This month, I have had the privilege of listening to two really inspiring educators who used the word “calling”to describe what they are doing.
The first educator is Professor Kirsti Lindberg-Repo, the founder of Design Finland 100. You can read her interview on Design Finland 100 here. Professor Kirsti basically said that she found it her calling to market Finland as a Design Nation in Southeast Asia.
The second educator is Dr. Patrick Liew. Read Uncle Liew’s interview here! As you all know, I have been acting as a PR advisor for The Global Economic and Property Investment Convention 2017 (GEPIC2017)–a project helmed by Uncle Liew’s mentees. What is special about this business event is that all donations raised will go 100% to Mercy Relief, which will help thousands and thousands of Filipinos affected by not just one, but two typhoons.
So two days ago, I went for Uncle Liew’s property investment talk out of curiosity, because I know zero about property investment. Uncle Liew said then, that his calling is to help the Singaporean public be more financially literate.
Here’s a picture of the super thick doctorate thesis he wrote:
Recently I have been thinking about the concept of "calling". You know, I always get very curious when people tell me about their calling…"calling" is such a strong word! I can never understand a calling because I don't think I have one (yet). Then today at Dr @patrickliewsg 's seminar I saw this–His super thick Doctorate thesis on "true wealth". 😳 and that's not it, he took his thesis and made them into digital educational materials. Those are designed to be super digestible and easy to understand. They are designed for the Singaporean masses to study, research and ultimately take action on. And some materials are even free–great news for Singaporeans who are interested in educating themselves! Dr Liew shared that his calling is to increase the financial literacy of Singaporeans. He shared that factually, our financial literacy is one of the lowest in Asia. I was honestly quite moved. So this month, I learnt that great success begins with a strong "why", to always give back to society, and to always be humble. So on the way home now I started thinking about my own "whys". It's always such a huge privilege to work with people with larger visions than themselves. #rolemodels #foodforthought #sgig #igsg #singapore #sginvestment #investmentsg #inspirations #sgsocial
Few in the masses will probably read Uncle Liew’s super thick thesis because it is most likely to be quite cheem. Therefore, the most AMAZING part is that Uncle Liew rewrote and simplified everything to make the knowledge super easy to understand for the masses.
Yes–you can find all his wisdom in the form of ebooks, which you can download them all here FOR FREE. Needless to say I have downloaded and started to read them.
Now, let me ask you a question. Do you understand the hearts of these two people?
At first, I completely don’t get what they are talking about.
When Prof. Kirsti told me used the word “calling” to describe her motivation behind Design Finland 100 during The Hieno! interview, I remembered going, “??????”
You see, I first met Prof. Kirsti at a EARS conference in Helsinki in 2016, after a panel discussion on “Finnish Fashion in Asia.” We spoke briefly and she told me excitedly about this Design Finland 100 project.
When I asked why she is doing Design Finland 100, she said, “What wouldn’t you do for your country!”
I don’t think I will ever forget that moment, because I was puzzled and moved at the same time by her patriotism. At the same time, I imagined that she must have seen the potential of the Southeast Asian market, both for Finnish firms and Asian consumers/ students.
At any rate, I am excited about Design Finland 100 myself.
Because on hindsight, I had wished for such an initiative when I was in university. If only if I had learnt design-thinking then, I am sure I would have done a lot of things differently, and more “on my terms” instead of mindlessly. All I knew in university was to work hard, not work smart, which resulted in a lot of lost opportunities experimenting with other things.
So yes, I became convinced that Design Finland 100 is a good thing for ALL Singaporean university students to have. Finns do plan and think a lot before taking action, which more Singaporeans can learn, instead of just wanting to work hard all the time.
When Uncle Liew first used the word “calling” to describe his passion towards property and the financial education of the masses, I thought, “HAHA that is such a great sales pitch.” However, as the night progressed, I realised that he really meant every single word that he said. And I realised that the Singaporean public really needed this sort of educator so that they will lead a wealthier and better life.
And I became personally convinced that I needed to and can learn a lot of things from Uncle Liew, because my own knowledge of leadership and property investment is close to zero vis-a-vis his!
And if I–as an NUS Economics degree holder–can honestly say such things, what about many other people in the masses?
You see, calling is a strong word. It signifies a strong urge towards a particular way of life or career, which can only come from strong resolve. This means that something must have happened in the past which made them feel that something must change. And instead of just sitting on it, these educators actually decide to do something.
And they do things not for themselves.
You know sometimes young people do big things for themselves and their career, and then try to mask/ smokescreen it as “Oh, it is for other people?”
Or do you know of some narcissistic leaders who use the word “calling” to bullshit you? These charismatic leaders do attract followers because of their confidence (due to narcissism). However, at the end of the day, you will realised after seeing through all the glitter and shiny-ness that it is all about themselves.
Well, I say these things from experience. I used to have problems distinguishing people who do things out of a larger vision VS narcissistic people who claim to do great things for the society.
However, after being personally convinced that both Prof. Kirsti and Uncle Liew do what they do out of a strong “why”, I have learnt how to the former and the latter groups apart.
- Leaders like Prof Kirsti and Uncle Liew who act on a strong “why” will take good care of their own employees or students. They are patient, nurturing, kind and will take the time to guide their students.
And the most important thing is that…THEY ARE QUALIFIED due to years and years of experience. When there is a screw-up, they will not put the blame on the student and instead tell them how to do things in a better manner. The logic is because they do things for the purpose of the larger community and not for themselves. Therefore, they are patient because they believe in the potential of people around them. Because of all these positive traits, they gain the respect of people around them, and people around them will be loyal.
- Narcissistic leaders or EVEN narcissistic educators–as I found out– will put the blame on you (because you make them look bad), exploit their own workers, and will go into narcissistic rages all the time. They may or may not be qualified.
To date I still sincerely feel very sorry for real people working under narcissistic people in leadership positions, because they probably live every day in fear. These narcissistic people only think about themselves and stuff they can put on their resumes.
So this February thus far, I’m pretty grateful to have learnt some more insights from these two educators about why “knowing your why” is so important! 🙂
If you want to support these two educators, here are some of the initiatives they are currently leading: