Be Careful What You Think

Creating memorable experiences
Creating memorable experiences
Image by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.

I like proverbs. They make me think.

I see useful and important connections between wisdom and the modern lifestyles we’ve created. For me there’s no greater connection than in the adage that goes along the lines that we need to be careful of our thoughts.


Because those thoughts become words and those words in turn become actions.

Be careful of your actions.


Because those actions become habits and habits form character and it’s character that becomes your destiny.

Who would’ve thought that what you think could have such significant consequences.

This isn’t exactly a new age drug induced reality idea either. The proverb has been attributed to the ancient Chinese, Gandhi, even Margaret Thatcher. It’s even reinforced in the Bible’s Proverbs 4:23. This seems to reassure some people for some reason.

Listen up folks, there’s a message to be had here if only we’d listen and put some thought into it.

I used to develop and run staff training programmes in upmarket, boutique villa resorts in Bali. Nice work if you could get it. I did and I loved it!

I was fascinated with, and obsessed by, the idea of making a guest’s stay the best it could possibly be from seamless airport transfers to the way beds were turned down and everything in between and beyond the call of duty.

I was on a mission and it wasn’t impossible.

The traditional approach to this sort of hospitality based training was to develop SOPs. Lots of them. Every possible eventuality was covered with a procedural response, from locking yourself out of your in-room safe at 2am to serving ice cold cucumber water by the pool at noon.  From the SOPs you’d go ahead and train each department accordingly. It’s a big task and in many senses very academic.

It was also pretty boring for the team most of the time, if truth be told.

The system needed SOPs but how they were socialized and taught was questionable to say the least. I mean, you spend all day walking the grounds doing your job meeting and greeting and trying to be calm with the occasional angry, irrational guest, and then you’re subjected to an hour and a half of some guy in a clean shirt telling you how to do your job better. What? I’m not doing it well enough now?

That energy affected me and the classes.

Then my life changed. And so did the energy of my classes.

I was inspired by the thoughts of a gentleman called Peter McApline. In those days, Peter was driving an idea called Creating Truly Memorable Experiences (CTME) which he was having great success with in hotels and resorts in Thailand.

It blew me away.

He suggested dropping the traditional approach of using SOPs as the backbone for training and instead zeroing in on the idea of opening people’s consciousness to the core concepts of energy and love.

After all we were dealing with humans who were willing to spend their hard-earned Dollars, Euros and Yen on an experience. And that experience shouldn’t be just another room with a bed (and no view) and a TV (with limited free channels) and a mediocre buffet breakfast (robotically prepared and served to get it out of the way as quickly as possible.) It should be more than that surely.

I picked up on Peter’s thoughts. Maybe because they struck a chord with me, somewhere deep and long forgot. Maybe because I live and work in Bali, Indonesia.

Trying to tune in to consciousness, energy and love was easier in Bali than in most other places I’ve worked.  Way easier than Kuwait, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Beijing. It was easier, in fact, than trying to explain what an SOP was supposed to be for in the first place.


Because one of the core doctrines of being Balinese and appreciating how the island works is something called Tat Twam Asi, which translated means, I am you and you are me.

This concept of connection and energy is hard wired into the Balinese DNA. They just forget it’s there sometimes, which is understandable because we all tend to forget when we’re being brainwashed with nonsense designed to make us forget.

I had success with Peter’s CTME concept. It opened my eyes to a new world of training where I felt I was helping people to remember, helping them to tap into their DNA memories. I know it changed the lives of some of my students for the better and I hope it left positive impressions for our guests too. It was a very satisfying job to have, but times they change and that was then and this is now.

I don’t work in hotels anymore. I work in real estate and I’m told that’s a different ball game altogether. Chalk and cheese buddy. None of that love and peace b*llsh*t when it comes to closing on a $ 2 million dollar deal and netting a $60,000 commission.

I’m not so convinced hospitality and real estate are such different games. I’m thinking it’s just a limiting belief that makes people think them so. Both industries are service oriented and that means people are involved. That’s real people with real lives, families, careers, cares, expectations, perceptions, aspirations and values.

Maybe I’m being too simple by drawing a comparison between the two industries here, but I’m a simple kind of guy.

Peter McAlpine came back to my thoughts via Linkedin a day or three ago. He’d posted about something he calls Energetic Heart-Based Hospitality (EHBH). That blew me away some more and helped me remember a few important things. Thanks for that Peter!

It was like CTME had graduated to EHBH and I was once again energized and excited to learn as much as I could, especially in how this could be applied to the world of real estate.

When you have to deal with people as intimately and frequently as hospitality and real estate dictate, things get real simple real quick. This is where EHBH rings loud and true: be love, Peter says. Because love is what you need to focus on and love is what people will consciously and subconsciously be attracted to.

The word love, however conjures up many images for different people. Bear with me.

For some it means relationships, marriage, sex and commitments. For others it means ice cream and blueberry cheesecake. Some think of a football team. Then there are those for who love means random acts of kindness and doing the right thing when nobody’s watching or a favourite song or movie or colour. There are some that immediately associate the word ‘love’ with the word ‘peace’ and then we’ve got images of long haired hippies. They’re high on weed, of course, so we can’t take them seriously. Their eyes are wide shut and they wear sandals and eat vegetables and have cats and dogs with no collars and they live in utopian dream worlds with no nuclear weapons. They’re as far from reality as night is from day. And if that’s what you associate with the word ‘love’ there ain’t nothing I can do to make you think any differently.

For me though, love is an energy. And it’s the best, most powerful energy there is.

It surrounds us all the time because it’s the energy that builds the universe we live in. Isn’t living in peace and harmony what we all strive for? If we open ourselves to this idea, wild and wonderful things start to happen; intuition speaks loud and clear and synchronicity materializes because we begin to notice and listen to it. It tells us we are all connected and what we think and what we do really does affect everyone around us. I am you and you are me remember?

In business love means being honest, being good, being fair and providing insights because you know your job inside out and these insights help people. You show integrity, you empathize, you share, you create the best possible environment for the best possible outcome and you care.

Turns out, this isn’t such an easy thing to come to grips with, especially for real estate agents.

You see, realtors don’t have a very good reputation here in Bali. I’m not pointing any fingers you understand, but love isn’t exactly a word that usually appears in a real estate sales funnel flow chart or a Power Point presentation or on the lips of most people’s experience in buying or selling a property here. Rip off, unreliable and untrustworthy bunch of bastards do.

This is hardly surprising as realtors are perceived (rightly or wrongly) as being mercenary and simply interested in their commissions. Screw the emotions and damn the consequences. It’s not actually a job for most of these so called realtors; it’s a short-cut easy ride to some short-term pots of gold that they happened to stumble across after waking up with a steaming hangover on the beach one morning.

How else to pay for the next night out without actually doing much? Money for nothing and chicks for free right?

Unfortunately, this has been the mindset for a long time and I don’t think it’s a very healthy one to be honest.

At Seven Stones Indonesia, we’re consciously trying to change this into a mindset that focuses on thoughts and attitudes and appreciates and encompasses Big Whys, life purposes, mindfulness, motivations, failures and how to use them positively to grow.

Sure we’re interested in the money! We’re a business! Of course we’re interested in the money. We’d be fools not to, but we genuinely believe that if we adopt the correct mindset and think positively our business will grow and so will we as individuals. For us the right mindset is the springboard to success.

We believe what you think and what you say and what you do really does matter.

We’re on a mission to do something about it. We’re trying to help people to tap into and release the power and potential we all have within. It’s not complicated and it’s not rocket science really. We all have the ability to create a palace or a prison from the way we think. Just remember the Chinese or Ghandi or even the Iron Lady herself.

That’s why we reinforce these ideas in regular training sessions. We aim to inspire by being mindful, being honest and by being motivated by the love that surrounds us all.

We understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some folk are scared of change and have created obstacles in their limited thinking to avoid thinking at all. These folk are happy being scared, confused and single-minded. They’re even happier passing all responsibility to forces beyond their control. Their problems are everyone else’s fault not theirs.

We make no judgment on those who refuse to accept any notion that puts the responsibility of their lives squarely on their shoulders. It is, after all, their choice to make. And we all make choices (some right, some wrong) every day. We still wish them love and we hope that one day they wake up one morning and realize that a positive mindset can actually make a positive difference to their lives.


If you’d like to learn more about investing in Indonesia get in touch with us today through



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Andrzej Barski

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Andrzej is Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia. He was born in the UK to Polish parents and has been living in Indonesia for more than 33-years. He is a skilled writer, trainer and marketer with a deep understanding of Indonesia and its many cultures after spending many years travelling across the archipelago from North Sumatra to Irian Jaya.

His experience covers Marketing, Branding, Advertising, Publishing, Real Estate and Training for 5-Star Hotels and Resorts in Bali and Jakarta, which has given him a passion for the customer experience. He’s a published author and a regular contributor to local and regional publications. His interests include conservation, eco-conscious initiatives, spirituality and motorcycles. Andrzej speaks English and Indonesian.

Terje H. Nilsen

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Terje is from Norway and has been living in Indonesia for over 20-years. He first came to Indonesia as a child and after earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Agder in Norway, he moved to Indonesia in 1993, where he has worked in leading positions in education and the fitness/ wellness industries all over Indonesia including Jakarta, Banjarmasin, Medan and Bali.

He was Co-owner and CEO of the Paradise Property Group for 10-years and led the company to great success. He is now Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia offering market entry services for foreign investors, legal advice, sourcing of investments and in particular real estate investments. He has a soft spot for eco-friendly and socially sustainable projects and investments, while his personal business strengths are in property law, tourism trends, macroeconomics, Indonesian government and regulations. His personal interests are in sport, adventure, history and spiritual experiences.

Terje’s leadership, drive and knowledge are recognised across many industries and his unrivalled network of high level contacts in government and business spans the globe. He believes you do good and do well but always in that order. Terje speaks English, Indonesian and Norwegian.

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Ridwan Jasin Zachrie

CFO of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Ridwan is one of Indonesia’s top executives with a long and illustrious career in the financial world. He holds several professional certifications including being a Certified Business Valuer (CBV) issued by the Australian Academy of Finance and Management; Broker-Dealer Representative (WPPE); and The Directorship Certification for Directors and Commissioners, issued by the Indonesian Institute of Commissioners and Directors.

His experience includes being the Managing Director at one of the top investment banking groups in the region, the Recapital Group, the CFO at State-owned enterprises in fishery industry and the CEO at Tanri Abeng & Son Holding. He’s also been an Independent Commissioner in several Financial Service companies and on the Audit and Risk Committee at Bank BTPN Tbk, Berau Coal Energy Tbk, Aetra Air Jakarta as well as working for Citibank, Bank Mandiri and HSBC. His last position was as CFO at PT Citra Putra Mandiri – OSO Group.

Ridwan has won a number of prestigious awards including the Best CFO Awards 2019 (Institute of Certified Management Accountant Australia-Indonesia); Asia Pacific Young Business Leader awarded by Asia 21 Network New York USA (Tokyo 2008); UK Alumni Business Awards 2008 awarded by the British Council; and The Most Inspiring Human Resources Practitioners’ version of Human Capital Magazine 2010.

He’s a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law, Trisakti University, Co-Founder of the Paramadina Public Policy Institute and actively writes books, publications and articles in the mass media. He co-authored “Korupsi Mengorupsi Indonesia” in 2009, which helps those with an interest in understanding governance in Indonesia and the critical issue of corruption. Ridwan speaks Indonesian and English.

Per Fredrik Ecker

Managing Director of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Per is the Managing Director of the Seven Stones Indonesia (SSI) Jakarta office and has more than 25-years’ experience in Indonesia, China, and Western Europe. He previously worked in senior management positions with Q-Free ASA, Siemens AG, and other companies in the telecom sector. Over the last six years, he has been the Chairman of the Indonesia-Norway Business Council (INBC) and recently become elected to be on the board of EuroCham Indonesia.

His most recent experience is within Intelligent Transport Solutions (ITS), Telecom, and other sectors within the Indonesian market. He is today through his position in SSI and by representing Norway Connect, promoting Nordic and European companies that would like to explore business opportunities in the Indonesian market. He’s also playing an active role to help create the Nordic House concept in Jakarta that will provide an excellent platform for Nordic companies entering Indonesia, where they’ll find a community that can offer support with trusted information and affordable services to enter this market.