The me within - Krystal Chong's journey to self-actualisation
"What the hell am I supposed to do with my life?" It is a question many of us have asked at some point in our lives. Krystal Chong wrote the book on the subject - literally.
In photo: Chong's book 'What the Hell Am I supposed To Do With My Life?!
Chong said the publication of her book What the Hell Am I Supposed to Do With My Life?! was the result of a journey that changed her completely.
"It healed me and it saved me," she told Outlook while in the island recently to launch her motivational book. "It filled the void that I felt within life, and healed my struggles with anxiety and depression and chronic unhappiness. It made me feel alive for the very first time in my life. It gave me a lasting sense of peace and joy. It led me to find my purpose in life, and it makes me fulfilled every single day. I wanted to share that journey and those completely life changing lessons with everyone in the whole entire world!"
In photo: Chong has finally found her purpose.
It's hard to believe that Chong ever battled chronic unhappiness. She is as charming and bubbly as they come. She was the chief marketing officer of her family's successful business and seemed to have it all together. "My struggle was with the battle in my own mind. My realisation is that we are capable of so much, it's our own minds that hold us back."
Chong told Outlook that the experience was so profound she had to write a book about it. "I got to a point in my life where I realised that I was chasing a path of money and success and recognition, and no matter how far down that road I went, it was never going to lead to fulfilment. At the same time, I was struggling with anxiety and depression, and I knew I needed to change my life. But I didn't know how."
Then Chong hit rock bottom. "I felt like I had done everything I was supposed to do to be happy (good education, good job, financial security) and I felt totally empty. The mainstream world's prescription for happiness (money, success and recognition) was fatally flawed for me."
In photo: From left: Krystal Chong; her mother Michelle Chong, CEO of Honey Bun Ltd; and spiritual guide Hado, at the launch of Krystal’s personal development book ‘What The Hell Am I Supposed To Do With My Life?!’
Realising this only made her anxiety worse. "One day, it became so difficult to live in my body with these feelings that I thought about killing myself to escape. The second I had that thought, I knew I needed to drastically change and take back control of my life. The very next day I walked into a juice bar, and Hado (a self-described nomadic natural healer) came up to me and said, 'You seem anxious, would you like to do a meditation?' Usually, I would have been like, 'Ammm, no! Who are you? No, I don't want to do some boho meditation with some hippie Rastaman'. But because I had hit rock bottom the night before, I was completely open and I said yes; and from there he became my spiritual guide and one of my best friends to this very day."
BE SELFISH TO BECOME SELFLESS
In August 2013, Chong resigned her job. "It was the most difficult decision I've ever made. On one hand, there's the aspect most people can relate to when they leave a job - losing the pay cheque which is their financial security, which is a huge factor. Not having a stable income and not knowing how you would find that can be a debilitating fear (my parents never gave me any money, I had a salary that was in line with market rate for the position I had - so when I left, I no longer had that salary). That in itself was a difficult security blanket to let go of. But the most difficult part about leaving was that it was my family's company. I felt responsible for the future of the company and, to a large extent, for my parent's happiness - they wanted me to run the company they had built so they would know I was financially secure. It is also a publicly traded company, so I knew it wouldn't look good to shareholders who considered 'second-generation management' an important part of their investment. I felt like I was abandoning my family, and that was the hardest part about it all. But there's a chapter in my book that speaks to this, called 'The answer is within - be selfish to become selfless', and both myself and my family are beyond happy and at peace with the decision I made."
Today, Chong has figured out what to do with her life. "I've found my absolute purpose and passion! Basically, I want to use the media for positive change. Specifically, I'm all about creating media that's entertaining and healing, media that helps change people's minds and perspectives, which then helps them to live a happier, more fulfilling life."
Chong now runs her media company, KrystalChong.com
She wants persons who read her book to understand that their feelings are valid. "This hole that they feel, it's real; and it's the biggest most important calling of your life. I want them to understand that they are not alone in what they are experiencing. You are not crazy. A force greater than ourselves is making you feel this discomfort, because it's trying to push you to find something you're meant to find in this life, that will make you come alive and make you shine so bright by being exactly who you are. If you're confused, it's a good thing. It means you're on the verge of figuring something out!"
But above all, she doesn't want people to feel depressed because she knows how that feels. "It's a fun story filled with humour and vulnerability. I want readers to feel good. I want readers to have fun, to get lost in going on a journey of self-exploration, and come out the other end more inspired, courageous and clearer about what's up ahead of them, and what steps they'll need to take next".
EXCITED ABOUT THE FUTURE
She noted that she has learnt that you can have a plan for yourself, but the universe has a much better plan for you. Now that she has found her purpose, she is happy and excited about the future. "I'm excited and open to seeing how this passion will unfold, but there are so many things I'd love to do - more books, children's books, a TV show, maybe write or produce movies that are entertaining and empowering, producing more guided meditations, lots of things - all within the same scope - creating things that help others to live more fulfilling lives, but making sure they have a good old time, while using the materials."
She has fully embraced life. "Now I just cannot get enough time in a day to do this! Sometimes I get annoyed when I have to eat or when I have to sleep! I'm like, 'Body! Stop being so needy!'"