This is a story about the lost coins that I found.
Walks have become somewhat of a regular thing in my life since the pandemic. With the multiple lockdowns which basically shut pools and badminton courts, it was one of the few things that I could still do and enjoy. With every window of opportunity that presented itself during the pandemic, I’d go for walks in the nearby paddy fields or parks.
So what’s with the lost coins?
One morning, I saw a coin on the road on a pavement at the park I frequented. Heartened by that chance of luck, I decided to look closer at the ground as I continued with my walk. Before long, I saw another coin. Soon, yet another. And so, by the end of my walk that morning, I had a handful of coins in my hand, picked from various points at the park. This post is about the lessons that I have gleaned from all those lost coins which I have picked in the last 6 months.
During that period, there were very few days when I didn’t manage to find any coin during my morning walks at the park. The lost coins were always there, never in one spot but they were there. These were 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen coins. Once there was even a ringgit note left lying on the floor.
Lesson 1 : We Are Careless
Money is not something we throw away. Hence, money on the ground basically points to them getting lost because of carelessness. Despite being taught and reminded to be careful with money, we still lose them. And because of that, on most mornings I will still be able to pick up some coins. Why? Because everyone of us would have been careless at different points of our lives. So, as long as you take the trouble to look, you will see the carelessness. And you might even benefit from it too.
There was one morning when these 3 shiny lost coins caught my eye. They must have come from one single owner. I wonder what the owner must have been doing to have these coins slip through the fingers. I am sure that many of us have been reminded to pocket our cash immediately for safekeeping after each transaction. Yet, many of us often feel that we will be able to hang on to our money easily, or that it won’t happen to us.
It was only 25 sen but they taught me that we are inherently careless by nature. To fight carelessness requires us to disciplined and consistent in keeping to good practices. And we will often make excuses why we need not be those. Cos very often we will always tell ourselves that we can handle it, or we won’t drop anything.
Overconfidence, and thinking that it only happens to other people and not me is a lesson from the lost coins. And it’s very true, cos the lost coins keep popping up everywhere in the park.
Lesson 2 : The Importance of Motivation
We do more when there is motivation. The lost coins have become a motivating factor for me to cover more distance within the same area, because I wanted to know how much I am able pick up every time I go for my walk. Looking for lost coins on a paved area also requires focus because the coins blend into asphalt. So, it becomes some sort of a game to see if I can find a coin. Sometimes, I’d have others with me and we will turn it into a game of who can find more. It makes the morning exercise time more fun. Time passes by quickly too.
With that goal of coins in mind, I found myself covering more area too. I became more focused too. I trained myself to multitask. Just looking for the lost coins and not be able to have snippets of conversations would be boring. Hence, multitasking becomes necessary. You just get better at it as you go along.
Life’s like that too. Motivate people or dangle something that can move people, you will find them not only moving more but also giving more of themselves too. In the process they become sharper and inclusive too. The lost coins taught me that.
Lesson 3 : Pay Attention To Your Surrounding
The park is a place where many people frequent. Yet there are still a lot of lost coins there for the picking. You just need to look out for them. In any situation, there are always hidden gems waiting to be discovered. However, not many will look for it. Sometimes, people are not aware that they are there. Very often, my friend and I would walk right past a coin and still not see it. And sometimes, walking on the same path twice also does not mean we will see that particular coin too. You have to look and put in effort to look for it. Else, the coin will slip by cos it is hard to tell apart from the road.
Lesson from the lost coins. Many of us do not pay attention to our surrounding. I guess that is why too many opportunities and important stuff are missed. Sometimes a thing or person is sitting right there. Yet we walked by, not seeing it all.
Lesson 4 : Creatures of Habit
It’s actually quite easy to know which places are more likely to have the fallen coins. Of course there will always be these telltale signs of human activities which will point towards a greater likelihood of finding coins. The place where I usually find the most coins is where hawkers set up their stalls in the evenings. It’s easy to tell the popular spots apart because they usually exhibit signs of being used. And if that is not enough, the birds hover around the area more too, way after the activity has ceased.
We are creatures of habit. Usually the same stalls often operate at the same spot too. So, after a while this creates a routine. Routines make things predictable.
Apart from that, where the cars park is also a good place to be looking for coins. Hands holding snacks, one hand reaching into the pocket for the car keys, hollering after one or more hyperactive kids, a coin or two in the hand will slip during the chaos of getting into the car. So, lost coins at the car park.
Park benches where people sit and watch the going ons, special spots next to a shady tree beside the lake, kerbs where couples sit and talk, spots by the lake – these are all places where you are more likely to find the coins and of course, the stalls where people buy and sell.
These lost coins teaches you to reconstruct the events that might have taken place there too. It helps you grow your imagination, your rational thinking. Who says you can only learn those from school? Lost coins can teach us those too.
Lesson 5 : Some coins are scarcer than others
50 cent coins are the hardest to come by. 5 cent coins abound and I could always count on at least one 5 cent coin each time I manage to pick some coins. Guess the 5 cent coins are part of the psyching up the customers too. 95 cent as opposed to RM1. It imprints in the mind that it’s still cheaper than one ringgit. Every successful coin picking sessions would definitely have a 5 cent coin. And it is followed by 10, 20 and 50 cent coins in that order. 50 cent coin comes perhaps once in a month. In my whole time there, only once did we come across a note. Some coins are scarcer. Notes are the scarcest.
This is one of the more abstract lessons from the coins. The coins are like the opportunities in our lives. Everywhere around us there are small opportunities that require some effort to make it work. The bigger opportunities come less and require an even longer investment of time and energy in order to get it going. But to find those bigger opportunities, tenacity alone is insufficient. There needs to be an element of luck too, sometimes and scarcity too.
There are many more lessons that the lost coins can give. But soon too, coins will be a thing of the past. When that happens, the coins that we will be picking up will have an artefact value attached to it, a relic of a past. However, I am sure when the prevailing money is in the digital form, there will be lessons which we can glean from the digital cash too. Perhaps a story in a digital trail of spending or tall tale of unimaginable saga and conspiracies. Those are the stories yet to be written.
Oh ya, I also take walks in the changing scenic paddy fields! Whenever I took walks in the paddy fields, coins hardly come into sight. But that is another story for another post.
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