Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Thought Picnic: Pushing beyond the difficult things


For the third time
In the weekend, I was out to my third viewing of the Imitation Game. There is something about that story which even if it somewhat deviates from the reality has come core lessons, at least for me.
Much as I knew how the story developed, it still felt like I was watching it for the first time and I really had no time to explain to my friend why I had a notepad and was taking notes during the film.
However, as the plot thickened, I found myself taking notes quite different from the notes I took at the second viewing of the film.
The making of men
As the film depicts, Alan Turing had an uphill task getting his ideas across, beyond bureaucracy and officialdom to realisation. His tenacity where many would have been frustrated and have given up is something that led to a number of questions I scribbled into my notepad in the dimly lit cinema theatre.
  • When you are up against it, how do you retain the confidence that what you believe is right and true?
  • What gives a man the courage of his convictions?
  • What gives a man the will to fight against the odds no matter how they are stacked against him?
  • What does it take to rethink a strategy when much has been invested in a solution that does not appear to work?
Challenges we face
These are questions we have probably never asked ourselves but we have lived and experienced through striving, determination, faith and much else, to come out on the side of the good answers and success.
For the many challenges I have faced in my life, probably the cancer diagnosis of just over 5 years ago with the possibility that I only had 5 long weeks to live if the treatment did not take, was the hardest.
Yet, having celebrated my 6 birthday after this episode in my life, I feel that something in my personality, my character, my beliefs, my persuasion and my relationships took me from the toughest and seemingly insurmountable issues of life and death to a new lease of life.
A necessity for hope
Most important to our journey of life is the necessity of hope, that ability to see beyond the clouds and know that in the daytime it is always sunny, even if the sun is obscured by the clouds. We must know as nature teaches us that no matter how long the night might be, the day will surely come.
Our hope must be measured with a clear perspective too, an understanding of where we are, what our priorities are, what our goals are and what we need to do to retain purpose and expectation.
We need a grounding, a foundation, something that gives substance to our expectations through work we have done before in study, in vocation, in experience, in knowledge or some broader development of our human nature.
In other words, we should be wary of the draw of vacuous optimism founded on myths and delusions like building castles in the air. Be taught, be mentored, read, learn and be open to things well outside your comfort zone, so that when the going gets tough, you are tough enough to get going.

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