Lessons from Monopoly Deal on Investments & Conversions in Life

Lessons from Monopoly Deal

I love playing games, be it board games, card games or online games. They are not just good to past time and create bonding, games are also great way to learn and reflect because of its immersion factor.

In Monopoly Deal, there are 3 places where cards can be played during a turn:

  1. A player can place money cards or action cards (rent, house, hotel, force deal, pass go, etc) face up in their bank.
  2. A player can play property cards face up in front of them in their property section.
  3. A player can play action cards in the middle discard pile.

No.1 and No.2 are basically investments you make while No.3 is action that you can take to realise your investment or increase it.

Money can be put into the bank for later use (as an investment) by using the money card or by converting the action card into money. This is also true in life. We can withdraw what we put in and it doesn’t have to be just money. We can also put in our own life action card as an investment that we can withdraw later. Our life action cards can be help or favour or advice that we give to others. These kind of actions will increase our deposit into our emotional bank account. This kind of investment is usually overlooked because it is intangible. However, many a times, this is the kind of investment that produces the biggest profit in life. These kind of investment produces interests in terms of trust, credibility, closeness, reliability, dependability, love, care and many more powerful connectors.

Another investment you can make is by putting the property card into your property pile to be used later. This is again a straight forward reminder to us all that what we put in will be paid in kind.

However, in Monopoly Deal, any cards you have in your hand can’t be used. It is considered inactive. Just like life, anything you have that is inactive (no energy is put into it) it becomes dormant and is of little use except as a reminder to the fact that you have it and yet are not doing anything with it.

Maybe we should start looking at investment in more than just one way, a lesson learnt from Monopoly Deal.

A mistake is not learning

Mistakes are not learning… yet 🙂

We have heard the old adage of “Mistakes are learning” being banded around especially in trainings and workshops. This adage is what I call a half-truth; it is only true with certain conditions being met first. In fact, this particular adage about mistake is a classic example of a half-truth.

Mistakes can only produce learning or become learning only when it has gone through a few stages.

The crucial first step after a mistake is done is admitting to the mistake. Without admission, the mistake has not being recognised as a mistake; it is just an event that has produced an undesirable result or outcome.

The second step is the reflection phase where we need to relook back what what happened; what actions were taken or not taken, what was said or not said, what was present or missing. This needs to be done in all neutrality. There shouldn’t be any fear or favour. Brutally honesty and openness is needed in this phase.

The third step is the making sense phase where we will need to start connecting the reflection bits to previously held beliefs, past patterns, usual actions, the effectiveness of those actions, how efficient were we etc so that we can derive to a conclusion or wisdom starts to emerge from the reflected bits. This is where the mistake finally becomes a learning.

There is a forth step that will make the mistake an effective learning. Because at this juncture, the learning is just a learning still left in the intellectual domain. Making a decision on the learning and applying the learning is the step that will take the learning to the level of effective learning.

Fallacy of Faith in Achieving a Goal

What kind of faith that is crucial in achieving one’s goal?

Faith is a dangerous thing to have in achieving a goal! I know. It is a brave statement to make because it flies on the face of conventional wisdom that puts faith as an integral part in affirming a goal.

Let me explain myself 🙂

Let’s set the record straight. I personally am a great believer that faith is so, so, important in achieving a goal. Without faith, doubt will creep in (as how doubt usually do) and is like a cancer that will destroy a goal; slowly but surely. Therefore, the faith that is needed in achieving a goal is what I called an ‘Unwavering Faith’. This is only one kind of faith. There are many kind of faith out there. The kind of faith that I am talking about that destroys the path to achieving a goal, which coincidently is even more dangerous than doubt is what I call ‘Blind Faith’!

Blind faith is the kind of faith that occurs when someone puts their faith into something without any evidence. It is unsubstantiated overconfidence that is oblivious of influential factors. This can be dangerous in achieving an goal since it will put the person striving for the goal into a lull; a somewhat daydream-denial state that the goal will be accomplished despite all else. This kind of faith can be induced by the notions that once a goal is set, the universe will conspire to get you there, your RAS will get you there or your will vacuum and attract the goal once it is visualised or affirmed! This will lead to inaction, at worst and at best nonchalant actions; lame or indifferent actions (read: ineffective & doing for the sake of doing). You can also have an ‘Unwavering Blind Faith’ which is even more dangerous since this kind of faith is set in stone; can’t be changed.

Now, the best kind of faith to accompany a goal is what I call ‘Grounded Faith’; a faith that things will work out, that a goal will be and I will do whatever it takes to get it done by taking into considerations the numerous influential factors and handling them along the way. This is the kind of faith that is active and generative as oppose to Blind Faith that is passive and lethargic. It is the kind of certainty that allows you to have energy which is needed to be creative and innovative along the path to achieving the goal. Of course the best form is an ‘Unwavering Grounded Faith’ which constantly seek feedback and iterate what is needed to achieve the desired goal.

In a nutshell, it is not faith that matters in achieving one’s goal but the kind of faith that we have that truly matters.

Sincerity In Setting a Goal

Be sincere about the goal

The time of the year has come again when people with fiery motivation start thinking and planning for new year resolutions and goals. Many a time, we think what would be nice to have or achieve, what I have always wanted, what is my desire for my future etc. We begin to dream of what is possible.

This is a good thing yet at the same time we can get carried away in the euphoria of it and forget one of the most important factor in setting a goal which is sincerity. Sincere in choosing a goal that is not steeped with what I call nicety. Our desire to look good will taint what we want to achieve. We have to be real careful of this nice-to-think goals; goals that sounds sexy to the ears, goals that will make us look good, goals that makes us feel good about ourself.

Instead, we should choose to accomplish goals that truly matters to us and hell care if it looks great or a good one! Choose goals that are truly important to us regardless of how it appears to others; how sexy it is.

There is nothing sexy, topic of conversation, wow, ground breaking about a goal to drinking 8 glasses water a day! Yet, if it is meaningful and is important to you, so be it.

Many a times I notice the goals that I declared and I didn’t achieve are those look-hear good ones.

So this coming 2019, I vow to be aware if the goal I choose is because it is sexy to come up with it or is it truly what I want. I hope you do the same too.

The importance of a goal set is always determined by the one going for the goal, never those standing and watching it being achieved!

4 hours, 2 cups of coffee and 1 joy – the art of conversation

dedicated to Maverick Foo

(I have always been a sucker for an enriching conversation; a conversation that adds value to the conversationalist involved. I do miss the likes of arwah Piya and Taya (Al-fatihah) whom have indulged me in many an enriching conversation in their life time. I miss them both very much as I am writing this. I enjoy both of them because each of them have their favourite topics to converse in. Piya with the fine art world and Taya with the topic of Malay dilemmas.

At the same time, I am thankful to still have a few individuals that are still ‘bebal’ enough to indulge me in this dying art of a conversation. And one of these people is my dear friend Maverick (yes his name is that and he lives up to it in his endeavours, be it personal or professional).

We deliberately slotted a time yesterday to chill and have a conversation. I am so thankful for it especially at this time of the year when we are entering into a news year which coincidently is also the time I will be entering a new phase of my business. I needed to just unwind and explore new ideas and perspective. It was a conversation that was bound to be enjoyable because we had to adjust a few things on both our ends to meet up. Divinity made it so that it happens 🙂

Usually, we will start by catching up on things like family, travel, “what are you up to”, “How’s Will (his son) doing”, “How’s biz?” those normal stuff people talk about. And without fail, every single time, the conversation will move into ‘deep’ stuff we both are passionate about like entrepreneurship, innovation, marketing (he more than me but I love learning from him) and the training industry. And again without fail, lo and behold it will lead to something wonderful. Besides the usual promised profound learning and A-Has there will always be some practical and innovative ideas/solution, for us to take away and execute (on my end at least).

The 4 hours of conversation over two cups of coffee was not only an enjoyable act of passing time but also a relationship builder, a learning opportunity, a mentoring session, a coaching session, a consultation, an entertainment event and a brainstorming session; all rolled into one. That was how valuable conversations can be.

How I wish people and even organisations schedule time outs for conversation; free flowing conversations, unobstructed conversation, unmoderated conversation… just pure conversation.

At the same time, holding a conversation is an art form. Like any art form, the principles can be taught but the mastery is always in the practice. In an enriching conversation, certain values must exist for it to truly be enriching. There must be openness, desire to contribute, curiosity, mutual respect and admiration for one another. The skills needed are listening and enquiring, among others. Some tips to make it enriching are be solution focus, talk about ideas, hold a vision of what could be as oppose to what it has become, be future focus not past centric, be moving and not be stuck, make suggestions not criticism etc.

Like any art form, the principles can be taught but the mastery is always in the practice.

Maybe, I and Mav could device a workshop on the art of enriching conversation and advocate this art form as means for people and organisation to interact and grow.

p.s See. By just writing this reflection on a conversation produces an idea worth exploring. The power of a conversation goes beyond the mere moment it is held; it ripples through time.

What of validation & recognition?

The true value of a medal lies in how you got it not in the receiving of it.

This piece is inspired by a fellow entrepreneur that I consider to be one of the best networkers I have ever met. She also embodies the notion of continuous learning in a big way. 

Recently, she shared with me her experience on being selected to be one of only 45 women entrepreneurs from all over the world that will be going for a study visit to Washington, USA. The program that she was selected to go is not the 1st program of similar nature she has gone to, yet her satisfaction being selected this time around is extra; more profound, more heightened.

The difference this time around is that she needed to compete with 20K other applicants. The fact that she is going based on merit, is what makes all the difference.

This conversation led us to explore this subject of validation and recognition (V&R). Why is it important and how so important are they. In this conversation we shared experiences that we had around the context of V&R and made some conclusions.

In essence, V&R is actually a feedback of your effort and competency by a group of people that holds the same context as you do. It is perceived to be the method that proofs whether you are good or bad. The natural progression of this perception is that V&R is used to benchmark you against others (a status determinant).  Due to this, V&R has economical and ego-centric benefits. That is why a lot of people are truly hot and bothered by it. 

However important V&R is, the value of the V&R actually depends on how it is achieved, not so much as getting it. For example, the least valuable one (in fact, for some out there, it is of no value at all) is one that is achieved by buying or paying for it. There is even an industry around this. In L&D this is prevalent. There are local organisations that will contact you under the pretext of awarding you an industry award and all you need to do is send them a one pager introduction and ‘sponsor’ (read: buy) a table or two during the award night for you to invite you staff, family and friends . For those that want this but are also conscious of the stigma it carries, they legitimises it by paying for an international award (Yes! There are organisations worldwide doing this too. It is a global trend) as if it is more prestigious and ‘kosher’ compared to local ones. What is even sadder, these trainers, facilitators and coaches (my industry that stands on integrity) advertise and promote their bought V&R.

Next, there are V&R that is the product of recommendations. This is one notch higher because there is somewhat a filtering process. The one recommending will be more discerning who to recommend. However, there is still room for favouritism and bias. Case in point is when people use their invitation to a certain program via recommendation as an authentic foolproof V&R which isn’t so.

Next there is V&R that comes from competitions where aspiring recipients apply and provide proof which will then go through a stringent process of selection, verification, qualification and investigation. This category of V&R is credible and should be a badge of honour for those that receive it.

The last category is when the V&R is given without any fear or favour. It is awarded by nomination of the public or the industry players or peers. This kind of V&R is presented when the recipient is not even expecting or coveting it. To both of us, this kind of V&R is the most desirable.

So, to my fellow tradesmen, the industry knows what kind of V&R are there. Paying for one in an effort to hoodwink clients and peers might work but rarely so especially in the long run. The short sightedness of people that buy such V&R is that it will reduce the credibility of the very industry you are in. It will also hurt your credibility.

For my friend, AJ that was selected among the top 45 from 20K applicants, I salute you for willing to stand scrutiny and being in integrity when it comes to your V&R. Congratulation on your trip to Washington. You deserve every V&R you have gotten so far because you do not take the short-cut.

The Funny Motivation Called Money



“When money is not visible, all is fair. When money begin to be seen, things that were fair before suddenly become unfair.”


According to Maslow, generally there are two types of motivator; deficiency motivator or growth motivator. Maslow applied this in in relations to his theory of Hierarchy of Needs. I am convinced the type motivator goes beyond just needs.


A deficiency motivator is something that gets us motivated to be in action because we have a deficit of something. We thrive to achieve it because we want to make it full. It is something that is there and we NEED it.


A growth motivator is something that makes us motivated to be in action because we want something. It is not that we lack it or have a deficit but it is something that will make us feel good about our self. This is for things that are not vital to your survival but nice for your well-being.


The deficiency motivator comes from a NEED of something while a growth motivator comes from a WANT of something. The deficiency motivator cease to exist once we have fulfilled the deficiency. However, a growth motivator doesn’t cease because it is perpetual due to the ambiguity of the level of fulfilment.


The example of a deficiency motivator will be food and security while the example for growth motivator will be knowledge and aesthetics.


Once we have fulfilled the basic deficiencies, we stop being motivated by the deficiency motivators. And only then will we be influenced by growth motivators. However, this is not automatic. The effect of the growth motivator is dormant if the deficiency motivator is present. However, just because deficiency motivator is missing, it doesn’t mean we will be tempted by the growth motivator. The prerequisite for the growth motivator to kick in is by fulfilment of the deficiency motivator.


Here is where we can manipulate our motivation. By the way, the use of the word manipulate is somewhat has been tarnished with the essence of negativity. If we were to look up the word manipulate, we are given meaning and only half of the 2nd meaning has a negative connotation. I wonder how many more words that we use now that carries a negative connotation when in actual fact it is not so.


If we are able to make our WANT into a NEED, we can then create motivation!


This is a well-known strategy that has been used successfully in many industry. Human sense of consumerism is based on this. Advertisement and marketing strategy to increase sales is founded on this very premise. If others can make it so for us, therefore, we can make it so for us as well! That is the good news.


We can deliberately re-program our self to not fall into the consumerism trap by making our others WANTS into NEEDS that empower us to not fall into the trap called money and consumerism.