"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Monday, April 2, 2012


Last night, by chance while channel surfing, I made a choice to re-watch once again the adrenalin-pumping action drama, 'XXX' (2002),  on Max cable television in Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, I had re-watched the movie countless times on DVD before, including once in the movie theatre in Singapore.

The entertaining story centred on how Xander Cage (played by Vin Diesel), an extreme sports athlete with a very bad attitude, was recruited by a secret US government outfit, headed by Gibbons (played by Samuel Jackson)  on a special covert mission to gather intelligence on a Prague-based organization that wanted to  destroy the world, led by the crazy dude with a fancy name, Yorgi.

I really enjoyed rewatching the particular segment when he was finally coerced into accepting his unsolicited assignment to help Uncle Sam, as illustrated in the following fascinating dialogue from Gibbons: 

"... You ever watch lions at the zoo? You can always tell which ones were captured in the wild by the look in their eyes. The wild cat. She remembers running across the plain, the thrill of the hunt. Four hundred pounds of killing fury, locked in a box. 

But after a while, their eyes start to glaze over, and you can tell their soul has died. The same thing happens to a man. 

Leavenworth Federal Penetentiary is no joke. 

They'll take a wild man like you and throw him in solitary just for the fun of it. No more mountains to board, no more oceans to surf. Just a 6-by-8 cell with no window and only a bucket to shit in. You can avoid all of that by doing me this small favor... "

Somehow, this wonderful lesson from the movie resonates with another adrenalin-pumping action drama, 'Rocky III' (1982), which I had also re-watched numerous times on DVD.

In the particular movie, world champion boxer Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone) was knocked out by the arrogant Clubber Lang (played menacingly by Mr T).  As a result, nobody believed in Rocky anymore, except for one man, former world champion boxer Apollo Creed (played by Carl Weathers). 

The seemingly daunting challenge for Apollo was whether Rocky could regain that hunger in order to get back into the ring as a real fighter.

As Apollo attempted to stimulate Rocky's fighting spirit, and wanted the latter to be back in top-form quickly, the following memorable dialogue segments in the movie, fueled by an equally pulsating signature song/music from the Survivors,  summed up the motivation very well:

Apollo: "... Now, when we fought, you had that eye of the tiger, man; the edge! And now you gotta get it back, and the way to get it back is to go back to the beginning. You know what I mean?... "

Apollo: "... See that look in their eyes, Rock? You gotta get that look back, Rock. Eye of the tiger, man... "

Apollo: "... Damn, Rock, Come on! What's the matter with you?" 
Rocky: "Tomorrow. Let's do it tomorrow." 
Apollo: "There is no tomorrow! There is no tomorrow! There is no tomorrow!"
At the end of the movie, Rocky ultimately regained his former self  by  giving his former rival a really brutal lesson,  aptly exemplified by the real-world champion boxer Mike Tyson who once said:

Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the face!"

The foregoing two insightful lessons somehow bring me back to the eighties to reminisce what senior statesman Lee Kuan Yew, while serving as Prime Minister, had grappled with the crucial issues of cabinet leadership renewal.

He was concerned that the new bunch of young PAP leaders-to-be did not have that "fire in the belly", because they did not go through the ‘baptism of fire’ during an election.

Unfortunately in recent years, to the chagrin of all Singaporean folks, the hot potato of unprecedented ministerial salaries had to a great extent altered the political equation in the country.

Nonetheless, against the backdrop of what I have been talking about in this post, just ask yourself:

"Do you have 'the look of the lion in the wild'"? or

"Do you have 'the eye of the tiger'"? or

"Do you have 'the fire in the belly'"?

For me, as a professional success coach, the three phenomenons basically accentuate the power of purposeful focus, from the tripartite perspectives of mind, body and spirit. 

In a nut shell, I hold the explicit view that it's the mandatory prime driving force for anyone wanting to pursue personal as well as professional excellence.

Think about it.

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