Lessons From My Father
Updated: Apr 24
This is not the typical story of a loving family, who lives happily ever after.
This is the story of a father and son, who have their fair shares of ups and downs.
1) Start with a dream; Continue with an action
My father used to have his own business.
My father set up a language and commercial school. And from just one school, it grew and expanded to two, and then four. And the school was doing very well. Business was good and we were having a good life. There was nothing to complain about.
All these started with a dream.
A dream of doing business.
A dream of providing for the family.
However, having a dream is not enough. There must have action behind it.
A dream without action is building castles in the air.
A dream with action is building foundation on solid ground.
2) Work hard now; Work smarter later
My father worked hard and dedicated his life for his business. He engaged long hours in the schools, spent day and night pursuing his dream, and sometimes even had to bring his family to the schools that he had set up.
There is no substitute for hard work.
There is no shortcut to success.
Despite all the hard work, my father's business still failed in the end. There came to a point where things began to change. Suddenly my father stopped bringing me to his school. And I saw my father and mother quarreled more often. Then I came to realization that my father no longer owned his business. My father was being cheated by the shareholders, and subsequently he had to file for bankruptcy.
Yes, I will not deny the fact that we should work hard.
Having said that, we also need to work smarter. We need to learn how to manage our business and finance, know who to trust and delegate our tasks, and be efficient and effective in what we are doing.
3) Money won’t get you everything; Without money you won’t get anything
Things were different after my father’s business took a turn. I could not get what I want anymore. I was quite a spoiled and pampered kid who wanted everything my way. And it was one of the darkest moment in me and my family life.
We went from rich to poor very suddenly.
And at some time, we also had to survive on bread since it was the cheapest food available. And I could still remember at times my father and mother would be eating less just to give my brother and myself food to eat. I became very unhappy, frustrated and angry. Why did this have to happen to me?
It is true that money is not everything in life. But without money we cannot have anything in life.
If you have a problem that money can solve, you do not have a problem at all.
Money is not the root of all evil.
The love of money is the root of all evil.
The use of money can be very worthwhile. It can be used to build orphanages and hospitals, to feed the poor, to preach the good news, to build universities, to educate people in righteousness, to establish churches and communities. The question is, what is the money used for? Is it use for selfish means, or is it use for higher purpose?
4) It is okay to fall down; It is not okay not to get up
My father, after his business failed, could not get up again. He fell into depression and now suffered from ischemic stroke, prostate cancer and minor Parkinson’s disease. He could not eat on his own; He had to be on feeding tube. He could not walk; He had to be carried around in wheelchair. He could not talk; He had to use hand gestures which sometimes is hard for people to understand. My family and I suffered to certain extend because of this.
It is okay to fall down. It is okay to fail.
Failure is not fatal.
Success is not final.
As long as we get up to try one more time, as long as we keep on keeping on, there is still hope.
5) Love is a commitment; Forgiveness is a choice
This bitterness in me dragged on for years and I grew to a rebellious student in school as well. And I got into trouble with the school and the discipline master.
I could have ended up in jail or boy’s home. But surprisingly nothing really serious happened to me. I thank God for His grace. I turned over a new leaf. I forgave my father and myself.
At the worst time, my mother still stood by my father. No matter how tough it was, she still kept on pushing through, making ends meet, and putting bread on the table. It showed me that love and forgiveness are not merely words that are being said, but they are commitment and choices we make on a daily basis.
6) Sales is the way to go; System is the way to succeed
I know that I want to do my own business, just like my father, and learn from his mistakes. So I began my search for answers and meanings and ways to attain my success. And I know that sales is one of the ways to go if I work very hard and honestly. People always say the sky is the limit.
So I went into sales. I sold watches, gave out flyers, knocked on doors, and assisted directors. And I also started to do customized jackets for sale during my tertiary days. After graduation, the search led me to insurance. So I joined the insurance and financial planning industry and did well enough to qualify for convention and incentive trips overseas.
The sky is the limit if we have the system to implement. A system is a routine we follow in order to move forward in a certain direction on a consistent, predictable basis. Over the years, I have seen many people going in and out of the industry. Without proper system, people became disillusioned, and failed in their planning.
7) Accumulation in good times; Protection in bad times
My father, because of all his medical conditions, could not get insurance. I saw him suffer and did not want that to happen to myself or anybody else. I certainly want to grow old with sufficient funds and I want the same for everybody else and insurance is one of the tools to achieve that.
My father did not get any insurance for himself in the first place because he would rather put money into his business and thought that nothing will happen to him. My father did invest in stocks and shares but due to the financial crisis he lost everything. What would have been better if he had a safety net in place where he could grow his money and protect his wealth.
Everyone has a story.
I am who I am partially because of my father.
I am thankful for my father for the lessons I have learnt.
I promise to be a better father, a better son, and a better #dreamdesigner.
This article was first published here.