Key Takeaway: If you allow yourself to be receptive to things around you, if you allow yourself to be led or guided rather than lead or guide, you’ll be taken to places you never dreamed of going to – for good.
Even while it was still officially The Daily Aloy, and more of my passion project focusing on ways I lived – or tried to live – a responsible life (plus others), I had already been harking on about its “evolution”, The Daily You, to fellow social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs-to-be in my network, asking for feedback and their thoughts on the whole thing. I shared with them the story and the envisioned growth behind it, even while the framework of the TDY philosophy wasn’t solid yet.
For a while, I thought that my talk would be just that – talk. Plans would just be plans. I had a vision, I had a strategy, but how was it to be executed? There seemed to be a bridge that still needed to be built.
Potential partners came and went. There’s a fine line between interest and influence, and I only seemed to just interest, never influence. Until Lali stayed on board for good, at times doing more for TDY than I do. TDY would not be TDY without her, and as Chairman Iwamura Ken in Memoirs of a Geisha said about President Toshikazu Nobu, “I owe [Lali] a debt I can never repay.”
Shortly after, TDY bore its first fruits of the unexpected direction, so much so that I was at first bemused and wondered if it would be in the institute’s best interests at all. But I saw it was: Art is such a wonderful force that brings people together despite, or because of, their diversities. Hence, the new strategy on Instagram and our SNS channels in general, thanks to Lali’s artistry and Canva.
It didn’t stop there. Being someone who grew up as a shy, stage-frightened person, it never occurred to me that I would become, of all things, a public speaker. But as it is, life has a way of giving you what you don’t want, and turning it into something good. (Nigella Lawson wrote in Nigellissima, her 2012 Italy-inspired cookbook, that she spent her gap year in Italy hoping to be anything but a chambermaid, and so that’s what she became.) I at first got asked to substitute in speaking engagements only distantly related to TDY, trying to segue into it (successfully, in all fairness, or so I hope), then got invited in my own person, still not necessarily for TDY – though it was much easier and relatable then.
And it’s not only in TDY where I experienced the unexpected. A month or so after TDY was formally born, I joined a fledgling discussion that would grow to become the Roots Collective. I was able to travel to countries I didn’t imagine I’d go to this early on, and made unique, once-in-a-lifetime memories that make me smile with great fondness even until now. I even started going to the gym, something I never thought I’d be doing given my then-resolution that I would minimize expenses and work out on my own at home. (My arms are heavy as I type this.)
Although we all have our own Life Kits – our own circumstances, abilities, weaknesses, dreams, and desires, we can still open the box to find a curveball coming our way. Somehow, those various elements can connive to come up with something that at first might not make sense, but as you go on will actually do so.
Living a truly good life, a purposeful life, a life rooted in awareness and service, will often be like this. The call, the vocation, can come when and where you least expect it to. On the flip side, it can also come when and where you do expect it to.
The key is openness, a mindset of eternal learning.
And a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, slowly but surely. Don’t rush it, either.
If you allow yourself to be receptive to things around you, if you allow yourself to be led or guided rather than lead or guide, you’ll be taken to places you never dreamed of going to – for good. I am not saying that you shouldn’t be a leader – in fact, you should be one – but as a leader, you’re called not just to serve, but also to explore, at the behest of the universe’s conspiring.
Although I know I can still be more open, still be more daring to step out of my comfort zone, still play the student role better, I’m glad I’ve started being such already – and see where it’s led me! What more if I were fully open, fully daring, fully the student?
Aloy Chua is the Co-Founder and CEO of TDY. His column, Today, discusses everyday living in relation to TDY’s philosophy of Higher Purpose Through Love. He’s also the co-founder of the Roots Collective, a community hub for entrepreneurs, and a freelance systems consultant and writer/editor, and loves reading about fashion, technology, travel, entrepreneurship, and healthy living. His first love is Pokémon. Find out more about living The Daily You on our About Page.