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There are many things that I wish to improve in my life - by S.S.

Chosen Topic:

Life is a work-in-progress. What is one thing you hope to improve and why?

'O' Level student-inmate from institution TM1

Consolation Prize

Life is a work-in-progress. What were my thoughts when I first saw the title? One particular thought was: while growing up in my younger days, the presence of the ubiquitous “work-in-progress” warning signs at most places in my neighborhood. When one was struck down, another appeared elsewhere, in the same neighborhood, tinkering God knows what. I have even thought if these works will even end. You can even say that at one point, I even despised those signs because of all the detours and inconveniences they caused. But now, after many years, I have understood the importance of those works that I despised. For a nation to keep up with the world, to provide people a better and convenient life, and to find a spot at the top in infrastructure rankings, work should always be in progress. Now, applying this same principle in my life, I think I would be as successful as our Singapore, if I know where to improve on, and how to work on it.

There are many things that I wish to improve in my life. But the one thing I feel is of utmost importance, and the one thing that can bind all other areas I wish to improve, is communication. The term “communication is key”, is uttered by almost every self-improvement gurus in the world. It is literally a key that unlocks a lot of other positive aspects in life. From family to friends, from school to work, and even prison officers to inmates, communication is very important. Good communication can result in a million dollar handshake, and bad communication can result in a million lives lost. That is the level of importance for communication. Communication is one of the most important fuels to drive our life towards a positive direction. Today, one of the main reasons I am behind bars is the lack of communication, or I can say that I have no form of communication.

Coming from a single parent family, my mother had virtually not much time for my two siblings and me. So my entire household did not practise any form of communication, be it happy ones or sad ones. When I say communication, it is not the common verbal one where I say “hi” and you say “hello”. It is something deeper than that. Like when those times I will be bullied out of my recess money and will not tell anyone. First, I did not tell my mother because I do not know how to, and second, I did not want my teachers to tell my mother because then, she will have to take time off from work to come to school, something which she can’t afford. So from these small incidents, I always thought I had my situations under control and communicated well only to myself. Even when I knew that my drug addiction was spiraling out of control, I did not talk to anyone about it or seek help to beat the addiction. Only in my current sentence, I have understood the importance of communication after attending a programme.

So most of my woes in life would not have gone on for long if I had communicated with someone in the proper way. And this is why I need to improve my communication: to break out of a vicious cycle called addiction. And through that, I can achieve all the goals I have set.

Another reason for me to improve on my communication skills is to maintain a healthy relationship with my friends. I have earned the ire of many of my friends because of my past pushy nature. At times, if it feels right to me, I will not listen to the suggestions of my friends and do things my own way. For some, one burn would be enough to keep away from a boiling kettle. But to me, I kept on putting my finger on it because I did not want to acknowledge the burn. Reflecting back on my past actions, most of my friends avoided me because of my one way communication style. I want to step out of here as someone wiser who can listen to my friends and go to them without any reservations to share my problems.

Lastly, as I am in the intention of getting hitched, improving my communication skill would help me sustain my marriage. I have read in a book about the five love languages. When I did some introspection on what I read, I realised that in order to communicate well in a marriage, there is a unique language for that, which is the love language. For example; if you learn to speak French, there is a very high percentage of your holiday to Paris to be smooth and a success. And as marriage is a lifelong thing — at least in my view — communication must constantly be worked on for me to be updated. The factors involved in keeping a marriage afloat are many. My reasons for improving communication skills will be higher for this particular goal of mine.

I could have written more if not for the word limit. So I have stated the three most important reasons as to why I want to improve my communication skills. And the three reasons being: to break out of my addiction cycle, to maintain a healthy relationship with friends and to have a successful marriage. The common factor in these three reasons must be obvious to the reader. That is, improving communication to attain my goals is not a one time off. It needs to be constantly updated and practiced like a software. Afterall, life will always be a work-in-progress.

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