Is process just as important as success? We hear from 5 Gen Y Singaporeans
What did you accomplish in 2016? What do you want to achieve in 2017?
These questions are a lot more real when read not on the pages of an artfully designed 2017 diary, but asked point blank by my parents who till now, aren't entirely sure of what I really do. I write about fashion, but that's about half the job at best. Pushing the boundaries of a digital editorial platform's fashion section and managing people are but a few aspects that are part and parcel of it. "Wait, but you're still in the same role — so what have you actually accomplished last year?" In your case, if not the parents — perhaps, an inquisitive friend, a concerned mentor, or even an ongoing internal dialogue shaped by the goal-oriented world we live in. Are you earning as much as you want to be? Are you going to be promoted? If the answer's no, then when is that all going to happen?
"Unfortunate incidents may not be a reflection of myself as an underachiever, or less of a person than I would like to picture myself to be" — Amanda Keisha Ang, DJ and illustrator
From 'A' grades to professional degrees and ticking off the milestones of our careers, we've been groomed to judge our lives not so much by the journey in its entirety, but by its checkpoints. Carefully segmented into gradable portions: Education, work, the circles we run in, marriage. In today's digital age, why not throw Instagram into the mix? The social app meant for sharing life experiences has come to fuel the existing mindset of showcasing our 'successes', but little of what it takes to achieve.
The truth as we know it: It's not the journey trekking up the stairs of the Arc de Triomphe that gets the 'likes', but the view of Paris' landscape from the top that's "worth sharing". #TravelGoals, #SquadGoals, #StyleGoals serves as daily reminders to tuck away the less-than-pretty instances for that picture perfect feed. While the act of filtering our experiences #IRL came to be before VSCO cam and Snapseed, are social apps simply a reflection of what we truly value to begin with?
"I think status is a very alluring factor, and 'likes' on social media has become [a] new kind of currency" - Kelly Limerick, crochet and dreads artist
Whether it's a trip to Paris or a progression in your career, goals — both bite-sized and long-term — should help internalise what we really want and the steps needed to actualise. The learning curve should also be as important. No matter the outcome, we're better for it.
Encapsulating this very spirit is sportswear giant Puma, who have launched a worldwide campaign 'Run The Streets'. Conceptualised as the anti-thesis to advocating success without acknowledging the grit, they've called on the mavericks of our local scene who've earned their stripes. We hear from five personalities on their learning process and whether their successes would be as sweet if they didn't have to fight for it.
AMANDA KEISHA ANG, DJ AND ILLUSTRATOR
What's one hard lesson you've had to learn that still shapes your decisions and who you are today?
Amanda Keisha Ang (AKA): I think it would have to be dealing with loss or rejection in all forms. Maybe of a loved one, a heartbreak, or a job — it would be hard to list all those situations. I think it is an inevitable part of life, but the one lesson I took away collectively from all that is that those unfortunate incidents may not be a reflection of myself as an underachiever or less of a person than I would like to picture myself to be. It's surely shaped me to learn to be more gracious to others, more generous, more forward thinking, and more kind to myself — more firm with what I want especially in decision making. Of course it is not easy, but when you open your heart to yourself and others, you open more windows of opportunity of collaboration and creation, and you have a clearer vision of the future.
Would your achievements be as rewarding as they are without the challenges that you've faced along the way?
AKA: Of course it feels much more rewarding when you've worked so hard for it! [But], it also comes crashing down much more when it does not work out. It's all part of the process. When you give yourself to something, surely, there is always a risk of failure, but without risk taking or mistakes how can we ever learn and grow? I think if there [aren't] any challenges, the end product might feel less cherished.
VIJAY MUDALIAR, BARTENDER
How important is it to experience first-hand all aspects of the business — from working on the floor to managing the team?
Vijay Mudaliar (VM): People may have a different view to mine, but I think in the service and hospitality industries, it is advantageous to understand all aspects of the business because it's a people-to-people product. At the core of my business is the people who run it, and if I can't keep them happy by being an understanding boss, then I can't expect them to keep my customers happy.
What was the toughest challenge you've had to go through as a bartender? Would you give up that experience if you could?
VM: Times were pretty hard five years ago when the cocktail movement had just started booming and being a bartender was not really seen as a real job. Wages were not the best. It can be pretty discouraging when the people closest to you start to offer "job" advice. No hard feelings, everything is out of a place of love. And no, I would not give that all up for the world — it's taught me perseverance and given my ideas strength. It's made me [and] us, what and who we are today.
SHIGGA SHAY, RAPPER AND SONGWRITER
What has your journey a rapper and songwriter in the local scene taught you about perseverance?
ShiGGa Shay (SS): You can do anything your heart tells you to as long as you set your mind to it and give your all.
At the end of the day, what matters more to you: The process or success?
SS: I personally feel that the journey matters more than the outcome. If you can appreciate every single step of the journey, that's when you can find true happiness.
DOUGLAS NG, "HAWKEPRENEUR"
What do you think drives the entrepreneurial spirit in Singapore?
Douglas Ng (DN): We have a diverse culture and people are willing to try new things — giving entrepreneurs an opportunity. Another reason may be the fact that in this competitive society, people are not able to unleash their potential in the jobs they are in. Perhaps, they are also seeing the life of an entrepreneur through rose-tinted glasses. What you see on social media is largely the pleasant side of things. Aside from that, if I am honest and speaking [from my perspective], I feel that there are more people who are not willing to take risks. Especially, for those who really understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur in Singapore; [the] challenges in getting labour, rising cost and the investment of your own time.
I believe that I can afford to fail and make mistakes. What matters most is to learn from them and to become a better version of myself everyday.
KELLY LIMERICK, CROCHET AND DREADS ARTIST
Do you think Singaporeans have been cultivated to place more focus on the outcome rather than the process? Why?
Kelly Limerick (KL): Yes, I think Singaporeans have been taught to be very goal-oriented since a very young age due to our education system.
What are some challenges that have shaped who you are today?
KL: I think it's very easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourself [to] others, and it's hard to admit to yourself that the reason you judge others is so you can avoid making change to yourself. Rather than wasting time and energy thinking how good or bad someone else is, we can use that energy to make ourselves and our work better.
What do you think drives the aspiration of the younger generation to be social media influencers? Is it more than just the 'perks'?
KL: Aside from the 'perks', I think status is a very alluring factor, and 'likes' on social media has become [a] new kind of currency.
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