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Affirmation and Character
Growing up, I have met a lot of people that believes in affirmation, I thought its complete bullshit. If everyone could get anything that they think of then everyone would be happy. One of the most common affirmation BS is nearing a national exam where students are reinforced to think of their supposed desired results, as in imagining imagining, like as if you have already obtained it. The result is to noone surprise usually far from everyone’s hoping it to be, if everyone got straight A then the government would actually need to fix the difficulty and everyone will not get what they wanted.
Recently, I have been doing a lot of self-reflection and think of the mess and achievements I have made, to become the character that I’m currently playing as. Why I choose the choices I took, the roads I made and other crossroads that I didn’t took. Safe to say it is mostly acredited to somehow— affirmation. Surely the road isn’t perfect but it is somewhat what I’ve been dreaming of.
Even before going to university, there was a huge debate between me and my mother whether to go to medical school or engineering school. I confess that I went to engineering school because I cowarded myself avoiding the higher entrance score for medical school, it is more competitive and thus I thought require more efforts. I wanted the easy road and a more probabilistically wise, assure that I’m going to university… But my dream remains the same. It doesn’t matter where I am going to be placed at, my character remains solid. The exact quote from nights of debate was “Mom, If I were to become a doctor, I will only be able to help one person at a time, one person goes in to my room, I helped them and they go out. If I were to be an engineer, I will make an invention that will enable to help thousands people at once, simultanously, it’s hundred or thousands at device going on and I will not need to stuck on a room helping one person at a time, it’ll be thousands of people at a time!” With that exact quote my mom left her dream to have her son become a doctor and let me be an engineer.
The first year of my university that exact quote have been ringing every day of my life, it has somehow shaped my character, it’s not exactly an affirmation, it’s more like a promise, a dilligence, or even to put simply, a dream being put into a sentence. There’s also another thing that I experience, on orientation, I saw highly respected people called on stage to shake hands with the university rectorate, it looks incredibly pretigious and on my first day of uni I have settled myself that I want to get that, I want to become that person, those people earned one of the most prestigious achievement that the uni could offer, it’s called Ganesha Karya, for people who have basically outstanding performance. I don’t know how I could manage to get that award but I want that award.
I began by meddling with a lot of stuff, the obvious ways to earn an outstanding performance is to win a lot of competitions. I put my head towards that, I created and scraped a lot of ideas in my head and attended every competition that my eyes laid upon. It was December 2019 where I submitted my proposals to a competition, I submitted 5 different proposals in which to my not-surprised, none of them got passed. Well I didn’t exactly know what went wrong, it would be much of a burden for the competition arranger to actually tell every of the students who submit where they went wrong, so I just shrug it off and say “maybe the idea isn’t really good after all” I mean what other explanation could it actually be? Failures didn’t stop me as I feel the only logical way is just to make better idea. I tried and tried and finally at February there’s a startup incubator opening their new batch. I felt like it’s as if it’s a one time opportunity despite the fact I could always apply the next batch, next year, etc. I was alone at that time and none of the people I knew were actually interested in building a startup, there were only one I suppose, his name is Joel, a good friend who I met at the library, he was also my teamate where I submit 5 proposals in which 5 of those got rejected, it feels like a sucker punch knowing how hard me and Joel worked for it.
Anyway, I gathered my resources to just at least get in to the startup incubator, I feel that it’ll teach me a lot of stuffs that I don’t know, mostly in business and finance. Truth be told I don’t know anything about it. So after class, I rushed to go to my place and work on it, every fucking day. I felt like this time I should just do the things I know best, which was human physiology (residues from my national biology olympiad back in high school) and tackle the problem based on the current existing demand. The thesis was to early prevent sudden cardiac death. I muster up all of my energy and brainpower, do the research, order necesarry hardware and modules, make a business model out of thin air, basically all the requirements for the submission for the startup incubator.
I went through extra lengths for it, there’s even this funny experience on the interview where I put my team to be a team of three, because I know for damn sure they will not accept me due to my actual lack of experience in the startup field. The interview day come it was thrusday and at the same day, I have a chemistry exam at 8 AM, the interview was at 1 PM but my job for the interview was long from done. I didn’t study at all for that test and I rememebr getting around 30 for that test. Anyway, so I prepared with the best of my ability for the pitch. The funny moment from the interview was the interviewer from Telkom Investment asked me on what year I am on my studies, when I replied that I’m first year he laughed. Then other interviewer which was the director of the startup incubator proceed with a follow up question “is ur other cofounders have graduated.” First there isn’t really any startup cofounder, there was only me lol, they don’t even know this startup exists! Okay disclaimer I put their name there because I know for damn sure that if my startup gets inside this startup incubator, they will join my startup. It’s more or like a chicken or egg problem but I have to give insanely shit extra measures. So long story short I got accepted and my hands were really shaking when I found out about the news. I asked my friend who did not know his name is as my cofounder but I managed to sell it well and he joined my startup.
The rest was history, we competed in 5 different competitions bringing my startup name and we won every single one of them. Most innovative startup title, first winner, champion, you name it. One of the most prestigious was this competition held by an university in Switzerland, Swiss Innovation Challenge. We of course proceed by trying our best to make the startup work, we focused on both hardware and software at that time, only to realize the funds needed to build a hardware is actually insanely expensive, there isn’t even a dedicated manufacturing company for hardware health-tech in Indonesia, we need to import everything from outside and the resources just to make hardware devices in-house is crazy expensive. Of course speed bumps were expected. Winning competitions were relatively easy, but now the hard part is awaiting us and not everyone stays (in the startup).
It was sad and tragic to look back and I also have my fair share of guilt. Especially when partially of my initial dream was accomplished, Ganesha Karya, I have obtained it. In 2021 I saw a more interesting and daring path I wanted to try, which was the year of the bull market. I relentlessly spend a lot of time there and my share of mind is divided between my startup and the bull market, fair to say that I have made quite a fortune in a bull market but it doesn’t really satisfy me somehow. Sure accumulating wealth always seem like and endgoal for most people but it doesnt sits well with my dream is to make a device that could help thousands of people at one time. But time has passed and I could only learn from the experience. What I learned was, at the end of the day, it’s about your share of mind. You could only think so much in your head, it will get overclocked and you will eventually risk something for something else. When I was building my startup, my share of my mind was divided between venturing my startup and uni studies. I’m not here to say that uni was easy, it was relentlessly hard and it was what I was willing to give up. My grades were shit and most of them are just happy to pass, there were numerous occasion where my grade are just a slim-thin margin from the passing grade. Was it worth it? Only hindsight could tell, your job was to only make the fucking leap and take the fucking risk.
At the end of the day, your character is what your past think of you, it’s all about your share of mind. It is and it will never be guaranteed that you will become what you think of, it’s not that easy, but one thing for sure what you think of is making you closer to the person who you really wanted to become.
So do yourself a favor and believe in yourself. Think of the good things and possibility that you can accomplish, theres chances that you may never get there but it’s for sure it’ll make you closer to get there.
What you think of builds your character.