I was asked by my wife to make sure that my nephew was studying after school for his Form 5 final exams that are coming up in the next few months.
The response was as I expected, an excuse why he couldn’t do it right now ( this case a seemly urgent hair cut that couldn’t wait another day ) and a promise to get stuck into it as soon as he could.
Well we go through this game a number of times a week which always leads to a grumpy studier and a frustrated and exacerbated instigator.
Personally I couldn’t give a damn if he studies or not as he old and ugly enough to live by his own convictions; eighteen going on fourteen with not an ounce of foresight.
Cruel you say? Maybe so, but as the old adage goes you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. After numerous speeches about how important these exams are for his future choices in life and only to find it falling on mostly deaf ears is infuriating and deflating. I don’t want to drag the horse along anymore.
This drives my wife, who spends an inordinate amount of time with him, to distraction, but she has more stamina and commitment to see it through than me.
A lot of his attitude is a reflection of his environment. Pro active parents are very important defining the early direction their children take. The school and social aspects of the provincial town he has grown up in has not been very inspiring. Small town mentality does not necessary embrace the big picture. Ambition beyond the town limits is limited or in most cases non existent.
Success in life depends on a number of things, but innate intelligence and drive – perseverance I think are the most important.
Interestingly I have seen intelligent people do very little with their lives because they have lacked drive and conversely I have known success coming through hard work with limited intellect.
Of course “ success” per se is subjective; one man’s success is another man’s failure. It depends on the focus. Making money is probably societies main gauge in marking success. I personally endorse intellectual or humanitarian endeavour having never made any real money myself. I suppose if just before one kicks the proverbial bucket, one can feel satisfied in one’s life achievements than one has succeeded.
Maybe being happy and content with one’s lot is success. Who knows.
What ever the answer, the slate is always wiped clean in the end unless you believe in an afterlife, of course.
Perhaps we should all strive to be as good a person as we can be during our lifetime. Now that would be true success.