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Designing My Very Own Financial Road-map

First, I would need to carefully consider these 3 things:

  1. What is my financial goals?
  2. When do I plan to achieve these goals?
  3. How do I plan to do it?
  4. What is my current wealth level? (Will elaborate further in future post)

In order to better understand this idea, we need an example, and some sets of assumptions. Here is the assumptions:

  • Like any road-maps, there’s a end of the line, in this case, the end of the line is the end of my life, since we can’t predict the future, just assume it is around 75 years old.
  • Current age of 19 years old (the younger you start, the better)
Age Financial Goals (FG) FG value
19 (current age)
25 Getting married RM 25,000.00
30 Buy a car RM 30,000.00
35 Buy a house RM 100,000.00
40 Children education fund RM 60,000.00
55 (retirement) Retired RM 1,000,000.00
75 Preparation for death ?

19 Y.O to 25 Y.O (Preparing to get married)

[6 years timeline]

You estimate for the marriage ceremony cost to be around RM 25,000.00

(1) You could save the needed money using the normal practice (the hard way)

RM 25, 000 / (12*6) = RM 347.23 per month for every month for 6 years , minimum to get RM 25,000.00

(2) You could try to find an investment instrument which yield at least 10% per annum (p.a)

Note: Initially, I plan to share the formula to calculate these, but then, nobody got time for manual calculation nowadays. I suggest you to download any financial calculator apps to calculate the compounded amount for you. Easier and much more accurate.

In order to get a minimum of RM 25,000.00 in 6 years, you would need to save a minimum of RM 255 per month for 6 years.

Monthly deposit : RM 255 per month for 6 years.

Annual return : 10% p.a

Investment period : 6 years or 72 months

Total money + profit earned after 6 years:  RM 25, 226.87

Further saving on monthly saving commitment of RM 92.23 ( RM 347.23 – RM 255)

So, using this kind of investment instrument, you end up saving more money with less. Well, the question is, what investment instrument would allow you to earn 10% p.a.

Honestly, I don’t know yet. Maybe I would have the answer if and when I decided to give unit trust consulting a try. Until then, do the research yourself.

(3) If the option is only find an investment instrument which yield at least 6% per annum (p.a)

Monthly deposit : RM 255 per month for 6 years.

Annual return : 6% p.a

Investment period : 6 years or 72 months

Total money + profit earned after 6 years:  RM 22, 144.43

Further saving on monthly saving commitment of RM 92.23 ( RM 347.23 – RM 255)

You might not get the RM 25K, but it will be close.

For Malaysia, I would suggest to maximize their ASB 1 & ASB 2. It secure and low risk.

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40 Y.O to 55 Y.O (Retirement – RM 1,000,000.00)

[15 years timeline]

(1) You could save the needed money using the normal practice (the hard way)

RM 1,000, 000.00 / (12*15) = RM 5,555.56 per month for every month for 15 years , minimum to get RM 1,000,000.00 for retirement.

(2) You could try to find an investment instrument which yield at least 10% per annum (p.a)

In order to get a minimum of RM 1,000,000.00 in 15 years, you would need to save a minimum of RM 2,400.00  per month for 15 years.

Monthly deposit : RM 2, 400.00 per month for 15 years.

Annual return : 10% p.a

Investment period : 15 years or 180 months

Total money + profit earned after 15 years:  RM 1, 003,018.24 (RM 432,000.00 Principal + RM 571,018.24 profit).

Using this kind of instrument, you would have an excess of RM 3,155.56 to use for further investment or for fun, or better yet, for charity.

(3) If the option is only find an investment instrument which yield at least 6% per annum (p.a)

Monthly deposit : RM 2,400.00 per month for 15 years.

Annual return : 6% p.a

Investment period : 15 years or 180 months

Total money + profit earned after 15 years:  RM 701,454.73 ( RM 432,000.00 Principal + RM 269,454.73 Profit)

To get to the RM 1,000,000.00 mark, for 6% p.a. you need to save at least RM 3,500.00 per month for 15 years, which will amount to RM 1,022,954.82 (RM 630,000.00 Principal + RM 392,954.82 Profit)

Again for Malaysian, I would suggest to maximize their ASB 1 & ASB 2. It secure and low risk.


Sure, you noticed that, with an investment instrument, you would be able to save more by making sure that your money do the heavy lifting for you. But then, make sure that you save or invest in a legit investment scheme, not some get-rich-quick scheme.

When dealing with investment, I would rather stick to the golden advice I learnt from ‘The Richest Man in Babylon”, That is . . .

“Seek the counsel of knowledgeable experts before you invest. Never put the principal  that you invested in unseemly risk”

So for me, as I mentioned above, the 1/10th of all my earning would go to the safest low risk investment of my preferences, the extra, would go to moderate and high risk investment at a ratio which I predetermined.

And in preparing for death, I would suggest for wakaf and charity money.

So, let’s discuss on how to calculate our wealthiness in the next post (for finance categories that is).

Till then, good day to you all .

And.

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

 

 

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Ayat 1000 Dinar 

Ayat 1000 Dinar

ayat seribu dinar.jpg

Ayat 2 – 3, Surah At-Thalaq ini lebih dikenali sebagai ‘Ayat 1000 Dinar.’‎ Ayat-ayat ini merupakan amalan yang berkaitan dengan pemeliharaan Allah ketika menghadapi kemelut kehidupan dan kurniaan rezeki dariNya. 

Riwayat Turunnya Ayat 1000 Dinar

Ayat 1000 Dinar diturunkan oleh Allah SWT berkaitan peristiwa Auf bin Malik al-Asyja’i. Beliau mempunyai anak lelaki yang di tawan oleh kaum musyrikin. Lalu mengadu kepada Rasulullah SAW. Baginda meminta Auf agar bersabar, sambil bersabda: “Sesungguhnya Allah SWT akan menjadikan jalan keluar bagimu.” 

‎Ternyata tidak lama selepas itu anak Auf dilepaskan daripada tawanan musuh. Dalam perjalanan pulang, ia terserempak seekor kambing kepunyaan musuh, lalu dibawanya kambing itu kepada ayahnya.‎ Kemudian turunlah ayat-ayat, yang bermaksud: “Barangsiapa yang bertaqwa kepada Allah, Dia menjadikan baginya jalan keluar dan memberinya rezeki tanpa di duga.” (Hadis riwayat Ibnu Jarir)

Pengertian Ayat 1000 Dinar

Ayat-ayat ini merujuk kepada pengaruh taqwa dan tawakkal kepada Allah SWT dalam mengharungi kehidupan.

Bertaqwalah kepada Allah; dengan kuasaNya Allah akan membuka jalan keluar dan penyelesaian bagi seseorang yang sedang menghadapi masalah kehidupan; yang kusut dirungkaikan, yang sulit dipermudahkan, yang kemelut diselamatkan, yang buntu-fikiran diberikan petunjuk, yang luluh-hati dihidupkan kembali harapan yang lebih membahagiakan.

Bagaimanakah bertaqwa kepada Allah? Menurut Rasulullah SAW, taqwa ialah “mentaati Allah dan tidak mengingkari perintahNya, sentiasa mengingati Allah dan tidak melupakanNya, bersyukur ‎kepadaNya dan tidak mengkufuri nikmatNya”. (Riwayat Imam Bukhari dari Abdullah bin Abbas r.a.)‎

Di samping itu, perlu waspada dan tidak tergesa-gesa dalam urusan kehidupan. Waspada terhadap tamak rakus manusia, tipudaya jin dan syaitan, atau kezaliman penganiaya. Saiyyidina Umar r.a. pernah bertanya kepada seorang sahabat bernama Ubai bin Ka’ab r.a. makna taqwa. Ubai lalu berbalas-tanya kepada Umar: “Pernahkah engkau melalui satu jalan yang berduri?” Jawab Umar: “Ya”. ‎Tanya Ubai lagi: “Apakah yang kamu lakukan untuk melalui jalan tersebut?”.‎Jawab Umar: “Aku melangkah dengan waspada dan berhati-hati”. Balas Ubai: “Itulah taqwa!!!”.‎

“….Wal-‘aqibatu lil muttaqiin”(qasas, 83), akibat yang baik bagi orang-orang ‎yang bertaqwa!!!
 
Bertawakkallah kepada Allah, akan dicukupkan Allah baginya; ‎setiap kesulitan ‎‎dipermudahkan, setiap cita-cita diupayakan mencapai, perwatakan menjadi lebih tenang, lebih ‎mulia di pandang. Sabda Rasulullah SAW, ‎‎”Barangsiapa yang ingin dirinya menjadi orang yang ‎paling kuat, maka hendaklah ia bertawakkal kepada Allah.”‎ Dan dalam satu hadis lain, Baginda ‎bersabda, “Kalau kamu bertawakkal kepada Allah dengan sebenar-benarnya, maka Allah akan ‎memberi rezeki kepada kamu sepertimana diberikan rezeki kepada burung. Burung itu keluar ‎pada waktu pagi dengan perut yang kempis, dan pulang pada waktu petang dalam keadaan perut ‎berisi.”

‎Bagaimanakah bertawakkal kepada Allah? Imam al-Ghazali merumuskan definisi tawakal sebagai ‎berikut, “Tawakal ialah menyandarkan kepada Allah tatkala menghadapi suatu kepentingan, ‎bersandar kepadaNya dalam waktu kesukaran, teguh hati tatkala di timpa ‎bencana, disertai jiwa ‎yang tenang dan hati yang tenteram.‎” ‎

Apabila menyandar dan berserah diri kepada Allah, Allahlah ‎menjadi wakil bagi menyelesaikan ‎persoalan atau masalah, memecahkan kebuntuan dalam upaya mencapai tujuan, mengupayakan ‎apa jua impian, atau menyelamatkan dari sebarang ketakutan, musibah atau musuh.‎ Namun, ‎tawakkal bukan bererti menyandar dan berserah diri kepada Allah semata-mata, sambil ‎menunggu hasil suatu ‎pekerjaan, atau menanti akibat yang baik dari suatu keadaan,‎ atau lansung ‎mengharap pertolongan dariNya. Tawakkal perlu disertai usaha terlebih dahulu ke arah apa yang ‎dicitakan, kemudian bertawakkal. Contohnya, ‎dalam satu riwayat Rasulullah SAW melihat ‎sekumpulan orang yang tidak bekerja. Baginda kemudian ‎bertanya, “Apa yang kalian kerjakan?”‎ ‎Mereka menjawab,”Kami adalah orang-orang yang bertawakal kepada Allah.”‎ Nabi SAW ‎bersabda, “Kamu tidak termasuk orang-orang yang bertawakal, tapi bergantung kepada orang ‎lain.”‎ Contoh lain pula, ada seorang sahabat Rasulullah SAW meninggalkan untanya tanpa di ikat ‎terlebih dahulu. Ketika ‎di tanya mengapa tidak di ikat, ia menjawab, “aku telah benar-benar ‎bertawakkal kepada Allah”. Lalu Baginda berkata, “Tambatlah dahulu, kemudian bolehlah ‎engkau bertawakkal.”‎

Justru, tawakkal sebenarnya menuntut ketinggian iman kepada Allah. Yakin kepada Allah ‎di tahap tahkik (teguh, tidak goyang). Yakin yang istiqamah (berterusan) tanpa di serang keraguan. Terus yakin dan tetap sabar, meskipun hati remuk- redam di rundung sengsara, di landa kecewa, zahir mahupun batin. Orang ‎yang kuat, tinggi keyakinannya, tidak keraguan menggoyah hatinya; manakala orang yang lemah ‎pula rendah keyakinannya, sentiasa di hasut keraguan dan waswas. Nabi SAW bersabda dalam ‎satu hadis sahih, “Dimakbulkan doa kamu selagi kamu tidak tergesa-gesa”. Sahabat bertanya, ‎‎“Apa maksud tergesa-gesa”. Nabi menjawab, “Dia berdoa dan berkata bila nak dapat”. Dengan ‎kata lain, dia meragui apa yang ada di sisi Allah !!! ‎

Bagaimanakah mengamalkan Ayat 1000 Dinar?‎ 

Mewiridkan ayat ini umpama seseorang itu menyeru, menuntut perhatian dari Allah SWT kepada ‎permasalahan, penghambatan atau kemelut kehidupan yang sedang dilalui oleh seseorang itu. Amalan wirid disertai dengan ‎taqwa dan tawakkal; semakin hari semakin mendalam, semakin tahkik, semakin hilang waswas, semakin ‎tulus ikhlas. ‎Sehingga, Allah berkenan menjadi wakil kepada apa yang di tuntut perhatian dariNya.

Tidak terdapat kifiat khusus tentang berapa banyak Ayat 1000 Dinar yang perlu diwiridkan setiap hari. Ramai para peniaga, lazim mengamalkan ‎ayat ini dengan cara menampal di premis perniagaan, agar Allah SWT berkenan meluaskan kurniaan rezeki, memudahkan urusan dan terselesai masalah. Ada yang mewiridkan sebanyak 3 kali setiap selesai solat 5 waktu. Ada yang sampai 200 kali setiap selesai solat 5 waktu, menjadikan 1000 kali setiap hari. Ada pula yang mewiridkan 313 kali setiap hari. Ada pula yang membataskan sehingga 41 atau 100 hari. Dan ada pula yang dawam mewiridkannya di dalam hati, umpama zikrillah, tidak menghitung berapa banyak dan tidak peduli berapa lama hari-hari yang dilalui. Justru, sebaiknya soal jumlah bilangan, waktu dan berapa lama terserah kepada setiap individu, asal sahaja tidak membebankan. Sebaik-baik amalan biarlah istiqamah (berterusan) meskipun sedikit bilangan!!!   

Namun, apa yang lebih mustahak adalah adaptasi makna ayat tersebut dalam kehidupan sehari-hari berbanding sekadar wirid semata-mata. Iaitu senantiasa kita bertaqwa kepada Allah SWT sambil memberikan usaha yang terbaik, sebaik mungkin pada daya upaya kita. Jika Allah SWT memberikan kita hasil yang baik, Alhamdullillah, dan jika Allah SWT tidak memberikan hasil yang baik kepada kita untuk usaha kita itu, maka mungkin Allah SWT menyediakan yang lebih baik untuk kita di samping pahala untuk usaha kita tersebut.

Bukti Kehebatan Ayat 1000 Dinar

Seorang hartawan telah bermimpi. Dalam mimpi ia didatangi seorang lelaki lalu menasihatinya; “Beramallah dengan hartamu sebanyak 1,000 dinar, sedekahkan kepada fakir miskin yang banyak berkeliaran dan meminta-‎minta.” ‎ Mimpi itu terjadi berulang-ulang kali. Akhirnya, dilaksanakan menurut nasihat dalam mimpinya itu.

Suatu malam dia bermimpi, lelaki itu datang lagi kepadanya. Lalu mengajarkan beberapa ‎ayat Al-Quran (Ayat 1000 Dinar), dianjurkan membaca dan mengamalkannya setiap pagi dan petang, nescaya Allah SWT akan melepaskannya dari bahaya yang bakal menimpa diri. Terbangun daripada tidur, hartawan itu termenung memikirkan hubung-kait mimpinya dengan mimpi yang terdahulu. Oleh kerana kalimat-kalimat tersebut adalah ayat-ayat Quran, maka tanpa ragu-ragu di baca ‎dan diamalkannya.

Tidak lama kemudian, hartawan tersebut dalam suatu pelayaran, menumpang sebuah kapal layar, membawa barang dagangannya. Ketika kapal itu berada di tengah samudera luas, maka ‎bertiuplah angin taufan yang kuat sehingga laut bergelora. Kapal itu terumbang-‎ambing di pukul gelombang laut yang besar. Kesemua penumpang cemas dan ketakutan. Nakhoda dan anak kapal sekelian berusaha sekuat tenaga untuk menyelamatkan kapal dan penumpangnya. Keadaan semakin meruncing. Laut semakin bergelora. Gelombang semakin ganas membadai. Hujan pun semakin lebat. Suasana sekeliling bertambah gelap. Namun, hartawan tersebut tetap tenang, tetap berharap ‎pertolongan Allah sambil terus membaca ‘Ayat 1000 Dinar’ yang telah diajarkan dalam mimpinya. Akhirnya kapal tersebut terhempas pada sebuah batu karang besar,‎ dan pecah. Nasib sekelian anak-anak kapal tidak diketahui. Hartawan tersebut akhirnya terdampar di tepi pantai dalam keadaan selamat, bersama kesemua barang dagangannya.

Demikianlah kehebatan kuasa Allah yang berlansung melalui Ayat-Ayat 2-3, Surah At-Thalaq yang di terima oleh hartawan tersebut dalam mimpi dan diamalkannya dengan penuh keyakinan, disertai keteguhan imannya kepada Allah dalam bertaqwa dan bertawakkal ketika menghadapai musibah. Lalu ayat-ayat ini disebut ‘Ayat Seribu Dinar’


…‎والله أعلم بالصواب
(Hanya Allah Maha Mengetahui apa yang benar)

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The Prince

Today is not a good day, early in the morning and my relatively young blood already boiling, the feeling of being lied to, hurts.

This somehow remind me about the book by Niccolò Machiavelli, which in my humble view can be seem as truly controversial book, but makes sense nevertheless. I need to re-read this since I am in dire need to learn politics just not end in hot waters.

After all, I am still a work in progress. The goal is always to be the best version of me. And today, I just refuse to race with dogs.

5eTvtJl.jpg
I simply refused. Just like this particular cheetah.

Just a recap on the book main lessons learn, Machiavelli suggest that:

  • Niccolò Machiavelli’s classic treatise instructs rulers to focus on political reality, not moral ideals. Although moral compass still play a huge role in my decision making, but usually I relate it to reality and practicality of the situation. 
  • Two forms of rule exist: free states, such as republics, and principalities, such as autocracies.
  • The ruler must do everything to secure his power, even if he has to use force.
  • He can secure his power either by using foul play or by gaining his subjects’ loyalty through good deeds.
  • As a ruler, it is better to be feared than loved.
  • The prince must make his subjects happy, facilitate trade and, at all costs, avoid becoming hated by the people. Which in my view is hardest of all, a simple at time innocent lie could spark these hatred and ill-feeling.
  • A leader should always appreciate the art of war. And we need to understand that it is okay to lose the battle as long as you win the war.
  • After conquering a region, rulers must assure their power. Retaining power is harder than gaining it.
  • The best methods of securing power are to destroy the captured capital city, establish a residence and set up a loyal local government.
  • A private army recruited from the people is more reliable than mercenary troops. Since it is easier to be sure of their loyalty.

Review of the book (In short, Its awesome, albeit a bit dark for me)

Machiavelli suggest that the end justifies the means, although Muslim on the other end believe that the means is almost as important as the end. With regards to the book, this simple, pragmatic maxim underpins this Niccolò Machiavelli’s classic work, The Prince.

Written in 1513, when Machiavelli was a former Florentine registry official, this handbook of political power provoked controversy like no other. Its central theme is how Renaissance rulers should act if they want to prevail in gaining and retaining power. According to the author, a strong state requires a leader who is able to defend his power at all costs. Machiavelli maintains that a ruler may opt for deception, trickery, oppression and even murder his opponents, as long as his misdeeds serve the state’s stability.

Without question, this short treatise offers enough material to demonize its author. However, Machiavelli does not actually suggest that we resort to unlimited ruthlessness and violence. Nor does he justify any objectives that seem to warrant violence. However, he also does not try to align his work to any religion’s morals as he examines the practice of statecraft and leadership. As his work is purely from his own view and personal experience. Maybe in the future we could discuss more on Islamic, Christianity and other major religion view on power.

Back to our topic, the term “Machiavellian” emerged in the 16th century to describe a devious, cruel tyrant, who uses any means to achieve his goals. When 20th century dictators praised Machiavelli’s masterpiece, it came into disrepute, but in contemporary thought, its literary foresight makes it a classic. Modern readers will be able to understand the book’s significance thanks to the accessible translation and annotations by Peter Bondanella. Kudos to him, for his wonderful effort in preserving such classic.

To put the treatise in context, Maurizio Viroli explains in his introduction, “For Machiavelli, the old way of building and preserving a regime had to be abandoned in order to embrace a new conception based on the principle that no state is a true dominion unless it is sustained by an army composed of citizens or subjects.”

Machiavelli’s The Prince, for all the controversies that it sparks, and all the bad reputation is earned, still there’s still some lessons in it which we all can learn from, regardless.

Lesson 1: Forms of Rule

People live under two types of governance: Either they are citizens of

  1. A free state, such as a republic; or
  2. A principality, such as an autocracy.

In both type, a leader can achieve sole rule through inheritance or through obtaining new territories. The leader can be the founder of new entities, as was the case in Milan, or he can conquer existing towns and regions.

A leader who inherits his kingdom will encounter fewer problems in both ruling and retaining it. First, the people accept and respect his power because he comes from a long tradition of leadership in which the term ‘rightful ruler’  could be seen to be used freely. And second, any potential opponents would be at a disadvantage since they would have to turn to cruelty to gain respect, thus losing the support of the people.

Lesson 2: The Correct Form of Conquest

Language plays a large role in the successful annexing of states. When the new, added territory uses the same tongue as the existing territory, the ruler can take over by ousting the former ruling family and keeping the existing laws. I would use the analogy of ruling parties in our modern days, people would expect greener posture under the new leadership of the ruling parties, although in actually they could be worse. It would be a task for the ruling party to maintain its power thru mass popularity or thru sheer force.

In most such cases, the subjects will pose no problem. However, to assert his authority and make his presence known, a head of state should always erect an official residence. Creating colonies is a cheap, effective way to increase your power, and it is easier than conquering whole countries. With colonies, a ruler needs to dispossess only a few powerful inhabitants and render them too poor to pose any meaningful threat thereafter. Drive them away and settle your followers on their land.

In general, aim to strip the powerful of their power and make the less powerful your allies.

Lesson 3: Retaining Power

There are a few struggles in retaining power due to the difference in geopolitical landscapes. Take kingdoms, such as Turkey, are more difficult to take over since they have sole, supreme leaders who are hard to depose or eliminate. If you do manage to dethrone a king, leading subsequently will prove relatively easy since the land had only one ruler, so you won’t have to tackle territorial lords pushing their own agendas. In states such as France, seizing power is simple, but holding it is difficult. A number of power-hungry princes and barons surround the king and so forging alliances is easy. Should you defeat the king, but fail to dispossess the other barons, maintaining power will become a miserable, Sisyphean undertaking.

Once you conquer a territory, Machiavelli’s suggest to take three necessary steps to secure your governance:

  1. Destroy the capital city. This is the safest thing to do.
  2. Establish a residence in the region.
  3. Create a government from loyal locals. This way, the state may retain its own laws, but it will still heed your authority.

Examples of this could easily be seen by looking at our history.

Lesson 4: Conquest Through Ability and Luck: Cesare Borgia

A ruler who takes over an empire by conquest must use his forces to maintain his dominance. However, an individual who rises from citizen to ruler generally has no private army and thus must proceed with caution. If he acquired power with someone else’s help, he must act cleverly, so as not to lose his position too quickly.

For example, to gain power, Cesare Borgia relied too heavily on his father, Rodrigo Borgia, elected in 1492 as Pope Alexander VI. Cesare Borgia saw his chance to take over Romagna, Italy, when the pope granted the French king dissolution of his marriage, and the monarch expressed his gratitude by sending troops to the pope. With that might, Borgia soon appointed himself duke. The new ruler used every means to consolidate his rule. He murdered his political opponents and chose a new governor, Remirro Del Orco, a Spaniard known for cruelty. At the time, Romagna was overrun by lawlessness and debauchery, and Del Orco restored order using an iron fist. However, his harsh methods made the new governor hugely unpopular. To distance himself from Del Orco’s actions and to get the public back on his side, Borgia had the governor executed, putting his remains on display to satisfy the masses.

To eliminate the threat of a new pope, who would have been dangerous to him and his father, Borgia ousted the entire ruling family, and won over the nobles of Rome and the majority of the College of Cardinals. As an extra measure, he strove to broaden his power with further conquests. However, before he succeeded, his father died and he himself became deathly sick. In the end, he was unable to fight off the attacking Spanish and French armies.

Lesson 5: Other Forms of Acquisition

A private citizen can become the ruler in two other ways.

First, he can use foul play to gain power. Luck plays no role in exercising this option. The individual secures control independently and ruthlessly, and relies on no one for help.

Agathocles of Syracuse used underhandedness to gain command in 300 B.C. The son of a potter, he rose through the military ranks and eventually sought the title of prince. One day, he organized a gathering of the state’s wealthy citizens and Senate members. Once the city’s most powerful inhabitants had assembled, his guards sealed the doors of the meeting room and every attendee soon met a grisly end. After this, no one dared to challenge Agathocles’ rule.

This method of seizing power is cowardly, however, and Agathocles will never count among the greats because of it. Should atrocities be necessary to acquire power, a would-be ruler should carry them out quickly and in bouts. Once he has achieved the desired result, he must rein in his actions. Under no circumstances should he continue using force. Those who expose their subjects to increasing degrees of violence soon lose dominance.

Second, citizens can rise to power either with the assistance of the public or with the help of the powerful. The latter is difficult because each of these “mighty men” feels that he himself should rule, and as a group, these powerful individuals seek to oppress the public.

However, leaders who are true men of the people bolster their rule by securing the support of their subjects. If the public anticipates that their ruler will be cruel, he can use good deeds to encourage their loyalty.

Lesson 6: Under Siege

A strong ruler generally needs a private army so that he can compete well on the battlefield. However, if a ruler with no army comes under siege, his only recourse is to retreat to a fortress. For this plan to work, the city must be prepared in advance. The imperial urban areas in Germany are the prototypes of such “free” cities. They are so well protected and own so many supplies that they can withstand siege easily for a year. This long period leaves attackers vulnerable to the changing seasons, and in most cases, they are forced to retreat shamefully.

Another weapon in a ruler’s arsenal is popularity. If the people cherish him, they will remain loyal, and a foreign attacker will have an even harder time penetrating the land’s defenses.

Finally, spiritual leadership is a useful tool: If the ruler promotes religion, tradition and God, his citizens will not dare rebel against these powerful forces.

Lesson 7: Mercenary Forces

Whoever seeks to consolidate his rule needs good laws and good armies. Those who must rely on mercenary soldiers will eventually encounter betrayal and treachery. These soldiers serve their masters out of greed, not honor or duty. They are generally dishonest and steal from the public in times of peace.

In wartime, mercenaries often become cowardly and can even switch sides. Mercenary leaders are especially dangerous: If they are masters of their craft, they seek to draw power to themselves. Amateur mercenary leaders, on the other hand, damage the country through poor management.

Auxiliary troops, which might arrive thanks to a powerful ally, usually do more harm than good. Only those states that possess their own locally recruited forces, such as Switzerland, can really call themselves free. For this reason it is important that they remain especially well fortified.

Lesson 8: The Art of War

A ruler should never neglect the art of war since he is expected to excel in warfare and defense above all other things. Many citizens rose to power by perfecting their wartime skills and battle techniques. The opposite is also true: Many rulers have been relieved of their power because they avoided going to war. Even during times of peace, leaders should keep their armies ready for battle. Preparation is the key to victory. A prince must also know his territories inside and out, since he does not want to falter in his own marshes when trying to outsmart the enemy. The wise ruler should study the lessons of others who succeeded in battle using guile and skill.

Lesson 9: Best Behavior

No gain can come to a leader from adhering to ideals. Surrounded by unscrupulous people, the good person inevitably will suffer defeat. If a ruler possesses certain virtues – all the better. If he possesses any bad qualities, he must keep them hidden. People believe what they observe without further investigating the matter. For instance, generosity is by and large a useless characteristic in a head of state. Eventually he will have to raise taxes and in no time people far and wide will hate him. Whoever has the reputation of a miser should not try to change it. He can fall back on his thriftiness when he needs money to serve the general good, such as when the country is under attack.

A prince should be loved and feared equally. If he must choose only one or the other, he should opt for the fear of his people, but not so much so that it turns to hatred. By being charitable, he feeds anarchy, whereas by using cruelty, he keeps the peace. A kind ruler can rarely rely on his subjects’ gratitude: They are often fickle and will not repay his kindness.

If need be, the head of state may break his word. After all, everybody eventually does. However, he must have a valid reason for this breach of promise. Whoever can create the appearance of absolute virtue will be in a strong position. The populace believes what it sees and is happy to follow.

Employ capable ministers who are committed to the interests of the state. If they are confident and clever, allow them to tell you the truth rather than flatter you when unpleasant matters arise. Their insights will serve you better than their compliments.

Consider these final precautions:

  • Never interfere with citizens’ possessions or their women.
  • Protect their livelihoods and encourage their work.
  • Encourage festivals and celebrations. They increase the people’s happiness.

That’s it for now. Once I finished writing this post, it seems that my anger is subsided somehow. That’s good.

Till next time.

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Way of the Wolf: Straight Line Selling

A book by Jordan Belfort. Master salesman Jordan Belfort has done consulting work for more than 50 public companies. His two international best-selling memoirs The Wolf of Wall Street and Catching the Wolf of Wall Street  have been published in more than 60 countries and translated into 25 languages.

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Take-Aways

  • Jordan Belfort is an innate salesperson who can make anyone an expert in sales.
  • His “Straight Line Selling” works for sellers in any industry. It helps move prospects from “absolute uncertainty” to “absolute certainty.”
  • The Straight Line method tightens sales cycles, effectuates closes, develops referrals and solidifies customer relationships.
  • Straight Line sellers never make presentations to people who have no interest in buying.
  • Prospects and salespeople who aren’t honest waste each other’s time.
  • For every successful sale, the prospect must love the product or service and trust the salesperson and his or her company.
  • Salespeople get only four seconds to connect positively with potential buyers.
  • Prospects judge sellers based on their words, their tone and their body language.
  • Plan, develop and work from scripts for all communications with prospects.
  • Once you secure the deal, focus on getting referrals.

The “Straight Line System”

Jordan Belfort is an innate salesperson. At any time or at any place, he can sell anything to any prospect. Belfort can teach you to become an expert salesperson. As portrayed in The Wolf of Wall Street, a 2013 movie, Belfort taught raw, young salespeople how to sell $5 stocks over the phone to America’s wealthiest, the top 1%.

As a result of Belfort’s guidance and his Straight Line System, the rookies on his team became master closers. Many became millionaires. In the system, the salesperson assumes control of the sale, maneuvering the prospect “from the open to the close along the shortest distance between any two points: a straight line.”

“The Straight Line System [levels] the playing field for anyone who’d been held back from achieving greatness.”

Straight Line salespeople don’t lose focus or waste time by conversing with prospects on subjects that have nothing to do with the sale. Everything they say and do when talking with potential buyers has a focused objective: Stay on the Straight Line and close the sale.

“If I were a superhero, then training salespeople would be my superpower.”

After his initial work with novice sellers, Belfort went on to teach his methods to experienced marketers and other persuaders worldwide and across many sectors, including in banking, real estate, automobiles and professional services.

The Straight Line System “will show you how to shorten your sales cycle, increase your closing rate, develop a steady stream of customer referrals and create customers for life.”

He promises salespeople that Straight Line selling will cut their sales cycles, build referrals, generate more closings and help them form permanent relationships with customers. As well, the Straight Line System teaches non-salespeople to become more persuasive.

“The human ear has become so adept at recognizing tonal shifts that even the slightest one can have a dramatic impact on the meaning of a word or phrase.”

The Three Essential Elements of Any Successful Sale

A basic proposition of the Straight Line System is that “every sale is the same.” No matter what product or service you sell – in whatever industry – the same three elements must exist within a prospect’s mind for a sale to succeed:

  1. “The product, idea or concept” – The prospect must fall in love with your product or service. You want the potential buyers to be at a level 10 of enthusiasm. If your prospects are at a six or a seven, you must move them up to a 10.
  2. “Trust” the salesperson – If you can’t establish great personal rapport with your prospect, you will never make the sale.
  3. “The prospect must trust and connect with the company” – Aim to establish great compatibility and affinity between the prospect and your organization.

“We can be proactive when it comes to choosing our emotional state, as opposed to reactive, which is what most human beings have been conditioned to think is our only choice.”

Without these factors, you can’t sell. If you make the three elements line up in the prospect’s mind, you have an excellent opportunity to make a sale.

Think of these as the “three 10s.” Potential buyers who feel “absolute certainty” about some aspect of your proposition are at a 10. In contrast, if your prospects feel “absolute uncertainty,” then they are at a one.

“When it comes time to ask for the order…the closer you’ve gotten your prospect[s] to a 10, the better chance you have of closing them.”

Look for two types of certainty: “Logical certainty” depends on the words you say, and “emotional certainty” depends on gut feelings. Your goal as a salesperson is to move prospects along the “continuum of certainty,” from absolute uncertainty to absolute certainty.

“Be actively building rapport throughout the entire sale, 100% of the time, without ever letting your guard down.”

The “Action Threshold”

Besides the three 10s, the Straight Line System requires you to lower the action threshold, so that the prospect becomes ready to act. You must also “raise the pain threshold,” so that your potential buyers need to buy your offering to alleviate some discomfort.

“You are capable of becoming proficient at anything you put your mind to.”

For example, you can dial up the pain by asking your prospects to imagine what will happen if they don’t act now to fix their problem.

Closing a sale depends on the quality and content of your communications. Your responsibility as a salesperson is to plan and manage communications to provide the best opportunity – a Straight Line – to sell to your prospects.

Straight Line Selling Principles

Mastering four facets of a transaction will help you use the system more effectively:

  1. “The first four seconds”  People make virtually instantaneous decisions about the people they meet. You get only four seconds to make a positive connection with a prospect over the phone or in person. In that brief time, you must communicate that you are “sharp as a tack” and can solve all problems, that you are “enthusiastic as hell,” and that you are “an expert in your field” – competent, knowledgeable and professional. Behave as if you possess all these qualities.
  2. “Tonality and body language” – Your voice and how you speak are crucial to success with prospects over the phone. Sound is equally important in face-to-face meetings, as is your body language. Your tone should be caring, sincere and empathetic. Effective body language includes appropriate facial expressions, a smile and your posture matching that of your potential buyer. The language you use carries great weight and works with your tone and body movements. Your words sway your prospect’s conscious mind by making a “logical case.” Your tone and body language affect your prospect’s subconscious mind and make your “emotional case.”
  3. “State management” – Use “future pacing” as a visualization technique to charge up your state of mind. Imagine a movie showing that you’ve attained a goal and are actively benefiting from it. When you engage in positive visualization, you experience a wonderful feeling, similar to how you’ll feel when you achieve a desired objective.
  4. “Looping” – Use looping to deal with customer objections, which can serve as smoke screens for prospects’ uncertainty. Eliminate those uncertainties – move prospects along the continuum of certainty – and you eliminate objections. Looping involves deflection: You briefly delay responding to the prospect’s objection. Then you go back to a previous aspect of your presentation to reinforce why the prospect should love your offering, you and your firm. Basically, you resell the prospect. If you loop correctly, you increase the prospect’s conviction about doing business with you and your firm.

“If you spend the next few minutes focusing on everything that’s great in your life…then you’ll quickly pop into a positive, empowered state that reflects all those wonderful things.”

Superior Sales Presentations

Whenever you communicate with anyone – or pitch a prospect with a sales presentation – be sure to deliver three messages: Show you understand the prospects, that you care about them and that you feel their pain.

“If you screw up the first four seconds, you have another 10 seconds, at most, to play catch-up ball, but after that, you’re completely done.”

As you pitch, don’t “wing it.” Work from a well-planned, memorized script that ensures a flowing conversation. Don’t mention benefits at the beginning. Later, stress the benefits, not the features. Rely on scripts for every aspect of communications with prospects.

“Act as if you have unmatched confidence, and people will have confidence in you. Act as if you have all the answers, and the answers will come to you.”

Follow each important idea that you present with a “stopping-off point,” such as, for example, “Make sense so far?” Use conversational-style phrasing, not elevated, stilted or technical language. Be honest and ethical.

“People don’t buy on logic; they buy on emotion, and then justify their decision with logic.”

Ask strategic questions to secure valuable intelligence about your prospects and to refine your targeting. Give this intelligence gathering the time it needs.

“The 10 Rules of Straight Line Prospecting”

When you’re working on finding and qualifying good prospects, follow these 10 guidelines:

  1. “You are a sifter, not an alchemist” – Gold prospectors in the 19th century would plop down at the side of a stream, use tin pans to sift the sand under the water and wait patiently to snag gold dust. They didn’t perch by the stream expecting the water to transform itself into gold. They were sifters, not alchemists. As a salesperson, you must sift through your prospects to find the most likely sales. Don’t waste time trying to transform unlikely buyers into passionate prospects.
  2. “Ask for permission to ask questions” – No one likes to be interrogated. Yet salespeople do need to ask questions to learn about prospects: what they are like, what they care about and what will motivate them to buy. To overcome this dilemma, get the prospect’s OK before you ask questions.
  3. “Always use a script” – All industries are different. Salespeople who need information from and about prospects should pose industry-specific questions, asked in a certain order. Without a script, that will be hard to do. When you work with a script that you’ve committed to memory, you won’t worry about coming up with the best questions on the spot, and you will be able to pay more attention to the prospect’s answers and body language. When you don’t need to think of which questions to ask, you can focus on using the perfect tone of voice.
  4. “Go from less invasive questions to more invasive questions” – Asking prospects questions is like peeling an onion: You start at the outer layer and work your way to the heart of the matter. Less intimate queries set you up for more intimate questions. You must always earn the right and establish the necessary rapport to ask questions of prospects, who are, after all, strangers. You earn this right by asking your least obtrusive questions and working your way up to more sensitive queries.
  5. “Ask each question using the right tonality” – A salesperson who adopts a callous or disrespectful tone can’t sell anything. The wrong tone of voice communicates far more than the actual words you use. In contrast, the right tone – showing consideration, empathy, caring and respect – amplifies the strength and compelling nature of your words. The right tonality promotes the sale; the wrong tonality kills it.
  6. “Use the correct body language as the prospect responds” – Use five productive body-language techniques: 1) When the prospect speaks, nod your head to signal that you’re paying close attention; 2) when the prospect tells you something he or she considers important, nod your head slowly while “narrowing your eyes and compressing your lips”; 3) use vocal exclamation points – “oohs and aahs” – to register your affinity with your prospect; 4) lean your body forward when you ask an emotion-based question and continue to lean forward as the person answers; and 5) when you ask a logic-based question, lean back and nod as your prospect responds.
  7. “Always follow a logical path” – Sequence your inquiries coherently to help you present yourself as an expert.
  8. “Don’t resolve their pain” – Your goal in the early stages of your relationship with prospects isn’t to eliminate the discomfort that only your product or service can alleviate. At the beginning, you want to amplify this pain.
  9. “End with a powerful transition” – The point of the Straight Line is to move prospects along it at a regular pace, so long as your product or service makes sense for them. Be ready with effective transitions: “Well, John, based on everything you just said to me, this program is definitely a perfect fit for you. Let me tell you why…”
  10. “Stay on the straight line; don’t go spiraling off to Pluto” – To illustrate, consider the example of a conversation between a salesperson and a prospect. The salesperson asks the prospect what job he has. The prospect says he’s a midlevel manager and works in a geographic area famous for duck hunting. He launches into a monologue about how much he loves to hunt ducks. The salesperson takes this as a cue for his own song-and-dance about duck hunting. In no way does such a conversation promote an eventual sale. When you speak with prospects, avoid this common mistake. Don’t shoot off to Pluto; always stay right here on Earth. You can’t close sales on Pluto.

“Even if you’re not in sales, you still need to become at least reasonably proficient at sales and persuasion.”

The Basics      

In combination, the basic elements of the Straight Line System allow you to establish yourself in the first four seconds, develop a rapport with the prospect, secure the intelligence you need, make a strong presentation, “ask for the order,” use looping to establish certainty in the prospect’s mind, lower the prospect’s action threshold, uncover the prospect’s pain, and detail how your product or service will relieve it.

Once you secure the deal, focus on getting referrals. Do all you can to solidify your customer relationships for life. Stay flexible and adapt your “core language patterns” to the system.

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How Does a Tension Leg Platform (TLP) Work?

A type of floating production system, tension leg platforms (TLPs) are buoyant production facilities vertically moored to the seafloor by tendons.

TLP Design

While a buoyant hull supports the platform’s topsides, an intricate mooring system keeps the TLP in place. The buoyancy of the facility’s hull offsets the weight of the platform, requiring clusters of tight tendons, or tension legs, to secure the structure to the foundation on the seabed. The foundation is then kept stationary by piles driven into the seabed.

The tension leg mooring system allows for horizontal movement with wave disturbances, but does not permit vertical, or bobbing, movement, which makes TLPs a popular choice for stability, such as in the hurricane-prone Gulf of Mexico.

The basic design of a TLP includes four air-filled columns forming a square. These columns are supported and connected by pontoons, similar to the design of a semisubmersible production platform. Nonetheless, since their inception in the mid 1980s, TLP designs have changed according to development requirements. Now, designs also comprise the E-TLP, which includes a ring pontoon connecting the four air-filled columns; the Moses TLP, which centralizes the four-column hull; and the SeaStar TLP, which includes only one central column for a hull.

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Seastar TLP

The platform deck is located atop the hull of the TLP. The topside of a TLP is the same as a typical production platform, consisting of a deck that houses the drilling and production equipment, as well as the power module and the living quarters. Dry tree wells are common on TLPs because of the lessened vertical movement on the platforms.

Most wells producing to TLPs are developed through rigid risers, which lift the hydrocarbons from the seafloor to dry trees located on the TLP deck. Many times, steel catenary risers are also used to tie-in the subsea flowlines and export pipelines.

TLP Types

The third-most used type of floating production facility in the world, TLPs are ideal for a broad range of water depths. Currently, there are three different types of TLPs: full-size TLPs, mini TLPs and wellhead TLPs.

Source: Rigzone

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How Do Spars Work?

Take-Aways

  • Spar is a floating platform alternative to support drilling, production & storage operation.
  • Deep-draft design enable the facility to support both subsea and dry tree development since less impact from wind, wave and current.
  • Does not require mooring to stay upright.
  • Its center of gravity located below its center of buoyancy.
  • 3 types of spar: original design, truss spar and cell spar.

Spar is a floating platform alternative that can support drilling, production and storage operations which consists of a large vertical cylinder bearing topsides with equipment. Similar to an iceberg, the majority of a spar facility is located beneath the water’s surface, providing the facility increased stability.

Originally designed as a floating buoy to acquire oceanographic information, the main component of a spar facility is the deep-draft floating chamber, or hollow cylindrical hull. Characteristically, the hull is encircled with spiraling strakes to add stability. Additionally, the bottom of the cylinder includes a ballasting section with material that weighs more than water, ensuring the center of gravity is located below the center of buoyancy.

The deep-draft design makes the spar less affected by wind, wave and currents, enabling the facility to support both subsea and dry tree developments. Additionally, the enclosed cylinder acts as protection for risers and equipment, making spars an ideal choice for deepwater developments. Furthermore, the hull can provide storage for produced oil or gas.

Atop the spar hull sits the topsides, which can be comprised of drilling equipment, production facilities and living quarters. Drilling is performed from the topsides through the hollow cylinder hull; and drilling, import/export and production risers are passed through the enclosed hull, as well. The whole spar facility is then moored to the seafloor.

While the hull is fastened to the sea bed through various mooring techniques, spar facilities do not require moorings to stay upright. The unique design of the spar ensures that the facility will not topple even if the moorings are not connected because the center of gravity is located below the center of buoyancy.

Types of Spars

Traditional Spar

There are three types of spars, including the original spar design, truss spars and cell spars. Consisting of a single cylindrical hull, the original design for spars was created in the mid ’90s with the first developed for the Neptune field in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Truss Spar

The next rendition of the spar was the truss spar, which is similar to the original spar design, but the cylindrical hull is shorted and a truss is incorporated below it. The truss usually includes horizontal plates that help to decrease vertical movement. The truss spar is advantageous because it weighs less than the original design, and because it requires less steel, which costs less.

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Cell Spar

The most recent variation of the spar is the cell spar, which is a scaled-down version of the original design. The cell spar includes six pressure vessels gathered around a seventh vessel. Resembling massive hot dogs, these pressure vessels are more easily and cost-effectively generated through mass production. Providing the buoyancy for the facility, the vessels are held in place by structural steel, which extends below the vessels and keeps with the deep-draft design by providing stability.

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WORKOVER – A BRIEF INTRO

What is Workover ?

Operations to a completed production well to clean, repair and maintain the well for the purposes of increasing or restoring production ( or injection ).

When is Workover Chosen ?

When all other rig-less options are not successful, or when the severity of the problem is too high. This also depends on the economical perspective.

Estimate cost of operation –

  • Cost for Rig-less Operations : up to USD 50K/day
  • Cost for Workover : USD 100K/day
  • Cost for Drilling : USD 250K/day

Foot note:

  • The term workover is used to refer to any kind of oil well intervention involving invasive techniques, such as wireline, coiled tubing or snubbing. More specifically though, it will refer to the expensive process of pulling and replacing a completion.
  • Some may simply call it as maintenance of old well

Hydraulic Workover Unit (HWU)

Hydraulic Workover Unit (HWU) may be self contained or skid mounted. Components are modular for ease of transport and rig up.

Typical HWU consists of:

  • Hydraulic Jack Assembly
  • Traveling Slips
  • Stationary Slips
  • Rotary Table
  • Power Tongs
  • Work Basket
  • Counter Balance
  • Control Panel
  • Power Pack
  • Hydraulic Hoses
  • Pumps, Kelly Hose, Circulating Swivel
  • BOP Stack

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  1. A snubbing rigup is a very tall structure. It consists of a hydraulically powered snubbing unit, which provides the force on a pipe, above string of multi-layered pressure control components.
  2. At the top of the snubbing unit is the basket, which serves as the control post for the rigup. Below the basket are the hydraulic jacks, which powers the pipe into an out of the hole. It consists of two mechanisms for applying force to the pipe in either direction. Each mechanism consists of travelling and stationary slips. The travelling slips are used to move the pipe, while the stationary slips are used to hold the pipe while the travelling slips are repositioned between strokes.
  3. Primary pressure control during snubbing operations is provided by a self-energizing stripper and through an assembly of stripping rams. The stripping rams consists of two sets of rams, one on top of the other. There are opened one at a time to allow the collar of the connections between joints of pipe to pass through the rams. Below the stripping rams are the safety rams, which may consist of a shear/blind blowout preventer and an annular BOP. The tertiary barrier, a shear/seal BOP, sits below this directly above the Xmas tree.

Glossary:

  1. Snubbing – Snubbing is the process of running and pulling tubing, drill-pipe, or casing with surface pressure present on the wellhead. Snubbing also describes a force-balance condition where an external force is required to prevent the work-string from being force out of the hole. HWU may be used to trip tubulars into and out of wells with no existing or anticipated surface pressure.
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Communication Skills

Communication skills is one of the Top 10 transferable skill we discussed before.

Written Communication

Writing well is the most common and major component of your professional presentation. Many people who cannot write well are very talented in many other ways. In addition, most people often mistake that an inability to write well with a lack of intelligence. Poor writing not only makes exchanges of ideas and information less efficient, but it also makes you look bad more quickly than almost anything else. Learning to write well has an important side effect; because clear, readable text is also well-organized, straightforward, and concise, learning to write also teaches you to speak and to think better.

This also include your ability to get your message across written platform such as emails, blog, and also your social media.

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Verbal Communication

Verbal (also called “oral”) communication skills are essential for those with jobs in a traditional workplace and for employees whose tasks include extensive use of telephones. While verbal communications talents are probably most important for those in sales, customer service, and public relations roles, anyone who has to interact face-to-face with supervisors and work colleagues needs to be able to express themselves clearly and succinctly. Ability to speak well is important for anyone to move up the corporate ladder.

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Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication includes vocal tone, eye contact patterns, body language, and more. Nonverbal communication often carries more information than speech and has a much greater impact on rapport and trust. Learn the nonverbal signals you need to present yourself well. And if you have non-standard body language (for example, if you are on the autism spectrum or have a physical disability), you will have to find ways to avoid or correct misunderstanding. Nonverbal communication is also the most honest way to understand or truly appreciate if your or whomever you are communicating with are truly open or honest.

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Friendliness and Respect

Simple friendliness, politeness, and respect go a long way to create rapport and improve communication. Part of this is simply being kind and considerate with everyone. Say “please,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry” as needed. Remember to ask people how they’re doing and actually wait to listen to the answer. Remember birthdays and preferences—take notes if you need to. But some signs of respect are culturally variable and not always intuitive. You have to learn those as you go.

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Picking the Right Medium

Communication can be in person, by snail-mail, by email, by telephone, through text message, or by video. Each medium has its advantages and disadvantages, and each adds something different to the message you are trying to convey. Some messages are better suited to particular media than others. For instance, most people prefer to have bad news delivered in person. But people also vary widely in how they respond to different media.

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For example, people who lack confidence in their written communication prefer talking on the phone. Others prefer the slower, more thoughtful pace of email and actively avoid phones.

You, of course, have your preferences, but part of communicating well is being able to identify the preferred medium of the other person for any given situation and be versatile enough to use it.

Communicating well is one of those abilities that is often overlooked, and yet those who have it are at a substantial advantage to those who are not. Fortunately, many communication skills can be learned.

Looking forward to share more on this on my journey to learn all the above-mentioned skills and many more.

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Leaders eat last

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Treat People Like People

I once heard someone share that the higher you go up in leadership, the harder it is to remember your why. Sinek in his book, shares that many times leaders forget to treat people like people. Sinek’s recommendation, although simple, is imperative for anyone leading, “Every single employee is someone’s son or someone’s daughter.” This would give us alternative perspective. EVERYONE belongs to someone.

Create a Common Cause 

Sinek provides multiple examples of effective leadership that is centered around creating a common cause. Sinek encourages leaders to not only create a common cause but know the people that are working on living out the cause. Everyone wants to believe that what they are doing within their organization matters as well as who they are as a person.

Leadership sets the tone of the culture

Sinek is not the only writer who has recently written about culture. Most recently, a former educator, now writer and speaker, Jimmy Casas wrote the book Culturize. Both Sinek and Casas state that leaders who create a culture in which everyone knows that they are responsible for the positive (or negative) culture that is created, the organization will go further than if the leader tried to create a positive culture alone. When people within an organization feel a sense of responsibility to live out the mission + vision in creating a positive culture, the organization will be known to others as a place where people want work and be a part of a culture that cares about those within the organization.

Leadership is a matter of character 

Multiple times in his book, Sinek refers to the Marine Corps as a model of excellent leadership. Sinek highlights three key values that the Marines carry out daily: leaders eat last, leaders lead with integrity and leaders always put people first.

Redefine struggle

Within the past 5 years, educators have learned a lot from leading researcher Carol Dweck about growth mindset. Jo Boheler, a researcher from Stanford University, has also studied growth mindset and struggle. Bohler concluded that without a growth mindset and struggle existing, one does not learn and retain what is learned as deeply when one does not struggle to accomplish a task. Sinek provides multiple examples in his book from Apple to Microsoft that illustrate that within the business world, successful organizations that create an environment where the people believe in the mission + vision and they are tasked with a challenge (and those within the organization know that is expected that they struggle), they will outperform and create solutions that are far greater than what other organizations could do.

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Authenticity, the gold standard of leadership?

Nowadays, it seemed that authenticity has become the gold standard for leadership. However, a simplistic understanding of the meaning of authenticity can both hinder your growth and limit your impact. In order to understand this better, let’s take a look into 2 case scenario,

Case 1:

Cynthia, a general manager in organization A. Her promotion into that role increase her direct reports to 10-folds and expanded the range of business she oversaw and she felt a little shaky about making such a big leap. As a strong believer in transparent, collaborative leadership, she bared her soul to her new subordinates. She said,

“I want to do this job,” she said, “but it’s scary, and I need your help.”

Her candor backfired; she lost credibility with people who wanted and needed a confident leader to take charge.

Case 2:

George, an executive in organization B where people valued a clear chain of command and reporting line and made decisions by consensus. When a Dutch multinational with a matrix structure acquired the company, George found himself working with peers who saw decision making as a freewheeling contest for the best-debated ideas. That style didn’t come easily to him, and it contradicted everything he had learned about humility growing up in his country which made adaptability a difficult feat to achieve.

In a 360-degree debrief, his boss told him that he needed to sell his ideas and accomplishments more aggressively. George felt he had to choose between being a failure and being a fake.

What does this mean?

Both cases demonstrate clearly that going against our natural inclinations can make us feel like impostors, we tend to latch on to authenticity (or our true self) as an excuse for sticking with what’s comfortable for you (our comfort zone). As we advance in our careers or when demands or expectations change, as Cynthia, George, and countless other executives have discovered.

With respect to leadership transitions, all career advances require all of us to move way beyond our comfort zones. At the same time, however, they trigger a strong countervailing impulse to protect our identities or our authentic self: When we are unsure of ourselves or our ability to perform well or measure up in a new setting, we often retreat to familiar behaviors and styles which might just not good enough for the new setting and environment.

Therefore, we need to remember that the moments that most challenge our sense of self are the ones that can teach us the most about leading effectively. By viewing ourselves as works in progress (WIP) and evolving our professional identities through trial and error, we can develop a personal style that feels right to us and suits our organizations’ changing needs. As Jim Rohn said, go to work daily to work primarily on yourself, and be able to bring more and more value to your organization and marketplace. Then, you will be able to work and lead more effectively while making or bringing more value for your time spent.

That my friends would takes courage, because learning, by definition, starts with unnatural and often superficial behaviors that can make us feel calculative instead of genuine and spontaneous. But the only way to avoid being pigeonholed and ultimately become better leaders is to do the things that a rigidly authentic sense of self would keep us from doing.

Remember, we are a work in progress, so, try as best as we can to make a daily progress because those whose two days are equal is a loser.

On the Authority of ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar Qadi Abu Bakr al-Ansari Qadi al-Maristan (d. 535/1141) narrates:

عن ابن عمر قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “من تساوى يوماه فهو مغبون  …”

Ibn ‘Umar said the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: One whose two days are equal is a loser …”

Note: This comes with a very weak isnad as a narrator ‘Abdullah bin Hussain bin Mahmuwayh who is otherwise unknown claims he heard it from Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Mundhar in the year 332 A.H. whereas the later had died in the year 318 A.H. according to most reliable account. Therefore, Hatim Sharif al-‘Awni says, “its isnad is very weak” (isnaduhu shadid al-du’f).[2]