leaders also play a great role in adding the ‘color‘ into your perspectives.

Getting back to the idea of choosing between being in the small pond or in a big ocean, I would definitely say that there is no right or wrong answer. You still need to be decisive when this ‘conundrum’ comes to you. Calculate the potential upside (and the risks too). And go for it. Have a concrete plan to ride in this interesting journey. You will never know your limit until you try it — and even the limitation can be enhanced.

Am I in a small pond or a big ocean right now? Neither.

It’s a ‘rapid’ leading to the vast ocean (again)…





“It’s already 5PM and I still have not done anything..”

I often told this to myself at work and sometimes I still do.

There are lots of productivity apps out there and there are also lots of books on how to be productive too.

And I consider myself as a junkie when it comes to consuming all those two tools (apps and books) in helping me to be more productive.

Has it been a success for me on leaning to the productivity tools? Well.. Yes,  I might say to a varying degree.

My favorite apps now:  way of life and

Books? I somehow stopped reading the books for a while because I want to focus on reading “Antifragility” by Nassim Taleb. Well, the book can somehow help in pursuing my productive self. But the main reason that I am reading the is that I am following a reading group on that book. I am ‘testing’ whether I can increase my level of reading comprehension by joining the group read. And on top of that we also are trying to find ways to apply the take aways from the book to our real life.

And lately I have new ‘tool’ to keep focus on achieving my goal. An accountability partner. The partner and I meet once a week to follow up on our commitment in chasing my goal.

I can surely attest that the ‘partnership’ is working for me. I followed through my commitment to write a blog this week (yep, this the BLOG).

Leap of Faith




When was the last time that you took a leap of faith?

Was it a calculated risk? Did you prepare all the necessary risk mitigants?

The well trodden path might provide you with reliable road signs. The problem is that, the last time I checked, the well trodden path was in its ‘rush hour’. The road is still so jam packed that to even call it a rat race is an understatement.

So what to do now?

‘Beef up’ yourself for a rough journey. Strength and endurance — both figuratively and literally speaking — are the necessary factors. Gear yourself up — as the sufficient factor — with the necessary tool (a reliable GPS is definitely a must).

Now that you are in the physical and mental  state like an Olympic athlete, you know that you are ready.


picture credit:


P.S. In case that you are still wondering about the picture.. It’s the pit from Batman movie of Dark Knight Rises where Bruce Wayne took the leap without the safety rope to climb up.

On Free Writing [Write Your 2013 Now]

I love Sunday.

My own version of paradise is to sit at home on a Sunday afternoon and watch movies with my loved ones. So relaxing…

Half of the time if not most of the time, I would have a mini-sleep or dozed off during the movie… Perhaps due to the strenuous long run prior to the movie watching.

Yesterday, it was a bit different. My better half picked ‘Sixth Sense’ as our Sunday afternoon movie. It brought fond memories since this is the one of the first movies that we watched during our ‘dating years’ back in college years.

What’s interesting.. I learned new thing from this movie: free writing. It’s the exercise of writing down your thoughts and keep writing and pouring the thoughts to dig your inner most ‘creative’ side. …Or perhaps to dig down deep in your subconscious part of the brain.

Yesterday, I did not doze off during the movie watching session. The conversation on free writing sparked an idea in my head.

Hey, I could actually use this newly-found tool to plan for my new year’s resolutions!

I simply write down my goals in this coming year and try to picture myself already (almost) finishing 2013 with all the written goals achieved.

The exercise simply energized me! The feeling that you are ‘THERE’ is quite powerful.

Having been energized, the thoughts are overflowing in my head. How I feel when I achieve the goals. I can picture the obstacle which I overcame. Working through the limit by going around the ‘barrier’ .. One thought leaps to another and spurs branches of thoughts.

The challenge will be to reconcile the seemingly disparate thoughts into coherent and structured ones so that the words can be ‘ACTIONABLE’ in time when the implementation part comes..

Try it yourself.

1. Imagine you are at the end of 2013 with all the achieved goals.

How do you feel? By feeling this surge of energy, I can assure you that you will be ‘dizzy’ with abundance of possibilities that you can write or should I say you can plan to do in order to achieve in this coming year.

2. Write and write and write. Do not worry whether your thoughts make good sense or not (at least not for now).

3. Reconcile the thoughts. You can frame the thoughts in simple chronological order (e.g. the timeline on initiatives that you need to implement) or cause and effect or even perhaps issue and solution.

To give you a glimpse of my exercise:

” It’s the time of the year again, December. Yep, the Mayans were out stone perhaps or other logistics to create their calendar  beyond 2012.. We are already in 2013 and I feel so blessed to hit my long time goal of publishing my own book. Any intellectual(s) [with strong alter ego] would have got the same ambition or dream: to be an author or influential thinker. I could have done this without the strong support from my loved ones to help me go through the grind every single day. A page a day. A dozen of pages during the weekend. Daily reminder of how I should progress.. Inch by inch.. The stacks of printed papers grow taller…”

What do you think?

Do try this free writing and share your thoughts.

My Take On Life of Pi — A Lesson in Life (and also Leadership & Management)

“Above all.. Don’t lose hope” Pi Patel (from Life of Pi)

Think you have a hard life? A difficult tasks? A very demanding client?

Be resourceful. Human beings are very resilient by nature.

Dig down and dig deeper inside your mind.

Leverage your experience.

Chase your goal(s)!

Pi Patel utilized his knowledge and applied it to survive his ‘adventure’ being drifted in the ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger.

Had he lost his hope during that long 227 days, he would have literally..  died.

I know it’s a fictitious character; however I truly believe that the story resonates with most of us in living our own ‘adventure’.

Pi Patel did not know that it would take 227 days to finally reach the shore. He persisted nevertheless (with the ‘help’ of Richard Parker, the Bengal Tiger).

We can a learn a lot from the story..

1. Know your goal (Stay alive and reach the shore).

2. List down your resources (Food and other supplies).

3. Test your assumption in dealing with the problem — to see whether it deliver the intended solution (how to co-exist in the small boat with tiger — again how to stay alive)

4. If the first test fails then try again (first attempt did not deliver the result, the tiger could not care less about Pi pissing the boat to mark his territory — the tiger pissed back at him; he persisted and tried again with different ways)

So are you still floating or drifting in your own Pacific ocean?

There will be the day when you reach that shore.

Until that day comes, enjoy the scenery.. The flying fish, the starry nights , the majestic whale..

All the awe-inspiring sights!!!

The Incrementalist

I “borrow’ this term from Scott Belsky’s inspiring book: “Making Ideas Happen”.

Basically, the incrementalist is the combination of the “dreamer” and  the “doer”.

Someone who loves new ideas or concepts and at the same time he/she is also — in my own term — so restless which in turn pushes themselves to get into action in implementing or realizing the ideas / concepts.

I guess I just got stuck in my ‘dreamer’ self  when it comes to writing in the past months. No, I am not trying to justify myself or even worse seeking excuses as to why this supposedly daily blog sometime turns into a monthly one.. LOL (Believe me.. There are almost 50 drafts which are dying to be published; however my ‘dreamer’ side of me just keeps telling me that those drafts are not just ‘ready’ yet.)

My two cents?

Get un-stucked. Be the incrementalist! Dream it and do it!

The Power of Writing

Writing things down does not only ‘download’ or should I say ‘unload’ your seemingly disparate thoughts into perspective but it also clarifies your thoughts — most importantly — to yourself; thus structured and logical analysis can be thoroughly performed in a relatively easier way to that idea inside your head.

A visual person might argue on this point and tries to prove that ‘images’ brings better perspective. Well, let’s not debate about that — at least for now.

Texts also capture your thoughts instantanously. You never know when you can get distracted and lose your train of thought while you are trying to solve great problems; or when a ‘light bulb’ moment strikes you.

So, my two cents at the end of this 3rd week of October 2012 is that I need to write things down more frequently to be more productive as well as creative.

Are You Obsessed?

Don’t worry if you are…

From the ‘Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg, I gathered that ‘being obsessed’ is a trait of successful athlete.

The swimming coach who trained Michael Phelps  saw that obsession in him, long before he was the Olympic Gold medalist.

Imagine where obsession can drive you tomorrow.

Keep up the obsession!

Photo credit:

Don’t Wait for Your Passion

I have been watching and listening to at least five commencement speech videos in the past couple of days. I am not being melodramatic and trying to relive the past.

There’s just something ‘magical’ about starting something new. The uncertainty, the expectation, the hope, the fear…

Different ‘celebrities’ in the commencement speech give different wise words (or cliches as some of them actually admitted it).

One message that actually stuck in my head after watching all those videos is: “don’t wait for your passion”.

Inspiration is not going to strike you in broad daylight. Waiting for the right opportunity which might be relevant to your passion is not the right way to spend your time either.

So, get back to work. Chase your goals. Sweat it.


When The Time Stops

You just know it when the time comes. The air feels a bit lighter than usual. Your heartbeat is in its ‘rest zone’ and your brain wave is at borderline between alpha and theta…

It’s your time to make that life-defining choice.