5 Controls You Must Be in Control of (Ben)

8:59:00 PM

Ever since I graduated, I have been constantly reading to upgrade myself to improve my skill sets. However, as work started to pile up, I felt that the time I had available to pick up more skills started to become more limited. Thus, I chose more "important skills" over others. I have always wanted to learn more about photography, social media strategies, iOS coding and even bought books on them, but have shelved the books away as I now place financial literacy and value investing knowledge over these skills due to the lack of time.

I value education a lot in my company and want everyone in the company to constantly pick up new skills to improve themselves as well. So, in order for everyone in the company to improve together despite our busy schedule, I proposed this new idea and is championing this campaign in my own company- a TED Talk style presentation held every fortnight that everyone in the company has to participate in. The topic for presentation? Anything that adds value to the team.

I named the talks - POLL sessions.

POLL = Power of Leverage Learning.

Why I believe in POLL - The team who listens to the talks, learns a new skill. The person who does the presentation, spends time researching on the topic and hopefully try to become proficient enough in the topic in order to share the knowledge acquired. The result? Time is Leveraged, skills are Learnt. And that is the Power of Leverage Learning.

So below is the transcript of my presentation on the 5 Controls You Must Be In Control Of.

1) Emotion

We must always be in control of our emotion because the inability to control it can cause problems at work, with people around you, as well as at home. The most common emotion that most are unable to control well is fear and anger.


We can be fearful of many different things- fearful of humiliations, of criticisms. It is because of this fear, that we delude ourselves that we are comfortable with our present situation. We will always remain stagnant in our growth, as we will never be able to grow out of the shell that we live in. 

When I was young, I never dared to talk to any authorities - like my teachers or any adults. Precisely because of that, I soiled my pants quite often in primary school and constantly have to be sent home due to “diarrhea.”

As I matured and took on leadership positions in school and started performing on stage, I became more vocal in public and was comfortable being in the spotlight in front of huge crowds. However, even after being in business for 3 years, I still wasn’t comfortable speaking on the phone and often had to delegate the task to my partner.

If I were to continue being comfortable with being uncomfortable on the phone, I will never be able to become a better entrepreneur and leader and will always be less efficient in my dealings because I’d spend 15 minutes to type a long email than talk on the phone and settle the problem in 2 minutes.

Fortunately, I grew out of this problem late last year (yes, it sure took me long) and overcame my fear. Now I am as comfortable talking on the phone, as I am in public.

Fear can also be a motivating factor. I am afraid of losing, afraid of being mediocre. I have had nightmares of me not achieving success in future and in the dream, my wife was shouting and calling me useless. 

It is this fear that drives me to work harder because I am more afraid to lose, than being afraid to explore the unknown.


I used to be a very angry person. I had a really short fuse. Especially when I was competing in sports. But over the years, I learnt how to control my temper and emotions a lot better. My fiancée would probably be a strong testament to my dormant volcano-like temper. I do get angry, and when it happens, it gets really ugly but I guess I’m the type of volcano that erupts only once in a million years.

So how do I control my anger? The most important thing is to BREATHE. I realized that there are a lot of people who hold their breath when they are angry. That causes your heart rate to increase and make your “blood boil” and ignite the hulk in you.

Take deep breaths and think of happy things!

When you receive an email or text that makes you really angry, I would suggest you to reply only after a few hours later, or best, the next day. There are people who advice you to speak to your love ones face to face when you have an issue with them but I, on the other hand, advice you against it. Instead, write them a letter or send them an email or text. 

Why do I say so? Simply, because words can’t be retracted.

Many a time during a face to face confrontation, we tend to get carried away by our emotions that we say things that hurt, even if we don’t really mean them. Words can really make or break a relationship. So, I would advice typing a long paragraph on email/text instead, so that we can re-craft your message and removing the “thorns” in your bid to reconcile the relationships.

For couples who quarrel often, I would advice something very simple- Never be angry at the same time. If you love someone and treasure the time with him/her, try to control your anger no matter how upset you are or how maligned you feel. Because for every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.

The Emotional “Switch”

Emotions can be a choice. There are times that we are expected to be cheerful or happy, especially when you are at work. As a teacher and as an entrepreneur, I cannot afford to let my clients and students know that I am having a bad day. I am paid to educate and bring joy to my students and they certainly did not sign up to see a black face.

So, there are many times, no matter how upset I am, I have to turn on my emotional switch and change from being upset, to being a cheerful joker. This is not about being a hypocrite. It is about being professional and also, about being fair. Because it is not fair to channel your negative emotions to someone who had no hand in upsetting you. 

This is even more true for those people around you. Your loved ones. Do you realize that it is the people closest to us that bear the brunt of our anger? Your boss upsettedyou. Not your father. Your brother upsetted you, not your mother. We seem to get angry at the wrong person almost always.

So be in control of your emotions, then, can you be in positive control of your relationship with people.Especially people whom you care about.

2) Health


You don’t actually need to have 6 packs, or be very slim. But you have to work hard to stay healthy because it affects your productivity at work and also your mood. Exercise at least 2-3 times a week, even 15 minutes per time is better than not working out at all. Sweat out all that pent up anger!


I am not an insurance agent, nor do I claim that I’m an expert in insurance. But I understand the importance of insurance and the aftermaths of not covering yourself adequately. Don’t wait till you are unable to buy insurance then think of buying it. Then, it would probably be way too late. 

Here are the most basic insurance coverage that you MUST have!

a) Hospital Insurance
The most basic must have. Affordable and a very powerful protection against hefty bills in case you happen to get warded.

b) 30 Illnesses
This policy is to protect you against all the 30 major illnesses that can cost you a fortune.

c) Accident
Well, the name tells it all. 

d) Life Insurance
I put a lot of importance in this insurance because the purpose of me working so hard is so that I can give my loved ones a good life. But what if I pass on prematurely before I manage to earn enough money for my family to enjoy my success? With this insurance, at least if anything happens to me, my family will have enough money to take care of themselves. 

Insurance is probably something that I can’t explain in huge detail so I would definitely recommend that you find an insurance agent that you trust, an insurance agent you know who will be there to fight for your claims in case anything happen to you. And not one who is only interested in your commission. I am fortunate because my future father-in-law is a veteran in the insurance industry. So I am in safe hands. :)

3) Time

We are all given the same number of hours a day, but why do some people progress faster than others? Simple. These fast trackers take control and maximize their time a whole lot better. 

So how do we maximize our time? 

The answer is to try being more productive. What is Productivity? Simply speaking, it is just achieving the most within a short period of time. Our emotions and health does affect our productivity, so make sure you take control of the 2 prior controls in order to control your time better.  One key way to be productive is to be very organized and make sure you work in a conducive working environment. You can’t expect to concentrate and accomplish much in an environment polluted with noise.

So how do I TRY to be as organised as possible and be in control of my time and a myriad of tasks? 

Simple, be in control of your calendar! Put in all your appointments in your calendar, have a shared calendar with your coworkers and even your girlfriend or boyfriend. So you can plan your schedule around each other and minimize any last minute changes and thus, conflicts.
As an entrepreneur, there’s always a lot to do, and there is no such thing as an off day. You practically work 24/7. Even if you don’t physically work, your mind is constantly thinking of work. And usually there are many things to do, so much so that your TO-DO tasks get so long and daunting and you have no idea where to start from.

So, instead of just having a TO-DO list that is never-ending, change your to-do list to a Impt/Urgent list. Here is my list on my iPhone (using the reminder app):

So what does all these mean? Basically it means prioritizing your tasks so that you know which task to do first.

Look at the next diagram to understand what this list does.

The numbers shows the order of priority in which you accomplish your tasks. If a task is important and urgent, of course you have to accomplish that first, even if that task comes in at the 11th hour. The other obvious category would be “NOT IMPT & NOT URGENT’, that would be the last category of tasks you should touch.

Some may ask, if something is NOT IMPT & NOT URGENT, then why are you even doing it? Well, there are indeed tasks that belong to that category. For example, the task which is in that category in my list, is to tidy up my pantry in office. Is it urgent? No, not at all, nothing gets affected. Is it important? Well not really. I can still find my snacks and coffee, just that it looks topiled up and is an eyesore to me. I will get down to it, if I have no other tasks at hand.

You may notice that I put IMPT & NOT URGENT as the 2nd priority. There are definitely a lot of people who will disagree with me on this and say that we should do the urgent matter first. I actually got this idea from watching a video of a productivity coach many years back so I can’t really remember his name but I remembered the crux of his talk. The reason why we accomplish the IMPT & NOT URGENT tasks first is because if we leave it till a later date, the IMPT & NOT URGENT will become IMPT & URGENT! And that is when you get overwhelmed and stressed if you have too many tasks in the IMPT & URGENT category. However, do note that if the task in the NOT IMPT & URGENT category can be completed within 2 minutes, you can opt to accomplish it first.  

Different people have a different way of classifying their tasks in these 4 categories. What is important to me, may not be important to you. Similarly, what is urgent to me,might not be the same to you. So learn to classify your tasks properly, and keep reviewing them in order be on top of your task!

4) Education

Never stop learning. Because if you rest on your laurels and rely on your past successes, you may one day end up being relegated because you are unable to catch up with the ever-changing needs of our society and the market.

By education, I don’t mean going back to school. You can go for courses or read more books. Read more self-help books or any books that would add value to your career. Always seek to improve yourself. 

I am reading up a lot on investments and I will eventually start investing when I am ready because I always believe that investing without proper knowledge is gambling. You might as well invest in soccer, you stand a higher chance if you know the teams well. 

Ultimately, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Invest to improve yourself and arm yourself with the right skillsets to achieve financial freedom and success.

Be Aware

You should always read the news but always be aware of the credibility of your source. Too many of us treat Facebook as our number 1 news source. But with the birth of many satire news sites, people get confused as to what is the truth and what is not.

Take this news site (NewNation) for example, their writers have very compelling writing skills and are very convincing. Even with their slogan being so obvious(50% real news), I realised that many aren’t able to differentiate what is real and what is not. I strongly discourage you from reading any news from this site because I believe that while news-reporting sites can afford to be biased, they should never report any unverified news, or worse, fake news to mislead the public.

Another thing that you should be aware of, are the tools that are available to you. Technology and resources are a plenty, but being oblivious to them or worse, being obstinate and not wanting to use them, can be detrimental to your productivity. Always search for efficient ways to handle your tasks rather than being rash and act based on your gut feel.

Being aware not just helps you save time, it helps you to save money as well.

5) Money

A very important control that all should have is the ability to Control Your Money. In order to do that, you must educate yourself financially. Understand the difference between Assets and Liabilities. Too many people have a wrong perception and treat liabilities as assets. Why most people aren’t financially free is because they use their money to spend on liabilities. On the other hand, the rich use their money to buy assets that will bring them more money. Here’re the laymen definition of assets and liabilities, passive and active income:

Assets: Items/products that generates more wealth for you.

LiabilitiesItems that continually depreciates in value and depletes your wealth.

Active = Money you earn in exchange for your time

Passive = Money that you earn even without doing anything

By Robert Kiyosaki's definition, in order to achieve financial freedom, you have to create enough passive income that pays for your liabilities. So even if you don’t do anything, or get retrenched, you will not need to worry about living in the streets. 

Psychology of Money

It is important to be in control of your money, than letting your money control you. More often than not, when we receive money into our bank accounts (be it salary or other income), you will inevitably feel rich and that spurs your decision to spend. It gives you a false buying power and spending power. In order for you to save more money, set aside your savings the instance you receive your salary. For example, if you earn $3000/month, and you plan to save 1/3 of it, immediately transfer the $1000 into your savings account the moment you get your salary. A common mistake would be spending your money first and saving the rest. More often that not, you will find that although you plan to save $1000, at the end of the month you will realize that you only have $300 left for your savings.

In conclusion, in order for you to be in control of your life and be on the right track to success, you must first be in control of these 5 controls: Emotions, Health, Time, Education and MoneyThere are many other ways and methods to keep these aspects in control, so if you have your own methods that prove effective to you, keep it up! However, if you do not have any control in any of these aspects, try to follow the above-mentioned methods or seek professional advice.

Be in Control, or Risk Being Controlled”

Sharing by: Benjamin KwanThe Power of Leverage Learning

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