In this episode, I interview author, speaker, and coach Simon Alexander Ong, whose Unlock Moment was sitting in the crowd at a Tony Robbins event, realising he was more fascinated by how Robbins created that incredible impact on his audience than he was in the content of Robbins’ talk. From a background working at Lehman Brothers in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, over the course of a decade, Simon reinvented himself as a personal development entrepreneur and has now published his first book, ‘Energize’, out now with Penguin. In a world where we are always ‘on’, Simon coaches you to work with your natural energy resources to recognize your most energized state. Simon is a seasoned speaker and author and I’m delighted that he is the first Master Locksmith episode on The Unlock Moment podcast.
Visit his website – https://www.simonalexanderong.com/
Buy Energize at https://getenergizebook.com/
Gary Crotaz 0:02
My name’s Dr. Gary Crotaz. And I’m a coach and author of The IDEA Mindset, a book about how to figure out what you want, and how to get it. The Unlock Moment is that flash of remarkable clarity, when you suddenly know the right path ahead. When I’m in conversation with my coaching clients, these are the breakthroughs that are so profound, that they remember vividly, where they were, who they were with, what they were thinking, when their Unlock Moment happened. In this podcast, I’ll be meeting and learning about people who have accomplished great things or brought about significant change in their life, and you will be meeting them with me. We’ll be finding out what inspired them, how they got through the hard times, and what they learned along the way that they can share with you. Thank you for joining me on this podcast to hear all about another Unlock Moment. Hello dear listener, and welcome to another episode of The Unlock Moment podcast. Simon Alexander Ong is a personal development entrepreneur, coach and public speaker. I first came across him when I saw one of his many videos he shares on YouTube and was immediately impressed with the clarity and focus that he brings to his message. Simon’s clients are from all walks of life, but they share one trait – they all believe that the greatest investment you can make is in yourself. His work has seen him invited onto Sky News, BBC Radio London and LBC while Barclays UK featured him in a nationwide campaign asking him questions on how families could embrace better lifestyle habits. His insights have seen him featured in HuffPost, Forbes, Virgin and The Guardian. He regularly speaks at organisations and keynotes for public events and conferences. Simon’s debut book ‘Energize’ is published by Penguin on the 21st of April 2022. And if we’ve got our podcast scheduling right then that’s right around now. Energize has received endorsements from the likes of New York Times bestselling authors, Simon Sinek, Marie Forleo, Keith Ferrazzi, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith and Dorie Clark, I can’t wait to be energised by this conversation. I’m sure you’re feeling the same! Simon. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to The Unlock Moment.
Simon Alexander Ong 2:17
Gary, thank you so much for the very kind introduction, and for having me on your show.
Gary Crotaz 2:22
Thank you so much. I’m looking forward to it. So start off with telling us a little bit about your story. When I watch your talks and videos online, they’re full of amazing insights and thoughts and ideas to help people find clarity in their own lives. But I’d love to start by finding out more about you. And where this all started in your own journey.
Simon Alexander Ong 2:40
Sure, Gary. I grew up in the South East of England, in a county called Kent. And up until I attended university, I had always believed, mistakenly believed actually, that success was defined by my job title, be a banker, be a lawyer, be a doctor, be an accountant. And so I pursued the banking route. After university, I started in the financial services sector in the middle of 2007, which was probably the worst time to begin in that industry, because this was a year before the financial crisis swept across the planet. And just to make things a little more interesting, the first company that I started with was Lehman Brothers, which collapsed into administration just 14 months or so after, after I started as a graduate. And while, while at the time, it was a scary period, you know, I remember talking to my dad and telling him that I’m going to hopefully get a promotion, move up in the company and then decide in a couple of years where I wanted to move next. Unfortunately, that happened very quickly. And I had to make many of those decisions within 18 months of joining my first company. But in hindsight, Gary, it was one of those beautiful blessings in disguise because it kick started, for me, the longest journey that we humans make the inches from my heads to our hearts. And it is never an easy journey, but it is the most important and fulfilling that we will ever embark on. And so even though I stayed in the financial industry for nearly 10 years, I was in and out of jobs, moving from company to company, moving between different roles from research to trading to sales. It started a thought in my head about what could be possible if I was to start working for myself. And it also got me questioning those beliefs that I had held for so long in my life that success was defined by my job title. In fact, I started to question what success meant for me.
Gary Crotaz 4:51
Where did those beliefs come from?
Simon Alexander Ong 4:54
I think it was probably from family and, and school. because, you know, I was in a position in which nobody in my direct family had, had started and scaled a successful business. And so everybody went down the traditional route of working, working as employee in the company. And so naturally, I would not have known any better because that’s, that’s what I grew up seeing around me. And when I was at school, I remember the careers advisor that we had, who was helping us fill in these forms when we were applying to university, it was always about, well, What career are you thinking about going into. And because at the, at the canteen table, all of my fellow students were talking about who was going to be going to this university to study medicine, who was going to go here to study economics. I was naturally influenced by by the choices that other people were making. And, again, because I was not exposed to any other option, that for me was what the term in my view of the of the world when it came to success.
Gary Crotaz 6:05
What was the moment when you started to shift your thinking from, you know, this is the right thing to do. I’ve, you know, studied economics at university, I’ve gone into banking and you start ticking over. Maybe there’s something different when, when, when you think that when was the first time you were thinking like that?
Simon Alexander Ong 6:23
I think it would have been shortly after I started to question whether I wanted to build a career in finance after the crisis. Because before that moment, every day, I was working alongside people in finance, after work, I would be going drinking with people in finance, and on weekends, I would be socialising with people in finance. So my, my bubble was very, was very small, in terms of my thinking. And so once the crisis occurred, I started to question well, what else is there? What else could I explore? What else could I be doing with my life, if it wasn’t going to be in the financial services sector? And so I think that once I started to attend seminars, workshops, read different books hang around different communities and groups. That’s when I started to realise that success could be defined by something entirely different. Because here were some individuals who had not necessarily qualified with a university degree, earning very attractive sums of money running their own business. And that got me questioning whether the path I was on was really what I had thought it to be. And it began a big shift in my thinking.
Gary Crotaz 7:43
and talk to me more about the same and outside of the finance world. So what other things did you do when you’re growing up? What were you interested in? What, what other activities did you do? What kind of thinker were you when you’re growing up?
Simon Alexander Ong 7:54
So I was, I was a very deep thinker. I guess what I mean by that Gary is, I was very stereotypically Chinese in the sense that I was your hard working student, I was very shy, highly introverted, which, when I share with audiences now many people can’t, can’t believe it. Because obviously, I speak on many stages. Now, I do lots of videos and interviews, but when I was growing up, I was very shy, introverted and hardworking. And so I would prefer to sit at the back of the room to focus on my homework, to focus on my studies, rather than socialising and hanging out with the, the cool boys and girls if you’re were on the weekends, out in the fields playing sports. And so that was me growing up, I was very shy and introverted, which, which helped in terms of my academic grades, and helped me to get to some good schools. But for me, it’s, it changed when I went to university because I was the only one for my school, to go to the university that I went to, I went to the London School of Economics. And because I was shy and introverted, throughout, throughout my childhood, and throughout my teenage years, it meant that when my when my mum passed away when I was 17, it got me even further into my shell. Because this was a, this was a time of the world in which mental health wasn’t really spoken much about. And there were no, there were no resources to a 17 year old on how to respond and manage a situation like that. And being a, being a guy you know, lots of people naturally say man up, move on, don’t cry bounce back. without any regard to the emotional rollercoaster that can come with losing someone so close to you. So that moves me even further inwards, and in a way although I didn’t like being the only student from my secondary school to go to university because usually there were at least two or three of you that would go to the same university. So you had some sort of foundation where you knew a couple of friends already, I went to my university not knowing anybody. But in a way, I think it helped because I had this blank canvas Gary where I could now create new friendship circles and network with new people who never knew about my background, who didn’t know the old Simon. And it took me another year until I could open up more about what happened with with my mum. And that accelerated when I joined the, when I joined the drama society at university. And I deliberately joined that actually, because once I realised that I had to present more at university as part of the, as part of the courses, I knew that I hated presenting, because I never really presented growing up. And so I thought that by joining the drama society, it would challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone, because I now had to rehearse with other people to then go on to stage and perform in front of an audience. And for me, that really helped to get me out of my shell, to get me to express more of my feelings, my emotions, and how I wanted to share my insights with an audience. And the other thing where it really accelerated, Gary was after I met my now wife, in my final year of university, she really helped open me up. And then when I transitioned out of the corporate world into entrepreneurship, I knew that unless I could sell myself unless I could be the voice of my business, it would be very difficult to develop a thriving career in what I wanted to do. And so in a way, there was no option, I had to become a better public speaker, in order to share my work and talk about the value that I could bring into the lives of others.
Gary Crotaz 11:56
And it’s so interesting, because I mean, you know, I mean, I, I’m reasonably familiar, but it’d be great for you to bring to life a little bit of what’s, what’s the cultural environment of being in a bank, you know, and in that sort of investment banking environment? And how is that, how does that compare with the cultural environment that you’re in today in the work that you do now? I’m imagining, I mean, it’s, it’s like chalk and cheese, that that, you know, I’m imagining that Simon coming out of university, going into the investment banking community, that’s a very particular culture and environment that you were going into,
Simon Alexander Ong 12:28
it’s, it was a very particular culture and environment. You’re right, Gary. And also, even if you compare the environment from the investment banking world then to today, it’s massively different as well. I remember recently, I, I delivered a talk at Barclays over in Canary Wharf here in the UK. And now they have committees such as a wellbeing committee. Now, if you go back to when I joined the industry back in 2007, you would have been laughed out of the building for suggesting such an idea of having a wellbeing committee because I went onto the, onto the trading floor. And it was very much what you would see in those films like Wall Street, or The Wolf of Wall Street, where Leonardo DiCaprio, there was lots of shouting, it was very, very male dominant behaviour, if you will, in which it was about getting every sale, it was about making the most money. And there was no place to understand well, how are you feeling? It was either you succeeded or you didn’t. And if you didn’t, you were yelled at, you were shouted at, and they would very quickly want you out of the team. And so it was very alpha male driven in that culture. Of course, I think today, the environment has massively changed. And I think that’s also been a result of the fact that they’ve been losing a lot of talent in that industry to the startup industry. And so they’ve had to have some sort of cultural shift. But back then it was it was very cutthroat. And it was very intense in terms of the environment you were walking into.
Gary Crotaz 14:04
I remember talking to one of my former colleagues in the retail and consumer banking space. And they worked for quite a traditional bank that was acquired by Klarna. And so moving into that kind of tech-led financial services space where they didn’t wear suits. And for the people coming from the traditional banking environment, that was a really radical thing. And then they said, well, we don’t have an org structure, either everyone works in, in dynamic agile squads and teams, you know, it’s really interesting, and I laughed slightly when you said wellbeing committee, because precisely because it’s so the right answer, but it’s so radically different. And when you say 2007, like, like, it’s 1922 you know, it’s like, it feels like you know, generations ago, but actually it was really recent, you know, we’re not talking very long ago that it was still very much like that. I’m sure there’s still change to go. I think when you were talking, I’m thinking, there’s a lot of people that probably quite severely broken by being spat out at the bottom of that kind of culture, back in those days, you didn’t make it, you know, there wasn’t a soft landing for you somewhere I don’t think
Simon Alexander Ong 15:13
Not at all. I mean, I still remember in the, in the final few weeks, that Lehman was still alive before it fell into bankruptcy in September 2008. I remember walking into the office on Monday, and the way that they got rid of you, if you were made redundant was brutal. I mean, you would walk into the office on a Monday morning, and somebody that you were working next to, you would look at his or her desk, and suddenly it would just be empty. But you have no idea what happened. And there wasn’t such a thing as at the time as a leaving do, because well they’ve already left, they’ve been kicked out the building, their security policy has been revoked, and you’ll never see them again, in the office. And so it was very cutthroat, very brutal, very extreme when you think about how people are laid off today. So it’s a lot more nicer how they’re laid off today, compared to how it was back then. And it was really my second experience, in broader finance, I moved after Lehman Brothers to a hedge fund. And that really took its toll on me physically, mentally, and spiritually. And that, for me was, was a big turning moment to start addressing my health. Because I was getting little sleep, I was surviving on junk food and takeaways. And I wasn’t really exercising. And so seeing the impact that it had on my body, and my mind started to tell me, this wasn’t for me. And, and so I can relate to many people who have gone through that, and have changed their career choices or changed their lifestyle as a result of what happened.
Gary Crotaz 16:47
And it’s really powerful hearing your lived experience of going through this kind of thing. It makes much more sort of coherent sense why you are who you are today, and why the narrative that you have where the messages you’re giving, are the ones that they are – you haven’t made it up, it’s comes from, from from you. And that’s I think that’s that’s really powerful. So, so one of the things I mean, we’re going to come on talk much more about the book, I’d love to hear more about the book that’s coming out. But the heart of this conversation is about this idea of an Unlock Moment. And, and that’s a sort of flash of clarity, when you suddenly figured out the right path ahead. And I know we talked a little bit before we started recording. So bring us into that moment of of the point where you saw your future ahead of you – where were you and what was happening for you at that time.
Simon Alexander Ong 17:36
Sure. So I guess in the build up to this so called Unlock Moment, when I realised that I wanted to do something outside of the corporate world, i.e. not become an employee anymore, but to pursue something that I could do for myself, so I could become my own boss, if you will. I followed my curiosity, I got involved in a couple of businesses, they didn’t work out for the obvious reasons that I wasn’t passionate enough about them. And I wasn’t committed to them. And then I remember going to this event held in East London at the Excel Centre. It was organised by a company called Success Resources. And it was called National Achievers’ Congress. It was a three day event Friday to Sunday, with speakers such as Tony Robbins, Donald Trump, before he became president, and a series of other well known individuals within the business and entrepreneurial scenes. And so my wife and I went only for day one, actually, we just went to the first day because we mainly went because Tony Robbins was speaking. And we knew he was speaking on the first morning of the first the first day, as well as a number of other speakers that we followed. And as we sat in the audience, I was watching him do his thing, moving around the stage, coming into the audience. And in my mind, I started to imagine myself also being on stage, of sharing my story, sharing my experience with the audience. And I found myself rather than listening to his content, which many people did, they came to hear his content, I became very curious about how he did what he did. So while everybody was writing notes about beliefs and identity and action, I was actually writing down questions and thoughts such as, how did he start that talk? How did he end talk? How many stories did he use? What particular story did he use? Was it a personal story, a case study or professional story? And what point did he walk into the audience? So I became so fascinated about the mechanics of how he was doing what he was doing, that it made me want to explore more within this field. And it was that exposure that then got me to want to pursue a qualification in coaching. And then as you know, Gary, the rest is history because then things just started building from there.
Gary Crotaz 20:00
It’s amazing. And it’s interesting when when you’re describing that, you didn’t go for the purpose of diagnosing how he does what he does. You went to listen to him for his, for his content. But when you were there, in that moment, actually, what you’re thinking about diving into is how is he doing this? And describe the room, you know, how many people were in the room? What was the what’s the atmosphere like, what was the energy like when you were in that moment of sort of sudden pivot in your thinking?
Simon Alexander Ong 20:28
Well, I don’t know if any of the listeners have been to a Tony Robbins event. But if you have, you already know that the atmosphere is electric. He’s got a great way of building the audience up, which is something that I learned actually, from how he runs events is how do you build the energy up in the audience before you even get on stage? And everybody was, was engaged, everybody was present, because he had a way of hooking you on every word that he said. And that’s why it got me so curious. How was he doing this? How was he able to do the things he was doing? But yet the other speakers that came on stage after him, just couldn’t live up to the same, the same standard he had set. And that’s why it got me even more curious, because after the second speaker came on, the third speaker came on my wife and I looked at each other and said, shall we call it a day now? Because I think we’ve got all we needed from the first speaker. And, and that just set me on the path of learning. I wanted to learn how that was possible. And in a way, it’s some of the things I share in the book Energize. You know, there’s a certain energy that we transmit, when we speak, when we perform when we share our ideas that the audience feels, and you can’t, you can’t describe it in words, but you just come out and say, Wow, that was an experience. And it’s a feeling you get, and I wanted to understand how we could how we could get to that point.
Gary Crotaz 21:57
And what did it tell you about you that your response to that, hearing that talk was, I want to go and do something like that?
Simon Alexander Ong 22:09
I I think I take it as a as a sign from the universe, that maybe at the time, I wasn’t on the right path. And that here was the universe almost giving me a sign that those curiosities you’re having right now, Simon, those questions you’re having. There’s a reason why you’re interested in those mechanics. There’s a reason why you’re interested in how this particular individual is doing it. Your challenge is go and explore if you accept this path. And that is exactly what I started doing. And it’s, I’m not gonna lie, Gary, it’s been an incredible journey since then. And I look back at that moment and think, Well, what would life have been if I didn’t accept that challenge? You know, simply by accepting it, it literally reshaped my future and changed the person that I was?
Gary Crotaz 23:05
And how long has that been? You know, how long ago is it that we’re talking that you that you had that experience with Tony Robbins?
Simon Alexander Ong 23:10
So we’re talking about, about a decade ago now, a decade ago plus, because shortly after that, I then signed up to, to study for my coaching qualifications in 2012. So I started there, and it was around 18 to 20 months or so after I started that I qualified. And then it would take me another few years, before I would hand in my resignation at the job I was in at the time, and say, You know what, I’m going to go my own path and see what’s going to happen by becoming an entrepreneur. So it’s actually 10 plus years since I was at that event, that I’m now here speaking with you, Gary.
Gary Crotaz 23:55
So so it was an immediate response, really, that that was the beginning of that journey. And then over a few years you built into the, this is my full time focus and endeavour.
Simon Alexander Ong 24:06
Yeah, and that process took a few years for reason, because I’m naturally very risk averse. And so for me, I’m not the sort of person that will burn all the boats and go, Okay, I’m gonna jump straight into this. Even though there’s no revenue, even though I have no idea what I’m doing and there’s no plan. For me, I’d like to see some sort of, some sort of feedback that this path could work. And so for me, it was about building a bridge, if you will, from where it was to where I wanted to be. And in the final job I had, I felt like Superman if you were without the superpower, so I was going into the office, nice ironed white shirt, tie and suit jacket and in my gym bag, I would have my now customary black T shirt and jeans. And so when I had a potential client I was going to meet or an event that I that I had signed up to attend. I would very quickly leave my desk go into toilet cubicle, change out of my suit into my black T shirt and jeans and run to that event or meeting that I had scheduled. And so I was living this double life for a couple of years, until I started to get paying clients. And once I started to get paying clients, it then pushed me, Gary, into this situation where I had to make a choice. Either I continue with my day job. And I cap my clients to just three clients, because I could not take on any more given I was still working for a company, or I quit the daytime job. And I shift 100% of my energy into working on this business. So when that time came, I’m not gonna lie, it took me a number of weeks to finally decide that I was going to choose the latter option, to hand in my resignation, and go down a path of entrepreneurship because there’s a big difference between having an employee mindset versus an entrepreneur mindset. Because I’d never been an entrepreneur before, it was going to be a big change. But once I handed in that resignation, I had a feeling inside of me like butterflies in your stomach of excitement, that this was now the path I was going to go on, that this was the path that was going to be the most meaningful to me.
Gary Crotaz 26:21
I love that. And I love how you describe it so vividly what it feels like to be in that point, because almost all entrepreneurs have that moment, unless you’ve got a trust fund or a lottery win behind you. There’s a moment where you go, you know, my life would be more stable and certain if I stay in employment and with the salary and all the benefits and all those kinds of things. And actually, I’m going, No, I’m going to take a risk and back myself to do what I’m going to do. So so the book is called Energize, and there’s been this journey around the theme of energy. And you’ve, I know you’ve you’ve talked a lot about that topic. So talk to me about at what point and how did energy become something that was a real hot topic for you to focus your, your, your, your narrative on?
Simon Alexander Ong 27:08
Sure. Well, when I was reflecting on what to write about, for for the book, Gary, there were a number of ideas that came up. And the reason that energy stuck with me. And just to give you a bit of behind the scenes actually, when I wrote the original proposal to submit to the publisher, the working title was actually energy is everything. And then as I started writing, as we edited the material, we then reduced the length for the title to just Energize because we felt it was more action-oriented. And so the reason I wrote it from that lens is because one, my own personal experience of going through a period of my life, post the financial crisis, where I literally had no energy, I was exhausted, I was tired, I was drained from working in something that wasn’t fulfilling, yet demanded so much from me physically and mentally. And I wanted to share how addressing that energy deficit can give us the foundation for creating our best lives. Because once I started to work on my physical energy, once I started to work towards something meaningful, and master my own emotions and mindset, things just started aligning in a way that I could never have imagined. So that’s one of the reasons. Secondly, is when I started speaking on stages, I would often get people coming up to me after I would walk off the stage, saying, Simon, I loved your energy while you’re on stage. You know, what, if I could have just a small percentage of the energy you have, I could go on and achieve so much of my goals. So that’s the second reason. And the third is when I was looking at some of the most successful leaders and thinkers in the world, I noticed that they were not necessarily the smartest or the fastest at what they do. But they were the best in terms of managing their energy so that they could thrive rather than just survive. They knew that if they were always feeling exhausted, they can’t possibly show up as their best selves each day. And if you have a vision, or a goal that is big and bold, you are going to need a lot of energy to make that happen. And so bringing those three things together made me want to write the book through the lens of well, if we understand how to manage our energy better, we will transform the way we live and work.
Gary Crotaz 29:46
And it’s really interesting. So who’s the book for? Who’s who’s your who’s the reader of Energize?
Simon Alexander Ong 29:54
It’s interesting Gary because when I was writing this book, I was constantly thinking about well who would I be writing this to? So that I can visualise him or her in front of my mind as I was writing the book over the last two years. And it’s funny because the person that came straight into my mind as I was writing the book was the me in 2009, just after the financial crisis. And so I felt like, as I was writing the book, I was writing it for me back then, the person that was exhausted, the person that was feeling a little lost in life, and the person that felt they needed some inspiration and motivation, to discover what their purpose was, to discover what they’re meant to do. And so that’s the person I started off with Gary. Now, as I started writing, then, of course, other audiences came into my mind as I moved from chapter to chapter, part to part, but for me, for most of the early part of the writing, that was the person that I was writing to,
Gary Crotaz 30:56
It’s so interesting, you’re talking to yourself! And, you know, I mean, you know, this is also as an experienced coach too, that ability to be very self reflective, as you’re, as you’re writing is really powerful. And I think that will also come through in your speaking too, because there’s so many people out there who will stand on stage and spout stuff that they’ve seen on YouTube, and then they can say it to other people too, with energy. And the reason it doesn’t land is because it’s not real. It’s not authentic. It’s not, you know, it’s not meaningful from them. So I love that, you know, you’re sitting there thinking, I wished this book had been around for me in 2009, as a way of saying it, isn’t it?
Simon Alexander Ong 31:35
Gary Crotaz 31:36
And what kind of book is it? What’s it? What’s experience of reading Energize?
Simon Alexander Ong 31:43
Sure, so, in my journey in the personal development field, Gary, I’ve been influenced by, by so many books and styles that I’ve resonated with. So we’ve got on the one hand, the likes of the Go Giver, the Alchemist, Robin Sharma’s books, which are very narrative driven, and story-led. And on the other hand, we’ve got the more academic and practical books such as Adam Grant’s work, Daniel Pink’s work, and Simon Sinec’s work. So for me, I wanted to blend those influences because I love storytelling. I am a speaker, I love sharing stories. I love extracting lessons from stories. So I wanted to blend that element, as well as the more practical part, because I’m a coach, you know I started my journey as a coach. And so I wanted to give the readers exercises and activities and questions for them to reflect on their own journey. And so for me, I blended the two and created a narrative through the book. So the first part is about how we can awaken that energy inside of us. The second is how we can rewire our energetic state. The third is about how we protect our personal energy. And the fourth part is about how we can then supercharge our life. And by and large, that is a reflection of my own journey from going as a graduate at Lehman Brothers all the way to now being a coach, a speaker and author. And so I wanted to take them on that journey of what I had learned, but also the process I went through, that they can apply in their own in their own journey.
Gary Crotaz 33:14
And where do you sit on the kind of spectrum from, you know, some people are really focused on your daily habits and your daily routine. And there’s other people that are really focused on some very big picture, thinking, Where are you on that spectrum?
Simon Alexander Ong 33:26
It’s interesting because, for me, I would probably say I’m a bit of both. And then there’s a reason why because I think without the big vision, you have no context for today’s actions, you know, you don’t know where you’re going so well, any action, you can go ahead and do because you don’t really know where it’s going to lead to. So for me, I think we need a vision that is compelling and magnetic, because that’s what’s going to pull us forward. That’s what’s going to get us up in the morning, and excited about the day ahead. So for me, that’s the purpose of having a vision, which is absolutely necessary. Now, once you have that, for me, the paradox is once you know what it is, you want, to put it to one side, and that’s where you then focus on your, your habits and your rituals. Because then it’s about getting a system in place that makes that vision inevitable. So I think there’s, there’s a lot to be said for both. But for me, I think I sort of believe in the input of both of these ideas. You need the vision, but then once you have the vision, put it to one side and focus on the habits because now you’ve got context for what habits are going to be essential for you to make that progress.
Gary Crotaz 34:39
I love that when you said ‘make your vision inevitable’. I think that’s a really nice phrase, I love it. A couple of things that, you sent me very kindly a little sort of extract from the book and there are a couple of things that that said that I’d love to dig into more – the first of them is you were talking about why an eternal student mindset matters. Can you bring that to life a little bit for us?
Simon Alexander Ong 35:00
Sure. So what I’ve come to understand is that often in life, people will arrive at a destination. So let’s say that becoming CEO of a company that’s getting a million dollars in revenue for your business, that is becoming a world champion in the, in the field of sports that you operate in. But what tends to happen after that is quite interesting, because then people tend to become complacent, they take their foot off the pedal. And it’s why it’s easier to win that first title than it is to retain it again, and again, and again. Because we relax, we forget how we got there. And for me, that’s what I that’s what I want to understand – well, what made the difference between people that could sustain that, across many years, often their entire lifetime versus those who were one-hit wonders, who achieved incredible successes yet disappeared from the radar. And for me, it came down to this fact that they were eternal students, that they were always learning. And it’s something that I’ve embraced as part of my journey. Gary, one of the questions I often get asked is, is where do you think, you know, what do you think Simon about where you are right now? Do you think you’re kind of there in terms of whatever ‘there’ means for you? And I say to them, you know, the truth is, I feel like I still am just getting started. And I think that’s a feeling you get when you are an eternal student, because you’re learning something different every year. You have this excitement and thirst to acquire more knowledge and information, which makes you feel you’re always just getting started. And also, the fact is, the world is always changing. And so even just five years ago, if I were to launch a book, I would not have heard of the term metaverse. But now today in 2022, I’m now talking to someone about doing a book launch in the metaverse and I’m gonna be honest with you, Gary, I don’t know much about the metaverse, but because I’m an eternal student, I’m learning about it as I go along. And so that’s why I feel like I’m still just getting started because there is so much more to learn.
Gary Crotaz 37:13
We had my wife’s cousin and her boyfriend staying with us over New Year, and they’re in their early 20s. And into all of this kind of stuff. I think he’s a tech developer. And it’s the first time in my life that anybody’s ever said to me, ‘I’m really sorry, I’m in the other room in the metaverse’ and that and I was like, ‘Okay, I remember that sentence, that’s the first time that’s ever come up in conversation!’ So, so the other the other statement that that was in, in the content you sent through, which fascinated me as a, as a, as an ex-doctor, was how to bend our reality by becoming our own placebo. I was like, I have no idea what that means. And I’d love you to, to bring that to life.
Simon Alexander Ong 37:52
Sure. So in terms of the concept of bending our reality, it begins with an appreciation that there is no one reality. Now what I mean by this is that we all live in customised realities. So when an event happens, your interpretation of that will be very different to mine, very different to my partner’s and different to my friend’s. But that tells us something very profound. It tells us that reality is simply us living in the feeling of our thinking moment to moment to moment. So it is actually our thinking that creates the landscape of our reality. Now, if that is true, what that means is that we actually own a very powerful superpower, which is the fact that at any given moment, you and I can choose a different thought. And that new thought redesigns our reality. So if you were to experience an event, and initially you think it is bad, you are going to choose a set of actions and behaviours based on that feeling of that event is bad. But if you being more conscious about what happened, decide to change your response to actually this event could be good, then guess what, the choices and behaviours you now make will be very different. And so this is what I mean about the concept of bending our reality is the fact that because we can choose new thoughts at any moment, we can literally change the way we perceive our reality, and how we go ahead in terms of actions and behaviours. Now, talking about the second part of that statement about Be your own placebo. What I mean about this is that we know in the medicine, the medical field that a placebo is the belief that something is going to work so if somebody gives you a sugar pill, and tells you this is going to cure you, this will make this ailment better. If we marry that belief, with with the environment that this is going to happen, this is a definite certainty, what scientists have found is a very often people can feel better simply through the power of belief. So when I talk about Be your own placebo, it’s really about the fact that when we live in our reality, it is mostly driven by the blueprint of our belief system. And as we get wiser, we begin to understand that nearly every single belief we hold has been made up, has been made up by someone else. And so once we appreciate that, we can choose a new set of beliefs. And when we do, that is how we become our own placebo, because we’re literally giving ourselves these belief pills to take, and that changes our reality. And so there’s a word that I share in the book, which means the opposite of paranoia. Paranoia is the belief that some people have, that the world is against them, that the world is out to get them in some way, that they’re not meant to succeed. The opposite word to paranoia is pronoia. It is the belief that the universe is conspiring in your favour, that life is working for you and not against you. And so here’s a thought for, for the listeners. Imagine, from today onwards that you saw life as working for you, and not against you. What could that do for you? So if something unexpected happened, but you worked off the belief that life is working for you, your mind is now looking for the lesson, your mind is now looking for the opportunity as a result of something unexpected. And this is how you become your own placebo and bend your reality.
Gary Crotaz 41:37
It’s so interesting. And as you tell that story, I’m imagining you in the audience in you know, you showed up to learn something from Tony Robbins, but what you learned was not what you were expecting to learn, and it changed your life.
Simon Alexander Ong 41:50
Gary Crotaz 41:51
And it’s very interesting. Yeah, very, very interesting. So where can people find out more about you? And where can they, where can they buy the book?
Simon Alexander Ong 41:59
Sure. So you can order the book at GetEnergizeBook.com that is Energize with a Z. It’s also available on Amazon and all good bookstores. And if you’d like to get in touch, I’m on all the major social media platforms. But the two that I am most active on are Instagram and LinkedIn. On LinkedIn, just search Simon Alexander Ong, on Instagram, my handle is @SimonAlexanderO.
Gary Crotaz 42:24
Fantastic. And the book’s available in what formats?
Simon Alexander Ong 42:28
So it is available in paperback, on ebook or audio. So whatever your preference is, you should be able to find it.
Gary Crotaz 42:38
Fantastic. And the audiobook is you, you’ve, you’ve, you’ve recorded it yourself?
Simon Alexander Ong 42:42
Definitely so you know if you want to hear my voice in your ears for nearly 10 hours, then do check out the audiobook.
Gary Crotaz 42:49
Fantastic. Thank you so much, Simon, that’s really great. The Unlock Moment is that flash of remarkable clarity when you suddenly know the right path ahead. For Simon it was sitting in the audience at the National Achievers’ Congress, listening to the world’s best inspirational speakers and imagining himself up there on stage. It started a 10 year journey of discovery and growth. In his new book Energize, Simon introduces you to the art and science of energy management. In a world where we are always on, Simon coaches you to work with your natural energy resources to recognise your most energised state, when to push and when to recoup, so that you can work sustainably towards your biggest goals. I’ve already got Energize on preorder, and I can’t wait to read it. Be sure to order your copy today. We’ll have a link in the show notes. Simon, thank you so much for joining me on The Unlock Moment.
Simon Alexander Ong 43:40
Gary, thank you for having me on your show. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
Gary Crotaz 43:45
Thank you so much. This has been The Unlock Moment, a podcast with me Dr. Gary Crotaz. Thank you for listening in. You can find out more about how to figure out what you want and how to get it in my book, The IDEA Mindset, available in physical book, ebook and audiobook format. Follow me on Instagram and subscribe to this podcast to get notified about future episodes. Join me again soon!