David Yeh Jr.: Pain points are turning points
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The title of David Yeh Jr. – Chief Empowerment Officer of Destiny Research Institute– very much illustrates the fine gentleman’s philosophy and life goal: Empowerment,Destiny and Research. Overcoming countless ups and downs, while others may feel completely defeated in similar circumstances, David has only seen his challenging life path a process for him to transcend, and in turn, to help others. As a result, he founded Destiny Research Institute, an organization that promotes emotional fitness and offers coaching resolutions that support growth and development of executives, teams and individuals via courses, talks and workshops.
Born with a silver spoon, David had a hard time hiding his emotions against his parents’ discord when he was in his teenage. Upon his parents’ divorce, he made a promise to himself that he would work extremely hard on his own marriage to avoid repeating his parents’ mistakes in leaving the children with a broken family. After graduating from university in the United States, he joined his father’s company and worked in New York. One morning after two years, his father brought him to a very grand building on Fifth Avenue. The door of a board room opened, and there he saw a room of professionals, namely lawyers, accountants and auditors. With a smile on his face, David recalled, “In front of everyone, my father told me that he had sold the company because he believed that if I were put in charge, the company would meet its demise after half a year! Whenever I recollect this memory, even now, after 20 years, the mixed feelings of disappointment, humiliation, betrayal and disgrace still kick in. It was only until later that I discovered: pain points in your life are actually turning points that force you to think deeply and open the door onto the next journey. These pain points have to be severe enough to force you out of your comfort zone and strive to survive.”
David added, “The feeling of shame drove me to find a greater goaland work hard for it, not wanting to be looked down on. At that time, I thought very highly of money and the power that came with it, and thus decided to join the stock market, aiming to earn tens of million within a short period of time. I started a company with a friend but did not end well due to the lack of experience and effective communication. I had to sell my apartment and started a frugal life. In order to save money to pay off my debts, there was a time when my wife and I could only spend 20 dollars each on meals. When SARS attacked Hong Kong, I took the opportunity, worked very hard and made a lot of money.
When I thought life was about to move on to a straight road, my mother was diagnosed with stage-three Ovarian Cancer. In shock, I questioned myself whether I had neglected my family while pursuing for my career. In 2007, my daughter was born and brought light to my life. In the same year, my wife was constantly bothered by severe back pain. After a detailed checkup, she was diagnosed with stage-three Breast Cancer.” “It was a time of tears. I kept questioning God for my misfortunes. The two most important women of my life left me respectively within one year. Alongside with funeral arrangements, I had a one-year-old to take care of. At the same time, my company was losing tens of million because of the financial tsunami in 2008. My life plummeted; but luckily, I have some good friends who never hesitate to render support and assistance. Tommy Chen, who is now my business partner at Destiny Research Institute, made ceaseless effort to help me put myself together.
He reminded me to stay strong albeit my traumas. I had dropped 20pounds in weight. I was losing appetite, suffering from insomnia, losing interest towards everything and failed to find meaning in life. My friend introduced a Chinese medicine practitioner to me who diagnosed that my hormones were all messed up. After a few months of treatment, I regained my appetite and weight, and I was able to sleep better. I then realized that one’s spirit has serious influence towards both mental and physical wellbeing. When you are in good spirits, your mindset will change. Tommy then encouraged me to think about whether there were any new things that I wished to try. I thought it was time to reconnect to others, rebuild my social life and find a new direction in my career. Tommy was doing risk management for some SMEs and family-owned businesses, so I thought: ‘Isn’t emotional fitness a core deterrent to risk?’ In the past decade, I have focused on individual development, psychology studies and helping others with mastery in relationships and emotional fitness. Not only do sharing ideas and spreading positive vibes help others but also bring me satisfaction.”
“To reinvent oneself, one must shift the way one thinks. Our thoughts and how we define ourselves are often under the influence of ‘conditioning’, be it from parents, mentors, siblings or other important people in our lives. For example, if someone denied your singing talent when you were in choir, you might not believe in yourself anymore and would simply give up singing rather than honing your skills through practice and training. These ‘conditioned’ thoughts enter our brains through our subconscious minds and drive us into making decisions and taking actions.” “In order to reinvent ourselves and thus make an impact on others, we need to first understand ourselves. Such cognitive understanding is made up of seven components. The first one is our model of the world or belief system – each of us has a unique perception of the world. Secondly, from this perception we define our identities, which dictate our behaviours. For instance, when you identify yourself as a responsible father rather than an indifferent parent, the subsequent thoughts that occur will affect how you educate your children. Third is values, and more importantly their order of importance. Let’s say your values are integrity, friendship and punctuality. However, their priority will lead to completely different worldviews: if love is your utmost important value, you will naturally view the people and things around you with love; if punctuality is your core belief, you will not be late to any meeting. Understanding the priority of your values allows you to be aware of what holds the most significance in your life.”
“Fourth is rules. Fifth is the set of specific rules you have set for yourself when the initial rules in number four fail. Sixth is our vehicles. Take love as an example: what vehicles, gifts or words, do you use to express love? Last is the 10 meta-programmes that everyone has. These dictate how the messages in our brains are processed and thus how they affect our behaviours, decisions and reactions to the external environment. For example, when a group of people go shopping, some’s meta-programme would be their budget, while others value convenience. Understanding the seven principles above allows a better understanding of ourselves, as well as the reasons behind the ways we perceive and handle situations. They also apply to getting to know your family members, colleagues and even clients’ behaviours, thoughts and needs.”
Destiny Research Institute now offers business modules tailor-made for companies to enhance senior management personnel’s time management, leadership, executive and communication skills. There are also relationship mastery courses that focus on interpersonal relationships. Moreover, David recommended courses on emotional mastery, “In terms of emotional health, Hong Kong is way behind many other countries. In the United States and Europe, a lot of big corporations prioritize emotional fitness of their employees. There are solutions to a lot of practical scenario. For instance, one can take the following steps to resolve interpersonal conflicts: first, you need to flee from the scene and break the pattern, or distract yourself with a shower, a run or a glass of water, or else it can be difficult to calm down.
Secondly, meet with the other person after a while, explore, recollect and learn to appreciate his/her best qualities. Then, align your interests. When a couple fight over the way they want to educate their children, a smart thing to do is to remove themselves from the scene. After they have calmed down, they can try to appreciate the other person’s presence and effort, and understand that they have a common goal – to provide the best for their children. By following these three steps, both parties would feel much relieved for being appreciated and acknowledged for their contribution and effort. When appreciation appears, fears and worries vanish. When a common interest in found, rapport can be easily built.”
As mentioned in the beginning, young David was troubled by his parents’ divorce and was determined to dedicate himself to a well-managed relationship and marriage. Unfortunately, his first wife passed away and he had to take up the role of a single father. “It was not a easy task. I noticed how my childhood had impacted me, and I could not be sure how my daughter would be impacted by her bumpy childhood. I chose to be as open and honest with her as possible, even when it came to my decision of opening my doors for new relationships. It was based on one belief: if I fail to find myself, how am I able to help others find themselves? The same applies to an emergency situation in a flight cabin: passengers are urged to put on their own oxygen masks before helping others. I believe that a sincere and positive attitude is beneficial to my daughter’s growth as well as our relationship.” Two years ago, David tied the knot with his current wife, and celebrated the arrival of their son last year. The happy family of four reconfirms me that although we do not get to decide on our destiny, we have a choice on how it impacts us. We do not get to choose our life, but it is up to us on how to live it.