Poverty In Spirit, Wealth Of Life (Part 4) – Meeting One Of The Richest Men.

by Patrick Liew on September 7, 2012

Many years ago, there was a trip that I really looked forward to. After the ticket was booked, I was literally counting down the number of days before the flight.

It was very rare for anybody to be given such an opportunity, a chance to meet one of the richest men in the world – at his home.

Right till the very last moment, I was going through a mixed bag of feelings. All kinds of thoughts were floating in my mind.

To ensure that I said the right things, I prepared a  well-crafted script together with a list of questions to ask him. Notwithstanding all the preparation, I was still worried that I would find myself tongue-tied and his body guards might throw me out of the mahogany door.

Imagine with me – I was sitting on a cushy sofa and being served a nice cup of tea by the butler. While waiting for The man to appear and to overcome my boredom, I had some fun stirring the tea playfully with a crunchy nougat.

All of a sudden, a well-polished door opened and right there – towering above any mortal human – stood The man himself. I immediately dropped the nougat into the tea, hoping it would sink into oblivion.

“Please sit down. Don’t stand on ceremony,” he said with a booming voice, “Have a drink.”

In my nervousness, I tried to take a sip of the tea but the nougat decided not to cooperate with my mouth. I counterattacked by gulping it, sipping more hot tea than my mouth could handle.

My brain did not have enough time to debate with my mouth and convince it to swallow the tea together with the nougat. I ended up spitting all over The man’s Salvatore Ferragamo tie and Ermenegildo Zegna jacket!

Obviously, that scenario did not happened but it kept playing it in my active mind, again and again. It felt almost like reality.

Such was the nervous energy that was running through my body. There were also other conflicting emotions playing games with my mind.

Through it all, I felt almost like a five-year old who was invited to meet Santa Claus. You could tell I was already impressed with The man even before I met him but the good impression was soon proven to be unfounded.

When that long awaited day came, I boarded the plane – with all kinds of expectations. I sat on my seat, virtually gripping the hand rest with pent-up excitement and holding my breath.

After the plane has landed, I went straight into a taxi to go to one of the most prestigious suburbs in that country. I presented myself at one of the priciest houses not just in that country but also in the world.

It was hard to believe what happened next. It was almost like a fairy tale came true.

The man – Yes, THE man himself – opened the door and welcomed me into his house.

I cannot go into great details about the  house because I have long decided it was not worth keeping it in my memory. All I remember was that it has a beautiful waterfront view, one which overlooked the stunning skyline of a highly developed city.

I could tell that the house was very much aligned to fengshui elements. I was not sure if The man believed in carrying out this practice for good fortune but to me, it did not worked for him.

I could tell by the way he schmoozed me – he was a true-blue entrepreneur. His words hung conveniently from his tongue and every word seemed to be honed to win over hearts and if I might add, bank accounts too.

Unfortunately, we had a conversation that was long on niceties but short on substance. When I thought about it, there was something surreal about the meeting.

I felt like he was living an image crafted for him by spin doctors. He was not living a life of his own and doing things that mattered to him.

Subsequently, I realized he was not a happy man. Other than the wealth that he held tightly to himself, there was nothing very much you could say about his life and contributions.

Besides going to work, he lived virtually alone. Initially, he had many people serving him at his beck and call but towards the end, he trusted only a skeleton crew.

The man became almost a recluse – shut off from many of his own family members. He spent most of the time with the most important person in his world – himself.

It was experiences like this that drove me to become an ardent student of sustainable success. With the help of our Creator, this study took me to many places all over the world.

Being the CEO of a publicly-listed real estate company, I have the opportunity to interact with and learn from some of the most successful and wealthiest people. I also have the privilege of sharing the speakers platform with many international luminaries, many of whom have changed my life and sometimes with just a few words.

In addition, as a founder of arguably the largest personal development seminar company in the world, I am constantly humbled by the gurus that I have met. These rare breed of talents are gifted  in delivering great learning experiences to their audience, and I have been privileged to sit at the feet of many of them.

There are not many kampung boys like me who have the honour of sharing meals together with Presidents, Prime Ministers and many other well known leaders. I have to confess that in my curiosity  I have posed to them many questions, including some dumb ones. They have responded to them – perhaps because they could not walk out of a meal midway.

My study of success continues to enlighten me with different gems of wisdom. Many of the discoveries run contrary to popular beliefs and some of my long-held beliefs too.

As we travel on the journey of life, we seek all manners of wealth and riches. In the final hours, they matter little to us. We pursue personal achievements and success but we cannot carry them beyond our graves.

Who we are and what we have accomplished cannot extend another minute of our life. Everything that we have acquired will be passed on to other people.

Whatever we carry with us will be buried or cremated together with our body. The things which we hold dear will be buried by the sands of life.

All our dreams and aspirations will disappear. Failures and successes will not be important.

What we strive and fight for will not matter anymore. Vengeance, hatred and resentments will become meaningless in the grand scheme of life.

The paradox of life is that what really count oftentimes cannot be counted. What truly matter may not be made of matter.

What really counts in our life is not our ability but our integrity. It’s not about our circumstances but our character.

It’s not about what we have but what we gave. It’s not what we have achieved but what have others received from us.

It’s not about the image we portray but what others perceive of us. It’s not the recognition we seek but the respect that others accord to us.

It’s not about what we have done but what became of us. It’s not about the quantity of our possessions but the quality of our contributions.

It’s not about the position we hold but our compassion for people. It’s not about having more power but whether we can shower more love on others.

It’s not about prestige but the privilege to serve a wider community. It’s not about the pleasures of life but the treasures that will outlast a lifetime.

It’s not about what we will miss in life but whether people will miss us when we are gone. It’s not about making a living but living a life that makes a positive difference to others.

It’s not about the kind of world we are living in but whether we will leave the world a better place than when we first came to it. It’s not about what we know but how we use what we know to turn the world around us into a better home.

Life must be lived not just forward but also backward.

We need to work with our Creator to craft where we want to be and and how we should live our lives. We need to then work backwards to decide how we should journey in life, living out our dreams in our minds and in our lives.

Whatever happened in our lives may not be the best. However, we can make the best of whatever happened. We can turn every stumbling block into a stepping stone. Every pitfall can be our platform to live a worthwhile life.

The best way to live our life is to live it for others and not just for ourselves. The more we reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better our lives will become.

When we hold tightly to material things  in our heart, they will soon take complete hold of us. It will leave us drifting through a sea of meaninglessness.

Life is about giving ourselves to what really count in eternity. If we live for such a higher cause, we will be lifted to a higher plane in life.

It’s time to change our lives. Change is not out there. It’s within us.

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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at http://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/

For my opinions on current affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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Jasmine Ng September 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Well said but how many of us truly understand the spirit of living. Sigh~ Wealth and power seem to matter more than anything even when someone has more than enough. He/she will be guarded and caution of others. That’s sad, isn’t it? What makes the whole matters worse is he/she starts influencing others, telling others that most people have ill intentions when they befriend you.

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