Vanity – Your vanity may be what keeps you on and yet it’s also something that may cause your very destruction. From young, we’ve been brought up to think we are distinctive individual, we seek to better ourselves (and mostly against and relative to others) instead of against ourselves. I’ve heard news reports of students (be it high school or university) killing themselves because they cannot cope with the competitive environments they are being subject to. These are intelligent individuals amidst adults’ unreasonable expectations or societal pressures (esp. in recent cases of scholarship students). They have a high standard to adhere to, apparently!
Many a times, even as adults, we may feel as failures because our neighbors, associates, or colleagues performed a lot better than we do. Sometimes, it’s because we are lazy ourselves, at other times, it has nothing to do with us. But, as from young, we were conditioned to compare ourselves to others (thanks to our not so enlightened parents, teachers or even our leaders!). Countries or cities compare themselves to others in competition for rare resources. We are our worst selves when we are not working in cooperation with one another and instead against one another! Children learned from adults and adults look at the current trends and act accordingly. Instead of nurturing our most talented and innate abilities, the young generation is subjected to commercial demands and trends. Ultimately, we hear country realizing a little too late that their citizens are lacking in creativity and have become copy-cats or ‘robots’ who have no idea how to cope with surprises in global change, as with the case of Singapore. It is now taking in so many immigrants just to offset its lack in other form of skills! That, I think is too little too late!
In our efforts to specialize, we forget to generalize our skills and aptitudes. There are lots of people in the world who have no way to earn a living once their industry becomes obsolete. Adults go to work every day doing the same thing over and over again expecting to earn better salaries without upgrading their skills year after year. Then suddenly, their companies go bust (it’s no wonder, isn’t it?) and they are left stranded not knowing what to do. Again, there are others who rely on their past savings and investments. They plan to live on their acquired wealth in their old age! And they live their days working their butts off for retirement but when they do retire, they have no idea what they really want to do or spend their time on! Sounds familiar?
I do believe most of us focus too much on acquisition and the look of things. We fail to stop for a moment to check ourselves. Are we checking our mental health every few weeks or so? Or do we go on life like zombies simply waiting for our next paychecks so that we may acquire some innate objects which we conveniently termed investments like homes, cars, branded goods or simply working for retirement coffers and then to realize one day that we have wasted an entire lifetime with nothing to look back on? Do you realize that a home is not an investment if it is not generating income for you or it’s a negative asset? An investment is something that will generate present and future income. If you need to live in it, it may be an asset but certainly not an investment!
Alright, I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this because there are so many industries, if not all, that capitalize on human’s desire for vanity. Hollywood, cosmetics, transportations, telecommunications & even the internet. It’s all about vanity and our desires for it. Strictly speaking, even our desire to better ourselves with an education may well be some form of vanity. It’s not a bad thing per se. All we need to be aware of is that anything in excess is usually a sign we have deviated from our original path. We simply need to regulate it ourselves with conscious living and socially with reasonable behaviors. That’s just my thought on the topic vanity itself.
As for experience and real life scenarios, I use cosmetics, I buy branded goods and I am loyal to some brands like Sony, Apple and Coke! What can I say? I’m human afterall ;-)