Personal Mastery... Selfish? LO17428

Dr.Tuck-Wai KOH (
Mon, 16 Mar 1998 16:06:21 +0800 (MYT)

Replying to LO17421 --

Dear LO Friends,

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tuck-Wai KOH and I am an
independent international management consultant who doubles-up as a
learning & business consultant to a premier university in Malaysia.I
specialize in managing human related issues in technological change,OD
interventions,developing learning organizations and unleashing creativity
& innovation at the workplace.

I have worked and lived around the world over the last 20 years
having held senior positions (General Manager) in the oil&gas,
construction , manufacturing and management consultancy industries.

I have pursued what is now termed Personal Mastery for the last 15
or more years and have presented a few seminars & a workshop paper on the
subject at the 26th World IFTDO Conference in 1997.

I wish to share my few cents worth on a subject nearest and
dearest to my heart.

I started out 15 years ago to enhance my own mental and physical
development as I always felt I could be better developed than what I was
then (which actually meant a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo, Chinese
Martial Arts , Mensa membership, graduate from a respectable university,
etc).But deep down inside I felt that I had to search for something more.
Who really was I, what was my mission in life, how can I push the envelop
of mental and physical development to my own limits, etc.In short, there
was a compelling urge, that I must be what I can be.

The search led me to many obstacles and the discovery of many new
worlds. I can say I have now developed a simplified approach for the
journey to personal mastery (which is a linear journey at the beginning
and an iterative loop at the highest level)which spans mind, body and

The journey is painful and requires determination and
perseverance.You will have to forsake a substantial part of your ego to
really make progress in the journey. It is always lonely, and you are
likely to be ostracized for being different.It starts out being selfish
(it is self-development, after all) but when you have journeyed far
enough , you will find that you are transcendent, ie you go beyond
yourself to help develop others.In fact, people who have reached the
transcendent stage would often have to ground themselves to remain in
touch with reality.What I mean is that people at this level give so much
of themselves (for free)that they may forget that they have a family to

I also view Personal Mastery from the Learning Organization
perspective.The entire LO begins with the individual.An individual who has
attained PM will have developed, in my opinion , some of the following
traits and skills:

1. Willingness to share
2. Tolerance for ambiguity
3. Mastery of his/her own ego
4. Mastery of learning to learn
5. Able to externalize tacit knowledge
6. Able to easily develop new mental models
7. Have a good understanding of systems thinking concept
8. Have a relatively unfettered mindset
9. Welcomes change
10. Advocates team-learning

No, we are not looking at a sage or a saint, but a person who is
open to learning (usually hungry for learning). Because in such a journey,
you are constantly absorbing , learning,testing ,renewing, sharing ,
discarding and learning again.

I hope the above helps to clarify whether PM is selfish or not.

My home page on Personal Mastery is only partially completed.I
will post the URL for those who are interested when it is up in a month's

I can be contacted at :

Best Regards.

Dr.Tuck-Wai KOH


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