OBS – My thoughts

To serve, To strive and Not to Yield

It’s a 10 days of zero civilization where I’m basically back to the basics and out of my comfort zone, a 10 days of pushing myself both physically and mentally to the limit, and a 10 days well spent.

Yes, I attended a 10-day Outward Bound Programme in Lumut.

In case you are wondering, it is a Leadership Development Programme, focuses on character building and effective teamwork, which is very much applicable in our work, as claimed by the facilitators.

A nice view of our dorm…

150 steps up to our dorm…

I never liked outdoor activities, moreover it’s very physically demanding as I’m not physically fit at all. Even walking back to my dorm was a torture to me, talking about walking 150 steps up just to clean up and sleep…

All the participants are divided into 2 groups and 8 watches. In order to complete the course, one has to survive all 3 major expeditions, namely :

a) Whaleboat rowing (the correct term instead of ‘whaling’)

b) Jungle Trekking (Yeah I sprained my knee and couldn’t continue the rest of it, which was a big let down)

c) Solo Camping

Think it’s easy? Think again…

I wouldn’t care elaborating on other activites (as they are boring). I will focus just on our first expedition.

From Donnie’s group..mine not available yet

14 on us were on this boat. 3 of us at the stern (rear), another 3 at the bow (front); followed by 4 at each side of the boat – rowing. Those who are prone for sea-sickness were made to row, as it distracts our vestibular system from the effects of the sea waves. Or simply, if you stop rowing, you’ll definitely start puking.

The objective? To row the whaleboat around Pangkor Island  to reach our destination in Pantai Teluk Batik, located about 26 km from the starting point in OBS lumut. That’s 6-8 hours of hardcore rowing and being literally “barbecued” by the unforgiving sun.

I see it as a serious lesson of teamwork and cooperation. “Dip, pull, up” were the commands given to ensure that all of us were rowing synchronously. So, no point being extra gung-ho as any discrepancies will definitely be a mere waste of energy.

This applies to our work in the corporate world. The best teams aren’t always about the best individuals. Like in whaleboat rowing, it’s all about getting everyone to apply their power evenly, keeping the boat sailing at optimum speed. Same goes to an organization, every employee should be able to sublimate their own agenda for the company’s agenda so that every bit of energy is not wasted and being channeled to the right direction.

What’s the biggest challenge here? Yes, it’s about controlling everyone’s ego, the enemy of self. That’s often the case, isn’t it?

I need water!!! (in Pantai Teluk Batik)

I choose to be an observer in the group, like my friend here, John, as I can’t really lead, I’m always better off as a team player. As expected, it’s interesting to see many different characters and personalities in the group. Call me a weirdo I don’t care, I enjoy reading people.

They say you can determine a person’s maturity level simply by the primary defence mechanism one is adopting to resolve conflicts, and I totally believe it. (click here for the full description) I’m glad I’m able to utilize it throughout the entire course as I get to understand my colleagues better and possibly work together with them more effectively in the future.

That’s probably the most valuable thing I’d gained through OBS.

And the certificate…

And not to forget the certificate of completion…=)

Though I’m complaning most of the time in OBS, but upon completion, I must say that I truly enjoyed it. No pain No gain…


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