Saturday, June 30, 2007

An African Proverb

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning a lion wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It doesn't matter whether whether you are a lion or a gazelle.
When the sun comes up, you better start running.

- Taken from The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman, pp 114.

There are some of us who want to take time off to smell the flowers and relax (after getting a nice, well-paying job as a graduate from some hot-shot, elite university). Some questioned the need to go for further self-improvement (since, he/she presumed he/she has 'arrived' after slogging out for 16+ years in school.)

I wonder how long more before they will fall by the wayside and starve to death. Management consultants, investment bankers, financial analysts notwithstanding.

If there is one thing I am thankful for - it is hanging out with peers who are very focused and driven; never resting on their past laurels. Always pushing for the next opening, the next opportunity that will give them the leg up for excellence. They instilled a sense of fear in me - the fear of being left behind. So I follow them and run.

Some may call this the rat-race, and desperately want to get out of it. Well, unless you come from a family rich enough to survive on your endowments, this is not really an option.

That said, I have been running since age 7 (Primary One). But my philosophy is to try to play fair and square, and to help my potential competitors if possible. Because I believe I gain too when my friends benefit. In one of my business school courses, the prof called it social capital.


SM said...

I wonder how long more before they will fall by the wayside and starve to death.

Hahaha! So true!

Yes I also find it very invigorating to be with people who continuously move forward, I don't have to ...explain... to them why I'm never "satisfied", for example.

L'oiseau rebelle said...

By 'self-improvement' do you mean personal or professional development? A lot of people focus solely on professional development, which isn't a bad thing in itself, but i have learned that personal development can improve both work and life conditions.

imp said...

this is one thing i fear for the friends. while i love to see them get ahead in life, it's a torture seeing them get sucked into the rat race. some became souless. some became enriched for it and kept a part of their soul for things beyond and outside the rat race.

i'm not in this rat race and i don't endeavor to be. i find my satisfaction outside of it. and am thankful that i'm allowed to do so.