The Tragedy Of Life

9:56pm

Original article can be found here – LINK.

Ariel/Michelle sent me an email with a few lines that originated from an article by Gobala Krishnan, after reading one of my entries. At first, I wasn’t mindful of the excerpt, but after discussing my dilemma with my mom earlier today and allowing myself to show her my stress, I came back to her email and searched for “Stop murdering who you really are inside” on Google. That link turned up.

I have never used an external source to try to reaffirm my own thoughts before, so having an external source to reaffirm my heart was nearly ridiculous. My thoughts have a lot of logics and reasonings, but it’s true what my heart really wants. I sound naive don’t I?

I wished I had chased my dreams when I was younger… Wait, no I had, just that I wasn’t very mature at it. Not at all in fact.

Here’s the entire article:

To quote Albert Schweitzer- “The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives”. I think he hit this one right on the spot, right where it hurts.

How many people really live life to the fullest? How many people really achieve the best they can, and fulfill their purpose? For each who does, there’s a thousand who never will. If killing your own dreams and god-given talents were a crime, the streets would be empty.

My personal goal in life is not to achieve perfection, but to be the best that I can be. My personal goal in life is not to chase impossible dreams, but to have one that I can live for. The sad part is that in my first three years of working as an employee, chasing the promotion that would never come, and the facade of importance and significance that consumed my better judgement, I let a part of me suffocate almost to the point of death.

To the benefit of the reader – you – all I can offer is my personal testimonial, looking back at the empty years to see all that I did wrong, and all that I did right. What I hope is that it will touch you in some way, and that you too will stop murdering who you really are inside.

If you want to fulfill your ultimate purpose in life, here is my suggestion:

1) Always Follow Your Heart

You heart knows the truth. Yet, we are thought since we were kids never to follow our heart because it leads us astray. We are thought that our heart is feeble, and that all decisions should be made with proper thinking.

I would say that concept couldn’t be more wrong. How many times have you done something you regretted, simply because other people said that it was the right thing to do? How many jobs imprisoned you? How many relationships turned sour?

2) Work For Yourself, Not For Others

I don’t mean quitting your job to start your own business. What I mean is that you need to have a vision of what you want to be, and only work towards that image. Don’t just get a job because it’s convenient and pays a lot. Those are just traps that your “smart” brain will lead you to. You will end up doing a job you hate, and hating yourself for choosing to do it. Deep down inside you knew it would happen before you put ink to paper, and signed that contract.

If you want to be a radio DJ what good will working as an accounts clerk do? Will it buy you more time to work towards your dream? Will it make you “all-rounded” and increase your future job prospects? Those are just fallacies that society imposes on us to make sure we “conform” to the system.

You have a talent, even if you don’t know it yourself. I want you to believe that you’re better at doing something than almost everyone else in the world. If you spend time trying to make yourself better at something you’re not and don’t care for, you’ll just end up being “ok” at it. But if you spend time trying to improve at something you’re naturally good at, you will be the best. And the world will love you for being so.

How do you know what to work on, what to improve, and what to master? Just follow your heart. It will show you the way.

3) You Will Never Be Where You Are Now

You’re either moving forward or you’re falling behind. There’s simply no such thing as “staying where you are” or “taking it easy”. It’s just a fallacy. Learn new things, grow, improve yourself, and strive to be the best that you can be. If you don’t you might get up one day to realize that the world doesn’t need someone like you anymore.

When you start your journey to self-mastery, never look back and never return to where you started. The right way; the ONLY way, is to take the next road. Don’t stop to watch the traffic or to make a detour. The map of your journey will only be revealed at the end of it, so don’t feel afraid to try out a new path. If you follow your instincts you will never be permanently lost.

How do you know when you’ve achieved your best? I don’t know. I have a feeling, though, that while taking your last breath you’ll feel like you’ve really lived life to the fullest. At that point all the dots will form a straight line and the map of your life will be revealed.

The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives. Remember that.

This made me think of Albert (Chen) more than anyone else.

Anyway, I am still deciding at this moment, because I am unsure, because my thoughts tell me otherwise, but how many times have my thoughts failed me, and always, I have taken my intuition by jest. Always – throughout most of my life, every single time something good comes up, I let my mind take over – let that unyielding curse of being objective, analytical, reasonable, logical, and calculating.

Chasing after women, I used my thoughts, my wit, and where did that get me? Short term relationships, flings, and fuck toys. Going after jobs to help my family – which is a good thing, but at this age, I can’t do what I need and want to do. Either I give up my dreams and work in some 9 to 5 job, or give up my 9-5 and go for my dreams. My day job was a temp so I can help out my family, it was a personal sacrifice of my time, but I am at a stage where there are people who need me. They are short term projects, that won’t last, but it gives me a design edge, where as my day job doesn’t offer me anything but slow and constant income.

I’m losing the trust of my partners at Razor and losing the trust of the people who entrust me their projects for the last few years, because I cannot and do not have the motivation to finish any of them, due to my day job sucking the life and efforts out of me. I go home, and I just want to dick around and do nothing. Before this job, I could get Stern’s projects done in ONE WEEK. Nowadays, her project is late 1.5 months!

I have to regain their trust before I lose everything. If things don’t work out in the future, then I’ll find myself another job. Until then, I have to finish what I started. I hate feeling failure. If I fail, I want to know that I did my best and it failed – NOT because I didn’t finish what I started.

So as usual, as all Senior Management goes, I have to make the executive decision and stick with it. Let my intuition guide me for once damn it. Let my heart out in the open for once. I cannot rely on logic alone. It’s blind to my dreams.

10:13pm

ps: Thank you Michelle… 8] [bows]

16 thoughts on “The Tragedy Of Life

  1. ariel

    Hi Li,
    Thank God!! I felt awful yesterday sticking my nose in your business, but could not help myself. When I first met you, through your writing (lol), I thought WOW this guy has such a way with words, and is not afraid to say what he feels. Then as the weeks went on, I could feel your frustration, sadness, anger, hurt, stress to name a few …….enough of that anyway I am glad I could of helped you .

    REMEMBER: If you’re not experiencing failure, you are not working hard enough.

     Michelle

  2. Li

    Well you shouldn’t feel awful at all. There aren’t a lot of people in this world who would stick their nose in other people’s business, especially when I enjoy having some extra ‘company’. At the very least, another voice to add to my little group… 8]

    In fact, if you ever want to chat (MSN) or email me, you’re very welcome to. MSN is the same as my email address: avocadomilktea[at]yahoo.ca

  3. Fong Pei

    man, that article was soooo cheesy and idealistic. Sure, I’ll follow those instructions to a “T” and after I’ve “lived my life to the fullest”, I’m sure a winged bunny will swoop down and carry me to the land of java and cotton candy, where light bulbs never die, soda always remain bubbly, and popcorn never buns.

    can you always follow your brain? hell no….can you always follow your heart? you’d be foolish if you thought so. In life, there is no absolute truth, rule or law. Life is about balance and adaptation. Working for youself sometimes require you to take a job that you don’t like and you’re not very good at….a boring 9-5 job where you sit on both of your thumbs and think about lava lamps.

    Unfortunately for you Choy Sum, you are in a sh*tty position. You have to take a dead-end job to help out your family’s finances while still having to pursue your own goals and dreams. Both are of equal importance, and you can’t really drop either one so you know all you can do is bite down, grind it out and persevere.

    but then again, you may think I’m full of it and in that case, ignore what I just said.

  4. Samurai

    I agree with [Copy & Paste] Fong Pei [/Copy & Paste].
    To an extent. Life isn’t cool enough to allow the kind of happy go lucky attitude. It’s sad but true.

    1: Always Follow Your Heart

    I’m sorry. But you can’t always do such things. My heart is telling me to move to Massatusits((YesI know I can’t spell, leave me alone Dx)), and be with someone who is important to me. But I can’t. One, I don’t have the money to do something like that. Two, personal situations, and other factors are playing against it big time. Three, I don’t even know if I’m allowed across the border or not. So where does that follow your heart crap leave me? Stuck on the curb while the rest of you have fun.
    Sorry to the person who wrote all that stuff out but…..we don’t live in such an ideal world. Life sucks. We just CANNOT follow our hearts when we really want too.

    2: Work For Yourself, and Not For Others.

    Once again. I’m sorry. This is complete toss. It’s a fine ideal, but it’s just not applicable for most people currently living in todays working class lifestyle. Not everyone has the talent or finacial support to pull something like that off. Many of us have other depending on use to support them. Be it childeren, parents, or other.

    3: You will never be where you are now.

    Bullshit. Sorry for language, Li. But, bullshit. Lots of people are stuck where they are. And will continue to be for many years. The phrase “Stuck in life” doesn’t mean what she is implying. It means that one is stuck in the same rut they have been in for x number of years/months. Stuck in meaningless relationships. Stuck in dead end jobs. Stuck in finacial trouble. End result is more often then not the same. Stuck.

    Summary:

    The person who wrote that article is, to me, living in an idealists world. This person probly has enough finacial security to be frivolous with their jobs and personal life. Hence why they are giving such care free advice. I’d like to see that person live my life, or Li’s life. Or any of the countless other lives out there that have their share of problems. Sadly, I don’t think this person would be able to cope.

    After typing so much, I have to take a break. My fingers hurt, and I’ve lost the point to what I was going to say. Typical me, I know. x)

  5. Li

    Well, obviously it’s cheesy. Don’t forget who you’re talking to! 8] But like many small things I brush aside, I never consider my dreams more than what I have to do in the short-term. I quit my job (got laid off – my boss laid me off instead of allowing to quit).

    It’s ideal to do my day job and try to do my evening work at the same time, but like I said, I can’t. It’s not working. I did my day job for one year and look at the progress of my freelancing and my progress for Razor – the Stern project late 1.5 months, Blue Monkey hasn’t even started, Jason’s header redesign hasn’t started, Razor needs me to do their Kiosk revamp – will start in October, I turned down two other freelance projects that would have paid me a total of $1900 in one month because my day job has been sucking the life out of me.

    Now do I try to continue to work my day job and juggle my evening one, or do I quit my evening one and continue with my day job? Fuck no. Yes my parents need the money, but fortunately, they have some financial surplus lately and I’m getting EI for the time being.

    Of course I found the article to be idealistic and cheesy and almost naive, but I wouldn’t expect myself to give up my dreams and regret it all my life, like how my dad regrets. I’m not going to be married in the next ten years, or dating any time soon. If worse comes to worst, I’ll withdraw from Razor and lose my measley 5%, stop accepting freelance work altogether, and get into another stable design company that would accept me, but I don’t want to do that. I want to be a part of another company – from start to whenever.

    I’ve been with Razor since December 2003, we’re at a stage where our CEO is meeting up with companies, hiring the market research agent for $20k for ONE MONTH, while the two programmers and myself are hectically working whatever we have time left for the project itself. Do I give that up and move on to my temp job – the job that will not get me anywhere? The job that continues to pay me shit?

    Do I give up everything, fuck Razor, fuck freelancing and go get a nicer stable design job in Yaletown? That would be ideal. Will I regret it in 5 years, 10, 20, 50 years from now?

    For this entire year, I go home every day, depressed, aside from the shit Cindy stuff, my partners on my ass, the project can’t be moved without me. My clients losing their trust in me. Shit, that’s the worst feeling in the world. So I wake up every morning, go to my shit job and try to do my best, come home and tired all day. Jason calls me up, nags me about the project – “Hey, busy at work, can’t do much, sorry.” Yeah great answer – that’s not what the boss wants to hear.

    Anyway… Enough about that. I have a headache from earlier. Don’t know what it is. 8[

  6. ariel

    Fair enough countless other lives have their share of problems and Gobala Krishnan would probably be taking prozac if he lived our lives. But why are you afraid to take a chance? Sure you have responsibilities towards your family and that you must honour. But who says you can’t have your dream and help your folks? (Yeah I can see Fong Pei and Sammaria rolling their eyes heaven wards)Your day job is sucking your soul from your body. Get rid of it. Take a chance, in 10, 15, 20 or 30 years from now you would say ….I should of…. even if you take the chance. Without sounding patronizing there are no guarantees in life. So maybe Fong Pei can’t live his life in Massatusits(I can’t spell the friggin word either) but he can take the yellow brick road somewhere else and be just as happy.

  7. Fong Pei

    hahaha….if only I could hear all these other people saying “Fong Pei” in person.

    I’m not telling you to not follow your dreams and spend the rest of eternity working in a box and eating animal crackers on your break. What Samurai and I are trying to say is, everyone has to find balance, achieve equilibrium with the world.

    Its good that your parents have some surplus money and you are collecting EI, that should really help ease up some stress and let you work on your “night job” more. However, you talk about your “day job” as the greatest evil in the universe and its destroying any chance you have at achieving your goals. O RLY?!?!. Lets say your and your family’s financial situation hits a big rutt….so you give away any financial security you have in order to pursue your dreams? So you go back to pure freelance work? You’ve been down this road before, you know where it leads.

    Yes, it sucks working 2 jobs….but many have done it, many have done 3. Its possible as long as your willing to sacrifice certain things. I could go on but I won’t because dead horses shouldn’t be beaten….they should be BBQed!

  8. Samurai

    Aminal crackers ish goooood~ x)

    Dood. How do you manage to work so many….oh, program/design…yeah. X__X I wish I could sit in a chair while I work.
    So I just finished my first day back on the job. Been raising the kid for the last 3 years, not much doing there cause he’s like a self contained fun package. I just set him down, and let him do his thing. 3 years of lzing around. And then suddenly an 8 hour shift on my feet. Bah humbug I say to dreams! Dreams shmeams!
    xD

    So yeah, find your balance dude. Take a weekend, where you normally go relax on teh bike seat, and just run through your options. I mean, hey, I know weekends are porbly your only time of the week where you can get away from that shit for awhile. But I think you can spare one for this. Less stressful that way, instead of packing it on after a hard day of doing your thing with the things and stuff.
    Wow, my grammer and spelling and all that, just go down the tube when I’m tired.

    HEY! If you need to his something, and got some extra traveling cash sitting around, feel free to come out here and bop me in the nose or something. =D

  9. Li

    Well it’s fine. I thought about it for a few months, came to a fork and decided, and the choice has been concluded. I’ll just go through with it. Remember, it’s not just about freelancing anymore. There’s other responsibilities I have to live up to – eg: Razor side. If I don’t put in my two bits, their project won’t move. Yeah, it’s possible to do two jobs, three jobs, etc – but you don’t see people doing any 10 to 5 customer service/tech support job than an engineering job from 7pm to midnight now do you? When you switch from doing one bland unintelligent job like making pizza, to another bland unintelligent job like security guard, your mind is already in the bland mode – you work your entire day like that already. However, if you’re an engineer, and you work your day time as say a low-end job, like cleaning windows, painting houses, calling up unpaid clients, and answering to sales inquiries all day, then go home and switch back into development mode, into something that requires brains – it’s a totally different story.

    People I’ve seen work three jobs usually work jobs that are either all bland, or all related – not one bland and the other that requires all brain and talent. This isn’t all about freelancing any more. Like I said and can’t say here really, is mainly about Razor and what I have to do for them. I either continue to do shit work 9-5 and try to go home, switch on talent-mode and do my job which by the way to remind you, and I’ve tried in the last year isn’t working. You say sacrifice? Well, how often do I go out? It’s not even a matter of going out anymore. Like I said, I go home every day, and I either try to do my work or I end up doing nothing. I don’t go out – and when I go to the gym and cycle around, the whole thing takes an hour or less. It’s not about time.

    Anyway, words alone won’t explain it. Experiencing it on the other hand is something else. [wink]

  10. Li

    Yeah like that, but the other way around. So if you worked Silver City from 9 to 5 then NRC from 6 to 1am.

    And remember, this is the creative industry. You’re required to use imagination complemented with natural and learned talent/skill, answering the inquiries from the client and your partners. Here’s the typical project criteria I face in completing one:

    1. Meet with client/partners, they give me their ideas
    2. I tell them whether it’s feasible or not, and come to a compromise
    3. Reorganize and create detailed flow chart and project plan
    4. Research and study for ideas, create mock-ups and concepts*
    5. Bring back to client/partners, discuss, modify, etc
    6. Repeat step 2 to 5 if needed
    7. Production stage, if working with team, organize team schedules, organize project milestones
    8. Production stage, following flow, create the key elements in the project first*
    9. Production stage, if working in team, individuals create filler-elements, if not working in team, I create filler-elements after key-elements*
    10. Meet with client/partners, discuss, etc
    11. Bug issues, feasible issues, modifications permissions, etc
    12. Changing flow, add/deleting from plan*
    13. Reorganize elements*
    14. Production stage, repeat 7 to 13
    15. Once Production stage is complete, alpha testing
    16. Alpha is good, then launch project publically

    * represent all the areas that require a lot of work which include menial tasks, tedious type tasks such as downloading, fixing issues, redrawing and correcting problems, etc. also includes a lot of creative brainstorming.

    Common problem: let’s say our massive project that took 4 months to complete, and the client/partner wants to change the # of main menu elements, as well as the # of sub-section item squares – my job is to either work with what I have or completely scratch the sections and do them all over again. Another common problem would be a client needs me to create a logo for her – I create 10 concepts, then I have to integrate one concept into a mock-up then show it to her. However, creating logos require a lot of creativity and logic. Why is it this way? What does the swoosh mean? Why is there an orb with a dent on it? Why did I use these font types? Will there be a shadow, and why and how will that fit the image of the company? How does it represent the client? Will people understand it? Is it supposed to be abstract or conservative?

    Another common problem is I have 1 week to complete it – say 5 days, due Friday. It’s an $800 project. Over the week, I come across tonnes of problems, like the colours aren’t coming out right, the forum isn’t integrating with PHP5 or MySQL 3, etc, it’s not compatible with IE7, it looks messed up in Opera and Netscape, etc, etc.

    If all this sacrificing that you speak of was simply just taking time out of my sleep (which I sleep about 3 to 5 hours per night anyway), or going out less (like riding my bike about 10 to 15 minutes per day, and gym about 3 times a week which takes about 40 minutes), then sure, I’ll keep my day job and do freelancing and cater to Razor – no prob. BUT, it isn’t that simple. In creative design, even if you’re forced on a schedule, your creative concepts and talents aren’t based on forced limits. If that were the case, then the industry of creative wouldn’t even exist in the first place.

    When I was working freelance in 2002 to 2004, making about $3500 per project, I had the entire day to draw influences from, and create concepts on whim. Nowadays, I don’t have the time nor the energy to draw up such conclusions. SO as far as sacrifices goes, there is nothing more to sacrifice than my health.

    Anyway, I only really took this route now because it was a coincidence that there is a surplus in stuff. So I have time to finish up what needs to be done, and possibly find another part-time job around January onwards – that is if Razor doesn’t already get VC/Angel investors. If there wasn’t a surplus of stuff, I wouldn’t have gave up my job so easily. However, I do appreciate Fong Pei for giving his side of his take on things. Can’t find Hing Dai like that nowadays you know? 8]

  11. Fong Pei

    question: being in your line of work where creativity is the name of the game, aren’t you constantly working? What I mean is, you can get ideas all the time; on the toilet, riding your bike, eating lunch at work, MBing to nubian porn…so in essence, are you not always working on your freelance stuff?

    I would have to say your biggest problem is the fact that no matter where or what you are working on, you’re always in the situation where you are the only one who knows how to do it or how to fix it. So if you ever encounter a problem or need additional help, no one in your company/companies has the required skills to help out. If you had any kind of support, you’d probably be 10x less stressed. Any truth to this?

  12. Li

    The thing is, for freelancing, I don’t trust anyone, and it’s difficult to pay someone at these prices. For Razor, I have to wait until they get VC/Angel before I can hire anyone, and hiring someone who has about 3 years experience will cost the company about $35k to $40k a year (gross). When we were just doing the beginning part of the kiosk interface, holy crap, you should have seen me – I was so out of it. Albert would tell u I looked like a blank face ghost.

    Anyway back on your first question – the thing about creativity is true – it’s constant, BUT the problem is say during the day time, I work in a non-creative environment. So as the hours go by, your drive goes down, you get tired, bored, dull, bland. Then night comes and you have to switch on creative mode and since the day was draining to your mind and body, creative mode doesn’t quite switch on. Also it’s a lot more difficult when it’s something more specific like logo design for a marketing company that deals with moderate liberal sort of clients, then it’s easier, cuz my style is around moderate to conservative chic, but say the client is something I am unfamiliar with – say they need something to do with telescopes or rocks or bolts for a type of door – a company with very specific needs, then the creativity becomes very small.

    So think about you and a Honda Civic – stock and u can think of tonnes of ways to mod it, but say you’re stuck with a Ferrari Enzo – stock, how can u mod it more without making it either look stupid or screwing up its components? I don’t know if that analogy works…

    PS: nowadays, I’m totally into mature porn… Nothing like a late 30’s to early 50’s yumminess mommy! YUMMINESS! Some of their faces are nasty but man, their bodies are so delicious! I’m going to mb now…

  13. Fong Pei

    there’s no way you can get someone to do all the boring, technical tasks? like compiling, debugging, attending some meetings for you, etc etc. Would you trust someone to do those things?

    p.s. if I put a big spoiler and neon lights on an enzo, would that not be awesome?!

  14. Li

    Probably for sure. Well I’ll look into it for sure. 8]

    PS: when I was showering just now, the shampoo bottle reminded me of someone named Jonathan making hot sweaty love to it by sitting and squeezing shampoo into his anus. Wow!

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