If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again… You can dust it off and try again (Aaliya sung in 2001 – Try again)
I wanted to make a post about MINDSET as I believe that this (and taking consistent action) is what sets successful people apart. For me, I’ve personally experienced quite a few failures before being able to (now) celebrate the successes. Where a lot of people would have given up where they have encountered challenges or failure, it is important to keep pushing mental boundaries, try different strategies and continuously work on yourself (your wellbeing, knowledge, application and skillset), until you REACH YOUR GOALS!
I love the ‘NIKE’ motto – ‘JUST DO IT!“. It ANNOYS me immensely when people make excuses constantly to justify have failed to do XYZ and go on to criticize others who are successful. What they probably haven’t seen or appreciated is the hard graft that goes on behind the scenes and the sacrifices made. But even if they had….if their mindset is not right, would this make a difference? For me personally, my mindset, attitude and WORK ETHICS stems from parents (and grandparents), memories of how hard they worked when they came to the UK and the life teachings they passed on to us. I have provided the below extract from the book I am currently writing, in particular this extract is about MUM AND DAD’S PROPERTY JOURNEY. I hope this will inspire YOU the reader to adjust your mindset and take action…. after all, if my parents could achieve this with broken English and no internet….you should be able to do much better!
MUM AND DAD
My parents came from Taiwan to the UK without much, particularly my dad. He was a superstar basketball player with his twin brother in Taiwan and moved through school and college easily because of his athletic ability but didn’t get much of an education apart from being good at Maths. He was particularly popular because of his good looks and the leader amongst his pack of friends/followers. When he came to the UK in his early 20’s it was a massive culture shock for him and he quickly realized that his HOOP SHOOTING skills were not an asset. He could hop on a plane back to TAIWAN or he could stay in the UK and try and try and make something of himself. Although not the most GLAM, he got a job as a HUMAN DISHWASHER in the China Town kitchens. He made a vow to himself that he would work through the ranks and become the youngest head chef one day. Thus, the hands that only touched basketballs previously became swollen from being in contact with water for too long and scarred from cuts gained from vegetable chopping exercises. He would memorize recipes and practice ‘speed chopping’ of vegetables whilst his colleagues were sleeping and would survive on 2-3 hours sleep a night. He did reach his GOAL within 2 years and was the youngest head chef in London at that point. However, he surveyed the kitchen he was working in and decided that he wanted to be the BOSS and own his own restaurant one day!
DAD’S FIRST BREAK
My earliest memory of my dad was when he opened his first restaurant (called ‘SHAO TAO’) in Cambridge in 1985. ‘Shao Tao’ literally means ‘Small Tao’ which is what everyone called my dad, being the youngest of 5 brothers in his family. I was only 3 at that time. I learned later that this was his first successful business and he had failed on 2 restaurant Joint Ventures previously in London. With his broken English (and its still pretty much the same now ), he managed to convince a bank manager in Cambridge to lend him GBP15,000 for his first restaurant in Cambridge. Things were different in the 80’s and that bank manager must have saw something he liked in my dad, took a risk despite dad’s lack of track record and gave him his first break.
My dad was determined and to some extent desperate to make things work as he had 4 mouths to feed – me who was only 3 years old at that time, my mum and also my nan to look after. My parents would put the restaurant tables together in the night for us to sleep on IN THE BASEMENT (of the restaurant) and I remember that they bundled me up so tight and I literally could not move, so that I wouldn’t catch a cold as we had no heating in the basement. Looking back, I remember HAVING A BLAST because I got to meet everyone in the business. From greeting restaurant clients, to going to see the live FISHES and LOBSTERS being delivered, but most importantly, I got to see my parents all the time.
They would send me to the BASEMENT and I would sneakily run upstairs and get lost in the full swing of a busy restaurant until someone took me back down again. We stayed for a couple of months in the basement of Shao Tao (which was cold and damp) and my nan eventually caught a bad cold which motivated my dad to buy a house as soon as possible. You see, in OUR CULTURE we don’t like renting, but we love property and we love to buy, this is ingrained. Looking back, it must have been HEART BREAKING for my parents to see their baby and mother live huddled in a cold basement. Indeed, it brings a lump to my throat when I think about it now. But both parents were SO FOCUSED as our livelihood depended on them, so it wasn’t long before they were able to put a deposit on a house and we moved out of the BASEMENT.
When we moved to the new house, my amazing BABY BROTHER ‘William’ was born. I personally felt very lonely at the new house, because I didn’t get to see my parents that much at all – they would come home around midnight and then leave for work again around 10am. They worked all hours between the 2 of them and a Tunisian manager they employed – my ‘UNCLE ALI’. They got laughed at by the Chinese Community then, for employing someone not in their culture but the good thing is, my parents DIDN’T CARE! They valued Uncle Ali for his quick wit, work ethic and skillset and he was and still is very close to our hearts although he has gone back to Tunisia with his family now.
On the weekends, in order to spend more time with my parents and at my parents request (I think I was around 12 years old at the time), I would scrub the greasy kitchen floors and walls and clean the TOILETS… and I was made to go back and clean the toilets until they SPARKLED! Although I didn’t understand it at the time and there were times when I ‘hated’ cleaning the toilets, I now look back and thank my parents from the bottom of my heart for making me do that – my ‘toilet cleaning days’. It taught me the value of hard work (and that I didn’t want to be a toilet cleaner!) and to not be LAZY.
HOW THEY GOT STARTED IN PROPERTY
Through their hard work of having a restaurant as a cashflow base and a ‘reputable’ relationship with the bank manager, the same bank manager then went on to lend my parents money for various real estate projects. I remember visiting building sites with my dad and would then fall asleep whilst he and his Jewish business partner then (a builder) would draw plans on how they wanted to re-develop that property. Therefore, my love for real estate was probably ingrained in my subconsciousness from a young age. Although I didn’t personally get into investing in real estate until I turned 30, my dad always told me that ‘your BIGGEST BUSINESS PARTNER IS THE BANK!’
My dad’s most notable development was a PUB CONVERSION into 3 retail units and 4 apartments above in the 1990s which is still in the family portfolio (although the leases to the flats were sold off). After, my dad’s business partner passed away due to a sudden heart attack, my dad then went to China for over 10 years and didn’t continue with property development in the UK. NOW, my dad is still WAITING for me to follow in his footsteps and I promised him I would and that he would be around to witness this. I often get reminded about the SHOPPING MALL I mentioned in my interview with mentor Samuel Leeds, maybe not a shopping mall, but I am definitely working towards some bigger re-development projects: Click here
At an age where we have the INTERNET right at our finger tips to access information, access to online education and know-how (such as Samuel Leeds’ U-Tube videos), I absolutely believe that there are no viable excuses which should prevent YOU in succeeding in BUSINESS AND PROPERTY. If my dad, someone who barely had secondary school education with very little ENGLISH could do it, YOU CAN TOO! He is living proof of that…and is also my motivation to keep pushing and advancing
Please feel free to comment and let me know what inspires you and your mindset….for me, as you can see, its my family xoxox