1/2018 – Hope is eternal
by Tan Thiam Hock
Saturday, 27 Jan 2018
Every new year, we raise our hopes that this year will be a better year.
For our business, our health and our bonuses.
Parents hope that their children will continue to pass all their exams and have a trouble free year in school and at home.
For cancer patients, your whole life revolves around hope.
Hopefully, this chemo treatment will get rid of cancer once and for all, alternative non-chemo treatments might just work for you, change of diet might just cure you blah blah blah.
You feel hopeful when your cancer count is down after treatment or you fall into despair and a sense of hopelessness when your treatment does not work.
Always hoping for a new miracle drug or an alternative treatment that works, many new cancer patients dilly dally, wait and see, seek many medical opinions and still end up more confused than ever.
In the meantime, the cancer cells are growing and multiplying inside your body.
Uncertainty and indecision kills.
Whatever action that you have decided, just do it. Just remember you are dealing with a growing problem and time is of the essence.
Each cancer case is unique to the individual, different response to different drugs, different degree of aggressive cells, the permutations are just too many and complex to understand.
The oncologist practised learned guesswork daily and according to conventional wisdom, practice makes perfect, so treatment decisions become more accurate and predictable as the oncologist gain experience over the years.
I work well with my oncologist. She involves me in the guesswork and we hope together.
I have survived four full years since I was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer in 2014.
To celebrate, I just did two ablation procedures in London over the last two weeks, zapping three new active tumours in my liver and lung.
I have had a total of 17 ablation procedures done over the last four years. So who’s counting?
To continue with my celebration, I am now on the plane from Amsterdam to Havana with my three cigar buddies and the four of us are going to smoke ourselves silly with the best of the best cigars in the world.
Andreas V, the self proclaimed president of our Cigar Club is hopeful that Cuba will be what he has imagined as he is a big fan of the late President Fidel Castro.
He has been talking about this dream trip for the last four years. I hope he will not be disappointed.
My wife and daughter still frown upon my cigar-smoking and they are not convinced at all with my reasoning that at this stage of my cancer life, there is absolutely no difference that consumption of red meat, liquor and cigars will make any difference to my medical condition or cancer activities.
I hope that when I eventually go away, it will be with a smile on my face and a cigar in my hand. I am still figuring out on a continuous supply chain of cigars for my afterlife, if any.
Entrepreneurs are hopeful people.
Dreamers eventually turn into pragmatista.
The level of hopefulness will depend on the stage and type of their journey.
There are many startups which have not been able to raise any seed funds from family, friends or Venture Capital.
Hopes crushed before take-off.
Probably because the proposed business model was not viable and will never make any money.
It is important that young startups stay grounded and not raise your hopes too high just because you and your friends think you have a great idea.
The fallout rate is just too hopelessly high so do not add to this statistics.
Entrepreneurs who have survived the early years have now become more pragmatic than hopeful.
Their dreams and aspirations slightly altered now that they are facing the reality of survival and sustainability.
Each year, they have to look at specific strategies – hope to survive this year, maybe can make some money year, make or break year or looks like a bumper year ahead.
Faint hopes to fat hopes.
Life is tough.
Most entrepreneurs struggle for the best part of their life just to own a house, put food on the table for the family and hope to provide the best education for their children.
Only 10% of all entrepreneurs are reasonably successful, managing to build up a nest egg of investment portfolio to have a fairly comfortable retirement.
The 1% super high achievers that you read about every other day do not need to hope anymore. They have made it.
Everyday of our lives, we wake up in the morning and hope that we will have a good day ahead.
For terminally ill patients, they hope they will wake up the next morning.
For politicians, they hope that come election time, their constituents would have forgotten what they have promised them five years ago.
Appealing to nice natured Malaysians, politicians will ask for forgiveness once every five years and hope that a nice ang pow might just make you forget the pain they have caused. We hope they would just go away and never come back.
The elite politicians have lost touch with the hopes and aspirations of the people they serve.
Millions of citizens work hard daily to survive and feed their families. Life is hard enough without the need for this political push for racial divide and religious segregation.
Sometimes it seems like a hopeless irreversible slide into a dark pit. Is there hope?
Anyway, looks like all sales people have to reset their sales target to zero again. No worries, you have 12 months to make good what you have promised yourself and your company. Always hope for the best and may the bonuses be with you soon. And to my fellow cancer patients, stay hopeful and positive.