GREAT MINDS NEVER THINK ALIKE

This is a compendium of recipes for how some people work. The routines, habits, hacks, gadgets and escapes to consistently live their best life at work and at play. While high performance is the common thread, the personalities couldn’t be more diverse, and the gems we found couldn’t be more timely and inspiring.

This interview series is brought by The Great Room Singapore.

  1. What is your morning hack for a productive day?

Rosaline Koo: I try to get up early every day and go swimming for at least half an hour to 45 minutes daily. That gives me energy so, of course, after that, I have to have caffeine and a big breakfast. But I’m also trying to sleep at least seven to eight hours every single night, so now I try to go to bed earlier. I discovered sleep was very important for effective problem-solving and decision-making.

  1. What is the best purchase you have done recently that has upped your game at work? (App/Technology/Wellness gadget/Nutrition)

Rosaline Koo: I use my Samsung Health App every day to track my sleep, exercise, food and caffeine since I used to not do any of those things until after I turned 50 to startup CXA as a wellness company.  When I first started CXA, we had a doctor who told me that I could not be the face of the company since I was so unhealthy.  Back then I used to sleep 3 to 4 hours a night, skip meals and water since I was always double book and didn’t have time to pee.  She told me that in med school they sleep-deprived a rat for 3 days and then it died.  And that I was a rat. That was the turning point when I started getting healthier and now I’m super healthy and feel much better than I have for decades.

  1. What or where do you eat when you are alone for lunch on a workday? Is there a favourite takeaway spot?

Rosaline Koo: I don’t really eat lunch out. I bring a salad to work every day because I usually don’t have much time for lunch. I usually carry my packed food into all my meetings. People will always know where I am because there are crumbs everywhere I go.

  1. What is the last book you read that created an impact on you and name 1–2 key takeaways?

Rosaline Koo: The last book was called Ikkigai, and the reason I read it was because my mother who’s 90-years-old told me that she wants to live long enough to make sure that my startup is successful.

I told her that it would take at least 10 more years, so she said she needed to live to 100 years old. So, I read this book about how all these Japanese people in this one blue zone area live to about 115 and what they did to have a long life.

My key takeaway was to have a fulfilling purpose-filled life and to live long, you need to not just exercise or sleep but you have to have this social community where you feel like you belong.

My mum and I did a lot during her 6 weeks visit here from Los Angeles. She and my 88-year-old auntie learned how to swim during the 6 weeks.  Since she’s pre-diabetic so the doctor told her to lose weight but she couldn’t.

Here, in 6 weeks, she not only learnt how to swim but this 90-year-old woman who has never gone into a pool lost 15 pounds while my aunt lost 5 pounds. We did a lot together.

With the startup, I don’t have time to go home to Los Angeles anymore, so my mother comes to visit me. That book affected me a lot because my mother said she had to live long enough to see me successful.

  1. Do you have a favourite superhero costume/accessory that you rely on for the most important business meetings?

Rosaline Koo: Not really, I always forget about my important meetings so I don’t really have anything in particular that makes me feel empowered.

Rosaline Chow-Koo, Founder of CXA Group

  1. Do you have a favourite place/country you love travelling to that rejuvenates you?

Rosaline Koo: I travel a lot, but mainly for work. But the vacation that I like the most is probably Japan, with the family. It’s not so much a particular place that rejuvenates me, but just travelling anywhere with my family.  I don’t see them enough since my kids are away in the US for college and my husband travels so much because he went back to work. We like to go to Japan because we get to eat, see historical sites, and sometimes ski together.

  1. Do you have a favourite quote you live by?

Rosaline Koo: I think life is very, very short so we need to figure out ways to make the biggest impact in our time here.

  1. If you’re not doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing?

Rosaline Koo: I’ve tried to retire too many times, but I don’t think I can retire because it never works for me. I just get restless, my whole life. I used to be in non-profit but somehow, I got into banking instead. I don’t think I’ll ever be a banker again, though. It’ll probably be doing something to give back, and most of my spare time I try to encourage other females to follow their dreams instead of being unhappy stuck wherever they are. I’ll probably go back to non-profit where I started.

Continue these sentences…

  • My favourite time-waster is either reading books or watching movies because it takes me out of myself and I get to put myself into another person’s life.
  • If I am having a really challenging day, I will reset by going back into the pool.
  • I have an irrational love for potato chips or dark chocolate.
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