Monday, August 20, 2012

A Hard Lesson in Life

I've been studying constantly for the MCAT (Medical College Acceptance Test in North America) since I've returned early from the Olympics. It's been quite stressful as I've been out of school for so long. The time is running out and my exam date is coming soon. I'm not too worried though, as I will be able to take it again should I not be satisfied with my mark. However, that will take more studying and of course, more money.

Perhaps I'm stressed out and burnt out from studying a good 5 hours a day for the past 2 weeks, but I've come to a simple realization in how this entire process relates to life, at least my life anyway. I've seen many people so ambitious with their lives, and that is great usually, but I also see that it's that desire to go 'against all odds' and trying to do things their own way; trying to do it all themselves. I see this with many people in badminton especially, doing things on their own and trying to attain their own goals, whatever they may be. Reflecting on that, it seems like I have made the same error, as I have decided to self study for the MCAT. I know I probably wouldn't have been able to attend the classes regularly anyway, but I didn't feel like throwing away $1700.00 for a course. I can practically take the MCAT five times and have another $500 for prep materials. However, that would be the quickest fix in the shortest amount of time. Being personally instructed and guided would have saved time for sure. With the MCAT, I still have a year to pull off a satisfying mark, but there will be a lot more trial and error, most certainly of the latter if I continue to keep doing things myself. As independent as I may seem to be, I believe I have lived most of my life trying to follow people and learn from them as much as I can instead of figuring things out for myself. That way I can do more in life, instead of learning things the hard way. I would much rather spend the time in researching how things are done by finding the right resources or asking the right people, instead of getting that feeling of accomplishment one gets from solving something on their own. I know some people thrive on that feeling but it's definitely not for me.

With that said, I will do what I can this Thursday when I write my MCAT, though I do have low expectations. I don't know how much more I can cram into my head these next few days, but with my car breaking down again, the added stress is getting unbearable. It would be nice to get a few days off, after the exam before school starts... so I guess I'm looking forward to that. However, the things I've neglected to do because of studying for the MCAT will probably pile up. Oh well, such is life...

So the lesson of this blog is to consider learning from the mistakes of others, as it will save you a lot of time to do it exactly the same way and fail yourself. You can convince yourself that you may be different that the others, and if that is the case, I will tell you that every testimonial you hear from other people regarding anything should then be ignored, because it will be different for you. And if you do listen to me, it doesn't hurt to try things out once in a while, because you have to know where you stand.

Good luck.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

True Humility

I think I wrote this in June 2012, while I was training in Korea before the Olympics. Context is actually quite significant with regards to content... for example, if you had a depressed phase and everything you write is a little ominous, it doesn't mean you feel the same way ALL THE TIME. What is written here doesn't apply all the time, but rather in a state of frustration. The words are meant to get you out of a darker place. It's tough if you only look at the absolutes, because people start at different scales, but if you track relative changes, then there is always hope...

There is no correct way, just ways that are more effective than others. Maybe your way can be very effective, maybe it can even be the most effective at the moment, but nothing is ever set for eternity and a new technique may emerge, thus rendering your methods still effective, but not the most effective anymore.

Now what happens when you see others struggling with their own methods? Maybe they don't know any better; maybe they are stubborn; maybe they just don't understand it the way you do? Teaching others is always a gamble, because you need to invest your time and resources. Before helping others, you must personally decide if it is worth your time and effort to help them. Why teach if your advice will fall on deaf ears? If they don't want your help, then there isn't much you can do. Even if they NEED your help, it will not be effective if they don't want to make the change. People can change, but a major condition is that they have to WANT to make the change. If they do not want to change, then they will remain the same.

Perhaps you have something you are particularly good at. You have a very good sense of it and you can find success more often that others. Maybe others try to pursue your talent as well, but they are fumbling, having much more difficulty than you do. You may try to guide them along and help them get to at least where you are at, but it seemingly is more of a stressor, as there are others who may not wish to learn. Isn't this a form of disrespect? Sure they may have high standards, but who are they to disregard your point of view in a subject that you are knowledgeable about? It's different if you didn't have such an ability in your particular talent, but because you do, it feels awkward. You can see their errors and you can understand why things may go wrong for them because you understand the game much better. Though it may only be your perspective, it should still be a valid one.

If this continues, it's really easy to disregard others, especially those who are obviously inferior. You put your selflessness on the line by trying to help them out, but they shut you down, blinded by their own quest for glory... they truly want that autonomy to do it themselves. Over time, contempt grows, where you become agitated when they can't succeed at the small things; they never do as well as they want to and you know exactly why. But since they don't want to listen, they must think they're better than you. Otherwise, they are simply faking it. They claim they want to be good at it, but their actions speak differently. They're distracted and they have no passion for the process. They only value the odd experiences and getting the label. In other words, they only value getting named to the team, getting those benefits, but there is little pursuit in the ultimate mastery of your craft.

There is so much frustration in the end. It keeps being bottle up and harnessed, with the odd fits of rage now and then to release some of that pent up anger. To make things worse, people you rant to tell you to have patience. Have patience for others who aren't as good as you. Respect other people for trying, respect those who are less fortunate. But... but but but but but, there are so many 'but's that it is driving you crazy. 'But they don't respect me', 'but they don't listen to me', 'but they don't even care, they just enjoy whatever limelight they get'... and the truth is, it's very true. Some people have a lower level of contentment; they just enjoy the moment and live day to day. Some even live for a big moment and live their life around that one moment. And there are some, maybe similar to you, that strive for achievement. Not so much for money or fame, but a personal level of success. Personal achievement, let's say. It's a hunger that needs to be fed and it is very irritable when you have to deal with other people who don't understand, or don't want to understand. However, maybe that's just the way it is...

And that is the way it is, because it is more or less an ultimate form of humility. Being thankful for your God-given abilities that you may have personally worked so hard for, but at least you did the right things most of the time. You have had your ups and downs as well, so that respect for the inferior people or people who don't care, is more or less humility. To be truly humble for your abilities is tough, but it can be done... only if you want to. In the long run, progress is hindered if people aren't working to their full efficiency. To treat people the way they deserved to be treated usually doesn't end well because a lot of people deserve nothing at all. I'm not saying that you need to be a doormat, not even close, but to understand that you always have the control over the situation. Maybe the outcome might not be the way you envisioned it, but if you can make the best out of that one particular moment, your odds are definitely highest if you are willing to work it out. You need to make the change, be a leader in a way, of your own emotions and decisions. Take the high road all the time that leads to the greatest route for success. Even though it may feel good to destroy someone, it will not be good if it hinders progress. However, if they are directly your competition, there is no need to hold back, but don't go overboard as well. There is no need to demoralize your opponents, because the best way is to show them your undying confidence that you are the better one in that situation. With persistence, they will break before you and they already know it.

Some last words to finish up... be yourself and focus on the best course of action to progress to your desired outcome. Though you may not win all the time, you will still come out on top of your demons. Be humble, because you can't know for sure if your methods are the most effective at that given time. Adapt to your situation and succeed... because that's what the true masters of your particular talents do.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2012 Summer

Wow, it's been a while, as things were piling up significantly ever since I left to train in Korea in May/June. I kept getting swamped about doing media things, studying, and miscellaneous stuff aside from my training, so I apologize for not writing blog updates as much as I used to. I don't really believe in the brief Facebook status on my Facebook Page, so that's probably why I still haven't signed up for Twitter. I'm all for one-liners, but usually they start trying to be too witty and then the humour isn't understood by everyone, or some people take offense to it... clearly, I've thought this through a few times :)

Well, let's highlight things from June, in point form. If you really want, you can pretend each point is a Twit :) (Edit: upon reading each supposed 'Twit', they start looking more like paragraphs... whoops)

- Trained for 3 weeks in June at the Won Kwang University, in Iksan, South Korea, under the guidance of both Kim Dong Moon, and head coach Choi Jung. I had the chance to train with the University Team there and I am very much grateful for all their help and assistance with their sparring, considering that it's just a men's team. Imagine having to play Doubles against a Mixed Team for 3 weeks. So... yeah, thank you everyone!

- Came back for a short week and then went to Los Angeles for the 2012 US Open Grand Prix Gold at the Orange County Badminton Club. Great tournament, not so great shopping this year (because I still have stuff I bought and haven't worn from the same tournament 6 years ago haha), but a good result overall, missing out on the finals by losing 21-19 in the third! However, to be honest, I'm just happy we made it out against Chinese Taipei in the Quarterfinal, coming back from a 16-20 deficit in the 3rd as well o__O All footage can be found on my YouTube Channel, featuring my matches and some other Canadian players, including Adrian Liu, Nyl Yakura, Christin Tsai, and Phyllis Chan.

- Canada Open was the week after, at the Richmond Oval. Thank you for all those who came out to support, and it was great having everyone cheering for us for once instead of it being the other way around usually :P Especially since I almost lost first round against the same Chinese Taipei team again, but miraculously, we came back and won in the 3rd set, from 16-20 again. However, it was a lot more close this time, but maybe because CBC - The National was filming. Maybe all our Olympic luck was wasted on these two matches against Chinese Taipei :P Pai Hsiao Ma did say to me, "20-16 I hate you!" but we got a photo together at the end, so we're cool now :P

Picture by Buzz Booth!
- After the Canada Open, we flew as a group to London for a pre-Olympic camp organized by Badminton Canada and some of Badminton England, working with Andy Wood (Nathan Robertson's coach) and other players in Derbyshire, including Donna Kellogg, Robin Middleton, and Heather Olver. It was kind of cool at first and everything, as we were to do an exhibition against Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms (2004 Olympic Silver Medalists in Mixed Doubles), but stuff started happening, people got sick, and my memory magically starts fading... now. But hold that thought, I would like to thank all the players, coaches, and support staff that took the time to help us out and making a nice trip to Derby, as it is a lovely town and really had nothing to do with that... sickness, which I now remember that I'm supposed to forget about...

- Finally, the last stretch, we made it into Wembley. We stayed there for the duration of the trip and didn't get a chance to live at the village for those who left early, me included. The village was very cool, so much stuff I really didn't get to see, but I had at least a chance to see a bit of it during Opening Ceremonies and on my last day in London in which I skipped out on an epic Men's Singles final. I was quite disappointed, because I thought they would play the match last, instead of the Men's Doubles last, but I was also hoping for a Korea vs. China Men's Doubles final, which I probably would have made it back to watch... maybe :P All in all, I got a chance to explore a little and took the Underground from Wembley Park to Statford, where the Olympic Park was. I don't really have too much else to say about my Olympic experience aside from everything already on my Facebook Page, but I would really like to thank all those who supported my journey and took the time to meet me or even post on my Facebook Page. I try to respond to everyone I can, because I don't feel like anyone special as I don't like to think of it that way. I'm just a guy motivated to do his own thing and I really do appreciate those who support me and I would like to thank you all for doing that :) The Olympics was exceptional and I'm proud to compete for Canada and I'm so grateful for getting to live in such a wonderful country. Final words for my Olympic experience... 'BRUUUUUUUUCE LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII' hahaha

So... What's next?
Well, at least for the summer, I am or I hope to be studying full-time for the MCAT (Medical College Acceptance Test) as my test date is on August 23rd, leaving not too much time left (16 days). Although I have covered most of the material, though I do need review in... most parts, it does feel pretty good as I don't know how many exams I've written and I've already covered all the material already hahahaha... well, guess it's a new chapter in life and I need to get back into school mode. Nothing beats getting into school mode that signing up for the MCAT. Don't try this at home.

As for Badminton, I'm not terribly sure, but I hope to play until August 2014. Two more years of this brilliant and stressful sport. I think I will stick to Mixed Doubles, as neither my reflexes or stamina will last me for Men's Doubles or especially Men's Singles, but be sure to see me in the odd tournament, attempting to play all 3, maybe matching up with my brother again. I'm not too sure what he's doing but all he wants me to do right now is yell out 'BONNY' and 'SKINETEX'... whatever that badminton equipment or sports tape you happen to come buy... err, I mean come by. I will definitely be doing some coaching again and you will soon be able to take lessons with me if you're in the Vancouver/Richmond area, most likely at ClearOne Badminton. However, don't fret just yet, I hope to work with Badminton BC and other Provincial Organizations when events come up, as I would definitely like to give back to all of Canada. Maybe even Pan America, hahahaha who knows where things will go? All I really know is I have 2 years left to play, so I'm really eyeing a 2014 Commonwealth Games medal, and who knows how far I will get in my final World Championships ;)

Thanks for visiting! Until next time :)