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Sunlife Financial Live Brighter Session - Jonathan Yabut

It's been my second time to attend a Sun Life Financial event and I'm surrounded by Millenials.  I am what you call a Feellinial,  "feeling millenial" as one person confided in me.   This lecture or talk was organized to give guidance to the Millenials who are just starting out in life.  

I've walked this earth a long time already and I envy the youth of today.  Never was such an event made during my younger days.  All we were taught was just work work work save save save and you'll die happy.  With the younger batch nowadays, they are into work play and live happy till the old age.  I'm glad that Sun Life Financial are holding these events for the young and the young at heart like me.

Now, Jonathan Yabut is the guest speaker today and he is the winner of The Apprentice Asia.  Honestly I don't know the guy, and that there was such a show called The Apprentice Asia till now.  Knowing Donald Trump's show, this Asian show is no exception. Being the winner, I know he didn't get fired and he's worth listening to.

Even old dogs like me can be taught new tricks even from puppies like Jonathan.  He actually confirmed my years of training with his experiences and added a few more.  Here are the things he talked about.   For the benefit for all ages, I will be comparing his thoughts with age old management principles for feellinials as well.

When you don't prepare, you are preparing to fail.  Its a paraphrase from one of Benjamin Franklin's quotes.  Similar to the Art of War, preparation is winning half the battle.  Jonathan merely emphasized that he prepared for the show.  He won it not because he was smart, but he was the most prepared of the bunch.  He googled Tony Fernandez, the CEO of Air Asia.  He did this because he was at a disadvantage, most of his competitors knew already who Tony was and he didn't.

Another point he made is the practice of Mise en Place, its a french culinary phrase meaning 'putting in place'.  It refers to preparing all ingredients in one place so when you cook, everything as its timing.  This is similar to what preparation is, but it also takes on the management principle of 'just in time',  Wherein all materials in production must be within arms length when needed.  

He also mentioned about having a todo list.  It is great to have one but mentions that we can't accomplish them altogether.  He pushes the concept of triage in a hospital.  Where in times of a catastrophe, one should classify a patient in various degrees of mortality and focus more on those who can still be saved.  In the business parlance, we call this the Pareto Principle or the 80-20 rule.  We classify tasks and give weight to them.  When we accomplish the 80% weight of the tasks, then we feel productive.

Another phrase he pushed was from Warren Buffet - That in 100 things presented to me, I decline 99 of them, focus on only one that I will be good at.  Similar to the company Apple, even with 12,000 patents,  Steve Jobs only focused on a handful of products and services.  In business, its called specialization.  He further gave an example of Delta Airlines wherein in their aircraft meals, one person suggested to take out the lettuce.  Three months after they taking out this lettuce, passengers did not even remember there was lettuce in the beginning.  This move eventually saved Delta millions of dollars.  One should learn to identify the lettuce in our lives so we can say no to it.  One no moment opens up a yes moment in the future.

He further moved on to the idea of leadership.  He motioned that, for you to stand up, one should stand back.  A leader is not only a person with people under you, it is how you influence people no matter if they like you or not.  In business principles, this is called influence.  You don't tell people what you want them to do, but influencing them to do what you want them to do, but they will love doing it.  Its a summary really coming from the book - How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie.  Jonathan adds, leadership is pullership and not pushership.

To further push this concept, he cites an example from the London Olympics regarding hashtag competition wherein Adidas used #takethestage versus Nike's #findgreatness.  Nike won because the other meant individual achievement, whereas theirs was the accomplishment of all the athletes in the sport, whether they win or lose in the competition.

Now moving on, he tells one to be inspired and this is where Grit comes in.  Grit is passion and perseverance combined done on a longer period of time.  This inspiration traverses to his concept of having a growth mindset.  When one thinks that the ability to learn is not fixed.  One should learn at every opportunity he gets, like having a bad boss prepares you for the worst boss in the future.  Having a bad boss he says will give you the insight of how not to be like him when you get yourself to be a boss of someone else.  Another quote he gave is, the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg, and the same fire that melts the butter strengthens steel.  All this attitude, grit, mindset and perseverance can be lumped into one business principle of Affirmation.  When one creates a mindset that will give him the passion, the perseverance, the grit, the sponge feel of learning in one affirmation in the morning, that will push him to do this thing long term.

Overall, Jonathan is a great motivational speaker and he inspired me with his experiences.  I know the millenials learned a lot from him that night and I hope they practice them in real life.  Millenials will run our country someday and they will make the future not only good for themselves, but for all of us as well.  Lets hope they follow Jonathan from Grit to Greatness.