Weekly Gratitude Journal #8

Part of a series of journals that I have to write for an assignment for school under the Positive Psychology module.

This week, I feel grateful to be surrounded by supportive people. Recently, because of some interactions with some very senior people, I realized that perhaps it is time for me to step out of my comfort zone and try to be more active in shaping my workplace culture. Also, because of my recent realization about my own perspective that is limiting me, I found new energy to charge ahead at work. Part of me is worried inside that I will be offending people, or just appearing to be someone that is annoying, self-righteous or moralistic. I don’t want to appear as the person who is always critical of others when I myself have plenty to work on as well. But I cannot remain silent because the world is evil not because of those who do evil but the good ones who look on and did nothing (A. Einstein). So far the experience seems to be rather okay. Although I cannot say for sure if all of them are okay with me becoming increasingly vocal since sometimes, we don’t say what we mean; I still found support from many people.

Today, I also had a chat with a colleague who told me that, just being in this job alone means that we are very blessed. And indeed, I think it is true because this job requires one to be sharp in the mind and able in the body. By the fact that we are able to take up this job already meant that we are given more than many others which we should use our potential to do good. Being an Outward Bound Instructor requires so many different skillsets built into one person, so much that sometimes, it is hard for recruitment to happen. We need to be first responders, rock climbers, facilitators, counsellor, lifeguard, boat captain, cook, sports coaches and many more. I have never ever imagined that I will one day become an Outward Bound Instructor. In fact, I didn’t even attend outward bound course when I was younger and my first interaction was during the NTU Minor in Entrepreneurship programme which I thought they were crazy to make us kayak the whole day, without any physical conditioning. Even the army does not do something like that without proper conditioning (which reemphasize that the quality and judgement of the Instructors are of utmost importance to ensure safety).

Even today, I still struggle with the notion that I am an outdoor person, maybe because I am also proficient and perfectly comfortable indoors; I am majoring in Computer Engineering (so I am somewhat a geek). Yet, somehow my experiences during my younger days seem to be preparing me for this job. I learned how to cook when I was very young, I was a rebellious, sometimes angry and often playful youth. I used to sneak out in the middle of the night going on my own cycling expeditions, sleeping in front of shopping malls with my bicycle saddle as my pillow. I climbed up my school clock tower (could have died) and led a group of youths to do stupid things together. Today, it is somewhat similar but different. I have to cook for my own meals in the outdoor, sometimes for my participants. I have to understand the rebellious, angry and playful youths that I once part of. I have to lead cycling expeditions across the island, braving through the rain and shine. I have to climb up high elements to demonstrate how to safely conquer the element, even though I was pretty scared of heights and chickened out once when I was still dating my wife on a trip to a high element theme part. And instead of leading youths to do stupid things, I now lead them on expeditions so that they can better discover themselves and the capacity for them to care for the world. Yet with all that, I still wonder – Is this my destiny? Am I meant to be here?

I guess life is a constant stream of new discoveries. And the fact that I am breathing now leaves me an opportunity to continue discovering.

Feedback from Peer:

It’s great to know that you are surrounded by those wise and helpful seniors. We do sometimes tend to the quiet in the workplace, avoiding being too salient and sharp. But sometimes we also need to be a unique individual with our own thoughts and attitudes. There will be a trade-off, but I wish that you can eventually find a balance between them. It’s also good to know that you would like to share your life events in a very sincere manner. Life indeed is a constant stream of new discoveries, and it’s the surprises in our life that make us feel alive.