Programming your mind to financial success

Have you ever been told that you are stupid and that you will never achieve financial success? I ever did suffer from such traumatic experience when my Chemistry tutor (who happened to be my civic tutor) labelled me as “stupid” in front of the class during a laboratory experiment.

In life, our encounters and experiences shape our perspectives. Subconsciously, the actions and words of those around us could have significant impacts on us,  though they may not harbour any ill-intentions. To achieve financial success, we need to overcome such negativity.

But simply telling people who are slow to “buck up” or “work harder” will not serve to motivate that person to improve. Conversely, you are likely to trigger a defensive mechanism than inspiring him to change for the better.

In this article, I will share my insights on how we can achieve financial success by programming our mind to accomplish greater things. Read on if you are interested to become a better wealth builder and achieve financial success in your life.

In school, we don’t learn such stuff. And nobody ever coached me on mind programming. Thus, when I was being labelled as “stupid”, I felt lost. But through this blog, I hope to encourage fellow Singaporeans to become a better version of themselves.

financial success

Taking ownership with IQ

As a 17-year old kid, being ridiculed as stupid was certainly a morale-crushing experience. It took me years to get over the rut because when someone of such authority made that sort of comment, you would surely have self-doubts. You would question your abilities and intelligence. And then, you might start to question life.

Instead of spurring me to become a better student, my teacher had inadvertently destroyed my self-confidence and ignited a slippery slope of identity crisis. For years, I have been asking myself, “am I really stupid?” On looking back, my teacher might have good intentions but the way he delivered the message certainly did not effect any positive changes in me.

As a result, I suffered from poor self-esteem for many years and went through a period not knowing what I want to achieve in my life. Within two weeks of that episode, I quit from college.

That incident happened more than 20 years ago but until today, I can still remember it vividly. Because I have proven my teacher wrong by having a successful career and a happy family.

Through the years, I have reached the understanding that achieving success is all about taking ownership, and that starts with our mind. For sure I can never control how the others judge me but I can certainly take control of my thoughts and emotions.

Our brain is a very powerful tool because it controls our feelings and thoughts. Very often, most of us are guilty of letting our brain controls us, instead of the other way round. I am guilty of that on a daily basis when I let my thoughts wander aimlessly.

Basically, controlling our brain activity means being “mindfulness”. It is about regulating our thoughts and emotions and controlling how we process information. Undeniably, there are those who are blessed with high IQ while most of us are born with average IQ. However, it would be a mistake to assume that we cannot elevate our IQ in our lifetime. We can certainly do so by adopting a growth mindset.

Influencing with EQ

Every now and then, whenever I experienced setbacks, the mental picture of being insulted as stupid flashed in my mind, invoking pain and sorrow. But I have learned that such thoughts will not help me to grow as a person. These are negative thoughts that can only inhibit me to grow, creating a stigma to failure.

Instead of helping me to visualize the path that I need to take to become a successful person, my teacher had created a false impression that I am destined to fail. But I realized that such negative thoughts would only entrenched me in a position of self-prophecy – that I am born stupid and there is no hope of success. Nothing can be further from the truth.

I am not trying to paint a picture that one should ignore all feedback or constructive criticisms. Over time, you risk becoming an egotistic person if you do that. What I am suggesting is that we should learn to decipher the positive and negative messages because they could influence the way you live your life.

People of fixed mindset tend to associate mistakes as failures whereas people with growth mindset view mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve. In other words, try to reinforce yourself by associating with people of positive energy and this is very important because these are the people who can help you to grow. Avoid friends who are always negative and complaining.

Positive friends inspire you to change for the better instead of putting you down. Most often, they are very careful with the choice of words when communicating with you. To emphasize, I would use the example of what my teacher did to me.

What he said: “I told you so many times to use this method to get the titration results. Why do you persist in otherwise? Why are you so stupid?”

What he could have said: “I believe you are capable of achieving the titration results. You will make mistakes along the way but its part and parcel of learning. It is only a matter of finding the method that you are comfortable with.”

Which message do you think is more encouraging and is likely to effect positive changes in others?

In today’s complex society, having a high intelligence quotient (IQ) does not guarantee success. As our society becomes more complicated, there are often no right or wrong ways to tackle issues. Instead, there may be better or less efficient ways of doing things. To excel in life, there is a need to learn how to improve our Emotional Quotient (EQ) to communicate effectively with the others and achieve the desire result as a team.

I know it is easier said than done. Certainly, it takes much effort to think and come out with the right choice of words. True leaders with high EQ are capable of doing this on a consistent basis. But this is not to say that you can’t do it. It just requires practice, time and effort.

Improve with AQ

Mistakes are part and parcel of life. But there are many people who cannot handle adversities in life and subsequently never really recover from these setbacks. As the saying goes, “tough times don’t last, tough men do”. Many youth of our generation lack the resilience to overcome adversities in the course of their journey because many of them never experience hardship before. So when crisis struck, many of them folded under pressure.

Having a high IQ and EQ count for nothing if you have a low threshold level of Adversity Quotient (AQ). A tell-tale sign of low AQ is the inability to adapt when situations evolved.

To be able to adapt is important in today’s context because of the rapidly changing technologies and highly competitive workforce. For many PMETs, retrenchment is very real with disruptions taking place in virtually every industry. According to Ministry of Manpower, the number of employees being entrenched in Q12018 stood at 2,320. In 2017, the annual number of retrenchments per 1000 people was 7. If you are not prepared, retrenchment could be financial fatal for your family.

A strategy to dealing with setbacks such as retrenchment is to be adaptable. There are many professionals who insisted in finding similar paying jobs after being retrenched, and then there are those Singaporeans who refused to work in SMEs after working in MNCs for decades. Many Singaporeans are not keen to relocate to developing countries, even though the prospect over there might be good.

But perhaps the single most factor that could determine your success is grit – a personal trait that embodies perseverance. Successful entrepreneurs and investors tend to have a high level of AQ, and this is often reflected in their grit. Life is never a bed of rose. You need to pick yourself up, dust yourself and stand up to challenges that come your way. Along the way, you would find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Till then, enjoy the ride.

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3 thoughts on “Programming your mind to financial success

  • November 7, 2018 at 1:11 am

    It’s a good write up to start the day with. Full of encouragement. Thanks, Gerald.

  • November 7, 2018 at 3:02 am

    Hi Mr Lim,

    Thank you for the comment. I am making this article free to access so that more Singaporeans can benefit.


  • November 7, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of the way you were treated and labelled in school. But hey, look where you are now! Not many people can turn their life around, so thanks for putting your experience to encourage the down-trodden.

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