TALK: “What I wish I knew then”– Asset Based Thinking

Asset based thinking as a concept is related to breaking out of the notion of self-intimidation. A deep confrontation and conflict with ourselves in order to overcome some of the greatest and smallest challenges. The broad comprehension related to finding our position as assets in society relates largely to how we structure our thoughts, and how we are confronted by these. This is a short talk presented at the Work Readiness Seminar hosted at Mmabatho Palms by the North West University’s Department of Transport Economics and Logistics Management on the 23rd October 2018.

“Are you paying attention? Today, I’d like to share a brief series of points within less than fifteen minutes- OR MORE. This will make time for questions and if there are no questions, I can simply go back to work, and rest my back.

Anyway, look around you: everyone is dressed so well. Look at your neighbor—ask them if they dress like this every day. If they do, ask them why, if they do not—be sure to ask why not (with a bit of attitude). It’s such an important question because, well how you dress influences how you perceive yourself. It does not have any use to other people, because they only look at you for 3 seconds or less. Anyone looking at you, for more than 3 seconds is genuinely interested in something or terribly irritated by your good looks for the day (why don’t you dress like this every day?!)

Well, it is interesting to think about this because we sometimes think “we’re keeping appearances”—but actually no, dressing in some type of formal wear actually influences the type of hormones you release because your propensity to think abstractly improves. In other words, how you dress influences the processes you use to think through issues and the manner in which you smell. Not perfume, but hormones—which are a huge indication of the state of one’s immune system, state of mind and other things too.

The other thing about behavior is that it is built up over time and it can change in a moments notice. So imagine some toddlers in a room. Put a marshmallow on the plate and say, hey you it now you don’t get the one I’ll give you when you get back. Some it now, others eat it later—by following these kids throughout their life into their early twenties, studies found that their life choices follow this pattern too. They live life like they eat marshmallows—and this has a lot to do with household dynamics, parenting and all that. Pay attention to where you’re really coming from: not the “poverty” but the “family” element. It’s extremely important.

Why is this so important in these fifteen minutes? Well, firstly because we make excuses for not doing certain things based on how we think, what we experience and who we think we are. It is also important because our personalities are a product of ideas—when new ideas enter our system, they are like a bacteria entering our immune systems. Some ideas we accept and absorb and they strengthen our bodies and change how we operate; others do the exact opposite: sneak into our state of mind, change us for the worst, pull out insecurities—and suddenly make us control freaks, perfectionists and worst of all exhausted people. So these ten points, which I will mention really briefly are simply are key aspects that I’ve been sharing with some interesting people along my journeys, some of them I collected from interesting people and my own experiences[1].

  1. Know thyself – Marshmallow Test is a Great Place to Start
  2. Adding value to your employer through adding value to yourself
  3. Teaching yourself to go the extra-mile builds synaptic connections to get ahead
  4. It’s not about retention or exit—it’s about network value creation
  5. Are you the best in the game because of your environment or are you the best in the game because you are
  6. How are you the “are”—how do you reach the “are” state
  7. Reasonable obsession, routine, commitment are the core ingredients
  8. Listening to a mix between your gut, risk appetite, embracing pain and warm fuzzy feelings
  9. Only compare yourself with who you were yesterday[2]
  10. Focus on making a contribution, not on impact

BONUS: Take it all in without fret or fuss”

[1] These points are summaries, what I share in the talk is more on the spot.

[2] This is directly from Jordan Peterson’s book: 12 Rules of Life. I recommend it with urgency.


What is not discussed in this talk are the colonial shocks embedded in the African dresscode today. Much of the appearance relates to a translated tension between religion, association and appearance– something that this generation does not experience immediately, but do reveal some symptoms. More on this in other talks.

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