Author and self-help guru DDnard is the bestselling writer of all time in her native Thailand and one of the country's most sought-after celebrities.
She is now set to become a household name in Britain with the release of the English-language version of her inspiring book 'The Compass of Now'.
The book documents DDnard's own journey from grieving, destitute widow to one of the world's most powerful entrepreneurs and inspirational leaders.
It was a pleasure, and a privilege, for me to be able to meet with DDnard for an exclusive interview, to talk about her journey, and how she hopes to help others who face similar, seemingly hopeless, circumstances.
CM: Ddnard, it's an absolute pleasure to meet you. I'd like to start by asking you to describe your life just before the events of the book.
DD: My son was 11 months old. My husband was a loving and caring husband and father. We were friends for five years and had been married for less than two years. I live in Bangkok with my son running my diamond business. He lives in Phuket running his real estate projects.
We have three beautiful homes, two in Bangkok and one in the countryside.
His real estate and hotel business were thriving. Things were great and he was just 32 years old and expected to retire with 20 million pounds at the age of 37. But he died on the New Year's Eve morning at the age of 32 of heart failure.
All his assets and shares were taken away. The only things me and my baby were left with were his debts and his creditors. Our story became news on many Thai newspapers and magazines. As you may guess, it didn't look good.
CM: Did you ever have a moment where you wondered how you were going to 'pick yourself back up' again?
DD: Yes, upon hearing the news of my husband's death I collapsed. It was a New Year Eve's morning, the New Year songs were in my ears. I was very happy to have a family reunion. My son hasn't seen his father for few weeks.
The moment I heard of his death, I thought how my son will grow up without a father? However, at that moment my 11-month-old baby stood up on his feet for the first time and used his tiny fingers to wipe away my tears.
He lost his father, I had just lost my best friend. One day I may find a new one but no one can ever replace his father. But he didn't think about himself, only about how to make his mother feel better. Learning from my son's strength, I knew then that I had to stand strong for my son and no matter what was happening, I will turn this to be the best thing that happened to my life.
I paid off my two million pounds debt is two years. People usually ask me how I paid off my 2 million pounds debt and I always tell them the story of the monkey and the peanuts. When a farmer wants to catch a monkey, he hollows out a coconut and then fills that hollow space with peanuts. Eventually, a monkey comes along, wants the peanuts, and sticks its hand inside to get them. The hole in the coconut, however, isn't large enough for the monkey to pull its enclosed fist back out. The monkey only has to let go of the peanuts to be free, but it doesn't. The monkey becomes imprisoned by his desire for the peanuts, and the monkey's inability to let go of the desire becomes its undoing.
There can be so many times in our lives that we hold on to our attachments that cause us to lose what we want most. I sold everything I had then to pay off my debt at whatever price I was offered. Those who heard of my way said I will lose but when you feel you are happy with what you are offered, things turned out to be just perfect.
I became debt-free and have made a lot of money since then. To sum it up, I think it is all a mind game. If you play well inside, you play well outside and I say it all in my Compass of Now book.
CM: What kept you strong?
At the funeral, when so many creditors and shareholders approached me, one gentleman who I hardly knew him walked up to me and told me the story of a mother who lost her son. She carried the son's dead body and asked people to help bring her son back.
She met the Buddha. He told her that if she could find a family that never lose their loved ones, he will help her son. That moment all I could hear was that a family that never lose loved ones. It was an enlightening moment. Everyone has lost their loved ones and their dear things before. It is only now that the word is not theirs but it is "mine" that cause me the misery. I, me, mine are such a pain-intriguing words.
That moment my sorrow faded. The gentleman also insisted that if I wanted to manage my debt, I better learn to manage my mind through self observation or meditation--whatever I wanted to call it.
At the meditation, while I was observing myself, pain on my leg arose. The moment I just observed the pain, I saw the pain separated from my mind. Then I knew from that moment on, debt is just debt, my mind is my mind. I was in pure joy and I knew that with that state of mind, I could easily pay off all my debt.
So I start paying attention on what I can make and things turned out perfectly.
CM: What made you decide to write The Compass of Now?
DD: Seven years after the incidents, apart from paying all my debt, I had enough money to choose not to work. So I moved to live by the beach with my son and wrote The Compass of Now as a gift for anyone who could be in the difficult situation like I was in and needs to hear that things will turn out perfectly as long as you know how to manage your mind.
CM: How important is spirituality in your life?
DD: To me it is how we approach the world with the best in us. Setbacks happen but misery or happiness is our choice.
The thing I love most about being human is that we have freedom to choose how we feel and, even better, when we are even free from our own feelings and thoughts; when we are just merely observing them.
CM: Who are your own inspirations?
DD: My son: he is strong, loving and very mature. He is now 18. Yes, time flies. I have no regret with what happened. It really turned out to be the best. Millions of people are inspired by our story and have a will and a way to manage their lives. That is as wonderful gift as one can ask for.
CM: The book has been a tremendous success so far. What would you like British readers to take away from it?
DD: We are all humans. We have setbacks, good times and bad times but we can manage our mind to make things turn out to be the best for our lives and our families.
There is a way that work things out from within each of us. Our mind is the most important tool we have: learn to use it well.
We spend so much time learning to manage outer things. It is time we learn the proper way to manage the inner, and hence, outer.
CM: Finally, if you had one piece of advice to give anyone who finds themselves in a seemingly hopeless situation, what would that be?
DD: Turn to your best side to take care of things. Look at the situation with God's view: what good plans God has for you for this situation. There always are good things. When you stop wishing for the setbacks to go away, that is when things can get better. Start focusing on the good things in life. Your focus magnifies things, use it mindfully.
The Compass of Now by DDnard (Life Compass Co., Ltd) is available now, priced £9. For more information visit www.compassofnow.com or www.ddnard.co.uk