Once upon a time, Sebastian Ong was the Alfred to a billionaire’s Bruce Wayne—only with significantly less crime-fighting.
Actually… there was zero crime-fighting.
He eventually grew tired of the butler life and decided to become the hero of his own story, developing three key superpowers that enabled him to live life to the fullest. As a modern day lifestyle coach, he now helps others to develop their personal skills and transform their mindsets for the better.
The Origin Story
After several years of working in the hospitality industry, Sebastian became the head butler for a very wealthy individual. What he saw opened his eyes.
“Everyone thinks that if they just have enough material wealth, they’ll finally be satisfied with life,” he explains. “Many people work and toil their whole lives in an attempt to reach ‘stability’. But it turns out that money cannot guarantee satisfaction or joy.”
If money wasn’t the answer, then what was? Sebastian began to pursue his childhood interests of psychology and personal development. In his spare time, he would watch various introductory Youtube videos and delve deeper by reading books and articles. He also began to ask questions to his friends who worked in therapy and psychology.
“Alfred” goes his own way: From butler to superhero
Like many classic superheroes, Sebastian found that books and conversations, though interesting, weren’t enough. He embarked on his own Hero’s Journey — complete with a training arc. During a 28-day backpacking and meditating trip to Myanmar three years ago, he traveled around the country and stayed in monasteries in a search for deeper meaning.
It was during that trip that he learned about attachment — to things, feelings, emotions, and beliefs — and how it impacted his outlook on life.
“As an adolescent, I struggled a lot with temperament problems,” he admitted. “My mind was constantly racing. I had insomnia and less-than-stellar eating habits. I was deeply attached to material things, external opinions, and my own wants. By speaking with the monks and detaching myself temporarily from the busy modern world, I finally became aware of my unhealthy thoughts, emotions, and personal patterns.”
Three superpowers for work and daily living
Sebastian managed to develop three key superpowers during his training arc in Myanmar. Simply put, they are: the superpower to enjoy the moment, the superpower to leave others be, and the superpower to control his thoughts.
“Nowadays, these are superpowers I often coach others to develop,” he explains. “I find that they are powerful and transformative in all settings, whether the workplace, at home, with family.”
The superpower to enjoy the moment
Many people spend hours and hours worrying about the rest of their lives before it’s even happened. People with a lot of money, for example, may constantly worry about losing their money.
When you’re constantly assessing potential threats to your safety or happiness, it is very hard to enjoy the results of your hard work. Therefore, the ability to feel safe and happy in the moment is a very important superpower.
While “enjoying the moment” certainly sounds simple, it can be very difficult to practice. This skill involves cultivating deep awareness of everything around you. If you’re walking, you can notice the sound of the cars, the wind blowing against your skin, the whirr of the leaves on the sidewalk, the ants crawling on the floor.
By focusing your attention on the beauty of the present moment, you can begin to appreciate your surroundings and worry less about what might happen.
The superpower to leave others be
Another fundamental mistake that people make is to let other people or situations dictate our emotions. Often, we are so caught up in how an emotion feels that we forget: we have a say in how we experience it.
The next time you see or experience something you don’t like, try asking yourself this series of questions:
- What exactly do you not like about it?
- How is it affecting you?
- Is there anything you can do about it; is it within your control?
A lot of the time, you might realize that the things other people do doesn’t actually affect you in any significant way. Though people’s belief systems, upbringing, religion, or personal choices might be in direct contrast to ours, we do not have to give that person the power to affect our emotions so profoundly.
The superpower to control your thoughts
In this high-stress corporate world that we live in, it’s very important to see things as they are from moment to moment rather than being too caught up about what happened. It is very easy to get carried away when we see things that do not align with our thoughts and opinions.
However, by allowing our minds to simmer on things we can’t control, we set ourselves up for failure and heartbreak. What did that person say at the water cooler? Was that person talking about you? Will that affect your appraisal that’s happening next month?
When we let our thoughts control us, it becomes very difficult for us to find peace.
To gain mental clarity and awareness of your mindset and emotions, it is important to reflect on your thoughts and question whether they are true, or whether they might be a result of fear or anxiety.
How to train your d̶r̶a̶g̶o̶n̶ self
Fortunately, Sebastian was kind enough to share the secrets of his superhero training arc. Good news: You too can train yourself to cultivate these superpowers!
Cultivate a more positive mindset
When you have a mindset that is constructed from thoughts of scarcity and fear, it will be impossible to feel safe. Rather, try this mantra: “I have abundance and there’s nothing for me to worry about because life is just amazing the way it is.”
You will find that this is true to some degree no matter which stage in life you are in. A few examples are the following:
- The weather is good.
- The air is fresh.
- I have food to eat.
- I have clean water to drink.
- I am in good health.
Build a habit of meditation
This does not need to take all that long—even five to ten minutes of meditation each day can greatly improve your clarity of mind. Building a mindset of abundance can be difficult, but the journey there can be a lesson on its own. Observing your thoughts as they come and go will get you closer to a deep state of awareness. Protip: try downloading the MindFi app to help you on this journey!
Disconnect from what harms you
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to subject yourself to friendships or connections that don’t bring you joy. Though friction is inevitable in any and all friendships, there are moments when it’s better to cull what has repeatedly harmed you.
This advice applies not only to friendships but to the media we consume and the apps we use.
Give coaching a try
If you want to make a great steak at home, you’d probably watch YouTube or ask a friend who’s a chef. Though there’s a stigma around seeing a therapist or coach, isn’t it similar? You aren’t born with an innate ability or knowledge to manage life, so why not learn from someone else?
Receiving professional counsel doesn’t mean you have a problem you can’t manage. It simply means you need a more experienced guide to help you select the best path.
A pile of rocks can quickly become a mountain
Of course, even with this training regime, it does not mean you will become a superhero in a few days. It’s okay to take baby steps—in fact, they’re the best way forward. Start small, but do it consistently, even if you take “cheat” days or don’t achieve a perfect record. Take failures with an open heart, and keep trying.
Sebastian Ong’s parting words can feel counterintuitive to some: “You don’t need to quit something cold turkey. You’re a human, not a robot. It’s natural to revert back to the old habits you’re trying to stop or continue to struggle with negative thoughts and feelings.”
Yes, in the beginning, this may feel like you are failing, or not going fast enough. But remember that the most important thing is your long-term success in cultivating a fulfilling life. Once your superpowers kick in and you start feeling their benefits, you will naturally live your best life every day.