I recently received an email from an associate of some time back, updating me on an appointment she has just taken on. She made the remark, “I have met a couple of people who come across as being fairly jaded in life, and living on “what it could have been”.
I am deeply saddened by remarks like these. Life should be lived to the fullest. Life should be lived with optimism. Life should be lived for the future, and not in the past.
In many ways, this is a choice. It is a choice to live life not “as it could have been”. That past is gone. It is a choice to focus on the full part of a glass which is half empty.
So live life as we can make it. Take the opportunities that come by, do our best, and take comfort that we have done what we could.
I have been subjected to a number of interviews this past week. It has caused me to have to think of my younger days, and wonder how I had been shaped by them. We got to talking of my father, who was a taxi driver and was out of the house most of the time, so as children we did not see that much of him. But we could sense his love.
I remember how he tried as much as possible to somehow be around my school at dismissal time, so he could pick me home. But this would not happen that often, as of course where he was depended on where his passengers brought him to. Nevertheless it was always a thrill to be picked by him for a ride home, instead of having to take the hour-plus ride on the bus. This was love for him. He also liked to buy nice food home which he came across as he drove around Singapore. It was yet another act of love from him.
But perhaps the most remarkable were the times when I did not do well in some school test or other. Sometimes I cried over the poor marks. Instead of a scolding, he took us children for a picnic at the beach at Tanah Merah. This was love! The kind of love of a father as it ought to be for his son. His only demand was that his children should have tried their best, not more, not less.
And, I would venture to say, it is also the kind of care a leader ought to have for his people.