Friday, August 12, 2016

The Middle of the Bell Curve Existential Crisis


I love to dance. But...

But what?

I don't dance as well as others.

So? I thought you enjoyed dancing. Isn't that what matters?

Yeah, I enjoy it. I love dancing, how my body moves to the rhythm of the music, sweating it out. But I can't help but to feel a pang of jealousy and pressure when I see better dancers out there. How they are so quick to learn the moves, even add in their own flavours, while I struggle to even memorise the steps or move correctly. I just feel that I'm not good enough.

And that is an issue because?

I don't know. Maybe it's the recognition that the better dancers are getting. Maybe it's how people look up to them in awe and congratulate them for being good at it, when my love for dancing is not less as theirs. I don't like how they are able to make their passion their living, while I can't. I'm always the awkward backup dancer who's there just because.

You know you can practice and improve yourself right? To be as good as them?

Yes, I know. But that's not entirely my gripe either.

And what other gripes you may have?

I take issue with how life is an unforgiving bell curve. No matter what we do or where we go or what attributes we measure, almost all of the time we are able to fit into a comfortable bell curve. Be it dancing, coding, studying, or even the ability to make money. There will always be people at the top, the high achievers and over performers, followed by the average ones and lastly the under-performers.

We constantly compare to others because of this bell curve, almost all of us wanting to be at the top.

I am going to sound like a bitter dick here but I hate how life rewards those at the top and how there's not one single aspect in life where we can be all equal. Equality is myth, really, a notion that we in the middle create to try to soothe ourselves that we're not that bad. That we have a worth. When in actual sense the higher you go the worthier you are.

Perhaps the key is to stop comparing then? To just do what you want because you love it, instead of hoping for anything in return?

How am I supposed to do that, when our society constantly celebrates those on top of the bell curve. Have ever seen any news feature on the slowest runner in the Olympics or the guy who constantly struggles when he try to sing? No! It's the fastest dude who wins the gold medal and gets a lifelong pension, not the runner who came in last.

To be honest, that's the whole point of life really, to find the bell curve where you're at the top, so you can reap the most rewards there. Life is not about doing what you love, it's about doing what you're good at. Because no matter how much you love dancing, running or gaming, if you cannot be the top, you might as start choosing another passion.

We humans have this flawed perception that if we're passionate at something, we'd naturally be good at it, when it's often not the case.

That's a really bleak way of looking at life. What point are you exactly trying to make, then?

I don't know. I feel that something is broken, or that I'm just a bitter old soul who's jealous of the success of others, but at the same time is not willing to put in the hard work to compensate for other people's talent. Maybe I am envious of those who success come to them easily.

You know that's not how life works right?

Yes, and that's why I curse it. I long for the day or a life where I can just spend the entire day only doing what I love, without worrying about whether it is productive or beneficial. Just plain enjoying myself. I know this type of thinking is indulgently selfish and paints us as slaves to our hormones, which is why here I am, having this discussion with you.

You may be right, but that's not the only way to look at this. Perhaps the bell curve is a system that pushes humanity forward, and by rewarding those who are at the top, we are continuously improving ourselves as a whole. Be it in science, progress or innovation, it's the people at the top that make humanity better.

I don't deny that it may seem unfair to those not in the top but it's a necessary evil. The one thing that sets man apart is our constant desire to improve and to be better than the next person, and this motivation is the ever-burning fuel to our progress as a species. If you take this away, we'll forever remain stagnant, perhaps still living in caves.

Maybe. I guess the question we should be asking is how can we be more inclusive of the low performers in life or should life be just left like that, because having consequence of being at the bottom of the bell curve will push people to move up?

That's a whole different topic altogether.


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