Posted by: Arjun Aiyar | July 17, 2010

Quote… Unquote – Wisdom from Thailand!

I was privy to a seminar conducted by a group of ‘Compassionate Capitalists’ in Thailand – July 1 to 3, 2010. This event was attended by over 3000 people from across the globe.

Each of these speakers is a self made millionaire (or more) and has made their wealth by adding value to countless other lives. They are a true testimony to wisdom, balance and ‘holistic success’.

Over the past few decades, each of these individuals has contributed greatly to the personal, professional and financial development of people in over 60 countries.

Here – I share with you excerpts from the colloquium.

Basil Harris (my mentor)

A chartered accountant by qualification. Basil and his wife Leoni live in Sydney, Australia. They immigrated from South Africa in the mid ‘80’s in order to escape the oppressive apartheid regime. Today, as grandparents, life coaches and entrepreneurs they share timeless principles with anyone who will care to listen. They have business interests in over 25 countries. However, their true wealth is the wonderful relationship that they have with each other and with their children. Basil and Leoni have been happily married for 41 years!

  • John Maxwell proposed the ‘101 principle’ for working with difficult people. Find the 1 thing that is good about that person and focus 100% on that.
  • If you are not happy with your progress – accelerate… and don’t analyze.
  • The best mantra to chant when you are facing any persistent challenge is – ‘this too shall pass’.
  • Success is nothing but little increments multiplied over time. So get good at measuring the little things.
  • You don’t get stuck, you just stopped.
  • The backbone will do more for you than the wishbone.
  • Most businesses (including your business / work) are logical. However, people are illogical. Or, put another way, business is not complicated, people are.
  • Either you get humble or you will be humbled.
  • You can’t teach what you haven’t done.
  • Nothing works – you have to work it.
  • In sales or when setting up your own business or when proposing any idea, respect the ‘SW SW SW’ principle.
    • Some Will
    • Some Wont
    • So What?!
  • People like to follow happy people – so be happy!
  • Don’t try and be somebody else, just the best you that you can be.
  • Work harder on yourself than anything else.
  • To manage your life – first manage your thinking.
  • Recommended movie: Invictus.
  • Recommended book: The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute.

Robert Angkasa

Coming from a middle class Indonesian family, Robert’s father barely had enough money to fund his son’s education in Australia. Robert worked hard to make ends meet. He worked as a garbage collector – clearing trash from sports stadiums. Then he was as a taxi driver who often toiled round the clock – just to be able to pay the bills. Finally, he returned home to Jakarta – to find himself working for the prestigious Citibank. Robert quickly ascended to the post of Vice President and at one time led a team of over 300 people. His dream however, was to be his own boss and spend quality time with his loved ones. Over the last 15 years, Robert has built one of the biggest distribution businesses in Indonesia. He is speaker in great demand and shares his success ideas with people in the US, Australia, Europe, the Far East and many other places.

  • If you know that success is a journey, you will enjoy yourself.
  • A decision needs to have a date – only then is it a real decision.
  • Ask yourself everyday – ‘Is what I’m doing going to put me closer or further from my goal’
  • The one thing required for success – Make, emotionalize and achieve short term goals.
  • Set goals during low times.
  • Did you know that only 3% of the world’s population sets goals? That 3% controls majority of the wealth.
  • Find someone who you are accountable to.
  • Nobody but you controls your success.
  • There’s no such thing as a stable business. Either it’s going up or it’s going down.
  • Deliberately get out of your comfort zone, that’s the only way to grow.

RD Saunders

Chief Significance Officer at ‘Network of Caring’.

Network of Caring is a significance movement that was the brain child of Jim and Nancy Dornan. Every year, through the efforts of Saunders and huge contributions from the Dornan’s – Network of Caring channels millions of dollars to support poor and underprivileged children across the globe. You can read more about this movement at

RD spoke about the organization, its mission and its purpose.

The one thing that he mentioned that really got my attention was this —

  • Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty! Go ahead and give freely to others.

I urge you to learn more about this movement and consider contributing – just as I have.

Dinesh & Dipika Shringarpure

A genuine, warm, down to earth couple from Mumbai, India. Dinesh is an Engineer by qualification and comes from a business family. Dipika is a bio chemist. Over the last one decade, they have achieved true significance by influencing lives and helping hundreds of people realize their full potential. As wealthy entrepreneurs, they have compassion in their hearts and believe that anyone can achieve the distinction that they have acquired.

The one big learning from Dinesh and Dipika is –

  • When you follow your passion, you achieve greatness.

 Jim Dornan (Basil’s mentor)

Philanthropist, global entrepreneur, speaker, author, educator, leader and influencer – Jim Dornan has affected millions of lives across the globe. It is not uncommon for football stadiums to fill up when he speaks – on relationships, attitudes and life principles. As a true example of a balanced, family oriented individual, Jim passionately plants the seeds of optimism on every continent. His book ‘Piano on the Beach’ is a classic piece on leadership wisdom. He has also co authored ‘Becoming a Person of Significance’ with world renowned leadership guru – John Maxwell.

  • Four things we need for success –
    • A bigger vision
    • More belief in ourselves
    • A balance of information and inspiration
    • Partnerships
  • Two philosophies for success –
    • Work hard
    • Serve others
  • Be a leader & a follower; a teacher and a student; have confidence & humility.
  • Every business rises and falls on leadership.
  • Leading followers is not very difficult, but it’s also not very rewarding.
  • Decisions make everything specific.
  • Get committed to (a) simplicity and (b) unity.
  • A big misconception: Negative thinking is a sign of intelligence.
  • We tend to follow people more for their character than for their competence. So, in order to be a good leader, work more on your character than anything else.
  • Sometimes, it’s less important to learn than it is to discover.
  • Everybody has problems – few people learn to deal with their problems.
  • All great leaders have (a) people skills, (b) compassion for people and (c) FOCUS.
  • Make values and culture your foundation.
  • Be grateful not proud.

Mitch & Diedre Sala

An amazing example of the power of personal growth. Mitch and Diedre were an average couple with an above average dream. Starting out from their little home in Sydney, today, they have a business that spans the globe. They exemplify hard work, diligence and a never say die attitude. Their loyalty to their mentors (Jim and Nancy) is unparalleled. Along with their three kids, they travel the world preaching the message that anyone with a dream and desire can achieve great success.

  • Over a period of time, 20,000 people who had won a million dollars or more in the lottery were surveyed. In 5 years, 76% of these winners were financially worse off than before! When money is given to you without the experiences, inevitably you tend to squander it.
  • Ask yourself, what do you want your life to look like in the year 2020? That’s just 114 months away!
  • We all start exactly the same way.
  • Your biggest obstacle is – the opinions of other people.
  • Are you SNIOP (Susceptible to the Negative Influence of Other People)?
  • Know what you want… and know what you don’t want.
  • If you follow footprints on the beach, you will end up where that person is. Whose foot prints are you following?
  • Skills are very important. Keeping your skills up to date are even more important.


His mother sold noodles on the streets of Bangkok to be able to support her children. Suphat knew of no other formula than hard work and determination. Recognized as among the wealthiest people in Thailand today, Suphat is a bundle of passion and humility. He personifies integrity, dignity and honor.

  • Be humble. The more you grow, the greater should be your humility. Build every level of success on a foundation of humility.
  • Call your mentor regularly – stay connected to him.
  • It’s ok to fail at achieving your goals but don’t fail to reset your goals!

Angie Somers

Raised in a conservative (and challenging) household, Angie had little confidence while growing up. She worked as a secretary for a number of years until she met with a group of people who infused her with dreams and self belief. With the guidance of her mentor, she ascended to incredible success in business. Starting out from Sydney, Australia, Angie has expanded her enterprise to Europe, India, China and many parts of the Far East. Today, she and her husband Karl travel the world and inspire people to step over their circumstances – and fulfill their dreams and passions.

  • We all have a past; but… your past is not your future
  • With people, be kind; with circumstances, be patient.
  • Say the words ‘I love you’ with emotion to the people whom you love. Say it quickly, say it today. Don’t have regrets later on.
  • Be grateful for what is. We all have lots of things to be grateful for. More than a billion people go to bed hungry every day – at least you had food to eat! So, be grateful every single day.
  • You get what you focus on – good or bad.
  • Everything can change with time.
  • From Nelson Mandella – we learn forgiveness.
    • Forgive others
    • Ask for forgiveness from others
    • Forgive yourself

Nancy Dornan

As a mother, grandmother, businesswoman & leader – Nancy is renowned for her compassion and kindness. Along with her husband Jim, she tirelessly invests her time, her humor and her heart towards the well being of others. Those who have met Nancy never forget her…and Nancy Dornan never forgets them.  Nancy and Jim provide emotional and financial support to an untold number of organizations and individuals. As a couple, they truly are people of significance and influence.

  • In the ‘people arena’, you never stop learning. You cannot live long enough to know everything about people.
  • When it comes to encouragement – you can never overdo it.
  • Don’t live your life with regret.
  • Five years from now, which would question you rather ask? –
    • I’m glad I did OR
    • I wish I had…
  • When faced with argumentative situations – do you want to be right or do you want to be rich?
  • You don’t have to win every argument. Allow others to win arguments. You may lose the battle, but you will win the war. This is true wisdom.
  • Disown helplessness!
  • Reject helplessness!
  • Worrying never fixed anything in the past. Why should it be different now?
  • Everything is difficult before it becomes easy.
  • Everything plateaus – you’ve got to recognize and bust through those plateaus.
  • Self talk is Soul talk – what are you telling yourself? What is the talk that goes on in your mind?
  • Anger is often a response to fear.
  • Block out thoughts that don’t add to you.
  • I’d rather live with forgiveness that with regret.
  • Ask – if I walk down this road, where will it lead me in the long term?
  • Believe in what you cannot see. You have to believe it before you see it!
  • Indifference is not the right substitute for cruelty!
  • An experiment was done to test people’s tolerance to pain. Two groups of people – had to keep their bare feet in ice cold water. One group was left by themselves. The second group had people encouraging them. On average, the second group lasted twice as long as the first.
  • Encourage and add value to everyone all the time.
  • Praise changes people. Criticism also changes people!
  • Be careful that your brilliance is not insulting to others. Humble yourself.
  • Love people and use things. Don’t use people and love things!
  • Recommended book: Three Seconds by Les Perot.

(Arjun Aiyar is a corporate trainer, executive coach and motivational speaker based in Dubai. He has two training companies – one in India and the other in the UAE. His organizations cater to corporates and individuals by providing training and coaching in soft skills and behavioural areas. Learn more about Arjun’s business on or or read his other articles on his personal blog )



  1. Hi, Arjun ‘WOW’ what priceless learning all in one place, it must have been fantastic to be among such simple but successful people. It is all about going back to the basics isn’t it!
    Thanks for sharing it with us – it is just awesome!



  2. Thank you for sharing, that’s wonderful !!

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