Monthly Archives: July 2009

Strength vs Weakness

If I ask you to make a guess, what do you think is the MOST common questions that will be asked during an interview?

I bet more than half of you will guess: "what are your strengths?"
and the other half of you will guess: "what are your weaknesses?"

Have you ever wonder, why is it so important for them to know your weakness and your strength? Or maybe I ask this question back to you, why do you think it is important for YOU to know your own strength and weakness?



Traditionally, in the business world, it was told that in order to excel in our work, we need to know what areas we are weak in so that we can plan a necessary training and development programme to overcome those weaknesses. That's why most people in general, after they listed down all their strengths and weaknesses, they will leave their strength alone and focus on improving their weaknesses.

For example, if you are very good with technical stuff but you always scared of doing public speaking or presentation, so you do your best to improve your weakness by attending some public speaking courses. Do you think you are doing the correct thing?

Should we focus on our strength and forget about our weakness? or should we do something to eliminate our weakness? the answer is: depends.

For me, no matter what is the situation, I will always focus most of my energy and attention on my strengths. And whether I should do something about my weakness or not, that depends on whether the weakness is an obstacle for getting me where I want to be or not.

For example: When I first started my first career in sales, one of my weakness is my language. I can't speak mandarin, on which in the country that I live in (Singapore), most people are very comfortable talking in mandarin. But instead of focusing on my weakness and trying to take courses to learn mandarin (which I think it will take at least 1 year before I can start communicate fluently), I choose to focus on my strength. For me at that time, not able to speak mandarin wasn't really an obstacle for me to achieve my success because I can still make sales by approaching all the English-speaking people. And the number of people who can speak English is definitely more than enough to bring me a lot of sales. Therefore instead of spending extra hours learning mandarin, I used that extra hours to approach more people.

Another example: If you are a great computer programmer and wanted to be the best in the industry, does it really make sense for you to take a public speaking class instead of using that time to keep up with ever-changing technology?

Of course big exception is when your weakness is getting in the way of your goals.
When I know that my weakness is getting in the way of my goals, I will have to eliminate it, either by learning about it myself, or hire some expertise who can do it for me :)

For example: When I first started my own organization, I don't have any experience in managing people, create a system, etc. But I can't just ignore that, because that is essential for me to be able to grow in my career. Therefore I then learn how to lead others, how to motivate my team, managing them, etc.

I hope by now you all should get the picture on what you should do with your strengths and weaknesses. And I hope what I just shared with you will help you in your life.

So in summary few things that you need to do:

1. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Determine the strengths and weaknesses that can affect your path to success.
3. Focus and leverage on your strengths
4. Eliminate the weaknesses that stop you from getting what you want.

Merry Riana's Education Account

So far, I've shared about my Necessity Account, my Business Development Account, and my Income Generator Account.


Now, I'll share with you about my Education Account.

I'm a firm believer in life-long learning. I believe my life is a journey of learning more about myself and about the world around me.
I also believe that the our capacity of success depends on the level of our skills and knowledge.
To achieve more success, I must be a more skillful and a more knowledgeable person.

Thus, every month, I set aside 5% of my income for my Education Account.
I use the money in this account to buy books, buy audio CDs, attend seminars, etc.

I believe these are not 'expenses', but 'investment'.
When I educate myself, I am basically investing in myself.
And just like my businesses and my rental properties, I believe when I invest in myself, I'll be able to generate even more money as the outcome.

When was the last time you invest in yourself? :)


Magic Eye – Very interesting
While I was searching through my small library at home just now, I found my very old book, Title: Magic Eye. I Bought this book many years ago, it is actually a compilation of 3D illustration.
Many years back, when I was still in Primary 6, I remembered I was so amused with this new things called 3D illustration. From far it actually looks like a normal picture but if you see clearly there is a three dimensional image hidden within the two dimensional pattern.
At that time, it was the 'in' things, so almost in every shopping centre in Jakarta have a shop who sold painting and picture of it. And the price for every painting is very expensive, so I remembered sometimes I can just stay inside the shop for hours, looking at their collections and try to 'solve' the mystery by finding the hidden image.
Initially it took me a long time to figure it out, but after some practice it only took me a few seconds for me to see the hidden image (not bad, huh?). After a while, it became very addictive for me, once I managed to solved one picture, I keep wanted to solve more and more.
Well, I actually took a few picture of few pages from the book to show it to you guys.
Let's see whether you can see the 3D image hidden within the picture.

Picture 1


If you think I'm bluffing you, I'm not.
There is actually really a 3D image hidden inside.


If you can't see it, I will try to guide you.
In order for you to 'see' the picture, 2 things must happen:
1. You must get one eye to look at the point in the image, while the other eye looks at the same point in the next pattern.
2. You must hold your eyes in that position long enough for the marvelous structures in your brain to decode the 3D info.
You can follow this method:
Hold the image right up to your nose. (Ignore those people who might be tempted to make comments about you) It should be blurry. Let your eyes relax and focus as though you are looking through the image into the distance. Very slowly move the image away from your face, perhaps an inch every 2 or 3 seconds. Keep looking through the page. Stop and comfortable reading distance and keep staring. Soon you'll see the hidden image magically appear. Once you perceive the hidden image and depth, you can look around the entire 3D image. The longer you look, the clearer the illusion becomes. The farther away you hold the page, the deeper it becomes.
Here I upload a few more photo that I took from the book for you to practice. If you manage to see 'something' do drop me a message or leave a comment and tell me what did you see.
I'll give you the correct answer by end of this week. That means, you have 3 days to solve it
Good Luck!

Picture 2


Picture 3





Picture 4


Picture 5




Picture 6


The Climb

I love Motivational Songs.

When I feel like I need energy, I need inspiration, or I need to feel positive, one of the easiest way for me to achieve that is by listening to good songs.

This time, I would like to share with you 1 song that I discovered few weeks back and I love it so much. The lyrics is great, the tune is very easy to catch, and most importantly I find it very meaningful. It's the new song by Miley Cyrus called: "The Climb"


Attached is the lyrics


I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head
saying"You'll never reach it"
Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I'm not breaking
I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going
And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on'

Cause there's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting
on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Somebody's gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

Keep on moving, keep climbing
Keep the faith, babyIt's all about,
it's all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa


Hope you guys like it :)




Inspiration from My Husband

Setting your goal, focusing on the outcome, being clear about what you want in life can make your dreams come true.


There is another key element that comes into play, an element that each and every one of the 'positive thinking' books has in common: The first step in all of them is to write down your goal.


You probably heard her name, Suze Orman, financial wizard, author of the number one New York Times bestseller, The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, and a frequent guest on Oprah Winfrey Show, tells how she started out. She got a job at Merrill Lynch and was terrified she would not be able to meet her sales quota. The most she had ever made up until then was $400 a month as a waitress. She said, 'I created what I wanted for myself first on paper. Every morning before I went to work, I would write over and over again: I am young, powerful, and successful, producing at least $10,000 a month.' And guess what ?? it came true. And writing down her new truth helped make it materialize. Even after surpassing that target figure, she continued to carry the saying around with her.


My own inspiration came from my husband, who came to me one day with anamused expression and a piece of paper in his hand. He said, 'I found this list from years ago when I was cleaning our room. I don't know how, but everything on this list came true, and I forgot I wrote it.' Among other things, he had studied Mandarin in China (both my husband & I were in Beijing for 3 months in 2002), established his own business (our current business in the Financial Services industry), got married with me :) and become a millionaire (we achieved this together in 2006) – all without being conscious of checking off items on the forgotten list.


My husband's experience made me think. I noticed the same phenomenon happening in my own life. Have you had similar experience too? :)

Are you on the 'Right' path ?

I would like to start by sharing with you this very beautiful poem:


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Yes! You know you mustn't quit, but sometimes when your life isn't easy right now or nothing seems to be going according to what you want, you might be wondering and ask yourself whether am I doing the right thing in my life? am I in the right path? and how do I know whether I am in the right path?


I might not have the exact answer for you, but I can give you my opinion.

As yourself this question: "How many right path do you think is available out there?"


Well, my question probably make you think for a while. Why?


Simply because a lot of people normally have the assumption that there is only one 'right' path to walk. And if we believe there is only one 'right' path, then we are also assuming that there are many 'wrong' path too. Given these odds, there is more likely that most people are on one of those 'wrong' path, including us. Seems like bad news isn't it??



Well, Fortunately, that is not right. The truth is everything in your life is unfolding in perfect order. Or in another word, everything is on schedule. Any 'wrongness' you see in your current path doesn't make the path intrinsically wrong. It's so-called wrongness only comes from your expectations about what 'should' be happening or unfolding on your path instead of what actually IS happening.



Even the 'right' road-to-happiness has it's obstacles.



So, believe me when I said that where you are now is perfect. Because this is where you are supposed to be. You are on your path now. Whatever bad situation that is happening to you right now, don't see it as troubled. Just let it go and let go of the attachment to how things 'should' be. As you become more trusting of life, you relax into it more and resist it less.



Stop demanding that things go a certain way and have them be the way they are. Things will work out. In fact, things are working out now. To help you feel better, always believe that things are happening FOR us rather than TO us. This means that no matter how painful or uncomfortable things may be, it is all there for our growth and edification.



If not because of the financial crisis and unstable political situation back in Jakarta in 1998, I wouldn't be in Singapore

If I came from a very well to do family, I woudn't have so BIG drive and motivation to achieve the current success that I achieved today.

If 'X' company never reject my scholarship application back then in my 2nd year in University, I would never start my entrepreneurship journey (because I have to served bond working few years in that 'X' company, and probably by now I will still be a normal employee)

If I didn't loss almost all my savings in the stock market, I wouldn't even try to go to sales and make my first million from there.



There were many unfortunate things happened to my life. But I know that everything happen for a reason and those things happened FOR me.

Sometimes the road gets rough, but don't give up. You've got to keep on moving. Ask yourself: "What can I learn and discover from this situation", and ask "how can I move forward in the most positive way."



I would like to end this by writing the remaining poem that I shared with you earlier




Life is queer with it's twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worse, That you must not quit.




Merry Riana's Income Generator Account

Today I want to share with you about my Income Generator Account.

I usually allocate around 20% of my income into my Income Generator Account.
I use the money in this account ot build Income Generators for me.
For those of you who are not really familiar with the concept of Income Generator, you can read my book 'A Gift From A Friend'. My book is available at all the major bookstores in Singapore, Indonesia & Malaysia.

Basically, Income Generator is something that generates recurrent income for me, even though I may not be doing anything much to actually work for it.

Let me give you a good example of an Income Generator.
I have a couple of properties that I rent out to tenants. One of it is being rented out at $2500 per month.
After paying all the expenses (i.e. installment, maintenance, etc), I still earn $1000 left every month from that rental property.
I don't need to even think about it, and I will still get $1000 nett from this particular property every single month, without fail. :)


This is what I called an Income Generator.
So, I use the money in that I gather in my Income Generator Account to create even more Income Generators in my life.

Follow your heart

Many time in my seminars, or through my website, people come and ask me for advice.


One guy told me that he has been considering to go into sales for many years and he knew and believed that he can do well and achieve his success by doing it, but people perception about salesman is not very good, therefore until now he still hesitate to do it.


Another lady emailed me and shared with me that she only have 'O' Level (= Secondary School) Certificate and she has this big dream that one day she will be a very successful businesswomen, but sometimes she also feel very inferior and no confidence because she felt that if people know that she only has 'O' level certificate, they will look down on her.


Sadly, in life sometimes we made certain decision not really based on what we believe in, but based on what other people think. And today I would like to share with you this interesting story:


A couple bought a donkey from the market. On the way home, a boy commented, ‘Very stupid. Why neither of them ride on the donkey? ‘Upon hearing that, the husband let the wife ride on the donkey. He walked besides them.

Later, an old man saw it and commented, ‘The husband is the head of family. How can the wife ride on the donkey while the husband is on foot?’ Hearing this, the wife quickly got down and let the husband ride on the donkey.

Further on the way home, they met an old Lady. She commented, ‘How can the man ride on the donkey but let the wife walk. He is no gentleman.’ The husband thus quickly asked the wife to join him on the donkey.

Then, they met a young man. He commented, ‘Poor donkey, how can you hold up the weight of two persons. They are cruel to you.’ Hearing that, the husband and wife immediately climbed down from the donkey and carried it on their shoulders. It seems to be the only choice left.

Later, on a narrow bridge, the donkey was frightened and struggled. They lost their balance and fell into the river.


You can never have everyone praise you, nor will everyone condemn you. Never in the past, not at present, and never will be in the future.

Thus, do not be too bothered by others words if our conscience is clear..



When I first started my entrepreneurship journey 7 years ago, some of my close friends thought that I was crazy and too brave.
When I first do sales in the beginning of my career, a lot of people thought that I wouldn't be able to make it
When I want to write my own book "A Gift From A Friend" in 2006, some people laughed and said that nobody will want to buy that kind of book.


Well, If I decided to follow what other people said, I would not be able to be a successful entrepreneur, achieve my 1st million before age 26 and become a best-selling author.
If I was too bothered by what others think, I would not be able to be where I am today.

I'm glad I know what I want and go for it.




Business Development Account

As I've shared before, I usually distribute my income into different accounts: Necessity Account, Business Development Account, Income Generator Account, Education Account, Fun Account, and Giving Account.

Similar to my Necessity Account, I also put around 30% of my income into my Business Development Account.
The money that I have in my Business Development Account is used to fund my existing businesses: to pay office rental, to pay staff salary, and to fund other business expenses.

The reason why most % of my income goes back into my businesses is because these existing businesses are the main income sources for me.
At this moment, I have profitable businesses in the Financial Services industry and Training & Consultancy industry.

When you spend money to make more money, it's not really called an 'expense'.
It's actually called an 'investment'.
So, my Business Development Account is actually my investment account, where I invest in my own businesses to make them even more profitable. :)

For those of you who are in the corporate world, you can have a Career Advancement Account instead of Business Development Account.

Merry Riana's Bank Account (Part 2)

Previously, I shared in my blog that I usually manage my personal finances by distributing my income into different accounts, immediately once I earn it.

The different accounts that I have are: Necessity Account, Business Development Account, Income Generator Account, Education Account, Fun Account, and Giving Account.

For those of you who are curious to know more about it, Here it is …

Today, I'll share with you about my Necessity Account.
I'll share about the rest of the accounts in my future blog entries.

I usually put around 30% of my income into my Necessity Account.
The money in my Necessity Account is for my monthly expenses.
It includes my condo expenses (i.e. installment, property tax, maintenance, utility bills, etc), my car expenses (i.e. maintenance, petrol, car insurance, road tax, cash card, car park coupons, etc), and my personal expenses (i.e. HP bills, insurance, income tax, groceries, F & B, movies, manicure-pedicure, haircare, spa, etc).

Each and every one of us has this Necessity Account.
The difference is that, there are some of us who control & manage this Necessity Account well, and there are some of us who spend 100% of our income for this.

How many % of your total income goes to pay for your Necessity Account? :)

If you don't have an answer for that, I encourage you to start tracking, because only when you are aware of your current financial situation then you can start doing something about it.