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Friday, 1 August 2014

Lemon to Lemonade

I have a stammer.

When in primary school, it's not so fun when I got teased by my classmates.

Ever noticed we were at our "cruelest" when we were young?

Luckily, I was able to notice I stammered whenever I get too excited (out goes my Playboy collections). 

So begins a lifetime journey of monitoring my breaths and being conscious of the way I speak. I've suppressed my stammer. Can't say it's cured fully as it sometimes comes back to say hello. When it does, I just take a deep breath and wink to this old friend of mine.
It's amazing now looking back that I ended up making a living by talking!? Be it in sales, in supply chain selling cost saving proposals to management, evangelising change in change management, and facilitating in workshops and courses...    

I never learned my times-tables.

Funny how no one cared. I don't recall being tested on it. Then calculators came and we can even bring it to exams! Even less urgency for me to correct this gap in my learning.

There was a time when I was terrified to be found out. And if anyone of you have something to hide like me (dyslexia for eg), you would understand it's not a nice feeling to have.

It finally dawned on me that I can turn this lemon of mine into a lemonade.

When I am facilitating a class, and numbers or calculations came out, I will cheerfully shout: "People, help me out here. What's 8 times 7?"

"56!" someone will bound to shout back.


"Confirm lah!" Now the whole class thunders!

I've stumbled onto one of the techniques to build 2 way interactions in a class.

And yes, we don't have to know everything as facilitators.

Hello weakness my old friend

Of course it's good to make our strengths stronger! That's given.

But its also good not to totally ignore our weaknesses.

If we don't despise, hate, or get angry with our weaknesses, our weaknesses can be good friends that make us lemonades when we are thirsty.

Even without lemonades, by embracing our weaknesses, we can develop empathy.

Scientists when determining whether an organism is "intelligent" will include this empathy test.


  1. SMOL,
    You have a very important ingredient in your making of lemon to lemonade. Quoting Stephen Covey, you have proactivity. You focus on area of influence and not what is outside of it!

    I believed many people who scored better in studies might not be doing as well as you now. Hence, I never see the pursuit of academic excellence as a one and only path to success. Well, it might be the mainstream path, the proven track, and the less risky one, but hey, you are the living example of someone making it through another path. Pardon me, if u did well in studies but choose a different route.

    1. sillyinvestor,

      Thanks! I like Stephen Covey too as evidenced with my frequent reference to "sharpening the saw" ;)

      I am a dreamer.

      Dreaming led to reflections, reflections led to proactivity when thoughts were transformed into actions.

      Just take financial freedom:

      Focus on what I can control - how much I spend and save

      Focus on what I can influence - how much I earn through career moves, investing, trading, etc.

      Let go of what I cannot control or influence.

      This frees up lots of limited brain and time resources of mine to enjoy music, read fiction books, watch documentaries, and "talk male-chicken" with fellow "wu liao" friends.

      When I happy, I see the world as half-full :)

  2. Replies
    1. CW,

      We are the Ones who make a better day, so let's start giving!

      You the Man!


  3. Haha...I didn't take those 2 things u mentioned as weaknesses. :)

    1. pf,

      Hey! Whatever makes you feel better!

      OK, they are my strengths, and this post is about making our strengths stronger.

      How do we make steel harder?

      The closely guarded secret by sword makers is the "quenching" process.

      So whenever people pour cold water on me, I always imagine I am that hot steel being "quenched" so that I can be hardened.


  4. Hi SMOL,

    I dare say that one of my greatest strength when teaching is that I dare to say I don't know. I don't prepare answers in advance. I like to do things as they come along. And so I stumble and I make mistakes, all in full view of my students. If I don't know how to do, I say so. No point trying to bluff it through. But the point is I never give up...i try and try and most of the time, at the end of the lesson, I'll proudly show my students the solutions.

    I hope they learn more about the questions that just the right answers.

    I'm also very bad at mental sums, so I employ the same trick as you did. I ask my students to help me press the caluculator (I don't have on until very recently, but I still don't use it lol) and hold them responsible if they press wrongly. Both of us contribute to the solutions and they will feel that they own the solutions too.

    Now, that's impt.

    1. LP,

      We are on the same page when it comes to "ownership".

      Giving answers to others is so much easier.

      Helping others to get the answers themselves is so much harder....

      The 2nd most popular app for my mobile besides SMS is the calculator function.



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