Saturday, August 30, 2008


The drawers on the wall represent the brokens lives and blown-away homes of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina showed up.

Jana Napoli painstakingly collected the drawers, labelled each one and stuck them together. It's an evocative example of everyday things, at first ignored and 'taken for granted' in the lives of the people, then destroyed as part of a huge tragic event, and now faithfully representing both life and tragedy.

In the end, even the small things count.

Friday, August 29, 2008


The Pharisees maintained a 'better-than-thou' attitude. The Zealots planned revolutions. The Essenes migrated.

The Sadducees sold out the Jewish hope for political leverage. The tax-collectors continued their gleeful exploitation (whilst the prostitutes maintained their sorrowful trade).

Some Roman soldiers played gangster. The common Jew struggled, complained and cursed them all but basically did nothing to remedy the situation.

There were many responses to the volatility and instability during Second-Temple Judaism. Likewise, in Malaysia.

Jesus chose 'none of the above' walked a better, narrower and more painful way. He embraced the tragedy of Israel in such a way that made it clear he did not endorse it. And he did so out of a love which couldn't be mistaken for anything else.

Perhaps if Malaysians learnt to love our country the way Jesus loved Israel, Merdeka Day would mean, and promise, more. Much more.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Check out Coke's new coming-soon designs. Doesn't look anything like the traditional red.

That's re-invention i.e. doing something so new, daring and 'outrageous' the people gasp (and even curse at times).

We all gotta de-invent and re-invent ourselves every now and then.

Especially if you're a mamak restaurant facing competition from newly opened Chinese hawker stalls across the road.

Or if you're a super-store like TESCO (who tells customers, "Come in, take your time, enjoy the aisles, spend an hour shopping for groceries") facing competition from stealthy, nimble medium-sized stores, whose value-proposition is, "Come in, get your stuff, get out - in 10 minutes or less".

Or if you're a fading political party about two steps away from losing huge majorities (and especially if you've recently suffered a landslide defeat).

Or if you're a traditional church losing your youth members.

Because even God does it. He reinvented with Abraham (and aging nobody), with Moses (a member of the Egyptian household, i.e. the enemy), with David (a sherpherd boy), with Paul (a violent persecutor) and certainly with Jesus, the crazy Nazarene born in a manger.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Simple Seven

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: wwjd crisis)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Purpose-Driven Church Newsletter

Churches often give out newsletters. And yet often newsletters are produced for one purpose and one purpose alone: To share information.

This information could take the form of updates, news, upcoming events, mini-sermons, etc.

I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to share information, except I feel that in addition to, "What do we want our members to know?", churches should be asking themselves, "How do we want our members to act?"

In other words, a church newsletter should an instrument of getting members to:
  • Participate in church activities (e.g. mission trips, visitations, carolling, etc.)
  • Give generously should there be a need
  • Talk and think in a certain (hopefully godly) manner

The next step then becomes: Given these (and similar) aims, how would a church newsletter be different (if at all)? Some obvious consequences would be:

  • Information would be selected based on pre-defined behaviour objectives of the church
  • Articles (and their 'tones') would be written not from the usual "write-anything" or "thematic/seasonal" approach, but from the anticipated impact on the members (e.g. building curiousity on a certain topic)
  • Biblical passages and homilies would be chosen as lead-ins' to the future events or programs
  • Activities (games, quizzes, etc.) would be tailored towards eliciting more participation
  • Etc.

Focus on desired action/behaviour and you'll get your information dissemination goals thrown in as well. Focus on information alone (as we, alas, normally do), and you probably won't get the behaviour part.

Talk about a (clearly specified) 'purpose-driven' newsletter.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Important Intervals

I learnt a while back that one should always put a good interval between modifications of documents.

There was a time my managers kept throwing me back my documents, pointing out really dumb errors on my part. And I was stumped. Haven't I checked and rechecked?

And then I realised that if the time between one doc-check and another is too short, your mind sees what it wants to see i.e. a near-perfect document(!)

So the next time you complete a proposal/report at 1pm, if time permits, do NOT audit the document until 4-5pm, when your head's cooled down.

Better yet, if the bosses are breathing down your neck to get it in by 1.30, get someone else to check it.

Never Exactly as Requested

Always try go beyond what was instructed. Always do more than the standard task description.

If you're asked to make coffee, throw in a doughnut. Gotta photo-copy reports? Sort it, clip it, bind it, whatever, make the recipient feel like it's some hot conference hand-out.

Asked to describe event XYZ? Don't merely describe - throw in an analysis, what-ifs', action-steps, risks (and mitigation strategies), etc.

You get the drift.

A New Kind of Marketing

Am halfway through Seth Godin's Meatball Sundaes, a great book on the New Marketing.

One of Godin's advice is: Stop making what you want to sell, and start making what people want to buy.

This requires, among other things(!), that:
  • We need to be tuned in what people are talking about (which usually entails getting plugged in Web 2.0)
  • We need to stop thinking 'masses' and start imagining 'special communities' interested in what we have to offer
  • We need to get them help us make what they want (a.k.a. collaboration, customisation, etc.)
  • We need to 'pop up' whenever they talk about a certain product or service (this usually means having something special enough for people to mention)

Selling to Folks Far Away

We need to imagine our markets to be far...further...much further away from the ones we're presently serving.

And I don't mean only if you're selling canned drinks or cars. I mean even - especially - if you're in the 'service industry' and you're small time at the moment.
Even if you're a dentist, a lecturer, a mechanic, an event organiser, an accountant.

Assume that reaching clients thousands of miles way was necessary for business survival in, say, two years' time, what would you do now? Assume everyone else was serving multiple continents, who would you talk to in a hurry?

Visiting the nearest, soonest, Web biz conference might be a start. But make you pick a good one (smile).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Package is the Product

Theologians deal with spiritual (and sometimes historical) truth. But they tend to miss out on one key truth: That there is no division between the (ecclesiological, theological, spiritual) product and its packaging.

Yes, the design of the book cover matters. No, never drone out a theory or sermon as if your listeners were bots. Yes, what participants do (and don't do) - even in a 'serious' conference - makes a difference. No, the academic content alone doesn't hack it. Yes, mood and timing and hunger affect an audience's receptiveness to even the most ground-breaking paper ever presented.

The product may be eternal. But packaging is incarnational.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What's Next on the Wall?

I've heard so much about Spencer Johnson's book, but have only now read it. I felt it deserved its popularity from the creative cramming of more than half a dozen principles into a cute, metaphor-filled storyline.

Usually it's just one lesson per story (e.g. parables?) or too many lessons forced out of a simple episode (e.g. the Titanic?).

I can imagine hundreds of corporate trainers telling the story in parts and asking, "What do you think Haw wrote on the wall after this?"

The one piece of wall-writing which stood out for me was: "Noticing Small Changes Early Helps Adapt You To The Bigger Changes That Are To Come."

Now that's a thought.

But another one comes to mind: Haw the LittlePeople was learning really fast! I know I'd hire such a dude.

Likewise, what have we been jotting down on our maze walls recently?

Down Memory Lane

In about 36 hours I'll be speaking in church for, hmm, the thirtieth time in 4.5 years? It was therefore rather pleasant to find the outline of the very first message I gave.

It was less than a month before my wedding, about three after quitting my Jakarta posting.

Time flies.

Read this document on Scribd: Sermon on Mark 2:1-12, Healing of Paralytic

Friday, August 22, 2008


Who am I to recommend an anti-malware program, right?

In most cases when a bug gets through, I (and surely you) have to endure the nightmare of safe-moding, registry editing/deleting/rewording, re-scanning, ad infinitum irritatum, before we get back our beloved status quo.

That's the good news. For less lucky folks, it's a trip to the repair shop and maybe a full-blown notebook-formatting gig (and we all know how pleasant that experience is, don't we?)

A couple of days ago, I got hit again (after almost a year of bug-free Web surfing). This program, SmitFraudFix, fixed it in a jippy.

Download, install, run, choose 'Clean' - done.

Slide 3 got the Koreans smiling

I uploaded it so my students could re-view it after the Monday lesson. I didn't expect it to receive 160 views and 70 downloads throughout the week (it's probably just the title pic).

Note: Not all the slides are self-explanatory (e.g. the 'Cockroach Game').
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: communication skills)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

U.S. Blogging Statistics

From the BlogWorldExpo site.

Over 12 million American adults currently maintain a blog.

More than 147 million Americans use the Internet.

Over 57 million Americns read blogs.

1.7 million American adults list making money as one of the reasons they blog.

89% of companies surveyed say they think blogs will be more important in the next five years.

9% of internet users say they have created blogs .

6% of the entire US adult population has created a blog .

Technorati is currently tracking over 70 million blogs .

over 120 thousand blogs are created every day .

There are over 1.4 million new blog posts every day .

22 of the 100 most popular websites in the world are blogs .

120,000 new blogs are created every day .

37% of blog readers began reading blogs in 2005 or 2006 .

51% of blog readers shop online .

Blog readers average 23 hours online each week .

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Non-Use of Customer Information

I've been waiting for more than 10 years. It still hasn't arrived.

Citibank knows more about my VISA spending than I do. One of the things they surely would've noticed (after a decade of producing my monthly report) is that each month I spend at least $300 on books (sometimes more).

And I've still been waiting.

For a free exclusive Citi-Borders bookclub membership (hmm, Citi-Borders - does have a ring to it, no?)

For an {X-amount} Konikuniya voucher

For a chance to make some money reviewing books for XYZ Publisher or newspaper

For a discount card to purchase even more books at a lower rate.

For announcements on upcoming book sales.

Or maybe a free book!

What are they waiting for? For me to switch to a local version of the Visa?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The "Why Guy"

I first saw this video in Norrkoping over a year ago and have showed it to various people since then. I showed parts of it again yesterday during a session on Communication Skills ("Guys/Gals, watch his gestures!").

It's not the best talk you'll ever watch but I think it's a great example of a speaker spontaneously coming up with ideas, anecdotes, examples and so on. It's obvious, IMO, that Robbins failed to 'plan' out his talk very comprehensively. Yet I suppose when you're the best, sometimes planning is less of a big deal?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Don't Forget Your Corporate Portfolio

I've been in five companies in about ten years. Strangely enough, my first firm was the only organisation I've joined which emphasized the regularly updating of our CVs'.

This was a consulting firm, where CVs' are the fuel for winning future projects.

Real-world assessment (see pic) involves, among other things, the creation of a student portfolio i.e. a collection of your projects and key tasks accomplished throughout your education at the institution.

A portfolio is the academic equivalent of a CV. And whilst I don't usually find academic models useful for the busines world (it's usually the other way round), I suppose it doesn't hurt asking if our corporate portfolio - our CV - is updated regularly, as it is in academia?

Can we add at least two substantial new bullet-points or lines to our CV each year? Has our value proposition (to potential, or even our existing, employers) been enriched?

Given the surprised looks I get each time I mentioned this, it must be continued to be said: Update your CV at all times, and not only if you're seeking greener pastures.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Master of All Trades

Beyond Homelessness, the new book by Bryan Walsh, co-authored with Steven Bouma-Prediger, is an exploration of the theme of home-making and its anti-thesis, home-breaking, in the context of the Christian community, culture, globalisation, etc.

Quite apart from how individual Christians, churches and God's kingdom can benefit from the book (and they surely can and will), I'd like to highlight for the moment the book as an expression of multiple genres of very high quality.

There is systematic theologising, philosophising and theo-philosophy. There is poetry. There are targums i.e. paraphrasing of Biblical passages into contemporary verse. There is novel-like story-telling. There are lyrics from rock hits. The arguments are creative, the idea-link complex, the stories bedazzling and the message is inspiring.

What a package.

Not recommended for every kind of product (lest one's "market positioning" is diluted or confused) and certainly not every player in the market (most simply don't have the skill to even attempt every point along the industry).

Still, certainly worth a shot. Can we be top in more than one element within out market-community? The best usually are.

BMW - performance and comfort. Apple - design and graphical quality. Jared Diamond - professor of physiology and environmental history and evolutionary biology.

Friday, August 15, 2008

That Thing The Waiter Does

I know there's a good reason why a waiter repeats your order. I understand he does it because he wants to make sure what he wrote down is exactly the same as what you told him you wanted.

I got that. And I've also got questions: If he repeats an order for four - or even three - guests, wouldn't it mean that all of the guests will have to listen carefully to what the waiter is saying for the whole exercise to make sense?

In other words, wouldn't this mean that all four guests will have to 'pay attention' to a list of items which would be largely irrelevant for each one of them personally? A guest's (silent) thinking, for this whole exercise to make sense, would have to go:

Fish? Not mine.
Caesar salad? Mine.
Steak medium-well? Mine.
Mushroom soup? Not mine.

Is this fun to do? Seriously - is it? Is it something you want to go through in on a pleasant night-out? Perform a mental puzzle in a restaurant so your food comes out right? And given the speed at which some waiters or waitresses repeat the order, wouldn't the entire exercise be futile?

I'll be honest: I usually PRETEND to listen. Unless something outrageous is read out (e.g. roasted lobster in abalone sauce), I normally space out and nod politely each time I'm told, "Let me repeat your order."

Because I'm thinking: If you're a good waiter, you'd take the orders correctly. And even if you get it wrong, the restaurant should see it as a perfect opportunity to let your customers be convinced that you're standing behind your service.

So, in my book, waiters should skip the order-repeating. If you get it wrong, why, you apologise, ensure the customers get what they asked for and you top it off with a free deal which brings a Wow! to their lips.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two Kinds of Impossible

If you're the kind of person who instinctively comes up with reasons why an idea cannot (or even should not) succeed, then you'd be a practitioner of Impossibility Thinking.

You're always seeing that things are impossible.

On the other hand, if you're always having ideas which stretch and challenge the imagination, pushing people and organisations to better the status quo via 'outrageous' plans and actions, why, you'd be in the realms of Impossible Thinking.

You're always seeing the things which are impossible (as per the remarkable individuals in Cook & Wind's best-seller).

But maybe you're neither. Still, keep a look out (or a hear out) about the way people in your community talk and what they say. My guess is there're plenty of Impossibility thinkers around and only a few Impossible thinkers - try to hang out more with the latter.

And the next time you're tempted to shout, "That idea is impossible! No way!" try to change it to, "That's an impossible idea! Let's go for it!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rising Women Clergy, Falling Church Memberships?

"In the past fifty years, nearly every major religious group in America that has permitted women clegy has seen a profound drop in membership. And every major religious group that has excluded women cleargy has seen a dramatic rise..."

"Catholics, in America...exclude women clergy and in the past fifty years have grown from 42 million to 67 million. American Muslims...also exclude women clergy, and grew from 527,000 in 1990 to 1.1 million in 2001."

Microtrends: Surprising Tales of the Way We Live Today, Mark J. Penn with E. Kinney Zalesne, Penguin Books, 2007. (emphasis mine)

Penn was documenting how women clergy was on the rise in the United States, how they were facing more stress than men, how they were more likely to be single (imagine introducing a guy to a lady who's a pastor!), how they were usually Liberal in political orientation, how they tended to emphasize the 'heart' (experiences) more than the 'mind' (doctrine) and, of course, how church membership seemed to be heading the opposite way for chuches who accepted women clergy.

What's the trend like in Malaysia and Asia as a whole? Anyone has the facts/figures?

Are Your Samples Faulty?

I offered a (relatively original) idea at a meeting recently. Immediately (and in quite familiar fashion) the other parties came up with reasons why it wouldn't work, saying things like:

  • "I made a similar proposal, X, to Company Y and their response was negative," or
  • "Proposal X sounds like a {insert negative term, e.g. manipulation} and I know from experience that companies would never accept {the negative term}."

I'm not suggesting that new ideas must be accepted uncritically or even at all.

What I wish to highlight is how we tend to respond to new ideas by taking negative samples from our previous experience and making these representative of all future scenarios, leading to the all-familiar: It won't work.

What about more encouraging samples from the experience of other (perhaps more enlightened or more successful) individuals? Why let our samples be 'all in all'?

New ideas necessarily bring diversity to existing conditions. By keeping our eyes fixed (or obsessed) with a prior bad outcome resulting from said conditions, we can never open ourselves to the possibility that these conditions can be changed.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Chicken and Herbal Jelly

It was surely one of the smallest portions of chicken I have ever seen. And I've seen a lot in my almost three decades of eating chicken rice.

The meat on my dad's plate looked like it was from a bird which endured a Nazi death-camp.

My dad tried to get a bigger portion. The vendor said no; he was sticking to his chick-size. Need I say this'd be one time too many my dad would patronise this stall?

Contrast this with an experience I had a few years back.

I was scorched-thirsty and I wanted one of those herbal jelly drinks from a roadside drinks guy. I asked how much a cup cost and was told RM1.20. I was counting the number of coins I had with me (somehow I didn't have any bills - must've been month's end) when the vendor said, "Don't worry about it, pal. Just drink up!"

Sure, it was only Rm1.20 but how many dudes you seen who do this kind of thing? I'm guessing not a lot. How many times have you experienced what my dad experienced with the chicken man? I think aplenty.

How many would talk about a re-visit the herbal jelly guy and how many would ALSO talk about and not re-visit the chicken guy?

Leverage Your Secondary Products

If you sell, or deal in, two (or more) products, you can use at least one of them as leverage.

E.g. if your main thing is television sets, try to get a good deal on cable subscriptions. You can then offer 50-60% off the cable subscriptions to, say, a hotel, in return for a shipment of high-range TVs'. Throw in a 10% discount on the TVs' to sweeten the deal.

Or, if you're running an English tuition center, try to get an arrangement on Maths materials (CDs', texts, etc.). You can then give away the Maths stuff to another center in return for potentially profitable partnerships involving your courses.

This is almost like McDonald's giving away free super-hero toys (or cute teddy bears) in return for meal purchases.

Except many don't see it this way. Often organisations spend time trying to sell whatever is in their portfolio. They treat all their products as items to be sold, when some are really stuff to be traded for something bigger.

The Message and The Receiver

We hardly do it. But when it's done to us, we love it. It's a task of some magnitude : Truly listening and sending back the message received.

The motions of the task are easy, but the will is never fully there.

If you can listen to someone without feeling the slightest need to interrupt or correct or respond without being asked to, you'd be among an elite.

If you can later communicate the exact message (replete with nuances, tonality and minute details of perspective) back to the original speaker, you'd be a rare breed of receiver indeed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Controversial Essay

The following was deemed slightly too controversial for an upcoming publication.

Would you publish it in your church? I sincerely wish to know. (My apologies for the crammed appearance. Go here to view it in 'life-size').

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Introducing LHC's Education Blog

Following up from my semi-lament recently about sermons not being blogged, my church - Luther House Chapel - has decided to post all future sermons on its education blog.

Check it out.

The latest theo-educationl discussions (in line with Worship month) include:

Waving Them Through

When I was younger, family drives often involved anticipating green waves.

This is when our car drove through a series of traffic lights which conveniently turned green each time our car approached.

Seriously, when was the last time you drove through three green lights in quick (and satisfied) succession? I recall sometimes we could drive through at least five. No stopping, no waiting - no jam.

A green wave is a helpful metaphor for visualising the transition of one's customers from stage to stage. Is it anticipated? Is it just-in-time? And is it perceived as both?

Interestingly enough, the Green Lane at airport arrival terminals and the Visa Wave smart card are nudges in this direction.

There is certainly much potential - when it comes to making the customer feel like a grinning driver celebrating his luck with the lights.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

YES Or NO Will Do

If you're at a job interview and the interviewer asks whether you know how to perform Activity X, you should always answer either Yes or No.

You should not say:
  • "I can try" - anyone can, so this answer doesn't quite stand out, does it?

  • " do offer training, right?" - so your employer needs to budget (in advance) more money and resources in addition to your salary? She's probably planned to already, but why give her something she probably doesn't like to be reminded of?

  • "As long as someone's there to guide me, it should be okay" - and if there isn't? and if the whole organisation is being squeezed for time (which is usually the case)? isn't the answer a way of saying you MAY be a pain for the company?

  • "I'll need to look deeper into the issue first." - again, doesn't everybody?

An interview accomplishes only two basic things: 1) simple fact-finding and 2) subtle confidence-feeling.

The interviewer wants to know about you than what you've put into Facebook and that brochure you call a CV. They also want to get good vibes about your ability to do the job and from where they're sitting, straight-forwardness is best.

Which is why you should always Yes, unless you're really haven't a CLUE about the task. And that's why saying "No I can't, but I'm a fast learner" is a little more helpful than the half-way answers above (and of course your boss will know that if training is provided you can do the job - if he felt otherwise you wouldn't have been invited for the chat).

Exude confidence and unambiguity, even - especially - about what you don't know. Jesus wasn't leaving out job-seekers in Matthew 5:37.

Slides 20-23 Is the Crux

A presentation for school-leavers (or college-starters). Materials stolen from the book (and elsewhere).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How Does Your Learning Chart Look Like?

I recall an interview I had with Deloitte Consulting many years back.

This interview was memorable because my potential boss (who never became my boss, *smile*) asked me what I've learnt throughout the past 4 years. And to prove his seriousness, he charted it year by year on the board whilst I spoke.

It looked something like this:

Year 1: MS Office, Project Management Office,

Year 2: Data Conversion, Testing, Balanced Scorecard, MS Project,

Year 3: Call Center Software Functionality, Training, etc.

Needless to say, your chart doesn't have to look like a brochure for an I.T. software cycle training program. But - if the phrase "knowledge worker" or "value-creator" means anything - it should exist (or be easily created) and should show some form of progression and variety.

What have you learnt over the years? Note it down. Examine its breadth and depth. And, best of all, plot the future.

What's measured gets done, and done better over time.

Does Your Organisation Remember?

Customers hate repeating themselves to us; and we should hate it, too (unless they're gushing compliments - which they rarely do). We should hate it because if they're repeating something to us, it's most likely they're repeating it to someone else as well.

And the reason our customers are going on and on about the same thing is because - 9 times out of 10 - they haven't received a satisfactory response (duh). In general, we can respond in two ways:

Bad : Virtually ignore them and say (repeatedly) that we're doing the best we can and hope they 'go away' - this might pacify some customers but it almost never stops them spreading the gospel of how unhappy they are. This mistake is often compounded by the superficial act of asking people to fill up a 'Feedback Form' with the (often unfulfilled) promise that we'll "get back to them".

But why do we want to be passive (ignoring them), bothersome (getting them to complete forms when they've already told one company rep) and insincere (not reverting on their feedback)?

Good : Make sure we heard the first time and act - the C.R.M. folks call this 'institutional memory' i.e. does Finance 'remember' on Thursday what Sales said to Mr. Johnson on Tuesday morning about Thursday's payments, and has something been done? (Heck, does Sales even recall what it said?)

Many people emphasize acting, but it's less noted that one can only act if one has heard - correctly and consistently. Across departments. About individual customers.

Monday, August 4, 2008

"Never More Than 6 Words Per Slide!"


This is Seth Godin's advice. Impossible?

Not if:
  • you use multiple slides if you've got a mouthful to say (e.g. if you've got 20 words, use at least 4 slides?)
  • you put in key words only
  • you give out the wordy sections as hand-outs
  • you leave out words completely and say whatever you have to

Advice to Fresh Grads

Stop taking mum's sandwiches (or use them for breakfast or snacks).

Lose the take-outs' and tah-pows.

Tell your e-pals you'll email or chat later.

Drop the melancholy and introvertedness (for an hour, at least) and make sure you join your colleagues (especially the senior ones) for lunch.

Especially if you've been invited.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Guaranteed Anxiety-Destroyer

You've got a major presentation, date, conversation, contest, procedure (or anything) coming up and you're getting the jitters.

What can you do to alleviate your anxiety until you get to the point where you're in worry-free gear (if you're good, this'll come about less than three minutes after you start)?

  • Telling yourself you've done it before won't help (much).
  • Telling yourself that logically there's nothing to worry about only shows how useless logic can be.
  • Telling yourself it's not about doing well and only about trying sounds real pious, but does almost nothing for your nerves. Likewise, saying it's okay and it's only about giving it your best shot is, well, not really okay.
  • Having a cup of coffee or a smoke or taking a walk helps a little, but is like providing velvet pillows to cure a chest pain i.e. the 'feeling better' is superficial at best and the monster continues to lurk.

So what do you do?

Okay, say you're ten minutes away from that $10 million presentation and you're about to pee in your pants. Then suddenly an assistant appears and tells you that your child has been admitted to hospital for food-poisoning....VoilĂ . Problem solved.

You're not going to be worried about making a fool of yourself in front of the client, are you?

That's the principle. If you want to battle anxiety for the moment, think (and worry) about something bigger than the moment.

Am I asking you to imagine horrible scenarios for your family so you can perform to your best? No. I'm saying that the removal of tension from a neural context requires that we switch contexts.

Apply your mind to something of similar or greater importance you'll need to address later on (or somewhere else) and it immediately eases off from the here-and-now.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Think Symbiotically

A friend offered a hilarious solution when stuck in a traffic jam, "Hook your bumper to the car in front of you."

This isn't a bad idea, especially if you're a Kancil and the front vehicle is a bus or truck. It saves fuel, harms the environment less and could even earn the 'puller' a couple of bucks (and as long as it's lower than the value of gas you would've burned during the 1-2km crawl, why not cut your costs, make the other driver happy and sit back as your car moves automatically?).

Of course, issues abound, but I love the symbiosis the joke/idea dangles. It's the optimisation of economic allocation i.e. everybody wins.

One is reminded about the tie-ups between petrol stations and banks, or between shopping stores and credit cards or hotels and airlines. It's a good package made up of different interests coming together. Consumers who have no preference for competitor products would have every incentive to sign up.

If you list down the programs, persons, events and/or institution you come in contact with often, there'll certainly be one or two you can 'hook up' to. So think hard, act fast, and get yourself out of the jam asap.

It's Never Done (Much)

I'll gladly change the title (and this entire post) if you can find me more: Churches in Malaysia which put up their weekly sermons on the church blog, with a healthy flow of comments from members.

Doesn't have to be an embedded slide. Doesn't have to be the full script. Simply a weekly post on what was preached as part of its official online, with healthy participation from the members.

The only church I've found which does this is St. Andrew's. It's an excellent precedent. Even then, there doesn't appear to be much interaction.

It's not a promising picture. Most churches do not put their sermons online. Those that do upload their pulpit message weekly do not provide for comments.

In a (W)ord, the weekly sermon isn't a hot item for online social interaction. Why - for the love of God - not?