HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
Eric Romero

Why you can learn success lessons from house helpers in Singapore


There are a lot of maids working for families in Singapore, and they work hard! Some people make them work 7 days per week…that is like slave labor! I admire these women. They have some essential elements for success: optimism, hard work and persistence. Some may look down on them because they lack a formal education, which is rather arrogant and short-sighted!

People routinely over-rate the importance of formal education. Universities are great places to become a conventional thinker who cannot think outside the box. It’s a great place to learn to expect easy answers to neat little problems that one never encounters in the real word. The rare college educated innovators are successful despite their education!

Both recent and distant history indicate that education is not the most important factor in success when it comes to entrepreneurship and innovation. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs never graduated from college. Richard Branson and Anna Wintour both dropped out of high school and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva only has a 4th grade education. Optimism, hard work and persistence are major factors that made them successful. These people think outside the box because they have never been in the box! They figure things out as problems and issues arise. They devise innovative solutions that match the current situation, not blindly use solutions to old problems.

Give me a choice between the average university graduate or an optimistic, hard working, persistent uneducated person, and I’ll take the latter every time! As Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Keep your mind open and re-evaluate those beliefs you hold on to so tightly, they might be holding you back and preventing you from innovating. Lastly, give your maid at least one day off per week and evenings off too, she deserves to be treated like a human being!  

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Eric Romero

Eric Romero

Eric J. Romero, PhD is an expert in Unconventional Leadership, Culture, Strategy & Innovation. He helps managers become unconventional leaders who innovate and beat the competition. Eric partners with them to create competitive advantage based on creativity, flexibility and risk-taking.

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