Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A summitter of Gokyo Ri

Assalamualaikum and a very good afternoon I bid to Governor, DG, AGs, Directors, Deputy Directors, and all guests who are present today. 

I’m not a descriptive person. I will not describe to you how amazing the views were from beginning to end of the journey. I believe the video presentation and the photo exhibition have done a fantastic job in illustrating that. What I would like to share with you are my personal reflections on the journey, something that could not be captured visually, but could be felt and only seen in hindsight. 

If I were to share two eye-openers from this adventure, they will certainly be the new comfort zone I have found & a different interpretation of success I have been enlightened with. 

They say “Growth happens outside of your comfort zone”. And that was exactly the reason on my mind when I signed myself up for this expedition. I wanted to go out of my safe cocoon and challenge myself to grow. I wanted to recognise my boundaries and push myself to overcome them. But little did I know, I was actually jumping out of my comfort zone, to a different kind of comfort zone. 

Why do I say that? 

Despite the tremendous challenges we have to face all the way through, I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by people who have made me feel at home. 

It was a journey where friendship is age, race, and status blind. There is no question about how high or how low you are on the corporate ladder because underneath us all, we are flawed individuals who are striving to be better. 

It was a journey where people have endlessly encouraged and cheered for each other even though they themselves were gasping and struggling to make it to the finish line. 

It was a journey where you see living proofs that with hard work and determination, it is possible to have a career, a family and still keep pursuing interests you have passion for. 

It was a journey where the only comparison ever made upon you is one against your previous self, not against a benchmark set by others. 
And in those elements, I found my comfort zone. 

This trip has also opened my eyes to another definition of success. For most of us, success is about transcending our limits and achieving our dreams. While those are absolutely true, little did we realise that there is another level of accomplishment that we could, and perhaps should strive for. And that is, by helping and empowering others to also grow beyond their limits. 

This different interpretation of success is demonstrated by none other than our team leader, Apau. I kept wondering, why would a man 

  1. Spend thousands of Ringgit to climb the same peak for 3 times 
  2. Take the pain to train us, whom level of fitness are so far behind 
  3. Spend so much time to organise for the trip, get the paperwork and approval ready when he could have climbed a different peak on his own, hassle free. 

I found my answer at the summit of Gokyo. 

As I was getting closer to the peak, I told myself that the first thing I wanted to do was to find Apau and thank him for making this possible. That’s all. 

Instead, standing in front of him, I found myself crying and lost for words for a moment. I hugged him eventually and said “Thank you. 
Thank you Apau, for everything”, to which he replied “it felt good, right?” 

You see, Apau had “been there & done that”. He knew how mountains could change people and how nature has opened minds and thoughts in ways no self-help books could. He believed that and wanted to share that valuable learning experience with the rest of us. 

Success could be scoring your personal goals or a long list of personal accolades. To Apau, success is helping others to get there. It’s about making small but permanent impact in other people’s lives. It doesn't matter if he has climbed the mountains for the umpteenth times, but if he could make the journey possible for other people to bring changes within themselves, that is already a success. To me, this is deeply profound. It is a very meaningful compass to navigate our lives with for greater purpose that yields greater good. 

All in all, the expedition has been amazing and has offered us a holistic learning experience. I have learned useful knowledge on health and fitness like what to eat and not to eat on training days and experienced the good physiological changes that happen in between. At the same time, I also gained tremendous motivation to keep on pushing forward even when my legs are quitting on me because I know the pain is worthwhile. 

In fact, I believe the experiences we had have made all of us stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. 
As I reflect upon my one year anniversary with Bank Negara, I find myself lucky to be surrounded by highly motivated yet humble colleagues with diverse backgrounds. The learning opportunity that this organisation has to offer (indoor or outdoor) is something not to be taken for granted. 

When a British mountaineer named George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, his answer was “because it’s there”. I used to think that sounds cliche and a bit too simplistic to say, especially for someone who was about to conquer the impossible and leave a legacy behind. 

Now that I’ve been to the Himalayas, I’m thinking maybe George Mallory was right after all. The trekking experience there is so incredible that no words could do justice. 

So, I’ve decided. If someone asks why I would put myself under Apau’s training regime and endure hundred kilometres of trekking, my answer would be “because it’s worth it”. 

And I hope people wouldn’t find that answer cliche and simplistic too, but rather will be inspired to experience what could be a life-changing journey of a lifetime. 

Thank you. 

- Atikah Abdul Aziz -
Central Banker
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