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The glass is always half-full

Glass-half-full-blue-red

 

This article also appeared in Finweek Magazine in their 21-Aug-2014 issue

Winston Churchill famously said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” We’ve all been through tough times at some point in our lives. We wouldn’t be human if we hadn’t. For the more resilient ones among us, it is our ability to see the positive in negative situations that helps us get through challenges and to overcome adversity.

I’m a strong believer that things happen because we’re meant to learn from them. If we didn’t have that negative hump to climb over, we wouldn’t recognise the positive staring us right in the face. I like to think of it as the universe (or G-d, depending on your beliefs) throwing you a curveball to test your bounce-back ability and how you can grow from it. And if that setback didn’t happen now, it would have to happen sooner or later, because it was placed in our path so that we could learn from it.

So the big question is: in tough times, instead of dwelling on the negative, shouldn’t we concentrate on how our setbacks transform us and transform our lives for the better? Shouldn’t we seek out the positive and what we’re meant to learn from difficult situations? Continue reading

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Celebrating Failure

This article also appeared in Finweek magazine in their 6-Sep-2012 issue

The American author Theodor Geisel, who wrote under the pen name of Dr. Seuss, was rejected by 27 publishers when he submitted his first manuscript. When he finally found a publisher, his 46 books including “Cat in the Hat”, and “Green Eggs and Ham” went on to sell nearly half a billion books worldwide.

Renowned writer JK Rowling shares a similar story. Her first book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was submitted to 12 publishing houses. All 12 rejected it. But then the number 13 turned out to be an incredibly lucky one for Rowling and the Bloomsbury publishing group. Rowling went from living on social security to being a self-made billionaire. In its 2011 world billionaires’ list, Forbes estimated Rowling’s net worth at US$1bn.

Looking at these phenomenal turnarounds, there are a number of critical lessons we can take away:

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