Pivoter X – All Is Empty. All Is Possible.

The Indian Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna said:

Since all is empty, all is possible.

The multifaceted meaning contained within this line of thought presented itself to me during the Chinese New Year holiday from last Friday to this past Monday. Despite all the free time I had on my hands, I failed to make any plans and ended up lazing around the house on Friday. Halfway through the day, I found myself deep in a spiral of negative thoughts.

all is empty, all is possible

Hindsight is always 20/20 – even though I have many things to be thankful for in life, the lack of purposeful action and failure to plan my time resulted in me cycling through the exhausting wheel of needless self-doubt, made-up problems, and irrational annoyance towards the people in my life. I was swimming in an empty pool filled with existential ennui and anxiety over the non-existent.

Since all is empty, all is possible.

all is empty, all is possible

That evening, I received a text from a friend reminding me that we were supposed to go for a bouldering session the next day. I find bouldering an incredibly fascinating activity – a cross between meditation and physical exertion. To successfully manoeuvre through a course, one must spend time contemplating their path through a rainbow of multicoloured slats snaking upwards and sideways from floor to ceiling, wall to wall.  When you visit a bouldering gym, you will find people staring at its craggy walls, hands and legs miming their predicted motion, planning every micromovement they need to make. Failure to tighten one’s core or shift one’s toes to compensate for gravity’s pull can result in a face-tearing slip, slide and fall. Three deep breaths; the difference between restart and completion.

No safety nets. No ropes.

Since all is empty, all is possible.

all is empty, all is possible

The time spent at the bouldering gym made me reflect on my interactions with three of our interns. I took over Intern X’s blog-writing responsibilities for one of our clients so that she could enjoy the Chinese New Year break with her family. I was impressed at how she had broken down a wide-ranging topic into a concise and precise collection of points, despite the time pressure on the assignment – it made my task of writing so much easier. I’m similarly inspired by Interns Y and Z – despite this being their first on-the-job experience in a technological and creative start-up environment, they’ve managed to keep track of a mountain of deadlines not just for themselves, but for the whole team! Watching them at work constantly motivates me to better myself at what I do and explore my own personal potential to its fullest extent. Learning doesn’t require a deference to hierarchy; there is much to absorb from the people above, below, and on either side of you.

Since all is empty, all is possible.

Pivoter X

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