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Welcoming Happiness & Transformation in 2024

A message from Colonel (Honorary) Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dato' Paduka Prof Dr Fng Ah Seng, JP.

A Very Happy Chinese New Year! I wish my readers a good celebration ushering in 2024 and the best of luck planning fresh goals for the months ahead.


Life is short, so happiness is the #1 goal. But happiness comes with a price, as nothing is free in this world. You don't have to be rich to be happy, but it would be best to have the minimum ability and resources to live the enjoyable life you envision and the freedom to do things your way. 


You don't have to please others in exchange for happiness, even though many people seem to have a life mission of dimming happiness in others. So, you need plenty of wisdom and persistence to think happily and generate true happiness from within, as happiness cannot be entirely relied upon from outside sources.


There are two things that I would advise our readers on how to be happy:


  1. Don't compare yourself with others. Keep your egoistic nature in check to avoid the pitfalls of one-upmanship. As everyone is unique, always only compare your progress against your own merits, integrity and personal goals. Are you doing much better this year than the last? Are you improving yourself to attract more resources to allow you to live your life on your terms? Again, you do not have to be filthy rich, but you do need to secure enough wealth to create the lifestyle that makes you happy.

  2. Do not be calculative. Such people will not have happy lives because they are always suspicious of those around them. Their greedy nature makes them feel unsatisfied in all they do - always wanting to blame others for their failures. Their motto is to do the least work for the highest returns, so they are very picky when accepting tasks given by their superiors, bosses, or customers. Such a miserly attitude will not take them far, for only generous hearts will win the generous sponsors and supporters who will help them succeed in their life goals.


Associating success with happiness is being able to furnish your lifestyle adequately. But beyond such simplicity, sustained happiness is more of a state of mind. You can have all the possessions in the world and still be miserable. So be mindful of what experiences will create lasting happiness for you when finalising goals so that happiness can grow as you move forward fearlessly.


But wait! There is another part to manifesting happiness. It is about self-transformation. 


In my experience, I can only teach people how to be happy and wealthy if they truly want to change. Growth requires change. The process of change can occur in two ways. First, there are proactive people who can transform their lives with intelligence and resourcefulness. Second are those who are transformed through 'forced' change, which is what happened to me when I went through Harvard University's intense four-and-a-half-month course - it was hell. People who gave me moral support had given up hope even before me. But I powered through the course. I had so much knowledge squeezed into my brain, into my subconscious, that by the end of it, I had no choice but to change. I thought nothing or no one could cause a change in me. But in under five months, my mindset had transformed. After analysing over a hundred case studies and examining the different issues, I was forced to change as I absorbed new information. I used to see things from the outside in - assessing solutions from one or two angles. Now, with the enrichment of new knowledge, I see things from the inside out, observing from seven or eight angles.  


Before Harvard, I was already unique in my thinking, different from others, but the gap has widened even more after the course. My expanded knowledge and new thought process can cause friction with others, such as friends and employees, who might not like my new approach. It is my problem, as I changed, not the others around me. So, I have to be very careful about sharing my opinions. Although I am now more direct, I am also more compassionate and tolerant and can get along with others better than before. I am more focused on what I can do to help without empathising too much with a person's feelings and situation. And, in managing crises, I am calmer and more in control.


This course aims to transform you into a modern global leader – resetting your sight to accommodate a larger perspective. The irony is you eventually realise that with elevated wisdom, it becomes lonely at the top. Happiness might have to take a different form as you learn to love your own company. Loneliness is the #1 factor for high achievers. But the bonus of loneliness is that it allows you space for massive self-improvement. Like an eagle, the higher you soar, the more details and connections you see, and things become clearer. You become more sensitive to what is happening in your environment.


So, you can choose to keep climbing the ladder towards that lonesome peak or just ground yourself to live amongst everyday folks, following the herd mentality. Where does your happiness lie? For me, being alone is like experiencing calm waters. Too much emotional baggage stifles success, like rocks tied to an eagle that keeps it from flying.


As you learn to be happy on the inside, regardless of your level of achievement, you can still enhance the experience of happiness by bringing happiness to others. Make sure you know how to take care of people unconditionally. I love and care for my family and others, but I completely release the expectations of receiving love and care in return. In this way, I won't be disappointed. Of course, with employees, there is a level of expectation, or no one will work!


So, find a way to be happy at all points in your life. The secret is to have enough to sustain the lifestyle of your choice – that is true wealth, and thus, true happiness.


I hope my advice can help you on your way towards becoming a truly happy person in 2024 and beyond. Best of luck and success on your journey this year!

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