Who are your cherished mentors?

Dear Universe, thank you for 2015, a year of learning, teaching and sharing. I pray that 2016 will be a year in which all my dearest readers and I learn new things that can help transforming us into a kind, creative, productive, useful, healthy and beautiful human being.

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.” ~ Japanese proverb.

If I have to summarize one of the most important lessons from my UK alma mater, that would be to stand on the shoulders of giants, which is also used as the motto of the Google Scholar.

I have been grateful to my past and present teachers/mentors/jedis, dead and alive, male and female, of colorful diversity in terms of culture, geography, disciplines, careers, life values, insights and experience. For the year 2015, I have to specifically thank a former professor of my alma mater, for sharing with me many lessons, including street smart hints that you would normally not expect much from an academia. Thank you JediZ2015! I will continue learning from these eminent people and many others, including those who are younger than me. For example, on 20160107 I learned from an Egyptian youth (born in 1997) who has planned for his future job, wife and children that “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out”. Remember to learn from multiple people, with you as the director of your life syllabi.

In an alphabetical order, this is the list of mentors/jedis for happygreenpanda for 2016:

  1. Leo Babauta, an author + journalist + minimalist, who has taught me the beauty of simplicity.
  2. Dale Carnegie, an author + seller, who shared on how to win friends and be diplomatic.
  3. Martin Chalfie, an honest scientist who funnily allowed us to learn that total honesty may not always be the best policy, think of white lies.
  4. Confucius (孔子), a philosopher (and also a politician + editor + teacher), who has allowed us to practice respect and courtesy (以礼待人).
  5. James Clear, an author + photography hobbyist + weightlifter.
  6. Dong Mingzhu (董明珠), a strict, tough, and confident entrepreneur + an author (Regretless Pursuit), who values innovation + loves reading + has not had a day off in 20 years!
  7. Ernestine Fu, an author + civil engineer + entrepreneur + VC. Remember to smile often while you are delivering talks or being involved in tough negotiations.
  8. Mahatma Gandhi, a lawyer + philosopher + independence leader, for teaching the followings by example: temperance, compassion, self-discipline/self-control and non-violence.
  9. Louise Hay, an author [You can heal your life (1984)] + speaker, who has taught me about positive affirmations as one of strategies to overcome life challenges. Remember to love yourself! We have also learn how to use affirmation through the power of subconscious mind through Joseph Murphy.
  10. George Lucas, a moviemaker, for being eclectic and daringly creative. See also 20151221_starwars_lessons
  11. Tracy McMillan, an author + divorcee + matchmaker, who has taught me to marry myself first.
  12. Matt Mullenweg of WordPress, a founder + entrepreneur + web developer + musician who shows us that we can be a multipotentialite like stem cells.
  13. Andrew Ng (吳恩達), a computer scientist who teaches machine learning.
  14. Luciano Passuello of Litemind, a thinker who has shared on how to improve our memory.
  15. Mother Teresa, for her compassion/agape love and Do It Anyway prayer.
  16. Tan Yinglan (陈映岚), an author + VC
  17. Thích Nhất Hạnh, an author + monk + Zen master, who has answered some life’s burning questions of mine and shared about compassion/agape love and inner peace.
  18. Andy Xie (谢国忠), a civil engineer-turned economist
  19. Danah Zohar, an author + physicist, who has shared about spiritual capital and intelligence.

Assume that there are 22 working days monthly, I hope to use the remaining 8 non-working days to consult my jedis. To ensure that I discuss with my jedis at least once monthly, I make an effort to consult at least five of them on Fridays.

It has become extremely easy to take photographs today, why don’t you take a photo with the eminent who are alive, because photograph(s) allow us to eternalize a moment. We simply convert a tiny fraction of time* that we spend with an eminent into eternity, and we will always be able to draw endless inspirations from that visual. If possible, do (multiple) wefie (evolved from selfie), because some people do not know/care to take a proper photograph. Again, we merely practice be strict to ourselves, be lenient to others.

*In today’s busy world, an hour with teacher is a luxury, we sometimes just bump into an eminent person for few seconds. Even your few seconds are enviable, not everyone is as lucky as you!

I learned about this endeavour from the maternal grandmother of little prince, and approaching the eminent just for a photograph together can nurture our courage and train us to be thick face yet thoughtful. In January 2016, I browsed through my photography collections to search for those photos that I serendipitously and courageously asked from eminent leaders (presidents, world’s richest/ most influential entrepreneurs, world class professors, Nobel Laureates) to create 201601_eminent folder.

After a visual, now imagine that you are having conversations with your eminent jedis. What would they do if they are facing your challenges? What would they dream of if they have your resources (energy, time, $, connection, etc)? You can find these answers by understanding your eminent jedis, as once we understand someone very well, we can predict his/her actions (though may not be with 100% accuracy).




  1. […] we love and cherish our people (self, family, friends, colleagues, clients, mentors, mentees, tribe), we strive to understand them, and adapt our communication to suit their […]


  2. […] late afternoon when I saw JediZ2015 walking (and perhaps simultaneously thinking and […]


  3. […] Make a regular meeting time, e.g. every Sunday noon, every Thursday evening with jedis. […]


  4. […] be careful of men who try to make you drunk and like to touch you. Honestly, I don’t like how JediZ2015 touched my shoulder or arm for few times [6], after all I grew up in conservative Asia and so did […]


  5. […] suit and mellowed fierce grey-haired look (see Asia2016/gratitude_20151113_lunch*.jpg), JediZ2015 shared that in ancient China, teachers and traders were looked down, but officials were looked up. […]


  6. […] I did a sightseeing and reflected on our lives as I forgot bringing my earpiece for listening to my cherished mentors. Some landed properties along West Coast have private swimming pools and I saw a property with […]


  7. […] Cherish our mentors by learning about their work and predict what they will do if they are in our situation/challenge, etc. […]


  8. […] A part of the physical appearance of the Director reminded me on JediZ2015. […]


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