Sunday, April 11, 2021

That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles (MY Eng #10)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase' and ''leave no stone unturned'.

Every now and then, we hit a bad patch in life. Tragedy tends to strike twice. When it rains, it pours (another idiom!)

You can shout at the top of your voice. Break a few glassware. Rant on social media about the injustices of the world. Whatever channels your negative energy away. Whatever floats your boat (another idiom!)

In the end, comes acceptance. Such is life. Move on.

* * *

Yes, life isn't fair, sometimes. You really tried your best, and results don't turn out your way. But that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Missed out on your dream job at the last stage of interview? That sucks, but you're bound to face rejections whenever you're reaching for something better.

Missed out on getting on First Class by a single grade? Tough luck, but take it as a lesson to work harder than your minimum goals and expectations.

Missed out on a weekend sale because you snoozed your alarm. Well, no excuse there, you laxy bum!

* * *

In life, nothing comes easy. Some days you win, some days you lose. Life doesn't always go according to plan.

Yes, sometimes you do deserve better (and others who got ahead of you don't). Sometimes life just deals you a bad hand, and there's nothing in the world you can do to eke out a victory.

But the sooner you accept the vagaries of life, the quicker you'll bounce back to your feet. Sure, the cookie crumbled through your fingers like fairy dust, this time round. But there'll always be a bunch of freshly-baked cookies to look forward to, tomorrow.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Leave No Stone Unturned (MY Eng #9)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges' and 'cut to the chase'.

Imagine you're rushing off to school or work. You kept snoozing off your alarm. In a frantic frenzy, you step hard on the accelerator. You drive like a speed devil. You get out of the car, and dash like an Olympic runner through the car-park, hallways, and flights of step.

Whew! You just barely made it! Woo hoo!

But wait! Your pocket feels empty. Frantically, you pat all over your body. Oh no! Your keys have gone missing! You must've dropped it on the way. And so, the search begins! You retrace your every step, leaving no stone unturned...

* * *

Indeed, this is the bare necessity whenever you're undertaking an important and urgent task. Diligence. Being meticulous. Sort through stuff with a fine comb (another idiom!).

You can't be lazy. Complacent. Sloppy.

Even after your work is done, check, double-check, and triple-check. Often time, we tend to shoot out emails to mass recipients in a huff, only to realise we made a boo-boo. Even minor typos like the wrong year (2021 instead of 2020) can diminish one's credibility. Misrepresenting a fundamental fact can land one into hot soup.

It's no secret that bosses and leaders value character as much as - if not even more - than competence. Learning new stuff comes easy for most people. Learning something over and over again to imprint onto one's muscle memory - now, that takes a special kind of driven discipline.

* * *

Hence, the importance of 'leaving no stone unturned' in your daily work.

Sure, it may be a tiring and frustrating exercise. Checking 101 dirty rocks for a tiny key that you (or worst, someone else) dropped isn't on the top of anyone's list of fun things-to-do.

Still, having a keen eye for detail is a much-valued character trait in most organisations. Whether you like it or not, execute every task with every ounce of dedication you can muster. Hard work matters.

And don't be deceived by the apparent mundanity of stones. Who kows? One of them may turn out to be a shiny jewel after all...


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Cut To The Chase (MY Eng #8)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer' and 'apples and oranges'.

Time is precious. Even patience has limits. Now more than ever, especially in this modern fast-paced era, our attention span tends to dwindle in a matter of seconds.

So without further ado, let's 'cut to the chase'.

* * *

Get straight to the point. Don't go around in circles. Speak your mind. Don't beat around the bush (another idiom!).

This rules generally applies to whoever you're talking to. Mom and Dad can sense you're evading and hiding something. Your boss is too busy to indulge in your sob stories. Your examiner grades your exam/assignment answer based on its accuracy, not the word count.

Sure, there are certain occasions where small talk and slow buid-up is necessary. Social courtesy. Cultural norms. Ceremonial protocol. Still, formalistic niceties aside, the rule kicks in once you get into the heart of your message.

* * *

It's important to say what you mean, mean what you say.

Communication should be instantenous and precise to be effective. Misunderstanding is bound to arise when your key message is buried in a thicket of text. And above all, people appreciate honesty and frankness. Especially when you're asking for permission or a favour.

After all, no one likes feeling being duped or misled. You may get away by being sneaky the first time. But word gets around the streest fast, and you'll have a harder time getting people on your feed in future.

In short, follow the KISS rule - keep it short and simple.