As an Asian, we take pride in being good in a lot of things. One good example is how good we are in Mathematics and Science. Asians grabbed the five first place of the global ranking in Mathematics in which China is the first, followed by Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Korea in 2013. The Westerns don't call us Asians for nothing. [Source]
While that is true, it's inevitable to see that the competition among ourselves is strong. Gruesome, even. Parents compare our grades with our peers and more often than not, they compare our talents as well. Oh, your son can play the piano? My son can too! What grade is he in? Aw, isn't he a little tad slow compared to mine. There goes more pressure for the kids.
Since we were small, we were told that we must be number 1 in class. Don't know why, but must get number 1. We thought that that means we can get some form of rewards from our parents (maybe some cool electronics?). We study day and night, concentrate in class, go for extra classes and tuition, spend our supposedly past time to do homework and not to forget our extracurricular activities because you know, they want to make you an all-rounder.
Nobody cares what you want. Because you're not supposed to know them.
And because you're Asian, so you do what your Asian parents told you to.
So the habit of comparing ourselves with our peers and compete to become the best unnoticeably embedded in our minds and souls. Whenever there is some form of interaction, there shall be some form of competition. Taking the same tests? Starts comparing our scores. Handing in exercises? Who got the highest marks?
I'm not trying to discourage competition. Competition is good. It ensures the species survives. Over-complacent will only retard the advancement of a certain species and/or person. Competition is also good because it drives prices down. But when people starts comparing every single form of assessment or even lives, it gets downright annoying.
Wake up. No one is supposed to be good at everything. The purpose of school is to discover what you are good at, not how good you can at everything. We are giving the schools a wrong definition. If you're good at Literature, you should study them and create poetry to inspire and be the next Shakespeare. If you're good at Biology, you should study them and be a meticulous surgeon to save lives. Don't just be good at everything, find something you truly have an interest in.
Maybe because we are wired this way, where being good at everything means you have a better chance of surviving thus being able to pass down your genes. Nature got to be blamed on this. Thousands of years and evolution and this somehow unavoidably printed in our DNAs already.
If you had noticed, my favourite quote on the right hand side of the blog is from Einstein. It is as follows:
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
Seem pretty straight forward to me. Don't compare yourself with others because you do not share the same life and talents as them. Create your own path. Shed off the mentality of comparing unnecessarily. Or try.
For anyone, stop judging people solely from what the society picks as a norm. Ubiquitous is too mainstream. Be weird, be uncanny, be enigmatic and be unpredictable. Most importantly, be yourself, because if you do not, no one else will.
Fill in the some of the points that I did not expand with more thoughts. That way you find it more personal and be able to fit my idea somewhere inside of you. Everyone has different opinions, but it shouldn't sway from the original intended intention.
Disclaimer: Not everyone shares the same experience that I described above. I am aware of this. And you should know too. No one in the world shares the exact same experience as anyone does. Only a certain groups does. So anything, really, is up to own's interpretation.