The 7 interesting (and useful) facts about my flaws

Mar 14, 2008 by


Can you laugh over your flaws? How about considering them as your friend, interesting and helpful?

[This article is edited and republished for better clarity and structure, together with additional links and resources]

Two bloggers, David and Amy tagged me to share 7 strange/interesting facts about me. At first, I planned to put random facts, but eventually I wanted to write more, my story on turning limitation into advantages.

Mastery is attained by understanding our vulnerability and working with our situation.

Evan Hadkins (That Which Doesn’t Kill Us . . . Can Leave Us Maimed)

This is the second part of my series on turning limitation into advantages. The first part shared with you the five steps to win with your limitation, in short we have to acknowledge our limitations, own them, express them, turn them into advantages, and stretch them.

In this article, I will share my 7 flaws that many consider as limitations, but those are the ones that made our life interesting, not perfect but interesting.

1) Shy

I had a best friend when I was below 5 years old, it was neither a person nor another baby, it was not a doll; it was a pillow. In fact, it was not the pillow as well; it was the pillowcase. It was red in colour with some motifs. I was so attached with any pillow wearing it, anywhere, anytime and I cried when I was separated from it. I’m not sure how I finally detached from it, maybe it was torn or spoilt.

The limitation: I guess it is the seed of my personality, the beginning of my preference to relate with things rather than people, or in short, my introversion. Many may think that introverts are not normal, you may think so too, but I will say it is not.

The advantage: Introversion is not the same as shyness and anti-social. I have shared an article sharing the eight reasons why introvert is OK. I am thankful for being an introvert, you should be thankful with any personality you have too. If I’m not an introvert, this blog will not exist. Many great thinkers are introverts and many things will not happen without introversion.

The stretch: Most introverts usually do not find networking easy; they struggle to keep up the energy level while being with people. Many also struggle with shyness. Many prefer things over people. Success will always involve people and others, John Maxwell even shared that you can either “give up” or “get help” to achieve your dream. Hope that the resources below will help.

Resources:Overcoming Shyness“, “How to Network: For Introverts

2) Selfish

kecil-1.jpgThere are three reasons why I am a special son:

  1. I am the only child.
  2. I was born after 6 years of my parents’ unfruitful trial and error effort.
  3. I am the only boy that brings the surname from my grandparents, which is very important for a Chinese family.

The limitation: Being special feels good, but not so after you have grown up. I have been raised up as a spoilt child and ended up becoming a selfish person. Basically, giving is not in my dictionary. I moved to Singapore for my undergraduate study and it opened my eyes to the real life, the life where I cannot do the same way again. I have got into conflicts in my relationships many times, partly because of my selfishness.

The advantage: Is selfish always bad?

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself.
When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.

Jack Welch (Winning)

I have ever asked about selfishness to CK Reyes from on selfishness. And here is her reply on the email I got back from her, explaining the advantage of selfish…

Selfish is a beautiful shadow… We are told that it is bad to be selfish. Don’t do that or someone will think you are selfish. Parents told us that we better not to be selfish… It is not being selfish that is the problem. It is the judgment that we place on it. “If you are selfish then you will be rejected. Who would want to be around you if you were selfish?”

But I say be selfish. Look for the gift in selfish. Selfish is what will get you your dreams. Selfish is what will bring passion to your life. Selfish is what allows you to set healthy boundaries. Selfish is good. I don’t mean that in a bad way.

CK Reyes (

The stretch:

The greatest gift you can give to somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, “If you will take care of me, I will take care of you.” Now I say, “I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me”.

Jim Rohn quoted by Lyman Reed (Work Harder On Yourself Than You Do On Your Job)

There is a purpose on our selfishness; it is to grow others. You take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. This is not a habit that you can postpone, this is a habit you can start right now, and this is a part of your personal development. Give based on your capacity and do not overstretch yourself. When you are faithful with whatever small things that you have, you will be given even more.

Resources:The Secret of Giving” – sharing with you the mindset you need to give.

3) Insensitive

During my teenage years, I watched TV series a lot; I enjoyed them but often they frustrated me. A short story is made into a long one; a simple story into a complex one. The reasons behind are secrets, lies, hidden facts and feelings. Those inspired me something: the importance of becoming a direct and straight-forward person.

The limitation: My ex-supervisor told me before, I have a strength which is his weakness and I have weakness which is his strength, and that comes down to one thing… sensitivity. Naturally, I reflected a lot, I’m a sensitive person, but more of my need, not of others. Many times, I speak up straight to the point, I do not like to waste time on unnecessary things. Beating around the bush is not my favorite, neither is giving jokes/intermezzo. My ex-supervisor warned me before that being insensitive will lead me to many problems, even more when it involved a lot of office politics and stuffs.

The advantage: Comes to my surprise, Jack Welch, ex-CEO of GE, shared the importance of candor in the culture of his company. Here are the reasons…

  • it gets more people into the conversation, great for brainstorming ideas,
  • it generates speed, in the competitive business world, speed is not only advantageous, but it’s a necessity, and
  • It cuts lots of cost, eliminates meaningless meeting, b.s. reports, and fancy power-point. It will be replaced with real conversation about the company, product innovation, or someone’s performance.

Lack of candor blocks smart ideas, fast action, and good people contributing all the stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer.

Jack Welch

The stretch: Being honest is good, but there is something more we need to grow to really change ourselves and others. We need to grow ourselves towards integrity, honesty even when it is not seen by others. We also need to grow others, how we can deliver our message in a smart way, so that it will be able to reach the other person and change them from the inside out.

Resources: “Honest versus Integrity”, “Being extraordinary: Being an agent of change

4) Greedy

I’ve got an enemy; it’s an elder brother, a cousin who is staying with my family for many years. I fought with him a lot, and the reason was my greediness. I hated to share anything with him, I wanted to have more and be prioritized more than him. Many instances in the Chinese dining party, I’m competing with him on who is taking more meats than another. I can’t believe how greedy I was.

The limitation: From greedy comes envy, from envy comes unsatisfied life. That results in the quarter-life crisis that often I experienced. How I ended up envying other people, feeling as if I do not have enough, lacking in everything.

The advantage: I do not consider myself a courageous person, but thanks to my greediness, I have been trying many things. I wanted to do more with whatever I have, whatever I can. I’m stretching myself a lot in many areas of my life, leadership at work and church, network marketing and now internet marketing. I took personal training, I have ever involved in drama/dance performance, ministries, sports, and many personal development seminars. In short, I stretched myself a lot out of my greediness.

The stretch: Without focus, nothing great we can achieve. There is something very important in saying “NO!” which many greedy people have challenges with. Greedy people are also easy targets for sales trick, results from their fear of losing. We all need to have the right mindset to be focus and not easily influenced by others.

Resources:Mindset to win sales trick“, “Let’s say NO!“, “How to avoid busyness #3: The Competitor

5) Indecisive

I loved playing RPG (Role Playing Games); I played those games a lot during my younger years. I could spend hours and days playing those games. I loved it partly because of the little challenges it gave. It is hardly needed to make decision there; I did not have to rush for things to be done. I can go round and round, converse with all the characters in the city, fight many monsters to increase my levels and I will never late for any significant event. I am the main person there, and the person I am dealing with must wait for me; nothing goes wrong even if I delay it for hours, days or even months. What a nice virtual reality!

The limitation: Unfortunately, I cannot do the same with the real world, everyday is a decision and many we cannot undo. My habits in the game are brought over to the real world, and it is a challenge for me to become a decisive person.

The advantage: My indecisiveness comes with an advantage; it is how I search for balance and how I can meet the need of the two opposite sides. I have shared before what Robin Sharma has shared on the essence of life, which is balance. Happiness is balance, similarly we need balance in many parts of our life. This blog shows how I’m trying to balance between long (Insight) and short articles (News).
This article also shows it, I’ve been tagged with meme to share some interesting facts about me, I wanted to share to respect David and Amy and I wanted to provide something useful for my readers; I combined the two to make this article, showing how limitation can become advantages from my life instances and my flaws.
This is what I find: searching for balance makes you creative!

The stretch: Life is all about decision, we cannot avoid it, we cannot meet both parties happy; we cannot stand on the two boats and eventually you will have to choose one. It is important to be skilful in making better decision. One important point is to acknowledge the loss, the opportunity cost, what you cannot keep because of your decision.

Resources: How to make better decision (Part I)” – links to the other articles in the series are available at the bottom of the article.

6) Naive

I had a secret fan! She knew me from my high school year book. She called me one night, introduced herself and has been calling me many times since then. She told me her problems, her dating relationship, her work, her activities, and many more.
One time, we agreed on sending each others’ pictures. I shared with my elder sister, a cousin, and she warned me about some dark superstitions with picture. I took my sister’s advice, trying to restrain from the picture exchange. She kept on insisting and eventually I told her the reason; that I was afraid of the curse she might be going to do. She burst out, her boyfriend confronted me, and our relationship ended.

The limitation: I don’t know the meaning of โ€˜naive’ until a friend of mine telling me how naive I am on trying network marketing. She told me how naive I was to believe that everything will work well, how naive I was to believe any person that is trying to sell me something. She has some points, but I believe there is something more about naivety…

The advantage: There are two reasons how your naivety can become an advantage:

  • being naive is like an empty jar, you are open to learn anything, you will have a teachable attitude, and you will gain a lot of lesson to learn…
  • being naive is easily excited, you will easily think as if everything that happens around you is miracle, as what mentioned by Albert Einstein, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

A naive figure I watched recently is the princess in the recent movie, Enchanted. She is a princess coming from a fantasy world to the real world, and she inspired me a lot about “how to be naive and happy“, the advantages of being naive.

The stretch: In his book “Winning with People“, John Maxwell does not call the attitude that you can learn from anyone as naive, he called it teachable. What he called naive is the time you think that you can learn everything from one person.
How not to be naive:

  • Build principles and values, do not learn from a person, learn from as many people as possible, and believe that anyone has potential to teach you something. Find the common ground, and build your values over it.
  • Observe and evaluate people, to decide what you can trust them with, we will never be able to trust anyone with anything.

Resources:Being extraordinary: Being an agent of change“, “Seek wisdom but not to lean on it” – my Christian principle in learning

7) Low self-esteem

There is a parable shared in Holy Bible, it is about the talents (get the full story here for detail). A king went away and gave his servants 5, 2, and 1 talent. The first two developed their talents, while the last one did not. He hid his talent, buried them underground. His master despised his behaviour and threw him into the place of suffering, while he rewarded the other two servants who grew and developed their talents. Since I heard the parable, I always associate myself to the one with 1 talent, having low self-esteem and not much talent. But I don’t want to end up like him.

The limitation: One friend questioned my association; he wondered why I didn’t see that I had so much opportunities, gifts and talents. Opportunity to study and work in Singapore itself is one of them that he mentioned. Similarly, low self-esteem can blind you on the many things you can be thankful with, it can blind you from the opportunities you have.

The advantage:

In the book The Road Ahead, Bill Gates said that a secret to Microsoft success is they always think of themselves to be in the losing side, and this makes them strive to be number one everyday.

Donald Latumahina

The quote is taken from a fellow Indonesian blogger, Donald, in his blog He shared on an article, titled “The Common Trait of Highly Productive People, Companies, and Countries” and he shared one point on Microsoft’s strategy above that surprised me.

Similarly, low self-esteem made you think that you’re on the losing side, but you can actually make your low self-esteem works for you, to give you the drive to develop your talent, grow your character and stretch yourself.

The stretch: Despite of the thinking of losing side, you need to believe in your potential to be successful as well. Start looking at whatever things you can be thankful of, look at them as successes, the reasons why you are no ordinary. Believe that you can do something great with what you have.

Resources:The five reasons why you’re no ordinary“, a blog on self-confidence by David Rogers.

Concluding thoughts

Majority of people I have met count their barriers and obstacles instead of the blessing.

Raymond Chua (The Mathematics of the Law of Attraction)


This article seems to contradict the law of attraction, what I did here is not counting my blessing, what I did here is counting my obstacles. I saw this contradict with law of attraction before, I asked Raymond for that, and you can see his full answer here “The contradiction of Law of Attraction.” He mentioned one point that I agreed very much with, it is the question of the purpose, what are you counting your obstacle for? Do you count them to block you or to help you clear them?

Turning limitation into advantages involves counting them, not only not to resist, but to befriend them. We all can count our obstacles, not as stumbling blocks but as stepping stones.

Some characteristics of the stepping stones:

  • They are beneficial, useful to bring you to the top, reaching your goal and your call in life.
  • They do not control you, you are above them and eventually you will have control over them.
  • They are not your best friend, you will have to leave them, you should not attached to your stepping stones and bring it together with you. You must go on to the next step and challenges in life.

Please let me know if you have any comments. I would like to hear your thoughts and opinions.

For your success,

(Stepping stones image source: angelanoel)

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  1. Thanks for linking to me.

  2. Robert A.

    You’re welcome, Evan! Thanks for the statement.

  3. Thanks for the mention, Robert! I’m honored to be included in your article.

    Donald Latumahina’s last blog post..A Simple Guide to Finding Opportunities

  4. HI Robert,

    Thanks for sharing the 7 facts about you.

    I know you better now. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for sharing my article too. I hope it’s beneficial for all your readers.

    Raymond Chua’s last blog post..What You Will Learn In Anthony Robbins Seminar โ€“ Unleash The Power Within

  5. Robert A.

    Hi Donald & Raymond,
    Thanks for the inspirations as well.

  6. Thanks for the link and for sharing more about yourself. I’ve stumbled this post. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jean Browman–Cheerful Monk’s last blog post..What Do You Really Believe? What Do You Really Want?

  7. Robert A.

    Thanks Jean! Appreciate it very much!

  8. Wow, Robert. You worked very hard on this post. I like how you turned the meme into something we can all learn from. Good job!

    AmyL’s last blog post..So. Totally. Infuriated.

  9. Robert A.

    Hi Amy, thanks, the inspirations come from both of you. I work even harder with this post, I’m revising it =) to make it clearer and better structured.
    Hope can become a pillar article in this blog.

    Thanks for the comments,

  10. Thanks Robert, what an insightful post. It would be a great exercise for anyone to do.

    It is a little like training yourself to look for the solution every time you think a negative thought, making a negative into a positive.

    Sometimes our shortcomings can magnify themselves when we dwell on them, looking at the positive can give a positive side to consider.

    I think Debbie Ford does something like this in her book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.

    Jan – queenofkaos’s last blog post..Make It Fun! March Quality Time Activities

  11. Robert A.

    Hi Jan, I guess you call me a wrong name, I’ll help you edit the name, k =)
    Thanks for the comments. Really appreciate it! This is about turning our limitation into advantages, negative into positive.


  12. Robert, this is a very courageous post and also so well organized that it’s a joy to read. I can relate. Especially with your story about being naive… I don’t think you ever grow out of it LOL. On the other hand, it may be one of the things that keeps us innocent. I’ll be going back through it to look at some of your links to other posts and references.


    Cheryl’s last blog post..Retirement and Uncertainty – Not So Daunting For This Generation

  13. Robert A.

    Thanks Cheryl, yeah, I rearrange and reorganize it. Thanks a lot for the feedback. Naive is great =) we all need some degrees of it…

  14. Sorry Robert! I noticed it after I hit submit. I think it’s time to call it a day!

    BTW, I can identify with a lot of the items you list. I think that they are probably quite common human traits although we don’t always like to admit them. I could add a problem with names to mine :0) (it’s actually true. In real life I can seldom bring myself to use other people’s names in conversation although my husband and my dad both make a point of it, and I know it is good to do and I like it when people use my name. I think it’s part of the shy thing.)

  15. Robert A.

    Heheh, no problem Jan =)
    Thanks for telling me that, I think I’m pretty normal now.
    About names, I think now you’re stretching. I can see you trying to use name in both your comment and your StumbleUpon review. You’re on the right path already.

    Don’t afraid to make mistake, because of your mistake, now you can share more about you, isn’t it? You can closer to people because of that as well. That’s one of the advantage of limitation.


  16. Robert,

    I like your courageous humility.

    Your post reminds me of something I read in a book about Vision Quests. The book said that our greatest struggle in life – our cross to bear – turns out to be our greatest asset. For me, all of the emotional pain I experienced growing up gives me tremendous compassion for the pain of others.

    Keep up the great work!

    Sol Lederman’s last blog post..Frozen feelings thawing

  17. Hi Robert,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post – you really put yourself out and shared a lot about yourself. So many of us, me included, can relate to many of your traits, in fact I think that most people can! WTG on focusing on what you can learn from each of them and how you are also improving in each area. ๐Ÿ™‚

    JoLynn Braley’s last blog post..FitLinking and Other News at The Fit Shack

  18. Robert A.

    @Sol, thanks for the comment. Thanks for sharing the book as well, also sharing a bit of your past, “our cross to bear – turns out to be our greatest asset.” that’s a great statement. Thanks for sharing it.

    @JoLynn, thanks for the comment
    Thanks for affirming me that I’m just normal as many people also struggle with this. Hope that we all can learn to stretch our limitations and become a better person.
    Thanks for the encouragement as well, same to you, way to go to your dream and goals!


  19. Terrific insight into major “stepping stones” for many people. Thanks for sharing your self reflection process. So many of us bottle it up and try to work through it ourselves. It’s great to see how other people process their challenges.

  20. Robert A.

    Thanks Cindy, hopefully we all can learn from each other how we overcome our limitation. We should own them, turn them into advantages and stretch them. Thanks for the compliment.


  21. Robert, I’m commenting on an old post I know, but I felt compelled to respond on this article about yourself. It’s brilliant – how you list everything “bad” and then show a totally positive perspective of things! This is something we all need to learn to do for ourselves. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    Irene | Light Beckonss last blog post..Finding Our Equilibrium

  22. Robert A.

    Hi Irene, now you know a lot about me already =). It’s so interesting isn’t it? If we can befriend our limitation, we can overcome it. Never giving up, thanks for commenting here, you’re reminding me about this again. Hope this will also encourage you to overcome your limitation.

  23. That’s quite the nice start there, and an interesting perspective, to look at your flaws as your friend. About your pillowcase buddy, that is really cute and quite interesting! Hm it seems like insensitivity, greed, and selfishness are a bit interlinked. I am glad that you were able to list all of the flaws in the negative light, and in a positive light!

    Till then,



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