Thursday, November 23, 2017

Bagaimana Untuk Istiqamah?



Mesej utama:
  1. Istiqamah tidak bermaksud tidak berubah (graf mendatar) atau improve sentiasa (graf meningkat tanpa penurunan).
  2. Istiqamah bermaksud kita naik apabila kita turun (graf naik turun). Umpama iman kita yang naik turun.
  3. Sebagai manusia, kita akan terjatuh. Istiqamah adalah untuk bangkit setiap kali kita jatuh.
  4. Salah satu helah syaitan adalah apabila kita jatuh, dia yakinkan kita bahawa kita perlu kekal jatuh dan rasa diri sendiri tidak berguna atau tidak layak untuk bangkit semula.

So, What is the Answer?

I like to steer away from giving out a textbook answer whenever a question presents itself to me. I try to look into the questioner and try to understand his/her mindset and circumstances. This is what I like to do when I am asked a question, whether it be face-to-face or in written form.

I don't always stick to this rule, because certain circumstances make it difficult to do so. But as much as possible, I would hold on to it because it is a more effective answering method. Plus, it shows that you put in more effort in answering as opposed to immediately answering based on what you memorized.

In my view, a basic principle in answering a question is to consider who is asking and match your answer to the questioner, not simply memorize answers and spit them out like in an exam. Sometimes a question is asked but the question itself isn't the root of the problem, but a mere symptom to a much deeper problem.

Ideally, you want to go straight at the root of the problem and not be sidetracked by the symptoms. It doesn't help that the symptoms are more obvious than the root of the problem, so you really have to pay close attention to the details. This takes a lot of work.

But the work will pay off because you are helping the person in the long term, not the short term.

When it comes to answering a question from a person, you have to realize that the question is born out of a unique experience. So that experience needs to be taken in consideration when answering, otherwise you might not be answering the question at all (even if in your mind, you are).

For example, let's say someone comes to you and asks about the existence of God. That person doesn't believe that God exists. Now, it is tempting to just go through your memory bank and fetch the most compelling argument that you have read somewhere and give the person "a piece of your mind".

Not so fast!

Take some time to think about the experience of the person and look closer at the context in which the person is living in. Maybe it is true that he absolutely believes that there is no such thing as a God. Or, maybe he is just upset at God and saying that He doesn't exist is just his way of expressing his disappointment.

Or, maybe he just have a different concept of God altogether.

Let's take that last assumption and go with it. Sometimes we think that the words we use, especially those we use often, mean the same thing for all people. There are many examples of such words. We don't think twice about what those words might mean to the person we are speaking to.

In this case, the word is "God". In our mind, we think it means the same thing for everyone. Yes, we are using the same word but we are not using it in the same way. Since we are not aware of that reality, we assume that the person asking has the same understanding of God as we do.

So, we immediately go into attack mode and start spewing arguments to the person. When in fact, a simple place to start would be to ask a very basic question, "What do you mean when you say 'God'"? It might even be a silly question in our mind, and that is why we don't think of asking that in the first place.

To us, who doesn't understand God? Everybody understands God and in the same way, right?

Wrong.

You understand God your way. He understands God his way. So essentially, you are both talking about two different things, even though you are using the same word - God.

Upon asking that simple question, you might realize that he doesn't see God the same way and you are both not on the same ground. If you are not on the same ground, then you can't have a productive discussion. That conversation is destined to go nowhere, even though you are both talking about the same thing.

This, in essence, is the importance of listening first before you answer. Don't quickly access your answer bank in your mind and spit out an answer. Listen to the question, consider who the questioner is, and then give an answer accordingly.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Bagaimana Untuk Mengatasi Pemuda Yang Kuat Memberontak?



Mesej utama:
  1. Jangan fikir masalah anak-anak muda adalah masalah generasi ini sahaja; lumrah pemuda sama sepanjang zaman, hanya ujian sahaja yang berbeza.
  2. Pemberontakan, walaupun konotasinya negatif, tidak kesemuanya salah kerana ada ketika pemuda memberontak untuk menentang perkara yang salah. 
  3. Isunya bukan pemberontakan, tetapi cara pemberontakan yang tidak hikmah. 
  4. Semangat pemuda perlu dipandu, bukan dipadam. Pemuda perlukan bantuan mereka yang lebih tua untuk memandu semangat memberontak ke arah yang produktif.
  5. Pemuda perlu lebih mesra dan bergaul dengan mereka yang lebih tua. Mereka yang lebih tua juga perlu lebih mesra dan bergaul dengan mereka yang lebih tua. Ini hubungan dua hala, tidak patut dituju kepada satu pihak sahaja.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Alone vs Lonely

When I was in secondary school, my English teacher taught me the difference between the word “alone” and “lonely”.

Alone is a physical state, where you are all by yourself physically. Nobody else is around you. For example, you are alone in your room. You are literally by yourself. Being alone is not an issue.

Lonely is an emotional state, where you feel like you are alone even though there are other people around you. You somehow feel isolated in your own world and you feel like nobody is there to share your experience. You can be lonely in a crowded room. Loneliness is an issue.

If you are lonely, try to reach out and open a little bit of a room for someone to enter your world. I know, it is easier said than done.

But you might surprise yourself by having someone else who is experiencing something similar to what you are experiencing. Maybe you are not the only one in the world with that problem.

Knowing that doesn’t make the problem go away, but it does remove the feeling of loneliness. If anything, that is a good first step towards healing.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Public Speaking Fears: People Misunderstand What I'm Saying

I’m really passionate about becoming a motivational speaker, but what I’m usually afraid of is that people misunderstanding the message that I’m trying to convey. Can you explain more on how to overcome this?

I think all public speakers have that fear, whether they are beginners or pros. Personally, I think it is a good fear to have because it keeps you careful. But, when it’s not in check, this fear can be paralizing and it can stop you from doing the things that you want to do.

So I think as with any fear, the first thing to do is to face it.

1. Embrace the risk.

Accept the fact that there will always be a possibility that people misunderstand you. Don’t delude yourself by thinking that you will make it perfect every time. That’s not going to happen. You’re a human being and your audience are human beings, and there’s no human relationship where there is no misunderstanding occurring at some point in that relationship.

Of course, the more you practice, gain feedback, and improve, the more you’ll be able to avoid further misunderstandings. But still, even the pros can have this problem. So really, it will be easier just to accept your imperfections than to deny them.

Having said that, you are not free from responsibility and you are responsible for what is within your control.

2. Focus on what you can control.

Misunderstanding can come from at least two sources, the audience and you, the speaker.

Misunderstanding that comes from the audience is something that you can’t control.

Sometimes misunderstanding happens because the audience is selective in listening to you, or perhaps the audience is emotional, or perhaps the audience doesn’t take context into consideration.

Again, this is beyond your control.

It is possible that you could be crystal clear in your speech, but people can still misunderstand you because they don’t listen to you properly. So it is the audience’s responsibility to listen well to the speaker.

Communication is a two-way street. Both the speaker and the audience have their own responsibility that they need to fulfil in order for the communication to be effective.

So, what’s your responsibility as the speaker? You are responsible for what you can control.

Misunderstanding that comes from you is something that you can control.

It will either come from what you say, how you say it, or both.

What you say refers to the content. There’s really only two things I want to say about content:

You need to focus on what you know and understand. Don’t try to talk about something you don’t fully grasp, just because you want to appear knowledgable. Don’t fall for the trap. It is better to admit that you don’t know, then to make something up just to impress people. Sooner or later, it is going to come back and bite you.

You need to clarify the keywords that you are using, especially when those words can have multiple meanings. So make sure define the specific keywords you are using so as to remove any ambiguity in your talk. This is why in debates, you always begin with definitions.

How you say it refers to your approach. Different kinds of audience require different approaches in how you say things. You are required to adapt your approach and style according to your audience, and not the other way around. You could be saying the same thing, but when you use two different approaches, you can get two different outcomes.

So make sure you understand who are the people in front of you. This requires flexibility, creativity, and awareness of people.

Recap

1. Embrace the risk, because running away from it won’t solve the problem.
2. Focus on what you can control, because you are only responsible for that and that alone.

That’s it. I hope that helps!

So what’s stopping you from speaking up? Do you face any internal obstacles when it comes to English speaking, public speaking, speaking in an interview, or speaking in a class? Let me know in the comment section below.

Bye!

Monday, October 30, 2017

I Don't Remember What I Memorized

I was talking with my wife yesterday about our favourite subjects in school. We were thinking about what we have gained from the years we spent in school.

As we were talking and talking, I realized something about myself.

I didn't remember the things that I studied just to pass the exam. The things I memorized, almost all of them disappeared from memory now. What a shame.

However, the things that I found interesting, whether it be in class, outside of class, in textbook, etc, those were the things that stuck with me until today.

Even if those things didn't make it into the exam papers, I still remember them. In some cases, I still apply them in my life. The things I found interesting...those are the things I remember.

What's my point?

My point is not that exams are not important. They are a part of our lives, a part of the system, and until we can find a better way to implement a better way to measure progress in schools, we have to adapt and live with exams. In some cases, exams are beneficial too.

What I am trying to say is something more general: about learning. Our interest, excitement, and passion about something do make a difference in how we remember and internalize the lessons we learned.

If you are not into it, then you won't remember it. Or, in practical terms, it will be much difficult to study for it. You would have to push and strain yourself to shove the facts inside your head.

But if you are really keen about what you are learning, then you become a sponge that soaks in water without even trying too hard.

I had a chat with a lecturer about research. I asked her what made it easy for her to read all those journals while doing her research (because you have to read a lot of them and they can be quite boring).

She simply answered, "I love doing it."

It doesn't matter if the process is easy or difficult. If you love doing something, you will enjoy the process no matter what. Doing it doesn't become a challenge, it becomes the reward itself.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Responsibility

Even the best of us has our weak moments, when our emotions blur our eyes and our better judgment. That is one of the features of being human. It is a packaged deal.

Having said that, it is not an excuse for us human beings not to put in the effort to get our emotions in check. You can't make a strong argument to defend your emotional misbehaviours by saying, "Hey, I'm human!"

If that is the case, then there will be so many wrong actions unaccounted for because people can simply get away with it by simply making a statement about how human they are.

The idea that we are human and that we are not perfect is sound and just. But, when it is used as an excuse to commit something wrong, then the same innocent statement can become evil.

As a counter measure, we need to instil in ourselves the idea of not just being a human being, but being a responsible human being - someone who takes ownership of his choices and face the consequences of those choices.

Though the acknowledgement of our human imperfections is everpresent, it does not take away from the fact that when you do something wrong, you should take responsibility for it.

We always see imperfection as a human trait. Well, responsibility is also a human trait. Like I said, being human is a packaged deal.

Don't just be human. Be fully human.