Archive for the ‘Motivation.’ Category

Work, Matters! : The power of self belief

Friday, March 8th, 2019
People who lack self-belief have a strong inclination to filter out the positive aspects about themselves.

This week I started a new daily radio breakfast segment on Lite Malaysia, called The Right Perspective with Shankar Santhiram.

Having spent the last 10 years serving listeners in the Klang Valley, this is now an opportunity for me to present my views to a larger audience on one the top English language radio stations that broadcasts to all corners of the country.

I feel very privileged to have been given this amazing avenue.

My first focus on my new radio show on Lite Malaysia has been to help listeners understand and connect with the idea that if you want better results in your life, you must accept that no one else can make things better for you.

It lies squarely on you, alone.

Your actions determine your results. This is the only perspective that ultimately matters for your own personal growth, on all fronts. This mind-set, where you take ownership of your actions is necessary for all parts of your life, from your home relationships to your careers.

And the start point is to understand that your actions are founded on your purpose, and belief structure.

Your beliefs are hugely influential, and powerful. Their impact is beyond the normal conscious control that your mind gives you. Much of what happens to you is a result of your sub-conscious beliefs.

For examples, in my family, we have standing joke. If there’s even a slight hint of getting wet in the rain, my father will catch a cold. He believes this quite vehemently, and like magic, it always happens to him.

I have always found this absolutely intriguing when I compare him to people who often get wet in the rain, like footballers who are contracted to play even as it rains, and they do not catch a cold.

The power of your sub-conscious beliefs is quite phenomenal.

There are multiple scientific studies on the placebo effect that reinforce this. A placebo is a substance containing no medication, given to strengthen a patient’s expectation to get well. Their belief that the treatment will work, dramatically affects the way their bodies react to the illness.

The placebo effect is not deception. Instead, it is a product of expectation. The human brain anticipates certain outcomes, and because that belief is so strong, the desired outcome is produced. This underlines the fact that ‘belief’ is vital to the human mind.

If you belief in something strong enough, it will happen. Therefore, to be successful at anything we do, we must have belief.

On my radio shows on Lite Malaysia, I am regularly reminding listeners that of all the ‘beliefs’ we develop, self-belief is critical. People with self-belief have qualities that we admire. They are confident and competent.

People with high levels of self-belief also encourage confidence in others. To become successful, we need to inspire and engage people around us. The biggest contributor to self-belief is our confidence in our ability.

As we master skills and gain expertise in any given field, we gain in confidence. And, as we sense that we are competent at what we do, our self-belief increases.

While positive thinking has a role in the development of our self-belief, setting and achieving goals helps us build confidence and competence.

Through my work, I have learnt that the key component to developing self-belief is being confident that the end result you want is possible.

You need to be able to say with total conviction “it really is possible for me to achieve this goal”.

Having self-belief facilitates finding creative solutions. When you approach a goal at the workplace with disbelief you will feel anxiety and your ability to think gets clouded by this. Naturally, finding solutions becomes less probable when you feel this way.

Alternatively, when you approach a goal or a problem at work or even in life with self-belief, you are able to think much more clearly. This clarity stimulates better reasoning, and ignites your memory more effectively.

Above all, I personally tend to get a lot more creative when I approach any issue with the belief that I can overcome it.

People who lack self-belief have a strong inclination to filter out the positive aspects about themselves.

So, consciously work on identifying and acknowledging your results and strengths.

I always ask people in my executive leadership coaching programme to list out their accomplishments, and not undersell their successes to themselves.

Next, I ask them to stop comparing themselves to others.

This is a total waste of time, and completely futile. Because no matter how good you are at something, you can and will always find somebody who is better than you. Do not sabotage your own self-belief.

And finally, I ask my coachees to continuously work on self-improvement by concentrating on their efficacy skills. Self-efficacy refers to your belief in your capacity to execute behaviour necessary to produce specific results.


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A passion to excel

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018
Nurul Husna Mohd Yusoff’s hard work and determination paid off when she won two awards at the World Scientist Award 2017 in South Korea.

HER ambition is to inspire others in whatever she is doing. And, for that to happen, she has to create her own achievements.

However, Nurul Husna Mohd Yusoff, 21, had to go through some hurdles in her life, like dealing with depression when she was doing her A Levels, which she regarded as the lowest point in her life.

Although her passion was on creating innovative ideas, she chose to slow things down and focus on her studies.

“My passion in innovation started when I was selected to do a hands-on science project based on absorption and separation processes to remove a solute from a gas stream,” Nurul Husna said.

“The processes accomplish the removal by contacting the gas mixture with a liquid solvent that readily absorbs undesirable components from the gas stream, at the same time purifying it.

“Most of my projects are based on waste, such as shrimp shells, empty fruit bunch and other materials.”

However, she said she needed to be more confident and overcome her insecurities. In order for her to be accepted into the university of her choice, she needed to get good grades.

“Therefore, I surround myself with positive vibes so that I can be more creative in my innovation and excel in my studies,” said the Penangite.

Her recent international achievements in innovations not only made her family proud, but the country, too.

“The latest competition I joined was the World Scientist Award 2017 in South Korea, in which I won two awards — World Woman Scientist Grand Award and World Gifted Students Grand Award.”

She was selected as the winner due to her achievements academically and in innovation competitions.

“I was up against participants who were older than me and matured from other countries, such as Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Morocco and others,” Nurul Husna said.

“I also won the Gold Award and Special Award at the Toronto International Society of Innovation & Advanced Skills last year.

“I joined these competitions because I want to know my project’s progress, whether they are in demand or not, and to gain more experience,” Nurul Husna said.

“To be honest, I did not expect to win these awards as most of the participants are lecturers, professors and researchers,” said Nurul Husna.

Nurul Husna went to Sekolah Menengah Sains Tun Syed Sheh Shahabuddin in Penang.

The youngest of five siblings, she strove to excel in her studies at boarding school. Her parents, Mohd Yusoff Abu Bakar and Jemilah Mat, are retirees.

After SPM, she did her A Levels at Kolej Yayasan UEM.

Now, she is doing a twinning programme in Chemical Engineering with Oil and Gas Technology at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia in Putrajaya. It is a four-year degree programme combined with a master’s programme. She plans to further her studies till PhD level.

“I am in the process of patenting my prototype and publishing an article related to my project, which is about the absorption process to tackle oil spills, especially in Malaysia.”

To participate in The 4th World Scientist Award, she had to submit an application form to explain her project, as well as attach what was related to the project and her involvement in the innovation field.

“I used disposable waste to absorb oil. It can also act as fertiliser after the absorption. For fibre materials, it is a multi-purpose product where it can act as absorption and make paper,” Nurul Husna explained.

“Since I have yet to patent my project, I needed to explain why and what my future prospect was for the competition.

“To patent a project, you need to know whether your project has a commercial value. This is the challenge for me as I need to improvise my project in order to patent it.”

As a student, Nurul Husna has the same daily routine as her peers.

Her classes would start from 9am till 4.30pm everyday. Then, she would go for a run, or play basketball or hockey.

“At night, I teach English, Additional Mathematics and Chemistry at a tuition centre, in Puchong. If I do not have tuition class, I will sleep for a while around two to three hours after Isyak prayers.

“Then, I will wake up to study and settle my work. Every day, I will revise what I have learnt that day.

“I will study until dawn and go to class the next day,” she said, adding that her routine since her school years had become a habit.

For Nurul Husna, the term leadership is close to her heart since school. She normally takes charge of a situation and comes out with the best solution for every problem.

By Zulita Mustafa.

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Empowering young women from within

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

I USED to think that achieving my dreams was impossible, but with the scholarship, I can now study without worrying about financial constraints,” said Nur Shafiqa Zulkefli, a recipient for the Fair & Lovely Scholarship 2017.

Nur Shafiqa was among the lucky 40 deserving young women who are currently enrolled in diploma and degree studies at local public universities.

She said the scholarship will help ease her family’s burden.

Fair & Lovely, for the second year now, gave away RM200,000 worth of scholarships in its initiative to transform and inspire the lives of women through education, beauty and confidence.

Each recipient received RM5,000 as funding to assist with necessities such as tuition fees and books.

This year, 12,044 students from 23 universities applied for the scholarship, a rising rate of 50 per cent compared to 8,000 applications last year.

“We aspire to serve as a brand that does not champion only the beauty and confidence of women, but also their dreams and educational opportunities. With the increase in cost of living, many students face financial barriers,” said Unilever (Malaysia) Holding Sdn Bhd’s Fair & Lovely brand manager Callista Fernandez.

“Hence, this scholarship will specifically provide the opportunity for women to further their education without worry.”

Fair & Lovely’s brand promise is to enable all women to carve out their own destiny by empowering them with inner strength and confidence that comes from feeling good about their visible, clear fairness.

“To further boost their confidence, we also had a surprise grooming and skincare education. Confidence is one of the most important elements in achieving success and being able to carry themselves well will boost one’s self-confidence.”

“We want to push these young women to greater heights and believe that dreams do come true when you start believing in yourself,” added Fernandez.

The students that were shortlisted from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn (UTHM) must obtain a minimum of 3.0 grade point average (GPA) apart from being actively involved in co-curricular activities.

Daiyan Trisha sharing the joy with some of the scholarship recipients. Pix by Nik Hariff Hassan

Nabila Ali, 21, a second-year Oil & Gas Engineering degree student at UiTM Shah Alam, said the scholarship would be motivation for her to study even harder and help ease her family’s burden.

“I grew up in Sabah and I am the seventh out of 10 siblings. My mother is self-employed and has to raise my younger siblings. We are not from a rich family, hence I have to use money wisely. Now I can keep a little bit for my flight tickets for whenever I want to see them,” she said.

Nabila is active in various sports clubs and associations in university.

Nur Nadiah Abdul Jalil, 22, said she first heard about the scholarship during the orientation programme at her university.

“I didn’t feel confident at all but thought, why not. Armed with my good academic results and active participation in co-curricular activities, I wrote an essay entitled ‘Why we are among the chosen ones?’.”

“This scholarship will help me to buy textbooks,” said Nur Nadiah, a first year student in Degree in Civil and Building Services at UTHM.

Wan Nur Aqilah Wan Yusof, 20, from Kuala Terengganu said the scholarship opens the door for her to continue striving hard.

by Zulita Mustafa.

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Syed Faizuddin Advises Students Not To Easily Give Up

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

DHAKA, Jan 14 (Bernama) — The Raja Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail urged students not to easily give up, but to be strong and determined when faced with a big challenge.

He said they should also be innovative, hardworking and adhere to the principle that “nothing is impossible in ordinary life”.

“Impossible is only impossible until someone does it for the first time, then it is no longer impossible. Once upon a time, people believed that our world was flat and square until somebody travelled around the globe to prove otherwise.”

Tuanku Syed Faizuddin said this in his keynote address at the 5th convocation of Daffodil International University (DIU), here, yesterday.

“The degree in your hand will be an excellent springboard to launch your career and your life. Therefore, it is imperative to plan your career carefully so as to give the best impact not only to yourself but your family, community, and ultimately the nation and Islam,” he added.

He also asked Bangladesh students to look at the education system of Malaysia and take advantage of what could be learnt there.

Tuanku Syed Faizuddin, who is also the chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), said Malaysia was initiating many approaches in order to keep up with the changing world and current needs which would generate a well-structured development of higher education.

“Students in Malaysia can choose to either study in locally-run programmes or twinning academic programmes, or take up vocational technical or skills training,” he said.

A total of 3,682 graduands of DIU received their degrees at its permanent campus in Savar, Dhaka, including 785, their master’s degree.

by Adnan Jahaya


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Is Praise Undermining Student Motivation?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

We think of praise as a good thing, even admirable. Don’t we praise our kids when they show us the drawing that they made in art class? To be anti-praise is almost like being anti-good person. We praise others in order to motivate them to improve achievement, as well as increase self-esteem. What can possibly be wrong with that?

The failure of praise
Research has found that praise can actually undermine performance and self-esteem in many contexts. One study found that praise for intelligence leads to the belief by the recipient that their intelligence is fixed, and thus not something that they can influence through action or effort (Dweck, 2007). This is critical because intelligence is in fact malleable, and improved by taking risks. Students grow when they try something difficult that might lead to failure. Because failure is one of the most important tools for learning, growth requires a mindset that embraces challenge and the potential for failure.

But students who are praised for intelligence do not seek challenges. When given the option of trying a difficult task that could lead to failure and growth, or an easy one that will not risk failure but produce no growth, those offered praise for their intelligence tend to choose the latter, thus undermining their growth. Worst yet, when forced to do a difficult problem they will quickly give up if failure appears on the horizon (Dweck, 2007).

by John Orlando, PhD

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Dr M: Fear of shame a driving force for success

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

IPOH: The fear of being shamed can be a driving force for success, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The former prime minister said he observed this from the Japanese and was inspired to introduce his Look East policy in Malaysia during his tenure.

“Back in the old days, the term harakiri was familiar to most Japanese, who committed suicide because of serious offences that brought shame to them.

“In modern times, this strong sense of shame pushes them to develop their country well and to deliver their very best in every endeavour. This quality, if emulated by students and adults in Malaysia, can lead our country to success and prosperity,” he said in his keynote address as the chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) at its 14th convocation at Seri Iskandar, near here, yesterday.

He encouraged the 1,278 graduates to cultivate similar values as the Japanese to live up to the expectations of their loved ones.

“Education is not available for everyone. Some countries do not have enough schools and facilities to accommodate this need while some provide an abundance of institutions and scholarships,” said Dr Mahathir.

“University students should feel grateful that they are given the chance to pursue their studies and, in turn, they should strive to give back to society,” he said.

Dr Mahathir handed out scrolls to all graduates and trophies to special award recipients.


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Empty pockets, full lives

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

One per cent of the global population are immensely wealthy. However we should not envy them and instead reflect on how those who are not rich are happy with their lives.

I WAS in the doctor’s waiting room last week and browsing through some old magazines.

There was one magazine on the movers and shakers of society that caught my attention because it reported on two events, held separately, for the owners of two marque car models.

There is no need to mention the brands but suffice to say that all of us, the men especially, have a secret desire to be able to own one of these cars one day.

Reading both reports, I was surprised that there are actually more owners of such cars in Malaysia than I thought.

At one of the events, more than 1,000 owners showed up, and that’s not counting the many who probably won’t join such clubs because of privacy concerns.

One is tempted to say, when reading such news, “Ah, that’s how the other half lives.”

Indeed, we can probably come out with a slew of examples about how these people have huge mansions, go on expensive holidays, and do not even pause for a moment before they upgrade to the latest smartphone model.

But have you ever thought about how the other “other half” lives?

Let us not forget that globally, 1% of the population accounts for almost half of global wealth. And, even here in Malaysia, the social structure is like a pyramid and rather than compare with the few at its tip, it is better to look at the bigger mass at the base.

That’s the “other half” I am talking about.

So while it may be natural to envy those with much, it is much more constructive to be thankful for the day-to-day blessings in our life that may not even be available to a greater number of people.

I know a woman who has had little formal education and so cannot find a job in an office, even as a receptionist, so she has spent most of her life being a cleaning lady.

Every day, she travels a long way to attend to two homes. She cleans the houses, irons the clothes, and cooks delicious meals for the two families.

Her monthly income, technically speaking, is below the po­­verty line. But she is one of the most contented and thankful persons I know.

Ironically, many people who drive expensive cars are actually quite poor.


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A Wonderful Poster on Failure.

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

I have always believed that teachers (and people in general) MUST have an open mindset; one that tolerates and celebrates mistakes and errors; one that looks at failure as an opportunity for a better beginning. It is through falling down that we stand up robust and it is through misfortunes that we gather our strength to live the life we want and pursue our dreams.

If we want to raise up socially and  emotionally strong students who can face up and overcome  the hardships of life, an important key to this is to teach (and model) them about failure. We need to show them that failure is a healthy sign and a good omen for a healthy life experience. They need to view failure as an attempt for deep reflection and meditation about what worked or did not work. They also need to be reminded that failure has been a common denominator behind most of the historical achievements and inventions in the history of humankind.

At 30 years old, Steve Jobs was left devastated and depressed after being removed from the company he started. Few years after this,  Steve came back stronger than ever and spearheaded a team of engineers to create and launch a series of hand-held devices (iPod, iPhone, iPad) that transformed the mobile technology and human life forever. Steve Jobs is only one example among many that shows how failure can be the impetus for  groundbreaking achievements.

This awesome visual from themetapicture features other examples of popular figures who built their fame and achievement through failure. Share this visual with students and inspire them to never give up their dreams.

team work

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Motivating Yourself to Study

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

If you find that you lack motivation to study, welcome to the club. Just about every student experiences this problem at one time or another.

Motivation is important for good studying. When you are motivated, you will find it easy to stay focused over a period of time. When you are not motivated, you will not only find it difficult to stay focused, but you will find it difficult to get started in the first place.

Here are some ways to increase your motivation to study.

  1. Reward yourself for studying. For example, after a successful study session, have a treat like a nice big ice cream cone. Go crazy and add some cherries and nuts.
  2. Study with your friends. Don’t make it party time, but you can have fun as you do this.
  3. Remind yourself of your long-term goals. Achievement of your goals likely requires educational success. Educational success requires studying.
  4. Eliminate distractions. If you are surrounded by things you would rather do than study, you will probably do those things instead of studying.
  5. Develop interest in what you have to study. This will make studying more enjoyable.
  6. Take breaks. When you feel that you need to take a break, try to stop at a point where it is logical to stop. This will make it easier for you to resume studying after your break.
  7. Establish a comfortable environment. You will be more inclined to study if you feel comfortable.
  8. Establish reasonable goals for a study session. You probably won’t get very far if you look at your study session as “mission impossible.”
  9. Use a motivational poster. Place the poster where you can see it as you study. The poster should include positive words and a picture depicting success. You can buy one or even make your own. You can also read inspirational stories about real people who have achieved success through effort.
  10. Just do it. Once you do, you will feel a lot better than if you are worried about getting it done.

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5 Ways to make your kids enjoy homework

Monday, August 11th, 2014

There has recently been  some heated debates within the education circles on the efficacy of assigning  kids homework. Those who are against kids homework argue that off school time is time for play-related psycho motor development that kids inherently require; pro-kids homework contend that engaging kids in school-related work while at home enhances kids cognitive skills and sustains that connection of school/home intact. I personally view homework as a necessary part of kids intellectual growth and a needed element for kids overall scholarly preparedness. However, homework is not always celebrated by kids and most of them shun away from it blaming it for stealing away  their allotted play time.

To make homework fun for kids, Splash Math has these 5 tips to share with you.

1- Magical Motivators
Use incentives to get your children to do their homework without a fight. Small snack, stickers, iPad time or toys work well for younger children.

2- Write it for them
No, that doesn’t mean do it for them. It might seem counter-intuitive, but if you mix up the routine, and have your child dictate the answers to you, they will be a lot more interested in the actual subject material.

3- Learning apps
Fun math practice apps can be a great resource for visual examples and games that help your child practice concepts he is struggling with.

4- Get a Homewrok Buddy

Turn homework into a play date. Have your child invite a friend over and encourage them to do their homework together. Make sure you lay down a few rules ahead of time.

5- Don’t take it it Too serious
There are more important things in life than homework and grades. Too much emphasis on grades can destroy your child’s love of learning and devalue relationships.

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