The Gift of Life
Over the years, I noted a significant change in the social behavior among Singaporeans. We have become more cynical and developed a tendency to politicize issues in our daily lives. The mood has changed to the extent that I feel that we have lost the appreciation of the gift of life.
Being the most expensive city in the world, it is true that many of us struggle to make a living in Singapore. But then again, everyone encounters struggles in their lives as well. Nobody is born into this world without any struggles, worries or challenges. If you are able-bodied and is in the pink of health, consider yourself to be very lucky and do count your blessing.
Health is an incredibly important asset that is often being overlooked and under-appreciated. We start to cherish health only when we are about to lose it. This should not be the case. In fact, to be alive and able to enjoy the gift of life is a form of privilege. We should not abuse this privilege. Instead, we should always strive to identify the abundance of opportunities when we are healthy and make the best out of them.
Then and now
In my point of view, the major source of our discontentment can be attributed to our desire for more material comforts. Unlike the Pioneer Generation and the Baby Boomers, this generation of Singaporeans have not endured the horrors of World War II nor the hardships of the post-war era. In short, we have not experienced tough times that our forefathers had endured. When compared to them, we do not understand what it’s like to be physically hungry, penniless, illiterate, homeless, critically-ill and no access to clean water. We also do not have to live in constant fear of being tortured, robbed or raped.
Indeed, Singapore has become so successful in its economy progress that we have become a victim of our own success. We have become so complacent and begin to take things for granted. In a nutshell, we have lost our hunger. We don’t have the desire to pursue excellence in life anymore.
We want more money but do not want to work hard for it. We want better quality of life but do not want to pay more. We want to achieve successes but keep faulting the government for our failures. We like to complain about our neighbors but fall short of the standards we set on them.
The difference between generations from then and now is that we are given more privileges from the gift of life. Being highly educated, most of us are equipped with the basic tools to forge a better life for ourselves and loved ones. We live in a safe country with no nature disasters, have access to good medical facilities and opportunities to upgrade our standard of living.
Given the current situation, we should feel gratified, contented and blessed. Yet why are we perceived to be less happy than our forefathers?
A better version of oneself
To attain true happiness, we must let go all of our desires. This is because with desire, comes pain. However, in reality, no one can achieve this feat because being human, we all have our own desires.
Instead, one should learn to view life as imperfect and strives to constantly become a better version of oneself. Life is really short and before you know it, time really flies. You want to look back at your life journey full of “Oh well!” than “What if?” There is fundamentally nothing wrong with having more wants because they can be drivers to motivate us to excel in life. Successful people have aspirations and develop specific actions to achieve their goals. This means taking concrete actions and assuming ownership.
In the course of my journey, I have seen many people who do not show up in the face of challenges. By this, I don’t mean being physically present but instead, taking ownership on challenges. Many Singaporeans like to politicize social issues and constantly blame government policies for everything that went wrong in their lives. They felt powerless and victimized. However, to a large extent, we do have control on the events that unfold in our lives.
In assuming responsibility and taking control, we learn from mistakes and in the process, grow our wisdom. A mistake will forever remain a mistake unless you learn something out of it, which would then become a lesson learned.
Focus on the process, not the outcome
The gift of life is a continuous process of learning and exploring how the world works. Through life experiences, we learn how to handle failures in order to find successes. Many of us tend to focus solely on the outcomes in life. However, most of the times, it is the process that matters and not the outcome.
During one of the orientation programme organized by my children’s childcare centre, the principal mentioned before that to facilitate a child’s learning journey, parents should focus more on the process, and not the outcome. When a child made a mistake in his school work, the parents should refrain from scolding or correcting him. Instead, one should find out whether his child can learn better through listening, visual or actions. As facilitator, we can help our children to explore and make learning fun.
Likewise as adults, learning should be fun and we should enjoy the process. Taking a wrong route does not mean that one is branded a failure. It just means that he needs to find other pathways to reach the endpoint. Since young, we have been conditioned by the education system to think that those who do not achieve academic success would lead a meaningless life. Through the years, I realized that this is a flawed mentality because I met many smart and intelligent people who are not graduates.
To conclude, life is short and we should live in the present. Success is not defined by which school you graduated from nor the amount of money in your bank account. When we leave this world, people would only remember for who we are, our values, legacy and the memories forged. So start making a difference in other’s lives. You would realize that life is great once you start reaching out to others.
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3 thoughts on “The Gift of Life”
while everyone cannot be the same your recommendations should be taken on board and applied to ones self . it must be remembered that people live large parts of their lives in cyber which allows less time to improve your well being and awareness ……….you must smell the flowers. feel the wind rain and sun . as these are real
Agreed that it is not realistic for everyone to share the same view as me. My purpose of writing this article is not to preach but aim to motivate readers and reach out to fellow Singaporeans. Hopefully more readers will start to appreciate life.