Thursday, October 29, 2009

Everything Is Easy

My guitar teacher once told me: „If you practice guitar correctly, it should be easy and it should not take long hours. Why? If you practice in a wrong way, the more you practice the more difficult for you to unlearn the bad habits.“

When I think back, I realize that all the major mile stones in my life were coming without any struggles:

1. I was nominated for a university exchange program to Germany without any efforts from my side.

2. I got my first job without lengthy recruiting process. I contacted a former PhD student of my PhD Professor. And that was it.

3. I met my wife coincidently in my friend apartment in Cologne. I wrote her a letter. Few years later we got married, until today, 25 years later.

4. The chance to go back to Shanghai as Expatriate came without any efforts from my side.

In contrast I put a lot of efforts, energy in some projects which did not succeed as I would have wished. My conclusion is, if you do the things in the right way, it should be easy. It should come naturally to success.

When I observe how people work in some companies, I found out that people who work long hours and unhappy are usually people who often create cost of non-quality. They try to fight in all fronts and try to maximise ambiguous benefits. It is doubtable that they create more value overall for the company and for the customers than other people in the company.

Life should be easy, if your mind, body and soul are in perfect alignment.
Life should be easy, if you extend your boundary as broader as you can image.
Life should be easy, if you have complete clarify about what you want to achieve.
Life should be easy, if you are certain that you will eventually achieve your goals.
Life should be easy, if you live your passion and dreams.
Life should be easy, if you take time to enjoy it.
Life should be easy, if you love everything around you including yourself.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Laughter at Youtube

Have you ever thought that Youtube could be a fantastic market research tool? I am interested in success training and checked the videos of some renowned trainers. To my surprise the clicks of the top videos of top success speakers are between 100,000 to 1,500,000 compared to some top adult videos with clicks between 1,000,000 to 10,000,000.

I am also interested in videos about meditation. There the clicks are between 100,000 to 1,000,000, so similar range as success trainings. If I look at classic guitar the best videos got 1,000,000 to 10,000,000 clicks.

Now guess what is the most click video I ever found on Youtube? It was a baby laughing with more than 94,000,000 clicks. The video is titled Hahaha. This brings me to an idea of business: get people to laugh or get people to be happy :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Three Dimensions of Luxury

When people talk about Luxury, they usually talk about money and all the nice, expensive things money can buy: cars, jewelleries, houses, resorts, yachts, cigars, champagnes, golf clubs and parties. Money is really a good thing. However it is just one dimension of luxury.

The second dimension of the luxury is the time. People who have money, but no time to enjoy the life, because they have to spend all their time to earn the money, are actually poor people. Real luxury therefore starts with abundance of time. Women understand it better than man. They sometime just take hours shopping, not necessarily to buy anything, but to enjoy the time.

The third dimension of the luxury is the emotional freedom. You are free to go to an expensive restaurant, but also free to choose to go McDonalds for a junk food. You are free to get close to a friend, but also free to be happy without him or her. You are free from any negative emotions, but also free to accept them, when they are there occasionally. You are emotional independent from your spouse and kids, but free to love them deeply. You are free to make your boss or customer successful, but also free to leave them, if you decide to.

When you reach all three dimensions of luxury, then there is nothing you will regret when the time comes for you to leave the world, with an eternal smile on your face, completely free.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Darwinism in Job Hunting

In current down turn of job market the employers can enjoy the luxury to find the right candidates with nearly 100% FIT of a given profile. And a lot of people apply for jobs which do not FIT well to their profiles with the hope that if they send CVs to a large enough number of companies, some one might consider them. This is the wrong strategy.

What is the right strategy? First you need to define your own species. You need to make yourself clear enough what exactly you are good at. Are you an elephant with a long nose or a hippo with a big mouth. If you do not know, then do not apply for any jobs. We say do not compete, if you do not have competitive advantages.

The next step is to find job offerings which exactly require those unique strengths. Apply for jobs only where you will land on the short list, meaning you are one of the top three candidates. How can you land on the short list? I have a couple of head hunting friends they all told me that the key word for head hunting is FIT.

The same applies for you as job hunter. Study the job description very carefully and try to understand each and every sentence. Your job is to rewrite your CV such that exactly FIT to the job description. Certainly you should not lie. However, you can emphasize your experiences which is relevant to the job and leave things out which is irrelevant. Since you only apply for jobs you can be short-listed you have more time to prepare your CVs. So take time.

If you are invited for an interview, the firs step is done. Now the focus is to prepare a list of potential questions your interviewers would ask. Put your feet into the shoes of your interviewers. Then think exactly how you would answer those questions. Some times I prepared 100 potential questions and answers. Usually only 10% of those questions were asked.

Experienced interviewers always ask some follow up questions such as

- How did you do that exactly?
- Can you please tell me an example?
- Tell me about the person you were dealing with?

If you hesitate, they might think you did not tell the truths. Be prepared for follow up questions. Here again, since you only focus on few job application, you have time to prepare. Take the time.

Job hunting is a not a battle, it is a war. You enter into a war only, if you see a great chance to win, because if you lose there you may die. It is about the survival in a tough job market. The evolutionist Charles Darwin said: "In the struggle for survival, the FITtest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Perspective of a Wise Man

Yesterday night I happened to meet an old friend here in Singapore. I remember that we have not met for more than four years. He was happy, relaxed and in three weeks he will reach an important mile stone: turning to 50. A big party was planned in Phuket, Thailand with more than 30 people from different continents of the world.

The last time I met him he was at a critical point to decide the next career steps. There were two options to choice:

1) To go to a small size company with higher and more challenging responsibilities. The risk factor would also be bigger.

2) To go to a bigger company with smaller responsibilities and doing similar job as before. The risk factor would be smaller.

He talked about those two real options in full details and said: “I did not make up my mind clear yet, but I still have two weeks time to think about it.”

Then he stopped talking. I realized that he actually asked my options without directly asking. He was very successful and determined. Probably he was too proud to ask. At that moment I knew how to give him advice without hurting his feelings.

I said: “My friend, let me ask you a question. Suppose you are now at age 60 and you are very successful in every aspects of your life.” His eyes radiated and I got his attention. “When you look back, how would you (old and wise) judge the decision of the young man at his life transforming moment? For which decision he would feel more proud, more satisfied and happier?”

My friend smiled and I knew that he made a decision in his mind.

Friday, October 9, 2009

7 Steps to Realize Your Dreams – Any Dreams

Step 1: Be crystal clear about your dream

Dreamers seem to be creative people and creative people tend to wander with their ideas, wishes and desires. However, if you are serious to realize your dreams, you need to focus only on one big thing. Being clear about this for a long enough time is the starting point of the realisation. There you gather sufficient energy which will be transferred to the materials. Your dream will be materialized.

Step 2: Ask the big WHY question

People are uncertain about their dreams because their dreams do not pass the big WHY test. Why do I have that dream? Would I approach that dream even I lose all my money or lose all your friends? Would I feel passion and love to approach the dream? Would I do every thing possible to achieve it? After asked all the questions: would I still like to approach the dream with 100% certainty? If the answer is yes, then the rest is just technique.

Step 3: Visualize the end results

Use your imagination to visualize what it looks like when the end results are achieved. Create a space in your mind and put all the elements of your dream into it. Be generous because in your mind really nothing is limited. Where are you positioned in that space? Do you feel really happy about the end results? If not, what should be changed to make you absolutely happy? Then change it. Remember, in your mind nothing is limited. You can revise your end results several times until you are absolute comfortable.

Step 4: Ask how to finance the project

Now this is the key part: you might first separate your dreams from the question how to finance it. Because it is so overwhelming that would become the blocking issue to act further. Google’s dream was to develop the best search engine in the world. And in the first years they did not have any revenue. The big money comes later. Youtube still lose money today. Think about that there are people in the business of giving away money. There is enough money in this world. What could be the models of financing the project to realize your dream?

Step 5: Generate continuously ideas to realize the big dream

The quality of your ideas is proportional to the quantity of your ideas you generate. Make a habit to generate ideas. Some ideas are just stupid, but that is the nature of ideas. Write down any ideas you can find. And manage your idea pool well. Sometimes my ideas are generated in my dreams in the night. Then I woke up and wrote down the ideas. Some ideas are coming from other people, people who are different than you or even people you dislike. Take any ideas from any sources. Speak with people in different industries. Do some thing unusual. The idea to write this article is inspired by a friend in a conversation about her career development.

Step 6: Sort out the best ideas that you can do immediately and do it

Ideas will only have impact if you act on it. Try first to sort out some cool, great ideas and act on it, immediately. Then see the results. Then adapt and change courses if you see fit. Act on ideas every day. Through your action you will generate more interesting, more useful ideas. And the most relevant fact about action is this: as long as you are acting toward your dream, you will imprint your dreams even more into your mind. And as long as you are acting toward your dreams your means will grow, your capability will grow and your determination will grow and your certainty will grow.

Step 7: Enjoy the life such, where possible, as if your dream was already realized

In fact the realization of the dream is not the state of the outside of you, it is inside you. It is your state of mind. Therefore to feel like if you already realized your dream is the most effective way to get there. What would you feel and think? How would you behave? Would you be more powerful? Would you be more loving? Would you be more generous? Would you have more fun? Just feel, think and behave like it. Remember, our mind does not need any time and space to go from state A to state B. Change your mind once, every thing else will follow.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Sunday afternoon my newly bought used BMW broke down. It was only two and half years old and it should not happen. But shit happens. What would you do in this situation?

I stopped the car and immediately called ADAC. Thanks to my wife who applied for me the ADAC membership before I arrive in Germany from Shanghai. The ADAC angel came within 20 minutes and checked my car for failure. Then he suggested that the car should be picked up and sent to car shop.

I waited another 20 minutes. The truck came and the driver very professionally loaded my car into the truck. And we drove to the shop. Since it was Sunday the shop was closed, so we parked my car and I took a taxi home.

Monday morning I rode the bike to the shop and explained the mechanic the situation. He started the engine and said that he needed some time to check up. Two days later, he called that the car was finished. I was happy and went there to pick up my car with the consciousness that I might be surprised with the invoice.

And I was really surprised when he said that BMW took over all the cost on goodwill. I am not sure how many people are involved in the whole process. But at least I would like to say thanks to the following people:

- My wife who applied the ADAC membership for me
- The ADAC person at the service centre who took my call
- The ADAC angel who checked my car
- The ADAC driver who picked up my car
- The receptionist at the repair chop
- The capable mechanic who repaired my car and negotiated the cost with BMW
- The BMW service personal who received the call from the mechanic
- The manager who decided to take over the cost to make a customer (me) happy
- Some one from the BMW finance department who will book the cost to the right account
- Maybe many more…

Is this not a reason for gratitude? Think about how many more people in the world are involved to make our whole life comfortable? Uncountable! Is this not a good reason for gratitude?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

0+ Technique

During my first guitar lesson in Germany, I learnt something very valuable that deserve a dedicated blog entry. I called it 0+ technique. The good news is that you can apply this technique to virtually everything important in your life: music instruments, sport, management, solving conflict, romance, etc. You might ask what is it?

My guitar teacher told me that I use too much wasted energy and effort to play guitar. I should just re-start with minimum movement, tension and energy. I should begin with state 0, then gradually add the movement and pressure which is required to create the sound. That way no energy is wasted. And I can move my hands much easier and quicker and smoother.

I understand the principle very well. In Taoism you could call it 无为 which could be translated into effortlessness. And it says 无为而无不为 which means from the state 0 you have to potential to do everything. It is also the principle of any meditation. You bring you body, soul and mind to the state 0 from which everything is possible.

In today’s global competitive environment a lot of managers are overwhelmed by the amount of the challenges they are facing. But in stead to come back to the state 0, they are trying to work 120%, 140%, 160% with little or negative effects. Most efforts are wasted in things which do not contribute to the bottom line or the top line long term. They just keep busy to show their perceived values in their company.

Another good example comes from the area of romance. Good seducers always are doing it with little efforts. A small talk without visible intention can have the biggest impacts, easy going, with zero pressure at all.

0+ technique is a way of life. It is in contrast with 100+ technique which you always do more than 100% for what ever reasons. I firmly believe that in the long run, we can only survive and strive if we understand and apply the power of 0+, because what really counts in the future is the level of creativity and innovation. These are born naturally in the state 0.

Competitive Kids in China

Last Saturday I started my first guitar lesson in Germany and realize the difference between teaching methodologies in China and in Germany.

In China the teachers are more focused on progress of students. There are 10 levels and students have to pass the examinations to reach those levels. The guitar lessons are built to prepare students to pass the examinations as soon as possible.

In Germany the teachers are more focused to the basic technique. There is no pressure to pass any tests. The students can take time enjoying the practice and create great awareness of the playing itself. Teachers build a solid foundation for their students first.

Generally, in China the kids are facing much stronger competition which is reflected in everything they do. There are 10 levels for English, 10 levels for Piano, etc. Parents spend a fortune for education of their kids to send them to foreign schools or abroad. So teachers are under high pressure to deliver results.

Therefore I sometimes observed that most kids did not really have fun playing music instruments, but took the lesson, because their parents wanted them to do. Poor kids.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Second Profession for the Second Half of Your Life

People in our age may start to think about the following question: what would I do in my second half of the life?

Just take an example: I worked in Telecommunication Industry for last 18 years and can hardly image to continue in that industry for next 18 years until I would be able to retire officially. Even if I would like to, my employer with best intention may not be able to keep me that long.

A colleague of mine, a highly capable female professional decided two years ago to be a Yoga teacher. And now she seems to be extremely happy with that decision.

During today’s lunch I opened this discussion with few colleagues. I started saying to a colleague: “You are maintaining an image of a perfect detective with you cool look, a long coat, analytical capability and communication skill.” He laughed: “There might be a market for coaching for second profession for the second half of the life for you. But detectives are absolutely not what I would do.”

People with our experiences are extremely valuable when we focus on our strengths. And generally education in its broadest scope can be one of the areas you might want to look for opportunities. In that industry your value will increase when you get older, provided that you never stop adapting and learning new things.

Another growth industry will be something I would call “how people spend their leisure time?”. Think about how often you go to massage in China compared how often you go massage in Germany. Productivity will grow, efficiency will increase. People will work generally less time with more results. They will generally have more money and have more idle time. What are they going to do with the extra time and extra money? There is a market from macro economy perspective.

Then we have some well known growth industries such as alternative energy and health care. If you are working in one of the related industries, you are lucky and can try to move to one of the hot spots for your second half of your professional life.

It is your life and you absolutely deserve the best out of it.