12 Lessons Learned in 2013

12 Lessons Learned in 2013

Closing the year of 2013, recalling what I have been through: happy and sad moments, good and bad times, success and failures, here is a summary of what life has taught me throughout this amazing year:

1. Respect to the ‘elders’.
“Honor your parents so that your days may be long in the land that is given to you”. In fact, the matter of young and old is not only about ages, but also about experiences. We have so many ‘parents’ in life whom we can learn something from. They are not always people who are older than us, but they could be the younger people who have more experiences in some fields. That’s why it is a must to honor everyone. Be humble and respectful, don’t be wise in your own thinking.

2. Beware of every little opportunity in life.
There are things that only come one time in life and will never come again. These things could be anything: opportunity, words, help, experience, people, etc. A wise man says great opportunities often disguise themselves in small tasks or responsibilities. That’s why it is important to appreciate every time and honor every moment in your life.

3. Having a lot of possessions does not add your happiness, often it adds your worry.
It is disappointing to think that having more money, gadgets, or jewelries will bring more happiness. The more possessions will take more of our attention and energy. They always demand greater responsibility to be taken care of. Often our possessions are not what we really need, they are only what we want (or lust for). Be thankful for what we have now. Use them as best as we can for the optimum purpose. Don’t buy more and more things or you would end up wasting them all.

4. You can’t do everything in life.
In fact, you can’t be everything. It is impossible to visit every single place in the world. Don’t be greedy. Everyone has a unique purpose so don’t take over someone’s duty. Don’t get jealous over someone’s achievement or talents. Definitely, you can also be great in your highest passion. Live for it and be the best in it.

5. Be smart with your question.
People would be happy if someone could understand them even without asking questions. They would feel a genuine care knowing that someone deeply cares for them and can relate to their situation. Some people (especially women) dislike questions, particularly the repetitive ones. Good questions would open up their heart and encourage them to share stories, but silly questions would just make them silent. When you don’t know what or how to ask, it’s better to keep quiet rather than giving unnecessary questions, and… wait until you find the better idea to ask your question.

6. It’s important to write your story.
Writing is probably the easiest, the cheapest, and the fastest way to influence yourself. When you are writing, you are improving your brain’s creativity. It is the best place to find your freedom to express your imagination. To write is to share, to lead, and to inspire. Don’t be ashamed of your life’s story. Don’t be afraid of what people might say or think about your story. Nobody knows if it can make a great contribution to history now or later (after you leave this earth into eternity).

7. Being mysterious or invisible is necessary sometimes.
Not every story needs to be told. Be selective in sharing your story. Don’t cheaply share to people who might ignore or despise it. It is great to have our personal secret that should only be shared to people who can really honor it. In the silence, you will know who are really missing you and interested with your life. Let them ask first (if they really wanted to know), don’t share your story first (or they would simply reject it)!

8. Situation changed, people changed, get used to the change.
Change is everywhere. It could happen on circumstances, people, habits, and so on. A positive thing about change is the fact that it can bring dynamics in our lives, suppressing boredom: we could see a lot of new things because of the change. However, when it happened to people, we might be surprised by the fact that many people could easily break their promises, lose their respect, turn their belief, and walk away from our lives. In short, they are changed! (or maybe we are?). So the next time, be ready for the changes!

9. In a relationship, trust is the most precious thing.
There are a lot of stories I’ve heard about broken relationships, where people lost their trust in others It could happen even among two best friends who had been in relationship for a long time. In my observation, the most frequent reason for broken relationship is disloyalty or betrayal. However, sometimes it is good to hardly believe in people because we will not fully put our expectation or always rely on other people. By this way, we can learn to wholeheartedly put our trust and hope only in God. In our daily life, we can also learn to build a firm relationship by honoring other people’s trust.

10. Real friend? In fact, one is enough.
Having a lot of friends doesn’t guarantee happiness. Sometimes, when we have new friends and get closer to them, our old friends might feel neglected and far from us. Yet we can’t please everyone. Just having one friend in life that truly loves and sincerely accepts you is enough. You can focus your time, effort, energy, or even money to him/her. So, never despise the love that a person gave to you. It may not important for you, but it could really matter for that person.

11. To love is to be ready for pain.
There is no painless love. When you are falling in love with someone (or something), you are declaring yourself ready for pain. There is always pain in every ‘falling’, that’s why it is called “falling in love”. To truly love wholeheartedly is to give your life. To completely love means to sacrifice yourself. After all, don’t be afraid to feel hurt or pain, don’t afraid to love. Perfect love will cast away the fear.

12. Less of me, more of God.
This is the most essential lesson I have been learning throughout this year. Not only for this year I think, but for the rest of my life I should learn it over and over. I have been struggling against pride, envy, guilt, apathy, and other kinds of self-centered attitude which made me unhappy. Realizing that selfishness is the definite key to unhappiness, I am more convinced that my life is not about me. I am just nothing without God. All my success or achievements are for God’s glory. I must decrease and He must increase. Die for selfishness and live for God is the ultimate key to the meaningful life.

Seoul, December, 30, 2013.


Multi-talented: Good or Bad?


These days I don’t know why many friends have spoken an encouraging word to me. They told me that I am kind of multi-talented person. But, at the same time I didn’t have any ideas on how I should responded to this compliment. Should I be happy and thankful? Should I disagree with their opinions? Should I keep silent and just smile? I am not sure if being multi-talented does really matter in life.

Tonight, on my way back to dormitory I tried to figure out: is that true I am a multi-talented person? Recalling my pasts, I started to confirm my friends’ compliment. Suddenly, I began to list my abilities in some fields:

  • Music: singing, piano, guitar, drum.
  • Sports: soccer, badminton, swimming, table-tennis, gymming.
  • Arts: drawing, painting, photography.
  • Others: writing, poetry-reading, public speaking.

Even though I am not mastering all that above-mentioned skills, at least I am able to do those stuffs. In fact, the above list is not based on my subjective opinion, but it came into my mind based on other people’s thinking about me. Moreover, I am a Chemical Engineer who had successfully finished the study on basic sciences: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. I have also learned three international languages: English, Chinese, and Korean in addition to my own native language, Bahasa Indonesia.

Well, I am writing this story not to boast myself. Here is my point: honestly, being a multi-talented person is one of my life’s greatest struggle! Yet I know there are a lot of people who are in the same situation with me now. They are born with multiple gifts. Even there are surely many people who are far more talented than me. I am writing this story for them, to share my experiences that might be useful and hopefully inspiring. This story is also dedicated to people who often think they are nothing or can only do very little things in life, and also to people who often feel jealous or insecure with other people who can do what they can’t do. To them I would say: STOP MAKING COMPARISON in your mind!

First of all, let me say this: being a multi-talented person is not a “WOW” thing. It is an ordinary thing, just like being a normal person. Receiving one, two, or multi-talents is not important. It is how you treat the talents that really matters. Your attitude and responsibility towards your talents reflected who you are more than how many talents you’ve got. Let me explain the struggles of being a multi-talented person (based on my personal experiences):

Trap of selfishness (arrogancy and greediness)
A multi-talented person tends to think he is superior to others and can do a lot of things by himself without someone’s help. Often he feels so proud of himself. Consequently, he often underestimates or neglects others, especially ‘the weaker’. He is almost never satisfied with his accomplishments. He believes that he can achieve more, more, and more.

Trap of distracted life
Due to a lot of interests and abilities in many fields, a multi-talented person tends to be distracted in setting his own goals. He is often confused in determining the best field where he can fully focus on. The lack of focus will surely slow down his works.

Trap of compliance (people pleaser)
Many people may admire a multi-talented person. Being loved and cared by others is wonderful, of course. But for him, it can be dangerous as well because he feels the burden to always show his best in order to meet others’ expectation and make everyone happy.

Multi-talented can be both good and bad. It can both benefit and endanger us. It is not essential whether we have just one or more than one talents. What really matters is to be thankful for everything we have and be faithful in developing our talents.

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48)

Serba Salah dalam Komunikasi

Komunikasi adalah kunci untuk keberhasilan hubungan antarmanusia. Dari semua makhluk ciptaan Yang Maha Kuasa, hanya manusia yang diberi kemampuan untuk berbicara, artinya ada satu amanat penting yang diembankan kepada manusia lewat kemampuannya mengolah kata. Kualitas hidup manusia amat ditentukan dari bagaimana cara ia menggunakan kemampuan berbicara ini (lihat ulasannya di Rahasia di Balik Lidah Manusia).

Akan tetapi, komunikasi tidak hanya berkaitan dengan aspek verbal (berbicara/berbahasa) saja, ada juga aspek non-verbal (misalnya: bahasa tubuh atau gesture, kontak batin, dan lain sejenisnya yang tidak menggunakan ucapan bahasa). Uniknya, seringkali apa yang tak terucapkan justru lebih penting daripada apa yang terucapkan. Jika kita mampu memahami orang lain tanpa ia harus mengucapkannya, berarti kita telah berhasil berkomunikasi dengan baik secara non-verbal. Hal ini penting dalam hubungan antarmanusia karena terkadang orang tidak tahu bagaimana harus mengekspresikan dengan benar lewat kata-kata, ia hanya bisa menunjukkan ekspresinya lewat bahasa tubuh, entah dari tatapan matanya, cara berdirinya, cara berbicaranya, senyumannya, dan lain-lain, sehingga kita perlu belajar juga untuk peka memahami apa yang tidak terucapkan.

Dalam komunikasi selalu ada dua pihak, yaitu: pembicara (penanya) dan pendengar. Sebuah komunikasi yang sehat seharusnya aktif melibatkan keduanya, baik penanya maupun pendengar. Sayangnya, kenyataannya seringkali hanya ada satu pihak yang dominan, yaitu si pembicara, sementara yang lainnya hanya bisa mendengarkan tanpa diberi kesempatan bertanya atau berbicara. Dari sinilah saya ingin mengungkapkan pandangan saya mengenai berbagai “serba salah” yang terjadi dalam komunikasi berdasarkan pengalaman pribadi 🙂

Ketika masih di zaman mahasiswa dulu, saya adalah tipe orang yang suka sekali bercerita. Namun, rupanya waktu itu saya seringkali hanya menceritakan tentang diri saya sendiri tanpa peduli apa yang sedang terjadi pada orang lain. Saya begitu asyik membagikan kisah hidup (termasuk rahasia-rahasia pribadi) tanpa harus kuatir tentang apa penilaian orang terhadap saya, dan saya pun jarang bertanya balik: “Bagaimana dengan Anda?” Akibatnya, tidak semua orang merasa nyaman dengan cerita saya karena bagi mereka saya hanya memikirkan diri sendiri (tanpa memberi kesempatan mereka untuk bercerita balik).

Sejak saat itu, setelah saya sadar akan kecerobohan tersebut, saya berusaha untuk lebih peduli dan menjadi pendengar yang baik dengan cara bertanya kepada lawan bicara: “Bagaimana dengan Anda?” Prinsip yang saya ketahui dari orang-orang sukses yang sudah lebih berpengalaman adalah: “Pembicara yang baik adalah juga pendengar yang baik.” Jika kita tidak benar-benar mendengar dan menaruh perhatian pada cerita orang lain, bagaimana kita bisa memberikan pertanyaan-pertanyaan yang baik dan berkualitas pada orang tersebut?

Namun sayang, ternyata masalahnya tidak sesederhana itu. Ketika saya mulai banyak bertanya dan berusaha menaruh perhatian pada orang lain, ternyata pun tidak semua orang merasa nyaman! Ada yang merasa: “Ngapain sih lu nanya-nanya? KEPO amat” Sekedar informasi, belakangan saya baru tahu bahwa KEPO itu adalah akronim dari Knowing Every Particular Object. Jadi intinya adalah suatu sikap yang ingin mengetahui sesuatu hingga terperinci, biasanya didorong oleh rasa ingin tahu yang tinggi, walau terkadang hal yang ingin diketahui sebenarnya tidak terlalu penting juga bagi si penanya. Salah lagi. Jadi, saya sudah mengalami kesalahan dua kali. Serba salah memang. Lalu?

Dari kejadian ini saya berusaha mengambil hikmahnya, bahwa komunikasi itu memang adalah sebuah seni. Ada banyak hal yang random dan tidak semuanya selalu sejalan dengan asumsi kita sehingga hal ini semakin menantang saya untuk terus belajar dan belajar lagi tentang komunikasi. Saya bersyukur pernah ada di posisi yang salah, baik sebagai pembicara, penanya, maupun pendengar. Hikmah yang bisa saya petik adalah bahwa ketulusan adalah kunci keberhasilan dalam sebuah komunikasi. Apapun posisi kita, entah pembicara, penanya, ataupun pendengar, yang terpenting adalah: tulus!

  • Jadilah pembicara yang tulus, yang benar-benar ingin berbagi kisah dengan orang lain, agar orang yang mendengarnya mendapatkan manfaat dari kisah kita yang inspiratif serta menghargai kejujuran kita yang telah bersedia berbagi cerita pribadi (yang sesungguhnya sangat bernilai sehingga sejatinya tidak semua orang berhak mengetahuinya) dan bukan malah merasa digurui, dihakimi, ataupun dipameri.
  • Jadilah penanya yang tulus, yang benar-benar ingin tahu tentang situasi, kondisi, atau pendapat orang lain, agar orang yang menjawabnya merasa antusias dalam memberikan jawaban-jawaban dari pertanyaan kita dan bukan malah merasa diuji, dicobai, ataupun diintimidasi.
  • Jadilah pendengar yang tulus, yang benar-benar ingin mendengar tentang kisah orang lain, agar orang yang sedang bercerita merasakan bahwa masih ada orang-orang yang bersedia meluangkan waktu dan tenaganya serta peduli pada dirinya dan bukan malah merasa diabaikan, direndahkan, atau dicampakkan.

Komunikasi yang sehat adalah kebutuhan setiap orang untuk hidup sehat dan bahagia. Manusia bisa bertahan hidup karena adanya hubungan, dan hubungan tersebut akan berhasil jika didasari oleh komunikasi yang sehat.

Terima kasih sudah membaca (baca: mendengar) cerita ini. Mohon maaf jika di masa lalu, masa sekarang, maupun masa depan, saya telah, sedang, dan akan (lagi) menjadi pembicara, penanya, ataupun pendengar yang salah. Sampai sekarang pun saya masih harus terus banyak belajar. Mari jangan bosan dan lelah untuk belajar. Tetaplah bercerita, teruskanlah bertanya, dan tabahlah mendengar.

Semoga cerita ini bermanfaat.

Di dalam banyak bicara pasti ada pelanggaran, tetapi siapa yang menahan bibirnya, berakal budi. (Amsal 10:19)