Li Ka-shing reveals his key to success

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 June, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong's richest man has unveiled his secret to success - an index warning against arrogance.

Li Ka-shing said his formula was borrowed from the Greeks: to strike a balance between 'arete' - meaning goodness, excellence and virtue - and 'hubris', referring to pride bordering on arrogance.

'The hubris index governs not only our attitude, but our behaviour. Are we excessively proud and boastful? Do we fail to listen to foils [critics] that say you're wrong? Do we refuse to get feedback about the outcome of our acts and decisions? And are we lax in planning in advance for possible problems, consequences and corrective measures?' he asked.

Mr Li was speaking at a graduation ceremony at Shantou University in Guangdong. He is honorary chairman of the university council.

The index had been a navigational tool that had guided him through life, Mr Li told students.

Saying a humble heart was the beginning of all knowledge, he reminded young people to avoid walking on dangerous ground to 'systematically inflate the view of one's own abilities, to become caught up in exaggerated pride or self-confidence'.

The tycoon, who had said he treated his philanthropic foundation as a third son, also cited ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi to encourage young people to give, not only to take.

'A position of sovereign does not necessarily connect with being thought noble, nor the condition of being poor with being thought mean,' he said.

The ceremony was also attended by Yang Liwei , the nation's first man in space, and Guangdong vice-governor Song Hai.

Mr Li was rewarded for unveiling the secret of his success - with the singing of a song to mark his 80th birthday, entitled Great Wisdom.