Each year, Heep Yunn School holds an essay writing competition, which involves writing about newspaper articles. This is one of the top three of the junior section.
The article “Hong Kong: a city drowning in its own unhappiness” (SCMP, September 6, 2015) talks about some of the major factors which contribute to Hongkongers’ unhappiness. Our perfectionist way of thinking is indeed a very crucial reason why so many Hongkongers are depressed. However, there are other factors behind our city’s misery.
Hongkongers’ unhappiness has a great deal to do with our overly competitive mindset. We love to compare ourselves to, and beat other people all the time. We always strive to be faster and better. We derive pleasure from even the slightest degree of victory, even if it is something as trivial as passing the old lady whom you do not even know in the queue at the supermarket.
In a way, being competitive prevents us from being lazy. However, if a competitive mindset causes us to become intolerant of failures, no matter big or small, then it creates unnecessary pressure and burdens which are way too heavy for us.
The solution to the problem might be simple, but it is often easier said than done as the old saying goes. It takes tremendous effort to remind ourselves to stop these over-competitive thoughts. Parents and schools should teach students to have a healthy perception of failure so that they will cease to think that failing exams or not being chosen in a sports team are one-way tickets to hell.
The truth is that there are a myriad other extra-curricular activities awaiting us. It is not constructive to detest, hate or even fear failure. Instead, the next generation should be taught to accept and learn that failure is the mother of success. I wholeheartedly believe that this overly competitive attitude will be improved if people have a better understanding of the relationship between success and failure.
To read the other op-eds by Heep Yunn School students: