Fitness Matters

In today’s ever demanding world of global business domination, most CEOs and managers spend a lot of their time flying and travelling. They end up eating unhealthy, processed and oily foods that are commercially-prepared and microwave-heated many times over. Eventually, bellies are turning into balloons and heading down south as the weight of extra fat succumbs to nature’s force of gravity.

Last year I travelled three million air miles on business flights alone and was bound to consume the most fattening in-flight food. I always fool myself into thinking that I will work out at the hotel gyms to burn the added calories but fail to do so each time.

Today, I have gained an additional 30 pounds and the proof of it is something I need to hide under a loose shirt. Every morning as I look into the mirror I see a fatter version of myself, and it does not make me feel good. From then on, I made a decision to do something about it and start fighting the battle towards a better and healthier body.

I know it is a difficult journey but surely, it is worth the effort because a healthy body means a healthy mind, and a healthy mind leads to more productivity. This means I will have the energy needed to be able to deliver what is expected of me at the workplace, and yet have enough stamina to enjoy time and life away from work.

Businessmen and corporate people need to stay fit to cope up with the stress and demands of their job. It is no wonder that physical fitness programmes, gyms and yoga centres, have become the latest corporate lifestyle craze of this era.

Assess yourself … how fit are you? You may be just one of the many caught in the wheel of procrastination who put off health and fitness for tomorrow … or next week… or the week after. Stop making so many excuses and stop giving yourself reasons and hurdles to overcome before starting your health fitness programme.


Pre-requisites to starting your own personal fitness programme:

1. DECIDE exactly what you want to achieve (define your objective or target weight, etc.);
2. Make sure you actually have a BURNING DESIRE for the objective;
3. Set and document the EXACT GOALS of what you want to achieve;
4. VISUALISE and ‘feel’ what you want to achieve as if you have already achieved it!;
5. BELIEVE that you CAN actually achieve it;
6. Take positive action today…NOW. Start achieving (do not procrastinate). Use the ‘DO IT NOW!’ attitude.

In order to be successful at anything, all excuses need to go out the window . . . there are no excuses that will justify your failure. There is no such thing as “Not enough time”.

These are the things nobody ever wants to talk about, but it is important to get the right mindset first before dealing with the ‘minor details’ about physical fitness. These details are actually easy to tackle once you have set your goals and made the commitment.

So, make sure to take a second look at the six points above that you absolutely need to be clear about first. I want you to really give some serious thought to each one. Take a moment to ponder . . .

Again, once you are straight about proper mindset, you can get started on the ‘details’! Go get a trainer, enrol in a yoga class or fitness programme, or get a friend or buddy to work out with.

. . . DO IT NOW!

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Tuesday, 28 October, 2008

Dealing with Difficult People

People who argue with you or have an opinion contrary to yours are what most of us would probably categorise as, and consider to be, difficult people.

Why are they difficult? Is it because they do not agree with your ideas? Because they do not wish to follow what you want them to do? Or do they simply see the world differently from you?

Then welcome to the real world! “Wake up and smell the coffee”, as the famous saying goes. You cannot just see the world through your own eyes. That would present a handicap. It is always better to see things from different angles and understand other perspectives. The world is multidimensional.

Why limit your vision to but one dimension, when you can see more dimensions by considering others’ points of view? Difficult people are like your sharpening stone (whetstone). The more you clash with them, the more you get to sharpen your skills, skills like patience and tolerance, while getting to practice managing your emotions as well.

This is a very important factor in decision-making. The only time you can make personal developments or improve on things is when you are put to the test… when you are being challenged by someone or something.

Perfection only comes after the long process of practice and through overcoming challenges. Take for example a raw diamond; its brilliance can only shine for all to see after continuous polishing and grinding with another diamond. A dull knife can only be sharpened by constant friction with a sharpening stone (whetstone). A steel rod must be hammered, heated, tempered and beaten into shape hundreds of times before it can be truly called a ‘Samurai Sword’.

So if you have difficult people around you, be grateful as the Lord sent them to you so you can improve and learn what you need to from them. Respect them and listen to the opposing views they may have to give you. Love them. Welcome their very being. If not for them, your brilliance may never shine. All you have to do in exchange is to eat a little humble pie. That’s all it takes to be able to deal with difficult people.

Please take a moment to ponder… Welcome difficult people. May they always be there to bring out your own excellence and widen your views. Do not run away from them. Do not hide. Do not be afraid to be challenged by them. Let them lead you. This is the way to perfection.


Joseph Bismark

Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Principles of Decision Making

We cannot avoid making decisions. Right or wrong, decisions are made every minute of the day. They are unavoidable. And if we try to avoid making decisions, someone else will make them for us.

Do you really want to put your life and decisions about your life in the hands of someone else?

It is best to make our own decisions. Making decisions is a way of moving forward in life. Not making decisions is to stagnate and die.

We are faced with challenging decisions about our lives every day; from the simplest to the most complex tasks.

Let me share with you some points and principles on decision-making to make the task easier and more rewarding.

  1. Do not make decisions when you are feeling angry or emotional.
    If you make decisions during these times, you are likely to end up regretting the decision you make. Decisions made under the influence of these emotions are always subjective and destructive and will do neither you nor anyone else any good. All good decisions are made when a person is sober and clear-headed, as this is the state of mind in which we can think most objectively.
  2. Do not make a decision until you have heard all sides of the story.
    Do not assume you know everything needed to make a particular decision. Talk to people who are experienced about the subject. Not only will they present you with new options, but their insights could completely change the way you think about your decision. You must always be willing to hear an opposing view. Be as detached and objective as possible from the task and the decision-making process.
  3. Consider all your possible options.
    I have yet to meet a decision maker, good or bad, who had checked out all available options. You can invariably come up with options never considered, or hear options you would never have thought of yourself.
  4. Do not make decisions when you are under pressure.
    Remember the oldest technique in the book of selling; sales people will use pressure to try to make you decide in haste:

    “It’s the last best deal in town… you cannot let this go! You will lose this deal, you have to decide NOW!”

    Do not fall for this old trick… if the deal is not there when you are ready, then it is not the deal for you. There will be plenty more deals waiting for you when you are ready to make a decision.

  5. Do a reality check before making a decision.
    Make a list of things that can go wrong and the things that probably will go wrong. Keep the number of things that must go right for the decision to succeed to a minimum. At the end of the day, there are no wrong or right decisions per se, but we do need to be prepared to correct some decisions to make them better. Expect the worst and work for the best. If you did not make the best decision the first time around, this is great if you can learn from it! But do not stop there. Be sure to continue to manage your decisions and your decision making processes.

Good decision making comes from disciplined thinking. If you follow some of these basic principles before making decisions, the results of your decisions are most likely to work. If you think haphazardly when you make a decision, then little of what you plan will eventually work out.

Good decision making is habit forming. Each time you make the right decision, you gain more self-confidence to keep making good decisions.

Please take a moment to ponder… Follow some of these basic principles before making your next important decision(s); these principles are most crucial to remember and apply.

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Are You an Expert?

I once asked this question during one of my training seminars: “Who wants to have the mind of an expert?”

Everyone in the hall raised their hands.

Do you wonder why I was asking an irrelevant question?

Do you think of course everyone should want to think like an expert, so why should I even ask?

Most people assume that success is synonymous with being an expert. If this would be the case, then anyone who is an expert should automatically be successful?

We all know that this is not the case, in fact most experts find themselves analysing to the point of paralysis. It stops them from moving forward, from taking risk, or from being open to new ideas like those coming from a beginner’s mind. The expert tends to reject ideas easily if they do not conform or agree with their ‘expert’ mindset. This is one of the major reasons many experts of the past failed to recognise the great minds and great innovations of today.

Let me give you one example:

“Smith the founder of FEDEX attended high school at Memphis University School. In 1962, Smith entered Yale University. While attending Yale, he wrote a paper for an economics class, outlining overnight delivery service in a computer information age. Folklore his professor suggests he received a “C” grade for his paper.

The paper became the idea for FedEx (for years, the sample package displayed in the company’s print advertisements featured a return address at Yale).”

Source: Wikipedia

I went on to ask my second question: “Who wants to have a beginner’s mind?”

No one raised their hands.

I realised, at that moment, what a hindrance this could possibly be and how it could prevent people from further learning.

The major reason people are afraid of taking risk is because of the fear of making mistakes. This is not what is expected of an expert.

Smith had a beginner’s mind when he wrote that paper for his economic class, while his professor in his ‘expert opinion’ thought that such a proposition would not work. The beginner’s mind is the root of all great innovations. It is empty, open to learning, and open to taking on impossibilities and making them reality. The beginner’s mind has a humble approach to life and work. It will not hurt to think like a beginner or have a beginner’s mind. It is always better to be reminded of things even if you happen to know about them already… Why say “I know”, when you can say “I do not know” for a change? You will see how fast you can learn things that you thought you already knew!

Besides, the experts are always in a state of anxiety… because they cannot make mistakes… they are the experts after all… they will be hanged if they make mistakes… but who would hang a beginner if they made mistakes?… he is just a beginner, so excuse him…

So my advice is to always be a humble beginner and have that peace of mind and openness to everything in life. Please take a moment to ponder this…


Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Delegate, Delete or Delay

We all have only 24 hours in a day.

Finding a balance between work and family relations has always been a challenge for every corporate person. Let me share with you a simple technique that can help you find the time you need to enjoy both family and the demands at work. Continue reading

Handling Crisis

Crisis is an event or a revelation, allegations, or set of circumstances that threatens the reputation and integrity of a company or an individual.

For Your Information: it does not even have to be true – it simply has to be public, or have the potential to cause harm. It inevitably occurs in any company that primarily deals with a vast market of customers across the globe. Whether it is caused by a disgruntled customer’s complaints brought to the press, or just plain negative publicity caused by competitive detractors trying to discredit your company.

Ten Simple Rules to Remember When Engaged in Crisis Management

1. Anticipate Issues. Stay ahead and be ready and prepared with answers to reporters’ questions or anybodies’ questions on issues pertaining to the challenges or event.

2. Get Out in Front. Tell the truth and say it before the media or someone finds out about the issue or discusses the issues or their repercussions in front of the public or before it can be misrepresented.

3. Act; Don’t React. When you react you are immediately in a defensive position. Tell the people ahead of time what you are doing, what will happen, or how you are dealing with the problem, tell them what they should or can expect.

4. Be Visible. Do not hide even if you do not have anything to say, be available. When you are invisible, the media or reporters and anyone with concerns will think you are hiding because the bad news is true.

5. Tell the Truth. This is the only rule of rules. Always tell the truth. The truth is easy you do not have to defend it and you will always be consistent. Lies you will have to remember and the truth will always surface and come out anyway.

6. Have a Spokesperson representing you or your company always briefed and ready. Do not keep the people who will talk to the media in the dark. Have people you trust and who know, “make sure they know the difference between knowing and saying.” You can never BS your way around crisis communication.

7. Talk Directly with Your Customers, Staff, Managers, Directors and Shareholders. You have to make sure whoever is integral to your business is fully informed of the crisis and bad news from you and not indirectly from the media.

8. Express Empathy and Concern. The most important rule next to honesty, if you express genuine concern for others, even if you are in a crisis you will be most probably forgiven. People will understand that you are human after all and are bound to make mistakes and will be more forgiving than anyone defending their mistakes and hiding the truth.

9. Take Responsibility. Taking ownership of a problem, especially as a leader is one of the secrets to defusing a crisis. You apologise and make amends and move on to correct the wrong.

10. Don’t Delay. You can shape the discussions and use the media to transmit messages, even if it is not the final solution to the crisis. Delays can create a secondary crisis.

Please take a moment to ponder. Crisis is an opportunity for change, manage it and turn it into an opportunity for growth and success, Do not run away… running from crisis is defeat.

Crisis is part of growth and development either with an individual or a company.


Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd