This Is One Example How Life Always Has Enough Lemons to Throw

I am that kind of person who is trying so hard to always stay happy no matter how rough things get in my life. Just like this proverb says, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

It’s always easier said than done though. There is always that unpredictable event, happening over and over, that eventually makes happiness seems impossible. And here is one good example how hard it is to have just one happy day when life throws you a lot of lemonades in a row.

A few weeks ago, I was so excited to finally have a few days off from work. It’s not that I hate my job, it’s just that I’ve been working very hard in the past 6 months. Not to mention it was my first vacation after starting my new job with my current employer. I was hoping that upcoming long weekend would be able to recharge my energy.

The day before my vacation went smoothly in the beginning. I woke up early, almost finished packing my clothes to my luggage, I had a great morning laughing with my colleagues, and I also had a very delicious lunch at Fish & Co with some of them. And then after that decent lunch, something annoying happened to me.

My colleagues and I left Senayan City heading back to the office after having that delicious lunch at Fish & Co. We took a taxi; just one taxi for 5 of us. It was wrong, I know, but I thought it should be fine as long as we paid more to the driver (I already planned to pay him two times the meter). I just wanted all of us to go back to the office immediately and that one taxi was the only option we had that noon.

Apparently, the driver was not happy having 5 passengers in his cab. He could just say it out loud and clear, but he decided to harass us with inappropriate jokes instead! He asked one of us to sit on his lap, repeatedly. I was so angry I decided not to say a word. I really wanted to pullover and left that cab but then it would make the situation even more awkward for my team. So I could only stay silent in that cab and apparently, that driver was not happy with my silence (I sat on the front seat, right next to him). That impolite driver asked me over and over why I stayed quiet but of course, I stayed quiet anyway. When we arrived, I handed over the money, I slammed the door, and I walked away.

I told myself, “This should NOT ruin my good day!”

I spent the next few hours in the office hoping that I could go home early that day (by early, I meant 6 PM sharp instead of a long night like I usually had). Right at 6 PM, I packed my bag and I went home… still feeling excited for my upcoming trip!

But then another lemon was thrown at me. Just a few seconds after I sat on the cab that was taking me home, I received a phone call that made me realize that I was just trapped in a very difficult position between two groups of people who were equally important to me. I spent the next two hours on the phone, I let the food I ordered online got cold, and all that I could do that night was just escalating their problems to some other people whom I know for sure could handle that problem better than I did.

I felt a bit relieved and I continued eating my cold noodle quickly so that I could finish packing my clothes to my luggage. I was still very excited to go on with my family trip, imagining that I was gonna meet my nephew and niece very soon, but then again, life threw me another lemon that night.

Someone texted me and I instantly knew another bad thing just happened to me. Just like before, I was trapped in another difficult position that night. I tried to help, but then this person who texted me ended up scolding me just because I stood up for the person he hated. He asked me through his texts to take side and I just couldn’t take his side because the way I saw it, he was the bad guy in that office war. He was upset and he told me all the things he should never say to me in the first place. I started to get angry, he started to get panic knowing that I was upset to him, he called me over the phone, and he said he was sorry for saying all those things to me in his texts.

After that phone call, I told myself, “Life threw me a lot of lemons just in a day!” Just three horrible events in a day, but they were way more than enough to kill all the joy and excitement I felt inside. The phone calls have stopped but I just knew that all those problems had not been totally resolved that night. Soon after coming back from my trip, I would be coming back to all those uncomfortable situations. It was such a buzz killer, wasn’t it?

With that being said, no matter how angry and upset I was, it was totally wrong if I let my bad mood ruin the whole trip. I didn’t want to make my families felt uncomfortable with my bad mood. It was none of their fault anyway. So there I chose to ignore all those problems for a while and I’m so glad that I did that! It was definitely one of the greatest trips I’ve ever had! Nice hotel, great foods, decent pictures to come home with, and not to mention, I got to spend a great time with my big families all over that long weekend! It was that kind of trip that made me feel even more grateful for all I have.

Life will always give us reasons to be upset and sometimes, we don’t even have any control over it. Troubles could just happened out of nowhere and even a total stranger can ruin our good days too. No matter how well we’ve been doing, s**t happens anyway. But well, no matter what happens, stay happy anyway. If the options are between having problem and get depressed or having problem and stay happy, I will always be more than happy to choose the latter one. Always.

If I Were Born Rich…

All these hypes about Crazy Rich Asian leads me to wonder… what if I were born rich? What if my parents could afford a fancy school abroad? What if I had a family business to inherit? And what if I grew up with many crazy rich Indonesians all my life?

When I was kid, I was a very lazy kid. I often got bad scores at school and I secretly hid my test results underneath the clothes in my closet. What even worse, I often went early to school just to copy my smart friends’ homeworks! No wonder if my parents were very upset with me back then. Not to mention I was also very lazy at home too. I hated doing dishes, cleaning up my room and all those domestic stuffs at home. My Mom often told me when she was angry, “You should grow up as a rich person, you know! Otherwise, you won’t be able to hire a helper to clean your room!”

It all changed little by little when I entered high school. I started to make a solid plan for my future (otherwise, as my Mom said, I would not survive my own miserable life!). And then in the college, I studied very hard and I managed to graduate with a very decent GPA. I started my career a few months before graduation and it went so well I couldn’t be more thankful for all achievements I’ve earned by far. Life has been great in the past one decade and I can tell that I’m one of the happiest persons I know.

Question now: would I be as accomplished and happy as I am right now if only I were born rich many years ago?

I honestly doubt that I could be the same person as I am right now if my parents were crazy rich. Why? It’s simply because I was born lazy!

Wanting to have a decent life, comfort bed to sleep, see the world, and wear a nice outfit was my greatest motivation in the first place. The only reason why I started to fight my laziness was to get myself the comfortable life I always wanted. That would never be the same if I already had all those privileges since I was a baby! I wonder what would be my life motivation after all.

It’s a lie if I tell you that I don’t envy what I saw in Crazy Rich Asian movie, but still, that movie doesn’t change the fact that I am grateful for not being born in a rich family. Telling people how I started my career from the scratch has always been my most favorite stories to tell! I’m not ashamed to tell people how poor I once was and how I worked day and night to turn my life to be a better place to live in. All those prides and satisfactions would never exist if only I were born rich 31 years ago.

Be thankful of who we are. We are who we are for a reason, and we are the only person who can make the most of out life path. It doesn’t matter to me how I was born, but it’s very important to me how I live my life, right now, as a grown up.

I hope… I really really hope… I can keep making myself feel proud of myself until the day I die, someday.

If You Ever Have a Self Doubt…

So many years ago, I met one guy who completely changed the way I live my life. My self acceptance, life direction, and even the way I perceive anything fundamental that surrounds me in life has completely changed. With that being said, all the hard works to transform myself was definitely just on me.

It was me who pushed myself to work harder, faster, and smarter. It was me who endured all the pains just to make all may dreams happen. And most importantly, it was me who worked so hard to fight my self doubts. I made peace with myself and I found my way to deal with my very own insecurities.

All these years I’ve been trying so hard to make many people I know to believe in themselves. Oftentimes, they fail to see how good they are somehow. I want them to see what I see but it was never easy to convince people to have some faith on themselves. Until at some point I realize… there’s nobody can change them but themselves.

That boy I met was just a beginning, and the long road I took to be where I am was merely my decision that lead me to “the ending”. I chose to be better and that was only because I chose to believe that I could be better. From all decisions I’ve ever made in life, that was the best of the best decisions of mine and not a second I regret that I decided to take that hard and long road in my life journey.

Hence if you ever have a great doubt on yourself, never ever wait and hope that somebody will come along to change you. Even if that somebody comes into your life, at the end of the day, there is nothing they can do to change you. The decision and the hard works after that decision should be made and done by yourself. Having that kind of person can even be such a burden if it ends up feeling like you fail them for believing in you.

What if you are totally unsure if you can do it? Oh well, fake it util you make it, remember? As shown in a Nike ad; “It’s only impossible until it’s done. Just do it!”

It’s NOT My Job to Be a Likable Boss at Work

A few days ago, I read an article about tips and tricks to be liked by subordinates at work and I asked myself, “Is it really important to be liked by everyone in my team?”

The way I see it, I was not hired to be their friends and to be liked or loved by each and everyone of them. It’s never been my job to be a likable boss in the office.

My job is to train them, to pass them the knowledge I’ve learned in the past 10 years.

My job is to develop the next generation of leaders at work, to build a solid and strong legacy in the Company.

My job is to support them and to stand up for them when they are wronged. They should never feel alone in their battles at work.

My job is to coach them and to let them know the mistakes they did so that they will be able to learn from those mistakes (it might make them hate me, but again, it’s not my job to make them like me).

And finally, my job is to make sure that they are well appreciated for their hard works and contributions. It’s not their job to ask for promotion, bonus, or salary adjustment that they deserve, it’s mine.

If somebody in my team hates me for doing the right thing, if they forget all the good things I’ve done for them just because I fail to entertain them, then it’s not me, it’s them. It might not come out pretty in the hard times, but sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures. Even with all those pressures and angers I throw, I’m just doing my job. And that is exactly my main job as a leader: lead my team to get the job done. And that’s that.

Rame-rame Bibit Unggul di Twitter

Ada kalanya, gue rajin buka Twitter. Ngecek trending topic-nya. Lalu gue pilih satu hashtag yang ingin gue baca. Setelah itu, selama puluhan menit lamanya, gue akan sibuk scroll down ke bawah merasa “tertantang” untuk menemukan thread aslinya, hehehehe.

Nah, hari ini sedang ramai hashtag #bibitunggul. Ceritanya tentang cewek bernama Fathya yang berkomentar usil di salah satu tweet animator yang rupanya punya banyak followers (baca: selebtwit). Komentar si Fathya ini emang agak tajam sih ya menurut gue. Ada unsur bercanda karena ada pakai emoticon di comment-nya itu, tapi memang isinya agak nyebelin (gue juga pasti bete kalo ada orang asing tetiba comment kayak gitu).

Si animator yang bersangkutan langsung membalas comment si cewek ini, sampai sini masih damai, sampai kemudian istri si animator ikutan komentar dan “nadanya” lebih ketus daripada suaminya itu. Dari sini ya ketebak, Fathya langsung panas dan membalas dengan kalimat yang terdengar galak (istilah jaman sekarang: langsung ngegas, hehe).

Lalu apa hubungannya thread ini dengan bibit unggul?

Jadi di tweet war itu, Fathya mengklaim bahwa dirinya adalah bibit unggul yang mendapatkan beasiswa pemerintah untuk sekolah di Jepang. Mulai dari situ, mulailah para followers animator dan istrinya beramai-ramai mem-bully Fathya yang mendadak tenar di Twitter hanya dalam waktu setengah hari saja itu… Kasus ini semakin ramai karena ada beberapa selebtwit lainnya yang ikut melibatkan diri dalam tweet war ini.

Setelah hampir dua jam membaca tweet war yang semakin panas itu, berikut ini isi random thoughts gue:

  1. Ternyata menjadi selebtwit itu asyik juga ya… bisa punya banyak fans loyal. Nggak perlu repot-repot bikin foto bagus kayak selebgram atau video keren kayak Youtuber aja sudah bisa dapat fans yang sebegitu loyalnya! Writing, even just in a micro blog, can be a power too!
  2. Ternyata ada cukup banyak selebtwit yang “too proud of themselves”. Salah satunya ada yang bilang supaya jangan macam-macam dengan selebtwit karena mereka punya ratusan ribu followers yang bisa bikin hiduplo kelar! Wow! Padahal gue bukan tipe orang yang menganggap semua selebgram itu tukang pamer (secara sebagian besar dari mereka memang sudah born rich), tapi gue malah jadi ngerasa beberapa selebtwit ini yang justru terlihat sombong hanya dari isi tulisannya saja. Gue sampe berpikir, sifat “bijaksana” yang berusaha mereka tunjukan itu kok kelihatan seperti kesombongan yang terselubung (you know… merendah untuk meninggikan diri sendiri);
  3. Di lain pihak, Fathya ini memang nyolot banget juga sih menurut gue. Ngakunya sudah minta maaf tapi isi permintaan maafnya itu juga sarkastik banget. Dia juga menulis “monmaap” dan bukan “mohon maaf” dalam kalimat sarkastiknya itu;
  4. Meski begitu, yang gue salut dari Fathya ini adalah sifat tahan bantingnya. Dikeroyok ratusan netizen tidak bikin dia langsung kunci akun Twitter-nya! Dia juga rajin membalas serangan netizen dengan tulisan yang enggak kalah nyolotnya, hehehe; dan
  5. Gimanapun gue setuju bahwa apa yang kita tulis di online media bisa jadi penghalang rezeki di masa yang akan datang. Sudah bukan rahasia di jaman sekarang ini, recruiter akan melakukan socmed check sebelum menerima seseorang bekerja di perusahaan ybs. Gue pribadi lebih memilih untuk tidak merekrut orang-orang yang gemar mengumbar kebencian di social media. Sangat disayangkan Fathya ini terus-terusan balas menyerang para netizen. Search engine akan menyimpan semua jejak digital itu dan meskipun Fathya sudah menghapus tweet-nya, dia tetap tidak bisa menghapus tweet yang ditulis orang lain lengkap dengan segala mention dan screenshot-nya.

Kesimpulannya? Kalau mau tenar, bisa coba sindir selebtwit langsung di akun mereka supaya followers mereka baca dan jadi kesal dan akhirnya jadi kenal sama kita, hehehehe. Cuma gara-gara kasus ini aja, si Fathya langsung dapat lebih dari 2,000 followers baru dalam sehari! Jadi sedih juga… gue banting tulang ngurusin IG bisnis gue (follow @thelenstory yaa!) dan baru sampe ke angka 5,000 followers setelah 10 bulan lamanya 😦

Mungkin memang benar bahwa Fathya ini sebegitu pintarnya, tapi harusnya tidak usah sampai sebegitu sombongnya juga. Sepintar apapun dan setinggi apapun prestasi yang pernah dia capai, nyolotnya Fathya di socmed betulan bisa menjadi penghalang rezeki buat dia. Fathya bilang di salah satu tweet-nya soal dia aslinya humble dan recruiter jangan langsung percaya dengan ujaran netizen begitu saja, but who knows?

Social media war pada akhirnya hanya akan merugikan diri kita sendiri. Orang lain akan perlahan lupa, tapi jejak yang ditinggalkan akan berdampak negatif pada profil diri kita sendiri, untuk selama-lamanya…

So again… be wise, okay?

There Might Be a Little Truth Behind The Office Rumors

Sebagai orang yang sering dijadikan bahan gosip di kantor manapun gue pernah bekerja 7 tahun belakangan ini, gue lebih memilih untuk bersikap netral saat mendengar gosip yang beredar di dunia kerja. Reaksi gue hanya, “Oh ya?” atau “Ooh…” atau “I see.”

Gue tidak mau langsung percaya dengan apa yang gue dengar karena biasanya, segala ucapan yang hanya berani diucapkan di belakang orang yang bersangkutan tidak terjamin kebenarannya. Bisa jadi dilebih-lebihkan, bisa jadi 100% fitnah, bisa juga hanya sekedar ujaran kebencian yang didasari rasa iri dan dengki saja.

Sepintas memang tidak ada yang salah dari cara berpikir gue itu, sampai suatu hari, gue kena batunya. Tiga kali berturut-turut pula! Orang yang tetap gue percaya terlepas dari segala gosip miring yang menimpa mereka ternyata benar serigala berbulu domba.

It’s scary, isn’t it?

Niatnya ingin berprasangka baik, eh, yang ada malah gue yang kena getahnya!

Sejak itu, tiap kali mendengar gosip kantor, gue tidak lagi langsung menganggap gosip itu sebagai angin lalu. Sikap gue di awal tetap netral, tapi kabar yang beredar itu akan gue jadikan input untuk menghadapi orang yang bersangkutan. Gue tetap tidak akan membiarkan pendapat orang lain langsung menjadi pendapat gue pribadi tanpa disaring dan divalidasi terlebih dulu, tapi setidaknya, gue harus bersikap waspada. Hal ini penting terutama jika kita duduk di kursi pimpinan di kantor kita masing-masing. Kerusakan yang ditimbulkan satu saja bad employee betul-betul bisa merusak performa tim secara keseluruhan. Jika gosipnya bersifat pribadi, soal orang yang suka ganti-ganti pacar misalnya, selama hal itu tidak menganggu performa dia di dunia kerja, itu bisa kita abaikan saja. Tapi jika gosipnya sudah berhubungan dengan pekerjaan itu sendiri, maka sudah sepatutnya kita bersikap waspada. Gosip kantor pun, jika kita “manfaatkan” dengan cara yang benar, bisa membantu kita untuk mengelola perusahaan dengan lebih baik.

Sometimes, gossip is the way this universe warn you to stay alert because the chances are, there is a little truth behind every rumor we heard.

Jack Ma dan Rencana Pensiunnya

Hampir dua tahun yang lalu, gue pernah mengkuti townhall meeting dengan Jack Ma di kantor Lazada Singapura. Jack Ma yang perawakannya kecil tetapi bisa menyihir begitu banyak orang hanya dengan kharismanya saja. Saat Jack Ma mulai bicara, ruangan yang tadinya sangat riuh langsung berubah menjadi sunyi senyap. Bule-bule Eropa dan Amerika yang bekerja di Lazada pun tampak sangat menganggumi dan menaruh respect kepada sosok Jack Ma.

Mendengar Jack Ma berbicara langsung di depan gue sudah jadi pengalaman yang tidak terlupakan buat gue. Apalagi waktu itu, gue diberikan front seat oleh kantor dan juga diberikan kepercayaan untuk menjadi satu dari lima orang yang diperkenankan untuk mengajukan pertanyaan kepada Jack Ma dan timnya. Baru sekali itu saja, gue merasa luar biasa gugup hanya karena mengajukan satu pertanyaan ke orang lain!

Jack Ma ini sudah menjadi salah satu role model gue khususnya dalam kapasitas gue sebagai pengusaha kecil-kecilan. Jack Ma memberikan harapan bahwa siapapun bisa mendulang sukses dalam hidupnya. Gue bukan anak orang kaya, bukan lulusan kampus ternama, bukan lulusan luar negeri, tidak pernah bekerja di luar negeri juga, tidak pernah pula bekerja di top consulting firm, tapi gue optimis, insyaallah gue akan bisa perlahan-lahan mewujudkan cita-cita dan impian gue.

Jika Allah memberikan gue usia yang cukup panjang, saat pensiun nanti, gue ingin pensiun seperti Jack Ma pensiun dari karier-nya:

  1. Beliau pensiun meninggalkan warisan yang membanggakan;
  2. Beliau pensiun setelah mendidik begitu banyak pekerja di Alibaba Group; dan
  3. Beliau pensiun dalam keadaan finansial yang bukan cuma akan mampu mencukupi kebutuhan sisa hidupnya, tapi juga tetap mampu untuk mendonasikan hasil kerjanya untuk kegiatan amal yang bermanfaat untuk masyarakat luas.

What can be better than that kind of retirement?

Congratulation for your retirement, Jack Ma! It was a pride to me that I was once a part of your empire even just for a while and even just as a little part of it. Thanks for the inspiration and I wish nothing but the best for you. Have a great life ahead!