Neither A Winner Nor A Loser, But A Chooser

Life. I think I’ve arrived at the point where most people starts to wonder what it is all about. Simply put, it’s a journey. Given that average life expectancy is 75 years, gw bisa dibilang udah tutup buku sepertiga awal chapter kehidupan gw, and welcoming the scary yet exciting second third. Udah cukup gede untuk bisa look back ke masa lalu yang membentuk siapa gw sekarang, tapi masi terlalu kecil to venture into the unknown world of adult life, all by myself. Masalah-masalah mulai nunjukkin diri satu per satu dalam segala bentuk dan ukurannya. Pilihan-pilihan sulit mulai dateng dan bikin bingung nan bimbang. It’s so overwhelming, I wish time would stop so I can catch my breath. But it wouldn’t. It marches inexorably, and it waits for no one.

Bener orang bilang kalo life is a rollercoaster; we just gotta enjoy the ride through all the ups and downs. Kalo cuma sekali dibaca pake cursory glance, it’s nothing more than just another good-sounding words neatly woven. I never knew what it really means until recently. Intinya adalah di kata enjoy (verb), yang sebenernya gw liatnya lebih ke enjoyment (noun). Enjoyment in life adalah suatu berkat. Ibaratnya barang, kalo kita berhasil hold on to it and never let it go, we are guaranteed a life full of enjoyment. But what many of us don’t even realize, adalah ada pihak-pihak ketiga yang sanggup sneak up dan nyuri enjoyment kita ini right from our hands, leaving us miserable beyond measure.

As far as I know, pihak-pihak rese ini termasuk kebiasaan ngebanding-bandingin, masalah, regrets and the fear of the unknown/uncertainties. We know who the culprits are, now we’ve gotta do something about it. Let’s talk about the first one, kebiasaan ngebanding-bandingin. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as we always have it in us, and we need it to rank/order things to prioritize. However, it’s no longer an ally when it turns us against ourselves, ketika kita comparing ourselves to others. Contrary to what these people might believe, I can assure you that …

Life Is Not A Competition

If you ever felt this way, no worries, for it happened to a lot of other people as well, termasuk gw. Tapi gw udah bebas polio sekarang. Emang biasanya kebiasaan comparing oneself to others dilakuin awalnya ga sengaja, tiba-tiba kebentuk sendiri dari lingkungan. Ini diperparah lagi dengan the advent of the digital age and its illegitimate son, the social media. Kita jadi terpaksa run through newsfeed yang ngasi kita mixed feelings gara-gara abis liat foto temen yang seemingly having more fun, more successful, or much happier dibanding kita. Tanpa sadar kita mengikutsertakan diri ke dalem ajang/kompetisi fana yang the sole purpose is to see who is better, tapi lupa kalo selalu akan ada yang lebih pinter, better-looking, lebih tajir, lebih kocak, et cetera. In case you haven’t notice, ngebanding-bandingin causes general unhappiness, lack of confidence, damaged self-worth, damaged self-esteem, feeling inadequate, doubting one’s own competence, wary/suspicious that other people might judge/mock his/her incompetencies, or on the other extreme end, one would become prideful (and we know that pride does not become one of the deadliest sins for no reasons). None of it are, in the slightest, beneficial. So believe me when I tell you, it’s a losing battle.

Banyak dari kita lupa, kalo disamping ngebanding-bandingin itu fatal, yang kita bandingin juga adalah diri kita terhadap persepsi kita dari newsfeed mereka. It doesn’t cover the whole story, cuma secuplik aja. And they usually seem grander than they really are (it’s true). Cerita komplitnya juga ga mungkin didokumentasiin lengkap di social media, kita ga tau cerita dibalik update status mereka itu kayak apa. Jadi intinya, jangan buru-buru ngambil kesimpulan dini, jangan buru-buru nge-judge juga. In case you’ve forgotten juga, we all come from various backgrounds. What we are today is what we chose yesterday. Each of us has unique stories to tell, different things to offer/bring to the table. Jadi emang ga bisa dibanding-bandingin dari sananya. Kayak nyoba bandingin apel versus jeruk. You just can’t, karena emang beda.

Keterbedaan ini, however, contributes to diversity. Dan diversity can not survive without respect. That’s why we shouldn’t look down on others, just because satu dua hal/kemampuan/prestasi yang kita punya yang mereka ga punya. Jangan lupa juga kalo ada hal yang kita ga punya yang mereka punya. Makanya juga jangan ngerasa rendah diri. Kita saling ngelengkapin. We need each other. We help each other out. Kalo ngerasa iri/mupeng sama kemampuan seseorang, let me remind you that such levels of excellence is attainable. Jadi intinya kitapun bisa asalkan niat/mau. Kata Kevin Durant, hard work beats talent, even when talent fails to work hard. Give it a shot, spend a good amount of time on it, and have perseverance. Kalo gagal jangan kecewa/nyerah dulu. Nobody gets it right the first time, but we will suck less on our subsequent attempts, and ultimately we’ll become very good at it before we know it.

What about healthy competition? Gw tetep ga suka dengan term kompetisi, tapi selama intinya untuk ngasah potensi, gw sah-sah aja. Tapi kalo udah berubah jadi ajang ga sehat, you need to step aside. I honestly prefer the term ‘trying one’s best’, since it signifies no ties to external references. So you should really stop with the comparing and the competing. It diverts your attention away from your main quest in life: untuk menjadi diri lo yang sebaik mungkin, and that also means cultivating our talents/gifts yang udah Tuhan kasi ke kita. Itulah kenapa we are more than just a winner/loser. It’s not as important as the purposes we serve in life as choosers. Nyamanlah dengan pacu diri masing-masing. Ignore the superficial competition and start to focus on the big picture. And take pride in being a chooser, for one other thing that we can also be sure of is that…

Bahagia Itupun Pilihan

As we all know, semua orang punya masalah. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, apalagi buat para young adults, including gw, yang udah fase-nya dapet rude awakening kalo bentar lagi udah harus bener-bener take full responsibility of ourselves. Bahagia itu sendiri sebenernya artinya bukan tanpa masalah. Bahagia dan masalah itu actually go hand in hand satu sama lain; it (bahagia) allows us to see problems for what they really are, which is cuma sekedar proses menuju kedewasaan, yang bagai angin lalu aja dalam bahtera hidup. Kadang anginnya gede, kadang anginnya kecil. Makanya judul albumnya Chrisye ‘Badai Pasti Berlalu’. It captures the essense perfectly. Tapi terus kenapa banyak orang yang masih membiarkan bahagianya direnggut oleh kehadiran masalah? Kunci dari bahagia itu sendiri sebenernya is simply down to bersyukur. Sedang untuk bersyukur, kita butuh a shift in perspective dalam ngeliat masalah. Tapi gimana caranya? Banyak masalah kok bahagia?

Masalah itu sendiri kalo ditelaah lebih dalem, hanya muncul dalam satu dua aspek dalam kehidupan kita, leaving other wonderful things we have received in life still intact. Ketika masalah lagi dateng bertubi-tubi, kita seringkali lupa untuk mensyukuri kalo orangtua masih ada dan sehat, rumah dan mobil masih punya, masih bisa makan enak, sempet ngerasain ngenyam pendidikan tinggi, duit berkecukupan (ato bahkan selalu ada), pacar/pendamping hidup baik dan care, dikaruniain anak-anak lucu, punya banyak temen-temen yang peduli, sodara-sodara yang always there, et cetera. Masi kurang? Trus lo inget juga kalo masi ada (banyak malah) orang yang lebih kurang beruntung dibanding kita sekarang. So, why (the hell) are you so sad? Or should I say, why are you so ungrateful?

Emang ada kalanya satu dua masalah yang lagi dihadepin felt larger-than-life, it’s practically written on people’s faces, ato manifest jadi awan mendung invisible yang hovering above one’s head. Kalo udah kayak gini, konsep tentang bahagia in the midst of problems jadi seem so far-fetched. Yang padahal sebenernya ga. Selalu inget kalo Tuhan itu lebih besar dari masalah kita. All kinds of problems, great and small, are merely a wrap encasing the present within. Setiap kita berhasil solve/overcome the problem, kita bisa nikmatin hadiah di balik itu, yang adalah pelajaran. There are lessons behind every problem. The more lessons we learn, the wiser we become. The wiser we become, the more we see problems as not-that-intimidating a thing. Semuanya ternyata berbuah manis, and we get better, faster, stronger each time. Orang ga ada masalah ga akan belajar apa-apa. Itulah juga kenapa para pengusaha yang sukses pasti dulunya udah kenyang jatoh usahanya.

Dengan shift in perspective ini, it’ll become clear to us that, really, happiness is just a choice away. Jadi, kenapa kita ga pilih untuk bahagia aja? Toh sedih/upset pun ga bantu nyelesain masalah, but being happy does. It gives us the right attitude to wrestle with problems, so we emerge victorious when the dust settles. Moreover, it’s also inspiring, apalagi kalo kita di posisi pemimpin. Lastly, not only will it snag our enjoyment in life right back to our hands, it will also allow us to live life like …

There Are No Bad Choices

Oke, there are actually bad choices. Kayak misal lo milih jengkol dibanding daging asep untuk makan (sori jengkol-lovers!). Bad choices di sini maksud gw adalah, the ones that when we look back at it, we wish we would’ve done it differently. The ones yang impact-nya ngerepotin, dan ga cuma ke kita sendiri aja tapi juga ke orang-orang di sekitar kita. Honestly, just like problems, there are lessons behind every choices that we make as well, good or bad. Sometimes we learn it the easy way, other times the hard way. Obviously, choices yang bikin kita learn the lesson the hard way itu qualify as bad choices. But it wouldn’t matter as long as we learn something from it. So, no regrets. Makanya jangan kapok (inget para pengusaha sukses), dan belajarlah supaya ga jatoh ke pitfall yang sama. Tapi inget, take responsibility of your own mess. Nobody’s gonna take care of it for you forever.

Ketika kita mau move forward juga, ingetlah kalo there’s no mistake like the fear of making mistakes. I know how daunting it is to determine where we should go in life, what cause to fight for and what we should be doing for the rest of our lives. (Some people never figured it out until much later in life). I’d say go with your guts. It would be the ultimate choice, the most grand we would ever make. Let your own voice guide you, not someone else’s. Life’s too short to live someone else’s dream, kata Steve Jobs.

All in all, I think that’s the best thing of being human; we are free-willed beings who wield the power to choose. We can choose to take charge of our lives and not give a damn about how ourselves would compare against others. We can choose to go with the flow and let the chips fall where they may. We can choose to wear the happy tude in spite of the problems we’re dealing with (and reap the benefits from doing so). We can even choose to go bananas and fall and get up again and laugh it off. Or we can choose to let ourselves drown in the sorrows of discontentment and the regrets of the past. Either way, it’s entirely your choice, not somebody else’s. However, always know in your heart that, if at the end you find the person you have become is not the person you want to be, you can always turn around and try again.

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities, kata J. Rowling. I totally concur. Thus, life is so much more than just being a winner/loser. We’ve got a much bigger fish to fry. Lagian who do we win/lose against juga, beside ourselves? We also shouldn’t beat ourselves so hard over bad choices or problems that may arise from it. Because what matters the most adalah prosesnya, karena di situlah letak pelajarannya. Be daring. Make mistakes. March to the beat of your own drum (jangan drum-nya tetangga sebelah). Have a more relaxed view on life. Or dare I say, choose to have a more relaxed view on life.

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