If you are someone who has yet to have a lifelong ambition in mind, a talent discovered or have created a niche for themselves, you would often face this dilemma in mind whenever you find out that a current endeavor is just not the right fit; give it more time or to give it up entirely?
I have always been quite comfortable in my own skin all these years and had no worries about being ‘average’ and seemingly untalented or ungifted. But as the time to enter the workforce for me approaches nearer and nearer each semester, it has suddenly become a frantic process of truly identifying where my latent strengths and interests lie. I have always knew what my interests were, but it is with great regret and sadness that my childhood ambition of ever becoming a professional footballer and manager will not be achieved, at least in reality. These interests can be satisfied with great gratitude to the creators of video games. I gave up on this dream, and perhaps did not really start working real hard on it because I knew that it was impractical.
Football was not the only activity that I was engaged in as a child. As with every Singaporean child, we are taken to piano lessons, swimming classes and extra tuition sessions to occupy whatever remaining time is left on the weekends. Often, these activities are often enforced upon us, and although ‘enforced’ might be too harsh a word to describe the best interests of our parents, they have inadvertently denied us of the time and freedom needed to truly discover for ourselves what we really wanted to pursue in our free time. And this cycle continued for me, unfortunately. I had wanted to pursue a Polytechnic education, but my Dad insisted very strongly on me attending a Junior College instead. Even though I have no regrets taking that path, a part of me still wonders if things would have been much better had I taken a path that I had chosen for myself.
Perhaps the biggest problem of it all is that we get discouraged and give up too easily more often than not. It is always easy to nurture a new interest, pour in the required resources, set aside some time and to put in the required effort, but results often do not turn out promising. After repeated iterations of trial and error, surely the first thing that comes to mind after a setback is to just quit while you still can, and to quit before it is too late. The process of self-discovery is not an easy one, and you will definitely encounter tons and tons of setbacks, disappointments and failures. But is this process of self-discovery, unearthing of your own talents and developing a niche for yourself all really necessary? In essence, people use these gifts to make a living for themselves with relative ease, and if I could still make a comfortable living does it really matter that I should be a ‘talented’ or ‘gifted’ person?
I guess we will all figure out the answers to these questions and problems only as we become wiser with age. I guess for ‘average’ people like me, what we can do now is to focus intensely on our short and medium term goals, and in the meantime to remain open to many new experiences and opportunities; you will never know unless you give it a shot!