The Speedo Factor 4.0

by Patrick Liew on November 16, 2019

The Speedo Factor 4.0

I want to share with you what I call the Speedo Factor.

When I was in school, I chose long-distance running and long-distance swimming as part of my co-curricular activities (CCA).

Why? Because in my school, those were the only sports I could train at my own time. I therefore had more flexibility to pursue other interests.

I thought that was the reason for choosing the sports but our Creator had another purpose in mind. Those two sports taught me how to develop perseverance so that I can achieve worthwhile goals.

As my family was poor, I could not afford to own a decent swimming trunk. I would use a hand-me-down from one of my older brothers or friends.

My dream was to own a Speedo trunk. It was and still is one of the most expensive brands of trunks.

Back then, I was using a trunk with yellow elephant faces imprinted on a maroon background. It had a golden buckle, but the paint was chipped off over time. Strange looking trunk, to say the least.

One of the elephant faces was positioned right at…you know where. And it was hard to cover it when I was walking on land.

When I took up position for a race, I could almost feel the other swimmers laughing in their hearts at my trunk. I had the funny feeling that people in the gallery were also amused by it.

Fortunately, I got used to it and was able to focus on swimming. At the end of each race – guess what? I always won.

I became the best breaststroke swimmer in my entire school.

Since then, I have always appreciated the wisdom of the Ah Beng proverb, “If you can swim, you can swim. If you can’t, don’t blame the swimming trunk.”

When my daughters were much younger, they once asked me, “Daddy do you know why you won?”

Hoping to finally get a compliment from them, I responded with abated breath, “Why?”

With a cheeky smile, they would chorus, “Because when the other swimmers saw your trunk, they laughed until they had stomach cramps!”

They went on to let out one of the best or worst ego-bursting laughters depending on your value system. With daughters like mine, it’s hard to be proud.

When I was no longer involved in competitive swimming, I would dream every now and then of owning a Speedo trunk. When I passed a retail outlet and if I’m free, I might drop in to check out the Speedo designs and prices.

Did I finally buy a Speedo trunk? Good question.

Since you asked, I will let you know if you read on. There’s a powerful lesson at the end of this blogpost.

When I was much younger, I had thought that it would feel good to wear a branded product. I had this thought that people would be more attracted to me because of my Speedo trunk.

It would give me a sense of pride, pleasure or prestige. Spin doctors would call it the “I have arrived” feeling.

I was deeply mistaken.

The more I thought about it and the longer I delayed my buying decision, the more I appreciated the value of delayed gratification.

In the past, I had bought a lot of things out of want and not out of need. I might not have felt it that way but over time, I realized I didn’t need these stuffs at all.

If I had bought them at the spur of the moment, I would oftentimes not get the best deal.

More importantly, I realised if I acquired something just to impress others, I would cultivate an unhealthy self esteem and a poor value system.

If my friends were attracted to me because of my possession, they were usually not the kind of friends I should have in life.

Delayed gratification is one of the means to achieve sustainable success.

The correlation between delayed gratification and long term success had been proven in a study by Michael Mischel in Standford University.

Michael found that children who exercised more self-control in fulfilling their wants became more positive, self-motivated, and resilient in achieving their goals. As a result, they became more successful in life.

It is hard to practice delayed gratification in an “instant fixes” society. Most people are looking for easy ways, short cuts, get-rich-quick schemes, and on-demand pleasures.

Delayed gratification requires self-control, discipline and perseverance. These are also traits that are common in many successful people.

When I studied these people, I found that they are masters in controlling their urge for immediate gratification. They know that success requires self-mastery, determination and hard work.

Successful people are committed to develop the skill of delayed gratification through self-restraint, training, and constant practice.

Learning the skill of delayed gratification can also offer many other benefits.

When I was young, I learned that if I spent wisely, I could save a little money at a time. Over time, the savings will add up to a lot of money.

I can then do many wonderful things for the people around me with the money.

Delayed gratification also helps me to live a simple life.

Living simply is an important key to achieving happiness and success.

Let me illustrate.

Years ago, I had a diamond-studded Rolex watch. One day after a swim at a country club, I showered and left my watch in the soap box.

I came out of the toilet to comb my hair. When I turned around to retrieve my watch, it was gone. That made me unhappy for a while.

Another time, I lost a pair of designer’s leather boots that meant a lot to me. It left me upset for a period of time.

I realized that if I do not have these belongings and feel attached to them, I can be a happier person.

I will be able to better focus on more meaningful and fulfilling pursuits.

Too often, I over-complicated my life. I lived by things that did not add real and sustainable values.

I bought into the falsehood perpetuated by advertisements in a materialistic world.

I ended up pursuing and owning stuffs that gave me a temporary sense of happiness. Eventually, it left me feeling empty inside because these stuffs did not bring true fulfillment to my life.

To make matters worse, it could have made me vain, greedy and discontented.

I was not any wiser or better when I accumulated more and more possessions and more and more toys around me.

I came with nothing and will leave with nothing, why do I need more stuffs?

When I decided to live a simple life, I gave away many expensive belongings to my friends. It gave me a lot of happiness when they are touched by my gifts.

I have learned to spend less money, buy less things, and give more of myself to what really matters.

Devote myself to serving our Creator, my family, my company, my friends, and our planet. By living simply, I can achieve better results for them.

When I live a simple life (I don’t even have a watch) and have less baggages to carry, I can run better, easier and faster in life. And feel happier too.

All these lessons were learned when I thought about having a Speedo trunk.

Together, they form what I call the Speedo Factor.

For those who really need to know, yes, I finally bought a Speedo trunk at a Sale – the design I wanted and for a good price too.

I just realized while writing this blogpost that since then I have only worn it twice.

I learned the Speedo Factor lesson again!

Swimming anyone?Go4It!

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

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on

Please visit my website,

Follow me on:

Visit my Inspiration blog at

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

Let’s connect on
– via @patrickliewsg

https: //
– via @patrickliew77

My LinkedIn

My Quora

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!November 16, 2019Leave a Reply« Previous

Leave a Reply

Logged in as Patrick LiewLog out?


 Notify me of new comments via email.

 Notify me of new posts via email.

Patrick Liew

View Full Site

Blog at


Powered by Facebook Comments

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: