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10 Things I have learnt when I turned 24

Nothing beats another great mid night of personal reflection by the beach here in Langkawi.. Decided to leave everything related to work and studies back in KL and flew here with the Brompton for a solitude ride around the island over the weekend. Praise God for a just right timing for this! after surfing through the crazy sleep depriving intervals over the past few months. This year’s growth curve is indeed quite a different one. While some of my batch mates or at least social network connections are going through their quarter life crisis.. or either already getting engaged, wedded or managing their babies.. this year has been another yet, busy year with juggling a full time work, post-grad life,  various public events and also the broke up with my nearly 3 years relationship. The interesting twist was that it was never about time management which i thought that i am in control of, but the psychological aspect of having a never ending to do list that really made your entire year felt like a day!

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Celebrating the 24th Birthday at Pantai Cenang

And i just realize that the frequency for my reflections is indeed getting lesser! The last i did was on the 5 Things I Learnt in my First Job February this year.. as a mean to follow up with the 10 Things I learnt in University. I see the importance in reflections, in flashing back to the nostalgic moments and see how one has evolved through the time with one’s principles, as i always believe that the only growth in life is the variation of state of mind. One of the most nostalgic piece was reading back on  How i Define Life when i was 18, till now i am not sure how did i become the person i was then. So it’s 24 years in this humble yet chaos world, here’s how the test of time and events have moulded me into who i am today.

1.Effectiveness is doing the Right Things, Efficiency is Doing Things Right

This still remains. It’s the sole principle i thought of since my first year of university when it comes to time management, or basically, this quote eventually points back to one of the most important question of life, what’s your pursuit of happiness? A lot of us may be able to do things right, fast, or efficient, but how many of us do know that it is effective? How do we know if they are the right things that will be collectively useful for the ultimate goal of our lives?

It is a norm to hear conversations from around the corner that there are so many things one needs to do within this golden quarter crisis period.. but often i question back instead, do we know what are we up to, or who do we want to be? Even as for me currently, often i am thrown into this situation as there are so many events and opportunities around and i have to think whether they are all collectively constructive towards my direction. But with God’s grace, i am indeed so blessed with the journey so far to come across the various chapters of life to know what i want to do today and future, but the technical aspect of it will decide the rest.

2. Being Rich is Not about How much You Have, but How much You Give

And it’s a statement that you will not be able to apprehend until you start practising it. I just couldn’t accept the common saying such that ” i will only give when i have enough la.. now economy so bad lah..”. That is not Giving. I have learnt that indeed it is more blessed to give than to receive. To put it in a perspective, i always ask myself, how much would this RM15 help a person instead of granting me a cup of starbucks? If it buys him happiness that is many folds of mine of a simple drink, why do i have to hesitate?

This applies to both friends and strangers that i meet on the street. There was once an incident where i met a homeless auntie in the LRT station nearby my home, i brought her for a lunch and checked her in a motel nearby for a night. There was another incident where i brought an illegal mamak worker from India to a KFC shop nearby for a meal. These are the life changing moments indeed, to hear the true and extreme differences in life experience stories, to hear them sharing how their determination of how one struggles to survive with little hope and love, but yet great perseverance. I am sure these stories do better in slapping me from my comfort zones instead of reading those overrated biographies on telling you how to be successful.

Yet, i am very careful with how the monetary part of mine helps, as there are a lot outside there as well earn their living by the skill of faking their stories in earning sympathy from the others. Yet, it is something i always urge my faithful religious friends in giving their tithes and offering to know where their money goes to specifically though it is much encouraged to be a faithful follower. Some can argue money as the root of evil, yes, but little money with great sincerity can certainly buy big hope for those who have been abandoned directly and indirectly by you and me. What you give in terms of monetary can earn you back blessings by folds to understand your life and the world better.

3. The Moment You have Forsaken Others, You have Forsaken Yourself

Then this goes to the next point. I slowly begin to understand how this one sentence itself brings a lot of responsibility to be a responsible citizen of the nation, world, mankind, or Christ. It’s something that requires one to understand how the World works, it’s one that changed my mind that boycotting movements actually works. So how does abandoning others eventually abandon yourself? I will give a very honest answer to this. I believe that our lives are living in a realm of blessings, and i will not doubt if one day i will end up on the street being homeless or broken apart by any means if i have to, considering the many uncertainties in the world we live in today. God did not promise me a good life a good home a good social support, but i am always certain he has greater plans that those.

Across the time, i realize that we have so many direct and indirect responsibility to make the world a better place for all. I am certainly not someone with mindset of NIMBY Not In My Back Yard. I am someone who believes in everyone should be chasing their pursuit of happiness, with the condition of not affecting other peoples happiness. And, this is certainly, not easy. There are so many unspeakable multitude of complications in the world we live in today, and they all need everyone of us to participate in. I can share to you with the amount of problems we face over the night, but i can hardly elaborate to you the solutions if you do not see yourself as one of it. Albert Einstein once said, The World will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but those who watch without doing anything. I will always prefer my friends around me joining the basic ethical movement to participate in all these issues by being aware of it at least, rather telling me “hey good job.. so inspiring.. blablabla” Please Do Something lah.

4. Talk More to the People you Disagree With.

Another well lesson learnt as i stepped into the working world and also truly understanding the diversity of people in Malaysia itself, don’t talk about the world yet. Let us admit that we have our prejudice on anything we see today, thanks to our experience or growing background. Yet, often it’s those impressions that kept us away from understanding the extreme variation of opinions happening on the other side. Change is the only constant thing in our lives, and if we are unable to understand and appreciate the complexity of thoughts within individuals and societies, who are we to be able to judge?

It is something that i am struggling with too of course. If some of you have known me to be someone with the passion towards the issue of climate destabilization, a distinctive example is such that i always remind myself to stop going for too many green green events all the time, but rather go and meet with more skeptics. For two very obvious reasons, one is to understand that i am not on my current stand due to bias, and another is to understand where they are coming from and how do i tackle their mindsets. So talk more to the people you disagree with, you still live in the same world with them anyways. Perspectives Perspectives Perspectives. 

5. Personalities are Like Brands, The Internet is Your Market

Yes they are. We are all the brands of our own. The things we say in public, in press, in social media. The social media is our grocery stall. What we say is like how we decorate our products labeling, how we say is like how we pitch our ideas across to the customers, how we deal with people is like how the product merchandisers handle their relationship with the purchaser. The truth is that with so many Gen Y or even the elder generation spends their time strolling through Facebook or other form of social media today, it is almost similar to one strolling through the shopping brochure and see what is the product all about.

Yes some of you may feel my Facebook timeline is one, dead boring one with  the much constant posting on going green or majority issues all around. Unfortunately , i prefer to update the tiny bits on what i am eating and doing to those few people who matter instead. What you need to realize there are hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook that could be constantly following you indirectly and hence establish much impression on you in the long term. And if you are someone with the thought to influence people for whatsoever reason, your Facebook is already a platform.

So why our personalities are like brands? Along the constant ramblings on the issues matter to me on my Facebook along the years of university and working life, there indeed many opportunities that fell in, thanks to many great doers connections around as well. Thus also rhymes that great brands benefit each other by helping each other! This kind of extends to my understanding of Networking which i wrote 3 year ago Here.

6. You, yourself is the Greatest Inspiration of All Time

And this is what i believe in ever since i found the love in reflecting into the past, evaluating the current, and being hopeful for the future. I always find those motivational or leadership talk or books are absurd and hence stopped reading John C Maxwell.. after feeling that it’s so commercialized. Why do we find inspiration in other peoples life that is obviously so different from the way we are, we were and to be? Why do we need to look up to how inspiring some others may be when we are designed to our own uniqueness? There are so many things to be proud of oneself. Well i can’t speak this generally, but at least it’s for the many friends around me which are quite comfortable with their perfect four limbs, a home to house them and also sufficient food by each day.

It sometimes sounds ridiculous to hear how some motivational talks are so artificial and commercialized.. why do you want to try to pretend a life to be different from others when you are indeed different by your roots and life growth curve experience? As for me, self inspiration is always greater because when you fail, it all comes back to you, to rethink the past to know that you have gone through ups and downs, hence appreciating your self being better. It’s not an option, i think it’s an obligation! As for me, this is one of the method, to write down from time to time, to have a time capsule, to see through the time how much you have changed.

7. Define What’s Successful, Define your ISO Interest Skill & Opportunity

And this also leads to the next thing which i learnt in the final year of University. We are all living in a media and network of people around of us who seem to help us to define what is successful. Being monetary rich? Being able to join a MNC with five digits of income? Owning the fame of being the top layer of the society? You name it. There is some serious need to hack this definition. It is ok to believe in such definition, but the idea of stereotyping and hence blindly following it is quite annoying. One thing i always remind myself is that i live in this world for myself and for my creator, and i believe that all priorities will naturally fall in place. I suppose one can be successful the moment he knows what he wants to do in this life. Every key milestone to success is defined by one’s own definition of his Interest Skill and Opportunity. Who are the others to judge what is good or not for you anyways? I always take the ISO concept as a growing tool together along the years 😉

8. No Great Man ever Complains of Want of Opportunity

Yes there were times i complaint too much, and embarrassingly realized that the time i took to handle the emotional part could be used to complete what i left behind. I always believe opportunities are abundance, it is just how you define what is good for you as mentioned in the point before this. There are no reasons to complain when you have somewhere to start from, for the chance of opportunities comes with great perseverance. That’s the very same model with any business model, for any one chance out of ten surely will harvest something. There is certainly no time to complain during this curve of growth. Why complain when you can spend time to reflect on yourself and your surroundings like what i am doing now? Complaining also indirectly contributes to the sense of regretting.

9. It is Totally All Right to Feel Lost!

Because that’s the perfect time to restart all over again. The few chapters of my last few years taught me this, as we live in a world with so many uncertainties and often there are some beyond our controls. There were a lot of efforts and time spent in some collaboration and efforts over the past few years, and often i wondered if they are all meant to be. But things picked up after awhile to redefine my growing direction. If you want to get a perfect illustration on this, go and watch the film The Ultimate Gift. As for me, if i feel lost for now… just go and Pedal with my bicycle.. or just go back to the woods to regain my senses.

10. Ask WWJD What Would Jesus Do?

 The same goes to your other religion la.. Ask what will Allah do.. Ask what will Buddha do… I think ultimately above all the top 9 lessons i learnt, this one still matters the most. It’s something i am sure many are struggling too as well. Yes i have not been to Church quite awhile, i have not read finish the Bible yet, but somehow it is always mesmerizing to see how different life can be when God is part of everything you do. It feels way awesome when you put God in everything you do, besides since when the Bible defined worship and church as always portrayed in buildings with live bands.. it’s the way of life.

If you feel that some religions are so extremists and just wanting to convert you into a disciple.. i am sorry but all religions are beautiful just on how some authorities or bodies have screwed it up. But by simply asking this common sense question, it will certainly answer some of your questions. The fact is that we have so many faithful followers of various religions that offers their time and effort in the good name of God but it is so sad to see how some common sense scenario that they fail.. and thus also really piss off some atheist for sure. We certainly need more religions to be involved in nation building and the common justice for all instead of trying to protect and evangelist so much..

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There is it! 10 things i have learnt when i turned 24. Next year will be the D year, as i turned 25 and believe it is a major check point that i have some other plans to move on with =) Thank you to my parents that have brought me to this humble earth. Thank you to many of you outside there! Either being on the same page in believing the power of individuals to be the change we want to see in the society. Or many of you outside there still figuring what to do for your life. Everyone is indeed an inspiration. Let’s see what’s next!