Sputnik Sweetheart

“I have this strange feeling that I’m not myself anymore. It’s hard to put into words, but I guess it’s like I was fast asleep, and someone came, disassembled me, and hurriedly put me back together again. That sort of feeling.” – Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

I keep stumbling over roadblocks at work and it is tiring to repeatedly pick myself up over unnecessary mistakes. It is like teaching an infant how to count to 10 and he keeps mixing the numbers four & five because they both sound the same.

We often find it easy to forgive a child or stranger for their oversight. Yet strangely find ourselves griping tightly onto self-made errors, unwilling to overlook on the negligence. Like an anchored boat fastened to shore; we allow slip-ups to chain us and be subject to the constant wave of frustration.

Maybe the reason we self-critique with such vengeance is due to our high hopes for the person we seek to become. Mistakes made feel like a scratch against porcelain and when it is time to lift the curtain veil – viola! The final artwork is revealed to be far from conception. Like the Emperor’s new clothes – disappointment sinks and everyone grimaces at your inadequacy. They turn to leave and you are left feeling like an insignificant speck of dust destined to float without meaning.

There are times when I walk home utterly defeated. I look back to see how far I have come but it was like someone moved the start line and I barely stepped an inch. You know that moment when you just ran half a mile and start feeling light-headed? How stars erupt in your eyes as if someone sneaked up from behind to throw you a punch?

Some days you wake up certain that you are not going to make it through the day. Every breath feels like a gliding sandpaper up your throat. Your body screams in protest. You are exhausted, both physically and mentally.

My dad says that life is a continuous battle. Some days you win, other days you lose. Most days, you cannot recall what you have been fighting for. He says that the difference between success and failure is that the latter occurs when one stops trying after several attempts.

Remember that a pearl can only form after the oyster experiences trauma. Its defensive mechanism acts up in response to an intruder as a way of protecting itself. Likewise, we can only grow and evolve into strong leaders after experiencing downfall and setbacks in life. The beginning is always the hardest, and we all have to start somewhere.

All successful people know that they are bound to fail more than they will succeed at anything. The critical factor lies in that they are willing to learn from each failure in order to progress, and make better decisions that will ultimately lead to success. Perseverance is key.

You do not have to be great to start, but you have to start in order to be great. I keep stumbling but I have faith that each fall presents me with a building block, a renewed chance, that will aid me in assembling my fort. As the saying goes, a little goes a long way.


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