Saturday, July 24, 2010

Intensity is My Middle Name

I've had my fair share of better days and today cetainly wasn't one. I had an IN moment. IN is my short form for intense. It was triggered by a rushed movie, a meaningless trip home and 20mins of idle time, waiting for an appt that never materialized.

I've always been an intense person. In fact, intense is the only thing I've ever known. When I was around 12, I remember staying up late nights to complete a pc strategy game during the school holidays. Strange thing was that even though I had completed the game before, I would replay the game again and not stop until I completed it once more. Now mind you, this game took weeks to complete. And during those weeks. I would have only 1 task in sight: to complete the game. Even before I was introduced into the wonderful world of computers, I displayed the same intensity playing with my lego. Twice every year, I would bring out my "patchwork-like" collection of lego (from different models) and build the exact same house, with the exact same garden, and my lego family in the exact same positions. Once the task was done, I would dismantle my lego, keep it back in it's box (a shoe box), and tuck it away until the next semester.

Of course one might argue that it's easy to be intense about something you like, a hobby. But I displayed this same intensity in school and at work. And who the heck treats either a hobby?! I never settled for anything less than an A in school. I had a system all worked out. And would not stop until I completed the work plan for the day. At work, I remember working so hard for 2 weeks straight when I was less than 6 months into the job, that I finally cracked one Saturday afternoon. I took the sub home, got back around 3-4pm in the afternoon and slept all the way till Sunday evening 7pm. That was how intense I was about my work. My mind had to stop only because my body couldn't take it.

Intensity is like a ritual to me. I seem to not be able to (or perhaps not want to) control or stop myself until my task was completed. Does it mean I'm more of a process-oriented that result-oriented person? Oh i don't think so. Because I clearly thrive on results rather than the process. Even in my love life. It didn't matter how I got my guy. In fact, it was always a different way that led to my success (no 2 men are alike!), but it was the thrill of eventually getting him that I pursued.

Why then, do I exhibit this inexplicable trait of intensely pursuing a task until the deed is done? Well for starters, I believe it is genetically encoded in each of us. We are all guilty of pulling late-nights just to complete the latest season of our favourite tv series. We are all guilty of spending the entire day playing a certain pc/console/online game just so we level up, complete a mission/quest etc. So the question again is why do we do it? Well heck it would be quite freaky if I actually knew the answer to this question. But what I will tell you is that this amazing ability that we all have, the ability to single-mindedly focus, 100% on a specific task/goal, can bring out the best or worst in you.

Imagine if one leveraged on this power at school or work. Think of the straight As one would get. Think of the climb straight up the corporate ladder. No detours, no derailing, no getting sidetracked.
Then imagine if one abused this power and turned into a gaming addict, not able to say NO to the latest big game of the season. Is this not true of all addicts? Alcohol, drugs, junk food, porn, gambling. It is the abuse of the mind's ability to be intense, to be absolute about something, be it a feeling, a habit, or a mindset.

Perhaps the best example of this unrivaled gift of intensity is most parents' ability to unconditionally love their children. This mission starts upon pregnancy, and ends in someone's grave. Undoubtedly, the marathon of all marathons for focusing on a single-task. I too hope that one day, I will be able to summon this great power of intensity within me and use it for good. As someone once said: "With great power comes great responsiblity."
I have no doubt about that. And that responsiblity begins with yourself. Are you ready?

No comments:

Post a Comment