#SMCHikingLibrary reflection by Kenneth Cheok
On 11th February 2023, Dr. Michael Guotama opened with a brief rundown of his experiences in various fields, ranging broadly from business to education. His wealth of experience includes having initiated the world's largest green economic zone and having held positions in multiple organizations, including the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singapore committee. In his speech, Dr. Guotama focused on three main themes: Success, Education and Leadership.
Firstly, Dr. Guotama discussed the importance of having a successful life in two aspects, both internal and external ones. He broke it down into five main components:
To achieve success, Dr Guotama believes that the body, mind, and spirit must work together, in a concerted effort to achieve a fine balance between the five components. He believes that it is important to spend time on the things that you love, no matter what they may be. To make a conscious effort to dedicate five minutes of your time to what you love, be it helping people around you or caring for the environment, they will make an impact and change your life.
Dr. Guotama also addressed common misconceptions about success. This included the following beliefs:
1) Having a large network and connections with influential people is a pre-requisite to achieving success.
2) It is necessary to have a large sum of capital to start a business.
3) Having personal influence is the key to success.
He sought to dispel these beliefs and concluded that no one factor can lead to one’s success but instead, a combination of factors working in tandem within a robust system could potentially lead to success. He highlighted the importance of developing systems thinking across multiple domains, having an introspective mind to reflect on past mistakes and having a strong value proposition to achieve success.
Secondly, Dr. Guotama discussed about education in today’s context, how the education landscape has changed and how we should view it in our continuous pursuit.
He pointed out that today, education is crucial in challenging students to take a deeper dive into issues around the world. With the exponential increase in the number of students being educated around the world, Dr. Guotama believes that it is no longer sufficient for us to gain academic achievements through the means of rote learning. He spoke about the rise of AI, particularly the recent generative AI program “ChatGPT” which has shown that information is truly at humankind’s fingertips and that we must transcend beyond information uptake. We must now make a conscious effort to choose independent thinking and to hone the skill of knowledge application.
Lastly, Dr. Guotama shared his views on the relevance of strong leadership in our world today. He spoke about two main traits that the leaders of tomorrow will need to possess:
1) The willingness to bear responsibility.
2) The ability to make decisions.
From his wealth of experience, Dr. Guotama observed that in a world of information overload and a difficulty to keep up with the times, these traits would be essential to help humankind make progress. With the heart and capacity to bear responsibility for real issues, along with a discerning eye to sieve out important information and make swift decisions, leaders will be able to effect change.
Across all three themes, Dr. Guotama seeks to inspire everyone to take action, tackling one aspect at a time. He believes that we can create a community that cares and can change the world.