Hi 5 – 22 January 2016 by Mr Goh Chuan Hwee
Good morning School Leaders and Gessians
It’s our morning address on Persisting – one of the habits of mind for the month of January.
I challenge you to pick up 1-2 important messages/learning points to develop stronger perseverance.
The Business Insider carried an article on 15 January 2016 titled “7 important life-long lessons I learned from being a Junior Olympic athlete”. In the article, the writer shared that one lesson she had learned was “how to persevere in the face of adversity”.
About a year ago, I shared the story of the famous Olympian John Stephen Akhwari. His famous quote is “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.” He said this in an interview at the finish line after the gruelling 42km marathon. He sustained a serious knee injury during the race but insisted on completing the race. While he was the last to come in, he was forever a living legend for us all to know what perseverance is – having a goal in mind, and pursuing it despite circumstances strange.
Given a chance to write a quote for yourself on Persisting or Perseverance, what would yours be like? Think of how this quote can guide you in times of difficulties when you learn a sport, learn your periodic table, pick up a musical instrument, etc.
Just 2 days ago, during Aroozoo READs, we heard how Mr Wong Ziheng (the NUS student) who persevered despite all challenges. What lessons did you learn from him? He mentioned he held on to his emotions until the physiotherapist, at one session, claimed that he was weak, which led to Mr Wong eventually bursting into tears. He mentioned Choice, how we respond to situation. Be grateful for simple things in life. Adding values in the lives of people around us. My greatest take-away is proving that there is life after loss — put simply, there is meaning in our failures and our losses if after encountering them we dare to rise up again.
Like Mr Wong, I believe all of us have our own episodes of success, failures, ups and downs. Allow me to share this with you. Way back in 2007, I was in an adventure race of about 50km. My partner, who was a triathlete, and fitter than me, struggled more than me in the race. In most races previously, he wouldn’t have suffered. I persevered…and I guided myself with a quote/word “mother”. It was powerful cos one’s mind can be so determined to push oneself to achieve one’s best. I had the best race. That was the race I competed after losing my mum. She had passed on earlier.
No sportsman can win every game he takes part in and, thus the bitter pill of defeat is something he has to swallow time and time again. It’s how a sportsman deals with disappointment that determines how successful he will be, which simply put, is perseverance. Michael Jordan, a sporting legend in the NBA said “I’ve failed so many times”…”and that’s why I succeed.” Similarly, all setbacks can be learning points if we have the courage to pursue on.
Look around you today and many days to come, I am sure you can find the stories of Gessians with perseverance. I urge you to listen to this song “Ordinary” by Sam Willows, sung at the recent Paralympic Games. Read the lyrics, know its meaning, and be a champion in your life. Be extraordinary.