Tuesday 3 June 2014

Choose me! Choose me!

During the 70s, we often do the mad dog and Englishmen thing - play soccer or basketball under the hot noon sun.

Remember how we choose the teams then?

2 natural leaders will normally self-appoint themselves as the team captains (ever wondered who died and made them Indian Chiefs?).

Then in alternate turns, each Captain will choose 1 player for the pool of us.

This is the time where the pecking order of who is who is put on full nudity display. If you are a good player, team Captains will fight hand over fist to get you in their teams. 

It's a nice feeling to be picked during the early rounds.

Not so fun to be picked near the bottom...

When we grew up, we realise it's pretty much the same old same old.

Some teenage girls and boys are the popular picks for dating and hanging out together. Everywhere they go, they seem to have an entourage.

Reading here, old fogeys in the corporate world would have hit their forehead with their palm: "Alamak!"

Simple right?

The secret of success in the corporate world is just this:

1) Get to be the Indian Chief who picks others.

2) Failing with, you position yourself to be picked during the early draft rounds.

Have any other department heads of your organisation drop hints that you'll be most welcomed to join their teams if you ever wished for a change of exposure?

Have your suppliers or business clients ever made job offers for you to switch over?

Have any of your competitors made offers you can't refuse to betray your alliances?

Some of us are technically brilliant; but we always seem to be passed-over. You already know the answer - we are bad at marketing or selling ourselves. 

What good is this knowledge if we are too proud or unwilling to change? Selling is beneath you...

Some of us are loners - lone wolf. So no amount of marketing or selling will help as that would make us even more miserable; trying to fit us round pegs into square holes...

Maybe self-employment or starting your own business would be better as we can be our own Captains - we choose ourselves!   

Perhaps that is the biggest motivator for people to start their own business?

Think about it. Why would you want to start a business if you are already a success in the corporate world?



  1. How about trading for a living?

    No bosses. No Peers. No staff. No clients.

    Lone wolf of the market?

    1. CW,

      Most trade to escape.

      A minority trade to achieve.

      That's a post for another day.

  2. If you are not comfortable when you are sticking out your like a "sore thumb" in a group, you will never succeed as a passive or active investor.
    But people who are fiercely independent are often taken or rather mistaken as a non-team player.
    How about can loner be a team leader?

    1. temperament,

      Thankfully, there are different strokes for different folks.

      Writers, painters, programmers, cartoonists can work basically alone if they want to.

      Loners can pick individual sports like tennis, golf, bowling, snooker, etc.

      Those who function better in a group will choose team sports or corporate life.

      In investing or trading, we can choose to hunt alone or in a pack. (Most hunt in a pack since we are consciously or unconsciously "following" someone - herd instinct)

      Loners CAN be team leaders.

      Once they understood human behaviour and the art of sheep-herding, these fiercely independent "loners" can create their own "church".

      Personality cult leaders are usually "loners" who don''t fit into mainstream.

      A better use of this energy would be to start their own businesses or social enterprises - be a beacon of light.

      Like a sword, we can wield it to do good or do harm.

  3. Hi SMOL,

    I like this post! Failed to draw parallels between corporate life and my childhood games until now.

    I guess not all "loners" might be born that way.

    Sometimes it just hurts that one isn't the team captain who gets to choose and one feels that he isn't picked early enough during the draft. And instead of patiently improving one's skills in that area to rise up the ranks, he simply decides to be a "loner" in another area (less popular).Might be a happier journey and people could then join his bandwagon, making him a leader.

    Speaking from my own experience and projection. =p

    1. 15 HWW,

      Glad you liked this post.

      When I write these kind of posts, I do worry whether I maybe fleshing out old wounds in some of the readers.

      Qian beis I not worried as they have eaten more salt and journeyed farther than me. They would understand the nuances and fill in the blanks on what has not been said.

      It's never about which is better.

      It's all about searching WITHIN for the answers we already have. Whether we persist in telling little lies to ourselves is entirely up to us.

      "Speaking from my own experience and projection" - Now that's a very good start for someone starting your jouney!

      Many people don't speak from their own experience or projection (think for themselves), they speak from the experiences of others (hiding behind gurus)

  4. Hi SMOL,

    Even if we run our own business, there is still no escape from being chosen. Who's the boss? The customers.

    Traders? The market will chose them to be winners or losers. Not themselves.

    So it's still square one. :)

    1. Endrene,

      I'm going to buy some red paint and lots of feathers ;)

      You are right. Running our own business or being self-employed does not give us "immunity".

      I guess failing and making your own mistakes can be a lot more satisfying than to be collateral damage when the company we worked for fails...

      I guess most entrepreneurs relish this thrill of kill or be killed directly!?

  5. I remember I am always at the lowest pecking order. Very sad. Something when the bigger boys come to the CC, they will just chase us out.

    I love the sport, keep playing, become good at it. Raise up the pecking order. Then reality set in again when I go sec school and tried to join the basketball school team. Out I go again.

    My sec school has a niche in volleyball then, the national champion in all divisions for most of the years.

    All sec 1 will be enrolled in the programme and the better ones will be selected, and they will not be allowed to join any other CCA. Naturally, I am not selected. But my buddy who was selected lied to me. Told me there was additional training. I ask the coach, the coach said yes.

    I didn't appreciate it yet. Now I do. The coach later told us that although he didn't ask me to come, I can always come. Train and be good. If u are good, u will be selected nonetheless.

    I argued with my friend after that, he said company is good, because only 3 were selected to join the senior boys training, the other 2 are tall guys!

    I followed through the training, became the first 6 players. We trained 4 days a week, 5 hours a day. During the holiday, is 6 days a week.

    It shaped my belief then hard work is all you need. After my c division, I couldn't get into the basketball team. Volleyball was too hectic an I need time to help out at my dad hawker stall too. I was still not selected, reason was I was too short.

    When I myself become in charge of basketball CCA, I didn't choose, whoever come, I train. I didn't have the luxury of training all that I want. 1 day a week is all that I had. In the end, I reverted to selection, but there is any host of problems.

    Sad truth about Coporate world? Some of us are really innate better than others in some areas, some of us learn ropes very quickly, that is a plus point too. But in quick results, Maggie mee culture in Singapore. Choose the court correctly, otherwise u will suffered.

    Hard work do pay off in the end, but if your boss want quick results, and u know u are not innately talented. Get ready for rough ride as u continue to look for the right court.

    1. sillyinvestor,

      Nature and Nurture. Ying and Yang.

      The penguin is a bird.

      If it insist on competing in a tree climbing contest, seduced by the expectations of others who bet a bird to out-climb the monkey in a tree-climbing contest, no matter how much it chants "I can" or trains, the penguin is setting itself for disappointment.

      If the penguin recognises it's true self and enters a swimming contest, it will face the derision of others who laughed: "How can a bird out-swim a fish?"

      Where we are today is the result of decisions made or not made in the past.

    2. If the penguin recognises it's true self and enters a swimming contest, it will face the derision of others who laughed: "How can a bird out-swim a fish?

      Penguin eats what?

      Not fish?

    3. All along i know (experiences) i am a "born-loser" due to unable to handle office politics. (i don't blame anybody for my short-coming). So i am always thinking of running a business of my own but no guts to cross over. Plus wifey doesn't agree or approve. She is not the business-minded type at all. She is easily "contented".
      So i think the next best thing is to learn how to be a "passive businessman".
      So you are right,
      "Where we are today is the result of decisions made or not made in the past."
      And of course, a lot of hard work and Lady Luck or Blessings counts too.

    4. CW,

      People like to "generalise".

      If we classify penguin as a bird, then people will expect it to "fly" like all other birds.

      I use penguin as the analogy that we need to know our true nature. If we try to fit in with other birds that fly in the sky, we will be forever miserable. But if we "fly" underwater with the fishes, we will be in our element ;)

      However, we have to "survive" the well-intentioned advice of others who warned us that a bird can never fly underwater....

    5. temperament,

      Evidently you are comfortable where you are now. If not, you would have changed already or now looking for new adventures to fill the hole in your heart,

      I never liked the word "passive". I prefer that we are taking advantage of OPT - Other People's Time.

      We both are businessmen- we buy, we sell.

  6. Hmmm SMOL,

    Regarding the bird analogy, we all had a lesson about animals, about average ability etc.

    The truth, since day 1 when I am exposed to the story, I already told myself humans are different from animals. Remember I said due to my dumbness, of training hard, I managed to be the to be top 6. We can be what we want to Be, we can be eagles or whales.

    But we cannot be whales overnight, and we cannot be whales if we dun live by the water without pain.

    But humans are powerful, time and pain allow them to transform into anything they want. Maybe not the fastest flying eagle, maybe not the top speeding whale. But allow time, and have the threshold of pain to go thro, we can change the concoon and be a butterfly.

    But alas; a lifetime is perhaps just long enough for a major transformation. Think about Nick and china Liu Wei, not sure I got the name correct, even the Singaporean blind that finished his PHD. It's going through fire and with time blossom.

    Of course, not everyone will do it or can do it, but a bird can never swim. It's never a never for humans. It's still a possibility no matte how small, it is hope.

    1. sillyinvestor,

      If you look at it from another angle, perhaps those people performing great feats are not transforming?

      Like the ugly duckling story, it's not about the duckling transforming into a swan; it's more about the little swan rediscovering it's true self.

      To the other ducks - What a transformation!

      To the other swans - Welcome home ;)


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