Stairs (Not to Heaven)

M. Iman Usman, on a night chat at a Starbucks table:

“Ini analogi gue ya, Fu. Orang yang ‘nyoba’ berbagai bidang itu memperluas tangga mereka ke samping, makin lama makin lebar, tapi sama sekali nggak membantu mereka untuk naik tingkat dan mendekat ke tujuan sebenarnya.”

(This is my analogy, Fu. People who try as many opportunities as possible in different fields are actually widening their stairs, but in the end they don’t have time to go to the next level and get closer to their desired destination.)


Lucky people are those who know where to go and take one step at a time.

How many of you, of us, really focus on a single thing at a time?

I know a number of people who are engaged in at least 10 committees and organizations at a time. Most of them, just as I also was, can’t be fully committed in any of these works since they should have their mind divided fairly. Multitasking is a talent that God bestows upon some of us, but come to think of it, great men (or women) who really excel and make history are ones who have their thoughts focused and set on what their passion is.

Say, you want to make your country a better place. You can do so by participating in either Indonesian Future Leaders, Garuda Youth Community, Ashoka Young Changemaker, LEO Young Club, etc. (with an emphasize on ‘either’–not more than one–because unless you do so, you won’t really contribute anything to these great organizations)

Say, you want to  have your writings read and your voice heard. Apply to journalistic club or radio station in your university, try internships at established TV station or newspaper offices. Get your books published! (DISCLAIMER: blogging is never enough)

Say, you want to make great research and astonish people with your unusual findings. Then you have to join research associations like Kelompok Studi Mahasiswa Eka Prasetya, or follow your favorite lecturer as their research assistant. I swear you can’t make a ‘boom’ without spending at least 6 months on your research.

See, options are there to pick, not to be greedily taken without any considerations. Indonesia needs more young minds that know what they want to do, not ones that agree with what people tell them to.

Ready to narrow down the width of your stairs and build it up instead?



  1. saya pernah baca satu buku Haruki Murakami, dia mengutip apa kata Dostoyvesky: "when you’re surrounded by endless possibilities, one of the hardest thing you can do is pass them out." saya ingin nanya, gimana caranya kamu bisa bener-bener milih satu dari kesempatan-kesempatan yang selalu datang menghampiri kamu? soalnya buat saya milih satu kesempatan itu masih jadi hal yang sulit banget buat saya lakukan :(. oya, terima kasih tulisannya menginspirasi! :)


  2. Hi, Afu. Big thanks for this post. I do blogwalking tonight and decide to endlessly scrolling your posts. I’m on confused mode to handle many opportunities I had and this post slaps me. I read this twice and gonna read it again :) Well, looks like you’re so busy so you don’t have time to reply comments. But if you have time, please kindly answer my question : Same with comment above, how to pick the endless possibilities and flood of opportunities? Y’know, once we activate our radar, suddenly too much options come and make us greed. And last, what your answer for people who success in many focus area? Let me name the one who is singer, rapper, writer, entrepreneur, announcer, television host and comic. He’s my role model. But after almost one year I try to be like him, i realized that i’m going nowhere.

    Well, glad to know your blog :)


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