Invaluable Lesson from a Movie – “Shawshank Redemption”

“Get busy living or get busy dying” sums up what this classic move is all about.

The movie centres on Andy Dufrense, Tim Robbins, a successful banker who is incorrectly sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and her lover. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Andy embarks on new found journey in the 20 odd years he is at Shawshank prison before his eventual escape. During his time, with the help of Red (Morgan Freeman) and the other prison inmates, he was able to convert a section of prison into a library, he was able to educate a young inmate so that he could receive his General Education Diploma (a test to certify that the taker has high-school academic skills) and personally for Andy to protect him from the other inmates, he became the warden’s private accountant. Although Andy lived a somewhat “better” life than the other inmates, he knew he did not belong in prison.

A memorable scene that gives a glimpse of how Andy eventually escapes, although you would have least expected it, was when Red handed Andy his rock-hammer.

Andy: “Well, if there’s any trouble, I won’t use the rock-hammer. Ok?”

Red: “Then I guess you wanna escape. Tunnel under the wall, maybe? [Andy laughs] Did I miss something here? What’s funny?”

Andy: “You’ll understand when you see the rock-hammer.”

The rock-hammer was 6-7 inches in length and “ALL” it took were the 20 odd years for Andy to dig into the side of his prison wall so that he could escape in a narrow sewerage pipe.

There are many themes that run through this movie but there is one that stands out like a deer in the headlights. The lesson to be learnt from this theme is such an invaluable one so it should be understood by all: even though Andy was sentenced to a crime he did not commit, he was able to maintain his integrity and to even make the best out of the situation no matter how horrid or hopeless the situation he was in. Now if we extend this to life’s other obstacles i.e. failure to meet a partner or dealing with a personal tragedy, realising your self-worth is one of those things that is going to give you light at the end of the tunnel. I’d hate to repeat myself but when push really comes to shove, you’ve got two choices: complain about the situation and never get anywhere or fight-like-hell. If you’re fighting-like-hell, you might as well enjoy the ride.


Books that Inspire the GP – “The Leader Who Had No Title”

Title: “The Leader Who Had No Title”
Authors: Robin Sharma

“The Leader Who Had No Title” is an amazing self-development book designed to bring out the best in you. Sharma believes that anyone can be a successful leader in whatever they do – no matter of their status. Unfortunately, he believes that people are too pre-occupied with climbing the corporate ladder and getting the title they seek before they believe they can be leaders. Hence, Sharma turns this around in a book that focuses on self-leadership as the foundation to achieving personal and professional success.

The book is written in a business fable style i.e. a story written about a business or person in a business setting where the moral of the story is a business lesson. Specifically, we read about Blake, an uninspiring young war veteran working in a book store, who strikes it lucky by meeting his mentor Tommy. Tommy is just one of four “Leaders Who Had No Title” who eventually transforms Blake’s life. As the story progresses, we get introduced to the other leaders and their conversations, and it is through them we get introduced to key principles designed to propel the ordinary person into a true leader.

The four leadership principles we get introduced to are:

1. You need no title to be a leader
2. Turbulent times build great leaders
3. The deeper your relationships, the stronger your leadership
4. To be a great leader, first become a great person

I would want you to read this book yourself so I’m not going to go into depth about what those above principles mean. Nevertheless, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the above principles are pretty self-explanatory. At the end of each leadership conversation, the author provides the reader with useful instant-action points so that he/she can put into practise what has been discussed.

So should you read this book? If you’re lacking motivation in your current job but at the same time, you’re yearning to achieve greater things, then I would highly recommend this book. We have barely touched the surface of 2011 so there’s no better way get motivated than by reading a book that could potentially bring about long-term positive change.

Clothes that Make the GP – Shorts

You’re probably asking yourself, “Shorts are just shorts – what could possibly make them unique? Why are you even including this in this section?” My answer to this is simple, put the right pair of shorts on and everything else will look better!

Just remember, we’re always going for the complete look here so if you look like an Armani model on your top half but you look like MC Hammer on the bottom half, the 90s hit “U Can’t Touch This” will FOREVER be your mantra!

Now there are many varieties of shorts available. Just to name a select few you’ve got your khaki/cargo shorts which generally have more than four pockets stitched onto the outside of the garment – these shorts offer a baggy casual look. You’ve got your straight-fit Bermuda shorts which are knee-length – these shorts offer a sophisticated and versatile look. You’ve got your “preppy” plaid shorts which are pretty much like your Bermudas but different colours of woven fabric is used to create a cross-barred pattern – these shorts have been popularised by “skater” culture. Last but not least, you’ve got my favourite type – your simple mid-length shorts. These shorts are characterised by an inseam of about 7-8 inches so they do a great job of making your legs look longer (unlike your knee-length types).

You know I LOVE VERSATILITY so when it comes to purchasing your mid-length shorts, I recommend… Continue reading

Invaluable Lesson from a Movie – “The Bucket List”

“The Bucket List” starring old-school Hollywood heavyweights Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman is a truly inspirational story that literally brought tears to my eyes (Yes, I agree that real men cry but thinking back to when I watched this movie, something was probably caught in my eyes). The movie’s central theme is that no matter how successful you are or how much money you make, death is what puts everyone on par.

The foundations of the movie are set when it shows the contrast in lives between Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) – Edward is a corporate billionaire who actually owns the hospital he is staying in whilst Carter is a working class mechanic. Now what’s common amongst these 2 very different individuals is that they share the same illness. While sharing a hospital room, Edward and Carter become the best of friends and instead of lying in bed to face their inevitable demise, they decide to go out on a last “hoo-hah”. With that said, they get out of hospital and do all the things they have ever wanted to do before they die according to their bucket list.

I’m obviously not telling you the ending but during their time together, they both help each to find the ultimate joy in their lives. “The Bucket List” is an amazing movie on camaraderie, on family and last but not least, focusing on what really matters.

Books that Inspire the GP – “Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs”

Title: “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs”
Author: Carmine Gallo

The key to being successful in dating, in your relationships, in your work and in life in general is really all about being an effective communicator.

Think about it – if you can’t even get your point across;
– How are you going to get your date to realise that you’re one hell of guy?
– How are you going to resolve that fickle argument with your fiancé?
– How are going to get your colleagues and management to rally behind you?
– Above all, how are you going to show the world that you are one unique and inspiring individual?

Although written as a guide for presenting to larger audiences, the principles discussed by Gallo through his in-depth analysis of Apple’s founder’s, Steve Jobs, presentation skills can be utilised at the fundamental one-on-one level. What I mean by this is that whenever we talk to someone, we are effectively telling that person a story. Now how effective your story is in engaging that other person is much like how an author engages her readers when she writes the next international best-seller.

Whether you’re presenting your case to your colleagues and management regarding a new money-making initiative or whether you’re acquainting yourself with the girl that you just met in the parking lot, EVERYONE wants to be either informed, educated and/or entertained. In effect, your chance of really engaging that person increases 10-fold if you’re able to tell a quality story. A quality story is where you create a sense of overall purpose, you introduce an antagonist, you reveal the conquering hero and then finally, as Gallo so strenuously points out, you reveal a “Holy Sh!t” moment that’s sure to create an everlasting impression.

At the end of the day, people just want to know the answer to one question: “Why should I care?”

Clothes that Make the GP – Polo Shirt

If there’s a piece of clothing that OOZES versatility to the MAX, it’s got to be the timeless (and extremely humble) polo shirt (also known as a golf shirt or a tennis shirt). They are so versatile as a matter of fact that I would even recommend you get 4 of them – different colours of course. Now you could go for one of those polo shirt designs that encompasses bit of a pattern but nothing really beats the single tone classic look that fits snugly on your torso.

“So what makes the polo shirt so versatile?” I hear you say.
They can go with ANYTHING! When I mean anything, I mean that they can even go with your runners and tracksuit pant combination to give you an “upmarket” fitness look!

Since the polo shirt is such a timeless design, there are multiple ways to get the best out of these quality garments. For an all-inspiring semi-casual spring/summer look, try your hand at a nicely-fitted polo shirt with a pair of Bermuda shorts. To complete the look, get yourself a pair of quality loafers (no cheap ones as you’ll be limping like an old man for the rest of the day) and don’t forget your aviators and your MANLY watch. As for the colder seasons, a polo shirt will look amazing with a slick pair of jeans and a pair of stylish dress shoes. If winter really sets in and something more formal is on the cards, you could elevate this look by putting a jacket to match – BRILLIANT!

Now when it comes to purchasing your now favourite piece of clothing, the quality of your purchase can be determined by… Continue reading

Invaluable Lesson from a Song – “Juicy”

The chorus to this song speaks for itself, “You know very well who you are. Don’t let em hold you down, reach for the stars. You had a goal, but not that many ’cause you’re the only one I’ll give you good and plenty.”

Sung by one of the most talented American rappers of all time, “Juicy” is a timeless song with a simple message i.e. going after your dreams. Depending on how you see it, having a sense of security as opposed to doing what you really want to do in life, is more often than not, favoured by many in today’s society.

I’m sure that you have family, friends and colleagues who have dreams and aspirations to do bigger and brighter things but the fear of the unknown stops them in their tracks. To me, there’s nothing worse than sitting in a dead-end job that you absolutely despise no matter how big the pay-check is.

Notorious B.I.G and his song “Juicy” is a testament to what can be achieved if you just have the courage to just go after your dreams. In his particular case, he combined his passion for music with his natural ability to rap and this made all the difference.

Books that Inspire the GP – “Who Moved My Cheese?”

Title: “Who Moved My Cheese?”
Author: Spencer Johnson

Change is inevitable – you either accept it knowing it will provide you with a new enriching experience or you let it slap you on the face because you refuse to adapt. Now applying this to dating, if you’re constantly sitting on your ass on a Saturday night because you can’t find a date then you know it’s time for you to change tactics.

“Who Moved My Cheese?” is a parable on change that centres on 4 main characters looking for cheese in a maze. The “cheese” is actually a symbolic item that represents what we have in our lives i.e. relationships, money, family, job etc.

In this very enlightening book, Johnson provides the reader with two opposing views on how to deal with change. Hem and Haw are “Little Beings” who are lazy and refuse to change and as a result of this, they fail to find cheese to feed themselves because the section of the maze that once had an abundant supply is now depleted. Sniff and Scurry on the other hand are mice and instead of waiting for that certain section of the maze to re-stock itself, they realise that they would need to find a new source of cheese so they decide to venture out into the other sections of the maze.

The message in this book is presented in a very simple way. Ultimately, embracing change is all about becoming a better you. When get out of your comfort zone and place yourself in an unknown environment, the experience can only benefit you.

Accessories that Make the GP – Cologne

There’s no denying that it is your physical appearance that is going to get you a wink from across the table. If you then approach her (or even better if she approaches you) and you smell like a barn-yard animal, you only have yourself to blame when she pulls a hard right.

So what’s another item that makes the GentlemanPlayer?
Decent cologne

Now when I mean decent, I don’t mean something that you can get for $10.95 at the local supermarket. I’m not going to name names here but I’m sure you know what I mean – a special “feline effect” anyone? In the majority of our purchases, a huge cost associated with it has to do with buying the brand – this is something that can rarely be avoided. So when it comes to decent cologne, quality and price are generally aligned so the more you pay for a certain type, the more value you should get from it.

In terms of which cologne to pick… Continue reading

Invaluable Lesson from a Movie – “He’s Just Not That Into You”

“He’s Just Not That Into You” is a classic romantic comedy that delves into the complexities of understanding human behaviour when it comes to love and relationships through the eyes of 9 interconnecting characters.

There was one notable relationship in the movie that showed that there are really no hard and fast rules when it comes to attraction. When Alex (Justin Long) constantly gives Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) dating advice on her lacklustre love-life, Gigi eventually falls for Alex from applying the advice he is giving her. For example, Alex told her that a guy would always try to contact the girl if he’s interested. Now since Alex is constantly calling Gigi to “help” her with her love-life, Gigi interprets this as a sure sign that Alex is interested. What’s ironic here is that when Gigi tries to give Alex a kiss, Alex turns away and tells Gigi that she has completely misread the signals.

You would have thought that this would be the end of it but as the move comes to a close, Alex then realises that he has in fact fallen for Gigi. So what did I say about there being no hard and fast rules when it comes to attraction? If you didn’t know already, I’m sure you can now understand why attraction, and to a deeper extent love, can be very confusing!