Fuel For Success.

by Patrick Liew on May 9, 2013

Please come back with me through time to 1974.

The scene: A grand ballroom in a 5-star hotel.

Crystal chandeliers were casting magical lights all over the room.

Beautiful music was dancing through the waves of the air.

The guests were dressed to the nines. VIPs who sat in the first few rows looked almost like royalty.

Waiters and waitresses were moving around the room, serving delicious cuisines to excite different taste buds. There was an electrifying excitement in the air.

The Emcee took to the stage and made an announcement that drew everybody’s attention.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Mister and Miss Beauty Contest!”

It was a beautiful scene to everybody present, except one. It was a nightmare that lived in the mind of that person for a long time.

That person was me.

I was one of the finalists in the beauty contest and that experience remains fresh in my mind until today.

I know you’ll be scrambling to look at my photograph. You will probably be wondering, “How can this face ever get into a beauty contest?”

In 1974, I was forced to enter the contest. It was part of an ‘Orientation’ by the older students, otherwise known as ‘Senior Ladies and Gentlemen.’

As a ‘freshie,’ I had to do what the seniors ‘adviced’ me to do, or else I was supposed to suffer hell in the days ahead.

I was literally dragged into the beauty contest.

They needed a ‘William Hung,’ or a freak to provide additional fun and laughter.

I was the perfect choice.

However, the judges made a mistake. They must have allocated points for other qualities, beside good looks.

In the Beauty column, I believe I still owed the organizers a substantial amount of points. In the other columns, I managed to salvage myself.

It was more like I dug myself into a deeper hole.

To cut a long story short, I got into the finals. That was when my troubles started.

The organizers told me I needed to put on a nice jacket during the finals. I had never owned a jacket until then, and probably never thought I would have one.

I came from a poor family. My parents had to struggle to keep me alive and put me through school.

There was hardly anything left in the kitty for anything else.

After searching for a solution and failing to find one, I approached my father.

“Papa, I really need a jacket for an important occasion. Can you get me one or I’ll be in big trouble?”

That evening, my father gave me such a dressing down, it left me cursing poverty deep in my bones.

“You’re lucky to have food on the table,” he roared.

“If there’s anything left, most of the money will go into your education and it is barely enough to cover your school fees and pocket money. Can’t you see how tired I am in trying to keep all seven of you alive?”

The last week before the finals was one of the worst periods in my life.

You should have seen me approaching almost everybody to beg for or borrow a jacket.

At the eleventh hour, I remembered that the head prefect in my secondary school had been given a jacket. Thankfully, I managed to contact him and borrow it.

My head prefect was a tall and lanky person. So, when I put on the jacket, I looked like a chimpanzee.

To make matters worse, the jacket was tailored as a student jacket and was made out of a bright turquoise material. It was the strangest looking jacket for a formal occasion.

I must be the first person in the world to wear a turquoise student jacket in a beauty contest.

Please come back with me to the beauty contest.

The Emcee was announcing to the audience, “The next contestant, Mr. Paatttrrriiicck Liew!”

I took to the catwalk amidst applause, whistles and catcalls.

I was told that the stronger the response, the more marks would be awarded to me. The worst the response, the lower the marks.

I walked nervously to the centre of the stage.

I was embarrassed and struggling to keep my balance.

Suddenly, from the back of the room, a lady screamed,

“Eee! That is my former head prefect’s jacket!”

That moment will forever be etched in my mind. I can still visualize the spotlights and all the lights in the room focusing just on me.

The music became softer and softer until there was complete silence.

Everybody seemed to move in slow motion until they froze and stared at me.

It was the most humiliating moment of my life.

After coming down from the stage, I ran all the way home with tears streaming down my cheeks.

“Why do I have to be poor?” I yelled into the darkness of the night.

“Why can’t I have a better jacket? Why can’t I live a better life? Why? Why? Why?”

I swore I would never be poor and I would be somebody in life.

At that young age, I thought if I were more successful, I could have more personal glory and material comforts in life.

This is a belief shared by many. They measure success by the amount of money in the bank accounts.

They believe that position, profit, pleasure, power and prestige are the key traits of success. Yet, these traits have never help anybody achieve sustainable happiness.

I learned the truth from one of the best teachers – Life.

Life plays interesting learning games with us. The outcomes of such games depend very much on our attitude towards improvements, results and growth.

The lessons that I thought I should learn from every experience oftentimes ended up to be different from the lessons that I subsequently learned. These lessons would eventually change my life.

As I journey through life, I found a more compelling purpose to be successful.

I believe if I am more successful, I can give my loved ones a better life.

I can help the weak, the needy, and the disadvantaged to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.

I can make more and better contributions to the community. I can be a blessing to the world and make it a better home.

I can also do so much more for planet earth. In case you have not realised, our planet is currently sick and dying.

We need to join hands together and turn the tide of negativity and destruction.

So, why do you want to become more successful in life?

If you don’t know the ‘Why,’ you will never find out the ‘How.’ It is your purpose that will drive your performance and determine your pursuit.

If you do not have a compelling purpose to wake you up every morning and excel in life, may I strongly suggest you do not sleep tonight until you can find it.

The fuel to success is motivation and all motivation begins with and revolves around self motivation.

If you are not self-motivated to succeed, nothing in the world can move you a single inch. You will not set goals, let alone press on to achieve them.

Living a life of positive self-motivation  is a cultivated mindset, a fostered discipline and a developed habit.

Self motivation cannot be pursued and acquired in and of itself.

It is a process that begins with a personal choice. You need to decide to put on a new mind – to do something you have never done before.

It is also a by-product of fulfilling a cause that is much bigger than you. A cause that will electrify you to jump out of bed every morning to live out your purpose and calling in life.

When that happens, obstacles and obstructions will become mere potholes and puddles. They are just detours that you have to go through on the journey of life.

Your choice is a mental shift but that will not take you far. You need to transform it into a commitment which involves your whole being.

However, commitment is not a one-time affair. You need to re-commit to your dream and goals on a regular basis.

As you saturate your heart and mind with dream and goals, you will become increasingly self-motivated.

Along the way, continue to develop compelling reasons, conditions and changes to drive yourself to achieve success.

Focus on your dream and goals and discipline yourself to turn them into a reality.

Put in the necessary sacrifices to move out of your comfort zone.

Plod on through challenging terrains until you can pave a way through fruitful territories.

Unlearn, learn and re-learn how to program your self motivation so that it will become a vital part of your attitude.

Live it out well and long enough so as to turn it into a habit.

Your habitual life can be further reinforced through regular rehearsals and repetitions.

Every time you take a positive action, you create a link between your chosen behavior and the end-results.

You form a neural pathway in your mind which will make the action easier to carry out in future.

The more passionate you are about fulfilling and enjoying the goal-setting process, the stronger will be your resolve to make self-motivation a part of your behaviour.

As you continue to fan the fire of self-motivation, it will become a habit.

Once the habit is formed, you cannot afford to be complacent.

Continue to improve yourself so that your habit will become an unconscious competence, a real and lasting part of your being and lifestyle.

You will then become perpetually motivated to achieve the dream and goals in your life.


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 visit my website, www.patrickliew.net

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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