Showing posts from 2010

Managing Time

A lot of people seem to always complain that they are ‘too busy’.

However, there is something very strange about this, something that has perplexed me for a very long time. Most of the people who claim to be really 'busy' and are 'occupied completely’ are often not very successful; whilst the highly successful people always seem to have time to do one or two more things, regardless of the thousands of things which they are already doing.

To understand why this is so, it is necessary to discuss the essence of time management.

Let me put it this way – management often defines the success or failure of everything.

Most organizations are successful because they are managed well, just as most centenarians can live up to the ripe old age of 100 because their health is managed well.

Most developed countries prosper and its citizens enjoy wealth and happiness because these countries elect governments that understand and practise sound management.

Management is absolutely crucial in o…

Your First Times

Our first encounters with anything are usually memorable.

Ask yourself if you can still remember these ‘firsts’ in your life:

- Your first interview?
- Your first speech?
- Your first drive?
- Your first flight?
- Your first fight?
- Your first kiss?

Of course you do!

The thrill of doing something you have never done before mixed with the fear of the unknown makes these insignificant events memorable and even life-shaping.

However, after these things have been done repeatedly for a while, the fire burns out and the thrills and excitement experienced earlier disappear. Boredom sets in and it becomes a routine and nothing more.

This is, of course, simply a natural progression.

When a young person just starts out, everything is new to him. He therefore explores, with great curiosity, this world that he is just getting to know. Everything he sees and touches is new, fresh and novel. He tries out everything passionately yet clumsily.

As time passes, the things that were once new and exotic to him, …

The Importance of Unity


It can be next to impossible for any one individual to accomplish something grand and epic. However, collectively, there is little we cannot do.

Behind all the big names that have dazzled us in the world today, very few are the work of just one man or woman. Behind each and every legendary name or brand, there is most often a group of people working together – in absolute unity.

The great achievers that we know of are seldom loners. There are, of course, genius artists and scientists like Picaso, Eisntein, JK Rowling. These rare individuals may indeed have worked entirely on their own and achieve great success.

However, in the world of business, where products must be manufactured and services rendered, it is a near impossibility to do this.

There are legendary names in every industry. However, the people who have established themselves in their respective industries are almost universally those who were able to attract a group of people to believe in their vision and cause. In short,…

Those Busy Children


In this modern world that we live in today, everybody is busy. From children to housewives, workers to professionals, chief executive officers to entrepreneurs, every modern soul multi-tasks in so many ways.

It is not difficult to understand why adults are busy.

But busy children?

The children of today are not like those during our times. These are busy little people. Due to the intense academic competition that exists, children nowadays must learn much more and much faster than their parents and grandparents.

Modern parents understand that in order for their children to excel in this world, they need skills and knowledge; the more skills and knowledge that they can possess, the better of a position they are in to compete with their peers.

These parents understand that the world is a gigantic rat race. You do not join the rat race only after you leave school and start working; you do so way before that - it starts way back in elementary school.

In order to realize your vision of ge…


The world's second richest man, Bill Gates, and his best friend and the third richest, Warren Buffett, used to be busily making money.

Now they are as focused on giving their fortunes away for charitable and humanitarian causes as they once were in making them.

And they have not stopped there - they are now encouraging their billionaire peers to do the same - to give away at least half of their wealth to charity.

The incredible thing is this - many of the richest people actually responded positively to this call. Collectively, they have created the largest philanthropic movement that the world has ever seen.

As a result of this campaign, forty of America’s billionaires have pledged to give more than half of their fortune to charity. These great people, besides Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, include CNN founder Ted Turner, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Hollywood director George Lucas.

The world is changing. Because of great men like Bill Gates an…

Your Priority List

To be successful we need to manage our lives effectively. And to manage our lives effectively, we need to manage our priorities effectively. Therefore, we need a list - a priority list.

What is a priority list? Simple put - it records all of your priorities. What is a priority? It is simply something which is important to you and therefore deserves your immediate attention.

Why do we need a priority list? That is because many people are confused between urgent matters and important matters.

The urgent matters are things that you need to attend to because the situation warrants it. These matters may or may not make a material difference in your quest for success. They are merely things that you feel compelled to do as there seems to be a tremendous sense of urgency.

The important things, however, may not seem to be urgent at all, but it is the effective completion (or lack of completion) of these things that will make you a success or a failure.

The pace of modern life is fast, so fas…

Women of Today

Women of today are busy people. In fact, many are extremely so.

It used to be that the sole role women played for hundreds, if not thousands, of years was that of the homemaker. They were humbly known as housewives.

'Housewife' is a demeaning term. If you are a 'housewife' it means you: (1) belong only to the house, and (2) are someone else's property (a wife).

To make things worse, housewives were usually deemed the least productive members of the labour hierarchy. Because it was not easy to quantify productivity of something so non-monetary in economic terms, housewives had always been a deprived and under-recognised segment of society.

Having said all that, however, these housewives decades ago were the lucky ones as they were only required to stay home and fulfil the 3C's - Cooking, Cleaning and Caring for the husband and children.

However, today, the world is changing and women are now playing a much more significant role in the productive labour force. It is …

Success Habits

We are all beings of habits. How we live and what we do everyday are shaped by certain habits that are formed over the years.

Most successful people are successful not because they have extraordinary luck or work extraordinarily hard, but because they have extraordinary success habits.

On the other hand, many of those who have failed did so, not because they did not try hard enough, but because they had not developed a 'way of life' that would constantly steer them towards the direction of success, i.e. they were not equipped with 'success habits'.

Success Habits is an important concept for serious pursuers of success. It is important because without it, it is extremely difficult to go far in life.

'Why is it so?' You may ask.

The answer is that your ultimate success is usually a result of your consistency in life.

Success is not likely to happen overnight unless, of course, one strikes the lottery or receives a surprise inheritance from a long-lost millionaire unc…

The Action-packed Procrastinators

One of the biggest evils that often results in either personal or organisational failure is procrastination.

So many people lead a life deprived of achievements and recognition that they might have had if only they had not been haunted by the ghost of procrastination.

If you observe highly successful people in action, you will notice one thing - these guys are action packed and they achieve amazing accomplishments at lightning speed.

The one thing which is unlikely to be detected in these guys is procrastination.

Indeed, no procrastinators can ever achieve phenomenal success. They never will be, and nor are they ever meant to. If any of them ever should become successful, then it is likely to be by accident – that is, an act of God, rather than the act of man.

"But Erican Chong,” you may argue, “some people are slow moving and slow talking, but yet they are successful!"

Hark! Let us not be confused by 'slow moving' and 'slow acting'.

Some guys seem slow alright.…

Acquaintances, Friends and Buddies

'Friends' is actually a generic term; it refers to 'all the people one knows'. This is, of course, an overly simplified definition.

There are actually different levels of friendship. The people that you know can be categorised into three different groups:

1. Acquaintances
2. Friends
3. Buddies

This is the natural progression of friendship development. Since nobody has unlimited amount of time for socialising, it is highly unlikely that anyone can develop friendships indiscriminately.

When you’re just starting out and your circle is still small, you are likely to want to make friends with anybody and everybody that you chance into. Your sole objective at this time would be to simply expand your social contacts.

However, as you grow and become more established, you realise that you need to be more selective about your friends and friendships. You must first decide what type of social circle you want to build, as this determines the kinds of friends you should have.

A friendship…

Friends and Friendships

The most Earth shaking news in Malaysia after the World Cup this year was not Anwar's sodomy trial, nor was it the withdrawal of subsidies on sugar and fuel. Rather, the whole country zoomed in on one 28 year old Chinese Malaysian extraordinaire, Taek Jho Low, who was spotted partying with the world's most famous and fun-loving girls, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and the like.

When the photos of Taek Jho and his elite friends got out, international media hyped up the news and paparazzi chased after these people like crazy. Taek Jho became an instant celebrity. His boyish charm enchanted and captured the imagination of millions, especially those of Malaysians, both young and old.

Let's not discuss the morality of the extravagant lifestyle of the rich and famous, or whether partying on private yachts and drinking expensive wine is right. What I want to do is to talk about is the importance of friends and friendships in the journey of our quest for success.

There is a popular …

The Most Important Moment

Do you know what the most important moment in your life is?

Was it when you obtained those straight A's in your public exam a few years ago? Or when you got that unexpected promotion or won the Best Achievement Award? Or will it be when you finally walk down the aisle and marry that special person that you have always loved? Or could it be something memorable, like buying your first car, your first house or your first boat?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these, I would humbly beg to differ.

To be honest, the most important moment in your entire life is actually happening right now - with you reading this "Musings with Erican Chong" blog article entitled "The Most Important Moment".

Yes, this very moment is the most important one of your entire life. For no matter what happened yesterday or last year, it has already happened and it will never come back. These past incidents, no matter how glorious, indignified, joyous or sorrowful they may have been, the…

Do What Einstein Would...

Curiosity is a very important part of human nature. The modern lifestyle that we enjoy today is as a result of the countless questions that our ancestors asked and were answered over the centuries.

If there was no curiosity, there would be no questions. Curiosity is indeed the mother of innovation. And, questions manifest curiosity.

If you ever feel embarrassed because you always seem to have a lot of questions in your head or worry about bothering people by asking too many questions, stop feeling so. On the contrary, you are doing exactly the right thing. A person not ashamed to ask questions is a person who will grow, rather than one who stagnates.

This world is a quickly changing one. If anyone out there believes he has already understood everything there is to understand, then he is either a rare genius or a complete fool.

If you never engage in thinking, of course, you will never have any questions. The more you think, the more you will find things that you do not understand, and…

The Winners in Life

Alan Lim and I share a few laughs and thoughts together.

I have been fortunate to be involved in a very meaningful industry - education and training. The kind of work we do is of tremendous value to society and transforms lives. This belief keeps me going strong after having been an educator for twenty years.

A few days ago I attended a dinner function, the CEO’s Night, organised by the Malaysian Retail Chain Association, of which Erican has been a member of for many years. The special guest speaker for that night was none other than the incredible and charismatic founder of Air Asia, Dato Seri Tony Fernandes. But it is not he that I want to talk about here. Rather, I wish to write about someone else; someone who touched me deeply that night with his success story.

I had arrived at One World Hotel early that evening so that I could catch up with old friends and meet some new acquaintances.

While I was busily mingling with friends, I was introduced to a man from Termeloh, a man who was …

Erican Receives National Mark of Malaysian Brand

Erican Chong receives National Mark from HRH Raja Nazrin Shah
Since the founding of the first Erican Language Centre 20 years ago, Erican has been at the forefront of the promotion of English language learning, whilst faithfully serving the needs of the local community.

I have been very fortunate indeed to have been blessed with a team of great people - loyal and dedicated colleagues whom I passionately call "Ericanites". They have stuck with me through thick and thin, ups and downs, over the last two decades. The oldest serving Centre Manager of Erican, Sally Teh, has been with me for the past 18 years, while the more 'junior' Mr Tan Ban King is at least 10 years into his service.

These Erican champions ensure that we stay on top of our game – they ensure that all language programmes offered meet the stringent international standards of the University of Cambridge ESOL and that effective learning experiences and promised academic outcomes are always delivered.

The ha…

It's Never Too Late!

Erican Chong meets young Malaysian bloggers over lunch
I just attended a two-day conference - to wit, the "Asian Bloggers and Social Media Conference 2010" which was organised by 'My Events International'. 'My Events' is a brilliant trend-setting organisation led by a very good friend of mine and prolific up-and-coming entrepreneur, Mr Shahul Hameed Dawood.

I must say, it was an excellent conference; my sole response can only be described as ‘simply overwhelmed’. Hundreds of bloggers gathered together (many for the first time ever) in one central location to explore the stunning frontiers of the bloggersphere. To a fresh ‘blogger’ like I, there was simply so much to learn and so many gurus to learn from.

I cannot deny that I found this bloggersphere to be a much different world from the conventional one that I knew. Although I was likely much older than the vast majority of the seasoned participants, I felt like a mere child exploring this exciting new universe,…

YB Chua Tee Yong

The young and dynamic YB Chua Tee Yong

I was recently invited to a dinner hosted by the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, YB Gan Ping Sieu. It was intended to be a function where the Chinese Youth leaders could take part in open dialogue with YB Gan himself.

I arrived slightly late that night, giving the usual Klang Valley excuse of 'traffic jam'. However, after I had settled in, I noticed a quiet gentleman sitting at a table busily writing on a notepad.

I immediately recognised him as the eldest son of MCA President, Dato Seri Chua Soi Lek, the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Agriculture, YB Chua Tee Yong.

I have not been active in politics for many years now, but I used to be quite involved in the MCA Youth about a decade ago. I quit politics when I realised I was more passionate in the pursuit of educating young people than in the pursuit of endless political maneuvering.

But, that's enough about me and my 'political background' - Back to Tee Y…

Creativity - Your Split Second Advantage

Erican Chong sharing a stage with Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing
Recently, a man who I consider my mentor and one that I greatly respect, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing, won an award of significant meaning and impact, the Father of Innovation in Creative Education, given by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Malaysia.

As a friend and admirer of this great man, I am very pleased at his many achievements in the field of higher education. Very few men in Malaysia, indeed, have won more prestigious awards and accolades than Tan Sri Lim himself.

Coming back to creativity. I must be honest with you - this is something that not everyone has the gift to do. Some people try all their lives to be creative but they remain the most boring and predictable entities on Earth.
And yet, while some do not appear to try very hard, their creative and artistic flair just seem to explode out naturally.

Now, I know some of you may be offended by my statement. Don't be too upset y…


It is the desire of all people to be free. No man or woman wishes to be confined, restrained or bonded.

The desire to free from slavery the African Americans came to a full eruption during the Great American Civil War. This war, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, was fought between the Northern States, who wanted to maintain national unity, and the Southern States, who wished to break free of the Union.

While the war didn't exactly start over the freedom of the oppressed blacks, it certainly became one of the biggest impacts of that war. President Abraham Lincoln has gone down in American history as one of the greatest American Presidents to ever live as a result of his fight to free the Black slaves.

Nelson Mandela opposed apartheid in South Africa and was jailed for thirty years because of it. In order to set his people free, he spoke steadfastly in his devotion to the freedom of his people, even after he was sentenced to life imprisonment and tortured. He was a man who never back…

The Colourful Personalities of the Brand Entrepreneurs Conference 2010

I was recently privileged with the honourable task of organising of the Brand Entrepreneurs Conference for 2010. This incredible event attracted the participation of 600 CEOs and entrepreneurs, which was an overwhelming response indeed. A total of twelve colourful corporate personalities, including my humble self, selflessly shared with the audience their experiences and strategies in branding.

And while they talked, all of the 600 participants listened attentively and busily jotted down notes. In some sessions you could hear a pin drop with all the silence, whilst in other sessions, the audiences would burst into laughter every now and then.

Allow me give a brief introduction to each speaker, in the order that they appeared on stage. Each of them has a sparkling personality. They were invited to speak at this conference because they were either brand icons themselves or highly successful creators and managers of brands.

1. Adj. Prof. Dato' Syed Amin Aljeffri

Dato Syed Amin Aljeffri …