This is a personal rambling post so it’s going to be pretty messy and unstructured, and do pardon my tone here as well. Whatever I’m about to write here is nothing new and there have been many times where my posts were motivated by the need to rant and set things straight. I’ve been conducting this sideline of mine long enough for me to cover most of the key topics that I wish to cover, at least from a philosophical angle, especially when it comes to addressing myths and misconceptions as well as the right mindset to approach Chinese metaphysics. However, a lot of important posts are now buried somewhere in the archives, so it’s about time that I do a refresher on a few things and also share some of my experiences on some recent cases.
To anyone new to this blog, you’re probably going to have to dig through a lot of old posts to understand why I screen and pick my clients. Long story short, not everyone is suitable for a BaZi reading and not even a feng shui audit. Not everyone understands how to truly benefit from metaphysics. To see metaphysics as some sort of shortcut or magical cure is not only a complete misunderstanding of this field but also an extremely dangerous mentality to have. Such engagements are neither beneficial for the client nor the practitioner.
I know I’m definitely one of the practitioners out there charging a higher fee and I am a lot more vocal. My online rates are even higher than some of the in-person rates that other practitioners charge. I have my reasons for the fees of course. To name a few reasons:
- My time is severely limited. I do hold a full-time job and there’s a very good reason why I do not wish to do this full-time, at least for now. It’s not that I don’t want to dedicate more time and effort to my craft – it’s just not wise at this point and I do not wish to feel any form of monetary pressure originating from this sideline of mine.
- I am targeting a different demographic which I feel I can better connect with. Pricing my fees too low is only going to affect the quality of my services and it’s going to be a detriment to my mental well-being as well. I have to put myself first before I can do this job well.
- I have to maintain my own level of motivation and I do know where I stand in terms of experience and knowledge. Many clients have shared reports written by other practitioners with me, so I do have a benchmark and I’m not afraid to declare I know exactly where I stand.
There are many other reasons. Put yourself in my shoes and I’m sure you can think of reasons why I’m not shy of charging a premium. The 7 days, unlimited questions privilege is something that I don’t think any other practitioner is giving, and I do it because I really want my clients to benefit and the true value comes from the exchange between me and the client. Imagine getting a lengthy report, with no explanation and no background, and you don’t even if it was grounded in theory – it’s not going to be very helpful.
Unpopular Truth: All Businesses Filter Their Clients
I’m going to jump straight to the point here and be extremely upfront about it: If I could pick my clients, I really would. In fact, I’m already trying to do that. It’s the reason why I get people to fill up a form if they are looking for a BaZi consultation because I do screen the cases before I take on the case. If so happens that the chart is a very challenging or low-quality one, I do reach out to ask if they would be ready to hear negative things, and if they are able to accept that metaphysics is not a shortcut to anything – I don’t reject these cases outright all the time because some of these chart-holders aren’t evil or vile, it’s just that they’ve had a tough life but can’t get out of the rut they’re in and are seeking some clarity but unfortunately, I end up fodder for their own issues. There is a story behind this – there was a case long ago where a client blamed me for not detecting her cancer not knowing what metaphysics can or cannot do, which made me realize not everyone is suited for a BaZi reading. She did not even ask about her health when she first consulted me and just wanted to look for someone to blame. Low-quality chart? Of course.
I’m not shy nor do I feel guilty about picking my clients and rejecting certain cases because the fact is, all companies do this. There is a reason why banks have different tiers and why companies have user trust teams to weed out clients they do not wish to serve. There is a reason why planes have three different cabin classes. I don’t wish to state the obvious why this is so.
Our resources are limited, and it’s really wiser for businesses to their limit time and resources to clients who deserve their time and resources, not to the self-entitle people who will think the world owes them something.
I Will Start To Screen My Feng Shui Clients Too
I currently have this screening process for BaZi only, but I will roll this out to feng shui clients as well as all my other services. I haven’t been doing this – I should have. What this means is that I will not take up just any feng shui case that comes to me. There will be a strict screening process before I decide to take on a case. This is for the good of everyone – because I’m not your typical modern-day practitioner where I tell you your life’s problems can be solved by rolling a pineapple into your home or burning incense in your house.
I’m really quite sick and tired of people coming to me and expecting me to turn their lives around just by putting items and placing furniture around, and as politically incorrect as this sounds, clients who have this sort of expectation and have extremely low quality charts and it’s just a matter of time before life hits them so hard that they will never be able to climb back up again. I don’t like saying such stuff on my blog because it’s cruel, but pretending it doesn’t exist or that this issue isn’t real is not helping anyone either – it makes things difficult for both myself and the client. I guess I have to take my own advice and keep things balanced – metaphysics is not always about fun, hope and a bright future like how the media paints it to be. I think people tend to forget that we don’t live in a world that’s free from suffering – it’s everywhere. What you can hear is sometimes soul-crushing, and there are some harsh truths that will make anyone’s stomach churn. The important question is how are you going to react and what will you do if or when you hear this. Perhaps the layman can’t appreciate this fact, but if you are in this line and you see how charts manifest and translate into real life you can’t help but feel jaded at times and wonder why life can be so unforgiving.
Low-quality charts do exist and I don’t buy the “every chart is good, it’s just how you use it” argument championed by some practitioners – to me this just a way to package metaphysics so that it’s easier to sell, so can we please stop pretending like everything is all rosy and just because you’ve heard of BaZi, Zi Wei Dou Shu or feng shui, you stand a chance at becoming wealthy and successful. I’ve argued countless times that if you really wish to progress in life, your view on things should always be balanced. Being positive in itself is not a bad thing, but if you bring it to a point which makes you delusional, then it is.
I wish people will take whatever I say in my blog extremely seriously and not see it just as marketing material. I know everyone is probably already sick of hearing me say things like “I’m done enough consultations to know” – but I really have. It’s just that a lot of things I say need some time to come to fruition. Here’s an example:
The above client is a very nice lady who happens to be going through a rough patch. I wished with the consultation back in 2016, her predicament could have been prevented or she could have at least been mentally prepared. She took a lot of the things I said extremely well despite it looking grim, and did not ask for a shortcut to her problems. This is also the reason why you can see an upturn later in her life based on the chart and that she will enter into a good 10-year Elemental Phase – she has the right mindset and attitude. The challenges make her stronger and wiser. For some others, challenges make them crumble and spiral downwards.
I came out to do this sideline of mine thinking I can make a difference, and everyone, or at least, whoever ends up on my blog can walk away with a better understanding of metaphysics and how it should be approached. I’ve come to a point and realized that not everyone will ‘get it’ no matter how hard you try to explain things or help them. Perhaps it’s their karmic debt or it’s simply just the way nature and reality is. If it was so easy for everyone to ‘get it’, we wouldn’t have all the negative news we’re seeing almost every single day. I don’t like seeing the world this way – it’s really very, very cruel. It’s like telling someone, “Too bad for your tough life. It’s probably your karma.” It’s not something anyone has the right to say. It’s just that when you’ve seen enough challenging charts as a practitioner and you see how it manifests in real life – you can’t help but ask yourself whether or not some people are really punished by Heavens or nature. I do have moments when I look at a chart, and without even knowing the person, you can’t help but feel some sympathy because you know this person is going to seriously screw up someday. But then again, sometimes they deserve it.
My own chart is one of those special cases where it swings from the extremely bad to the extremely good, so in a way I have tasted both sides and what it’s like to have a bad chart as opposed to a good one, so it does help me in my practice and my consultations because I can relate to my clients’ suffering. But what I really cannot stand is a toxic mindset – I can’t tell you how much I hate it because I’ve once had it and I’ve seen how much damage it can do, and ever since I’ve never allowed myself to go there again.
I’m not saying all these because I feel like I’m enlightened or whatever. Metaphysics is just a field I happen to have an expertise on and I will not stand for how things are currently like in this field, so I do hold very different and strong opinions. I’m trying so hard to communicate what I feel is right and what I believe in, and I know deep down in my heart I’m doing the right thing, but there would be people who are irresponsible with their own lives coming in to make a complete joke and mockery of everything I do. I was once rather naive and thought that as long as I did my best and had my heart in the right place, every client would be happy and walk away better, which I was of course proven wrong. Way wrong. There will always be a bunch of clients who absolutely hate me because of my style – I really don’t sugar coat and I will not hesitate to call out their nonsense when I need to. Fortunately, on the flip side, there will be a bunch of clients who do make me feel very blessed and humbled to have this set skills and have something valuable to offer – some of them have kindly left very heartfelt testimonials which you can see here. I’m past the phase where I get very defensive or sensitive about my reputation – be it online or offline. I realized I can’t make everyone happy although I wish I could and any business struggles with this.
I honestly would have expected everyone to do their research on me and how I conduct things first before actually parting with their hard earned money. I’ve encountered cases where I told my clients who just bought a house recently that, unfortunately, they bought a bad house, and what I can do is limited, and they simply replied “But this is not what feng shui is about! I’m shocked!” It turns out they did not bother to read any of my blogs before engaging me, thinking feng shui is about placing items and shifting furniture around. It doesn’t matter where I rank on Google or how many testimonials I’ve got – do your research people.
I’m trying my best to minimize the unpleasantries as I conduct this sideline of mine because I’m someone who doesn’t like drama and I really don’t like dealing with certain kinds of people – the toxic ones in particular. I’m sure everyone can relate to this and we all know that one person we don’t wish to be around and eventually cut off from our lives. I’ll be extremely upfront and say that I’m not always the nicest or most patient service provider. I know I should strive to be – it’s a business after all and clients are paying, but there are times where I need to drop the veil and just say it as it is and I have done that plenty of times.
One of the purposes of my blog is to offer everyone a balanced view for me a person and service provider. Yes, I do try to showcase the good side of things through my testimonials and blog, but I’m also totally fine with being upfront about the bad. I rather you read it here direct from me instead of from somewhere else – not that there is any I know of at the moment. I’m very sure there are other practitioners out there who are way better than I am and charging less and are more patient and compassionate than I am. Whatever it is, I really just hate pretending. I’m not leading a conglomerate where I have an army of client facing staff at my disposal – every single client engagement is direct contact with me, so it’s not possible for me to put up a corporate front similar to conventional companies do.
Please Remember I Am Human Too
I do lose my temper at my clients. It’s not something I am proud of, but thankfully it doesn’t happen that often. I must admit that I’m not someone with the best temper and sometimes I think this is due to me a being a bit overstretched, and it does make me question whether I should do this full-time instead so that I can be a bit less snappy. I’ve been trying to make things better by automating certain processes. For example, whenever someone fills up the consultation form, an automated email with instructions gets sent out – this saves me a huge amount of time. I do think that my temper stems from the strong opinions I hold on certain things, and I do have certain values and principles that, if challenged, will provoke a reaction from me.
I have one of those jobs where a lot of interesting characters can really show up at your (metaphorical) door and it’s a huge challenge dealing with them, which is why the client screening process exists. Fortunately, I have the luxury of that.
Here are some of the rather blunt things I’ve said to my clients and the context. Please don’t mistake the tone though. Whatever I said isn’t out of malice, it’s just that I have situations where I find that I need to drive a certain point across with no holds barred:
- “You need to understand this is precisely the reason why you have a low-quality chart.” This was said a few times to different clients who somehow aren’t able to take feedback or were expecting some magical solution to their problems.
- “You really think too highly of yourself.” This was said to a client who clearly has some ego issues and had some superiority complex, and refused to accept that his chart was not meant for riches. We all tend to over-estimate our own abilities – it’s a very natural human flaw. What’s important here is to have moments where you can calm down and really think about your life and career plan before making that leap. I often meet people who wish to go into business because of their need to feel significant or seek validation. It’s a very common issue. I was once like that and almost went bankrupt because of it, so it’s really very easy for me to identify someone like that.
- “It’s your life, not mine. You don’t have to prove anything to me.” Pretty much the similar context to the above two points. My job is to decipher charts – that’s it. No one has to prove anything to me. Whatever I write in my reports is an objective analysis of the chart but some people take it really personally. For example, a lot of people like to ask me if they will be wealthy and I simply just so “no” because their chart doesn’t show that kind of capacity or ability. It’s not a personal attack for goodness sake. So many of us are stuck in a corporate job and the rat race and it’s just the way it is – not everyone has that kind of ability to build a business empire.
- “I think you are disgusting.” Not my exact words, but yes, I really did say that to someone and it’s still in my phone. This person basically wanted me to corporatize this sideline of mine and invest in me, and get me to build up my sideline like how some commercialized practitioners are doing it – to train others to do the readings. I will never do that and this was something I even wrote about recently. He was trying so hard to sell me this grand idea, and it was rather clear he only cared about the money and didn’t realize how much damage a business model like can cause to people because of the huge drop in quality. I was extremely put off and disgusted by this person who came to me with this proposal. The funny thing is that he hasn’t even got his own life sorted out. His questions on the BaZi form he submitted was rather simple – he basically asked if he can be a boss and if he will be wealthy. It wasn’t difficult to assess what he is like deep down looking at his chart and the questions he asked. The kind of question people ask can say a lot about the person.
Before I move on, this is my opinion on this whole “training others to do readings” model: If someone was meant for this field, this person does not have to learn from me and can go fully independent. All the resources are already out there for people to learn, and it helps a lot if you can read Chinese. Having a mentor or lineage simply means someone is assisting you and pointing you towards the right direction and sources, not because they have some god-granted special ability.
I almost become bankrupt because I mixed with the wrong crowd. Meeting opportunistic and cunning people who lie, oversell themselves in order to get what they want is not something new to me. I was young and impressionable back then, and was in the position of many of the clients I ‘advise’ today – I wanted to make something of myself but deep down I just needed validation that my parents never gave. I may be young for someone in this field, but I’ve gone through a lot of things people way older than me have not, which is probably the reason why you keep hearing people say I give good advice on my testimonials. Perhaps I don’t give myself enough credit for that because I don’t want people to think that I’m arrogant. If you have not already stumbled upon my blog post mentioned the Enneagram, please take the time to go to their website and do the test. It’ll be worth it.
I’m usually cordial and I keep things friendly and uplifting, but when the situation calls for it, I can also be extremely blunt. Me posting this here is also a declaration that I will never go down the path that some practitioners have chosen. Training someone to do readings and scaling the business this way is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion for reasons I’ve already mentioned plenty of times.
I think everyone needs to be rather clear about something. The fact that I’m in this field means I can get to know someone very well without actually having to go through the process of knowing someone. The charts can tell. So please don’t come to to a consultation pretending to be someone you’re not. I can know what someone is made off just by looking at your chart, and I don’t care whether you’re a celebrity, politician, hawker or business person – your charts will tell me all I need to know.
The thing about the above-quoted cases is that it came from very low-quality charts in the eyes of BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu theory. You’re probably asking “why did you take them up in the first place anyway?” I’ve always talked about transcending your chart, and honestly, I hope through the consultation they can somehow be a step closer to that once they get an understand of what metaphysics is really about – but thing’s don’t always go the way I intended. I know it’s going to sound like I have something against people with low-quality charts – perhaps I do. These are the toxic people that frankly no one likes to be around with or the ones who seem to have some void in them that they simply must show the world how great they are and get validation from everyone when clearly they have very little to offer. Let’s admit it, people like this exist – we simply just avoid them and focus on our own lives, just that I have the obligation to write about such things because, in my field, I deal with such people a lot. I wish I didn’t have to.
Every BaZi Consultant and Feng Shui Master’s Dream
The ideal situation and dream scenario for a practitioner like myself is that I use my knowledge to serve the people who are already doing very well. Business people, business magnates, whatever. I’ll help them time their decisions and get the most out of their lives using metaphysics. It’s the path of least resistance for me. I don’t have to deal with the unpleasantries and I can still be financially comfortable. But we all know that the ones who are having a tougher time need it more than those who are already doing well. You’ll hardly see anyone having a good time going for a BaZi reading.
This field is so bastardized to the extent that people think rolling pineapples into your home can change your life (I’m not kidding). I had a feng shui engagement that didn’t go down too well because the client wasn’t happy that I had no solution for their problems. Their BaZi charts weren’t exactly good (yes, Category 4) and I only wish I screened it instead of taking up the case without thinking through it. To have not worked hard your whole life, or spent time improving yourself, and expecting a total turnaround of your life using feng shui (and it’s not even the proper application) is not only the epitome of sloth but also stupidity.
Moments That Make Me Fulfilled As A Practitioner
If you’re wondering what this whole category 4 BaZi chart is about, I’ve written a post on the difference between good BaZi charts and bad ones, and also one on whether you can change your BaZi or Zi Wei Dou Shu chart – I highly encourage you to read these posts. Those posts are some of the most well-received ones I’ve written because it gives a perspective that almost all clients have never considered before. You will not regret going through them. Perhaps we are all too busy and caught up with our own responsibilities to really sit down and ponder about things (I make it a point to do that for myself). If you were in my shoes and have gone through the number of charts that I have, you will notice a certain pattern in the way people think and handle their lives depending on the level of quality of their charts. People in category 4 have a tendency to condemn themselves to their charts, and they don’t seem to understand that BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu is not about predestination.
Fierce texts and heated arguments side, it makes me very happy whenever I receive texts like these:
That’s how I sound on most days.
My life has molded me into someone who doesn’t really know how to pretend or put up an act. My own BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu chart clearly state this very clearly as well. Any of my close friends or clients who have had some brief interaction would know that about me. This side of myself does get me into trouble once in a while but I don’t feel I need to apologize for what I stand for and what I believe in. I’m all for being friendly and polite of course, but if I have to be blunt – I will. I think every single post I’ve written has been consistent. I don’t try to be someone I’m not and I speak my mind and say it like it is. If you are not comfortable with it and you dislike me for it, or if you perceive it as arrogance, there’s no need to reach out or engage me. I’m really not here to sell a ‘feel good’ package or service. If you can’t accept that you have a bad BaZi or Zi Wei Dou Shu chart, and you can’t accept you bought a bad house because you simply were fated to have one and refuse to accept that feng shui is not about placing artifacts and shifting bloody furniture around – that’s your problem and mental block to overcome, not anyone else’s. Acceptance has to come before change can happen. Practitioners can’t answer questions like “Why do I have a bad chart?” That’s like asking why is there suffering in the world.
I’ve spoken about this on my blog before, just that I’ve never mentioned it for a while – I have this skill at my age because I had an extremely tough start to life and grew up with abusive parents and in an extremely harsh environment. I had my phase of self-loathing and self-pity, and I did look for shortcuts in the past. You can just read the full story here. I can’t tell you how much I absolutely detest people who only know how to blame everything else but themselves, and act as if the world owes them a living and deserve all the good things in the world without having to put in the effort.
I don’t have an answer to the question of why some people are so lucky to have good charts whereas most of us don’t. I am not a deity and I’m not some omniscient being. I too, freaking ask myself why I have a less than ideal chart and why I was born with abusive parents. Just to share: I always told myself it’s probably my god damn karma and I’ve most likely done something really bad to them in my past life. I let the experience make me stronger and I move on. Yes, it took me two and a half decades of struggle, but I can say I’m glad I went through whatever I did. I’m a hell lot stronger than most of my peers mentally and looking at things now, it’s quite clear why I had to go through those – if not for my past, I would have never gone so deep into metaphysics. Again, just to be clear, I’m not invalidating anyone’s struggles. I do feel for people who are are going through tough times and I hate it that good people have to suffer. What I’ve always been trying to tackle here is really the toxic mindset of people seeking a shortcut through metaphysics. That’s all. So please don’t mistake my intent.
I don’t put up a front as I build this sideline of mind and I’ve always made it a point to be consistent – I really try to let people get to know me through my blog. Look, I’m a normal human being who just happens to have this skill due to how my life went. I don’t possess this skill because I’m some enlightened being who wishes to save the world and I’m all compassionate – trust me I’m not. I have a temper and I do get triggered and I scold my clients. I do make mistakes from time to time as well in my report, and I even went as far as to be upfront that parts of my reports are templated (of course they are), and they are templated because parts of the report are meant for laying out the foundational knowledge of metaphysics before someone and read and digest the parts unique to theirs. The template is in my BaZi sample report which is available on my website for all to see, and it’s not some dirty secret I’ve been hiding. The end goal is to be able to communicate, effectively and concisely, the knowledge that is esoteric and understanding to the layman.
Your Affinity With Feng Shui and BaZi
At the end of the day, whether you end up with a house with good or bad feng shui is fated. This is the reason why you don’t see me advertising because I know whoever is meant to find me will find me. Not many people are ready to accept my views on feng shui even though it is the correct view – that you can’t change your life or alter your fate with mere items, furniture arrangement and colours.
If you are planning on getting a reading, please go read my blog post on good BaZi charts vs bad BaZi charts. I don’t expect anyone to know whether they fall under Category 4 BaZi charts, but if you feel what I say is nonsense or doesn’t make sense, then please don’t even bother filling up the form and don’t ever come back to my website again. This website is not meant for you.
If you feel like the world owes you a living or that metaphysics can turn your life around while you can be a sloth, or if you feel metaphysics is some magical shortcut, please go to the other practitioners who are keener on being an entertainer, or get a life coach. Please also remember that I reserve the absolute right to stop the 7-day Q&A at any point if anyone displays any rude or disrespectful behavior – I’m not here for people to project their issues onto me. I give the 7-day Q&A as a privilege to clients because I really want them to have a fruitful consultation, but at the same time, I have to draw the line and protect myself from the more ‘interesting’ characters out there.
Look, guys, no one is pointing a gun at anyone and forcing them to engage me. My blog and the internet is out there for you to do your research. I’m not the perfect practitioner, but I can say for certain that there is no other practitioner out there that blogs like I do and most are more interested in being a media whore and winning the popularity contest. I just happen to like writing and I have my own style of conducting this ‘business’. I have absolutely no intention of trying to hide who I am or what I’m like. I can be an extremely harsh and critical person, but it doesn’t come from a place of malice.
Perhaps people never had anyone speak to them as I do and their insecurity makes them extremely defensive when it comes to receiving feedback – if such things bother you, then don’t come for a reading. Go focus on the things you need to do and do it well. The only difference between someone who eventually does well and one who doesn’t is their mindset – it doesn’t matter where or how you started. There is a reason why there’s a saying 命好不如運好 – your mindset and how you develop despite your circumstances is still the ultimate determinant of the quality of your life and chart.
I’m the way I am because of what I went through in life, and I have flaws that I am struggling very hard to overcome, and some of these flaws are the lack of empathy and losing that sense of compassion that makes us human sometimes. It’s hard for everyone to understand what I went through to be so hardened up sometimes, why I have such strong views, and why I find certain kind of people or mindsets repulsive. The things that I went through made me the practitioner I am today as I dug through the Chinese classics in search of an answer – the irony here is that it’s also why I have the flaws that I do.
If you are going to someone – a practitioner and stranger – and counting on this person to give you advice and foretell what your future is like, it might be a good idea to have a thorough understanding of his or her background, and everything else you can know about this person.
Hi Sean, you mentioned this in your article above:- “There is a reason why there’s a saying 命好不如運好 – your mindset and how you develop despite your circumstances is still the ultimate determinant of the quality of your life and chart.”
I can fully understand why our mindset is the main determinant of how and why our life is changed, regardless of the environment and circumstance. But based on what you mentioned above, does it therefore mean that even the mindset and it’s quality is already pre-determined by the chart? And therefore the category 4 that you mentioned?
In a way, yes, the chart can tell us a bit about someone’s mindset. You can see the natal chart as what you’re born with and inherent nature, and the Elemental Phases as your development and environment. Some might argue that it’s because of the harsh environment that their mindset changes, but it could also be argued that it’s because of their mindset that got them into a harsh environment in the first place. There’s always a chicken-and-egg issue, or rather, the natal chart (representing you) is always interacting with the Elemental Phases (your environment).
To give an example: A lot of people who move into a difficult 10-year phase usually end up making a wrong decision that can be life changing but in a bad way. For example, starting a business while having no idea what they are getting themselves into.
I like reading this post. Thanks for being honest. And like you, I am inspired to do a blog just like you. Hope I can learn a few tips from you.