Angie Across America: The Anatomy of an idea

Ideas are birthed from the heart, conceived in the mind, and accomplished through hands and legs:

(1) First, passion strikes the heart
(2) Next, an idea forms in the mind
(3) Then, the brain strategizes the plan
(4) Finally, the hands and legs carry out the plan
(5) Over the course of time, the heart, mind, brain, hands and legs work continually to refine, reform and actualize the idea to achievement

For my ride across America, it didn’t just turn up in my brain one fine day. It was an idea that took root in my life since I was little.

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I remembered being awestruck by Michael Jordan and his incredible talent in basketball. I remembered watching the English film Billy Elliot about a working-class Irish miner’s son who loved ballet and escaped the severity of his father and society’s expectations of him to become a world famous ballet dancer. I remembered watching, hearing and reading of so many great men and women who were nobodies when they first started out. I caught that message and dreamed of transforming myself from a nobody to a somebody someday.

So I began putting hands and legs to my dream.

As mentioned in my previous post, I was not good at being cooped indoors, so I found myself expanding my energy outdoors.

It first began with a daily 6-mile run in 2008, which progressed into a marathon in 2010, a half Ironman triathlon in 2011, an Ironman in 2013, after which I wondered… can I push myself further? I wasn’t a strong cyclist, and wanted to challenge myself to cross an entire country via a sport I wasn’t particularly strong in.

It was just that – a dream that turned into a challenge of pushing myself out of my comfort zone – doing what was uncomfortable, because in doing so, I find myself growing stronger and hardier on the inside, so that whatever life throws at me in future, I can always look back at those times I pushed myself to the far edges of my limits and grew as a result, and I can likewise, overcome and triumph over any difficult situations that I face.

In hindsight, my dream to ride across the country was an idea that took over 20 years to accomplish. I had to learn and grow into the woman that I am today to fulfill a dream of such magnitude.

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My challenge for you is, in any endeavor you undertake, be it a project in school, a new role at work, a new language you’re learning, a piece of music you’re creating or a film you are attempting to bring to life, keep chipping at your dream despite obstacles, hardships or time drags, and trust that though it takes a long time, your dream will surely come to fruition.

Angeline Tan

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