Category Archives: Fear of the Future

Lessons from the Land of The Rising Sun

I just came back from a 5 days 4 night trip to Japan.Lessons learnt from the land of the rising sun

It was quite a stretch for me.

Some may ask: “Why?”

I was there alone.

“What’s the big deal?”

Its not the first time that I was overseas alone. In fact, I have traveled to 20 over cities over the past 6.5 years, and most of the time I traveled for work alone.

“Ok, what’s the difference?”

When I traveled for work, I book the tickets, buy the local currency, find out how to get to the hotel and how to get to work from the hotel. After that all I need to do is to fly on first or business class (perks for working in an airline!) and turn up! Generally, the schedule is quite fixed: I have breakfast, work, have lunch, work, grab dinner, and go back to the hotel. If there are sights to see on the way back to the hotel, that is a bonus.

As for leisure trips, I had often traveled together with my aunt or friends, and I had largely left the planning to them. I just tagged along.

For this trip, I felt stretched. It is because its the first time when I had to plan for my own holiday, booking the tickets, planning the itinerary, book the hotel rooms, buy Japanese yen and do everything else!

On the 20th of July 2013, I took a flight on Singapore Airlines at 2130hrs. I arrived in Tokyo on the 21st of July 2013, 0630 hrs. I checked into Hyatt Regency Hotel at 0700. Correction……. I tried to check into the hotel at 0700. I was told at the check in counter that I could only check in at 1400 hrs! There were no rooms available. I had forgotten about the check in timing when I planned my itinerary!

What am I to do from 0700 to 1400 hrs?

What do you do when things don’t go according to plan?

I checked my itinerary and decided to move forward a schedule which I had set for the following day. I decided to visit Tsukiji Fish Market and Ginza! As it was Sunday, quite a number of stalls have closed for business, however it did not take the experience away, the seafood stalls and their ensemble of sea food was colorful and delightful. After exploring the market for an hour, I heard a “Growwwl”, oops it was my tummy growling in hunger!  As tradition dictates, at the end of the tour of Tsukiji Fish Market, Sushi breakfast beckons. I looked around the market area before having my sights set on a restaurant, which had quite a crowd and even a queue at 8 am!. After a couple of minutes of waiting, my turn came, I ordered beer, and a tuna set. As I put the sushi into my mouth, I felt the fats of the tuna melt in my mouth, mashed with a tinge of saltiness from the soya sauce. Paired with beer, it was an absolutely divine experience. I told myself:”Even if I were to fly back to Singapore right now, I would have no regrets.” What a magnificent way to start the day! Feeling refreshed and energized, I set off for Ginza!

The lesson I learnt from this episode is this: Always plan and take in as much details you can because as they say “Fail to plan, plan to fail”. But be flexible, don’t give into panic when things don’t go according to plan, be ready to make changes. That’s basically the philosophy I adhered to for the rest of the trip and I had lots of of surprise finds!

The second lesson I learnt is one on money. My friends, I am a saver, my heart bleeds everytime I spend money. For this particular trip, I decided to enjoy and not worry about money. This is what I did: I set a budget. Not only that, I set a budget that was comfortable, one that didn’t require me to look at the wallet everytime I spend. Most importantly of all, I stick to the budget.

What a revelation that was: I did what tourist did, bought souvenirs, took cable cars, ferries and trains, and most importantly I ate in the best restaurants! I looked less at the money spent, but celebrated the experiences, the services, the food that I got!

The lesson I learnt is to have a reasonable budget, and stick to it. It does not just apply to travel but to my daily life as well. I have learnt to set a budget for not only my expenses but for my income as well. This helps to reach my financial goals.

I came back last Friday, fully refreshed, fully stretched and fully enriched with the experiences and lessons that I have gained during these 5 days. Once again the lessons are: Plan but be flexible, Have a budget and stick to it. My friends, what do you learn during your travels? Do share in the comments section.

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

 

Fear of Not Being Good Enough.

“I am not ready to do this, I am not good enough.”   Fear of not being good enough

“No man I won’t do it now, I will be a disgrace.”

Have you ever said that before? Have you ever heard people saying that?

What did you feel when you heard yourself or others saying that?

Do you feel curious when you hear that?

For me I do, because the next logical questions are:

When are we good enough? When will we not be not a disgrace?

Before we attend to these questions, I will like to share with you what I experienced during my run this afternoon.

It was 1330, I finally plucked up the discipline to drag myself off my lazy bottoms, to wear my socks, ,put on my running shoes and started on my run around my neighborhood.

I live in an estate that is in its twenties, and I have lived there since I was 8 years old. (Oh yes that will give you an idea, how old I am:))

Owing to its age, it is undergoing quite a major face lift (similar to how we humans do), the residential blocks are given a paint job, previously empty plot are lands are now under construction to build playgrounds and other civic facilities, even the shopping mall in the neighborhod has closed down for a 2-year renovation.

Running while construction projects are on-going can be quite a pain:

“Argh my usual route is closed off, I have to take a detour…..again.”

” That smell, it must be paint. With all that paint job going on, who needs to buy paint to sniff.”

Oops, I just showed the complainer side of me, but hey that’s me too.

After running for a while, I saw a blue print for one of the many projects going on pasted on the metal barricades to shield the construction going on. I was amazed with what was being planned. A park, an exercise corner, a senior citizen corner, a flea market, and a few other civic facilities which I missed.

I had an “Aha moment”. We often admire the beautiful things around us, such as buildings, or painting. At the same time, we also envy the success of others.

How many of us actually admire the less glamorous side of equation?

How many of use see the “dirty, sweaty and messy” construction works that was done before the completion of the building?

How many of us see the countless number of drafts that were drawn and redrawn before the completion of a painting?

How many of us see the hard work that comes before the achievement of success?

To celebrate success and the completion of a project is not complete, we need to celebrate the dirty, sweaty and messy stuff that were done, the many drafts that were made and discarded, as well as the hard work that was put in.

Back to the questions: When are we good enough? When will we not be not a disgrace?

I can’t think anyone can. But what I do know is this: We will never be good until the day

we start doing the “Dirty, sweaty and messy stuff”,

until we start drafting,

until we start putting in the hard work.

As the saying by Zig Ziggler goes: You don’t to be great to start, but you need to be start to be great.

In the past one year in toastmasters, I have taken part in 4 speech contests, humorous speech, evaluation, international(inspirational) speech and table topics (impromptu speaking) contests. I was placed in all of the contests at the club level. In the latter 2 contests, I even managed to even advanced from the club, to the area and finally to the division (The level just before the regional (Singapore and Thailand) final). The best results I have attained ever. I often get this: “Wow, your growth these past 6 months is miraculous!”

To which, I will often reply: “Thanks, its nothing miraculous, this is the result of the hard work that I have put in over the past four years.”

I have gotten my fair share of stick over these past 4 years about my “Not good enough” performance. Along the way, I felt like giving up but my dream to share with the world on my message: “We have a choice!” kept me going. Just as how the blue print of the park: the exercise corner, the flea market kept the construction team on the right track despite all the dirty, messy and sweaty staff that is going on.

My friends, if you ever hear yourself or others say: “I am not good enough.” Please be of service by sharing with them or yourself this quote by Zig Ziggler  “You don’t to be great to start, but you need to be start to be great”If you have started putting in the hard work, and things still don’t seem right. I will like to share with you another saying: Take pride in how far you have come, and have faith in how far you can go.” By Christian Larson. Just as how I have persisted in my toastmasters journey by sticking to my goal.

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

Fear of being Stretched

Are you in a race for success? fear of being stretched

In the race for success, have you had moments where you felt stretched and feel as if you can’t sustain the pace, and feel like giving up.

For me this one week feels like a stretch, career wise I kick started a key project, relationship wise I am heading for a critical juncture, in my toastmasters journey, I am about to take part in the highest level of contest I have been ever been to, blog-wise “Live! With Fear” is getting good reception, and I wonder if I can continue to generate such good articles, fitness wise I have maintained it well, but I need to attempt and pass my physical fitness test by Tuesday, 7 May 2013.

I am afraid.

I am afraid that I cannot hold my ground in the “all out assault” on all aspects of my life.

I am afraid that I cannot hold myself to high standards.

Have that ever happened to you? What did you do?

Recently, my girlfriend asked me: “Shaun, what if this sweet and loving feeling we have right now is just a phase? What if this phase passes.?”

I thought for a while, and I answered:……….

Before I share with you the answer, allow me to share with you another story.

Yesterday, I took the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). IPPT is the recurring nightmare that plagues all able bodied Singaporean men that will only end once they hit 40 years old. Why do I say that? As long as you are an able bodied Singaporean, and is part of Singapore Armed Forces, in active or reserve capacity, you have to pass this fitness test every year.

Sounds simple right? All you need to maintain your fitness and take the test, and pass it right? Not if you include overtime at work, family time, dating with girlfriend, gathering with friends, toastmasters engagement, and blog writing even! Where do you have time for fitness training?

To overcome this problem, I developed a theory if I exercise at least 15 minutes a day in the morning everyday, it will work. Afterall, that will work out to 1.5 hours of exercise each week! Since February 2011, I have been switching between static exercise (push ups, sits ups, squats, pull ups) and 2.4 km run on each alternate day.

Still my passing record in the past 2 years have been dismal, and the culprit is always standing board jump (SBJ). This how it works, the jumper stands at a line marked on the ground with the feet slightly apart. The jumper takes off and lands using both feet, swinging the arms and bending the knees to provide forward drive.

Yesterday, I had the “fortune” of attempting SBJ as my first station. I told myself: “Sigh if I fail this station, I will fail all the test but I will still have to complete the full series of test” I took a deep breath, I told myself to relax, and remember the training that I have undergone. I bent my knees to 90 degrees, swung my arms, and as my hands reached the end of the swing, I lifted my legs up to the knees, I was in the air, and it felt good!

I looked at the score: 2.12 m. I have passed!!!

This has provided me much motivation, I breezed through the rest of the static stations: 8 pull ups, 38 sit ups and completing the shuttle run at 10.3 second. Top scores, all of them!

Finally, I have come to the last station, the 2.4 km run. My heart starting beating rapidly, partly due to the earlier exertions, but mainly due to anxiousness. I was thinking: “What if I can’t continue this magnificent form into the run? What if I fail the run?”

At that moment, I remembered the lessons that I learnt from my recent speech contest. If there was ever a moment, for all my efforts to show up the moment is NOW! I remembered the pain of waking up 15 minutes every morning, the pain of working my body through the routines. Don’t get me wrong, I love the exercises, but overcoming the inertia is painful. I asked myself: “Is this pain and discipline showing all for naught? If there is a moment for the pain, effort and discipline to show, the moment is now!!!

My turn to run came, I jogged on the spot, when the test conductor went “GO!”, I ran.

As I ran, I told myself: “Run at your own pace, you can do it!”

First 3 rounds was quite a breeze, i completed them under 6 minutes, passing mark is 13 minutes, I am making good progress.

By the fourth round, the legs started feeling heavy, the 4 pm sun is starting to make its presence felt, my heart was pounding hard against the chest, breathing started getting painful, my panting starts getting heavier. With great difficulty, I cleared the fourth run.

At this point, I saw people walking, and chatting as they make their way out of the camp, it felt like a great place to be. I wanted to slow down. I caught myself: “You are almost there, 2 more rounds to go!”

I started looking in front, I looked for someone to pace, my goal became to maintain my distance from the designated runner. I focused on each step that I made, I focused on the fact that every step I make gets me closer to the goal.

As they say, the final leg of the race is hardest, as I reached the last 200 meters, every cell of my body screamed for me to STOP! I had to ignore it, I did it by roaring louder than my body! “ARRRGGGHHHHH!!!” I roared as dashed through the finishing line. 12 min, 7 Sec, silver standard!

The lesson i learnt from this run is this, in life we are going to encounter challenges, the only way to deal with them, is to apply ourselves diligently, focus on doing one thing at a time, and to have faith in the efforts that we have put in.

Back to the question that my girlfriend asked: “Shaun, what if this sweet and loving feeling we have right now is just a phase? What if this phase passes?”

This is what I told her: “I can’t predict what will happened to us in the future. But what I do know is this: I will continue to do what I do right now, or even better. I will do it even though I may feel, moody, tired or busy with work. I believe a relationship is like physical fitness, it got to be maintained by training in a discipline manner. If I spend quality time with you now, I will continue to spend quality time with you in the future. If I listen to you now, I will continue to listen to you in the future. If I perform acts of services to you now, I will continue to do that in the future. If I love you now, I will continue to love you. There are many things that will happen which I can’t predict all of them, I can only do one thing at a time.”

My girlfriend smiled and held my hands tighter.

Ladies and gentlemen, many things is happening around us, and we might be handling many tasks. It might feel like a stretch, and you might want to just give up. Which is great! Because to be in the position to be able to handle many tasks means that you are capable, competent and strong person. Just like how I won’t be able to pull off an assault on so many fronts if I was strong to begin with. Just remember that you are strong, have faith in the strength, have faith in the training and discipline that gave you that strength to begin with, and focus on making ONE STEP AT A TIME. As they say, people are like rubber band, if we stretch the rubber band, the rubber band becomes larger, and if we stretch ourselves, the end result is that we grow! Happy stretching!

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

www.livewithfear.com

Fear of Futility

Have you ever feared that your efforts will be futile? fear of futility

Have you ever asked yourself: “I am but one person, what can I do?”

Yesterday I was watching “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” on video, it was an movie with drama, horror (yeah, I suppose that’s why its called the “Vampire Hunter”), love, and political struggle (liberation of the blacks), war (American Civil War) and history all rolled into one!!! In USA they call this a “mash-up” movie, in Singapore where I live we call this “Rojak”, a traditional fruit and vegetable salad.

I didn’t expect to be inspired by this “bubblegum” work of fiction. I expected it to be something to be enjoyed, spit out and not digested.

That was until I saw this scene, where Abraham (Lincoln) was in jail for saving his friend (A black American), William Johnson from a group of slave traders.

His wife-to-be Mary Todd bailed him out, and Abraham in his moments of doubt asked Mary:

“What if something was going on, something terrible. and you knew that there is no way on earth one man will be able to stop it, what do you do?”

Mary replied: “I wouldn’t back away from what’s right just because its hard, my father used to say plant your feet and stand firm, the only question is where to put your feet?”

That answer started Abraham on his political career, his quest to free the black from slavery, his term as one the greatest presidents of USA (At least according to the movie).

He started something that united the nation, impacted millions and millions of blacks across the generations and laid the foundation for USA to become the great country that it would become. It all started from one intention, one thought, one man.

Abraham probably was filled with doubts if his efforts were going to be futile, but once he knew where to plant his feet (his wish for a unified country and the liberation of the slaves), that reason  became greater than himself, greater than his doubts.

The statement by Mary left quite an impression on me, and reminded me of an incident that happened about 3 years ago. I was a part time trainer on public speaking then, being rather fresh, one of my fears are what: “What if no one likes my class? What if no one likes me?” I shared my thoughts with one of my senior trainers, and this is what he said. “Shaun, you are too focused on yourself. You focus on what the students think about “your” class, and what the students think about “you”. However in training, its not about you, you are just a medium, a conduit for the message, the information to get across to the students, the participants.

It was February 2010 I was called upon to train one of the most challenging classes I had ever had, i was training a class of high school students, some were playing basketball in the class, some were walking around in the class, some were chatting in class. It took a lot from me to exert control and bring the class to order, at the end of the class, I was spent. The worst thing was this: I felt like a failure as I failed to bring the message across.

At the end of the 2 and a half hour class, I asked the class monitor, ShaoYi to pass me the attendance list, I thanked her, and I asked her what are her thoughts about public speaking. She said: “I think its a relevant skill based on what heard from you today. Its a shame that I missed the first class though. Can you brief me on what you taught the class on the first day?”

I was spent but seeing an eager student energized me, so I spent about 45 minutes coaching ShaoYi. At the end of the class, ShaoYi: “Thank you, Mr Shaun. I feel more confident about passing the assessment next week.”

I replied: “My pleasure, this is my number if you need to any further clarification please call, bye bye!”

At the after class debrief, my lead trainer, Coen asked me: “How did it go?” I replied:” Great, at least I am certain that one student got “it”!”

My friends, that day I learnt one lesson: Even if I was speaking to a huge crowd, as long as one person benefited from the service that I provided, it means my efforts are not futile, it means I am successful.

Fast forward 2 years and 10 months to December 2012, I received a surprise text from ShaoYi, :”Hi Mr Shaun, this is ShaoYi, do you remember me? I am now a student leader at my school. Thanks for your coaching, I am now applying public speaking skills whenever I conduct students briefing!”

How would you feel if someone thanked you for something you did in the past because it has helped them, and is continuing to benefit them to this date?

For me, it was a “Wow” experience. Receiving the text from ShaoYi was one of the greatest highlights of 2012, one of the greatest highlights of my life.

I learnt another lesson that day:

As long as you are being of service, do not worry if what you do is futile or if what you do is insignificant, the rest will take care of itself!!!

The additional 45 minutes that I gave out of wanting to be of service to my student, has not only impacted the life of ShaoYi, but has also indirectly impacted the life of the students that ShaoYi is leading!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, there are times when we fear that we do is futile, there are times when we wonder if the effort of one person truly matters in the grand scheme of things. Truth be told its absolutely alright to feel that way, because we are just human. Just remember that the REASON why we are doing what we doing, remember that the REASON is bigger than ourselves, and that its definitely greater than our doubts. Remember that as long as we are of service to ourselves and others, the rest will take care of itself!!!

Shaun

Your fellow human being:)

www.livewithfear.com

Fear of Competition

Have you ever taken part in a race? fear of competition

“Race? I have never gone for a single race in my life? That may cross the mind of many.

Really? Think about school, isn’t it a race to be the top student, so that we can graduate and go to a top school or to get a top notch job?

Think about work, isn’t it a race up the corporate ladder?

They don’t call life a “rat race” for nothing.

In these races of life, were you ever worried that you would be overtaken by your competitors?

What happens when you worry about your competition?

Do you look back, to ensure that competition is not close by?

Do you hasten from your regular pace, and in the process hasten your tiredness?

Do you become so obsess with the competition and forget about why you are in the race to begin with?

In school and subsequently in work, I find myself drawn to seeing people as “rivals”.

When I “beat them” I rejoice when I “lose to them” I become upset.

Sometimes this “winning mentality” even overrides the original mission objectives.

What do I mean?

Just take studying for example:

Qn: Why do we study?

An: Studying is for the acquiring of knowledge.

Qn: Why do we acquire knowledge?

An: We acquire knowledge so that we can apply them in our lives.

Qn: Why do we have tests and exams?

An: We have test and exams to gauge how well we have internalized the knowledge acquired.

The mission objectives for studying is simple: Acquire knowledge!

But what do we do?  We complicate things, we add in ranking systems, bell curves. We had to categorize people.

Categorizing people is not totally bad, if you do it this way:

Shaun is good in Maths, perhaps he could be a Mathematician.

Jane is good in history, perhaps she can be an historian.

Tom is good in football, perhaps he can be a footballer.

But in a society such as Singapore where a one size fits all education system is used, this is how we categorize people

Shaun is bad in his humanities, it is pulling down his overall grades, he needs to go for remedial lessons if not he can’t go to a top school.

Jane being good at history just isn’t good enough, she needs to brush up her maths and science, if not no school is going to take her in.

Tom is just a delinquent, he spends all his time playing sports, he is bad at his studies, he has no hope.

The above approach is like forcing a Olympic swimmer to race in an Olympic 200M sprint.

Or making a dog compete in a swimming with a fish in a pond.

The reality is that each of us, has different strengths, and different gifts, to categorize and rank everyone in the same way just don’t make sense.

The result of this one size fits all approach, means that they are a lot more people in the race track then it should be able to hold, the price of the race has to spread out across more people, and people wants to get the big prize…..fast. That is the scarcity effect.

With that we also forget why we run the race to begin with, be it to gain knowledge, to make a difference in our company.

What do we do when that happens? Maybe the following story can shed some light.

Recently I took a physical fitness test that is mandated of all able bodied Singapore male that is part of the Singapore Armed Forces. I am on the reserve force, hence I have to take the test.

One of segments of the test is the 2.4 km run. I huffed and I puffed and I coughed but  I finally finished the run.

As I dragged my feet back  to registration office to turn in my running tag and obtain the final results of my test. A person turned around: “Bro, how are you?” I replied: “I am tired, haven’t recovered from my cough, was coughing throughout the run. How about you?”

He said: “Take care bro. I passed my test. But I must say: I owe you big time. If not for the fact that I kept pace with you, I would have failed. Thanks bro!”

That sentence changed my view on competition totally.

What if your fellow racers are there to provide moral support?

What if your fellow racers are there to show how its done?

What if your fellow racers are there to show the extent of how far and how fast we can possibly go?

When we fear competition we typically fear being over taken and irrelevant. That maybe true but life is not just one race but a series of races.

When we lose one, the question to ask is are we running the right race?

If we are not, quickly change the type race we take part.

If we are running the right kind of race, the question to ask are:

If the winner can do so, why can’t I?

What did the winner do to win, can I follow suit?

The reality is this: A lot of times we run the wrong type of races. Even when we run the right ones. We spend so much time fearing and hating the competition that we lose focus, isn’t it better that we use our competition as resources to improve our game?

Cheers to a great race!

Shaun

Your fellow human being.

www.livewithfear.com

 

Fear of the Future

Have you ever worried about what future has in stall for you?    Fear of the future

Have you ever compared with your peers, and worried that you can’t match up?

Recently my toastmasters club was tasked by my community centre to deliver a talk to a bunch of primary (elementary) school students.

The topic is on “Handling Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE)”. PSLE is the graduating examination that is taken by all Primary 6 students. The results will determine the high school that the children will go to in their next phase of the education. Sounds simple right?

However, streaming system of Singapore’s education system clashes with the competitive nature of the Singaporeans.

Why do I say that?

Depending on the results you get in Primary School, a primary school student will be streamed into one of the following streams. Normal, Express or Special.

“Special” and “Express” are four-year courses leading up to the Singapore-Cambridge GCE “O” Level examination. The difference between these two courses is that in the “Special” stream, students take ‘Higher Mother Tongue’ (available for Chinese, Malay and Tamil only) instead of ‘Mother Tongue’. A pass in the Higher Mother Tongue ‘O’ Level Examination constitutes the fulfilment of the Mother Tongue requirement in Singapore, whereas Normal Mother Tongue Students will have to go through one more year of study in their Mother Tongue after their ‘O’ Levels to take the ‘AS’ Level Mother Tongue Examinations.

Normal is a four-year course leading up to a Normal-Level (N-level) exam, with the possibility of a fifth year followed by an O-level.

By theory, the streaming concept works, if you perform well academically, you are put into the express or even special stream where you will take 4 years to complete, on top of that you will loaded with more subjects.

However when you match it with the Singaporean culture, its a ultimate recipe of disaster. Singapore is famous for these 3 adjectives: Kiasu (Afraid to lose), Kiasi (Afraid to die), Kiabo (Afraid to be left out). To top it up, we Asians are an extremely afraid of losing face, or rather we like to gain face. Face is the metaphor for dignity and social standing. In short, we are super competitive and proud.

The result?

Express became the new normal. “Normal” stream became associated with being substandard. Parents became fixated with getting their kids into special stream or at least avoid getting into normal stream. The results and the school that the kids get into become a source of bragging rights or taboo. Can you imagine what the parents will do to the kid?

Home tuition, supplementary lessons, deprivation of playing times.

The result?

Stressed kids. Unhappy kids. Kids with no childhood. Kids who feel bad about themselves, not feeling good enough.

I spoke to my niece on her thoughts on PSLE, and she said: “I fear not being to able to live up to my parents’ expectations” and she also said: “I think parents should have more realistic expectations, I have a classmate who have been getting “Bs” in her subjects. She studies very very hard, but that is the best she could do. Still her parents wants her to go to the best school in Singapore.”

Through this interview, I asked myself what is the greatest fear that parents have, is it really just about preserving face?

I spoke to my brother and that is what he said:” I fear that my kids can’t survive in the future in light of the competitive landscape that is Singapore.”

“Survival”. But does studying well equates to survival? Does performing badly at school equate to doom?

This remains me of the story of Gillian Lynne. As a child, Gillian always fidgets about, she can’t focus her attention. She can’t keep still. According to her mum, Gillian “had problems with her studies” Her mum took her to see a doctor. After listening to the symptoms that the child exhibited, the doctor said. “Give me some time with Gillian”. After a while, he switched on the radio, and he told the mother, lets go out and talk. Gillian’s mum was anxious. “Is she alright?, Can she be cured?” The doctor smiled and said:” Take a look. He opened the door slightly. Lo and behold, Gillian was dancing graciously to the music! “She is not sick, she is a dancer.”

Gillian’s mother sent her to a dance school. She grew up to be a ballerina, dancer, actor, theatre director, television director and choreographer noted for her popular theatre choreography associated with the musical Cats and the current longest running show in Broadway history, The Phantom of the Opera!

The “sickness” has since been become known as “Attention Deficit Disorder” of ADD, assuming that the doctor had treated her of this “disease”. Do you think her talent might have been “cured” along the ADD.

Ladies and gentlemen, often we worry and try to cure the symptoms without looking at the root of the issue. Just as how Gillian’s mother worried about her daughter’s inability to study well, many parents and even students worry about whether they can do well for their studies. But the question is why are you studying? If the answer is: “Equipping oneself with knowledge to interpret the things that are going on around us.” Fabulous, by all means, study! But if the reason for studying is for bragging rights, is for survival. Maybe we are looking at the wrong things. We are born for a purpose, and the time we spent doing the things we are not good at , means that we are not doing the things that matters. Just like how Gillian would have struggled at conventional school and not expressing her gift as a dancer, if the kind doctor not make the right call, and the mother not making the right decision.

Next time when we have fear of whether you have a place in this world, and that you are lagging behind others in the race of life.

Ask yourself: “Are you expressing the gift that you are born with?” and “Are you even running the right race in the very first place?”

P.S You might want to look at this Youtube video where I got this magnificent story from

Your fellow human being:)

Shaun

www.livewithfear.com