Rolf’s One-Third Rule in Life, Work and Investments

wife worked in a westernized environment. Her company MD and most departmental
heads are Caucasians. Due to this culture and its business nature, communication
skills are of paramount importance.
ago, I was told by my wife that she has a subordinate who performs well in work
but not recognised deservingly by the company MD and other departmental heads.
Let’s called this colleague Ms A, who has good attitude, hardworking,
meticulous and systematic. For all her good traits, Ms A lacks the confident
and ability to convey in words her competence to the MD and other Caucasian
colleagues. Her communication skill is not her strong point. This flaw is
magnified when conversing with fellow colleagues who are Caucasians.  
to my wife, I mentioned that Ms A is only a good worker/subordinate for her.
But in reality, she is not the ideal employee for the company. In today’s MNC
environment, you not only require competence, but also need to be expressive
and be a likeable person to senior staffs in the organisation. Apart from strong
communication and networking skills, positive attitudes, survivability from
set-backs and even appropriate dressing are all part of an all-rounder good
employee package. Of course, lady-luck must not shun you.  
the conversation with my wife, I soon devise the Rolf’s One-Third Rule. Perhaps you have heard about the One-Third rule
in photography and labour productivity. Herewith I introduced my version of
One-Third Rule of thumb in “Life, Work and Investments” in general.  

Rolf’s One-Third Rule in Life
1/3 Health
1/3 Spend time with love ones
1/3 Income from work in areas of
good health, we can almost forget about doing many things in life. Love and
take care of your health at all times.
Most mercenary
workaholics will claim that the single most important thing for their love ones
is by earning lots of money and provide them with a good material life. This is
a fallacy. The amount of time you spend with your love ones certainly carries more
value than the amount of money you spend on them.
If I say
earning good income is not important, I must be the greatest liar!  Yet, isn’t it even more perfect that your
income is derived from doing something you are highly passionate about.
Rolf’s One-Third Rule in Work
1/3 Competency
1/3 EQ
1/3 Luck
It is
without any doubts that competency is first criteria you need in work. Competency
can be crafted via experiences, education, intelligence, diligence and hard
Quotient “EQ” is also known as “soft-skills”. It too can be crafted like
competency, but it entails Character, Exposure
and Experiences
. This comprises of the need to understand people better, hence,
applying the right interpersonal skills to achieve “likeability” traits
especially among people of higher seniority than you. Developing good relationships
and networking, both inside and outside workplace is also critical.
often, a promotion, pay rise etc can be accounted to random events of luck,
right time at the right place. When they take place, people will be so over the
moon and often behave arrogant and complacent. They are totally fooled by
Rolf’s One-Third Rule in Investments
1/3 Knowledge
1/3 Wisdom
1/3 Philosophy
for me here, is more like the technical skills or tangible aspects of
acquire knowledge, you read, attend courses and laboriously research your
investments. You learn about Fundamental/ Technical analysis and how to dissect
an annual report. You read historical facts and understand how world and political
events may affect your investments.
is not exactly the technical skills. It is the essential skills accumulated from
your investment journey. It is not just experiences accumulated from the
“Market” but also useful experiences accumulated in your entire life. Wisdoms
educates you “when to, and when Not to” invest. It helps to manage risk,
control your desire and provides a sustainable long-term return of investment, over
short term temporary gain.
investors, including many professionals, may be overly focused on their
tangible skills and knowledge about the market, being yardsticks for investment
success. Instead, the core values of investments are often associated to the
core values in life. The ability to think better for yourself is extremely
important. Jim Rogers is a strong advocate on the study of Philosophy, and he
said as follows,
“You know yourself better, if you
want to accomplish anything in life – you must learn to think at a deeper, more
profound level if you want to understand the truth. – the study of philosophy
helped to develop these skill. Help to trained think for myself, outside the
establish framework. Examine things in depth; examine every concept and fact,
thinking around corners, to see what is missing!”

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11 thoughts on “Rolf’s One-Third Rule in Life, Work and Investments

  1. Hi rolf

    For the third year in a row, I get commented from my boss that I need to speak up more, be more visible in front of the management even though I was strong technically. The technical part keeps me well position in the job but to get higher you need an all rounder beyond simply the technical knowledge. And communication isny my strongest point as well.

    1. Hi B,

      I come to realize the most difficult part about work is not the work itself. It is about changing urself n work agst ur comfort zone and improving ur weakness.

      I started first 3yrs of my career as an engineer; tech savvy and v hands on, not so good in communication. By chance, I become technical sales later on. I never wanted to be sales initially; I do not want unreasonable clients hurt my ego! But the sales I am in is very technical, hence I never got compromise in what I learn in technical. Over the years, the exposures and the people I met improve my communication skills and changed my viewpoints about life.

      U cannot expect urself to b v expressive after this weekend. First, u need to convince urself, u r willing to go against your comfort zone or drop ur ego and be open to changes. The time u spend on writing, spend it in talking! More to ur wife, kids, friends and relatives.

      Initiate changes…doing things u “dislike initially” is more difficult than just regurgitating the tech things u like.

      Once, u r able to do that, then we ll talk abt next wat to do…

      When my wife started a blog, I despise her….I said “waste of time!” I hate IT related stuffs also! That is one of the reasons why I started a blog. Haha

  2. Not easy to have work-life balance working in Singapore. Most of the time, our bosses will tell us work come first before life balance. If you won't, hundreds are waiting to come in and do it without work-life balance.

    1. Hi CW8888,

      Agree that in Sg it is not easy compared to western world. Then again, if u look at China private sector, it is even more difficult. So it means it is not impossible for us. Ultimately, the choice is ours. I understand it is easier said than done, especially for ur generation who goes thru more hardship.

      I will write a post later (hopefully) on work life balance from my own experiences. Then maybe u can read n give ur valuable comments.

      I c ur work life balance from ur JB trip. Hope it is an enjoyable one! ☺

  3. If I remember correctly; you have already made your FU$ or No. Thanks$ so you are in good position to actively seek work-life balance.

    For those who are waiting for the next promotion, the next big pay rise, or more bonuses. It is really tough for them to tell their bosses of work-life balance. They have to outshine their peers to get them.

    That is why we pursue financial independence. Time freedom and work-life balance.

    1. Hi CW,

      Do not smack my head, and call me a young punk and know nothing! Hehe..
      To b honest, even if I am financially freed, I will try to add more burden now at my age! I will try to have more kids (since I really love kids) and add on to my financial burden, and continue to work hard and play hard. But once I reach certain age, it is more difficult. So to noe early in life who u r, wat u really want is important criteria of WLB.

      As for work, there are always problems, unhappiness and irritating colleagues. Still, we need to find more joy and exposure to improve from work than just all the bad things. Otherwise work is detesting and too mundane and we only work to accumulate F$! Which is not wrong, because like I agree with u, eventually with FF, u can do the things u want. The freedom mentally also. But make sure u noe who u r, n wat u really like, otherwise u will still go back to work, bcos u just find nothing to do. Unless during ur journey of accumulating $, u already noe long ago, wat u really want to do.

      A person working 50hrs wk maybe will have more WLB then a one working 40hrs a wk. Bcos the one who have WLB noes wat he LOVEs to do, and he make his CHOICE, he is DISPLINE and has the DESIRE to spend time to TRULY enjoy when he is not working! The one who work less may less, may be a person too ignorant to even noe wat he like for his entire life. Even when not working, he has nothing to do, and then to switch on his computer or handphone to reply email in work. Frankly I do believe an employee who have WLB will be more efficient and can create better influences to his fellow colleagues than one who is not. Just my opinion.

  4. Hi Rolf,

    Agree on all your pointers 🙂

    When I first started on my tutoring job, I'm also very technical. I'm engineering trained, and I thought technical beats everything else when teaching. I mean, as long as I know my stuff, it should be fine.

    Nah, doesn't work this way. I need to talk, convince, coax, persuade, motivate, threaten, coerce, poke and all the fun stuff in my work. It's communication that is important. So what if you good in what you're doing? If nobody knows it, still no use right?

    Marketing is most important. But if you do not have the substance, no matter how fluff your marketing makes you, eventually it's just air.

    1. Hi LP,

      Thanks. For your field, I do know a little bit since I spend 10 yrs in it too.

      Truly, passion is the most important. You must truly want ur students to do well and not just looking at their parents purse. Once u r whole-hearted, of course need to be competent technically, very soon, u need not to do marketing at all. Words will spread fast, and students or parents will just come knocking at ur doors.

      Maybe luck is one thing u need lesser for education field, since all u want is others (ur students) to perform well more than u want urself to perform well.

      A true educator is someone I always admire from the bottom of my heart. Thanks to u on behalf of the society! ☺

  5. Hi Rolf,

    I enjoyed your 1/3 take on many things and believe that it's a useful rule of thumb.

    I do have one issue about the likeability part at work though. In my previous work environment, I had a boss whom I didn't really "respect". I had to sort of "lie" at times to keep myself in his good books and it was a tiring process.

    Since we can't choose our boss or even colleagues (i.e. you can't choose your prisoners), to ensure likeability, one has to put on a false pretence most of the time.

    1. Hi 15HWW,

      Nice to cu ard n tks for the complement. The rule is more for reading pleasure to intrigued our minds.

      I do have an ex-boss who I didn't really agree. Yes, most of his way of doing things. I was uneasy n felt terrible in work. Having a family alleviate the pain thankfully.

      I told myself try another >6 mths to tolerate n try out and more importantly find out abt myself n our boss.

      Ask, talk and find out problems lie with who exactly? So I analyze it not with myself. I spoke to many pple and give non-biased honest examples and let neutral party judge. The more senior (wisdom, exposure and experiences) the people who judge, the better! Also the more people I speak to, the better the analytical result eventually comes back to me. Remember DO NOT talk to people who u already know wat they r gg to say n FOOL URSELF with words u expected n love to hear! It helps temporary n hurts forever!

      Also if the reason of disrespectful is due to Integrity of the boss, the choice becomes simpler.

      In fact that is the job that I am holding a v good position and salary. It was also a time where my financial commitments peaked. I soon realized the next job does not come easy then…

      Whatever it is, once the research n time trial provides me with an answer, eventually I make a choice.

      I m gg to have a new boss despite my burden, but I will become wiser n work even harder to find the next better boss/company.. Not easy.. i experienced the pain…

      Ultimately, I do have a choice! This is North Korea like SMOL says. And I prefer not to lie to myself n not be pretentious for most of the time at work. Sometimes pretentious is nec but not all the time! At least now I am better off after leaving for years already.

      Hope this answer ur question!

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