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Location: Penang, Malaysia

December 17, 2004

Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

When I was a teenager, during my secondary school time, I found that one of the most challenging examination papers was "essay writing". It was not really something hard, but for the first 5 minutes I realized that I was still staring at the questions, still deciding which one to choose. Wihtout making any obvious movement, I looked to my left and right, and had the feeling that I am the only one in this world that had not started writing. Once I had made up my mind, it took me another 15 minutes to plan for the whole essay and to think of the first line. Well, tough enough. Once I got throught the first 20 minutes, I would keep writing and writing without realizing that time really flies. The environment was really quite during the 2 hours that your ears could hear the "buzzing". When the exam invigilator barked "Time is up! Put your pens down!", I started to regret that I wasted too much time in the beginning even though I had completed the essay. Keep promising myself not to waste too much time in the beginning, try to understand why I can't make up my mind, etc. Nevertheless, there was a "feel good" kind of thing, like you have accomplished something, you can't explain it. Will talk more about this later. Well, those were the days...

Many times, people just can't get started until the very last minute. There are many self-improvement books that you can grab from a book store. People trying to beat procrastination, learn to do planning, execute efficiently, and many more, and I still don't know why people like to put things off till eleventh hour. I found the answer in 1999 when I attended "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" course conducted by James Cathcart. Hey! We are addited to our own natural pain killer, i.e. the endorphin, which is produce by the pituitary glands. By the way, endorphin is the short for endogenous morphin. As a result, people continue to delay things till the very last moment, do it under pressure, and "taste" the endorphin at the end. The same goes to those who like to eat chilli... to name a few: habanero, serrano, and jalapeno. Not to be outdone by the Mexican, there are also the sky-pointing chilli (ji thin jiu in Cantonese, phrik chi fa in Thai), rice chilli (cili padi in Malay), etc. People keep on eating chilli because they feel good from the endorphin. The brain misinterprets the burning sensation from the capsaicin enzyme and thinks that the tongue is injured, thus releasing endorphine to reduce the "pain".

WTF to do with the title? It took me quite sometime to really find time to blog. Most of my time are pretty much occupied, spend quite an amount of time on work. The rest are for the family, strictly no working on Saturdays and Sundays, but we work quite late during weekdays. Sometimes you want to do it, but the other side of yourself keeps telling you to do it some other time. Today is the day that the "just do it" side triumped over the "later la..." side. Can't think of any title better that the Chinese saying, "Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" (千里之行,始于足下). Hey! This is not a joke, and someone really made a journey of more than a thousand miles. Our comrade, Mao Zedong made the Long March in 1934~1935 with some 86,000 men and women for a little over a year, covering about 6000 miles. OK, I guess I have to continue with my version of long march some other day for now. Till the next blog, have a great day!

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