Here Comes The Push

I guess I’ve always been one to push the limits.

I used to push to see how much I could get away with, push others around to get a reaction. Then I realised the only real person I needed to push was myself.

And so I pushed myself, pushed myself to get out there, to try new things, to push myself out of my comfort zone. Push myself to see how far I could reach, how much I could take, how low I could go. As a wise man said, what a shame it would be for a man to go his whole life without knowing the true limits of his strength and beauty that he could have achieved.

But I never would have thought I’d be pushed this far, to be stretched so thin, to be so worn out and dejected. And yet I am thankful for the experience, thankful that I endured and survived and have come out of it stronger and wiser.

Of course it wasn’t without scars. Metaphysical scars, perhaps. But these too shall pass.

And what is is you favourite tea?

Responsibility.

I have to take responsibility for my actions and the consequences, and learn from my mistakes. Things were said and done, some outside my control, but the damage was done nonetheless. Things were missed, people were unhappy. However, these too shall pass.

There were many sleepless nights, constantly pondering what should be done, what could have been done. And leading up to it, there were many things done, a frantic flurry and fiery fusion leading up to the critical mass.

I was tried and tested and pushed to my limits, meeting the demands of others, trying to please others. And through it all I learned and rediscovered that true lasting happiness comes from within.

Yes, there were setbacks and last minute madness that could have been avoided with a little better planning, but I cherished the experience, the wild ride and rollercoaster of emotions.

And yes, in spite of the fatigue and the pain and the physical and mental exhaustion, I am thankful to have gone through it all. I am taking the good with the bad, and holding on to those that made me a better person, that made me feel better and be better. And the bad…it helped me to remember and to cherish the good.

And I would be remiss if I said there wasn’t anger and rage and gnashing of teeth (but mostly a figure of speech). However, I bear no resentment or hate, no lingering lust for revenge or to see others fall. Just a sense of relief and gentle sadness that accompanies an eventful period of time spent in good company.

As life goes, seasons change and things move on. I will not be left behind. The good that I have taken with me will bear fruit, perhaps not now, but someday. There will come a day when I will prove that I can do it, that I have what it takes, that nothing can stop me. And I will have done it not to spite others, or to win anyone over, but to prove it to myself that it will all worthwhile. The sacrifices were all worth it.

Wait, that’s not a real tea!

Audacity – to take a leap of faith, to take that step outside, to not be afraid to fall. To go where you’ve never been before, to feel what you’ve never ever felt, to push yourself to limits you never knew you had.

It has been a good year, and I look forward to many more interesting ones, inshallah. These scars I shall carry and cherish, but they will not weigh me down, they will not stop me from soaring. It matters not if others no longer have faith in me, as long as I have faith in myself.

And no, I’m not going to bloody jump off a building. At least not without a flying fox suit.

Hm…maybe it’s time I give one of those a try.

A Changing World

Change.

What is the first thing you think of when you read this word?

It’s not typically a nice word, is it? Generally it evokes negative connotations, even if you don’t want to admit it.

Especially not since the whole climate change thing reared its curious head.

Change is something that nudges you out of your routine, out of your comfort zone; into the unfamiliar, into the unknown. I’m not helping, am I? 

Why do we shun change? Why do we fear it? Change is but a natural part of life. 

In a constantly changing world, how can we go about the illusion that we can maintain the status quo? Maybe it’s our way of defying nature, defying the gods. We dare them to shake us, our everlasting monuments acting as a snub in the face of Hades, Death and Cronos.

Even if you want your world to stay constant in a perfect little bubble, life will change it, life must go on. In a swirling vortex of time and gravity and computer updates, something will come along and throw your precarious little equilibrium to the wind, to the storm.

You can deny it and resist it all you want, but at some point in your life you’re going to think to yourself: “Hey, something’s changed.

Maybe your vision has gone a little blurry, or your memory isn’t quite what it used to be. Your belly starts to bulge after a single beer. You run out of breath before you even make it to the escalator.

And you can go on lamenting about how life sucks and railing against the gods for all this unwanted change that has been heaped upon you (keep the shillings, mate). And to what end?

But it’s not all bad news. It’s not the end. Not yet.

You have a special power.

You have a choice. 

Whether you believe in free will or not, you have a choice. A choice to deny the change that will inevitably come, or to embrace it and make the best of it, or make the change before it makes you.

Motivational Lion

You can let life change you, or you can go out there and throw as much change in the air as you physically can muster. That might actually make for an interesting marketing campaign.

Change the world, and never stop changing. Look inertia in the face, and say: not today. No more status quo.

Of course there is a time and place for creature comfort and contentment. Change can still be a part of that. You can be content with what you have while still striving for something better. Always be open to the opportunity – to try something new, to mix things up, to stop and smell the roses.

When you’re in your routine, your eyes are closed, your mind is dead. You choose not to see the things that are out there, the possibilities, the risks and rewards. You choose these things because you are afraid. Afraid of failure. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of that creepy kid with the long, oily hair around the corner.

So start small. Change the hand you use to brush your teeth, and the next thing you know you’ll be the first person on Mars.

Change is coming, whether you like it or not.

What’s important is how you deal with it.

Change something. Anything. Everything.
Change something. Anything. Everything.

Two Kinds of People

I’ve found in this world that there are two kinds of people: those that complain, and those that get things done. Unfortunately it feels like the former far exceeds the latter. And it’s very frustrating.

I get it – you’re not happy with your lot in life; there’s something wrong and it’s bugging you and you’d like to share. Nothing wrong with that. But don’t keep harping on about it and then not lift a finger to do anything about it. That’s just plain inconsiderate.

Consider this: in the amount of time and with the same amount of mental effort it took to come up with an eloquent analogy about how bad coffee is like poor intercourse, you could come up with some ideas about how to improve your sex li-I mean, daily workplace beverage. Sure your boss is going to turn them all down, but by sharing your ideas instead of your complaints, maybe you can rally some support (or sympathy) with your fellow coworkers and perhaps change something in the not-too-distant-future.

Problem solved
Ooh yeah

So why do people not try to solve problems themselves?

  1. They feel that are not empowered to do so.
    Since I’m but a mindless lackey that has the most mundane tasks at work, I doubt anyone will listen to my ideas.
  2. They think they don’t have what it takes. 
    These ideas suck. People will just laugh at me.
  3. They couldn’t care less. 
    Eh, what’s the point? Not like I have any vested interest here.
  4. They’re waiting on the world to change. 
    I wish someone else would suggest this awesome thing already. Why has no one said anything?
  5. They’re afraid they’ll break something.
    Nah, too dangerous. I might click something wrong and break the internet.
  6. They’re…shy? 
    Can someone else tell everyone my cool idea?

I’m sure there’s more reasons. But lecture notes aside, why don’t you do what it takes to solve the problems that plague you? It’s not that simple, you say? Yes, life is complicated and full of terrors. But really all you’re doing is holding yourself back.

You know you develop mentally when you activate that big thing inside your beautifully-shaped cranium, and every time you use it (a.k.a. think) you might just make a couple of new links somewhere. Maybe bridge the gap to nirvana.

Here is the most frustrating thing of all: when someone comes to you with a problem, and they have tried a grand total of zero (0) things to try and fix it themselves. They haven’t even tried to think about it; they have no ideas whatsoever. They just want it to go away.

All Out of Ideas
Ah good ol’ Simpsons

I’m all for helping people, but sometimes it makes me wonder – do they even consider the fact that they have the power to fix it themselves? Maybe they feel they don’t have the authority? Or they’re too afraid to try?

In this world there are two kinds of people: those that eat fish, and those that go out and catch some. And you know what I’ve found? People really love eating fish.

As with the fishing industry in the real world, a handful of people do all the catching, and everyone else does the excruciating duty of devouring them. Alright, there are those other awesome people that do fancy things to said fish that make it even easier and more palatable for those that enjoy downing fish. Man, I’m hungry. Wait, what happened to my analogy?

So if there’s one thing I’ve observed, it’s that the people that solve problems keep solving more problems; the people that work hard keep working harder. It’s so others don’t have to solve those problems and don’t have to work as hard. That’s simply the way the world works, right?

Well, nuts to that, I say! We need to show people the way – not simply teach them how to fish, but make them nab their own bloody fish! Yes, it’s a mildly unpleasant affair, fishing is. But someone has to do it. And the more people joining in the merrier, right?

Too many fishermen
Those poor fish

Now comes the matter of how to encourage people to take matters into their own hands and give a crap. Everyone is capable of solving the problems in the world, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when all some do is add more problems to it. And there is no real middle ground. If you’re doing neither, then you’re just adding to the problem, because you’re using up everyone else’s oxygen!

So I leave you with the quintessential question of how to teach people to try to solve their problems in their own capacity? Maybe if we can address some of the fears and factors that prevent people from trying.

I know I haven’t provided any concrete solutions here, so perhaps I am but another perpetrator of the very thing which I detest. Hopefully admitting the problem is the first step to change. Ultimately when I depart from this mortal realm, I have but this one simple hope: that in this life I have solved more problems than I’ve created. 

Self-Discovery

Here’s some food for thought:

We are generally the better persuaded by the reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others.

– Blaise Pascal

It’s not exactly a world-changing quote, or even an uplifting one, but it does ring of truth when you think about it.

I believe we’ve all come across such scenarios in our lives, whether we’ve been on the giving or receiving end. One party has tried time and time again to convince another of the best course of action, but the other simply won’t listen. Some call it nagging, others counselling.

As I’m sure you’ve gleaned, what the quote is implying is that people are better at convincing themselves than anyone else. Really, a person’s mind is only truly changed when they allow themselves to be persuaded. And this is much harder if they were previously convinced to the contrary.

However I think there’s more to this than just that. On the one hand, it’s advice for people who are bent on altering the habits or perceptions of another. On the other, it touches on the power of self-discovery.

A key word in the quote above is “discover”. Now there are two ways to discover something:

  • By sheer chance, or
  • Through conscious seeking and searching

Maybe one day you wake up and you spontaneously decide that you’re going to get a haircut, even though your mum has been telling you to do it for the past few months. It just clicks in your head. It happens. It’s an epiphany! (I always enjoy using that word.)

What about quitting your job and moving to a new city or country? Do people suddenly get a change of heart on the fly, like having a toggle button flip in their heads? Even if they do, I imagine they would spend some time pondering the notion, plotting their course of action.

I think it’s more meaningful if we consciously try to seek for direction and reason on our own, but that’s not to say that having an epiphany is any less meaningful. It just sounds like the latter is a more passive process, but as long as there is action involved I’m your stuntman! I mean, action is good. Positive action.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the term “journey of self-discovery”. There’s some action for you. What does it mean to you? Have you ever embarked on one in your life? More than one?

Here’s a definition for you:

The term “journey of selfdiscovery” refers to a travel, pilgrimage, or series of events whereby a person attempts to determine how they feel, personally, about spiritual issues or priorities, rather than following the opinions of family, friends, neighborhood or peer pressure.

Thanks Wikipedia! What would we do without you? The people’s knowledge, I say!

Now this second quote ties in rather well with the first one, don’t you think? It focuses on the personal, the individual, the meaning in one person’s life, rather than what others dictate it to be.

It is about finding your own purpose and own way in this life, instead of simply accepting what your loved ones and what society has predetermined for you, as good as their intentions may be. It is what makes us individuals, what gives us identity, what makes us unique.

I believe that for a person to truly grow, they must go through a journey of self-discovery. To grow outwards, one must look inwards. Only by setting a solid foundation within yourself can you attempt to go out and change the world. But of course, don’t take my word for it. You’re better off discovering all this for yourself.

So where do I start, one might ask? How does one commence a journey of self-discovery? I’m glad you asked! Because by asking questions, you have already begun. Ooooh. O_O

Now I don’t profess to be a master of such lofty, philosophical trains of thought, but here are some suggestions, entirely free of charge**!

**This claim may or may not entitle you to solicitations for micro-transactions that may incur actual real-world charges in the form of currency, and other such offers.

Ask yourself:

  • How well do I know myself?
  • Do I feel fulfilled in my day-to-day life?
  • What makes me unique?
  • What inspires me?
  • Where am I heading?

Wow, this turned philosophical fast! Let’s just say if you can answer these personal questions, then you’ll have a better chance at tackling the somewhat trickier ones, like why am I here and what is my path in life?

Or you can continue on your way, your staunch mind unmolested by the winds of change that these words whisper in your ears. Oooh.

Either way, I wish you bon voyage on your odyssey of self-discovery! Discover your own reasons in life, so that you can uncover the many other mysteries this world has to offer, and maybe help others on your way through your treacherous quest.

May the Force live long and prosper! No, that’s not right…once you hit the bull’s eye, all the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate! Yes, that’s it.

The Other Side Of The World

Here’s a random question: do you ever notice that you tend to chew with a favourite part of your mouth? I have a favourite side where I find my food is tastier; for those who are curious, it’s a secret. Okay,  it’s the left posterior corner of my mouth. Yes yes, I’m crazy. Welcome to the other side of the world. 

Now that you’ve had a chance to ponder the infinite wonders of mastication (huh huh), have you ever tried to consciously chew with a different part of your mouth? I’m sure you use all of mouth to chew, but when you munch on your favourite snack, I’m sure there’s a pocket that you tend to use more often.

I tried it out today, and it was more of a challenge than I’m willing to admit. Actually, when I say that, am I inadvertently admitting it? Or does using that phrase downplay the extent to which…never mind.

So there I am munching away happily, and then I think to myself: “Hey, one side of your jaw is working harder than the other. You’re going to end up with a lopsided face!”

Lopsided cartoon
Lopsided er…head. Yeah, that’ll definitely distract ya. The things you find on the internet.

Of course I knew this to be untrue, although I did ponder the possibility of this being a cause of asymmetry in facial features.  Nevertheless, I did my best to train my brain to get accustomed to this foreign sensation. I suspect doing it consciously makes it seem a lot harder than it really is.

Hi for those who complete do not relate to any of this! Well, how about brushing your teeth with your other hand? I’ve been practising, and I actually feel like I’m getting better at gripping the brush with my non-dominant opposable thumb! Yay!

So what am I on about? I doubt I came in here with a point, but I believe in the saying: variety is the spice of life. And that is what I’m getting at. Mix it up a little, jar your complacent brain out of autopilot. Even the smallest thing you change gives you a new perspective on life, a whole new grasp on reality.

Not everyone can flip like Walter Mitty and fly around the world on a whim (but these days it’s certainly an option!). But you can start changing your life with the smallest of things. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic musical montage on a magic carpet ride, it just has to begin with you.

Now for some food photos!

Waffle Burger Sam
Holy Batman, it’s a burger with waffle buns!

Fancy Pastry Piknik Pizza
Puff pastry pizza with roast duck and bonito. That’s modern food for you!

Embrace the change!