Some people are born rich, some people are born poor. Some people go from poor to rich. In my life, my family went from almost getting our HDB seized from the bank, to staying in a condominium. From an emotional perspective, when you go from the bottom 15% in socioeconomic status to the top 15% in Singapore, you’re still kind of stuck at the bottom.
Some people are fortunate to be naturally charismatic from young, with women. They are called the ‘naturals’, some people like me have to learn it to a certain extent. Some people are ignored right from the start, had to learn it, got good at it, however, are still stuck emotionally when they are ignored. These are deep cultural, emotional programming, and invisible scripts that guide our lives.
You can take the principle of the poor rich child across multi domains:
- The guy that has multiple PhDs but still beliefs he is dumb
- The guy with 6 pacs but still beliefs he is sexually un-attractive
In my experience, our emotional development often lags being our cognitive development, at least for my personal experience. You can jump ahead intellectually, but emotions take their own sweet time.
In the books, the drama of the gifted child, the author termed it the poor rich child.
I had 6 more modules to an accounting and finance degree, and 3 more years to a basic psychology degree. If you can’t tell by now, I am interested in psychology. However, I am also wired to be a practical man, by circumstances. I decided to go back to finish my initial degree. It was difficult, hence it went against the commitment principle.
The Freudian’s compulsion to repeat, so clearly demonstrated!
I grew up poor. I grew up in circumstances that I couldn’t rely on my parents at one point of time, emotionally or financially. Hence my penchant for self reliance. I wasn’t really good at school: part avoidance and part disinterest.
I like Maslow’s take on human motivation, starting off from survival needs and moving up to self actualization needs. One can not deny the fundamental building blocks of our motivations. I desired to be rich, to be secure. Through years I had friends criticizing me on being too uptight when it comes to personal finances.
However, in my opinion, I am merely being accountable. I’m mostly free of money troubles, loan sharks or bad business deals. I am free of debt. I always had my family finances in mind. I made sure my parents never over paid for my education, keeping them free of unnecessary debt. You see, I am the poor rich child, forced to adopt adult roles when young.
I saw this play out multiple times in my business pursuits, I often make short term marketing strategies because I needed the cash. The best businesses are the ones that make difficult decisions upfront. They are the ones that start from fundamentals.
Moral ideals, religion, charity and all of great human ideals, can they come before economical security? I doubt so. History concurs. You and I are all animals, much more than you’ll like to admit to yourself. In that sense, Singapore did the right thing, they focused on getting economics right first. However, they obsessed over it, got stuck in it, hence a country devoid of any deeper identity or wisdom.
Have I Flown Too Near to the Sun?
I am really grateful and lucky to be able to travel all around Asia, South East Asia, North America and Europe, albeit at short stints at time and I do realize that’s a luxury most people don’t have. The luckier ones get six month exchanges in local Universities, but then again, that’s also a severely limited demographic. However, jumping from one culture to another can simply a form of avoidance. So, as I have decided my recent Europe trip, is go back and focus on the systematic progression.
Should you give up everything and pursue your dreams at all costs? Should you drop out of school, run a business, pursue your passions and become a starving artist? I have done and tried that. It’s not exactly a happy life. Yes, pursue your passions, but protect the down side. You make life decisions base on opportunity costs. You don’t put everything on one card.
The self is transitory and ever changing.
The wide eyed idealistic self has taken a back step, perhaps that comes with age, with growing up, or maybe just old fears.
However, I’m sure, as I steer myself to more secure position, I can stare dreamy eyed once again.
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