Today is just another ordinary workday – a stark contrast to a hectic Lunar New Year holiday filled with non-stop reunion meals and meaningful conversations with family and friends. Just a couple of Zoom calls to attend, emails to clear, and some work to be completed.
No drama. Nothing spectacular happened. Strangely, it’s remarkably relaxing, peaceful, and enjoyable. I get what Khalil Gibran meant when he wrote “Work is love made visible.”
For Milo, every day is ordinary, and yet he seems happy and contented most of the time. Perhaps, he has discovered the secret to happiness through cherishing the ordinary.
We don’t always see eye to eye with each other, for we see the world differently.
What is important to you might be trivial to me.
What is food to you might be bitter poison to me.
What you hate might be what I love.
What is OK for you might not be OK for me.
What is right for you might be wrong for me.
Clearly, we are different. We are two unique individuals, each with a mind of their own. But deep beneath these differences, we are more similar than we appear to be.
We share the innate human capacity to think and to feel, to love and to hate, to laugh and to cry, to dream and to act, to reach out and to withdraw, to judge another and to seek to understand each other.
Beneath our differences, there is solid common ground on which we could stand together to explore our differences with an open mind and searching heart. Shall we meet there?
The new moon in Aquarius has emerged today. This year, it also coincides with the start of the Lunar New Year. New moon and new year – they almost always present us with an opportunity for a ‘fresh start.’ It also gives us a second chance to play catch up with the New Year resolutions or intentions made at the start of 2022 that we have either forgotten or failed to act on.
Whilst it’s tempting to ‘press restart’ with a renewed sense of optimism, perhaps it’s helpful to harness the energies of this Aquarian lunation to finish what we have started. Don’t wait for that elusive ‘someday.’ Stop procrastinating.
When it comes to finishing, done is better than perfect. The transition from a ‘work-in-progress’ to a ‘finished product’ might be subtle, but crossing the finishing line is a significant milestone, like the birth of a child. The creation takes on a life of its own.
There’s something sweet about finishing – a sense of fulfilment, achievement, and closure. It is complete. And we can now move on to something else without the lingering thoughts of incompletion.
I’ve always been inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s quote: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
And now, I would add my own: “Whatever dreams you have begun pursuing, finish them. Finishing has joy, liberation, and sweetness in it.”
Now, give yourself the sweet gift of finishing, will you?
Recently, a good friend and I have been inquiring into the merits of ‘living life to a plan’ vs. ‘living life without a plan and let life reveal it.’
Planning isn’t my forte. I confess to a bias towards spontaneity. I would choose a free-and-easy backpacking trip anytime over a planned holiday with a detailed itinerary. I love the idea of ‘getting lost to find myself.’
The notion of ‘career planning’ is absolutely alien to me. Perhaps I lacked ambition and a clear sense of direction. What I lacked, was compensated by a natural tendency to follow my curiosity, resulting in a professional journey that is largely a product of serendipity and divine coincidences. Whenever a trusted source drops me some breadcrumbs, I would follow.
Fresh out of college, I bumped into a friend who said casually, “Check out Andersen Consulting. They do quite interesting work.” That led me to my first job in management consultancy. A couple of years later, whilst talking about a café I was about to start, a good friend who mistook the title of a book I was working on as the name of the café said, “Gone Fishing is a beautiful name.” That’s how the café got its name and our customers nicknamed me ‘The Fisher’ (ironically, I don’t even love fishing).
Another year later, over coffee, I shared with another friend about an epiphany on what I found brings me immense joy, meaning, and fulfilment, he said, “Hey, if your life is about helping others to live fully, check out this thing called ‘coaching.’” With that, I meandered into the world of professional coaching, and subsequently, leadership consulting and organizational development.
Most recently, after seeing some random photos of Milo (our family cat ) which I shared on our team’s WhatsApp, a dear colleague said, “You should start an Instagram account for your cat.” I listened, and @The_Miloist was conceived.
Do I believe in the merits of having a plan? Oh yes! If we don’t plan our holidays ahead, block out the calendar, book the flights and make hotel reservations, it’s very likely that it won’t happen. At work, if we try to execute a project without a plan, it won’t take long before disaster strikes. “Fail to plan, and plan to fail” is a timeless wisdom that only fools would ignore.
Structure and spontaneity are both needed in life, just at different places and at different times. Have a plan when helpful, and let it go or go without one when it is not. An avid explorer would not set forth on an expedition without adequate planning and would not expect that everything will turn out as planned.
Perhaps, the answer to the question “To plan or not to plan” isn’t about choosing one over the other, but learning to dance with them and living with the perennial tension between two equally essential elements in life.
Follow your curiosity. Venture into the unknown. Explore the uncharted territory. Listen with your heart. Let your soul be your pilot. And see where it takes you. Be warned that joyful discovery, risks, and challenges are all part of the journey.