Everywhere that we go, there will always be a mix of optimists and pessimists – those who choose to see the positive side of situations, and the ones who tend to see the negative. Optimists radiate positivity, appreciate the simple things in life, and naturally motivate the people around them to do better. Pessimists, however, always see the glass as half-empty and find it more difficult to experience joy in life.

SMU Snapshots caught up with the ever-cheery former president of SMU Floorball, Hamzah Rased, to learn how positive thinking benefits leadership and influences personal development.

Hamzah picked up floorball back in secondary school when it was a relatively new sport. He wanted to experience for himself if it was fun, and soon grew an addiction to the sport for its fast-paced nature. 11 years on, he now leads SMU Floorball in his second leadership role since being the captain of his floorball team in junior college. He shares with us the challenges he faced when he first came into his role.

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Hamzah bringing the ball in during a match

Doing is better than dwelling

“I had big shoes to fill when I first started as president. The president before me achieved a lot. He spearheaded a few initiatives, such as the sports networking program where we reach out to companies, bring them to SMU and invite SMU students to play floorball with them. The goal was to make companies easily approachable, and networking more informal and less intimidating. Many SMU sports clubs are now adopting the same program.”

Despite being faced with the seemingly mountainous task before him, Hamzah wasted no time dwelling on the subject. To him, a problem simply means a solution that’s yet to be found. When problems seem unsurmountable, he is not afraid to ask for help and seek advice from people who might have more experience.

Upon assuming presidency, Hamzah gathered his team together to establish a common understanding of the club’s objectives, set realistic goals, and start working on ways to perpetuate the club’s legacy.

“When I took over, I wanted to continue the good work of my predecessor. So we invited companies like Bloomberg and PWC to join us for the sports networking program. We also came up with strategies and put in place initiatives to ensure that we would maintain the core status of our club, and increase our competitiveness.”

Be in good company

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SMU Floorball team reaching in to celebrate 

Besides acting on his worries, Hamzah also credits his positivity to having a circle of friends whom he trusts and looks up to. He feels fortunate to be surrounded by people who inspire him. He describes of his friends: “They excel in their studies, and even though they are very busy, they remain committed in their activities and always put aside time for friends and family.”

In stressful situations, Hamzah is thankful for friends who are always there for him to confide in and keep his spirits up. He also counts his floorball teammates as some of his closest friends, and says that, “we work well and play well together, and they show me the value of true teamwork.”

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Hamzah (middle) with SMU Floorball teammates

Take time to enjoy what you do

Looking back on his time in and outside of school, Hamzah realises that while it has always been in his nature to be optimistic, being in a positive environment like SMU has further highlighted to him the importance of having keeping positive.

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Hamzah Rased, former president of SMU Floorball

“In SMU, everyone always seems so happy and energetic, even if there are tons of projects and deadlines ahead. It has made me realise that being positive is a better way to tackle challenging situations than being stressed out.”

Through experience, Hamzah has also learnt not to get hung up on things like work and certain issues that are not within one’s control.

“Being constantly worried that takes the enjoyment out of what you do, and you end up feeling stressed and negative. It is important to take the time to really appreciate what you are doing – then, the task becomes less intimidating, easier to tackle, and even when things get stressful, it is still manageable.”