Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Potential Is a Tricky Thing

Last night I was desperately trying to sleep, when one of those random flashes of thought bounced into my brain.
We've conditioned to do our best nearly since birth. The winners get a prize, a cookie, an A, a check, a sticker, a better education, a better life (or so we are led to believe). We need to maximize our potential, our talents; not only for us but for all of mankind for God. What happened to the man who failed to invest his talents in the Bible? They were taken away.
Well fast forward through this indoctrination to college. To be honest, my academic profile isn't that difficult. One major. Arts and Letters. Minimal activities. Work during the week. But I still find time to party two, sometimes three, nights a week, get seven hours of sleep a night, have two hour lunches, watch four hours of TV, and generally not feel stressed at all. Especially when compared to the triple major or engineering student.
Is this wrong? Do we owe to ourselves, our family, our God to take those hard classes, the Chems, Bios, Advanced Maths of the world? Doesn't the world need more doctors to help out its poor and hurting than History majors? It's hard to explain the effects of colonialism on the Indian economy when those same people are dying from lack of food, water, and medicine. As you explain the importance of the Ottoman Empire in creating a united front for Indian Independence following World War One to someone dying from malaria, is there something you should rather be doing?
There is one (of many) self doubts. Now I need to go watch TV.


Anonymous said...

I would certainly say that our culture over-hypes perfection to the extreme. Every bare second must be used up to better yourself somehow. Personally, I cannot do this, but I see people who somehow do and they get immense praise. I tell myself: "They can't be happy. They're secretly depressed." Perhaps they are. But still, I find that America has taken away my God-given leisure time. God gave the Sabbath for a reason! Yes, it is to worship Him, but Sunday should be a true day of rest. Of all the days in the week, I would just like Sunday for myself. But no... I can't. I must work, I must strive hard to be the best.

I would say, kevin, that you are not unfounded in your concerns. I would say, however, that we mustn't waste our time doing things that aren't good for us or our neighbor. Find true leisure.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, Kev. I burned out on "overachieving" in high school and have yet to recover. I stay very busy here at ND, but I also keep things in perspective and don't sweat the small stuff while I'm "wasting" time watching Boston Legal or spending an evening catching up with an old friend at the bar.

Anonymous said...

I'm burning out right now and next semester won't be any better ... all in the name of personal achievement