This is not the typical story of a loving family that lives happily ever after. This is the story of a father and son, who have had their fair share of ups and downs… and the lessons that were there for us when we looked.
Start with a dream; Continue with an action
My father used to have his own business.
My father set up a language and commercial school. And from one school, it grew and expanded to two, and then four. And the school was doing very well. Business was good and we were having a good life. There was nothing to complain about.
All this started with a dream.
A dream of doing business.
A dream of providing for the family.
However, having a dream is not enough. There must be action behind it.
A dream without action is building castles in the air.
A dream with action is building a foundation on solid ground.
Work hard; but also work smart
My father worked hard, dedicated his life to his business. He worked long hours, spending day and night pursuing his dream, and even had to bring his family to the schools that he set up.
There is no substitute for hard work. There is no shortcut to success.
With all the hard work, my father still failed in the end. There came a point where things began to change. Suddenly, my father stopped bringing me to his school. And I saw my father and mother quarreled more often. Then I came to realize that my father no longer owned his business. My father was being cheated by the shareholders, and subsequently he had to file for bankruptcy.
Yes, I will not deny the fact that we should work hard. Having said that, we also need to work smarter. Learn how to manage our business and finance. Know who to trust and delegate our tasks. Be efficient and effective in what we are doing.
Money won’t get you everything; Without money, you won’t get anything
Things were different after my father’s business took a turn. I could not get what I wanted anymore. I was quite a spoilt and pampered kid who wanted everything my way. And it was one of the darkest moments in my life and my family’s.
We went from rich to poor very quickly.
At one point, we had to survive on bread since it was the cheapest food available. And I could still remember at times my father and mother would eat less just to give my brother and myself food to eat. I became very unhappy, frustrated and angry. Why did this have to happen to me?
It is true that money is not everything in life. But without money, we cannot have anything in life.
Money is not the root of all evil. The love of money is the root of all evil.
The use of money can be very worthwhile. It can be used to build orphanages and hospitals, to feed the poor, to preach the good news, to build universities, to educate people in right and wrong, to establish churches and communities. The question is, what is the money used for? Is it used for selfish means, or is it used for a higher purpose?
It is okay to fall down; It is not okay to not get up
After his business failed, my father could not get up again. He fell into a deep depression and suffered from ischemic stroke, prostate cancer and minor Parkinson’s disease. He could not eat on his own; he had to survive using a feeding tube. He could not walk; he had to be taken around in a wheelchair. He could not talk; he had to use hand gestures, which were sometimes hard for people to understand. My family and I suffered to a certain extent because of this.
It is okay to fall down. It is okay to fail. Failure is not fatal; success is not final. As long as we get up to try one more time. As long as we keep on keeping on. There is still hope.
Love is a commitment; Forgiveness is a choice
This bitterness in me dragged on for years and I became a rebellious student in school. And I often got into trouble with the school and had to see the discipline master.
I could have ended up in jail or the boy’s home. But surprisingly nothing really serious happened to me. I thank God for His grace. I turned over a new leaf. I forgave my father and myself.
At the worst of times, my mother stood by my father. No matter how tough it was, she still kept pushing through, making ends meet, putting bread on the table. It shows me that love and forgiveness are not just words that are being said, but they are commitment and choices we make on a daily basis.
Sales is the way to go; System is the way to succeed
I know that I want to do my own business, just like my father, and learn from his mistakes. So I began my search for answers and meanings and ways to attain my success. And I knew that sales is one of the ways to succeed, if I worked very hard and honestly. People always say the sky’s the limit.
So I went into sales. I sold watches, gave out flyers, knocked on doors, and assisted directors. And I also started to do customized jackets for sale during my tertiary days. After graduation, the search led me to insurance. So I joined the insurance and financial planning industry and did well enough to qualify for convention and incentive trips overseas.
The sky’s the limit if we have a system to implement. A system is a routine you follow in order to move forward in a certain direction on a consistent, predictable basis. Over the years, I have seen many people going in and out of the industry. Without a proper system, people become disillusioned, and fail in their planning.
Accumulation in good times; Protection in bad times
My father, because of all his medical conditions, could not get insurance. I saw him suffer and did not want that to happen to me or anybody else. I want to grow old with sufficient funds and I want the same for everybody else. Insurance is one of the tools to achieve that.
My father did not get any insurance for himself because he wanted to put money into his business, while believing that nothing would happen to him. He invested in stocks and shares, but due to the financial crisis, he lost everything. It would be better if he had a safety net in place where he could grow his money and protect his wealth.
Everyone has a story.
I am who I am partially because of my father.
I am thankful for my father for the lessons I have learnt.
I promise to be a better father, better son, better life coach and financial planner.