Life is not easy and life does not become any more forgiving and simpler as the years go by.
This world was designed to break your heart. But it was never designed to break you in mind and spirit. That decision is up to you. So why then do you choose to remain in your inner prison when clearly the door is wide open?
Because you are chained? No. There are no chains. Not physical ones at least. A diamond comes into existence only when it’s been put through great pressure and stress. That treasure is inside of you waiting to be born.
The answer is to develop an attitude and mindset that combines and incorporates material, spiritual and social dimensions. Only then can life become nothing more than contentment, happiness and fulfilment, even if you’re faced with a hundred challenges and obstacles.
It boils down to two things, perspective and purpose.
I love the joke about the debate between the Optimist and Pessimist about the glass of water at 50% remaining capacity, and out of nowhere comes the Opportunist who drinks it to fulfill their thirst.
I recall years ago I borrowed a book from my local library titled OUT of CAPTIVITY: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle and read it from front to end. I managed to finish it in a couple of weeks because it was so hard to put down. Oh, it’s also based on a true story.
Imagine, you’re held as a captive along with two of your colleagues by a terrorist group in the Amazon rainforest for more than 5 years. Imagine, having to trek through thick, dense jungle for hours non-stop everyday (sometimes up to 22 hours!), suffer from malnutrition and face harsh treatment by your captors. All the while hoping to be rescued.
What would you do?
Would you say
‘There’s no point fighting. There’s no hope. There’s no way out!’
Maybe. Most of us would. Maybe I would too.
But what if you stop to remember loved ones waiting for you back at home? Your partner, your children, your family or your friends?
Would you say the same thing? Most probably not.
In fact, every morning until sunset, you would cling tightly onto a special moment when you were with your close, loved ones. And relive that moment, over and over again, hoping, yes hoping, that one day you will escape from this ‘temporary’ hell to be reunited with them.
Same scenario, but different response. Why?
I guess it’s hard to live only for yourself when faced with many obstacles and bleak hope. But then life can take on a whole new different meaning when you realise there are people that depend on you as much as you depend on them.
This comes back to incoporating dimensions into your attitude and mindset. In this case, we touched upon the social dimension – the responsibilities that we as human beings have for each other through family, community, society, nation and global citizenship.
Now let’s look at an example close to home. The Covid-19 pandemic. Many people, with no fault of their own, lost their jobs. And with that a source of income. Inadvertedly, this would lead to financial stress, domestic problems or a grim outlook in general. And a competitive market for jobs.
Have you ever listened to Phil Collin’s Another Day in Paradise? A song about the plight of the homeless and the struggles they go through.
I love this line from the song.
‘Oh, think twice, it’s just another day for
For you and me in paradise‘
Are you really in a dark spot? Are you really going through hell? Have you ever slept on a freezing, cold ground, even just once? I have – twice at camp and once as a fundraiser for The Big Sleep Out in 2020. It’s an incredibly uncomfortable, yet humbling experience.
The homeless, unfortunately, experience this every night.
When I stop to reflect on the plight of people less fortunate than myself, my whole attitude about life changes. When you stop to reflect on life as nothing but a beautiful mirage and realise the things that you have today might not be there tomorrow, what then becomes valuable to you?
Would you want to be that person who works in a job that you dislike, to buy stuff you don’t need to impress people you don’t like? Or would you rather be the person who doesn’t follow the crowd, the ‘usual people’?
Wouldn’t you prefer to be one of the few, remarkable ‘unusual people’ that stands out, does things differently, rises to new challenges or goes on to achieve the seemingly unachievable?
To seek out the solitude in the madness of the crowd.
I always dream about being one of the ‘unusual people‘, going as far to imagine myself as future billionaire of a tech company. Or at least, the founder of a successful logistics startup or side-hustle. These are not idle dreams – in the past couple of months I’ve been turned down by three separate investors / incubator / accelerator programs.
Even though I’ve identified a clear problem in Track and Trace systems used in logistics, the bad news is I need to build a prototype of my proposed solution. And that’s where I face a problem.
Finding a full-stack developer / software engineer with a passion for global, intermodal logistics is hard. Convincing global logistics companies to open their APIs will be harder.
But I have a few ideas.
I am fortunate to have met amazing people who either helped me to become a better version of myself or shared opportunities that many would not have received. They are immortal giants in my book.
I think this calls for a second article. Do you agree?
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