Bullet-Proof Yourself.

by Patrick Liew on August 7, 2017

“Patrick, get ready to fight the mother of all battles in your lifetime.”

Those words were spoken by my lawyer.

At that point, he had spent months to help prepare my company to become a public-listed company.

Towards the end of the project, he had a warning our management team.

When our corporate aspiration was made known to the public, we could be stirring a hornet nest.

In a nutshell, anybody and everybody could lodge a complaint about us to the relevant authorities and they can do it anonymously too.

These complaints can be raised on cyberspace as well as through many different channels.

What’s more, the relevant authorities can direct us to investigate every complaint, even if it meant delaying the listing process and spending a lot of money to clear the air.

This warning was confirmed and repeated to us by our banker, accountant, and other professionals working on the project.

My lawyer told our management team, “These complaints can be largely divided into two categories.

“First, allegations that you did not meet the high legal, ethical and moral standards to list on a credible securities exchange.

“Then, there are frivolous complaints to hold you back or prevent you from a successful listing.”

Our investor relations consultant further added, “Some of these complaints may be leaked to the public.

“As a result, they will haunt you and shame you, your company, or any or some of your senior executives for a long time.

“Furthermore, these complaints can be raised by almost anybody, including foes, fools, friends, or even family members.

“They can be anybody who has crossed your path, including a disgruntled ex-colleague, an unhappy ex-lover, or an unethical competitor.

He can also be a dissatisfied customer, a hateful enemy, or even a friend who is jealous of your achievement.”

Our banker did not help in lessening our worries. He told us, “Before being listed, 99% of companies has received such complaints.”

Obviously, I asked about the 1% of companies that was spared from the anguish.

The banker laughed and said, “I do not know of any company that has not received any complaint.

“I have to assume that there may be such companies out there.”

In other words, no company is spared.

After hearing the warning, every single executive in our management team was deeply concerned.

All of us have our fair share of enemirs in our lives.

In the final stages of the project, I had to search my soul.

I revisited past experiences and reviewed how I have conducted my life.

If I was worried, the worry did not last long because my conscience was clear.

Right from the first way I walked into the business world, I knew I wanted to do the right thing, to do well, and to do good.

At the end of the journey, I aimed to look back and be proud of myself. I would be able to give a good account of myself to our Creator.

And so I was able to lead my team to complete the listing project without being distracted and without carrying unnecessary emotional baggages.

Right till the day we rang the bell and became officially listed on the securities exchange, we did not have a single complaint.

If the relevant authorities had received a complaint, they must have felt that the complaint was too frivolous and unsubstantiated to warrant a response.

Moral of the story?

As you go through life, whether you are on the right track or on the wrong track in life, there will always be enemies.

In fact, if you have no enemies, you may have to search your soul. Chances are you are not on the success track.

You may think that by doing nothing, you will have lesser or no enemies. Unfortunately, there will be people who will still hate you for doing nothing.

Throughout the journey of life, I’ve met many people who are fond of criticizing others and throwing mud at people around them.

Why do they do it?

Let me hazard the following guesses:

1. It makes them feel that they are better than others. They feel that they have a right to pass judgements on them.

They feel good and superior about themselves.

2. They do it as a way to escape from themselves.

Instead of confronting their own weaknesses and feeling bad about their weaknesses, they redirect their attention on others

3. They do it as a revenge and to spite others.

They don’t have the courage to straighten things out with the other parties and they consciously or unconsciously decide to bring others down.

4. It is also possible that they have good intentions to help others to change and to become a better person.

They have a mistaken notion that the more they criticise others, the more and faster these people will improve their lives.

What are the consequences of being judgemental?

1. If you are a judgemental person, you will eventually paint a poorer image of yourself than the person you are criticizing.

In fact, you may already have unknowingly built up a negative reputation for complaining, criticizing and condemning others.

2. Nobody likes a self-righteous person.

People will avoid you if you continue to play ‘god’ or ‘judge’ in their lives.

If you persist, eventually there will be nobody to judge as your friends would have abandoned you.

3. When you judge others, you will have no space in your heart and mind to see the good in others and build a positive relationship with them.

You may end up living a lonely life and the only person left to criticise is yourself.

4. When you pass judgements on others, you are also inviting others to pass judgements on you.

It’s fair game.

If you expect others to be perfect or to set a high standard, others will also expect you to be perfect and to set a high standard in your life too.

5. People will hold you to your yardsticks in life and are inclined to expose you if you don’t walk your talk.

In fact, they may become more conscious about the downsides in your life.

As a result, you may bring unnecessary attention to your weaknesses and magnify them for the world to see.

6. When you point a finger at others, four fingers will be pointing back at you.

People will soon notice that your fingers are not entirely clean and innocent too.

7. When you judge others in their absence, they may also judge you in your absence.

If you don’t give them a chance to defend themselves, they may also not give you a chance to defend yourself.

8. Soon the people who genuinely want to help you will stay away from you for fear of being judged by you.

As we are all frogs in the well to different degrees, you will suffer the Johari Window syndrome.

Nobody will help you see your downsides and help you improve yourself.

You’ll be none the healthier, wiser, and better as a person.

Judgmental persons should realize that throwing mud at one other will only make each other muddy.

Spewing poison at one another will only cause each other to die of poison.

Leverage On Criticisms

Besides being judged, you’ll come face to face with people who will criticize you.

The number of criticisms is frequently proportionate to the level of your success.

In other words, the more successful you are, the more criticisms you will attract to your life.

Criticism, like many other challenges in life will also come to pass.

However, you should never allow its meaning, purpose and significance to go to waste.

There’re many positive lessons that you can learn from criticism to help you become a better person.

Learn to differentiate negative criticism from positive criticism. One is destructive while the other is constructive.

Negative criticisms will damage and destroy you while positive ones will educate and enlighten you.

Never let negative criticisms take toxic roots in your heart and mind. It should not grip you and prevent you from moving forward.

You can create cemeteries anywhere on the road to success to bury and forget such criticisms.

When people throw stones at you, use them to build highways to help others and help yourself travel farther and faster in life.

Learn from criticisms but don’t let them stand in the way of your progress.

On the other hand, don’t let praises inflate your ego and trap and trip you in life.

Positive criticisms can be a valuable input to strengthen you and improve your game in life.

If you’re wrong, the best thing that others can do for you is to tell you that you’re wrong. It’s a necessity to help you reach a higher level in life.

It’s better to learn how to handle criticism as early as possible in your life. Take it objectively and not personally.

And continue to improve your criticism-handling skills because there’ll be more and stronger criticisms as you become more successful.

Learn to humble yourself and accept positive criticisms.

If you are not open to criticisms and learn from them, you would have closed the door to success.

Since you will always have criticisms, don’t let these criticisms go to waste.

Leverage on them wisely to keep you on the toes and do well in life.

Learn to find lessons, purpose and significance from even your worst enemies.

Their criticisms and attacks can strengthen you and help you become a better person.

Just as importantly, ring fence yourself so as not to give your adversaries a chance to affect you and bring you down.

Be prepared at all times to respond effectively to their wily ways.

The best way to do so is to stand on high moral ground.

Walk the straight and narrow path to live well. And do the right thing for the good of society and the environment.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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