In fact, I don’t fancy sports at all.
So it gets rather irritating when sporty people gave that dirty look when I replied “facilitation” or “writing” to questions asking what I do in my free time.
Now, everyone has their interests and strengths, so a person who is good in sports is not necessarily good in science and/or humanities; I don’t sneer at gym rats who can’t differentiate “unionised” and “unionised”, so of course I don’t expect to be treated like a lesser mortal when I acknowledged I’m not good in sports or a sportsman.
This attitude of brushing off people whose interests/beliefs don’t align with one’s personal perspectives is chronic, at least in Singapore.
Many a times, after I bounced off the idea of learning from other people, I encountered people who told me, “We’re already the best in industry, who else can we learn from?” In the same example, I replied that we could conduct learning journeys to companies from other industries; surely they have best practices we can learn, especially when training is a field that cut across industries? The reply I got was also, “You said other industries… How in the world is other industries relevant to us? Can you be more constructive in your suggestions?”
Since I’ve encountered such “Sportsman Mentality” in my personal and professional time, I can only assume this is a common ailment in Singapore. Despite all the National Education teaching Singaporeans to be vigilant and conscious of our weakness (being a small island surrounded by bigger neighbours with radically different beliefs), our children grew up to be complacent instead.
The irony of it all lies in the fact that this sense of complacency is a result of our success. We have been so good in doing so many things, people think we will be good in any thing we set our minds on. Pride comes before a fall, and yes, our inability to remain humble may be our Achilles’s heel.
A sportsman is not invulnerable; the flesh is weak and humans are just as weak as our earthly constructs.
The reason why I dip my fingers in writing, facilitation and travel, outside of my work, was in recognition of the vulnerability of human life. I wish I can do things at breeze and switch jobs at the snap of my fingers, but the reality is, I can’t.
I can only build up my competencies, deepen those I am strong in, widen the others to buffer against blows that may come my way. (Being physically superior, unfortunately, is on the opposite side of the spectrum disc from my strengths, so I doubt I should even think of widening my competencies in that area)
There’s a dream in many to be a fighter pilot, yet only a fraction of us becomes one. That does not mean we cannot be a fighter in our lives. The key is to be humble, and learn and adapt.