Pursuit of Wealth

by Patrick Liew on August 16, 2019

Pursuit of Wealth

After completing my studies, I embarked on a very interesting journey. This journey took me more than 30 years.

At a young age, I thought that there was a “Secret of Wealth”. If I got hold of it, I would be rich and wealthy for the rest of my life.

Little did I realize, the journey became a long and exciting pilgrimage.

All along, I knew I was not smart. The more I learned, the more I discovered how little I have learned and how much more I have to learn in my life.

Still, I was determined to learn all the wonderful lessons out there.

In my first job, I worked for Mr. William Bentley and Mr. Jeevan Warriar. (Yes, this dinosaur started work at a time when we addressed our bosses as ‘Mr’, ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’).

Right from the beginning, they were surprised by my “learning obsession”. They knew I tried very hard to learn so as to improve my contributions to the company.

After the first three months, they increased my monthly salary by S$500. Back then, this amount of pay rise was unheard of in the industry.

Still, the “Secret of Wealth” was nowhere in sight. I was so eager to find it that I stepped up my learning effort.

My bosses were appreciative of my effort to learn and to enhance my knowledge, attitude, skills and habits (KASH).

I even took the initiative to mount a study of the company, and produced a 50-page report on how to improve every area of the company.

Within nine months, they decided to increase my salary by another S$1000 per month. By then, I was generally ahead of my contemporaries in terms of salary and career development.

Still, sad to say, I have absolutely no clue as to how to find the “Secret of Wealth”. I decided to invest more than half of my salary on learning and making myself a better person.

I was spending at least three nights a week for more than 10 years attending classes and spending time in the library. There was so much to learn and to improve upon in my work and life.

I became a marketing manager on the third year of my career. A year later, I ran a business unit for a multinational company.

Still, my yearning for the “Secret of Wealth” produced no concrete result. I signed up for a postgraduate course to interact with and learn from fellow students, many of whom were senior executives in the business world.

It has always been somewhat embarrassing to tell people that I had completed four degree programmes, earned more than nine professional qualifications, and have many certificates of completion for other courses.

I feel shy about it because most people have not attended a course or even read a book after they left school.

Many people have actually told me I was foolish to spend so much money and time in my learning journey.

In fact, one senior manager from a prominent educational institution once told me, “Patrick, please don’t sign up for any more courses. We don’t want to take your money anymore.”

If only they knew, I had a vacuum in my heart – a deep desire to find the “Secret of Wealth”. I was prepared to do it even if it takes a lifetime.

At one point in time, there was nothing more to learn in my work and little I could do to take the company to a higher level.

One of my bosses – bless his good heart – advised me, “Patrick, you are still young. There is so much good out there waiting for you. If I were you, I will look for a better position.”

He, too, resigned shortly after me to return to England. (Jeeves, if you happen to read this chapter, wherever you are – thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your wake-up call changed my life.)

I decided to bravely switch career and moved to a totally different industry – the information and communications industry.

Guess what, I joined the company as a junior salesperson – and started my career from the very bottom all over again.

On the other hand, my learning journey took on a higher flight path. I was honest to recognize I had no experience and very little relevant expertise in this industry – and I was not smart.

I began to add a wider repertoire of learning inputs into my life, including seeking masters to learn from them.

I also seek to network with successful and wealthy people.

On my own accord, I volunteered pro bono to organize training programmes in my company. I wanted to turn my company into a learning organization.

After about one year, I was promoted to become the commercial sales manager and eventually, became one of the youngest members in the management committee.

I was managing people who were smarter than me and who had been in the industry for a longer period of time.

By the way, one of the greatest joy I had was helping my team mates do well in their career.

As we learned together, many of them saw their lives improved and incomes increased. We also improved the company’s performance and results.

Still, I was lost when it came to seeking the elusive “Secret”. By then, I was desperate. I would put in all my heart and soul to learn and to find the “Secret” – whatever it might cost.

I was headhunted to become head of sales and marketing operation for a NYSE-listed multinational company.

My work required me to meet the “who’s who” in financial investments, many of whom were among the richest people in this part of the world.

Subsequently, I became the CEO of this region for a company that provided strategic advisory and planning services. My clients included top executives from governments, banks, and large enterprises.

When I first joined the company, it was almost totally wrecked by the previous representative.

I had the privilege and opportunity of turning the company around and putting it on sound footing.

I learned that failures are never permanent unless I failed to try. Like a phoenix, I could raise any business from the ashes of failures and make it stronger than before.

During this stage of my life, I met and picked the brains of many great leaders, entrepreneurs and investors. It was a tremendous time of learning for me.

Still, despite the great learning experience, I was just dying to get a glimpse – just one look, I thought, was good enough – of the “Secret of Wealth”.

I had become a “learning junkie”.

I was like a sponge, soaking in knowledge from all corners. I was doing whatever I could to be a wealthier and wiser person.

I thought there was a lot to learn in my previous industry. Then, I joined the world of entrepreneurship and discovered a whole new universe of learning, growing and improvements.

At that point, learning had become a vital part and parcel of my life. In fact, it reached a higher point as a result of my earnest pursuit of the “Secret of Wealth”.

I was attending an average of one seminar and reading about 5 books per month. After I have covered the key learning sources, I decided to travel all over the world to seek out gurus to learn from them.

Besides benefitting from their wealth of knowledge, I had the privilege of visiting their homes and meeting their loved ones.

Many of them became my personal advisors and friends.

Very often, a word from them would be more valuable than many years of education. It would change my life completely.

Throughout a normal day, I endeavored to switch on my learning antennae. I did it because I knew if I were a dedicated student, as they said, the master would appear.

I could learn anywhere, anytime, from anybody, and in infinite number of ways.

I would even call upon my competitors so as to learn from them.

Some of the best ideas I had – you would be surprised to know – came about because of my interactions with my competitors.

Every morning and just before I sleep, I tried to reflect on my daily experience to see what I can learn from them so as to help me go further and faster in life.

Along the way, I started Success Resources, currently a publicly-listed company on Australia Securities Exchange.

It is arguably the largest seminar company in Asia, having organized seminars for prominent leaders such as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Michael Porter, Anthony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, Richard Branson, T. Harv Eker, Brian Tracy, and many others.

To further my learning exposure, I had helped to establish Skyquestcom, arguably the first e-learning company in the world for providing “live” and video streaming educational contents.

It was rated as the 11th fastest growing tech company by Deloitte and Touche, with students from more than 61 countries.

I became arguably the first person in the world to conduct a multimedia e-learning programme on entrepreneurship. (The programme was for people who found it hard to sleep. While listening to me, they would collapse on their keyboards in deep slumber).

Meanwhile, I planned for my learning curve and drove up steeply to another higher point.

Through the journey of entrepreneurship, my battle cry was, “Learn or die!”

Thank you to all the wonderful teachers, including Professor Problems, Professor Failures, Professor Crises, and all the other wonderful Professors in the University of Life for training me.

One day, while I was standing at my kitchen, it suddenly dawned upon my mind. The “Secret” has always been near me.

It hit me in my heart.

I felt like I was embraced by a huge and pleasant bubble.

I finally discovered the “Secret of Wealth”.

I found out what makes the rich, rich and the wealthy, wealthy.

I got hold of the “Secret”. Finally, Eureka!

The secret of wealth is not learning. It is discipleship.

Learning has a connotation of just taking in information. It is passive in terms of how you use the information.

Discipleship is more than just learning.
It is the process of learning and improving every area of your life, including your knowledge, attitude, skills, and habits
so as to achieve the highest level of results.

The root word of disciple and discipline came from the same Latin word, ‘discipulus’.

There are four major disciplines to becoming a wealthier person. They are as follows:

1. Conversion

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

– Mohandas K. Gandhi

Discipleship is not just about who you have learned from and what you have learned. It’s about whether the learning experience has transformed you for good.

The learning experience should transform the key areas of your life and make you a wealthier and wiser person.

To do so, be disciplined enough to learn from the right source. Learn at the right time, right place, and in the right way.

Be disciplined to convert the data into useful information.

Apply the information in your life and convert it into knowledge. When you leverage on the knowledge to produce worthwhile results, it is converted to wisdom.

At the end of the learning experience, you should be in a better position to fulfill your highest calling in life.

2. Conduct

Be disciplined to apply what you have learned and improve on it.

Learn how to think correctly and deeply about the lesson. Apply it to change your attitude, behavior and lifestyle for the better. Finally, it must produce results.

“I will put everything I have in every action – as if
my life depends on it.”

– Anonymous

Discipleship must bear fruit. Otherwise, some pruning, cutting, or even replanting is in order.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying, “If you learn and don’t take action, it’s as good as not learning.”

3. Correction

Every learning outcome will be tested again and again in the “examinations of life”. Be disciplined enough to be accountable for your action. Take responsibility, and be corrected.

“Corrections can be feedback, to bring me
back to the right path of success.”

– Anonymous

Be courageous to admit your failures and mistakes and subject yourself to the necessary penances, penalties and punishments.

Exercise discipline to offer compensations and restitutions to resolve a challenging situation.

Make continuous improvements to enhance your future.

Learn to set things right on an ongoing basis to be wealthy.

4. Coaching

The best way to learn is to teach and the best way to grow is to coach others.

Be disciplined to help more and more people to become better than you.

“Coaching paves the way forward for others – and for yourself.”

– Anonymous

If you can do that, you will take your learning and discipleship journey to a higher level and improve your wealth-creation results.

Let me give you some examples on how to apply these four disciplines to develop a wealthier life.

Example: Conversion

If you want to be wealthy, you should learn from a credible and qualified trainer. Learn to invest your money correctly.

Example: Conduct

Plan for your personal and household expenses. Discipline yourself to spend less and save more.

Example: Correction

If you have any negative financial habit, find out why and how you develop the habit.

Eradicate the root causes of your negative habit.

Ask your friend to watch out for you as you change your financial habits.

Example: Coaching

Look out for knowledgeable and competent trainer.

He should be in a good position to train you on how to earn and invest more money and generate positive returns for your investment.

The day you stop learning, you start to become poorer. You start to go through what I call a half-death.

Why half-death? Because the Chinese believes that half-death is worse than death.

If you’re not learning, growing, and improving your results, you’re not living – you’re decaying. Life is not worth living.

If you want to be wealthy, you must make a lifelong commitment to learn and discipline yourself to achieve better results.


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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