Friday, 30 December 2011

Understanding the differences

Organizational culture is a mirror image of the personality of the organization. According to Katherine Miller, culture is composed of fragmented subcultural units which is complex and ambiguous, and is socially constructed through communicative interaction of organizational members. In a nut shell, culture itself defines the way an organization works and the way members communicate with each other.

There are two main types of corporations in the working world, the Multinational Corporation (MNC) and the Domestic Corporation (DMC). Both MNCs and DMCs basically have to handle similar regular internal organizational issues, problems, and challenges in coordinating, integrating, and controlling its activities. However, because of the diversity and complexity of an MNC, they require a far more effective internal communication as compared to a DMC. A MNC is described as a coordinated federation where many assets, resources, responsibilities and decisions are decentralized but controlled by the headquarters. It is different from a domestic company in a way that it works across markets, nations and cultures. Knowledge sharing and learning in a MNC is a cross-border process in two ways: not only organizational but also national borders have to be overcomed which is a highly difficult and requires complex undertaking. DMCs on the other hand are corporations or partnerships created or organized and exists or occurs inside a particular country; not foreign or international. Communication, unlike MNC, resides only in one region and location.

Evidently, communication is a major constituent in any organization; it plays an important role in delivering vital messages throughout the entire organization. Often the success of a corporation is dependent on the styles of communication that it uses. It is important that essential information is passed around accurately and efficiently. The rapid and steady flow of information enriches and empowers an organization, just as the flow of money creates wealth.

Both types of corporations, though different in magnitude and culture, employ indisputably similar ways of communication that runs throughout the hierarchy. Deploying human resource approaches by incorporating various rites and rituals within to make employees feel a sense of belonging and affiliation. These indirectly allow the employees to get a further insight of the organization’s culture and practices and also allow them to develop a deeper sense of commitment to the organization. Needless to say, however, a company as big as a MNC poses  various communication barriers and that the importance of well-functioning internal communication for MNCs becomes  more vital than that of a domestic company, due to the fact that, among other things, its units are dispersed across national borders. The simple fact that there are physical distances among the subunits complicates clear and effective communication.

Even with several barriers restricting effective communication amongst corporations and employees, MNCs and DMCs have nonetheless overcome this, by creating a new sub-culture, a culture with which employees of the coporation learn to adapt and adhere to. Likewise with inter-corporations communications, the corporate world will have its set of communicative tools and rules based on cultural settings.

As it is with everything else in this world, change is the only constant, and culture is no different. Understanding the differences in culture in MNCs and DMCs is not enough. We have to realise that over time, these cultures might not be suited to its day and age, and should therefore change according with it.

Monday, 26 December 2011


In 2004, 10 bombs were simultaneously detonated in Madrid that killed 190 and injured over 2000 train commuters. One early morning of 2005, 4 suicide bombers, 3 aboard London Underground trains and 1 on a double decker bus killed 52 and injured more than 700. Attackers armed with rifles and grenades went on a rampage in Mumbai, India’s largest City, and left 100 dead with more than 200 injured in 2008. Moscow continuously experienced a string of urban terrorism attacks from 2000 – 2010 claiming hundreds of lives.

“If you notice any suspicious article or person, please contact our staff or call 911.”

The message to Singapore’s nationwide public transport’s passengers has been clear since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It warns of the high possibility of Singapore becoming a target and vigilance of every citizen is required to safe guard against the cunning, hidden and unpredictable threat. Without the eyes, ears, and intuition of the general public, authorities stand little chance of identifying the enemy among us.

Terrorism became a blinding reality 10 years ago and continues to claim the lives of many civilians through its variety of attacks and targets. Urban terrorism, more specifically, has claimed the lives of thousands in densely populated cities in the world. Urban Terrorism is terrorism aimed at urban populations in bid to cause the most causality in a single targeted area. Areas like trains and streets offer these terrorists the best covert disguise, using the confusion to disappear into the crowd as observed in the increasing cases of attacks. In addition the crowd provides the opportunity of a supporting attack that spreads its fatality further across the area. Unfortunately, these areas, unlike transportation hubs, cannot be subjected to physical security measures as they are designed to be open and easily accessible to vast numbers of people.

Terrorists have played this vital weakness to their strength allowing them to be virtually undetectable in any area. These attacks reveal tactical knowledge, careful planning, coordinated execution and experience of our attackers. And as the reality of urban warfare continues to unfold on the city streets worldwide; they grow stronger with each successful detonation of their bombs.

Thankfully, recent developments in facial recognition and high-speed retina scanning have aided authorities significantly in detecting and tracking known suspects through a crowd. Governments all over the world have also stepped up security measures by saturating urban areas with surveillance camera systems. According to Duos Technologies Inc, one is expected to pass the view of at least 300 different Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) while walking down the streets of London in the day. Increased numbers of CCTVs have been strategically placed in all local MRT stations as well as buses.

Even with additional technologies, countries worldwide are still very much dependent on civilians’ surveillance to prevent and minimise fatalities.

Editor: JT

Friday, 16 December 2011

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

As an organization grows in size and stature, the values that it once prided itself upon gets corroded over time. This is especially true when there is no strong leader to mould the right mind set. Traditions and cultures that take many years to build rest on the foundation of the creators that have brought them forward by taking time to explain, teach and nurture. This cycle is repetitious yet crucial in maintaining consistency in an organization’s vision and mission. Unlike the 1980s, when it was slower-paced, challenges in the workplace are getting increasingly daunting as the bar for performance and productivity are raised. Lesser emphasis are placed in the coaching of employees but more on profit driven objectives to stay afloat amidst flagging economies. 

However, in order to thrive amidst challenging times, a forward learning organization is required along with its similar-minded employees. The ability to adapt to harsh situations and change along with the market and relevant trends is vital. To then harness this ability requires learning executives with managers that actually coach their subordinates instead of throwing them to the deep end of the sea and watch them learn to survive the turbulence. Over the years, coaching has gained recognition as the critical platform for successful organizational change and learning initiatives. CIPD (Chartered Institute of Development) has also reported an increase in the use of coaching tools within organizations.

What is coaching exactly? Jo Lamb, from, defines coaching as a person who teaches and directs another person via encouragement and advice. Winston Connor, former HR Vice President, further elaborated on coaching as managers who are able to tailor coaching methods to each individual to create an impact and cause behavioural changes. 

There is an old saying that goes“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” To further build on this, one has to consider thatwhat is taught to subordinates will not only shape how they work and what they believe in, it will eventually shape what they will teach their subordinates as well in the future. It essentially a slow but sure effect in shaping the entire company’s future. 

Who else better to coach than the very leaders of the organization? 

Carrieanne Larmoreg, an e-Commerce entrepreneur and writer, shares 4 simple but key roles a great coach needs to play to allow employees to flourish and become a better asset to the organization.

The coach has to first of all, guide. Amidst the mounting workload, time and patience has to be taken out to share, teach and show. While it is easier to feed employees with instructions, leaders need to know how to appropriately trust their employees and challenge them with tasks and responsibilities for them to grow in confidence, experience as well as a sense of achievement at the end of the day. It is also one thing to trust and another to blame when things go wrong. With trust comes support. The willingness to stand by them in their decisions, offer advice and help in time of need. Lastly, leaders need to monitor their progress or the lack thereof to be able to timely render appropriate assistance, reward or advice before tasks gets bungled up or employees become dejected from the lack of appreciation.

Organizations such as Deloitte, KPMG and Mercer also assert that the current generation of employees are no longer blindly loyal to companies but to managers who take an active interest in their development, time to teach and patience in listening and working with them. Similar to an athletic coach, who stand by the side lines and watch their players play, they should also be able to draw out employees’ strengths and talent and bank on it. 

Editor: JT

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain

You can sit in front of a screen to rehearse over an amazing presentation and still fumble it up during the actual presentation. You can type out a well thought and enticing proposal but fail in convincing the other party to take it up. You can hide behind a computer and accomplish a great deal of paper work but none will take flight without the ability to present the finished product to colleagues, bosses and clients.

Confidence does not stay contained within the mental boundaries. It seeps through into actions and affects thought processes which on a larger scale affect life on a whole entirely. It plays an essential and vital part in ensuring success in one’s career. The lack of self-confidence makes it difficult to take ownership of tasks and duties, step up to challenging responsibilities or making a decision at work. Theoretically, work itself isn’t the problem. Over time, skills are picked up, new thought processes are introduced and gradually implemented, and technology advancements are learned and incorporated into the daily work grind. The factors that cause more grief are the human factor and being trapped in a deadly cycle of negative thoughts. It is one thing to face a machine and a whole new dimension to face a person. It is also one thing that you think you can’t before knowing you actually can’t. 

Yes, indeed not everyone is born with the natural ability to succinctly present thoughts and ideas to a crowd of faces with ease. Nor is everyone born or nurtured in the way they are able to readily believe in their own capabilities and step up to new challenges. But just as Rome was not built in a day, with time and effort, the confidence in a person can be built. It all starts with breaking down mental barriers and adjusting thought processes. 

For most, the fear of rejection or failure has kept the mind in a repetitive negative loop. Understand that without actually failing, one is unable to learn from his mistakes and with it gain experience and knowledge.

No good solid work or presentation comes without adequate preparation. Flustering in front of the crowd when you don’t have the necessary information ready at the tips of your fingers does not help in confidence building. 

Appear stoic and calm even when things are not. People respond to a calm person more positively as compared to one who goes hysterical when things do not go according to plan. On a hind side, constantly assuring of your capabilities in attempt to remain stoic will create a natural belief that you can.

Mark Twain once said” Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.”

In an increasingly global society, where the corporate world is infused with stiff competition, everyone is struggling to get their voices and ideas heard, and even more so amidst a growing diversity of colleagues. To climb to the top, you need an edge but first you need to be heard.

Chief Editor: Jeremy Chan

Friday, 2 December 2011

Communication, it is not just about words.

48 years ago when Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his “I have a dream” speech, he did more than just give a speech. In 17 minutes, he inspired thousands.

3 years ago the United States of America elected Barack Obama as their President. His rhetorical skills – the ability to plant visions into the public’s head and invoke feelings with words was what catapulted him into where he is now. 

Jane Sunley, CEO of Learnpurple, calls it “The Big C” which is essentially the first thing we learn in order to get what we want as infants. Nearly 85% of what is accomplished in a career (and personal life) is determined by the ability to get the message sent across and the persuasion powers of it for others to take a chance on the ideas and recommendations that comes with it. It is no surprise then that leadership and communication go hand in hand. In turbulent times, the leader has to communicate hope with purpose and passion to employees. A correctly transmitted message creates motivation within the employees and empowers them to overcome obstacles and accomplish more. 

However, in the modern business world with Skype, video blogs, podcasts, emails, teleconferences, and text messages instead of the good old-fashioned face-to-face chats, the opportunity for poor communication to take place increases. The reliance on a medium grows as the message gets distorted with each individual’s different lingo and inference. Often employers are the last to find out that poor communication is the root cause of their problems, which ironically, is a direct result of the lack of communication within the organization. If an employer is unable to create a proper flow of accurate information then evidently message from the bottom tier will not be able to flow back to him. 

Thankfully, effective communication is a learned skill. 

According to Albert Mehrabian, who pioneered the understanding of communications since the 1960s and Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA, there are 3 essential elements to take note. 

1. Choice of words
Many in attempt to impress choose bombastic words and lose their message in the big words that many may not understand. A string of simple but effective words carries the message further than a message that cannot be understood.

2. Emphasis and Tone
Increasing voice and pitch of tone at different parts of a sentence can greatly alter the meaning behind the message. It also highlights the important parts of the message.

3. Body Language
The effect of communication can be increased a by leaning towards the audience or shifting your weight forward onto the balls of feet and an appropriate amount of hand gestures.

In addition to these, a competent communicator will manipulate effectively and correctly the how(s) and where(s) the message should be communicated. They are able to align themselves the audiences’ goals and methods to produce a smooth, productive, and often enjoyable dialogue. They aspire not only to transmit a message accurately and effectively. They inspire, motivate and with it, drive an organization.

Editor: JT

Friday, 25 November 2011

Douse the fire before calamity

An article on reported that 24 – 60 percent of Human Resource managers’ time are spent dealing with employee dispute. did a survey on 357 human resource managers across all genre of working industries, profit and non-profit alike. Statistics reflected that 98% of HR managers handle conflict at work. Out of which, 81% have seen conflict resulting in employee’s departure and 77% saw it in terms of employee’s absenteeism.

Conflict in the workplace is a distressing reality that can bring about unpleasant and undesirable consequences if left unchecked and allowed to fester. Conflict is unavoidable when you put individuals, from different backgrounds and cultures, together because every individual will undeniably have his own set of mind, ideas and working style. Reasons why conflicts occur can stretch out to the horizon. It could stem from internal factors such as personality, temper or ego that will affect a person’s ability to lead, follow or compromise. It could also be caused by external factors like stress, pressure & health that plays a part in a one’s reaction which will thereby have an overall domino effect.

If you are not embroiled in the conflict, you become the silent watcher. You see the icy stares darting across the room. You feel the tension arising. But you do nothing to alleviate the situation. It is a common notion to avoid trouble by keeping your silence and not intervene. But sometimes the lack of intervention gives the window of opportunity for things to escalate further into a bigger eruption. Conflicts can easily and quickly rage into deadly flames if sparks are not contained earlier in the game. Most of the time, conflict resolutions are necessary to nip a potential conflict in the bud and prevent it from escalating.

One of Sun Tzu’s strategies was to pick battles wisely. Take heed that not every disagreement is worth turning it into a conflict. Usually after the initial cloud of emotions, you would realise how insignificant the issue really is. In other context, you would also realise that heightened emotions often cause us to lose sight of the main topic and unconsciously let our anger stray. By attacking the speaker instead of the problem outwardly displays inability to control emotions which could ultimately lead a small work disagreement into a personal attack. With that said, at the end of the day, you would realise none of the above will work without good communication and listening skills. With communication, using ‘I’ statements instead of ‘you’ language and avoiding judgmental remarks or sweeping generalization in a speech are more effective ways to communicate and allows for more empathy amongst colleagues. Hearing is easy while active listening isn’t as simple as it seems. It requires focus and intent from the listener and usually accompanied by acknowledgement of speaker’s message as well as the constant restating/reframing of his statement to show comprehension. A talker who feels he has been heard would be less disgruntled even if his idea was not put into use.

It is easy to allow a spark turn into raging flames while it takes five times the effort and amount time to calm raging flames. Should we really spend our time and effort dousing fire or a shorter time and lesser effort to maintain harmony?

Chief Editor: Jeremy Chan 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Making it work like clockwork.

The melting pot has gotten bigger and will only get even bigger as the world goes more global. We are no longer separated by oceans, seas and mountains thereby resulting in the change of nature of our workplace. An organization is no longer a monochromic make-up of employees from the same culture and neighbourhood but a rainbow coloured team of employees from all parts of the world.

It has then never been more important for an organization to have a common language but at the same time it is all the more elusive now.

There are many advantages to having a multicultural organization just as there are many pitfalls if not properly managed. Cultural Awareness is required for multicultural employees within to maximise their potential and productivity.

With a gradually growing diverse genetic make-up of employees comes an increased difference in cultures between the individual employees. Although cross cultural differences do not always cause obvious problems, it is their more subtle manifestations that can and will lead to a lack of clear communication and poor performance. Differences in cultures encompass more than just traditions and beliefs. A person’s cultural background impacts how he acts and behaves. Communication style, attitude towards conflict, approaches to task completion as well as decision making style is all affected by his cultural background.

In a cross cultural environment with conflicting ideals, attitudes and beliefs, there are too many situations where conflict can occur that will significantly lower productivity. Developing people skills for a multicultural workplace requires the emotional, cognitive and practical skills in combination.

Patience & Tolerance:
Even without adding multicultural to the equation an organization is already diverse in its own way with every individual having their own unique working style, beliefs and attitudes. Applying the same patience and tolerance to someone of a different culture easily soothes a difficult situation and turn a potentially rage into harmony.

It is one thing to listen for the sake of listening and listening with interest and committing it to memory. Everyone is busy with mounting amount of workload, practising active listening saves everyone’s time by eliminating the need for repetition. Active listening also ensures that the message sent out is not misinterpreted or misunderstood.

Broaden your minds:
We develop our personality at around the age of seven. Gradually, through experience, we get our beliefs, attitudes ideals etc. It is easy to live in our own bubble and ignore what we can’t comprehend but allowing in perspectives and ideas from someone outside our own culture could unknowingly lead to the missing piece of the puzzle. To grow, we have to break free of our mental chains to allow the influx of greater and more innovative flow of ideas.

Talk like a diplomat:
Like in high school, everyone has their own clique with their own lingo. In an organization, every single employee becomes one to ensure the survival of it. Effective professional communication occurs with mindful and respectful interaction.

Chief Editor: Jeremy Chan

Friday, 11 November 2011

Move, like you mean it.

Have you ever been in a situation where you just could not bring yourself to believe what someone was saying even though what was said was completely believable? Did you just have a feeling that something just doesn’t tally or that something was off? Was it the fidgety hands or the wandering eyes?

The difference between spoken words and the comprehension of it largely comes from nonverbal communication.

These days, people face machines more than they face another human. The modes of communication have increased intensely since a generation ago. This has resulted in a growing reliance of using a medium to transmit messages. In the face of another human, many have forgotten the basics of nonverbal language. How you say what you say. How you sit or stand while saying. It is what gives our words meaning when we speak. They say a picture paints a thousand words. An expression on the face or a slightest movement of where your body is facing tells a story that is not transmittable via a medium.

Different types of body languages are portrayed in everyday situations and they usually occur without the conscious awareness. The various means of nonverbal communication that are used according to the context, sends strong signals that could emphasize or contradict what is being said. By simply observing a person’s nonverbal language alone, you would be able to tell if he was talking to a superior or a colleague. You might also be able to decipher if he has positive or negative feelings towards his communicator.

As most of us are unaware of how our body reacts to certain context. It is often assumed that as long as the right words are carefully chosen and correctly executed, the coast is clear. But it is the nonverbal communication that transmits the clearest message. Non-verbal language will affect how you act and react to others, and how they react to you.

There are two parts to nonverbal language, the body and the voice. Body: Body movements and gestures, that ranges from the legs, hands and head, muscle tension, posture, eye movement, eye contact, skin colouring (pale or flushed), breathing rate and perspiration. Voice: Rate, tone, pitch, volume and timbre of speech all adds to words that used.

By developing keen awareness of the signs and signals of body language, it is easier to project the right message, decipher innuendoes, understand other people, more effectively communicate and react.

Chief Editor: Jeremy Chan

Friday, 4 November 2011

Emotional or Managing it?

In a classroom setting, a child gets reprimanded by his teachers for throwing a fit.

At home, a child either gets a pep talk or disciplinary action from the parents. The child goes to bed and when he wakes up the next day, it is a whole new day. He goes back to school and the incident is put behind until it happens again.

In the office, forgiveness either doesn’t come by easy or doesn’t come at all. The lapse in control of emotions or impulses can cause grave damage to one’s reputation, future and career.

David Goleman, psychologist and award-winning author of Emotional Intelligence, defined Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as a set of skills, including control of one’s impulses, self-motivation, empathy and social competence in interpersonal relationships

The workplace is a fast paced environment constantly consisting of stress and pressure. Everyone is fighting to keep afloat in the endless pile of work and the mounting pressure and now keeping a lookout of the emotions of others is in the equation? Not only does one have to maintain a high monitor on his emotions, impulses and reactions he has to manage, be in tuned and react accordingly to everyone that he is working with. That is EQ in a nutshell.

It is really not that difficult. Some of it has been inculcated since young. If a child sees another crying child, he passes his own toy in bid to cheer him up. If a child senses his mother’s bad mood, he keeps his silence lest to aggravate it. But of course as a child, when angered, he lashes out without a second thought of the consequence. Adults, on the other hand, are better equipped with the ability to control and rein. It is simply that amidst the harsh money oriented world with so much more distraction, responsibilities and pressure, adults have grown to be less empathising and less inclined to care or be in tuned to emotions of others.

In an organization, there is seldom a one man show. It takes more than just two hands to clap. There is an old saying that goes “Nothing runs better than a well-oiled machine”. If an organization that consists of different parts of a machine is well oiled and meshes together, productivity can only increase.

EQ is a constant conscientious conscious effort on one’s part. It also has to be imparted and shared as knowledge to the rest. It is the making of a great leader.

Editor: JT

Friday, 28 October 2011

How Complacency killed the Cat.

It has been a full decade since the attack on United States of America has opened our eyes to horror, sorrow and a new word – Terrorism. That fateful incident shattered everyone’s definition of peace, safety and security.

Singapore may be twenty flight hours away from United States of America and ten years may have passed. But just last year, maps of Orchard Road and of Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) network with Orchard Station circled were found by Indonesian Authorities. And earlier this year, Indonesian anti-terrorism officials arrested 11 suspects who were plotting to attack the Singapore embassy in Jakarta, targeting only Singaporeans who were leaving the compound. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong prompted Singaporeans saying “We must stay vigilant,”

Honestly, it is not easy to maintain a constant state of vigilance when the government are not only on constant high alert but also taking preventive and precautionary methods to safeguard Singapore for any possible openings for any attacks. Our initial horrors have gradually been replaced by easy complacency. We fail to take into account that even as the government are learning as well as enhancing, terrorists groups alike are also learning from their past achievements and failures and will continue to develop elevated strategies to launch more effective attacks.

A full decade later terrorism still remains a multi-faceted elusive threat that takes an entire nation’s vigilance for prevention.

"Singapore has been targeted in the past, and continues to remain a trophy target. We cannot let our guard down." - Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Law and Second Minister for Home Affairs

Chief Editor: Jeremy Chan

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Catch it, before it runs out.

We know how many seconds there are in a minute, how many minutes there are in an hour and how many hours there are in a day. Every 60 seconds still amounts to a single minute but why are still contrasting results with different people -- Why do some of us accomplish many times more than others and others many times lesser?

Because every individual experiences a single minute differently. An hour could fly by like a minute while a single minute could crawl by like an hour.

Dr Seuss once said “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go.”

You have the power to will your mind to alter the way your time moves.

Here are some of the ways one could catch time, before it runs out.

Setting your mind to a daily clear schedule helps you to clearly know what you need to accomplish for the day. This gives you ample knowledge to know how much time you can waste and be distracted and how much time you need for your work.

Think about it positively whilst at it. It is no surprise how time flies when we are spending time with people we love or doing things we enjoy. The same logic applies -- work gets done faster when you are able to take joy in doing it.

Discipline is a key ingredient especially when there are increasing varieties of distractions (that ranges from a phone text, an email notification, an instant message to the ringing of a phone) that takes our mind somewhere else that usually ends up as an unfinished piece of work at the end of your waking hours. Do not underestimate how much can be accomplished in replacing that 10 – 15 minutes of instant messaging or replying an email to 10 – 15 minutes of uninterrupted work. Understandably you will not be able to complete that new marketing proposal or that big presentation you have to give. But 15 minutes of drafting a clear outline of what you will be doing or just starting off with a clear introduction could make what might take a dozen hours of staring into your laptop screen thinking of what to write into a few fully utilize hours of good solid work.

We often neglect or drag what we need to do, to do what we prefer to do. But in properly managing the hours of doing what we need to do, we would have so much more time to do what we prefer to do.

Editor: JT

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Hold your clenched fists and breathe!

Photo Credit to: Courtney Messenbaugh
You feel your heart rate increasing as it pounds harder behind your ribcage. Blood surges to your head and your rational mind gradually becomes disengaged as your thoughts become distorted. Breathing becomes more rapid. You feel the muscle in your arms tensing up. The tension spreads to every other parts of your body. You unconsciously roll your fingers into a clenched fist. You don’t realise it at first but your body seems to be saying something. Then, you feel it -- every neuron, cell, organ and muscle in your body is yelling at you to fight or take flight.

This is when you feel the insane urge to throw your fist into someone’s face or yell at something because unfortunately, in times of anger rarely do we take flight instead.

No one escapes the inevitable emotion of anger. It is more apparent in today’s fast paced, high stress, society where there are higher expectations that gives rise to higher rate of failures. Anger usually occurs due to differing expectations of yours and the rest of the world. It happens because one party failed to meet the expectations of another in a thousand and one possible ways. Regretfully, a punch thrown or words said in a fit of anger in the corporate world would soil your reputation and could land you in the land of the jobless. Amidst all the stress and pressure, how does one maintain social grace in the face of rising blood pressure and a pounding heart behind that chest?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” The key is the very essence of survival – Breathing. Breathing reduces your heart rate and reduces the amount of blood surging to your brains. Breathing increases the amount of oxygen going to your brain. A properly hydrated and oxygenated brain is a high functioning brain. Your initially disengaged rational comes back into consciousness. You are then better able to control your thoughts and desires. It may still seem utterly tempting to throw your fist at someone but at this stage you’d know better.

Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way... that is not easy.
-- Aristotle.

Dr. Allison Yeo

Friday, 7 October 2011

Stress Management

There is no definite form of stress nor can anyone be immune to stress.

Hans Selye, a pioneering endocrinologist, once said, “Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” No doubt stress has been commonly linked for a number of human ailments ranging from the cosmetic (hair loss, acne, wrinkles) to the deadly – high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. The crux here, however, is knowing how to manage stress level such that it does not negatively affect us in our daily functioning.

We need Stress -- At least a certain amount of it. A little stress and tension is essential for the better functioning of our daily activities. It is tantamount to our mental motivation, better focus and as a source of energy for our work. Attempting to eliminate stress is unrealistic, since stress is unavoidable and unconsciously embedded in most aspects of our lives.

You need to be aware when you are feeling stressed. Recognize the symptoms when the stress gets unconsciously overwhelming for your mental and physical being. Manifestations of excess or poorly managed stress can be extremely varied. They typically range from increased occurrences of headaches, sleep disturbances, shorter fuse, lower productivity etc. If left unmanaged, symptoms can be fuelled to a increased severeness that could affect your daily functioning.

We may be left helpless to contextual as well as external stressors in our lives but at the very least we are able to take control of how we allow it to affect our lives – Live positively!

Hans Selye ~ Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it ~

Chief Editor: Jeremy Chan