Coffee Break: New year, new decade, new you?

This article first appeared in Capital, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on January 6, 2020 - January 12, 2020.
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So, 2020 is here and with that comes great opportunity for a fresh start. The question most of us ask ourselves is usually this: What about myself do I want to change for the better this year?

Setting New Year resolutions can be daunting. You want to go for meaningful change but not set the bar so high that you end up setting yourself up for failure. I mean, remember Wawasan 2020? Where we wanted to be a developed nation by this year?

That was three decades ago, more or less.

Let us see how we performed: We have yet to reach high-income status, (and in fact) our economy is stagnating and we still have the same individual as prime minister as we did back then.

Oh, and our once locally made national car is now proudly Made in China. Who would have seen that coming?

But hey, ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country, so a former US president famously said.

In that spirit, it is a good time for us in Corporate Malaysia to think about how we can all be the best version of ourselves in the year ahead. Here are some realistic suggestions to ponder:

 

Rediscover yourself

Sometimes, we get caught up in day-to-day worries and we forget who we really are and what makes us happy. Rediscovering that essence of ourselves is always a worthwhile endeavour. Just be careful not to land in confusion like Malaysian-born-and-bred FGV Holdings Bhd, which apparently thinks it is a Maori company now, judging by the haka videos circulating on social media.

 

Love, make friends

It is always positive to meet new and different people and to expand our social circle. This is especially true if you are trying to be a better person, as the best way to start is to surround yourself with people who can set higher standards. But new friends may have their own baggage from the past, so it is good to be understanding without passing judgement. That is perhaps what the development financial institutions are saying to themselves in the upcoming union between Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd, Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd and Small Medium Enterprise Development Bank Malaysia Bhd.

 

Start a new endeavour

The start of a new year brings fresh hope and new beginnings, so you may feel like starting a business or project. It is great if you have an exciting idea to work with, but a word of caution: If you have tried a similar idea and it did not work before, maybe you should rethink your approach to avoid another failure. After all, we tried having a national carmaker — twice — and now that the first carmaker’s vehicles are made in China, how likely is our third national carmaker to do better?

 

Make more money

Or spend less money, whichever applies to your current financial situation. This is a favourite among many people who hope that having a better handle on their finances will mean a happier life. Just remember that to make more money, you must deliver more value at work to justify better financial rewards. Just cutting costs in the hopes that you will make more than you spend — the way Malaysia Airlines has tried over the past 20 years — may not cut it.

 

Get promoted

Ah, one of the most popular resolutions for those climbing the corporate ladder and perhaps even other spiralling staircases such as politics. Of course, there are many factors at play, which could be beyond your control, so be realistic about your hopes. If, say, you are an MP who aspires to lead the Cabinet, make sure you tick all the right boxes and pass all the right tests so that your boss cannot say no.

Most of all, here is wishing everyone a great year and decade ahead!

 

Disclaimer: This article is neither a commentary nor criticism. Neither the writer nor the publication is responsible for laughter-induced breathing difficulties or hurt feelings.

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