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Life, Competition And The Never-Ending “Race”

Posted on March 29, 2011 in Specials


By Srishti Chauhan:

Ask yourself one question – when was the last time you did something only because you wanted to and not because it would enhance your career or future prospects. When did you last disconnected from the rest of the world to do what you want instead of what is ‘required’?

In this world of severe competition, every day begins with a rat race and ends in another. No longer do we have time for what we want to do because we’re so busy pursuing what ‘benefits’ us. In fact, there are so many of us who have forgotten our hobbies and interests. Those seem to be left behind in another world. Who has the time to listen to music and read books for hours and hours if they are not going to help in getting a good college or a good job or a salary raise- as per the stage of life?

With the board exams coming to an end, the coaching centers would be vying to catch hold of students to prepare them for entrance exams. A famous tagline in one of the advertisements says, “In this world of severe competition, we help you stay ahead”.

Students are yet again caught up in another rat race. Most students join the centers because their peer group has joined them and doing nothing- or worse- pursuing a hobby would seem like a waste of precious time.

This race, however, does not end with the beginning of college. With the end of an academic year at various universities, students have to start looking for internships. The more significant thing here is that most students join internships not for learning but for earning a certificate that shows that they have worked. The lack of any real exposure and practical benefit is expediently overlooked. The moral emphasized upon in the movie “3 idiots” is conveniently disregarded.

Summer vacations are no longer about relaxed periods when you join belly dancing classes because you want to. They are about joining an NGO– not because you work towards a cause- but because you work towards a certificate.

The question that we must ask ourselves- before it’s too late- is whether all this is necessary? Do you really need to spend hours and hours doing something to earn those brownie points? Life certainly was not meant to be an ongoing competition. Most of us in this madly competitive world seem to have forgotten that life is a journey- and NOT a destination.

You are not running a race. You are a part of a journey where you grow, help others grow and make a difference in the world around you.

It has been a long time since I saw a person working because they believe in a cause and or learning a language because it fascinates them.

This ‘race’ does not end with getting a job. Constantly working on your skills and improving your resume to expedite your promotion- sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? In fact, the race has caught on to the extent that nowadays 4-year-olds are a part of it as well. Every year the newspapers are flooded about the articles about children as young as 4 years who have to give entrance exams and pass interviews to get selected to study in Nursery. Not surprising, is it?

With the start of school comes the inadvertent push towards joining innumerable classes- from singing, dancing, skating all the way to various sports. It does not matter whether your child likes it or not- it’s good for him. You know it already! He may not get to spend time with you but he’ll definitely value this extensive skill impartment in future, isn’t it? Or is it?

This ‘race’ has a more imperative psychological effect that is as harmful- if not more. The former term for the sudden lack of interest in work as well as life was termed as a mid-life crisis- which starts after a person crosses 40. However, the latest victims of this mid-life crisis are people who have barely crossed their 20s.

The boom of MBA graduates earning high salaries at early ages in their lives makes them question their purpose in life. Why would a person work so hard to get money that he has no time to spend? Working for 15 hours a day leaves little time for much else in life.

The ‘race’ cannot be avoided at any cost. It has become an inevitable part of life. However, what can and absolutely MUST be controlled is the pace at which you want to run. You may be left behind- but it is up to you to decide if it is worth the enjoyment you derive from life in exchange. As they say, “when did you last smell the roses in your garden?”