Archives for Fearless category

joseph campbell a hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself blog

A special day to pay tribute to all the brave souls who had given their lives while serving the country so that you and I can sleep peacefully at night. In fact, we should be thankful to them every single day of our lives. They will never be forgotten as they will always live in the hearts of the people they loved and protected so dearly.

Photo credit: BusNikon “Take a picture it…
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katherine mansfield risk anything. care no more for the opinion of others ... do the hardest thing on earth for you

Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others … Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” – Katherine Mansfield

No one might have known it better than Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger about acting for oneself and facing the truth. Rudy harboured a dream to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, despite being merely 5’6″ and 165 pounds – an undersized player, and lacking the grades – because he was dyslexic – and also lacking the money necessary to attend Notre Dame. He prepared to settle down with a job at a local steel mill like his father, but when his best friend Pete was killed in an explosion at the mill, Rudy decided to follow his dream of attending Notre Dame and playing for the Fighting Irish.

He went on to fulfill his dream to attend Notre Dame and to play for the Fighting Irish at home as defensive end against Georgia Tech on November 8, 1975, in his final senior season; achieving all these despite being constantly mocked at, disbelief from even people who are closest to him – his family, and numerous rejection from Notre Dame. Not only had Rudy achieved his dreams, he had also gone on to achieve the dreams of his father and to inspire the people around him.

Haven’t we received countless advises from family and friends when we voiced out what we want to do? That we cannot do this or do that. No doubt they are concerned about our well-being and yet these well-meaning advises can kill our dreams even before we start. After all the wet blankets that were thrown to us, we were somehow convinced, “Yes, they are right, we could’t do it. It wouldn’t work.” As much as we must not become overly stubborn and persistent towards the pursue of our dreams, we must be prepared to stand up and believe in our dreams.

However, in the pursue of our dreams, we must be mentally prepared to go on the journey alone at times and it will be a bonus if we happen to have anyone walking with us. We must be determined to do the only thing we could do – determined to save the only life we could save.

Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Photo Credit: Andrew S. Gray Photography
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Last Sunday, I went on an unexpected journey of discovery. Why did I say unexpected? I was supposed to travel up to Genting Highland to get my new Sony Xperia P from my sister but there was unusually ‘expected’ waiting on my journey there; I didn’t expect there would be so much people. I basically had to wait an hour for the Skyway cable up to Genting Highland. Fortunately, time was not wasted throughout the trip as I was armed with a fantastic read on ‘Alibaba‘, on the story of Jack Ma. Before that I was still toying on which book to bring, whether to bring Richard Branson’s Business Stripped Base (another good reading) or to bring ‘Alibaba.’ Sorry Richard that I chose Ma Yun over you.

Both books were fantastic reading; inspiring and with tons of lesson to be learnt and to be applied. I wasted no time at all in reading the book while I was traveling on the bus and also while waiting for the Skyway cable car and taking down a lot of notes with my Sony Xperia Ray. I followed closely to every move of Jack Ma on how he picked himself up from every fall and how each fall make. From the book, I first capture this quote, “Men are made bigger by adversity and injustice.” It certainly applied to him and how he soared to greater height from each setback.

As what Steve Jobs said before about connecting the dots, through Alibaba, I realised how Ma Yun’s dots were being connected together. Everything happened for a reason. And as what Steve said, “So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots would connect down the road would give you the confident to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that would make all the difference.” I am sure it had made all the difference to the life of Jack Ma.

However, the most important thing I learnt from this journey was not so much about connecting the dots but more on creating tremendous values. I was reading the reflection of a teammate just few days before and another teammate replied on creating tremendous values or to be crazily successful.

Suddenly, when I was reading the part where Jack Ma decided to focus on the 85% of the small business owners, when he was setting up the Alibaba website, in China to help them bring their products to the world, I had a realisation, “For me to start influencing people on a huge scale, I need to either create tremendous value in the lives of others or to have achieved tremendous success myself first.

Or else how can I ever hope to inspire love and peace in others? Another realisation hit me at that moment, “I do not have all the time in the world to do that.” Time is all that we have in the world and yet we do not own it. No one is even guaranteed of the next moment. At this point of time, I do not have the answer for you yet as to how I can create the tremendous value but I know this is what I want to do.

To leave you with a quotation taken from the book ‘Alibaba’, “Your greatest enemy is yourself; your greatest opponent is time. And your greatest failure is to give up.

Just a night before, she was meeting two friends for dinner and she showed them a picture of bear bear looking out at the window of the plane; “It was bear bear first time on the plane.” Her face literally lit up when she said that! Bear bear has been with her for 10 years now and they shared a deep bond. From her heart, she shared with her two friends that she talked to bear bear and sometimes bear bear would be happy, sometimes sad … One of the friends jokingly said that he knew a doctor and everyone was laughing. However, deep in their hearts, they could feel the deep feeling she has for bear bear; at least one of the other friends felt it. That night, their hearts were magically connected by bear bear.

Don’t most of us had imaginary friends or had we not spoken to our teddy bears before when we were young? Its when we grew up, our logical minds told us that we were ‘crazy’ to be talking to our teddy bears; they are just not real. Really? She is still very much innocent and connected with her heart.

Yesterday she flew home on a plane and one of the friends was at the airport to send her off; he knew that he had to go to the airport to see her off. For almost 2 hours, he waited at the entrance to the departure hall; he didn’t tell her that he would be there. It was meant to be a surprise. It was a pretty long wait and a lot of thoughts went through his mind during those moments, “What if I don’t get to see her? Lets leave it to fate, if I am fated to meet her, I will see her. In the end he told himself, “I must have the faith to believe that I would see her and I would pass her the things I had bought her and the note I had written on a piece of paper ripped off from the back of Richard Branson’s book.”

The time for her flight was getting nearer and nearer and his heart getting colder and colder and yet he kept his faith. Just as he was thinking, she walked pass him, without seeing him of course as she was rushing to the check-in counter. He walked briskly, following her footsteps and he took out his phone to show a picture of her. He walked up to her, stood besides her, shown her the picture of herself and said, “Hey, I am looking for this friend. Did you see her?” It was lame and yet she was surprised to see him and thank him for coming down to send her off. And she introduced bear bear to him. Finally they met. Although it was the first time seeing bear bear, there seemed to be a connection between him and bear bear.

As she was there in the airport at the eleventh minutes, so she was rushing throughout the whole process of scanning the luggage and checking in. He passed her the muffin he bought for her from Starbucks, just in case she got hungry on the short flight. Another bag was filled with a lollipop, M&M chocolates and Mentos; something to keep her boredom away. There wasn’t much chance to talk. It was a very short meeting before he stood at the departure gate watching her went up the escalator and disappearing in his sight. He could only wish he had given her a hug and tell her how much he would miss her. He held back …

After she left, he was on his way home. He boarded the shuttle bus that would bring him to the train station to take the train which would bring him home. Before boarding the train, he text her, “Hey,
the muffin is already cold. Don’t eat it if it doesn’t taste good anymore. Take care.” She replied, “I keep okay.” The train left the station for home.

Suddenly his phone vibrated and when he saw the name of the incoming caller, he came back to life instantly … again! He took the call promptly but she sounded dejected on the other side of the phone.

“Did you see my bear bear?” She asked.

“Yes, I saw it just now and actually wanted to take a photo of it too.” I replied.

“No, I mean did you see the bear bear with me just now?” She sounded heart-broken.

“No. I didn’t.” I said.

“It must have been left in the airport. bear bear is not with me now.” She said.

He swore he could feel her heart sunk. Without hesitation, he made up his mind to go back to the airport to search for bear bear. He couldn’t wait for the train to reach the next stop. Once the train stopped at the next station, he ran up the stair to move to the other platform to take the train back to the airport. Amazing things happened when one’s mind was truly focus! Upon reaching the train station for transfer via shuttle bus to the airport. His ticket could not get him out of the station because it was supposed to be a single trip in the other direction home. He went up to the station control and explained that he left something important in the airport and really had to go back to the airport to get it.

To his surprise, the station control personnel opened up a side gate, which is meant only for staff, to let him out and told him, “I’ll keep your train ticket with me here and I would inform my colleague at the airport about your trip on the shuttle bus.”

He boarded the shuttle bus for the third time within the day and couldn’t wait to get back to the airport as soon as possible. Finally, the shuttle bus started towards the airport direction and he started to think about where to look for bear bear and what should he be telling the staffs at the airport. At the back of his mind, he wasn’t sure he could find back bear bear but he knew he had to find it for her; bear bear has been with her for 10 years and it is an important part in her life. He couldn’t imagine seeing her brokenhearted if she really couldn’t find bear bear.

Upon reaching the airport, the first thing he did is rushing over to the luggage scanning area, which was the first possible place she could lose bear bear. It was an area for passenger only so he could only look around the area and looked through the glass panel. It was simply not good enough; he couldn’t see anything at all. At that moment he saw a security and walked up to him and explaining a little to him before asking him if there is a lost and found section. After the security explained, he found that he was not getting anyway, he needed to take charge of the situation. Thus, he asked the security if he can go into the luggage scanning area and into the check-in area.

The saying is true, “Ask and you shall receive.” The security told him ‘yes’, he could go into the luggage scanning area and the check in area. He dashed into the luggage scanning area and browsed around. To his disappointment, there was no sign of bear bear. He proceeded to the check-in area. Fortunately, there wasn’t a major line queuing for check-in and he could speak to the counter staff without much difficulty. While waiting in queue. He saw a cleaner and decided to ask him if he saw bear bear. However, due to communication challenge, they wasn’t able understand each other effectively.

When his turn came, he walked up to the counter and explained the situation once again.

“My friend flew home at the 1540 hours flight but she left her bear bear in the airport. Please help me to check if it is around here. It is very important to her as she has the bear bear for 10 years already and it is of great sentimental value to her.” I explained.

The counter staff was exceptionally helpful and also asked her colleague besides her if she saw any bear bear. At first her colleague said bluntly, “Anything that you lost at the check-in counter is not our problems because we are not allowed to touch anything beyond the counter.”

He realised it was really not in their duty and he said, “I know it is not your problem. I just want to do my best to find the bear bear because it is of great sentimental value and very important to my friend.” He could swear that almost instantly she softened down, gave a few good suggestions and even asked the person checking in at her counter to hold on for a second while she was talking to me.

To his dismay and losing hope of finding bear bear, he followed the counter staff suggestion of going to the information counter. He knew in his heart that there were only a few area which bear bear might still be. One of them was the luggage scanning area and the other at the check-in counter; he didn’t see bear bear in both areas. That left only one place – the departure area just before you board the plane. How could he possibly go into such area without boarding pass? He was entertaining the possibility of going into the area. Yet how?

On the way to the airport information counter, he saw the same cleaner and asked him to check with his friends if they saw bear bear but he couldn’t really help also. Thus, he proceeded to the information counter. When he was there, he explained the whole things over again and told the staff at the counter the possible areas which bear bear could end up in. They were all very willing to help. It was truly amazing as the saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson goes, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” He had decided that he must help her to find bear bear and suddenly he found that everyone seemed to be willing to help him.

Yet he wasn’t able to get any lead on finding bear bear. His last resort was going through the departure gate and into the waiting area before boarding the plane where it now seemed to be the place where she left bear bear. He didn’t question on the possibility of going into the departure hall without a boarding pass. He was just asking himself how could he make them let him go in to search. The information counter staff directed him to the security at the departure gate. While on his way there, there was suddenly a hunch … an intuition or rather a question that popped up, “Did they mean the security at the luggage scanning area or the security at the departure gate? While walking pass the luggage scanning area, he decided to take a last look at it.

Standing right besides the falsified low wall, looking through the glass panel and down at the scanning machine, his face beamed with pure excitement as he saw bear bear; it was as if it had been lying there for the longest time! Overwhelming with excitement, he asked for the bear bear from the security and they just passed it to him. Immediately her face flashed through his mind. He could ‘see’ how happy she would be when she knows that bear bear is not lost.

Before leaving the airport, he walked past the information counter and thanked them. There were just so many anonymous heroes and heroines that day in the process of searching for bear bear that he wanted to thank. When he boarded the shuttle bus for the fourth time in the day to go to the train station. Suddenly, there was a deep sigh of relief. All the built up emotion could finally be released.

I’m sure at this point when you are reading this, all these sounded like in a movie or drama. Yet I could tell you that it all really happened. It happened in a day of my life on 11 August 2012; a day in my life which I would remember for the rest of my life.

Now, I just want to send bear bear back to reunite with her as soon as I manage to contact her. I am very sure she would be very happy. And I am happy too.