There’s a saying, “ignorance is bliss”. When I was younger, I never read deeper into its meaning when I used this phrase to gloss over things I didn’t want to talk about. Time passed, and I eventually gained more life experience to say that NO, IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS.
Many times over, I’ve seen and met people who think that if they wash their hands of the situation, they are automatically spared the responsibility. During one of my previous jobs, we had an intern who was basically the real-life version of “ignorance is bliss”. Whenever you asked her to complete a task, her default reaction would be “But I don’t know how!” accompanied with a shrug.
I thought I was being hard on her, until one day, I was discussing with some friends my age (and some older and I) about the perils of having less-motivated younger people working in the office. To my surprise, on many occasions, many of them agreed with me. That it was incredibly difficult to find a young employee who was passionate, willing to learn and okay with a starting pay that was in fact, rather extravagant if compared to the meagre sum we earned when we were their age.
I remember my colleague receiving a resume from a potential hire. Fresh out of university (a foreign one, of course), this person had no work experience whatsoever, but was asking for RM8,000 for a junior position.
I wonder if that person found a job that suited his/her requirements elsewhere. This, my friends, is a good example of what it means to be ignorant. If I had to define ‘ignorance’, I’d say that it’s a combination of self-righteousness, pride and selfishness, with a good measure of unwillingness to learn thrown into the mix.
I certainly don’t remember people my age being that ignorant about things. But I suppose you can’t also put the full blame on the youngsters of today. Parenting values and approaches have changed over the years. While it was okay for teachers to punish students with the cane in the 1990s, it’s apparently acceptable for parents to hit teachers in retaliation because their children got punished at school. That’s also a huge, whopping example of ignorance.
I’m not saying that all teachers are correct, but their role is to instil discipline and impart knowledge so that children and teenagers grow up to better people. If you’re not allowed to discipline an unruly teen because his father’s a rich and/or powerful man, then there’s no point in sending this kid to school to cause trouble for everyone else, right?
Another thing that I’ve told myself I should never succumb to is complacency. We’ve grown so comfortable with the things that we have or the things that we do, that we fail to challenge ourselves to do more. If you think of a positive way to sum up this feeling, it’s called ‘contentment’. But the real deal is that feeling too contented might not be such a good thing after all.
Being complacent is what demotivates you. It’s what you do when your inner demons draw you to the dark side and tell you that you don’t have to hustle in order to achieve more. That’s why I try not to tell myself too often, “be happy with what you’ve got”. If I’m too happy with what I have, I lose my drive to work harder, and that’s not something I want at 30 when I’ve got my life mapped in front of me.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m a freak who pushes myself to live like a beast. Taking a break is necessary, too. But I want to be a woman who earns her own salary. A woman who can speak for her own decisions without having to worry whether it’s the ‘right’ thing do to. And at this age, if I don’t work harder, I have no idea if I’ll be as lucky to have as many doors open up for me when I’m 40 or 50.
By being less ignorant and less complacent, I’m more motivated to do more with my life. What about you?
(Images: befreetoday.com.au, elle.com, silent-fiction.tumblr.com, picturequotes.com)