Thursday, 27 June 2013

#ThrowbackThursday: The things that we already know

Back in Year 12 we used to have free periods - in exchange for classes before or after school. In those periods we would be studying because oh well, we had the HSC to conquer.

It was quite frankly a very difficult year. In year 11 we had to do short classes of 7 subjects each day, and that changed to long classes of 4 classes per day with tons of homework everyday because we did not have classes for those subjects the next day. The school decided to roll out these long classes just before we graduated because - I don't know.

Despite studying for different subjects, we used to sit in groups. In case you don't know, I was one of the geeks who took 4 units maths and 3 units of everything else - except English. I spent most of my free periods dwelling in mathematical proofs that I was never quite able to grasp - and that sealed my fate in not pursuing the engineering path.

Because we sat in groups, we often talked to each other - not so much a full on conversation, but rather a passing comment here and there. The comments that half the kids would say is "I wish I am just average, so I don't have to do all of these difficult subjects". The other half is "I wish I am smart then I don't have to work so hard."

I think it is fair to say that at that time I completely missed the point - the point is not about being smart, but it is about working hard. That is why we have the grading system whereby the students are classified into advanced maths, intermediate maths and whatever maths there were. Because as human beings, we need to be challenged, and we need to work hard to overcome those challenges.

A life with no challenge is perhaps not as rewarding as a life with challenges. In fact, these days I think a life with no challenge is borderline on being boring. There are a lot of challenges in life, don't get me wrong. Some people have more challenges than others even when they did not explicitly ask for this - like for example, a broken family or a family member with terminal illness. For some people surviving on a daily basis is a challenge because they do not know where their next meal will come from - like those living in a famine-striken country in Africa.

All of these led me to think that working hard is one of the necessities in living a fulfilling life. It doesn't really matter in what area you are working hard on, it can be your job, your volunteering, your family, etc. Working hard brings with it a sense of satisfaction - the one that somewhat fulfills you because you have done something useful with your time.

Isn't it funny that sometimes the secrets to a happy life is so simple - doing something that you like to do, spending time with people you love, and giving your best in all that you do. The choices that I make today and the attitude that I bring with them are the starting points that would determine how my life and myself would turn out. The world doesn't owe you anything - it does not owe you a good life. The life that you have right now is what you make of it.

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