“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception and response to failure.” — John Maxwell, author of 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
Children and young adolescents all over the world, especially in Hong Kong, are trained to “gear up” strong responsibility for their future and achievements. This is in part due to the fact that nowadays, religion plays a lesser role to relieve people out of the natural subsides and divine blames for failure. Moreover, our competitive, meritocratic society, heavily assumes that our personal values are defined by physical objects, e.g. money, job and a house.
Young people are too often than not encouraged or pressured by their parents to achieve in the future, due to the abundant resources parents put towards them and the expectations of their potential. In short, children are expected to win.
In reality, there are only a few seats left empty for the “winning ones”. Yet, when a child isn’t the “winning one”, a heavy sense of guilt is instilled, leaving the factors of past efforts and luck ignored. Heavy responsibility ascribes the child as being a “failure” in society. Children being or feeling devalued as a person leads to different kinds of mental health problems.
According to a 2017 survey performed by Hong Kong Paediatric Foundation, academic performance (60%), parental expectations (50%) and high self- expectations (38%) are the top three reasons behind stress among children in Hong Kong. Winners should not be the only ones to be celebrated. Our society should learn to praise “mediocrity”, especially when good effort is taken to achieve the result.
We have to understand that biological factors, luck, a nurturing environment (like school and family) and other reasons result in a child to be seemingly “mediocre”. But, we have to ask ourselves, what is wrong with being “average”?
A normal society requires the average to function. Can you fathom a world only populated with Albert Einsteins, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs? For one, the execution of their ideas are largely an outcome of the so-called average.
Although society’s high goals and standards do motivate people, we should never forget to praise ourselves for the past and present efforts that we take, regardless of the physical “wins” one has achieved or not. This way, we can continue positively fueling ourselves and step away from failing expectations.
Blundy, R. (2017, June 11). Children ‘suffer greater mental stress and parents can’t cope’. Retrieved February 20, 2018, fromhttp://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/2097852/hong-kong-children-suffer-greater-mental-stress
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For emergency contacts, please visit http://www.mind.org.hk/what-to-do-in-a-mental-health-emergency.