Life is like a bunch of pencils

A bunch of pencils inside a pencil holder, all facing up.

At the end of last year, I was having a meeting in a professor’s office when I noticed a bunch of pencils on her desk. Hmmm….pencils in an office; it’s quite normal and yet I was drawn to it.

It’s the 2nd day of the year and I thought that it’s a good time to share them (the insights, not the pencils) with you. Life is indeed like this bunch of pencils.

Don’t limit yourself to one pencil

Who ever said we have only one choice in our lives. We can plan our way forward but there’s more than one way to reach our goals. Learn to live with uncertainties, try new pencils, and even surprise yourself by choosing the pencil less taken. You can only use one at a time, but be willing to try other pencils.

Spare pencils are good. Enjoy the journey and experiences.

Sometimes, you need an Undo button.

What can you do with a pencil? You can write and draw; But unlike a pen, you can erase easily. Yeah, that’s like an Undo button in life. Sometimes, we need it.

Some argue that the mark will still be there. That’s true too. When that happens, we can still write over the mark.

There will be scars that we leave behind and we can work on repairing and healing the scars caused by our mistakes. It’s not the end of the world.

You cannot make a pencil by sharpening a stick

A traditional pencil is made from wood in the outer surface and lead (charcoal or graphite powder, if you must know) as its core. It is the core that is turns the stick into an operational pencil. Without the core, pencils don’t work.

This core is resistant to moisture, most chemicals, ultra-violet radiation, and natural aging. That’s what wikipedia says and I think it’s true. (😉wink!) That’s some pretty strong stuff!

What’s in the core of our character and the values we live by? Is our resolve strong enough? How can we strengthen it? [Read on]

Pressure and abrasion make them work

How do pencils work? You have to apply pressure so that the pencil can create marks by physical abrasion, leaving a trail of solid core material that sticks to the surface of the paper or other materials.

In life, we will face pressures and unpleasant situations. Our strong core is built up by these experiences. It what makes us resilient. Let the pressure push us ahead.

Be Versatile and Be Practical

Unlike most pens, you can use a pencil effectively on different surfaces, and in any angle or direction. Even upside down! And in vacuum too!

If we are versatile, we can adapt to new situations better.

There is this joke that NASA spent millions in research to develop a pen that works in space. While the other competing country just used pencils that cost 50 cents each.

Be pragmatic about life. What works, works.

Pencils need to be sharpened

Tough! Having a pencil sharpener is half of the equation. It won’t sharpen the pencils by itself. You are the other half.

Your skills, your business, your career — they are not going to improve by you doing nothing about it.

Life is not a bed of roses, we have to face bitter realities sooner or later. There’s no harm in being prepared by sharpening your pencils.

“The future is like a pencil. It’s waiting for you to sharpen it .” (you can quote me on this)

Have a great year ahead, folks!

P/S: Zinfinity Consulting does not sell pencils. If you are a pencil supplier and wish to sponsor this post, contact us. (That’s a joke!)

About the Author: Gina Phan is a consultant and trainer with Zinfinity Consulting. She currently conducts courses in workplace performance skills. Click here to know more about her.

What else does she write about?

#gp #trainergina

#life #insights #2024 #reflections

2 thoughts on “Life is like a bunch of pencils

    • Hi there

      Absolutely true. That’s so insightful and I can see some lessons there.

      That’s why you need more than one pencil. Besides, why hang on to old ways when there are newer ways to do things? If it does not work anymore, say ‘Thank You for your service’ and respectfully give it a rest. It has given you its best in its lifetime.

      Thanks for visiting and your comment.

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