I had a pack of chicken chop meat. I bought it more than a year ago, thinking that I might one day make a nice chicken chop dish! Since then, it had been sitting on my freezer. Every now and then, I would take it out, look at it, and then put back into the freezer, telling myself, “maybe, next time!”.
Finally one day I decided to give it away to my friend. And she turned it into a beautiful piece of fried chicken chop on the plate (see the picture above?). I must admit the picture made me feel a little jealous for a few seconds. And then I thought to myself, how come I had never thought that it could look so good (and possibly taste really good too!), like how my friend did it? Haha…
I learned something about what we have to do to create good things that we want in our lives:
First, we need imagination.
I didn’t have the imagination with the chicken chop, so it sat there in my freezer for ages. Without imagination, there’s no inspiration or motivation to do anything about it. I didn’t even attempt to take it out for thawing. It just seemed too tedious and would take too much time. So what I cannot imagine, I cannot have.
Another funny thing was, I had always thought there were 2 pieces of chicken chop in that pack. But my friend told me later, that there were actually 4 pieces in there! Apparently this abundance had always been in my freezer, but I didn’t know what I possess, since I had never really opened it and take a good look inside. For me, it was just a pack of chicken chop. But what if, the abundance you have is something really precious to you, and yet you didn’t know that you have it all along?
Next, we need to make a decision.
I made a decision to give the chicken chop away. My friend made a decision to accept the chicken chop from me, and on her way back, she decided to cook something out of it. Her intention led her to thaw the frozen meat, go take a nap, then come back to marinate the meat for 30 minutes, and then, fry it up! And the result was what you see in the picture above!
Every decision we make is an intention we set towards what we want to see happen (from our imagination). Nothing happens until you decide.
All good things in life require action. I’m not just talking about a one-off type of action, like making chicken chop for dinner. We become what we do, repeatedly, continuously. Most of these decisions are made subconsciously. We are inclined to do what’s most “natural” and easier at a given time.
After sending off my friend with the pack of chicken chop, I debated briefly between cooking something or ordering Grab food for dinner. I considered various factors that seemed reasonable to me, and then proceeded to order Grab food. It saved me some time, which I then used to complete some writing work.
By evening time, my friend sent me the picture of her accomplishment with the chicken chop. Isn’t this interesting? Two people who chose different pathways and each ended with their own accomplishment – one became a great writer, another became a great chef. Within just a few hours only, the sequence of actions we each took determined the rewards that we each received in the end: one got to influence her readers using her words, the other got to nurture her family using her food.
A more important question though, is to ask ourselves: Is the life that I am living reflecting the dreams that I have for myself?
I may have given away just a pack of chicken chop this time. But what if it’s a dream that has been incubating inside me? Would I give it away too and then see someone else make something out of it that I wish I could have done? It’s a sobering thought…
Usually what leads to inaction or passivity to develop our deepest desire or dream is at least one of the following:
(a) A lack of positive imagination
(b) Too much worries and doubts
(c) Indecision or fickle-mindedness
(d) Distracted or preoccupied with other priorities
Does any of these ring a bell to you? I have probably done all four of them in my life!
So, here are the antidotes I propose for each of these “dream sabotages”:
(a) Start looking for positive models that would give you a glimpse of how your dream might look like if it’s successfully realized. It won’t be exactly the same like how you might do it, but it’s just a taster or snapshot to inspire you of what’s possible.
(b) Pause, and ask yourself where those negative thoughts and beliefs come from. Did you have a really bad experience before? Or did you witness or hear about other peoples’ experiences that scared you? Animal studies showed that deep seated fears can be transmitted intergenerationally. Mother rats that had acquired fear to a certain object would give birth to offspring that also have the same fear to the object, despite them not been exposed to it before. One way to check this for yourself is to notice if you have subconsciously told yourself to avoid certain people or situations, because it’s somehow “bad” or “troublesome” for you. If you have no idea how you come to think like that, chances are you might have “inherited” some fears that originated from earlier generations or the culture that you belong to! You can decide to let go of those fears and restrictions.
(c) It may sound obvious to say this, but yeah, just decide! Go ahead and pick a path, make a decision about something that’s sitting on your mind. It doesn’t matter whether you turn left or right, or make a U-turn. Know that you’re always gaining some, and losing some, regardless of which way you choose to go. There can be no wrong way, as you’d always learn something from that path you had chosen. And that path will lead you to the next decision you have to make, and the next. Avoiding or delaying a decision is already a decision made. That itself will have its consequences. So, whenever possible, we try to choose consciously.
(d) We need to take a time-out regularly to check in with ourselves. It’s like the GPS inside us recalibrating to make sure we’re on the right track, heading towards the destination that we had set out for. Even if the destination is still unclear to you, taking a time-out with yourself gets you to reconnect with your inner compass, which always takes you back to what truly brings you joy and fulfilment. Otherwise, we might end up chasing after every social status or achievement out there, or getting triggered by everyone else’s drama. Or, we can be busy out there helping and fixing everyone’s life, and then realize one day that our own life has been partially or completely neglected!
We betray ourselves when we neglect our own dreams. To live a life of integrity means to dare living out our deepest dream and desire.
Let’s dig deep into our imagination, decide and take action NOW, shall we???
Article by Dr. Ng Wai Sheng, Psy.D.
Image courtesy of Ms. Lillian Dorai