As with all matters of the heart, you will know when you find it
1. Always hold close to yourself your values in life.
You always have values that you consistently practice subconsciously. Discover that and be as consistent as possible. Ever experience certain things that you do and you end up questioning yourself? That's your value speaking to you. recognize it, acknowledge it and always use it as moral compass and you will be able to make decisions firmly and without guilt. Let that be your guidance from your lust, greed and desire.
2. Don't turn your passion into work. Life is too short to hate your passion
I am not saying you shouldn't earn money from your passion. For those who are working for other people, you would understand, it's not fun working for other people. You gain something at the expense of losing something. You lose time to get promoted, to get more money. Based on my own experience, I totally find it demotivating when all you want to do is have some fun, but do what you love doing for someone is spiritually draining. Art is a form of expression, not business as usual.
3. Don't spend as much as you earn
I dare say that I was lucky to learn this earlier. I used to do this - if I earn RM2,000 I would spend RM2,000 or save whatever was left. But after marriage, I figured that's not right. So I stick to the age old adage of "spend whatever you have left after saving" and that has become the basis of my spending. If I earned RM4,000 I would have only afforded to live the lifestyle of a person who earns RM2,000. All it meant is that I have lesser fancy meals, I become more creative in dressing up, I find cheaper means of enjoying life. I feel much happier now, knowing I have no money left by the end of the month because more money has gone into savings, rather than feeling sad/angry/regret because I spent all money
4. Invest, but invest according to your appetite
So this is a continuation of 3. With the money you have saved, you can now make your money work a little harder for you, or you can work hard and make your money work harder too. I choose to make my money do all the work - low risk, low return. To me, money isn't everything, but some extra cash at the end of the year would be nice. So I put some of my money into simple investment products like FD, which I have 100% confidence on. Some people would say, if you have the money, buy properties, invest in Forex, invest in this invest in that. Anything has a better rate than FD. 80% of people who tells you that made none of the investment. Mind you, buying a house for living is not an investment, it is putting a roof on your head. You don't get money back. Investing in a house that you get lesser rent than what you pay the bank back is a liability until you sell it (to me this sentiment in itself is an undervaluation of your property)
Look, even if you don't invest, for every RM1,000 you save, you are RM1,000 richer than the other person who didn't save.
5. The exchange rates don't matter
Look, how many of you survive on the basis of a stronger exchange rate vs foreign currencies? None! The things that are getting more expensive are the capitalist multinational franchises that you can't stop consuming. Everything else is becoming more accessible. I love to travel - and travelling over the years is either the same or getting cheaper. Which in the end makes exchange rate difference irrelevant. I remember flying to Bangkok hasn't gotten much more expensive than it is today. With the rise of shared economy, what happens is that now we bring economies of scale to a global level. Hotels no longer compete in a local market, the compete on a global scale to secure market share. When the competition is high, the prices get lower. And exchange rates won't matter so much anymore. Just have less Starbucks is what I'm saying :)
6. You can never repay your parents enough
Parents are the reason you exist in this world, and have cared for you for the rest of your life. If there's anyone you have to repay, it would be them. Everyone has a different way of repaying their parents, some are monetary, some in kind, whatever you do always have them in everything that you do. My commitment is to call them at least once every week, increase the allowances, continue to pay for their house, take them to a holiday once a year, pay their insurance, etc etc. I couldn't do all this when I first started out, but step by step I do more and more. Sometimes we take for granted and we spend on other things, but we should always remember their contributions.
7. Always take a step back and see things in perspective
My respect goes to people who always look forward and drive. However, I personally feel the danger of doing so is you tend to move into the narrow end of the funnel - it stops you from viewing things from other angles. Every now and then I take time to reflect. That gives you a sense of purpose, that you've come a long way from where you are now. That gives you time to re-focus and re-strategize. That's what leaders do - every now and then they stop at a check point, and re evaluate. This is the only way you can look at the big picture, clearly see how you can learn from mistakes, and clearly see where you've done right. AND, appreciate yourself. You may not like where you are now... your peers are way ahead of you, but if you just take a moment and reflect, things aren't that bad, from where you began and where you are now, you're leaps and bounds ahead, from how you started you have a house now, you're leaps and bounds ahead.
8. It's nothing wrong to stay in a comfort zone, just remember to find new comfort zones
What does it mean to feel uncomfortable? This is very subjective and very misleading, when people say stay out of your comfort zone...but how much is enough? Rather than saying stay out of your comfort zone, remember this: you worked hard to reach a comfort zone. You don't want to lose that comfort, so why stay out of your comfort zone? Just work a little harder, find that pocket of opportunity and you should reach a new high! Don't Stay out of your comfort zone, for god's sake!
9. Abstinence as a way to resist temptation.
I worked in the vice industry and I believe that you are presented with so much temptations in many occassions. This experience, coupled with my fitness regime helped me build this value. I always believe if you don't want to get tempted then don't go near to the temptation from the start. I always believe that you could resist a temptation maybe once, or twice, but if I tempt you a hundred times, you would succumb. If you know you're going to be tempted then just abstain from it from the start. Otherwise you're just weak at heart.
10. It's not hard to make the right decisions.
My aunt said this... If you found someone you love, then just get married! I totally agree and I don't see why it's so hard to get married to someone. Right decisions aren't hard to make, it's the wrong ones that you think a lot about. Like what the late Steve Jobs said: "as with all matters of the heart, you will know when you find it."