Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Secret to Success: Self Discovery vs Spoon Feeding

Spoon feeding destroys independent learning. Students who are spoon fed by their teachers may do well in their exams but the learning process is disrupted. I remembered when I was younger, I had some assessment books which my parents bought, which was supposed to be done for revision to help me understand the subject better. As I did not really like studying and was more lazy than hard-working, I often give up doing the Maths questions halfway and peeped at the answers at the back of the assessment book. Knowing the answers first without doing the questions did not help me improve my understanding of that particular question. It was just spoon feeding on my part.

On the other hand, if a student had attempted the question first then check the answers at the back, he or she would have understood the question more than I did. If the answer was wrong, he or she would know where the mistake was and could do it again to get the right answer. This is part of a self discovery learning process. I was intrigue by the idea of self discovery vs spoon feeding while exchanging emails recently. It was brought to my attention that there was this investor's club in Hong Kong where independent investors including kids start their own funds and shared their trading and investing experiences. Basically, these parents give their kids an amount of money to manage and then evaluate their performance. The parents wanted their kids to understand about business and trading at a young age. Through this club, they learnt not only how to invest properly but were also corrected of their mistakes if needed. It was a mentor-ship program through self discovery.

Self discovery should start at a young age, not spoon feeding. Our society is so used to setting rules and regulations that we become ignorant of what is going on around us. When situation turns bad, we don't know how to react as we're conditioned to live in a certain way. This is the result of spoon feeding. Parents always tell their kids what to do and what not to do. Although some boundaries should be set, there should also be room for some trial and error. It is part of self discovery.

Money is an important aspect of our lives.Spending money is part and parcel of life. Saving money is also part and parcel of life. However, most of us do not discover how to manage money until when we're much older. When we're young, we receive some allowance from our parents and most of the time, we spend it all. When kids have not enough money or want to buy something they like, they pester their parents to buy for them. They want to be spoon fed. If spoon feeding is done too often, it creates impatience in a child which may set him or her for failure.

Preparing kids for success

Now, what happens when parents do not spoon feed their kids but lead them on a journey through self discovery? Let's say parents give their kids a sum of money at the beginning of the month and let them spend on whatever they want. The rule is once the money is gone, they cannot ask for more until the next month. Then, they are also told that if they do not finish spending the money but save it and invest it with their parents, they will get some extra money later on. The simple idea that kids could get extra money later on will make them think twice when spending.

Think about it. When was the time when you found it easy to save money? Thinking back, you would have realised that it was when you thought about a car or a house that you wanted to buy in the future which makes you save the money. Research has shown that a better imagination of the future will make it easier to save money.

Once a kid starts saving money, teach them the value of investing. Invest some of their money in stocks and tell them why you did that and how dividends are received from the stocks. If you've invested their money in CapitaMall, you'll be surprised that later on they will ask you to buy more of CapitaMall instead of a toy that they want. Kids get to slowly discover the benefits of delayed gratification in this way.

The Road to Failure - Spoon Feeding

Success is not about making a lot of money. Even if you have a five figure monthly income, it does not mean you are successful. You can have a Million dollars today and lose it the next day. It happens all the time. Many people focus on earning a high income to have a better life. Once they achieve a high income, they go on to live more luxurious lives. But, have they thought about what happens when they lose their income? Will they still be able to maintain their lifestyle of paying high monthly loans for their properties and cars? Will they be forced to sell their house and cars at a lower price when crisis hits? This is where a lot of people get lost and don't know what to do.

We are often spoon fed by the media that we need this car and this house to be happy. We'll always see happy families on advertisement for condominiums and cars. We're made to believe that all these equals to happiness. However, this is certainly not true. Happiness is a choice. We can choose to be hapy regardless of the situation we're in.

Self discovery to Success

To be truly successful, take the route of self discovery. In the dictionary, self discovery is defined as "The act or process of achieving understanding or knowledge of oneself." 

In investing, we need to self discover to be successful. It is the same with business or even your job.

If you're an investor, you could ask yourself: "What is my purpose of investing in this company?"

If you're a businessman, you could ask yourself: "Why did I want to start this business?"

If you're working in a company, you could ask yourself: "Why do I choose to work in this job?"

By asking yourself these questions, you have a better understanding of why you are doing something. When things go wrong, you will know whether to stay or to move on. When the market crashes, you will know whether to sell or buy more of that company. If you invest base on tips or start a business just because you want to make money, then when things go south, you will be completely lost. Having an opinion of why you are doing what you are doing will make your path to success clearer. 

Enjoyed my articles? 
You can Subscribe to SG Young Investment by Email 
or follow me on my Facebook page and get notified about new posts.


  1. Hi SGYI

    Good post.

    Self discovery is a road to the unchartered territory. Touch the body touch the mind. We will discover and learn something new everytime we do that.

    Rather than spoon feeding blindly be the support behind the back ;)

    1. Hi B,

      Yup, be the support behind thr back. Unfortunately, there are too many knowledge based stuff now which just throws the knowledge at us instead of being the support. Finding a good mentor may also be one of the factors to success.

  2. I couldn't agree more. I think that a big problem we have is trying to stop people making their own mistakes- mainly because we don't want to see them get hurt. Now to a certain extent I agree (as in, you're not going to let a kid get hit by a car to prove that roads are dangerous) but it's so important to learn something yourself- by making the mistake yourself.
    Brilliant article by the way. Thanks!

    1. Hi Recce,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Spent so much time crafting out this article but its worth it after all.

      Its always how we learn from our mistakes that make us a better person each day.