Showing up for life


So recently I've just finished reading a book titled Showing Up For Life by Bill Gates Sr. And I must say - It's pretty good.
I must admit, I'm not so much of a reader. For me, it's hard to find a good book because there's only one type of books I'm interested in: non-fiction. However I'm not so interested in politics, history, biography or whatever it is. I just like one specific genre that is probably not so specified; and they are the type of books that talk about life lessons/teachings and happiness and stuffs. Cliche I know, but I love them because I feel like there's many more lessons in life that I've yet to come across. Also because it's interesting to see and understand how others feel and think about the same topic - it opens your mind to different perspectives.

So in this post I'd just write down a few things I've learnt (and read) from this book written by Bill Gates Sr and my thoughts on it:

1 "In each of our lives, we have opportunities to do many things when no one is watching. And it is under such circumstances that we express and cultivate character. We all make mistakes. But, as the classics attest there is nothing in life worth surrendering the right to think of oneself as a good person. 
There are intersections of integrity and temptation in every career and every life. The challenge is to do the right thing no matter what."

---- Indeed, we can do many things when no one is watching us. In fact, we can do a lot more when we're alone because we have the freedom to do whatever we want. This is why cheating can happen in a relationship. Because when one is not fully committed to the other person, he or she is able to do anything with anyone else as long as they are not with their other half. And sometimes cheaters cheat because they think that they get always get away with it and not get found out or exposed, but what they don't realise is that it says a lot more about their character and themselves when they allow themselves to do things like that. This is just one example of morality and integrity. 

When one does something different when people aren't watching them, what does it say about them? Are they really true to themselves and to others?

One important question to always ask yourself is, what kind of person do you want to become?

(Will talk about this more in another post)

2 "They (Bill's children) also learned that everybody is good at something. And that you should look for that one thing in others and find it in yourself. 
They learned that if you aren't good at a particular thing, you do it anyway.
And if you compete for a prize and lose today, there's always tomorrow."

---- It's easy to throw in the towel when things get difficult for us. It's easy to want to give up when we encounter setbacks and failure. It's always easier to see the bad (flaws) in us than seeing the good (merits) in ourselves. But what we should always understand and keep in mind is that whenever we think we're struggling, we are not struggling alone. There's plenty of others out there who are also struggling like us. It can be demoralising when things constantly go against your way in life. But from the way I see it, you can either give up and run away from it or learn from it. Just because you failed doesn't mean you're a failure. You can either let it determine you as a person or learn from it and move on.
I remember when I first received the results of my very first history assignment in Year one (yes in architecture), I was very demoralised. I was graded PP+ for my assignment (which is relatively low, about 55+ and <60 over 100 marks). Last year in FSP it was easy to clinch an HD or DN as long as there was effort in your work. Clearly I was very demoralised as it was my very first assignment and the first set of results I got back. But at that time I thought to myself: Am I really going to let this grade affect me and allow it to determine my overall abilities as a student, and give up and not care as much for my other units (because I already worked hard but my results clearly wasn't a reflection of the effort and time I've put in)? Or am I just gonna work even HARDER and invest more time for this (and my other units) so that I'll do better and get a better grade the next time?
So in a split second, from a very demoralised me at the start, I became determined to do better for my next assignment. 
I know, who am I to say that I will really do better for the next assignment or for the other units? What if I don't, and what if I do worse? 
But I know one thing for sure is that, I won't let it determine me as a person or let it determine my overall capability as a student. To me, it doesn't matter if my other results fare the same or worse than my first one. Because as long as I'm not giving up, I'm still trying. 

And that's good enough.

3 "I find that to keep friendships alive one has to take pains to remind the people you care about that you're thinking of them and they are important to you. To me that means I need to mail that note or make the telephone call. 
I've concluded that such attentiveness and deliberateness are indeed a small price to pay in exchange for the rewards of deep and enduring friendships that last a lifetime."

---- It's easy to meet and make new friends but it's not as easy to create friendships that last a lifetime. To me, family is definitely my number one but friends definitely do come in second (if not, 1.5 maybe? hahaha). But one thing for sure is that I've always been very, very thankful for the fact that I do have a bunch of genuine friends (who I know will be there with me until the day I die) at just a mere age of only 18. In this generally fucked up society it's hard to find genuine friends and people you can trust your entire life and soul with, and I'm glad to say that I've really met really good people that I can proudly call my close friends. We've all been through so much together; and time can attest to that in the future too.
I've realised and appreciated the value of such friendships much more especially after I started studying overseas. When you leave home, some friendships die and are left behind when you go. It becomes apparent to you who are the ones who really love and care for you when you're gone, and if they are really people you can call your friends, they are people who would call or text you from time to time just to check on how you're doing. Friends who will be your listening ear(s) anytime even if they are 9387464 miles away. Friends who will cancel their plans and appointments to just meet you for awhile when you're back, or friends who are willing to go an extra mile to find you at your place and stay up with you till late at night even when they are just as busy and tired as you are. 
And because once you're overseas and away from your family, the friends you meet become your family. They become the ones who check on you when you're sick, the ones who cook for you, drive you, do work with you and the ones you spend most of your time with. They become your second family. 
Sometimes I receive messages from my girlfriends back at home asking me how I'm doing and so on. And sometimes I do the same to them too to check how they are doing and coping. Just doing this one action reassures the other person: I care for you.

Today, check on the friends who care for you and ask them how they are doing. It might make their day better.

4 (Just wanted to include this because I really liked this paragraph) 
"An epidemiologist friend of mine once told a story that goes a long way towards explaining the blind spot people sometimes have about the suffering of others. She had accompanied her then eleven-year-old son to a funeral for a classmate who had committed suicide.
After the service ended her son said to her, "I wish this had happened to someone I didn't know."
That's how we sometimes feel about the loss of a child on the other side of the world. We want to protect ourselves from the pain of knowing how truly tragic it is. 
It may be natural to turn away, but if we do, the hope that sometimes resides next to the pain may escape us."

Overall, the moral of the story (/the main point of the book) is to tell us that it's important to show up in life. It was lovely reading and knowing how much Bill Gates Sr, his wife and children contributed to society, and it made me realise how much more I can give in this life. Thank you for reminding and teaching me some important lessons in life. 

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