Maya Angelou

My month of May feature of inspiring woman is Maya Angelou. An poet, writer & civil rights activist. She is super popular.. so if need know more – just wiki/google – so much information about her.

Maya

image via wikimedia commons

Her poems are famous & so are her books.  But for me what really makes me take an interest in her was when she shared her mother’s advice – “Ask for what you want,and be prepared to pay for what you get “

And why it strikes me so ? Because – it is one thing we ALWAYS forget when want something. We ask, demand, work hard & give our all to get what we want but sometimes we forget to be prepared for what we will get.

It is like

At 6, you can’t wait to go to school but you are not prepared with the home work for the next 10 years.

At 12, you can’t wait to be taller but you are not prepared with the chaotic hormonal change

At 21, you can’t wait to start work & put your college knowledge to work but you are not prepared that what you learn are only used < 5 % cause nothing matters more than diligence & persistence.

At 28, you can’t wait to live with your absolute love but you are not really (or ever will be) prepared for the other 50% of the weird habits

At 35, you can’t wait to have the baby out of your womb (cos 9 whole months of 100% attachment can really get to you) but you are not really prepared for the 300% commitment to the child for the rest of your life.

“penny wise pound foolish”

I will always remember this advice shared with me by a business owner. While he gave me this advice for a specific business operation matter, I feel this quote can be used in many other issues.

For business issues, while we want to cut down on costs – is cutting away employee benefits like providing a refreshment pantry with beverages going to help meet the company’s bottom line that much? I will call this penny wise? But we forget how the employee would feel – unappreciated & contributions worth to the company – and that’s pound foolish. An unhappy employee would not bother with giving their 100% to the company when one is not even worth 2 cups of coffee a day.

For business partners, while everyone strive to win – win in any business dealings, sometimes – losing is needed. And when losing is required, one should weigh the cost of winning at the other’s party’s expense. If one made a decision to win & forgetting the position of oneself in that partnership – then that’s penny wise pound foolish should the ‘losing’ business partner is stronger in technical, financial & negotiation power. Often times, the stronger position business partner can ‘lose’ but if the principles were wrong, then that ‘winning’ business partner is in hot soup – totally pound foolish.

For personal choices, while it is cheaper to eat out (at least in M’sia’s context) or to do home catering – which is penny wise vs cooking at home (more work – need to find fresh produce, need time to cook), would I sacrifice the value of quality of food & nutrition over dollar & cents? No. I rather to have less sick days for my kids vs cheaper catered food ie I rather not be pound foolish cos a kid getting sick means not just the medical costs but your work time loss.

There are many things in life that we sometimes need to make decisions based on costs but then sometimes the value of a decision / action is not just dollar & cents. Can one put a value of enjoying a good meal at a place you are not going to be again in the next 10 years by the additional $20 you have to fork out for that meal? Or can one put a value of learning new recipes just because you have to cook everyday?  Or even the value of having your kid learning to help you with household chores?  Yes – these can’t be valued by just dollars & cents.

I would forever remember this age old saying of penny wise but pound foolish.

 

Do it well or not at all

If there’s anything that I detest is anyone doing any task that is ‘half-baked’. If you think the task is worth doing – why then do it simply vs doing it properly?

Is that a trait that’s inborn or cultivated? Or maybe – I am the abnormal one.

Recently or rather starting from this year – I finally had the revelation that I am the abnormal one so is a lot of my friends that I hang out with. We share about our gripes at workplace (often) & almost always about why are some of these co-workers so odd in their actions? When in actual fact – we are the odd ones. It is precisely why we cannot comprehend why our co-workers do what they do.

I did change some of my expectations & try to work around solutions to ‘tackle’ my ‘abnormal-ness’, after-all it is more practical to change myself vs changing another person’s character.

So now – I faced something that I cannot understand – why do the task at all if you can’t do it well? Why can’t we treat task like how any person will such as a simple task of washing the hair – i.e after wash with the shampoo – you rinse it out! You can’t very well wash it & not rinse it out right??!

As of now – I am still struggling with accepting that are people who do something without the intention of doing it properly.

Still – … PLEASE … “DO IT WELL OR NOT AT ALL” .  I do not want to go mad with seeing menial tasks being done worst than my 4  year old.

words move mountains

Image Credit & via Hufftington Post

Image Credit & via Hufftington Post

Yes, Robin Williams passed away & it is sad. I am not his biggest fan (as I am not a big comedic lover) but I love the movie “Dead Poet’s Society” when I first watched it as a teenager. Mainly because I wished we had a teacher like him in the movie so that our classes will be so much fun.

I can’t remember the part where he said the those words to his students but now that I am older & many reads after, I can’t but agree more.

If there’s anything I wish that I could do better at when I was young – it will be mastering a language that you like through reading all types of writing (poetry, classics, fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, comic, adventure, horror, magic ..whatever!) then explore writing not in just the usual boring daily journal entries but write about feelings, experiences, lies, imagination, dreams, fears, joys, angers not just through paragraphs, but through rhymes, poems, prose, speech, metaphors, stories .. whatever! As this is the surest way to master in articulating your true feelings to justice.

Robin Williams is right that words & ideas do change the world! And only those who can truly use words to convey those ideas with such finese are the ones that can ‘move’ people.

Just see how well Obama use his words & convey his overall idea of Robin Williams:

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between,”  “But he was one of a kind.”

So well delivered with simple words. But one truly gets it.