Addiction (How to Stop Any Addiction and Completely Break Free) by Robert Morgan

Substance Abuse, Alcoholism, Smoking and Recovery

All About Addiction. The meaning of addiction. Most people are not aware or refuse to admit that they are addicted to something. This might cause problems to people around them or even their loved ones. Many addicts have physical tolerance or even cues when they enter a bar. You need to understand the root cause of addiction and why people get addicted. Addiction tends to be hereditary in nature. Your genetic makeup does have a part to play. Men are more susceptible to substance abuse. Peer pressure is a possible issue too, so is loneliness. A highly stressful job might be a cause of alcoholism/ drug abuse. As your tolerance builds up, you need a larger amount of alcohol to be ‘high’. Addiction is the point where you forgo personal and professional obligations and drink. There is also a tendency for you to become violent and act in a distressful manner.

Dealing with Addiction. You need to realize that you have a problem. If your consumption affects your exercise/lifestyle, you have a problem. Do you see alcohol as a stress buster? Do you think drinking is the only way to have fun? Too much alcohol can lead to cognitive impairment. Only when you admit that you have a problem, you will have a chance to break free. There is really no shame in asking for help.

Why Should You Address Addiction Immediately. The usual process is the go for detox and then rehab. You must be emotionally healthy if you want to kick addiction. After you go through detox, there might be side effects and you must be careful. It is best to approach a doctor. Consuming a pill can only bring you short-term relief. You need to find a way to regain emotional stability in your life.

Specific Types of Substance Addictions (Alcohol Abuse). Alcohol abuse is when you have excessive consumption. Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, hallucinations etc. There are also other types of abuses like tobacco and drug abuse. There are usually triggers which tempt you to want to drink. Examples of triggers are: a person, place or an event.

The Recovery and the Rehab Process. You need to be commit the time necessary for a rehab programme. For serious cases, you might be sent for an in-patient treatment programme. For milder cases, there are outpatient programs, where addicts can go home every day. Abrupt removal of the substance might cause withdrawal symptoms. Rehab is really about therapy and there maybe the practice of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). Group therapy is also very useful in the fight against addiction. The family can serve as a tower of strength.

How to Build Self-Esteem. It takes time to recover and that is understandable. It is normal to feel down for a while. Self-esteem has to be slowly established over time and there are no shortcuts. Take things 1 step at a time. It is normal to go through a rollercoaster of emotions. Turn all the negative vibes into positive energy. There is no need to be too critical of yourself. Negative thinking should be avoided at all cost. Learn to forgive yourself. Change your mind-set towards things. Always remember to celebrate any small achievements that you might have. Surround yourself with positive people. Learn to take care of yourself. Hang out with happy people and work out more.

How to Set Boundaries. Avoid tempting situations if you know what the triggers are. Develop a positive support network. Create a schedule that includes time for socializing and family time etc. Do not be complacent.

Photo: © Europen Parliament/P.Naj-Olearipietro.naj-oleari@europarl.europa.eu

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Made in America (My Story) by Sam Walton (Part 2)

Building the Partnership. The managers work extremely well with the employees. He gave the employees autonomy to make certain decisions on their own. W-M seeks satisfied, loyal and repeat customers. Sam regretted not including the employees in the profit scheme back in the 1970s. Helen was the one who proposed higher salaries for employees. Unions were divisive and Sam didn’t feel the need for them. The employees have always believed in the company. Take care of your people and treat them well. The unions won’t bother you. Sam started calling employees ‘associates’. He wanted to give them more fair treatment. In 1971, the profit sharing scheme started for the associates. This plan amount to at least 6% increment on the salary. Employees are also rewarded if there is less inventory theft in the particular store. People are now rewarded for honesty. Sam was also transparent with W-M’s figures to his employees. W-M has a good trend of sharing information with others. Learn to praise others. If people did something wrong, let them know. Sam Walton tries his best to visit the other employees. There is an existence of an open-door policy.

What you’ve created here is better than communism, better than socialism could ever be, better even than capitalism. I like to call what you’ve got here ‘enlightened consumerism,’ where everybody works together as a team and the customer is finally king again. – Paul Harvey

You see, no matter how you slice it in the retail business, payroll is one of the most important parts of overhead, and overhead is one of the most crucial things you have to fight to maintain profit margin. – Sam Walton

The more you share profits with your employees – whether it’s in salaries or incentives or bonuses or stock options – the more profit will accrue to your company. Why? Because the way management treats the employees is exactly how the employees will then treat the customers/clients. – Sam Walton

The truth is, once we started experimenting with this idea of treating our employees as partners, it didn’t take long to realize the enormous potential it had for improving our business. And it didn’t take the employees long to figure out how much better off they would be as the company did better. -Sam Walton

I think that anytime the employees at a company say they need a union, it’s because management has done a lousy job of managing and working with the people. – Sam Walton

Lip service won’t make a real partnership – not even with profit sharing. Plenty of companies offer some kind of profit sharing but share absolutely no sense of partnership with their employees because they don’t really believe those employees are important, and they don’t work to lead them. – Sam Walton

I learned this early on in the variety store business: you’ve got to give folks responsibility, you’ve got to trust them, and then you’ve got to check on them. – Sam Walton

But I truly believe that people anywhere will eventually respond to the same sorts of motivational techniques we use – if they are treated right and are given the opportunities to be properly trained. If you’re good to people, and fair with them, and demanding of them, they will eventually decide you’re on their side. – Sam Walton

All of us like praise. So what we try to practice in our company is to look for things to praise. Look for things that are going right. We want to let our folks know when they are doing something outstanding, and let them know they are important to us. – Sam Walton

Partnership involves money – which is crucial to any business relationship – but it also involves basic human considerations, such as respect. – Sam Walton

Stepping Back. At 56, Sam was quite successful and was happy with the way things were going for him. His other hobbies were quail hunting and tennis. He gave up on golf long ago. He was extremely competitive in tennis. However, he played fairly and by the rules. You know you lost to a good player. Sam loved training dogs and the great outdoors. Sam started taking a backseat and let his other colleagues run part of the business. However, there were employees which formed alliances with either of the executive vice-presidents. Sam let Ron be the chairman and CEO of the company. However, Sam realized he could not give up the business and kept giving suggestions to Ron. The company was split into two. As this issue was dividing the company, Sam needed to offer Ron a lower position. Ron declined and decided to leave. Some of Ron’s friends also left the firm. At least one-third of the senior management had left the firm. David was brought in and he proved to be a huge success. Sam believed very strongly in the power of teamwork.

What I really love about hunting is the coordination and the training of the dogs. You have to develop a partnership with them. You have to motivate them, and they have to do their work reasonably well. – Sam Walton

Creating a Culture. He often gathers executives to talk about business on Saturday mornings. He has a W-M cheer. People can voice out their problems every Friday. It is a very friendly community. Sam even dressed up in Hawaiian outfit to dance. Sam is okay with crazy ideas to boost morale. Every shoppers had a chance to play shopping cart bingo etc. The games at the stores try to thrive on American tradition as well. The Saturday meetings is to discuss about problems and company strategy. Even guests were invited to the meetings. Meetings were always spontaneous as well. Very often, there would be no agenda. Sam hates people who flaunt their wealth and lead extravagant lifestyles. Sam encourages his staff to pursue further education.

But if you get too caught up in that good life, it’s probably time to move on, simply because you lose touch with what your mind is supposed to be concentrating on: serving the customer. – Sam Walton

My feeling is that just because we work so hard, we don’t have to go around with long faces all the time, taking ourselves seriously, pretending we’re lost in thought over weighty problems. – Sam Walton

Whether it’s Saturday morning meetings or stockholders’ meetings or store openings or just normal days, we always have tried to make life interesting and as unpredictable as we can, and to make W-M a fun proposition. – Sam Walton

Making the Customer Number 1. There was plenty of demand in the small towns for W-M to grow and they took advantage of it. W-M were so good that their competitors had to shut down. W-M actually provided savings for small towns and created jobs as well. The media accused them of destroying small towns. Unless you have a monopoly, you will do well to serve the customer’s needs. Small merchants, in order to survive, have to target a niche of customers and create that personal touch. Some tried converting variety stores into craft stores. It is possible to compete with W-M if you can find a particular niche. Do not compete on price. W-M tries to get involved in the community as well. They are not all just profit-driven. W-M hated going through middlemen and developed their own distribution system. They did away with distributors. W-M is very demanding of vendors and want the lowest price possible. They even drive trucks to pick up the items. You might fight well with these vendors. Even P&G was afraid of them and took W-M seriously. P&G and W-M worked together on a partnership and starting sharing information to one another. It was great and helped to drive costs even lower. The supplier is a very important partner. With this system, the supplier can estimate demand trends even a year in advance. The customer comes first and are treated like a boss.

For my whole career in retail, I have stuck by one guiding principle. It’s a simple one, and I have repeated it over and over and over in this book until I’m quite sure you’re to death of it. But I’m going to say it again anyway: the secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want. – Sam Walton

When you start out as an unknown quantity with just a dream and a commitment, you couldn’t buy a mention of your company in any publications. When you become moderately successful, they still ignore you unless something bad happens to you. Then, the more successful you become, the more suspicious they become of you. – Sam Walton

‘If American business is going to prevail, and be competitive, we’re going to have to get accustomed to the idea that business conditions change, and that survivors have to adapt to those changing conditions. Business is a competitive endeavor, and job security lasts only as long as the customer is satisfied. Nobody owes anybody a living. – Sam Walton

Meeting the Competition. ‘Sam was notorious for looking at what everybody else does, taking the best of it, and then making it better.’ Instead of avoiding the competition, it was necessary to face it head on. Sam was always trying to learn from competitors. Sam spent a lot of time in K Mart trying to understand how they worked. K Mart realized that W-M was getting too big and tried to expand aggressively. Some of other competitors gave W-M feedback on how they could improve. W-M was never one to shy from competition. Some analysts doubted W-M’s future. K-Mart was also resistant to change and were expanding too fast. W-M started acquiring smaller discount stores. They then ventured into Mississippi. ‘We are going to do this’. Sam sometimes uses his gut to make decisions. He tried the hypermart concept in the US. However, they only turned out to be marginally profitable.

Our competitors have honed and sharpened us to an edge we wouldn’t have without them. We wouldn’t be nearly as good as we are today without Kmart, and I think they would admit we’ve made them a better retailer. One reason Sears fell so far off the pace is that they wouldn’t admit for the longest time that Wal-Mart and Kmart were their real competition. They ignored both of us, and we both blew right by them. – Sam Walton

I like to keep everybody guessing. I don’t want our competitors getting too comfortable with feeling like they can predict what we’re going to do. And I don’t want our own executives feeling that way either. It’s part of my strong feeling for the necessity of constant change, for keeping people a little off balance. – Sam Walton

To stay ahead of those challengers, we have to keep changing and looking back over our shoulder and planning ahead. – Sam Walton

Distribution and transportation are seen as competitive advantages for W-M. Sam invested a lot in technology. Computers have helped them achieve economies of scale and better efficiency. Mechanized distribution was the way to go. The distribution centres are strategically located. There was extreme time saving and much greater flexibility. W-M does its own distribution, and this helps to reduce lead time. W-M has its own fleet of trucks and trailers. The drivers are also model professionals. They are extremely loyal people. The drivers also feel that they have to take care of the customer. There are even customized delivery plans. Sam heard about the satellite system which would improve communication between stores and the distribution centres. Instead of calling one another, people could pull data from the system.

I guess we’ve always known that information gives you a certain power, but the degree to which we can retrieve it in our computers really does give us the power of competitive advantage. – Sam Walton

But when you see all those satellite dishes outside our building, or hear about all the computers inside it, or look at some videotape of our laser-guided distribution centers, don’t let anybody kid you. Without the right managers, and the dedicated associates and truck drivers all across the system, all that stuff is totally worthless. – Sam Walton

Thinking Small. If you know how to grow and stay profitable, then you should do it. Sam always wanted to be the best retailer. Being big tends to mean being slower to respond. However, suppliers tend to ignore small players in the market. W-M is big, but it things like a small company. It treats the customers well and does not ignore small towns where the markets are smaller. Thinking small is a way of life. There are 6 ways in which W-M tries to think small. Principle 1: ‘Think one store at a time’. Keep the prices down and offer superior customer service store by store. Saturday meetings are used for that. Management has to listen to the merchandizers in the stores. Principle 2: ‘Communicate, communicate, communicate’. The importance of this can’t be over-stated. If you find out something good, you would want to let your stores know about it. Sam wanted staff to pledge that they will greet customers and smile. Principle 3: ‘Keep your ear to the ground’. Sam always wants his managers to visit the stores. W-M has a fleet of private jets for their use. Usually, these managers should be able to come up with ideas for how to improve the stores after their visit. Principle 4: ‘Push responsibility – and authority – down’. Store within a store concept. Information was shared to the department heads. These department heads were then give the opportunity to manage a store by themselves. There a fine line between autonomy and control. Principle 5: ‘Force ideas to bubble up’. Associates are allowed to share ideas with the management. The (Volume Producing Unit) works well. Associates who have money-saving ideas can attend the Saturday meetings. When there are so many staff, there will definitely be many great ideas lying around. There were also people greeters in each store. Principle 6: ‘Stay Lean, Fight Bureaucracy’. Be as lean as possible to cut down on expenses.. Their offices were quite plain and not very showy. Even if you don’t want bureaucracy, it will naturally build its layers. There should not be so many layers of bureaucracy.

A computer is not – and will never be – a substitute for getting out in your stores and learning what’s going on. In other words, a computer can tell you down to the dime what you’ve sold. But it can never tell you how much you could have sold. – Sam Walton

If you don’t zero in on your bureaucracy every so often, you will naturally build in layers. You never set out to add bureaucracy. You just get it. Period. Without even knowing it. – David Glass

A lot of this goes back to what Deming told the Japanese a long time ago: do it right the first time. The natural tendency when you’ve got a problem in a company is to come up with a solution to fix it. Too often, that solution is nothing more than adding another layer. What you should be doing is going to the source of the problem to fix it, and sometimes that requires shooting the culprit. – David Glass

I guess one reason I feel so strongly about not letting egos get out of control around W-M is that a lot of bureaucracy is really the product of some empire builders’ ego. – Sam Walton

It has been our heritage – our obsession – that we would be more productive and more efficient than our competition. – Sam Walton

Giving Something Back. Sam was never interested in creating a huge personal fortune. Sam still holds some of the company stock. He has never liquidated much of the position he has. Sam does believe in worthy causes. His family usually focusses on causes like education. They support schools, hospitals, environmental groups, conservation groups. They also sponsor scholarships to students so that they can study in University. They plan to give at least 50% of their wealth to worthy causes. Sam is very concerned about education. They want the organizations to remain accountable for how they spend their money. Educating and training the workforce is very crucial. W-M likes locally directed charities. They are giving back just by allowing customers to save money. The shareholders also have some say in what kind of community projects they would like to invest in. W-M wanted to groom the local manufacturer in order to produce quality goods which they could purchase. Because of this programme, W-M has managed to purchase more of such goods. Rather than importing. W-M is still thinking of different ways to give back to the community.

I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity an obligation; every possession a duty. – John D. Rockefeller Jr

We have never been inclined to give any undeserving stranger a free ride, and we will never change our minds about that. Nor do we believe that because we have money, we should be called upon to solve every personal problem that comes to our attention, every problem of the community, the state, or, for that matter, the country. – Sam Walton

We are going to see if we can’t shake up some of the time-honored assumptions about what you can teach people, about what you can do with people whose self-esteem has been beaten down, and about how you can motivate ordinary people to do extraordinary things. – Sam Walton

Running a Successful Business: Ten Rules that Worked for Me. There is no one key to success. It is a culmination of many different ingredients. Most of the values have stayed the same. Sam thought about a list of rules for success. Hard work is crucial. If you are not willing to work hard, you won’t be successful. In the end, Sam came up with 10 Rules. Rule 1: Commit to your business. Rule 2: Share your profits with all your associates, and treat them like partners. Rule 3: Motivate your partners. Think of novel ways to push them and challenge them to move forward. Don’t become too predictable. Rule 4: Communicate everything you possibly can to your partners.  Rule 5: Appreciate everything your associates do for your business. Learn to praise their good work. Rule 6: Celebrate your successes. Loosen up and have fun. Learn from your mistakes. Rule 7: Listen to everyone in your company. Figure ways to make your associates talk and give feedback. Rule 8: Exceed your customers’ expectations. This will lead to repeat customers. Make good on your mistakes and learn to apologize. Rule 9: Control your expenses better than your competition. Rule 10: Swim Upstream. Don’t follow others but go the other way. You might be able to locate a niche.

I don’t know if you’re born with this kind of passion, or if you can learn it. But I do know you need it. If you love your work, you’ll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you – like a fever. – Sam Walton

‘The more they know, the more they’ll understand. The more they understand, the more they’ll care. Once they care, there’s no stopping them. – Sam Walton

We like to hear praise often, and especially when we have done something we’re really proud of. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free – and worth a fortune. – Sam Walton

To push responsibility down in your organization, and to force good ideas to bubble up within it, you must listen to what your associates are trying to tell you. – Sam Walton

You can make a lot of different mistakes and still recover if run an efficient operation. Or you can be brilliant and still go out of business if you’re too inefficient. – Sam Walton

Those are some pretty ordinary rules, some would say even simplistic. The hard part, the real challenge, is to constantly figure out ways to execute them. You can’t just keep doing what works one time, because everything around you is always changing. To succeed, you have to stay out in front of that change. – Sam Walton

Wanting to leave a legacy. Sam was having the time of his life at W-M. If he had to start all over, he would probably have made the same decisions. The associates have felt a certain sense of satisfaction when working at W-M. Many people are now better off with W-M’s arrival. Sam wants W-M to continue expanding, but also give back to the community. Sam knew since young that he would do something in retail.

Go check the new store out. See what they’ve got to offer, see how they treat you, and decide for yourself if you ever want to go back. Because this is what it’s really all about. In this free country of ours, that shop owner’s success is entirely up to you: the customer. – Sam Walton

If I wanted to reach the goals I set for myself, I had to get at it and stay at it every day. I had to think about it all the time. – Sam Walton

I’ll tell you this: those companies out there who aren’t thinking about the customer and focusing on the customers’ interests are just going to get lost in the shuffle—if they haven’t already. Those who get greedy are going to be left in the dust. – Sam Walton

Great ideas come from everywhere if you just listen and look for them. You never know who’s going to have a great idea. – Sam Walton

But I feel like it’s up to me as a leader to set an example. It’s not fair for me to ride one way and ask everybody else to ride another way. The minute you do that, you start building resentment and your team idea begins to strain at the seams. – Sam Walton

made-in-america

Made in America (My Story) by Sam Walton (Part 1)

 

The book was published in 1992

Foreword. Wal-Mart is now the largest retailing outfit in the world. ‘Friend, we just got after it and stayed after it.’ Sam Walton, on Wal-Mart’s success. Be protective of your business dealings. Sam has been fighting cancer. WM’s associates have contributed immensely to the success of the firm. He had the passion to compete.

It is a story about entrepreneurship, and risk, and hard work, and knowing where you want to go and being willing to do what it takes to get there. It’s a story about believing in your ideas even when maybe some other folks don’t, and about sticking to your guns. But I think more than anything it proves there’s absolutely no limit to what plain, ordinary working people can accomplish if they are given the opportunity and the encouragement and the incentive to do their best. – Sam Walton

Learning to Value a Dollar. By 1985, he was the richest man in the US. Sam was pissed with the fame he got. He didn’t like the media to question his personal finances. Some of them weren’t interested in the business. His family kept quite secretive lives. However, they still interacted with people from their town. Sam grew up during the Great Depression. He valued money a lot. His father was Thomas, and he was a very hard worker back then. He was a super honest man. Also, his dad could negotiate very well to squeeze money out of people. Sam’s brother, Bud, picked up the negotiation skills from his dad. Dad did many small jobs during his life. Once, he worked as a person who re-possessed others’ farms due to default. He didn’t come from a rich family. Nan made Sam milk the cows and then sell the bottles for cash. Sam also sold magazines and newspapers and acted as a delivery boy. Sam learnt the importance of contribution when he grew older. His parents were very thrifty people. He met L.S. Robson, some trader and business. Sam admired his success. Together with his family, they established ‘Walton Enterprises’. The family makes the decisions. Walton Enterprises helped to run WM. Their family owns a large % of the stock as well. This enterprise was a way to keep the family together. It helped to bond the family as well. His wife was Helen Walton. The Waltons are very frugal and will not spend excessively, despite their wealth. Don’t ever splurge your money like that. It will come back to haunt you. Sam does not believe in a showy lifestyle. Sam is very competitive and wants to be at the top, money is immaterial to him. It is very easy to fall into the trap of leading the jet setting lifestyle.

The best way to reduce paying estate taxes is to give your assets away before they appreciate. – Sam Walton

We believe in the value of the dollar. We exist to provide value to our customers, which mean that in addition to quality and service, we have to save them money. Every time WM spends one dollar foolishly, it comes right out of our customers’ pockets. Every time we save them a dollar, that puts us one more step ahead of the competition – which is where we always plan to be. – Sam Walton

Starting on a Dime. Sam always wanted to win and he hated losing. He admitted he learnt this trait to be ambitious from his mum. Unfortunately, she passed away when she was young. His mum drilled into him to be the best that you can be in anything that you choose to do. He bet with his peers on who would promote faster in scouts. He won. He once rescued a friend from drowning. He was the president of the student body in High School. Sam achieved some success in his school days. He realized that he was good at motivating others. His school high school track record thought him to expect winning and how to overcome challenges. To lead people in campus, you had to speak to others in the hall before they approached you. He was the student president of his university too. The key is to remember people’s names. Through his newspaper routes, he managed to make some money along the way. Sam was taking on too much. However, when he focused on something, he excelled at it. Even if it was just selling newspapers. In the fact, Sam thought he wanted to be an insurance agent. Sam thought that job suited him. However, he ended up with a job with JC Penney. He would be a management trainee with the firm. It was a retail business. Eventually, Sam loved retail. Duncan Majors was a manager at JC Penney and Sam was impressed by him. Sam had to go for enlistment and had to leave his job. He met Helen Robson at a bowling alley. She was very similar to him. She was ambitious, sporty and smart. Everything rolled into one. Before he entered army, he knew he wanted Helen and that he wanted a career in retail. After he exited from army, Sam wanted to enter into business himself. The both of them moved to St Louis. Sam’s friend, Tom, also wanted to get into the retail business. Sam and Tom wanted to be partners to buy a department store on Del Mar Avenue. Helen didn’t believe in partnerships and then Sam would start out on his own. A guy was selling his store in Arkansas and Sam bought it for $25,000. $20,000 was from Helen’s father. Sam realized the rent was too high but could not do anything about it. He learned how to manage a variety store. Sam was observing John Dunham and his store. The Butler Brothers’ programme was very strict and didn’t have any room for maneuver. Initially, he followed their steps. Sam wanted to buy direct from the manufacturer, without Butler Brothers’ as a middleman or distributor. He sourced for a cheaper distributor, who only took a 5% cut. By then, Sam’s store was cheaper than their competitors. Sam lowered the price and that ate into his profit margin. However, because of this, he sold a larger volume of goods. Overall, this method generated more profit for him. Ben Franklin, the franchisor, had many restrictions on how business was run. After 2.5 years, Sam repaid Helen’s dad the $20,000. Sam placed a popcorn and ice cream machine at the entrance. It sold like hotcakes. Sam bought at Eagle store nearby and set up shop. This was as he knew the competitor was trying to expand their offering too. Now, Sam had 2 stores on Front Street. Sam was excellent at controlling expenses. Sam and Bud cleaned most of the store themselves back then. Helen was fairly involved in church work. After 5 years, his store reached the target of being the one with the largest sales in the state. It turned in $250,000 in sales and $30,000 to $40,000 in profit. Correct the errors fast and don’t let mistakes build. The landlord wanted to drive them out as he didn’t like Sam’s success. Also, Sam didn’t have the option to renew the lease after 5 years. Sam was sick in the stomach by this. Sam and Helen had to move to another town and try again. Sam vowed to read leases in more detail in future.

I have always pursued everything I was interested in with a true passion – some would say obsession – to win. I’ve always held the bar pretty high for myself: I’ve set extremely high personal goals. – Sam Walton

I learned a long time ago that exercising your ego in public is definitely not the way to build an effective organization. One person seeking glory doesn’t accomplish much; at WM, everything we’ve done has been the result of people pulling together to meet one common goal – teamwork – something I also picked up at an early age. – Sam Walton

I’ve always believed in goals, so I set myself one: I wanted my little Newport store to be the best, most profitable variety store in Arkansas within 5 years. I felt I had the talent to do it, that it could be done, and why not go for it? Set this as a goal and see if you can’t achieve it. If it doesn’t work, you’ve had fun trying. – Sam Walton

I learnt a lesson which has stuck with me all through the years: you can learn from everybody. I didn’t just learn from reading every retail publication I could get my hands on, I probably learned the most from studying what my competitor was doing across the street. – Sam Walton

But this is really the essence of discounting: by cutting your price, you can boost your sales to a point where you earn far more at the cheaper retail price than you would have by selling the item at the higher price. In retailer language, you can lower your markup but earn more because of the increased volume. – Sam Walton

I’ve never been one to dwell on reserves, and I didn’t do so then. It’s not just a corny saying that you can make a positive out of almost any negative if you work at it hard enough. I’ve always thought of problems as challenges, and this one wasn’t any different. – Sam Walton

Bouncing Back. Sam hated leaving Newport. Sam made more than $50,00 on the sale of the department store. They decided on Northwest Arkansas. Sam was 32 now. The town had only 3000 people. He built a 4000 sq feet store. Sam realized from his competitors about self-check out counters. He adopted the idea too. It was still a Ben Franklin franchise. Sam was extremely friendly to the folks around the area. He named the store ‘Walton’s Five and Dime’. Sam was targeting a store at Fayetteville too. The first Wal-Mart only opened when he was 44. He soon hired Willard Walker, a store manager. Sam knew what he was doing and his philosophy worked. Willard owned a lot of Wal-Mart’s stock. Sam wanted to be a shopping centre developer in Arkansas as well. He wanted to sell the idea of shopping centres to others. However, it didn’t take off and people were not drawn to the concept. Sam lost $25,000. One day, his store was leveled by a hurricane. Sam was lucky that the goods were insured. Sam bought a plane and explored other towns. With this, the store fever in him grew. All his stores were set up as separate partnerships with his fellow partners. Sam believed in continuous re-investment in the business. By 1960, they had $1.4 million sales in 14 stores. The mill store, or family centre concept interested Sam. The discount idea was the future. Buy low, stack it high, sell it cheap. The middleman, Bulters Brothers, didn’t want to establish a discounting venture with Sam. Therefore, Sam started his own. He knew he couldn’t complete with Ben Franklin. He had to go elsewhere. This was the first discount store on its own. This was the first Wal-Mart. This would prove to be challenging as they could not fall back on the franchisor expertise. In 1962, Sam opened his first store. As there was already a Ben Franklin store in the area, they were not pleased with Wal-Mart. David Glass thought the store layout of WM sucked. It was extremely messy inside. Sam wanted to roll out the stores as soon as possible. To him, it seemed that even big stores could work. Sam needed to win on price. Having the lowest price possible.

First, he gets up every day bound and determined to improve something. Second, he is less afraid of being wrong that anyone I’ve ever known. And once he see he’s wrong, he just shakes it off and heads in another direction. – Sam Walton

Swimming Upstream. WM’s aim was to sell for the lower prices than its competitors. He was angry with the Butler Brothers and wanted to swim upstream. Sam was more innovative in business than in his personal life. Sam realized that Ben Franklin staff were spying on him in his store. At that time, WM was still a dwarf compared to Kmart, Woolco etc. However, in the end, they would be surpassed. WM learnt to start in the small American towns and had a firm business model before venturing out into the cities. This would not have been possible if they had been capitalized by the big boys. There was actually a lot of business in the small towns. At that time, customer service was not the priority. The priority was to keep costs down. Also, they built relationships with their customers. Pass on the savings to the customer. There was no basic merchandize assortment and real replenishment system. There were no established distributers and no credit. Some of the big boys like P&G didn’t treat them well. Back then, they didn’t use FIFO or LIFO method. If you couldn’t balance the books, you created a ESP (Error some place). Sam gave the managers freedom to try new stuff. Don Whitaker became the operations manager and he was extremely capable. One bad manager could bring down a store. Therefore, Sam had this knack of hiring the right person for the job. Sam did not necessarily hire college guys. Sam thought that non-graduates would be willing to work harder. Sam was a guy who was always open to suggestions. Claude would be the general merchandize manager. The store manager could explore and buy things he thought could sell. Sam gave them a report so that managers could analyse what were the best selling items. Merchandizing and setting promotions to items are Sam’s passion. Phil bought a ridiculous amount of detergent so as to compete with Kmart and get the bulk discount. He also stacked on lawnmovers. Thankfully, they all sold. The store was new at the time. Part of being a WM manager is that you get to promote items. Just a little promotion is enough to get the stock moving. The location of where the item was placed matters a lot. The item needs to be visible to the public. If you take the trouble to identify those items and promote them, they will sell. This is how to boost high sales per square foot. There were weekly meetings among the managers to plan for merchandizing programs.

The idea was simple: when customers thought of WM, they should think of low prices and satisfaction guaranteed. They could be pretty sure they wouldn’t find it cheaper anywhere else, and if they didn’t like it, they could bring it back. – Sam Walton

We used to say you could sell anything if you hung it from the ceiling. So we would buy huge quantities of something and dramatize it. We would blow it out of there when everybody knew we would have only sold a few had we just left it in the normal store position. – Sam Walton

I suspect I have emphasized item merchandizing and the importance of promoting items to a greater degree than most any other retail management person in this country. It has been an absolute passion of mine. It is what I enjoy doing as much as anything in the business. I really love to pick an item – maybe the most basic merchandize – and then call attention to it. – Sam Walton

If you are going to show the kind of double-digit comparable store sales increases that we show every year, and grow a company the way we’ve grown ours, you have to be merchandize driven. Otherwise, you become like everyone else. I can name you a lot of retailers who were originally merchandize driven, but somehow lost it over the years. In retail, you are either operations driven – where your main thrust is towards reducing expenses and improving efficiency – or you are merchandize driven. The ones that are truly merchandize driven can always work on improving operations. But the ones that are operations driven tend to level off and begin to deteriorate. – Sam Walton

Another way we tried hard to make up for our lack of experience and sophistication was to spend as much time as we could checking out the competition. It’s something I did from the beginning, and it’s something I insisted all our managers do. – Sam Walton

We’re really not concerned with what they’re doing wrong, we’re concerned with what they’re doing right, and everyone is doing something right. – Sam Walton

We started out swimming upstream, and it’s made us strong and lean and alert, and we’ve enjoyed the trip. We sure don’t see any reason now to turn around and join the rest of the pack headed down-current. – Sam Walton

Raising a Family. Sam had 4 children. Rob, John, Jim and Alice. They wanted family togertherness. Sam’s parents loved to quarrel. They lived separately after Sam and Bud grew up. Sam and Helen allowed their kids to enjoy themselves. He inculcated the values of hard work, honesty, neighborliness and thrift in his kids. The kids were made to work in the stores as well. However, Helen did bring them out to enjoy once in a while. Despite his busy schedule, Sam really did try his best to help his kids and bond with them. To be successful in retail business, you have to work on weekends. Sam did not push his kids too hard. Rob became WM’s lawyer and took them public. Jim also learnt about negotiation skills. Alice and John have branched into businesses of their own. All the managers had to attend a Saturday morning meeting. If you don’t want to work on weekends, then you shouldn’t be in retail. Helen also didn’t like the public eye on their lives. He didn’t want future generations to end up in the idle rich category and not work. He wanted his kids to do something productive, useful and challenging with their lives.

Recruiting the Team. Sam realized he didn’t want to stop expanding at any point. From 1958 to 1970, discount retailing was extremely successful. If you don’t care about customers, you will fail eventually. Whatever method of business you choose, you have to work damn hard to make it work. Some expanded without distribution centres and were too fast. Sam was a big fan of taking notes and learning from others. He hired Gary Reinboth to manage the size of the business. Ferold was also hired to build a better sorting system and replenishment system. Abe Marks shared with Sam how to use computers to do his business. Sam now realized the importance of keeping inventory to a minimum and getting things delivered to the store in the shortest time possible. Sam would not have been able to grow the business so large without the computer. It would have been impossible. Sam wanted to hire a systems guy. Sam hired Bob Thornton and promised to build him a distribution centre for him to run. Same bought a warehouse and a new office space. Now that they were bigger, systems and distribution were the main problem. Ron joined as vice president of finance and distribution. A data processing manager also hopped on board. Sam was always very guarded with his spending and did not want unnecessary expenses. By 1969, they had 14 variety stores and 18 WMs.

Anybody who has ever known anything about me knows I was never in anything for the short haul; I always wanted to build as fine a retailing organization as I could. – Sam Walton

If you want the people in the stores to take care of your customers, you have to make sure you’re taking care of the people in the stores. That’s the most important single ingredient of Wal-Mart’s success. – Sam Walton

Taking the Company Public. Sam never really like debt, although he knew it was essential for business. To get rid of this debt and to raise money from the public market, he decided to get listed. Stephens Inc was the one which proposed the idea to him. They kept taking short term loans to ease their woes. However, it was not sufficient in the long term. Prudential didn’t want to restructure their loan. Mike Smith and Jack Stephens would have to compete for WM’s business to take them public. The plan was to consolidate the company and offer 20% to the public. Some of their relatives and the managers had a stake in the company. They valued it using book value. The IPO price was $15. The stock has risen incredibly and made many people happy over the years. By 1990, it had a market capitalization of $60billion. His wife, Helen hated the public lifestyle that came after the company went public. All their debt was repaid and Sam was delighted. WM organized weekend events for shareholders and especially for the AGM. The shareholders had the chance to really understand what WM was like. Sam banned alcohol from the events as people were acting wildly. The events allowed shareholders to understand their business. If you believe in the basics of the company, there is no reason to buy and sell the company and not hold it long term. Big investors have the power to influence stock prices. WM is also very responsive to shareholders’ needs.

But if we demonstrate in our sales and our earnings every day, every week, every quarter, that we’re doing our job in a sound way, we will get the growth we are entitled to, and the market will respect us in a way that we deserve. – Sam Walton

As long as we’re managing our company well, as long as we take care of our people and customers, keep an eye on those fundamentals, we are going to be successful. – Sam Walton, on WM

But I enjoyed doing what I was doing so much and seeing the thing grow and develop, and seeing our associates and partners do so well, that I never could quit. – Sam Walton

Rolling Out the Formula. The people worked 16 hour days. WM targeted small towns, unlike the big players like K Mart. The big guys were expanding fast, however they left pockets of spaces for WM to enter. It should not be too far from the distribution centre or the managers’ places. They would then tell their best to saturate a small market before moving on. They built their stores around the city. When the city developed, WM would have more business. Saturation also ensures that you not need to advertise too much. Word-of-mouth advertising is extremely powerful. The population would build themselves to WM. Rob and Sam used a plane to scout potential WM sites. It worked very well. Sam like creativity, as long as it got the job done. Sam picked the right people and gave them maximum responsibility. Play on your strengths, and let your employees make up for your weaknesses. Sam loved numbers and statistics. Sam has quite a haphazard style sometimes. To him, new ideas take priority. Sam was relentless with his ideas. If he felt it wouldn’t work, then case closed. He sometimes reaches work at 4:30am. Sam was good at looking over someone’s shoulder. WM did face competition in the past. Its strategy was to keep cost down so as to pass on savings to customers. WM could open 50 years in 2 years. It was incredible. David Glass helped establish the modern and efficient transport system. Some of their competitors tried to copy the discounting model. Although their distribution model was better, they resorted to charging high mark-up. Eventually, they lost sales because of that.

But as long as he is convinced that it is the right thing, it just keeps coming up – week after week after week – until finally everybody capitulates and says, well, it’s easier to do it than to keep fighting this fight. I guess it could be called management by wearing you down. – David Glass, on Sam Walton

If you take someone who lacks the experience and the know-how but has the real desire and the willingness to work his tail off to get the job done, he’ll make up for what he lacks. And that proved true 9 times out of 10. – Sam Walton

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Panel Discussion: What are the Boundaries?

This panel discussion was held on 14 April 2016 and featured the following speakers: Loh Chin Ee, Suzanne Choo and Zhou Decheng.

Some of the important questions to ask are the following: Should literature even be taught? Which approach should be adopted? What kind of materials should be covered? The discussion is focused on literature that is taught in the secondary school curriculum. From surveys, over 25% of Singapore’s have heard of local authors like Catherine Lim, Russell Lee, Low Kay Hwa etc. There is a category of works known as canonical works. Should they be introduced? They are essentially a series of books chosen by a select group of people that reflects popular local culture. Should students be made to study such books? Should you choose a popular work or less popular works that reflect societal values? There are 3 possible approaches that be adopted. The first is the heritage view. This is a view that works chosen should reflect the national identity and should have cultural value. This is in line with social studies. However, should controversial books like those on race/religion be chosen as well? The next approach is the multi-perspective one. This is where important issues are raised. These include issues like ‘home/belonging’, ‘cost of living’, ‘family’ etc. Books chosen based on this approach should contain issues where students can relate to. The last approach is the world-lit view where both local and world literature should be studied. By world literature, it does not only include UK and US publications. This approach allows the student to develop a global perspective on issues. Ultimately, there are many questions that still need to be answered. Such as, who selects the books? Should some works be made compulsory or do teachers have some freedom to decide? Should more shorter works be selected, or just one or two long works?

The next area of discussion was on cosmopolitanizing literature education. Arts for arts sake? Oscar Wilde once commented that ‘All art is quite useless.’ In secondary schools, there are many questions in exams that are focused on style. This is closely related to aestheticism. However, this is a dangerous trend and could be the trend of why the number of students studying literature is declining. Formalism is the study of the text alone, without taking account author’s background or the students’ emotion. There is basically nothing beyond the reading of the text. This is the idolatry of the text. Is there no social value in the works? Does the text really no meaning beyond the words used? Is literature really useless? In Singapore, there is a heavy emphasis on American and British works. Instead of formalism, we could introduce cosmopolitan ethical criticism. This encourages students to think about ethical issues, morals and philosophy. This makes them better able to empathize with others and makes them better citizens of the world. Greek ethics is useful and can certainly improve students’ lives. Text could be chosen based on their underlying ethical issues and concepts. Literature could be a good way to introduce simple ethical concepts to students. Some of the text covered in the secondary school syllabus include ‘George Bernard Shaw – Pygamalion’; ‘Arthur Miller – Death of a Salesman’; ‘Mildred Taylor – The Road to Memphis’; ‘Where Angels Fail to Tread – EM Forster’. The books are heavily Western centric. Is there room for more controversial text?

The last discussion was on Chinese literature in Singapore and why we need a paradigm shift in thinking to improve it. The current syllabus covers about 50% classical works and 50% modern works. There is much emphasis on Chinese poetry. The syllabus is also classified according to genre. Both translated works and analysis are tested. Li Bai’s war poems are included as well. In addition to poetry, there is also fiction works like short stories and flash fiction that are covered. Martial arts novels are included too. Even sensitive areas like Gender issues could be themes covered in books.

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Dating Tips 108

How to find a Girlfriend Through Online Dating by Blaine Bond

The Complete Guide to Finding Love, Sex and Happiness in the 21st century. Thre are limited places to go to find someone suitable. Online dating is a fairly new phenomenon. No one is born perfect. You just need to find someone you are comfortable with.

So You Want to Be In a Relationship…Right? What are you looking for? Short term or long term. Think about what you are looking for carefully. There are also perks for being single. Is your professional life stable already? Write down exactly what you are looking for in a women. You must know exactly what your beliefs are. This will save you a lot of time. It is important to find the dating site that will best meet your needs.

Finding a Dating Site that Elicits Cheers Instead of an Impending Sense of Doom. eHarmony is a good site. You can use this for serious relationships. Match.com is one of the most popular sites out there. However, you have to pay if you want to communicate with anyone. These sites allow you to indicate what you want to see in a partner. ‘Plenty of Fish’ is another viable option. Ok Cupid is one of the best free sites around. Other sites include Craigslist, Zoosk, Chemistry, Friend Finder. Always try and expand your social circles.

Creating an Awesome Profile That Will Make You Look Cool Rather than Weird and Desperate. It is important to post a clear photo which is decent looking. Do not try too hard and post a topless photo of yourself. The photo should be recent. Try not to wear shades. Go for photo-shoots and find your best possible photo to post. Post photos from crazy vacations. Post photos where you are actively engaged in activities. Let women know you like kids. Add captions to photos. Go for positive tag-lines. Browse quote websites and find something suitable. Ensure that what you say must be sincere and something you mean. If you don’t have much to say about yourself, get your friends to chip in and give your ideas. Talk about your favourite activities and your job. If you have a religion, you could mention it too. A unique description will help you stand out from the crowd. Note that your profile should not be excessively long. It is good to fill up the education section too. Education is something girls value. As for income, you should skip this section. Spirituality is an important consideration and you should fill it up. As for political beliefs, it’s your choice. It is important to have activities. Do not lie about height and weight. Above all, it is important to be genuine and truthful in your profile.

Another great option is to simply talk about what you do for a living and your favourite activities. Work and hobbies or other favourite activities are a great way to get to know more about someone and find out if you have shared interests. – Blaine Bond

The Types of Women You Meet Online. The first type is the divorcee. The next type could be the my-job-isn’t-great-for-meeting-guys chick. You might meet the real hot girl. However, it is important to understand that you should not simply compliment her looks. Do not address an older woman as a cougar as it is very rude indeed. Some girls are commitment crazy. Some of them are cat fishes.

Talking to Women Online. The first step is to be literate. Do not use short-forms or net speak unless you know her well. Patience is important when dating. Be respectful when asking questions over the site. Do not bombard her with questions. When you ask something, remember to answer how it applies to yourself. Some safe topics for discussion includes travel, school, food, work, concerts, siblings. Avoid topics like fetish, why you hate your family, affairs you had, sob stories, your ex-relationships. Try not to compliment her on her looks. This might come off as being cheesy and a pick-up line. In general, women loved being asked questions. If you add her on Facebook, your chances will improve. You might even want to add her on Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube etc. Learn to take the slow route. Try and progress to phone call and text if possible. At a minimum, you should chat for about a week before you suggest meeting face-to-face. On a first date, try to avoid meeting for drinks. This might send her the wrong signal that you want to get her drunk so that you can take advantage of her. A coffee date is a good idea. Eat breath mints.

Keep in mind that if she doesn’t respond, it’s not the best idea to continue messaging her. There’s nothing wrong with sending a follow-up message, as it is entirely possible she didn’t read it yet or hasn’t been on the site in a few days. If she still doesn’t respond to your second email, she probably isn’t interested, so move on. – Blaine Bond

To date multiple women at once, or not to date multiple women at once, that is the question. Although you may not get caught, it can be tiring. If you are interested in one girl, drop the rest. If you want a good time, it might be possible to date multiple girls at once. Talking to multiple women might speed up the process.

While it makes sense to talk to more than one woman rather than putting all your eggs in one proverbial basket, it’s still a good idea to try to establish a connection with each of them and see how it goes. Eventually you’ll have to settle on one and let the others down gently. – Blaine Bond

Nine Short Quizzes to Help You Out. A good message could be something like this: ‘Hi, I read your profile and I feel we have a few similar interests. How was your weekend? Do you [pick a hobby from her profile] often?’ It is good to ask questions about her work. It is not appropriate to bring the girl home on the first date. Coffee in the afternoon would seem good. To start a conversation, you can say ‘Have you been to this place before?’ Never criticize or complain when you meet her. Project an image that you have an awesome life. Always pay for the first date. Do not compliment her on her looks that make you seem perverted. It is okay to go out without carrying any accessories. You must impress on your first date if you want to still see her on the second date.

The Pitfalls of Online Dating and How to Cope. Don’t despair and continue looking. Don’t be bitter if she rejects you. Treat it as a learning lesson as you get to improve and understand better what you like in a girl. Serial dating can seem tiring. If you are jaded, take a long trip to recharge. You must seem energetic during the date. If she harasses you, report her on the app or block her.

Part of dating, whether online or not, is rejection. Should the rejection become more commonplace than actual interaction, think about your approach and how you can modify it. You may be coming on too strong, or too pervy. Remember to be respectful and genuine, and eventually the right girl will respond. – Blaine Bond

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How to Develop Emotional Health by Oliver James

Introduction. It is something that you are experiencing now. Learn to feel comfortable in your own skin. Self-awareness is important. You are adaptable yet authentic. You have a strong ethical code. You are spontaneous in nature. Your emotional health allows you to feel resilient. The fact is that most of us are not able to have perfect emotional health all the time. Those who have stressful jobs rarely lead good and stable emotional health. Emotional health is different from mental health. Happiness is indeed a fleeting state. Emotional health has little to do with genes or hereditary factors. There are 5 key elements of emotional health. They are 1) insightfulness (ability to understand); 2) living in the present (have your own identity); 3) fluid 2 way relationships (interact freely); 4) authenticity (live by your values); 5) playfulness and vivacity (approaching life with joy). It is certainly possible to achieve all 5 of the above. Being cared for when you are young is an important component of emotional health.

Once you passed early adulthood, your likelihood of being mentally healthy improves with each year. – Oliver James

Insightfulness. You should recognize the early signs of things that reduce emotional health. Our present is sometimes shaped by our past. For instance, we can unlearn bad habits taught by our parents. How you were brought up by your parents will have an impact on how you raise your future kids. Your childhood has a big impact in your adulthood. The ‘fight-or-flight’ hormone might be present in kids who were abused in the past. It is important for the mother not to develop the fight or flight mechanism during pregnancy as it might affect the child’s development in future. Parents need to be secure in their love during the early stage of development. By 6, you are largely influenced by your upbringing. A human’s IQ and personality does not change much over time. Life is such that one thing leads to another. For instance, your disposition as a kid might attract a certain group of friends. Most people take careers as a reflection of our parents, or as a response. Sometimes, you need to be aware that family traditions might be passed down. However, this can be mitigated and you should have a mind to think for yourself. The eldest sibling is usually less risky taking and more obedient. The youngest sibling typically has to innovate and be different to get attention. It is easier to correct if the influences occurred when you were 6. If it had occurred when you were younger, it would be more difficult as you will have difficulty recollecting. It is not advisable to feel that your traits are pre-determined.

If you can gain an accurate knowledge of how you were cared for as a child and develop insight into how it governs your present experience, it can transform who you are. – Oliver James

By age 30, our proneness to common emotional problems, like depression or anxiety, is well-established. If you have already suffered them by then, you are liable to do so again. Our main tool for change for the better is insight, especially about the influence of the past upon our present. – Oliver James

To the extent that you have simply inherited a damaging family culture, and depending on your capacity to feel safe to challenge your parents in your mind, you can call that culture into question. – Oliver James

Living in the Present: A Sense of Self. It is crucial to know who you are and build a strong identity. If not, you must want to seek others’ attention. In fact, you may want a lot of achievements and make yourself extremely busy just to distract yourself from loneliness. As a baby, we are completely vulnerable and powerless. We hate that feeling. The carer, when feeding the baby, can have a strong impact on the emotional health of the child. His actions can confer physical sensations in the baby. Some people can have seeming tumultuous pasts but yet exhibit strong emotional health. Absence of care by both parents can lead to a weak identity in a child. The need is to know your child intimately and know their needs. Serious dissociation can lead to depersonalization etc. The earlier the child is maltreated, the largely the impact in his adult life. Having a strong parental figure is proven to help build resilience for the child later on in life. Some people with weak selves might end up shooting their caregivers. Therapy and medication can help. However, there are other ways to address a weak self too. For instance, picking up a hobby or finding an interest helps. Some people seek success in their adult life so as to compensate for feeling helpless when young. However, if you are not careful, your true self may not be expressed if you are busy at work etc. Some people like the thrill of being associated with being called a certain position. Weak selves tend to vivacious in their lives. However, they often neglect the questions which are deep etc. Their vivacity in life may be counterfeit in nature. Community and belonging can aid people with a weak self. We are often identified by what we do at work. Never express your individualism by your possessions. Personality disorders are more common among highly individualistic societies, like America. There are flaws to collectivism, but at least it helps a weak-self live in a developed country. Doing things with your friends improves mental and emotional health. One can also gain identity via religious activities. There is always the possibility of volition even in dire situations.

However, hard work and exceptional achievement can provide a self, and be every bit as addictive as heroin, producing electrochemical changes in the body which compensate for infantile lacks. – Oliver James

For the weak-selfed person, being an individual is hard. You have to decide who to be, what to do, and if you lack self, that is a huge demand, making resorting to drugs or alcohol or a workaholic lifestyle more likely. – Oliver James

Fluid, Two-Way Relationships. People can bring you down with their negative personalities etc. As a kid, we can experience either secure or insecure types of attachment. We may be rejected by our carer and this can have an impact on our well-being. Remember, hell is not the other people. Do not let money be your lodestar. For people who have been abused, they are afraid of getting into relationships with people. To them, relationships might seem dangerous. They are afraid of even being touched or hugged. Being very successful in your life can draw people to you. However, these are often just acquaintances and are unlikely to be your friends. If you have no secure figure in your childhood, you might not trust any adult again. However, a stable relationship with a therapist might make things better. Kids from broken homes also tend to suffer. How can I improve my relationships? Be emotionally healthy before deciding to have a kid. Compare with your childhood to see the differences between your parents traits and spouses’ traits. Separation will be very damaging for your children. It is proven by research that being in a lousy relationship could be better than not being in any. Learn to seek more intimacy. Modern people have more facebook friends, but less true friends. You need to distance sex from relationships. Try to connect with strangers and be nice to strangers around you. Sex is definitely not companionship in any way. For emotionally healthy people, the other people are like heaven.

Because our relationship with our opposite-sexed parent is so influential in determining what we find attractive in others, we have a lamentable tendency to repeat the past, picking partners who duplicate the behaviours of our parents. – Oliver James

Authenticity in Our Careers. Many people are satisfied with their jobs and do not want to see progress. This is good. If you know what enough is, you can be contented. Sometimes, being too ambitious can bring on undue stress. Being calm and self-confident can exude beauty as well. As parents, all you want is for your kids to be happy. Learn to stay authentic in both your education and career. If you know what you enjoy, you can just focus on that and not focus on everything to burn yourself out. Good values must be communicated when young. The message and values sent must be consistent throughout. Being too angry or forceful to children might backfire. If the child identifies with the value more himself, chances are the good behaviour will last. Let the child have the freedom to choose. Whatever a parent says has to be authentic or else the kid will be able to detect it. For high-achievers, it is more difficult to retain good level of emotional health. Coercive methods can back-fire in the future when bringing up a kid. Americans tend to be more narcissistic. Do not live your life like a robot. In some European countries, it is understood and is ingrained in the culture that one should not simply seal the limelight. Learn to play down differences in ability and personality. It is important to understand your goals/motives at work. If you follow a goal your parents set for you, it is more of an extrinsic goal. You will be caught on the hedonic treadmill if you don’t know when to stop. You need to learn how to navigate office politics, because it is inevitable. Learn to form alliances with those who are with you. You need to work smart and learn to deal with others. Sometimes, it is necessary to wear different facades at the workplace. It is necessary, once in a while, to do things that are not pleasant.

When it comes to achievement, they have a well-developed concept of enough. Professionally, they are satiable. They do not constantly compare themselves to others, or feel the need to keep up with the Joneses. – Oliver James

A clear sign of identification has occurred is when someone does things throughout life because they enjoy them, like hobbies. At its best, they manage to build a career or find a job based on these interests. – Oliver James

In the context of work, people with intrinsic motives and goals have been shown to seek intellectual fulfilment, creative self-expression and a sense of mastery in completing tasks. The extrinsic look for evermore money and professional prestige. – Oliver James

Yes, it helps to be competent at the tasks that the job requires, and to be a hard worker, but without office political skills, you will be lucky to thrive. – Oliver James

We all develop a variety of personae to deal with others, in all situations, including in family life. At the office, an emotionally healthy person will consciously develop different masks to be put on when dealing with different people. – Oliver James

Playfulness and Vivacity in Parenting. It is important to make it fun during the parenthood stage. Learn to create something new. A loving partner might not be ideal. Learn to understand your own situation. Motherhood can improve a woman’s emotional health. Becoming a parent helps calm you down. You need to care for someone else. For this to happen, you need to have excellent emotional health too. Everything feels good again. How we parent is affected by how we were cared for when we were young. Parenting has a key role in nurturing a genetically difficult baby and making them normal. Nurturing is crucial for a child. There are three types of mothers: 1) Hugger; 2) Organizer; 3) Fleximums. For a Hugger, financial constraints will cause her harm as she will not able to offer excellent care on the child. Do not simply choose a man for his attractiveness, but you must think whether he is capable of raising a kid. Divorces are ugly and often the person ends up committing the same mistake. Your childhood will affect who you see as being attractive in future to be your partner. A martial therapist can be useful indeed. Try to acknowledge and identify traits of your parents in your partner.

Conclusion: Meeting the Challenges. You have to live more in the present. Learn to be more authentic and insightful. Be playful and vivacious. Success is ever partial. You cannot be completely emotionally healthy, but you can always strive to improve your current state. You must know which branch you are stepping on. If you had a negative childhood, find ways to stop it from affecting you. Do not take the abuse too personally. Learn to take stock of what you have. It usually takes a major event to wake people up. Learn to practise mindfulness and meditation. Vow to start living now and start over. Picture yourself in a symbolic grave. Sometimes, books can be a revelation on its own. Refrain from substance abuse as it might affect your mental health. If you have serious emotional health issues, seek help. Use CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). Hope for the best, expect the worst.

If only we could be satisfied with what we have got, materially, we could start to focus on the other stuff, which is so integral to emotional health: our intimates, our friends, our communities and hobbies, as well as more profound experiences, like enjoyment of the arts, or spending time in beautiful natural places, or spiritual pursuits – in fact, whatever rocks your inner boat. – Oliver James

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Review of the Ball SG50 Fireman Night Train

I purchased this watch on Sunday, 19 April 2015. This was the first mechanical watch that I owned and it will have a special place in my heart. Before this, I only wore a Skagen Quartz watch which my dad gave me. Since the purchase of the SG50 watch, I caught the watch bug and currently own 6 mechanical watches. 2015 being Singapore’s 50th anniversary, I knew that as a true-blue patriotic Singaporean, I needed to celebrate and commemorate this Jubilee year. When Ball Watch Company announced that they were releasing a 1000-piece limited edition Fireman Night Train watch (45mm case and is 11.65mm thick) that had the ‘SG50’ being formed out of tritium tubes, I was sold. What better way to celebrate SG50 than to get myself an SG50 watch. The one I purchased was number 220/1000. The watch is now completely sold out and I am secretly hoping that I might be able to sell it at a decent price in the future.

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Ball Watch Company was founded by an American, Webb C. Ball, in 1891. An accident in 1891 prompted him to act. Refer to link for a brief history of the brand and the founder. Basically, he established stringent watch standards for train operators and inspectors in order to keep good time and prevent railroad accidents from occurring. He was instrumental in the development of chronometry and improving of watch accuracy. He emphasized on keeping precise time and created railroad grade timepieces. This was how the term ‘Official Standard’ came about. Ball watches are known for their visual simplicity, elegance and precision. Refer to link to read more about the founder.

The Ball SG50 Fireman Night Train draws inspiration from a similar model, the Night Train DLC. The case size, height, strap are identical. The only difference is the design of the dial and the layout of tritium tubes used. The watch is resistant for up to 5000Gs. I simply love the arrow-like hands and the RR (RailRoad) design on the second hand. In addition, the hour, minute and second hands are lumed for great night visibility. Ball is celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2016, and this is testament to the longevity and heritage of the brand. Ball is known for producing reliable watches with good quality. Ball can certainly hold its own against Tag Heuer/Oris in terms of quality and finish. In terms of price point, Ball watches are generally in the affordable range of SGD1.5k to 6k. Ball is also renowned for their use of tritium T25 tubes which can glow up to 25 years and requires no charging. This sets the brand apart from many other luxury brands which use Superluminova. Ball watches are Swiss made, value-for-money and are extremely durable.

The main reason why I found it so attractive was the affiliation with SG50 and also the technical components that came with the watch. My reasons are listed below:

The Ball SG50 night train comes in a stainless steel DLC case and a vanilla scented 22mm black rubber strap. The watch is relatively lightweight due to the use of a rubber strap. The rubber strap is comfortable on the skin. The DLC coating is even and largely matt-finished in nature, giving the case a striking black tone. I would say that the DLC treatment on steel is well done and comparable to many other luxury brands.

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The watch doesn’t draw attraction from others, which I like. There are hardly any polished edges and Ball is generally not well-known among the general public even though their watches are good value-for-money. It has a flat sapphire crystal which is AR coated. Due to the materials used, the watch will not develop patina over time. However, the SG50 logo is prominently featured on the dial.

The Ball SG50 night train is a sporty and everyday watch with 100 meters water resistance and shock resistance to 5000Gs. This is a watch where you can wear daily without having to worry about it. As the watch is donned with a sweat-resistant rubber strap, it is certainly possible to use the watch for hiking, trekking etc. Personally, I will don on the watch when attending Singapore related events like the SG World Cup Qualifiers in Aug 2015 etc. After nearly 1 year of use, my watch is almost scratch-free and still in mint condition.

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Ball SG50 night train uses the Ball automatic calibre RR1103, which is essentially a clone of the ETA -2824. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used with many other watch brands whom they get ETA as their supplier. Of course, Ball modifies the movement via adding decorations and also to make it more shock resistant. The movement comes with a 38 to 42 hour power reserve and I have no qualms about the movement at this price point. For an in-house movement, one can be expected to pay at least double. Some of the more expensive Ball models are also COSC chronometer certified (-4 to +6 seconds/day). I have tested my watch on a Timegrapher and it currently runs at a decent -5 seconds/day.

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The black dial on the Ball SG50 night train can be divisive in nature. The red SG50 logo at the 9 o’clock position makes the watch look cheap. I sought feedback from my friends on the design of the dial and many of them did not appreciate the looks. To me, the red SG50 logo is certainly out of place. However, I can understand why Ball did it. The red logo is symbolic and can be seen on almost all SG50-related merchandise last year. In general, I gradually liked the design of the dial and especially the yellow hour markers and white minute markers. Overall, there are only 2 lines of text on the dial and it does not appear cluttered.

The Ball SG50 night train has an engraved caseback. The image of a Night Train fills the centre of the caseback. It is certainly very attractive and pleasant to look at. In addition, there are the words ‘SINGAPORE’ and ‘LIMITED EDITION’ laser-engraved on the outer rim. This reminds me that the Ball SG50 night train is indeed something to be cherished.

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The watch comes with a vanilla-scented rubber strap. After much use, the rubber strap still appears intact and seems to be very durable. The fit is snug and the strap is relatively sweat resistant. The good thing about rubber, unlike leather, is that it doesn’t age. Therefore, my strap will look just as new many years down the road.

I have saved the best for last, just like hitting the ‘climax’ of a movie. The Ball SG50 Night Train has incredible lume due to 93 micro-sized tritium tubes. This is, in fact, the most number of tritium tubes that Ball has utilized on a watch thus far. It’s like nothing I ever seen before. Although you cannot charge the lume, tritium tubes can glow up for to 25 years. In addition, if they become dim, it is possible to replace the tubes for a fee. You may wonder, how does tritium actually work? Tritium emits electrons through beta decay, and, when they interact with a phosphor material, fluorescent light is created, a process called radio-luminescence. The radiation exposure is so weak that it doesn’t affect human health.

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Overall, after wearing it for a year, I am still impressed by how the watch has not ‘aged’ and still looks in like-new condition. Ball also issued a certificate which is unique to this SG50 limited edition watch. The Ball SG50 Night Train is a fun watch for the weekend and will pair well with casual clothing. The two most outstanding features are its (1) commemorative meaning; (2) tritium tubes. The watch was released in early 2015 and retailed for SGD 2,800. However, if you want to lay your hands on one now, you will have to get a pre-owned one.

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