Monday, March 12, 2018

“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

1: “Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”
Gertrude Stein
2: “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”
Winston Churchill
3: “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
Paulo Coelho, Alchemist
4: “Never, never, never give in!”
Winston Churchill
5: “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

When I was younger, I was naive not only to the world outside my school, but to the realities of life as well.

Back in elementary school, I had a dream where I would run my own car company. It was a wild dream and even then I knew it. But I liked cars (despite not being able to drive yet) so I felt that such a dream was entirely possible, provided I put in the effort. 

When I was in high school, my school participated in an international competition where teams of students were to design a car with 3d software, produce them out of balsa wood and race them against each other. My dream of running my own car company was still very much alive at this point in time, but my school already had an established team and it didn't look like they were looking for a new member. Despite this, I decided to start my own team with the intentions to rival my school's team akin to AFL's derbies or Holden vs Ford. I also thought that having extra competition would help both teams achieve new heights.

I was able to get two friends on board, but my plan fell through. I remember reading the manual for the 3d software I needed to learn, but it was all too complicated for me. It was the very basics and I couldn't find a way to make it work. Worst still, I didn’t seek help because I didn’t want to appear to be the leader that didn’t know what to do. I failed my team. I failed myself.

How was I going to run a car company when I wasn't able to even design a simple chassis on a computer program or swallow my pride to seek help?

As I've grown (and hopefully matured) over the years, I've learnt a lot about life. As a student, be it in elementary school or university, I would fall into the trap of thinking that I needed to know everything inside out, even if it was beyond the syllabus. I felt that it would be impressive to others and that I'd be rewarded for such initiative.

Indeed it did impress my teachers, but as I progressed through school into the higher years and onto university, such initiative became more and more unrealistic as there was simply too much information out there. It took me a while to understand that, and my grades suffered as I focused on areas that were never going to be examined.

Through the many failures I've experienced, I've learnt that we can't expect to be perfect or to always have the answers. In real life, bosses of giant companies that dominate the global market don't know everything. I used to think they did - why would they be the boss? Nowadays, I strongly believe that experience, ethics and empathy play a bigger role in our personal and professional lives. It's more important than raw knowledge alone.

It's been said that the secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times. From who I was to who I am now, I endorse this statement 110%.

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