Category Archives: Advice
From Dec. 2014: I was asked to make a motivational speech to inspire international students in third-year Engineering at the University of Dayton (OH).
Unfortunately, they didn’t film this and I recorded it myself but the recorder didn’t have enough space at the end so the recording is incomplete.
The purpose was to help the class, most of which consisted of international students, feel inspired and realize it’s possible for them to get adjusted to North American life. Their professor had reached out to me to fly down there to motivate and inspire them – and I accepted.
I was recently asked on a Q&A community site what was one cool thing that I knew that perhaps not so many others did. I responded with the following about an app called “backtube,” which, as of right now, still isn’t talked about online. I mean, you can’t find anything about it when you Google it!
I want to play YouTube playlists on my iPhone but I find that when I close the YouTube app, the playlists stop playing. So, I downloaded a free app called “BackTube” from the App Store on my phone, and it allows me to play YouTube playlists without me having to leave my screen on YouTube.
Therefore, I can do other tasks on my phone while the playlist is going!
PS: Since I don’t know much about “BackTube” as I can’t find any information about it online, I simply create my own playlist beforehand on YouTube – with a variety of music from multiple artists – and then just search for that playlist on “BackTube” afterward, and bingo! I don’t sign into “BackTube” but just play the playlist by utilizing the “Search” function. It’s like your own CD playing as you’re doing other stuff on your phone!
On Friday early morning, as I was waking up, I heard Mark Cuban, the successful business entrepreneur, being interviewed on ESPN Radio. He said that he has many businesses but also employs people to manage them, so what he does is he has certain days during the week where he goes over reports from each of those people in meetings.
The key thing he said was that he asks people to tell him the bad news first, because he always expects good news so if he knows the bad news right away, he knows how to help each person resolve the issue. THAT is a brilliant concept given by a highly successful, highly respected business leader on leadership. These are the types of things that one can truly learn from – listening to a leader speak. Unfortunately, from personal experience, I get the impression that many managers would tell their staff not to bother them with bad news and just figure out the solutions on their own.
Just as unfortunate is that in our daily lives, we hear nonsensical things that do not help us improve, things like shoes and fashion and clothing and relationships and babies and cars and accessories and gossip and random comments. Thus, I conclude that one probably learns more from studying a rock than listening to daily conversations as you learn nothing from the latter but you might understand things by studying nature and gathering your thoughts. Otherwise, try to listen up and pay attention when business leaders are speaking (especially when you are listening to them for free), and then apply them in your life.
While this has nothing to do with my professional life, I am happy to know that in my personal life, I do what Mark Cuban does because I always encourage my peers to talk to me about what’s wrong so I can help them. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of intelligent people like Cuban out there.
Here’s something to think about: What does it mean to help people? What makes you helpful?
True story: This guy once Googled a few workout videos and sent those links via email to a few of us, and in that email he wrote, “Everyone, here’s the October workout schedule for you all. Let’s all follow this for a whole month!” I replied saying I wasn’t interested in it, that I was okay with how I was and wouldn’t be following that schedule. His response? Something along the lines of, “I’m trying to help you and you don’t want to accept. I don’t care anymore because you act as though you’re 100% satisfied with your life.” [He also took a few more personal shots, saying things like, “When people don’t need my help, I just move on and go help others who need me. Not going to waste time (with you).”]
Just because I stated I was okay with my daily routine, the guy interpreted it as me saying I was completely happy with my life, which isn’t the same thing, but I digress. He also used the words “I don’t care,” which people seem to throw around and use very, very loosely. I mean, he considered “help” as giving one-size-fits-all “solutions” to a group of people, as though each person’s situation is exactly the same and would benefit from the exact same “solution.” This isn’t a multiple-choice test or a short-answer quiz, or a math problem, where everyone arrives at the same answer from what the teacher gives you! This is real life, and sure, the guy was kind enough to share those videos, but then to turn around and act all insulted when I didn’t want to participate, was a bit over the top. Saying things like “I don’t care anymore” and turning hostile were simply unnecessary. You’ve got to understand your “audience,” so to speak, if you want to “help” them. Giving a bunch of tough workout exercises to people ranging from fitness freaks (some of the others) to beginners (myself) and expecting all parties to benefit from the exact same schedule, was presumptuous (not to mention unrealistic). Sure, offer them as a suggested schedule, but don’t shove them down people’s throats. And certainly don’t get all pissed off when one person politely declines.
I think the key is to not shove something down people’s throats. Of course, don’t act all insulted as well when your suggestions are not well received. The proper attitude is, “Hey, if one person – just one person – can benefit from what I told them, then I’ve done my job.” If you want to help people, THAT’s the attitude to have.
Recently, I travelled from Vancouver, Canada, to Dayton, Ohio, because I was invited to speak to a class of engineering students at the University of Dayton. I was asked to share my experiences about a specific topic which could be helpful to the students. I approached the lecture the same way: “These are my experiences, and what I went through personally. If what I say could help just one person, then I’m glad to have helped that individual through my words. I’m certainly not going to shove my ideas down people’s throats and expect them all to follow what I tell them. My experiences, my words, etc., might be helpful to some and irrelevant to others. That’s reality. Just aim to have at least one person benefit from what I tell them. That would make me very happy and proud.”
Simple. That’s genuine help. It’s not about converting people or shoving ideas at people. It’s about detailing solutions that have helped me in my life and sharing them.
Other people will consider those who alert them about sales at high-end stores, etc., as “helpful” human beings. Hey, so-and-so was so kind to tell me that this [insert name of expensive brand] handbag was on sale. So-and-so is so wonderful and “helpful”! Yay! So-and-so gave me a coupon for Domino’s pizza that entitles me to eat at one of their locations at such-and-such a percent off! So “helpful”! Uhm. No. I couldn’t disagree more. But then again, that’s my personal opinion and I wouldn’t shove it down your throat either.
(Originally sought out to answer this question on Quora.)
How do I convince people of my purposes, ideas and motivations? What are your experiences in this subject? And how do I deal with this problem, especially when I have difficulty speaking?
Well, the experience I have in regards to this is when I first became an English instructor.
I got a job in a private college in Vancouver, Canada, teaching English to international students from countries such as Korea, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil. Initially, there were students from one particular country who complained to the director of the school, saying I wasn’t a “native speaker” because I looked Asian.
The director told me this and gave me a chance to prove myself to those students. I demonstrated to the students through my teaching that I was knowledgeable in English, I answered their grammar questions correctly without any hesitation, and over time they saw that I was a legitimate instructor.
I ended up being an English instructor for over nine years before switching careers.
The key is to have confidence, prove to the intended audiences your ability, and do not waver. I was not intimidated; yes, my skin colour was not what the students wanted as an ideal teacher. I perhaps had a slight accent – though not much, I would say – but in front of them I behaved professionally, made jokes with them, and had confidence. In the end, I was able to convince them I was the right person for the job.
I should also say that prior to this teaching job, I did not have any experience in public speaking. Perhaps I was not that great in my first few lessons. I remember the days when I was in high school and university where I didn’t talk much because I was very shy. I had a hard time talking to strangers, so I did have difficulty with speaking with people. But when I found out how much those students hated me – because of my skin colour – I became motivated and I was confident. I overcame any shyness or any hesitation that I had had before, and went out there to prove them wrong. Therefore, I would say that other than confidence, you need to have the proper motivation to handle this.