Insomnia is a horrible curse, but it’s one of those reminders out there that sleep is one of those things that we can rightly call a blessing and that ultimately, the greatest things within life come from within and not from without, from the simple acceptance of the struggles around us, rather than just continually trying to force things to happen in the way that we want. Nowhere is this more clearly represented than in the domain of sleep.

The simple act of just closing your eyes and having yourself fall asleep is one of the most beautiful and restorative things in the entire world, and when it’s taken away from you, it reminds you at the end of the day that one of the greatest joys in this world is one that is inbuilt, one that lies within you, one that has the ability to transform you if only you will accept it, rather than challenging it by adulterating it with things like caffeine and other sorts of things out there that disrupt the balance, change the equation, and otherwise impede you from doing what is natural to you.

That the body can rest is something that we assume by default should happen, but in reality it’s one of the greatest luxuries upon the planet yet one of the easiest to corrupt the moment, we allow our minds and our psychologies to take over and to take on the driver’s seat, during which we begin to push ourselves to go for more than what is natural, to push ourselves beyond to do certain things when in reality they are neither needed nor desirable for our ultimate furtherance.

Often we sleep late just because we are worried about those things, about all the different matters that will not be completed if we simply do not fall asleep, yet ironically enough that is one of the very worst things that we can do for our productivity because it causes us to be able to do in 8 hours what normally we might do in 2 or 3, causing the entire balance of the equation to fall.

That is what happened today.

Spent too much time thinking about too many things, drank too many cups of coffee that I shouldn’t have drunk, spent time thinking in bed about how to fall asleep only to end up forgetting all the lessons of all the books that I read about sleep and all the benefits that it could have yielded if only I had simply kept my mind loose and ready rather than attempting to corroborate the story with wakefulness that shouldn’t even be there in the very first place while worrying about things that frankly, I shouldn’t even be worrying about.

In many ways I think that if a person were to step back from things that adulterate and that change the way that life is lived, if we simply stepped away from our own lives and from intervening in them, we would be able to do better, with less stress, with less concern over the course of our own lives.

It is something that I am trying to learn even now, to be able to lie in bed and to fall asleep, to relax, rather than to push myself forward constantly without regard for the consequences or anything else of that nature.

If there is anything good about this bout of insomnia, it is at least that I know that I will try in the morning to cherish sleep a little more, that there will be a bad day because of what happened today, but that at the very least there was a reflection that accompanied it that moved me in a positive direction. I don’t know how far it will move me along the way, but I do know that the course of a person’s thoughts can entirely transform the direction and the path that he or she may take along the way. I don’t know when sleep will come tonight, but I can only pray that it will be soon, and that whatever lessons that I shall learn will come along and be well learned from the strengthening of mind that comes along with the greatest of repose.

Goodnight, friends.

I hope I’ll fall asleep soon!

Leave A Comment

Recommended Posts

A Few Things I Did Recently

There are so many different and new things that happened recently that it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I’m sorry for not updating, but that is just what it is. If you follow me on Instagram or have watched my YouTube channel or been aware of some of the things I’ve spoken up about, I guess you would know. But if you’re just reading this for the first time from lord knows where, then here are some things that happened in the past couple of months. 1. Interviewed every single member of Yale’s class of 2028, and 3 out of 4 of Harvard’s class of 2028 from Malaysia, and several Stanford, Columbia, KYUEM students. It is a bit of a skewed sample, and I hope to demonstrate excellence in a more diverse form in days ahead. If you have any suggestions for future interviewees or people whom I should consider speaking to, please feel free to reach out and drop me an email at victortanws@gmail.com! Also and videoed legendary economist and Council of Eminent Persons member Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Wan Nadiah, President of the Harvard Club of Malaysia, Emma Davidson of the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Malaysia, and Mr. Jarrod Sio of Sarawak’s State Education department. Some future interviews include interviews with the CEO of Teach For Malaysia Chan Choon Seng, as well as Mr. Khairy Jamaluddin. Interviews I wish for are those with Ms. Fadhlina Sidek, Minister of Education of Malaysia, Mr. Rafizi Ramli, Minister of Economy of Malaysia, Mr. Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn, CEO of EPF, and Tan Sri Lin See Yan, amongst others. 2. Reached out to His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin Shah to ask about economic history and his Economic History of Malaysia project and the ex-CEO of 1MDB as well, all part of that initiative to understand history a little better. This is an […]

Pathways To Excellence

Pathways now has a podcast – please follow it! In the past couple of days, I’ve had the chance to speak to some very, very smart people, and it’s all the result of a weird series of coincidences. Or maybe they’re not really coincidences, and maybe they’re just fate. I don’t know what it is, but either way, I realized that every single member of Harvard’s class of 2028 and Yale’s class of 2028, as well as Stanford’s class of 2028, was watching Pathways to Excellence. Why do I know this? I know this because I ended up speaking to almost every single one of them, only to hear that they were aware of what I was doing, that they had watched the videos, that prepared for their Harvard interviews, or otherwise in some way, shape, or form. It’s also been interesting to watch things play out, as I’ve secured interviews that are very different along the way, with people of rather unique backgrounds, which I’ll perhaps talk more about in the days to come. It’s very inspiring to speak to smart people – I have no idea how that’s going to influence my future just yet, but the outlines are there, but I would have done this regardless of what had happened anyway. What is clear for sure though is that this is meaningful, something I’m honored to be a part of and a journey that I will continue to value in the days to come.

Malaysia’s Harvard Class of 2028

Recently, Malaysia was very fortunate to receive the news that four Malaysians had gotten into Harvard University. Congratulations to Elisa, Victor, Thamini, and Bryan! (And thanks for watching/appearing on Pathways ^^) It’s always fascinating to see the country’s very top talent and the way that they are celebrated in this way, but maybe even more fascinating to become friends with them, which I inadvertently did in different ways. It’s cool that Malaysia can produce people of this caliber of talent for sure – but there’s naturally always going to be a question for each and every one of us: Can it retain them? Honestly, the answer to that question is unclear even for myself. You need to be strong to stay in this country, after all. V.

Random thought

One thing I’d definitely like to do a lot more this year is make myself capable of doing large batches of work all at a time. I don’t mean just going out there and working as hard as possible to put myself through a suffering that is inhuman, impossible to bear through, but instead the simple act of understanding how to schedule things so that you have more time in between the moments when you obtain inspiration such that you have a natural reminder to continue going out there, enter the game, and do as you will do. Willpower of course is a very important thing, but it is limited. That is why we create systems, things that automate our labor, but of course no system can operate without the willpower in the very first place even as it is true that expecting continual, consistent, and unrelenting willpower is a recipe for burnout and self-damage to degrees unreasonable even for the most hardened of men. In this upcoming new year, I look forward to being able to find many more systems that will continue to make work easier for me, to be able to more delicately navigate the balance between willpower effort and also attainment of actual results in the days ahead. I’m given the sense that somehow or another, that needs to be a continual part of everything that I’m doing going forward. How exactly that is going to work out and how it will happen, I am not totally sure just yet, but ideas and intuition abound, and what I’m confident of is that in many ways, this is a knowledge thing. By simply elevating yourself from an initial phase where no knowledge is present to one where awareness has been developed, a person can lift themselves up to heights hitherto unknown. That has been the experience that I’ve […]

Assessing English Standards in Malaysia: An Analysis with the CEFR

Often in Malaysia, people talk about how our standard of English is either sufficiently good that it is the basis of a thesis for investment, or they say that our English is abysmal and needs drastically to be improved – discussions go on and on, and people fight, oftentimes in what seems like a battle for the soul of our society. But what does it mean, actually, that our English is good or our English is bad? Some say that Malaysia aligns itself to international standards in creating its curricula, but others squabble day in and day out, constantly complaining about the quality of English amongst graduates who come into the workforce, observing that many of them lack basic skills that they would expect graduates to have. How can it be possible that Malaysia calibrates itself to international standards while at the same time its graduates languish in terms of their English language proficiency? But at the end of the day, who’s right?  As it turns out, investigating a little further tells us that the answer is both. Here’s where the subject of our blog post for today comes in: The Common European Framework for Reference, otherwise known as the CEFR.  The reason that I’m making this comparison today and telling you about CEFR is that Malaysia uses it to calibrate SPM writing standards.  The CEFR operationalizes language proficiency in accordance with six dimensions, from A1 up until C2. It is an international standard that is utilized by examining bodies across the world in order to designate proficiency levels and descriptors that students attain after courses of study, and it is used also in designing curricula so that students can reach a certain defined standard. Source: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/Images/126130-cefr-diagram.pdf CEFR operationalizes English proficiency according to numerous level descriptors, providing explanations of what a user of the English language should be able to do […]

On Facing Judgment’s Shadow

Picture this. You’ve written a post that you want to share on social media, or you’ve made a video somehow or another. You’re sitting there on the edge of your chair, just about to click post, but you look at what you’ve written, what you’ve made, you notice that final error, you question yourself, thinking about the manifold ways in which people could be judging you silently and from afar, contemplating in your mind’s eye the dialogues that must be taking place. “Oh my gosh, this person wrote this?” “Oh my gosh. Did he really make that grammatical error?” “Wow, this is boring. Why am I even watching?”“How could he make such a video?” And so the thoughts come out, percolate like coffee through filter paper, and eventually crystallize into little gems of self-doubt, blocking the nervous signal that would have caused you to click. You turn away from your plan, and you declare:”Maybe later, but not now.” Before you know it, the entire project is abandoned. If you’re anything like me, you may have faced this, this feeling of wanting to do something, but realizing, or at least thinking that you weren’t good enough, that the manifold imperfections that existed in you would come out, and that people would judge you one way or another. Well, here’s a fact, though. People certainly will judge you. I mean, how could they not? Everyone encounters something as a first glance, thinks about it, and evaluates it on their own terms. That’s just how it is. The judgment will happen. There is absolutely nothing that you can do about it, and your feeling certainly is right. The thing is though, that even though it is right, this isn’t a valid reason to run away. Because truly, the only way to get past it is to face your fears, to accept judgements as they […]