Friday, June 26, 2015

The Art of Precision Writing

Are you languishing in your language?
‘Precis writing’ is a tough skill to master. In effect, you summarise an article or essay into its key components. To do so requires critical thinking skills in analysis, convergent thinking, and synthesis. To encapsulate such thinking is to possess crystallised thinking, and applying your linguistic/language ability into a readable format.

How can you approach such skills?

Do Write Regularly
With the social media platform, write your thoughts on your postings on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Share your comments, instead of clicking on ‘Like’. Write with/on any media: prose, poetry, reviews, recommendations, comparisons, and feedback.

Create Useful Lists
Summarise with a list. Use PowerPoint bullets. However, write with at least three words. My favourite exercise is to create a Top-10 list. That is why bestsellers tend to use numbers between 5-9 principles. For example, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Eighth Habit, The Power of 3, and the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.

Formulate Your Opinions
What did you like? What did you dislike? Opinions are theories and they reflect our thinking at one stage in our life. Film reviews are the best. Write about your experience at a hotel through their Feedback page. Twitter challenges us to compose our thoughts, all within the 140-character, framework. Edit, by replacing, eliminating, words and phrases. Avoid shorthand that enhances confusions and wrong assumptions. Generation X may not understand enough of Generation-Y/Millennials’ language of brevity.

Review What You Wrote
Looking back, on reflecting, you can appreciate the wisdom of your hindsight, or the naivety of youth. There can be much to glean from previous thinking, and assess how far we have progressed. Use your vocabulary to your advantage and exactness.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

10 Things To Do When You Have 24 Hours Available

Do you frequently un-clutter your notebook, or update your Twitter account?
What do you do when you have 'spare time on your hands'?

There are only 24 hours in a day. It is a myth that we can save time, make time, call for time out, invest in the time, et al. We can do these with our relationships - initiate, engage, build on, explore, strengthen - and time is merely an expendable item. Once the moment is gone, it is, and was. If you have a few hours to a few days on your hands, how could you use it valuably. Prioritise your use of time, tasks, and relationships. [Refer to Steven Covey's 'Time Management Model' from 'First Things First' for guidance.]

Instead of sitting on our hands, we can do much more (effort versus results) with our time. These are lessons I learnt over the last few weeks. Do consider engaging in a few of them. Your results may be startling!

1) Start writing an EBook (Start with the first page; I completed two in a fortnight and ready-to-publish).
2) Give yourself an active-passive treat (sports-massage, read your books, have coffee with dear friends).
3) Clean your room (library, bathroom, shelves).
4) Do a short workout session (stretch, yoga, strengthening, balance, aerobic fitness).
5) Stick to your time-line (compress it all in).
6) Re-arrange something (wardrobe, library, kitchen, sports equipment).
7) Clean out your PC (eliminate out-dated information, sort out files, create more storage space). 
8) Learn something useful (about how things are made, simple skills, useful skills).
9) Post an article, share a link with your community, recognise somebody on the Social Media platform.
10) Rest or sleep if you must (especially if you feel fatigued).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Geek, Nerd or Fan?

Who is telling the truth? 
I am a fan of Star Wars and Star Trek. More the former, as I do have a few pieces of figurines, a light-saber, and tee-shirts with Star Wars prints.

A friend of mine is a 'trooper' and is part of '501st Garrison', based in Singapore. He enjoys dressing up (cosplay) and appearing as the iconic foot-soldier in charity events. I admire his spirit of generosity, as he gets to troop and give back to society. He also plays Stars Wars Miniature game. So, is he a larger fan than I am?

I read that, in the Geek Hierarchy:

GEEK: Understand, create and fixes really cool stuff.
NERD: Understands and collects really cool stuff.
DORK: Confused by really cool stuff.
I am a Nerd in Star Wars. I am a Geek in Magic. I am a Dork when it comes to smart-phones and high-tech gadgets. But we can chat about slider technology, nanotechnology, and socio-linguistics.

Leadership Lessons: Which are you? Knowing oneself, and making that distinction is an important part of progressing and growing as a leader. Discernment, and the ability to make distinctions in details is a core skill of leadership, as are diligence and decisiveness. Think about it, and decide.

A Legend, Or Legendary?

In the fine company of Singaporean 'legends', who completed the legendary Ironman in Kona, Hawaii in the 1990's and early-2000's. I managed to do it in 2013, after eight years of attempts. 

What is a legend? Usually, a famous person who is deceased. Think of legends like Elvis Presley, James Dean, Steve Jobs, and other celebrities.

However, legendary achievements may create the reputation of  being a 'living legend'. Thus, the things that you do become something of legendary proportions. These achievements could reflect a defiance of your age, physical capability, and social status. The classic 'from rags to riches' and 'phoenix rising from the ashes' stories are such hyperbolic description of philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and wealthy people. Yet, these labels stick indelibly as they do, effectively, describe a person and their exploits.

I am not comfortable with the moniker of 'legend', however, it may suggest a person who has achieved greatness, or completed challenges that defy doing or attempting. Or worst, that was the last great thing that person did before succumbing to sloth, despair, or death. 

To have climbed Mt. Everest, or all Seven Summits; finished all World Marathon Majors; completed a deca-Iron distance triathlon (10 Ironman triathlons in 10 days); completed a Triple-Deca (30 Ironmans in 30 days); run 50 X 50km marathons over-50 days; these are examples of mega-achievements that earn the achiever the unofficial title of 'legend'. In the esoteric world of ultra-endurance athletes, there are many legends who have become iconic through their grand, unbearable, and unthinkable achievements.

To do something new, or seemingly impossible, might be your first step towards achieving personal greatness. If 'legend' means attain personal mastery or personal greatness, go for it. We have one life to live well, and living it truly and thoroughly may be one approach. Be legendary, be 'epic', and rise above your true potential. Enhance your capability, capacity and credibility. Be incredible, ultimate and super-human. To live up this superlatives and hyperbole is to continue to demonstrate values of leadership and relevance.

As my late-friend, Dr Winston Koh said: 'Life is not about how many breaths we take, but how many moments that take our breath away.'

Leadership Lessons: What are doing to become legendary? Who do you know who is legendary, and you can learn from them?