“If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.” John Cage

Either once only, or every day. If you do something once it’s exciting, and if you do it every day it’s exciting. But if you do it, say, twice or just almost every day, it’s not good any more. – Andy Warhol

“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” – Andy Warhol

Today, I’m bored. (Most times, I’m boring). I’m an accidental Warhol fan and took his advice.

Embrace the place where life happens

I started with the most boring, unimportant and urgent task, cleaning my car windshield screen. A cleaner in the building walked past and asked if I was bathing my car. “Just as we need to bathe everyday, the car also needs daily bathing”, he shared.

Purpose and meaning to the ordinary

Very wise advice, “bathing” is indeed a boring but essential activity. That simple connection of our shared activity of cleaning. Perhaps that was how he saw meaning in his work. Zen of everyday living.

People’s opinion

When I put attention to something, it becomes more important and more interesting. I am going through the book of Psalms which used to bore me. Recently I started reading it with the help of Ms Seah Jiak Choo’s video and resources of CS Lewis and David Pawson and fellow educators.

Going through it together, albeit virtually somehow made it interesting for me. Although I read the same poem everyday, I chew on each word, its meaning and significance in my life and greater context. No surprise, this is the year of the ox. Chew on it.

CNY Salad at HV restaurant with Bel, 2021

Boredom could be a sign of anhedonia or fatigue and burnout. If thats you, seek help and rest.

Putting the ordinary on the Pedestal

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Christmas Tree I donated at Singapore Botanic Gardens for the Singapore Garden City Fund. I didnt see the tree at night but someone spotted it on PM’s FB.

Very purposeful project which brings joy for park visitors this season.
Thank you to the teams at NTF Hospital and Jurong Hospital for decorating the tree. Thank you to all healthcare and essential workers.

What a beautiful morning with my friend A and our husbands. Walk and breakfast at Casa Verde.

In BMGC, we discussed companies such as McDonalds adapting their menus for different religions (Culture), such as not having beef burgers in India where cows are holy and Hindus do not eat beef.

Tomorrow is the Hindu celebrations of Festival of Lights. Yesterday, I was at Dunlop St, Little India and took a photo of this beautiful dancer wall mural. Interestingly a box of paneer (cheese) sits at the bottom of the photo.

Happy Holidays as you look around Singapore to catch sight of how companies both MNEs and local companies create value.  

You are a PEARL

Do you think your life is a series of random events which you have no control?

18 months ago, I embarked on a learning journey with 10 ladies Ive never met, facilitated by an amazing loving lady Catherine.

We were paired with peer coaches. However, as there were three outsiders, we were put together. E, A and me. Unfortunately, three of us couldnt match our schedule as A was always busy. This was before we knew ZOOM as an option. E dropped out and joined another group. A and I never had a chance to meet up. She had a successful online business marketing health products and volunteered to help other ladies with their home business.

Last weekend, we were informed that A passed away. She was 55 yrs old. May she rest in peace.

Her life direction statement was “To use my joy and healing gift to evangelize, to pray and heal, so that ladies who are broken hearted physically, emotionally and spiritually can be restored.”

Indeed. May she be restored to greater joy in the arms of her Maker. Last lesson from my former peer coach on the brevity of life and to focus on the essentials.

This week I learned of an activity on gratitude.

Mental subtraction – What is that one thing when taken away from you, will be dearly missed?

I can think of two areas. My family – Beloved. Peace in my beautiful country Singapore. I am grateful for my family and the leaders in my country.

My thoughts of lovingkindness (Psalms 63:3) and compassion towards them, that they will live out their Purpose in Lovingkindness.

Spiritual Gifts Survey – Copyright © LifeWay Christian Resources

A guy goes in for a job interview and sits down with the boss.
The boss asks him, “What do you think is your worst quality?”
The man says, “I’m probably too honest.”
The boss says, “That’s not a bad thing, I think being honest is a good quality.”
The man replies, “I don’t care about what you think!”

I went for an interview for an office job today. The interviewer told me I’d start on $2,000 a month and then after 6 months I’d be on $2,500 a month.
I told them I’d start in 6 months.

My daughter told me she wants to be a secret agent. Based on that alone, I don’t think she’d be a good secret agent.

23. Employer: We need someone responsible for the job.
Job Applicant: Sir your search ends here! In my previous job whenever something went wrong, everybody said I was responsible.

Here’s some advice: At a job interview, tell them you’re willing to give 110 percent. Unless you’re applying to be a statistician.

I was asked what my greatest weakness was at an interview, and I said “my stubbornness”. They asked me to give more details, I said “no”.

The local police have asked me to come for an interview. I don’t even remember applying for a job there.

I was asked at an interview to describe myself in three words. I said “not very good at following instructions”.

I recently participated in a conversation that went like this…

A: J, good job at the presentation. You are a natural.

J: Im not a natural, we (B and C) put in hard work to polish the presentation.

A: J, you need a recourse on “Affirmation”.

What did A mean? After hours of contemplating what A meant, I finally realised she was trying to compliment me. But when I exercised more self disclosure by revealing that I put a lot of hard work, she replied in a group conversation saying I needed more work to learn how to “receive” compliments?

She could have meant it as a joke.

But Im not a natural in presentations. Should I lie about this strength to be socially polite?

Nah, I feel rewarded if someone compliments me on my strengths, like “wisdom”, “pursuit of learning”, “grit”.

Im not a natural in anything. Except eat and sleep.

Recently, my custard apple tree fruited. 3 fruits. Grown from scratch. I’m no natural gardener. I used to have serious anxiety when Dr Kiat Tan, founder of the Gardens by the Bay first sent me orchids, lots of them. They all died on me. I now can grow custard apple from seed. Years of hard work, experimenting, learning online from a virtual community of gardeners, my own “potgardening blog” which I discontinued as I maxed out my digital space.

My custard apple plant grown from seed

Listening to each other is hard work. Have you been in conversations that go awry?

Another thought, what strengths do you like to be complimented on?

Keep going even when conversations go awry. 😀 Share with me your thoughts below.

During covid, I chanced upon an online course, “meaning-making, reflecting by Journaling by Preetam Raj.

Inspired by educationist Preetam Rai, esp on “gettinglost” which does not need to be an embarrassing moment of losing direction but an opportunity to gain a different perspective. We can reflect through different mediums, writing on paper and even through photos and other digital tools.

Reflection by Photo

Digital Tools for reflection

Quote from Teaching as a Subversive Activity by Neil Postman, Penguin Education Specials.

Perhaps you will understand why we prefer the metaphor “meaning- making” to most of the metaphors of the mind that are operative in the schools. It is, to begin with, much less static than the others. It stresses a process view of minding, including the fact that “minding” is undergoing constant change.

“Meaning making” also forces us to focus on the individuality and the uniqueness of the meaning maker (the minder).  In most of the other metaphors, there is an assumption of “sameness” in all learners. The “meaning maker” has no such limitations. There is no end to his educative process. He continues to create new meanings, to make new transactions with his environment.  

Reflection by journaling is cornerstone to experiential learning. Experiences by themselves do not instruct. But when we look backwards, and “connect the dots”, we make sense of the event and how it connects to our life purpose.

Reversal theory has shown that our “states” or emotions can change in response to the meaning a person attaches to an event. Eg. a roller coaster can at times represent excitement and at other times, anxiety.


Im watching a Netflix documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Not being a basketball fan, this is the first time I see what it means to be an NBA basketball player. The footwork, the mid range throw, strategy, teamwork, 4 hrs practice sessions. MJ’s mid range throws improved as his athletic prowess diminished with age. 10 000hr rule. He improved over the years.

Food for thought on what such work ethics mean for my profession and my craft?

I pick up “Daily Rituals- Women at Work” by Mason Currey, page turned to Lynne Fontanne (1887-1983).

Currey researched Jared Brown’s “The Fabulous Lunts” and wrote that the theatre couple “worked out a meticulous routine for their sessions at home. Memorisation of lines came first…. Each would shout out the lines of the play without disturbing the other. After they felt reasonably secure in their lines, they worked in the same room, sitting facing each other… they began to exchange dialogue. If one of them faltered or gave the wrong lines, the other clapped his knees together and the scene began again. After several such sessions, their knees may have been bruised but they were letter perfect in their lines.” ( This reminded me of a comment of MJ when he played baseball. He practicised until his hands bled.)

“Once memorisation was complete, rehearsals began, with (the couple) playing each scene over and over again, each time modifying their characters” attitude and intentions. After multiple run throughs, they would come to an agreement about which version had been the most successful, and … another round of rehearsals “making small modifications to gestures, looks, points of emphasis, relentlessly polisgung every detail. Only after this (exhaustive) extensive “homework” would the Lunts be reasldy to rehearse with the other actors in a production – and even then, they continued to rehearse by themselves at home afterward.”

I stop copying here, not because Im afraid Currey would accuse me of plagiarism but because Im exhausted. Just the thought of this amount of practice. I always thought spontaneity would lead to materials being fresh.

Reading about “Ten Chimneys” their holiday home where the Lunts spent summers in personal amd artistic rejuvenation entertaining guests like Laurence Olivier and the likes of the creative folks. Its amazing to note that such sensitive folks do not feel threatened by others in the show business.

How much am I willing to put in to perfect my craft? If I get a coach, am I willing to listen?

“Studies show that 40% of the anxiety felt by people in the world is focused on things that will never happen. Apparently 30% is related to the past which we cannot change, 12% to other people’s criticism and 10% to health.

It is a very curious reality that only 8% of the time do we really worry about concerns that need to be faced in the here and now.”

Dr. Amy Orr-Ewing, Festival of Thought, Singapore

Even as we approach news of tightening circuit breaker till 1 June 2020, and thoughts of what ifs scenarios. If I can give you a penny for every time I hear the word “Covid 19”, turning on the television and see higher infection numbers. How can I bring the positive into the negative. Instead, every time I hear the word, I put myself into a meditation retreat with the acronyms. Try it for your self. Come up with your own.

C = Connect

Safe distancing doesn’t equal social isolation. Connect with friends, neighbours, family via technology. Connect with your emotions, understand its ok to feel fear, anxiety. Connect with your body. Breathe.  This too shall pass.

O = Options

What are your options? What can you control? What resources, medical, financial aid, healthcare are available?

What you cannot control? Other people’s thoughts and actions.

V = Values

Where is your compass? What values guide your actions and activities?  How will you want to emerge from this?

I =Inspire

What inspires you? What meaning and purpose can you draw strength from?

D = Do

It takes 21 days to form a habit. What activities can you meaningful engage in? Form a routine? What is within your control? What is outside your control? Example, people’s opinions. Do what’s within your ability to control.

“Just as one would try to understand the landscape before setting out on a journey, one needs to understand the culture of an organisation before embarking on organisation change”, Gary Bolles, Singularity University.

The same can be said of examining its talent strategy and competencies, at an organisation’s growth phases. Greiner’s model predicts 6 phases and 5 crises that organizations go through. By identifying what stage the organization is in, a recruiter or coach can better determine staffing needs for the organization to get to the next phase.

According to Greiner, organisation growth is not straightforward, and unless the organisation changes, it will not be able to get on to the next stage.

Phase 1: Growth through Creativity

Greiner found from his research that at the birth of organisations, its founders are usually “technical or entrepreneurial oriented”. Energies are focused on making and selling a product. Communication among employees is informal.

However, as the company expands, more employees are hired, they cannot be managed only through informal communication. There’s a need for more formal communication and professional managers to take over the management responsibilities that founders find “burdensome”. At this point, a crisis of leadership occurs as founders often resist letting go.

Coaching and staffing needs to move to stage two: the organization’s founders to be less hands-on and provide more direction.  Greiner suggests bringing in professional functional business managers (e.g. marketing or finance manager) “compatible with the founders and who can pull the organization together.”

Phase 2: Growth through Direction.
With capable functional managers, growth continues through a functional organizational structure with specialized roles like marketing and human resources.

At some point, with increasing workload, the professional managers begin to ask for more control, such as a marketing budget, while founders may struggle to let go. A crisis of autonomy emerges where work and authority needs to be delegated to lower levels.

Coaching and staffing needs to move to stage three: Coaching skills for founders to empower employees and delegate responsibility, lower level managers to take initiative and make decisions independently.

Phase 3: Growth through Delegation

With more delegation in this phase of decentralistion, more products introduced, with more divisional managers, the management find that they lose touch with what’s happening in the organisation.

At this point, a crisis of control results, managers face difficulty coordinating all divisions operating independently, and how to get different divisions to work better together.

Coaching or staffing needs to move to stage four:

To achieve greater coordination, more employees are hired at headquarters (HQ) to standardise processes and harmonise companywide programmes, such as Six Sigma. The ability to implement processes and programs for efficiency, standardisation, cost savings, corporate look. This brings stability and consistency to the organization.

Phase 4: Growth through Coordination

With more employees hired to implement companywide programmes, soon the centralised HQ becomes too focused on efficiency and bureaucracy and loses the ability to innovate and conquer new markets. This phase ends with a Red-Tape Crisis as the organisation becomes unresponsive to needs of the local customers.

Coaching or staffing needs to move to stage five :

Organization needs to develop better people managers and introduce more flexibility, staff engagement and team-work to develop evolutionary growth.

Phase 5: Growth through Collaboration

Finally, overcoming the red-tape crisis, L&D professionals like Britt Andreatta recommend that the organisation adopts a more flexible agile approach (e.g., team work, matrix structure) with emotionally intelligent leaders.

But soon the very mature business runs out of ideas on how to add products to its portfolio and faces a growth crisis.

Coaching or staffing needs to move to stage six :

Managers who can participate in the globalised market and network outside the organisation for opportunities through external partnerships, such as strategic alliances and acquisitions, outsourcing for efficiency and even new ideas using Blue Ocean Strategy.  [Greiner suggests providing sabbaticals for employees, moving managers in and out of hot-spot jobs etc to connect better.] Networking for ideas is an important skills set.

Phase 6: Growth through Alliance

Recently, the Greiner model was updated to include the 6th stage or growth through alliance. In “Network for Advantage”, INSEAD Professors Professors Henrich Greve and Andrew Shipilov explore how organisations such as Samsung have unlocked value through such partnerships.

A crisis is not long in the horizon when the organisation may face a new challenge, a crisis of identity. Paul Petrone suggests for the organization to continue on its evolution, it “needs to reinvent  its vision and mission and partner with organizations that best further that”.

Relevance of the Greiner model

Greiner’s model has relevance for recruiters and career coaches to understand that change is inevitable for the organisation to grow. Consultants or coaches implementing change management programs are to examine best practice vs best fit vs to the organisation’s growth stage. Inability of management to adopt a new style to deal with these crises will result in firm’s failure to move forward.

Organisations can go through these phases peacefully and without crises when leaders recognise the tension and the “change management” needed to be put in place.

What do you think about Greiner’s model for growth? Does it reflect the stages which your organisation has gone through? Give me some comments.