Before going to University, I applied for tonnes of Government scholarships in Singapore. These scholarships would have bound me to a profession I knew nothing about for at least 6 years. But I had no concept of this at that time. All I could think of was that I needed to find a way to fund my education.
At the start of last year, I was having a think about what kind of life I wanted to lead. And I wrote in my journal:
I want to live my life with faith and trust
I thought I had a concept of faith and trust. I could see very clearly in my mind a person who lived with faith and trust. They were daring, they were calm, always gliding through life with an ethereal, untouchable aura around them. And I wanted to be this unflappable person.
But my experiments with faith and trust were always intermittent. When things were going well, I had faith. I trusted. But the minute things didn’t go according to how I envisioned, I got angry, ranted, doubted and started doing everything in my power to get things back the way they were.
And then things would get better and I’d re-commit to living with faith and trust again, summoning my ‘gliding through life’ self.
Its easy to have faith and trust when life is good and smooth flowing. But it’s only when things are tough, when you do everything in your power to right things again, when nothing works, when you don’t know what you can do anymore, and amidst all this you somehow have to save yourself, live everyday – that’s when you start to realize that you didn’t have a clue of what faith and trust meant when you scribbled down those words years ago.
In good times, faith and trust were like the flowers I plucked as and when I liked, to decorate my home. They were light-hearted and ethereal. Glitter that I could coat myself with.
The faith and trust I know now are different. They are raw and brutal. They are bloody scars I bear after being cornered time and time again when there was nothing else to be done. My knowledge of them isn’t intermittent. I know them like I know my own body.
What I didn’t know then was that faith and trust aren’t for the faint-hearted. They aren’t pre-packaged toys I could buy at Hamleys. It’s a deliberate practice requiring a lot of effort and it’s painful and difficult. And like everything that’s difficult in life, you spend a lot of time to actively avoid it …
… until you can’t.
And I was reminded of this once again when I was speaking to Deming (you can read my interview with him here).