Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Who Say Cannot?!

This morning I was playing badminton with my friends and we randomly talked about the upcoming BNM badminton closed tournament. To say I am good in playing badminton is definitely an overstatement. I am not that good, but I can play. I may not be as good as the state level players (and there are quite a number of them working in the Bank, Bank is indeed the hub for many excellent sportsmen/sportswomen), but I know I am not too far behind.

So we randomly talked about it, and they immediately dismissed the thought of even joining the tournament. I was keeping a positive and optimistic attitude about it the whole time we were talking. It would be a little too wishful and idealistic if I were to say I can win, but I don't think I will fare terribly to the extent of getting trashed and humiliated in front of hundreds of people. So I kept on saying it's possible. Indeed, it is possible.

It just depends on whether I have the strong desire to work on my weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Last week we were asked to volunteer for BNM Sports Day, and I was skeptical of my own ability. Despite having broke my old 5km run record of 28 minutes 55 seconds with a new record of 27 minutes 15 seconds on last Wednesday,  I still doubted myself. Can I at least participate to perhaps contribute some points for my sports house in the Bank? I decided to sign up for 800m run and 4 x 400m run. Really, I plucked the courage out of thin air.

If you had asked me to join a running event about 5 years ago, I won't even respond to you. There's no way I can run 100m. I was fat and I had the lowest stamina you can ever imagine. Think of an extremely obese person running and that was how I felt. I knew how embarrassing it was when I never failed to end up at the last position in a race (even if it was just 200m), and there will always be this joker a kind Samaritan who will run next to me just to encourage me at the final 50m. Please, not only were you not encouraging me, you were further adding on to my public humiliation. Grr!

Now, what is happening here? It is really your own mindset that first determines your outcome of the battle. If you keep saying "cannot" even before starting the battle, you have already lost half the battle. But if you are confident and you know how to improve yourself, it doesn't matter how incompetent you are right now, you have won half the battle. What if you can't even drag yourself to join the competition? Put down your name quickly and sign up for it before the sense of regret catches up with you, like what I did. Now there's no turning back, I have to participate.

What's next?! Aligning your mindset is only the first step, what comes next is an equally important task  preparation. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Planning your strategy and be persistent in sticking to your system is indispensable to ensure sufficient preparation. You may not have 10,000 hours to hone your skills to perfect mastery, consistency is the next best bet you can position yourself on. I am glad to say I have been very consistent these few days on attending gym every morning during weekdays.

Sometimes it is yourself that you need to convince. You are the one who say "CANNOT!", nobody else does! Sound familiar? Many times! I used to doubt myself a lot, until one day I had a paradigm shift when someone told me: "Only you can pull yourself down. Nobody else can and should!" You are the first obstacle to yourself, overcome this and you will have the biggest blockage removed. Maybe it was due to a heartache or disappointing failure. I have failed numerous times in my entire life, but I have two choices. Either to let failure devour me alive, or to come back stronger! Come back with a more resilient plan! A wiser plan. I am pretty sure you know which path I chose.

But even if you managed to climb back up, there will always be a myriad of different challenges awaiting you. They can be challenges at work, challenges at your relationship, with your family, health, or personal finance! It is by no mean an exhaustive list, but the underlying motivation is always the same: Pick yourself up. Talk to a hundred people if you need to. Do whatever you want, as long as you don't allow yourself to dwell in the past of failures.

I still remember there was once I joined an inter-school badminton tournament back in high school. I was thrashed badly. I knew I was not even an average player but way below average. But I was awfully stubborn and arrogant to ask for guidance from better players. Retrospectively speaking, there were many badminton players who were humble and nice enough to teach only if I am willing to ask. I was too proudful. I thought whoever asks for help first is the loser.

I was the loser. A well deserved one.

Tomorrow I will be joining my colleagues to play futsal after work, and I am extremely excited about it. Not that I am already good at playing futsal, but I would finally have a chance to practice playing futsal! I have been missing futsal ever since the last time I played more than a month ago. I know I am just a beginner and far below average in this game, but with passion and enthusiasm I hope I can go far. History has been proven again and again that only people who are passionate enough will succeed in their selected areas. I know I can make history!

Can I at least encourage you to challenge yourself to do something beyond your comfort zone today, do something different today? Take a different route, force yourself to talk to a seemingly unfriendly colleague or friend, anything! Chances are you will come out from the experience as a different person.

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