Money Is Not Everything

My mom used to tell me that money is everything, especially when I was looking for the right job. For her, money is the defining factor for everything as it sets the precedence to a well-lived life. I shrugged off that notion quickly and never held back my desires to correct her.

More than 10 years later, I have to admit that I am absolutely wrong and I may have to add that my mom was not entirely clear with me. It was only recently when I shared my idea of money that she finally believes that I got it. I could see a gleam of happiness on her face.

After developing my own business, worked with teams, finance projects, and started a family, I have now come to a new conclusion about money and its place in our lives. Let me clarify what my mom meant - Money is not everything, Money is subtly everything, as it is intertwined in every part of our lives.

You Are The Brush

Scan10001.JPG

I was recently asked to share my experience working with people within the entrepreneurship community and how I was successful in rallying people from different backgrounds to work together towards a common goal. When I first heard the question, I wondered - is this what I naturally do on a daily basis? I thought it was normal pulling people to work on something new together.

To help my interviewer envisioned my thoughts better, I gave her a metaphor of the brush and a palate of watercolours to represent my life. I see the people around me as colours, with their own different shades of characters and attributes. What I consider my life to be is an example of an empty canvas, where I use it to paint what I want to see in the world, therefore I am the brush. My purpose as the brush is to place the different colours on the different parts of the canvas to paint a picture that I want. It is that simple and I have never once thought twice about it until recently.

Conforming Is Less Free

Scan10001.JPG

We are subconsciously wired to compare ourselves to those around us, even to the point of being unfair to the very uniqueness of our individuality. We are all unique in our own way, and having others pressure us to live up to society's expectations will only make us less free. I met someone recently and he thought me to not be afraid of being true to myself, that who I am should actually be celebrated and not be compared to anyone else. With his guidance, I now wonder, why are we so obsess to conform to the norm when we can be so much more by just being ourselves.

Focus On A Few Things

Scan10002.JPG

I just turned 37 years old and I am very grateful for every single day since my 'near death accident'. Around 20 years ago, I was somewhat hit by a speeding car that had my BMX bicycle mutilated in ways unimaginable, but I survived the whole episode without a single scratch on me. If I did not make the split second jump off my bike, I would probably not be around to write this post for you today.

Life can be really short and the end may come unexpectedly for us, or sooner than we think. I try to remind myself every day that I only have that much of hours left and I really need to spend it wisely. In terms of work, I only focus on areas related to coaching and books. These are the kind of commitments that I feel is important not only for me but to those I serve and bring value to, and I only invest my time in activities that I am confident that I will be working on even when I am old. As for my personal life, it would have to be my family and health.

A CEO's Idea Of Unity

Scan10001.JPG

I was fortunate enough to have met up with a humble CEO recently. We were sharing ideas about the recent general election and how hopeful we both are for our country. Then the topic of unity came up and we wanted to know each other's take on it. We saw it very differently. His advice - unity was never an invitation for us to even consider accepting. It is, in his opinion, an initiation that starts from us to create bridges to unite us. There will always be possibilities for us to create unity by offering our time to visit friends and family. My view of unity comes from the home, where we as parents should practice it within the family, and with those outside of it. A small step to set the expectation straight for the next generation.

Younger Generation

Scan10001 2.JPG

We recently held our 14th general election. I was one of the 'rakyat' who stood in line for two and a half hours, under the hot sun, just to cast my vote that day. I enjoyed every single second of it. 

The attendance of the younger generation was now apparent, some waking up really early in the morning to make a difference in their future. Seeing them only renewed my hopes for change.  Although there were a lot of deeply shared frustrations about how our country was governed, I could tell that all our hearts are with Malaysia and our love for this country is immeasurable. 

When one is unhappy, it is not about the country, it is really about how the country is governed. We have to always remember when to separate between the two. As for me, I try to look past the politics to find my loyalty grounded in the 'tanah'. I have a great love for this country and this where my heart is... Malaysia. I cannot wait for my children to represent her.

Don't Do What You Love

Scan10001 2.JPG

The idea of 'do what you love and the money will come' is something I found very hard to construe over the past few years. It is a sentiment that I have been sharing with people and the feedback clearly points out that this may not stand true most of the time.

For illustration sake, I would like to share about my love for painting. I could be doing it for years on my own at home and the idea of money flying towards me is still unconceivable. I kept telling myself that something is missing. I personally grappled over this gap for a while now.

Now I would like to have you consider an alternate statement to the above - 'do what it takes to create the value you want for others and the money will come'. Always starting with the value that I intend to give, and do whatever it takes to make it happen. How is this better?

Let's go back to my love for painting and play out a different scenario now. I am going to start with the value I intend to give, that is to write a book that can help people realise their purpose, and the best way to help them understand their purpose is to provide them with illustrations on certain concepts from the book. Now, I will do whatever it takes to do the illustrations because I know it will help my readers visualise better. Hence, in doing so, I end up loving what I do as I gradually learn about the satisfaction that others are getting from it. It so happens, people benefited from book and they will exchange money for it.

I guess the right way to go about it is to first decide what value are you trying to create for others, and do what it takes to deliver that value. In the process of creating value, you will eventually love what you do and, as the cliche goes, the money will come soon after.

Being Curious

Scan10001.JPG

"Curiosity kills the cat", so they say but I still think it is a good thing for the cat. I used to think that it was risky to be curious, that danger will suddenly pop up to bite you in the butt when you are curious enough to start breaking rules. I can remember burning half my house down when I was young but I won't go into that. 

What if the rules do not make sense? What if the rules or the system are not applicable today and can be improved? Sometimes breaking the norm of what society expects, or going beyond our fears, can be a good learning process that creates change. 

Back when I was in secondary school, I was influenced by the so-called 'law-breakers' who thought me that there is life beyond the brick walls that contained us. Skipping school became a daily adventure for me. I enjoyed being in the wild and in different environments. I knew that what is stored behind this rebellious act will somehow amount to something useful.  

I guess I found myself that way. Today, I acknowledge that it is good to do something hard and uncomfortable because all growth and opportunities are almost certainly found behind them, and not necessarily in those that are easy and predictable. Side note, please don't burn your house down.