It’s Time To Win In Life.

by Patrick Liew on July 17, 2018

It’s Time To Win In Life.

On 6 November 2010, at about 6.30pm, I faced the gymnastics mat in front of me.

Beads of sweat were running down my forehead.

I have decided to do what I have always wanted to do in my life.

The only reason why I have not done it before was simply that my life might end before I could complete it.

I have always wanted to do a somersault.

That day, I knew I had to do it.

In my mind, it was a case of “now or never.”

Obviously, I could land on my back and be paralyzed.

Suffer throughout my life and become a burden to my family and society.

Worse, I could end up on my head or crushed my spine, any of which could kill me instantly.

I was too young to die and there were too many things I have not completed in my life.

I have not even said goodbye to my loved ones before I left the house.

Also, that morning, I had forgotten to take Jumper, my “son” out for a walk.

As I stood there in front of the mat, it was like the world had disappeared.

I took a deep breath and ran forward.

I ran as if in slow motion because I was mindful of wanting to do it right.

I could not afford to make even the slightest mistake.

Every detail counted.

Every act was important in the overall scheme of any project.

The way I did anything would make a difference to everything I do in my life.

It was like time stood still for me.

Every person in the gym was frozen, holding their breath as they saw me running forward…

About a year before that fateful evening, I found a gymnastics studio near my office.

It was used predominantly by kids and many of the older gymnasts who were competitive and seasoned athletes.

Prior to that, I have asked quite a few coaches if I could train with their students.

You could imagine the surprised look on their faces.

In one of the trial lessons, the coach would tell the students, “C’mon, you can do it! Don’t give up! Push it!”

He would then turn to me and said, “Mr. Liew, why don’t you take a rest. Take it easy, ok?”

At that point in time, I was in shape. (Who says round is not a shape?)

I was young at heart – but only old in the other parts.

Shortly after, I gave up the class because I was not getting the right guidance.

What I did not give up was my dream to do a somersault.

Experience has taught me that in the journey of life, there will be potholes, puddles, and pitfalls.

They might delay or distract you but they should not deter you from reaching your destination.

I managed to find another coach, a highly competent one to accept me as a student.

There was no need to use my well-prepared script that I won’t litter the gym with any of my bones.

I was also happy to collect remnants of my skull, spine, and other bones after every class.

As a 200-year-old dinosaur, I looked like the friendly uncle bringing his children and nephews to gymnastics class.

Some people might even think I was the friendly janitor or vendor selling soda and candies.

Before the start of the class, one young “kiddo” was trying to explain to me v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y what gymnastics was all about.

He was so worried this old man could not understand him. He spoke loudly into my ears in case I could not hear him.

It was okay if only he did not shower me with lots of his saliva and blurted right into my wrinkled ears.

Sweet boy but I just couldn’t think of a perfectly untraceable idea to kill him. Lol!

All around me, fit and strong young hunks looked like they had lived in the gym and had been exercising all their lives.

I looked like a much older hunk who looked like I had been living in the kitchen and eating all the time.

While I did feel embarrassed, I overcame it by being amused by the experience.

Negativity can only take roots in your mind if you allow it.

When I initially told some of my friends about my new found sports, they responded mostly in shock and horror.

I assured them I intended to live for as long as I was alive and forever, or die in the attempt.

They didn’t think my joke was funny.

To be fair to all these well-intentioned people, they knew my head was in the right place.

They just didn’t want my body to fall apart.

I would be lying if I told you I was not discouraged.

Believe me, their warnings were amplified in different ways through my heart and mind.

I wanted to give up – not once but many times.

Fortunately, I have learned a long time ago that what people said to you could be useful feedback.

However, they should never stand in the way of progress.

I have always believed, “Growing old is not a problem. Feeling and behaving old is.”

Fortunately, I found a good coach who taught and showed me how to perform every move and technique in gymnastics.

In the journey of life, an effective coach could help craft and fine-tuned your dreams and goals.

He could help you put a plan together and turn it into a reality.

Keep you inspired and motivated to take the necessary action.

Work with you to overcome obstacles on your way to success.

With a coach motivating and guiding me, you can run farther and faster in life.

During the initial period of the gymnastic course, it was obviously very tough for me. I couldn’t catch up with the class.

I was being left behind – physically and emotionally.

My muscles and bones would ache quickly and for quite a long period of time. On many occasions, I walked back to the office feeling like a loser.

Before the next class, my brain would say, “Let’s go!”

My legs would say, “You go first!”

Every part of my being was telling me to give up – to pursue another sport.

To make matters worse, I suffered some injuries due to my carelessness and that brought my spirit really down.

I was tempted to postpone my pursuit.

It was alluring to believe in words like, “You can always do it at another time,” or “You can do it tomorrow.”

The stories of blame, justification, and excuses kept playing in my mind but my dream kept me going.

As long as you focus on your short and long-term goals, the challenges diminished in importance and in being a burden.

The short-term goals will become milestones to remind you that you are getting closer to achieving your overall dream.

Goal setting can help you channel all the resources in the right direction.

Compel you to press on and pursue the best of life.

Setting goals and achieving them is definitely a logical and fulfilling approach to dynamic living.

Back to my story, I was totally committed to achieving my goal. It meant a lot to me to execute a somersault.

Personally, doing a somersault was like a metaphor that could be used to reinforce my belief in the potential and talents that the Creator has given to me.

Performing a somersault stood as both a mental as well as an emotional block for me to achieve seemingly impossible breakthroughs and take myself to the highest possible level of results.

This compelling purpose kept the flame in my heart burning.

With a compelling enough reason, I knew I would find a way to do it.

The “Why”s would lead to the “How”s. Having a powerful purpose would drive my performance and pursuit.

While there were inner voices that cast fears, uncertainties, and doubts, I was mindful I should never entertain them in my mind.

I needed to fight it logically and with all my emotions.

I was mindful that I should protect all my senses.

I should only allow the positives to enter my being through them.

Therefore, I surrounded myself with different motivators to resist, remove and replace any negative thought or action.

I saturated my inner life with thoughts that could propel me to be a winner.

In life, there are many dreamers but not many are doers.

Only a rare few are achievers.

These achievers not only dream but they also did whatever it takes to make their dreams come true.

The key difference between those who merely the dream and those who turn their dreams into a reality is essentially just one factor – Execution.

Execution is not only the ability to act on a dream, constant improvement is needed for the dream come true.

If you have a dream and you don’t take action, you are building castles in the air.

On the other hand, if you take action but you don’t have a dream, you are just running around the same castles.

It is not enough to aspire, you need to take action. It is also not enough to execute, you must excel in your execution.

The worst failure is a failure to try.

When you stop trying, failure becomes permanent.

In my quest to do a somersault, I was mindful that it was not enough to have a positive mental attitude, I needed to take action.

Not just any action – but massive action.

With that in mind, I embarked on one of the toughest challenges in my life.

A challenge that went against the norm of adults. One that pushed my body, mind, and spirit to their edges.

That evening, as I ran towards the mat, there were many questions running through the minds of the spectators.

“Can he do the somersault?

Will he fail and become paralyzed?

“Will this evening be the last evening of his life?”

It’s Time To Win In Life (Part 2)

I love sports.

Sports can help me to understand and win in life. That’s why it has always been a part of my lifestyle.

To excel in it, you must have a worthwhile dream.

It is the capacity of your dream and the tenacity of your faith in it, and the ability to take ever-improving action that will help you to go farther and faster to achieve your dream in the sports of life.

When I was young, I was quite an athlete. I played almost every game at school.

From football, basketball, running to swimming, I enjoyed all kinds of sports. I have also participated in many other non-mainstream games.

For example, I played a mean “chateh.” This was a heritage game which was played by kicking a shuttlecock made of feathers with its quills attached to a rubber base.

I was also pretty good at “kuti kuti”. This was played by using your fingers to flick a plastic figurine over that of your competitors.

If you could skillfully land it on the other figurine, you are entitled to own it. As the king of “kuti kuti”in my kampung, I used to go home with loads of figurines.

I wish I can tell you more about the fun I had with many other games. There won’t be enough space to share about them in this note.

I learned I don’t need to have expensive toys to be happy. There are enough things around me to help me enjoy life.

The sports I enjoyed the most was gymnastics. For many wonderful afternoons, my friends and I would lay out simple mats and we would experiment with different moves.

Mr. Goh Ek Khoon, our coach was a very good man but he was not a good gymnast. He was unable to demonstrate proper techniques to us.

However, he took great trouble to explain how every tumble and turn could be executed. Mostly, we learned through trials and errors.

I could do many of the floor exercises except for one – a somersault.

For many reasons, I had great fear about doing it and so, I never attempted it.

I stopped practicing gymnastics at the age of twelve. Somehow, I have always felt I did not quite reach my full potential in the game.

As I grew older, it became harder and harder to hit the mats again.

There were many reasons that made it almost impossible for me to learn gymnastics again – until about 40 years later.

I managed to enroll in a gymnastics class as the oldest student.

The mother of a fellow student asked me how I managed to enroll myself in the class.

I told her, “I got in because I looked pitiful enough.

“The gymnastics school took me in as part of its charity project.

You know, part of its corporate social responsibility.

“Mainly, the administrators did it because they saw my belly and had a good laugh.

They wanted to share the joke with the others in the gym and give them a good time.” Lol!

I kept explaining to the gymnasts that it’s not a belly, it’s the highest form of Kung Fu – it was filled with bullet-proof “qi”(energy).

On the first lesson, my coach wanted me to touch my toes.

I wanted to tell him, “I am not in such a close relationship with my toes.

“Is it okay if I just wave at them?”

One young boy asked me during the break when he saw me checking my Facebook.

“You mean, you know what Facebook is?”

Another cute little “kiddo” asked me, “Uncle, why are you doing this?

“Are your father and mother also forcing you to excel in sports?”

Despite the streaks of negativity within me and without, I disciplined myself and persevered towards my goal.

Along the journey in life, there will be many challenges.

They can either make or break you.

You can master them or allow them to master you.

You can laugh or cry over them.

Give up because of them or learn from them and become a stronger and more resilient person.

The choice is entirely up to you.

Fortunately, I decided to choose the positive road to win in life.

I researched how to be a good gymnast and put together a plan to achieve my goal.

The more detailed the plan was, the stronger would be my chance of achieving the goal.

I was mindful to ensure that Murphy’s Law, “If anything can go wrong, it will” would never come true as a result of my vigorous preparation to execute a somersault. I worked hard and disciplined myself to prevent any potential challenge.

Believe me, it was not easy to train a matured body to be agile, flexible and well-coordinated.

I worked harder than many other students by practicing outside of the gym and training schedule.

I realized success came with a price.

There was no question in my mind that I needed to make sacrifices and battle through the long and winding path to success.

Along the way, I crafted strategies and continued to improve on them to help me achieve my goal in an easier, better and faster way.

The “5 Ws and 1 H” was an important part of my winning toolkit.

I constantly asked myself questions beginning with “Who,” “Why,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” and “How.”

As I improved on posing more and better quality of questions, it drove my brain to seek for better answers.

It also determined the quality of my results.

Initially, I took baby steps to learn the fundamentals of the game.

Through it all, I strived to make every step fun and fulfilling.

I took the first step, and then another better step and another even better step…to bring myself closer to my goal.

From the forward roll, backward roll, cartwheel to handstand, I learned and practiced the basic moves.

As I achieved the sub-goals of mastering each of these basics, I knew eventually I would be able to reach my goal of doing a somersault.

A lot of goals lived and died shortly after they have been set.

For goals to be achieved, it must be driven by a growing desire and this desire must be kept alive and burning.

Goal setting must become a vital, integral and desired part of your life.

It must live in your heart and be lived out in your life.

As I go through the gymnastic course, I was always on the lookout for more and better ways to motivate and inspire myself.

These motivators kept my goal burning passionately in my mind.

The clearer you can see, hear, smell, taste and feel the victory of achieving a goal, the faster will your goal be achieved.

For me, as I achieved every milestone on my goal setting journey, I treated myself to all kind of rewards so that they would spur me to do more and do better in my life.

Through it, all, success bred even more successes.

Little by little, I began to perform in sync with the rest of the class.

I was able to do many of the difficult techniques.

Once, I did a series of backflips with the help of my coach.

It was so well done, he told me, “At the rate, you are going, you can perform at our Annual Concert. Many parents and guests will be there.”

That evening, I almost ran back to my Mama’s home.

I wanted to break the good news to her but it was way past her bedtime.

I ended up just telling my wife and daughters.

My daughters told me, ”Daddy, we will definitely stand on the chairs and clap for you.”

You have to understand it was their way of taking “revenge” on a father who delighted in “embarrassing” them every now and then.

It was all done in good fun.

All in all, my family gave me a lot of support. Many other friends stood by me and became my cheerleaders, counselors and coaches.

Goal setting was a team sport.

Good friends in your life can help you live a better life.

In particular, having good coaches and mentors to model after can make a world of difference in your life.

For me, prayer is always a good strategy to achieve success.

I tap on the highest possible Level of Power and Support to do good and do well.

For many months, I sweated.

I stretched myself.

I trained very hard.

Finally, my heart was ready.

My body was prepared to do what I could not do when I was a kid.

At a young age of 52 years old, I felt called to do a somersault.

Everything that I planned for and acted upon was converging to that moment of truth.

There are moments when destiny would call and you should rise in response, fight hard and take flight.

That evening, I sensed the calling.

I ran towards the gymnastics mat.

Just before reaching the mat, I leaped.

I tucked my head while holding my legs.

I spin in the air.

It was not the most perfect move but I landed on my feet.

I completed the somersault.

I did it!

On reflection, I learn that you will never know how great you can be until being great is the only road left for you.

Your entire life can be changed in a single moment when you make a commitment to change your life.

In that very moment, you can have a new heart, a new mind, and a new life.

The question that begs to be answered is:

How will you live if you know you are destined to live a great life?


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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Life is FUNtastic!


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