Friday, December 23, 2005

Doing Too Much in order to Get the Effects


Just watched a documentary in the TV about the late Pope, John Paul II.

Someone asked him whether he was travelling too much. (He was the most extensively travelled Pope in the history. He visited over 100 countries during his reign)

He agreed and added a remark: Sometimes we need to do too much to get the effects.

What a smart remark! Sometimes we need to do too much to get and see the effects of our efforts. But we give up just too soon!


Personal Development: Your Career Development & Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs


Do you know there is a link between your career development and the famous Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs?

Everyone who studied management and/or psychology will know something about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. But people seldom be aware of its relationship with your career development!

According to Maslow, people are driven by lacking in the lower 4 levels of physiological, security, relationship and self-esteem needs. In another words, if people perceive themselves not having enough of any of the above 4 needs, they will react to seek to fulfill their needs. People are driven by their fear of lacking.

When someone is under the emotion of fear, one is limited by what's fearing him/her. Development is getting beyond one's limitations to expand his capabilities. No matter how successful one's career is, if one is driven by fear of lacking, there is no development.

Until one had satisfied his/her lower needs and starts his/her path to Self-Actualization, one is only being forced to improve in order to meet one's lower needs. Don't you find so many "successful" people not being happy at all?

Key to a happier life and career can be easy. Just lower your lower needs. You don't need much to fulfill your physiological and security needs. Our government has already provided us very good protection for our basic needs. We do not need too many friends to feel being loved. When one feels satisfied in the lower needs, self-esteem will come automatically. When we can earn our own living, we feel esteemed.

Then we can start to live the way we like. That's self-actualization!

Explore, Exceed & Excel

P.S. I started this article in 2005, but never finish it till Oct 2011! As part of my own development, I decided to complete it today (Oct 7 2011)!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

NLP: Systems Level in Logical Levels


I talked about replacing "Spiritual" level with "Systems" level in the Logical Levels in last week's Strategy of Excellence Module of the NLP Practitioner Training.

Some understand it, and some don't.

This "System" stuff is not something easy to be understood. I intended to introduce this concept to the NLP Practitioner Training in 2006. So I had spent hours in discussing "Systemic" in the NLP Foundation Facilitation Program in the past few weeks. (This is a free program to all NLP Practitioner Trainees. If you missed the program this year, join us in 2006) Those who had attended the above program in the past few weeks can understand better this "Systems" Level concept.

This concept seems to be even more difficult for those who get used to linear thinking style (1-dimensional thinking). The concept of the first 5 levels in Logical Levels is quite "linear". For example, your behaviour affects your environment while your capability can affect your behaviours. But the highest level of Spirituality or Systems is not. This concept is more 2-dimensional.

What's in the first 5 levels is "something", like behaviour or a belief. But what's in the highest level of "Systems" is the "relationship" between you and something. It is not the "something" but the "relationship" that affects your Identity and the all those "something" in the lower levels.

The concept of the highest level of "Spiritual" in the original Logical Levels is our sense of something that goes beyond the image of ourselves. That means, your thought of something bigger than you. For easier understanding, it can be something more important than you. This over-simplicity can be misleading, and it misleads so many NLPers.

In the first 5 levels, the upper levels "generate" the levels below them. For example, a Belief of "Money = Freedom" can generate your Capability of "Earning Money". But how can something bigger or more important than yourself generate your perception of yourself (Identity)? For example, can "God' (someone/something bigger or more important than you) generate your Identity of a "Christian"? No. It is your perception of the "Relationship" between you and "God" (e.g. God is your Creator) generates your Identity.

Even more misleading when you think only something bigger or more important than yourself can affect/generate your Identity. You do not need to think that your spouse is more important/bigger than you in order to make you his/her wife/husband. This "Wife/Husband" Identity is based on your perceived relationship with him or her. If you consider that there is a relationship with you, the relationship then affects/generates your Identity. The relationship needs NOT to be bigger/more important than yourself; it still affects and generates your Identity. For example, if someone thinks that his wife is just like a domestic helper, the relationship with her is not "big" or "important", but he still sees himself as her "Master" (Identity).

There is nothing wrong with the original concept of "Spiritual" level as the original concept is "a larger system surrounding yourself = Spiritual". It is the name of the level (i.e. Spiritual) that misleads people. The originator, Robert Dilts is quite "New Age" so his interpretation of "Spiritual" might not match "Non New Ager's interpretation.

This misunderstanding limits the usefulness of this valuable model. Most of the NLPers can only use the model up to the first 5 levels. It is ridiculous to apply the "Spiritual" Level to business or religious organizations. Some NLPers use the term "Mission" instead of "Spiritual" in order to make it more acceptable. But this is again misleading. Mission should already be included in the "Identity" Level since your mission (or the organization's missions) make you (or the organization) who you are.

I use the term "Systems" to replace "Spiritual" because it implies that it is one's perceived relationships with something surrounding you. It can be a family system, organization system, human system or whatever systems.

Though this concept of "Systems" Level is more difficult but this concept is too important for all serious NLP Practitioners. This makes this 6th level more usable and this reflects better the original idea of Logical Levels. It is the relationship between you and something in a bigger system not something bigger that affects you.

We can be stuck in any levels in the Logical Levels. For example, when you stuck in the Capability Level, you are not aware of what capability or habit affecting you. You go a level up to the Belief/Value Level and you can "see" more clearly what's stuck in the Capability Level. For example, you have a belief of "People are Bad" so you get a Capability/Habit of suspecting everybody.

If you are stuck in the "Systems" Level, you can't see the relationships between you and other elements in the bigger system. These relationships still affect you seriously but you only see those elements being in the lowest level of Environment. That's why so many people think that it is the "Environment: controlling them, not they are controlling the Environment. If these elements are really just at the lowest level, you can easily affect them, instead of being the opposite.

But the "Systems" Level is already the highest level, how can we go even up to unstuck ourselves? It is difficult so every human being is stuck in this level in different degree. If one can see through all the relationship, one then becomes the "Buddha". This is one of the concepts of Buddhism. If you can see through more than an average person, you are a smart guy. If you can see through even more, you are a guru with wisdom.

Then how can we gain awareness in this level? I really don't know exactly or else I at least become a guru. (Apparently I am not!) My very limited idea, in NLP terms, is to go "meta" in this level. Those real gurus in many religions practice different forms of mediations or prayers. These can be extreme forms of "Meta" states.

My intention of this article is not to improve the Logical Levels. I just want to reduce some common misunderstanding about this great NLP tool. Logical Levels are too "perfect" to be improved. It is only our perception in this tool needs improvement!


Learning from Life #31 - #35


This is my learning from life in the past week:

31. When someone don't understand, they think that you are wrong. (Not themselves!)

32. We always under-estimate the time need to get something done.

33. We always over-estimate the the results of doing something we want to do.

34. It is harder to complete something than starting it.

35. It is not so hard to do when you start it.

Hope you like these learning.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Having Your Purposes


Not everyone has a purpose in doing things. Even less people has a life purpose.

Do you know having a purpose can make your life easier?

It eases your life at least in 3 ways:

1. You become more Charismatic. You know what you want. You have a direction to live your life. You easily attract those with similar purpose towards you. You can then get more help and resources than others.

2. You can see more Opportunities. As you know exactly what you want, anything that can possibly contribute to your purpose can be noticed by you.

3. You waste much less Effort. You will only do what can achieve and support your purpose. You stop wasting time and effort in meaningless stuff.

Clarify your purpose before the start of the new year. You are going to have a much easier and better life in the years ahead.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Success Secrets of Andy Grove, CEO of Intel


The current issue of Fortune Magazine (Dec 12 2005) tells the success story of one of the greatest CEO in US, Andy Grove.

The company grows and grows even there are so many computer hardware competitors around the globe.

I encourage you to get the magazine and read the article. Here is my short summary of it:

There are at least 3 success secrets of Mr. Grove:

1. He tests his assumptions. If the assumptions are wrong, the conclusions can't be right!

2. He observes himself objectively. He writes daily journal. He calls this Self-Education. This helps him understanding his thinking.

3. He encourages others to challenge him. Their inhouse training school trains their executives to challenge their colleagues and superiors by asking for evidences.

Even though Mr. Grove is not doing coaching, he is coaching himself to see his own blindspots. What a smart man!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Quality of Life


A recent survey reveals that the average dying age of professors in Mainland China is only 59!

How shocking it is!

The major reason for their short lifes is overwork.

This is a reminder for me (might be for you, too): Enjoy Life!


Sunday, December 04, 2005

NLP: NLP is NOT about NLP Skills


I posted this article once in October, but it is "lost". So I post it again here:

NLP Skills are the results of NLP. Those developers "invented" these skills through NLP Modeling. NLP Modeling is the study of people's thinking programs, which in turn affect how we do, speak and think. NLP Modeling is the Core while NLP Skills are the accessories. If you still want NLP Skills, here are the Top 10 NLP Skills. These are all you need. Nearly all other NLP skills are modification of these skills.

1. Rapport – Pacing Qualities of Voice (Echoing: speed, tone, and volume), VAK (Matching), and/or Posture and Movement (Mirroring). Remember the objective of Pacing is Leading. Try Leading whenever you find you are already in rapport with others.

2. Fast Phobia Cure – Remove your Fears by Dissociation, Rewinding, Changing Submodalities.

3. Association & Dissociation – Association with what you want and Dissociate from what you don't want. Associate to get the feeling and Dissociate to get the information.

4. Swish Pattern – Work on "Bad" Experience, Thoughts, Habits or even Beliefs. Then swish it away with your new Image.

5. Anchoring – Feel the feeling of the Resources and Anchor it. Use it later if that resource is needed.

6. Changing Submodalities – Recall the Pictures of what annoys you (experience, thoughts, beliefs), change the submodalities to make the relief.

7. Perceptual Positions – Walk into 2nd & 3rd Position to understand the situation more.

8. Aligning Logical Levels – Walk up your Levels to understand more about your situation in each level. Walk down again to integrate your new learning. Use when you want to explore more about some projects and plans.

9. Circle of Excellence – Put the Resources on floor. Bring it back by visualizing it again.

10. Reframing
Meaning Reframing – What can be the other meaning of this situation?
Context Reframing – What situations can this be useful?

Explore, Exceed & Excel

Monday, November 28, 2005

Learning from Life 26-30


Here are my next 5 learning from life this week:

26. We can be strong, but not tough.

27. Nearly everyone knows family is more important than money, but most of us are doing otherwise!

28. There is no absolute safety. Sometimes we need to jump into something that we just don't fully know.

29. Even some problems can't be solved, we can still move nearer to the solutions!

30. Changes are unavoidable. It is either you change, or something changes you!

Hope you enjoy this week's learning!


Friday, November 18, 2005

Learning from Life 21-25


Here are another of my 5 learning from life:

21. "Needs" have a greater drive than "Wants".

22. Nobody makes your life miserable. Everybody is so busy about their own life!

23. Not being Unhappy is not the same as being Happy.

24. Truth doesn't matter, how you see the truth matters.

25. The number of things completed is far less than the number of things started.


The Passing of Peter Drucker, Father of Modern Management


Peter Drucker, father of modern management passed away peacefully last Friday.

Peter Drucker is the most influential management writer in the past one hundred years. Professor Drucker remained active until end of his life, at the age of 95.

Many people believe that Prof Drucker's thinking is 20 years ahead of all others. I don't quite agree with this. It should be at least 40 years ahead! I am still reading one of his best books, the Effective Executive, first published in 1966. So many of the ideas inside this book are still found very valuable today!

As a final salute to this giant, I am planning a special talk about his ideas in the Effective Executive. This is going to be a free talk so that more people can know more about Prof Drucker.

I will announce the details of this free talk soon in our Excel Your Life Newsletter. (


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Criticizing Others Part 4


This should be my final part of this series.

People criticizes!

This is a 向下沉淪 cycle. (BTW, I had identified 13 向下沉淪 cycles. I had already shared 7 in various occasions. This is the 8th)

This is a 向下沉淪 cycle because we only criticize people above us. The more we criticize, the more people are above us. That simply means that we are falling!

I decided not to step into this 向下沉淪 cycle. I formulated another strategy. (Being an NLPer, I like strategies and modeling!)

When I hear myself starting criticising (Adi), I stop and feel (Ki). It is a feeling of being threatened. I visualize what's threatening me (Vic). It should be a picture of he/she doing something better than me. I visualize how I can do it as him or her (Vic). I learn. Then I visualize how I can do it better than him or her (Vic). Then I try it physcially (Ke). I look for the result (Ve) as feedback. I improve further. I do not need to criticize any more, because I am better than or at least as good as him or her.

If you do not understand those strange NLP terms, my strategy is simply as follow: When I find myself starting critizing, I stop and think. He or she must be better than me. So I learn from his or her strengthen. Then I do not need to criticize as I am at least as good as him or her.

As I start to learn, I step into another cycle, the 向上提升 Cycle.


Criticizing Others Part 3


People Criticizes!

People criticizes simply because of protecting him/herself! So, I criticize, too. This is forgivable.

People criticize at others' back because of safety. So, I criticize at others' back, too. This is forgivable.

Safety? Yes. Some people take a further step forward. Even though criticizing at others' back is safer, it is not safe enough. So, they pretend to care about that poor guy in front of others. Then they safely insert their criticism within those kind words. What a smart strategy!

One can do this consciously or unconsciously.

Why do I said all these? This is just a reminder to myself. If I am really caring about someone, I will tell him or her directly. Or I will do something for him or her, but not saying anything behind others.

I wish that I can really do the above. So I write all these to myself!


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Criticizing Others Part 2


People Criticizes.

This is bad and unproductive to anybody. But nearly everybody does it. (of course, including me)

But why does people critcize?

I am not a psychologist, I don't know the exact answer. But I have modelled myself and here is my own logics for criticizing others.

When someone is better than me, I feel being threatened. Even though he does nothing harming me, I still feel being threatened. (This is a feeling, it can be not logical)

So, I start to criticize him/her. This makes me feeling that he/she is not that good. This also makes me feeling that those others who hear my criticism will also think that he/she is not that good. This is a more important part of criticizing. When I feel that others also find someone is better, they might then look down upon me. He/she is good, then I must be bad!

I will not criticize in front of this person. He/she might attack back. He/she is better than me and I might just not be able to handle his/her attacking back. It is safer to do it behind him/her.

It seems that I just can't prevent this. This is a typical "Flight or Fight Response" when facing "Dangers". I do it both. I flight to the back of others and then fight them. Or you can call this "Defence by Attacking at the Back". (i.e. 主動從後襲擊) This is a survival mechanism! This is our basic instinct.

I am glad to discover my own strategy of criticizing. I can do nothing if I don't know my strategy. But I can always adjust it when I understand it.


Criticizing Others


People criticizes!

You can always hear so many people criticizing others. Some even do something to hurt others without gaining anything. (Or they might think that they can gain something out of it!) I just wonder whether this is an inborn nature of human beings.

I can't escape from criticizing other, too. So I always remind myself to stop doing this. Not because I am a "good" guy and others are bad. It is simply because from my observation, those who criticize most are those who get least from their lives!

I did a modeling on this criticizing thing.

1. People criticize those above them. (Position, capability, earning...)
2. People don't criticize those who are very high above them. They admire them!
3. People don't criticize those who are too low below them. They feel pity about them.

So, when you know someone is critcizing behind you, feel happy. You must be higher above them! But be also reminded that you are not that high. They do not admire you yet!


Friday, November 04, 2005

Learning from Life 16-20


This is my fourth part of the Learning from Life Series. Here are some of my learning last week. Hope you like them.

16. People don't know what they want because their environment tells them that it is not possible to get it.

17. Envy hurts. Both yourself and others.

18. Frustration comes from doing what you think others expecting you to do.

19. Knowing is different from Knowledge! (知識與學問)

20. Behaviour is different from Personality!


我選擇快樂 reaches her 5th Printing


My book, 我選擇快樂 (co-authored with Mr. John Lau) just reaches her fifth printing this month. 5th printings in one year, I am very happy about this. This only proves one important thing. This book might not be a good one, but people really want happiness from their lives. I like to express my thanks for all your support to this book.

Life is full of harshness but also happiness. There are so many books about success, but not so many talking about happiness.

We actually do not want success, but happiness! If success doesn't bring you happiness, do you still want it?

What do I like most of this book? Her title. This keeps on reminding me that we can choose to be happy!


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

RCC 2005 Class Graduated!


I have just completed the Registered Corporate Coach Program 2005 of the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches ( last week.

All participants had passed the final assessments. Congratuation to all of them!

Upon completing their assignments, we have 26 more RCC in Hong Kong!

I really like to thanks for their kind support and cooperation in the past months. Hope that they enjoyed and learned from the program.

Our next RCC Program will start in June 2006. Details will be posted soon at If you want to learn how to coach in business setting and get the RCC Designation from the only international business coaching organization, don't miss it!


Coaching: During Coaching, do we need to make our clients at ease?


This is a very common misunderstanding. I never explained this enough in all my coach training.

The answer is not necessarily yes!

When you are going to persuade someone, you must make them at ease. When they are comfortable, they listen to your words and feeling safe.

But when you are doing coaching, you can create some pressure. The pressure urges them to think and answer your questions. Sometimes a facial expression of being not very understanding can make your clients doing their best to explain further. This can be better than lots of follow-up questions.

The pressure you created can "force" people to think out of box or to think outside the "Black Dot" that I mentioned in classes.

I have always said that coaching is not for all. Only those who are willing to take their own responsibility and accountability is coachable. (Being not coachable doesn't mean that they are bad!)

Those who are coachable will respond positively to your pressure. Those who are not will not! If they are not coachable, do something else instead, like guiding, leading or instructing.

Coaching is NOT a replacement for all other people management skills!

Explore, Exceed & Excel

Updated & Revised on Sept 14 2007

Friday, October 28, 2005 Update Twice a Week


I like writing the Ideas & Thoughts of Keith To. It's a great way of sharing.

I just commit with myself to update this website at least twice a week. That means - more information you can get every time you visit us again.

Bookmark this page and come back more frequently.


NLP Essentials 2006


I have just confirmed with St. James Settlement the dates for NLP Essentials 2006.

NLP Essentials 2006 is a Free program for those who want to learn NLP. This is our third year conducting this training. This is a 10-hours program spreading through 5 tuesday's evenings. This program will only be conducted once a year.

You are going to learn the basic principles and skills plus some really advanced skills of NLP. Everybody are welcomed. I will anounce the enrollment procedure later in our Excel Your Life Email Newsletter. If you haven't subscribe, simply send a blank email to

Here is some details of this upcoming program:

Date: Feb 28 - Mar 28 2006 Every Tuesday
Time: 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Venue: St. James Settlement, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Mark your calendar now if you want to join us.


Learning from Life 11-15


Here are what I learned in the last week:

11. I respect what I already have, or they will disappear.

12. Failure is more frequent than Success. Learn how to handle them or they will handle you. (NLPers might said that there is no failure, only feedback. You are right. But let's be a normal person just for a while!)

13. We can easily mix up means and ends. We want the ends and we do the means.

14. We usually over-estimate the results but under-estimate the process.

15. If we do not want others to laugh at us, learn how to laugh at ourselves first.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

NLP is NOT about NLP Skills


This is a new article written by me. It is about the Top 10 NLP Skills. See if you know them all. If you interest in NLP Skills, these are the most effective ones that you can use them again and again.

I have not been focusing on NLP Skills for years. But I still always use these 10 skills to help myself unstuck and improve.


NLP is NOT about NLP Skills
By Keith To

NLP Skills are the results of NLP. Those developers “invented” these skills through applying NLP. NLP is the study of people’s thinking programs, which in turn affect how we do, speak and think. NLP is the Core while NLP Skills are the accessories.If you still want NLP Skills, here are the Top 10 NLP Skills. These are all you need. Nearly all other NLP skills are modification of these skills.

1. RapportPacing Qualities of Voice (Echoing: speed, tone, and volume), VAK (Matching), and/or Posture and Movement (Mirroring). Remember the objective of Pacing is Leading. Try Leading whenever you find you are already in rapport with others.

2. Fast Phobia Cure – Remove your Fears by Dissociation, Rewinding, Changing Submodalities.

3. Association & Dissociation – Association with what you want and Dissociate from what you don't want. Associate to get the feeling and Dissociate to get the information.

4. Swish Pattern – Work on "Bad" Experience, Thoughts, Habits or even Beliefs. The swish it away with your new Image.

5. Anchoring – Feel the feeling of the Resources and Anchor it. Use it later if that resource is needed.

6. Changing Submodalities – Recall the Pictures of what annoys you (experience, thoughts, beliefs), change the submodalities to make the relief.

7. Perceptual Positions – Walk into 2nd & 3rd Position to understand the situation more.

8. Aligning Logical Levels – Walk up your Levels to understand more about your situation in each level. Walk down again to integrate your new learning. Use when you want to explore more about some projects and plans.

9. Circle of Excellence – Put the Resources on floor. Bring it back by visualizing it again.

10. Reframing
Meaning Reframing – What can be the other meaning of this situation?
Context Reframing – What situations can this be useful?

Coaching: Self Coaching - Can We Coach Ourselves?


If coaching is useful to help others to identify blind spots and to develop oneself, then can we coach ourselves?

The answer is Yes and No.

If coaching is about asking questions, we can't coach ourselves effectively. It is too difficult for us to question ourselves. We will surrender too soon, well before we can discover anything new and meaningful.

But if you see questioning is just the means of coaching, and the end of coaching is helping others to think logically to discover his/her own answers, the we can coach ourselves.

It is just about logical thinking! All our models of coaching is to assist our clients to think logically. In everday life, we get used to jumping to conclusions. So, blindspots are the result. We do not need to question ourselves when doing self-coaching. We just follow the logical sequences of thinking. That's already great self-coaching.

Wheather it is Fulfill Model, A to B Model, 6 Tiers of Questioning Model, Feedback Loop Model, Action Coaching Model or WWHW Model (various models we used in our Coaching Programs), they are just Thinking Model. Just follow the sequence in the model to think. You are eliminating your blindspots as a result.

Enjoy coaching yourself!


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

NLP: 49 Days Non-Stop


This is my 23rd day of non-stop working since 3 weeks ago.

As I had rescheduled some of my training programs earlier this year, I need to work 49 days non-stop in these 2 months. There are still 26 days to come!

49 days!!! Everyday I need to conduct training, meet clients, and do my writings.

During the first 2 weeks, I felt terrible and exhausted. Because all these are works! Then I do some shifting in my perception. If I still see these are works, how can I go through all my 49 miserable days?

Furthermore, I like doing training, seeing clients and writing. That's why I choose this career. It is only the "49 non-stop days" that make me feeling terrible.

Many great people retreat for days, weeks, and months as a form of 修煉. I can see my 49 days also being a form of 修煉. I will review, re-understand, refine all the material I am going to present in these 49 days. The result can be some much improved training programs and more in-depth knowledge for myself. I feel great again instantly.

Change your perception, change your feeling and results. This wisdom is age-old, but it always works, at least for me.


P.S. Yes, this is Reframing. When we can't change something, change how we see it!

Development is a Natural Process


We always want to develop, ourselves, our business, and/or our career.

We try harder to develop, we fail harder. Why?

Because development is a natural process. You can't develop to develop! The key is when you accumulate enough, development will happen naturally. But you must know what you want first. This gives you the direction of development.

What can you accumulate? Knowledge, money, assets, qualifications, skills, networks, etc.

The Lesson: Know what you want and start accumulating!


Sunday, October 23, 2005

What's Wrong with NLP Today?


I am a NLP Trainer and I am sad that there are serious problems with NLP today.

The more people learn NLP, the seriousness of the problems becomes more apparent. What are the problems? The problem is about the misunderstandings of NLP.

1. NLP is NOT NLP Skills. Many people are just learning NLP Skills and think that they are NLP. NLP Skills are the results of NLP, but not NLP itself.

2. NLP emphasizes the "How" of doing/thinking (i.e. Context). People misunderstand that we just need to know how to use the NLP Skills. But how about the "When", "Who", "Which" and "Why" to use the skills? People learned NLP, but just do not know when to use a particular skill, who needs that skill, which skill to use, and why to use it?

The Result: They can't use it!

The essence of "How" is to study how people think about something so that we can shift the "How" to achieve a better result. This full understand of "How" thinking happened leads us to know the "How", "When", "Who", "Which" and "Why" of thinking and of applying the skills.

3. NLP makes people thinking that they are therapists. Founders of NLP modelled some of the best psychotherapist at that time and work out their strategies. So many of the NLP Skills are therapeutic in nature. Knowing how they do it doesn't make us becoming a psychotherapist. Most of us are not trained as a therapist. People can easily misunderstand that learning NLP is equivalent to learning therapy.

Even a standard 128 or more hours of NLP training can't equip us with all the knowledge of doing therapy on others. This is dangerous, very dangerous. Furthermore, most of us will not do therapy in our daily lives. Learning all those NLP Therapeutic Skills becomes useless to us. We need something we can transfer back to our daily lives.

I don't have all the solutions to these problems. But I always remind myself not to add further more problems to the field of NLP!


Friday, October 21, 2005

Judge Before Think!


Today, I confirm again one of my findings. One of the most common causes for failure is making judgment before thinking.

I know someone who is very well-educated, but never quite successful in life. I always think that it is just because of bad luck. Today, I got the real answer.

I have a meeting with my friend today. He comes across some new information. Immediately he ignores the information and says that there are nothing new there. But there are!

Out of curiosity, I challenge his judgment. After our discussion, we discovered the reason for his judgment. The only reason he comes to his judgment is that the information looks like old stuff. He stops seeing and thinking after his judgment. How can he improve in such a manner?

This is the most common way to create blindspots for ourselves - Judging before Thinking. Then we stop thinking forever!

Lesson Learned: Think before making any judgment!


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Disney TV Commercial


Have you seen the TV Ad of Disney Hong Kong?

It is very hypnotic!

Disney is for children, isn't it? No. There are only 2 or 3 shots of a child in the Ad. All others are many good-looking ladies!

This is an Ad designed for adults, both men and women. (Adults pay for the entry tickets!)

Those healthy-looking ladies attract female audience, subconsciously.

But they do not wear much. They also at the same time atrract male audience, of course, subconsciously.

You might not agree with me. But why did they designed their Ad like this?

Remember what I said in the Hypno-Communication Workshop, all men and ladies' magazines use photo of beautiful women on their covers.


Learning from Life #6 - #10


Below is my last week's "learning from life". Hope you like them.

6. No matter how good is your intention, some people will think bad of it. If you think something is good, just do it!

7. You can't satisfy everybody.

8. The words one says reflect his thinking. Listen carefully.

9. Listening is more difficult than speaking. You do not need to learn to speak, but you need to learn how to listen.

10. You don't really know a person by hearing from others. Know him/her by knowing him/her.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Learning From Life: #1 - #5


The best teacher is always your life experience. But usually we do not learn from them! Here I like to start a "Learning from Living My Life Movement". I will record some significiant learnings from each week of my life.

These are just my own learnings. They might not be the truth. I just wish to inspire you to do the same for yourself. Start learning from your life and yourself. This is what I always talk about - Self-Awareness.

I will go on with this "Learning from Living My Life Movement" until I reach my 499 learnings. Hope you like these.

1. No matter how much you care, some people will think that you do not care about them!

2. I can't make people (including myself) change until they understand why they need to change.

3. I must be honest to myself. There can be "good lies" to others, but there is no "good lies" to oneself.

4. People are intelligent enough to solve their own problems, if they know what is the problem.

5. People should treat us bad. Majority of the people cares most about themselves. When someone treat me great, this is a bonus of life!


Personal Development: What You Give, Returns


I am a believer in laws of the universe. If there is no law, the universe must had already been collasped.

One of my favourite laws is "What you give, returns". The more you give away to others, the more will return to you. There might be some delays, but it will return, doubled, tribled or even more.

There was a earthquake in South Asia on Oct 8 2005. Many were killed and even more, though live but suffer. It's the time for us to give.

Please express your kind heart to them. Donate to any charity body (or you can go to who is helping the victims there. Do it today before you forget.

I can assure you that what you give to them will return!


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Writings on NLP & Hypnosis


Few days ago, one of our friends asked me why I do not write anything on NLP & Hypnosis. To him, it is really strange as I am an NLP & Hypnosis Trainer.

I printed out all articles I had written before and asked him to re-read them once more. They are all NLP & Hypnosis stuff, but they are just not being NLP & Hypnotic skills only.

From a macro (or even meta) point of view, NLP is the study of how people think and Hypnosis is the reprogramming of our subconscious thinking to make changes. From this point of view, all my writings are NLP and/or Hypnosis. I just step out of the frame of NLP & Hypnotic skills only.

There are so many writings on the skills. I read so many books that are just repeating what those NLP founders and co-developers' writings. It is a waste of time writing and reading these stuff. Then I stopped writing "skills". I will write again if I discover something really new and useful.

Know your frames and move out of them! This is what a real NLPer does.


Personal Development: The Matthew Effect


Yesterday, I did one of my best presentations of the past few years, the Matthew Effect.

The Matthew Effect is the well-known "The Rich Gets Richer, and the Poor Gets Poorer" effect. My version of the Matthew Effect is "The Strong Gets Stronger, and the Weak Gets Weaker".

You like it or not, the Matthew Effect is there silently operating behind you. Rather than complaining about being rip-off by the Strong, it is better to be the Strong myself.

I had mentioned 12 Basic Principles of the Matthew Effect in the presentation. The single most important one is being "Always Half-a-Step Ahead of Others".

Why half-a-step ahead?

1. Less Competitions. Being ahead, you can get whatever you can find and want when others still not discover them yet. There is much less competition and the cost of getting is small.

2. Always Ahead. Being half-a-step is easier than one full step. Even though you are just a little bit ahead of others, you are always ahead when everybody is moving at the same speed.

3. Attracts Appreciation. Being half-a-step ahead makes yourself more easily accepted by others. It is not too advanced. More people can appreciate you, your products and/or your service.

Why not start being ahead right now!

Explore, Exceed & Excel

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Thinking: 想法的想法 2


我在9月28日出版的卓越生命電郵週刊 (免費訂閱: 刊登了首五個我的想法的想法,以下是我的另外五個想法的想法:

6. 想法並不會令你失望,沒有執行想法才使你失望。

7. 沒有考慮因果的想法,就是不合邏輯的想法

8. 大膽的想法,可以細膽的行動;沒有想過的行動,才是令你膽戰心驚的大膽行動。

9. 正面或負面的想法並不重要,重要的是全面的想法

10. 你不能知道他人的想法,除非你問他,及觀察他的行動。


Explore, Exceed & Excel

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Why Do We Make Bad Judgement?


Why do we make bad judgment? Firstly, we love to judge. We love to judge everything, everyone!

Secondly, we love to judge so much that we make our judgments too soon! We jump to our judgments.

Actually, we really jump "steps" to judgment.

To make a rational (still not always true) judgment, we need to go through steps. Here is my 4-Steps Model on Rational Judgment.

1. Information. Gather as much data and fact as possible.
2. Understanding. Interpret your information. Compare amongst them and with other related information and knowledge.
3. Analysis. Break down your understanding into component parts. Discover their relationship.
4. Judgment. Create argument and verify them with evidences.

The problem is that we seldom to do it all but we love to judge.

What will you do when you want to judge something or someone in the future?


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Coaching: One Question is Better Than Many Questions!


Today, I was conducting a new Coach Training Program, the Lead-Coach to a company.

One participant brought out a great point that I want to mention here.

In coaching your people, you really do not need to ask too many questions. You just confuse them. It will be even worse if you do not have much time. All the questions will just be asked at the surface level. Nothing deep can be revealed. You can't help others to discover more to solve their problems.

Instead, focus on one single question and dig deeper. The whole thing can just be done at several minutes. This can prevent from draining your staff too much or making them bored, and they can still get something out of the dialogue.

Identify the single most important question and dig deeeeeep.

Explore, Exceed & Excel

My Point of View: 新奧爾良風災的啟示









Explore, Exceed & Excel

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Power of Destruction


The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Japan won a landslide victory in Sunday's Lower House election!

The LDP clinched 296 seats in the election, giving the ruling party its first majority in the Diet chamber in 15 years.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said on his day of victory: We destroyed the old LDP, and the LDP became like a new party!

He really destroyed the old party and showed the world the Power of Destruction. He destroyed those "old" members in LDP by replacing them with "newer", "younger" members. He then won the election.

We might not like Koizumi, but we can learn from him.

In the BiZuccess System Seminars that I delivered last month, I urged our audiences to destroy what are not perfect or even destroy those which are just not good enough! We can easily fall in love with what we created or owned. We just can't see that they might be already hindering our progress or success.

I understand that it hurts when you destroy something. But it can be one of your best ways to move ahead in your plan, your career and your life.

One of my best-sellers is the Coaching Excellence Program. I have done it 7 times since its launch in 2001. I keep on destroying those less-than-perfect contents. Many are good, but not great! Right now, I am doing my 8th time for the program. I conducted a major destruction. More than 80% are different from those in 2001! If I want it to be continuously successful, destruction is a must.

Continuous Improvement (Kaizen) is dead. Continuous Destruction Lives!

Just before I wrote this blog, I destroyed another program of mine - the COACH Incubation System. She is 4 years' old and now is the time for her rebirth.

Destroy what is not great enough. Do it again or simply replace it with something better!

Keith To

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My Birthday US$5 Crazy Sale


Today is my birthday! I know that you might not care about this.

But I want to do something special at my own birthday!

I collected several very informative ebooks which I have resale right.
I will sell these all to you at just US$5! (Less than HK$40)

Here are what you are going to get for your 5 dollars:

1. 1,000 Atkins Diet Recipes. Dr. Atkins is famous for his Low-Carb Diet for weight loss. A recent documentary reviews that it is quite safe to be on Atkins Diet for weight loss for a short period of time (i.e. half year). Many studies show that the effect is much better than similar diets. (You make your own decision to follow the diet or not. Consult your doctor is the best choice before doing so)

2. Atkins Carbohydrates Counter. A great reference. You can calcualate the amount of carbohydrate intake.

3. Atkins Diet Revolution. More detailed information about Dr. Atkins Diet for weight loss.

4. 300 Vegetable Recipes. I like veggies. It can be helpful to your health. Here are over 300 recipes for you to add varieties.

5. Vinegar for Cleaning. You can use vinegar to clean a lot of stain. It is safer than many chemical cleansers.

6. Vinegar for Your Health. Vinegar is an age-old remedy for many situations. Very informative.

7. Secrets of MS Word. MS Word is a very popular software. Nearly everyoneis using it. There are some hidden functions that can make you even more productive. The tiny ebook tells you some!

All just for US$5!

7 ebooks with over 430 pages of valuable information, just for $5!

You are NOT going to pay me
. If you want your ebooks, go to (American Red Cross) and donate at least US$5 to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the US. Thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands are suffering right now. Don't think that all the people in the US are wealthy. There are lots of poor unfortunate people there, waiting for us to help.

Upon your donation, you will get a email confirmation. Forward that email to me at and I will email you the link to download all these great ebooks!

Do it NOW!

This crazy sale only last for 48 hours. It will end at 6am Sept 8th.

Keith To

Friday, September 02, 2005

Business Development: Urgent Meeting?


A research shows that around 70% of the time of an executive is in meetings. Most of them are useless. The remaining 30% of time is for working.

Don't you think that is ridiculous? We use most of our valuable time in unproductive events!

Just ask yourself: what kind of meetings wasting you most time?

My answer is those so-called "Urgent" Meetings.

There is a paradox there. If you can see through this paradox, you save yourself lots of time.

If something is "urgent", then it should not be the right time to meet. Have you seen any fireman has a meeting before rushing to save lives?

If it is really urgent, someone should make the decision and start to do something. Only people without the sense of accountability calls for "Urgent" meetings. They just want to share their burden and blame.

Call no "Urgent" Meeting!

Explore, Exceed & Excel

Updated: Aug 16 2008

Career Advancement: Experience? Qualification? Knowledge? Skills?


One participant of the BiZuccess System Seminar talked to me this monday.

During the seminar that day, I warned everyone that it is not how much experience, qualification, knowledge or skills you have that makes you advancing in your career. The more you have all these, you just become more expensive to your boss. These are burdens, not assets to you!

The only thing really matters is how many good ideas you can give and how well you can execute them.

That gentleman asked me a question: When I give a good idea to my boss, he will just take it. I can have no credit for it?!

My answer is: If you have just ONE idea, it can be the case. We must be continuously having ideas after ideas to make us valuable to your boss and to your company. Who dares to loss such a great fountain of ideas?

Your years of experience, qualification, knowledge and skills can't help you. Make use of your experience, qualification, knowledge and skills to generate more ideas!

Keith To

Sunday, August 28, 2005

NLP: Don't Praise or Shoot the Messenger


Last thursday, one of our NLP graduates came to me.

Her name is Rosan. (Hope she doesn't mind I disclose her name). She looks very differently from my last time seeing her. She changed!

She is very thin, timid and shy 2 or 3 years ago. Now she is healthy and strong, filled full with confidence.

She came and thanked me for my teachings in the NLP Program. She told me that it works.

But it is nothing about me. Or even it is nothing about NLP.

So many people learned NLP, but not all benefited from it. It is all about you, yourself.

I am just the messenger. I bring you the messages about self-awareness or about NLP. It is you who decide whether to work on it or not.

She decided to work on her fear in public speaking. She decided to work on what she really love for her career. She is now an instructor in weight management. She teaches and speak in front of peeple!!! Unbelievable!!!

It is everything about you. Don't shoot the messenger if something doesn't works. Don't priase the messenger if it works. He/she is just a messenger.

Explore, Exceed & Excel

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Top 20 Innovative Companies in the World 2005


In the BiZuccess System Seminar Part 3, I mentioned the Top 20 innovative Companies in the World. I went through the list so fast that some of you might miss something. So, I work out a summary as follows.

20. BMW: Combines sleek design, advanced technology and web-based marketing.
19. Starbucks: Coffee Shop = Lifestyle.
18. IDEO: Input > Output
17. Amazon: Emphasizing customer's experience.
16. Intel: Ability to disrupt itself.
15. Ebay: Customer Power + Cheap Prices + Community.
14. Toyata: Using advanced technology to yield big market advantages, like hybrid cars.
13. Wal-Mart: Supply-chain and logistics superiority.
12. Samsung: Catches the pulse of the consumer.
11. Virgin: Air-travel = Lifestyle.
10. Nokia: Sharp Design + Changes Models Rapidly + Adds Features.
9. P&G: Understanding changing consummer lifestyles.
8. Google: Simple solutions to complex problems.
7. IBM: Uses its powerful IT base to solve customers' problems.
6. Dell: Ruthless cost-cutting and innovations.
5. Sony: Media Convergence.
4. GE: Management Practices ahead of competition.
3. Microsoft: Rapid changes of strategies when necessary.
2. 3M: Internal culture of creativity with formal incentives.
1. Apple: Redefine old categories.
(Source: The Business Week)

Different companies rely on different strategies of innovation to win over their competitors. This is the essense of innovation.

Keith To

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Personal Development: Appointment in 2024


Have you ever think of making an appointment with someone twenty years later?

I am not asking you really to do so with someone else, but how about making an appointment with yourself 20 years later?

What can happen in the coming 20 years? How will you become after 20 years?

Just jot down some questions to ask yourself or some of your promises to yourself. Then put them in an envelope. Mark the envelope with the words "2024". Put the envelope in your safe deposit box or wherever. On your birthday in 2024, open the envelope and see whether you can answer all your questions.

If I were you, I will do everything I can in the next 20 years to make sure myself capable of answering all those questions you had written.

Or even better, mail all your questions and promises to a great friend. Make an appointment with him or her on your birthday in 2024. Then let him or her to ask you all your questions. This appointment can be the very exciting, awesome or even romantic!

This might be another way to keep yourself atill alive in the next 20 years!?

Expore, Exceed & Excel

Updated: Aug 16 2008

Thursday, July 28, 2005

NLP: Self-Talk & Advanced Language Patterns


I have just completed the Advanced Language Patterns Module of the NLP Practititioner Training today. During the closing of the program, I suggested that we can make greater use of the Advanced Language Patterns in our self-talk.

We talk to ourselves all the time and it is very OK to talk to yourself. It is normal. It is good if you say something good to yourself. And It's bad if you tell yourself you are bad.

Take special care if you always say something good then follows by a "but" and then something bad. Your mind will be drawn to what had said after the "buts". For example, you tell yourself: I can do it but it is very hard to do so. You are telling yourself that it is very hard.

You can always replace the "but" with "and", i.e. I can do it and it is very hard to do so. You mind takes both statements. Or even better, you can replace the "but" with "even though", i.e. I can do it even though it is very hard to do so.

Don't you think that the last statement is much, much more encouraging to yourself?

Try this yourself. You can do it even though it is a bit odd when you start using it!

Explore, Exceed & Excel

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Regret what you haven't done!


One of my friends passed away yesterday.

I knew that she was in hospital for more than 6 months. I promised to visit her but I never did so. I was too "busy" and I did "not" have the time to see her.

I am really sad hearing her death. But I regret even more. I regret I haven't spent just a few hours to see her. Another friend told me today that she want to see me before her death. But I disappointed her.

I will forgive myself. I can do nothing to change the reality. But I promise myself today that I will do everything that need to be done in the future. I will not allow this kind of regrets happening in my life again.

Lesson Learned: Do what you need to do. Or you are going to regret what you haven't done.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Concepts 101: Part 0 - Needs & Wants


In these 2 weeks, I always felt confused. This seldom happens to me. Being a coach, I start coaching myself.

1. What's happening?
2. How did this caused my confusions?
3. How do I know?

Then I am shocked to find out that all the confusions came from my Number 1 Differentiation, which I always preached.

Needs & Wants!!!

I am wanting something that's not my needs! That's the source of all my frustrations and confusions.

My need is simple and I am wanting something much more than my need. I make up my mind immediately. I simply go for my need and forget my unrealistic wants.

I feel peaceful.

Lesson Learned: Realistic "wants" create improvements, unreslistic "wants" produce sufferings.


P.S. Needs = Something you can't live without, e.g. air, water, food, good friends, etc

P.P.S. Wants = Some extras, they can just make your feel "better" if you have them.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Notebook of da Vinci


I had just presented a seminar on the Genius Principles of da Vinci a few days ago.

Many estimated the IQ of da Vinci is as high as 220!!!

I have been studying da Vinci since 1996. I started with his notebooks. I read all those 1566 items again and again in the past years.

Reading these notes is not an interesting act. Most of the notes of da Vinci are quite boring and with confusions. But they are inspiring.

If you are serious about learning from this super genius, it is a good idea to start with his notes, not from any other books written about him. These are his firsthand information.

As a coach and trainer, my mission is not to teach anyone anything. I just want to do something to induce others' thinking. Through a better thinking, they solve their own problems and create their destinies.

I can't teach anyone thinking. But our genius, da Vinci can. Learn from him and you can also own a genius's mind.

So I decided to distribute da Vinci's note, 1 item a day through email to anyone who want to learn from this genius. I will also add my own ideas in the email as yoru reference. My ideas are not my interpreatation of da Vinci's notes. It is just my thought.

I can't promise I can do it everyday. But I will complete all 1566 items in the coming few years.

If you want this email service, just send a blank email to I will start Notes 1 in August 2005.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Link Between Super Calm & Super Achiever

Previously, I had mentioned the paradox between being super-calm and being a super-achiever.

There must a link between the 2, or else you will find a single super-achiever who is also very calm. In reality, there are there are this kind of super-achievers out there.

I personally have several friends who are this kind of achievers.

I studied them carefully and I discovered at least 2 links.

1. All of them have clear goals (or least they know exactly what they want). Having clear goals is the first step of get achievement. Being ambitious but without a clear goals creates lots of stress. So, with clear goals, you can direct your effort to what you want. Decisions become much easier.

2. All of them always find/create more choices for themselves. Without choices, you are forced to do in one single way. Being forced is stressful. Without choices, one can't be too successful as am achiever. You never can see the best option and act accordingly.

Being a calm achiever, having clear goals and more choices are your goal.

There should be some more links. If you have any insight, do share with us.

Keith To

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Super Calm & Super Achiever


I am playing around these 2 opposing ideas in the past few days.

Being super calm, you might not have the drive and energy to be a super achiever.

Being a super achiever, you might not have the luxury to be super calm.

However, if you are not calm, you can't see the opportunities to achieve. Even you can see them, you might not be calm enough to take appropriate actions to realize them.

If you want to be an achiever, you will make yourself very busy in taking actions. This creates lots of stress and you can't be calm again!

This is a paradox. But if you can see through this paradox, you can then be a super achiever.

I am now working very calmly to get through this paradox.


P.S. I am going to present my findings this Thursday (July 7 2005) at St. James. This is part of the Business Skills Advancement Program. If you are interested, call Richard Fung at 2835-4394 to enroll. You can enroll in this module only.

P.P.S. Visit for more details.