What’s at the end of the chase?

What’s at the end of the chase?

TLDR: Having a set of goals to work towards gives us a sense of direction in life. Our society prizes this go-get-it attitude as a self-improvement hack; many of us strive for this mindset. However, there could be a risk of doing something just for the sake of it and we may end up beating ourselves for getting lost in the pursuit of excellence. 

Many of us have been conditioned to chase something, consciously or unconsciously. We race with others to prove our worth, ever since birth – to be the first to crawl/walk/run, the top rank in class, the one to get into a famous university, the first to be office management level, the one who found ‘the one’ and have family……The list continues. 

The neverending chase has been fuelled by the comparison trap we adopt from our parents, society and ourselves. 

Have we ever pondered what is the source of our chasing mindset?

I was so used to the chase that I rushed from one achievement to another, not sparing time to truly soak in whatever I was doing and its outcome. After landing my first job as an accountant, I quickly enrolled on a professional certified course. 

Upon completion, I thought, ‘what’s next?’. Before long, I was looking to register for a postgraduate degree. 

I must admit those learnings were not in vain. I gained something out of them – both technical skills and soft skills like time-management, relational skills, self-organisation. These skills have been helpful to me in my personal and professional life. But whether or not I could use the effort on a more targeted outcome, that’s another question altogether.

To outsiders, I may look like someone with a thirst for knowledge (or paper certificate, for that matter). 

Little did I know this chase was masked as self-improvement; there would always be a better thing to go for next if I don’t consciously define the outcome that I want to achieve. 

This deceptive ‘self-improvement’ is not limited only to the worldly chase – I realised that I wanted to keep improving myself spiritually too. While spiritual advancement may be a sensible goal, my underlying intention was warped, at least initially. 

I kept myself immersed in spiritual talks one after another. I sat meditating even when the heart refused to – just to prove that I, too, can evolve in my spiritual practice. 

This spiritual chase resulted in resistance between the mind and the heart, not to mention the sense of dejection when I didn’t see the improvement I expected. Definitely not a fun experience!

The source of my chasing mindset was a sense of lacking self-worth. I wanted to prove myself a  deserving human being by reaching the level that is deemed ‘good enough’. And we know that ‘good enough’ is a subjective measurement and may not serve as a good gauge. 

Comparing myself today with who I was 3 years ago, for example, I can honestly say I have grown into a different and (hopefully) a better, more mature person. This is probably a better use of the comparison mind for improvement measurement.

Be kind to ourselves and others

I chanced upon an apt Dhamma talk by Venerable Ajahn Brahm on how we often hold on to ‘I need to be better’ thoughts just because everyone else thinks or expects so. Ajahn Brahm further taught that this ‘I’m not good enough’ mindset is neither kind nor helpful to ourselves. 

Of course, we need to carefully distinguish between accepting ourselves with kindness and not growing out of unconstructive habits. 

There could be a risk of not improving the mind under the false pretence of self-acceptance. Learn to be at peace with what we already have, then improvement would flow naturally. 

Many of us may be performing good deeds and consciously express kindness to others. Doing so not only keeps the mind at peace but also elicits joy during and after the act. I identify with this definition of living a blessed life in the spirit of Mangala Sutta, when I can share and contribute what I have with others. However, with the chasing mentality, I might have forgotten about the one person who would benefit from such good deeds as well – myself. 

How many times do we speak harsh words inside our head when we act less than ‘perfect’? 

‘Why did you do that silly thing?’

‘How could you forget about that important event?’

‘What is wrong with you?’

I probably would not say such things to my close friends or even strangers, so why do I say them to myself? Am I unworthy of the same kindness I have so freely and joyfully shared with others? 

Nowadays, I decide to contemplate my pursuits with an objective mind, even if it seems like an improvement on the surface: 

‘Does this course/workshop feel aligned with the heart or is there another reason why I want to join?’

‘Do I feel joyful in learning or is it another medal on my chest to show the world?’

Suffering arises when we don’t get what we want and when we get what we don’t want

I recently read separate teaching from Venerable Ajahn Chah1 on “wanting with right understanding”. The teaching explained that desire towards and away from something can arise from us as worldly beings. I find resonance to this gentle outlook towards self and am aware that setting goals can start off my self-improvement actions – but blindly chasing and grasping the desire tightly is not right either. Instead, taking action accompanied by gradual and reflective practice would be more helpful. 

For example, I started this article with the intention to write about chasing struggles. It has developed into deeper contemplation of my underlying beliefs and expanded thoughts that I am sharing now.

Trying to be mindful of my wanting and not-wanting, I do my best at the moment and allow the outcome to unfold. 

I realise that telling myself to let go of expectation, is an expectation by itself – another debacle to untangle! 

Rather, it is much more peaceful to put in my best effort for the situation; watch the result arise and take the next step from there. 

When a learning experience concludes as expected or not, I try to take time to settle down and truly embrace the event. When another learning opportunity comes, I will then be able to jump in wholeheartedly. Even if I failed, I could learn from it. Failure is just another piece of feedback! With this outlook, I hopefully lessen the suffering created for myself.  

I conclude that having a goal is necessary, especially for myself and many others who are just entering the ‘real’ life of the professional and social world. 

Clarity of true motivation is essential as we take on the path, paired with conscious kindness towards ourselves when the comparison mind takes a negative turn. The next time I look at others and start to put them on the pedestal with an unreasonable expectation of myself, I will remind myself: ‘remember how far you have gone’ and ‘we all have our own path to take’.

Notes:

  1. Source: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah – Single Volume, Aruna Publications, 2011, Chapter 22, page 237, https://forestsangha.org/teachings/books/the-collected-teachings-of-ajahn-chah-single-volume?language=English

Wise steps:

  • Pair working on goals with a mindful review of underlying reason in choosing these goals, it could provide clarity on the true nature of our motivation
  • When harsh reprimand arises within, ask if these are the words we will give to others 
  • Refrain from punishing ourselves when we could not let go immediately. Be still, the conditions for letting go will arise.
3 Wise Lessons I Learnt From My Internship

3 Wise Lessons I Learnt From My Internship

TLDR: Internships are valuable opportunities for one to learn and grow. Every internship is different and there’s no need to compare. As great platforms for networking, internships can allow us to be bold and to speak out.

Internships have now become a rite of passage for university students. Lessons are learnt. White hair appears. Overtime (OT) drags. I was part of a challenging yet exciting project as an intern. Here’s what I did and my 3 takeaways.

During my internship, I worked for and with a group of solopreneurs – people who set up and run a business on their own- who were commissioned by the Chinese government to organize and host a regional China-ASEAN Startup competition. 

This competition aims to bring aspiring startups and established businesses across Southeast Asia (ASEAN) into the hub of Nanning. 

Being a politics and international affairs geek, I was excited to be a part of this project! 

This competition is one of the subsidiary events of the high-profile China-ASEAN EXPO, where state leaders of both regions regularly attend. This attachment was not your typical corporate internship. With my unique experience, I learnt not to compare with my fellow schoolmates. 

1. Comparison is the thief of joy  

It’s our human nature to compare. At times, comparisons encourage healthy competition and push us to improve. However, we must be careful of envy’s trap. 

When I was in my polytechnic days, I used to envy friends who secured internships with internationally renowned firms. I was dejected, demoralized and desperate when my applications were rejected.

I felt that opportunities were only reserved for the rich, bright and powerful. 

Little was I aware that I was a victim of the “three poisons” (Anger, Greed & Ignorance) and experienced Dukkha (Suffering). This cycle of anguish formed from Taṇhā (Craving) as I desired to conform to stereotypes and to be accepted as a contributing member of society. Thankfully, this mindset was all but in the past.

As I aged and gained wisdom from the Dhamma, I realised that interning with big firms does not necessarily mean that they are the right firms for us. 

These firms may mass employ undergraduates and drive more competition. However, interns may get less opportunity to learn and shine as the same ‘workload’ gets diluted with many other interns. 

Coupled with high expectations and added pressure, internships with these firms may not always be the thriving spot for some. I gleaned this insight from my friend’s experiences with global corporations.

Everyone learns at different speeds. In large firms, interns are often put together in a graduate program and expected to be on the same learning curve. 

I used to be a slow learner and appreciate colleagues giving me the time and space to find my feet. Working in a small group for my internship with the startup competition project, I could take adequate time to learn the ropes. With more confidence, I contributed more to the project. I had greater exposure and was able to learn more.

Every internship is different and each internship brings something different to the table. No one size fits all.

Some questions to ponder for those finding internships: Prestige or growth? Short-term or long-term? The questions help us recognize that no path is the same and it’s in our power to chart our path. Instead of comparing our internship experiences, we can focus on our learning journey and choose a firm with a culture that we stand to gain the most from.

2. Linkages – Our network is our net worth

The best part of an internship is the opportunity to network and establish links. Internships are not merely for us to gain exposure to the working world. 

As cliché as it sounds, our potential net worth is indeed determined by our network.

Internships present a valuable opportunity to speak to industry experts, high net-worth individuals, business leaders, and even government officials. 

From left: Remus, his work buddy, and his boss

I like having choices. An internship opens as many doors as possible. We never know which door will be open. For those of us considering a career switch, we could potentially chance upon someone in your desired industry during networking events.

For instance, my interest is to become a sinologist and this internship presented me with the opportunity to network with key Chinese government officials and intermediaries. Pushing boundaries, and seizing networking opportunities led to me meeting personnel from Alibaba Group, Chulalongkorn University, Startup founders among many others.

How do we network? 

Start with weak ties such as old friends in industries you are keen on or seniors from previous internships or acquaintances from networking events. 

We’d be surprised how many people say yes to small favours to connect with us. For the brave, you can try lunchclub.com (https://lunchclub.com/) which connects you to different like-minded people looking to network.

Networking helps expand’s one connection and creates potential opportunities to open more doors. However, it requires stepping out of the comfort zone which I know some may be fearful of. This brings me to the next lesson. 

3. Understanding Fear

Buddhism teaches us that all beings feel fear and anxiety. It’s normal to feel a sense of apprehension about joining a new firm or saying hi to strangers in networking sessions. 

Often, our nervousness, anxiety and fear engulf us, making us meek out. Having faith in our potential to learn and grow counters that fear with gradual confidence. Confidence is crucial even as an intern! There are benefits to honing our confidence. 

Being open and ready to speak out conveys our knowledge of your material. As an intern, speaking out establishes clear boundaries to co-workers and signals to others that we are not easy pushovers. 

By speaking up, we learn more and gain respect for being humble at learning. Internships are all about learning so it is alright to make mistakes. Be bold and optimistic rather than submit to the corporate hierarchical order. 

Remus (Second from left) & his team

Here, I am not endorsing interns step over authority! 

Rather, I believe we learn a whole lot more by speaking out (whenever necessary) since we stand to lose more opportunities to ask questions by staying quiet.

During my internship, I liaised with an external firm for creating marketing collateral. The firm assured us that the final product would align with our expectations. I suspected that the firm inferred our instructions differently and might produce something that’s below expectations and might cause delays. 

Recollecting the Buddha’s teaching of Ehipassiko – come and see for yourself or simply to investigate – overcame my fear of speaking out. True enough, upon further probing, my suspicions were proven true as there was indeed some misunderstanding. 

Beyond practising mindfulness we must also investigate before jumping to any conclusion. By doing so, we would not just seek the truth but also insulate ourselves from false accusations. 

It’s also crucial to be firm and speak up if we have any concerns. In normal circumstances, as an intern, I have limited right to speak out against leading marketing experts for an area where I have got no experience in. 

However, by knowing the project’s needs, in this case, the direction where the competition should be headed, I had the duty to manage these external stakeholders. 

The purpose of an internship is for you to learn. Thus, it’s important to step out of the comfort zone, be bold, not be fearful of making mistakes and always be ready to speak out. 

Through these lessons, I have grown to be a much happier and confident person. By not comparing, I was able to block out negative externalities and focus my time and energy on what matters. Doing so, I gained confidence and was able to expand my connections and overcome fear.  

These are my 3 takeaways from my experience as an intern. I hope this advice would provide you with some useful insights to gaining confidence and overcoming fear. 


Wise Steps:

  • Comparison is the thief of joy: Understand which internship path helps you to reach your learning goals
  • Build that networking muscles by reaching out to old friends in exciting industries or seniors from previous internships. Getting the first ‘hello’ is probably the hardest but most fulfilling step!
  • Know that dear friend fear. Countering it with knowledge, courage, and mindfulness can slowly decrease its grip on us
#WW: 👵🏻 Which part of you is living in the past?

#WW: 👵🏻 Which part of you is living in the past?

Wholesome Wednesdays (WW): Bringing you curated positive content on Wednesdays to uplift your hump day.

We often laugh at friends who do not know the latest trends/ Netflix movies/ social terms. However, we rarely think that we are ‘out-of-trend’. Today we explore how we can check on which part of us is still living in the past. To seek within and not outwards. Stay wise!

1. Are you operating on Windows 95?

2. Two monks carry a woman differently. What can we learn?

Are you operating on Windows 95?

flat screen computer monitor turned on
Unsplash

What’s going on here

Adam Grant, a famous writer who writes about work-life, shares a post about rethinking our opinions and views. We often laugh at others who are ‘outdated’ in the products, films, and services they use. However, we often miss looking in the mirror for the outdated opinions we hold.

Why we like it

Adam challenges us to look deeper by first forcing us to confront the values that we hold. His post provides a nice trigger for us to recollect on changing our views and even friendships to become a better version of ourselves!

“The best way to stay true to your values is to stay open to rethinking your views. What have you rethought lately?”

Wise Steps

Have a deep thought about what values you hold close to your heart. Is there a need to rethink them? What grudges do you hold that no longer serve you?

Read it here or below

Want to challenge your old beliefs? Grab his book here!

Two monks carry a woman differently. What can we learn?

body of water surrounded by trees
Unsplash

What’s going on here

Two monks meet a woman stranded at a raging river. The senior and junior monk makes their own decision on how to approach the lady. The video highlights clinging to form vs substance.

Why we like it

This short video makes us reflect on the principles behind why we walk the Buddhist path. To let go of our preconceptions of what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and focus on the present moment of what needs to be done.

“The junior monk was carrying the burden of what the senior monk had done as an emotional baggage”

Wise Steps

Does something ‘trigger’ you no matter what the person’s intention? Reflect on what you are clinging so much to that it is worth giving up your happiness for.

Enjoy the video here or below!

Want to learn more about the art of letting go? Venerable Ajahn Chah’s book Food for the Heart might help!


#WW: 😪Your empathy is not enough

#WW: 😪Your empathy is not enough

Wholesome Wednesdays (WW): Bringing you curated positive content on Wednesdays to uplift your hump day.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’s Day! Before we touch on today’s topic, we like to share this awesome event where inspiring ladies from the Buddhist Scene share their stories of nurturing🥺 Check it out here

We often talk about the need for more empathy at the workplace. It is necessary but not enough. We start with empathy as leaders but need to move further into compassion. A compassionate family & workplace can uplift one another through these tough times. We tap on Khandro Rinpoche’s wisdom in learning how to build our compassion

1. As a leader, stop saying “I feel for you”. Try this instead

2. How to develop compassion? A cup of tea is the first step

As a leader, stop saying “I feel for you”. Try this instead

What’s going on here

Havard Business Review article on “Connecting with Empathy and Leading with Compassion” shares how empathetic leadership is not enough. It covers the differences between empathy & compassion and why empathy hijack is a real issue.

Why we like it

The super actionable article is one that you can apply at work/home immediately. We are often stuck when someone tells us that they are going through a hard time. To say “I feel for you” may seem enough for us but inadequate to the suffering person.

Some tips we liked from the article:

  1. Take a mental and emotional step away
  2. Ask what they need
  3. Remember the power of non-action
  4. Coach the person so they can find their own solution
  5. Practice self-care

“Leaders are generally good at getting stuff done. But when it comes to people having challenges, it is important to remember that in many instances people do not need your solutions; they need your ear and your caring presence.”

Wise Steps

Don’t get empathetic hijacked! Take a step back to get a bigger perspective of the situation. That will give you energy and clarity on how to help the person (or figure out that non-action is best!)

Read it here

How to develop compassion? A cup of tea is the first step

white and brown ceramic teapot on wooden tray

What’s going on here

How do we develop compassion for people who ‘don’t deserve it’? How do we even start with ourselves? Khandro Rinpoche, the author of This Precious Life, shares that developing compassion for others starts by reflecting on the goodness we have already received from others.

Why we like it

Khandro Rinpoche shares the opposite of how we expect developing compassion to be. We expect compassion towards others to start with others. She challenges us to go inwards before we develop compassion for others.

This short 4 mins video is music to our ears as we live in a world that is constantly seeking outwards.

“That’s what makes compassion and the practice of compassion difficult. It’s because we think we are an individual, unattached and not in any way related or connected to others”

Wise Steps

The next time someone pours you tea/coffee/bubble tea, reflect on all the positive conditions and people that led you to enjoy that drink.

Enjoy the video!


#WW:💸Does letting go mean I can’t be rich?

#WW:💸Does letting go mean I can’t be rich?

Wholesome Wednesdays (WW): Bringing you curated positive content on Wednesdays to uplift your hump day.

Is it ‘unwholesome’ to be materially rich? Especially from all the ang bao we have just received? As this month wraps on Chinese New Year, we reflect on the nature of wealth and how we use/earn our money. We tap on the late Venerable Sheng Yen’s wisdom on Buddhism & Money.

1. What is our relationship with money like?

2. Don’t rely on motivation

What is our relationship with money like?

person using laptop computer holding card
Unsplash

What’s going on here

The late Venerable Sheng Yen, a famous Taiwanese monk, shares about money and how Buddhists should approach it. Earning money and greed cannot be treated as the same thing.

Why we like it

Venerable Sheng Yen shares his answers to different questions regarding money like ‘If I donate away ill-gotten gains, is it bad Kamma?’ ‘What if I lie as a salesman to get more sales? Is that right?’

We love it for how practical Venerable’s advice is in terms of needing money in this world but also using and obtaining it correctly. While the video is definitely dated in terms of format, we found it as a refreshing break away from the current era’s formatting.

“Greed and earning money should be treated as two separate thing. Greed means to consider one’s own benefits and gratification. “

Wise Steps

Evaluate how you feel about money. Does it always make you feel fearful or greedy that it is not enough or are you not thinking about it at all? Managing our relationship with money ensures that we don’t fall into extremes of overspending or underspending (miser mindset).

Watch it here (subtitles in English!) or below

Check out our film review of his biopic here

Don’t rely on motivation

person holding phone displaying stop complaining text screengrab
Unsplash

What’s going on here

Liz and Mollie, Instagram Artists, share a really impactful image on consistency & motivation. Motivation is lumpy in helping you reach the goal. It tends to follow the action. Conversely, consistency is the system you can rely on to reach your final outcome. Which will you choose?

Why we like it

We often think that we ‘need’ that motivation, however, motivation is transient. We want to lose weight today but end up eating Bak Kwa in the next moment. Consistency requires us to lean in on small but increment changes to get us to the final goal

” I rarely want to work out, so I’ll tell myself, “Just do it for 5 minutes and then you can quit.” Once I’ve gotten going, I feel good, and it’s easy to keep going.”

Wise Steps

Trying to get a new habit in? Make it atomic. Make it easy to do & do it consistently until you are ready for next step in shaping the habit.

Enjoy the post!

We also wrote about giving up on resolutions here!

P.S. We found making our habits more consistent after reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits.


Having the courage to quit my job and start again. #Mindfulchats with Yanda

Having the courage to quit my job and start again. #Mindfulchats with Yanda

TLDR: Why quit your job during a pandemic? How do we help our friends who are thinking about quitting?

When the pandemic plunged the world into recession, university graduates felt nervous. The fear of not finding a job or having your job offer rescinded was real.

Hence, to land a job and then quit your stable, full-time job during a pandemic makes you pause and say “Huh, why?”. Yanda has a different take. He asks ‘Why not?’.

Sipping coffee as Yanda shares his story

The Job Hunt Hype

Yanda, a final year student in 2020, took his time to enjoy university while it lasted. He mentioned that “everyone was rushing to secure a job. There was great hype for job hunting.”

It was definitely not an easy climate to be in. Rather than worrying about uncertainty, Yanda volunteered for Buddhist Organisations such as NTU Buddhist Society/ BYN (Buddhist Youth Network). He then took on the job search in his own time.

(No. Yanda doesn’t come from an uber-rich family where a job falls on his lap. He didn’t see the need for an all-or-nothing chase.)

Eventually, Yanda obtained a few offers in the engineering space and took on a role he thought he might enjoy. That is where things changed.

Is This It?

Work soon became monotonous and a routine for him. He noticed a routine of “working, going out for lunch, sitting back down and going home.”

This made him wonder, “Is this it? Is this how I am going to spend my life? What do I want? If I lived to 60 years, will I be content with doing 40 years of the same thing?”

In response to his musing, I mumbled: “Definitely not me.”

His attempt at sharing work struggles with some friends did not yield something he could relate to. They alluded to “finding meaning in your job rather than have the meaning come to you.” It was cold comfort.

I could see his thought process unfold and why that advice didn’t sit well. Yes, there was this sense of job security during a pandemic but it brought little meaning to him. That meaning was nearly impossible to find.

The turning point came when this question popped to mind, “If tomorrow, I am going to die, I would only remember that I did paperwork here and there. That’s it”. That spurred him into action. He tendered his resignation and left the company to the shock of his peers. New hires are usually expected to stay in that job for at least 2 years, but he stayed in that role for less than 6 months.

The Pains Of Change

“I had fear and felt scared”, he gulped when recalling the moment he quit and had no job offer on the horizon.

“So what helped you through the uncertainty?” I quizzed.

The fellowship of his Buddhist circle who listened patiently was what brought him to a brighter state of mind. Friends that were slow to advise but quick to listen to his pain helped him greatly. “That is what matters…being there for me,” he concluded.

“Confidence in the Buddha’s teaching, knowing that all these negative emotions would fade,” he added, gave him strength when he was alone. He viewed the transition as “uncertainty at its very core.”

Over the years, having done mindfulness practice enabled him to watch his emotions and to make  necessary changes without attachment. That gave him the conviction that it was not an impulsive move but an informed one.

Starting Again

Smiling as he recalled his Buddhist work, “I have done a lot of Buddhist work that brought joy to me. If this (engineering) job doesn’t fit me, what can I do?”

As causes and conditions came together, Yanda didn’t need to wait long for an answer.

“A friend told me that she had an opening at a preschool where they wanted a Dhamma friend to help build the school’s curriculum.” He recalled. He mulled on the idea of facing kids all day and decided to take the plunge.

Yanda is now studying for a Diploma in Early Childhood Education while working to help build the preschool’s curriculum.

“Uncertainty,” he answers immediately when asked what he loves about his job. “What the children can bring to you every day with every interaction presents uncertainty,” he added.

When he dived deeper, he felt lifted about being able to help kids appreciate this ‘thing’ called the mind. Letting them know that there are ways to develop their minds. Equipping them with Buddhist concepts, techniques and emotional awareness to thrive in a stressful world really motivated him.

“Kids are easy to teach, as they are free of concepts,” he quipped. At that moment, I recalled being an inquisitive child, something I felt I have lost along the way. It was interesting to see how uncertainty could bring us pain (job transition) and joy (teaching kids).

Helping Others Start Again

I was curious to hear Yanda’s take on how we can help our friends’ transition from one job to another.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but what I can say is that this is something cliché,” Yanda shared.

“Listen to them and be genuinely happy for them. Recognise that they took a courageous decision to step out of something that did not fit them,” he added.

On a practical side, Yanda shared that we should remind our friends to also financially plan ahead if they choose to resign without a job offer. As a rule of thumb, one should have at least 3-6 months of expenses saved in cash to weather them through their job search.

His advice was grounded heavily on the Buddhist idea of appreciative joy which is a joy in the achievements/victories of others.

“How can I support you? Do you need resources/contacts?” has been one of the most helpful questions friends asked. I instantly agreed by nodding furiously as I felt that we often are quick to develop solutions without considering our friends’ needs.

Turning Back Time

“Your first job is super important” is one piece of advice that Yanda recommends ignoring for graduating students. It adds unnecessary stress to the individual. That person may then seek out the perfect job which may not exist.

Having wisdom is crucial in helping us see the world properly. If he could turn back time to advise his graduating self, he would say this: “Have an attitude in life that let the results take care of themselves once I try my best. If it doesn’t go my way, what can I do next?” and “We are our own boss, only we can understand our emotions and the true nature of our mind.” 

Asking that question gives us the courage to be open to what life can bring. What we can do is to create conditions for success while developing a sense of non-attachment to the outcome.

“Understand we have a mind, and emotions are never truly ours. Just like a cup. The reason why we wash it is that we are confident that the dirt can be washed off. The dirt was never the cup.” he summarised.

It was a mind-blowing summary of expectations and emotions. Recognising emotions as transitory and being at ease with the unpleasant is a skill set we all need as we go through the different changing phases of life.

Yanda showed that Singapore youths are hungry for life and meaning. We need not stay in the same job just to clock a magical number of years before leaving. Asking ourselves “Is this it?” can spark conversations and paths we never dreamt of.

Yanda is currently working in Blue Lion Preschool as an early childhood educator trainee.