Never Good Enough

never give up
Are you an adventurous person? Always on the lookout for new and exciting activities to try? Like you, I’m a “try-er” I love trying new activities and I’ve tried many things in my life thus far. One thing I’ve always believed in is to never stop trying.

As “try-ers” a certain discouraging question may cross your mind. Does my attitude advocate that I am never good enough to accomplish my goal?


Once, many decades ago, this thought crossed my mind. Like many of you, I was full of youthful energy. I dreamed big dreams and my excitement was the fuel for my body. It was very exciting at the start as I tried endlessly to achieve my dream despite my inability to reach them at that point in time.

I believed I was superman. No barrier could stop me.

But many years later, fatigue started to set in. Hours seemed like days. I discovered that I was no superman. Just a regular human trying to be superman. My excitement level dropped, and with it, my energy. Everything from relationship to the quality of my work were adversely affected.

Fortunately, I had a good confidant, someone whom I trusted. She became concerned with me when she started to notice the gradual change in me attitude. One day, she asked me out for a cup of tea at a nearby coffeeshop.
After getting our coffee and tea, she started on her story.

She continued: “They start training at a very young age"

"Yup, I’ve heard many stories about them and the tough training they have to endure.” I replied.

"Good, so you have heard of them. Well, my story begins with a young apprentice who wanted to be the best practitioner of the shaolin martial arts. Being second best was not an option. Nothing was good enough for him except being the best." She replied.

That sounds a lot like me I thought as she took a sip of tea.

"One of the training exercises they regularly conduct is to carry two pails of water balanced at the 2 ends of a bamboo stick on their shoulders up 688 flights of shoulder width steps to fill a large urn for the farmers at the top of this hill to use. It usually takes the whole morning to fill up the urn as the monks have to make multiple trips."

"Interesting.” I said fascinated by the intensity of the training.

"Because the young apprentice had been so full of himself, the master poked a hole at the bottom of each pail that the young apprentice carried. As a result, by the time he had reached the top of the hill he only had half of the water left in the pail."

She continued, "Because he could not fill up the urn as quickly as his peers, he would often lag behind them and would only able to complete the task after lunch, thus missing his meal."

"As the months went by, the young apprentice grew frustrated and demoralised and asked his master why he poked the holes in his pail."

The master said, "My young apprentice, didn't you notice anything different as you were walking up the hill every day?"

"My master, I can only feel the fatigue in my body and my demoralised heart" the apprentice replied.

"My young son, have you not noticed the sides of path that you climbed daily are now lined with blooming beautiful flowers? The water that you bring up the hill not only helps the farmers but you water the plants and flowers at the side of the road. You have helped to bring life and beauty to this world."


The master continues, "Life is not just about the pursuit of excellence. If it were so then everything that we do or anything in this world or anyone who lives is never good enough. You need to learn how to enjoy life as it is. Even broken things such as the bucket can bring beauty into the world. If your eyes are open to seeing it."
I saw a big smile on her face as she ended. Little did I know that I had a smile on mine as well. She had lifted up my weary soul.

Now I know, in life we cannot be possessed by the attitude of "never good enough", I just needed to find the beauty in things as they are.

My friends, enjoy it when it lasts. Smile a big smile, share it anytime and anywhere.

"You know Shaolin is not only famous for the scenic views and majestic temple, but also training a bunch of highly skilled martial arts practitioners." She said.


Talk to Pong: chiangfp@rt-ca.com or +65 6603 8229.


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