In a world where recognition and achievement tend to be overvalued, Wong Hoong Wei, one of Singapore’s leading marathon runners, reminds us that consistency, not the pursuit of perfection, will help us succeed.
In the first-ever Reimagine Learning Series by Andrew Kang, a monthly series of talks organized by TCHER Online, Hoong Wei shared his views on his passion for running and what motivates him day in and day out.
“While perfection is good, and always striving for excellence is great, to have this journey mindset really helps to see you through the end and also keeps you going,” Hoong Wei said to an audience of parents and students of TCHER Online.
The engaged audience asked a variety of questions, with one parent seeking what advice would one give to students who are unmotivated to do anything.
Host and TCHER Online CEO Andrew said that they’ve met students who could not be motivated no matter what. Over time, however, they grew and changed.
“We do what we can and we trust that this person will change. It’s just a matter of time. Keep the faith, keep on sowing the seed of goodness, kind words, and encouragement,” Andrew shared.
For Hoong Wei, these young people haven’t found what motivates them yet.
“You may want to consider broadening their perspective…to encourage them to take up different experiences, because they do have interests, they do have strengths, they do have things that motivate them, but they haven’t discovered it yet,” he said.
Hoong Wei himself never thought he would pursue running. It wasn’t until he stepped on a stonefish, the most venomous fish in the world, that his mindset changed. The accident gave Hoong Wei a fresh perspective on life. He knew he needed to regain his fitness and running was an activity he could do in the wee hours in the morning or late at night while his then-young children were asleep. Next thing he knew, he was in love with the sport.
“Life is not just about planning, and we can plan all we want. But life, actual life, is about taking the turns and going the ups and downs, and things happening to you that you kinda don’t expect,” he said.
That’s why he encouraged parents to see life as a journey, not a destination.
“Yes, we have an end goal, maybe it’s to win a race. But what do I focus on on a daily basis?,” Hoong Wei said.
For him it was to run, eat, sleep, and think when preparing for a race. These things helped him stay on track. He reminded students and parents that in case they failed to accomplish one or two of the activities they set out to do, they should not be too hard on themselves but, instead, keep on going.
More importantly, he reminded everyone to be kind to yourself.
“Be kind to yourself. Habits take time, and if you’re at Day 10, don’t compare yourself to someone else’s Day 70,” Hoong Wei said.