In Search of Better Ideals

There is a certain sadness residing in all of us that never disappears; the sorrow of unfulfillment.  Our hearts constantly remind us of the dreams we stopped chasing - the hopes we once had - yet we do not pursue them because we know suffering and difficulty awaits. But why are most of us content with mediocrity? We live in a society of excessive comfort where very few have the drive to deliver real changes. Through many agonising ventures, I have  spent the last year exploring common problems in New Zealand and other First World Countries and will share some of my thoughts.

One of the problems of science in the public sector is that it is resistant to change and too good at following the law with a low-risk attitude. There are great initiatives such as Velocity, KiwiNet and Chiasma that aim to change this, but it takes time. Senior scientists will unconsciously teach their juniors to deal with what they get instead of challenging the world. Another hindrance is that even though science students have shown the capability to study hard, they lack the mentality to innovate with their research. Imagine how much we would be able to achieve by spending an equivalent amount of time changing the world. I feel we have created a society that honours the faithful servant with a rational mind instead of an intuitive, reckless explorer. The traditional path of education and qualification should not be recognised as the only path to success. Let’s all put a stop to pretending your whole life; instead of relying on your degrees to do all the talking, let your actions dictate your qualifications.

The reason people like this can’t begin is because they’re afraid of failure. Schools teach people that if you perform poorly in exams your life will go nowhere, but this is not the lesson we should be teaching children. No one cares if you fail. And you shouldn’t let it hold you back. Failing and living with it is the most important lesson anyone can learn. A single google search on the successful people out there will tell you that they’ve all experienced hardship to reach where they are today, no one has it easy. If you have good grades, career advisors will urge you to pursue medicine or law, but there’s not much else they can actually offer you. Most career advisors would not have researched or experienced enough jobs in their life to provide sound advice.

Many people also develop the completionist mindset. During high school they think they’ll have plenty of time afterwards. University arrives and the same thing happens again; they feel so busy and can’t wait to finish so they have time for what they want to do. Rather than doing the hard work early on, many people find it easier to just fantasise about it. What bothers me is that so many of these people will not grow up having a fulfilled life. Too many people realize that they can’t do something as well as others, so they give up and opt to do nothing instead. Your success is determined by how willing you are to be uncomfortable. Stop having these success fantasies, start now.

Just watching motivational videos isn’t going to convince anyone to take action either. When people watch these videos they admire the speaker and want to imitate them, but are either too lazy or don’t know how to do so. Actually, motivational videos should mostly be watched for entertainment. If people want to really change their lives, they need to watch “How To” videos. People will only be able to achieve change if they know how to realise it.

Eventually, when people reach old age, one of the regrets you commonly hear is that they wish they could have accomplished more. I often see this happen with people I know. When they think that they’re not good enough for something, I think they will regret not taking the opportunity later. Never ever listen to someone that says you shouldn’t do something. One day you’re going to die, so why not live now? Besides, to truly succeed in this world, you’ve gotta be a little bit crazy.

If you don’t have a purpose in life, no one is ever going to respect you. If you don’t know what your purpose is, I recommend to get out there and experience different things to discover it. One thing’s for sure, you’re not getting anywhere by going back to Facebook or Netflix. A good way to discover your purpose is to ask yourself: “If I had all the money and time in the world, what would I do with my life?”

Most of all, you have to love what you do. If you don’t, you cannot compete with people who do. There are those who read about business trends or health statistics in their leisure time and weekends for fun. Your time spent while obtaining a degree should not solely be spent on getting good grades. Your education continues outside the classroom. You are worth more than that. You should invest in your dreams, not just study to guarantee a job.

Live at your potential, don’t fake it. If you always live below your potential, you’ll never make progress because it’s too easy, but don’t live way above your potential because you’ll hurt yourself. By living at the edge of your potential, you will always improve. People make mistakes, others may or may not forgive you. What matters is not what others do to you, but how you react and adapt to new problems. Don’t be ashamed of your mistakes, be proud because you’ve just found a new opportunity to improve yourself. You want to become the person that doesn’t care when everything is taken away from you because, in a few years, you would have gotten everything back.

In conclusion, the potential of these people is held back as they are too afraid to pursue and achieve their dreams. Sometimes this is due to a greater desire, sometimes just pure foolishness. But how can we achieve happiness? Overcome obstacles. Discover who you can become. Explore the details of the world you overlooked. Because the little details are what makes us fall in love. Real achievements will last a lifetime. You can be whoever you want, as long as you accept it. In the end, it is this quest of life that brings true joy, so take that step and change the story of your life.