I became an organizational development consultant at a very young age of 28. That time all the other three members of the TQM team were above forty. My close alliance and role model at that time was a person by the name of Dr. Ibrahim Nur. I always mesmerized by the way Dr. Ibrahim conducted his counseling sessions. He always had something up his sleeves. He turned out to be a very smart guy and an amateur magician.
The knowledge gap was big. Considering he nearly doubled my age, Dr. Ibrahim treated me more like an apprentice than a colleague. During break time we will sit down and discussed ideas and nothing excite me more than new ideas I can implement in my newly found career.
One day we were on the topic of personal values. I asked him what are the things he valued most. Without hesitation, Dr. Ibrahim said, "peace of mind, sanity, and robust health." Now you must understand, Dr. Ibrahim is a very passionate man. When he talks, his verbal and non-verbal expressions capture your imagination.
"Peace of mind, sanity and rrrobust health!" stressed Dr. Ibrahim, akin to the nutty professor in Back to the Future, starring Christopher Lloyd.
"Well, what's the difference between peace of mind and sanity?" I asked.
"Peace of mind," explained Dr. Ibrahim, "is having to know that everything around you is fine while sanity is the state of your mental health."
"That's it?" I asked again. "No need for money?"
"When you have all these, money will take care of itself." replied Dr. Ibrahim with full commitment.
"And of robust health? Why must it be robust? Why not just be good health?" I was curious.
"It must be rrrobust, because you are going to be in your top most form all the time. Nothing less than a perfect ten in your health area. These three are interdependent. You lose one you lose the others." quipped Dr. Ibrahim in all seriousness, eyebrows frowned and facial expression stern.
Then he winked his eye and smile. The famous Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka smile.
"This guy had nailed it," I said to myself. I immediately put the philosophy into action. And so my unlikely journey to stardom began.
Within two years I started my own consulting practice. Initially, everything was rosy and dandy. Business was good. In the five years I was running Sharudin Jamal & Associates, I doubled and tripled my sales revenue every year. I was on the roll. Sharudin Jamal of Sharudin Jamal & Associates. It cannot get any better than this. I became a millionaire at the age of thirty-three. In the seven years as a consultant, I accumulated close to five million Ringgit, gross (a little over USD one million). Just by doing what I love best, sharing knowledge.
Another consultant that I knew said, "we are fortunate that people are lazy to read. Otherwise, we will be out of business." I nodded in agreement. Consulting is my cup of tea. I like to read and I like to help others. If the trend continues, I will be retiring at the age of forty. I then made the fatal mistake. I started counting the chickens before they hatched.
Nevertheless, I was a diligent worker. I slogged day and night to make it through. I started missing my meals and sleep. I worked around the clock and on weekends too. Soon my health deteriorated. I was jittery and tense. I began to despise my life. But, I endured. It was not until late 1999, the crap hit the fan. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Affected Disorder. At that time it was known as the Manic Depressive Disorder.
All the king's horses and all the king's men, cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again.
There goes everything. Without robust health, I lose my peace of mind and sanity. At first, it was the illusion of grandeur, then I slipped into deep depression. I got to close my business and join employment. Nothing seemed to work. Suicidal thought crept in. It's not that I wanted to kill myself, it's the dark cloud looming over me that made it too encompassing.
I didn't know what to do. I even went to a shaman who buried me in the sand in a beach located in another state as part of the remedy I was seeking. My wife and I were desperate, we didn't have experience dealing with mental illness before, so we were willing to try anything as long as there was hope for the cure.
It didn't work. It's like Van Gogh last words "La trisste durera toujours", which translate to "The sadness will last forever."
It was the kind Dr. Kassim, the friendly neighborhood doctor that suggested that I should go and see a psychiatrist after I met him asking for sleeping pills, since I was not able to sleep for three days.
Again, the road was not smooth. I had to experiment with different kind of medications to suit my brain chemicals. Finally, after more than twelve years, there was a scientific breakthrough. There is a cure - Paliperidone. The price is I have to take an RM550 a month time released jab for my entire life. Otherwise, I won't be writing and contributing articles to this blog.
I will be like one of those homeless guys you find on the streets. Maybe a bit better because I had my loved one to care for me.
I survived purgatory and I am now back on my feet again. So friends, rrrobust health... No amount of money can equate to that.