GEORGE TOWN, MALAYSIA - Jackson Teoh Su Choon, a 19-year-old from Prai, is not your average teenager, although he begs to differ.
The Inti International College Penang first-year Australian Business Degree Transfer Programme student, speaks like a professional motivator, scholar and businessman. And, he knows in an instant if people are lying.
Well-read in entrepreneurship, Teoh is almost a philosopher when it comes to failure and success, despite his tender age. He knows how to make things work.
Many people, he said, are afraid to go into entrepreneurship because over 80 per cent of all new businesses fail.
"It is all right to fail because people who fail in their business ventures never end up empty- handed.
"They come out of it with valuable experiences and lessons learnt. This will ultimately drive them towards success.
"Businesses are about taking chances and risks. If people do not take risks, they will not learn how to be successful," he said at the college in Bukit Jambul on Thursday.
Teoh said he became interested in the field after reading about successful entrepreneurs. He saw it as a means to make his parents, who run a small tuition centre, proud and to repay them for their sacrifices in raising him.
"I also like the taste of success - when I get to it. Before that, I will just embrace failure as my guide to success."
His drive and aspirations started at the end of 2007. At 16, he was dragged to a business conference at a hotel here by his elder brother. There, he met a man who asked him: "Why are you here? Shouldn't you be playing video games?"
Teoh then realised that he wanted to be different from his peers.
He began attending monthly conferences and "coffee talk" to meet new people.
"I quickly learned that the usual belief youths have that nobody is out there to help us is wrong because a chief executive officer (CEO) of a company once told me if I needed help, all I had to do was ask.
"There is nothing stopping us from achieving what we want, except ourselves. Every 'yes' I got from my simple request was a stepping stone after that."
Teoh said many youths these days lacked confidence and communication skills. This deterred them from landing jobs after graduation - a reason why the Federal Government needed to spend millions of ringgit to train fresh graduates.
Typical youths, he said, tended to focus on their problems, complained about them without working to find out what went wrong, all the while hoping that other people would settle matters for them.
Speaking from experience, he said communication allowed youths to network with the right people who could advise them and help them improve themselves, instead of feeling intimidated by "big shots" like CEOs, who were "just people like everyone else".
Today, Teoh can easily organise entrepreneurship events that link youths with industry leaders through his impressive network of contacts.
Teoh was also Malaysia's sole representative at the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR Harvard) conference in Boston, United States, in February, with over 120 people selected from around the world.
He won his entrance to the conference, beating thousands of applicants, by impressing the organisers from Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences with his positive mindset and ability to deliberate on Asian issues on a global level in mind-drilling online interviews.
However, funding for his trip to Boston was something he had to come up with himself. "It cost RM9,000 to go. My parents gave me a third of it, while my college and the state government funded the rest.
"It was a challenge to convince people to give me the money," said the former Bukit Mertajam High School boy, who will head to Singapore next month for the HPAIR Asia conference. He is among the speakers on the business strategy panel.
If all that is not enough to make this teenager extraordinary, Teoh also has the uncanny ability to read people through facial expressions and body language.
He said he had been researching human behaviour for some time and could now read people's emotions and whether they were lying.
"It is fun reading people. My brother likes to have me do it at his business meetings, for free."
Despite all that, Teoh maintains that he is still an ordinary teenager, who plays Xbox games and goes on Facebook, like everyone else.