Hydrogen was sitting all alone in her room one day. She knew she had lot's of things to do and it was frustrating her to think about all that. Her parents were also nagging her to exercise more because she was the smallest in her Group and the second smallest after Helium among all her fellow elements. She had home-work to finish, notes to revise, examinations to prepare for. She was really scared about the upcoming NEET exams too, she was not confident about her preparations. Her affinity for chemistry was very high but not so much for other subjects. All this scared her and she was just trying to distract herself from these thoughts.
She picked up her phone and started scrolling through Instagram and Facebook. She saw Oxygen holidaying in Himachal Pradesh. Silicon, Sodium and Chlorine were together partying on the beaches of Goa. Carbon was trekking to Mussurie through the forests. Helium was reading a book and enjoying coffee on her balcony. All of the photographs made her really jealous. She really wanted to be out there. But every time she tried to go out, someone always over reacted or tried to loosely bond with her. Watching all of them on Instagram, she just wanted to radically run away from everyone, all alone, somewhere far far away but that wasn't easy for her because she was very reactive. "Wish I was Oxygen or Carbon" she said to herself and she hated that she could not be free like them.
Finally, she commented on a few photographs, posted her selfie on Instagram, browsed the internet and threw her phone on the bed. She opened her books and started studying but her mind was still thinking about what others were doing in their lives.
75% of the universe is made of Hydrogen and all of them have the same problem. Somebody wants to be outgoing like Carbon, somebody wants to be be strong like Titanium, somebody wants to be inert like Argon and somebody wants to be like everyone else except their original self.
Social media and internet has confused them about their own identity. They look at others in those filtered images and videos and then they want to be like them. They look at the happiness and success of others and they want exactly that in their life. Never-mind the effort that goes into achieving those things, we just want those things in our life too. We don't want to think about what it takes to achieve those things, we just think about the outcome. This is a dangerous trend and very few realise it.
If we get trapped in this illusion of outcomes created by internet and specially by social media, we make wrong decisions and chase the wrong targets. We miss looking at our own strengths, we miss looking at the opportunities that surround us and most importantly we miss thinking about the journey itself and end up doing something that we don't even like.
If only our lonely Hydrogen focused on the fact that she could be the water that travels all over the Indian ocean and becomes the monsoon rain. She could be on top of the Himalayas as glaciers and flow in the beautiful streams down the mountains. She could be in the Chlorophyll in leaves that gives colour to the forests we love. She could simply be a socially useful person like the water everyone drinks. She could be the acid or alkali that make those batteries that power the whole world. She could be the fuel of the future Hydrogen Vehicles because it has the highest calorific value. She could be a medical compound that saves lives. Instead of that she focused on being what she is not. She did not realise that to be a carbon or a helium or oxygen, will need a nuclear fusion reaction which will end up destroying her identity completely and irreversibly.
So what are we talking about? Just two simple things -
1. Be proud of your identity because true happiness and success will only come if you embrace your own identity and not that of others!
2. Social media is driving you to become extremely outcome oriented, beware of that. If you find yourself focusing too much on the outcome, stop for 15 seconds and think about the process - do you enjoy the process, the journey to that outcome?
Sometimes the process will be slow and you may need someone to help you catalyse it. Sometimes the catalysis may also not be fast enough, you will have to be patient. Sometimes the pressure will be high and you will have to endure it. Sometimes conditions will heat up and you may feel like exploding but you have to brave the challenge. Sometimes the external conditions will be beyond your control and the process will go completely wrong and you will have to start over. However, only as long as you don't lose your identity and keep following the right steps, you may reach your goal.
BUT sometimes the result will not be what you wanted and it will look irreversible. What then? That's not failure. Failure is only if you do not complete the story. Heartbreaks and sadness are a part of the story. They are the best opportunities to sit back and think about our story. Because whatever happens, an original story is always far better than a copied borrowed one. So which element are you? What's the story you are making? Think about it.
Let me end with my favourite quote:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. - Dr. Viktor Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning"
Today's bonus video is one of the greatest speeches ever. A graduation speech by Steve Jobs where he shared 3 simple stories from his life. I want students to focus on how Jobs tells the story - every sadness, every failure, every memory just fits into making him what he became - the greatest modern innovator and the creator of the greatest company in history of the planet. Is the story full of sadness? But, is it not beautiful? Will you make a beautiful story? I wish you all the very best.
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