Welcome to Sharudin Jamal Blogspot

More than a decade ago, I was diagnosed of having a peculiar illness known as Bipolar Affected Disorder. My world as I known 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.

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