About two years ago, I met a friend who was transferred by her company to their office in France. I asked her why she wanted to go. And, she gave me a non- typical answer compared to what I have learned from my fellow Indonesians before (or perhaps I just haven’t talked to enough number of people!). Usually the answer I found was: wanting to learn more, wanting to know what it’s like to work with others with different cultural backgrounds, and wanting to earn more money than what he or she can make here.
This friend of mine, was different. She said, she’s become a big fish in a small pond, her outfit got too snug for her and it made her difficult to move. She wanted to again become a small fish in a big pond, wanted to feel again of what it was like to be afraid coming to office. These feelings she didn’t get anymore. She knew that anything she said or did would not create any criticism anymore, no one would challenge her, even if she was actually talking bullshit.
I was stunned. There she was, a person with enough self-humility to say that she NEEDED to feel afraid again. To me that was such an admirable self-awareness, a refusal to self-complacency, that I do not often find anymore. Many times if someone is already at a certain level – she or he will want to stay there, perhaps out of comfort, perhaps out of a feeling that the unknown is now too risky to explore, or perhaps it is just unthinkable to get out of that outfit.
I ask myself, will I be able to do so when my outfit gets too snug for me?. Not by going off to a place far away – but just to do something that is very challenging, or something that is totally new that it will require a lot of effort for me to ‘be known’ again. My friend did not go to a different industry – she will do what she does well here. But she will do it with a bunch of different people, from a different culture, in a foreign country. To me that required a lot of effort because there is a lot of uncertainty there to face and learn and adjust to.
Talking to her has certainly sparked my spirit to never stop challenging myself. Often we are bound too much to our current lives by our fears and worries, feeling that we would never be able to do something different. While if only we search ourselves hard enough, we actually have learned more than enough to make new steps. And at times, these steps do not have to be huge, little steps will do as long as we do not stop and be lazy to think of the next steps. Little steps, are what making big things evolve.
Well, self-renaissance is a continuous process, or so I believe. And I thank God that in my journey, I have found many intriguing people that have inspired me, and told me indirectly, that stopping is certainly not the way to go. There are more ponds to find, more outfits to try on, so why not – there are always ways to go back to where we were as long as we have enough self-humility to admit mistakes, and enough courage to continue walking.
(R I R I)