One thing that blogging helps me to be better is

The phone buzzed, a reminder to blog showed up. Ah, it’s time for it again.

Sometimes I have the idea around mid week, and I started to write it, set it on schedule and when the reminder showed up, just ticked it, and I’m done.

There are also days when I don’t have the idea until the reminder is showing. Or, on top of that, I have other commitments which made me unable to set aside a time to write.

So, I asked myself, did the week just pass by with nothing interesting happened to me? Or without learning something from it.

That question reminds me of my sensei’s statement to us during classroom. As she likes to ask random question to us, like do you meet strange people while going to class, or do you find a money on the street, so on, my classmate and I tend to be quiet. Partially, we are thinking how to answer her, and the other half, is trying to recollect of those happened to us.

She’s jokingly saying, that we are not interested in the world outside ours (i.e. phone).

And I find it somewhat true.

Most of the times, I don’t pay attention to what happened around me during commuting, it’s all going on auto-pilot mode, leave the house, lock the door, walk to MRT, get the EZ link card, tap on the gate, go up to platform, wait for the train, hop in (or squeeze in) and so on.

Speaking about this auto-pilot mode reminded me of an old talk by Ajahn Brahm. That we are not living in the present and lack of awareness.

And the funny thing is, both of them suggested similar method. For example, instead of always turn right after a building, we turn right earlier or later (but make sure there is a path to go to our destination), we might see different things along the way. Or, when you brush your teeth, do you always start from the left side or from the right side, top half of the mouth first or the other area of the mouth first?

Back to the question I asked myself, yes, I have one or two events which I found it memorable. I’ll share here some other time. Thanks to that, I’m able to remember more important lesson, which is to be in the present moment.

How about you, can you remember all the events happened to you last week? Or maybe your lunches.

PS: this view might be the opposite of why Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs always wear the same color shirt and same jeans everyday. They prioritize making decision over choosing a style. Hence they go auto-pilot on wardrobe.

A note from last week

I saw that pin from Pinterest app.

And I’m amazed how coincidence it is because of what happened to me yesterday when I was in the middle of completing a race. Halfway mark I felt my legs were giving up.

The talk by Simon Grimstrup when my friends and I were in Vietnam emerged from my mind. He said, usually he had 3 options in his head, option A is to complete the race within xx time frame, option B is to complete it within yy time frame and the last option is just to complete the race.

I asked myself, it’s halfway there, what do you want to do? Flag a cab? Why am I rushing? To meet my friends at the finishing line? How about if I can’t meet them? That’s okay too isn’t it? I still can meet them some other day.. and, comparing to your friends, you have a cut off time (on top of the race cut off time). Because you still need to go to class after this. Do you have to go to class? You were skipping few lessons back then because of races too.. so..?

After having all of those convo, I decided to go with option C. Just complete it. I’ll think of the rest later after crossing the finishing line.

I listened to my legs, they barely could run for 500m, so, I walked almost the last 8km. But I jogged in between especially when I spotted cameraman.. for few seconds of glory, the legs agreed.

And darn right! The feeling crossing the finish line was incredibly awesome.

PS: I still went to my class, although was late for 20mins, then walked like penguin back home, tried to take a nap but the euphoria made my mind alert somehow. So, I decided to watch Pokémon while having light dinner. (Although I entitled for 2000 calories meal) Did some rolling as my friends suggested to ease the pain and call it a day.

PPS: I’ll do my best to enjoy the soreness before the next one (wottt) and back to civilian life

To worry or not to worry

When did the last time you feel worry before you are about to do something? It could be something very important, and if you screw it up, it would be a nightmare. Or, it could be something you’re going to do for the first time.

Well I still feel the butterfly in my stomach on D-1 of my race. Regardless the distance or the sports. But those tensions are more like a self-impose pressure. Without realizing, I put pressure on myself when I’m doing something. Be better than your previous self. And I hate to lose to myself (lol)

There are more things that I learned from the manga Haikyuu! that I read this week:

1. All you need at start is just a bit of curiosity.

When you begin doing something, you don’t need an “unshakable will” or “impressive motivation”. Little by little, what you’ve begun will naturally become important to you. – Kiyoko Shimizu

(When Hitoka Yachi was uncertain and not confident about being volleyball club manager)

It’s okay to not to have the better result after every event I joined. Keep the “how do I…” flame alive, find out more from friends, research or reading. Give it a try, remember the outcome and learn from it.

2. There will be next race

Isn’t it defeat more like a trial to overcome? Of whether you can stand up and walk again after falling to your knees. If you remain on your knees like that, then it would be a sign of weakness.

(Takeda Ittetsu to Kageyama Tobio and Hinata Shoyo after their defeat against Aoba Johsai during Interhigh)

As long as you properly recover, train more and better preparation next time. There are so much things you can control, but there are also other things you can’t. Train well, and translate those into the actual race. Without panic or worry.

PS: to myself, I know you usually like to grind more (put more effort) than the actual required (read: in RPG game = level) and there is always “I did not … enough” thought lingering. As long as you have done your best, isn’t it good enough?

Why do you need to train so hard?

I don’t like working up a sweat or out of breath, buuuuut.. I don’t dislike sharpening my skills and leveling up – Kozume Kenma, Nekoma High (Haikyuu!!)

Immediately I screamed (silently) Kenma you’re my inner character. Well except I’m not any teams’ brain like him to Nekoma.

He is depicted as quiet guy, absorbed in game, laid back personality and never gets excited. And he wasn’t into volley ball until his childhood friend and neighbor introduced him to the sport.

You should read the manga Haikyuu!! Or watch the anime. It wasn’t pulling me instantly at first, but being a volleyball player during my high school, I continued reading it and I become attached to it.

Kenma’s line reminds that I’m not particularly gifted when it comes to physical activities. As casual player, I can do it, but never beyond it. My running speed is average, my agility is average, and many more. If anyone can do it after few trials, I probably need to put double (or maybe triple) of the effort to be able to do it.

Sometimes I asked myself why I do still do it? Why I push myself that hard?

Well I guess, the feeling of leveling up makes me happy. And you know that the higher level you are, you need to grind more, aka put more time or effort, to level up.

So, why I’m running or swimming or cycling? I guess, I want to be better. As Garmin tag line would be #BeatYesterday

However, I need to be more honest to myself. If I really want to do it or liking something, I need to admit it too.

On meditation

I’ve been wanting to join a meditation journey after hearing one of my friend who often went for a week or two meditation retreat. Because he came back refreshed after the trip.

My friend mentioned that in one of his trip, he was having walking meditation and I thought, how could you meditate while walking?

But recently, I think that it is actually doable. Because during long running alone, I always have a good long talk with my mind and just trying to focus on one thing, completing the it.

And sometimes the route seems very supportive to help us having it (ha)

It happens not just during running, even I have it during long distance cycling too. But at least it’s safer to do it.

So.. maybe we will have a new branch, running meditation 😀

Some of my friends probably will scold me, can we do it in more relax way, like sitting or walking?

The pain needed to grow

Back in 90s there is a TV show called “Growing Pains”, and I grew up watching it. I didn’t think much about the meaning of title back then.

Sometime ago, Ajahn Brahm also mentioned in one of his talks about growing pain.

Pain is usually associated with bad or negative energy, unpleasant feeling, and no one wants it. It’s not always about the physical pain like bruise, but it can be one too.

When you’re aiming to complete something but didn’t go smoothly.

For example, there are times at work when I was so caught up with the situation I’m in. I thought, why can’t we have a smooth work. There are many factors contributing to it, aren’t it?

Or when you’re trying to run a marathon, when you just want to finish it but your legs won’t just cooperate.

At first, those pains make me upset, disappointed or irritated. But I start to appreciate it as pit stop. When things just move smoothly, sometimes I tend to forget what happened around me.

Tired mind could be caused by ourselves, we think too much, or take the damage to ourselves. Muscle pain because we hardly exercise or we do it wrongly. So let’s embrace them.

As things are happened for a reason.

Do you have any growing pains moment lately?

The only competition I’m having is

While last week I was inspired by my sensei’s word,  but this week I get my inspiration through this talk in YouTube. The talk appears in the recommendation to watch list. I like it so much and I shared the video in my LinkedIn too.  Within Simon’s video and what sensei told us, there is a similar message.

Simon mentioned that there are 2 type of games or competitions, finite and infinite. Players in finite environment tend to have mindset to win it. On the other hand, in infinite environment, players are playing to keep the game going.

He used Apple as example. Apple doesn’t always get praises from their customers, however they are focusing on up-ing their own product than defeating the other players. There are days when you perform slightly below average, but that’s okay. Learned from it and be better.

These days, I’m practicing running and swimming quite a lot. However, I felt that I’m still no good for swimming although as in compared to before taking the class, I felt there are some improvement.

Few friends told me that they were bad at first too. Believe in yourself, keep practicing, and one day, you’ll get better.

So, my running time is not that great, but as in compared to me running 6km for the first time in 2010-2011 under the rain back then which took me almost 1 hour to finish it, now I can run 5-6km comfortably.

About swimming, when I’m thinking about it.. I only started to be able to swim breast stroke somewhere around 2005-2006 and I hardly swim (or exercise =_=!). Then, only lately learning free style again. So, in terms of mileage in the water, I’m still a baby.

There is still long way to go Kartika. Don’t lose sight of it and remember to keep improving your miles. In land and water.

And, participate in one race at a time, do your best to complete it then challenge it again.

Let’s challenge it (again)

One of my Japanese classmate passed her N1 recently. To me, it’s like the pinnacle of mastering the Japanese language because I’m still holding N3 since few years ago and haven’t done my N2 again since failed to pass it around 2 years ago.

I’m going to give it another go this year, but was distracted with other goals which also requires me to put sometime grinding experience, so hopefully next year I can take it. (No more excuses Kartika, okay?)

Sensei added, why don’t you still take it (N1) in 2 years time, so that you will be able to know how much you had grown. And to keep the motivation to learn going.

Why I didn’t think of that before?

So far, similar to my PMP, or certain license, they will ask you to do a refresher course to maintain the license or certification.

One of my running buddy has a mission to join running event for the same distance when she ran in that event for the first time. To find out what’s her timing like year by year.

For me, who only started to run regularly around four years ago, I started to find some favorite running events to join. But I didn’t think of making it as reevaluation about my running time.

How about you? Do you have any activities which you always do as rechallenge?