*Suh Yoon’s interview was published in the Chosun Ilbo (the largest newspaper in Korea) on March 14, 2020. We are reposting it here, translated into English, for the sake of our blog readers.
By Kim Mi-ri
March 14, 2020, 03:00
When the teenage girl from Daechi-dong finished her math lessons, she’d pull out a book on the study of destiny. Renowned experts from around the country would visit her house to teach her about fortune. The girl, whose comprehension was among the best in her school, fully immersed herself in those teachings. Her mentors would recommend her, saying, “There’s a girl who sees more clearly than I. Go visit her,” and indeed, presidents of large conglomerates have been going to speak with her ever since she was in high school (Sookmyung Girls’ High School).
Suh Yoon Lee, author of The Having
Suh Yoon Lee (41), the destiny consultant with this unique history, has published a book called The Having (co-authored by Suh Yoon Lee/JooYun Hong, published by Suo Books). This book was first published in the United States in English by the famous publisher Penguin Random House one year ago and then reimported into Korea. Contracts were signed for publication rights in 21 countries worldwide before the book’s Korean release. This is an unprecedented case in which Korean authors published a book overseas first before it was available domestically. What motivated them to do that?
―Why did you release the book overseas first?
“We were targeting international readers from the beginning. I met people overseas while studying astrology there, and they saw the Eastern study of destiny in a fresh way. I added the Eastern methods of mindset to Western self-improvement which only focused on success, and it got a better response than I had anticipated.”
―Mindset, you say.
“I counseled a lot of rich people. Even with a sum like $5 million, there are people who can feel that to its fullest and people who can’t. The difference is in mindset. It’s ‘the attitude of focusing on what you have now.’ I called this “having”.
―Focus on what you have?
“That means focusing on ‘affirmation of the present’ rather than ‘uncertainty about the future’. Let’s say you have $100. Rather than worrying about how you can make it back once you’ve spent it, Having means thinking how happy you are that you have $100 to spend. If you focus on the positive, you’ll feel good, and good feelings bring good fortune. Money will then follow.”
“External energy that you can’t control 100%. Good fortune comes when you believe that you are a fortunate person and the world is looking out for you and when you have entrusted yourself to the flow of fortune.”
― What should the millennial generation, who have nothing and no hope, do?
“Feeling that you have nothing starts with comparison. It’s the sense of deprivation you feel when you compare yourself to others. It’s especially severe among Koreans. The thing they say to me most often when they come for counseling is, ‘Are others not like this?’ I haven’t seen people like that when I’ve visited foreign countries and counseled through interpreting. You have to move the focus from the external to yourself.”
―You mentioned focusing on the present.
“The future is like dough. Just as you can make different kinds of bread out of dough, you can make the future out of your emotions at the present time. It may sound grandiose, but it starts with little things. Being happy because you have a cup of coffee in front of you right now. It’s small, but like the butterfly effect, it can bring you positive emotions. The people who gather at your side differ depending on what mindset you have.”
― Isn’t your work about seeing the future? But you focused on the present.
“I’ve been trained to live my life half a step into the future since I was seven. Because of that, I thought long and hard about ‘what it is to live in this moment.’”
―Do you have superhuman abilities?
“Not at all. My grandmother was a famous draper in Gangwon-do, South Korea who was good at telling fortunes. She believed that my destiny would be to help other people by studying fortune. She invested in me since I was a child and had me study. Studying cost a lot of money. There were many times when gurus deep in the mountains were more skilled than people who had done a great deal of academic study. Since I couldn’t travel the country as a child, my grandmother had them come to the house. What motivated them to move was ultimately money. In fact, if we hadn’t been middle class, it would have been impossible for me to learn.” Suh Yoon Lee comes from a typical middle-class Gangnam family. Her mother was an elementary school vice principal, and her father was a live broadcast vehicle entrepreneur.
―It must have been an unusual life.
“I’ve been reading palm lines since I was in grade 4-5 in elementary school. In middle and high school, my teachers would have the other kids study independently and have counseling sessions with me. In grade 12, I was upset because my luck with universities was poor, but my friends begged me to keep telling fortunes. It got annoying (laughs).” She got into Yonsei University(one of the best universities in South Korea)’s School of Business Administration on her second attempt.
― I’ve heard a lot of founders of large corporations visited you. What were they like?
“They avoided revealing much about themselves. Even if they’ve passed away, keeping one’s mouth shut is the lifeblood of this job, so I can’t say. However, although they had different styles, they had one thing in common. They believed that although they couldn’t control fortune, they could cause it to flow differently depending on their own mindset.”
― How did it happen that such famous people sought you out at such a young age?
“I’m a perfectionist. When the mentor who taught me about destiny told me what you need to do to become wealthy, I asked, ‘What are the standards for wealth? $5 million? $10 million?’ I kept interrogating him. My mentor would get angry and tell me I was annoying him, but ultimately recommended me to famous people in the political and financial world.”
― It’s an election year. Many politicians must have also come to see you.
“Businesspeople know to step back when the time isn’t right. They delay investment until the next time. Politicians insist on standing for election no matter how many times I tell them it isn’t the time, and then they fail. They’re people who beg for votes. They have the guts to beg. They want only good fortune without investment. They think only of taking, never of giving.”
―The world is melancholy these days.
“It’s true that the situation with coronavirus is serious, but we can’t let it intrude on our minds. If we focus too much on fear, things will be more difficult. You need to focus on being alive even now amidst the storm. My conclusion after studying destiny is that people are an existence beyond destiny.”