change

Avengers: Endgame Has Changed The Game. Forever.

[Spoiler Warning, in case you still haven’t watched it!]

It’s been just over a week since the last movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) opened, and it has already earned a record-breaking 1.2 billion dollars over 5 days!

On screen, we saw Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk, Hawkeye, Wanda (Scarlet Witch), Dr. Strange, Wong, Captain Marvel, Star-Lord, Drax (the Destroyer), Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Nebula, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Ant-man, The Wasp, Black Panther, Shuri, Okoye, Valkyrie, Spider-Man, War Machine, Rescue (Pepper Potts) and the one who started it all - Iron Man - fight against Thanos and the Black Order - Ebony Maw, Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight and Cull Obsidian.

Howard Stark, Hank Pym, Loki, and Red Skull also make an appearance.

This movie also contained the final cameo of the late Stan Lee.

Copyright belongs to Marvel Studios

Copyright belongs to Marvel Studios

I don’t usually bother with movies and/or movie reviews, but this had so many nods to so many incidents in the comics that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. And yes, I do read the comics.

Yet, no, I’m not here to break all of that down. There are already a number of YouTube channels that have done so. As such, I’m not going to bother reinventing the wheel.

What I do want to talk about is the sheer volume of interest and attention this movie has obtained.

Infinity Gauntlet

There are the purists who complain about the inconsistencies between the MCU’s productions and the comics.

There are the fans who watch it multiple times and enjoy each run.

There are the analysts who search for and dig up references to past movies and the comics.

There are the trendspotters who predict how the movies will affect industries and businesses (think merchandise and paraphernalia) and also look forward to possible future projects.

And then there are the naysayers who refuse to have anything to do with the movies, much less watch them.

Comic Books

No matter who you are, there is no way to avoid the flood of content generated as a result of this movie.

A number of brands have attempted to ‘newsjack’, to varying degrees of success.

The actors are appearing everywhere: from events to talk shows.

Social media is awash with articles, videos, and SPOILERS.

Avengers in Shanghai

From this moment, future movies are going to be compared to this one, both in terms of engagement as well as earnings made.

Avengers: Endgame has changed the game. Forever.

Spiderman

I Had An Epiphany. But It Was So Counter-Culture, I Initially Kept It To Myself.

Some months ago, after some conversations I had, I had an epiphany.

It could explain, at least in part, some of the nagging doubts I’ve been having throughout this year.

This is what I realised about myself, and I wrote it down in these words:

I DON'T want to touch as many lives as possible.

Before you frown any deeper, there is a second part:

I want to deeply impact a very few.

Splash

For so many years, I keep hearing advice about increasing my reach so I can impact as many lives as possible.

For example, I hear of music stars who record a single song and, because it reaches so many of their fans so quickly through so many channels, they earn a tidy income from the exposure. Their fans convert the people around them into more fans, advertisers can’t wait to sign them up for endorsement deals, and they get invited to exclusive events and perform on ever-larger stages.

It’s all about gaining leverage and using it to get yourself out of exchanging time for money. In the music star’s case, the recording of the song required spending time once. After that, it constantly ‘works for’ the star.

music

It sounded logical. And it was.

And I kept hearing this, especially from well-meaning fellow educators and trainers, especially those I knew from networking events and meetups.

Yet, there was always something about it that didn’t sit quite right with me. I didn’t know what it was, until recently.

It was the ‘volume’ of people that I was being told I had to reach that was bothering me. But why? What could have brought this on?

As I dug a little deeper, I was reminded of the times when I just started being a trainer and got affected by less-than-stellar feedback. Though these incidents didn’t happen often, every time they did, I felt bad.

Eventually, I learned to remove my focus on the negative feedback because they were the tiny minority. Most of my feedback was good. Some were great!

Good Feedback

Why should I have to feel low if I had already tried multiple times to engage the student who ended up deciding that he/she didn’t want to be there in the first place and was adamant about keeping a bad attitude about it?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on those who were eager to learn and apply themselves?

And these were the memories that made me realise that I had known all along that what I wanted to do was to focus - very sharply - on the very few upon whom I know I can have the greatest impact because we were compatible and we found each other at the right place at the right time. Sounds almost like a love story, doesn’t it?

Neon Laser

I was then reminded of three students that I taught. Two of them went on to pursue education paths in the subject matter that I taught them, one locally and one overseas. In recent conversation, they expressed their gratitude for my being part of their decisions to learn more.

Another one became my colleague - a fellow trainer - teaching the same types of courses that I do even today.

Out of the thousands of students I’ve had, of whom I still keep in touch with a few, these were three that pointedly remind me about why I do what I do.

This is what I want to keep doing - to find the very few for whom I can deliver the deepest impact and help them effect the greatest change.

Doubtlessly, it will entail a certain amount of ‘outreach’, but this recent realisation has sharpened my focus and it will feature strongly in my goals for the upcoming year.

2019 Begins

As I Reflect Upon 2016

With just over a week to go before 2017, I decided to take some time to reflect upon my 2016.

At the beginning of the year, I offered my Word of the Year as: Speak.

I refer to this part of my post on January 14 2016:


I intend to:

a) Become a true-blue professional Speaker (finally!)

b) Speak for necessary change

c) Speak, not just talk

d) Speak to new contacts and networks


For a), I have taken numerous steps towards it, having spoken at a couple of events and having joined professional networks of speakers. I consider a) to be fulfilled.

For b), I have come up with proposals for changes in my church as well as long-term plans for change in certain aspects of education in Singapore. I consider b) to be fulfilled.

For c), I have always taken what I say seriously. To fulfill this for 2016, I further reduced unnecessary speech and was mindful to speak mostly when needed or called upon. I took care to reduce Teacher Talking Time (TTT) when I taught, giving my learners time to explore the subjects instead. Of course, more improvement is needed, but I consider c) to be fulfilled.

For d) I have made many new contacts this year, both within the training and gem industries, as well as out of it. I have a much greater appreciation of how collaboration can benefit businesses and individual growth. I will continue to be part of these networks and to contribute to them as I am able. Therefore, d) is fulfilled.

Apart from my Word of the Year, it feels almost unbelievable that so many things (relationships, networks, businesses, personal pursuits) can be started and accomplished in the space of 365 days. Though I often feel that I have wasted a fair bit of that time, I am quite amazed at how much I have managed to get done this year.

I will look to 2016 as the year of explosive growth and development - a year to emulate, as a benchmark for the years to come.

How has your year been? How ever you feel you've journeyed in 2016, it's not over yet! Let's use the time we have left in 2016 fruitfully, in service of others.

Speaking 4

What I Learned from Singapore's General Elections 2015 (Part Three)

Having had a little more time to gather thoughts, information, and opinions, I thought I'd look at another part of the GE puzzle.

One of the driving forces of human behaviour is fear. If you have ever felt angry and worried when you misplaced your phone, you have just experienced behaviour driven by fear - your fear that you have lost your phone.

Some analysts believe that voters were driven to the PAP's side by their fears. For example, their fear of:

1) A freak election result where the opposition parties win many more seats in parliament than they had in GE2011.

On the ground, the opposition parties are generally seen as unproven, untested, and therefore likely to be less competent. There is fear that their sudden increase in government may cause an imbalance, resulting in instability, at least for a short time.

This fear of instability is compounded by the opposition parties themselves suggesting that they don't want to take over the government, preferring to take a "quality control" position. This suggestion indicates to the voters that the opposition parties, noble as their intentions may be, are neither prepared nor confident enough of their leadership of the nation. It is probably safe to say that a seeming lack of confidence is often a deal-breaker in the election of a leader.

Also,  if parliament spends more time debating issues than it needs to, actions cannot be taken. 

Lack of action will be seen as weakness by the global community - a view that will likely lower investor confidence and lead to a depletion of funds for Singapore's still-strong economy. This will begin a downward spiral that may lead many to financial ruin, the likes of which we may not be able to recover.

Singapore's government must remain strong and action-centred, because these are the traits that investors look for.

2) The looming global crises

Looking away from the local scene, there are numerous indications of currency problems, falling economies, and increasing debts. 

As I am not an economist or a financial expert, I am in no position to analyse these things. What I do know is that there is widespread fear of a coming economic collapse, and, in times of uncertainty, voters will naturally gravitate towards the ruling party, which has a track record of leading the people out of past financial crises with below-average damage to the local economy.

Changes in the political landscapes in China, USA, and the Middle East are also getting people jumpy. Again, when things go down, people stick to what they are familiar with.

3) Too much change

People don't like change, especially not drastic ones. Although the opposition parties have clear supporters, many Singaporeans are wary of what they see as populist agendas and cheap publicity. They may worry that, should these ideas be brought to parliament, there may be too much emphasis on them, and other issues may be relegated to the background.

We are creatures of habit and we are often very unwilling to leave our comfort zones. 

As long as the ruling party maintains its pool of talent, and uses it wisely, it will take a confident, competent, powerful opposition party just to overcome the inertia of voting against them.

I believe that this will be the last post I will make on the General Elections 2015, unless something else strikes me.

SJI