Keep pressing on

Picture this. You’re a new student in a new school, and it’s your first literature lesson. An experienced teacher who calls himself the god of literature comes in and recites a few poems before asking for the class’ opinions. A few girls start the ball rolling, and one starts reciting the law (I’m serious! The constitutions, chapters, articles and whatnots) and talks about religion and all. Not really related to the lesson, but very advanced. How would you feel?
Intimidated? Worried? Inferior?
Yes. That was exactly how I felt.
But a challenging beginning doesn’t mean we’re doomed. We just get to know of the challenges and expectations of the new path we’ve chosen, and we prepare and train for it. We’ll prepare in our minds, in our hearts, in our body, and bravely face the challenges ahead. Because we’ve chosen this path, and there’s no turning back.
I agree. It’s not going to be an easy path for me to take, and it’s going to squeeze the sleep out of me, rub the energy off me, compress the time out of my life. These 2 years would be more than a torture. But what comes after, will be sweet.
There’s a Chinese saying: bitterness first, sweetness later (先苦后甜). At the beginning, the work will be more than we think we can bear, more than we think we can handle, more than we think we can finish. But it’s all up to us, up to our willpower, our mind, our determination and our perseverance. The battle always starts in the mind. Success always begins in the mind. The roots of anything always begin with the mind. We toil and suffer for our future or for a good cause. But in the end, the fruits of our labour will be sweet. If we’ve done it well, done it with all our heart, mind and soul, done it to the best of our ability, put in all our effort and time and brains on it, that sense of accomplishment when you complete it is more than anyone can ask for. You can’t buy it with money. It’s a relief of your ownself. It’s a sweet, joyous and free release of your ownself. The experience can’t be traded or learned; the outcome can’t go the wrong way if you’ve really really done well.
You get the something you’ve been working for.
That’s sweet. That’s happy.
Never give up along the way. You’re not just giving up on your work and your journey and your previous effort, you’re giving up on yourself and your life. Because the sweet future won’t come to you if you give up.
I had a bad year last year, possibly the worst in my life due to circumstances. I wasn’t the one who caused it; rather, I was a victim and still am. It’s still ongoing. But despite all the depression and sadness and confusion and everything last year, I was still a student (and still am), and my job was to study. It was a graduating year and I had my national examinations to sit for at the end of the year. The year before, my grades had been absolutely horrible.
The beginning of last year wasn’t any different, I still had bad grades all the way till September. There was improvement each time but it was ‘too slow’, according to my teacher. Few people believed that I could do well, that I could make it. I was worried myself. My circumstances could be a valid reason for me not to do well, but I wouldn’t be happy, I wouldn’t be satisfied. Because I have big dreams for my future.
I worked hard, I tried my best. I’m very happy to say that I did extremely well, much better than anyone expected, and I can study what I wanted to study. And here I am studying this. This was what I wanted, and I have it. My dad is happy, my teachers are happy and surprised, my friends are happy too. It was the last big leap, a jump further than I expected myself but always hoped for.
This is the way. Difficulty is never an excuse to not do well if you want it badly enough. If you know you can actually do it. Why cheat yourself? It’s YOU, it’s your one life.
To God be the glory, the best is yet to be.


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