Archive for the ‘Ask Banji’ Category

How To Say NO To Abusers At Work

Summary – How to say NO to abusers

Very recently I have received an email asking a very interesting question. First of all, I would like to thank the sender, Pankaj, who had taken the time and sent me the email. It is always a pleasure getting to know my reader.

The following is the email Pankaj sent me. “I want to know how exactly to say NO to people. My work is almost always overloaded, but even so, when other people come to me asking for help with his work, I can never say no. I always try to help others but in this way I am always taken negative.

Well Pankaj, this is what you should do.

1) Identify why exactly that you cannot say NO

To tell you the truth, this is the most difficult steps of all but it is also the most important. Let me list a few reasons why a person cannot say NO.

  • He is a very polite person
  • He dislikes confrontation
  • He tries his very best to meet people expectation
  • He is afraid that people may not like him

Believe me there are hundreds more reason why some people cannot say NO. These four are in my opinion, the most popular reasons. Identify the reason why you cannot say NO. Close your eyes and go deep into your heart to find this out. Once you have identified the reason, everything else will be easy.

For example, let say that you dislike confrontation. You prefer to work harmoniously with everyone even to the extent that you have to do other’s work. Then you can draw your own plan on how to slowly learn the art of confrontation.

If you want to shoot an apple with an arrow, you must first know the direction to shoot. If not there are infinite numbers of direction to shoot and thus infinite numbers of failure.

2) Practice with smaller things

Still using the previous example, let say that you know that you cannot say NO because you dislike confrontation. You must then draft your own plan to be more comfortable with confrontation. Draft a small program like disagreeing with your friends about a trivia topic. An example is like why you hate the Harry Potter when everyone else adore him. That should keep the ball rolling.

Keep in mind that you are training yourself to disagree with people. The more trivia the issue the better you will be able to develop the confident to disagree. Do not start with a heavy issue like religion etc.

3) Not Important Tray

Buy a document tray and label it as “NOT Important”. Remember to capitalize the word “NOT”. Anytime a person ask you to do a job, and you still cannot say NO, just ask the person to put the work inside that tray. Make sure the person see the label and tell him that you will only help with his work once all your work is done. Even then you may not be able to help. Leave it to him to decide whether he still want your help or not.

4) Give yourself 10% allowance

If you have 60 minutes of work, always give yourself a mandatory rest of 6 minutes. That 6 minutes must not be spent in doing your work or others’. You must spend that 6 minutes to do your favorite things like replying emails to friends, chatting etc.

When you give yourself this allowance, you will subconsciously teach yourself the value of your free time. Exactly the opposite of what a lot of people believe, having allocated free time in the midst of your never-ending work will really help you appreciate the time. After a while, you will find it easier to just say NO to people since you have earned that free time with blood and sweat.

5) Create red tape

Red tape basically means the requirement and procedure that need to be followed to get things done. It is almost always a trivia task like submitting a cover letter, filling up forms, waiting for the form to be approved before you are given another form.

Why not do exactly the same to people asking you to do their job. Get them to fill up a form and submit the form to your superior. If your superior approve the form, then you will have to do the job. If not, you can just walk away. You can say that you are having a lot of trouble with your superior since you are not able to meet deadline. I sincerely believe they will not bother you anymore.

6) Give them a taste of their own medicine

If your colleague give you a work to do, you can take it but in about 5 minutes, walk to his desk and give him your work for him to do. It doesn’t need to be 5 minutes but the sooner the better since they will remember that they had just give you the work. If he can’t help you with your work, just return his work to him.

It’s basically another way to say NO

7) Teach him to fish

You know the saying. “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for the day, Teach the man how to fish and you will be feeding him for the rest of his life.”

Some people may ask you to help because you are so good at what you do. Maybe your English grammar is excellent, or you are very good with software etc. The best way to handle this kind of situation is to actually spend time coaching them on how to do their job. You may not get paid for this but there are so many other benefit that you can reap.

  • He will be so grateful to you and he will definitely return the favor one day
  • You will be seen as someone who like to help people grow
  • You can get them off your back forever


I must stress that helping out people is a very good thing. But in this article, I am assuming that the people asking for help are abusing this kindness. They are still asking others to help with their work when they should be able to do it just fine.

– I Wonder –
Do you have any other tricks to help Pankaj say NO to his colleague?

———- Personal Note ————
I once went to the immigration office with a colleague. My colleague were in front of me when We were queuing up to get the number. He got the number 100 and I who was immediately after him got the number 105. (Of course I can’t really remember the number but I know that there were gaps between my colleague’s number and mine.)

That is step number 4 and 5 mixed together.

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5 Subtle Tips To Educate Children About Money

Summary – 5 tips to educate children about money

Every now and then a reader will send me a question for me to write a post on. A few weeks ago, Zakiah had requested our help in her comment to the article (One Sentence That Will Flood Your House With Stuff). She would like to know how to control her daughter’s bad spending habits. Currently they go out every week and will end up buying new clothes every time.

Educating children is definitely a work not for the faint-hearted. You will need to read a lot and ultimately to be familiar with the most updated techniques available. In addition to that you will need to modify the technique accordingly because every child is different. All these will be 10 times harder when it comes to educating teenagers. I know, I’ve been there.

Listed below are some tips you can use to kickstart that subtle course of valuing money.

1) Spending money to value money

Parenting expert are debating on this. Some of them believe that encouraging the child to save money is the best way to teach them about money. Another team of expert believe that the children will value money more if they are allowed to enjoy what they have saved.

I tend to agree with the latter. Encourage the children to save, but do not stop them from spending the money. Since they can’t spend what they don’t have, they will learn better about valuing money this way.

2) Use their shopping habits to your advantage.

If they like shopping, bring them shopping. Give themselves a budget of about $100 each and just when they were about to buy clothes that cost about $100, try to persuade them to check out other store. Highlight to them other clothes that cost slightly more expensive.

Now they have to choose whether spending the money they have now for cheap $100 clothes, or they can return home and save for a few more weeks for that more expensive clothes.

I know, this may sound counter productive. We want them to stop buying clothes instead of encouraging them buying. But believe me, in the long run, they will start to have that mindset of saving for a better thing. And when they start to think for their future, they will be more open to other money saving ideas.

3) Start a money saving competition

Announce a money saving competition to your children. Who ever can save the most will get their money doubled. The losers get nothing. You should make this as exciting as possible. A few points you need to know –

  • Make it a one year long saving competition. Who ever save the most money in a year will get his/her money doubled. One year should be long enough to have a permanent impact in the children’s mind.
  • Set up mini competition monthly. For example, who ever save the most in one month will get 100 points. The person with the most points collected in one year will be given another prize. This is to keep the excitement up through out the one year long competition.
  • Maybe create task (money saving wise) that will give out more points.
  • Put up ranking board to remind the children of the competition.
  • The secret is to make it as exciting as possible without making it too complicated.

4) Give them an inspiration

Try to find a real life inspiration when it comes to money saving. You may have a relative who is a successful man and let him share the story of his success to the children. He must be a good storyteller. We don’t want them to be afraid of saving money now do we? Rehearse the story with him, and give him pointers on what to stress and what need not to. You know your daughters better right?

5) The ground rule of educating children about money

  • Make it as subtle as possible. Children especially teenagers don’t respond well to a formal teaching.
  • Keep the process exciting, more exciting that shopping.
  • Help them visualize the high end target. For example, involve them in discussion to buy an expensive house. Ask them for help calculating the interest and monthly payment.
  • You must have a clear policy on when to give money to the girls. For example, they are only given a pocket money of $300 per month. If they want more, they will have to wait for next month.

– I wonder –
Any other tips you guys might want to share about educating children about money?

————- Personal Note ————–
I was 10 years old if I’m not mistaken. And I had saved about $40 in my piggy bank (It’s the shape of an elephant really). I know because I keep track of how much money I have.

One day, my father’s friend came over and I accidentally broke / scratch his helmet. My father then made me pay for the damage and I paid for it cryingly. I think that must be one of the experience that greatly taught me about valuing money.

Photo Credit – Kevin

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Summary – Differentiating two guys, a friend and one that has feeling for you

Ms Diha has asked me a question in the comment section of MBBDDH Attitude. First of all, thank you for the question, I will try to explain my opinion on the matter. To all fellow friends reading, feel free to add in to the answer. Together we can chip in all our experience to help each other.

For those who are interested, there is also an article I wrote on How To Know Whether He / She Is The One. Enjoy.

The question – “(Translated to English) How am I supposed to know that a guy likes me? He and I have been friends since primary school, and we became closer these few months. He seems to care so much about me and always offer to send me back to Shah Alam. Once he took a vacation oversea and he SMS’ed me almost everyday, updating his whereabout. He just recently broke up with his girlfriend and he said that he has given up on her.

So how do I know whether he really likes me, or I’m just a rebound?”

/end question

A disclaimer (as advised by my lawyer) – Everyone is different, and the method described here may / may not work for you. But I still can guarantee you that it will work for about 80% of the population of the world 🙂

That said, here what you should do

Step 1 – Sense the vibe
I’m sure you have pass this step, since you already has a hunch that he is attracted to you. This first step is important. Simply because the heart will be the first to detect if someone else is attracted to you. However, it may not be accurate if you yourself are attracted to him. You will then see everything he does as a sign of his affection for you. Differentiate this first, whether or not the vibe is from you or from him. And then move on to step 2

Step 2 – Ask yourself : Are you attracted to him?
It doesn’t matter if the world’s most eligible bachelor fall for you if you just didn’t have any feeling for the guy. So confirm this first. In your case, I can see that you are attracted to him. So you can just move on to step 3.

Step 3 – Is he worth it?
It’s confirmed. You can sense the vibe from him. He definitely have feeling for you. And so are you. Next you need to determine whether he is ok. You don’t want to be involved with someone who robs bank don’t you?

I admit the 3 steps will not help you to know his true feeling, but still the 3 steps are important to know what exactly you want and whether or not that thing you want is exactly what you need. Moving on..

Step 4 – Watch and jot down the signal
When I say watch for signal, I really mean it. Take a piece of paper, and write it down. If he smile or make effort to “accidentally” bump into you on his way to class, jot that down. I will describe why later.

Some other examples of signals a guy may do

  • Going all out for you – When you ask for a call at 11.34am, he actually ask what time is it now according to your watch. And when you are sick, he may buy some hot chicken soup for you. You know what to do right? Pretend that you’re sick and let him know.
  • Selfless act – Ask him for help in something he will not gain anything. Maybe pick up a friend at the bus station for you since you are sick 🙂
  • Make effort to know you – A real love for a guy is when he actually make the effort to know you. He will notice what you like to eat, and what you don’t. He will take note that you are a flower-lover type or not (He may be planning to buy you flowers later on)

So did you write everything he does down? Let’s go to step 5

Step 5 – Analyze and return EXACTLY how much he gave you.
This is very important. Some guys go all out just for a friend. Some will only do that for girls he like. So how to differentiate this?

Easy, if a guy give you a present for birthday, return the favor by giving him a present during his birthday. and most importantly is to NEVER overdo it. If he send you an MMS, you reply back by sending him an MMS. If he introduce you to his friend, you do the same. EXACTLY the same.

Why the words “exactly”? Because a guy who has feeling for you will take this as a hint and will go all out even more. He will always want to show that he loves you even more. If you give him a present during his birthday, he may start giving present during Valentine, or just “because he thinks of you” 🙂

You will be able to see how exactly he is trying if you wrote down what he did the first time (Step 4). At one time, his action will just give him away and you can see clearly how much he likes you.

Step 6 – Be flexible
When involving human emotion, nothing is black and white. All the advice above may be spot on and solve your problem entirely. Or they can just solve nothing. So be flexible. Remember, a guy who is attracted to a girl will try in every possible way to show her how he feels. Your mission is to give him a push until his action give his secret away.

– I wonder –
Based on your experience, how do you know if someone has feeling for you?

———- Personal Note ————
Appreciate the question Diha, hope this helps. For everyone else, feel free to shoot me an email or ask questions here. I will try my best to answer them 🙂

Photo Credit – LinhNgan

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Cute girl

Summary – Persuade your mind to want to remember

A few days back, one reader by the nick SilentReader had asked me one question to be discussed here – How to improve long term memory. Shall we?

First of all, allow me to interest you with some articles I’ve actually written on the subject.

To tell you the truth, I actually did quite a lot of thinking on the matter. And at the end of the day, I’ve concluded that there is only one way to be able to memorize something and remember it for the rest of your life.

You must want to remember.

Seriously, I can list down every technique known to mankind – Chinese One Syllable Technique, Association, Repetition, Funny Images, House Mapping etc. But they will prove ineffective if you just don’t want to remember.

However trying to make yourself want something is not an easy thing to do. Why? It’s because the mind is always behaving like a child.

What will happen if you ask a child to work instead of playing? He will first disapprove and will try to wiggle his way out of the task. If that didn’t work, he will do the job lazily, hoping that you will give up impatiently. What would you do?

The same goes to the mind. It will goes exactly through the same phase as the child, disapprove, wiggle and lastly do the job lazily.

How to negotiate with the mind? Well treat it like a child of course.

1) Always slow talk
Never raise your voice to your mind. The more you force yourself, the more reluctant the mind will work for you.

2) Visualize what will be achieved.
Just like a child, you must describe how they will benefit visually. Maybe draw a car that they will be able to buy if the child gets good grade and be successful. For the child, the word successful doesn’t mean much.. but if he knows that with good grade, he will get to be a pilot and buy a car. That will push him in the right direction.

Research where your graduated seniors are working now. And how much are their salary. Imagine your dream laptop that can be bought easily with your one month salary should you follow their foot steps. In short, motivate yourself (visually)

3) Join in to do the hard work.
If you put a child to work under the hot sun while you sip cold drink under the shade, the child will immediately realize he is being bullied and may stop working altogether. If you work with him under the hot sun, he will do the work more willingly.

Work together with your mind. How? for a start, when you read, you read. Don’t read with your mouth while you are thinking about how hot your girlfriend is. 🙂

4) Reward
Every child demand some reward if they do a good job. They may not say it out loud, but they really want it. Some would settle with a pat on the back, some may want cash.

Figure out the reward for your mind. It can be as simple as a 30 minutes nap or $50 to be spent on anything.

5) Make it fun
Cleaning up the house is never fun for children. But if you assigned each child to a room and whoever can clean up the fastest will win one week of no work, I’m sure the work will be done in no time.

In the case of your mind, make it fun by maybe substituting the character described in the history book with your real life friends and family. Of course don’t let yourself be the hero. Hero always get killed in history books 🙂

6) Don’t plan too far ahead.
Children hate it when you gave them 20 things to do. Most probably they will just drag the first task to avoid doing the other 19.

For your mind, try to implement this trick. Only plan to do two things at any time. It is a great Getting Things Done (GTD) tools.

– I wonder –
Any other resemblance between a child and the mind?

———- Personal Note ———–
I just love children. Just watching them play can make me smile. They have no idea what they’re playing, what’s the rule or the goal but they can still make the game looks insanely fun 🙂

I guess one of the price we have to pay growing up, is losing that sense of having fun. What do you think?

Photo Credit – Hamed Masoumi

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