It’s what you do with what you got that counts

I had originally meant to post about quantum entanglement today. But it turns out that I am still studying it today and I am still trying to grasp what it means when you consider the uncertainty principle. So I’ll have to delay that post till I have a better grasp on the subject.

Instead, I thought I’d write about something more personal (this way I don’t have to do any research before writing). I want to write about a life lesson I have had to learn several times in the past and will undoubtedly have to learn again in the future.

Till I entered the 10th grade, maths was always easy. I understood everything I needed to in class and never really read the textbook for anything other than practice questions. That changed in class 10th. That year, we had an elderly lady in her final few years before retirement. She would rush through the lessons doing the bare minimum of examples and move on to the next topic before I (or for that matter most of the class) understood what was happening. She was perhaps the worst maths teacher I had in school. She also remains one of the most important teachers I have ever had and I am very grateful for studying under her.

For the first time, I had to really go through the books on my own trying to fathom the concept without any help outside my own family. This basic skill was invaluable to me in the following years.

Last week, I met an old school friend after 6 years. We had both aged quite a bit. One thing that came up was the expression “life is what you make of it”. My friend found this a banal piece of “feel-good” jargon. One of those meaningless bromides that get tossed around like froth on the waves of the internet.

I feel differently. The operative word for me is not “make”, but “you”. It means that life is what “you” make it. If it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted, it’s up to you to change it, nobody else. To me, this is the very opposite of “feel-good”. Ironically, the expression seems to be what you make of it.


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