By Sheilla Njoto
Almost two months ago, I got back to Melbourne from my intense experience overseas. The next morning I woke up, I sat there in bed, taking myself to this imaginary time machine, traversing my own memory. Of course, I recorded my day-to-day in my journal, as always, but it didn't mean that I understood what I had gone through, because you know - you only start to comprehend when you look back from the present.
So, I turned my journal over and I unfolded it with my left hand. On the very corner of the first page from the back, I started writing the '10 major things I learnt from January 2018 - March 2019'. I had been meaning to expand what appears to be a list, into a beautifully curated blog post - but, oh dear, I just realised how much my talk is just a talk. So, after almost two months, I decided that a list is 'okay enough'. If I could advise you, please, when you read this, take a minute or two after each point to 'digest' it - or perhaps, to generate your own thoughts!
So, here is the list.
1 When the unexpected happens, I shift my question from "why is this happening to me?" to "what are the opportunities that are carried by this?". I have been surprised too many times by how much the unexpected has challenged me to grow beyond what I thought I was capable of. A hint of pragmatism allows me to enter a new world that I would have never expected I would enjoy.
2 If it is true that most failures are inevitable, it does not mean that it should be the reason we settle for less.
3 I have learnt to look at myself from the outside in the hardest way I can imagine. I realised that I am enslaved by my own ego. The freedom that the world offers does not free me from it. I have observed that this, too, is so often the root of major human problems.
4 Questions lead me somewhere I have never expected I will discover. Questions allow me to sail to the land of the impossible.
5 In the self-entitled world where people are demanding freedom, it is too easy to overlook responsibilities. In the world where people are trying hard to pursue happiness, it is too easy to forget to seek (or question) meaning.
6 Writing is like having a conversation where I can set my own parameter and where I can control where it goes. It allows me to structure my own thoughts. Receiving information doesn't always mean that I understand it. Understanding it doesn't always mean that I am able to conceive a conclusion.
7 Committing to wake up at 6 and actually doing it don't only mean waking up at 6. It trains self-control.
8 Reading is like traveling in time and space. Or better - it allows me to borrow someone else's eyes and mind for a little while.
9 Most of the sophisticated-appearing people I have met are those who avoid to (or almost never) talk about others - not even when it's positive. They tell that to their faces.
10 It is difficult to actively listen, without building up something in our heads.
Let's meet the feet.
We have different pairs of shoes but we'll let you borrow them!