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An Endless & Vicious Loop
Who has the guts to break it?
I'm 24 years old, and the other day I experienced knee pain.
It all started when I bravely removed the protective cover from my iPhone, embracing a riskier lifestyle. In a matter of seconds, my device slipped from my hands, making contact with the unforgiving floor. As I humbly retrieved my fallen phone, a far greater problem awaited me—knee pain.
Although the pain was temporary, it triggered a train of thought that provided a glimpse into the challenges of aging.
That evening, I decided to return to the gym.
But it also sparked thoughts about something else entirely.
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I began reflecting on the tremendous efforts parents exert to ensure their children have what they themselves might have lacked, particularly prominent in Eastern countries such as China, India, Japan, Indonesia, Mexico, and occasionally observed in Italy, Greece, and the United States.
These parents tirelessly dedicate themselves day and night, surpassing the opportunities they had in their own youth. They become unfamiliar with the concept of personal time, never taking breaks or indulging in idle moments. Their sole focus is providing for their loved ones and creating a legacy that liberates future generations from the burden of constant work.
However, once they reach a stage where they can actually sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor, they often find themselves limited by their physical condition or age. Their restrictions aren't a result of their mindset but rather, their physical health.
Working excessively has its pros and cons, and unfortunately, the cons are primarily related to health. Skipping meals leads to a lack of nutrition, while neglecting exercise and movement affects the bones, joints, and muscles. Harmful habits like smoking and excessive drinking add insult to injury and what’s left of the body is a living, breathing corpse.
Nevertheless, this newsletter isn't about the negative consequences of these habits, as parents who prioritize providing for their children are aware of their sacrifices. Their main motivation lies in ensuring their children have a good life, even if it means neglecting their own well-being, especially during times of arduous work.
This newsletter is about the loop after that.
In an ideal scenario, parents who have faced challenges and hardships on their path to success desire their children to comprehend the struggles they endured. It is natural for them to want their children to recognize that the privileges they enjoy now did not come easily, as their parents had to work hard to provide them with a better life.
Specifically, parents who have experienced rejections, difficulties, and the harsh realities of a competitive world strive to instill two important values in their children: an entrepreneurial spirit and a respect for money.
However, there is a complicated aspect to this situation. When young adults with the aforementioned mindset migrate to the Western world to pursue higher education, they often return with an individualistic mindset that prevents them from fully embracing the fruits of their parents' labor. This is primarily because they desire to earn their own success.
Research has indicated that a majority of millionaires in the United States are self-made individuals, implying that they did not inherit substantial wealth. Young minds who are constantly discovering new things observe this, leading them to prefer creating their own path rather than relying on the platform provided to them. There is a unique sense of satisfaction that comes from this approach.
While some may argue that this struggle does not compare to what their parents went through, it is still a struggle nonetheless.
After enduring their own challenges, establishing a platform, and building their own path, these individuals eventually reach a point where they wish to enjoy the rewards of their efforts. But then, guess what? They often find themselves limited by their physical condition or age. Their restrictions aren't a result of their mindset but rather, their physical health.
Even if they’re in their mid-thirties or forties.
The modern lifestyle, the accessibility to various products, the indulgence in certain behaviors, the food choices we make, and the extended hours spent working on laptops (thanks to COVID-19) have accelerated the onset of illnesses.
Although we are aware of the widespread prevalence of illnesses, it sometimes takes a random bout of knee pain or other physical discomfort to make us realize the potential implications for our future.
There's no lesson to learn from this; it's just a realization I had during the five minutes my knee hurt.