Fear or Pessimism

dandelions

Lately, I’m been haunted by a new business idea a potential business partner proposed. We’ve been talking about working together for many years, and have tried out some projects. I must admit that I haven’t been the most consistent partner and constantly got distracted because I was afraid. As expected, almost all my friends suggested me against this new business proposal which cost more and is riskier on my part, based on my current conditions. Yet, like many other new ideas, I can’t help but think about the possibilities and opportunities behind the realistic stress and uncertainty.

Some say I’m pessimistic as I tend to see the worst outcome first. However, I do not deny possibilities and would usually take actions to test my theories if I can’t seem to turn my brain off the matter. Perhaps it’s my lack of persistence, poor skills or bad calculation. Looking back, it seems as if I tend to act out of impulse than reason most of the time. For a society that makes judgement based on outcomes, I do seem like a fool if I were to go into a business.

For the longest time, I try to make sense of the kind of life I want. The image is clearer and clearer each day. I can now list my strengths and weaknesses without having to think long. And I can now better describe the kind of lifestyle I long for, compared to just one year ago. This new business proposal haunts me because it somehow matches my dream to host travelers. The fear of failure and challenges it will follow; however, keeps my from moving forward.

Yes, I know it takes a lot of efforts and perseverance to start and run a business. And that wouldn’t be a problem if I’m doing something I love.

No, I don’t want to make a decision out of impulse or a mere desire to escape where I don’t want to be. Neither do I want to trap myself in debts before figuring out a way to generate reoccurring income.

Yes, this idea might get me where I want to be and even fulfill my dream.

No, I don’t want to run away from it simply because I’m afraid of failing and pressure.

Yes, I agree it is wise to take calculated risk and not make an impulsive move that might result in a lifelong consequence.

No, I don’t want to give in to physical comfort I have now and continue a life without passion.

Conclusion? Don’t have one at this point. But I decided to keep myself away from conventional expectations, desire to control everything and sheepish thinking. In fact, I’ve been on this experiment for a while and am quite surprised that I’m capable of staying calm when I have no clue what to expect from something or someone. Uncertainty used to drive me crazy. This is why I search for answers to my curiosity about God, something or someone that cannot be understood by my narrow human brain, yet constantly brings warmth to my heart.

As I always believe, what will be will be. If this is what I’m meant to do, I’ll eventually find ways to make it happen. Fear will not govern my life, and being pessimistic is not the solution. NO!

pessimistic

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Where do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

It sounds like a common interview question, which many of us were probably asked or ask ourselves thousands of times. Are you a planner? Or do you go with the flow and see where life leads you? Or have you achieved everything you’ve wanted. When a friend asked me this question yesterday, it took me a while to come up with an answer. And I didn’t sound as certain as I used to 5 years ago.  5 years ago, I would never have believed the kind of life I’ve had and where I end up now. When I think about “the future” now, it is a much humbler vision than what I had 5 years ago. In the past, the future scared and excited me at the same time. It scared me because I worried that things may not go according to my plans. It excited me because anything is possible. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this conflicting emotion.

Yesterday, I went to a waterfall which takes about a thousand steps to and fro for the 3rd time. Although the elevation was still challenging for me on the way back, I noticed that it took me less time to finish the steps each time. Moreover, I needed fewer stops to rest and was able to catch my breath at the end of the climb. This progress reminds me of the importance of consistency and self-discipline. My bike rides and exercises are finally paying off, despite the numerous temptation to watch movies in bed.

As far as the future goes, I expect myself to stick to my passion and learn from my past. There is no longer certainty or a title to describe the future I would like to see myself in. But this does not mean I do not have a goal. As I get older, flexibility and unconventionality become regular guests of my life. I’ve spent too much time whining and wondering why things didn’t go my way. Yet, most of the time, all I have to do is focus on what I love most and keep doing it without being sidetracked by other people’s opinions. Little by little, like the thousand step climb, I should get closer to where I really want to be 5 years from now.

Appreciate

I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so you can appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself. And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

~Marilyn Monroe

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The past couple of years have been an important lesson for me to reexamine my attitude towards life and everything I do. I remember having this enormous will to land myself a job back in the states when I graduated from grad school. There were many bumps and I went through a lot of emotional struggles, but it still happened at the end. I will never forget the thrill and fulfillment that came over me when I held the offer letter in my hands. I did it! For the first few years in my new employment, I busted my ass. I was so grateful for the opportunity that I cherished every moment and always performed above and beyond. It was a great achievement for me at that point of my life. And I was living my dream of living and working overseas at an international corporation.

Little by little, can’t remember when, my attitude towards the job and the company started to change. After all, it’s not easy to stay positive when everyone else around me had negative opinions about the company. So, I started to blame the firm, like everyone else, for not being accepted for other positions I applied for. It’s all other people’s fault. At the final year of my work visa, I had to make a decision on whether to stay or leave. Being so full of hate and complaints, I decided to go backpacking in Australia. After all, it was once in a lifetime opportunity for me back then, as I was turning 30 and approaching the age limit for a Working Holiday Visa. I thought, if the US doesn’t want me, maybe Australia has something better to offer.

Initially, I planning to stay in Australia for at least 2 years by undertaking the kind of employment to make myself eligible for a second visa. I thought if I had more time, there may be a greater possibility for me to find something permanent. Well, my trip ended in less a year. And I have no one else to blame but my own attitude of thinking I’m better than other fellow backpackers because of my background in the states.

Another country did not excite me very much at the time because I’ve lived and worked outside of my home country for many years at that point. Therefore, I did not relate to other young backpackers who were intrigued by every little thing happening around us just because it happened in a different country. Employment wise, I focused on applying for full-time jobs in the hope of elevating my immigration status. After all, I’ve done that before so why can’t I now, right? Well, an important thing I forgot is that I was not in the same country I had been. Therefore, trying to apply the same strategies in a different environment simply did not work, no matter how similar the situation may be. Then, I failed to keep myself on a farm job, which was the requirement for the second visa I wanted. Working on the farm was not at all something I wanted to do, but something I “had to” if I want to move to the next level. Now that I look back, I guess I just didn’t want to stay in Australia that bad. Plus, I spent most the time comparing it to the states and complaining about everything I didn’t get. Was there anything my heart desires? After a traveling spree around the country and another part-time job that I wasn’t really into, I packed up and left for home. 

First year at home, I kept the same arrogance thinking I deserved better, jumping from one job to another. A year later, after many other life events, I finally have the revelation that I need to stop repeating a mentality that clearly doesn’t work. Just over the weekend, I was offered a part-time job opportunity that I would usually consider beneath me. After weighing between where I want to go next and what I need to do now to get there, I decided to accept the offer with appreciation.

Many of my good friends told me that I am terrible at hiding my emotions, as they clearly show on my face. Hence, when I don’t enjoy what I do, it’s not surprising that I fail to do a good job. Having been through these life experiences and ended up where I still don’t want to be, I forced myself to take a closer look at myself. What do I really want? Where do I really want to go? Turns out my heart has always known the answer to these questions but my brain simply wants to argue for argument’s sake.

Having a goal is a powerful thing. It helps develop determination and motivation. Maybe that’s why traveling has always been therapeutic to me. Despite any physical discomfort during the journey, I can always find ways to indulge my mind and soul. And when I know where I’m heading, I learn to appreciate whatever comes in between. Trying to find that goal has made me feel lost and helpless. But I believe everyone has something deep inside that burns. However mild the spark may be, don’t let it die. One breath at a time, and you can bring it back to life. Make sure to appreciate everyone and everything that gives you a leaf, a stick or a branch to grow that fire.