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Aim in Life or Pain in Life?

When I was a student of class seven or eight, my aim in life was exactly the same to my other classmates because we used to memorize the same essay from the same text book! Once I moved to class nine, I had to choose either ‘science’ or ‘arts’ or ‘commerce’. Studying ‘science’ was kind of prestigious issue during then. Most of the guys who used to study either ‘commerce’ or ‘arts’ were presumed to be studying that because they failed to get the opportunity to study ‘science’. My father was so upset when my elder brother didn’t get opportunity to study science and was compelled to study ‘commerce’ instead. I always loved math but I had passion for Bengali literature too. However, being a ‘so called good student’, ‘arts’ was not an option for me. I was so happy (!) to make my parents proud. I don’t know about others but now, after more than twenty years, when I look back, I feel like I didn’t study for myself, I did study only to satisfy my parents and to get appreciation from others. I studied because I had to. It was probably 20% fun and 80% compulsion.

Once I completed my secondary school certificate exam, it was time to get admitted into a good college to make my parents proud for once more. I wanted to take ‘statistics’ as my forth subject as I loved math and thought it would also help me adding some extra marks but I was forced to take ‘biology’ instead as it would allow me to sit for medical exam once I am done with my higher secondary certificate exam. My mom wanted me to be a doctor while my dad wanted me to be an engineer! And guess what? I was forced to get admitted into two coaching centers simultaneously – three days for engineering and three days for medical. Oh! Those days! I was just a stupid young kid who didn’t know what he wants to be. I didn’t know what my aim in life was. Till then, my only aim in life was to satisfy my parents. I couldn’t take it anymore. My mind revolted. I desperately needed some breathing space.

I was a mad sports lover, so were my other coaching mates. So, instead of concentrating on study, we rather put our full concentration on playing cricket. We formed a strong cricket team from the guys within our batch and started playing friendly matches against other batches as well as other coaching centers. Result was inevitable. We got great success in sports but not in the exams! For the first time I let my parents down. They couldn’t believe that I did neither qualify for BUET (was in waiting list though!) not for medical. There was no private university during then. They thought my life is ruined. So did me! My family members merely talked to me. I felt alone. I did qualify for other good universities including university of Dhaka but my parents’ faces were still gloomy like dark could. I wanted to study ‘Applied Physics’ but my dad thought it does not have that much potential. He rather wanted me to study ‘Economics’. However, just before the day when I needed to choose my subject, my father decided that I should study ‘BBA’. BBA was just newly introduced in University of Dhaka and his final vote was for the subject ‘Accounting’ under BBA. This is how my fate was decided!

When you study something that you would never choose if you had the option, you would easily end up not excelling as much as you could. Our education system is such that makes us memorizing everything up to a certain age. We depend on our parents to choose our fate. Our thought process doesn’t get matured enough to make decision regarding what should be our aim in life. And then, our aim in life becomes our pain in life because we study something that we did not want to. We try to adjust ourselves with the situation that we are in to and ultimately it costs us a lot.

For myself, I was lucky that I could change my track gradually. I never liked the subject accounting and never wanted to take that as my profession. But I know many of my friends who did study subjects that they did never like and still trying to adjust themselves with the professions they are in. Now, the question is: whose fault is this? Should we change our education system? Or, should our parents allow us to fulfill our dreams instead of theirs? Or, should we be smarter at the younger age and find out our passion and stick to it? Or, should we change the perception of our society? Or, should it be combination of everything? Whatever the answer is, we should not allow this process to continue. This way we are becoming mediocre and not flourishing to our full potential or we are taking too long time to propel. We are doing ‘good’ what could have been ‘great’!

Let’s at least promise to ourselves that we would let our next generation to fulfill their dreams and flourish to their full potential.

About M Murshed Haider, FCMI

M Murshed Haider, FCMI is a prominent Corporate Coach, Motivational Speaker and Writer. He helps organizations and individuals to achieve higher productivity by sharing experiences from his 12+ years of experience in different sectors of corporate world in home and abroad.

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Click here: Article was published in The Daily Star on November 13 2013

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