Saturday, November 12, 2016

Choose yourself!

I am reading this book by James Altucher titled Choose Yourself. I'm still in the midst of it but am loving the message that the book is trying to convey. In this kind of economy, there's not much loyalty for any particular company. Everyone of us has to treat ourselves as a company and behave like we are one!

Here's some tips on choosing yourself from my own experience:

1. Have a personal brand and personality that people know you for

I think the general impression I get from people is that I'm very well read, disciplined and reliable. Try thinking of any one and rattle off 3 characteristics about that person. It doesn't matter whether it's true or not, but the perception is what matters. If you're perceived to be an asshole, then you will be treated like one. Jobs come and go, but your personal branding and personality stays. When times are bad, your personal branding might be the only thing that can differentiate between you and another stranger in the interviewer's perception. It takes a while to build up a personal brand and reputation, so remember that all it takes is 10s to destroy it. If you don't want to keep up the appearance, then be authentic and real. It'll be easier in the long run!

2. Marketing yourself - everyone must know what you're doing for a living

This is related to point 1. Everyone that I know must know that I'm a tutor, if not I've failed to market myself. It is said that the lobangs come from people outside your inner circle - the acquaintances in your 3rd, 4th, 5th and above degree of separation, so start telling people what you do for a living. If nobody knows what you're doing, then how can they offer help?

I'm not the hard marketing type also, so you likely won't see me dropping name cards in social events. I don't even have a name card lol! There's another side to marketing - you can market yourself all you like, but you better be good in what you are doing. If not, you'll be like the exploding samsung handphones. A good product is meaningless without good marketing while a bad product needs no marketing.

3. Upgrade and invest in yourself

This is not to satisfy some certifications or professional training time. We're talking about real useful skills here. If you choose yourself, then don't let others dictate what is good to learn. Choosing yourself requires responsibility and that involves having a goal in mind and looking for skill sets gap to fill. It can be a formal course like taking a proper training course offline or online, or just reading. Remember we're not upgrading to show others that we have the certification. We're upgrading ourselves because we want to be better, so you don't have to take up official qualifications. Reading is a form of upgrading of skill set too, especially if you read widely. I'm not picky - even reading comics is a form of upgrade. Hey, it takes imagination to jump from frame to frame! But do yourself a favour, don't just read comics. Read a proper book too :)

4. Exercise, meditate and take care of yourself

Resting and taking good care of your mental and spiritual health enables you to walk a further distance than others. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, so make yourself better so that you can provide better quality of service to others. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. Treat yourself well because you're a machine that needs occasional oiling and maintenance too!

5. Learn to say no

I'm still learning this. Learning to say no means you value your own time. You don't waste time on nonsense people or events that you do not enjoy. If you value your own time, you can be sure others won't value yours too. Choose yourself and make yourself happy. That way, you can be sure others are happy and don't have to listen to your complains too :)


Singapore Man of Leisure said...


I've not read the book but I have read James Altucher's blog from time to time 3-4 years ago?


From early success to total failures at personal and business level.

Picked himself up and start over.

Learn to say no - this is the acid test!

I don't need to say much; I think you understand ;)

la papillion said...


Interesting you picked that as the acid test :) I have a hard time saying no, even up to now. It's hard but I will hve to do that a lot more in the future :) You can try the book, I think it's pretty good :)

la papillion said...

Hi temperament,

Reading that book title is enough to blow my mind - i never thought of it this way :)

The book did mention that if we can't avoid such occasions when we would rather be elsewhere, then choose yourself and be happy anyway. Make yourself happy by enjoying yourself there. We can do that by framing the situation. Instead of seeing that the outing robs you of time that you can wisely spent on things you would rather do, you can frame it as other stuff. Maybe it can be a network session. Maybe it can be a free meal LOL

Choosing yourself need not mean that you're selfish and always place your needs before others. It can also mean embracing the suck and be happy anyway. Once you took control of your reactions to things that you know you can't control, you had already chosen yourself to be happy :)

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


"The book did mention that if we can't avoid such occasions when we would rather be elsewhere, then choose yourself and be happy anyway."

This what I meant by acid test ;)

James Altucher and I practice it.

If we can't say no when it matters, then everything about personal branding, marketing, and upgrading ourselves is moot.

Sillyinvestor said...


My wife told me "brand" is a promise of quality. I would take that as to mean consistency In delivery.
That's why personality is more constant than mood or energy, and according to "transactional analysis" character more constant than personality.

I would rather work with constant bitchy bosses than people with the heart at the wrong place

la papillion said...


"If we can't say no when it matters, then everything about personal branding, marketing, and upgrading ourselves is moot." ~ Hmm, that is true! I think part of a strong personal branding means that you can dictate your own terms!

Mastery of your own live is choosing yourself!

la papillion said...

Hi SI,

I think she's right - it is a promise of quality. I suppose if I buy a branded goods, I'm expecting the standards to be high considering the amt of money that I bought for it. Agree! In the service industry like mine, it would be the delivery as you've mentioned.

I think we can see personality as the mean, while mood/energy fluctuates around that mean. Some days you feel better while other days you feel worse, but your personality is your mean that others can expect from you. It's quite a good theory.

Btw, I've finished reading the book Beautiful Soul by Eyal Press. Very good book, and I highly recommended it to anyone reading it. It somehow gives me the courage to do what is right regardless of what others think. Fantastic recommendation :)

Sillyinvestor said...


That's good, I can't say I always choose the "pure right", in fact, I choose 2 "wrongs" recently

la papillion said...


Would love you to see you blog about it ;)

Sillyinvestor said...

But at least I know it's a choice. It's my choice after considerations, and I dun give myself excuses for "lesser evil" or "Cher, they also do it..."