The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Watch Our Sir Ken, There’s A New Inspiring Speaker Around …
March 5, 2009, 6:19 am
Filed under: Comment

I hope to God someone within the Singaporean Government listens to it – because in my opinion, what Barry is describing is one of the key reasons why their countries future is not going to be anywhere near as bright as their past.

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well its not beijing babes so chaz and i feel fucking ripped off after you promised wed love this post but it is fucking brilliant but that might be because im comparing it to your psfk speech 😉

these things give you a boner dont they rob? well this one is justified because hes great but then his books are fucking awesome to.

its not just the singabore (not a typo) govt who need to hear this, fucking adland could do with a reminder and i know ill regret it but ages ago didnt you write some shit about the importance of the moral hero?

dont get excited im not saying it was good or you were visionary im just asking a fucking question ok.

beijing babes tomorrow please

Comment by andy@cynic

Where did you find this? Oh yes, I remember.

Comment by John


Comment by Pete

I was fortunate enough to be in the audience during this speech and it was electrifying.

If only the audience wasn’t consistently made up of chino and jacket wearing senior executives, I’d believe it had the potential to change the face of corporate America.

Comment by Lee Hill

Hahahaha, that’s bloody hillarious!

I love TED, though I sometimes wished it evolved into a forum of debate – asking people from opposing sides to talk about the same issue/situation so that the audience wouldn’t leave just being inspired, but potentially questioning their own initial views.

And if the audience is consistently made up of senior managers in their loafers and polo shirts, then the failing of TED is that it attracts too many people who want to listen rather than help make a change for the better.

Maybe …

Still, I’d rather have a shit load more TED’s than bloody advertising conferences!

[BTW, have you seen your Virgin Mobile Oz ad? 🙂 ]

Comment by Rob

Isn’t one of the problems with the Singaporean Government that they try to engineer outcome rather than surrender to Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” philosophy?

They’ve been very successful in managing this situation but it can’t last forever especially when the populations expectations have grown (been nurtured?) to the point where the glass cage will crack.

Comment by Pete

I L-O-V-E this TEDtalk. So simple, but if everyone followed this logic, it would make a world-changing difference.

Comment by stephanieakelly

That’s a great point Pete – infact Jill said a very similar thing yesterday.

The problem with the current policies in Singapore is they were developed for a very different time and haven’t – in any meaningful way – been adapted to take into account the changing World, or more specifically, the changing attitudes and lifestyles of their people.

When you have an educational policy that is based on memory more than learning … an educational policy that is fixed rather than variable … an educational policy that classifies children as ‘promising’ or ‘average’ at a very early age [and maps out their future opportunities based on that classification for pretty much the rest of their educational lfie] … an educational policy that is designed to create civil servants or bankers rather than entrepeneurs and free thinkers … an educational policy that teaches money and material possesion as symbols of success [which inturn teaches anyone who doesn’t have this is a 2nd class citizen] … an educational policy that downplays the arts in place of the classics … an educational policy that talks about MBA’s rather than what you can do …. an educational policy that results in the government having to run ads actually telling people how to be kind to eachother, then it is not a surprise that it’s future generations may end up being the ‘jobsworths’ that stop making life enjoyable and fulfilling.

It’s not their fault – it is the outcome of a Government that lives by fixed process, designed for bland consistency, because the greatest fear they have is the fear of free thinking amongst it’s people.

I love Singapore – there’s a lot the West can learn from them, and I even appreciate how their dictatorial approach worked … but times are different, people are different and this caged society – where you don’t have to think because you know how it is ‘supposed to be done’ cannot continue, not if Singapore wishes to continue propsering as it has been.

Comment by Rob

I love your comment Robert, this issue goes very deep with you doesn’t it.

The speech is brilliant, he is brilliant, for me it is even better than Sir Ken’s but that could be because his iconic 20 minutes is coming up to 3 years of age.

The importance of values have been ignored for too long and in the corporate world Landor are especially culperable because they sold the belief that throwing a few words on a page was enough.

Comment by Bazza


Comment by Rob Mortimer

what a wind up. All my puters are down and the mobile wont play video. if there’s even a whiff of BJ babes to creatively dramatise and ‘breath life’ into intellectually challenging ideas Im all for it.

Comment by Chaz

this speech is really great. and i agree with bazza’s view that values have been ignored in the corporate world for too long. the same thing often happened to individual responsibility (which schwartz is stressing by means of the teachers) within corporations. a lack of individual responsibility and too many restrictions in decision making can kill motivation, and innovation. that s not a good basis for profit making, neither money wise nor for the development and vibrancy within societies.
companies need an identity based on values. that s only human. it s humans that are buying the products and it s humans that are working for companies. actually, i see an issue when individuals are forced too much to align to corporate structures instead of building rather felxible structures around them.
and rob – i also think that the educational system is key. experiences in school can shape your attitude towards learning, i.e. life, so much.

Comment by peggy

We all need a framework in which to work within – whether they are processes, rules or values – but too many companies/governments want to control every aspect of the individuals journey and all that leads to is mediocrity, passiveness and/or self interest regardless of consequence.

I was blessed with my parents and their attitudes/approach to life – but sadly in our rush to get rich/young/old/etc the value of values seems to have declined. Until something bad happens – and then everyone goes on about it.

Values and morals are not things you should be able to turn on and off … and whilst we all probably do that to some extent … there’s too little of these things being promoted in the everyday, and sadly my industry is part of the reason for that – which has now extended to client behaviour, where you talk about values and morals within their communication idea, and they say it is too confusing and they want to focus on the product they want to sell.

Well my answer to that attitude is the same today as it was back in 1988, people aren’t stupid and values are way more of a differentiator than enzyme X that makes your clothes even whiter. Till enzyme Y is invented.

Oooooh this issue really gets my blood pressure flowing.

Comment by Rob

Nice talk, on hearing this is what I have to say

Barry Schwartz stresses on the importance of having character, however I feel that itself is a HUGE problem.

The real point; its like the difference between a Man of character & a Man of Conscious.

A person of character acts within his constructed framework, and that framework is created keeping in mind what society terms acceptable / legitimate / geography / culture/ TIME. [If not all, substantially]. So what happens when society itself starts to decay? [ it has !] People still continue act within their ‘character’.

Now a man of conscious doesn’t have pre defined framework to act within. He acts on what he terms morally right in that given time and space. For him to do what is correct he may need to go beyond what society had earlier termed ‘legitimate’.

Character is about reaching a framework based on certain values, which at times are group defined, therefore its about conformity where as conscious is about constantly questioning and acting.

Its about people having a conscious rather than character.

I don’t know if I’ve been able to make sense. Got a pitch in a couple of hours but couldn’t resist !

Comment by bhaskar

That’s a really interesting point you raise there mate but I don’t know if I totally agree with your view.

From my perspective, an inherent characteristic of ‘character’ is ‘conscious’ because whilst they can be looked at as separate traits, it is only when they combine do you really experience a person who can think interms of what is the right thing for others, not just themselves.

The key message I get from Schwartz’ talk is that he believes it is something that shouldn’t just be left to the individual to develop, it should be something they learn from their interaction with life – from the educational policies that shape their early years through to the way their employers and Government behave in their later life.

Of course this idea is inherent with flaws [as is anything], but with many Government, Corporation and Education organisations focusing and promoting ‘selfish and visible success’, giving people role models who can inspire them to act in lifes best interests, not just their own, can only be a good thing.

We have to remember, without guidance and inspiration, humans have the capacity to justify anything and so if we can fill the World with examples of people/companies/governments who stood/stand tall when the easier option is to just go with the flow, it might help shift the planet back onto the path of evolution rather than just devolution.

I was lucky because I had parents, teachers and bosses that helped me view the bigger picture. I’m not saying I’m perfect [not by a long shot] and I like money as much as the next person, but I was taught there’s more to it than just obtaining it – it’s how you do it and what you do with it once you’ve got it – and whilst parents definitely have a role to play in this ‘lesson giving’, if they have not been exposed to people with character, then it’s only natural to expect they will be victims of it as well.

I had a massive row with a mate of mine a while back about Governments responsibility to its people – and while we all play a part – the moral code of a culture is set by them as much as the inhabitants and they can’t let go of that fact, especially in how they let corporations develop and act.

I know I’m not answering your point properly – but I have a pitch to go too as well, so maybe we can talk about this on email later.

Good luck matey …

Comment by Rob

Good Luck to you Too , mate

Comment by bhaskar

Ha Ha Ha… Even scrolling through the post last night on the mobile, I didn’t pick up that it was the TED talk I blogged about. Bloody brilliant job you’ve done of breathing some well deserved life into it. Great that there’s some more top banter going on in the comments here too.

So ironically I’ve missed a bit of a conversation knees-up that I’d have well enjoyed 🙂

It’s so good that I wont go for the machine gun effect of joining in on all the important points both Schwartz and the comments here have touched upon apart from to say that all the cool kids are into Improv and that Bhaskar and Rob are completely immersed in the subject of Moral Relativism

Which overlaps big time with my ongoing pet project think piece I’ve labeled as

Everything is contextual

But which I noticed Sam Ismail the other day has sharpened into a much more accurate

Context is everything

Which might sound like it’s splitting hairs but there is a difference and it matters.

One short story that might be of interest though. I went to to speak some monks at the most prestigious temple in Thailand where the His Majesty the King of Thailand was a novice monk.

I’d been mulling over thoughts of permanence and impermanence, as they are both central tenets of Buddhism, and so I got to ask a really awkward question to one of the senior monks.

I asked him that if nothing is permanent, and that if impermanence is a defining condition of life.

Could it mean that truth too was not permanent.

I was impressed with the nature of his response. He said he would need to meditate on the question and get back to me.

So much more honest than the monotheistic religions that are swift to dish out harsh judgments and invariably have a special book stuffed with rules that are quite often not only inappropriate but can in some instances be a danger to life or paradoxically a moral wrong.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Comment by Charles Edward Frith

I love that story Charles – love it – of course the monk could be adopting Rule #1 for PR Agencies when dealing with issues of concern, “keep quiet and hope it goes away” but it’s still better than basing a response on some words that are so ambigious it could claim homosexuality is both evil and brilliant in the same sentence.

You know I am a big believer in your ‘everything is contextual’ concept … hell, even improv needs a framework to work off, otherwise it’s just expression 😉

Have a top weekend …

Comment by Rob

Can Bhaskar tell me/us where society has started to decay?

Comment by John

on this blog for one.

youre not saying everythings fine and fucking dandy with the world are you dodds?

Comment by andy@cynic

Of course not, but I am not sure that a financial crisis is necessarily symptomatic of a decaying society. I was seeking clarification and education – a futile quest on this blog I know, but I gave it a shot.

Comment by John

I don’t think Bhaskar is saying the financial situation represents the decay in society – far more likely are elements like increased crime, drug use etc.

Yes, I know that is open to debate in itself – and is also a byproduct of issues such as unemployment and unrealistic goals/aspirations fuelled by adland, education and corporations – but the level of optimism of the average individual is probably less now than it has been since god knows when and when there is no hope, there is less liklihood people stay on the path of positivity, simply because they can’t see the point.

How about that for a comment that needs total clarification, haha!

Comment by Rob

Hi John, [thanks for filling in Rob] I just have one more thing add for John – we live in separate societies with a separate set of issues, therefore I view my immediately surrounding, and I guess my comment reflected that. What is said is extremely subjective; the society you are part of may be far different and constructive / positive / going in the ‘right direction  anyway 

Comment by bhaskar

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