Tag Archives: learning

Average Person

I don’t know the exact definition of “average person”, but someone described it as a person who does not really excel at any particular thing, but ain’t the worst either. One who has an average rating in his/her skills. Not outstanding neither poor. Maybe it’s like the saying:

Jack of all trades, master of none.

So what makes a person average? One might say you can tell by the average academic achievement, average work performance, average income, or even average look.

Can all the average scores be improved? Absolutely. Got an average academic scores? Study harder. Average work performance and income? Work harder, or, smarter, or both. Average look? Work out, treat your body nicer, or you can use the abundant beauty products, makeups, and fashion.

It’s true that not everyone born as prodigy. Not everyone can compose music at the age of five like Mozart. Or graduated summa cum laude at 12 years old from a university like Sho Yano. Or started to play golf at 2 years old like Tiger Woods.

You don’t have to be a gifted prodigy to be successful. Even the famous successful inventor, Thomas Edison once wrote:

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

So it’s obvious, even though you are not a prodigy, it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean that all doors to success are closed for you.

I can’t say I’m a successful person since I still have a lot of things to achieve in my life. So I can’t really write a recipe for success. But recently, I heard a wonderful sermon from Pastor Kong Hee of City Harvest Church at the Chinese New Year 2010 service. The sermon is much longer and a bit different to the following, because I’ll share and adapt to what I think is more relevant to the topic.

1. Sow and plant the seeds

Don’t just wait for miracles to happen. You can’t grow anything if you keep your seed in your pocket. Sow it! Plant it!

Money won’t fall down from the sky or grow on your back. If you think you are not a prodigy, then learn. You can’t expect to play musical instruments on concerts without learning. Don’t expect perfect academic scores without studying. If you’re not from a wealthy family like Paris Hilton or if you are not an ultra-lucky person like Gladstone Gander (Donald Duck‘s cousin) who won all the lotteries, don’t expect to get a lot of money without doing anything.

You have to invest your time, energy, mind, effort, and money to be able to produce something.

2. Maintain your seeds and plants

You can’t just sow the seeds and leave them. They may get dehydrated and die. Crows may come and eat them. Take care of them by watering regularly, fertilizing, and protecting them from pests and other threats.

After investing your money, you still have to manage it. If you’re not careful, your money value can grow insignificantly or may even diminish.
Same thing with skills. Once you start learning a skill, you have to keep learning until you master it. If you stop in the middle of the learning process, you will never be able to master it.

3. Wait for your seeds to grow

If you plant your seed tonight, you can’t expect it to fructify in the morning. You need to wait, give it enough time while maintain it so it will grow healthily.

You can’t expect to become a world-class cook overnight, or build a nuclear reactor tomorrow if you just started to learn physics today. Be patient and keep your determination to learn and train and surely you’ll get better in time.

Once again, not everyone is born prodigy. But you don’t have to be one to be successful. Some people became successful very late in their lives. Colonel Sanders started his franchise business in his sixties. Albert Einstein had a speech difficulties in his childhood.

4. Sow the right seed on the right ground

Don’t try to grow Durians in Chicago. Durian is a tropical fruit that will stop growing when the average daily temperatures drop below 22 °C. So if you really really need to grow it there, you’ll need extra efforts, like building a greenhouse. Or grow evergreen plants instead.

So if you’ve trying hard to learn and pick up some skills but you still feel that you’re not improving much, then maybe it’s not your ground. You’ve been learning cooking day and night for the past few years, but your cooking still taste bad. Then maybe you’re not born to cook. Try something else. Or if you really want to cook regardless the fact that you’re not talented, you can get more professional help such as taking cooking courses instead of just learning only from books.

Sometimes, you still want to be able to grow Durians although you live in Chicago. Although there are workarounds for this, you won’t get an optimal result. Just because some people regard Durians as the king of fruit, it doesn’t mean everyone will appreciate it. Some will even hate it, either the taste, the look, or the odor. So be creative and open-minded. You may have great potential talents deep inside you, waiting for you to uncover them.

Not everyone has to be a businessman, or a politician, or a musician, or a scientist. Just because some people think geniuses should be good at math, it doesn’t apply to everyone. Just because people think that medical career promises fame and wealth doesn’t mean that everyone should become a doctor.

There are a lot of geniuses. Some are geniuses in business, some in science, some in language, some in social skills, some in kindness, some in teaching, some in philanthropy, some in sincerity, some in honesty, some in relationship, some in intelligence, some in diligence, and a lot of other qualifications that people can be geniuses in.

Maybe not all kind of skills can make you rich. Being kind and philanthropist many times even cost you money. But successfulness is not only measured by how much money you can earn in life. You don’t have to be rich to become successful. But don’t ignore your potential just because you or others think that it’s not a money-making skill. Appreciate it, improve it, and maintain it. Sometimes you never know when you will need your hidden talents. And if you’ve neglected it, you can only regret when you realize that you actually need it.

5. Focus on certain types of plants instead of trying to plant all of the kind

Your ground and time are not limitless. You don’t have the time to plant all kind of seeds and your ground can only hold so much. So if you try to plant to many seeds, you will harvest a little of everything. It’s usually better to harvest a lot of one thing.

So if you want to pick up a lot of skills, you will end up learning those only on the surface. You will know a lot things but not actually understand them. It’s good to know a lot of things, but you still need to be very good at something — not only know — to be regarded as an outstanding (above average) person. Focus on one or two things you really like or you think you have a good potential in. Being a specialist can distinct you from others.

6. Ask for God’s guidance and blessing

You have planted all your seeds. You take care of them everyday. But it doesn’t rain for months. It’s so dry that you can water your seeds enough. The weather has been so bad, and pests are coming like flood. You can do anything to salvage your plants. You realize, a man can only do so much. You need the divine intervention.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t go against God’s purposes. No matter how hard you train your body, you can still get sick, grow old, and die. No matter how skillful you are, you can’t live without God’s blessing. You have to realize, that everything in the world is not eternal. And everything is in the mercy of the Lord. So not only you have to work hard, you have to maintain a good relationship with God to receive the divine guidance and blessing.

7. After harvesting, sow again

So your seeds have grown and fruitful. You happily enjoy your harvest. Then you stop working. Can you expect another harvest? You have to continue working, continue sowing, continue maintaining, in order for you to continue harvesting.

Even if you already master the skills you want. You will still need to continue sharpening and using it. Otherwise it will become dull.

EF Sucks

I went to EF at Delta Plaza Surabaya this morning to get my TOEFL test report. Shirley also asked me to get hers. Actually, she had been there on Monday but the report had not been prepared yet. The staff asked her to come back in one or two days.

I arrived there at about 9.30 AM. There were two receptionists at the guest room. A young woman and an older man. The woman was an IBC. She got a clear and white skin. Not that beautiful but pretty interesting. The man has a darker skin, a typical Indonesian. But I believe he ain’t a Javanese. His accent was rather different I can tell. The man was occupied so the woman got to serve me. Lucky me :p. Heck, not that lucky. I explained to her that I needed my test report. But she didn’t know anything about it. Gosh, I had to wait for the man who was likely in charge there.

Tick, tick, tick… Time was ticking away. The man had not ended his conversation with his guests yet. I started to feel impatient. I looked at the wall clock. Wow, there were three clocks. Each pointed a different time. Uh huh. I see, there were writings below each clock. The top clock showed the Surabaya’s time. The middle London’s and the last Boston’s. Do they really need to show the London’s and Boston’s time? Maybe they only want to look cool.

Oh finally the man finished his business. He moved to the table in front of me. Blech, I really hate to repeat my statements. But I did tell him that I needed to get my test report. He didn’t have it. He made a phone call to ask somebody about my test report. He told me then that the report had not been ready yet. He asked me to come back tomorrow. What the… I almost lost my temper. I said to him–in a raised tone–that it wasn’t the first time they asked me to come back again. Okay it wasn’t me. Shirley was the one who tried to get the report on Monday but what’s the difference? I insisted to get the report at that moment or else had them sent my report to the office today.

He seemed a bit confused. He made another phone call. He asked his mate about how was the report. Then he tried to create one. That’s better. I could wait. Gees, he was slow. Waiting impatiently makes everything seems slow.

Finally he finished the report. I asked him to make 4 copies of each. Mine and Shirley’s. Ha ha. I got him. The other staff told me the other day, that he could only make a copy of the report. I need to make a photocopy of it if I want more copies. But in that situation, I don’t think he had the guts to refuse my request. And he did make every single copy I need. I even asked a glassed envelope for each copy of the report. It made eight envelopes. I realize I’ve gone too far, but that time, I really wanted every second I wasted to be compensated. By the way, I am really disappointed about EF service. I mean it is a big company. They should know how to serve their customers well, shouldn’t they?

The TOEFL Test, A Cinderella Story, and The Bourne Identity

Today I had a TOEFL test with Shirley W. at EF Delta Plaza Surabaya at around 9 AM. I needed to take the test as a requirement for the ADS scholarship I am applying. But I was so sleepy I sent her a message that I would be late. Just before I left my house at 9.30 AM, my grannie told me that she had run out of money and inquired if my dad had sent her some. My mom did say to me that she had transfer the fund to my bank account but I needed to withdraw it from an ATM. So I went to the nearest ATM, got the money, and gave it to my grannie. Damn another delay. I arrived at EF at about 10.15 AM. I saw a girl seating in front of the building. I thought I had met her before but I couldn’t remember who she was. The heck, I was so in hurry I passed her. Shirley had begun the test the moment I entered the office. Fortunately I was allowed to catch up.

I entered the test room. A small room containing about ten Hewlett-Packards computers. I sat beside Shirley and the officer allowed me to begin my test. The first part was a writing test, but the officer told me to skip it and went throgh the second. It was a listening test. I put my headset on and started listening. Damn I was so screwed. I forgot that was an English test. I neither take it seriously nor listen carefully the first conversation. I didn’t understand even a sentence. I really needed a luck for that.

Okay forget it, let’s go to the second conversation. I listened very very carefully to the next questions and I could do them well enough. Although the discussions mostly took place in a classroom or a college, they varied and the topics were pretty entertaining: literary, physics, astronomy, math, the roman history, and the regular campus life. After about ten or more conversations, the second section was ended.

The third section was my favorite, the structure. I didn’t need to listen to any lengthy conversation nor read multi-paragraphs passages. I only read the sentences one by one and picked the right answer for each question. Gosh, I thought it was easy. But my last English class was well four years ago. Some uncommon structures forced me to think pretty hard and wasted my time. Screw me, the time ran out but I hadn’t finish all the third section’s questions yet.

I continued to the last section: Reading. It was boring since I had to read through some passages before I could answer any question. Anyway, it ain’t a big deal since I could finished the whole test in about an hour. I even finished much earlier than Shierly did although she started the test before me. I even got a slightly higher mark. My final mark was 223, higher than the minimum requirement for the scholarship (170). Thanks God. But Shirley seemed to be a bit upset with her score when he finally came out of the test room. Soon, the girl I saw earlier outside EF came in and asked Shirley’s result. I eventually remembered. She was Cimot (can’t remember her real name), a friend of Shirley. She accompanied Shirley there.

After the test, the three of us had our lunch at Mc. Donald’s. We chatted a bit while we were eating. Some times later, Cimot saw her boyfriend passing by and she went to him. After a while she returned to our table. After finishing our lunch, I headed back to the parking lot while Shirley and Cimot went to Cimot’s boyfriend’s mobile phone shop. I stopped by Flash Disc to rent some VCDs and DVDs. No interesting new titles were available. But I got A Cinderella Story and The Bourne Identity.

Hilary Duff is Cinderella

A Cinderella Story was another modern version of the classic Cinderella story. Hilary Duff once leaved only with her Dad. Her dad was her bestfriend and vice versa. Her dad ran a successful eating place. Things were good until her dad married a woman with two daughters. She got a new stepmother and two older sisters. Anyway she was happy for her daddy. Until a tragic earthquake killed her dad.

Then things changed drastically. Her stepmother took all her dad’s belongings and started to treat Hilary as a mere servant. She must now serve her stepmother as well as her two annoying stepsisters. I won’t tell the rest of the story since it is very easy to guess. It closely resemble the classic Cinderella only without the magical things. Simple plots, average actors’ performances, and great soundtracks performed by Hilary Duff herself. I only rent this movie because she is currently one of my favorite celebrities. She’s hot and she has a sweet angel voice. One of the soundtracks is familiar to me. It’s “Come Clean” performed by Hilary Duff.

The Bourne Identity

The story began with some sailors in a fishing ship. One day, they found a human body floating in the sea. They picked him up and he was still alive. Unfortunately, the man couldn’t remember who he was, what he was doing, where he was heading, and what was happening to him. He got amnesia. The only clue was a bullet burried under his skin that contained a Swiss bank account number. Soon after landing, he headed to Swiss. One night when he was sleeping at a park bench, two guards asked him to leave. He was upset and beat them up. He was surprised knowing that he had the martial art skill.

Upon arriving at the bank, the officer let him access his storage consisting a large amount of money, a gun, and many passports with his picture on it. He had the US passport with the name Jason Bourne along with other nations’ passports. French, Brazil, Italy, and UEA to name some of them. He got even more confused. He took all the money and the passports with him but he left the gun. And Jason Bourne’s journey to find his true identity was started. The movie was packed with some cool actions of CIA agents trying to eliminate Jason Bourne. Matt Damon performed well as Jason Bourne. I like the story as well as the actions. By the way, it had a sequel already on theaters, The Bourne Supremacy. Hopefully I can watch it soon.