Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Daily thought: This race that we didn't ask for


My father used to tell me that life is like a race. We are in constant competition with those around us, running constantly to keep ahead. Stopping is not an option, because if we do, people will overtake us and leave us behind.

He would use this analogy to motivate me to study constantly and not slack off back when I was in school. Being the young boy who only enjoys gaming, the wisdom behind this analogy was, of course, lost on me. I didn't quite understand back then what this whole “life as a race” thing meant and didn't take the lesson to heart.

Now that I'm in adulthood, his advice about life being a race against others is suddenly becoming more relevant than ever.

Even before we're conceived, we're already racing along our mother's womb, to be the first to reach the egg. After we're born, the race only got more intense. From our first spelling competition in kindergarten to the first major exam we have in high school to our first interview after graduating, life is a constant struggle to stay ahead, to prove that we are better than the people around us.

It's like we're constantly racing against each other, struggling to stay ahead in as many areas as possible, be it looks, knowledge or skills, just so we can have a better shot at life. To be more “successful”, so to speak. It's a constant “I need to be better than the guy beside me” so that we are given the best opportunities in life.

Slacking and stopping to enjoy the scenery isn't really an option, because others would just easily overtake you, and you would find yourself in a tough position catching up. Just look at post-university life, for example. After graduating, there's really not much time for you to enjoy life or “find yourself”, as there would be a lot of pressure for you to secure a job as soon as possible. The longer you take, the tougher it is for you to secure a job, because others would already have a head start over you in terms of experience.



The sad thing is, none of us asked to be part of this race. If given a choice, I would have easily chosen a universe or life where you could just sit down the whole day and enjoy life. And it's not like all of us are born ready for this race. Some are better at this than others, which is why you see immensely successful people versus those who are not so.

But even if some of us are not good at this race or do not want to be part of it, we're pretty much stuck in it, because we all need to survive (unless your country provides welfare, then that's another story).

I guess I could complain about the system and say that it's unfair, but I guess it's the best system that we have to keep society going. After all, we would want the best in life and seeing how we are faring against others, is the easiest gauge we can find. Like the saying, we can only suck thumb and live on.

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