The non-superman non-excuse


No one likes excuses…besides their creator

Often times when someone did their tasks incorrectly and it was pointed out to them, the person would blame it on their tools or environment. It could be pretty frustrating when you are working with people like that and their work/attitudes directly impact how you do.

When that happens, instead of just saying “That’s just an excuse!” and create an emotional response (these RARELY solve your problems and they’ve managed to bring you down to their level of negativity), I find it useful to ask, “I understand that. But is it humanly possible for a normal person to do this correctly, even with these obstacles?” If their response is “No! That’s not possible for anyone to do it!”, then either you should probably drop what your team is doing, or find someone else to work with.

But the chances are their responses will be “Yes.”

Making people understand is better than making people feel guilty

I then followup with, “Then is it possible for to you do it correctly, even with these obstacles?” At this point, most people would say yes too and understand that it’s ultimately up to them to overcome these problems and it’s pointless focusing on the obstacles and excuses. It’s humanly possible for non-geniuses to do it. You can do it too.

The non-excuse is on you

While we realize this is a good way to shut people up and stop them from complaining, it’s also a good idea to apply it to ourselves. When we face obstacles and failures in our lives, instead of focusing why we couldn’t do it, we should again think, “is this humanly possible for a normal person?” And if the answer is yes, stop the complaining and just get it done.

Being cautious can be useful for in life. But being negative creates value for no one.

How to impress everyone by just driving around

People have often asked me how come I know so much about the business world when I am so young. It seemed like I could hold very sophisticated conversations with people twice (and sometimes thrice) my age, and end up in a situation where both sides learned something valuable. My honest answer to them is, “I drive a lot.”

Hmmm….what does driving a lot have anything to do with being knowledgeable or being a good leader? Isn’t driving just a waste of time?

The answer is podcasts.

Upon retrospection, a majority of my knowledge and education actually came from business or industry podcasts. I can seriously say that I have learned more useful things from my podcasts than my 3 years of studying International Economics at UCLA. I also learned a lot by reading books, blogposts and articles online, but they had high opportunity costs and I couldn’t afford to do it on a daily basis due to the scarcity of time.

However, podcasts are great because you can be doing all kinds of stuff while listening to them. You could be working out, waiting for a friend, shopping, or you could just be driving around. You can be doing all these mundane tasks, but at the same time, absorb world class information and knowledge.

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Lifestyle Gamification Coaching: helping you master the Game of Life


Lifestyle Gamification Coaching: Life Coaching for highly motivated and ambitious individuals

Lifestyle Gamification Coaching. That’s basically teaching people how to become powerful in whatever fields they are in and things they care about. It is similar to the common Life Coaching, but more geared towards ambitious individuals who does not just want to live a comfortable and stable life but want to become the best in what they do and become influential and impactful in this world.

This would be an extension to the Lifestyle Gamification concepts that I created in 2005. (Check here to see my presentation at Google on it)

Is Power Bad?

I first want to make a disclaimer that “Power” has a slightly negative connotation, as people say “power corrupts” and how the rule of nature is the “powerful exploiting the weak.” However, I believe power itself is neutral.

Power just allows one to make something happen, so it could be used to do extreme good, or extreme evil. In the context of this blog, Power simply means being resourceful and influential enough to create an impact in whatever you care about.

Finally, since I like to draw analogies from the gaming world to this world, Power is just a common phrase in being really strong at something (and isn’t that where a lot of passions lie? Many people couldn’t do what they want in the real world so they decide to be a hero in a virtual world).

Again, I am not teaching you how to gain “freedom” or create passive income that allows you to chill at the beach all day. Sure, these would be very useful in becoming powerful, but that’s not the end goal. The goal is not to let you live a “free” life but to let you live a “fulfilling” life. It’s the life of “With great power, comes great responsibilities.”

If you were playing a game and you had absolute “freedom” in running around, going to town, the fields, eat and buy stuff, but you don’t have a mission, would that be fulfilling? Probably not.

This blog will be about how to beat the game.

Continue reading Lifestyle Gamification Coaching: helping you master the Game of Life

The Free Customized Magic Mirror that Everyone Has

Ask for Directions

We have huge blindspots

Most of us want to become better at what we do or become a better person in general. The problem is that we have too many blindspots for ourselves to really find out what we really need to work on. When something goes wrong, we can think of a hundred external factors for that reason, but we genuinely cannot see our own faults.

And when it comes down to it, most people WANT to know their flaws that they don’t see themselves. The problem is, it’s considered impolite for people to tell you of your faults when it is not completely necessary. Most people are non-confrontational, and not everyone takes criticism constructively.

Use the magic mirror around you

The solution to this? Just ask. I have experienced and seen numerous times when someone randomly asks, “What can I do to improve myself?” And immediately, almost without thinking, people give the asker a very constructive list of things they can work on. It’s like they’ve been thinking about it all along but never felt comfortable enough to share it.

By asking this very simple question often, you will constantly find things you are blinded by and can improve on. This works especially well when you ask people who can benefit from your improvement (like being more considerate to loved ones, setting more accountability for the team).

For instance, if the Queen from Snow White had a magic mirror as good as the “straight-forward friend”, the mirror would tell her that her problem is not that she’s not fair enough, but “You are too vain, self-conscious, and jealous of others. You can never be happy if you can’t accept yourself. You should just be happy with who you are and love life.” I consider that an infinitely better solution than trying to poison an innocent girl to death.

Set up Mirror Alerts

Often times, even after we know we need to improve something, it’s never instant, and we usually make the same mistakes over and over without realizing it. So after you know what you need to improve on, a good follow up is, “Thanks! Can you remind me every time I do that again? Sometimes I’m not aware of it…” And now you gave people the permission to harass you whenever you screw up. Pretty awesome.

What straight-forward advice have you gotten from friends, or one’s you have given to friends?

Reading is good, but socializing is more fun! I look forward to your ideas and experiences in the comment section!