Plotting Your Life Map

by Patrick Liew on July 25, 2015

On Friday, 17 July 2015, Dr Mark Robison led a group of us on an interesting exercise of plotting our life map.

It was an enlightening experience for me to trace the past and join the dots to potentially chart my future. It was equally enriching to listen to my friends’ real life stories.

I entitled my life map, Finding “Patrick Liew.”

The title was not meant to be negative. It was an expression of the never-ending discovery for the best “Patrick Liew,” and search to serve a worthier cause and a higher calling.

To portray the life map, I used a topographical representation. It covered a virgin territory with a variety of terrain, vegetation, and landscape.

The features in the topographical map were metaphors to describe my journey in life. The territory on the map was uncharted and unfamiliar.

What’s more, the landscape and surrounding would change and sometimes they would change on a day to day basis.

The topographical map reminded me of the challenging but highly fulfilling time I spent as a soldier, training on some of the highest mountains in Taiwan. It also reminded me of the exciting and happy times I spent with my family, trekking in the jungles of Malaysia and Thailand.

Looking back, I felt like our Creator has constantly been carrying out what the military would call a “Search and Rescue Mission” for me. A mission to save and protect me from danger and even death.

In doing so, He gave me the possibilities to find meaning, purpose, and significance at every turning point of my life.

As we were only given a short period of time, I chose to present six key phases of my life and the lessons that I’ve learned from them.

Phase 1: Thriving In Challenges

I was thankful for the blessing of growing up in a poor family. Despite going through poverty, I’ve never felt like I was in need.

I have never felt like I needed anything else to be happy.

Living simply is indeed a major key to happiness.

Our Creator has placed within us the resources that we need to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.

The greatest poverty is not a poverty of money but a poverty of dream, passion, and massive action.

Phase 2: Confronting And Capitalizing On Dark Shadows

Throughout my formal education, I did not realize I was given a gift and it was termed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD or ADD).

In short, I could be going through a lesson in a classroom. My body would be there but my brain would be in a world of its own.

Looking back, I considered ADHD as a gift and not as a disorder.

Over time, I learned to cope with ADHD. In fact, I realized that I could turn the weaknesses of ADHD into strengths.

I could capitalize on these strengths to go farther and faster in life.

It may sound strange to people who understand or think they understand ADHD that this ADHD-blessed person is now being used to teach others on how to keep still and be mindful. How to channel their energy to ensure that the main action is the main action and to focus on executing it.

Through confronting and capitalizing on ADHD, I managed to complete 10 degree and degree-equivalent qualifications. And I’m more motivated than ever to continue my lifelong learning journey.

Challenges is a constant in life. If you are not facing them, check your heartbeat.

Ultimately, we have a choice to deal with any challenge as an opportunity and not as a problem. We can emerge from it as a victor and not as a victim.

With every challenge, our Creator has given us a mind-that-is-never-set, a mind that could find the tools and other resources to cope with the challenge.

Challenges do not have to be a millstone around our neck. They could be a stepping stone to achieve success.

Phase 3: Fighting The Enemies Within

I’m grateful and thankful for the opportunity to serve the nation by fulfilling my national service as an infantry soldier.  My years in green have been some of the highlights in my life.

Most men were not too excited about serving their national service. They would do everything possible to take on an easier job and have a lighter load of work.

Prior to going to the army, I decided that anything worth doing is worth doing with passion and excellence.

As a result, I had a ball in the army and had wonderful memories of my time in it. The army taught me many lessons that I would never be able to learn anywhere else and it has made me a better person.

My reservist mates and I are still having regular gatherings every year for the past 34 years. Our camaraderie remains strong and we still enjoy reminiscing about the good old days.

If you have to do anything, love what you do and do it to the best of your abilities. Your working life will then become a lifelong vacation.

Phase 4: Pressing On To Press On To The Top

Before I started working, I applied and wanted to be a social worker. Deep in my heart, I wanted to help people who, like me, had to go through disadvantages and challenges in life.

The manager who interviewed me and gave me the job told me that he would guide me and show me the rope. Just before I started on the job, that manager resigned and left me feeling lost.

My friends told me that I should go out to the real world and go through real life experiences. If I didn’t do it, I would not be in a good position to help others with their challenges.

I took their advice and went to work in the private sector. Throughout the journey in the working world, I was mindful about doing a good job and learning from every experience so that I can use the lessons to help others.

I’m passionate and proud of my time in the working world. Until today, I’ve not lost the romance of working and the romance of making the most out of work.

It’s sad that other than sleeping, we will spend most part of our adult life at work. Yet, according to a survey conducted by Gallup International, many people were not only unhappy, they were disengaged in their workplace.

When you go to work, be an ambassador for our Creator. Go to work with an employer rather than an employee mindset.

In other words, ask yourself, if you are the owner of the organization, how can you improve the organization and help it to achieve better results?

How can you help your bosses and colleagues to improve teamwork and the working environment?

If you have the right attitude, life in the workplace will be a huge and long party.

I’m grateful that I had a good run in the working world and was regularly promoted with major jumps in my salary. I’m thankful that I finished my career as the CEO of the region for a multinational company.

I realized that there’s more to a job than carrying out the role and responsibilities of the job and collecting a regular salary for doing it. We are designed to do good work and through it, find meaning, well-being, and fulfillment.

Phase 5: Becoming An Entrepreneur And An Investor

Becoming an entrepreneur and investing in businesses and other instruments of investment is the best thing I can do for my life.

Through the entrepreneurial journey, I have helped to list three different companies in three different stock exchanges and in three different countries.

Let me clarify that entrepreneurship is not just about starting a business or owning a company.

Entrepreneurship is about capitalising on the best opportunities with the least possible resources. It is about developing win-win relationships and results that have a wider impact on the community,

The entrepreneurial mindset can be used by governments, employers, employees, independent contractors and even social workers.

Entrepreneurship is one of the greatest equalisers in life. It is one of the best paths for ordinary persons to achieve true freedom.

True freedom is not about having everything that you want but having whatever you need so as to achieve a worthwhile dream.

I have always said entrepreneurship is about doing the things that most people will not do so that you will not have to do the things that most people will have to do to stay alive and live well in the future.

Entrepreneurship is one of the most powerful solutions to eradicate poverty and many other challenges in life.

It’s never too late to learn how to be entrepreneurial. Start now.

After completing my life map and reflecting on it, I felt like my life has gone one full circle. I started off in my working life wanting to be a social worker.

By being an entrepreneur, I realized I can do what a social worker can do in helping others live a better life. I can do much more with my life to give back to society.

For me, being an entrepreneur is a great way to live a meaningful, exciting and fulfilling life.

Phase 6: Living a Dream Life

When I was young, I used to sing a verse from a song. The words were, “I don’t know about the future but I know Who holds my hands.”

As I joined the dots in my past life, I’m grateful and thankful for the way our Creator has guided me throughout all these years.

I might not have been perfect and have on occasions strayed away from the map that He has designed for me. However, He was always there to navigate me back to the right path.

With His help, I believe that the greatest years are ahead of me.

I strongly recommend that you reflect on your life. Craft a life map to depict the major phases of your life journey.

Consider the learning lessons and how you can leverage on them to design the brightest life ahead of you.


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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

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Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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