“Imagine the ground covered in snow. Picture the calm. Now relax.” – My Dad.
My dad probably never ever saw snow in his life. But that’s the image he asked me to conjure up in my mind’s eye one morning, almost 15 years ago. It was just past 9:30 and it was already a hot day in Kuala Lumpur.
I was far from calm. I had my first job interview with a financial newspaper – the country’s leading business paper at the time. The interview was an hour away and we were stuck in traffic that was inching along the highway towards the city. I was angry with my dad for being late. He’d promised me a ride so I didn’t have to take the bus that day, and he knew I desperately wanted the job. Now, beside the stress of an interview, I was panicking for I knew I was never going to make it on time.
So, when he said, “picture the ground covered in snow…”, I didn’t know whether to scream or laugh. Dad had a way of cutting through the tension every time, or trying to anyway. He was an eternal optimist. “We will get there on time,” he added. “Don’t worry”. I stopped talking, mostly because I thought it was pointless. I just resolved to being upset, and hoping for the best.
50 tense minutes later, we pulled up at the offices of the newspaper. I had a few minutes to spare, so I rushed in and found my way to my interview, a little frantic, but not much worse for wear. An hour or so later, I walked out of the editor’s office with a job offer in hand. At the front of the building, my dad was still waiting for me. He had a smile on his face. I suppose he knew that I would make the cut.
He was an eternal optimist.
If my dad had ever seen a winter’s day like some of the ones we’ve had these past few years, or lived with the traffic chaos that comes in the aftermath of a major snow storm, he might never have asked me to picture the ground covered in snow to calm me down.
The thing is, since that day, my life has moved along a trajectory that I could never have imagined before. My personal and professional life changed tremendously after that job and I’ve gone places and done stuff I never thought I would.
So, when life gets a little stressful and I panic from the fear of not being able to make it to the end of the day, I remember these words from my father…
“Imagine the ground covered in snow. Picture the calm. Now relax.”
And I do.
After all, for anyone who has lived through a major snow fall, it really is pretty, peaceful, and calm after the snow. Wouldn’t you agree?