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Is AsiaWorks a scam?

First of all, let me disclose that I have attended the training, I did my AsiaWorks Basic training back in 2012, then Advanced and Leadership Program (LP) in 2014.  All these three trainings were conducted under Asiaworks Training Sdn Bhd in Malaysia.  The reason I'm writing about this is because when I did a Google search on "AsiaWorks review", almost all results point to negative reviews.  Best yet, some of these reviews are from hearsay of the writer's friends, family members, colleagues, etc.  I will bring you through my journey based on my first-person experience.

Is-AsiaWorks-a-scam
Photo is for illustration purpose only, not a real photo of the training.  Photo credit: Luis Quintero

Cult and Secrecy
Imagine someone told you Bruce Willis is dead before you even watched the movie "Sixth Sense" (sorry to those who have not watched "Sixth Sense").  This is the main reason why they want to keep the content of the course so secretive.  The course is designed to let you have a closer look at how you operate in your life via exercises.  If you know the exercise in advance, it will not create the same impact or results that it was intended to.

Is AsiaWorks a cult?  I think it is, at least according to the definition of cult in Dictionary.  The interesting question is why are we so afraid of cults?  Apple (as a brand) is a cult, CrossFit is a cult.

UPDATE (2019-07-10): Tesla is a cult.

There are a lot of cults out there.  Cults don't necessary need to involve a daemon or a sacrifice.  To me, any organization or body that is able to change people's behavior is a cult.

Is this brainwashing?  I think it is, I came out having a different and wider view of things, I'm definitely brainwashed.  Again, why are we so afraid of brainwashing?  I don't see many people afraid of laundry washing, dish washing, car washing, but when it come to brainwashing, people somehow get so afraid.

Scepticism
Am I skeptical about the program?  You bet.  I'm one of the most analyzing, logical, skeptical persons that I have ever met :).  A friend told me about AsiaWorks more than 10 years ago before I joined the course.  I told him I don't need a course like this.  The fact that a lot of MLM, direct marketing, and insurance agents joining the course didn't help to convince me.

UPDATE (2019-07-10): I wrote about fear in this blog post, the fear of getting cheated.

Why did I join after 10 years?  I was in the part of my life where I was soul searching and finding answers for why some little things agitate me so much.  I talked to another friend that I respected, who has joined the course a long while ago.  The first question I asked him was, "Is this a motivational course?" I told him that I am not looking for a motivational course that pumps me up for a couple weeks and then I fall back to the same me.  He said, "No, it is not."   I then asked whether he still applies what he has learned since he did it about 10 years ago, and he told me "Every day!"  Right there and then, I decided to give it a shot.  He is also an established business owner and investor.  He re-affirmed that it was the best RM2,000 (AsiaWorks Basic training was around RM2,000 back then) he has ever spent.

I attended the course, alone, on Friday evening.  I looked around and saw a lot of people that I think would really 'need' this course.  I started to question whether I was in the right training course, I was one of the older ones.  As the trainer started the program, I analyzed everything he said, his gesture, the lighting setting, the background music, etc.  I was very skeptical.

What have I discovered about myself in AsiaWorks Basic?
Wow!  This is the part that I can go on and on.  My wife (then girlfriend) attended the course as well, I didn't sign her up but she decided to check it out after seeing the change in me.  According to her, she can't really pinpoint whether the change is better or not, but she saw a change and that intrigued her, as she knows that I am as stubborn as a rock.

Some of my biggest discoveries about myself in Basic is that:
  • I can be the most intelligent person on Earth (I am a Mensa member with IQ of 164), but intelligence and logic are not the only point-of-views in this world and that they are not the only way this world functions.
  • I noticed that I don't have much feelings and emotions, I operate like a robot, with lots of programs, functions, logics running (I graduated as a computer systems engineer) in my mind.  I used to be very proud of this trait of mine.
  • Through some of the exercises and games in the AsiaWorks training, I noticed that I like to lead but I don't want to be viewed as "power hungry".  I didn't get to lead the team and ended up just jumping in to criticize the leader.  This reflected in other areas of my life, including business, family and any other organizations I am involved in.
  • I analyze every single thing and try to beat the system.  I miss the opportunity to take action immediately.
  • I don't notice the support I have around me and I don't ask for help.
This list can go on and on.  Will you get the same take-home from the training?  I am not sure, it all depends on what is working and not working for you all this while.  It also depends on whether you want to participate.

AsiaWorks Advanced and Leadership Program (LP)
You may ask why did it take me 2 years to join Advanced course if the course is so good.  I have actually decided to finish the course (Advanced and LP) right after I finished Basic.  When I was asked whether I want to join the immediate Advanced course by another AsiaWorks graduate, I told her that I didn't have time for it back then and that I will certainly do it one day.  Now thinking back, also after volunteering to staff the Basic, I was just being righteous and wanted to show her that I knew better.

Nonetheless, in 2014, when my wife was away for a few weeks, I got bored and decided to sign up for Advanced.  Here are some of my key discoveries:
  • I have always thought that the connection between people is very shallow and that was how I viewed most connections around me, including connections with all the other participants in the training.
  • I can lead and people look up to me.  I am inspiring.
  • I have to take risks to be a leader, including being misunderstood and misjudged of my intention.
  • I have played (participated) very differently in Advanced than how I participated in Basic.  I have actually changed in these two years!

Relationships
I think one of the biggest take-homes from the whole course is my relationship with my wife and my family members.  I remember my wife told me that the reason she signed up was that before I joined Basic, all I loved was her.  However, after I joined Basic, she felt that I love her, but I also love myself!  I think this is the most fundamental for a healthy relationship - loving oneself.  Without this, trust is hard to be built on.

Financials
I saw a lot of reviews associating getting rich fast, MLM, etc to this course.  Do I make more money during or after this course?  In some ways, yes, but it is because of me operating very differently now.  If I choose to not do anything, will the money automatically come to me?  Dream on! 

I will give you an example.  I used to hate selling!  Really, I always see myself being the business partner who stays behind the scene and my business partner will be the front facing one.  Now, I still don't like to sell!  But the difference is that I can sell if I choose to, as good as any good sales person in the field.  My whole perception of sales changed after the course.  Selling is not just a skill applicable to sales people.  It is an important skill, which we call enrolment, for any leader, any leader of a company (the boss), any leader of a family (the parents) or any leader of an organization.  Life is an enrolment game!  So, do you think able to sell when I want to will help me financially?

Who shouldn't join AsiaWorks?
First of all, no one needs this course!  Please DO NOT join:
  • If you think that you can make a lot more money just by attending the course
  • If you are afraid of change and just want to stay in your comfort zone
  • If you don't intend to participate
  • If someone pays for you and you feel like you are being forced to join
Other that these, what do you have to lose?  Couple thousands of ringgits and couple days?  Seriously, have you not lost them in some other indulgences or branded products before?  If you have always held on so dearly to these few thousand ringgits and a few days of your life, have you ever wondered what you could have possibly missed?

I will be cross posting this blog post to some of the forums that I found in the search results, do feel free to share your thoughts, feelings, and questions that you have in the comment.  Thanks.



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