Monday, May 05, 2008

Needs and Wants

Sunday, 2 December 2007
Haji Samali,


Inevitably, we’ve all, in some point in our lives, experienced failure. Whether it’s not getting the job you really wanted, not getting into the school you’ve studied your ass off to get into, or, most commonly, trying your best in a relationship and still ending up alone. We console ourselves by saying, ‘Everything will be OK’ or ‘This was not meant for me, happiness will come another time, another place’. Slowly we feel better about ourselves and learn how to deal with life better and just be sharper the next time around.

But. What constitutes failure?

It’s when we’ve determined an objective and decide the mechanisms we choose to employ in order to achieve it. Remain consistent with the mechanisms chosen and weigh the pros and cons. However, at the end, no matter how consistent, perceptive and agile we were, the objective was not achieved.

A premise pops in my head: you need to set an objective in order to succeed or to fail. It’s the social construction that has so effectively been introduced to our mindsets that we need to know what we want, do our best to achieve it and all other outcome is considered failing. Jobs, grades, salaries, networking, building a family: all the conventions. But how do we know that that is our ‘objective’? We all know the oh-so-cliché saying ‘When one door closes, another opens’. We all take for granted the things we want and consequentially ignore the things we get. During all failures, it becomes mandatory to take into account everything comprehensively in order to call it an actual failure.

So with each failure, success is also inevitable. When we don’t get the job we want, it might be because we are actually good at the thing we are currently doing. When we don’t get into the school we want, maybe it’s not yet time for us to learn and it’s time for us to do. If we are going through yet another painful break up, maybe it’s because it’s time for us to learn who we are instead of how we are with other people.

For those who believe in God, He indeed has mysterious ways of showing us the things we need instead of the things we want. For those who believe in nature, She has certain ways to sustain a meta-balance which involves not only us, but also the others who evolve around us. It’s always never what you want, it’s what we can take at the moment.

At the end of the day, I guess it’s about taking care of the things you already have instead of dwelling in the things you think is good for you. If life is about choices, then I choose to keep trying, but be content with whatever life throws back at me.

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