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3 Lessons We Have Learnt From a True Leader

Always a lesson to be learnt, never a failure

23rd March 2015 marks one of the darkest day in Singapore’s history
after gaining independence close to 50 years ago with the passing of
Singapore’s founding father, Mr Lee Kwan Yew.

Singapore was once a swamp land, with no natural
resources and had an underdeveloped economy that no one noticed. Fast forward 50 short
years, Singapore has transformed into a first world country and internationally
acclaimed small red dot we all call home. Our skylines are now filled with world
renowned skyscrapers that leave tourists in awe, a clean and green environment,
running clean water from the tap, first class education system attracting
international scholars and a bilingual nation living in harmony regardless of
language, race or religion. 

© Nicodemus Loh Fook Chee . Reproduced for review only.

To top that all off, Singaporeans hold a passport that
has been crowned one of the most recognised passports in the world; this only
goes to reflect how highly Singapore is regarded on an international stage.
of which started off with a vision and driven by a determined mind of our
founding father Mr Lee.

A devoted husband, loving father and grandfather, passionate
politician, determined entrepreneur and true leader, Mr Lee was many things. His
life that he had willingly dedicated to Singapore was filled with fundamental
lessons that every inventor, innovator and entrepreneur should know about and
aspire to become.



What Mr Lee saw was the potential of Singapore and
Singaporeans had that many could not see after declaring independence from
Malaysia. From the construction of skyscrapers, addressing severe housing shortage
during independence and attracting foreign investors to expand their manufacturing
operations in Singapore. All efforts have paid off with Singapore being where
it is now, although it seemed impossible back then.

The same can be said if you are an entrepreneur or
inventor. Not everyone will have the same vision or foresight as you, but as
long as you give it your all then, there is really nothing left to lose; only to gain.

“Even from my sick
bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is
going wrong, I will get up.” –
From the
1988 National Day Rally



To be a revered leader requires great speaking skills,
knowing who your allies are and be focused on your goals yet bold enough to
make hard decisions that will ultimately benefit those under your care. In Mr
Lee’s case, it was millions of Singaporean lives and futures that were under his
care. This also meant that he had to make decisions while looking at
the bigger picture, rather than just finding a quick fix or a simple way out. The critical decisions that Mr Lee made helped pave the way for the successful Singapore he

As an entrepreneur you should envision to be the effective leader he
was. Be precise, straight to the point and make effective decisions that will
benefit your target audience and the future of your invention. There will
always be naysayers and negative comments, but what is important is that we
learn from them and move on.

“I have never been
over concerned or obsessed with opinion polls or popularity polls. I think a
leader who is, is a weak leader. Between being loved and being feared, I have
always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I’m
meaningless.” –
The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew



Remaining tenacious under pressure and seeing a decision
through is no easy task, especially when the weight of the entire nation rests
on your shoulders with every decision that you make. Mr Lee did just that when
he made the emotional announcement of Singapore’s separation from Malaysia on 9
August 1965. He was determined to bring Singapore out of poverty, clean the
street of triads and push the Singapore agenda forward during his official
visits overseas, all so as to not let failure claim Singapore even when all the
odds were against us.

Today, Singapore is a hustling and bustling metropolitan
city that is the destination for foreign investments, the best case study for
housing development, boasts a world class port and award winning airport; a far
cry from the swamp land and fishing village we were just 50 years ago.

As an entrepreneur and innovator it is sometimes difficult to be tenacious and
believe in your decision during the times when you feel you have reached pit-bottom. But
respect yourself enough to waste no time in cutting the string that binds you
to negativity or ill-productivity. In our current era now, where everything is moving at such a fast pace, time is of the essence.

“I stand by my record. I did some sharp things to get
things right – too harsh – but a lot was at stake. But at the end of the day,
what have I got? Just a successful Singapore.”
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By Geralyne Kaye Ong / March 23, 2015 17:15PM


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