As I prepared to go on stage, I was contemplating whether to run away or just follow the rest of the children. I was assigned as the “balloon man”, supposedly to sell balloons to the other kids. But it was just a simple play. I just have to get on stage from one end and go down on the other side. I was handed a few balloons in my hand, all tied up nicely with a ribbon. When I was my turn, I didn’t know what to do. The teacher was already calling out for the “balloon man” but I just stood at the edge of the stage, stunned and blank. I ended up running away and hid myself under a huge kitchen cabinet.
On another occasion, it was during sports day. I vaguely remember the occasion but I remember that when the moment came for all of us from the same school to warm up, I just stood there doing nothing while the others kids were doing all sorts of exercises following a teacher in-charge. I did not even lift an arm, let alone a finger. I was extremely shy. I have always kept things to myself. Even played alone most of the time.
And during the short dash event, I ran. I did run. But I was last. I’ve always been in the last position. It’s always okay for me to be in the last position. I hated the limelight. I hated to be the loud ones. But I know in my heart that I long to be in the center of attention. At least for once. Of course, for a good reason.
The story above is when I was growing up. I was around 6-10 years old then. I remember when I was much younger, I have always been a shy and quiet person. Even my parents told me that I’ve been quiet, always to myself most of the time. I would play with children my age but I was always the quiet one. Always the one who lets everyone else win, while I ended up losing. Even in the simple game such as “follow the leader”, I was always the follower, never the leader.
As I grow older, I managed to break one of my introvert shell – my shyness. But I still can’t go up on the stage and start singing. No. I was still shy. But during that period of time I was already bowling for my country. At the age of 14, I was one of the talented ones to join in the Malaysian National Youth Squad for bowling. My shyness with people slowly fade away. I can stand tall on the podium whenever I win a tournament. But my cold sweat was still there. Still have that anxiety feeling. Nervous was normal for me.
At the age of 22, I bowled for the first time on live TV. The finals were aired on ESPN for the one-on-one match. I won two rounds before I falter in the third. Cold sweat and all choked up. It was embarrassing for me. Again, losing was okay for me. So I let it be. I was still a quiet person. I don’t mingle much. I still can’t start a proper conversation with a girl. Words that came out from my mouth were gibberish whenever I talk to a girl I just met. Stupid stuffs mostly. No, I’m not going to talk about that here.
Fast forward to 2016. I’m turning 40 this year. All those long years of being an introverted person didn’t help much in pushing myself to be better. I remember going for events or seminars, most of the time I would stand in one corner observing people. I won’t talk to anyone. I won’t even say hello. The introverted me was just comfortably sitting on my own while waiting for the event or seminar to start.
Turning 40 made me realise that I’ve been losing so much in life. All those opportunities that I’ve passed, all those promotions that I’ve turned down, all because I was shy and not wanting to be the go-to guy. Looking back, regrets started to fill me in. But I know I shouldn’t look behind, I should be looking ahead. What can I do from now on? What can I do for the next 20 or 30 years of my remaining life?
Ever watched the movie Yes Man starred by Jim Carrey? I know it’s a hilarious movie and I really enjoyed it. But it occurs to me too. What if I say YES to everything that comes my way from now on? What would happen then? Guess what? I did. I said yes to every opportunity that came my way recently. No hesitation and no regrets.
I said yes to my friend when he asked me to become a host of a new Malay language photography channel on YouTube. And now I’m a host. I’m no longer camera shy. All my cold sweat or nervous feeling disappeared. Being in-front of the camera is actually my ultimate introvert shyness, next to being on a stage to sing. It is my final introvert shell that I’ve been wanting to break. And now I did it. Not only I’m happy about it, I also want to be in-front of the camera again. And another opportunity knocks.
I got offered to be a lead in a commercial recently and obviously I said yes. And I did it happily and there were zero shyness or whatsoever. Like, none. At all. Many other opportunities came about and I said yes to all of them. I felt more positive and complete. Like this blog page too. All I did was said yes to blogging again after taking a few years break. And now I’m happy to receive offers for product or food reviews.
To top it all off, another opportunity knocks again. I’ve been watching lucky couples or friends travel the globe in a race on TV ever since the first season. They traveled to many countries, see many things, meet a lot of people and most of all, having the best time of their lives. Who would say no to that right? That’s exactly why I said yes again. All those time I just get to watch other people do it, why not me. So off I went for The Amazing Race Asia audition with my best buddy.
The reason I auditioned for The Amazing Race Asia is because I’ve been saying no to every opportunity I had. Also because I was shy and introverted. Being in the race, I can push myself to break any barriers that I’ve put up in my entire 40 years of living as an introvert. Most of all, because I was camera shy. That is the reason why I didn’t audition for the previous races. “A team must send in a video audition”. Those days I would say no to that. In 2016 however, I felt like a new man.
The audition was held in Sunway Pyramid for two days, 4th and 5th June. As soon as my wife told me about them having an on-site audition, I never hesitate. I said YES immediately and at the same time, I told my best buddy about it. Good thing he said yes too. And we went for the audition at noon today (5th June). My best buddy Ronny has always been an extrovert, a total opposite of me. But it seems that today I was more extroverted than he is. We simply blasted at the camera during audition. We pulled out pranks and joke about each other while telling them why we should be in the race.
So yes. We went for The Amazing Race Asia audition. And I broke my final introvert shell. Now, the wait for the result is slowly eating us up. #LOL