Sometimes we feel like nothing is happening. Life is moving at a status quo: Wake up, work, eat, sleep, repeat. If you continuously remain on the same track you will never see the forest for all the trees. To fully reflect on where you are at a point in life, you need to take a step back for the full view. With a greater overview, you can also identify what made you who you are. What was your triggering point?
The triggering point
If you manage to take this step back, you will also see when there is a differentiation i.e. an opportunity for something new. Once you have an open mind, you may hit what you often later realise was the “triggering point”. It is a moment of realisation that will forever change the way you live, behave and think. For me it was a September day in my second year of high-school. My English teacher Lois approached me with a question: Would you like to become the chairman of Bear the Hope?
Bear the Hope is a student led fundraising organisation that supports various NGOs, of which one is Star for Life – an HIV-preventive organisation with over 100 schools in Southern Africa. That single question may seem like nothing, but today I see how it changed everything. One thing led to the other and today I sit here having made three visits to South Africa to work with Star for life at site. The last time I went I stayed alone in Hluhluwe, KwaZulu Natal for 10 months working in the local primary and high schools. It was a truly life-changing experience that started with a single question and someone who believed in me.
I urge each and everyone to reflect on what made you end up where you are right now. Everything has a beginning, and oftentimes that beginning is something small and seemingly non-significant. Make sure to always appreciate those small moments whatever they may be. A majority of them will remain memories, but you never know – the smallest of events might just be the big triggering point that you were waiting for.
The black hole of comparison
As you read this, my intention is not that you should start comparing your events to my experience in South Africa. No one has the exact same situation. Yesterday in class, my philosophy professor made a very interesting remark regarding our nature to constantly compare ourselves with others. He said that the day he realised who he should compare himself with, he was liberated from enourmous pressure. For him it meant that he had to stop to compare his number of publications to those that don’t have a full-time teaching position and family obligations. Because, naturally those with a research-position and who live alone have a completely different time-schedual at their disposal.
But it’s difficult to not fall back into the black hole of comparison. I do it all the time. Sometimes I feel frustrated that I don’t have the time to produce as much arts and articles as other artists. But this is everything but productive or motivating. Be your own best friend – not your enemy! However, comparison with others in the same situation as you, can boost your motivation to work harder. Just make sure that you stay away form the never-ending hole of too broad comparisons. Because, if we don’t apply this filter, we might never feel satisfied or happy with our own accomplishments.