Since I was a child, I had learned that I must be a successful person. I thought that I would only be loved if I am successful. Thus, I studied hard, played soccer every day, just for the sake of gaining people’s acceptance. How I long to be a succesful entrepreneur just to gain acceptance and approval that I am worth it. Even though I have known Christ as my personal saviour and redeemer, my longing for acceptance masked within the promise of success persisted. Oh, how I ‘worship’ Christ just to be a successful entrepreneur. On my lips I admitted that Christ is redeemer, but on my heart I was hoping that by pledging allegiance to Jesus I could be blessed and obtain financial success, merely so that people would notice me. So, worshipping Christ was a means, not an end.
As a result, I have been constantly in struggle to achieve a real meaning on how I could contribute to this world. I liked the phrase “making dent to this world”. I really want to contribute something that is ever-lasting and adding value into this world. The ugly part is that I thought the only way to really really have a meaning to my life was through creating a business. The tricky part was because I thought that was the only way to create value in my life, I was also reluctant to start a business. All because I feared to fail. I was afraid I screwed up the only thing that I could contribute value during a course of my entire life. I was so guilty not to start a business, especially my undergrad course is on entrepreneurship, yet so hesitant to start one. So I was a kind of having my arm trapped between rocks like the scene on 127 hours movie.
Actually, there are many ways to make dent in this world. I read an ever inspiring piece of advice from a former startup’s CTO:
“You could take this tack, but I hope that your idealism hasn’t been worn down at such a relatively young age. I hope you want your work to be imbued with meaning, purpose, and value no matter what form that work takes. More than that, I hope you want your life to be defined by more than work.” – Alex Payne
My internal dilemma caused me to never be such in a restful state. No matter how good the condition I was, my mind could not be restful because there was a kind of struggle that I thought I should do but yet I did not have the power to do so. Now I understand the meaning from the book of Hebrews, that even to just enter a rest, we need to strive. It is quite funny to think that we need to fight to be restful. It is true somehow considering that we are living this life where there are constant doubts and negative thoughts occur in our mind. We need to live a life of faith to strive to enter the rest because only Jesus is the way, the symphatising High Priest.
A sermon by Brendan Roach was inspiring me in terms of value I live in this world. I think my generation has suffered a lot because the advancement of Internet. There are certainly benefits of Internet that it cut so many costs in today society’s lives, like what The Economist put it. However, it also brings ultimate distraction of the valuethat really matters in this life. We have been constantly bombarded through emails, newsfeeds, blogrolls, social media, viral videos about the distorted value of life. They taught that fame is the most important thing, whether that is through singing melody, cooking craftmanship, or abundant wealth through starting a business. But, what kind of behaviours that those harbringer brings? It could be quite terrible. I read an article that the pressure to be great to gain acceptance at the social circle could drive an entrepreneur to a state of desperate depression, ultimately leading to suicide. Ironically, even the most established and successful entrepreneurs confessed that they still feel lonely even though they are at the very centre of fame.
The increasing urge to get noticed could really be terrifying and paralysing. Faced with plethora of options that our mom and dad’s generation never enjoyed, it actually stifles our courage to really gain meaning and significance through work. I have experienced that actually having a job straight after graduating was not fulfilling enough. I was felt that I could not realise my full potential with that job and worse, I was clueless on what kind of job that actually would be meaningful to fill my full potential. The distraction has been so great that made me really difficult to choose what kind of career that I could focus on. At the very end, it brought me nowhere. This is what I see as dangerous for me and my generation. There is a common preconceived notion that the job worth doing is the job of prestige, like working in a big and large corporation eith glass revolving doors. as a result, many took a career that does not really suit their true passion. Many fell along the road and for those who have succeeded climb the ladder, the felt empty once they reach the top. The extreme idealistic that we have to choose a job that suits our passion, ever-satisfying, and capable to produce a lot of wealth are seemed too much too ask. Especially in the era where jobs are scarce and self-employment is on the rise. Having such barriers to really work and contribute to society can stir up some guilt and insecurity. Too much of that will lead to a sense of worthlessness, which is self-judging attitude, really.
It is actually matters little to none what others think about our identity. Who we are is not defined by job. It is much more than that. There are so many ways to make contribution to the world. But, there is One thing that really define our lives. The widow written on Luke 21:3. She was valuing Jesus far more than her own life! How could a widow, who only had two copper coins that only enough to buy leftover food, gave them all to God, where actually she was not required or obliged to do so? The people who saw her at that time might told her that her offerings was worthless to the magnificent temple. But, Jesus said it was the most valuable offering amongst all. There is value in valuing God more than anything else. From there, the real and permanent acceptance comes. The everlasting joy and peace emanates from worshipping Jesus. Now, I still pray that Jesus could be my chief happiness and holiness as the chief means.