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Own Your Story #37 with Richard Ong: Live a life of passion

When I met Richard in 2017, I never knew that we would embark on the journey of self-publishing our first book together and changed each other’s life. Without him as a partner, I wouldn’t have the courage to go it alone.

When we reunited on-screen for a podcast, many things have changed but Richard is still the same bright person who brings light to people around him. He reminded me so much about simple (but hard) things in life — passion, values, relationship, gratitude and more.

Angel and giant in life

Since the first time we met, Richard told me about the importance of angels and giants in our lives. Angels are the ones who come along to give us guidance and mentorship, they come and go but they share their wisdom with us.

Giants, on the other hand, are rare and hard to find. They are the ones who lift us up on their shoulder and take us to places, it could be a new opportunity, new career path, or something that changes our lives forever. Giants support and carry us when they see something special in us.

2 most important things in life & career

When Richard left his corporate job in an MNC after 13 years, he burst the HR bubble and found himself ‘lost’. During that time, a giant imparted him an important lesson that forever changed his life philosophy. He learned that all leaders do 2 things consistently — create values and build meaningful relationships.

In entrepreneurship, money is the by-product when one creates values for customers, partners and stakeholders. People don’t usually care about how many companies a person own, they care about how a company creates values for them. In the process of creating values, we earn trust from the bosses, clients, partners, investors and others by building a relationship.

At the end of life, the things that define our lives are also values we’ve created and the relationship we’ve built.

Seek for your passion and devote your life to it

Richard dove deep into the subject of ‘passion’ and published a fiction about it. From his research, ‘passion’ is a word used in the 17th century in the bible to represent the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. It is something that we need to pay to do.

Another word synonymous to passion is devotion, which indicates our connection to another human being. Passion is highly correlated to values and relationships because it means that we are willing to sacrifice time, energy or money in order to create values for people.

In Richard’s words, passion takes time to realise and it could be a painful process, but it’s worthwhile to seek for our passion and devote our lives to it because passion gives meaning to life.

Passion for a balanced life

When it comes to Richard’s own passion, he pointed that there are 4 areas in life that have to be balanced in order to live a holistic purposeful life: spirituality, mind, heart and body. The spiritual part of life encompasses family, close friends, values and mantra. To him, this is the most important quadrant among all because if this collapse, everything else crumbles.

In term of ‘mind’, Richard enjoyed being in the tech world and create new things with his team while he put his ‘heart’ in creative expressions such as book writing, violin, drawing. Richard made sure that he took good care of his body as he is training for a triathlon as we spoke.

How to make a career decision

Having moved from corporate to start-up and back to a corporate environment, I’m curious to know how Richard made these life-changing decisions.

Richard has an exceptionally simple yardstick for this — growth. If he doesn’t feel challenged in work, he would seek for new opportunities and adventures that could enrich his life, in which he usually turns to angels and giants for guidance.

During 3 years in the start-up industry, Richard went through a steep learning curve where he learned the most important life lessons. In a place where entrepreneurs are always in the survival mode, he learned to dampen ego and focus on constantly delivering values and improving the environment.

Advice for young people

While Richard has put up a ‘10-advice’ page on his website, he emphasises on the importance of gratitude and upholding personal values. He reminds me that gratitude is a skill that needed to be learned and practised. If we are grateful for all the little things that go right for us, it will shift our focus to the beauty of life instead of a few things that aren’t going well.

Besides that, Richard strongly believes in running his life based on firm values, so much so that he is willing to sacrifice his job for integrity when it comes to a difficult situation. To him, values are the foundation of trust and relationship that cannot be compromised in any way.

Life well lived

Ever since we worked together on a book launch a year ago, I kept exploring myself while Richard joined an innovative corporate and welcome a second child.

When we met again to chat about life, I was washed over by warmth to know that we live our lives based on the same values and beliefs even though we are on a different path.

Ultimately, a life well lived is not about money and possession, it’s about doing the things that we love for people around us and make a difference in the world being the best version of who we are.

Own Your Story Podcast features interesting guests with fascinating stories and unique perspectives on life, taking viewers on a journey through the lives of others and ultimately inspire them to embark on an adventure of their own.


Richard's Website  |  Richard's FB

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