The Value of Rp.300,000

On Saturday I was informed that there would be an examination entrance for Mandarin Course from a university in Guang Zhou, China on Sunday. Since I didn’t have time to prepare and I was not too interested in taking the course, I didn’t want to go but I also felt guilty if I didn’t show up. Finally I decided to go there just to say in person that I did not want to take the exam. When I got there, I met a friend and she asked me to take the exam. She also told me that it was not expensive, only Rp. 30,000 (USD 3). I thought, if it’s only USD 3, then I’d take the exam to accompany her.

There were three papers. The first paper was quite easy. It had some vocabulary, grammar and short answer. The second paper was mostly about geography, history and culture. I could not do the second paper at all because I knew almost nothing on these subjects. Apparently the other people who did the exam already had some material to study on these subjects so they were quite prepared. The third paper was writing composition. One of the topics was “My Unforgettable Friend” and we were supposed to write 500-800 words. I wrote about 200-300 words.

While I was writing the composition, the exam supervisor asked us to pay for the examination fee. She said it was Rp. 300,000 (USD 30)!!! My reaction was WHHHHAAAATTTTT?????? Three hundred thousand?? Not thirty thousand?? If I were to describe my feeling at that moment, it was anger, regret, guilt, all mixed together. The most dominant emotion was anger at myself! The little voice in my head kept saying, "Stupid! Why didn’t you just stick to your goal in the first place? Why did you do that exam? Why did you let your friend drag you into doing it? It was your fault! You brought this on yourself!”

At the height of my negative emotions, my intelligence started to drop. I said stupid things in that room that I later regret. I asked whether I could withdraw, but the supervisor said I already did the exam and there was no refund. Finally, I took Rp. 300,000 out of my wallet and put the money under the paper and I simply walked out of the room.

After those feelings subsided and my intelligence came back up, I was able to think more clearly. I started to have a feeling of regret for saying those stupid things in class. I also felt regret for being disrespectful to those older teachers in the classroom by walking out of the room like that. Then I started to ask myself better questions and I got better answers.

Question: What can I learn from this?

  • I learned that I value exchanging money for something of value and I do not like to waste it. Although Rp.300,000 was not a big amount for me, I felt I had wasted that money for nothing. I do not mind paying a high price for something that I value, but I do not want to waste even a small amount for nothing.
  • It is true that when emotion goes up, intelligence goes down. It’s better to say nothing and do nothing rather than regretting it later.
  • I learned that asking “What can I learn from this?” or “What good things come out of this?” really help me to feel better. The first time I learned to ask these questions was from Anthony Robbins, then from Blair Singer. I’ve taught this method to other people but I’ve never truly felt how effective it is until now. Now I am convinced that this method really helps me to get rid of those feelings of guilt/regret/hurt that I often feel. I also feel a sense of courage and optimism because I have a powerful weapon to face my fear of failure. It is not failure but a learning experience. I’ve heard a lot of people say those words in many books and seminars, but now I finally have it imprinted in my heart and mind.
  • I learned that I want to feel a sense of calm and peace no matter what happens. I believe that this feeling of peace can only come from faith in God and trust that everything happens for a reason and it is always for good.
  • I learned that when you choose and decide to do something, accept the consequences. If it is good, be glad. If it is not so good, learn from it.

At the end, I felt that I had not wasted Rp. 300,000 at all. I learned so many valuable lessons from this experience. Not only I have deeper understanding about myself, I also have a new conviction. It is really worth it!

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B.Com   

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