Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thank You Mr. Steven Jong

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy".
Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights icon.

How Do You React to Setbacks?When problems come up, how do you react? Do you look for blame, or do shoulder what you can and try to repair it? Do you throw up your hands and look for an easier way, or do you learn, adapt and keep pushing? There's a lot of talk nowadays about 'personal responsibility'. That's great. But it's usually brought up only in finding fault. It's true that to show 'responsibility' is to own up to your role in the problem's cause. We don't often hear about the other side of responsibility--an obligation to be part of the solution. Even when a hardship is not your fault at all, you can--and should--do what you can to fix it. Your skills and abilities create an obligation that only your character can fulfill.
(Taken from SparkPeople's Healthy Reflections.- SparkPeople.com)

It will only be appropriate that I begin my post with a wise saying from Martin Luther King Jr. and an extract from SparkPeople's Healthy Reflections (you must subscribe to this site. Lots of valuable info).
Last weekend I attended a Leadership Workshop in Kuantan. I always look forward to Herbalife's trainings and seminars. They are geared towards personal development and development of character. Long story short, one of the sessions blew all of us, conducted by a trainer we only knew by name. His name is Steven Jong.
Steven Jong is a Taiwanese currently living in Thailand. His session was almost 1hr 20 mins. 'short'. The remarkable thing about his training was, it was not a training per Se, but a sharing of his experiences. That in itself was a training. So many things to learn. So many tips on personal development. Not the kind you read from books. Yes books are good, excellent..Jim Rohn, Zig Zigglar, Robin Sharma, Denis Waitley etc.
Steven shared how he moved up the ladder of success. Even with encounters of adverse trials and challenges, not once but twice, he picked himself up, never sought self-pity, and continued his journey to the Top. I listened with awe as I believed all of us in the auditorium did as well. As Steven shared his experiences, I learned 4 things which I WANT to share with all. Even to those who think I'm false and insincere. To each his own.

Steven Jong taught me character. You see Steven was a brilliant and proud Taiwanese student almost 11 years ago. How he endured the early years of selling in trains and streets. The ignominy and ridicule of family and relatives and friends. The lowering of self-pride in borrowing money from a friend to start a business. Not until he was willing to bow down low and acknowledged that he was ready to learn, his knowledge and pride stood in his way of success. Steven recognised this and from there build a strong and commanding character which is now his strength - his humility.

When the chips were down, he never sought self-pity. He said, 'This is where I fell, this is where I will get up'. And got up he did. You see, all the wealth he worked for was taken away from him because of one technical error. Some one's error cost Steven everything he worked hard for. What's worse was he had to repay the Company the years of earnings that was credited to him. It took him 2 years to settle the returns. In those two years, he did not earn what he was worth. But true to his character, he got up and went to work, again, focused and more determined to succeed. He persisted. Lesser people would have thrown in the towel. Me first. That's why I was sad. Sad because I knew I was not half of what the stuff and substance Steven is made of. There was silence in the auditorium. We were all ears. Some teary-eyed maybe. Then, another blow. It happened a second time to him. Again, all he worked for was taken away again because of one small technical error. No fault of Steven's. But an error is an error. Even people with strong character would quit this time..the second time. But not Steven Jong. He got up yet again and pressed on the the mark, his goal, his dream. He was focused. He persisted.

Even as a brilliant student, obtaining a job offer ( only 2 was selected from the thousands interviewed in Taiwan) from Microsoft, he shared that his maturity was an all-time low. He judged people by what they wore and how they dressed. His mentor told him he was superficial. His mentor also told him that when he was ready and humble enough to learn, he will not teach/coach Steven. You see his mentor flew all the way from USA to meet with Steven. The success story of Steven had reached the USA. But it took a wise and experienced mentor to notice an uncut diamond-Steven- and how this uncut diamond needed to be worked on. Only when Steven humbled himself to worked upon, that uncut diamond became a gem.

It took Steven years to be transformed from a brilliant but desperate student to a modest, gracious and successful person. The years of trials and challenges moulded him to be successful. He was teachable, he was focused, he was persistent. Success was not what he had achieved. Success was what he had finally become.

I sat at my table, with my wife next to me, and wondered, and wondered, and wondered. How would I have fared if I was put through these same challenges. Would I have persisted. I know the answer. Now I must work on it.
Thank You Mr. Steven Jong.


J.T. said...

Mr Jong's persistence is what strikes me most. I don't know if I would be that strong - to pick myself up not once but twice.
We were in a predicament last year (though I think it was as bad as Mr Jong's case) but we pulled ourselves through and lived on whatever savings we had till another job came along. The lost of job was due to an error beyond our control. However, this situation did not go away without blaming some outside force that put us in an uncomfortable position.
Now, that we are on our way back to sure footing, I realised things like that happened to make one stronger. We learn through hardships. It teaches us humility. I believe that persistence to survive develops one's character.

J.T. said...

Oh dear.. there was an error in my sentence. I meant to say "although I think it was not as bad as Mr Jong's case".
Not "though I think it was as bad as".

zorro said...

Tony, I remember telling a participant in one of my sessions who was down and out during the 97 fiasco. "If you stay down (feeling sorry for yourself and saying that everybody and everything is against you) people do two things to you....they either kick you out of their way, or they walk over you." Today this guy is doing well in his own below-the-line ad agency.

J.T. said...

How true, Zorro. Thanks for those words of wisdom.

Tony, my brother told me he met you last weekend.

Raden Galoh said...

Dear Tony, I'm humbled reading your entry..this is a good piece of advice... a profound thoughts to ponder...for me especially... Thank you for sharing what you heard and know about Steven...and thank you steven for sharing the personal journey until sucess is reached...