Winning In Life (Part 2)

by Patrick Liew on August 3, 2012

I love sports.

Sports can help me to understand and win in life.That’s why it has always been a part of my lifestyle.

To excel in it, I must have a worthwhile dream. It is the capacity of my dream and the tenacity of my faith in it, and the ability to take ever-improving action that will help me to go farther and faster to achieve my dream in the sports of life.

When I was young, I was quite an athlete. I played almost every game in school.

From football, basketball, running to swimming, I enjoyed all kinds of games. I have also participated in many other non-mainstream games.

For example, I played a mean ‘chateh.’ This was a heritage game which was played by kicking a shuttlecock made of feathers with its quills attached to a rubber base.

I was also pretty good at ‘kuti kuti’. This was played by using your fingers to flick a plastic figurine over that of your competitors.

If you could skillfully land it on the other figurine, you are entitled to own it. As the ‘kuti kuti king’ in my kampung, I used to go home with loads of figurines.

I wish I can tell you more about the fun I had with many other games. There won’t be enough space to share about them in this note.

I learned I don’t need to have expensive toys to be happy. There are enough things around me to help me enjoy life.

The sports I enjoyed the most was gymnastics. For many wonderful afternoons, my friends and I would lay out simple mats and we would experiment with different moves.

Mr Goh Ek Khoon, our coach was a very good man but he was not a good gymnast. He was unable to demonstrate proper techniques to us.

However, he took great trouble to explain how every tumble and turn could be executed. Mostly, we learned through trials and errors.

I could do many of the floor exercises except one – a somersault. For many reasons, I had great fear about doing it and so, I never attempted it.

I stopped practising gymnastics at the age of twelve. Somehow, I have always felt I did not quite reach my full potential in the game.

As I grew older, it became harder and harder to hit the mats again. There were many reasons that made it almost impossible for me to learn gymnastics again – until about 40 years later.

I managed to enroll in a gymnastics class as the oldest student.

The mother of a fellow student asked me how I managed to enroll  myself for the class. I told her,  “I got in because I looked pitiful enough.

“The gymnastics school did it as a charity. You know, part of its corporate social responsibility.

“Mainly, the administrators did it because they saw my belly and had a good laugh. They wanted to share the joke with the others in the gym and give them a good time.” Lol!

I kept explaining to the gymnasts that it’s not a belly, it’s the highest form of Kung Fu – it’s bullet-proof Qi (energy).

On the first lesson, my coach wanted me to touch my toes. I wanted to tell him, “I am not in such a close relationship with my toes.

“Is it okay if I just wave at them?”

One young boy asked me during the break when he saw me checking my Facebook.  “You mean, you know what Facebook is?”

Another cute little  ‘kiddo’ asked me, “Uncle, why are you doing this? Are your father and mother also forcing you to excel in sports?”

Despite the negativity within me and without, I disciplined myself and persevered towards my goal.

I learned that along the journey in life, there would be many challenges. They could either make or break me.

I could master them or allow them to master me. I could laugh or cry over them.

I could give up because of them or learn from them and become a stronger and more resilient person. The choice was entirely up to me.

Fortunately, I decided to choose the positive road to win in life.

I researched about how to be a good gymnast and put together a plan to achieve my goal.The more detailed the plan was, the stronger my chance of achieving the goal.

I was mindful that Murphy’s Law, ‘If anything can go wrong, it will’ would never come into play as a result of my vigorous preparation to execute a somersault. I worked hard and disciplined myself to prevent any potential challenge.

Believe me, it was not easy to train a matured body to be agile, flexible and well-coordinated. I worked harder than many other students by practicing outside of the gym and training schedule.

I realised success came with a price. There was no question in my mind I needed to make sacrifices and battle through the long and winding path to success.

Along the way, I crafted strategies and continued to improve on them to help me achieve my goal in an easier, better and faster way. The 5 Ws and 1 H was an important part of my winning toolkit.

I constantly asked myself questions beginning with  ‘Who,’ ‘Why,’ ‘What,’ ‘Where,’ ‘When,’ and ‘How.’ As I improved on posing more and better quality of questions, it drove my brain to seek for better answers. It also determined the quality of my results.

Initially, I took baby steps to learn the fundamentals of the game. All that while, I strived to enjoy the fun part of the fundamentals.

I took the first step, and then another better step, and another even better step…to bring myself closer to my goal.

From forward roll, backward roll, cartwheel to handstand, I learned and practiced the basic moves. As I achieved the sub-goals of mastering each of these basics, I knew eventually I would be able to reach my goal of doing a somersault.

Alot of goals lived and died shortly after they have been set. For my goal to be achieved, I knew it must be driven by a growing desire and this desire must be kept alive and burning.

My goal must become a vital, integral and desired part of my life. It must lived in my heart and I must lived it out in my life.

Therefore, I was always on the lookout for more and better ways to motivate and inspire myself. These motivators kept my goal burning passionately in my mind.

The clearer I could see, hear, small, taste and feel myself achieving it and how happy and rewarding it was to do it, the faster my goal was going to be achieved.

Obviously, I treated myself to all kind of rewards when I achieved a milestone on my goal setting journey. It spurred me to do more for my life and to do it in a better way.Through it all, success breeded even more successes.

Little by little, I began to perform in sync with the rest of the class. I was able to do many of the difficult techniques.

Once, I did a series of backflips with the help of my coach. It was so well done, he told me, “At the rate you are going, you can perform at our Annual Concert. Many parents and guests will be there.”

That evening, I almost ran back to my Mama’s home. I wanted to break the good news to her but it was way past her bedtime.

I ended up just telling my wife and daughters. My daughters told me, ”Daddy, we will definitely stand on the chairs and clap for you.”

You have to understand it was their way of taking ‘revenge’ on a father who delighted in ‘embarrassing’ them every now and then. It was all done in good fun.

All in all, my family gave me a lot of support. Many other friends stood by me to become my cheerleaders, counsellors and coaches.

Goal setting was a team sports. It was the good people in my life that helped made my life worked. In particular, having a good coach and mentors to model after made a world of difference.

Prayer was a key strategy too. I tapped on the highest possible Level of Friendship.

For many months, I sweated.

I stretched myself. I trained very hard.

Finally, my heart was ready. My body was prepared to do what I could not do when I was a kid.

At a young age of 52 years old, I felt called to do a somersault. Everything that I planned for and acted upon was converging to that moment of truth.

The moment when destiny called. And all humans should rise in response and take the rightful action.

I ran towards the gymnastics mat.

Just before reaching it, I leapt.

I tucked my head while holding my legs.

I spinned in the air.

I completed the somersault, not the most perfect one and landed on my feet.

I did it!

On reflection, I learn that I will never know how great I can be until being great is the only road left for me.

My entire life can be changed when I make a commitment to change it. In that very moment, I can have a new heart, a new mind, and a new life.

The question that begs to be answered is, How will I live if I know I am destined to live a great 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

Visit my Transformation blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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