I like it when people respond to my writing. It not only gives me something to think about but also prevents me from being a self-righteous bastard. This morning, a parent eloquently responded to my post. He said, “The problem with talent is the current school system is only measuring kids with the same stick, for those one who have unique talent that might not help with your scores, it will be hard to keep up, and continue with the investment. I firmly believe everyone has a talent, but in most cases one gives up cultivating it because it might not add 10 points to your exam. What a sad thing!” I want to let what he said sink in for a moment because that sounds transcending.
“I had a conversation with my daughter recently, she did not finish her art work because she helped her classmate first, then she did not have time for her own. In conventional wisdom, I told her you should finish your work first. However, taking a second thought, how we know she did not make the concise decision after thinking through. Should I be more proud of an unselfish daughter or less?” he continued.
After giving some thought, “I think ‘modeling’ is very important. Most parents model incorrectly - they spend time and energy working so that their kids can play soccer or whatever. But they are ignoring their own health. This behavior gets recorded by the child over and over, and as a result they will mimic the same behavior. However, when parents model correctly - by prioritizing their health first so that they can play soccer with their kids, then you see the game changes. You need to love yourself first before you can love someone else,” I replied.
It is always easier to yell at your kids and say: “Dad works hard to pay for your school tuition. You should do well so that you can get a good job in the future.” But is this the correct modeling? Why not instead, this father finds the job he enjoys first so that he can teach his knowledge and model the correct behavior to his kid. Unfortunately, this idealistic belief is not in everyone’s vocabulary. Many would agree that life is full of struggle, but I tend to disagree because I choose to think differently. Struggle is nothing more than an image which you see from others. You are not struggling if you’re reading this. You would be one if you’re an ignorant person.
That said, I cannot say that having an intense life filled with self-accomplishments is better than having a relaxed life filled with savoring time with your kids, though I can say that being smart is better than being stupid. My nature being what it is, I would not have changed my life, but I can’t tell you what is best for you. That is for you to choose. What I have seen is that the happiest people discover their own nature and match their life to it.
People have a big misunderstanding of talent. They think that a talent must be something special. Worthy of show. This is not absolute because one can posses multiple small talents that are average in strength value. And this individual has the ability to combine these little pieces together and transform themself into someone unique and different. You may not be the rising athlete, but you’ll be a fit and healthy PE teacher who is able to teach different skills to your students, and possibly have written a book or manage your own business, while being a model parent to your child. I don’t know about you, but I call that being ahead.
A few months back, someone asked for my updated resume. And I said that I haven’t written anything since I quit my job. That conversation made me realize that people have a thirst for authentication - even though 90% of what’s written in a resume are polished up. That piece of paper proves nothing if you can’t perform your duties.
It is more important to understand the game we are playing. Some are not meant to be CEOs or leaders. This imagined vertical ladder is society’s way of measuring one’s success. I’ve tried managing people in the past. After a while, I realized it’s not the life I wanted. I’ve savored money, saved up, and even bought a few houses, but that didn’t budge either. Because I wasn’t looking deep enough. We each have a responsibility to choose which game to play. Some are able to play well at higher levels, others aren’t. Having realized that, I wouldn’t allow myself to grow vertically (i.e. starting a new school) because I would be playing a different game. And I would unlikely enjoy equal success because I would be competing against different players, under different rules. Instead, I would allow myself to grow horizontally - by mastering different skills, combine them together, and transform myself into a different individual.
And this circles back to my motto I’ve written a few months ago: solve your OWN problems first.