Posted by: changheuk | March 26, 2010

The Ideal Progression

In my belief I think life is like constantly building a tower. By a tower, I mean imagine something looking like this:


One requires to continually build skills in a skyward direction to maintain their own self-worth. And most importantly, of course, you are going to need a very strong foundation. If you choose to build a thin stick, chances are when you get hit hard by failure, your whole tower will crumble (that is why a lot of people commit suicide, or just have to completely start over).

Case study:

Myself: I basically never had a solid foundation, so any upward attempts were all futile. I basically have a mass scatter of small pieces that I was never able to combine together into making a foundation.

Friend A: He has no tools and was never aspired to build anything. He sits on an empty sheet of paper and says he would like to die at the age of 50.

Friend B: Spent his whole high school on a girlfriend. What resulted is when the girlfriend tower got broke apart (believe me, relationships during the young adult, teenager age don’t last very long, and is NOT a good investment), everything else suddenly seemed so small. As a result, he has had to rebuild a lot of other portions of his life. Good thing he didn’t snap.

Friend B: Solid foundation, arsenal of skills, but too ambitious, tries to build a mountain. Sooner or later, it will be too hard to continuing building such a mass upwards. Concentration in fewer areas of skill is more likely to be valued and desired by society.

Most people: most people can build a semi-solid tower by the time their in their 20’s. You will have a degree, a steady relationship, steady income, and nothing too disasterous going on in your life. There is nothing wrong with that, and is a good time to stop.

However here I want to highlight some important ideas to this concept.

Foundation: this might consist of the ability to consistently become good at any sport you try to practice, or the ability to achieve decent scores in something you study. Higher up the tower, and perhaps what I think is the core and support of it all, is social relationships, or interpersonal  relationships. Being able to maintain friends, family, a significant one, is probably an integral part of how your tower will remain standing.

Your specialty is what makes the tower go higher and higher. Note that it is the word specialty, so there will likely be very little of things that you are “specialized” in. Consider a star athlete, a movie actor, a lawyer, a doctor. They are very good at what they do, and it is their specialty. While they might also be good at something else, it is totally insignificant to their identity if you view it from afar.

There are a few special cases where specialization from the very start has led to very strong results. I’m more pointing towards the methods used by countries such as China and Korea to produce very strong performers. Olympians by the age of 20, so it covers up all the other dysfunctional part of their lives, and I doubt they would really need another job or a degree. Or if you are a popular artist, you obviously don’t need to go to school or seek out social recognition or need a job. It is all there. These are just rare examples, since I don’t think one in a million people become such people.

So what does this all mean? Build your foundation if it isn’t already there. Learn how you will need to eventually make money, learn how to have smooth interpersonal relationships, learn how to keep your body in good shape, learn how to study and learn. Don’t rely on priority shifting to balance your life – you will get burned out very quick when you start losing your focus. Having a solid, refined system of doing most common tasks will help your development in the future.


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