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Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Limitations And More

In the past few weeks I have come to realise that there is such a word called ‘limitation’. Or limitations, as I have realised. It is a plural, not just a singular. Which I guess makes it all the worse. The realisation that there are limitations in my life is sitting on my back. It is like trying to push a tonne of bricks on a broken wheelbarrow. You just can’t do it.

Hence the gloom that surrounds everything in my life, including this space on the Internet. It reflects the distinct frustration and depression that I have felt in the previous weeks. All my life, I have felt that everything is possible if I only try hard enough. If I only put my heart in it, I can reap the sweet taste of success.

What is the definition of ‘success’? It can be anything. It can be material success, the ability to have anything that my heart desires. It can be financial success in the form of a trip to the bank to hear how the coins in my piggy bank clink against each other. Success can be emotional, the feeling of comfort and security one feels with a loved one. It can be found in friendships and companionship among kindred spirits.

Sometimes success can be in the simplest things, like the freedom to travel as I please and the flexibility in timetable. I have never been bound to a workstation or an office desk. I don’t think I can ever be. Perhaps because I am a business owner and always have been the boss, I do not feel like many others who work in an organisation, no matter how big or small.

‘You can come up with a billion brilliant ideas and every single one of them is rejected. Then you will know your limitations. You are not the big guy up there,’ PY said while sat on the red sofa in my office. I was sat across her, on my table, replying to emails whilst analysing our lives for the 378th time yesterday.

‘How many people do you think work in a company? Say 100. Out of the 100, how many are the top ones?’ PY asked a few minutes later into our mini discussion. ‘Let’s say the top 20,’ she said, then pausing for a little extra dramatic effect. ‘You will realise that you are just one of the 80 below the 20. And that, my dear, is your limit.’

‘But why can’t I be the top 20?’ I asked.

‘You are missing the point.’

‘I am not. My question is ‘Why can’t I be the top 20?’ If someone has to be on top, why not me?’ I asked. That’s what I mean. My whole life, I have felt that I can achieve anything and everything is within my grasp, if I want it enough. If I do not have the thing, it is because I am not bothered to work hard for it. I have always believed that I can have whatever it is my heart desires if I worked hard towards the dream.


‘You are driving me insane!’ I screamed in my car earlier yesterday morning. I had decided to give my parents a visit and we were on our way to a café for breakfast at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. ‘You give so much pressure and you expect so much from me! I am stressed out!’

‘YOU are stressing ME out!’ my mother screamed in return. This has been our usual mode of communication, which is at 45 decibels or higher. Any lower is considered a good day for the two of us.

My mother has been the driving force behind my ‘success’. There isn’t much of a minute that she does not remind me how much my success is owed to her. I am labelled the ungrateful child if I fail to listen to her instructions. And having differing point of views and opinions in life doesn’t seem to help any of us much. She is stuck in her views and I am adamant that I am a person of my own.

‘Nothing is good enough for you!’ I glared at her. In an instant, I felt like a ten year old having a screaming match again. ‘I am never good enough for you!’ I tightened my grip on the steering wheel and pressed the accelerator on. I saw my father’s image on my mirror. He was quiet throughout the whole journey to the breakfast café. Smart man, I thought to myself. Shut up, save own skin and let the two crazy women continue screaming.

My mother used to call the office when business was at a low. A daily performance report, every single morning at 10 a.m. It drove my staff insane. It drove me insane and I was not even the person who answered the telephone call. There was a lot of pressure to perform and come up with the figure – a figure that she would approve of and agree.

Months of intense labour have past and now the business is at a more comfortable level. A level that my mother had set as a target for the business and a level that she had said so many times I could not achieve. You would figure that I would at least get a pat on my back? No, I don’t get a pat. I don’t any praises or approval. All I get is the immediate pressure for me to purchase the office building.

Not two seconds of rest for me.

‘Businesses have highs and lows.’ That is what I used to tell my mother when my business was at a low. It is a cycle. You cannot be the top dog all the time. You just have to ride out the low times and work even harder so you will emerge as the top dog again when the highs roll by. It was a concept that my mother never understood.

‘Your salary is utter rubbish! At the rate you are earning, you are better employed by a bigger profiting organization.’


‘All the pressure you experience is the pressure you have set on yourself,’ Alex wrote in an email two days ago. ‘No one set those goals. It was you who set those impossible goals.’

What is driving me to hold my head up each morning? What am I searching for? What do I want to achieve? Why do I keep raising the bar higher and higher, setting impossible goals every single time? Why I have this urgent need to do things, to achieve more and to have more? Why do I not seem to feel satisfied? Why do I want more? What am I going to do with the ‘more’? Why am I not happy with what I have in my hands?

I know the limitation that I am experiencing at the moment. My business is at its saturation point. It has reached its optimum for this period of time. There is nothing more that I can do that will make it grow more. Whether I spend 6 hours working in my office or 10 hours doesn’t influence its income anymore. I am angry that I cannot do more for it to prosper more. This is it.

Even if I piled in the hours, the income would remain largely unaffected. The payback and return are relatively unchanged, no matter how much time, energy, facilities or service I provide. Realizing this is deeply saddening and disappointing. I realised that there is no more that I can do. No matter how much I pour here, this is already it. I can double my time and energy but they would not double my income.

How sad.

‘Just take the next few months off. You have the luxury of time, so make use of it. Take time off, come and stay with me. Kick back and relax. Let your face enjoy more than 6 make-up free hours. Reflect and take a walk in the park. Write your book.’

It is strange sometimes. So strange that someone physically so far but who is able to light up my path more than 10 000kms away. Alex is telling me that it is time to let go. Do not force myself against something that I cannot change. Instead just be happy with what I have, which is time and the ability to travel and be away from my work desk.

Alex reminded me to appreciate what I have in my hands. Do not be obstinate to push myself hard against something that is beyond my control. Instead I should learn to accept what I cannot change and learn where my limits are. Be magnanimous enough to release my heart to work on things that I can.

‘Just take what you can get paid and move on to do other things in life. Let the business roll for you while you do something that your heart desires. You have a gift that not many have. You have an income even when you are away. So hide on some deserted island off Thailand and spend your days writing the book.’



I want to say something deep, but my mind is so weary after the newspaper interview I had this morning that I shall only comment at the coolness of the mosaic effect on the photo.

"ooooh, mosaic effect."

8:37 am  

Hey you! You are the man that I need to get in touch with. I had a nightmare some weeks ago and it was so frightening and nightmarish that it took me quite some time to wake up.

But I felt that it was quite dark. Very much like Crash style of dream presentation... so I figured that I can't write it as a novel... but perhaps would be better off as a screenplay.

So tell me, how does one write a screenplay? I so 'cham' don't even know how a screenplay style is like....

Newspaper interview? Who interviewed the Great One?

2:53 pm  

Sin Chew.

Anyway, this well-established site, Scriptorama, has LOTS of screenplays, check them out, you'll know the exact format for writing these stuff in no time. Hah.

Btw: I've just uploaded two extended scenes from my last short film, it's on my latest entry, check them out!!!

... do you have MSN or something? Kinda sucks communicating only with you whenever I drop by once a while.

4:15 pm  

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