Welcome to Sharudin Jamal Blogspot

More than two decades ago, I was diagnosed of having a peculiar illness known as Bipolar Affective Disorder. My world as I knew it crumbled; I lost my business, then my job and later my sense of purpose. It was during this dark moments I rediscovered the joy of running and writing. Most of the articles here are about my rekindled pleasure of hitting the tarmac, my coming to terms with the illness and my discovery of the meaning of life.

I always on the lookout for inspirations to write in these three areas with the hope that they will shed new ray of hope to others who are in the same position as I am.

Do keep in touch if you feel connected through these essays.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Rules of the Game

There are games and there are rules.  The rules of the games were established as a guideline for us to be successful in a particular game that we play.  A game of cards, for example, has a certain set of rules for the players to establish the game in order to win.  Failure to comply means a certain penalty will be imposed.  In a way, rules are a set of conditions set for a person to function within a paradigm.  Some rules like a game of chess are very rigid while others like tv program Survivor are a bit loose.

Since very young, we were told to play according to the rules.  At home, our parents set the do and don't in order for us to behave accordingly.  Failure to adhere may lead for us being punished or reprimanded.  Throughout our lives, we were told to obey rules or else face the consequences.

It is safe to say then that those who abide by the rules will eventually be winners in life.  After all, compliance means acceptance.  In the society, that means one less a rebel or a troublemaker.  What can go wrong?  There is, however, a danger to compliance and that is conformity.  When a person conforms, he forgoes the ability to act independently.  In other words, he is forfeiting his liberation as an individual and accepts other's rule at the de facto.  This may be helpful in the case of dealing with the law, for example.  But when it comes to cornering a market or moving up the corporate ladder, the situation might not be the same.

We often heard of game changers and paradigm shifters.  These are the people who play with a new set of rules in order to move forward.  Among the many, Albert Einstein was labeled a rebel and a creator.  He is willing to challenge the Newtonian physics to prove that the Law of Gravity deteriorates when the mass gets too big or the objects move too fast.  This scenario happens because rules work most of the time but not necessarily all the time.  To conforms means to be right most of the time but we must bear in mind that there are exceptions.  If we conform all the time we will not be able to seize the opportunity to be the early pioneers.  End up, we are left with remnants when the dust settles.

Let's look at the game of life.  Very often we were told that in order to be successful we must follow certain preset conditions and move along the groove.  We went to school, complete our studies, join the workforce and move up the hierarchy.  This is fine if you are looking for a steady life and not wanting to rock the boat.  However, if you want to be a fast-tracker or your own boss, the situation may be different.  Firstly, you got to know there are many players and not all are playing according to the game.  In the office, there are back-stabbers, rumor mongers, apple-polishers and people who are jealous of you.  These people may hinder your progress even though you play by the rules.

In situations where you have to deal with those who don't comply, you can have several options at hand.  The first one is to cry foul.  That is direct confrontation.  This approach normally works if you are backed with solid facts and evidence.   That give you an upper hand in dealing with the situation objectively.  Another way is playing according to the new parameter.  If you can't beat them, join them.  This is more subtle and insidious.  By snaking yourself around the bush, you then be seen as a player yourself.  However, there is a third option.  In a situation of fight or flight, there is flow.  Flow means you set your own rhythm and respond accordingly to the situation.  This philosophy is commonly practiced in Aikido, whereby the practitioner uses the opponent's force against himself.  It is different from the term "Taichi" used in the Malaysian context, which really means aversion.

As we familiarize ourselves with the rules of the game, let us not forget that recently a total of 118 of the 389-strong Russian Olympic team were banned from competing in the 2016 Summer Olympic.  All because a few track and field athletes were caught using performance enhancing drugs which were government-sponsored.  The lesson here is very important.  While it is OK to break rules to expand the boundaries, illegal means to achieve the objective is a high price to pay.  In playing the game, the end does not justify the means.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Power of Choice

We have within us a slumbering power.  Power, that if awakens will amaze even the mildest among us.  That is the power of choice.  Actually without realizing, we exercise this power every day.  In some countries, this is known as the Dollar Vote.  Every time we spend our money, we decide which vendors deserve to serve us and which don't.  This is the basis of the freedom of choice.

On an esoteric level, the freedom of choice depicts our freedom to think and then make a choice.  This includes the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression.  Freedom of speech is just an ideology, but a powerful one indeed.  Without freedom of speech, we will not have the freedom of expression.  These two establish the pillars of human freedom in most developed countries.  We, in Malaysia are seeing more of these privileges emerging in many areas particularly in religion and politics.

The power of choice is the power to think and act.  It comes in many forms.  But the simplest manifestation is what is known as the Personal Power.  This expression of power can be attained through personal mastery.  We have to know how to set our goals in life and have a method to attain them.  Personal mastery takes a life long journey of self-knowledge and self-acceptance.

Often the word "Power to the People," is used to express the thinking of the masses.  This, however, is expressed by the once every four years general election.  While it is crucial we vote to elect our representatives, that should not hinder us from doing good and forbidding evil on a personal capacity.  The burden of responsibility is solely on the shoulders of individuals.  Power by representation is subject to manipulation.  At the very least we should be responsible for our own lives.

Nobody is responsible for our actions except for ourselves.  The Power of Choice, therefore, is very much a personal choice as much as it is a collective choice.  In the final judgement, just like the Dollar Vote, our choice, in the end, determines our direction.  Choose well and live well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Being Human

Humans are very interesting creatures.  We thought we are the most advanced species that roam the face of the earth.  Turned out we cannot outdo the Bonobos in living life harmoniously with one another.  If we can come half as close to these evolutionary progressive creatures, we are way better in our happiness index.  I don't want to underestimate human civilization, but after reading Sapiens, a Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Hariri, I concluded that the world like the Bonobos, is better off with the women in charge.

We men are too egoistic.  We want to think that we are always right.  Worse still, we want others to subscribe to what we believe.  What difference does it make if others don't see things the way we see it?  That is why we have many opinions to start with.  That is why only recently USA starts to talk about achieving unity through diversity.  There are many kinds of humans.  Not just based on the skin colors but also based on many ideologies.

Considering that there are 7 billions homo sapiens, there bound to be discrepancies.  No need to be critical about it.  It's just the way it had been for million of years.  We should learn to live with one another because we are the only hominid left.  The rest may be extinct due to an early confrontation with our Sapiens ancestors.

I have great faith in the human race.  Today we have achieved great feats due to a few bright thought leaders.  The rest of the masses may not be smart but they, or at least most of them practice the golden rule - The Principle of Treating Others as One Would Wish to be Treated Oneself.

I often read that religion is evil.  It makes good people do bad things.  I don't agree with the hypothesis.  I believe human being are good at the core.  However, many turned bad because they were misguided by sentiments.  Nobody wants to think that they were born evil.  With the exception of the few psychopaths, we generally yearn for acceptance.  We want to belong.  The problem lies in our definition of  the meaning of truth.  That's when religion becomes a potent elixir or poison.

The reality is, absolute truth only exists in mathematics.  Its closest companion is the application of the Scientific Method.  Other areas of knowledge are subject to confirmation bias; which means we believe what we choose to believe.  Even philosophy has to concede to science because philosophy is confined to the thought experiments while science involves field observations.

Forget about the rotten apples.  There always be a few around.  Build a loving foundation in your life and you see the pot of gold at the other end of the rainbow.  Humanity will endure and strive like it always been for hundred thousands of years.

I highly recommend Sapiens for those who want to take a peek at our past and the upcoming glorious future.


Winning!!! A Guided Tour by Sharudin Jamal

Welcome to Winning!!!  This was initially developed as a training program for a corporate client of mine.  Winning!!! is about effort and result.  What we can control we do our best, what we cannot control we have to let go.  What we can control is the effort, what we cannot control is the result.  Therefore its all based on the ability for us to control both our internal and external resources to achieve the desired outcome.  

Feel free to contact me for the full lesson plan should you want to conduct a training based on this material.
Information + Application = Learning.  Data=>Information=>Knowledge=>Wisdom.