During a particularly low point in my life last year while I was still living by myself in Sydney, Australia, I had a chat with a childhood friend online. He’s a successful businessman and investor back here in Malaysia and Singapore and has been an inspiration for the past few years. He is also truthful about his own struggles in his personal and professional life and is quick to admit that the road to success is paved with setbacks and disappointments. There was a time in his life when he had to subsist on instant noodles and even cracking an egg into the noodles was deemed a luxury which could not be afforded all the time.
Pasta is the equivalent to instant noodles in Australia. Supermarket items in Australia regularly go on sale and I would scour the supermarket pamphlets weekly to see what was on sale. Usually it was pasta and canned tuna and whatever fresh produce was in season and on sale that would make it onto my shopping list in those lean times. Eating out in Sydney is horribly expensive. Most people tend to cook in bulk and pack food for lunch at work the following day. My friend encouraged me by saying that tough times don’t last, only tough people do. And boy is that true!
I think everyone goes through tough times. There are trials and tribulations in every lifetime. Every successful person has experienced a life filled with setbacks before becoming the success story that they are. Famous comedian Jim Carey spoke to Oprah Winfrey about how he spent a period of time living out of his car. He would drive up Mulholland Drive overlooking the Hollywood Hills and stare at a cheque he’d written to himself for USD10 million dollars for ‘services rendered for acting’. He visualised himself as a successful actor not living in a car, but in one of the beautiful houses in the Hollywood Hills. Not long after, he landed the contracts for the lead roles in Ace Ventura and The Mask and as they like to say, ‘the rest is history’.
Life is never perfect. Sure, it looks good on social media through rose coloured glasses. So often people don’t tell you about the hard times they’ve endured. If you ever have the chance to speak to someone who has achieved success in their field, chances are that they’ll tell you that their pathway to success was littered with disappointments and setbacks. Hence if you’re despairing for the umpteenth time about why some misfortune has befallen you, don’t. Take heart, you’re not unique. Someone else has already gone down that path and emerged not just surviving but thriving. Have faith. Take action. Plan for the future but live for the moment. That’s all we can do as mere humans here on earth as we determine our purpose in life.
Till next time!