An unexpected journey
By KRISTOFER ARVINDRAJ
Struggles – of any degree – can affect us mentally, emotionally and physically, and it is safe to say that there isn’t a single soul on earth who can claim to have not suffered.
From children, as young as five well up to an elderly person lying on his deathbed, we are always struggling with something. Some of us embrace these struggles, while others linger on it.
And then, there are those who find solutions to overcome it. These are the people who seem to always be ahead of the rest.
Those of us with plans for a better tomorrow and a brighter future for their children, seek solutions to their problems.
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A friend of mine recently told me a story of how his whole life was turned upside down. It happened during an overseas trip, last year.
During his travels, he witnessed suffering and struggles faced by the poor, and back then, it was something he had never seen or imagined before.
The pain he felt through the eyes of families that struggled without a roof over their heads, simple meals to console their hunger or clean drinking water to quench their thirst was overwhelming.
As he came closer to it, he began to realise the amount of grit involved in such situations, and it affected him more than he thought it would. At this point, he felt helpless and empowered – all at the same time.
The shock of seeing something painful, and the strong urge to do something about it had pushed him to seek for solutions to their problems. He knew he needed to help but did not know where to start.
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His story inspired me because throughout the 15 years that I have known him, he has never been the one to empathise on a higher level as much as he did this time and I was taken aback at how emotional he became when he related this story.
It felt like he altered his perspective and that changed the way I viewed how the world moved around him. His story influenced me in ways that led to my perception being altered as I began to visualise his experience and it got me delving deeper into his story.
Upon his return to Malaysia, he started sharing his experiences with others. The seed that was planted in his head began to grow, and the fear of not being able to do anything was hitting him hard.
He soon realised that things could actually work out the way he wanted it to, and all he had to do was make the first move.
He did research, found sponsors and met a number of people who felt the same way he did – and they needed a platform to start.
Since then, it became his sole mission to do anything he could in his power to help eradicate the kind of suffering he saw in these people by raising funds and considering organisations that can donate in kind.
As of now, he is in the midst of expanding his network in different parts of Southeast Asia. He hopes his movement can grow into a cornerstone for a better future.
When I spoke to him recently, he explained how much this journey had influenced the way he thought, acted and expressed himself.
Just listening to how he grew an idea into a movement taught me three important lessons, which I believe are relevant in any organisation, both big and small.
Lesson 1 – Look out for the rainbow after the rain
There will always come a time in life when we will feel like nothing is going according to plan. The secret is to slow down and look at life from different perspectives.
Instead of pining over what you are losing right now, flip the coin and ask, “What can I gain from this situation?”
The solution can be to make do with what we have for now and make the most of it. Embrace the joys we have in those tough times and look at the bright side of things.
Lesson 2 – Taking charge
As much as we’d like to aim for it, nothing is perfect. If we see that justice is not done to a given duty, letting it slide will only make us as guilty. Somebody must take charge and that somebody can be you.
Getting the ball rolling may seem like one of the toughest things to do when there is no support. The only way to know if something should be done is to first understand what could happen if we do not do anything.
Lesson 3 – Being the difference
For you to stand out, identify what it is that makes you different from others? Doing things differently is imperative if you want to be noticed. Bright ideas, sharing thoughts and performing show motive.
The key to achieving this is to constantly be aware of what needs to be done to go the extra mile.
Being the difference could also mean setting a new example that people will want to follow and making an effort to sustain that credibility.
Kristofer currently writes for Leaderonomics. He plays social league football, Radical FC. Share your love for football and experiences with him through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org