Friday, July 18, 2008


Leadership is both born and nurtured. People often say leaders are born, but who on earth is not born? (just a joke).

In the past, I was clearly not a leader. I was shy, socially apprehensive, very pessimistic, super quiet and have very low level of self-esteem; I was a follower. That was in the past, somehow luckily over the years, enrichment and motivation books start to mould me into a more confident man who is more proactive in life, vocal and socially adapt. I have broken out from my cocoon, which has enveloped me throughout the majority of my youth. Though late, I am still lucky to have broken out from this cocoon for some never would. I have enjoyed life more and have made full use of life now.

My turning point in life from my previous clone came about when I happen to pick up one of the many dozens of books bought by my father from China during his business trips. These books, all in Chinese were gathering dust inside our cupboard when one day out of boredom and having exhausted all the books which I could lay hands on, I began to ransack the cupboard for anything readable. It was then that I pick up the book titled ‘Success of life’ by Andrew Carnegie, which attracted and intrigued me immensely from the cover, though we should not really judge a book by its cover as the proverb says.

As I read, I could not stop reading the book! Life’s valuable lessons and morals start to hit me hard and I feel that I could really do much better about the previous state that I was. The first lesson that Andrew Carnegie taught to readers is the most important trait that all of us must have in life and that is Self-Confidence. Without Self-Confidence, one is ‘practically dead’ and would not be able to accomplish much in life, so said the author. Here, I cannot really portray the kind of impetus that the book has given to me in a matter of few sentences or even paragraphs, but the book is so compelling and so enriching that it changed the outlook of my life completely.

Previously a very quiet person, in my latter half of the university days, I started to initiate social interactions with groups of classmates. I did meet with initial rejections as here I was alone trying to strike up a conversation with a group that has fostered close ties within itself. Back in the university, though it was hard in my faculty to really make more close friends (as many of them still ‘click’ within their NS and JC alumni fraternity), I did really make some close friends that I still keep in touch and many other acquaintances.

After I took the first footstep towards having reached out more to people, I started to hone my leadership skills via reading and the real practical stuff of doing. Vision without action amounts to nothing. I have indeed developed a lot in my social capital during the past few years and I must really admit though I have improved from my past self, I still have lots to learn in leadership.

Reading is always my favorite hobby and it will always be. I urge all of you readers to start reading if you have not done so and reduce (not stop) watching TV and doing other less enriching activities.

I have just come across a statement in one of our local newspapers that reading is the greatest investment because one just spend tens of dollars to buy someone’s invaluable experience and knowledge that may be gathered over decades!

All leaders are learners and all learners need to act to be leaders in their personal life.

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