Never sell yourself cheap!

December 30, 2014

I am a pretty competent planter. Probably one of the best there is when it comes to maximizing palm oil yield on hilly land. Most planters prefer the easy street of flat land. Hence like fair weather sailors. They don’t nearly have what it takes to plant commercially on hilly land. So it’s not uncommon for them to engage me as a consultant.

I never lower my fee not even when the pressure to do so might mean that I don’t get the contract. The reason is simple.

Lowering the price = selling yourself cheap.

Besides once you go down that road, it’s virtually impossible to raise your fee again in the future. If you need to charge a lower price to be more competitive, it is much wiser to keep your original fee and come up with reasons to give discounts, discounts that you convey clearly in a serious tone to your clients this price is a special one-time concession on your part to demonstrate your good will and confidence in your ability to deliver on what you have promised.

Never ever sell yourself cheap!


‘Let me share with only you something very private. Something that I have never told a soul before.

No one has ever told me that I have done a good job.

Look here! Even if they did, I don’t believe all the adoration, respect and adulation in the whole wide world would really amount to much. Not if I believe deep down I am full of shit.

That’s why I’ve cultivated the good habit of being kind and thoughtful to myself by regularly patting myself on the back from time to time. Much prefer that than to look to others for validation and affirmation.

Looking to others for self worth will always be the surest way of cheapening oneself. Doesn’t matter whether it’s someone who is supposed to care and love you or a figure of authority like your boss, pastor, politician or any other figure who claims a higher authority over you. If you buy into that cancer of the soul thoughtware. Then your sense of self worth will always depend on how they either mark you up or down.

And if they don’t choose to praise you….because that is how it is some people are just maladjusted, conceited, overtly righteous or just plain evil – you will be miserable and end up depressed. That’s how it is when you put something really valuable into the hands of people who you hardly know and don’t bother to snatch that thing back and growl ‘this belongs to me! It’s mine! Go and get your own!’ – you just gave them, the permission to press all the buttons to make you happy. Sad. Depressed. Bi polar. Suicidal or want to sleep forever because being awake is simply too painful etc etc.

When we crave for others to tell us we are amazing, worthy and exceptional, in order to feel good about ourselves, we are no different from a cheap drug addict searching for a fix to get high. It may feel like we are reaching out for love and it’s even humanly intuitively, but in actuality, we are just seeking external meaningless soundbites to help drown out our own negative voices we regular hear in the night.

Truth be known. Everlasting self worth can only come from deep inside us. God will always be optional. Trust me lah….you are good to go without Mr 10% scrounging off you.

That is why it is so important to FIRST cultivate the good habit of being kind, thoughtful and considerate to yourself.

There was one time when I was walking around my plantation thinking to myself how little I had achieved in my life. I was going thru a very bad patch where the weather and at least ten other things were conspiring against me. It was coming at me from all directions that I just felt overwhelmed, tired and perpetually frustrated at my inability to break out.

There I was standing on the hill looking out at the emerald horizon of palms and wondering to myself – ‘is this all there is to my life?’ That was when I was struck by a rare moment of epiphany and slowly it dawned on me just then. I had come so far like the mythical traveller and built something out of nothing with so very little with my bare hands and the sweat of my brow that it’s doubtful if you put a lesser man in my place, he wouldn’t even be able to thrive as well as I did in this unforgiving place. He would probably curl up and die after a week. Or throw in the towel and run back with his tail between his legs to Singapore. After that I felt a healing wave washing over me…..I didn’t know it then, but that was the first of many pats I’ve given myself on the back since then…..In that new found stream of consciousness. I had made a conscious decision to be kind to myself….cutting myself some slack…consoling myself with the happy prospects things will get better next year….that I will be wiser…and I will win!

Everyone should learn to give themselves a pat on the back from time to time. This is one of the things I’ve gathered in my most profound moments of solitude in the field. You don’t need to do it when you’ve done a good job either. As sometimes even the simple mundane act of waking up and facing the world every morning requires extraordinary courage and faith. To believe that if you put your shoulder to wheel and dedicate yourself to hard and honest work – then it will all work out and everything will fall into its rightful place.

It’s good and necessary for the well being of the soul.’

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