During Day 6’s dinner of the Merit360 program, everybody looked so exhausted while trying to consume their meal and recharge their energy. But me, I felt so full of energy and happiness; smiling to everybody and asking some people how are they were doing after the trekking. Someone surprised, asked me “Why are you so full of energy after a long trekking day?” The answer was “I had my food, so I must be happy, hehehe!” It’s true, isn’t it? But the reality was something different. I was like them too, exhausted, hungry, and deflated. But one question, just one question from my Action Plan Facilitator (APF); Leon, made me so happy and energised with smiles before I could even reply to him.
So here is his question: “What can you reflect about your trekking with something else like […]?” Let’s guess before continue on.
During the whole day, we were trekking through the scenery of the Cheshire countryside. The day started so early. Everybody dressed appropriately, grabbed their food, and got into teams. I didn’t have any team because I forgot to register. I hopped on the bus hoping I would get into a team soon. Finally we arrived at the venue, and I got a team to trek with. I started feeling so excited when I got onto the path for trekking.
First thing that really caught my attention was the series of gates. The gates on the fences were made like puzzles. At first, I thought, “Wow, people here are so clever.” because no matter if you forget to lock the door or not, it is closed and the cattle won’t be able to get out. But as those gates appeared along the way more and more, I started to hate those gates. People waited in line, one by one to go through it. I would jump over those gates whenever possible. I reflected on those gates and my life journey: over time we need to challenge ourselves with problems. No matter whether the gate is locked or not, it is closed. No matter if the problem is solved or not, time passes. So we must be ready to go through unexpected obstacles, all throughout our life. People needed to wait in line to go through those gates. Life needs to endure through frustration and internal conflict while faced with external problems. To reach our goal, there are issues that try to stop us along the way, and consume some time. We need to be strong and motivated to face them.
Weather was the second thing to learn from. While there are turns to wait and gates to go through, the weather changed unexpectedly ranging from sunny, windy, foggy, and rainy. While there was sun, I enjoyed the moment with the shining light and the forest sounds along the way. Suddenly the cold wind came, and it brought the chill and a sign of the coming rain. Once we arrived at our destination, the sunlight came back for people to enjoy and take a rest. In life, while we are trying to deal with the problems or challenges, everything around might change unexpectedly. It’s us who will need to adapt to or skip those distractions. But please remember this: whatever the weather was, once you reach your destination, it is always a good time to smile and be proud of what you have been through. There will be always a spring for your success.
Third thing is the cornfields. What a wonderful, enclosing view it was while I was walking. Every corn plant stayed in rows along the ground. Once I saw the cornfield for the first time, my excitement had me running through them so happily until I found myself lost in the cornfield. The path got smaller and smaller until there was no way to go. I was surprised because I thought I found a way out, but it wasn’t. I tried to find the path in the nearby row of corn plants and at last I found it. I continued enjoying the cornfield, but not running anymore. Then the rain came. There were plenty of cornfields to walk through. Puddles were along the way, rain kept falling, and the atmosphere filled with coldness. The cornfield became so boring and difficult to walk through. While walking in the third cornfield during the rain, I was amazed by someone’s expression, “Cornfield Again?” In life, we might feel so great and positive about this world because of its beauty. We might enjoy the best moments we have, the dreams we saw, the goals we set up, or the passions we love. But, please don’t let the problems and obstacles along the way take away your passion, love, and goal. Be positive and enjoy every moment of life. I enjoyed running lost in the first cornfield, and I got my quiet time to endure difficulties in the next cornfields. The journey isn’t always smooth, but please don’t strive for the goal only! Enjoy your way. Because, once you are at your destination, you will be proud of the obstacles you have walked through while adding to the happiness of that memory (with the nice landscape you have seen!). I love the cornfields filled with puddles and rain, and I enjoyed the green, dry cornfields with sunlight.
Fourth thing is about some rules and practices. Have you ever made rules and you yourself broken them? I’ve done it plenty of times. Our trekking team arrived at a field filled with hundreds of cows. Most of us are afraid of them. So we set up some rules before passing that field: Don’t talk loudly, don’t walk fast, and don’t look at the cows. We agreed but started walking faster, and suddenly one friend stepped on some cow dung and shouted out loud “Oh….. shit” Everybody laughed so hard which caught the cattle’s attention, and they stared at us. We stared back. They walked up to us slowly, while we started shouting and running out of the fields. In life, please don’t laugh at other’s mistake or pain as a joke. Give sympathy and be conscious of the world. Everyday isn’t always a lucky day, but please make yourself a lucky person for people to encounter. Your ‘joke’ might destroy your day, your teamwork, or even your life.
Fifth thing is about losing your way. Everybody might lose his or her way, but what I want to emphasise here is about taking a chance. My team arrived at a busy road passed by cars. We lost the sign of our way. I motivated myself to try my luck walking ahead to find our next path. While I’m taking a chance to go further and further to find the way, my team was afraid of a car accident and stayed in a group waiting for another team to arrive. I could not find any sign or way that should lead us on. I was called to return. While returning, another trekking team came and found the sign (because they knew it). It was just on the other side of the road opposite to our way. The sign was hidden under tree leaves. In life, don’t be lazy and skip a chance to explore or find the right thing about something. It’s always good when we give ourselves, and others a chance. Give yourself the opportunity to explore something first. Have faith in yourself and what you have and are capable of doing. Don’t stress. Think and try something realistic while dreaming of something else that lies beyond. Please, CLEVERLY give yourself a chance.
So energy isn’t from food only, but also from every motivation that we have inside. To gain motivation we might listen to inspiring people, but reflecting on daily life events and facts is also the key to having self-motivation. Give a moment to yourself reflecting on something and make it a habit to reflect on everyday events that you’ve been through. You’ll be more conscious about your life and prepared for this world.
This was one of my best moment during Merit360, and I won’t forget and I don’t want to forget. This article is one of the evident.
Writer: Seyhassneth Heng, edited by: Sophie Gonano, Images: World Merit