Last Updated on May 18, 2022 by Chin Yi Xuan

When I was 9, I came across my first most desired ‘big purchase’ as a boy – THE Nintendo Gameboy.

Vividly, I remember stopping by every game store, staring at the super cool Gameboy behind the glass cupboard every time when me and family were out in the mall.

The thing is, my dad didn’t buy me the GameBoy at 9, nor when I was 10 (or 11).

Instead, he made me save for it.

So, everyday for the next few years, I saved up at least 50% (or more) of my daily lunch money of RM2.

Instead of buying the delicious fried chicken and Vitagen like most of my schoolmates would do, I’d just stick with the bread that I brought from home daily.

When my friends were playing the latest Pokemon (it was Pokemon Red, I think), I would sit by their side to watch them play (#envy).

It was definitely not fun.

But by 12, I’ve saved up something close to 200 bucks (if I recall correctly) – which was a huge amount for me as a boy (and enough for the Gameboy, I guess?).

Funnily enough, that was the UPSR year (the ultimate exam for secondary school entrance) – and I managed to get 6As (out of 7).

So finally, after 4 long years, at 12 (towards the end of the year), my dad actually got me the Gameboy as a reward – and I get to keep my hard-earned (big) savings.

4 years is certainly a long wait for me as a kid.

But in hindsight, I think the most valuable thing I’ve gained is the ability to hold on to gratification better since I was a boy.

Not surprisingly, this has helped me a ton in my self-employment and personal finance journey:

  • You don’t start a blog/Youtube channel/business and expect money to start pouring in the next day.
  • You can’t invest for 1 year and expect the dividends to cover your living expenses.
  • And surely, you won’t become a pro by trying to achieve too many things in one go.

As many good things in life come in a compounding manner, there will be a grind in the journey where it seems like nothing is progressing – even when you have put in all your effort (eg. Saving RM1 everyday for a Gameboy, or sitting through a bear market)

So – here’s my personal reflection:

Patience & effort may not always lead us to the most amazing things in life (wealth, health, relationships).

But patience & effort most certainly PRECEDE them to begin with.