“Psychological Ownership” Wiser Next Week: On Loyalty

About the Wiser Next Week Series: These entries will involve posting my book, Wiser Next Week, chapter by chapter, freely available to the public. Additionally, I’ll be recounting a story about something I’ve learned based on the chapter’s topic since the months that have past when the book was published in December 2018.


Heckled By A Homeless Man

I studied kung fu growing up, 7 years in my childhood starting at age 11. I remember one particular Friday night. Same old same old practice. My ‘see hings’ and ‘see diys’ (fellow classmates) were inside either practicing lion dance or sparring drills.

Me, being the lone wolf that I am, was outside practicing a hand form (a form is a bunch of techniques put together to display in an exhibition.)

One of the school elders was outside too, instructing one of the older students

As I was practicing, I noticed a commotion about a hundred feet away where that school elder (my ‘si sok gung’) was.

It seems a homeless man, likely drunk, was trying to force entry into the school and my ‘si sok gung’ and the senior student was barring him entry.

I paused for a second, then I ran past them, into the School, And grabbed myself a 6 foot bamboo staff.


The other guys say me with the long staff and recognizing my intentions, barred my path. My “si sok gung” handled the situation with the homeless man. He didn’t need me waving around a big stick to antagonize what was going down (try telling that to an impulsive adolescent though). He handled it like a man and I acted like a boy.

I must have been around 15-16 years old at the time.

I was 17 here.
If you think this looks like a mug shot, you should see my passport photo taken at age 16.

What Loyalty is.

I was never good with my words, plus I always believed that actions speak louder then words, so I wanted an outlet to show my loyalty to my kung fu school. In hindsight, I subconsciously targeted that homeless man as the outlet for this expression.

Tim Keningham and Lerzan Aksoy in “Why Loyalty Matters” describes what loyalty is best:

Loyalty is about accepting the bonds that our relationships entail while acting in
congruence with, defending, and reinforcing those relationships. The reinforcing of those bonds
with others is a form of psychological ownership . The other person or organization becomes
more than just another human being, they become my friend, my nation, my club.

This was my kung fu studio. I had taken psychological ownership of it and I was going to defend it against perceived threats.

Here is an interesting Ted Talk about Loyalty

And this one is one of my personal favorites from Why Loyalty Matters:

Building Loyalty Checklist


● Devote quality time to the relationship. (2 times a week for 4 years at the time at that Kung Fu studio)
● Stand up for them, even when it’s uncomfortable or risky (I had the big stick, but I was still risking physical harm if I did something)
● Celebrate their success without envy.
● Support them during difficult times (No one wanted to be bothered by that heckler)
● Hold fast to promises and information shared in confidence.
● Show appreciation and commitment to the future of the relationship.
● Keep in mind that social bonds require time and consistent effort to develop.
● Make it apparent through actions and deeds what the other person stands to gain
from the relationship (I had a long term interest in the well being of the school)
● Remember to make your efforts known by the other person.
● Personal contact at times of personal difficulty is a must.

Loyalty takes years to build. It takes time, trust, having each others back. Loyalty is a key building block of our civilization. Our ancestors realized that if we each tried to do our own thing, it wouldn’t amount to much. But together, we can build buildings, cities, nations and equally important, stand on top of the progress of previous generations.

Loyalty is a key pillar that binds people together, and in turn, a necessity in our inheritance of everything we have today.

If you’re ever in San Francisco, make sure to check out my kung fu studio, Yau Kung Moon. Tell them Kingston sent you.


Here is the “On Loyalty” chapter of Wiser Next Week. Take it and implement it into your own life.


Previous Chapters

“I Didn’t Know How to Do Laundry” Wiser Next Week Intro

“The Spray & Pray Teacher” Wiser Next Week: On Emotions

“Show Them Your Greatness” Wiser Next Week: On Fear


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