Achieving Success (Part 1)

by Patrick Liew on January 10, 2012

The darkness of the room was like nothing I have experienced before. It was like a blanket engulfing me s-l-o-w-l-y – and strangling me at my deepest core.

I was lying on what should have been a comfortable bed – but it felt hard to me. It was like I was being glued to it and lowered into the ground.

As I stared into pitch darkness, the eyes of my mind gradually took over. Darkness began to fade, overpowered by what I saw.

What I was going through might sound like a cliché but these words must have meant something before they were overused. I finally understood what people at the brink of death meant – I was watching a mental movie of my life.

I saw myself from the day I was born till that moment – reliving the ebb and flow of my life. That night, familiar scenes took on a different meaning.

This incident was a life transformational experience. It happened in 1991 and from then on, I felt like a totally different person.

I was kidnapped.

I was abducted and locked up in what we would call in Singapore a bungalow, a well furnished house that belongs to only the rich and famous. This near-death experience happened in a ‘third-world country,’ a term that has become politically unacceptable today.

The people watching over me were part of a consortium, comprising soldiers, policemen and ‘businesspersons.’ As an entrepreneur, I could tell they had put together the right ‘talents’ for their ‘profit-making venture.’  🙂

Their ‘business model’ was so good. I actually joked with them to sell me a share of their ‘business.’ I could recommend them much better ‘products,’ including my favourite competitors and fb friends.  🙂

“Do you know what this is?” one of the burly-looking guards once asked me. He was clearly bored after watching over me for another uneventful day.

“Of course,” I replied, “This is an AR15 rifle – grandfather of the M16. I used it while serving my national service as an infantry soldier.

“Hand it over to me. I can even show you how to strip it blindfolded.”

He broke into a wide grin at the audacity of my request. I was trying to put up a brave front while engaging him in a casual conversation. I was doing what I was good at – putting smiles on faces.

Obviously, today I can joke about the experience. Back then, you would never be able to imagine the fear that pounded relentlessly at my heart.

The tension in the air was so strong, it was almost choking. I had no clue if I would ever get out alive. I was not sure if I would ever see my loved ones again.

I was too young to die. There were many things that I did not do and many things that I still wanted to do with my life.

Every night, the guards would lead me to a small room. Shortly after that, I would hear the turning of the key and the lights would go off.

Darkness became my only companion.

While lying on the bed and watching scenes of the past, many questions crossed my mind.

What’s the meaning of life?

Have I made full use of my life?

If my life should end, how would I evaluate my life?

What would others say about my life?

How would I account about my life to our Creator?

I had to examine almost every key area of my life. Every belief and assumption was being questioned. It was like I was forced to put every major part of my life under a microscope.

Some of my friends have asked me if I had any regrets at that point in time. Contrary to what some writers believed, when my life was hanging by a thread, there were feelings of regret and remorse.
My regrets had little to do with what many people were pursuing throughout their life. What I thought matter did not really matter. What counted in life could not be counted.

I have since then coined the term, the 5Ps in life – namely prestige, power, position, possession and pleasure. None of these factors took centrestage when my life was literally one breath away.

The thoughts that went through my mind were not so much about what I had gained in my life but what I had given to others. It was not about the quantity of possessions but the quality of my contributions.

I was less concerned about losing my life than about not living my life wisely. I had not lived my life to the fullest and made full use of my life.

My greatest regrets were more about omissions than commissions. It had to do with the things that I should have done and done more with my life.

I wished I had done more for my loved ones and the people around me. I should have contributed more to my community and the environment.

When I was finally released, I was not sad about the money that I lost because the experience was worth every cent. It was priceless.

I came out with a new heart.

It started me on a more determined quest to become a lifelong student of success.

Shortly after, my friends and I started Success Resources, a company that became probably the largest personal development seminar company in the world.

I have endeavoured to live by the personal maxim,

‘The best way to live my life is to live my life for others. The more I reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better my life will become.’   

I want to inspire others to greatness so that when it is time for them to watch their life story, they will enjoy the mental movie.

They will be happy to have lived a full life. There will be a great sense of fulfillment because of their success. Their lives will count in eternity.


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Transformation blog at

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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