Week 47 — Feeling Like A Caged Animal

Adriel Fong
6 min readAug 13, 2021

With fresh restrictions back in full force, things have shifted slightly in the VB18 programme.

From weekly office and active Thursday sessions, this luxury has been all but taken away from us with the recent government imposed restrictions. It’s left me feeling almost forgotten, like no one else know that venture builders exist.

Personally, these restrictions have affected me tremendously because I tend to thrive on these sessions for in-person interactions and creative inspiration, both in my writing and in whatever entrepreneurial ventures I may be embarking on.

With only a few weeks left in the programme, I’m beginning to reflect on the journey and to look beyond and into what lies ahead for me.

The Funkmasters

It has been a disappointing Olympics for the sunny island of Singapore, with most of our medal hopes firmly place on our swimming and table tennis teams. As I watched the interview after interview of our swimmers’ post swim interview with the press, I noticed subtle emotional triggers.

Their facial expression alluded to me that they were visibly unhappy with their current performance and rather nervous about their upcoming event when quizzed about the future. It felt like there was this dark cloud of uncertainty looming over them. I dismissed that thought for a moment and blamed it on first race jitters.

Then came the ‘real’ race for the 2 swimmers Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen. The hopes of a nation was on them and the race ended badly, ending pretty much all hopes of an Olympic medal for Singapore.

It painful to watch the post-race interview, the questions were extremely tough but needed answering. Joseph talked about being in this funk. So did Quah.

Couple that with the bombshell announcement that legendary gymnast Simone Biles pulling herself away from competition to take a break.

It all made sense…

This ‘funk’ that they were feeling, I’m feeling it too!

I don’t know if anyone out there is knee deep in this ‘funk’ but I’m definitely in the thick of it.

You see where you need to go, what you need to do, but it’s as if you’re stuck in this invisible and highly viscous mud pool that just stops you from moving forward.

I’m feeling it with almost every facet of my life, in my spirit, in my fitness and in the ventures that I’m working on. I just feel so tired and worn out. The things that fuel me like exercising and writing, are now turning into a chore even though I know that I deeply enjoy doing these things.

This isn’t one of those fairytale, lead-you-to-the-promiseland kind of stories, I’m in the thick of it and I’m figuring things out as I go.

Eliciting Commitment

I may not be experienced in many things nor can I be considered a professional in anything. But what I am is committed.

Everyone has different levels of commitment, but I can be really committed, to the point of stubbornness.

And so, it frustrates me when I’m in this state where I know what I need to do but somehow continue to procrastinate and not get anything done.

I’m still trying to find that trigger that I can use to turn my inner commitment into real actionable progress. The biggest misconception that people have is that they believe something external must change for them before taking action in their lives. This applies across all areas of life, from attempting to lose weight or trying to take a business off the ground.

It’s convenient to blame someone else other than yourself, and so you find many men saying: “I’ll be a better husband once my wife stops screaming at me.”

Well, we all know the truth is the other way around. Taking responsibility for your actions and emotions will make your wife stop screaming at you (hopefully).

Be accountable to yourself and take control of your life.

That’s what I’ll be working towards.

Alter Your Environment

Maybe your work is a factor causing this funk in your life, only you know the extent to which that is true. If this issue persists, it might be wise to start looking for a new role because the old might be weighing you down.

For those who might not have the luxury to think about a change like that, then work towards physically altering your environment! Looking at my own work set up, it’s absolutely messy and I believe that it’s part of the reason why I find it hard to do work in my own room.

Finding means and ways to spark inspiration in your environment is key. If you continually think of your environment as a box that is designed to trap you, your mind will mold itself to that taught and you will begin to only see things from that narrow-minded perspective.

If you start to see the potential that your environment can be shaped to whatever you want it to be, you will begin to see possibility and benefit from the positive emotions that it radiates.

In the event that all else fails, get out of your house and into nature! (More on this in the next segment)

Taking a break and recalibrate

It’s vital to take a break, everyone needs a day where they pig out and binge watch Friends on Netflix.

But, it becomes extremely detrimental when you spend the whole week doing that. Humans are naturally goal-achieving creatures and having no goal for a prolonged period of time results in danger to the individual.

You know what they say, idle hands do the devil’s work.

It is vital to know your limits and know when to stop. I might have taken my Netflix campaign a little further than I would like to, but I’m glad I’m back mostly focused and planning on future articles.

So, once your bell has been rung out, what should you do next?

Well, if you aren’t forced to take action immediately, remain in a state of calm for a little while longer.

clementi forest

Try taking a long walk and reflect on what led you to this situation, it’s hard to do that because it might bring up painful questions that lead to painful answers. Do it anyway because you want to solve the issue on a deep level; taking long walks relieve the symptoms, but the reflection is what heals you.

It sounds stupidly simple and doctor-like, but I assure you, taking long walks in nature helps clear brain fog.

Once you’ve successfully recalibrated your body and the brain fog is lifted, you can now go and attack whatever else you set your mind on.

Final Thoughts

Most people place loads of emphasis on mental health and advocate for the acknowledgement of it. I’m all for it!

But it comes at a price where some people start to think that mental health is this inaccessible thingamajig that we all need to “seek professional help on”. I’m not saying that therapy doesn’t help, but I believe that there are small actionable changes that individuals can make for themselves to change one’s mental outlook and future path.

We don’t need professionals for that, we just need a hunger to learn and a heart that is open enough to try whatever’s been taught. Trust yourself and keep moving forward, keep staying curious. Lean in to what your body is telling you and be honest with yourself.

If you need that cheeseburger treat, take it. But if you’ve been eating junk the whole week, hold that treat back for awhile longer. Trust yourself.

Till next week!