“The mind thinks in pictures, you know. One good illustration is worth a thousand words. But one clear picture built up in the reader’s mind by your words is worth a thousand drawings, for the reader colors that picture with his own imagination, which is more potent than all the brushes of all the world’s artists.”
– Robert Collier
She asked me, “What’s your name?” Behind her, twenty faces stared at me, holding their breath, waiting for me to say something. But I couldn’t say a thing. My throat was dry, my hands sweaty, and my vision blurred.
“What’s your name?” She asked me again. But all I heard was an echo. Like the sounds you hear when you are submerged in water.
I looked up, caught her eye, and wished I had the words to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.” That was my first day at school. I was 4 years old and had just migrated to Australia.
For over 20 years of my life many people were convinced that I was disabled when it came to the written and spoken word. That I had nothing to say, and nothing I wanted to share.
I believed them.
As a result, I lived in fear of what others would think of me if I expressed myself. I even had nightmares of being wrongly judged for who I truly was deep inside. I did my best to stay out of sight and out of mind.
As a 4-year-old immigrant from Malaysia, this was the safest option I could take. I was different. And I couldn’t hide it. I had slant eyes, dark hair, and I didn’t speak English.
So there I was, at school. I ate lunch alone in the park, I was picked last on sports teams, and I was picked on for trying to even join in on games with the other children.
Had my father been around to see it, he would have gone red in the face and puffed his chest. Me? I just sat down, lowered my head, and swung my legs to-and-fro to pass the time.
All I really wanted were friends. But it was easier to go home, eat something, and burrito myself in bed. Not because I was tired. But because it offered me hope. Hope that this was all a dream. One that I would wake up from, eventually.
Gladly, life didn’t stay grim for that long. Deep inside, I knew I had much more to offer life. And I knew life had much more to offer me too.
I could feel within me an eternal value that was surging to be offered to the world at large. And I often thought, “If I can tap into that, everything in my life will change!”
But like a diamond, a substance of eternity needs to be forged under the immense pressure of terrestrial forces. What I lacked in ability, I made up with movement. I put my backside on the front-seat and got on with life! And slowly and sure, life got on with me …
I was presented great teachers and opportunities for growth; opportunities to look in the mirror without the compulsion to turn away.
It started with martial arts (Taekwondo). I dedicated (and still do) over a decade to the unification of mind, body, and soul. Under the loving guidance of my masters, I developed the confidence, certainty, and courage to be in the world with full force.
Meanwhile, I also worked multiple jobs in the areas of hospitality, customer service, management consulting, engineering, and sales. It helped me pay the bills. But more importantly, all my bosses (whether they knew it or not) directed me closer to what I truly wanted to do in life; to use words to change minds, tremor hearts, and extend the ways we connect.
But any fire that burns bright starts with a spark. For me, that spark came with tears. At 28 years of age, my dear friend Andrea Cozzi passed away. Death touched Andrea and accompanied him elsewhere.
However, death also left a scent. One that made my nose twitch and freed me from a trance. So, I decided then and there to plan my exit from my job, and make it as a paid writer; focusing on communications mastery; verbal and non-verbal, written and spoken, said and unsaid.
From sunrise to sunset, I used every opportunity to tap away at my keyboard for 1095 days consecutively. Writing what? Whatever I felt, whatever I learned, and whatever I wanted to understand.
Within a matter of months, the metallic paint on my laptop faded from the sweat off my palms. I didn’t drink. I didn’t attend parties. I declined to attend work functions. I didn’t even date.
It was worth it. Eventually, I was earning enough money to replace my full-time income. At first a trickle. Then a stream.
The money was good. But the feeling was better …
The feeling of getting paid to do what you love.
Today, that has empowered me to travel the world, meet wonderful people, and continue my journey in communications mastery.
What was once immensely shackling became my tool for liberation. Through persistence and hands-on experience, I synthesized a philosophy and system of inquiry that anyone can use to change the way they (and others) think, and shift the way they feel about their life as whole.
The tool? Words. The permutations of words we convey, and the permutations of words we receive. Both of which can be used to:
- Craft a message that is distinct in a world where everyone seems to be saying, doing, and promising the same thing. A message that respectfully greets the hearts and minds of people worldwide.
- Communicate with yourself, other-Selves and Life itself. A way of interaction that allows us to transform our experience of the many facets that comprise our precious journey called Life.
- Summon a new experience you want in life. Whether that is changing jobs, entering more fulfilling relationships, or simply experiencing greater grace and gratitude for Life itself.