Discussing the significance and joys of teaching

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Why would anyone choose teaching as a profession?

There are different reasons why someone would like to choose teaching as a lifelong career. But before we discuss this, let’s have a look at why teaching may not be an attractive profession for some.

In Singapore, the Ministry of Education has always encouraged working professionals to enter the teaching sector, and this includes professionals who are making mid-career switches. This open approach to teacher recruitment is not indicative of a lack of teachers but more in terms of how educators are valued in the country. The employment market within the country is competitive when it comes to talents recruitment and the teaching profession may not have one of the strongest pull factors. On the contrary, there are many tertiary students who look to professions with greater prospects of a higher monetary remuneration, such as banking, accounting and finance.

This is not a local trend. In fact, it could well be a global one. In Singapore, the number of literature student intake is dropping. In Japan, some universities have closed their social studies and humanities programmes to “serve areas that better meet society’s needs”. All in all, there have been a trend of a drop or loss of emphasis on the social sciences and humanities. Of course, there’s no direct indicator that the loss in interest in the social sciences and the humanities is in any way, linked to people’s aspirations for greater monetary remuneration but the possible of a causal relationship exists.

Generally, local educators in the civil education service are paid well for the teaching positions but there are other commercial and industrial sectors that offer higher pay. Hence, the teaching position – while attractive to those who find a calling in teaching – may not be alluring enough to those who have different life aspirations.

You have not answered the question yet. Why would anyone choose teaching as a profession?

To choose teaching as a profession, there are several qualities that one should possess. The most important quality in teaching, is a passion for it. Now, “passion” is a tricky word. To me, “passion = interest + ability“. This is something that some might not be cognizant about. What I mean is that some people may lack certain factors in the equation. For instance, one may have a passion for teaching but lacks a certain set of skill sets. On the other hand, one may have the capability to excel in teaching but their interest may be lost if some of their expectations within the teaching environment are not met.

“Hence, it’s only when the interest of the person matches their teaching abilities – coupled with the fact that they are able to thrive in an academic environment – that they will truly shine as an educator. And this is often not easy to realise until they find themselves teaching so as to see the truth for themselves. “

Taking the first step to try out as an educator requires stepping out of one’s comfort zone, where courage is called for. Thus, bravery is the second quality of an educator, because it is required not just in entering the teaching profession but also in the fact that it is an essential quality that must be employed in the classroom.

“An educator must be able to take the initiative in evoking insights from students in in-depth discussions and play the lead role in discussion issues from various perspectives.  An educator must be avant-garde in proposing thought-provoking questions, and innovative in lesson design to truly make their lessons shine.”

This is not an easy task and it often takes years to master. Whether one is willing and prepared to take the plunge into this challenge again requires bravery.

The third quality is patience.

As educators, they must be prepared to be patient. They should not hold the expectation that all students will have the same learning pace (which is almost an impossibility, especially in a class of 35-40 students, as can typically be seen in local classroom settings at the primary and secondary level at this point in time). Some students will inadvertently fall behind while some students race ahead during the course of the lessons. Having some students asking educators to teach more within the same lesson duration with some putting forward requests  to slow down the lessons has been a dilemma for most educators in the classrooms. The trick to maintaining a balance is tricky and requires patience on the part of educators.

“There are numerous essential qualities of an educator, and I have only named three which I find to be the most essential. Educators are all different and they vary in personalities and teaching approaches. Nevertheless, the abovementioned qualities are important criteria to assess the suitability of an educator in the teaching profession.”

What makes you decide to join the teaching profession?

I love teaching. Straight and simple.

The path isn’t easy for me either. Teaching doesn’t occur to me as the first choice, unlike some teachers who have decided on teaching since graduating.

This is because my interests are very diverse. I love many things, such as reading, writing, design, photography, the Japanese language, Buddhism, travelling, cultures, psychology, research, editing, social media, analytical thinking, creative writing, communication studies, media literacy. literature, journalism and many more.

It has come to a point where an interviewer once asked me during an interview if I know what I want.

“There might be an expectation among some interviewers that one should be more of a specialist than a generalist but I cannot change my innate preference. I am a generalist, and I am proud to be one. “

So, when I first entered the teaching profession, I have the most enjoyable time of my life, which has lasted till now.

“I realise that I am able to integrate my varied interests into my teachings, employ my writing skills to guide my students and interest them with my thoughts on contemporary happenings. And because every lesson is different with varying class dynamics, I am able to put both my adaptability (did I mention I love variety and changes?) and my understanding of human psychology into work.”

This is something I couldn’t do in some workplaces, due to bureaucratic management, rigid work schedules and work responsibilities, lack of flexible and innovative autonomy, office politics, or a combination of the mentioned.

I really love teaching. Because I find teaching very empowering.

Schools are a golden land of learning, and it still is – in spite of the Internet. In fact, the internet has become my ally in my teaching, what with Information Communication Technology (ICT) entering the education landscape and of course, the “flipped classroom” approach.

To wrap it up, do you have any advice for teachers or professionals aspiring to be teachers?

I will say that teaching is a very fulfilling career.

“It might not be the most fulfilling professions financially, and the work(load) can be heavy and time-consuming. But at the end of the day, when you look back, you will see a lot of smiling and appreciative faces, thanking you for your dedication and hardwork to teaching. And you will see for yourself, over time, the learners you have accepted and developed into full-fledged talents. This is something that money cannot buy. This sense of satisfaction is invaluable and it stays with you beautifully  throughout the times you continue teaching – knowing in your hearts that talents are nurtured and groomed in every teaching moments, and feeling grateful in your heart.

If you feel an increasing sense of elation as you are reading this, then I say, ‘Join me in the teaching profession. It will be worth your while.’ ”

Patrick Tay is an English Language and Life Skills Training Specialist  who is based in Singapore. He has been teaching communication studies and international issues in polytechnics and writes regularly on various issues of interest in education, media, business and international affairs at patricktay.wordpress.com. He can be contacted at teachingwithart@gmail.com .

Effective ways of learning a foreign language right in your home!

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In recent years, with the pace of studying and working picking up tremendously, there is a decline in the number of literature students in Singapore.

This may imply a loss of creative culture in the country since literature is the inspiration behind the endeavour to explore human nature , and to understand life itself.

Regardless of the causes behind the diminishing number of enrollment in literature lessons, it is important that students recognise the importance of self-expression using the written word. At this point in time, it is hard to foresee if the passion in literature will be re-ignited but a weakening interest in the creative arts is apparent.

Moving along the same line of thought, it can be observed that there are also not many students taking up foreign language in their schools. Only one student in my class of fifteen raised her hand when I asked if any of them had taken up a foreign language in the school. Another one or two have indicated interest in this pursuit but has not enrolled themselves in these lessons.

Unlike literature studies, learning a foreign language is a longer journey, and it involves a longer investment since learning a new language is more sophisticated than literature in terms of its linguistic and grammatical syntax, as well as the fact that foreign language learners have to continuously expose themselves to the new language.

There are some who have advocated immersing oneself in the country to expedite learning. That is a feasible way (if affordability, accessibility and feasibility are not serious issues) but there are other ways to learn. Accessing online learning platforms, enrolling in an online course, having formal lessons in one’s country, as well as forming study groups are some great ways to learn a foreign language.

If you are someone who will like to learn in the comforts of your own hometown, here are some effective ways where you are able to do that.

Attend formal lessons: Now , some may argue that this is not necessary since the internet provides much learning content in almost every common foreign language. While this is true, what beginners of a foreign language should be looking for are structures.

Beginners should look for teachers who are able to give a structure to their learning.

This is something that is almost non-existent in an online platform, unless learners subscribe to online learning platforms such as LearningPod101.com. Of course, the lesson notes that you received from these lessons are also invaluable.

Purchase Textbooks that are used in formal language schools: It’s almost impossible to learn a foreign language without some textbooks to give one the foundations. Do visit your bookshop frequently to note any updates to the titles.

I am currently learning Japanese and one title I will recommend is “Mina No Nihongo” . It comes in two books (which constitutes one set of four ) with its own set of vocabulary lists, sentence structures, conversations in writing, and numerous practices and exercises in each chapter.

Leverage on mobile technology: With the rapid development of mobile technology, our mobile phone is currently much more than a communication device. It is also a learning device, specifically the learning of foreign language in this context.

There are tons of foreign language apps in Apple Play Store and I will personally recommend “”.

If you are interested in some interested features of the app, they are here. Have fun learning a foreign language!

Watch dramas and movies of that language: It’s important that we keep in constant contact with the foreign language that we are learning.

And one of the best ways is to watch programmes in that language, as what we learn in textbooks may not be the equivalent of what is spoken by the native speakers in their daily lives.

Once we have gained a certain level of proficiency, I suggest reading literature of that specific foreign language we are learning.

Learning content compilation: With the increasing amount of learning content, it’s inevitable that our learning content gets increasing complex and sophisticated. We are looking at everything from vocabulary to grammar to sentence expressions to commonly used phrases. I personally  form a list of vocabulary (which I find it to be the most important since we require a vast range of vocabulary words to form sentences, alongside verbs) and a verb list, and my valued textbooks as well as learning materials.

Putting in an effort to revise these list of vocabulary words and verbs regularly is very useful in learning the language. Writing short sentences and paragraphs are equally effective. This is especially so if you are crafting sentences around your daily living since by doing so, you are inadvertently using commonly used sentences.

To wrap it all up, I will say that it’s possible for almost everyone to learn a foreign language in their own homes. However, this should be complemented with external formal lessons since pronunciation will probably be an issue in any form of independent foreign language learning.

Have fun learning a foreign language! And do not forget to communicate with your foreign friends speaking the same language!

Patrick Tay is an English Language and Life Skills Training Specialist  who is based in Singapore. He has been teaching communication studies and international issues in polytechnics and writes regularly on various issues of interest in education, media, business and international affairs at patricktay.wordpress.com. He can be contacted at teachingwithart@gmail.com .

Introducing “HelloTalk” (Foreign Language learning tool)

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It was through a leisurely chat that I am encouraged to try out the latest offerings of HelloTalk. Now, this is not a pitch or a typical salesman’s  spiel but I feel compelled to talk about it after trying out this mobile phone app for a few weeks because to me, it’s just amazingly great!

“HelloTalk” is a foreign language learning exchange application whereby users are able to learn a foreign language while mentoring their language partners on language(s) that they are proficient in. For example, if you are proficient in English and wish to learn the Japanese language, you can download the app and register as a member, then find people who are interested in English and who also wish to teach others Japanese. In this instance, a good recommendation will be native speakers based in Japan. However, there are instances where these native speakers may be based in other countries, of which you are also able to learn from.

The app allows users to search for other members in terms of proximity and specification of cities, so there is flexibility in choosing one’s language partners.

So, what’s so special about this app?

Interactive and great learning interfaces!

When I first navigate through the app’s interfaces, I find the features rather complex and sophisticated. However, after dabbling with it for a while, I find this mobile phone app highly usable.

Some interesting and recommended features include:

  • Embedded audio voice recording: Users are able to exchange audio recordings with each other and this is very useful in learning pronunciation of words and phrases. Of course, mobile phones and messaging systems such as WhatsApp already have a in-build audio system but an embedded one makes all the difference since it allows users to record and sent them to their language partners on the go! You can even record your own voice and upload it in the introductory section of your personal profile.
  • Integrated Translation engine: HelloTalk has an integrated translation engine to translate languages. This proves to be very convenient as users are able to easily “copy and paste” responses from their language partners into this search engine and translate them. Of course, as in all translation engines, an algorithm-based translation system can’t be compared to a human translator in terms of linguistic fluency and accuracy but it still works great!
  • “Language Correction” system: HelloTalk also has a correction system in place,  with functions as such as “strikethrough” (as seen in Microsoft Word, but no “double strikethrough”..)  and a “comments” section for language partners to pen down their thoughts to guide their counterparts.
  • “Starred” for further reference: There is also a function whereby users are able to make a mark on their language partners’ specific responses in order to refer to them later. This function is somewhat similar to what’s available on LINE messaging system, with the added functionality of being able to note what you have corrected for others and many more. 
  • Unique set of emoticons: Although this does not account for much in terms of increasing the efficiency or effectiveness of language learning, I feel that I have to mention it as they are fun to use! 🙂 If only LinkedIn allows the use of emoticons..or did I miss something?

Anyways, I hope that you enjoy using them and here’s wishing you a happy and fulfilling learning journey in learning a foreign language!

Patrick Tay is a Communications and Life Skills Training Specialist who is based in Singapore. He has been teaching communication studies and international issues in polytechnics and writes regularly on various issues of interest in education, media, business and global issues at patricktay.wordpress.com. He can be contacted at teachingwitheart@gmail.com

3 reasons why watching movies is not a form of escapism

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1. Movies reflect human nature.

While the world currently focuses predominantly on business (a profession not suited for everyone), movies enable viewers to reflect on themselves, enabling them to understand more about the intricacies of life itself. Philosophy and psychology somehow fulfill the same purpose but movies is a more accessible medium, as long as one has a basic understanding of how cinematography and editing work, both of which can be learnt through watching movies rather than having to read up on abstract theories and ideas.  In fact, movies is the easiest medium for one who is curious and eager to learn about life while broadening one’s imagination.

2.  Movies inspire.

While it’s true that not all movies inspire, it’s undeniable that at least some do. Think “A Beautiful Mind” and “October Sky”. Humans live and thrive on hope, and movies give one the encouragement and aspiration to excel in one’s endeavours. Of course, there are films with darker and more solemn themes but on the whole, it teaches us to both enjoy and cherish life, and live it fully by persevering and pursuing our dreams. While some might argue that movies exist merely to remove boredom of our existence, I beg to differ. I believe that movies exist to widen our horizons and give us the courage to dream, to explore beyond the dimensions of our existence, sometimes taking us to a world of fantasy, and sometimes putting us in the shoes of a protagonist from another culture – thereby revealing to us the multi-faceted aspects of life.

3. Movies  develop critical thinking.

There’s a reason why movie quotes are highly popular. This is because it makes one think about life even after the movies have ended. It’s true that some movies have boring one-liner dialogues but for every such movie, there is a remarkable one waiting for us to discover. Forrest Gump‘s ‘Life is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you are going to get” is a classic. The same goes for Spiderman’s “With great power comes great responsibility”. Hence, contrary to some common misconception that movie-goers are whiling away their time by watching movies, there are – in fact- many intellectuals among movie-goers, especially those who fall in love with art-house films.

Patrick Tay is an English Language and Life Skills Training Specialist who is based in Singapore. He has been teaching communication studies and international issues in polytechnics and writes regularly on various issues of interest in education, media, business and global issues at patricktay.wordpress.com. He can be contacted at teachingwitheart@gmail.com

 

3 reasons why setting DEFINITE goals DON’T work

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1. The only constant in life is change.

There are changes in our lives all the time.

Having goals (or intentions) is important. It’s just that we should not make our goals too definite.

For example, while one of our goals may be to buy a car in six months’ time, there may be other priorities that come up such that we will direct our focus elsewhere out of necessity . For instance, maybe housing prices are better in half a year’s time, and we purchase a new home instead.

We may also want to join a gym club in a month’s time but soon learn that yoga and pilates are more suited for our body types.

Hence, too specific goals do not work most of the time.

We should have general goals, and choose to to go with the flow of life while adjusting our goals accordingly, which is what most successful businesses do.

As what Jon Acuff said in this book “Start”, we know where we start but we do not know where we finish when it comes to accomplishing our goals. Often enough, we end up not where we thought we are going, but somewhere even more fantastic.

2.  You can’t enjoy life’s journey when you are too focused on your goals.

Personally, I do not think that life wants you to go where you want to go. I think life wants you to enjoy the journey more than the destination (which is what you want to achieve).

It is not surprising to see many people defining happiness as a process, and not a destination. It is the same for life.

“The joys of life is savoured along the way, such as spending time with your friends and loved ones. It’s not as if someone reaches a place called Life’s Destination and say, “Oh wow!!  I have reached my goal. Now it’s time to be happy!!”. Nay, it’s not like that. “

In life, it’s human nature to want to achieve things for themselves but that’s not the primary purpose of life.

“Some people just have the knack for understanding life. For these individuals, they also have life goals that they wish to achieve. What makes them different from the rest is that after they have put in their best efforts,  they smile and just be – regardless of the outcome.”

3. Did you accomplish all your new year resolutions?

 If you have friends who have fulfilled all their new year resolutions every single year throughout their lives to date without fail, let me know. Because I have never met one.

One of the most common reasons people say that goal-setting does not work is because we lack passion. And they say that we must develop this passion to accomplish our goals. But think about it. The very fact that we lack passion for certain goals means that our values and beliefs are different from those required to pursue these goals.

Say, for example, buying a car. If we feel that cars are depreciating assets and that taking public transport is a better deal, then we will not be passionate in buying a car and hence this goal of buying a car will probably not be achieved. Do we really want to force ourselves to be more passionate about cars such that we can buy one? Will this really make us happy? Think about it.

We are better changing our goals such that it suits our values and beliefs better.

Then of course, there are other reasons.

Most of us would usually reason some of our goals away by saying that we have no time (because our priorities are not on achieving these goals, which means we know exactly what we want, which is great) or  we set too many goals (which means we know how to prioritise, which is also great).

But do you see the actual reason for our procrastination?

“The ones that we do not do are usually the ones we do not wish to do. Life is telling us something here. When we face resistance in ourselves like this, this means we are moving in the wrong direction. If these are the goals we really want to pursue, find a way around them. If not, drop them. “

For example, if we want to lose weight, we may have set the goal as joining a gym club and exercising 4 times a day. Now, gyms are popular outlets to exercise and we may have wrote it out of habit. But deep down inside, we know that we just want to do a brisk walk.

Then go for a brisk walk! Forget about the gym. We should listen to our bodies.

We know what we want, so don’t let goals stop us. We control our goals, not the other way round.

So ok, you might have a deadline for work. And there’s no way around it. Do you enjoy doing this? Yes, good for you. Then find a way to work around it.  No? Take a second to think about why this is so. Is it that you are someone who prefers  a more flexible working environment with increased autonomy? Or that this job is not for you? Either way, you got to make a change, right?

So, whenever we face resistance in doing what we set out to do, know that we should work on the goal in a way we are comfortable with, or drop the goal entirely for a totally new direction suited for us.

And do not work towards others’ expectations.

“I need to get rich.”

“I need to get a car.”

“I need to get a bigger house.”

“I need to get another house.”

Do you really want to do the above? If so, please do.

If not, are you then working towards what is expected of you by others and society rather than what you want? Don’t.

Work towards what you want and put in your best efforts, but let things that you work towards to come to you at their own time, and you will have a happier life!

Author’s background: Patrick Tay is an English Writing Specialist who lectures in various polytechnics in Singapore, and coaches students in English as a private tutor. His professional services can be found here.

 

Q & A: Increasing the maximum employment age in the workplace

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There has been an increase in the maximum employment age in some countries. What are your thoughts on this?

Work takes up a large part of our lives, and it gives us the satisfaction of contributing our skills and experiences to society. The older the workers, the more experiences they can share. Furthermore, it is important that regardless of our age, we need to get our bodies moving so that we stay fit to enjoy our quality of life. I feel that these two factors are benefits of work.

I believe that most of us aspire to work as it gives us something to look forward to. Colleagues to chat with. The satisfaction of working towards something. The joy of working in teams. The fulfillment of a hard day’s work. I feel that these are what makes work fulfilling.

You sure have a way of making work look rosy. If this is the case, why are there many unsatisfied employees in the workplace? 

[Laughs] Yes, I do see the positive sides of work. But please do not use the word “rosy” on me. I am both a pragmatist and a realist. And I see reality as it is. I am merely stating the positives to get people hyped up about work because if managed properly, it is one of the primary sources of happiness.

But life is never that simple, is it?

(Laughs) So, what is not so good about work? I have been waiting for your insights on this a long time.

I figure the older you get, the more some of us may come to  dread work due to various factors.  Now, even the young gets tired of work. There are various reasons for this. Most would say that “yeah, they are Gen Ys, so they are rebellious against authority figures, abhor rules and regulations, obsessed with social media rather than work and most significantly, some of them have delusions of grandeur, always wanting to start a business of their own.”

Now, just look at some possible responses from Gen Y themselves:

About rebelling against authority figures:

“We just want to live life our own way. if it doesn’t hurt anybody, why can’t we? Why should we be told to do this and that by our boss in the company? It doesn’t make sense. We create our own destiny. We make our own luck. Furthermore, why should we engage in groupthink and follow someone else’s direction? We want autonomy. We want to be trailblazers, not followers. “

Apparently, the company vision and values often do not gel with Gen Ys. They don’t work for a company. They work for themselves. That’s individualism, not defiance. And they are definitely not rebellious as once they realise their values are not aligned with the organisations they work in, they usually leave.

About detesting rules and regulations:

“We just want work-life balance. That’s what make us adverse to working with the old guards in the company. They love rules and feel that we are obligated to abide by them. Well, we don’t. We prefer to spend time with our families. We also want to spend time with our friends and ourselves.These are priorities. We are sorry if our priorities are different from others, but we make our stand.”

So, it’s life balance that they want, not so much the constant battling against rules and regulations. They do not see the benefits of working longer hours just to please the boss or working unproductively under lethargic conditions.

“Few companies understand that clocking the number of required hours doesn’t mean that everyone will be productive since our energy sapped over time.  And the younger workers are getting tired of exchanging time for money – unlike the older generations.”

About their obsession with social media:

“Obsessed with social media? That sounds wrong! Social media is our life! We chat on WhatsApp. We don’t do emails. We want instant response – in real time. We get news from Facebook posts, not mainstream papers. Most of us do not blog now. We are visual people, and we are used to watching videos rather than reading.”

About delusions of grandeur of starting a great business:

Delusions? That’s our dream! We want to start something we are passionate about. A company’s vision and mission statement? That’s other people’s dreams. We want to chase ours! What’s wrong with starting a F&B if I can afford it? A few of us can get together and we can get things moving. We have seen many of our parents working their entire lives for a single employer but that’s not what we want to do. Nor is it going to happen for us now., as there’s no single lifetime employment guarantees now, is there? So, if there’s no job security, why not take a risk and start a business? You get your own time, and earn your own keeps! Yeah, we might fail. But then again, we might succeed.”

So, that’s how it works for them (laughs). Would you think that under such a..well, what they considered “stifled working environment”, the young would want to work a single, longer day in a company they are unsuited for, not to mention into their old age?

[Laughs] That’s interesting! I am sure some of the older folks will disagree with them but that’s for another story. Anyway, let talk about the older workers. You are not avoiding my questions, are you?

Of course not (laughs). Why would I?

For the older folks, the reason why they are working is not because they are loving it. Well, some of them might but for those who don’t, the primary reason is usually because of fatigue. Our body energy level will drop over time as we age and this is inevitable. Most employers understand these, hence while they are usually attuned to hiring older workers, they also understand that these older workers are unsuited for certain strenuous job positions. But the sad reality is that much as the older workers are given suitable positions, they are working longer hours. Even if the hours stay the same, their energy levels are not.

“Consider food court or hawker centre dish collectors. They usually walk around for continuous periods of time and this tires them out easily. So, do you think they enjoy working in old age? They don’t work out of passion. They work out of necessity. Because they need money to survive. There are cases whereby these older workers are eating leftover food left behind by patrons just to save money.”

So, monetary concern is an issue for older workers, especially for the uneducated. So, it’s not about getting rich anymore. It’s about survival. 

Yes, in fact, their concerns are usually already being addressed through public policies.

However,  there’s still the aspiration that  as one ages, one wants to enjoy one’s life. But if work now takes a priority over leisure in their golden years, they have less time to spend with their spouses and grandchildren (if they have any). They experience high fatigue level due to work, and there’s always the monetary concern that couldn’t put their mind at ease.

“To worry about money in one’s younger days will usually aspire one to greater heights but to be concerned about money in one’s later years is a different story altogether.”

So, fewer people will aspire to work in their later years?

(Laugh) What do you think?

Time will tell.

(Laugh) All right, all right. 

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Q & A: How does one define success in life?

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In developed countries, it seems that many people are driven towards a financially-free life. Even in developing countries, people are aspiring towards a better life in terms of financial achievements. Is this true success?

Well, I feel that the environment where you live in determines – to a large extent – what you call success. But of course the media plays a large part in this aspect as well.

For most mainstream media, the emphasis is on successful individuals but the basis is almost always financial. Investors. Businessmen. Entrepreneurs. Sportspeople.  It’s a great thing since featuring such individuals aspires us towards greater heights.

Then of course, there are interviews with academic luminaries where their views are sought on issues of current affairs. This is also encouraging since we should all aspire to be lifelong learners and we should always keep ourselves updated on current happenings to stay relevant in the workplace and in life.

However, the issue is that money does not equate to success. If you were to run a check through quotes on sucess online, you would probably have come across quite a number of accomplished individuals who had mentioned this.

You can have money and not feel like you are a success. This is because you might like to want more. And this becomes a virtual cycle.  I figure you know where I am getting at here.

Yeah, right. You meant contentment? 

Right, right.

We should aspire to greater heights whenever we achieve our goals. However, success has no ends since it has no definite definition, so we should be grateful for what we have achieved as well as being content with what we have now.

“Drive is a tricky business and we should strike a balance between achieving and being content.”

Most importantly, we must be happy with who we are. There are some of us who define our self identity with our success. But there are always ups and downs in life. If we are our success, would that make us less of who we are when we fail? And more of who we are when we succeed? This doesn’t make sense.

And when we talk about success, I can’t help but bring in happiness.

This is because some people equate happiness to success but this is not really so. Such individuals will strive and expect to be successful all the time and not some of the time, which is not possible.

“Success does make one happy for a while but if one cannot maintain one’s success or if one constantly strives for greater success, then one’s happiness actually fluctuates over time.”

So, the questions goes back to: do you want to be successful or happy? 

No, of course not.

Let’s not draw a dichotomy between success and happiness, as there are none. In fact, I would like all of us to be both successful and happy, with the latter taking precedence over the former.

It’s a matter of being content and celebrating every small achievements that we had and will have, that makes one happy. So, in this way. we  use success as a platform to create happiness.

But of course, there are more factors contributing to happiness, such as gratitude, contentment, spending time with loved ones, pursuing one’s interests and many more. So, we should not be fixated on success alone. Else, a primary focus on success alone will be detrimental to one’s happiness.

So, contentment rather than success is key to happiness, is this what you are saying?

Yes, absolutely.

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