Showing posts from February, 2014

If You Think Something Is Worth Mastering, Then You've Got To Get Through The Dip

Seth Godin is a well-known entrepreneur and author widely acclaimed for his books on marketing, but he also writes about success. My favourite book by Seth Godin is called The Dip.

The book with less than 100 pages extols the extraordinary benefits of knowing when to quit and  when to stick to something.

He explains that when we are learning a skill or doing something worthwhile, we will be faced with a situation called The Dip where we seemingly get stuck in a rut or simply don't improve anymore.

In the beginning, when you start something, whether learning a new skill, sport, language or vocation, things are fun. You improve quickly and get good feedback from people around you. This goes on for the first few weeks where you continue to be enthusiastic and improve. Then The Dip happens.

According to Seth, The Dip is:
A long slog between starting and mastery.The difference between the easy beginner's technique and the useful expert approachThe long stretch between beginner's…

Why Don't We Help Improve Rather Than Make Fun of Bad English

We know that the level of English among the general population in Malaysia is not good. Instead of complaining endlessly and blaming the government, the education system, the teachers and whoever else, why don't we try to help in our own small way.

The mastery of English is uneven among different levels of society and the gap will probably get worse in the future. The command of English among kids from the upper strata of society is much higher than those in the lower rungs. It is really difficult to close the gap in the classroom.

Those who have poor command of the language are weak because they don't speak the language at home and with friends. They also don't read materials in English. Even many English cartoons now have been dubbed into Malay, with dual language options widely available. It used to be that only Japanese cartoons were dubbed. What happens is that by the time they reach school they are already left behind.

When they are behind, they are embarrassed to sp…

The Prostitute and the Dying Dog

Muslims wonder why Islam is viewed in a negative light by many. As someone who have many blood relatives and in-laws among people from other faiths, the answer I think, lies in our own conduct and also the failure to portray and adhere to many of the qualities of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him - SAW).

One of them is how we treat certain animals. Compassion and mercy is fundamental in Islam, and the Prophet's (SAW) kindness towards animals is something that should be emulated and highlighted. Being compassionate and merciful towards animals is highly encouraged. One hadith narrated by Abu Huraira in Sahih Bukhari [4:538] stands out:

Allah's Messenger (SAW) said, "A prostitute passes by a panting dog and saw that it was about to die of thirst, she took of her shoe, tied it to her head cover and drew out some water for it.  So, Allah forgave her for it."

By a simple act of compassion and mercy towards God's creature, the prostitute was forgiven.  Some of the l…

Making Money Does Not Necessarily Mean Creating Value

A lot of emphasis is placed on making money nowadays. No problems with that. However some people don't really care about how they make money. As long as they are able to generate an income or profit, it doesn't matter whether they create value in the process.

Value is created when you produce an 'economic or social good' or provide an 'economic or social service' that is of benefit to people or society. If you get rich doing this, good for you and society.

However, there are also many ways of making money by wealth reallocation or worse, value destruction, rather than value creation.

Take for example gold trading or gold investing. If you purchase a gold bar and in one year the price appreciates 30%, you'll make money from that investment when you sell the bar. However nothing really gets created. The gold bar is still the same gold bar. No value created but you made money.

We can also take a look at derivative investments. It's really a zero sum game, …