To many people, this title seems counter-intuitive. It sounds like a sarcastic opponent of what they have always known or been told. However, we find that it often takes deliberate retrospection as well as time away from the routine to see things clearly.
I am taking a cue from Ezinne Zara in her remarkable book, Dear 20 something. She wrote, ‘We are told…that the antidote to our insecurities is going viral…Don’t be afraid to slow down…arrows are pulled back only to gain momentum and speed…’
In a world of flashy social media presence and countless announcements that seem to oppress, there is need for young people to catch themselves in the midst of the flurry of activities. This is because we tend to be drawn into a never-ending cycle of ‘opportunities to be a part of something’ and are often willing to do things that put us ‘out there.’
Some people even turn down offers or opportunities that are not CV-worthy. It is a dangerous trend, and here is why.
This topic is dear to me, because I realise that building takes time and effort. Whether it is a house, a family, a friendship or a career, there is no point rushing and then having half-baked results.
Motivation is great, but must be applied in context. We hardly ever start at the same place, in life, even if we are the same age. Thus, it is cruel to expect similar results from two people.
Our ‘aspire to acquire’ proponents forget to remind us that people are wired differently for various kinds of work, that fulfilment comes from different things for different people, and that not everyone can excel everywhere..
From Henry Thompson’s ‘The Stress Effect,’I drew a profound lesson which contravened prevalent ideology. Yes, anyone can learn certain things. However, not everyone can excel at everything. Some people are better as supervisors than as managers, for example. Others are better off working with teams than being the spotlight guy.
Dear student, I understand that this is our stage of exploration and discovery. Many times, we aren’t even sure what we truly want. That is why it is dangerous to make nearly permanent life-altering decisions at this stage. At the core of all that you (choose to) do should be a well defined set of values. That way, you gauge your commitments properly and avoid a life that floats around or one that is always available.
The harsh truth is that, there are many good ideas and initiatives, but you are not likely to be able to participate in everyone of them. Thus, ensure that you are honest about your strengths. Do not over-estimate them. Do not assume. Get trained.
Do not be pressured to take up roles or offers. Take a step back, Think. Feel. Choose. Pray, if you are so inclined. Give your best to the activities and commitments you choose. Let go of the others, with humble satisfaction. Heartily celebrate others who seem to be doing more than, or going ahead of, you.
As you run with a life vision, constantly evaluate your journey. Have you swerved off track? Are you living someone else’s dream that was sold to you? Beyond the CV, are your activities relevant? Do you see a connection, from within, to the things you do? Are you just going through the motions?
Activity does not equal productivity; rhyme intended. Busyness does not equal fulfilment. Sometimes, working in the background instead of the spotlight is more satisfying. From Ezinne Zara, ‘Comparison is the offspring of confusion and a lack of identity.’
Ponder on this, as the year ends. I will, too.