I Tokmoh, therefore I am

April 10, 2008

[Book] Drop the Pink Elephant

Filed under: Motivation,Opinion,Personal — tokmoh @ 11:52 pm

This is not a war on Islam.” Tony Blair on the war on…terrorism.

Drop the Pink Elephant is the best-selling business book written by Broadcasting Business Managing Director Bill McFarlan. Positive communication is the holy grail of everyday work and life. However almost all of us fall into the trap of allowing unnecessary negatives… what Bill calls ‘Pink Elephants’… to reduce our effectiveness often highlight the opposite of what we intend.

The book aims to:

  • Create a more positive culture (by spotting and eliminating Pink Elephants)
  • Target jargon as a disease to be eliminated
  • Help people to be better understood through painting clearer pictures
  • Promote Regret, Reason and Remedy as an alternative to blame
  • Encourage managers to thank colleagues…and encourage colleagues to accept the praise on offer

Bottom line… greater morale, greater productivity, greater profitability.


I have to say, this is one of my favourite book which I felt like everyone must read!! Whenever there’s a talk about fresh graduates’ reasons for remaining jobless, these few points are always pointed out:

  • Poor command in English
  • Poor communication skill
  • Poor IT skill

For one to improve his/her communication skill, this is a must-read book, at least to me!! It’s very simple to understand, has a lot of examples which proves his point and practical to apply to anyone. The first point in the book, which encourages us to eliminate “NOs, DON’Ts, COULDN’T” etc, is more than just trying to make your message more straightforward, it can help anyone to be more positive-minded too 😉 I guess this quote sums up the first point in the book very nicely:

“Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.”

-Henry Ford

Too many times I’ve encountered “Pink Elephants” everywhere I go, and it twitches me somehow, eg “it is not impossible”, won’t saying “it is possible” easier? But at times, it enlightens me. Like when Pak Lah recently announced he “is NOT going to step down soon”, yehehehehe……hehehehehehehehehheheheheheh!!

Of course, it definitely hurts when I see “petrol price WON’T increase soon”, cuz it can only mean I need to get prepared to fork out more money. Immediately. Damn.

Back to the book, I had a great joy reading it. And I feel that it can only become more vital today as the jobless grads continue to increase. As well as to generally enjoy less processing of what some people are actually thinking really.



  1. totally agree that technical skills are not what most companies sought after. its how you carry yourself.

    Comment by kevin — April 12, 2008 @ 2:08 am | Reply

  2. reminds me of the book i’m reading now..

    How to disagree without being disagreeable by Suzette Haden Elgin.

    If I get you correct then Abdullah will be stepping down not so soon. Petrol prices will also increase not so soon.. =)

    Comment by vincent — April 14, 2008 @ 12:49 am | Reply

  3. * Poor command in English
    * Poor communication skill
    * Poor IT skill

    I TOTALLY AGREE ON THIS!!! but what to do, tokmoh? U just flip through the PMR or SPM English exam paper, and I believe you would faint. I have fainted (not literally) when I checked on that.

    The education ministry is the first ministry that should be looked into RIGHT NOW.

    Yes, urgently as I echoed a few senior and well-vocab-ed teachers who are struggling in teaching English to the school-kids. The teachers felt that their language skills are dropping in order to cater to the younger generation now.

    The vast amount of the English vocabulary is no longer existing in the graduates too! WHY?
    Please look into the M’sian school text books now!!!

    The English standard of PMR right now is equivalent to a Singapore Primary 3 or 4’s level of English! How can this happen? The gap is getting wider.

    In my days, it was only a narrow gap. Malaysians are just repudiating that they are highlighting the importance of the English language. Not only that, they tend to speak or converse in mother tongue so often that I would seriously rather them practising the Internationally-used language in their daily conversations.

    Well, as the english proverb says, Practice makes perfect!!!

    Nevertheless, are most Malaysians cultivating the reading habits? Are most Malaysians embracing the habit of conversing in English with friends in schools? I doubt. I could only see the minority practising this good system.

    Now tell me, how can we sharpen the communication skills of these graduates? How can we sharpen their vocab skills? How can we widen their vocabulary? How can these graduates improve in the English language?

    Can anyone suggest any better options besides *cucuk-ing* the Education Ministry?

    Comment by Grace — April 14, 2008 @ 1:19 am | Reply

  4. the question is, how many books do you read a month? me…? ZERO.

    its hard to motivate students in the local uni to speak out. basically the students now are so used to being spoon fed that they are only able to ask, what is the answer to the question.

    besides cucuking? SULA.

    Comment by kevin — April 14, 2008 @ 1:30 am | Reply

  5. Kevin (1st comment): U know, I heard that today, IQ plays a mere 20% role in a quality an employer look for when employing a new employee. The rest is EQ and SQ, thus ESQ (Emotional, Spiritual Quotient).

    I believe in it when I attended an event by my sponsor last year, where the facilitator commented a weakness with UK grads: they may be very, very knowledgeable technically, but aside from that……nothing. While US grads may not be as technically brilliant as UK grads, they tend to be more all-rounder, n thus preferred 0.o

    Vincent: Hm……sounds like a very interesting book. Gonna look into it later, thnx for suggesting 😉

    It’s actually quite the opposite. What I mean by “won’t saying “it is possible” easier” is that the writer is implying that impossible is true, despite he’d say it’s not. Put it this way: when I tell u to NOT think of a red Ferrari, what comes into ur mind? Yes, you’d do the exact opposite of what I told u to do: a red Ferrari will be imagined by ur mind, be it consciously or unconsciously.

    So if I really dun want u to imagine a red Ferrari, I shud just drop the pink elephant by going straight to what I want u to think……an Aston Martin V12 Vantage RS perhaps? Em……delicious……combines the kawaii~ness of being the “baby Aston” with that V12 engine from DB9 :wub: Would’ve been perfect if there’s the roadster version of it, ooooh, I’m sooo in love with it!! *nose bleed*

    Grace: SPM kah? Wanna hear my story? 15 mins after the paper started, oni 3 ppl left in my class, n the 3 of us are actually me n my close frens cuz we oredi said before the paper started “hey, why dun we just stay back just to see who finishes last n how long it takes.” I finished mine after just around 8 minutes oni n just spend the rest of 7 minutes staring at others…nden finally leave wakakakakaka. Inn dee annd, mai England got powderful reeezoult, 1A four both 1119 n Marayshier std, pwned!!

    My mom’s time is all-English education, she lagi la kutuk when got proposal to teach maths n science back in BM. I have a fren in my ex-college, he’s from somewhere in Perak I forgot, but it’s a kampung area, whose mom is a teacher. Imagine my horror when he said “my mom just dun find it useful at all. The students are just not into English, so it’s pointless.”

    Reading habit kah? I visited London 6 years ago, fuh……I tell u, London = book citizens. At bus stop, in the bus, in the underground tube, in restaurant waiting for food, everywhere also, their people are glued to books!! Very difficult to imagine M’sians like that……

    But I think to judge a nation by how many books the people read is getting a bit obsolete today, simply bcuz of the major role the internet plays. While internet used to be just a ‘supporting’ information source, today, internet becomes the major influence for the voters’ decision in GE12. Book…is already pwned by internet via blogs, podcast, youtube, bittorrent etcetc.

    To improve English, I guess it can only come from the heart, so we need to focus on making more Msians esp in kampung area to love the language first, then everything comes naturally. That’s quite a challenge lor……the leader must lead by example, bt the oni example they show is to call bloggers beruk, liars, jobless women, then there’s abt how they show how beneficial it is to be a mat cemerlang, anti-babi (kononnya Islamic lah kalau anti-babi, eh? Strange how they’re fine having the biggest beer factory n casino previously), anti-Singapore, anti-US et cetera.

    Sigh……thank God for MAKKAL SAKTHI!!

    Kevin (2nd comment): Polis kata jangan, wakakakakak

    As for local grads……my advice: embrace the internet!! Open up their mind into a new horizon!! Since traditional education lacks developing their thinking, it’s abt time they need to develop it themselves. “The choice, is in their hands…”

    Btw, YB Nik Nazmi has been looking around for volunteers for his tuition project. View here for more info: http://www.niknazmi.com/wordpress/?p=716

    It’s a little, but it’s better than nothing I suppose 😉 This can be an opportunity to help the children in studies and to improve their English, that’s killing 2 birds with one stone, yohohoho.

    Comment by tokmoh — April 14, 2008 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  6. Seems like my latest blog entry has evolved from my comment here….


    Comment by Grace — April 15, 2008 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

  7. Grace: Yohohohoho, maybe you can buy this book as a birthday gift to your brother!! Since the education system is inadequate, guess we need to buck up ourselves then 😉

    Comment by tokmoh — April 16, 2008 @ 12:06 am | Reply

  8. Grab a book n read. What interests u? Fiction? Non-fiction? I wasn’t into reading. But some books are just addictive. Seriously. I thought Harry Potter was a stupid, childish book before reading it. After I gave it a chance n turned a few pages, I was hooked! I have to read it everynight before I sleep. I want to know what happens next. Seriously it was a good read, while increasing my vocab. Words like fizzled, crackled, conjured and so on do not appear on MSM a lot. You are exposed to many many different kinds of words and how to use them.

    Not into books? Read the MSM! Yes tokmohmoh here might b against it but it’s just reading afterall. You don’t have to believe everything they write. It’s up to you to take it in n digest the information. The main point here is the language. How does the language flow. How do you make sentences. How to you make alternative sentences that might bring another hidden meaning. You can get that thru MSM.

    It’s good that you love reading tokmoh. Keep it up.

    Comment by vincent — April 16, 2008 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

  9. I was never into fiction reading until Harry Potter came, but then again, it never helped me to further read other fiction books, lol.

    Harry Potter is written by JK Rowling, a British, and yes, you can only expect the best of English from the British themselves 😉 I learn ‘reckon’ from Harry Potter, lol. I learn far more from Top Gear, I’ve never heard the word “canter through”, “chimsy”, err……can’t recall pula right now, lol.

    In fact I do have some of Jeremy Clarkson’s book, they’re very nice really!! I have “I Know You Got Soul”, “The World According to Clarkson”, “The World According to Clarkson 2: And Another Thing”, and “Clarkson on Car”, and I loved every one of them 😀 I also read quite a number of Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, and Adam Khoo books, yes, I dream to be a millionaire in the future, yohohoho!! Oh, I also read Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, and Nigella’s book, it’s called “The Kitchen Goddess” or something, so I wanna be able to cook delicious food myself too, yohohoho.

    Yea, you’re spot on the benefits of the MSM!! All my life I only read English newspaper at home and hardly ever read Malay papers unless when I balik kampung where my relatives all read well, Malay papers, lol. I speak malay most of the time at home too, but my English is still solid despite that, and I have to owe it to the MSM and the internet. Especially during those days when I forum in Dotaportal, dota-allstars.com, and blueserver (which I’ve never visit edi since……I forgot, lol), it’s kinda fun interacting with Pakistanis, Norwegian, Americans, Singaporeans, Filipinos, etc.

    Comment by tokmoh — April 16, 2008 @ 11:46 pm | Reply

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