In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, it is easy to find one’s self in a situation where despite constant struggle and excretion not an ounce of appreciation is witnessed.
The reason behind this is not one which is too complicated; in fact, we all play a part in creating what I call is the paradox of overachievement. If enough overachievers exist among us, the paradox often kicks in. With more people doing things which are considered beyond normal achievements, the social norm becomes one that motivates people to do more and thus causing “overachievers” of yesterday to be left behind unless they put in a constant effort to maintain their standings. This, in turn, gives birth to a spiral of continuous overachievements which raises the bar for us, and the process goes on and on.
Due to this, something which would’ve been considered extraordinary a while ago becomes just another thing thousands of people are doing.
The increased competitiveness among students has accelerated this process to the point that just to remain relevant in today’s world we are required to good in studies, sports and ECAs simultaneously, causing teenagers today to forgo a part of their childhood and developing phase to “remain relevant”. This is apparent from the exam oriented courses taught in institutions throughout the world, and the highly structured ECAs present in which students are required to participate.
Don’t get me wrong, in no way or form am I saying that this approach is incorrect, in fact from a purely academic point of view this could be considered ingenious as institutes can provide high levels of skills and education to students uniformly, with a well-established motive for students to work harder. However, what this has done is create and completely institutionalized system according to which students are judged by tests, parents and even themselves. Someone may feel worthless without an A in Economics because society tells them that that’s the way they should feel.
This culture gives rise to mediocrity; people become good in many things but never outstanding in one particular field. A bigger problem than this, though, is the development of mental states in which people constantly validation to be satisfied.
Now, this may be considered “normal” by the mass majority of today’s parents and students. However, those who are truly exceptional at a narrower field may feel demotivated to pursue their passions. They may start questioning their worth and will start contemplating the purpose of their existence to which they may not find a definitive answer due to the world we have created, one full of constantly changing landscapes and uncertainties. These people may consider themselves failures and will end up molding to societies norm, effectively clipping their own wings.
To those who have been wasted in this way, I apologize… It is truly a shame that society has lost such amazingly different individuals, and instead of learning from them to evolve, we have chosen to suppress them due to the fear of change.
To those out there who still have some individuality left in them, I call upon you to take this system that has been corrupted time and time head in hopes of changing it for the next generations. Generations that just like us will strive for great things. Generations which will have all the support they need to prosper. Generations not measured by grades or degrees, but judged on positive contributions and valor. Generations led by misfits and outcasts.
Generations where the youth will be overworked, but never underappreciated…