Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will always hold a special place in my heart as the first city I ever visited in Asia.
Though it is not as famous as Bangkok or Bali, Kuala Lumpur still has plenty of attractions to offer travelers and tourists.
During my initial visit, I stayed in KL for 2.5 months. I learned how to hack the city – and spend under $75 in 2 weeks. I made some local friends there, which is when the city turned into something really special.
I lost a laptop and gained my partner, a fire-spinning Russian who goes by Chuncha.
I’ve liberally sampled from the smorgasbord of existing techniques when it comes to accelerating my growth as a human being:
Motivation, discipline, productivity hacking, goal setting, positive thinking…human growth hormone…all the best stuff modern science and hack advice bloggers have to offer.
I’ve read the popular literature – Dan Ariley’s “Predictably Irrational” has a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf – and the blogs, from the insanely popular AJWalton.com to ZenHabits.
I’ve also been traveling the world to collect new, strange experiences and learn from the classroom of life itself, where the lectures take on such diverse topics as friends, festivals, and food poisoning.
From it all, I’ve discovered that there are a lot of good techniques that I can vouch for.
As I approached the water, its typical azure blue transformed into a mysterious black ink on this moonless night, I found myself faced with a question that humankind has wrestled with since time immemorial:
Do we immerse ourselves inch by inch, or plunge straight in to the frigid depths?
Everyone who has faced this dilemma knows that it’s much less painful to dive right in than it is to draw out our discomfort gradually, but in the moment – our brains seem determined to convince us otherwise – to convince us that, since dipping a single toe in is cold, a full-body immersion will result in suffering of Biblical proportions.
So I did both. Or neither. I waded in up to my waist, and then saved my spinal cord the agony of a gradual submersion by diving in. The mission was accomplished while the paradox remained unsolved.
This aquatic paradox mirrors a much more important one we face quite often in our lives. One that we encounter whenever we have a new goal, dream, or vision for our lives.
How is it that we can know what we want, how to get it (or how to find out), have sufficient time & energy to invest, and still not realize our vision.
Just like entering the water: We often know the quickest, easiest, and least-painful way to achieve our goal.
Or at the very least, we can see a workable solution that will get us the result we want, like when I compromised between wading and diving in.
And yet it seems like even having all our stars aligned may not be sufficient!
What gives? What prevents us from taking action regarding our important goals?