A letter to a co-worker, co-learner and of course a friend,

September 8, 2018
Opinion

When I left my previous job, a colleague asked for a letter from me. It took me a while to find out what I want to say to her. I had reproduced the letter to her below.

A letter to a co-worker, co-learner and of course a friend,

I will write this letter carelessly, for I would prefer that my letters should be just what my conversation would be if you and I were sitting in each other company in the office, or just walking to the train, spontaneous and easy. If I have a choice, i would rather demonstrate than speak. The philosophy of entrepreneurship is to have action than mere words. One should not bestow much attention to mere words unless actions follow. We shall say what we feel and our words to each other aim not to please, but to help. 

Happiness?

There is a common belief that we should all seek happiness. But what type of happiness should we seek? What is the underlying reason that we are pursuing happiness? What had transpired in our life for decision we had made. If we look deep inside and reflect, we will understand that the things we are running from and going towards is not what it seems. 

Society had us pursuing the ever elusive happiness. But happiness is always fleeting; a temporary feeling of elation triggered by an external stimulus. In order for us to have greater happiness, we usually need greater dose. For happiness is not just fleeting but a liability which requires greater inputs producing lesser marginal utility.

For happiness is not just fleeting but a liability which requires greater inputs producing lesser marginal utility.

We should not seek stimulus for happiness, for happiness is a by-product. Instead of happiness, we should seek a full life. A life that has full of a range of emotion, a sense of hope, a large douse of disappointment, some happiness as well as a lot of pain. Life is often filled with more negatives than the positives. For life is never a bed of roses, for every rose, there is multiple small thorns that accompanies it. Instead of happiness, we should seek responsibilities to make a difference. These responsibilities make us a better person; create closer family ties and hopefully a better society.  

 So my dear friend, seek more responsibilities, take the bull by its horn to complete the task. Seek greater responsibilities, for you do not just seek happiness but a full life. 

Responsibility?

So let’s choose to take up more responsibilities in life. With more responsibilities, we will take more risks and experience more failures. These are the many thorns that came with the roses, for without the thorns we could not have the roses. Without many failures, we are not able to get one success. While success may not be near, we must be steadfast in our beliefs that the responsibilities we had taken is important and their success or not is not critical for us in being a better person. Let us not give ourselves any excuses on our failings for we shall suffer bravely and calmly in the face of adversity.  

While success may not be near, we must be steadfast in our beliefs that the responsibilities we had taken is important and their success or not is not critical for us in being a better person.

We should learn to endure anything which had happened or might happen. We are never free from the risk of responsibility and change. All things will not preserve its present order; it will be thrown from its course in days to come. Like life, responsibilities are destined to be born, to grow and to die. So changes are such a constant that we could never step into the same river twice and the smell of the roses which is so fleeting could only happen if we happen to be steadfast in our beliefs. For it is so much more important to submit our bravery to the severest test and pay the price for the possibility of performance. For we would prefer our adversaries in saying of how much honour we are pulling in to execute our responsibilities than be mentioned as how lucky we have been. 

Luck?

Constant change in the environment and successful work on responsibilities also demand luck. For how could any great man claim success without acknowledging the roll of the dice in life. Being born in the right family, a right country could help us predict a man fortune so much better than measuring his fortitude and his intelligence. But sometimes, we would meet up with an ungrateful person we will either offer thanks either to our good luck or to caution. If we are cautious, we could affect nothing but selfishness where we do not confer benefits to others but more importantly it will be lost to ourselves. It is better, however to get no return than to confer no benefit. 

It is better, however to get no return than to confer no benefit. 

For it is wonderful to be able to discover one good person even thou we had to go through the trial of many ungrateful one. A sailor will continue to sail after a shipwreck and a banker will continue to give loans despite some bad ones. If we are to drop everything that caused troubles, life would grow dull and pointless.  In the face of unluckiness, we should seek courage to go at a task again to become better in the face of adversity. For we know that in order for us to succeed one must continue to work on a task despite failure for we are not seeking an easy or happy life but a meaningful one.  

Meaningful? 

Life can meaningful through up taking responsibilities and creating opportunities. But are we merely copying or are we creating. We will know if we could differentiate between what we remember and we know. Remembering is merely entrusting something to memory and knowing, however means making everything your own.

So do not seek happiness, but take up the responsibilities and create. Life may throw us many curve ball but we should continue to improvise. Since we can never prove whether we know a thing, we must continue to learn. He who has learned to die has unlearned fear where courage shall follow. Courage and responsibilities of creation with a douse of luck are the basic ingredients in leading a meaningful and possibly successful life.

Farewell.

Yours truly,

4th October 2017

Ong Wee Hiang

I have been practising as an educator and investor since graduating from Nanyang Technological University. My belief is to seek things that are unquestionably good. By constantly reading, practising and reflecting, I hope to achieve Courage, Self Control and Wisdom.

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