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Things money can't buy – Part II                  

In today’s world, money appears to be all-powerful and it is hard to find things that it can’t get you. However, if we look more closely, that may not actually be the case. For instance, money can get you friends, but not friendships; it can get you a clock, but not time; it can get you blood, but not life; it can get you insurance, but not security. In today’s article, I will speak about some personality traits that money cannot buy but that need to be developed and are of upmost importance in today’s society. 

1. Integrity and Honesty

Former chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry (TSMC is currently Intel and Samsung’s largest semiconductor competitor), Morris Chang has given many speeches in universities across the country. He insists that in order for one to become a very good and successful person, he/she must have four core values: integrity, commitment, innovation and customer partnership. 

Integrity and honesty is not opportunistic and should be consistent in the deeds done.  Moreover, in addition to continuously improving their professionalism, TSMC looks to improve their team by hiring applicants with three main traits: IQ, EQ and AQ, representing intelligence, emotional and adversity quotients respectively. These are the same traits that I wrote about in past articles. 

2. Character

How can we teach ethics? How can we cultivate character? Most scholars and experts can agree to a basic principle: adults must lead and guide kids by example. Children’s moral behavior is reflective of how their parents and school treat them. In addition to teaching by example, American educator KevinRyanat Boston University reviewed theway character and moral education was given after World War IIand proposed anew teaching model. 

This teaching model contains five E’s: Example: teachers themselveshave to be moral demonstrations and incorporateheroes or role models from the past, in literature or in society, in the classroom. Explanation: not simply to rely on inculcation but to be sincere in their dialogue with students to remove their doubts and inspire their moral awareness.Exhortation:toemotionally inspire and motivate students to bring out their moral courage and motivation for goodness. Environment: teachers need to create an environment that promotes mutual respect and cooperation. Experience: to teach studentshow to effectively help others, organize activities to encourage others to actively participate and to give them a chance to experiencethe feeling of contributing to society. These five E’s in fact correspond with the ICElearning schemethat I created. 


3. Creativity and Imagination 

In a volunteer training session a few weeks ago, I raised a question: what do educators and marketers have in common? I then answered that both educators and marketers are proactively on a mission and are enthusiastically trying to sell knowledge, a belief or a product. However, an educator focuses more on ‘selling’ by example and by cultivating character.  

Afterwards, I asked another question: Is Apple's Steve Jobs an innovator or a marketer? Most     agree that he is more of a marketer than he is an innovator. A great example of an inventor is Elon Musk. He started PayPal, in October 2002 at the age of 31, the company that got acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion and later became a global trading network checkout program. With this money he founded three improbable and inspiring companies. The first one he founded was Space X, a space exploration company that successfully launched a 227-foot-tall rocket into space. The second one was the creation of Tesla, the first fully electric sports car.  Finally there was Solar City which is the leading residential solar provider in the US. (


To conclude, cultivating creativity can be summarized in the following points:

  1. Stimulating curiosity and developing keen observation and abundant imagination, especially creativity and the ability to make transformations when new problems are noticed or new connections are made. 

  2. Importance of cognitive fluency, flexibility and originality.

  3. Thinking critically and knowing how to use both convergent and divergent thinking and developing a habit of asking good questions.

  4. Ability for making abrupt associations and brainstorming for new and creative ideas.  


In a world where capitalism is present, human nature for greed is more apparent than everwhich leads to therich getting richer and the poor becoming poorer.If Marxwere alive today, he would probably be smiling saying how true his prediction of the eventual collapse of capitalism was. Only through quality education, supportive parentsand honest rulers who have a strong sense of mission, as well as their willingness to investin things that money cannot buy will thenext generation have more hope in changing the world for the better. 


Our society has made a lot of progress. Was that made through money? If not, what was it that allowed our society to evolve so much?

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