Wednesday, February 23, 2011

When I'm done I'm done

It came up about a month ago, playing badminton with some friends. I am an A-Type when it comes to sports and I love to compete. I usually try to be the best at whatever I am doing. On this particular day though, I was on a team where I knew I was going to lose... so I just "checked out" and ended up mailing it in. Afterward, someone called me out.

I was a bit embarrassed, to say the least. Not because of my performance on the court, but because I preach to my friends all the time about the importance of effort in everything. Here I was being a complete hypocrite.

Why is it so important to try even when you know you're going to lose? I think it's those situations that build the most character. You see what you're made of and how passionate you are about what you're doing. Additionally, it's important to try even in the can't-win situations, because those situations give you the most opportunity to improve. Everyone likes to win, but if all you did was beat on lesser opponents all the time, you wouldn't get any better.

I am trying to figure out if this idea can be applied to personal relationships too. Nowadays, I tend to just "check out" on people when I decide they aren't worth any more of my time. I rarely give second chances and I'm wondering if there is something that I am missing out on. My initial reaction is that it seems stupid to put effort into people that aren't worth it... but maybe there is some sports-like opportunity for self-improvement by trying to work through it. I'll try it a couple times in the not-too-distant future and report back on my little social experiment.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

When you squeeze an orange

I lost my favorite fortune-cookie fortune today!


I got the fortune cookie about a year and a half ago when I was going through some pretty tough times.

Originally, I kept it in my wallet and showed it to people randomly. I brought it out to make fun of how terrible or lost-in-translation some fortunes are. "Are they even trying anymore? It definitely looks like a candidate for fail blog or engrish.com."

Eventually, I discovered that this fortune cookie is the first sentence to a famous quote. The second sentence reads: "When you are squeezed, what is inside comes out." When I discovered this, it gave the fortune more meaning. At that particular time, I was being "squeezed" (in the sense of being in a rut) and the fortune motivated me to dig deep and work through it and see what I was really made of "on the inside".

Nowadays, the saying has a little different meaning to me. I think about it like you only get what you want (orange juice) when you put in the effort (squeezing).

I know it seems like a lot of thought for such a silly fortune cookie but I still smile every time I think about it.