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‘Hi Ms. Tan, I’m calling from HSBC…is it convenient to speak to you now?’

Slight pause on my part.

‘Ok, what is it regarding?’

LONG rambling at the other end of the line on the benefits of signing up for their Platinum Visa card.

Adamant refusal on my part.

On her part, there was genuine bewilderment at my lack of excitement despite the seemingly no-strings-attached policies.

Patience is indeed a virtue, but it is unfortunately not yet cultivated in me.

‘…but why, Ms. Tan?! It’s ok if you have other cards. This is free!’

Yes, but I don’t do meaningless¬†things. Sorry, I have a call coming in, so bye.

I wasn’t lying. My desk phone really did ring, thank God!

Anyway, DBS¬†laughed and shook her head at the same time when she heard about what I said (the meaningless bit). ‘And you say it with a straight face!’ was her exclamation. ‘Scary…’ was her other response.

Hmph! I wasn’t joking, so of course I said it with a straight face (or tone since the conversation took place via the phone). Am I a scary person? Well, two things came to mind upon hearing that.

1. The world is not friendly. Most of the time.

So, be prepared to have your ego bruised now and then. Think of it as a form of character development. Free of Charge.

2. It’s not always all about you. In fact, most of the time, it’s not about you.

People have bad days. Pets run away (tired of being in captivity, I suppose), kids fail to get into the best class, SIM card gets stuck in the newly bought iPhone, etc. (Aside: The things that people in a developed nation sweat over…seriously!) You got flamed by a customer? Well honey, people have bad days, and you just experienced a bad (read: unlucky) day.

I do concede that I can be quite brusque in manner sometimes. But ultimately, I still hope to become a better person…and that means taking into account others’ feelings. More training on humility, less vitamins for my ego.

Hence, Target Zero. I like to start from scratch because it helps me remember certain things I’ve forgotten…things that should not be forgotten, but have been because we can all get too caught up in the little things that occur everyday.

Note to Ego: You have a new target, so don’t go around throwing daggers at live ones.