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TUTORIALS

Questions you should avoid

Sunday, October 29, 2006
By: Joey Yap

Last week, I wrote about some pertinent questions you should ask before you select your prospective Feng Shui consultant. This week, I'm going to talk about what you, as a user of such services, should do to maximise the time you have with your consultant. I am going to share with you some unique perspectives this week of what YOU should avoid doing during a Feng Shui or BaZi consultation in order for you to benefit most from a consultation.

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You might be wondering - why is Joey talking about what I should not do? The reason why some people sometimes don't get the best out of a consultation, be it a Feng Shui or BaZi consultation, is because they don't really know how to handle a consultation.

Now, this has nothing to do with a person's IQ, education level or personality. Most people visiting a professional for the first time - be it a lawyer, a doctor, a dentist or a chiropractor - have no idea what to expect either. Accordingly, they also have no idea how to handle the experience or what to expect.

That's why, viewing things from the perspective of a professional practitioner or consultant is important. By asking someone who actually practices the speciality how we should handle a consultation, we get an insight into how the practitioner's mind works, what matters and doesn't matter, and how to get the most out of the time we are in their office. By avoiding questions that don't serve our interests and approaching the consultation the right way, we avoid wasting our time in the consultation on matters of little significance, get to the crux of the matter and ensure the consultation is a positive experience.

My colleagues and peers in the profession come from various parts of the world and they often share with me their experiences, good or bad, with their clients. Not surprisingly, their experiences with their clients, wherever they come from, are quite similar and consistent.

Attitude Matters

There seems to be a common trend for some people to come to a Feng Shui or BaZi consultation with a less than ideal attitude. What is this attitude? We call it the anti-change attitude. They resolutely refuse to make any kind of changes, be it to their personality or attitude in life (when it comes to BaZi) or any modifications to their home (when it comes to Feng Shui).

Many of these changes are not even drastic. If they refuse to change bedrooms, this perhaps is somewhat drastic to some people. But repositioning the bed? That is not a drastic change by any reasonable measure. Yet there are clients who refuse to even do that. Instead, they expect a consultant to ask them to install something in their house or bedroom (and preferably something that is not too ugly, will not inconvenience them, and doesn't involve any digging, drilling or DIY work) that will 'dissipate the Sha Qi', throw some salt and make their problem go away. Having an anti-change attitude is like going to see a doctor to help cure a problem but then refusing to take the medicine.

It may not be advisable to seek a Feng Shui or BaZi consultation if we are not ready for one. If we go to a Feng Shui or BaZi consult but are not interested in improvement, then chances are we are wasting our own time and money. Before a consultant can help us, we must first want to help ourselves. Our Feng Shui or BaZi consultant is being paid to give us useful advice. Sometimes they may give us advice which is hard to accept or difficult to implement. But, to benefit fully from his advice, it is best to review with the consultant how we could overcome those difficulties or work around those recommendations.

In Feng Shui, of course a skilled practitioner will seek to minimise the changes that we need to make. But that does not mean we will not need to make any changes at all. No consultant wants to advocate drastic change or something that requires us to turn our life upside-down. Even in a BaZi consultation, the emphasis is on the client doing what they can, making the changes they can handle and sometimes, making changes progressively. But some change is still necessary.

Avoid the 'since I'm here...' question.

Some clients request marriage dates as part of the Feng Shui consultation, for their unborn children, children who are still young or children who are not even dating yet! Now, this is really not making productive use of our consultation time because we are asking the consultant to select a date for an event that is not even for certain likely to happen.

We cannot get a Feng Shui Assessment for our whole life or BaZi Assessment for our whole life through one consultation. Some clients may tend to look at this as a way of 'maximising the consultation' but in reality, it is not maximising the consultation, and in some cases, we may just end up vexing the consultant. It is a question that quite simply, is not possible to answer. At the point in which a child eventually does want to get hitched, other factors may come into play, which are not evident now, that influence the selection of the date - their prospective spouse's BaZi for starters!

Another variation of the 'since I'm here' question is the 'since we're in the neighbourhood' question. Sometimes, clients ask for an opinion on a house that is 'just along the way'. The BaZi version of this question is the 'could you just look at their chart?'

Now, this is not to say that consultants do not want to be helpful. But it is also important to respect the fact that a Feng Shui and BaZi consultant needs to prepare for our consultation, and accord our case due attention. The Feng Shui consultant needs time to appraise and audit the property and its surrounding landforms and of course, the BaZi consultant needs time to study the chart. Granted, a top professional can probably tell at a glance if a place is good or not good and the same with a BaZi. But then again, would we ask a dentist if we have good teeth just by opening up our jaws at a dinner table?

No consultant wants to do a 2 minute job or a 'by the way' consultation of a relative's house down the road, or our best friend in the world's BaZi chart that we whip out during our consultation. Most professional consultants would pride themselves on giving proper professional advice, not 'by the way' advice.

If the matter is important to us, in the first place, we would not relegate it to 'by the way' status. We would instead accord it due and proper significance. If we really want the Feng Shui of our sister's house appraised, it would be best to make an appointment for a proper consultation. If your best friend's personal happiness is of great significance to us, it would be safer to ask her to make a BaZi consultation so she can have all her questions answered, instead of taking the risk of getting incomplete answers.

A 'by the way' question is either important, or not important. If it's not important, it is best to refrain from asking. If it is, then you should get a full and proper answer. Think of it as a 'by the way' question, gets a 'by the way' answer. And that one pointer could be the most expensive piece of free advice you get because the consultant answered the question within a very limited context, with limited information and there is always a risk of the answer being incomplete due to these factors.

Do not ask 'will 1606 strike Da Ma Chai this week'?

A professional classical Feng Shui consultant will not fix our Feng Shui to give us a shot at winning the lottery or busting the house at the blackjack tables. Nor will a BaZi consultant give us lucky numbers or give us good days of the month to buy the lottery. Using our consultation time or consultation with a Feng Shui or BaZi consultant for the sole purpose of seeking advice on the stock market, the lottery or gambling is a waste of your time and money. And let's be logical for one minute - if the Feng Shui Master or BaZi consultant knew all these, wouldn't they be doing it for themselves first? If a BaZi or Feng Shui consultant proclaims to be able to give us a house or numbers that do this, we should be on the look out for being scammed.

It is understandable for most clients wanting to improve their wealth opportunities through Feng Shui, but striking the lottery or winning at the poker table, do not qualify as 'wanting to improve wealth opportunities'.

The irrelevant question

Because of the influence of New Age practices, there are still many people who seek professional consultation and using up much of their time for self-affirmation of cultural beliefs, superstitions or old-wives tales. So here's a brief list of questions to avoid asking, so as to avoid wasting your money and consultation time:

Goldfish or Guppies? - Avoid asking about the types of fish in the aquarium or how many we should have or if it is bad luck if one dies. If we are asked to install an aquarium, as long as we place it where the consultant has asked us to located it, the rest is really up to us. It's the water in the aquarium that is important, not the fish, which are there more to keep the water from being stagnant. And the dying fish is really not significant. Think of it this way - fish are mortal too. They die. Perhaps we need to change the water!

I like Picasso's art - is that bad Feng Shui? - Most Feng Shui consultants are not art connoisseurs. They cannot provide advice on choice of art, or paintings and they have no viewpoint on Monet vs. Picasso. Nor is their opinion, if one is expressed, of any significance. If we ask our Feng Shui consultant to 'say okay' on a painting, their 'OK' has no Feng Shui significance.

Can I wear Silver and Purple together? - Colour choices are personal and are not the purview of a classical Feng Shui consultant. Again, many people may feel these have significance but really they don't and it is better to focus our consultation time on something substantive than on whether we should have purple in the bathroom. A classical Feng Shui consultant would normally tell us to decorate the house any way we like, and wear whatever colours we like.

How long will I live? - This is a popular BaZi question and frankly, a time-waster. Some clients insist they want to know their D-day so they can plan their lives. A true professional consultant will say, stop thinking about dying and start thinking about living. Focus on the now and if the time is right, do what you want to do. Knowing you have 20 years more to go is not going to give anyone a greater sense of urgency to achieve their dreams.

I hope this week's article has helped to put our minds in the correct perspective and provide some insights as to how we could maximise our consultation time and receive better value from the services of a Feng Shui or BaZi consultant.

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