Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Less than 1%

The passing rate for the Customs Broker exam in April. To beat that kind of odds is nothing short of a sign confirming that (with a little bit of luck) hard work does pay off. I feel relieved, inspired and determined but now is not the time to relax, celebrate or take a break. Our environment is constantly evolving and one is either progressing or regressing. In life there will inevitably be new and bigger challenges on the horizon, harder exams and better results to pursue.

There's a concept out there called "who's wearing your shirt." It goes something like everyone has shirts for something they support like a favorite sport team or alma mater. The reversed question is, who is supporting you? To succeed we all need people who believe in us and cheer us on. I have the best fans and here are some of their comments:

"Hard work, good genes, tenacious personality, clean drug record, the right attitude, decent karma and a little fairy dust sure go a long way! But 1%...I am truly impressed. CONGRATULATIONS!" - Rose

"It's phenomenal.
It's unbelievable.
Against all odds, you have taken the beach.
Now, it's on to Berlin." - Jody

Thank you for believing in me. It motivates me to work harder to make you proud. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Unconditional Hug

The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. A hug is often times worth exponentially more than both of those combined. I know a lot of people believe in me and are always with me in spirit. Still, it hasn't been easy being alone. Some days are harder than others. Today is one of those days when I feel like I can barely carry my own weight. 45 minutes of driving and I cried the whole way home. The things we waste our time on to try to understand, justify, validate, none of them are prerequisites of deep empathy. What I need is an unconditional hug. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Stress Management

A month came and went since my last big exam. Still no news. The uncertainty of the outcome of the first exam and stress of preparing for another has raised my anxiety level to an all time high. I often think back to the summer of preparation prior to my senior recital as a way for self awareness of my mental state and perhaps more importantly to draw inspiration and encouragement from something I had succeeded in the past. The years at Eastman, although stressful and challenging, were some of the best times in my life. And because of those experiences, I am all too familiar with the paradigm and mental challenges of preparing for a high-stake exam: the gradual increase in awareness, the process breaking down and rebuilding troubling elements, new problems manifest in places where they've never occurred, reaching breaking point of stress, backing down from anxiety, re-evaluate/refocus, the eventual realization of all one can really do is giving 110% and let success find its way to you.

If not periodically offloaded the interior of an overactive mind is no less malignant than the physical resident of one of the individuals on that hoarder show. I can't be certain if lack of blog updates has adversely affected my stress level but as I'm launching a full assault on the stress villain every little bit helps. Writing is therapeutic. Rather than constantly juggling all my thoughts at once, writing forces me to distill, reorganize and transfer my thoughts to external storage, the blog. It also gives me the impression that my thoughts are heard and shared, which I find comforting.

In an effort to reduce stress I've also stopped carpooling to work. I find it more relaxing and easier to think when I'm driving alone. And as the saying goes, the fist step to recovery is admission. I openly acknowledged my stress to friends and allowed myself to "burden" them with my anxiety, something I have traditionally kept to myself convinced that no one else should have to deal with my troubles. In additional to sorting out some mental issues I slowed down my study and went for a long massage and met up with Cassie for a pedicure. Again, every little bit helps, right?

After all here are the advises that I plan to adhere to religiously for the next 30 days: study as if my life is dependent on it; relax knowing that my life doesn't depending on it; think positively and realize that my success is guaranteed one way or another. And at end of the day none of it matters for people who love me will always love me.