Invisibility. The mysterious old man in the story adopts a very clever approach of being inconspicuous to the public. He does this by altering his posture and wearing weathered clothing so nobody paid any attention to him. It's like he's invisible. No thieves would be interested in him or his possessions (which happen to be in an insignificant-looking bag that holds his gun, map, and everything else he needs to fulfill his mission).
It then struck me that this is what I do, too, especially when I travel. I'm not brand-conscious so I don't wear or flash any branded watch, clothes, handbag or shoes. Even my luggage look so insignificant nobody would think to go through them to see if there are any valuables. Maybe that's why I'm always "lucky" when I'm traveling.
Time. Still, the old man thinks, the key to everything is time. If you have the time, and you're in no hurry, anything is possible. (p.107) There's so much truth in this and I've seen this work to my advantage so many times professionally at work. I wait out on a situation where I would need to negotiate for something, "striking" at the right moment. Timing is everything. Patience wasn't my strength but I've learned to overcome my weakness. I also gauge in any challenging or difficult situations to see if it's worth arguing for or defending. For example, if it's about a dishonest taxi driver charging a high taxi fare, I would just say no to his service, walk away and look for another taxi. After all, it's not worth spending minutes of my life telling him off about his unethical practice. There are bigger battles to fight.
The old man also spent hours honing his skills, planning and reviewing every possible details to ensure success. He's spent hours thinking about what he was planning to do, reviewing each individual gesture, every movement. He's spent hours finding the right places, the right hotel, the right settings. (p.108) He is passionate about his cause. And became flawless in his execution.
Then I immediately thought about the passion I have for the Italian language. I make time to learn it on my own. I was not in a hurry and I took the time to enjoy the process and savor the results. More than a year has gone by, and I am still obsessed with it. I noticed one key difference, though. When you are passionate about something you don't need much push to do it. It becomes automatic. You WANT to do it. I certainly don't see the same passion with the other foreign languages I'm currently learning, so this is very real to me. And now, I feel that the timing is right to embark on an MBA journey. Plus, it's also key toward achieving my personal goal.
Confidentiality. The less you know about things, the less likely you are to let something slip. (p.108) This one goes both ways. No one could spill anything that they do not know about. This principle has serve me well over the years. I only talk on a need-to-know basis. I can't stop people from telling me things but this is where my skill in the past life as a personal assistant or executive assistant kicks in. I am good at holding secrets.
P/S: For more updates, LIKE me on my Facebook pages at Alice Teh and The Weekend Traveler, OR FOLLOW me on Twitter and Instagram. See you there!