Reverse-engineer and change your life

In conventional life coaching, we usually coach a client to set up a goal, then design an action plan. This is followed by regular catch-up sessions to ensure that action plans are executed. If not, then we work with the client on improvements.

After years of using this ‘formula’ in my coaching business, I found that it didn’t work for everyone. This is because we hardly address the fundamental ‘issues’ that people care about in the conventional coaching model. So what are these ‘fundamental issues’ I’m talking about?

(Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Think about what you really want in your life?

Think very hard on what you care the most at the age of 65 before you retire?

Think about what you are really working for? Are you working hard now so you can retire comfortably at 65? Or, you are working hard for a title?

Hmmm… good questions, right? I put my clients into a few workshops and asked them to come up with a ‘retirement plan’ (just like what Thanos did long before he snapped his fingers!). People have various retirement plans, but commonly people’s plans depend on a few conditions according to my clients: (1) how much money one has at 65; (2) how healthy one is at 65; and (3) how long one can live before death!

(Even Thanos had a retirement plan when he was young!)

Forget about #3, because we don’t know. However, the interesting insight we have here is that we all want to retire as early as possible! This desire hinges on two conditions: $ and health. If you won a $10 million lottery today, then I guess you can ‘switch on’ your retirement plan tomorrow!

I used my research skills in science and taught my clients to solve this ‘life-long quest’ with a reverse-engineering approach! The goal is to coach my clients to retire early with enough money to sustain the desired lifestyle. So how does this work?

First, do the maths and sort out your money $$$ matter. With a solid income stream and a good long-term investment plan, one can easily create a good retirement portfolio. Here you need three ingredients to work for you: (a) the side-hassle option; (b) the marshmallow spirit; and (c) the Warrant Buffet strategy. Check my previous posts about these key ingredients in building wealth. In short, #(a) brings you more income, so you can possibly retire early. #(b) and #(c) ensure that your investment portfolio will keep snowballing. Depending on how large your ‘snowball’ is, you can determine your retirement age!

(This is how you should grow your wealth. Well, at least I’m a big fan!)

Second, look at your career development and opportunities. Work with your coach and set up short-term goals. This maximises your career development and possibly produces more income. If this works well, then you will have a bigger snowball sooner; so to retire earlier. Although this sounds just like the ‘conventional approach’ I talked about in the beginning, there is an important twist we must note!)

The twist is to be aware that a career is essential for your life. Live to work is always better than work to live! We should also acknowledge the fact that we don’t always have the luxury to choose our job as we wish! If you are stuck in a job you don’t enjoy, then you either work with your coach and find a better job, or keep doing your current job, but focus on your ‘side-hustle’! I have seen many people who used this strategy and successfully switch to their side-hustles. The Internet offers many great opportunities!

Third, be patient and use the ‘marshmallow strategy’. Over time, you will see your investment snowballs and your retirement age starts dropping from 65 to 60, then to 55, then to 50!

On a side note, what do you do when you have enough $ to retire at 50? Well, I will leave this to you. We can easily find a few examples: Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Warran Buffet, Jeff Bezos… etc. These people reached their ‘retirement age’ at perhaps 35 or even younger? Oh, Zuckerberg hit this at the age of 23! ^_^ Apart from huge wealth, the common thing among these people is that they enjoy working even after owning huge wealth.

So, from a reverse-engineering’s view, these people have already secured the two most important elements in a good life: $ and health. So, what do they do after this? They enjoy working and every day is just like a retirement day; every day is a holiday. You can do the same but perhaps not as young. That’s OK. It would be nice to hit that ‘status’ even at 50!

Dr. C. Richard Wu @

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