Isn’t that annoying?
Being born in an Asian family, my parents had high expectations of me. Except, maybe sugar coated with ‘western’ teachings. To get good grades was a given and if I didn’t, tutoring was where they would send me. Now don’t get me wrong, unlike typical Asian parents they didn’t directly force me to get good grades, but obviously told me I had to try my best, and if I didn’t get all A’s, they would think that I hadn’t tried hard enough, and then tell me to try harder (and if I still didn’t that was when their true Asian expectations kicked in) (which basically means that nothing was different). They also told me that I could be anything I wanted. Turns out, although they never explicitly stated it, they pretty much brought me up with the choice between jobs to do with law, medicine, politics, architecture or accountant as my profession. Now you may ask, how does this relate to religion and true success? It does. I’ve always wondered, what is the point of doing all these things anyways when you die eventually? I don’t know. Me being in my ripe teenage years, I really do not want to waste away the rest of my life doing the same thing everyday without really finding any meaning or joy in them. Well of course, doctors save lives, and being the president of the united states will have a huge impact on other people’s lives, but on the day I die, I am almost certain that all of it will be meaningless to me.
So this is where religion comes in. Religion will replace this “meaningless” with the promise of achievement and reward. That is why I go to church, to learn more about this. Religion brings meaning to people’s lives, that is why even if there is only faith to back it up, millions still believe. It is a powerful motive, and also a powerful reason to live. I know some atheists will completely disagree with me, and also think those who believe in religion are weak, but as long as it brings believers meaning to their life, by making them believe that they are living a successful life, it is a great thing. Whether or not I embrace religion in my life will be decided naturally as the years go by, but for now… I’ll need to focus on my school exams, ha.
I have a confession to make: It is not enough that I succeed, others must fail. It is a strange feeling, like schadenfreude takes over me all the time. Winning feels good: getting the best grade in the class, winning a prize in a sports competition, or just going to an elite school. Now why is this the case? What makes you feel so good when you win? Is it because of the shiny medal, certificate of recognition? Kind of, but to be honest, these are only instruments to prove that you are better than other people, and thats what I mean by others must fail. After extensive pondering as to why this is the case, I have come to the conclusion that it is because of relativity.
At first, I thought only standardized tests applied with using relativity to live. When you get an A on the test, you probably feel good right? But is it because you got an A, or is it because most other people got Bs, Cs or Ds? See, the thing is, the point of test scores is to differentiate between the smart people and not-so-smart people. Obviously, I’m not saying that just because you are bad at tests, you are going to fail at life, (everybody has their own strengths). But lets say suddenly everybody gets full marks on a test. Although originally you might feel good about it, perhaps even brag about it, soon after learning that everybody has received the same marks, there is no longer anything to brag about. The test is no longer useful if this is the case, and that means your mark no longer means anything as well. It sucks, but it is true.
Soon after thinking about it for quite some time, I realised that everything in life is about relativity. Who are you to say whats good, whats bad, whats small, who’s dumb, or all the other things you judge? The truth is, things are judged solely based on other things. E.g. how do you tell if you are tall or not? Is 6 foot considered tall or not? No. it is not. A 6 foot person is only considered tall when compared to a 5 foot person, or the world average of 5’6″. If that person was born in a parallel universe where everybody was at least 10 foot tall, he would be considered a dwarf.
At the same time, relativity even applies to emotions. You would only know how it feels to be happy if you’ve been sad before, because if you haven’t, then there would be no way to know whether you were ‘happy’ or not, rather you would just feel normal.
In conclusion, me want others to fail in order to succeed isn’t really a confession after all for it shouldn’t really be a taboo anyways. Other successful people might not admit it because they might sound arrogant or something, but if everybody was successful, they would no longer be deemed successful because for there to be successful people, there must be people who are ‘failures’ to compare and contrast against. Therefore, it is not a choice to want others to fail if you want to succeed, it is a condition that must be fulfilled in order to succeed.
Plans are good in general. They make you organised and prepared. However, too much of anything is always bad for you. I’m talking, as you may have guessed from the title, about overplanning. I was born with a bad habit of overplanning, like it was wired into my brain; I guess it was mainly because I was a bit Atichyphobic and planning sort of fail-proofed things. However, overplanning also lead to many psychological problems, here are the few main ones that I’ve encountered over the course of my life: The high expectations you foresee which leads to eventual disappointment, the not everything goes to plan which leads to panic, and the plan that takes so long to plan which leads to nothing being accomplished.
You know how somethings sound really good and when it actually happens you just end up being disappointed? Well its several times worse when you overplan. I remember planning for a camp with my friends, and I was originally really hyped about the idea and kept thinking about. I looked at all the photos of the campsite, how and where to get there, how long the boat trip takes, every single meal down to the amount of food that would be needed, and basically every single step of the trip including the tiniest of the tiniest trivial details such as how many grains of sand the beach had (ok maybe not but you get what I mean). The night before the day I was tossing and turning in bed scrutinizing and reviewing over the plan that I had formed in my brain about every step of the trip. I ended up sleeping at 5 in the morning, only to wake up at 6 to rethink over any holes in my plan. So after that, we went camping and everything went as I had planned. Unfortunately, because everything went as it had in my head, I was rather disappointed at the lack of fun that I had. It felt like everything was expected; there was no element of uncertainty. It was only until some pondering in the aftermath that I realized because I had overplanned the trip, the trip turned out to be boring. Basically it all comes down to the basic principles of life where disappointment is equal to expectations over reality. So by overplanning, you are basically heightening your expectations such that the reality is so close to your expected outcome that it turns out to be very ordinary, even mundane. they aren’t (most of the time). To give a better example, its like how a movie or book wouldn’t be very enjoyable if you already read the plot summary on Wikipedia beforehand.
The problems with overplanning also occured when I had conversations with people. I remember I used to map out how a whole conversation would go, almost like writing a script for a play for myself and my future conversation partner. This resulted in a monotonous conversation and whenever they said something unexpected that wasn’t part of the imaginary script I had thought up just seconds before my approach, I panicked, or at least violently stuttered. On the other hand, when I didn’t have a plan when talking to someone, it was much more stimulating and the conversation lasted much longer. Turns out, letting a conversation flow naturally and talking in, and not ahead of the flow of a conversation would make it last much longer (and make for less awkward silences)
Lastly, spending too much time overplanning and thus missing out on what you actually planned to do is the biggest problem for me. I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve overplanned how I would revise for an upcoming test that by the time I actually finished pondering on how I would most efficiently study there would me no time to execute my masterfully crafted plan, and ended up doing nothing. In turn, I found it much better on occasions when I just jumped straight to studying. There won’t be a ridiculous plan on how long I would study for one topic or how many questions I would do or how many pages of the book I would read or all the other seemingly important details which don’t actually matter at all.
Obviously there are exceptions such as designing a car which you would probably be screwed a thousand times if you didn’t have a plan, but you know what I generally mean.
Man surprised me most about humanity.Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived. -Dalai Lama XIV
Everyone loves french fries. Except for me maybe, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with them. It was only until about a week ago whilst eating with my friends at Mcdonald’s that I realised why. It was during the afternoon and I had eaten lunch just less than an hour ago so I wasn’t very hungry. I ended up only ordering an ice cream, whilst one of my friends, lets call him Mark, ordered a meal. When he was opening the ketchup, being the asshole friend that I am, stole one of his french fries and popped it into my mouth before he stopped me. Being a fast food chain, the succulent potato melted into my mouth and before I knew it, I was hooked to its addicting taste. Everybody knows that once you start eating a single fry, you have to have more right? But he was very protective of his fries and it seemed like the more protective he was of them, the more I wanted it. When we were both arguing about how great of a friend each other was (I was obviously doing this just to squeeze out another fry from him), my other friend, lets call him Sam, gave his share of fries to me in order to shut both of us up. I was overjoyed by the fact that I had just received a free load of fries, but as soon as I started eating the fries, the voluptuous taste of fries derived from the fry I stole vanished. The fries instead just tasted of oily, mushy potato (okay fine I exaggerated there but the fries definitely didn’t taste as good as before). At first I thought it was just Sam’s batch of fries that tasted inferior, but when I ate another one of Mark’s fries, the delicious glamour it once had was gone like magic too. This was when I had an epiphany. The sudden vanish in pleasure of eating the fries was not to do with the change in taste. It was solely because after I had free access to fries, it no longer tasted as good as it should have.
Or maybe I’m just weird.