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Monthly Archives: April 2018

临渊羡鱼,不如退而结网;
扬汤止沸,不如釜底抽薪

1. 临渊羡鱼,不如退而结网。
lín yuān xiàn yú,bù rú tuì ér jié wǎng
《汉书·董仲书传》《han shū · dǒng zhòng shū zhuàn 》

Rather than admire the abundance of fish [opportunities in front] of the lake, why not retreat to sew your net [to catch the fish].

This proverb was used as a parable from 董仲舒, a politician and a philosopher, who warned the emperor to use systematic manner to govern a country.

Does having a grandeur vision or goal justify the means/process? While having a grand goal is important, the “how to” accomplish is equally important.
Otherwise, is it not like “building castles in the air”, an illusion.

This proverb is a useful reminder not to fixate too much on our goals but work also on strategies. Strategies need to be revised, irrelevant ones discarded and opportune ones devised to adapt to changing trends.

《汉书·董仲舒传》,书中说:“故汉得天下以来,常欲治而至今不可善治者,失之于当更化而不更化也。

古人有言曰:‘临渊羡鱼,不如退而结网。’”意思是说,汉朝希望国家能得到很好的治理,却没有达到这个目的,原因在于“当更化而不更化”,也就是没有在观念上、制度上做出必要的改革和调整,于是他借“临渊羡鱼,不如退而结网”这句古训,来告诫统治者,要治理好国家,必须抓住观念、制度这个根本。

“临渊羡鱼,不如退而结网”这一典故,也告诫人们,在目的与手段之间,有明确的目的固然重要,但如果没有实现这一目的的必要手段,目的将是空幻而不切实际的。
Source of Chinese meaning from
https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/1302103067889920139.html

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Tom Hirshfield’s Rules of Thumb

1. If you hit every time, the target’s too near — or too big.

2. Never learn details before deciding on a first approach.

3. Never state a problem to yourself in the same terms as it was brought to you.

4. The second assault on the same problem should come from a totally different direction.

5. If you don’t understand a problem, then explain it to an audience and listen to yourself.

6. Don’t mind approaches that transform one problem into another, that’s a new chance.

7. If it’s surprising, it’s useful.

8. Studying the inverse problem always helps.

9. Spend a proportion of your time analyzing your work methods.

10. If you don’t ask “Why this?” often enough, someone else will ask, “Why you?”

Roger von Hirschfield’s blog:
http://blog.creativethink.com/2006/11/tom_hirshfields.html

This is a neat trick to try while waiting for food to arrive at the restaurant.

Pick any digit and write it down three times. Perhaps you’ve chosen 333 or 888.

Add the 3 digits together:
3 + 3 +3=9 or
8 +8+8= 24

Now divide your original three digit number (333 or 888) by the sum of the digit (9 or 24).

You will get an answer: 37

Why is that so? It is a universal truth. 37 is a prime number.

From “Things to make and do in the Fourth Dimension” by Matt Parker

image

I recently bought a bag of wing beans from the market with the intention of replicating a dish I ate at Betel Nut, a peranakan restaurant. I found a recipe on the internet. It was an easy stir fry dish. A few days later, the wing beans turned black and had to be thrown away.

What happened? Inertia. I just could not get started.

What was I afraid of, that I could not start a project that took only 30 mins, including prep time?

If I failed, who would know? Just open the dustbin and throw away the evidence.

Inertia.

I signed up for a class, Cookery Magic.

Being in a class with hands on and a patient teacher certainly helped.

It made me think of Kurt Lewin’s Change Process. What prevents people from changing?

The first stage is unfreezing our old habits that are no longer effective.

That prevents unfreezing?
1) Inertia
2) Mistrust
3) Lack of Information

I am on a quest to improve my craft. It all started with a clipboard and a piece of paper and asking myself:

What are my goals?
Whats stopping me ?

Truth be told, my colleagues gave me a voucher for the Cookery Magic course in 2008 when I left INSEAD.

10 years to use the voucher. Bless Roxanna for still honouring the voucher as most organisations would only have a 8 mth validity.

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Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’

I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
– Lewis Carroll

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What’s your cure for overcoming inertia?

A plane made an emergency landing on water. The stewardess asked the passengers to slide down to the lifeboats, but the passengers refused.

The stewardess then asked the captain to help. The captain, being very knowledgeable and experienced, guided her –

“You tell the Americans this is an ADVENTURE. Tell the British this is an HONOUR. Tell the French this is a ROMANTIC activity, and tell the Germans this is the LAW. Tell the Japanese this is an ORDER, and everyone will be sorted out.”

The stewardess remembered the flight had some passengers from Singapore too. “What about them”, she asked.

The captain, taking a deep breath, patiently explained –
“You need not tell the Singaporeans anything, my dear. Once they see a QUEUE, they will join in without questions.”

………….

Humour is a survival skill. However, what can be funny to one group can be faux pas in the wrong context.

I am a Singaporean, so I can tell this joke to laugh at myself. But when it is about another group of people, they may take it as racism.

Beneath the surface though, this joke pokes fun at every good who do not question beneath the surface because they are conditioned with positive connotations of a word like “adventure”, “honor”, “law”, “order”. Likewise we can get good people to do bad things because its a badge of honor to keep their word.

Dark humour and reflections beneath this simple joke!