Disclaimer: This post is written by me, and edited by my Papa. I am still learning the ropes of writing well. 🙂
One of the things we are taught from young age is the idea of being physically healthy.
Yes, good health is important, even more important that money. But my idea of today’s post is not physical health, but mental health, and one thing that really hurts the young mind when it comes to taking care of the same.
Buddha is quoted as saying –
To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.
In essence, having a strong and clear mind, which is a result of having good mental health, is as important, if not more, than having good physical health.
People often pay huge amounts of money as fee to gyms, fitness trainers, and healthy food to keep themselves physically healthy. However, they ignore taking good care of their mind, which is often taken for granted. So many people, of all ages, visiting doctors for stress-related issues is an indicator of that.
Ignoring taking care of the mental health starts from a young age. And one of the reasons I think this happens is the amount of competition that takes place in schools.
Life of a Student
Consider the life of a typical school student. She is expected to excel at everything – academics, sports, and even extra-curricular activities.
Academics is where competition is the highest, and the worst. A student is considered as intelligent as her grades suggest.
If she scores more than 90 percent, she is considered intelligent and is usually expected to opt for the Science stream. If she scores somewhere between 70-90 percent, she is expected to choose Commerce. Anything less than that, and she is let go of to follow her dreams because she is not considered worthy enough to do anything else!
As I learn from Papa and through my readings, the field of school education seems to have gotten more competitive over the years. Worse, the amount of peer pressure a student must undergo has also increased tremendously.
We students often go through comparisons with our better performing peers and are looked down upon if we are not “good enough.”
In this cycle of comparisons and expectations, the school system and most parents often forget what children really want and what each one of us is capable of (which may, well, not be academics). This takes a huge toll on the mental health of most students.
At no place is this problem more visible then when the 10th and 12th class results are announced. Expectations on students from schools and parents increase substantially in these classes, as if these exams and the grades scored in them would decide the entire future and life of the students!
Thanks to such increased expectations, pressure, and fear of not scoring well, most students (especially teenagers) go through undue stress, anxiety, and mental disorders.
This is also because we are never taught in our growing up years that results are never in our control, only hard work is. We can only put our best foot forward and then let the result take care of itself. And also that one bad result does not define our entire future.
If you as a student have worked hard throughout the year, then you must not worry about the results. And if you have not worked hard, then there is no point worrying anyways.
As someone said, don’t stress the could haves, if it should have, it would have.
Trust ‘Just’ Your Inner Scorecard
Papa often tells me about the “inner scorecard” concept from the famous investor Warren Buffett. The idea of inner scorecard simply means that you must believe in yourself, your work, and your capabilities rather than letting others (including your school grades) decide what you really are capable of.
As much as I understand this idea, only if we learn to believe in our inner scorecard and respect our capabilities, we will do things differently.
Starting young age, we must also learn how to deal with mistakes, failures, and setbacks. This will save us from a lot of undue stress and anxiety, which will then save us from developing mental health issues.
The great physicist Richard Feynman is quoted as saying –
Being wrong is not a bad thing like they teach you in school. It is an opportunity to learn something. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error.
And then, the famous American basketball player Michael Jordan said –
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
Life gives us many chances, only if we are willing to take them. We may make mistakes, fail sometimes, or just score low grades at school. But we must NOT let these things define our abilities. Let us just treat them as opportunities to get up, dust ourselves clean, and start again on our journey of learning, life and happiness.
Having a strong, clear mind is what we need to do this. So, please take care of it like you take care of your body.
I would like to leave you with this wonderful poem that is one of the best things I have noted down in my diary –
~ by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Thank you for reading!