How to get Everything you want (16) – The Negotiation

Sometimes in life we cannot just rely on our ability to do math to get what we want, we (have to) ASK for what we want. To me it’s quite good news that someone out there can give me exactly what I want, if I ask for it.

However, the fact that we just need to ask for something is not as important as How we ask? So here it is:

How to get Everything you want (16) – The Negotiation

Let’s get started (this is my personal way of doing things, I’m glad if it helps or entertains people, please don’t like what I say if you don’t. Cheers):

1-Know what you want:

It is a dangerous thing entering a game without knowing what you want. In short, if “grey and emotional” is the situation, you will end up lost, beaten and miserable.

It might take a lot of time swimming in an ocean of information and opinions (especially these days) to even figure out what you/I want. Most of the time the situations are complex or people complicate the situations. There is a model of system thinking which I’ve been using lately to navigate in complex situations – the 5 Level Framework (5LF) – cheesy name, but kinda works:

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Let’s imagine we are in a football game – complex thing, 22 people running around and around.

System Level: The system that overrules the “what we want”. In this case the system is football rules, no matter how we play the game, we have to play by the rules.

Success Level: What do you want? How do you define success? In this case score more goals than the opponent (or winning 2-0 or 3-1).

Strategic Level: NOT the strategy, but the Strategic Guidelines that will be used to choose concrete actions to accomplish the mission. In this case different strategies for the match will be listed out. The coach will then prioritise a specific plan, based on the overall goal of the match and the knowledge about his own team and the rival.

Actions Level: The concrete actions that are chosen to move towards defined success. In this case 4-4-2 or 4-3-3  or 4-5-1… formations and/or other strategies.

Tools Level: The tools that support the planning and implementation of the plan. In this case players, balls, shoes, equipment, etc.

If one can successfully plan and execute the 5LF without requiring external resources, there is no negotiation that needs to be done. Case closed. However, if either Strategic Guidelines or Actions Level or Tools Level that needs extra leverage, we need to talk. The Success Level – “Know what you want”, or more importantly “Define what you want” – is the heart of the whole planning process.

2-Know what you opponents/allies want 

It is no less important for the lawyers to prepare the opposite case. Do your homework, awake your inner Sherlock Holmes, use your reasoning ability – the lingo is endless. I hope your opponent is easier to understand than a woman. My favourite is to do the 5LF of the opponents alongside with mine.

However, unless we are in a court with a very smart Judge, I don’t trust reasoning that much, maybe 20%. If you’ve ever been (or watched) a securities trader (they trade stocks and bonds) or observed a hospital, you would see that emotions and personal interests rule this world. I cannot tell how wonderful a ruthless CEO behaved when his child suffering cancer. Seriously, go down to the stock market or the hospital for a day, you won’t trust that reasoning test employers give you anymore. The point is, when you actually enter the room, listen to and watch your opponents/partners/allies, think about his substances: position – (PERSONAL) interests – (PERSONAL) needs – emotions – values – perceptions.

As Hemingway said – “Before you act, listen. Before you react, think”, don’t make assumptions, be aware of your own preconceptions and biases. You can always probe your opponents – Ask “What if…?”

3-Define the common ground of interest 

Now, this is the art of letting someone have it your way, or shall we say Diplomacy.

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(Please excuse my hand writing)

There is nothing to negotiate if there is not a common (ground of) interest. Therefore, in many cases, there should be pre-negotiations about the common ground of interest; so that parties will not waste time later on arguing about totally different interests and needs.

Let’s focus on interests, not positions – this philosophy is very effective for both bilateral and multilateral negotiations.

4-Negotiate nicely (but “inflexibly”)

Our best asset is Trust. With Trust life would be so much easier. If your partners/opponents/allies don’t believe in what you say and don’t believe that you will actually do what you promise – NO DEAL.

If they trust you, you have a level of control over the situation. Trust is the ideal situation that we want to build and earn. However, let not lose ourselves. Therefore, work to establish trust with your straight-dealing and honesty, without compromising on substances and without being naive about how far to trust the other side.

The difficult negotiator is charming and inflexible. She/he is NOT loose, rude and doesn’t invent confusion and/or stupid problems.

With my special thanks to Dr Karl-Henrik Robert, Founder – The Natural Step, and Dr Peter Collecott, Former British Ambassador to Brazil, for your coaching of system thinking and diplomacy.

This is Part 16 of my ‘How to get Everything you want’ series, previous parts can be found via links below:

How to get Everything you want (THEN WHAT?)

Part 1: Every (great) thing in life starts with a vision. Create your vision!

Part 2: Count what you have AND what you don’t yet have; be grateful for both!

Part 3: Take a walk

Part 4: Create your A—>B agenda. Stick to it.

Part 5: Do your homework. Research. Get to know-how (at least theoretically).

Part 6: Differentiate between pure fairy tales and ambitious (but doable) dreams.

Part 7: When you get stuck, unplug yourself from work for a while, go out and enjoy life. Set yourself time to come back to work.

Part 8: DO your best everyday (for yourself first), the rest will come.

Part 9: Select the people that you keep (closely) around yourself.

Part 10: Be patient while accumulating (please don’t be patient sitting there doing nothing).

Part 11: Be happy living frugally, then (one day) you can have it all and will still be happy, then (one day) you may lose everything and will still be happy.

Part 12: Test yourself to see if you have what it takes to get Everything you want.

Part 13: Be Remarkable, create things that are closest to perfection, pay attention to detail.

Part 14: Habits are powerful. Create some good ones.

Part 15: Go with the flow

– Skye

How to get Everything you want (15)

I’m back with Part 15 of How to get Everything you want.

I haven’t written for a month. The last 30 days have been eventful, I’ve witnessed with my naked eyes an ocean of changes: My 25th birthday when all the streets were blocked due to a march, I ended up sleeping somewhere nice but really weird for a birthday – a rooftop office; I talked to my grandfather one day and he passed away the day after; I got (all) my wisdom teeth removed; I resigned and spent literally 30 hours on different planes and airports to reach London, etc. (yes, etc.)

The center of my gravity has been put on a roller-coaster. I’m truly grateful for my beloved, old friends, new friends and strangers that have made the last month bearable and lovable despite all frictions. Now that I’m pretty much settled in London, I’m obligated to get back to work.

Let’s revise our journey until now:

How to get Everything you want (THEN WHAT?)

Part 1: Every (great) thing in life starts with a vision. Create your vision!

Part 2: Count what you have AND what you don’t yet have; be grateful for both!

Part 3: Take a walk

Part 4: Create your A—>B agenda. Stick to it.

Part 5: Do your homework. Research. Get to know-how (at least theoretically).

Part 6: Differentiate between pure fairy tales and ambitious (but doable) dreams.

Part 7: When you get stuck, unplug yourself from work for a while, go out and enjoy life. Set yourself time to come back to work.

Part 8: DO your best everyday (for yourself first), the rest will come.

Part 9: Select the people that you keep (closely) around yourself.

Part 10: Be patient while accumulating (please don’t be patient sitting there doing nothing).

Part 11: Be happy living frugally, then (one day) you can have it all and will still be happy, then (one day) you may lose everything and will still be happy.

Part 12: Test yourself to see if you have what it takes to get Everything you want.

Part 13: Be Remarkable, create things that are closest to perfection, pay attention to detail.

Part 14: Habits are powerful. Create some good ones.

During the last month, at times I didn’t really know what to do but holding on to dear life and people around me. There’s no way I could expect to handle (in a month) things such as the sudden death of my grandfather, the march, the historic delay of British Airways… The truth is, sometimes I’m still amazed that I’m living in London – This is a chapter of my life that from the beginning I’ve let go of control, tried to do my best in every situation and gone with the flow of life. I’ve never expected to come this far and (so far) this has been the most amazing journey, which has become the inspiration for today’s chapter.

Here’s Part 15: Go with the flow

Face it, why do we want to get Everything we want? Because we expect to be Happy in the end. What if THE END won’t make you happy despite the lonely and taxing journey you would have then completed? What makes you unhappy now and then? One thing – friction – Anytime the world doesn’t function the way you want it to, you are unhappy.

Let me tell you a little story: You buy some bread, you can’t finish it, you then go out on the street and feed the pigeons. You feel yourself as a part of nature, the day after and the day after you keep doing the same thing. Then you’ll never feel lonely again, and if you do, please go out and feed the animals with your leftovers.

The illusion of separation with the universe makes us unhappy and stressful – Let us remember where we want to go and embrace uncertainties that come along the way.

I do have the habit of closing articles with a picture of only myself doing something fancy, however this time I would like to introduce Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt whom I had never expected to meet but has somehow magically appeared and resonated with every values I’ve ever valued. Mr. Robèrt almost brought tears to my eyes when he concluded his 3 day workshop, in which I believed I was luckier than winning lottery to be present:

A way to reach the (not bad) outcomes is to comply with only decent ways of living regardless of outcomes.

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quote-business-is-the-economic-engine-of-our-western-culture-and-if-it-could-be-transformed-karl-henrik-robert-60-98-22 (1)

Karl-Henrik Robèrt, M.D., Ph.D. (born 1947), is a Swedish cancer scientist and an important figure in the worldwide sustainability movement. He is known for the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development – also known as The Natural Step Framework, after the not for profit promoting and applying it – a framework that lays out the system conditions for sustainability, that arose from his consultations with municipalities, businesses, government departments, environmental organizations, and the arts community. Having secured the imprimatur of the King of Sweden, The Natural Step was launched with attendant television coverage and distribution of educational material to every school and household in Sweden.[1] The FSSD/The Natural Step framework sets out the system conditions for sustainability, as well as guidelines to systematically approach compliance with the principles. The framework has been applied to fields as diverse as agriculture, forestry, energy systems, information and selection of tools for sustainable development, green building and the ecological management of river basins.[2][3] The Natural Step aims to be both scientifically based and readily understandable in its articulation of principles for sustainability.

In cancer research, Robèrt won the 1984 Swedish Hematological Association Research Award.[14] In environmental sustainability, he won the Green Cross Award for International Leadership in 1999.[15] He was awarded The Social Responsibility Laureate Medal by the Global Center for Leadership & Business Ethics.[15] In 2000, he was awarded the Blue Planet Prize, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize” of ecological sustainability,[15] “for scientifically laying out the systems perspective needed to plan strategically for sustainability and for changing the environmental awareness of business, municipalities and others.”[14] In 2005 Robèrt received the Social Responsibility Laureate Medal by the Global Center for Leadership & Business Ethics. He was included in the publication 100 Visionaries of the 20th Century in 2006.[15] In 2009, he was recognized as an Ashoka Fellow.[8] and in 2011 as Ashoka Globalizer [1].

Part 15 is pretty much a spiritual one, nevertheless I believe it’s even more powerful than most actions, because it keeps you happy no matter what. I will come back with Part 16 soon.

– Skye

How to get Everything you want (14)

I’m back with Part 14 of How to get Everything you want.

Moving an entire house from town to town(s) and being sick at the same time have made good reasons for myself to stop working for a week. I’m not here to say sorry since I had intentionally abandoned my promise to write, which is not a good habit. In fact, I’m here writing because I want to destroy the “not creating anything” momentum completely.

Let’s get back to work and revise our journey until now:

How to get Everything you want (THEN WHAT?)

Part 1: Every (great) thing in life starts with a vision. Create your vision!

Part 2: Count what you have AND what you don’t yet have; be grateful for both!

Part 3: Take a walk

Part 4: Create your A—>B agenda. Stick to it.

Part 5: Do your homework. Research. Get to know-how (at least theoretically).

Part 6: Differentiate between pure fairy tales and ambitious (but doable) dreams.

Part 7: When you get stuck, unplug yourself from work for a while, go out and enjoy life. Set yourself time to come back to work.

Part 8: DO your best everyday (for yourself first), the rest will come.

Part 9: Select the people that you keep (closely) around yourself.

Part 10: Be patient while accumulating (please don’t be patient sitting there doing nothing).

Part 11: Be happy living frugally, then (one day) you can have it all and will still be happy, then (one day) you may lose everything and will still be happy.

Part 12: Test yourself to see if you have what it takes to get Everything you want.

Part 13: Be Remarkable, create things that are closest to perfection, pay attention to detail.

Last part was my favourite as I wrote about one of my most favourite things on earth – perfection. If you’d read and thought about it – perfection is so hard to achieve, many said it’s impossible – that might be true, however not in the case of rockets. A rocket needs to be perfectly perfect, every pre-calculated math has to be perfect, otherwise you’ll just blow billions of dollars away (each time).

spacex-9v1(Pic: slashgear.com)

Perfection or the ultimate level of aestheticism requires a complete vision, a lot of creation and the habit to constantly challenge/eliminate the imperfections – I highlighted the habit because it’s the actual execution and it’s powerful; the right habits can (many times) lead you to even the most impossible result – perfection.

Here’s Part 14: Habits are powerful. Create some good ones.

Habits represent consistency; and consistency creates (or destroys) trust. It’s really not worth mentioning the consistent badness, nevertheless I would like to introduce you to the decode of consistent goodness – goodness doesn’t only belong to a small group of gifted people, it belongs to the community of people who are willing to create and maintain good habits.

There’s one obvious fact: we can’t change anyone but we can train ourselves. Champions, masters, achievers, enlightened people are (most of the time) not the smartest, but the ones who train themselves every single day. On the other hand, losers of all kinds buy in comfort and laziness. Nevertheless, hardcore training and comfort and laziness have one thing in common – they are habits, which are much easier to form than to break.

Different habits are the main causes to one’s greatness or nowhere.

Good news, habits can be formed. Good habits or bad habits, they are both habits, they are the same, physically – habits are settled or regular tendencies or practices. You could be the laziest and unproductive person on earth, you too can someday become the most efficient, if you force yourself to repeat and perfect the practice of smart working until yourself feel comfortable with the routine, a.k.a. your new habit. Trust me, once you get there it’s gonna be unthinkable going back to the “useless person” habit again (and that’s not because you’ve then become a better person, that’s just how habits work).

I have been putting in a lot of reasoning but examples and citations in this article because I seriously haven’t got time to read during the past week, and my brain hurts. My reading habit has become so established that my brain literally screams out of emptiness if I don’t feed it with words, books for a few days.

I would very much love to see you too come up with a list of few healthy habits and promise yourself that you are gonna train yourself everyday to become the best of the best.

– Skye

How to get Everything you want (13)

I’m back with Part 13 of How to get Everything you want.

As usual, let me begin by telling you a little story.

I’m a (cheese)cake addict. Today I had my lunch appointment with my friend Stephen (not his real name) and we looked for a place with the best chocolate cake in town. Here’s the lovely cafe Au Parc, if you are in Saigon you should definitely check it out:

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From today onwards, this place is legendary, according to my standards – not only because of the chocolate cake and my friend whom found the perfect chocolate cake (sorry Stephen), but also because the place has just been renovated and the inside decoration has become very close to perfection (I will take a photo next time and show you).

I used to have my weekend breakfast at Au Parc, however have never been a fan – the weather has always been too hot to sit outside, and then inside it was just depressing due to uncomfortable setting. I had quite a surprise today stepping in seeing the place that has been tripled in size and was installed with French-like tables. Such details, every detail, changed the whole experience.

In conclusion, may I say I even thought the (same) food tasted much better than before. Such emotionally-shifting conclusion deserves the spotlight as Part 13 in my article today. But first, let’s revise our journey until now:

How to get Everything you want (THEN WHAT?)

Part 1: Every (great) thing in life starts with a vision. Create your vision!

Part 2: Count what you have AND what you don’t yet have; be grateful for both!

Part 3: Take a walk

Part 4: Create your A—>B agenda. Stick to it.

Part 5: Do your homework. Research. Get to know-how (at least theoretically).

Part 6: Differentiate between pure fairy tales and ambitious (but doable) dreams.

Part 7: When you get stuck, unplug yourself from work for a while, go out and enjoy life. Set yourself time to come back to work.

Part 8: DO your best everyday (for yourself first), the rest will come.

Part 9: Select the people that you keep (closely) around yourself.

Part 10: Be patient while accumulating (please don’t be patient sitting there doing nothing).

Part 11: Be happy living frugally, then (one day) you can have it all and will still be happy, then (one day) you may lose everything and will still be happy.

Part 12: Test yourself to see if you have what it takes to get Everything you want.

I was very sad every time I heard someone said something like – “Life is simply easier for certain people!” – No, not at all. And if you are still with me and somehow you have been through all 12 previous parts of How to get Everything you want, you can see that life, through the pictures I have painted, is not easy for anyone. Bravery is way overrated – we can all be brave, by choice, and get everything we want by drawing our own map(s) and work hard and be disciplined. Choose yourself and fight for yourself, be that happy, loved, free, successful, rich and generous person, I would love to see all of us becoming champions.

Here’s Part 13: Be Remarkable, create things that are closest to perfection, pay attention to detail.

I was not born a detail-oriented person. I’m good at dreaming, however I’ve always thought details were beneath myself – that was few years ago, and I had paid a lot for my ignorance to details.

I started working 8 years ago as a junior stockbroker who performed stock & bond transactions on behalf of clients. My job was literally entering BUY and SELL orders into computers at lightening speed. Imagine – You just sit there and type BUY/SELL x amount of A stock at B price, repeatedly, for 4 hours per day, every single day for 3 years.

The job was super boring, however it was an excellent job to begin with, because you CAN NOT make any mistake (or your typo will translate into thousands or tens of thousands of dollars damage after a few seconds). I made less than 10 mistakes in 3 years, nevertheless my company had to cover thousands of dollars for my mistakes, and because of that I rarely received my salary – I learnt a lot from those 3 years – yourself and maybe even someone else will have to pay for your mistake not paying attention to detail.

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In the world where on one side, the internet allows everyone to be a big picture thinker (and talk loudly) and on the other side, everyone is trying to offer cheaper products – then what will differentiate doers from talkers and expensive from cheap? One word – Remarkable.

For a minute, let’s think of ourselves as a commodity, a good on the (human resource) market. The fact is – Everyone out there is trying to offer cheaper products, many people are more than ready to do your job for a lower paycheck and there will be at least a few men/women that want to offer themselves (for free) to your significant other.

As consumers, many times we can find a cheaper/easier option. So as consumers, this is what we are looking for: Best value (for money and/or efforts) – consumers look for the best bundle available.

How to make the best bundle on the market at a certain price? You cut the gross margin out of the equation, then you work around your resources to create something that is closest to perfection (make sure it’s way better than anything with the same pricing). For example, if you want a $xxxx salary, you better know how deliver at least tens of times your salary if not more, in order to compete with people that only ask for $xxx to do the same job. Perfect yourself, pay attention to detail – dress appropriately, behave, focus on creating values and solving problems – you’ll end up with a lot more.

NO ONE, yes, NO ONE will give you money (or love or anything) without receiving the best bundle they are paying for, in term of money and efforts and sentiment (please give me a reason why they should).

That’s it for today and I’ll come back with Step 14 tomorrow, I promise you (and myself). One thing I picked up from looking at a good picture – every detail,
everything in it sells.

– Skye

How to get Everything you want (11)

I’m back with Part 11 of How to get Everything you want.

I bought a painting this afternoon. Well, actually I’d just deposited because I didn’t bring enough money. I will show you when I bring it home, I promise. For now I’m working around my cash flow spreadsheet to find room for the painting (personal finance itself is a huge topic, I’m still trying to manage my money better and will surely write about it later).

I talked to the gallery’s owner while browsing around:

– I like this painting. The artist must have liked (looking out of) windows enough to paint a window and the colorful life outside. I love looking out of windows too, I take pictures of windows and the outside world all the time. Let me show you some of my pics.

– Actually I painted the piece – he said – and I think we have something in common.

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(This is one of my windows pictures)

In short, maybe because we had something in common, the artist named an almost unreal price for a very original and sensational (and huge) piece of art – $xxx – “Just for fun, I like that you like it!”, he said.

Still, it was not cheap at all according to my paycheck. Sometimes people do say –Why arts while you still have to worry about making a living? – And maybe (just maybe) they are right. Nevertheless, let me take my chance today to convince you (and to remind myself) to live an artful but affordable life (while working hard to get everything we want).

But first, let’s revise our journey until now:

How to get Everything you want (THEN WHAT?)

Part 1: Every (great) thing in life starts with a vision. Create your vision!

Part 2: Count what you have AND what you don’t yet have; be grateful for both!

Part 3: Take a walk

Part 4: Create your A—>B agenda. Stick to it.

Part 5: Do your homework. Research. Get to know-how (at least theoretically).

Part 6: Differentiate between pure fairy tales and ambitious (but doable) dreams.

Part 7: When you get stuck, unplug yourself from work for a while, go out and enjoy life. Set yourself time to come back to work.

Part 8: DO your best everyday (for yourself first), the rest will come.

Part 9: Select the people that you keep (closely) around yourself.

Part 10: Be patient while accumulating (please don’t be patient sitting there doing nothing).

Trust me, life can get really stressful and even meaningless if you think too much and work too hard all the time. That’s why Step 11 is very important, here it is:

Part 11: Be happy living frugally, then (one day) you can have it all and will still be happy, then (one day) you may lose everything and will still be happy.

You don’t have to agree with me but I strongly believe that – Whatever we do, in order to get more money, relationships, power, freedom, etc. – will only matter if we are gonna be happy in the end. There’s a high chance that you will get what (you think) you really want and don’t feel happy (for long) at all.

Ironically, happiness and contentment do not cost a lot. We can get so much more for so much less. And who am I to tell you that? I (don’t just travel but) move around a lot – I learn from it and I want to share my experience with you, take it as an example and design your own artful-life formula.

My magnificent life (including my glamorous walk-in wardrobe and artworks) needs to fit perfectly into 2 big suitcases. After a decade of packing and unpacking, I’m quite confident to say that I’m now quite good at making life pleasant without possessing a lot:

Less is more 

Many of us (including my younger self) get it wrong all the time. “Less is more” doesn’t mean living cheaply, it means do not buy things that give you burdens and/or distractions; buy things that you need and/or give you inspirations; then you’ll have more space & ideas in your head for more important stuff.

Eat well. Sleep well. Get a good health insurance.

Eat well: Don’t eat too much. Eating too much brings you nothing but diseases. Spend some time and money online or with a doctor to build some healthy diets with ingredients that are easy to source. Spoil yourself on weekends.

Sleep well: Prayers (and a nice bed) guarantee you a good sleep almost every night.

Health insurance: I’d spent few years of my life under depression & being physically ill, I had some experience – the most economical way to get medical and psychological treatments is to get a good health insurance. A good health insurance is a life saver every time, you never know what might happen. Also, don’t work for any employer who doesn’t pay for your health insurance.

Ask for help 

It’s nothing shameful about asking for help from friends, partner, family, coaches or even psychologists (just try your best not to ask for money).

Time is the most valuable thing, not Money

In fact, Money is only a tool to trade values. Waste your time only when you feel like wasting it (and you should, life’s too short). Otherwise, focus on making things happen and delivering values to the world (guess what, money will follow).

Do things the ways you like WITH consideration of opportunity costs.

I’m a very complicated person with very specific needs – I don’t drive, I don’t like to sleep on a modest bed, I don’t like to live in an ugly house, etc. Sounds scary? Well, if I wanted to live the ways I wanted, I’d have to (1) make enough money (2) sacrifice other spendings (3) find a job that supplies some of the needs (4) build my own business(es) that function the way I want. Simple, however easier said than done.

The house

A big house is a house, a small house is a house. YOUR house is THE house. Buying a house when you still have to think about money is like tying your own hands (and legs). Unless you want to settle, give a nice rented apartment a few years try.

My definition of My house: lots of natural light, my favourite paintings & sculptures, a good bed and nice scents. How much do those things cost? A lot of effort and not a lot of money. YOUR house is THE house. Make it YOUR house. 

Audrey Hepburn? I have lots of respect for her, but you don’t go on red carpet everyday do you?

Do you notice that only cheap clothing stores stock a lot of clothes on their racks? In other words, be expensive – You should be able to stock all your killers in a suitcase and go on killing. The secret is: Own a few high quality and timeless and comfortable stuff.

With all my worship to fashion, I swear to God these are all I often carry with myself when I move around: The men shirts (to me women shirts are waste of money), the jeans, the black heels, the black flats, the dark leather bags (small, med, big, enough), the silk dress, the linen dress, the cotton dress, the cashmere sweaters, the linen scarf, the cashmere scarf, the formal attires, the gown, the trench coat, the black blazer, the big sunglasses, the big hat.

The most expensive painting on earth

My favourite part of this article – Why arts while you still have to worry about making a living?
"Onement VI" by Barnett Newman is on dis

This is the most expensive painting on earth – It was sold for $37,125,000

Make your own judgement. The point is – The most powerful meaning of (even) the most expensive artworks on earth is to give you a pleasant state of mind. I buy paintings (which I really like) because they make me feel good looking at them and give me inspirations to do things. And you don’t even have to buy anything, just go to a museum or paint yourself the most expensive painting on earth if you would like to.

Buy things that gain value over time 

A diamond is an excellent example – Why diamonds are better than a saving account? Not (only) because a diamond represents a forever love (such naive belief), but a diamond is literally a DOUBLE saving account. I mean, who would see your saving account and praise it everyday? Plus saving accounts in most local currencies will just lose their values to inflation. If you do have your $10k saving account, get rid of it and go buy a big fat happy diamond (and an insurance, you never know). Sell the stone when you need money (or when you have grown apart from it).

Go online happily 

Block everything and people that annoy you. Don’t read news everyday, they’re toxics.

Invest in yourself, protect your heart

F**KING OWN YOUR LIFE: Make plans, love, work, play, learn, read books, party, whatever and make it clear: NO GOOD HEART TO JERKS (you’ll meet a lot of them).

– Skye 

How to get Everything you want (10)

I’m back with Part 10 of How to get Everything you want.

At the beginning, let me share with you some personal thoughts as usual – this part is gonna be a ‘lil bit longer today, because – facts (the later part) lead us to the light of mind, fictions on the other hand lead us to the light of heart – I personally think personal stories are important for human.

The past few days have been an emotional challenge to me. I’m moving to London therefore have been wrapping things up. I’m excited about the future and at the same time I’m sad. I have been waking up seeing the current stage of my life passing so fast towards my back, which means: very soon I’ll no longer live in same house, go to the same office, see the same people and this chapter of my life is gonna be done, I won’t come back. There will be people that I might never see again. Honestly, I have been saying a lot of Goodbyes lately and tried hard to do it with a pokerface every time.

Guess what? After all I’m a human and (thank God) I have feelings. This inevitable “to feel or not to feel” sadness has been my good friends for years. I’ve been moving around too much, like my best friend said – “chucking carton boxes and doing the vanishing act the next, to a different city or even a different country”. The global life is glamorous, however it’s not as easy as it sounds, not at all. In fact, it requires a lot of self-defeating acts, at least emotionally. Places – they are full of memories – happy, sad, good, bad, hysterical and unforgettable. From thousands miles away, years later, I could still imagine the streets I walked, the sound of the nights, the people, the moments…

An American friend of mine said something to me yesterday after I’d said goodbye to him (maybe for good) – “Adios Amigo”

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“Adios Amigo” means “Goodbye, My Friend!” – Everyday in life we meet people, sometimes we (happen to) get along, become colleagues, friends, close friends, etc. Then life goes on (forever), many times we would have to say goodbye, move on and do our own things, work hard to get what we really want. The (only) thing that really matters to me is that – we could (firstly) be good friends, be honest to each other and genuinely hope for the best for everyone’s lives. Goodbyes might not always be beautiful, but “Adios Amigo” – being able to say so, we know we have no regret – that’s important.

Alright, let’s get back to work and revise our journey until now:

How to get Everything you want (THEN WHAT?)

Part 1: Every (great) thing in life starts with a vision. Create your vision!

Part 2: Count what you have AND what you don’t yet have; be grateful for both!

Part 3: Take a walk

Part 4: Create your A—>B agenda. Stick to it.

Part 5: Do your homework. Research. Get to know-how (at least theoretically).

Part 6: Differentiate between pure fairy tales and ambitious (but doable) dreams.

Part 7: When you get stuck, unplug yourself from work for a while, go out and enjoy life. Set yourself time to come back to work.

Part 8: DO your best everyday (for yourself first), the rest will come.

Part 9: Select the people that you keep (closely) around yourself.

I know Part 9 is a tricky one; I’ll leave it to you to decide who to keep around yourself regularly.

Here’s Part 10: Be patient while accumulating (please don’t be patient sitting there doing nothing).

Accumulation is a nice word – I wrote about it briefly back in 2009:

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Translation:

In accumulating stages, almost everything we encounter contains some potential and unpredictable possibilities, most of which are positive and are quite interesting to predict. Why are they interesting? Because things go up and down (and up and down and up and down), the middle parts between ups and downs are actually accumulating stages.

Once we accept the fact that What goes up Must come down (and up and down), accumulating stages are rare moments when the orbit slows down and gives us a boarder perspective of the whole landscape. The progression of the next (up or down) circle will then happen so naturally that sometimes we don’t even realize it’s happening. The real challenge is – being able to (zoom in and zoom out frequently to) catch the rhythm.

Looking back, I can’t believe I wrote this passage when I was 19. However I know the reason: It was right after the 2008 financial crisis when I was forced to leave Law school in Australia. I spent 2008 & 2009 in great depression, I was shocked and was literally receiving psychological treatment while (still) needed to go to school and worked as a stockbroker everyday. I remember locking myself in the toilet of the company crying many times because it was too much, life was so hard.

One day when I was crying, the boss knocked on the door of the toilet, asked me out and said something that changed everything:

“Look, I know what’s happening to you, I know it’s a hard time for you and for all of us. You can see how’s the market performing and we are cutting 70% of our headcount. You stay because you cost almost nothing. Myself wished to wake up today and this mess was over. But here it is, so stay with me, take it as the worst day of your life, then tomorrow things can only get better. Life will pick up again, much sooner than you think. For now, be patient, work hard and don’t be too hard on yourself. This, too, shall pass.”

I know it sounds crazy to say that: I’m grateful that (I think) I’ve witnessed the worst days of my life. After a very bad day, things can only get better; I just need to work hard and be patient (back in 2009 it meant to get a Bachelor degree). And if sometimes things get bad or require more work and patience, I’m not scared – Been there, done that.

I’m not saying that you must witness the worst days of your life in order to be a better person; but it helps if we take a positive view on changes, be patient, work hard, prepare yourself for the next (up and down) circle. Ironically, we have to prepare ourselves much better for great things that happen, because (naturally) they are followed by (not necessarily bad stuff but) even greater challenges.

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– Skye 

How to get Everything you want (9)

I’m back with Part 9 of How to get Everything you want

I know, I missed my deadline (which was 2 days ago) that I promised you (and myself), again. I’m sorry, I should give more realistic deadlines when it comes to hard problems to solve (or to write about).

This step was so difficult for me to publish because it’s very personal. I’m about to tell you to do something that (most of the time) will break your heart. As I was writing, examples (of my own actions) broke my heart too. Nevertheless I think it’s a very crucial thing to do, in order to get everything we want, therefore I’m here writing to you.

But first, let’s revise our journey until now:

How to get Everything you want (THEN WHAT?)

Part 1: Every (great) thing in life starts with a vision. Create your vision!

Part 2: Count what you have AND what you don’t yet have; be grateful for both!

Part 3: Take a walk

Part 4: Create your A—>B agenda. Stick to it.

Part 5: Do your homework. Research. Get to know-how (at least theoretically).

Part 6: Differentiate between pure fairy tales and ambitious (but doable) dreams.

Part 7: When you get stuck, unplug yourself from work for a while, go out and enjoy life. Set yourself time to come back to work.

Part 8: DO your best everyday (for yourself first), the rest will come.

I hope that for the past few days, you have completed 3 most important tasks of each day and have been able to tell yourself before going to bed – “I couldn’t have done it any better (today)!”

Here’s Step 9: Select the people that you keep (closely) around yourself.

Let me share with you a story. It begins with a picture that I drew a while ago (my drawing is terrible, he’d be very angry):

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We first met in a very cold winter night – 6th January few years ago. I had submitted a desk research about his company to my professor that morning and later on found the exact same guy standing next to me at a bar. He drove me home that night.

In short, we dated briefly then decided to remain friends. Despite ups and downs, we have managed to stay great friends until recently when my life has (eventually) picked up a bit (because I’ve been working like hell for years). He has told me “not to be too positive while sharing great news about your life with people”. I think what he really meant was: “Don’t let people think that you’ve lost your humility and keep yourself away from haters.” and he had good attention. However the same talks have gradually become very uncomfortable, at one point I just asked him to stay away from me (for now). I might be wrong and ruthless (to myself too) but I was thinking rationally while doing so.

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People (both your loved ones and haters) will tell you all the time about what they think you should do. Let’s not talk about haters, many times your closed ones will tell you to comply and conceal yourself (because they actually worry that you’ll get hurt). Keep a distance for a while, do your things and see how it goes. Isolation will break your heart but you have to train yourself to focus and to not listen to noise.

I’m not saying that you should kick anyone out of your life, however,

In daily life, surround yourself with and create attachment with positive people that you can actually discuss with and find solutions to get yourself to where you want to be.

Choose your teammates carefully, because you would need an A+ team to make dreams come true. 

How about the rest of people, what should we do with them?

Well, to people that really matter to you in some ways or another, take any chance you have to remind them that: I may not love you the way you want me to; but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you with all my heart. Which means: The love itself is unquestionable, however everyone has (tons of) work to be done, has only one life to live, has dreams to be created. If we can’t agree on the same directions then just let each other go (for a while) and do our own things. The love is there, forever.

-Skye 

How to get Everything you want (8)

I’m back with Part 8 of How to get Everything you want.

I was in the Mekong Delta last week to organize a press trip for the hospitality group I’m working for. I made an agenda of everything that needs to be done in 4 days: (1) Organize a Golden Age of Indochina theme press trip (2) Work on personal projects (3) Enjoy myself, the region and our gorgeous hotels (4) Refine the ideas of next steps of How to get Everything you want so that I can write them down when I’m back home.

The schedule was tight. I ended up waking up at 4am almost everyday, had a quick conference with my advisor in Canada, had my 2 hour breakfasts with GMs of the hotels and witnessed the life floating on Mekong river, ran the trips, organized activities, enjoyed the food and the (excellent) spa at the hotels, journaled, went to bed on time. Eventually, I made an extra video to show you the beauty of the Mekong Delta, one of my most favourite places on earth:

You might be thinking that I am trying to tell how hard working and well organized I am – you are totally right. Writers don’t (just) think the books or try to write the books, writers actually write the books. I like to think of myself as 99% disciplined and 1% glamorous. So I’m now writing Part 8 of How to get Everything you want, as I promised you (and myself) early last week.

Let’s revise our journey until now:

How to get Everything you want (THEN WHAT?)

Part 1: Every (great) thing in life starts with a vision. Create your vision!

Part 2: Count what you have AND what you don’t yet have; be grateful for both!

Part 3: Take a walk

Part 4: Create your A—>B agenda. Stick to it.

Part 5: Do your homework. Research. Get to know-how (at least theoretically).

Part 6: Differentiate between pure fairy tales and ambitious (but doable) dreams.

Part 7: When you get stuck, unplug yourself from work for a while, go out and enjoy life. Set yourself time to come back to work.

I hope that you have had a good break and have found lots of inspirations.

Here’s Part 8: DO your best everyday (for yourself first), the rest will come.

In other words, take control of everything you can control, own them and feel good about yourself. Let go of the rest, let the universe do its job.

The greatest feeling at the end of the day (in my opinion) is to know that: I couldn’t have done it any better.

Now how can we be sure that we did our best for the day: Plan daily and get the work done – every single day. Everyone has his own way to plan. I personally plan years ahead, quarterly, weekly and daily, not yearly, not monthly. My another favourite is the weekly plan (a.k.a. Google calendar) but let’s talk about the daily plan today.

My tool for daily planning is The Five Minute Journal (you can buy hard copy or app, I use the app). Every morning you write (1) three things that you are grateful for in life and (2) three most important tasks you’d like to complete for the day. Every night you write a reflection of three best things that happened (or was finished) that day and how could you do it better.

My July 23rd looked like this (please excuse some typos, I was half awake):

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I love this stuff!

It literally takes me 3 minutes (every morning) to remind myself about good things in life and three most important tasks that need to be completed during the day. It takes me another 2 minutes (every night) before going to sleep to reflect about my progress. I’ve trained myself to a level that I almost always finish all my three big tasks (plus a bunch of extra stuff) and write “I couldn’t have done it any better” at the end of the day.

I’ll share with you one (not that) little trick with this little journal: Don’t limit yourself to only work related tasks, put in tasks like “Get a massage” or “Go dancing” or “Treat myself a nice dinner” regularly and DO your best to make it happen. And if I (or anyone) couldn’t have executed the (every) day any better then the best thing to do next is: Let other things (which you can’t control) go and go to bed, have sweet dreams.

Did we miss something?

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I share one feeling that you might be having (I feel the same all the time) – sometimes you want something so bad that you dream about it, work hard, do you best and still you are afraid that things won’t go the way you want them to (many times they won’t).

Let’s imagine that you’ve boarded on a ship to sail the ocean. You did your best to select the best ship on earth, looked for the best weather and studied all the safety manual.

Nevertheless no one would ever truly know if the weather would actually be great or good or bad or really bad. Being afraid of things that are out of your control is like worrying too much about sudden (bad) weathers while sailing. You’ve boarded the best ship on earth, studied the safety manual, looked for the best weather – now let go of things (that you can’t control) and enjoy the ride, the rest will come.

– Skye

How to get Everything you want (7)

I’m back with Part 7 of How to get Everything you want.

I’m writing this when I’ve suddenly got stuck at writing. There’s one concrete truth: I can’t seem to put any concrete conclusion into words at the moment. Yes, we do get stuck sometimes, it happens, especially when we’re trying to make great and difficult things happen (well if no one gets stuck, at some points, while making dreams happen then we should all be drunk celebrating by now). Let me write about getting stuck then.

But first, let’s take a selfie of the new you who is now in control of your own destiny. I’m on the same bus, here’s my selfie of the day – “I’m Queen of my own destiny”:

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Here’s our journey until now:

How to get Everything you want (THEN WHAT?)

Part 1: Every (great) thing in life starts with a vision. Create your vision!

Part 2: Count what you have AND what you don’t yet have; be grateful for both!

Part 3: Take a walk

Part 4: Create your A—>B agenda. Stick to it.

Part 5: Do your homework. Research. Get to know-how (at least theoretically).

Part 6: Differentiate between pure fairy tales and ambitious (but doable) dreams.

When you’ve decided that you’d start working hard to turn an ambitious (but doable) dream into reality, then you got stuck sometimes (as I do now), do this:

Part 7: When you get stuck, unplug yourself from work for a while, go out and enjoy life. Set yourself time to come back to work.

That’s exactly what I’m gonna do for the rest of the week. I will travel to my favorite region of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta.

I will come back with Part 8 next Monday, I promise you (and myself). For now I’ll just slow myself down and soak in river life. I know I will find inspirations.

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– Skye 

How to get Everything you want (6)

I’m back with Part 6 of How to get Everything you want.

You might have wondered if I’d written the whole series and am publishing one chapter everyday. No, I’m actually writing Part 6 right now. I do have the master concept in mind, however I don’t have a detailed map of the series I’m writing. I guess I’ve been doing a lot of R&D over the years, nevertheless processing resources into arts is the following (and separated) process. And you know what, arts happen when we (learn to) function without an existing map.

I do have a deadline though. Last Friday I promised you (and myself) that I’d write this article next Monday (which is today). I then went on a weekend family road trip. I had so much fun with the cousins and enjoyed family in-jokes. I stopped thinking about work, but I remembered my deadline. So here I am, writing.

Yes, I’m telling you that no (great) thing is gonna be achieved without a deadline. Your productivity & ideas are best friends with deadlines (if you take them seriously). For now I don’t know how Part 6’s gonna look like in detail when it’s finished. It however will be delivered on time and it’s gonna be great (because I’m a person of my word).

Let’s get back to work and revise our journey until now:

How to get Everything you want (THEN WHAT?)

Part 1: Every (great) thing in life starts with a vision. Create your vision!

Part 2: Count what you have AND what you don’t yet have; be grateful for both!

Part 3: Take a walk

Part 4: Create your A—>B agenda. Stick to it.

Part 5: Do your homework. Research. Get to know-how (at least theoretically).

I hope that you did your homework – you have researched, asked people that have some experience and read some books about things you are interested in.

Here’s Part 6: Differentiate between pure fairy tales and ambitious (but doable) dreams.

Here’s the definition of an ambitious (but doable) dream:

An ambitious (but doable) dream is something which you decide that you can achieve by do things differently and better. “It’s really a mindset – you have to decide that you’d do something differently and better. You can’t just do things differently because the ways of doing are different. You have to decide – let’s think beyond the normal stuff.”

If you eventually decide that your dream’s worth a try – JUST DO IT – do something differently and (in some ways) more compelling than anyone around you (or better, anyone on earth) has ever done it:

“Don’t be afraid of new arenas, you can get a book, you can learn something, experiment with you hands and make it happen or find a way or make a way to get something done.”

But please remember one very important thing:

“You know – JUST DO IT – just showing up is half the battle. You gotta try hard and don’t be afraid of failure, BUT you also need to be rooted in reality. You gotta not be afraid to innovate but also don’t delude yourself into thinking something is working when it isn’t.

May I introduce you to the guy behind all 3 quotes in this article – his name is Elon: 

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I’ve always believed in God, but I’d never believed in human power until someone introduced Elon to me:

Elon Reeve Musk is a South African-born, Canadian-American business magnate, engineer, inventor and investor. He is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity. Net worth: 11.9 billion USD (2015) Forbes.

Just another rich guy –  I thought so too. But (earlier this year) once I read the first article about Elon and his companies, I couldn’t help myself but spent the next few weeks reading hundreds of articles and watched hundreds of videos (of Elon and his companies). Lately award winning writer Ashlee Vance has written an excellent biography of Elon (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future), in which contained one paragraph that pretty much summed up hundreds of videos and articles that I’ve watched and read:

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I was touched by one number in this paragraph, 2008, it clicked right away. Here’s why:

It’s a very vague thing of me to say that you have to always (try your best to) balance risks, failure and reality. I however can give a good example of how to keep yourself focused it tough times, by telling my own story about the year 2008 (which was for me nothing less than that of Elon):

At the beginning of 2008, I was enrolled at a prestigious Law school in Australia and was then living in a city apartment owned by the university. I wasn’t a spoiled kid, I was doing well at school and lived quite frugally despite the luxurious housing (I was forced to live there because I was then underage). Life was great, until the financial market collapsed one day (and my parents happened to invest in a lot stocks).

My life turned up-side-down after a month, financially, let alone my boyfriend that suddenly dated my best friend. It was no fun, everyone was in pain. I (with the unbelievable support from my family) needed to make hard choices – No to Love (actually no time to worry about Love), No to Law School, Yes to worldwide recognized university education, No to Australia, Yes to Vietnam, No to Luxury, Yes to Part time job, No to Map, Yes to Unknowns… 

During a very hard time (probably the worst time in my life so far) and in the middle of every chaos & personal turbulence that anyone could hardly imagine, I needed to make endless clear decisions to keep one crucial short term plan alive – worldwide recognized university education – and kill other (isn’t working) dreams, in order to gain needed educational resources to achieve my ambitious (but doable) dreams later on.

How to always keep your mind clear (and make good long term decisions)?

You sort of need to ZOOM OUT at the end of each day and look at the whole process. Stick (only) to the most crucial short term goals that (are most likely to) produce viable resources for your long term goals. And (maybe a good thing), no time to worry about love, miseries or hope – make decisions fast, move on and work hard!

– Skye