Early Success?

I happened to read a news report yesterday on a Malaysian whiz kid who managed to secure his PhD award only at a tender age of 21 and currently residing and studying in a university in Australia. Having moved to New Zealand at three, he was home schooled by his microbiologist mom and managed to get his Bachelors’ Degree when he was 15 (if I’m not mistaken). I’m sure his parents would be proud of him – as proud as Malaysia who tried to tell us that he is a Malaysian although he moved out from here when he was a toddler.

Anyway, the thing that I am wondering about is whether this should be a piece of good news or bad. Looking at all these news about child prodigies, I often wonder if childhood is cruelly robbed from them. What’s the point being clever and having success at an early age when one has missed the wonders and joy of being a child? It seems to me that his childhood was spent on books and books alone. I wonder if he ever goes out to play and have fun, like normal kids. Does his mom allow him to do so?

Maybe I am thinking the way I am because I am not a mother yet. It is true that most parents want the best for their kids and see them grow up to be a successful person. Maybe if I have a child who is bright enough, I would have pushed him/her to the limit and achieve the best. But for the time being, I think it is still best for a child to grow at their own pace.

I have once read an article somewhere (and it is not by someone local) that success at an early age isn’t the best thing in life. According to the author, each person’s life stages is mapped out in an unspoken sort of way, ie, pre-school when you are a toddler, junior school when you are 7-12, high school in your teens, and then to graduate school, etc, and all the way to working life, climbing the corparate ladder and finally achieving success when you are somewhere around 35-40. And even nowadays, a successful person could be as young as — 30, perhaps?

But if someone achieves success at such an early age, there would not be anything else he/she can look forward to. For e.g. if I am 25 and I just got me Bachelors’ Degree, maybe I will look forward to getting my Masters when I reach 30 (with some years of working experience thrown in) And after that, work my way up again, and if there is need, get my PhD when I am somewhere around my late-thirties. But if someone has alreay had his PhD when he is 21, what else he could look forward to? He basically has everything. There is nothing else he can achieve anymore and his life came to a halt.

Okay, perhaps, just perhaps that there are more he could achieve. Maybe he could go so far that none has ever made it, but honestly, what how boring his life would be – he would dedicate his life to nothing but chasing after his dreams, achieving one thing after another. There might nto be a time when he can sit and relax with guys his age, talking about girls and enjoying his young life.

Others might beg to differ. And like I mentioned, I might have different thoughts as well if I am a mother, but for the time being, I strongly believe in living one’s life to the fullesy and enjoying what we have (or don’t have) to the fullest. We won’t have a second chance in life and why waste it chasing after something that do not guarantee happiness (Well, honestly, success and money DO NOT GUARANTEE happiness, right?)


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