Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The mouth speaks, the testicles feel good : The Power of Negative Predictions.

Recently the Government refuted an article that predicts the Singapore economy going along the same way as  Iceland as it crashes due to the various bubbles which are already forming right now as we speak. I was asked for my opinion as to whether the situation might actually come true.

My basic answer is - I don't know. But having spent some time in the public sector, I am confident that the government will react to this prediction. As to whether the government overreacts ( I am always inclined to think that they do, given my personal experience ), the jury is still out. I am inclined to think that MAS has  acted years before the article to start cooling the property market.

But my blog is not so much about the greater economy but about what, at a micro-level, people can act when faced with a similar situation.

Similar to Philistines are a class a fellow citizens that many of us are not particularly inclined to hang out with.

These are folks who are full of negative predictions.

You know these guys, if you are studying for an exam, they will predict that you'll get a C-. If you participate in an ECA, they will say that it is not of practical use in the workplace. Because we are such a competition society, some people think that by predicting a negative outcome on something, another person can be brought down a few rungs.

As the Hokkien saying goes "Chui3 Gong4 Lam3 Par1 Song4" - The mouth speaks, the testicles feel good.

According to these very insecure people, making a negative prediction does not incur a cost, if you do actually fail, they get to say "I told you so."

Let me tell you a little secret ?

I love negative predictions.

They are the fundamental building blocks of my success. A negative prediction let you prepare for failure. They allow the person to do another reality check on their goals and ambitions. Perhaps you did not account for time management when you signed up for more public speaking. Did you back-test your portfolio strategy before you invested your hard earned cash ?

To sweeten the pay-off, the negative predictor will eat his words if you succeed, that is a very powerful motivation for me. You should make it a point to exult in your triumph against such folks, nothing psychically damages them as much as your personal success.

For me, the flabbergasted look from a frenemy is the most beautiful thing to behold. I think it feels better than seeing Serina Wee.

Of course, since we live in a very competitive Asian society, you will never defeat all of these people. Their faces changes but you will always have people who will predict your next big failed attempt to do something. But I think a large part of personal success comes from confronting your critics and making each feedback personal.

You need to get angry and personal over things if you want to be significant in any pursuit.

For a guy who has set-up a family, built a career to retire before 40, I still get plenty of negative predictions in my current state.

a) People predict boredom in early retirement.

That's what enrolling in an online University is all about.There are multiple projects in the pipeline ( many involve programming ) and the escape plan to pick up part-time work in 6 months if "retirement" does not pan out. I can always write my next book, and I've not even started calling our all those friends on FB for lunch.

b) Some people think I will gain weight

To prevent that I am eating less and introducing one fibre meal a day. I am also targeting to exercise everyday. Without a day job, your willpower reserves can be channeled completely into keeping healthy.

c) Increase in interest rates will drive me out of retirement.

No one said this to me yet, so I conjured an inner critic and made this one up. All investors will need to monitor their interest rates. If it goes up, not only will it impact your mortgage payments, your REITs will have to channel their rental income into their loan payments. You'll be hit by NAV loss and lower investment income. The way out of this is a day job some exploration of part-time options will take place once I get a good rest.


  1. A very interesting titled article.

    Also, fully agreeing with you that something which negative is not always bad.

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