Searching For The ‘Secret Of Wealth’

by Patrick Liew on November 21, 2011

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

At a young age, I thought 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 the way, I knew I was not smart. The more I learned, the more I discovered how little I know and how much more I have to learn in my life.

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 ‘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 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 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 were so much to learn and to improve 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 results. I signed up for a postgraduate course to learn – and to interact with fellow students, many of whom were senior executives in the business world.

It has always been somewhat embarrassing to tell people I completed three degree programmes, earned more then 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 knowledge gap in my heart – a deep desire to find the ‘Secret Of Wealth’. I was prepared to do it even if it took 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 Love Note, wherever you are – thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your wake-up call changed my life.)

I decided to switch career bravely and moved to a totally different industry – the infocomm technology 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 on a probono basis 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 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 and improved the company’s performance and results, many of them saw their lives improved and incomes increased.

Still, I was lost in terms of finding 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 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 ‘addict’.

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

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

To cut a long story short, together with all of you, we grew My HSR from a relatively small company to become the market leader. We won more than 39 prestigious business awards recently, making us the most awarded real estate company.

In the process, we have been rated as the #1 real estate company (MLMIA), the best real estate agency, the largest real estate agency (SBOR), the fastest growing company, and the most productive company in terms of ROE (Singapore 1000/SME 500 Study).

At that point in my life, learning had become a part and parcel of my life. In fact, it reached a more intense level 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 major 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 have also been privileged to visit their homes and meet their loved ones. Many of them have become 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 them.

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

Along the way, I started Success Resources, a major shareholder of a publicly-listed company on Australia Stock 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, T. Harv Eker, Brian Tracy, and many others.

To further my learning exposure, I 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 Touché, with learning participants from more than 61 countries.

By the way, I became arguably the first person in the world to conduct a multimedia e-learning programme on entrepreneurship. Mainly, it is 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 it steeply to another high point.

I have survived many ups and downs in the economic and property cycles.

I saw Mr Lee Kuan Yew cried on television while standing outside my neighbour’s house. Our nation was then ‘ousted’ from the Federation of Malaysia and was forced to survive as a nation.

Many people said, “Susah lar! (no chance) Singapore will die. We don’t even have any major natural resources. Even the water we drink must be bought from overseas.”

I saw our nation struggled to survive. We had to find our place in a turbulent world and during a cruel period of history.

(To the young members of My HSR Family, please do not ever forget our past. We must learn from and build on it).

I have gone through the first economic recession after Independence in 1986/1987, the Gulf War in 1991, the Asian Crisis in 1986/1987, the rise of terrorism since 2001, and SARS in 2003.

I struggled through the Lehman Brothers Collapse in 2008 which started the global economic crisis, and numerous catastrophes and crises.

Through it all, I have made many, what my late father would call “stupid mistakes”. I truly was and am still not smart.

To correct the situation and set myself on the right track again, I have made many sacrifices. I have paid high prices.

I have made major changes to shake myself out of my comfort zone. I have transformed many areas of my life on an ongoing basis to fulfill my calling.

With the right learning attitude, I have learned every difficulty can become an epiphany. Every downturn can be a turning point to a better life.

In My HSR Family, through every challenge, together, we have increased our learning capacity and capabilities. As a result, we have been able to develop new customers, markets, value-additions, and businesses.

We are proud to say My HSR has not only stayed afloat, we have grown through every crisis. We did not have to retrench a single employee and we have proudly flown our flag.

We improved and came out with the battlecry, ‘Learn or die!’

Thank you Professor Problems, Professor Failures, Professor Crises, and all the other wonderful Professors in the University of Life for training My HSR Family and me.

As for my personal investments, after owning stocks and shares for more than two decades, I’m happy I have never lost a single cent – not even during the most difficult of times.

My returns on other investments have been higher than the inflationary rate and is generally better than the track record of many fund managers.

( You will read about how I did it in due time – akan datang!)

After writing up to this juncture in the Love Note  and 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 pleasant bubble.

I finally discovered the Secret Of Wealth.

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

I finally got hold of the Secret. 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 I use the information.

Discipleship is more than just learning.

Discipleship is the process of learning and improving every area of my life, including my 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 be 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 I have learned from and what I have learned. It is about whether the learning experience has transformed me for good.

The learning experience must convert every area of my life and make me a wealthier and wiser person.

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

I must be disciplined to turn every data into a usable format, converting it into information.

I must apply this information in my life to convert it into knowledge. When I leverage on the knowledge to produce worthwhile results, it is then converted to wisdom.

At the end of the learning experience, I must be in a better position to achieve my highest calling in life.

2.       Conduct

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

I must be disciplined enough to apply what I have learned and improve on it.

It has to be reflected in my thought patterns. For example, I must learn how to think correctly and deeply enough.

It has to change my attitude, behavior and lifestyle for the better. Finally, I must produce results.

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

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

3.       Correction

Corrections are feeder – and sometimes,
rocky – paths to bring me back
to the highway of success.

Every learning outcome will be tested again and again in the ‘examinations of life’. I must be disciplined enough to be monitored, take responsibility, and be corrected.

To make it work, I must be courageous enough to admit my failures and mistakes. I must be willing to subject myself to penance, penalties and punishments.

Just as importantly, I must be disciplined enough to offer compensations and restitutions to resolve the situation. I must make continuous improvements to enhance my future.

I must learn how to set things right on an ongoing basis to be wealthy.

4.       Coaching

Coaching paves the way forward
for others – and for myself.

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

I must be disciplined enough to help more and more people to become better than me.

If I can do that, I will take my learning and discipleship to a higher level. I will improve my wealth results.

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

Example: Conversion

If I want to eat healthily, I should learn from a credible and qualified dietician. I have to find out the best ways to eat correctly.

Example: Conduct

I must plan my diet before I go to the food court. When I arrived at the food court, I must go directly to the stall.

I must avoid looking at the other stalls. If don’t do it, I will be tempted to eat unhealthy food.

I must do everything possible to ensure I order and eat only healthy food, in accordance with my diet plan.

Example: Correction

If I fall into temptation and ended up eating unhealthy food, I must determine why and how it happened. I must explore different ways to prevent myself from repeating the same mistake.

I may have to ask a friend to accompany me on my next meal and help me eat healthily. Obviously, he must be able to influence me to eat according to my diet plan.

Example: Coaching

I must teach my children to eat healthily and explain to them why it is important to do so.

I must plan for healthy food. I must make arrangements to prepare for and cook healthy food, both at home and when we dine together as a family.

By doing so, I will also motivate myself as I have to set a good example. At the same time, I can ask my children to encourage me to stick to my diet plan.

In summary, I am not smart – but as long as I learn, discipline myself, and take massive action, I will grow and improve my contributions. I will be a wealthier and wiser person.

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

Why half-death? Because the Chinese believes that half-death is worst than death. If I am not learning, growing, and improving my results, I am not living – I am dying.

Life is not worth living anymore!

If I want to be wealthy, I must continue to seek the Secret of Wealth. I must make a lifelong commitment to discipline myself to achieve better results.

Please help me.


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please go to ‘Notes’ found below my profile picture.

Visit my Transformation blog at

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


Wealth – Wealth refers to the condition of well-being. It includes my physical, emotional, social and environmental well-being

Wealthy – Having the resources to help others and myself live a meaningful, exciting and fulfilling life in a healthy environment

Asset – Anything that grows wealth

Liability – Anything that decreases wealth

Rich – Having the money and material possessions to achieve the same aspiration for being wealthy

Money – Money is the instrument to facilitate transaction of products and services. It is a measurement of the results of a Wealth Plan

Wealth Plan – An effective and an ever-improving blueprint to create wealth




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