The Year In Quotes — Practical Advice, Inspiration, and Humour Part 4

As yet another year comes to an end, we’re looking back at all the different people that we’ve had the pleasure to meet. What we like best is that all these come from people we’ve met on the streets — every day people, not always high-ranking CEOs or industry veterans, but always with a unique perspective and their own points of view. No matter where you came from, we’d like to thank each of you for being so incredibly open in sharing about yourselves, and in turn, inspiring us and our readers. Here’s our round up of the year in words, the fourth in a seven-part series — quotes, stories, and quips from our Shentonistas this year that might not have made the final cut, but have definitely stuck with us throughout 2015.


“If you can wait an hour before sending an email, or picking up the phone, then wait. Organisations take longer to react than individuals, and what seems like a fire you need to put out may already be on its way to being sorted. You also have time to cool down if provoked.”
— Hieu

“Everyone needs to feel recognized — not just for their successes, but for their desire to contribute. The trick is learning to balance the sense of collective with advancing the effort, because things need to get done. This means trusting the process and drawing on each others strengths, and not holding up the progress. Another applicable habit from our culture of prototyping is not to try to have all the answers at the beginning, which can be very counter-intuitive if you grew up in an exams-based education system. Constantly reminding yourself helps. Write yourself notes in highly visible places if you need to!”
— Shan

“Be patient. You’ll be doing a lot of grunt work that’s boring and tedious, and you’ll be wondering why you’re wasting your time on this nonsense. But it’s all part of the process — your patience and persistence will pay off eventually; it’ll get better.”

“My theory is that success is two things: Getting the opportunities, and doing a good job of them, which leads to bigger opportunities to do a good job of and so on. The first takes a good bit of luck, which, if not given to you, you have to earn by putting yourself out there, meeting new people, and trying different things until something works. The second is a lot more straightforward, I suppose — just try your best, and if you don’t know how to do it, Google it, ask someone who does, or fail (not too drastically!) and learn from that mistake and try again.”

“Definitely don’t settle. I’m still a firm believer in adages that a lot of people think are idealistic, like ‘do what you love’. A lot of Singaporeans don’t believe that anymore, or at least it isn’t treated as something that happens to us. It’s quite sad that people treat a corporate life as a rite of passage, or something they have to do. It’s really not. I would like to believe there’s something more out there, outside Shenton Way and outside societal constructs like jobs and careers. It’s important to retain a healthy sense of your own mortality before you give your life to a profession. Make sure it’s something you love.”

“If you don’t understand the jargon, don’t be afraid to ask. I’ve found that most people, no matter how senior their position, would talk freely about aspects of their work when they knew I was genuinely interested. I also learnt to volunteer for tasks that other people shied away from. If no one else wanted to do them, I found that I got to do them my way and people would start to rely on me for input on other projects.”

“If you’re just starting, say yes to everything and take the time to reflect on what you’re good at, what you’re not good at, what’s important to you, and where you can make the most impact. The lesson now is that success comes with focus and learning where and when to say no.”

“Work for a company or someone you believe in. When you are passionate about a subject or a project you give your 100%, and it no longer feels like work. At the end it’s not the money that will make you happy — it’s the feeling you have when you lay down at night and know that somewhere, or somehow, you have made a difference.”

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