One thing at a time
Such an important post, @Omololu FAGBADEBO - thank you for sharing. I think that options 3 and 4 can so easily be forgotten in the rush to achieve 1 and 2. A good environment will allow all four at least enough to feel individually fulfilled and happy.
I'm sure some others will have some thoughts on this too: @Andrea Hayward @Dahlia T @chris leonard @Raj sundaram @Soumi Paul
You are right, @Shruti Turner, we often forget the need for the importance of our freedom and health in the quest for money and status. It's only in good health free from the bondage of sickness that we can enjoy money and status.
Thanks for sharing this @Omololu FAGBADEBO. I feel like this is a very important conversation that educational institutions should start with students from a fairly young age. But it doesn't happen, unfortunately. This made me reflect back to conversations I'd have with friends during my time in college, in which people chose majors based on the "pay package" they'd eventually get. I couldn't relate to it then, and I can't even now. 😐️
I personally chose my own major based on interest and passion and although both of these have changed since then (and might change again), a large part of my focus has always been on trying to do work that fulfils me and makes me feel like I'm making some sort of a difference in another person's life. My contribution might not be life-changing but it gives me great satisfaction in knowing that I've done something that might make the person feel even 1% better than they were.
I feel like "status" plays a huge role in how people pick educational journeys and jobs (especially where I'm from, India). I've known several people who were absolutely miserable during their student life because they were pursuing careers that had been picked for them - usually "respectable" professions that look great on paper and that feel nice to say (Ex: "My son is studying to be a doctor").
When it comes down to real life, I think points 3 and 4 aren't even considered or talked about and I feel that because this is acceptable work culture, organizations feel like they don't have to make provisions for these either. Seems like a vicious cycle now that I think about it.
Sorry if this felt like a rant. All of this just came to me when I saw the image. I hope I've made sense 😅
Yes, you are right @Andrea Hayward, many times, we are lost in the 1 and 2 at the expense of the 3 and 4, which are more important o-fr us to enjoy 1 and 2. Societal demands, people's perceptions, and ego often force people to divert from their naturally chosen field/profession. Hence, the education system of Plato is still relevant. And this has to do with his original conception of justice: people doing what they are naturally fit to do. Many people chose their career path, not because of their interest and passion, but because of what I refer to as "the meal ticket syndrome". Thank you,@Andrea Hayward for your insights.
I completely agree with you! Unfortunately, I think it is easy for people to take for granted good health until it's gone - both mental and physical. This post is a great reminder to us all of the importance and also not to undervalue those things.
I agree on so many levels with the things you say here, especially about status and things looking good on paper. I think it's a thing particularly in some social circles and it drives me crazy. Does it matter if your wife's niece's neighbour's son is studying X degree and Y Univeristy? It makes achievements (imo) feel like they are expected to give relatives bragging rights. This takes away the pleasure and value of the achievement in my mind. I have felt like this at times with how some of my extended family have been, from some know they are proud of me and my achievement and feel that pride themselves. But, with others it feels like it's another thing they can whip out to boost their status.
I find also that it can also be a way to pile on the pressure to be a certain way or achieve things...I have a sister who is two years older than me and always achieved high grades...so when it came to my turn I felt a lot of pressure. I can't just say "I passed" or "I did well" - people expect (in my view feel entitled) to get told the grade and push until they get the answers. It was always something that really bothered me, and still does. I do feel for my sister as well, she went to a good university and studied Classics and is now a teacher and because my extended family didn't "get it" they didn't think much of it, I went to an equally good university but did Engineering (a "good professional" course) and it was more bragged about. We're both equally happy in what we do, but I know she struggled with feeling like she wasn't accepted because on paper, she didn't tick the right boxes.
Oops, sorry I think I have ended up ranting too to match you @Andrea Hayward !
Absolutely, @Shruti Turner, societal expectations often jeopardize our health and freedom because we want to please everyone. I think there is the need for a reorientation that would allow individuals to operate within the context of their passion because that is the only way of happiness and success. When we are carried away by the lure of money and status, we endanger our freedom and health, the superstructure upon which we can maximize our money and status. Thank you, @Shruti Turner.
@Omololu FAGBADEBO I am so glad that you've been spending more time on R Voice lately and sharing your thoughts with us. I'm really enjoying reading your comments and am learning so much from you! Grateful to have you here 🙂
"Does it matter if your wife's niece's neighbour's son is studying X degree and Y Univeristy? It makes achievements (imo) feel like they are expected to give relatives bragging rights."
@Shruti Turner so relatable and very reflective of some social circles as you've said. Don't worry about this being a rant. I can sense your frustration and I'm glad we got to talk about this because I share these frustrations. I have a similar experience with the pressure of people's expectations and them not being happy for you or acting like you're settling for less just because your choices don't look good on paper for them. Just typing it out makes me realize how ridiculous it all really is.
Educationally, I come from a background in Psychology. But since I was a relatively good student, too many people were appalled by my decision to pursue a social science. No one cared that I was deeply passionate about it and wanted to learn more about it. I'm fortunate that my immediate family is extremely supportive and will back my decisions always. But I couldn't understand why other people just couldn't be happy for me and were still trying to persuade me to switch majors or streams "before it's too late" 😪
Thank you, @Omololu FAGBADEBO for phrasing it so succinctly! Hopefully, we can start to inspire that reorientation for a better work environment. It is my one big hope with communities like R Voice and conversations like this.
This is such an important reminder @Omololu FAGBADEBO! We get sucked into the loop of earning more money and making a mark for ourselves, but how much does that really count? When you close your eyes and take a trip down memory lane, what brings a smile to your face are those small moments that you enjoyed doing things you love or spending time with people who matter to you. This realization hit me 3 years ago when I had to take a month-long break to recover from a surgery. The break gave me time to reflect and I realized that in the effort to secure my future, I was depriving myself from enjoying the present. That was also when I created a bucket list of things that I've always wanted to do, and luckily for me, I've been able to tick off quite a few of those in the last couple of years. Having said that, I do fall back into the circle of guilt and self-doubt at times, but when I see what a positive effect it has had on my physical and mental health, I feel I've chosen the right path.
Agreed - this type of conversation is rarely had with such openness and as soon as we write it/say it, it just seems crazy. Thank you for starting with the sharing which allowed me to feel like I could, @Andrea Hayward.
I am sorry that you felt the pressures from external people about your passion, I can empathise with how impactful that can be. I'm so glad you have a supportive immediate family, it really makes a huge difference, unfortunately, I don't know why your passion isn't enough for others.
In these circumstances, whilst I don't like it, I can sort of understand the judgement/acceptance of immediate family, but to everyone outside of that, I wonder why it is even relevant?! Why does a distant relative/family friend care what I'm doing as long as I'm happy (within law and ethics etc)? I sometimes wonder if it is a generational thing or a culture thing. My (English) husband finds it all quite amusing, and whilst I agree with the way his family are more chilled with their approach of "well, it's your life, as long as you're happy.." I find it so bizarre because it's not what I've grown up knowing. Which in itself worries me, because it makes me think that it is a form of care shown by people, even though rationally I don't really believe that. Maybe I'm too cynical? I don't know.
Sorry, not sure if any of that has made sense?!
Thank you, @Andrea Hayward, sharing our thoughts together is a better way of dealing with mental health challenges among academics. Thank you for being such an inspiration!
Your right, @Shruti Turner, R Voice has provided that platform for healthy conversations
I understand you, @Kakoli Majumder , you just have to build on the changes that you have already effected in your work-life relationship. You don't have to feel guilty or fall back when it seems you are unable to accomplish that task Your health is vital in this direction. It is those who are healthy and living that can complete tasks. The works will always be there, and people will always do it. You are just a fractional part of the hands designed to accomplish the task. Your absence will not stagnate the task.
@Omololu FAGBADEBO , I sincerely believe in moderation and though I fail miserably from time to time, I continue to strive for 'balance', in relationships (family, friends), work, play, spiritual, physical, service, and all other aspects that come together so beautifully to represent what I think is a 'fulfilled' life. I am still learning and I have come to realise that if you are not careful, you end up living a life that 'society' tells you represents success and fulfillment, yet often is so far removed from what true success and true fulfillment represents ...for 'you'.
I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted.
You are right, @Dahlia T, we need to live a life not defined by society, but by our innermost character of passion, taking into cognizance our health and freedom. We understand ourselves more than any other person. Thus, it is fulfilling when we live the life we know, and, in the way we know it, rather than condescending the ascribed societal definition of success and fulfillment. True success and fulfillment are, according to Plato, doing what we are best fitted for. Thank you, @Dahlia T.
Interesting conversation, @Omololu FAGBADEBO. Relate to the stories of @Shruti Turner , @Andrea Hayward and @Kakoli Majumder ...
And yeah...agree to some extent on "I think there is the need for a reorientation that would allow individuals to operate within the context of their passion because that is the only way of happiness and success. "
Some of it is mindless conforming...
However...at other times, it's survival. And conforming has this other dimension of a basic human need to belong, to be appreciated and valued, access to friendships/love/bonding. These are all (fortunately or unfortunately) a result of things that social status brings us...jobs, education/degrees, money, the language we speak, etc. Part of social evolution and conditioning. So....a lot of us also make decisions about what to do with life based on the above.
No one would care unless one has a degree, a job, money, the marital status, social status, or whatever else that is deemed "respectable" and "valuable" by the society. One wouldnt even have a voice or be listened to. Some of us may be disrespected more severely than others (for cards dealt at birth) if not for the financial and social wealth. We might talk about intrinsic value of humans. Great in theory. But not really practiced. In our planet, some humans no matter what will be treated as less worthy than others. And yes, we should change this. And that's done by collective mindset changes.
"I have come to realise that if you are not careful, you end up living a life that 'society' tells you represents success and fulfillment, yet often is so far removed from what true success and true fulfillment represents ...for YOU"
@Dahlia T this is so profound and SO TRUE! Thank you for always keeping it real with us and sharing your nuggets of wisdom on R Voice. I am always glad to see your name pop-up in my notifications because I know that I'm either about to learn something new or come across a thought that will encourage me to think deeply or reflect. It's a gift to know someone like you 😊❤️
@Shruti Turner mmm I think you're right to think that this must be a cultural thing. And I am equally confused about why a distant relative, or worse, someone you're not even related to, thinks they should have a say in your life choices. I agree that they might think it's coming from a positive place or they're "expressing concern." What they might not realize is that their ideas of what success should look like are terribly narrow and maybe even outdated and although they might be trying to show that they care, they end up making you feel small or even invalidating everything you stand for. It's a sad thing, but it does happen.
I don't even know what to respond here, @Andrea Hayward - you've summed things up so well, I don't have anything to respond. I just get a feeling of sadness (or something) inside as I think about it.
I try my very best to change this culture or at least inspire generations to come who are being pushed here and there. I had a (polite) disagreement with a dad when I was working an outreach. The daughter came up to me and said they wanted to do Astrophysics/Aerospace Engineering and could I tell them more about it. Before I could speak the dad said "no, tell us about law". Long story short, I was an Aerospace Engineering student at the time and balanced the two to answer both. Dad wasn't impressed and asked what I do (dad assumed law or medicine) I said Aerospace Engineering and when asked how my parents felt, I told the dad that they were supportive. I feel like it's important not to cause family drama (no one wants that!) but also to empower people to hopefully have a role model who is like them, but more objective to show them it is possible to do what they want. To this day, I think about that one conversation and would love to know where the student ended up. I like to believe that the conversation made a difference and they picked the science route.
Glad you could have that conversation, @Shruti Turner ...but just wondering, isnt the daughter who you talked to a bit different from your own case - where you had your parents' support to do what you liked. However, glad you were there to speak up for the daughter's interests. I suppose she was lucky to have met a stranger who was more understanding of her interests than her dad. Also interesting, that aerospace engineering was looked down upon compared to law/medicine in the UK. In other countries, engineering/medicine are placed on the pedestal, all social sciences (including law) - looked down upon.
However, interestingly - most people wouldnt want to date/marry doctors (especially women) and in some specific specialities...Just getting the idea from Adam Kay's "This is going to hurt". Also seen this IRL in many cases. So...this is how our societies work (or rather dont work), I suppose. Cheers.
Oh yes, I agree a very different situation to the one that I was in. I more mentioned the fact that I had support to show that parents from the same culture can support their daughters into such subjects. I don't think engineering is looked down upon per se, more that it is expected that daughters will do law or medicine, whereas the boys will be the ones to pursue engineering. Obviously, there is a lot of generalising in my post..but this is the mentality I have seen from many. I'm so grateful to be in a supportive family where my parents put our wants first and are proud of our successes even if different to traditional/expected ones.