Redefining Success

Redefining Success.

Please travel back in time with me to 1974. The scene: a grand ballroom in a 5-star hotel.

Crystal chandeliers were casting magical lights all over the room. Beautiful music was dancing through the waves of the air.

The guests were dressed to the nines. VIPs who sat in the first few rows looked almost like royalty.

Waiters and waitresses were moving around the room, serving delicious cuisines to excite different taste buds. There was an electrifying excitement in the air.

The emcee took to the stage and made an announcement that drew everybody’s attention.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Mister and Miss Beauty Contest!”

It was a beautiful scene to everybody present, except one. It was a nightmare that lived in the mind of that person for a long time.

That person was me.

That experience remains fresh in my mind to this day.

I was one of the finalists in the beauty contest.

I know you’ll be scrambling to look at my photograph. You will probably be wondering, “How can this face ever get into a beauty contest?”

Back then, I was forced to enter the contest. It was part of our “Orientation” by the older students, otherwise known as “Senior Ladies and Gentlemen.”

As a freshman, I had to do what the seniors “advised” me to do or else I was supposed to suffer hell in the days ahead.

I was literally dragged into the beauty contest.

They needed a “William Hung” of the American Idol fame – an outlier to provide additional fun and laughter.

I was the perfect choice.

However, the judges made a mistake. They must have allocated points for other qualities, beside good looks.

In the beauty judging criteria, I believe I still owed the organizers a substantial amount of points.

However, in the other judging criteria, I managed to salvage myself.

It was more like I dug myself into a deeper hole.

To cut the long story short, I got into the finals. That was when my troubles begun.

The organizers told me I needed to put on a nice jacket during the finals. I had never owned a jacket until then, and probably never thought I would have one.

I came from a poor family. My parents had to struggle to put me through school.

After searching for a solution – and failing to find one – I approached my father.

“Papa, I really need a jacket for an important occasion. Can you get me one or I’ll be in big trouble?”

That evening, my father gave me such a dressing down that it left me cursing poverty deep into my bones.

“You’re lucky to have food on the table,” he roared.

“If there’s anything left, most of the money will go into your education and it is barely enough to cover your school fees and pocket money.

“Can’t you see how tired I am in trying to keep all seven of you alive?”

The last week before the finals was one of the worst periods in my life. You should have seen me approaching almost everyone to beg for or borrow a jacket.

At the eleventh hour, I remembered that the head prefect in my secondary school had been given a jacket. Thankfully, I managed to contact him and borrow it.

My head prefect was a tall and lanky person. So, when I put on the jacket, I looked like a chimpanzee.

To make matters worse, the jacket was tailored as a student jacket and was made out of a bright turquoise material. It was the strangest looking jacket for a formal occasion.

I must have been the first person in the world to wear a turquoise student jacket in a beauty contest.

Please come back with me to the beauty contest.

The emcee was announcing to the audience, “The next contestant, Mr. Paatttrrriiicck Liew!”

I took to the catwalk amidst applause, whistles and catcalls.

I was told that the stronger the response, the more marks would be awarded to me.

The worst the response, the lower the marks – very much like what they did at the American Idol.

I walked nervously to the centre of the stage, embarrassed and struggling to keep my balance.

Suddenly, from the back of the room, a lady screamed, “Eew! That is my former head prefect’s jacket!”

That moment will forever be etched in my mind. I can still visualize the spotlights and all the lights in the room focusing just on me.

The music became softer and softer until there was complete silence.

Everybody seemed to move in slow motion until they froze and stared at me.

It was the most humiliating moment of my life.

After coming down from the stage, I ran all the way home with tears streaming down my cheeks.

“Why do I have to be poor?” I yelled into the darkness of the night.

“Why can’t I have a better jacket? Why can’t I live a better life? Why? Why? Why?”

I swore I would never be poor and I would be somebody in life.

At that young age, I thought if I were more successful, I could have more personal glory and material comforts in life.

This is a belief shared by many. They measure success by the amount of money in their bank accounts.

They believe that position, profit, pleasure, power and prestige are the key traits of success.

Yet, these traits have never helped anybody achieve sustainable happiness.

I learned the truth from one of the best teachers – Life.

Life plays interesting games with us.

The lessons that we thought we should learn ended up being different from the lessons that eventually changed our lives.

As you journey through life, find a more compelling purpose to be successful.

If you are more successful, you can give your loved ones a better life.

Help the needy, the weak and the disadvantaged to live a meaningful, dignified and fulfilling life.

Make more and better contributions to the community.

Be a blessing to the world and make it a better home.

And do so much more for planet earth. In case you don’t know, our planet is currently sick and dying.

We need to join hands together and turn the tide of destruction.

So, why do you want to become more successful in life?

If you don’t know the “Why”, you will never find out the “How”.

It is your purpose that will drive your performance and determine your pursuit.

A healthy sense of discontent to achieve meaningful pursuits will contribute to a fulfilling life.

If you do not have a compelling purpose to wake you up every morning and motivate you to excel in life, may I suggest you do not sleep tonight until you can find it.


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!

About Patrick Liew
About Patrick Liew Patrick Liew MBA, MSc, BSc is the Managing Partner of Global Enterprise Exchange Pte. Ltd.. He is also the founder and director of Success Resources, arguably the world’s largest personal development seminar organiser and a major shareholder of a company, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. He was previously the Executive Chairman and CEO of HSR Global Ltd., a publicly listed company on SGX-ST. Previously, he was the regional director of the Gartner Group, providing strategic advisory and planning services to governments, banks and MNCs. He was also the regional head of sales and marketing operation for Dow Jones Telerate. Patrick graduated with a BSc in Estate Management from Heriot Watt University, an MSc with emphasis in global business and marketing from The City University Of New York, and an MBA from Henley Business School / Brunel University. He has also earned more than nine other professional qualifications. Patrick is arguably the first person to develop a multimedia e-learning programme on entrepreneurship. He authored a Chinese book on business systems and was also the co-author of a Times Bookshop best-selling book. Patrick has conducted both ‘brick and mortar’ and online lessons for participants from more than 60 countries. He has also conducted keynote presentations in many international conferences, including being the first Singaporean to teach at the National Association of Realtors. Through his team at Success Resources, Patrick has organised educational conferences for prominent leaders such as President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Michael Porter, Richard Branson, Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, and many other prominent leaders. Patrick provides leadership and advisory services to many professional and charity organisations. He is actively involved in supporting humanitarian, philanthropic and charity causes. He has organised three fund-raising events and in the process, help to set three national records in the Singapore Books Of Records. Patrick won the Entrepreneur Of the Year Award For Social Contribution, the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award, and six other business awards. Patrick believes the best way to live your life is to live your life for others. The more you reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better your life will become. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Personal Note to my Friends The articles that I post online; or what I term as Love Notes, are written with the purpose of inspiring readers to live at a higher plane in life. They are also meant to motivate those who are struggling in life and help them find handlers to overcome their conflicts and challenges. It is my ardent hope that we will form networks and alliances of like-minded people who will put to right many of the wrongs in our midst. Together, we will leverage on each other's resources and create a synergistic impact in making our world a better home. These articles are written as part of regular reflection about the vicissitudes of life. They are at best work in progress and at worst, grumblings, grouses, and gripings of a finite old man. I have deliberately decided NOT to delete many of the articles and pointers that I may not agree with or are outrightly wrong. This is to keep a record of how my personal ideas, beliefs, and values have evolved over time. In addition, I hope to encourage readers by letting them know that I also make mistakes and am struggling with many of the complexity and complication in life. As long as we hang on to hope and work on finding a solution, there will be light at the end of whatever tunnel we are in. I do not pretend to know everything or for that matter, anything of substance. In fact, the more I study, learn, and think about the vast wisdom and knowledge out there, the more I realised how little I know about life and the ways of life. Hence, I have always ended my article by asking readers to continue to teach me. For I, too, am a sojourner in the exploration of truth and the adventure of finding meaning, purpose, and significance for my existence. I am proud of and make no apology for being a Christian, albeit not the most exemplary one. I believe our Creator can lead and guide us to be the best that we can ever be. I bear full responsibility for the shortcoming and error in my life, including my words. The fault is entirely mine and not due to anyone else. Readers have and can exercise the power of choice. They can discard what will not work for them and adopt those that can propel them further and faster in the pursuit of better performance, outcomes, and fulfillment. If I have disappointed or hurt you in any way, form, or manner, I would like to apologise to you. Please do not hold them against me or whoever or whatever is related to me. There are much to pray about, learn, and do. And I'll work on them with a sense of urgency. I hold on to the belief that 'Anything worth doing is worth doing with passion and excellence'. I'll endeavour to live by it. Life is short. There's no dress rehearsal and neither can we turn back the clock to change the drama of life. Therefore, by the grace and power of our Creator, let's live a full life and live it to the fullest. May God bless you abundantly on the journey of life. Your online servant, Patrick Liew I hope this message will find a place in your heart. By the way, I have also recorded other reflections. Please 'Like' me on Visit my Inspiration blog at For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at Please visit my website, Please read my reflection and continue to teach me. Life is FUNtastic!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: