Moving forward

Published December 17, 2020, 6:00 AM

by George S. Chua

Much as we would like to, life does not have a rewind button.  The most we can do is learn from our own experience and perhaps the wisdom of others.  Therefore, how does one live a life with as little regrets as possible?  Here are some tips I would like to share with you that I have learned from the more than 6 decades I have been around.

Learn how to go through life taking acceptable risks with the right precautions.  Knowing how to take risks with your finances is one thing but knowing how to take risks with your life to experience it is just as important.  If I was totally risk averse towards physical danger, I would never have become a reserve officer in the AFP, never gone scuba diving, never taken a big bike in the expressway, never handled fully automatic weapons, never driven fast, never travelled around the world and a host of other exciting things that makes life worth living.  Strangely enough, that decision is now being made for us by strangers, whose mantra is stay home to stay alive.

Do not let your life sleep by.  While I believe in getting the right amount of sleep, I have seen people routinely enjoy sleeping for 10 hours or even more a day!  If you did that over a 60 year period, just sleeping 1 hour more each day, you would have lost 21,900 hours!  If you put that into a normal working day of 8 hours, you could have freed up 7.5 years of your life to do other things.  I remember having to wake up on weekends at 4 a.m. to play golf with my Father.  At that time, I had my doubts if it was worth it, having lost my Father in 2012, I can now say with 100% certainty that it was so very much worth it!

Work and learn as much as you can.  I know many people who complain that they are given too much work!  I have a totally different view on this, as long as the work is meaningful.  If you notice that more and more work is given to you, it only means that you as viewed as someone who can get the job done and done right!  Not only do you build that reputation for yourself but you also build up your knowledge and experience to do the work.  It is only a matter of time that you get promoted or go off on your own and use the skills you have mastered and the network you have developed to move further up in life.

The best time to make friends with people is when you don’t need anything from them.  It is not a bad thing that you are nice and make friends with people and a relationship built because you enjoy each other’s company is certainly stronger than one that is built on need.  You will also find out that as you grow older, true friendship stays while business networks fades over time.  I remember one of my golf buddies who retired as a senior executive in a big bank disappearing into obscurity, just playing golf, drinking scotch and smoking cigars.  One day he had the opportunity to become the president of another bank and all of a sudden he was back in the limelight, getting calls from people he hadn’t heard from in years!  He now knows who his true friends are.

Know how to make the right investments at the right time.  This comes from a combination of knowledge, experience, gut feel and sheer luck.  One of the biggest investments I have made and arguably one of the most successful, has made such a huge difference in my outlook towards life.  Several years ago, one of my friends who I had known for a number of years invited me to join him in his new business venture.  I felt that he was a trustworthy and astute businessman, and I understood his business model, plus I had the money that was needed to make it happen.  There was no due diligence and no legal documentation, it was just a handshake and my check, all done in one sitting.  As they say the rest is history.  Of course things could have gone bad very quickly, but fortunately there is no rewind button in life.

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a more Prosperous 2021!  God bless you!

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