the good, the bad and the ugly

What do you do when you feel down?

a. Listen to emo songs.
b. Go through all the unpleasant stuff that happened in your mind again and again.
c. Make definitive conclusions about how terrible you are and how you appear terrible to others.
d. All of the above.

I’m trying to extend it to an

e. Reflect on the good that happens and focus on learning from the unpleasant stuff.

This takes up quite a lot of willpower and energy not to go back to d. *muscle emoji*

Let’s start with the good stuff. It is kind of unplanned but I went out of my comfort zone.
Firstly, I organized an event which I have never done before for people that I am not really close with. Upon hindsight, I came to the conclusion that I never consider it properly beforehand. For some reason, I just went ahead and regret later. Again and again. Oh, well. This experience taught me a lot and I gained invaluable knowledge. So, Y to the E to the S!
In fact, this “went out of my comfort zone” was the sole positive reason I can think of not to let myself slip into the darkest corner of my weary mind.

Next, I tried GrabShare, a feature where you can share a ride with other passengers in a cab for a cheaper fare. Again, without thinking much, I went ahead and took my chance. It turned out that the other passengers are two friendly girls and together with the driver, the four of us chatted happily. It was an awesome experience and made my morning!

The biggest step I took out of my comfort zone was probably deciding to try out as a Scrum Master. This is a departure from my usual job role and it is the first role of its kind within my department. Thankfully, I have a mentor who loaded me with lots of study materials and is willing to provide advice and guidance whenever I need it. Turns out, the most challenging aspect of being a Scrum Master is the ability to facilitate and to remove impediments to the team. It sounds so easy in writing but it is super difficult. I often find myself either tongue-tied or stuck thinking of what I need to do. It comes with experience and I for sure do not have many. At the moment, I am just doing my best to remain composed and not break out into a panic attack whenever I feel discouraged. However, I also got started in resolving a crucial impediment to the team and hopefully, this can be the best gift for them ( the team )..

Besides that, I recently completed a Japanese drama series titled ‘My Boss My Hero’. It turned out to be my favorite Japanese drama for its super awesome life lessons. When I first started, I didn’t find it really engaging but from episode 3 onwards, I was hooked. It just gets better with every episode and I was completely rooting for the lead character. In a nutshell, it is about this Yakuza ( Japanese gangster ) who has to pose as a 3rd year high school student and passed all the exams in order to succeed his father as the Yakuza’s leader. Being very ignorant and stupid, he initially failed every paper. The delightful aspect of the drama is his journey in learning to love, learning to learn, learning to reach out to others and learning about the beauty of life while struggling to keep his identity a secret. It is really hilarious and engaging at the same time. While he is uncouth as a Yakuza, his ‘high school’ personality is what drew me to him. Although he was ‘forced’ to be polite and humble at first, his inner goodness finally has a chance to develop and he became genuinely wonderful. He may revert to some of his short-tempered and uncouth speech when he is caught in an unpleasant situation ( old habits die hard ) but he is generally just a lost boy. It is interesting to observe him discovering the simple joys in life – such as when he chastised his underling that there is no fun in cheating to get what you want ( his favorite pudding ). Or the way he suddenly asked ‘profound’ questions such as ‘Why is the sky blue?’ when he started liking a fellow classmate. Most importantly, he does what he thinks is right even when it is not the right thing to do under circumstances. For all that, he earns my greatest admiration and also the adjective of being super manly! That’s a first! Have my preferences changed? :p

Inspired by his high school experience and his love for learning, I see my Scrum Master studies as something similar. He has to learn and study quite a number of subjects to pass high school. I don’t have to but I wanted to study and learn something new too. So, I find myself enrolling in two online courses: ‘Buddhism and Modern Psychology’ offered by Princeton University and ‘Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills’ offered by University of Michigan via Coursera. I will do my best to complete the course and pass, hopefully. 😀

One more thing! This is a humbling experience and it made me re-evaluate myself. So, I was chatting with one of my colleagues. He is very young with a friendly smile. We were talking for a bit and I was trying to guess which of the girls in the office that he might like. And I narrowed it down to a specific department, simply because it has the most suitable age appropriate ladies for him ( as mentioned, he is very young ). His question then caught me by surprise. “Why do you think I will only like <race> girls?” Honestly, I felt really humbled. I always considered myself to be very open but I realized then that I just made a racist analysis. It is not the first time anyway ( with him, but it was another convo ) but this time it struck me hard. Luckily, he is very nice and proceeded to share some of his cool personal experiences which made me go wow!

Before I wrap up this post (which has gotten pretty long), I’d like to bring up some random thoughts. One of our colleagues was away on holiday and I asked another co-worker if she misses him. Her pointed reply was: “He is coming back, right? So, there is no need to miss him.” That got me thinking and reflecting. It really fits in with the phrase, you will only appreciate something when it is gone. Or you know that it is going to be gone.

Is it legit to be mad at someone who only (openly) appreciates you upon knowing that you will be gone? Or should you have felt happy instead because that shows that the person finally realizes the importance of your presence? I would say, it doesn’t matter because it will not matter in 10 years. Take that from someone who has been there, done that. *hits chest with right fist twice*

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