HONOUR YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year!

The first of January marks the time of the year when many people make new resolutions to change their lives in some way.

As mentioned on page 89 of “Winning with Honour”, it is important to honour our thoughts as they affect our choices and actions, which then affect our destiny.

We also need to be mindful about what we focus on because that will determine our thinking, which will determine our choices, which will determine our actions, and ultimately shape our destiny. So if we focus on the good, we will think good, be good, do good, and will naturally reap good!

As a wise saying goes:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

The importance of why it is in our best interest to make a conscientious effort to think honourable, positive, and life giving thoughts, is powerfully illustrated by this video of the work done by Masaru Emoto.

 

 

Masaru Emoto (22 July 1943 – October 17, 2014) was a Japanese author, researcher, photographer and entrepreneur, who gained worldwide acclaim through his groundbreaking research and discovery that the structure of water is deeply connected to our individual and collective consciousness.

Emoto conducted experiments by exposing water in glasses to different words, pictures or music, and then freezing and examining the aesthetic properties of the resulting crystals with microscopic photography. Emoto’s photos showed that when the water was exposed to positive speech and thoughts visually “pleasing” and well defined crystals were formed, and when negative thoughts and emotions were focused on the water, or when the water was blasted with heavy metal music or labeled with negative words, the water displayed chaotic, fragmented structures.

As shown in the video above, water is responsive to our every thought and emotion. Considering how our bodies are on average 60 percent made up by water, and keeping in mind how every human being has not only a body, but also a soul and spirit, it is of upmost importance to guard our thoughts and intentions, as the unseen realm has an impact on the seen realm.

Skeptical of Emoto’s research?

Consider the research of Dr Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology specializing in Neuropsychology, which we referenced on page 91 of Winning with Honour.
In her book, “Switch on Your Brain” (Baker Books 2013), Dr Caroline Leaf wrote: “Research shows that 75 to 98 percent of mental, physical, and behavioural illness comes from one’s thought life. This staggering and eye-opening statistic means only 2 to 25 percent of mental and physical illnesses comes from the environment and genes.

We may have a fixed set of genes in our chromosomes but which of those genes are active and how they are active has a great deal to do with how we think and process our experiences.

Our thoughts produce words and behaviours, which in turn stimulate more thinking and choices that build more thoughts in an endless cycle. So, it is the quality of our thinking and choices (consciousness), and our reactions that determine our “brain architecture”—the shape or design of the brain and resultant quality of our minds and bodies.

And not only does our thinking and feeling affect our choices and reactions, it also affects our DNA!

In an experiment done by the Institute of HeartMath, it was found that the DNA changes its shape according to the feelings of the researchers—when the researchers felt anger, fear, frustration, or stress, their DNA responded by becoming shorter and many DNA codes were switched off; however, when feelings of love, joy, gratitude, and appreciation were felt, the shutdown was reversed and the codes were switched back on.

It is thus in our best interest to make a conscientious effort to think honourable, positive, and life giving thoughts every day of our lives, not only on New Year’s Day 🙂

Wishing all our readers a fabulous 2017 filled with good health, peace, truth, love, and joy! May you believe that the best is yet to be!

 

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Honour Civility

As mentioned in both our books The Leader,  The Teacher & You and Winning With Honour, you could be a CEO of a multinational corporation, a stay-at-home mother, an emergency room nurse, a primary school student, or the leader of a country.

Regardless of your station in life, your life counts and you can choose to be a leader and make a positive impact in your own spheres of influence, no matter how small these spheres might be.

And as you lead, may you keep in mind the importance of honouring civility and honouring your followers.

In this Wall Street Journal article, Dr Christine Porath, a professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and the author of “Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace” (Grand Central Publishing), shares that “Civility at Work Helps Everyone Get Ahead.”

Porath states: “In every interaction, you have a choice. Do you want to lift people up or hold them down? Whether you know it or not, you’re answering this question every day through your actions.”

In her studies on the study the costs of incivility (defined as “any rude, disrespectful or insensitive behavior that people feel runs counter to the norms”), Dr Porath found that: “The way you treat people means everything — whether they will build relationships with you, trust you, follow you, support you and work hard for you.

“You can lift people up by demonstrating respect and making people feel valued, appreciated and heard. But when you exhibit uncivil behaviors, from ignoring to belittling to intentionally undermining others, the harm is enormous.”

Dr Porath’s studies have shown that when employees do not feel respected, their performance suffers, and their thinking skills and helpfulness are affected in subtle ways.

In a research study that Dr Porath and Amir Erez (from the University of Florida) published in the Academy of Management Journal in 2007, they found that groups that were belittled “performed 33% worse on anagram word puzzles and came up with 39% fewer creative ideas during a brainstorming task.” A second experiment revealed that rudely admonished participants “performed 61% worse on word puzzles, and produced 58% fewer ideas” than participants who were not treated rudely.

Subsequent experiments undertaken by Dr Porath revealed that those who “merely witnessed incivility” performed “25% worse on word puzzles and produced nearly 45% fewer ideas in the brainstorming tasks than those who had not witnessed the rude behavior. They were also far less likely stay to help the experimenter with an additional task.”

In the same Wall Street Journal article, Dr Porath cited another study she had undertaken that was published in the Harvard Business Review – in a survey of more than 20,000 employees across industries, Dr Porath found that “those who felt their leader ‘demonstrated respect’ reported 92% greater focus and prioritisation, 56% better health and well-being, and 55% more engagement.”

Dr Porath also shared that civility enhances a team’s performance by increasing psychological safety by creating an “environment is a trusting, respectful place to take risks”. Dr Porath cited that a study by Google found that “teams with more psychological safety were more likely to make use of their teammates’ ideas and less likely to leave Google”. The Google study also found that teams with more psychological safety “generated more revenue for the company and were rated ‘effective’ twice as often by executives.”

Dr Porath concluded in the Wall Street Journal article that civility pays for leaders and business: “By being civil, leaders create a positive cycle in their organization, allowing everyone to focus more on their work.”

While Porath’s studies are focused on the workplace, the lessons are equally applicable to all our interactions across our private, personal, professional, and public spheres.

So whether you are a leader at home, at work and/or in your community, may you remember to honour civility in all your interactions. As shared in this previous blog, you might perhaps find it helpful to THINK before any interaction by asking yourself:

“Is what I am about to say, post or share:

  • True?
  • Helpful?
  • Inspiring?
  • Necessary?
  • Kind?”

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And shared on page 419 of “Winning with Honour”, Maya Angelou (an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist) famously said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

May you choose to “lift up” everyone that crosses your path be it in your homes, your communities, your organisations, and any other public spaces, so that they can be the best that they can be.

Maya Angelou  l  People remember how you made them feel.jpg

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Honour Best Efforts Over Achievement

38,808 primary school pupils received their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results yesterday morning, and many others students have received their year-end examination results in recent week.

There would be students who are satisfied with their results as they have done better than expected, and others who feel like they have failed because they did not do as well as others.

As mentioned in our earlier blog, we have to be a people who honour best efforts more than achievement. We have to stand by everyone who tries according to what their talents and abilities allow them to be.

This Straits Times article, “Helping children choose life, not death”, which was published in the papers yesterday, highlighted the need for parents to have the “courage and resolve to go against the grain and do what is better for your child.”

In the same Straits Times article, Psychologist Daniel Koh from Insights Mind Centre highlighted the ned for parents to show their child that they are loved and accepted unconditionally so that the child can “confidently speak to his parents and feel safe and secure as well as supported.”

In addition, “communication with children has to go beyond their studies and results”, and the “focus must be on helping them be resilient when things don’t go their way.”

And as mentioned in this other blog that we had published, the real challenge for all of us is not to win the prize…but to be the best that we can be and to give the best that we can every day despite our  challenges and circumstances.

And as we try our best each and every day, may we be encouraged by this song by Shakira, “Try Everything” (see lyrics below) and have the courage to start again when we fail or mess up.

We lose if we don’t try.

We win just by trying our best.

“Try Everything” by Shakira

I messed up tonight
I lost another fight
I still mess up but I’ll just start again
I keep falling down
I keep on hitting the ground
I always get up now to see what’s next
Birds don’t just fly
They fall down and get up
Nobody learns without getting it wrong

I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
Till I reach the end
And then I’ll start again
Though I’m on the lead
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
Till I reach the end
And then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail

Oh oh oh oh
Try everything
Oh oh oh oh
Try everything
Oh oh oh oh
Try everything
Oh oh oh oh

Look how far you’ve come
You filled your heart with love
Baby you’ve done enough that cut your breath
Don’t beat yourself up
Don’t need to run so fast
Sometimes we come last but we did our best

I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
Till I reach the end
And then I’ll start again
Though I’m on the lead
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
Till I reach the end
And then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail

I’ll keep on making those new mistakes
I’ll keep on making them every day
Those new mistakes

Oh oh oh oh
Try everything
Oh oh oh oh
Try everything
Oh oh oh oh
Try everything
Oh oh oh oh

Try everything…

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Happy Singles Day!

Happy Singles Day! On this special day that was popularized by Alibaba, find out what Alibaba’s founder, Mr Jack Ma, thinks about the virtue of Honour.

This video was specially recorded for the Honour International Symposium, which was organised for Honour (Singapore) by the co-authors of The Leader, The Teacher & You and Winning with Honour.

Video Credit: Honour International Symposium (https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=n1s8I2xREZs)

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The Role of Government

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Brexit. The shock win of Donald Trump. In light of the political volatility of our times, it would be useful for us to review the role of the government and why it is important for the people to honour the government, and the government to honour the people.

Below is an excerpt from page 225 – 229 of our second book, Winning with Honour, which addresses what is the role of government:

“People get the government they deserve. The job of the government is to provide the goods and services that people cannot provide for themselves because they lack organisation and scale to get things done effectively and efficiently.

“The fundamental idea should therefore be that people should first take the responsibility to provide for themselves to the greatest extent possible—this way they best exercise personal choice and are best able to satisfy themselves.

“Where the people decide to hand the responsibility to the government, they have to accept that mass provision by the government can never be as responsive and individually-satisfying as if the people were to provide for themselves. The government can provide funding for social services, for example, but the government can never provide the human touch and the human heart so necessary for many of the social services to be effectual.

“The basics of defence and security, law and justice, clearly belong to government; what else the government should do is a matter of implicit or explicit agreement between the government and the people.

“But for the system to work ultimately to the benefit of the people, the people must be able to trust the government, as must the people honour the institutions of the state as existing for the good of the people. If the institutions are torn down or destroyed, what results is anarchy and confusion, the very antithesis of what is in the best interest of the people.

“Citizens of course need the maturity to distinguish between the institutions that must be upheld to serve their need for security and justice, and the people whom they choose to lead the institutions.

“In a democracy, the people choose at regular intervals whom they wish to have to lead their government. In this way, the citizens are able to give direct feedback on what they have been pleased or displeased with, and what they hope for the future. A government that is not responsive to the desires of the people will be taken down in due course.

“Yet the government carries the responsibility to lead not just the current generation and also meet their needs, but also consider and plan for the needs of future generations to be met, so that they will leave a worthy legacy for the generations to come.

“It is a difficult call for the government of the day to provide for the generations to come and do what it believes to be right for the future, even though it may be unpopular for the current generation.

There is a demand for the government to have a superior ability to communicate, and there needs a maturity on the part of the citizenry to think beyond their immediate needs. A failure on both fronts will result in a government that is populist in policy and practice, to the detriment of the long-term interest of the people. The government will then be led by the people whom the government is supposed to lead. Such a failure is likely to result when the people do not honour the institution of government, and the government fails to honour the hopes and desires of the people.

“Governments of countries, as opposed to local government, also have to be concerned about the global environment and the standing of their countries in the global community of nations. This pertains to peace, security, foreign policy, and diplomacy. It also pertains to cross-border issues such as the environment and illegal immigration.

“Short-sighted policies often result in ‘beggar thy neighbour’ approaches. The principle of honouring promises and honouring people in other countries applies here, just like the principle of honouring others applies in families, communities, and organisations. Looking after the environment, conserving forests and water resources, preserving flora and fauna as a heritage for future generations, are all cases in point.

Must short-sighted self-interest prevail or can far-sighted enlightened self-interest hold sway instead? Can Honour rule the individual, the family, the community, the organisation, and the nation?”

As “The Honour Circle” reflects…it is really up to us.

the-honour-circle

Photo Credit: The Straits Times

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The Peak Power List 2016

The Peak Power List 2016_ Lim Siong Guan _ The Peak Singapore.png

One of the authors of Winning with Honour and The Leader, The Teacher & You was recognised by The Peak Singapore for his efforts to highlight the need for honour and “other-centred” living for the continued survival and success of Singapore.

Lim Siong Guan told The Peak Singapore: “Many Singaporeans yearn for the ‘kampung spirit’ because it sounds nice. They want their neighbours to look out for them but don’t realise their neighbours are waiting for the same thing, so who’s going to start?”

The Peak Singapore collaborated with the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and sought counsel from Laurence Lien, co-founder and CEO of the Asian Philanthropy Circle to decide on the list of 10 changemakers with outstanding philanthropic contributions.

You can read the full article here: http://thepeakmagazine.com.sg/…/the-peak-power-list-2016-l…/

 

 

Photo & Video Credit: The Peak Singapore

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The Leading Foundation Teacher Award 2016

The third batch of winners for “The Leading Foundation Teacher Award” received their awards on Monday, 17 October 2016.

Heartiest congratulations to the following early childhood, special needs, and allied educators for Winning with Honour by going the extra mile for their students:

  • Ms Zahira Bte Surian (Early Childhood Educator, PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Punggol East Block 103)
  • Ms Parvinjit Kaur Toor (Early Childhood Educator, PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Woodlands Blk 677)
  • Mr Mark Kuo (Special Needs Educator, APSN Tanglin Special Education School)
  • Mr Jeyaram s/o Kadivan (Allied Educator, St Gabriel’s Secondary School)

Many thanks to everyone who expressed support for the winners on the following Facebook pages that you can access here and here.

 

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The main Chinese newspaper in Singapore, Lianhe Zaobao, also featured Parvinjit and Mark in an article that was published on 18 October 2016. You can read the article written in Mandarin Chinese here.

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Singapore’s highest-selling newspaper, The Straits Times, also published an article on how Jeyaram helped Mr Caleb Tay, who had lost over 80 per cent of his sight by the time he reached St Gabriel’s Secondary School, fulfil his potential and achieve seven distinctions in his GCE ‘O’ Level examinations. You can read their wonderful story here.

 

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We hope that the awards will not only encourage the winners to achieve greater heights, but will also inspire all educators who serve in the early childhood and special needs sector to continue winning with honour by always giving their best to make a positive difference in the lives of those they serve.

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The Leading Foundation Teacher Awards were established in 2014 to recognise excellent early childhood and special needs education teachers who have made a positive impact in the lives of their students. The awards are sponsored by The Leading Foundation, which was founded in 2013 by Lim Siong Guan and Joanne Lim the co-authors of Winning with Honour and The Leader, The Teacher & You. You can find out more about The Leading Foundation here.

Photo credits: Lianhe Zaobao and Straits Times

P.S. If you liked reading Winning with Honour, please vote for Winning with Honour in Popular Bookstore’s Readers’ Choice Award by 31 October 2016 and stand a chance to win for yourself a $50 Popular voucher and a 1 year Popular Bookstore membership. You can submit your vote here

As part of their Readers’ Choice Award campaign, Popular is offering a 20% discount for Winning with Honour till January 2017.

 Thank you in advance for your support! 

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Honour Others for a Satisfied Life

Winning with Honour  l  Straits Times 20161023  l  Thousands of Thais sing royal anthem for late King.png

The Straits Times published an article today on how 150,000 Thais gathered outside Bangkok’s Grand Palace yesterday to sing the royal anthem, alongside a 100-piece orchestra and professional choir, to show their devotion to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away on 13 October after a 70 year reign. You can read the article here and view a video by Reuters here.

Throughout his long reign, King Bhumibol worked tirelessly to increase the well-being of the Thai people, and by doing so, he earned not only the respect, but also the love of his people. You can read more about why the Thai King was so beloved by his people in this Channel NewsAsia article and video here.

Since his passing on 13 October, there have been so many interviews with Thai who mentioned that they love their King. In this Straits Times article published on 13 October, Ms Darunee Thitchan, a Thai national who was in Singapore on the day the King’s death was announced shared: “I loved him so much; he was like a father to me.”

This outpouring of grief and expression of love for the late King Bhumibol reflects that his life was a purposeful life, lived with love and concern for others.

Death is a fate that all human beings shared. But the lives that are lived between birth and death are very different, and the reactions of those around the deceased regarding their passing are also very different. 

So, what makes a satisfied and impactful life?

As shared on page 11-17 of Winning with Honour, research has shown that to live a satisfied life, we need to value love above everything else. Research also shows that the need for Transcendence—that is, helping others reach their personal growth and self-fulfilment—is ranked as the highest of all needs in the human psyche.

Hence, the highest need we all have is to move beyond just thinking of ourselves to contributing to the lives of others by doing good for their lives.

To put it simply, if we want to live satisfied lives, we have to remember that it is not about ourselves, but about others.

And in order to honour others, we need to dedicate ourselves to practise “eulogy virtues” on a daily basis, as described by David Brooks, writer and commentator in the New York Times, in his book, “The Road to Character” (Random House 2015) and on page 425 of Winning with Honour:

“Recently I’ve been thinking about the difference between the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the ones you list on your résumé, the skills that you bring to the job market and that contribute to external success. 

The eulogy virtues are deeper. They’re the virtues that get talked about at your funeral, the ones that exist at the core of your being—whether you are kind, brave, honest or faithful; what kind of relationships you formed. 

“Most of us would say that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé virtues, but I confess that for long stretches of my life I’ve spent more time thinking about the latter than the former. 

Our education system [referring to the American education system] is certainly oriented around the résumé virtues more than the eulogy ones. Public conversation is, too—the self-help tips in magazines, the nonfiction bestsellers. Most of us have clearer strategies for how to achieve career success than we do for how to develop a profound character.”

If you want to live a satisfied and impactful life, honour your life today by loving others and thinking about others…it is only in your best interest to do so, as reflected by the life and passing of the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

P.S. If you liked reading Winning with Honour, please vote for Winning with Honour in Popular Bookstore’s Readers’ Choice Award by 31 October 2016 and stand a chance to win for yourself a $50 Popular voucher and a 1 year Popular Bookstore membership. You can submit your vote here. Thank you in advance for your support!

Photo credit: Straits Times

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Honour Best Efforts over Grades

It is now the year-end school examination period in Singapore, and many children and students are facing examination stress. You might like to refer to this Straits Times article to get some tips on how to help your child deal with exam stress.

As you help your child with their examinations, we hope that you will take inspiration from this letter that The Heritage School in Kolkata posted on their Facebook page, and remember that grades do not define your child or your child’s future. You can view their post here.

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In addition, as mentioned on page 159 of Winning with Honour, many parents focus on developing their children academically to ensure their future success, but very few parents focus on developing their child’s character first.

It would do good for parents to keep in mind the ancient Chinese saying that goes: “成人,成才,成功” (“Become a person, become a talent, become a success”). So if you would like your child to be a success, ensure that your child first learns how to be a human being with a conscience and how to honour other human beings…then only can your child develop his or her talents to become a success. You are the first leader and teacher of your child. 

As shared in this previous post, we also hope that you will be a parent that honours best efforts over grades. The real challenge for all of us is not to win the prize…but to be the best that we can be and to give the best that we can every day despite our  challenges and circumstances. We lose if we don’t try. We win just by trying our best.

Good luck to all students taking examinations! You can win with honour just by trying  and giving your best.

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The Leading Foundation Teaching Award recipients featured in “The New Age Parents”

Congratulations to Ms Jenny Tan of Little Village and Ms Babe Chen of Rainbow Centre, Singapore, two recipients of The Leading Foundation Teacher Award (LFTA) in 2015, for being featured in The New Age Parents,  a parenting magazine and resource site for Parents of Preschoolers and Parents to be.

You can read about the impact that Jenny and Babe are making in the lives of their students here: http://thenewageparents.com/interview-with-leading-foundat…/

The Leading Foundation Teacher Awards recognizes excellent early childhood and special needs education teachers who have made a positive impact in the lives of those they serve.

The awards are sponsored by The Leading Foundation, which was founded in 2013 by Lim Siong Guan and Joanne Lim, the co-authors of Winning with Honour and The Leader, The Teacher & You. You can find out more about The Leading Foundation here.

Congratulations once again to Jenny and Babe for Winning With Honour with their dedication and resilience!

Photo credit: The New Age Parents

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