Reflecting on the Past, Celebrating the Future


My 45th birthday came and went in an almost uneventful manner. But it marked a most significant moment in my life.

It started in Penang after completing 4 days of tutorial there. Lucy and I woke up in a hotel room at 7am to get ready to leave after breakfast. While checking out, the cashier noticed my birthday and quietly wished me. Our flight was delayed and we got back later than expected. I got an SMS from my dear Alison and that was the second wish for the day.

After getting back into Singapore, we rushed around to get the kids from the in-law’s and get lunch and run a few errands. I got a quick shut-eye before leaving for class at 6pm. Lucy decided not to come along as she was tired and wanted to spend time with the kids instead. Upon arriving at AKLTG, there were a few more quiet birthday wishes from the staff and some of my students.

The day ended with the end of the class. The market paid tribute to me by going bear at the start of the trading day. Driving home, I had some quiet time to myself and reflected on what had happened … not just today, but for the last 45 years of my life. Strains of Eagle’s “Hotel California” boomed through my car speakers and it brought me back to a time when this song was shit-hot – 1977 – when at the age of 13, I became an entrepreneur.

As a successful teenage entrepreneur, I had always harbored the dream of financially retiring by age 45. After leaving the Navy in 1985, I busted my ass to achieve this goal. As history has it written, I blew out several times with each failure outperforming the last. Each blow out pushed this dream further and further away and made it more and more unrealistic. The final blow came in 2001 when it seemed virtually impossible and mathematically improbable at 38 years of age and bankrupt.

Then, by 2006, my life was back on track but that dream of financial independence and freedom was still a long way off and still improbable with less than 3 years remaining. Although I had mathematically given up on that dream, I still kept it in sight on my Dream (Vision) Board. Deep within my heart, I still believed.

If there is one thing that this life has taught me, it would be that …

… success comes to those who work that dream the hardest and believe in it the longest.

During a conversation with Adam around the early part of 2008, I told him that I felt guilty that I was making big money now after only 3 years of hard work and barely a year after my bankruptcy discharge. What he told me then, echoed within those strains of “Hotel California” and made me think about my life and how all my past events have let me to this point in life. He said that it didn’t take me three years to achieve this success – rather, it took my teenage years of entrepreneurship, my 30 months in the service, 20 years in the media business and those awful years in bankruptcy – it was a culmination of joining the dots in my life that led me here. Everything in my past happened for a reason and it was to lead me to this point in my life. As I reflect on my past and ponder my future, as I drive along the PIE to go home to my loving wife and my beautiful kids, I realized that …

Birthdays celebrations are empty events unless you reflect on the past and celebrate the future – appreciate that all the past dots in your life have happened for a reason and celebrate where they are about to lead you to in the future.

No presents, no cake, no big hoo-ha … just me, myself and my trusty Suzuki with the Eagles to help me reminisce.

I would like to wish myself an extremely Happy 45th Birthday and congratulate myself for never giving up, for never losing sight,  for never taking anything or anyone for granted and for each and every blessing I have received for which my dream has been delivered in spite of all the odds and failures in my first 45 years. I now have a new dream – to be happy with what I have and to help others realize their dreams.

Here’s to me as I celebrate the rest of my life which begins this November 2009.

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Hey Shifu, Happy Birthday!

Hi Conrad,

Sometimes its not just the final destination but the journey itself. Along the way, I’m sure there was some sweet smelling flowers too..

Happy 45th Birthday!

Happy Birthday to you!
Your life stories has been inspirational to me…

Belated happy birthday Conrad! Wishing you many happy returns and continue to enjoy more good trading years…Cheers!




Hi Conrad

Happy belated birthday.

Thanks for sharing. You have just given me strength to prod on and tackle the unknown in life.

Wishing you the very best.


Ginny Sim
Batch 31

Dear Conrad,

Belated birthday wishes !!!!
It’s a great beginning of another great end..


Happy belated birthday Conrad.
Wishing you many profit days in any season, either bear, bull or sideways. Thanks for being our shifu and always share with us.
Lani Maruta

Happy birthday Sir! Inspirational post!

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