Did It All Really Start from Us?

I’m one of those weird people who put too much attention on the first sentence of every writing piece, because I always believe that first sentences determine everything that follows. People might quickly decide not to go on to your second sentence, for example, or they might get twice excited just because of your first sentence. That is possibly why, most of the time I spend on typing down a post is wasted on its mere first sentence.

However, the same tenets are not evident in the case of Indonesian Future Leaders. Our first sentence–first step–I should say, was not convincing, it was rather pragmatic, naive, and stupid. We, the 7 co-founders, were simply college students at their young age of 16-17(ish) who seized the opportunity to take part in a movement–any movement would not matter at that time. Looking back, it looks like (quoting Steve Jobs in his commencement speech) now the dots start to connect and the patterns seem like they were there all this time. We are what we are now. We made mistakes, we learned, and we tried to be the men of our own words. We are bigger than we expected we might have been.

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I would not care to go with the statistics (number beneficiaries and bla bla bla you can simply download the annual report here), but I severely need the world to know about several sweet paradoxes that this amazing organization has:

1. It is a workplace, yet a home.

More than a half of what we’ve been doing for the last two years was white-collar kind of job. We sat in front of our laptops, created documents on this and that, printed this and that, visited school A, B, and C, taught a number of less privileged kids, phoned many important stakeholders, as well as traveled here and there, constantly on a 24/7 professional pressure kind of atmosphere.That’s unmistakably true. But then again, I never really feel like I’m working. These people, we share some sort of similar frequency–laughed at the same jokes, shouted the same joy, and cheered on the same dreams–what more can you ask from a family? That is perfectly why, it is simply hard for me to picture a future without Indonesian Future Leaders in it. That is also why, despite the fact that I’ve been trying to mitigate the number of masochistic organizations I’m having on my plate, it will never be an option. It is a fate, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in life.

2. It is tiring (more of exhausting), yet a source of happiness.

I wouldn’t want to lie, saying say that it’s completely fun to be a staff of Indonesian Future Leaders. Nobody would dare to be that mean to you, I suppose. So at this point, I have to say that the organization is not a place for those who seek for pretentious titles or acknowledgements and have cool namecards. It is a place for those who seek for knowledge and one-of-a-kind experience, who seek for field-based skills and contagious spirit from one another, in return of contributing most of your energy. It is tiring, yet it is a source of happiness indeed, a melting pot where desperation somehow can’t beat you in any kind of battle, because in the end you will have endless supply of energy from these people.

3. It started with a hypocrisy, yet ended with the most sincere smile I’ve ever seen.

Some people say, repeat a lie, it will become a truth one day. I think that’s what happened to this exceptional youth community. In a very positive manner, of course. (Though Iman would insist that: “It’s never a lie, Fu, never, it was an intention!”) I think we constructed our very own, personal, subjective truth–which was an ‘intended lie’–but now, to some extent, we actually did it. We professed in pride that ‘it all starts from us’, and come to think of it today, it plausibly did! Come to think of it… we might actually have initiated several great projects, acted and engaged an exceptional number of youth, shared numerous stories, and inspired quite a number of youth movements along the way! The huge, abstract lie, ladies and gentlemen, is on its way, coming to a shape. An objective, accountable shape, hopefully.

Of course, we still have a very, very long way to go. I might have repeated this over and over in my tweets, but seriously: Indonesian Future Leaders is a home to which I can honestly say that I belong to. To which I can effortlessly come back when the world stands against me, saying that things are impossible. It always remains there, as a comforting home. To which I can look for heartwarming people with their own, unique ideas and limitless spirit. To which we can one day proclaim that it really, really all starts from us.

Happy 2nd anniversary, Indonesian Future Leaders dear.

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