Sunday October 7, 2012
It’s time we go the extra mile – to anyone, anywhere
ALTHOUGH we are all blessed with the same 24 hours in a day, not everyone is able to accomplish everything they plan to do in that time.
Management gurus tell us that it is possible to manage our life through successful time management. They tell us what we need to prioritise, what to minimise or cut off totally, and that with a proper list of do's and don'ts, we can get it right.
In real life, that doesn't always happen. We are constantly interrupted because that's the nature of life itself.
So, rather than complain about being inconvenienced by an interruption, we should, perhaps, rejoice in it. As one commentator puts it, interruptions are not necessarily negative, but often times opportunities arriving at an inopportune time.
Last week, a friend shared how she was on her way to a meeting one evening and passed by a man trying to push his stalled car all by himself. One part of her wanted to stop and help, but the other part said her meeting was more important. So she drove on.
Ironically, the discussion at that meeting was on how to reach out to people, even total strangers, in their hour of need.
Unless we live in isolation, there is no way we can prevent unexpected events from happening in our lives.
When interruptions happen, we sometimes show favouritism when we choose who we allow to interrupt us.
It is easy to be nice to the people we love, but what if you are put in a situation where you have to decide whether to help your worst enemy?
A dear friend, who has since passed on, always impressed me with his attitude that there is no such thing as “out of the way”. If he sees me standing by the roadside waiting for a taxi, he would stop and offer me a lift. I do not have to ask whether it is convenient, or whether it would take him out of his way, because those things are secondary to him.
In recent months, I have been contemplating similar issues of what motivates us to help people in need. Do we do so because it is politically correct, for example, because that person happens to be an important person? Do we do so because it is convenient, since it is along the way?
If that is our attitude, perhaps we need to do some soul searching to check our motives.
Are we able to extend a helping hand and friendship to those we do not particularly like? Or do we walk the second mile only for our friends?
Like my friend said, when we are interrupted, there is always a reason for that to happen. And in helping someone, there is also a price to pay. But I believe what goes around comes around.
The next time you whine when you get interrupted, think of it the other way. What if you are the person who has to interrupt someone at 3am because of an emergency? Are you not thankful that you have at least one “3am friend”? And by the same token, wouldn't it be a privilege to be considered a “3am friend” to somebody?
> Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin believes that there can be no quality time without quantity time, and this is especially true for busy young parents in parenting.