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Win with Honour with The 4 Way Test

Winning with Honour l The 4-Way Test

As we start a new week, let us be inspired by this sculpture by Mr Victor Tan Wee Tar that is nestled in the beautiful Singapore Botanic Gardens, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

In this sculpture called “Passing of Knowledge”, a continuous stream of water connects a larger figure and a smaller figure – “knowledge, like water, is vital to life”, and “the water is symbolic of the passing of knowledge from generation to generation”.

The sign that accompanies the sculpture explains: “This embodies the Rotarians’ hope that the values cultivated by The 4 Way Test will continue to be a guiding principle in human relations for our future generations.”

And what it is the 4-Way Test?

Of the things we think, say, or do, let us think:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?

Wishing one and all a great week ahead!


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Schools and universities see much of their role as sharing knowledge and developing skills, rather than guiding their students on winning in work and life. All of us know that in leading our organizations, what we look for when we recruit or promote people is not just competence and experience, but also trustworthiness and dependability. 

We wonder whether we can trust the people we choose to deliver on what we expect of them, both in terms of timeliness and of quality of work. Will they do their best according to their talents and capabilities? Will they produce work they can be proud of? Will they observe deadlines, and let us know if they will not be able to meet the deadlines? 

We also wonder whether our people will cooperate, collaborate and support each other as necessary and appropriate. Will they see the broader organisational objective and responsibility, or approach work in self-pride and selfishness?

Can we trust our people in their attitude towards their work and towards each other? Will our people honour their word, and honour each other?  Will they deliver on their promises?  Will they look out for each other and function as family or as a team?

Universities and schools fail to make the point with their students that to succeed in work and life, they need to be trustworthy and not just competent in their skills and abilities.

Trust is the most important currency for long-term relationships – we all know this instinctively! Trust is both critical and essential in relationships with parents and family, with friends and relatives, with bosses, colleagues and subordinates, with business partners and customers, and with government and the community. And Honor is the Foundation of Trust.


How can we understand Honour?  Some people think Honour is too ambiguous an idea, and could be better understood if we were to use words like Integrity or Respect. But while integrity and respect are certainly important aspects of honour, they are not adequate.

To understand the depth of Honor, consider the question:  What is the difference between Liking and Loving?  When we say we like something or someone, we mean that there are characteristics about the thing or the person that appeals to us. Liking, therefore, is in fact a very self-centered way of thinking.

On the other hand, when we say we love someone, we will continually be thinking of what we can do to please that person, make the person more comfortable, bring joy to the person, and raise the person’s sense of well-being. Loving, therefore, is a very other-centred way of thinking and behavior.  Unfortunately, the word “love” has been very much debased in many situations to simply mean “like very much”.

If we can draw this differentiation between “liking” as a self-centered frame of mind and “loving” as an other-centered frame of mind, we will be able to similarly appreciate that “respect” derives from a self-centered frame of mind: Does the person deserve my respect?  What is it about him or her that is worthy of my respect? In contrast, honour springs from an other-centered frame of mind.

A common situation would help clarify the wellspring of honour. If you were riding an escalator in a city where the convention is to stand on the right, an interesting question is why you yourself stand on the right.  If you were doing so because that is the social convention, then all you are doing is to “follow the crowd”. But if you were standing on the right out of regard for those who may wish to move faster by “overtaking” you on the left, then what you are doing is an act of Honour, an act of other-centeredness.

The Virtuous Circle of Honor

The world would be so much a better place if honour were a natural way of thinking and behaviour.  This is where we enter the virtuous circle of

  • Honour in Individuals (each one being the best he or she can be according to their talents and abilities) leading to
  • Honour in Families (starting with honoring our father and our mother) leading to
  • Honour in Communities (David Halpern, in his book The Hidden Wealth of Nations, forcefully makes the point that “richer nations are happier, yet economic growth doesn’t increase happiness”, and explains the paradox by saying “the hidden wealth of nations – the extent to which citizens get along with others – independently drives both economic growth and well-being.”) leading to
  • Honour in Organizations (which include businesses, social enterprises, and the behavior of leaders) leading to
  • Honour in Nation, which in turn enables Honor in Individuals, and so on.


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This last, “Honor in Nation”, can be explained with the example of Singapore. Singapore is a small country with a population of around 5.5 million and a land area of 278 square miles, a nation with absolutely no natural resources, and smaller than New York City, London or Tokyo.  If you were to look at any map of the world, Singapore would fit quite nicely within the letter “o” of its name. Its population is multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious. Pew Research Center found Singapore in 2014 to be the most religiously diverse country in the world.

How has Singapore managed to survive and thrive despite the challenges of geography and demographics? 

The answer lies in Singapore being a brand of trustworthinessBrand Finance, an international brand consultancy firm based in London, named Singapore the strongest nation brand in both 2015 and 2016.

Brand Finance explains, “Nation Brand value is reliant upon GDP (i.e. the revenues associated with the brand).  Singapore’s small size means it will never be able to challenge for the top spot in brand value terms, because its brand simply cannot be applied extensively enough to generate the same economic uplift as ‘brand USA’ for example.  However, in terms of the underlying nation brand strength, Singapore comes out on top.”

The strong Singapore brand springs from two acts of honour as a nation: it is a people and a government who can be trusted to honour their Word – to deliver on their promises, observe the rule of law, protect international property rights, and deliver on quality and excellence – and who honour Each Other – recognizing that ethnicity, language and religion are visceral issues, aspects of life left to individual choice but in a way which does not impinge upon the freedom of others to similarly choose for themselves, and in this way maintain community harmony and social stability.

Succeeding in Work and Life

Success in work and life depends not just on knowledge, experience, competence and skills, but also very much on trustworthiness, reliability and dependability.

Trust, in turn, is founded on Honor, where other-centeredness plays a central role, as against the selfishness and self-centeredness which drives much of the behavior of individuals and organizations all over the world.  

The fundamental premise of Honor is that honor is what we offer others out of consideration for them, with no expectation of getting some reward in return, though it may be an act in “enlightened self-interest” where the resultant goodwill, peace and harmony makes the honoring effort more than worthwhile. Honoring springs from an other-centered frame of mind, much like “love”.

Universities and schools need to help their students understand that success in work and life is more than skills and knowledge. It is essential to be trustworthy and dependable. 

And parents and families should recognize that it is they who will determine whether universities and schools can do this effectively, because they are the ones who create the moral foundations in the home that will make their children accept or reject the message of honor and trustworthiness.

So, if you want to succeed at the work place, and/or want your child to succeed in life: Honour Your Word and Honour the People Around You.

By Lim Siong Guan and Joanne Lim (co-authors of Winning with Honour, and The Leader, The Teacher & You)


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The Significance of the Term “Pioneers of the Next Generation”


The Committee on the Future Economy recently released their report entitled: “REPORT OF THE  COMMITTEE ON THE FUTURE ECONOMY: The Pioneers of the Next Generation”. The term “Pioneers of the Next Generation” has a very special significance which most Singaporeans would probably miss. Why is this so?

In an Straits Times Op-Ed article that was published on 2 June 2016, “Getting to the Future with Honour”, which I had co-authored, reference was made to a study by Sir John Bagot Glubb called “The Fate Of Empires And Search For Survival” (William Blackwood and Sons, 1978) that was cited in “Winning with Honour” by Siong Guan Lim and Joanne H Lim (Imperial College Press, 2016) in consideration of the  question: Would Singapore Fall?”“

In his study, Glubb studied 11 empires over 3,000 years and found that every empire lasted only about 200 – 250 years. This is mystifying because one could have thought that technology would have allowed the later empires to last longer.

Glubb uncovered the mystery by finding that all the empires went through six stages – the Ages of Pioneers, Conquests, Commerce, Affluence, Intellect, and Decadence – before its eventual decline.

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Each stage has its own characteristics:

  • Age of Pioneers, a period of amazing initiative, enterprise, courage and hardihood.
  • Age of Conquests, where the principal objects are glory and honour for the nation.
  • Age of Commerce, when values start shifting from the self-sacrifice of the initial pioneers to self-interest, and the acquisition of wealth starts taking precedence over everything else.
  • Age of Affluence, where money replaces honour and adventure as the objective of the best young men.
  • Age of Intellect, when business people who had made their wealth seek the praise of others by supporting art, music and literature, and institutions of higher education.
  • Age of Decadence, which comes about due to an extended period of wealth and power, selfishness, love of money, and loss of a sense of duty.

Glubb found that nations decline not because their people do not have a conscience, but because of a weakening sense of duty accompanied by an increase in selfishness and the desire for wealth and ease.

In his study, Glubb stated that the Age of Decadence, the last age before the decline of the nation, is marked by defensiveness, pessimism, materialism, frivolity, an influx of foreigners, the welfare state and weakening of religion.

Glubb affirmed that his analysis of the rise and fall of empires also applied to small states if the small state had also tasted power and affluence.

Many thoughtful people see signs in Singapore of five of the characteristics of the Age of Decadence – namely, defensiveness, pessimism, materialism, frivolity and influx of foreigners, as well as incipient signs of the last two characteristics – namely, the welfare state and the weakening of religion.

Glubb’s basic finding is that nations rise with the energy, determination, and hard work of their people as they seek a better life through affluence; and nations ironically fall after they achieve affluence as they weaken in their imagination and drive for new success.  

The interesting question is whether Singapore can avoid a natural fall after the Age of Affluence by starting a new growth curve with an Age of New Pioneers seeking a new way of success and affluence. This is where the proposed return to the “Age of Pioneers” by the Committee of the Future Economy is of paramount significance and importance for the future of Singapore.

As mentioned on page 363 of “Winning with Honour”, the Age of Pioneers is a period of amazing initiative, enterprise, courage, and hardihood, characterised by an extraordinary display of energy and courage. Pioneers are always ready to improvise, experiment, and innovate as opined by Glubb: “Untrammelled by traditions, they will turn anything available to their purpose. If one method fails, they try something else. Uninhibited by textbooks or book learning, action is their solution to every problem.”

Glubb sagely noted: “ ‘The only thing we learn from  history,’  it has been said, ‘is that men never learn from history’, a sweeping generalisation perhaps, but one which the chaos in the world today goes far to confirm. What then can be the reason why, in a society which claims to probe every problem, the bases of history are still so completely unknown?”

Should Singapore be able to learn the lessons from the history of the human race and successfully break the same patterns constantly repeated over 4,000 years under widely differing conditions of climate, culture, and religion, Singapore would prove itself to be exceptional and unique once again.

Can Singapore break the pattern of decline that has plagued nations over the course of human history?

The answer lies in all of us committing to espouse the ancient virtues of courage, patriotism, and devotion to duty, and ensuring the objects of ambition are glory and honour for the nation and collective whole, and not for self-interest.

Should Singaporeans be willing to learn from history and commit to building a culture of continual innovation and excellence that fills the minds and drives the lives of Singaporeans of every age, Singapore has a chance of creating history by not only defying the odds of developmental history that spells a certain social, economic and spiritual doom, but also defining what it means to be a First World Society where individuals look out for the well-being of each other.

Dare we choose courage over comfort and certainty for the continued success and survival of our nation? This is a question for every Singaporean to answer.

By Joanne H Lim

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Honour Each Day as a New Day!

Saturday, 28 January 2017 marks the first day of the Chinese New Year. In the days leading up to the Chinese New Year, it is tradition for every family that celebrates the Chinese New Year to clean the house thoroughly, and to “get rid of the old to make way for the new”.

Very often, new material things (such as clothes, shoes, bedsheets, furniture, etc) are bought to mark a new beginning.

While it is always nice to have new materials things, it is even more important to take the time to renew our thinking and mindsets. As we had mentioned on page 89 of “Winning with Honour”, it is important to renew our minds as our thoughts lead to our choices, which lead to our actions, and ultimately forms our destiny.

Winning with Honour l Thoughts, Choices, Actions, Destiny.png

As articulated by Konosuke Matsushita-san, the founder of Panasonic, in his book, “The Path”, one of the most important mindsets that we should embrace is to greet each day as a new day…not only on New Year’s Day:

“When the New year comes, we feel the sense of a fresh start, an embarking on a new endeavor, the turning over of a new leaf. Fresh starts, new ventures are what we celebrate, not only at New Year’s but at any time.

“The year starts with New Year’s Day, and each day begins when we awake. The dawn of the New Year seems in some way special, even though it is actually the same as any other day. If we could wake up with that sense of starting fresh every morning, then every day would be a kind of New Year.

Greeting every day as a new start can help us think of it as fresh and special, a day to be celebrated.

“Yesterday is yesterday. Today is today. There is no need to let the woes of yesterday weigh down our step today. Let bygones be bygones, and look well to every new day and the new turn of fortune that it brings. It is too much to dwell on the burdens of yesterday; better to meet each morning anew, each as a fresh departure.

“Every new day greeted as a fresh start will be a good day. It is bright and invigorating for those who have a mind that is open, a heart that is humble, and a spirit alive with imagination and creativity.”

As we had shared on Page 103 of “Winning with Honour”:

“Most of us have been abused in our lives in one way or another at some point in our lives, be it psychologically, mentally, emotionally, physically, etc.

“What has happened has happened. There is nothing that we can do about the past. We can choose to react by letting the abuses from the past negatively affect our future, or we can choose to respond maturely by learning from the past to forge a better future.

Remember that life does not owe us anything. No one owes us anything. We are not entitled to anything. We reap what we sow in thoughts and deeds.

Every New Day is Another Chance.png

Every day is a new day is another chance to change your life. Take it, seize it, and try your best to be the best that you can be. If you try your best every day to be the best that you can be, 2017 will surely be your best year yet!

Wishing all our readers who celebrate the Chinese New Year a Blessed Lunar Year of the Rooster…may it be filled with good health, peace, and joy!

By Joanne H. Lim


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Honour Disappointments

In our blog last week, I wrote about the importance of honouring our thoughts, and to make a conscientious effort to think honourable, positive, and life-giving thoughts. It is important to honour our thoughts as they affect our choices and actions, which then affect our destiny.

Apart from honouring our thoughts, it is also important to honour our disappointments. As mentioned on page 75 of “Winning with Honour”, disappointment arises when reality does not match up with our expectations.

We are often disappointed because life often does not turn out the way we hope as there is so little in life that we can control. And when things do not go our way, it is important that we re-evaluate and re-adjust our expectations, so that our disappointment does not turn into a bitter seed that reaps fruits of bitterness.

Life is too precious for us to live it with resentment and bitterness.

During times of disappointment, it is important that we choose to keep our spirits up and believe that things will work out for the good, and that instead of being rejected, we are actually being re-directed to something even better.

An award winning allied educator recently shared with us that before he applied to become an allied educator, he had sent in about 40 applications to be a teacher but was disappointed that he was not even granted an interview despite his persistence. Upon a suggestion of a friend, he applied to become an allied educator and soon found that it was right up his alley.

Having found his niche and calling as an effective and efficient allied educator who positively impacts the lives of all the students that comes his way, he is now turning down offers to fulfill his initial dream of being a teacher!

Looking back, he now knows that it was a blessing in disguise that he was not granted those interviews to be, and feels blessed that those rejections actually redirected him to find his true calling in life.

Apart from choosing to believe that our disappointments are redirections and not rejections, it is also important for us to guard against “what if” and “if only” thoughts. These thoughts are dangerous as they keep our focus on the past or on external factors and people that we cannot change or control.

Such thoughts are useless as there are no real answers to hypothetical questions—we have to dare to face facts for what they are, and not live in our remorse or regret, fantasies or imagination. More importantly, such thoughts take our focus off the things that we can control, which will affect our future either positively or negatively.

When disappointments hit us, let us honour them by using the “SBS” method that another allied educator had taught us and that we had shared on page 77 of “Winning with Honour”:

May we honour our disappointments and guard our thoughts and our hearts as we begin a new year so that we can make 2017 our best year yet!

By Joanne H Lim

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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?”


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.

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The Role of Government


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.


Photo Credit: The Straits Times


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