An email that seemed so simple in its heading will probably turn out to be a defining read for me in this new year. A Toastmaster’s acquaintance wrote to just highlight that she is currently recuperating. A recent biopsy has diagnosed her with malignant cancer in her pancreas, liver and several organs. In that email, she attached a written mail to her brother, whom she was probably trying to comfort. Poignantly written, it highlighted her initial struggles in life, such as paying off her HDB flat with cash as she was unable to secure a loan. The note also detailed her satisfaction at living a full and significant life, albeit the struggles. At 57 years of age, I got a feeling that she probably has lesser regrets in life than what my 30 year old body is carrying. That foreboding knowledge of perhaps an impending departure from this Earthly realm can make people really ponder about life. Or rather the fullness or lack of it.
This email directly contrasts the episodes that I had lived out in 2010. A year that definitely stood out in my memory as a year filled with nothing much for me personally. I left my agency in Manulife after almost 4 years of unacceptable performances. It was a bitter way to end a working relationship, where I had tendered my resignation without breathing a single word to my manager, nor did I even cast an appreciative look on his 50 plus year old face. The bitterness that I had is now long gone, having come to let go the follies and unnecessary baggages, that my stint in the agency had been filled with. The episode of watching how, a model of leadership can be so twisted, when images of success and wealth can so fixate and overwhelm a man’s ideal.
Perhaps it is just me, but this email brings about a real sense of perspective about how silly people are. Or can be. Or still is. Where their lives are filled with ecstasy of non fulfilling gratifications. Like how booze and merriment in parties are almost the highlights of how their lives should live out to be. Or how some gratify purchases as the benchmarks by which their lives are gradually escalating to. I know how seductive it is. I’m still on that beaten path sometimes. When I need to ascertain self actualization with Facebook updates about how I’ve been there, been here, with who, when, how much and what I bought. It’s like that perpetual cycle of patting my back with my own hands.
So where does this lead to actually? Somewhere. Not very far actually.
2010 was a great year to be used as a basis of reflections. A year where my potential was perhaps summarized in one word. “Hopeless”. Which is good actually, knowing that the glimmer of a future, a brighter one that is, exists. I am learning, in small yet monumental ways, that I have a choice. A definite choice of choosing my associations and relations. On who deserves to be a friend. On what needs to be worked on as a leader/human being/friend/associate and so forth.
This year started out well, in the sense that I did not bother thinking about resolutions. I started thinking about December 2011, actually. I started thinking about my financial status on 31st December. I started thinking about the state of my health on 31st December 2011. I started thinking about my family on 31st December 2011. I started thinking about myself from a third person’s perspective come 1st January 2012.
In other words, I need to discover my flow. My zone.
Moving head on to 2011 is all about…
- The ability to ride it – Challenges and frustrations are the best breaking threshold. Anything that breaks you from outside, makes you weaker. Anything that breaks you from within, gives you strength.
- The ability to get into the flow/zone – Knowing which facets of your lives that are worth focusing is essential. Being someone to everyone is a recipe for disaster. Choose your associations well. If Frodo had chose the wrong Fellowship, he would not have made it very far.
- The ability to synthesize – Too many people analyze. They think they are privileged to do so. You judge people. People judge you. Yet nothing productive comes out of the exchange. The innate capability to inject synergy is a vital component in all affairs. Who cares about what you can do? People care about what they can do. Help them.
- The ability to execute – Definitely my bane. I am a man filled with ideas, but I lack the conviction to carry out one action. My credo now. Have one idea, and many actions
- The ability to be The Prince – Read Machiavelli’s “The Prince”. Or “Thick Face Black Heart”. Period.