Perspective of Wealth

by Patrick Liew on August 16, 2019

Perspective of Wealth

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 happen but I kept playing the scene 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 in 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 most luxurious 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 the visit 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 modern 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 the meeting, there was something surreal about it.

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 almost became 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 former 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 had the privilege of sharing the speakers’ platform with many international luminaries, many of whom have changed my life with the way they lived their lives and not just what comes out from their lips.

In addition, as a co-founder of arguably the largest personal development seminar company in the world, I am constantly humbled by the gurus whom I have met.

This rare breed of talents is 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 prominent 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.

When we examine the overall scheme of life, we will realise that our perception of wealth is narrow and incomplete.

There is a need to re-evaluate our belief so that we will live a balanced life.

We will live a full life and live life to the fullest.

Let me share some gems of life with you.

1. Poverty of Dreams

I have realized that one of the greatest poverties is a poverty of dreams.

When there is nothing to look forward to, and nothing to live and fight for, life is like a drifting feather carried by the aimless winds of life.

There is nothing more tragic than to live without a
sense of significance, meaning and purpose in life.

When we hold on to a high calling, we can tap on the infinite wealth that our Creator has prepared for us.

He has opened for us a personal checking account that we can draw upon for unlimited resources so as to fulfill His worthwhile causes.

2. Poverty of Character and Values

Poverty of character and values is another one of the
worst diseases that plagues different parts of society.

Ultimately, people will see beyond the glamour that we may try to adorn on and around us. They will see right through to our hearts.

3. Poverty of Humility

There is no quality that defines poverty as much as a poverty of humility.

When we think we are bigger than what we really are and worse, when we think we are better than the others, we push ourselves over the cliff of true wealth and into the dark abyss of life.

On the way down, there are no helping hands because we have rejected them.

Even if there are people there to help us, the lack of humility will continue to prevent us from breaking the fall and climbing back to our rightful places.

4. Poverty of Action

Poverty becomes permanent when there is a poverty of the right actions.

When we do not take the right actions and enough of them, we will never improve our lot in life.

Somehow, we will find ourselves going round in circles and regressing in life.

We will never be able to escape the clutches of poverty and acquire sustainable wealth.

5. Poverty of Love

One of the worst depth of poverty is a poverty of love.

When we cannot love and feel loved, our lack of love will drive us to a life of loneliness, desolation and abandonment.

These are some of the shifting sands on the way down the pits of life.

The true mark of poverty is a poverty of compassion and kindness for our fellow humans.

When we feel we deserve to live well without due regard for others or worse, at the expense of others, our spirit will live in the slums of life.

We will search endlessly in the rubbish bins of life for the next meaningless and short-term fulfillment.

Someday, we will echo the words of the Sage in the book of Ecclesiastes, “Meaningless! Meaningless! … Everything is meaningless” (Eccl 1:2).

6. Poverty of Wisdom

Poverty becomes a tragedy when there is a poverty of wisdom.

When we stop learning and more importantly, stop applying effective lessons for the benefit of the people around us, we bury ourselves in the highway of life.

7. Poverty of Humour

No poverty sucks more energy from us than the poverty of humour.

When we cannot see, and enjoy the funny side of life, we gradually deplete the energy within us.

The same energy that sustains us and helps us pursue a better destination on the journey of life.

8. Poverty of Contentment

The lack of anything may not make us poorer than the lack of contentment.

When we cry over what we have lost rather than being thankful for what we have left, we imprison ourselves in the cell of poverty.

When we are not grateful for and appreciative of what we have and we pursue relentlessly for more and more in life, we are like throwing away a key that can free us from a prison of life.

9. Poverty of Grit

A poor bank account cannot hold us back more than a poverty of desire, determination, discipline, and due to complete the exciting race of life.

In fact, an empty wallet can be a compelling motivation to fill our life with goodness and progress.

Looking back, although I was poor financially, I was not unhappy.

In fact, it was one of the best things to happen in my life.

I am proud of the fact that I grew up in poverty. Poverty is one of the best drivers for progress.

Poverty helped me to become more grateful for every blessing in life.

It helped me to value what truly matters in life.

I discovered enough goodness in life that gave me a sense of well-being.

More importantly, I had a deep sense of faith, hope and optimism for the future.


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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Life is FUNtastic!


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